RMG workers clash with cops in Mirpur
Around 20 persons, including five policemen, were injured, five vehicles vandalised and traffic movement halted for nearly three hours in the capital's Mirpur-12 yesterday during a clash between police and garment workers demanding due salaries.
As news spread, authorities of several garment factories in the area suspended production for the day to avert possible violence.
Police charged baton and lobbed teargas canisters to disperse the agitators who retaliated with brickbats during the clash that erupted around 11:30am, creating panic among the locals.
Witnesses said the workers had blocked the road before Softex Cotton Private Limited till around 12:00 noon.
Workers said they found a notice hanging on the closed factory gate on Friday morning reading “the factory will remain closed as the seven-storey building has been identified as a risky one by engineers”.
When they contacted the factory owners and demanded their due salaries and other compensations, they were not given any certain date, claimed the workers.
“Instead, they beat four of us and confined them inside the factory from afternoon till night on Friday,” said a worker, wishing anonymity. Later, Pallabi police rescued them, the worker added.
Another worker, Aminul Islam, said he has been working at the factory for 14 years and that it owed him over Tk 1 lakh. “I will not leave the place without taking the money,” he said during the demonstrations.
The Daily Star did not find any of the owners at the factory and could not access their phone numbers.
The engineers of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety, a legally binding agreement signed by 150 retailers and brands, mostly European, told the owners to shut down for the factory did not meet criteria's of the accord's inspection team.
“There should have been more consultations before the factory was shut as many workers will lose jobs,” said Atiqul Islam, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
He apprehended that many more garment factories will have to follow suit.
Syed Ziauzzaman, officer-in-charge, Pallabi Police Station said a case was filed.