BGMEA to reopen factories on police assurance
Mohosinul Karim

Factory owners of Gazipur met with the BGMEA’s board Wednesday to discuss the current RMG scenario and to seek security for running their offices

  • Police chase RMG workers in Narayanganj 
    Photo- Dhaka Tribune

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association has said the garment factories will reopen, as the industrial police assured the apparel makers of ensuring security.

The decision came at a meeting Wednesday, in the presence of factories owners of Gazipur area, BGMEA office bearers and its former presidents.

Factory owners of Gazipur met with the BGMEA’s board Wednesday to discuss the current RMG scenario and to seek security for running their offices.

Nasir Uddin, a BGMEA director, said the owners wanted to shut factories because of a lack of security.However, they agreed to reopen the factories as the industrial police assured to deploy enough law enforcers to control unrest.

BGMEA Vice-President Reaz Bin Mahmood said the next decision would be made after observing Thursday’s situation, but added that the factories will remain open.

Meanwhile, Home Minister MK Alamgir Wednesday claimed that there was no unrest in the export-oriented readymade garment sectors at present.

“There are some stray incidents of disorder in the readymade garment factories, and they are nothing big,” Alamgir told reporters after a meeting on law and order ahead of Eid ul-Azha and Durga Puja next month.

The senior officials of the ministry and heads of law enforcement agencies, among others, attended the meeting.

Almost all factories belonging to export-oriented apparel sector were functional, the minister added.

The RMG factories that employed over 4m workers, mostly women, flared up on Saturday in protest against the denial of workers’ leave to attend rally in Dhaka aimed at pressing home a hike in their minimum wage from Tk3,000 to Tk8,000.

“Today all factories excepting a few in Gazipur are functioning. There is no such unrest in the garment sector,” the home minister said.

Apparel workers continued demonstrations to press home their demand for a minimum monthly wage of Tk8,100 for the fifth straight day in the capital and its suburban areas Wednesday.

The agitation flared fast in the labour-intensive industrial areas of Savar and Narayanganj also as the owners offered a wage hike of Tk600 only for an apprentice worker in the RMG sector.

Though most of the factory workers in the area joined their work some of the factory authorities declared a holiday for the day to avert violence.

More than 100 factories were shut in the face of demonstrations, according to workers and owners. Operations in around 400 RMG units were suspended on Saturday in the face violent protests by workers.

Alamgir said the law enforcement agencies would remain vigilant during the Eid and Puja so that there were no untoward incidents during the festivals of the Muslims and the Hindu minority almost at the same time in the second week of October.

He said steps would also remain in force to check smuggling of hides. The ministry would open a monitoring cell to oversee the situation during the festivals.

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