All garment factories except two in Gazipur resumed their operation on Sunday after a weeklong shutdown, prompted by renewed unrest over the workers’ minimum wages.
No violence was reported in the two factories – Palmal Group and Apex Limited – whose workers haven’t yet joined work and continued demonstration on the streets in support of their demand.
Jakir Hossain, an inspector of Gazipur industrial police, said over five thousand workers of Palmal Group of Baroipara under Kaliakoir upazila had demonstrated outside the factory in the morning. Around the same time, over 17 thousand workers of Apex Limited at the Palli Bidyut area also came out on the streets to demonstrate.
About 10am, workers of both factories tried to vandalise their units but were held back by police who arrived in time to pacify them and bring the situation under control. Both the factories were declared closed for the rest of the day.
Anwar Hossain, a worker of Standard Group at the Konabari industrial zone, said they had been demonstrating for the past one week with the demand to increase their minimum wage and to compel the factory owners to comply with the government decision on wages.
Initially they had planned to carry on their strike on Sunday too, he added, but restrained themselves after seeing workers of neighbouring factories join their respective workplaces.
Ashraful Islam, another worker of the factory, said they had joined work after hearing of the authorities’ consent to the newly fixed wage structure. “Plus, the time for salary is knocking on the door, so we thought it wise to come back for the moment.”
Md Mominul Islam, administrative and human resources manager of Quader Compact Spinning Limited, confirmed the report that most of the factories in Konabari, including their own, had resumed production.