The demonstration was initiated by aggrieved workers of NZ Group's CA Knitwear Ltd
Police have used tear gas shells to foil a demonstration organized by apparel workers.
Readymade garment (RMG) industry workers blocked the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway, for three hours, protesting the dismissal of some workers in the Bhabanipur area.
The demonstration was initiated by aggrieved workers of NZ Group's CA Knitwear Ltd – causing heavy traffic congestion along both sides of the highway – around 8am on Thursday, and continued till 11am.
Gazipur Industrial police, Maona highway police, and members of the Joydebpur police station rushed to the site to try and calm the situation. However, the workers decided to carry on with the demonstration.
Law enforcement then used tear gas shells to disperse the protesting RMG workers, and removed them from the highway.
Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune, factory cutting-machine operator, Jannat Ara, said an employee was called from the production floor and asked to sign on a white paper four-to-five days ago. She was forced out of the factory when she did not agree.
Meanwhile, Finishing Division Operator Hasina Begum and Abu Bakr; Sewing Operator Jahanara Begum; and Tarek Mia said the security staff did not allow about 400 workers to enter the factory—when they came to work on Thursday morning.
Later, the workers blocked the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway—wielding sticks and blunt weapons.
Several workers complained that CA Knitwear Ltd dismisses people for trivial offences such as taking prayer-time breaks, asking for leave, and being late for work because of emergencies.
The workers also alleged that the company refuses to pay dues to dismissed workers.
Additional Superintendent of Gazipur Industrial Police (ASP) Saheb Ali Pathan told the Dhaka Tribune: "Workers blocked the highway to protest the dismissal of workers. After [we] reassured them their demands would be met, they were told to leave the road, which they refused to do until they met the factory owner.
"Representatives from the Administration Department of the factory came to try and convince them to move."
When the factory's Human Resources and Administration Chief Zakir Hossain Khan was called for comment regarding the issue, he hung up after realizing the caller was a journalist.