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RMG workers stage demo in Dhaka, Narayanganj

  • Published at 12:22 am September 16th, 2019
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Police shoot tear gas shells and rubber bullets at protesting RMG workers blocking Dhaka-Sylhet highway in Kanchpur on Sunday, September 15, 2109, to clear up the road Dhaka Tribune

The protesting workers demand that their employers clear dues and stop illegal sacking of workers

Ready-made garment (RMG) workers blocked multiple roads in Dhaka’s Mirpur area as well as the Narayanganj city yesterday, demanding payment of arrears and reopening of their factories.

In Dhaka, the protesting workers took position on the street and put up blockade around 9am.

Confirming the matter to Dhaka Tribune, Shah Ali police station OC Mohammad Salahuddin Mia said: “Workers of Zaara Jeans and Knitwear Limited blocked the road since the morning, demanding the payment of their arrears.

“They said the factory had also been shut since September 3.”

He continued: “The workers claimed that they had gone to the BGMEA, and were assured that everything would be taken care of by September 14 [Saturday].”

Since nothing came of it, they took to the streets, the police official added.

The blocked roads caused distress to commuters yesterday, OC Salahuddin said.

After hours of demonstration, the protesters left the streets around 3:15pm after receiving assurance that their demands would be met. 

When this report was filed at 9pm, the workers and the employers were discussing the demands in the factory, the OC told Dhaka Tribune.

Dhaka Tribune has not been able to reach the factory owner for a comment.  

In Narayanganj, at least 25 people, including police personnel, were injured when a clash broke out between police and RMG workers.

The clash broke out around 10 in the morning yesterday, on the Dhaka-Sylhet highway in Kanchpur area.

Workers of Sinha-Opex Garments factory started protesting on the highway to press home their demands forpayment of overdue wages, stopping illegal sacking of workers, and realizing other benefits.

The clash erupted when law enforcement personnel tried to disperse the protesters from the highway.

Police fired more than 50 tear gas shells and a few rounds of rubber bullets at the protesters at the time.

The protesters, meanwhile,said police charged baton on them without any reason and fired tear gas shells at them, injuring at least 20 workers.

“When the garment workers’ protest was causing traffic congestion on the highway, police tried to disperse them, but they attacked the policemen, leaving five of them injured,” said Narayanganj Industrial Police 4 In-charge, Superintendent of Police (SP) Shaikat Shahin.

The situation came under control around 11:25am.

Additional police force has been deployed in the area to avoid further untoward incidents, the SP added.

The workers said the factory owners had been sacking workers without prior notice, and had also violated the country’s labour laws by not paying their dues and compensations.

They claimed the factory owners were not abiding by the rules. Also, the workers who go on maternity leave are not paid their maternity allowances, they added.