A group of five apparel-worker federations have requested Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) to hold meeting with the workers’ leaders to resolve the Ashulia crises.
However, the BGMEA said the factory would reopen if the government ensures enough security and workers pledge to join work peacefully.
On December 20, in wake of workers’ strike in Ashulia and Savar, a total of 84 RMG factory owners declared their manufacturing units shut in line with the article 13 (1) of the Labour Act.
Since December 12, several hundred RMG workers at Ashulia in Savar area walked out on strike, demanding a revision of their minimum wages. The factory owners shut their production as the workers were not performing their duties.
The federations are Garments Sramik Karmachari Federation, Bangladesh Garments Sramik Karmachari Federation, National Garments Tailors, Seawater Workers Federation, National Garments Sramik Karmachari Federation and Garment Sramik Trade Union Kendra.
On December 22, the federations separately addressed BGMEA president Siddiqur Rahman in their letters, but to no avail.
“Following the workers’ strike in Savar area, the owners have already declared some of their units shut. We feel that there is a need of bilateral meeting between workers and owners to end the labour unrest and reach a fruitful solution,” said M Delowar Hossaion, president of the National Garments Sramik Karmachari Federation.
The letter urged the apex trade body of apparel industry to take initiatives to hold talks on the issues to resolve it, he added.
“The factory closure is hurting both the workers and owners as well as the country’s economy. That is why, we urged the BGMEA to hold such meeting to resolve the deadlock,” Garments Sramik Karmachari Federation General Secretary Arafat Jakaria Sonjoy told the Dhaka Tribune.
“I think there is no direct connection of organised trade unions and it was not a right decision to go on strike without placing the list of demands,” Arafat said, adding that the unions that are allegedly involved with the strike are simply not registered.
Meanwhile, Garment Sramik Trade Union Kendra in its letter urged the BGMEA to work on the new wage, demanding that a minimum wage of Tk16,000 be fixed. The letter was signed by its president Montu Ghosh.
It also demanded that essential commodities including rice, pulse and oil, plus the housing facilities for workers, be rationed out.
“If the workers want to join the work, they have to apply to the factory management and have to pledge to work peacefully,” BGMEA vice-president Mahmud Hasan Khan told the Dhaka tribune.
“We have received applications from five federations asking for holding meeting to resolve the crises and reopen the factory.”
“We will talk to the government on the issue and take decision to reopen factories,” he added.