The police fear protests regarding wages and bonuses from garment workers of 598 garments in Ashulia, Savar and Tongi, according to the Bangla Tribune.
The protests might brew if the apparel industry owners cannot pay their wages before the coming Eid-ul-Fitr. The industrial police have submitted a report to the Ministry of Home Affairs apprehending the unrest among workers.
Up till January 2017, about 1,600 garment workers from Ashulia were suspended because of their various acts of protests against garment owners. It was preceded by a week-long strike in December 2016, which caused the garments to be closed for five working days. The dissatisfied garment workers resorted to acts of protest to raise their voice against unfair payments. The government swiftly undertook acts of reprisal, filing complaints against at least 1,000 workers which ultimately led to the mass suspension.
A source from the home ministry informed Bangla Tribune that after receiving the report, the police and the detective force of the areas surrounding Ashulia, Savar and Tongi have been warned and told to take the necessary steps to quell any unrest. The industry owners have also been warned.
Local sources confided that some people have been visiting factories anonymously to find out if the workers are harbouring any frustrations or demands and if they are thinking of acting on them.
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However, the factory administrations have denied of any such instigators lurking about.
Several factory owners anonymously disclosed to the Bangla Tribune that there is no dissatisfaction among the workers. Hence there is no question of any protests.
When asked about the issue, Siddiqur Rahman, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) said: “We have not observed any worker unrest, even after careful monitoring of the issue. No matter what, we have ordered the garment owners to pay the rightful wages to the workers. No worker is going to remain discontent in the coming Eid.”
He also added, “Even tailors hailing from remote areas such as Zinzira and Keraniganj introduce themselves as ‘garment workers.' There are a lot of factories which are not members of the BGMEA; we are not responsible for their activities. The people in this country comment negatively about the garments sector without even wanting to know how we manage our jobs. They are the ones who spread confusion among the public.”
When asked about the report submitted to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Abdus Salam Murshedi, current president of Exporters Association of Bangladesh and former president of BGMEA, responded: “This is an old report. Every year the same report gets revised and sent again. In truth, there is no possibility of workers protesting this year. Everything has been taken care of.”
He continued: “There is just less work this time of the season. Some workers are being transferred from one factory to another to continue working. So the workers who do not have any work on their hands are receiving their pay and being sent on the Eid vacation.”
The Ashulia police have commented that they have not observed any unrest yet.