A number of injured garment workers who were employed at the collapsed Rana Plaza building in Savar claimed that the officials of the garment factories forced them to join work Wednesday although they didn’t want to go inside. The building collapsed this morning causing the death of at least 80 people.
Over 1,000 people were reportedly injured as the eight-storey commercial building near the Savar bus stand collapsed. The building housed several garment factories—Phantom TAC Ltd, Phantom Apparels, New Wave Apparels, New Wave Button, and Ether Tex Ltd—from second to fifth floors.
The building that had developed several cracks yesterday had permission to build up to second floor, locals claimed. However, no official confirmation regarding this allegation has been confirmed yet.
Talking to the Dhaka Tribune correspondents reporting from the spot, the injured workers said the garment officials at first called the workers over phone to reach the factories.
But after reaching at the building premises, the workers refused to join the work referring to the cracks which developed in the building Tuesday. The factory officials then threatened the workers of deducting day’s wages from the salary if the labourers declined to join the factories.
“Our supervisors threatened to sack us from the job when we denied to join the factory,” said Minara Begum, an injured worker undergoing treatment at the Enam Medical College Hospital.
Sohel, another injured worker undergoing treatment at the same hospital, said the officials of the garment factory where he and his brother work threatened to fire them when they refused to work today.
“The supervisor of our factory asked us to join work. Asking the labourers in a hand mike, he told us that nothing will happen to the building as it has a 100-year guarantee,” Sohel who was severely hurt on his chest told a Dhaka Tribune correspondent.
Both Sohel and his brother Sumon were injured in the incident.
Meanwhile, State Minister for Labour and Employment Begum Munnujan Sufian told journalists that she also heard that workers were asked to join the factories using loud speakers.
“We will form an inquiry committee to dig out the facts. Action will be taken against the persons who will be found guilty of forcing the labourers to join work,” the minister said after visiting the spot.