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13 January, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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UNREST IN RMG SECTOR

Workers’ demo continues

Miscreants in guise of garment workers trying to create anarchy: RAB
Staff Reporter, Dhaka
Workers’ demo 
continues
Agitated workers vandalise a bus at Savar as areas in and around the capital yesterday experienced continued demonstrations calling for an end to discrepancies in minimum wages among readymade garment workers. Focus Bangla Photo

After a few days of agitation by RMG workers despite assurances by the government of resolving wage discrepancies, the workers yesterday again brought out processions in the capital and took to the streets. Meanwhile, a decision has been taken to fix the wage structure of Grades 3, 4, 5 in line with the original salary. The tripartite committee on wages will make an announcement on this issue within a day or two. The committee also urged the workers to return to their workplace. Around 3,000-4,000 workers started their protests for the sixth day yesterday, demanding changes in the newly-announced wage structure.

Workers vandalized at least 20 vehicles on the Dhaka-Tangail highway in Ashulia, on the outskirts of Dhaka, yesterday morning. Police dispersed them by charging batons and using water cannon around 10:00am, but the garment workers again blocked the highway. The law enforcers managed to free the road around 11:45am.

BGB members have been deployed in Ashulia area to maintain law and order following the workers’ unrest.

Sana Shaminur Rahman, superintendent of Dhaka Industrial Police-1, said the workers of nearly 29 garment factories of

Ashulia and Savar areas jointly waged yesterday’s demonstration.

Eight platoons of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) have been deployed in the areas to maintain order.  

In Dhaka, the readymade garment (RMG) workers called off their demonstrations in different parts of Mirpur including Mirpur 1, Mirpur 13, Mirpur 14, Kazipara, Sawrapara, and the area around Mirpur Bangla College.

The protesting workers took to the streets in the morning and put up barricade at Mirpur-1 and Ansar Camp area in Kalyanpur, halting vehicular movement in the areas.

The agitating workers took up position on a road near the Government Bangla College, stopping vehicular movement in the area around 1:30pm. Later, they left the road after staging demonstrations.

A group of workers of some garment factories staged demonstrations at Technical Intersection around 10:30am, blocking one side of the Mirpur Road. Later, police cleared the protesters off the road.

Besides, the workers were also staging demonstrations at Shewrapara and Kazipara areas. They also vandalised several establishments on the footpath in the area, said witnesses.

Munshi Sabbir Ahmad, officer in–charge (OC) said that the workers were trying to block the road, while they were trying to talk to them.

Dadon Fakir, officer in charge (OC), Mirpur Police Station, said that police were working to calm the protesters.

Government assurance:

The new wage structure in the readymade garment sector takes effect from this month.

Workers say they are not receiving wages according to the new structure. Some workers, added, they were getting even less than they did before.

Earlier, on Thursday, the government reassured RMG factory workers of looking into the problems in wage grades and resolving disparities within a month.

Besides reassurances, the government also urged the demonstrating workers to keep faith on it and get back to their workplaces. The call came amidst the consequences of the on-going protest.

Meanwhile, a tripartite committee was formed to resolve the labour unrest. The 10-member committee with representatives from the government, union leaders and factory owners said disparity was found in grades three, four and five.

Labour Affairs Secretary Afroza Khan said the discrepancies in the salary structure would be resolved within one month. There are problems in wage Grades 3, 4 and 5 but the problem would be resolved within a month.

She said the committee was given a month’s time to solve the issue but a solution could be found earlier. Reiterating the fact that the current government was labour-friendly, she said that there would be no reduction of salary of any worker.

DMP commissioner’s warning

Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Commissioner Asaduzzaman Mia yesterday issued a strong warning that no vested quarter would be given the opportunity to sabotage the Ready Made Garment (RMG) worker’s protest against the demands of the new wage structure.

He told reporters after distributing warm clothes among people of the third gender people in the capital’s Mirpur area.

He also warned that if anyone provoked the labour movement for personal interest, legal action would be taken against them.

DMP Commissioner felt a third party might be influencing the workers’ protests. The commissioner said that he had urged the law enforcers, specially the intelligence agencies to investigate whether any individuals or parties were trying to use the protests to their own ends.

“The government is sincere in giving a solution for the ongoing crisis. We hope a solution will be implemented within 1-2 days,” he added.

DMP commissioner urged the workers to boycott the demonstration and return to their workplace.

RAB detain five workers:

Meanwhile, in Tongi, nine factories were vandalized by the agitated garment workers.

Rapid Action Battalion (RAB-1) detained around five workers for their alleged link with the act of vandalism.

The detainees are: Md. Shamim, 24, Md. Roman, 27, Md. Alamgir Hossen, 24, Md. Abu sayed, 32, Md. Sohel Sarkar, 24.

RAB investigated into the matter for last couple of days and following the investigation they found that some miscreants in guise of RMG workers trying to create anarchy.

Sarwar Bin Kashem, Commanding Officer of RAB-1, confirmed the detentions, saying, “They (workers) were resorting to vandalism during the last couple of days. They were also spreading rumours to make others workers agitated.”

There was some

ulterior motive, said the commander.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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