Overview

We are launching the London chapter of DP with the theme of workers and their life in the garments industry of Bangladesh. Many British companies, including major brand names, buy from Bangladesh and are increasingly having to deal with a consumer backlash against sweatshop conditions. Bangladesh faces increasing pressure in saving its most important export oriented industry from possible pull out from the buyers. Here are some questions and answers about our event and its purpose.

Why the theme of garment workers?
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The garment industry is by far the country’s most important manufacturer, earning around $5 billion annually and accounting for about two thirds of all exports. Bangladesh has about 2,500 garment factories with upto 10 million livelihoods dependent on it directly or indirectly. About 80 per cent of garment workers are women. The Ready Made Garments sector has more potential than any other sector to contribute to the reduction of of poverty. Despite the phenomenal success of the RMG sector the working conditions and wages of workers in the industry are cause for serious concern. Bangladesh’s current position as a leading garments exporting nation needs to be consolidated. The economy-wide reverberations of failure would be disastrous. We believe it is in everybody’s interest to sustain this industry – an industry which changed the lives of so many people, particularly women, in Bangladesh.

What are the some of the problems?
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The problems in the industry pre-date the riots which took place just over a month ago and which were attended by deaths, injuries and the destruction of property. Over the years, hazardous working conditions have resulted in the deaths of many workers through factory fires and collapses.The Spectrum Factory building collapse of April 2005 killed 64 people, injured over 70 and left hundreds jobless. In February 2006 a fire destroyed the four-story KTS Textile Industries in Bangladesh’s port city of Chittagong again killing scores of mostly young and female workers. Workers, who are mostly young women, also face an acutely difficult working environment – wages are low, hours are long, forced labour is practised, child labour exists, sexual harassment exists, freedom is curtailed, whether it be locked doors or rights of association, and there are a multititude of other practices which go against international labour standards and codes of conduct (= non-compliance). At the level of legislation and business dealings, lack of implementation of laws, restrictive laws and unfair buying practices by buyers compound the issue of non-compliance.

What is to be done?
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What has emerged quite emphatically is that for the Bangladesh industry to survive it has to take on board the issue of “compliance” with internationally recognised social, labour and environmental standards. There are many initiatives underway – buyers have their corporate social responsibility initiatives, the government has set up task forces and fora, there are the Memoranda of Understanding with the trade unions and the manufacturers’ and exporters’ associations. There are many stakeholders, and dialogue is imperative and all important. There needs to be the capacity and will amongst all the stakeholders, and particularly the government, to take forward and develop “compliance” and create an industry with an enhanced global image and global recognition of performance.

Anything else?
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The Spectrum disaster of 2005 was supposed to have generated an impetus for change in the industry. The riots of May 2006 have again brought to the fore the need for urgent and meaningful change. The apparel industry in Bangladesh will face difficult challenges in 2008 when it enters a new trading environment. Aside from compliance, which is difficult enough, there are other issues of buyer practices, turnaround time, infrastructural development, trade development etc. Given this context, the urgency for change in this key and pivotal industry is considerable. This is not an option. It is a must in order to save the future of millions of Jamila’s. The story of one such Jamila, for whom its a choice between joblessness and poverty on the one hand and unfair and unsafe work on the other, is what you will hear through the dance drama today. Everyone wins by having a strong industry.. The garments industry in Bangladesh needs to be sustained for the benefit of all.

83 Comments Add your own

  • 1. safi  |  September 24, 2006 at 10:19 am

    i have no word 2 say about this sector bcoz here ………………………………..

    Reply
    • 2. bruceslee  |  November 16, 2011 at 9:09 am

      I agree with Mr. Mamaun. The real fact is the buyer did not give enough amount.

      Reply
  • 3. anwar  |  October 4, 2007 at 6:14 am

    I think there are lots of things to do in this sector perticularly in social complince. From my point of view the general garment workers are not well enough as they deliver.

    Anwar
    Student

    Reply
  • 4. mamun  |  January 8, 2008 at 4:38 am

    i do work in this sector and i feel one of the big reasons for the bad condition of our workers is that buyers are not paying enough……….they are paying ONLY 12-15% for the COMPLETE goods of thats retail price!!!……….they are having big loaf (85%) for their middlemanship……..and we are getting only 15% for raw material, labour cost, etc……….Is that fair???????????

    Reply
  • 5. KIRON  |  January 19, 2008 at 8:55 am

    The RMG sector in Bangladesh is very fowerfull sector. there careness was very little from x-government. but now our care-taker government taking some stapes to proper runing this sector. I want as a student thats steps taken by care-taker government thats will be continue our next government.

    Reply
  • 6. Md. Shofiul Azam  |  February 4, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    Provide more latest information.

    Reply
  • 7. Md. Shariat Rahman  |  February 5, 2008 at 11:05 am

    I am a BUET Student. I think that the management of the Industry should be more conscious about the controlling of the labor by giving a great attention to their necessity. The government should be more responsible about the relationship of owner-Labor and should ease the system of exporting-importing of necessary substances.

    Reply
  • 8. anwar  |  February 12, 2008 at 9:22 am

    motivate them

    Reply
  • 9. Jaynal Abedin  |  February 16, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    The prcatice is well right now but it’s required to know regarding productivity and profit. Moreover, the informaton about trade union practice in RMG should be explored by the concerned.

    Reply
  • 10. joshi  |  March 10, 2008 at 4:53 am

    i m fully disagree with them.. Because owner has some interest to their own company. they invested their germents.so, they …..

    Reply
  • 11. atiqul hoque  |  April 9, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    any garments company that needs a web hosting, domain and web developing just call :01191205070

    Reply
    • 12. Mahmud/KDS  |  November 17, 2009 at 9:26 am

      How we can grow the attention of buyer to our Bangladesh-Market?

      Reply
  • 13. S M SHAHIN AKTER TUTUL  |  May 3, 2008 at 8:11 pm

    the RMG sector of Bangladesh is very powerful bcoz the economy is 80 percent depend on it. But now this sector is in very much risk. to avoid the risk the quality of garment products need to be increased, productivity also need to be improved & waste must be reduced to 0 percent… AND ALL OF THAT EASILY CAN IMPLEMENT BY APPOINTING A LOT OF INDUSTRIAL ENGINEER TO THE GARMENT INDUSTRY……

    Reply
  • 14. Nasrin  |  May 9, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    I agree that the garments workers have reasonable causes to go for any unrest situation, but they have to realize the ability of their employers and they should be motivated to avoid anything that will harm the industry by making them unemployed.

    Reply
    • 15. Shohan  |  March 13, 2010 at 6:51 pm

      It Is not possible For Bangladesh to establish a Proper management system but we can take necessary measures to reduce any default

      Reply
    • 16. Shohan  |  March 13, 2010 at 6:52 pm

      We can take experience people

      Reply
  • 17. Abul Kashem  |  May 22, 2008 at 4:11 am

    I Wish the banglades garments Industry Will be achieve very glorious names and fames.I would suggest that there should be no compromise with those men to creat another problem such as strike,lower pay etc.

    Reply
  • 18. Muhammad Faruqe Hussain  |  May 31, 2008 at 5:59 am

    When I start for office at 07:45 AM from west Shewrapara, I can’t walk properly due to the gathering of garmernts workers go for work and same at lunch time and at night (08:00PM). I was very curious to know where all of them stay but i couldn’t. They just disappear.

    Reply
  • 19. Mirza Mahmudul Haque Saki  |  July 2, 2008 at 5:43 am

    I don’t think that motivating the workers need that much things that is beyond the ability of the owner of the company.All it need are a fair and sound salary, a safe and motivating working enviorment and a good management. Good management in that sense that sometimes there is some conspiracy against the owner of the company to gain some personal benefit using the workers’ right issue. To handle that issue it must have a smart management ti cop with it up.

    Reply
  • 20. Abdul Hannan  |  July 5, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    Now the foreign buyers are demanding from the garments industries to use textiles from China, Tiwan, Koria or some other foreign countries. This is due to low quality of febrics and low promotional program of textiles industry of Bangladesh.If Bangladesh govt. want to keep the garrments industry into existance, it needs to modernize its textiles industries.

    Reply
  • 21. Mohammad Mizenur Rahaman  |  July 12, 2008 at 4:30 am

    CRM application in garment industry may increase customer loyalty.

    Reply
  • 22. Z. A. Rubel  |  August 24, 2008 at 11:17 am

    Confident foreign consumers will gradually change their opinions “When they realize Bangladesh clothes are good quality with very good design, they will come to enjoy our garments and understand the brand is made with care and love here in Bangladesh.
    So Related Association must be careful to save this sector rather take advantages

    Reply
  • 23. Z. A. Rubel  |  August 24, 2008 at 11:18 am

    Confident foreign consumers will gradually change their opinions “When they realize Bangladesh clothes are good quality with very good design, they will come to enjoy our garments and understand the brand is made with care and love here in Bangladesh. Related Association must be careful to save this sector rather take advantages

    Reply
  • 24. bluesky  |  September 19, 2008 at 1:03 am

    RMG-workers unrest in 2008
    Published On: 2008-01-01Issue customs notice to start duty-free RMG exportDhaka requests DelhiJasim Uddin KhanDhaka has requested New Delhi to immediately issue a customs notification so that Bangladeshi exporters can start duty-free export of eight million pieces of readymade garments to India a year.The foreign ministry on Thursday sent a letter to the Indian external affairs ministry requesting Delhi to make the bilateral agreement signed three months ago operational.Delhi was supposed to notify its customs about the deal soon after the signing.Bangladeshi businesspeople blamed Delhi for delaying the export to Indian market.”The delay in customs notification is a kind of a non-tariff barrier. The amount of 8 million pieces is very negligible since we export apparels worth US$ 9 billion to the world market annually,” a RMG maker said But the ‘symbolic export’ will help local exporters explore the huge Indian market in future apart from helping reducing trade gap between the two countries, he added.Although India made the offer of duty-free RMG export two and a half years ago under the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (Safta) framework, the authorities took time to reach a consensus on the modality for export.Indian Commerce Minister Kamal Nath in 2005 promised his country would allow duty-free entry of Bangladesh’s eight million pieces of RMG products with a view to boosting bilateral trade and reducing trade imbalance. Sources in the Export Promotion Bureau said India is the second largest trade partner of Bangladesh after China. Currently, Bangladesh imports Indian products worth about $2 billion a year while exports goods worth less than $300 million.

    Published On: 2008-01-03Front PageClosure of RMG Factory Workers demo brings Mirpur to a standstillStaff Correspondent
    Workers of garment factories on and around Rokeya Sarani in the capital blockade the street at Sheorapara for nearly 12 hours yesterday. They were protesting the closure of a factory and demanding trial of those responsible for allegedly forcing an ill female worker of the factory to work, which reportedly caused her death. Photo: Anisur Rahman
    Several thousand garment workers protesting closure of a factory without notice barricaded the busy Rokeya Sarani in the city yesterday, leading to severe traffic congestion on other streets in Mirpur area for almost the whole day. Workers from around 20 factories staged the demonstration after the authorities closed the factory of SQ Sweaters Ltd in Mirpur following a two-day strike by the factory workers enraged at the death of one of their co-workers. Severe traffic jam choked the streets, especially during the morning rush hours, as the workers occupied Rokeya Sarani at Sheorapara from 8:30am to 6:00pm.The angry workers of SQ Sweaters alleged that the authorities forced a worker named Salma to work at night shift on December 30, 2007, although she was ill. As her condition deteriorated, she was taken home at around 3:00am and she died an hour later. A post mortem was carried on her at Dhaka Medical College morgue, but suspiciously, the management did not show them the report. As the news of Salma’s death spread among her colleagues, they abstained from work on Monday and Tuesday, and when they came to factory yesterday morning, they found the factory closed and a notice of closure hanging at the entrance, the workers said.Signed by Captain (Retd) Sheikh Arif Ahmed, manager of the factory, the notice reads the factory management has announced the factory closed under Bangladesh Labour Law-2006 as the workers observed strike ‘illegally’ on December 31, 2007 and January 1, 2008, keeping the factory officials hostages and disrupting production. “We came to the factory at 8:00 this morning and found the gate locked. Finding no other way, we took to the street,” Shahidul Islam, an operator, said.By 8:30am, several thousand workers gathered on the SQ Sweaters Ltd factory premises and went to other factories in the area chanting slogans.As workers from other factories started joining the demonstrators in large numbers, the authorities were forced to shut down their factories. The workers warned to continue their demonstration on the street until their demands of trial of the ‘killers’ of Salma and compensation to her family are met.Several hundred vehicles got stranded on both sides of the road stretching from Mirpur-10 to Agargaon causing untold sufferings to the commuters as the workers staged demonstration on the road till 6:00pm.Informed, Police rushed to the spot and tried to convince the workers to clear the road, but the aggrieved workers did not pay heed. Officials of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) tried to sit with the labour leaders to resolve the crisis, but the workers did not respond to their initiative, Joint Secretary of Labour Department of BGMEA Rafiqul Islam said.”‘Outsiders’ might be involved in instigating the workers for continuing the movement,” he added.Talking to The Daily Star, garment labour leader Nazma Akter said although the leaders tried to resolve the deadlock, the workers remained firm in their demand.Different organisations working for the protection of the rights of garment workers yesterday demanded immediate trial of Salma’s ‘killers’ after a thorough investigation, providing compensation to her family, and reopening of the factory immediately.The organisations include Bangladesh Garments Workers Mukti Andolon, Textile Garments Workers Federation, Garments Workers Unity Forum, Biplobi Nari Sanghati, Ganosanghati Andolan and Bangladesh Jatiya Mahila Ainjibi Samity. SQ FACTORY’S STATEMENTIn a statement, the authorities of SQ Sweaters Ltd claimed that Salma was absent from work on December 30.She died at her home at around 4:00am on December 31 and on that day, a group of workers brought her body in front of the factory. After her post-mortem in assistance with Mirpur police, the body was sent to her village home in Pabna with her brother Mohammad Rafiq.To mourn Salma’s death, the authorities had announced leave for the workers for rest of that day.But the workers of day shift did not leave the factory despite the announcement and even kept the management hostage. Later, the workers of night shift entered the factory forcibly. They, however, left the factory at around 10:00pm, the statement said.On January 1, the workers came to factory at 8:00am and remained absent from work ‘illegally,’ and kept the factory officials hostage. They filed a general diary with Kafrul Police Station as the illegal strike was disrupting production and hampering law and order, it said.Under the circumstances, the authorities have announced the factory closed.

    Published On: 2008-01-04
    Front Page
    Agitation in Mirpur
    RMG workers end 2-day protest after deal struck
    Staff Correspondent

    Army men visit the spot on the city’s Rokeya Sarani where garment workers stage a demonstration yesterday following the closure of a sweater factory in Mirpur. Photo: STAR
    Life in most part of the capital’s Mirpur came to a virtual standstill yesterday as several thousand garment workers took to the streets for the second day and demonstrated until their leaders asked them to withdraw in the evening following a meeting with the BGMEA and the owner of a garment factory, the closure of which led to the trouble.

    Agitating workers of SQ Group and other factories left the road at around 7:35pm after their leaders read out the decisions taken at a day-long negotiation with the chairman of SQ Sweaters Ltd that owns the factory, and leaders of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) at its office.

    The workers began their demonstration Wednesday morning and continued till evening as the authorities closed the factory at Sheorapara following a two-day strike by the workers enraged at the death of a co-worker, and agitating for realisation of several demands.

    The agitation joined by workers from around 50 garment factories yesterday was peaceful, excepting a brief clash between police and workers in front of the Police Staff College at Mirpur Section-14 at around 2:00 pm.

    Police clubbed and dispersed the demonstrators as they vandalised some 10 vehicles on the main road in the area. The workers also pelted police with stones for a short while.

    Thousands of residents of the area found it difficult to reach their destinations during the morning rush hours as vehicles could only ply through Mirpur Section-1. And after office hours, a large number of people had to walk their way back home.

    BGMEA leaders said factories in the areas, which were closed due to the demonstrations, incurred huge losses. They however could not give any estimate of the losses right now.

    Workers of almost all factories in Mirpur area skipped work since 8:00am to express solidarity with the demonstrating workers and barricaded Rokeya Sarani from Mirpur-10 roundabout to Sheorapara, and the road leading to Mirpur-14 from Mirpur-2 via Mirpir-10 roundabout.

    They did not allow any motorised vehicles through the road, nor rickshaws.

    A large number of police in riot gear were seen at different points but they did not intercept the workers.

    Many shops and business establishments were either closed or kept their shutters partially down.

    Workers of many other garments including Moonlight, Rolex Fashion Ltd, Radester and BMB joined the demonstration. They alleged that the factory owners forced them to work overtime but did not pay for it properly, stopped providing treatment facilities for sick workers and did not pay wages and over time bill in due time.

    They also demanded pay rise saying that they are finding life too difficult now due to skyrocketing prices of rice and some other essentials.

    BGMEA-OWNER-WORKERS’ LEADERS
    The tripartite meeting between the chairman of SQ Group, BGMEA leaders and workers’ leaders decided to form a committee to investigate whether a female worker (Salma) of SQ Sweater Ltd was killed or she died as she was not given, said BGMEA leaders.

    Salma’s co-workers alleged that the authorities had forced her to work at night shift on December 30, 2007, although she was ill. As her condition deteriorated, she was taken home at around 3:00am and she died an hour later.

    The meeting also decided that the SQ Group chairman will handover the compensation money –Tk 100,000 — to the family members of Salma very soon.

    “We have reached a consensus at the negotiation and we have withdrawn our agitation programme from today. The abnormal situation at the SQ Group emerged from a misunderstanding,” said workers’ leader Zahidul Islam Zahid at a press briefing after the closed-door meeting with SQ Group Chairman Gulam Faruque, BGMEA President Anwar-Ul-Alam Chowdhury (Parvez) and other leaders.

    Whether Salma was killed or she died due to other reasons would be investigated by the committee members in the next three months, Zahid said.

    He urged the chairman of the SQ Group to re-appoint soon the workers forced to resign as the agitation began on December 30.

    At the briefing, Gulam Faruque said he will re-open the factory in one or two days but kept mum on re-appointment of the retrenched workers.

    He urged the workers to join their duties.

    The SQ Group has suffered loss of both money and reputation due to the workers’ agitation over a very simple incident, he said.

    He also said his factory might also lose orders from foreign buyers due to this.

    Parvez said the probe body will comprise officials of SQ Group, DGFI, DMP, workers’ leaders, leaders of the BGMEA and other authorities concerned both in government and private sectors.

    “But the factory will run in two-shifts until submission of the investigation report. The committee is scheduled to submit its report in three months,” Parvez said.

    The committee will also see if it is reasonable to run the factory in two shifts or not, he said.

    “The next decision about the operation of the factory will be taken on the basis of the committee report,” Parvez said.
    Published On: 2008-01-13Front PageRMG workers block Rokeya Sarani again for wagesMirpur stands still for whole dayStaff Correspondent
    Workers of garment factories blockade Rokeya Sarani at Sheorapara in the capital yesterday demanding timely wages and overtime allowances. Photo: STAR
    Several hundred garment workers yesterday took to Rokeya Sarani at Sheorapara in the capital and blockaded the busy street for the entire day in support of their 12-point demand including timely payment of their salary and overtime allowance. The agitating workers withdrew their programmes around 9:00pm when they struck a deal with officials of the factories. The sudden blockade snapped vehicular movement on the street from 8:00am to 9:00pm. It caused gridlocks all over Mirpur area during the morning and evening rush hours. Factory staffs concerned said encouraged by the successful demonstrations of the workers of SQ Group in the first week of this month, the workers of nearby Outwear Fashion Ltd, Outright Fashion Ltd and Outfit Unit-2 started demonstrating on the street from 8:00am. Workers of several nearby factories joined them later on.Witnesses said workers of Outright Fashion Ltd started the demonstration at 8:00am. Later, the workers of several other garment factories including two of the same group joined them.They paraded the street and chanted slogans in support of their demands. The workers also organised rallies on the street.Sources said several garment factories in the area were closed during the demonstration and a few agitating workers pelted some factories with brickbats when workers of those factories refused to join their agitation programme. A huge number of policemen were deployed in the troubled area.Their 12-point demand include payment of salary and overtime by the first week of every month, fixing the duty time for workers from 8:00am to 7:00pm, if workers are asked to work after 7:00pm the factory has to provide food for them, providing weekly day-off, providing 100 percent of a month’s salary as annual bonus, a stop to all whimsical termination of workers and the factory has to pay three months and 13 days’ salary along with all due overtime allowances when firing a worker.The other demands are night allowance for workers on night duty, a stop to torture of workers and the use of offensive language against them by their superiors, maternity leave with three months’ pay for female workers and a stop to the termination of demonstrating workers.”Most of the garment factories are providing their workers with all these facilities, but the owner of the three factories never bothered to provide us the facilities,” said a worker wishing not to be named.Bangladesh Garments Manufacturer and Exporters Association (BGMEA) leaders and the garment factory management and workers’ leaders sat at the BGMEA Bhaban last evening to resolve the issue. In the afternoon, members of joint forces went to Sheorapara and took 30 demonstrating workers to the meeting.The garment factory management promised the workers at the meeting that wages would be paid by the 7th of every month, overtime allowances by the 15th and the factory would provide food for the workers working overtime.On January 2 and 3 workers of SQ Sweater Ltd and other factories staged demonstrations on the same street and finally withdrew their agitation programme after the owner accepted their demands.

    Published On: 2008-01-14Front PageCops beat up demonstrating RMG workersRoad blocked, vehicles damaged Staff Correspondent
    A policeman clubs a demonstrating garment worker at Sheorapara in the capital yesterday as the workers blockaded Rokeya Sarani for 30 minutes and started vandalising vehicles. Photo: STAR
    Police swooped on a group of garment workers in the city’s Sheorapara yesterday after the workers took to busy Rokeya Sarani for their demands and vandalised several vehicles.More than a hundred workers of the factory of Kimberly Fashion Ltd absented themselves from work and started demonstration at around 10:00am barricading the busy road for half an hour, which caused a halt in traffic movement.Their demands included payment of salary and overtime allowances, Eid bonuses and attendance bonuses and leave facilities in line with the labour law.At one point, they vandalised some vehicles prompting the police deployed in the area to club the workers. Several workers and passers-by were injured in the police action, witnesses said.A pregnant worker named Rubi suffered serious injuries when she fell on the stairs on the seventh floor of the building that houses the factory in the rush of workers as police also charged batons inside the factory, alleged a number of workers seeking anonymity. Ruby was taken to a city hospital unconscious. For a while, rumour spread that she had died. However, Ruby was released from hospital after treatment.The agitating workers went back to work at noon after a deal was struck in a meeting among the representatives of the workers, owner, the joint forces and the Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) at the factory building.Yesterday’s agitation is third such incident in the area since January 2. Earlier, workers of SQ Sweater Ltd staged demonstrations on January 2 and 3 while workers of three other factories of the group barricaded the busy Rokeya Sarani on Saturday in support of similar demands. Additional police were deployed at the entrances of all garment factories in the area following the demonstration to avert any untoward incident.WORKERS’ AGITATION IN NARAYANGANJOur Narayanganj correspondent adds: Workers of three factories of Partex Group barricaded the Dhaka-Chittagong Highway at Dewanbagh area in Bandar Police Station in the district demanding hike in salary and bonus.The blockade caused severe traffic gridlock on both sides of the highway. Later, police went to the spot and brought the situation under control. Police and workers said that the workers of Partex Star Particle Board Mills Ltd, Partex Plywood Factory and Partex Furniture Industries stopped their work at around 8:00am and barricaded the Dhaka-Chittagong Highway at around 10:00am.The workers, however, returned to work after a successful meeting between the Partex group management, police and the workers.

    Published On: 2008-01-16Front PageMirpur sizzles in death rumourRMG workers clash with cops, block road for hours; over 350 factories remain closedStaff Correspondent
    A number of people taking advantage of the chaos around garment factories loot a warehouse of Opex Stylewares Ltd at Mirpur-14 in the capital yesterday. Photo: STAR
    Several thousand garment workers in the capital’s Mirpur area clashed with police intermittently throughout the day yesterday, leaving at least 30 people injured and traffic obstructed for hours.Demonstrations for pay rise, medical facilities and immediate payment of arrears paralysed life and trade in the city’s garment industry hub for the second consecutive day.Over 350 factories across Mirpur-10, Mirpur-13, Mirpur-14, Pallabi, Sheorapara, Kazi Para and adjacent areas remained closed fearing attacks by the workers.The same day, at least 20 more people were wounded in a fight between workers and police at Dhaka Export Processing Zone (DEPZ) in Savar. Hundreds of workers protesting sudden closure of a garment factory there barricaded Kaliakoir-Nabinagar road for over an hour in the morning.Police filed six cases with Kafrul Police Station in connection with the workers’ unrest in the capital. Of the cases, four were for violation of the emergency power rules and one for assault on the law enforcers.In Mirpur, police charged baton and fired tear gas canisters to disperse the marauding crowds. The demonstrators responded by throwing projectiles, burning tyres and blockading the main thoroughfares. Yesterday’s violence was the continuation of Monday’s fighting following rumours that two workers of the MBM Garments had been killed by the staff of Opex Style Wears Ltd. The overnight arrest of a worker named Shakhawat by the Rapid Action Battalion-4 intensified the agitation.According to eyewitnesses, workers in their hundreds massed outside MBM Garments at Mirpur-13 at around 8:00am and began agitating for immediate release of Shakhawat who had been one of the organisers of the campaign for eight-point demand.They set up barricades with electric poles in front of the BRTA office at around 10:00am, disrupting vehicular movement on Mirpur-Kachukhet Road.Workers from around 100 other factories soon joined their protesting fellows. Split into several groups, they spread to Rokeya Sarani, Mirpur-10, Kachukhet and other adjoining areas.At around 11, police closed off the road between Mirpur-10 and Kachukhet while the workers were blockading Rokeya Sarani leading to Mirpur-10 roundabout. Chase and counter-chase for hours left some 30 workers injured.Local said some of the groups were more interested in looting. Taking advantage of the melee, they stole from a number of factories in Mirpur 13- and -14. As things threatened to spiral out of control, two battalions of Bangladesh Rifles were called in at around 2:00pm.Besides, high officials of police came to the scene and assured the angry workers that Shakhawat would be released. On the assurance, a five-member team of workers went to the Rab office and had Shakhawat freed by 3:30pm.This all helped calm the workers who ended the day with a rally in front of MBM factory late afternoon.Anwar Hossain, deputy commissioner of police (Mirpur Zone), told The Daily Star, “We have been trying our best to keep the situation under control. We believe it is very much their [workers'] right to press home their demands. But they must do so peacefully and remember that unruliness is not to be put up with.”The demonstrators alleged that the MBM Garment authorities have been giving no attention to their demands forcing the workers to continue the street agitation over the last few days.At least 100 people including 50 workers and 20 policemen were wounded in clashes Monday. CLASH AT DEPZA tense situation was prevailing in the EPZ area with additional forces deployed to avert further fighting.Yesterday’s incident was a sequel to the previous day’s. Around 2,000 workers of Indonesian company Shine Fashion Monday staged demonstration inside the DEPZ demanding a rise in allowances for meal and transport, said witnesses.They went back to work after the factory authorities assured their demands would be considered. As the employees gathered in front of the DEPZ main gate at around 7:30am yesterday, they found a notice announcing that the factory would remain closed for an indefinite period.Incensed, they tried to enter the EPZ premises only to be attacked by the security men and police. The workers resisted leading to a clash that left at least 20 injured.Officer-in-Charge of Ashulia Police Station Kamrul Islam and Shine Fashion’s General Manager Major (retd) Mainul Alam were among those wounded.Police arrested a worker named Nazmul Hossain on the scene.DEPZ has 88 factories with about 2 lakh workers.

    Published On: 2008-01-25Metropolitan30 RMG workers, 3 Ansar men injured in clash in NarayanganjOur Correspondent, N’ganjThirty employees of Joya Garments in Rupganj and three Ansar members were injured in a clash between the agitating workers and the security guards of the factory yesterday.The clash ensued when the agitating workers, who staged demonstrations demanding wage hike and protesting termination of some of the employees, tried to get out of the factory premises.The Ansar members refused to let them go out which prompted the clash.The workers threw brickbats at the security personnel while the Ansar members fired 10 rounds of bullets in the air.The employees later put a barricade on Dhaka-Sylhet highway for an hour from 8:45am. Police and Rab members soon rushed to the spot and brought the situation under control.Meanwhile, workers of Metro Garments in Namapara in Fatullah swooped on three adjacent garments factories at 10:00am protesting the termination of six employees.Police baton charged the agitators to disperse them and normalcy returned at 11:00am.

    Published On: 2008-01-31Front PageRMG Unrest Provocation of foreign body, labour leaders found in probeUnb, DhakaLaw enforcement agencies have confirmed that a foreign organisation and leaders of a section of garment workers were involved in provoking the recent unrest in garment factories in the city’s Mirpur area.After investigation, an intelligence agency arrested Mehedi Hasan, Bangladesh representative of the Washington-based Workers Rights Consortium (WRC), at the Zia International Airport prior to his departure for Bangkok on January 24.Mehedi was handed over to Pallabi Police Station in connection with a case filed with it following the workers’ unrest.Six more cases were filed with Kafrul PS.The police produced Mehedi before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s (CMM) Court, Dhaka on January 25 and prayed for a 10-day remand for interrogation. The court granted a four-day remand.At the end of the remand, the police again produced Mehedi before the CMM court yesterday and prayed for another seven-day remand for further interrogation. The court granted three days’ remand.Court sources said Mehedi reportedly confessed to interrogators that he used to collect information about workers’ problems and send it by email to the WRC headquarters in Washington DC in the USA. He was also learnt to have disclosed that he incited garment workers to press for their demands and held several secret meetings with the leaders of a section of garment workers.On January 12, hundreds of workers from several garment factories blocked Rokeya Sarani at Shewrapara for nine hours from 8:00am to press home various demands.Earlier on January 4, the workers of SQ Garments demonstrated on the same road on similar demands. Later, they withdrew the demonstration as the owners accepted their demands.On January 15, the workers of MBM Garments took to the street in Mirpur-13 in the morning, incensed by hearsay in and around the factory that a garment worker was beaten to death in Opex Group’s factory during the unrest on January 14 that also left dozens of workers wounded. They also put barricades on the road with electric poles in front of the BRTA office, causing traffic disruption on Mirpur-Kachukhet road.During the five-hour-long chase and counter-chase from 9:00am, the police charged batons and used teargas shells to disperse the belligerent protestors, leaving at least 50 workers injured.

    Print Friendly VersionPublished On: 2008-03-05MetropolitanGarment workers protest layoffs in cityStaff CorrespondentAround 3,000 workers of a unit of Padma Garment staged a demonstration in front of the factory at Tejgaon Industrial Area yesterday in protest of layoffs. The police said the management of Padma Poly Cotton Knit Fabrics Ltd. posted a notice on the factory gate yesterday morning announcing its closure. Enraged by the notice, the workers who came to their workplace in the morning gathered together to stage a demonstration, but a large contingent of police, deployed there since early morning, dispersed them.Shafiqul Islam, officer-in-charge of Tejgaon Industrial Police Station, said the factory owner announced layoffs as the workers had remained absent for the last three days following a clash between the garment workers and other staffs of the factory.He also said the garments workers also beat the factory staffers, prompting them to lodge a case with the police station.Abdul Kader, a worker, said the situation has been tense since Thursday when a workers’ leader Azad, who is close to the management, had scuffled with the workers over tiffin.The scuffle erupted as Azad and his associates were trying to force the workers to have ‘low quality’ tiffin being served by the management, he added. Since then, the workers were demanding removal of Azad from the factory, Kader said. As the workers remained absent from their work on some floors on Monday to press their demand, officials and staffers close to the management beat up at least three workers, Liton, Saiful and Shahinoor, prompting the workers on all floors to join the agitation programme.

    Print Friendly VersionPublished On: 2008-04-02Front PageRMG workers protest death of co-worker for ‘negligence’Unb, DhakaSeveral hundred garment workers yesterday demonstrated at Shyamoli in the city following death of a co-worker without treatment due to alleged negligence of the factory authorities.Vehicular movement through the main Ring Road and adjacent roads was disrupted for about four hours from 5:00pm.The demonstrators said that Russell, 25, worker of RM Sweater Ltd, fell unconscious while working in the washing section. Security guards did not allow him go out for treatment. The poor worker died at the factory gate at 4:30pm.The death of Russell angered the factory workers who took to the street with the body. They demanded punishment for those responsible for his death and adequate compensation to his family.Police and Rab rushed to the spot and quelled the angry demonstrators with assurance of addressing their grievances.

    Published On: 2008-04-09Front Page50 injured as cops, factory workers clash at DEPZStaff CorrespondentAt least 50 people, including 15 policemen, were injured in a two-hour clash between police and workers of a Pakistani garment factory at Dhaka Export Processing Zone (DEPZ) in Savar yesterday.The workers also damaged furniture of the factory, Experience Clothing Company Ltd, which the authorities have closed down following the incident.Sources alleged a feeling of discontent was prevailing among about 3,000 workers, as the authorities were not paying them overtime allowances and proper transportation facilities. Their anger intensified when the quality of their lunch deteriorated.Witnesses said the workers went on the rampage after lunch and ransacked the canteen and furniture of the five-storey building.On information, law enforcers from Ashulia Police Station rushed to the spot and tried to ease the situation. At one stage, the police also locked in a clash with the angry workers.The workers hurled brickbats at the police, who also charged batons.Abdul Quddus, assistant sub-inspector, who was also injured, said the officer-in-charge, three ASIs and several constables were injured.The injured policemen and workers were admitted to different local clinics.The police arrested two workers, Anwar Hossain and Mahbubur Rahman, in this connection. They said they filed a case for attacking police and putting obstacle to government duty.Tension is prevailing in the DEPZ where additional forces were deployed to avert further violence.

    Print Friendly VersionPublished On: 2008-04-13Front PageRMG workers clash with cops for pay hike50 including 27 policemen hurt at FatullahStaff Correspondent
    Cornered, policemen try to fend off attack from demonstrators near Shibu Market at Fatullah of Narayanganj during yesterday’s clashes between garment workers and law enforcers. Photo: STAR
    More than 50 people including 27 law enforcers were injured yesterday, with four of them having shotgun pellet wounds, in yet another series of clashes between several thousand garment industry workers and police at Fatullah of Narayanganj near the capital.The three-hour clash, that ensued after police had tried to refrain a group of garment workers from demonstrating for a salary hike adjustment on a par with other garment factories in the area, turned Dhaka-Narayanganj link road at Shibu Market area into a virtual battlefield.Police fired shotguns and charged batons when several thousand demonstrating workers attacked the law enforcers with sticks and brickbats during the clash, which local residents alleged had been incited by Sramik Kalyan Federation, labour front of Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami. Witnesses said a group of pajama-panjabi clad bearded young men armed with sticks of garan wood attacked the law enforcers.The demonstrating workers set fire to felled tree trunks snapping vehicular traffic on the highway. Long traffic jams formed in both directions of the road causing terrible sufferings for commuters.Three garment workers — Sohel Rana, Yousuf, and Nurul Islam, and police constable Quaium — were hit with shotgun pellets. The injured were undergoing treatment in different hospitals in the capital and Narayanganj.Police, witnesses and garment workers said the workers of Microfiber Garments came out of the factory and started demonstrating demanding that their salary hike follow the standard set by another garment factory in the area. Referring to Metro Garment’s salary hike of Tk 250, the demonstrating workers said their factory owner increased their salary by only Tk 200.The workers said their anger was ignited by the factory authorities’ rough behaviour with them and by the authorities’ threat of police harassment as they went to the management for adjustment in their salary increase.The angry workers came out of the factory and along with workers of some other garment factories attacked and ransacked several factories including Metro Garment, and vandalised some passing buses on the road, the witnesses said. Around 9:00am the demonstrators blocked the busy Dhaka-Naraynganj link road. When police tried to intervene, the demonstrators staged a sit-in on the highway continuing to block it. At one point of the altercation the demonstrators beat up Assistant Superintendent of Police Mir Mohammad Towhid, and Officer-in-charge of Fatullah Police Station Bhuiyan Mahabub Hasan. Witnesses said a few panjabi-pajama clad bearded young men were seen beating the policemen with sticks.The bearded men then tried to drag away four to five policemen including the two officials to a secluded place tearing their uniforms, prompting police to open fire from shotguns. The clash spread rapidly as soon as police fired rubber bullets. The law enforcers were caught in a helpless situation with a huge number of workers attacking them with brick bats and sticks from many sides. A large number of police and Rab personnel were deployed to tackle the situation, which led to innumerable chases and counter chases between the angry workers and law enforcers. Around 11:00am a contingent of army personnel from Fatullah arrived at the spot and tried to calm the workers. The situation came under control after members of law enforcing agencies contacted labour leaders Advocate Mahabubur Rahman and Advocate Mantu Ghosh, who assured the workers of solving their problem by sitting with Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA). Jamaat’s district unit Amir Maulana Mainuddin denied the allegation of their labour wing’s involvement in the attack on the law enforcement. “We were not involved in it,” he told reporters. BKMEA President Fazlul Haque, however, told reporters that the unrest might have been the result of a ‘political provocation’, although he did not comment on the allegation that Jamaat’s labour wing was involved in it.”We sympathise with their demands. But our condition should also be considered. Prices of raw materials like cotton and chemicals increased, but prices of garments did not,” Fazlu said.Bangladesh Textile Garment Workers’ Federation President Advocate Mahabubur Rahman said the labour unrest was sparked by price hikes of essentials.

    Print Friendly VersionPublished On: 2008-04-17MetropolitanAttack on Colleague RMG workers block Aricha roadUnb, SavarAround 1,000 garment workers yesterday brought out a procession and blocked the Dhaka-Aricha highway following an attack on one of their fellowmen.Workers of Jovian Sweater Factory, carrying sticks, staged a demonstration at local bus stand, demanding arrest of the criminals responsible for the attack.Later, they put up barricades on the highway near their factory at noon, disrupting traffic for about 20 minutes.Traffic on the busy highway resumed after police removed the barricades. Several criminals attacked Babul Hossain, 20, a worker of the factory, at his mess and snatched his cellphone set and beat him up at about 6:30am, leaving him seriously injured. He was admitted to upazila health complex in a critical condition.

    Print Friendly VersionPublished On: 2008-04-22Front PageRMG workers clash with cops, 30 injuredFactory at DEPZ vandalised Staff Correspondent
    A law enforcer stands on the ransacked factory floor of Aamra Apparel Ltd at Savar EPZ extension after the workers went on a rampage there. Photo: STAR
    At least 30 people including eight policemen were injured when garment workers clashed with the police at Dhaka Export Processing Zone (EPZ) in Savar yesterday.Witnesses said the workers of Aamra Apparel Ltd began demonstrations on the factory premises at around 10:00am following rumours that the authorities had decided to axe around 100 workers as part of retrenchment.They damaged at least 15 rooms with computers and other valuables, and confined administrative officials to a room on the 2nd floor of the factory building.On information, Ashulia police rushed to the spot to free the factory officials from captivity. As they entered the premises the demonstrators tried in vain to resist them by spraying fire-extinguishing gas, police and witnesses said.The law enforcers responded with baton charge that triggered a mad dash for the exit. Several workers were injured in the melee and police action. Later, police chased away the agitating workers and foiled their attempt to barricade Dhaka-Tangail Road.In retaliation, the workers hurled brickbats at police, leaving several policemen injured.Vehicular movement on the road remained suspended for about half an hour due to chase and counter-chase.Officer-in-Charge of Ashulia Police Station Kamrul Islam said seven to eight policemen suffered injuries during the clashes. Three workers’ leaders–Monira Begum, Josna and Salmawere hauled in from the scene for quizzing.Additional Superintendent of Police Nazmul Hussain told reporters that a case would be filed against those involved in the violence.The factory officials said 93 workers were fired on April 5 on charge of disrupting operation of the factory. But those dismissed did not stage any demonstration as the authorities paid them all their dues and benefits as per the labour law.They said they have no plan to go for further retrenchment. The officials suspect that someone from outside might have incited the workers to violence.

    Print Friendly VersionPublished On: 2008-05-01Front PageArrears RMG workers block road in Dhaka, CtgStar Report
    Workers of a garment factory in Chittagong city barricade the main street at Dewan Mor yesterday in demand for three months’ wage arrears, causing a traffic jam in the area. Photo: STAR
    Several hundred garment workers yesterday blockaded the DIT road at Rampura in the capital demanding payment of their salary arrears. Hundreds of vehicles remained stranded on the road for about an hour due to the blockade. Meanwhile, garment workers yesterday put up barricade at Dewanhat intersection in the port city for payment of salary arrears disrupting vehicular movement on Sheikh Mujib road for about two and a half hours, reported our Chittagong correspondent.Police said around 500 workers of Expo Worldwide staged a sit in on the DIT Road at about 10:45am as the factory management did not pay them two months’ salaries and overtime bills.The management earlier had assured them of paying their due salaries by yesterday morning.The garment workers, however, lifted the blockade after 45 minutes and joined work as the factory owner promised them to pay their dues after 4:00pm following intervention of the law enforcers.Jahidur Rahman, officer-in-charge of Khilgaon Police Station, said the factory owner paid the workers their due salaries in the afternoon.Meanwhile, about 400 workers of Chowdhury Apparels in the port city’s Ashkarabad area put up barricade at Dewanhat intersection at around 12:00noon demanding payment of three months’ salary arrears.Rina Akhter, a worker of the garment factory, said the authorities on three different dates this month had assured them of paying their salary arrears but failed on all the occasions.The factory authorities at a meeting on April 23 assured them of paying their due salaries by yesterday morning, said Rina.But the factory owner and other senior officials left the factory in the morning without paying the workers compelling them to demonstrate on the road, she added.The barricade resulted in a long tailback stretching over four kilometres from Wasa intersection to Barik Building crossing.On information, policemen from nearby Double Mooring Police Station rushed to the spot but failed to remove the barricade.The workers lifted the barricade at about 2:30pm after Deputy Commissioner (DC) (Port) Habibur Rahman went to the scene and assured them of taking necessary steps in this regard.Later, the factory authorities started paying the workers in presence of law enforcers and BGMEA leaders at about 4:00pm.

    Print Friendly VersionPublished On: 2008-05-07Front PageCtg RMG workers on pay-hike riot50 vehicles damaged, shops looted Staff Correspondent, Ctg
    Workers of three garment factories of Azim Group take to the street in Kalurghat BSCIC Industrial Area of Chittagong yesterday demanding an increase in their wages and allowances. Photo: STAR
    Agitated workers of three garment factories yesterday went on the rampage and vandalised over 50 vehicles in Kalurghat BSCIC Industrial Area demanding an increase in their allowances.Hundreds of workers of Orchid Sweater Ltd, Global Specialised Garments Ltd (unit-1) and Savar Sweater Ltd, all conglomerates of Azim Group, took to the street for an increase in their share of piece-rate on each garment product and breakfast allowance.Witnesses said the unruly workers vandalised buses, trucks, private cars, microbuses, CNG-run auto-rickshaws, mugged commuters, looted a sweetmeat and a fruit shops, and damaged windowpanes of the oven division office of Azim Group.The witnesses said law enforcers refrained from taking action during the rampage that lasted around five hours on the roads stretching from Kalurghat BSCIC Area to Bohaddarhat intersection.A tripartite meeting between representatives of Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), Azim Group and the workers later took a decision in favour of the demands, bringing the situation under control.Sources said yesterday’s incident was a sequel to a strife and heated altercation between a section of the workers and management of the factories the previous afternoon over the same demands.The workers alleged the management suddenly cut Tk 10 from Tk 34 of the piece-rate. They met the management on Monday and placed their demands, but the management refused to accept those, said the sources.At one stage, the workers became angry and swooped on some officials and staffs of the three factories.Following the incident, the management of Azim Group shut down the three units for indefinite period. When the workers found the factories closed yesterday morning, they went berserk.A force from Chandgaon Police Station rushed to the scene but remained “inactive” during the agitation.”I was astonished to see that the workers continued attacks on our factories in presence of a large number of cops,” said Anup Kumar Das, general manager of Azim Group.

    Published On: 2008-05-11Front PagePay Hike Demand Workers vandalise Ctg RMG factoryCU CorrespondentGarment workers demonstrating for a hike in their wages vandalised offices, machinery and finished products at a sweater factory in the city’s Muradpur area yesterday.The workers of BLP Warm Fashion Ltd also swooped on the factory officials injuring two of them seriously. The injured are knitting in-charge Arifur Rahman and knitting supervisor Abdul Khalek.The agitating workers calmed down after the management assured them of meeting their demands including an increase in allowances.Sources said the workers stopped working on Friday afternoon demanding fixing of a proper piece rate of products. They also placed a 19-point demand including an increase in basic salary, tiffin allowances and overtime payment.However, they returned to work after the factory authorities assured them of considering their demands.The workers again staged demonstration yesterday morning and refrained from work demanding fixing of a proper piece rate of products by 10:00am.Later, they vandalised offices, machinery and finished products at the factory building ignoring a call for negotiation with the management. They disconnected the factory from power mains and attacked the two officials who tried to pacify them. On information, policemen and Rab members rushed to the spot and brought the situation under control. Factory worker Jasim alleged that the authorities were decreasing the piece rate gradually and did not pay them overtime bills and tiffin allowances properly.Another worker Towhid said although they placed their demands in writing before the management on Tuesday the authorities did not take any step in this regard leaving them with no alternative but to stage demonstrations. He also alleged that they are not paid as per the ‘salary sheet’ the authorities had submitted to the buyers.Factory Chairman Mohammed Mohiuddin told The Daily Star that the workers refrained from work on Friday without any prior notice.He claimed that they pay them salaries and other allowances regularly, adding that the workers went on rampage to put pressure on the management to meet their unjustified demands.“We even urged them to sit with us. But they refused and resorted to violence,” he said.“However, we have assured the workers of fulfilling their demands within five days after holding a meeting with the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturer and Exporters Association (BGMEA),” he said.The factory will resume its operation today as usual, he added.Meanwhile, BGMEA sources said the workers of two other factories — Warm Fashion at Aturar Depot and Diamond Knitwear Ltd at Kalurghat also staged demonstration yesterday.Agitating workers of three garment factories of Azim Group at BSCIC Industrial area of Kalurghat staged demonstrations on Tuesday demanding an increase in their share of piece rate and breakfast allowances.They also damaged at least 50 vehicles and attacked the weaving division office of the company.

    Print Friendly VersionPublished On: 2008-05-12MetropolitanSweater factory workers protest cut in addl workA Correspondent, GazipurWorkers of Pandora Sweater Factory yesterday staged a demonstration protesting reduction of daily additional working hour and demanding overtime and implementation of labour law.Workers were observing work abstention from May 8 for their demands. Owners of the factory assured them of implementing the demands but yesterday they asked the worker to join their work without fulfilling their commitment, which cause the demonstration.Two local businessmen Afaz Uddin, 38, and Shahjahan, 35, were injured allegedly by the members of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) during the demonstration.Abdul Aziz, sub-inspector of Sripur Police Station, said the factory owners discussed with the workers and partially realised their demands. Owners of the factory did not agree to talk to the journalists on the matter.

    Print Friendly VersionPublished On: 2008-05-12MetropolitanRMG workers vandalise factory in CtgCU CorrespondentWorkers of BLP Warm Fashion Limited in the port city yesterday vandalised a section of the factory and staged a demonstration demanding immediate realisation of their demands.Sources said the factory authorities on Saturday assured the workers of fulfilling their demands after forming a committee within five days. But, the workers didn’t join their works yesterday morning demanding realisation of their demands by 10:00am and started vandalism at a floor, said the sources. Later, representatives from Bangladesh Garment Manufacturer’ and Exporters’ Association (BGMEA), factory authorities, workers and law enforces in a meeting settled the matter. Owner and chairman of the factory Mohammad Mohiuddin told The Daily Star that they yesterday increased the tiffin allowances from Tk 7 to Tk 8 and fixed the piece rate for the each product of different styles, holiday and basic salaries for them, who would get it according to rules. BGMEA Member Amir Azam Chowdhury, Secretary Mohammad Moinuddin, Deputy Chief Factory Inspector Farid Ahmed and representatives from the police and Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) were also present at the meeting.

    Published On: 2008-06-01
    Front Page
    Textile workers clash with cops, 20 injured
    Unb, Narsingdi

    At least 20 people, including four policemen, were injured in a clash between textile workers and the law enforcers at Chawala industrial zone here yesterday.

    Some 100 small textile factories are located at Chawala near the district town where workers are employed and paid on production basis. About 3000 workers blocked the Dhaka-Narsingdi road at noon demanding wage increase.

    The trouble began at noon when police reached the spot. They used club and fired warning shots to disperse the unruly workers. Witnesses said at least 16 workers were injured in police action.

    Police claimed that four constables were injured when the demonstrators pelted stones on them. Injured cops Zahirul, Shahjahan, Mahmudul and Naikuzzaman are undergoing treatment in Narsingdi Sadar Hospital.

    Police picked up nine workers from the spot. The injured workers received treatment at private clinics.
    Published On: 2008-06-02Front Page20 hurt as Ctg RMG workers clash with copsOur Correspondent, Ctg
    Police chase demonstrating garment workers of Azim Group at BISCIC Industrial Area in Chittagong yesterday. The workers were demanding for a pay increase. Photo: STAR
    At least 20 garment workers were injured when several thousand workers of three factories clashed with police in Kalurghat BSCIC industrial area in the port city yesterday demanding a raise in the wages.The authorities declared the factories of Orchid Sweater Ltd, Global Specialised Ltd (Unit-2) and Savar Sweater Ltd of the Azim Group closed in the afternoon after a meeting with BGMEA leaders.During the clash, operations at some 100 other industrial units at the Kalurghat BSCIC (Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation) and adjoining areas were suspended to avert further labour unrest.Witnesses said around 3,000 workers of the three factories of Azim Group started demonstration at around 9:00am as the owners allegedly refused to meet their demands, including introduction of basic-pay system.The clash ensued when police started firing rubber bullets and lobbing teargas-shells on the agitating workers to disperse them, the workers alleged.Police fired over 100 rounds of rubber bullet, sources said.The workers said that the factory owners assured them of giving a decision regarding their demands on Friday, but they failed and requested the workers for another meeting yesterday morning.But police in separate raids on Friday night arrested 10 workers of the factories at their houses, thus forcing them to take to the street, they alleged.Police also arrested 10 workers from the spot yesterday. Of the injured, Mahmudur Rahman, 22, Sujan Das, 28, Majeda Akhter, 25, Parvin Akhter, 20, Lucky Akhter, 19 and Krishna Das, 20, with bullet wounds were taken to the Chittagong Medical College Hospital (CMCH).Around 12 platoons of police were deployed for bringing the situation under control.At one point, some of the workers set fire to tyres at different places inside the BSCIC zone and started pelting the police with stones.The workers also put up barricades on the Bahadderhat-Kalurghat road at Moulabhi Pukurpar area at around 11:30am that caused a severe traffic gridlock.Police with the help of Bangladesh Rifles, Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) and Armed Police Battalion (APBn) dispersed the agitating workers.Later, four trucks of army personnel also reached the area.Officer-in-Charge (OC) of Chandgaon Police Station Nurul Islam said that the workers of the three factories did not work on Friday demanding introduction of basic-pay system in the salary structure alongside the piece-rate system. On May 6, workers of the same factories went on a rampage and vandalised over 50 vehicles in the industrial zone demanding an increase in their share of piece-rate on each garment product and breakfast allowances. After a meeting, the owners met their demands.The new demand of introducing the basic-pay system was raised a few days ago, sources said.Rashed, a worker of Global Specialised Ltd (Unit-2), said that the workers could not enjoy any overtime bill in the piece-rate system in absence of basic-pay and many of them feel that they are getting lower salary during the off-peak hours.Contacted, BGMEA First Vice President MA Salam termed the demands placed by the workers illogical.He said, under the piece-rate system each worker of the sweater factories usually draws Tk 4,000 to Tk 6,000, whereas the minimum basic salary of a worker of a ready-made garments (RMG) factory stands at Tk 1,200, comprising 60% of the minimum wage scale of Tk 1,663.“As per the labour law, there is no scope for demanding both the basic-pay scale and piece-rate system in the salary structure at the same time,” the BGMEA leader added.

    Print Friendly VersionPublished On: 2008-06-04Front PageRMG workers go berserk in SavarMore than 30 factories, 2 banks, 3 markets vandalised over death rumourStaff Correspondent
    A garment factory that came under attack of angry workers, left, on DEPZ-Abdullahpur highway in Ashulia yesterday; and firefighters douse the flames in a truck the protesters set afire. Photo: STAR
    Garment workers vandalised over 30 factories, two banks and three markets and set fire to a lorry and damaged over 40 vehicles in Savar yesterday following the rumour of a fellow worker’s death in a road accident.Over 100 workers and pedestrians were injured during the attacks launched by several hundred garment workers who also blockaded the Abdullahpur-DEPZ road for five hours causing immense sufferings to commuters.Rupali, factory operator of Sharmin Group, and her sister Dipali of the same factory were hit by a lorry while they were crossing the road in front of the factory at Narasinghapur at about 8:00am yesterday.A doctor of Sharmin Group rushed seriously injured Rupali to Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) from where she was later shifted to a clinic.Sub-Inspector Mazharul Islam of Ashulia Police Station, who rescued the victims, told The Daily Star last night that the two workers had not died although at first he thought Rupali did.Hearing the news of the accident, over 1,500 workers of Sharmin Group came out on the street and set fire to the lorry that hit the two workers and beat up its driver Abul Hossain. Later, police rescued and arrested the driver.Firefighters rushed to the spot to douse the fire but they had to leave the scene soon in the face of protest by the workers.Meanwhile, over 3,000 workers of nearby Mettler Apparels, who had gathered in front of their factory to protest its closure two days ago, joined the agitating workers of Sharmin Group.Together they barricaded the Abdullahpur-DEPZ Highway and damaged over 40 vehicles on the road.A group of angry workers also marched towards the DEPZ and tried to enter it at about 10:30am to gather more workers. But police intercepted them in front of Ashulia Police Station.At this stage, the workers went on a rampage vandalising over 30 factories, three markets and two banks on the roadside.They hurled stones and brickbats at the windows of the roadside structures and used bamboo sticks to bludgeon windowpanes and furniture.Markets and banks that came under the attacks are Bhuiyan National Plaza, Chowdhury Plaza, Samir Plaza Shopping Complex, South East Bank Ltd and Jamuna Bank.The affected garment factories include Setara Group of Industries, Star Link Creation, Star Link Style, Scan Dex Knitwear, AN Design Ltd, Envoy Ltd, Design Dreams Ltd, Tisa Fashion, Nur Textile Ltd, Linda Fashion, Vertex Fashion, Universe Garments and Nasa Groups.Over 100 people including garment employees, commuters and pedestrians were wounded during the attacks.Many labourers, pedestrians and drivers and passengers became panicky to see the rampaging garment workers. A few drivers even left their vehicles on the road.Hundreds of vehicles remained stranded on the road for hours.Members of the army, Rapid Action Battalion and police brought the situation under control at about 12:00 noon after persuading the agitating workers to leave the spot. The movement of transport became normal at about 1:00pm.Ashulia police said they arrested lorry driver Abul Hossain but no case was filed as of 8:00pm.Meanwhile, Bangladesh Garments Manufacturer and Exporters Association (BGMEA) condemned yesterday’s attacks on the export-oriented garment factories by a vested quarter and said they do not know how long the garment industry could be kept alive after this incident.A BGMEA press release issued by its Secretary Fasihur Rahman said a vested quarter ransacked around 50 garment factories after forcing out their workers and staffs by spreading the rumour that two garment workers had died after being hit by a lorry.The BGMEA expressed its surprise at the government’s failure to ensure timely security for the affected garment factories although the incident occurred in broad daylight.”The BGMEA believes that it is the government’s responsibility to ensure security for the industry,” the press release said.It said, “Subversive activities have often been carried out at different garment factories using the workers without any issue and the BGMEA has called upon the government every time to bring the conspirators to book.”The BGMEA believes that if such activities continue, buyers will lose interest in buying garment products from Bangladesh while exporters will also not be able to continue their business,” the BGMEA press release added.
    Published On: 2008-06-05Front PageRMG Unrest 3,000 sued for vandalismStaff CorrespondentPolice yesterday filed a case against over 3,000 people, including a journalist of a private TV channel, on charges of vandalising vehicles and private properties at Ashulia on Tuesday.Meanwhile, the authorities of seven garment factories filed seven general diaries in connection with the violent incidents.Sub-inspector Obaidul Huq of Ashulia Police Station filed the case yesterday afternoon mentioning that soon after two garment workers were injured in a road mishap in the morning, the journalist provoked other workers to go on rampage at Ashulia. Over 3,000 workers of several garment factories vandalised 40 vehicles and damaged properties at 30 garment factories, three markets and two banks.SI Obaidul Huq told the The Daily Star said he could only mention the name of TV journalist Nazmul Huda as one of the accused since the identity of others accused is yet to be known.Meanwhile, the authorities of Pasco Ltd, Shad Fashion, Shad Fashion International, P & Co Cattier Ltd, Libra Knitwear, SGM Knit and Printing and Han and Hush Ltd filed general diaries in connection with the incidents.

    Print Friendly VersionPublished On: 2008-06-05Metropolitan7 RMG workers injured in clash over pay hikeOur Correspondent, N’ganjAt least seven workers were injured here yesterday as two groups of workers locked in a clash over pay hike at Rahman Sweater Factory at Kutubail of Fatullah upazila.Witnesses said the agitating workers went into movement for increasing their wage. At one stage, a clash occurred between the agitators and a group of anti-movement workers.Later, the situation was brought under control with the declaration of pay hike.The injured workers were identified as Shamim, Shuman, Azad, Shohag, Jewel, Shabuj and Sami.Police and workers’ sources said around 450 workers of production section of the factory took to the street for a pay hike to Tk 235 per worker from Tk 160.The agitating students asked the workers of knitting and dyeing section of the same garments. But they wanted to continue their work. Then the agitators locked into the clash with the non-agitating workers.Hearing the news, members of the joint forces went to the spot and brought the tense situation under control.Later, a tripartite meeting was held between joint forces, owner and workers. They set wage at Tk 225.

    Print Friendly VersionPublished On: 2008-06-08MetropolitanRoad Accident RMG worker’s death sparks violence in SavarUnb, SavarThe death of a female garment worker in a road accident at Ashulia yesterday triggered violent protests by her colleagues who barricaded the EPZ-Abdullahpur road and damaged a number of vehicles.Police and witnesses said Rupali Begum, 24, a worker of Magpie Knitwear Factory Limited in Ghoshbagh area, was run over by a microbus while she was returning home for lunch.She was taken to a nearby health centre where the doctors declared her dead.As the death news spread, the factory workers demonstrated and at one stage put up barricades on the road demanding arrest of the microbus driver. They also damaged at least 10 vehicles on the road. A severe traffic jam was created in the area due to the road blockade that lasting for half an hour.Police and Rab personnel rushed to the spot and brought the situation under control.Earlier on Tuesday, another female worker, also named Rupali, of a garment factory of Sharmin Group was injured in a road accident at Narsinghpur in Savar area that also sparked a street agitation.The angry workers damaged vehicles and several garment factories, banks and markets and blocked the same road for four hours.

    Published On: 2008-06-15MetropolitanVandalism At Factory 2 RMG workers sent to jailUnb, SavarTwo workers arrested for vandalism at a garments factory here were sent to jail when produced before the court yesterday.Anwar and Tajibul Islam were arrested from Jamgara area yesterday morning following a case filed against 36 unruly workers for ransacking Hollywood Garment Factory and allegedly looting Tk 2 lakh.Sources said some 3,000 workers resorted to vandalism in the Factory on Tuesday demanding payment of arrears.

    Print Friendly VersionPublished On: 2008-06-27MetropolitanWorkers attack RMG factories, clash with police in NarayanganjUnb, NarayanganjUnruly workers demanding wage hike caused extensive damage to Times Sweater and Pacific Sweater factories that led to clash with police, leaving at least 25 people injured at Fatullah yesterday.Police fired tear gas shells and rubber bullets to disperse the angry workers.Knitwear Manufacturers & Exporters Association at a press conference in the afternoon expressed deep concern at the situation and blamed the administration for failing to protect the industry.Association leaders said they would close down the factories in the area on Sunday if the troublemakers were not taken into custody by that time.MA Rahman, owner of Times and Pacific sweater factories, estimated the loss at about Tk 2 crore for the damage done to his two factories.Eyewitnesses said a section of workers, instigated by few identified troublemakers, attacked the Times Sweater factory at Katherpool, Fatullah. But police played the role of silent spectators.On information, army personnel rushed to the spot. The demonstrators retreated four miles away near Narayanganj town and attacked the Pacific Sweater factory at Balurmath.When resisted, workers clashed with police. They hurled brickbats, injuring ASP Mir Abu Touhidul Islam, OC of Fatullah thana Mahbub Zaman and Anwar, a policeman. The police then fired teargas shells and rubber bullets to disperse the workers.The trouble continued for more than two hours. Some 50 factories in the area were shut down during the incident.

    Print Friendly VersionPublished On: 2008-07-05MetropolitanRMG workers protest delay in salary paymentStaff CorrespondentSeveral hundred workers of a garment factory in the city’s Rampura area staged a demonstration blocking the busy DIT Road to protest the delay in payment of their salary and misbehaviour of factory officials.Witnesses said the agitated workers of Megastar Apparels took to the streets at around 8:30am. They staged a demonstration and blocked the DIT Road for around one hour. Commuters had to suffer a lot as hundreds of vehicles got stranded on the road.Khilgaon police said the workers first staged a demonstration inside the factory and later they came out to the road.The workers demanded the factory authorities pay their salary within seven days of the month, they added.The police further said that the authorities later agreed to meet the demand of the workers.

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  • 25. bluesky  |  September 19, 2008 at 1:06 am

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  • 48. Engineer Md Aslam Sikder  |  August 15, 2009 at 10:09 am

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  • 50. MD FAYSHAL HOSSAN MIAZY  |  November 10, 2009 at 4:17 am

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  • 51. Sheikh Md Imtiaz  |  February 5, 2010 at 12:25 pm

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  • 52. shimul  |  February 17, 2010 at 1:11 am

    Wage of the garment workers was last reviewed in 2006 after 12 years of gap fixing the minimum wage at Tk 1662 from Tk 930. The minimum wage however then was criticized by the workers as they demanded at least Tk 2300 as the minimum wage considering a day laborer’s minimum daily income of Tk 100 at that time.
    Now, the Brands around the globe has addressed the PM of BGD to urging for increasing the Minimum wage at RMG sector. Both the workers, Trade Union leaders, knowledgeable persons all are now in same page, they are saying that the MW need to 5000BDT for a workers for his or her living.
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  • 54. S. M. Mirajul Islam, Seu  |  April 18, 2010 at 9:41 am

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  • 58. Engr. muhammad AREFEEN  |  June 24, 2010 at 5:00 am

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  • 59. shamim  |  July 29, 2010 at 6:59 am

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  • 63. Shohagh  |  May 28, 2011 at 5:48 am

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