Siam Sarower Jamil
Dhaka, Jan 10
At least 70 people, including 10 law enforcers, were injured in clashes between police and apparel workers in Savar, on the outskirts of Dhaka, and in Gazipur as the workers continued demonstration demanding wage hike for the fourth consecutive day on Wednesday.
Thousands of workers at Ashulia, Gazipur and Uttara, defying call from the government and labour leaders to resume production, also demonstrated in the labour-intensive industrial belts to press their demand forcing closure of at least 100 units, said police.
State minister for labour and employment Monnuzan Sufian at a media briefing at Nam Bhaban on Wednesday call upon the apparel workers to resume production as the government would solve the problems, if there were any, in wage structure. ‘There may be mathematical mistakes in the new wage structure; we will solve it through discussion,’ she said.
She said that the 12-member committee formed on Tuesday would seat today to analyse the mistakes. Monnuzan said that wage could never go down; it should go up.
She suspected that a third party might have misguided the workers through provocation to get political benefits.She said that she was sorry for the ‘unwanted’ incident of worker’s death and other casualties in clashes in the last four days at different industrial belts.
She assured the workers that she would solve the crisis and if needed she would go even to prime minister Sheikh Hasina.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association vice-president Mohammed Nasir said a tri-party meeting decided to resume production on Tuesday and urged the workers to join work as they would make necessary amendment to the wage structure but workers continued demonstration, which was unexpected.
He warned they would take their further action after discussion with the stakeholders.‘If production halt continues we will be forced to shut factories for an indefinite period,’ he said.
Border Guards Bangladesh spokesperson Mohsin Reza said that eight platoons of BGB were deployed in the industrial belt of Savar, Ashulia and Gazipur on Wednesday.
Protesters said in November 2018, the monthly minimum gross wage of apparel workers in the seventh grade was increased to Tk 8,000 from Tk 5,300. But the wages in other grades did not increase at the same rate. They also said that the wages should be increased proportionately in all the grades without any delay.
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