A group of unruly workers yesterday damaged a composite garment factory of Islam Group at Konabari in Gazipur demanding a hike in salary and other facilities, said police.
Abdur Rashid, officer-in-charge of Joydevpur Police Station, told The Daily Star that although the issue of salary hike was almost settled through a discussion between the management and workers on Saturday, some unruly workers vandalised the factory.
“Nobody was injured in the incident. We have arrested a garment worker and the process of filing a case with Joydevpur police station is underway,” Rashid said.
The agitating workers damaged machinery and the offices of textile, dyeing, finishing, weaving and knitting sections at around 8:00am, said Atiqul Islam, owner of the factory that has about 8,000 workers.
He said the vandalism was part of a well-thought-out plot as most attackers were outsiders.
Atiqul Islam, also a director of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, said initial losses hover around Tk 40 crore as all expensive machinery was damaged.
“The losses would have crossed Tk 100 crore if shipment of apparels had not been made from my factory on time,” said Atiqul.
He said it might not be possible to resume production in two months.
Atiqul claimed that they had not defaulted on salary, bonus and overtime of the workers.
“The workers were demanding a hike in salary which was under consideration,” he said.
Atiqul was recently made the head of a six-member BGMEA committee for probing the fire incident at the Garib and Garib Company, a Gazipur-based garment factory, where 21 workers were killed and 30 injured on Thursday.
However, Nazma Akter, president of Sammilito Garment Sramik Federation, said the workers got agitated when the management did not announce holiday on Eid-e-Miladunnabi on Saturday.
Nazma said the resentment among the workers led to the vandalism. But the workers could have discussed the issue with labour leaders and the management to reach a settlement.
After visiting the factory, BGMEA President Abdus Salam Murshedy said vandalism of such a compliant factory is a threat to the growth and sustainability of garment business in Bangladesh.
“We want assistance from the government to prevent such violence in ready-made garment factories,” Murshedy said.