Fresh labour unrest at Ashulia, 40 injured

Savar, July 22 ( – Workers have vandalised a readymade garments factory at Ashulia to press for the suspension of seven officials, including its manager for bad behaviour and “the molesting of female workers”.

At least 40 people, including RAB and police personnel and garment workers, were injured in the clash that ensued at Nasa Basic Limited in Nishchintapur.

The workers were also demanding the withdrawal of the cases that had been filed against them following the period of industrial unrest that took place in Ashulia in late June in demand of a higher minimum wage.

Authorities of four factories including Nasa Basic Limited, a subsidiary of Nasa Group, and two other of its sister companies, closed their operations for the day fearing further agitation.

Additional police have been deployed in the industrial zone to keep the situation under control.

Police sources said amongst the injured were RAB-1 assistant police superintendent Abul Hossain, Ashulia Police sub-inspector Shahin Pervez, and constables Arman Hossain, Aman Ullah and ‘Riaz’.

The incident on Thursday was rooted in the events of the previous day.

On Wednesday morning, workers of Nasa Basic Limited demanded the suspension of the factory manager Anwar Hossain, the production managers Siddiqur Rahman, ‘Raju’ and Shah Alam, the administration officer ‘Imran’, the manager (quality) ‘Apan’, and the quality controller in charge ‘Arif’ for bad conduct towards them and in particular towards the female workers.

Workers at Nasa Global and Nasa High-tech, two other factories in the group, expressed solidarity with these demands – and workers of all three factories suspended their work at around 4pm on Wednesday and walked out of the factories.

Ashulia police chief Shirajul Islam told that at about 8am on Thursday, workers employed at Nasa Basic Limited again placed the same demands before the factory authorities. However, due to inaction on the part of the factory authorities, the workers began to vandalise the factory.

The police rushed to the factory but were unable to keep the situation under control. “At one stage,” Islam said, “the workers attacked the factory officials with iron rods and bamboo sticks leading to a violent clash between the two sides.”

He went on to say that when workers of Nasa Global Limited and Nasa High-tech heard about the clash and ran to Nasa Basic Limited to support the fighting workers.

The police said that its men were then forced to charge the workers with batons. “At least 40 people were injured in the clash between law enforcers, workers and garment officials,” Islam added.

Following the incident, workers took out a procession from the factory and proceeded to hurl brickbats at an adjacent factory, ‘Jon Ron Sweaters’. Frightened by the violent events, the three Nasa factories and ‘Jon Ron Sweaters’ closed their operations for the day.

A number of workers, on condition of anonymity, told that they would press on with their protests until their demands were met.

Nasa Group’s director retired Lt Col Golam Mohiuddin told, “The workers’ demands are illogical.”

He said that although three of the five garments factories in Ashulia had been shut down for the day, Nasa AG Super garments and Nasa Wash were still in operation.

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