Fresh violence rocks garment sector before Eid

Garment workers Wednesday blockaded highways demanding full payments of arrears, festival allowances, overtime bill and other financial benefits.

The fresh wave of protests in Manikganj and Gazipur signals the recurrence of violent unrest in the apparel industry ahead of Eid.

Police said thousands of workers of two garment factories in Manikganj and Gazipur blockaded Dhaka-Aricha and Dhaka-Tangail highways as authorities of the units are yet to settle workers’ wages, dues and bonuses.

The street violence temporarily disrupted vehicular movements on the highways, causing sufferings to the homebound passengers.

Officer-in-Charge of Manikganj police station Mohammad Azizul Haque said the demonstration took place in Giland area of Manikganj Sadar Upazila from 8:00am to 9:00am after blockading Dhaka-Aricha highway.

He said the workers of Monnu Apparels were dissatisfied as the authorities provided lower quality Iftar and food Monday and did not declare holiday on Wednesday. The protesting workers also demanded overtime bills.

A sub-inspector of Chakrabarty police station said workers of RK Homes Textile at Zirani of Gazipur put barricade on Dhaka-Tangail Highway in the morning demanding full payments of arrears, bonuses and overtime bills.

The protestors later withdrew their blockades after getting assurances from the factory management.

A labour group recently announced that they would cordon off houses of the manufacturers unless workers’ dues, wages, bonuses and overtime bill were met by Wednesday.

They also urged garment producers to meet their demand by the deadline, saying the workers would definitely resist the owners that wrongdoing at any costs.

“We’ll launch nationwide protest programme unless workers’ dues, wages, bonuses and overtime bills were provided before the eid. We’re now observing the overall situation in the sector,” said a union leader seeking anonymity.

Officials of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) said they had asked the owners to clear all dues, wages, festival allowances and overtime bills before eid.

“Due wages and allowances have already been paid in most factories following the order. I hope the other workers will be paid by a day,” a senior BGMEA official said.

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