Garment workers protest rent hikes

Dhaka, Jan 30 ( – Garment workers formed a human chain in Dhaka on Sunday calling on the government to enforce laws against “indiscriminate” rises in house rent.

The demonstration outside the National Press Club was organised by the National Garments Workers Federation and drew around 100 protesters from across the capital.

Suchona Akhter, president of the federation told, that garment workers see none of the large profits made by the industry but face rent hikes often twice in a year.

Md Faruq Khan, the federation’s vice president, said low income garment workers are pushed to the wall when landlords hike rent on a whim.

“The government should immediately implement house rent regulations for Dhaka and be stricter in enforcing existing laws to save the poor workers,” he said.

Workers’ Party Polit Bureau member Kamrul Hassan said most of Dhaka’s 20 million residents live with rental laws that are “only on paper” but are rarely enforced.

“Parliament members do not live in rental houses but they should be vocal in the parliament about the indiscriminate house rent hike in Dhaka,” he said.

Anju, a garment worker from Mirpur who joined Sunday’s protest, said her landlady had put the rent up to Tk 3,300 from Tk 3,000 in December, but would not allow more than two people in a room.

Anju’s monthly salary is Tk 3,000, more than half of which goes in rent.

She believes that the government alone cannot stop this; rather the workers need to join hands and take action.

Senior Bangladesher Workers Party MP Fazle Hossain Badshah, who attended the chain as the chief guest, said garment workers had managed to force a pay rise after a long struggle, but that has been wiped out by ongoing rent hikes.

“Time has now come for the government to take up a position on principal about implementing the house rent regulations and strictly enforce the existing laws,” he said.

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