100 hurt in Ashulia RMG unrest

Readymade garment workers continued their protest in Ashulia industrial zone for a third day on Wednesday despite a call for resuming the work.

At least 100 people were injured in sporadic clashes between the workers and the police on Wednesday, said Mokhlesur Rahman, an Inspector of the Industrial Police at Ashulia.

After hours of chaos, the protesters withdrew their blockade around 12:30 pm.

Police fired teargas and rubber bullets and used water cannons to disperse the workers who blocked the Dhaka-Tangail higway at Narasinghapur.

Dhaka’s Additional Superintendant of Police, Sheikh Rakibul Islam, said all factories in the industrial belt remained closed on Wednesday.

The workers of Artistic Design Ltd, a Ha-Meem Group packaging factory owned by FBCCI President AK Azad, have been demonstrating since Monday to demand better wages. Workers from other factories have also joined them.

The Artistic Design factory has been closed for an indefinite period.

Inspector Rahman told bdnews24.com that the workers clashed with police in the morning like previous two days.

He said the workers of the Artistic Design took to the street in the morning after they found their factory closed.

“They got angry and blocked the Dhaka-Tangail highway. They burned tyres and wood at different points in the area during the protests,” he said.

On Tuesday, at a tripartite meeting of factory owners, and government and workers’ representatives urged the workers to join their work. Labour Minister Khondker Mosharraf Hossain chaired the meeting at the Secretariat.

Project Director of Ha-Meem group at Ashulia, Mohammad Ali Mandal, told bdnews24.com on Tuesday that the workers took to the street demanding a raise of Tk 2,000 in their salaries because of soaring commodity prices and hike in house rent at Ashulia.

“The issue is being discussed, and hopefully we will have a solution by Wednesday,” he said.

However, after Tuesday’s meeting, the Labour Minister told reporters: “We don’t know anything specifically about the recent workers’ unrest. We don’t even know what their demands are. Today’s meeting ended without reaching any decision.”

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