Friday, January 18, 2019 | ePaper

RMG workers pursuing protest

Agitation in Savar, Ashulia, Dhaka, 40 hurt in clashes, 20 more units shut

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Garment workers staged a demonstration for the 5th consecutive day demanding their salary increase. This photo was taken from city's Kazipara area on Thursday.

Staff Reporter :
For the fifth consecutive day on Friday, Ready Made Garments (RMG) workers were pursuing protests over "disparity" in their new wage structure.
In Ashulia, workers from factories in Katgora, Puturia, Ramgora and Berun areas began protests around 8:00am, witnesses said.
Thousands of garments workers gathered on the roads in Ashulia and burned various objects in an attempt to block the roads. About 50 factories were found shut.
Police lobbed shells threw tear gas canisters and charged batons on the workers when they tried to block Baipail. At least 20 were hurt.
Paramilitary Border Guard Bangladesh, who were deployed yesterday, were seen in large numbers, keeping a vigil watch different on points.
Agitation has also been reported from Katgora area around 10:30am, where police threw tear gas canisters on workers who tried to block a road. 10 persons were injured.
Law enforcers were trying to urge the workers to go back to work, said Assistant Superintendent of Dhaka Industrial Police, Shaminur Rahman.
Workers of two factories of Standard Group also went home instead of joining work in the morning.
Managing Director of Standard Group, Mosharraf Hossain, said the factory has accepted all the demands of the workers and they would join work Saturday. In Mirpur's Shewrapara, workers had gathered since this morning to continue their protest. About a thousand were demonstrating there.
Meanwhile, at least 30 garment factories declared holiday on Thursday as workers clashed with police in Savar amid unrest over minimum wage.
Police clashed with protesters who had descended on the Dhaka-Tangail Highway and the Jirabo-Kathgora-Bishmail road in the morning, workers sources said.
Protests were continuing for the fifth day despite several government announcements, which assured the workers that the wage framework will be reformed within the next month, they said.
But Additional Superintendent of Police Shahadat Hossain of the Industrial Police-1 confessed that over 20 factories closed for the day after workers took to the streets at Ashulia's Jirabo-Kathgora and Jamgora areas.
"The clashes erupted when police tried to disperse the protesters. There were back-to-back clashes. Several workers have been injured," he said.
The workers have alleged that the monthly wage in the seventh grade increased to Tk 8,000 from Tk 5,300 as per the latest gazette published by the government last year. But, the salary of the workers in other grades did not increase at the same rate.
The salary hike for the entry-level workers was more than that of their senior operators, who have been working for more than seven to eight years. The new wage has been effective from December 1. Major disparity in the salary hike was noticed in the third and fourth grades as their salaries were not raised like that of entry-level workers.
In most of the grades, other than the seventh, only Tk 500 was raised in the new salary structure, whereas an entry-level worker's salary had increased by Tk 2,700 at one go.

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