• The Daily Star

50 garment units shut over fear of unrest

Production in as many as 50 garment units remained suspended in the last three days in fear of unrest as the workers were demonstrating for the implementation of the new wage, factory owners said yesterday.

Of the factories, 25 are in Ashulia and 25 in Gazipur, said Siddiqur Rahman, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), at an emergency press conference at the association's office in Dhaka.

The new wage board for garment workers is expected to take effect from January, and the factory managements are now working on it.

“Workers' demonstration at this moment is not logical as the adjustment of the new wage structure has not been made yet. They are demonstrating based on rumours only.”

The BGMEA chief suspects a section of vested quarters are trying to instigate the workers ahead of the national election.

Subsequently, Rahman urged the government to take stern actions against the instigators, who are provoking the workers to go for work abstention during such an important time for the garment sector.

“The instigators have been threatening workers about going to the workplaces.”

Rahman urged the factory owners to run their factories as normal. “So far no major untoward incident like vandalism has taken place,” he added. At Ashulia, a group of foreign buyers of Ha-Meem Group were caught up in demonstration and had to be rescued by helicopter.

AK Azad, managing director of Ha-Meem Group, said a group of workers in his factory has remained absent.

He said he visited his factory yesterday to resolve the crisis.

“I asked the workers to continue the work as the management has been working on adjusting the grade and salary of the workers,” said Azad, who employs nearly 60,000.

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