55 B’desh garment units shut, 100 workers fired for protest
Over 50 garment units have been shut and more than 100 workers fired in Bangladesh following a widespread protest by factory employees demanding pay hike, prompting the government to deploy paramilitary forces to prevent any untoward incidents.
Owners of more than 55 readymade garment factories in Bangladesh, the world's fourth largest garment exporter, closed down their units after the workers walked out, demanding higher wages and benefits.
Apart from regular and industrial police, 15 platoons of the Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) have been deployed as part of security measure as workers took to streets to protest, bdnews24.com reported.
"The BGB is patrolling the area. Workers are not being allowed to gather. The situation is under control," Ashulia police OC Mohsinul Quader said.
Ashulia industrial police's Director Mostafizur Rahman said additional policemen were deployed in front of the factory to avert any untoward incident.
Garment factory workers have been demonstrating for over a week now to press home a series of demands including a minimum monthly pay of 16,000 taka ($202 or Rs 13,758). They say the present monthly salary of 5,300 taka ($67 or Rs 4,556) is considered "woefully inadequate" by the workers.
On Monday, workers of as many as 25 factories walked out to protest while on Tuesday, workers of 30 factories were involved in the agitation.
Meanwhile, factory owners have described the demands as "absurd".
A leading garment company today fired 120 of its workers for their alleged involvement in vandalising and "illegally demanding" pay hike during strike.
Windy Apparels Limited fired them for their alleged involvement in attacking and vandalising its Ashulia factory which it closed down for indefinite period. "They have been suspended for vandalism and illegally demanding pay hike," the company's Administrative Officer AKM Fazlul Hoque was quoted as saying by Dhaka Tribune.