They demanded full salaries for April and reopening of apparel factories
At least 11 people, including police officials, were injured on Saturday when garment workers in Gazipur demonstrated demanding 100 percent wages for April and reopening of factories.
The workers blocked the Dhaka-Tangail and Dhaka-Mymensingh highways during the protest and clashed with police.
Workers of Jirani-based Doreen apparels and Doreen Garments blocked the Dhaka-Tangail highway, demanding full wages and reopening factories. The agitated workers also vandalised at least 25 ready-made garment (RMG) factories in the area.
Police fired several rounds of teargas shells and rubber bullets to bring the situation under control.
During the clash, Sushant Sarker, additional superintendent of Gazipur Industrial Police, also got injured among other nine police officials and a female RMG worker.
Sources said the workers were protesting for full wages for all from last Thursday. On Friday night, the owner declared layoff as the factories had no orders. But workers protested that decision and demanded reopening the factories.
Gazipur Zone Industrial Police Superintendent Siddiqur Rahman said several thousands of garment workers staged the demonstration.
"Agitated workers threw bricks and stones at the police, who then charged at them to control the situation. But no one was wounded by the police."
A female worker was injured by other agitated workers during the scuffles, but her injury is minor and she is safe now, he added.
Anwar Hossain, Commissioner of the Gazipur Metropolitan Police said reports of two workers dying in the clash is a rumor, adding, "But, some people were injured, including law enforcers."
Superintendent Siddiqur said they were working to identify those behind the rumor, adding they could face a case under the Digital Security Act.
Our Gazipur Correspondent reports that thousands of workers of Louietex Manufacturing Limited at Sharifpur Rd in Malakerbari area and Armana Group's Denimach Ltd factory at Masterbari in Sreepur blocked the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway, demanding full wages for April.
Protesters said they were risking their lives to continue working, but still the owners said they would get just 60 percent of the salaries.
However, the government has advised factory owners to pay 60 percent to only those workers who stayed at home, but pay 100 percent to those who came to the factories.
According to industrial police and local sources, thousands of workers from eight garment factories in Ashulia also demonstrated demanding full wages for April on Saturday.
The factories are Tanzila Textile Mills Ltd, Mahmud Fashion Ltd, Rose Intimates Ltd, Palmal Group, Envoy fashion Ltd, Sharmin Group's AM Design Ltd and Hameem Group.
However, when contacted, Hameem Group Director Major (Retd) Shohel Mahmud claimed that "none of their workers demonstrated on Saturday, as they were at work all day."
Industrial police and officials of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association said the EPZ based A-One BD Ltd – a foreign garment factory – did not pay 1,100 people for the last four months. The workers also demonstrated for arears on Saturday.