Over 3,000 workers of five readymade garment (RMG) factories on Saturday staged demonstrations and blocked roads in different areas of Dhaka, Gazipur and Chattogram demanding payment of their dues.
However, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) on Saturday claimed that they had already disbursed wages to over 95 percent of the workers.
According to police and industry sources, the five factories are Dhaka's Mirpur-based Golden Duck Ltd and Mohammadpur-based Azim Garments Ltd, Nabinagar-based Pantra Port Apparels Ltd, Gazipur-based Apex Weaving Ltd and Chattogram-based Prank Apparels Ltd.
Sources said Apex Weaving has around 2,000 workers while Azim Garments, Golden Duck and Prank Apparels have about 450, 200 and 300 workers respectively. None of them have received wages for March, while some of them have not been paid since February.
Hundreds of workers of Azim Garments blocked the Sadarghat-Gabtoli road Saturday morning to demand payment of their salaries for February and March, said Motherland Garment Workers' Federation Secretary Md Al-Amin.
After three hours of the protest, the factory told the workers that they will be paid their February wages by April 26 and their March wages by April 30, he said.
They also signed an agreement in this regard, Al-Amin added.
Industry sources said Golden Duck workers also demonstrated for their wages for last month. After two hours, the police convinced them to return home.
Assistant Superintendent of Police Jane Alam Khan of the Industrial police (unit-1) said about 350 workers of Pantra Port Apparels demonstrated in front of the factory in Nabinagar. They came to the factory to take their March payment, but the factory management was absent.
About 30 percent of workers from export-oriented RMG factories were unpaid till Saturday, Jane Alam said, adding that those factories are also members of the BGMEA.
Meanwhile, the unpaid workers of Prank Apparels blocked roads in the Agrabad area of Chattogram on Saturday.
They gathered on the street for more than one hour demanding last month's dues, Double Mooring police station's Deputy in-Charge Zamir Uddin said.
The police brought the situation under control after talking to the factory owner who assured workers that they will be paid their dues by April 28, he added.
Over 95% workers paid: BGMEA
More than 95 percent workers' wages have already been disbursed, said BGMEA media committee Chairman Monirul Alam.
He claimed that the association was trying "heart and soul" to pay the rest of the dues soon.
The chairman further said that, despite the cancellation of orders worth Tk27,000 crore which is equivalent to over six months wages in the garment sector, the BGMEA members were still striving hard to pay the money.