Some thousands of ready-made garment workers blocked the Dhaka-Tangail highway and clashed with police while staging a protest demanding a wage hike and other facilities in Ashulia on Monday morning.
Authorities of the concerned Ha-Meem Group were compelled to declare a holiday in the wake of the protest.
Workers of Ha-Meem Group in Narasinghapur area started protesting soon after entering factory premises in the morning, Dhaka Additional Police Superintendent Shyamal Kumar Mukherjee told bdnews24.com.
Protestors blocked Dhaka-Tangail highway compelling police to charge batons to bring situation under control, he said.
Apart from a wage hike, the workers were also demanding attendance fees for three holidays and protection against attacks. The workers alleged that they were attacked by outsiders.
At one point, agitated workers tried to smash the front gate of Ha-Meem Group factory, but police intervened, bdnews24.com Savar Correspondent reported from the spot.
Soon a clash ensued between police and agitators. Police then lobbed teargas shells to disperse the workers, Industrial Police-1 Ashulia zone Deputy Assistant Director Abdus Sattar said.
Additional police, armed police, APBN and Industrial Police were deployed at the area to avoid further disturbances, he said.
Ha-Meem Group Deputy General Manager Delwar Hossain confirmed to bdnews24.com that workers in the morning placed several demands.
Some 20,000 workers from two units of the group, in Narasinghapur and Banglabazar area, left the factories after placing their demands, he said. The units were closed for the day.
Regarding the demands, Delwar said, “From today each worker will get Tk 25 for lunch. Tiffin money too will be hiked to Tk 20 from Tk 15.”
For helpers, attendance bonus will be increased to Tk 300 from Tk 250. In case of other senior-grade workers it will be Tk 400 from Tk 300, he said.
Attendance bonus for the three BGMEA-announced holidays will also be given as per directives of the apex body, he added.
Earlier, ‘troubled’ factories in the Ashulia belt had remain closed for three days. Factories in the area had opened only on Friday.