Govt asks RMG owners to keep factories open, hold talks with workersStaff Correspondent
The government on Wednesday asked garment factory owners to open their units and hold meetings with workers at respective factory gates this morning to address the issue of labour unrest at Ashulia in Savar.
The directives came after a tripartite meeting with factory owners and labour leaders at the secretariat for a ‘peaceful salutation’ to the crisis. Labour minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain chaired the meeting.
‘The garment factory owners have been asked to keep their factories open. We call upon the workers to resume work in the morning [Thursday]. The factories in trouble will hold meetings at the factory gates to address the workers’ complaints,’ the minister told reporters after the four-hour meeting.
State minister for home Shamsul Haque, local lawmaker Talukdar Mohammad Towhid Jung Murad and senior officials from law enforcement agencies, among others, attended the meeting.
Over two hundred people, including lawmen, were injured so far as the apparel workers demanding wage increase staged violent demonstrations for the third consecutive day on Wednesday at Ashulia.
Almost one third of the 350 factories of the garment hub on the outskirts of the capital remained shut as thousands of workers joined the demonstrations.
On Sunday and Monday, production at nearly 100 factories remained suspended.
Talukdar Mohammad Towhid, who heads the crisis management committee for RMG units at Ashulia, has been asked to hold the committee’s meeting today and to form sub-committees with representatives from garment factory owners and workers at every factory there to address the problems.
The minister said the government believed a quarter from outside was stoking trouble in the export-oriented factories and the ‘workers are just becoming the victims of a conspiracy’.
‘Only one or two factories out of a total of 350 located in Ashulia might have problems. We cannot accept that all should suffer for a few. The workers’ problems and their demands would be discussed at the factory gates,’ he added.
He asked the factory owners and workers to help identify the troublemakers and bring them to book.
Mosharraf said the law enforcement agencies would maintain order in the industrial belt, where around five lakh workers were engaged in the RMG units. ‘No one would be allowed to create trouble there,’ he added.
The minister said he did not think the workers’ demand for pay hike had anything to do with the present crisis. He, however, assured the workers of addressing their problems.
Officials who attended the meeting said the factory owners feared attacks if they keep the factories open while the workers demanded withdrawal of the cases filed against them and increase in wages to resolve the crisis.
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