Peace has apparently returned to Bangladesh’s garments sector after more than a month and half of unrest over the new wage structure. Today, no unrest was reported anywhere from Dhaka, Ashulia or Savar – the unrest-intensive regions, our local correspondents report.
Instead of gathering anywhere, workers were seen entering factories before 8:00am to join daily work. All closed factories had reopened.
Sana Shaminur Rahman, superintendent of Dhaka Industrial Police told The Daily Star, the factories have opened and workers returned to work peacefully.
Additional police forces were seen outside most of the factories in order to avoid any untoward situation. Security was beefed up inside the factories as well.
Police were also announcing in loudspeakers, urging the workers to go back to work. “If you do not join work you will not be paid” they were saying.
Meanwhile, the authorities of the factories have started to sack workers. Our Savar correspondent foundlists of terminated workers on the main gates of two factories.
A total of 800 workers have been terminated, a union leader said to our correspondent.
WHAT DID THE WORKERS ALLEGE ABOUT THEIR TERMINATION?
Our Savar correspondent found notices of workers termination in front of the entrances of FGS Fashion Limited and AR Jeans Producers Limited in Ashulia.
While talking to our correspondent, the workers alleged they were not involved with any vandalism incident.
The correspondent talked with at least 50 workers whose names were on the lists.
WHAT WERE THE WORKERS DEMANDING?
The workers alleged that the monthly wage in the seventh grade increased to Tk 8,000 from Tk 5,300 as per the latest gazette published by the government last year. But, the salary of the workers in other grades did not increase at the same rate.
The salary hike for the entry-level workers was more than that of their senior operators, who have been working for more than seven to eight years. The new wage has been effective from December 1. Major disparity in the salary hike was noticed in the third and fourth grades as their salaries were not raised like that of entry-level workers.
In most of the grades, other than the seventh, only Tk 500 was raised in the new salary structure, whereas an entry-level workers salary had increased by Tk 2,700 at one go.
THE LATEST POLICY DEVELOPMENT
After nearly one and half months of protests, the government has revised the pay structure for the garments industry workers giving a raise between Tk 15 to Tk 786.
This revision was the raise from the new wage board put into effect from December 2018.
Meanwhile, apparel industry workers have threatened the workers to shut down the factories if they do not return to work from Monday.