Police and workers at a garment factory have clashed during a demonstration to demand back pay in Narayanganj’s Sidhirganj. At least 50 people have been injured on Monday after clashes between police and employees of ‘Soad Fashions’ in the Adamjee EPZ. The Narayanganj-Adamjee-Demra road had been blocked by the workers’ demonstration for two hours from 9am. The agitated workers set a covered van on fire during the protest. Soad Fashions employees occupied the Narayanganj-Adamjee-Demra road around 7am to
call for their back pay, said Narayanganj Industrial Superintendent of Police Zahidur Rahman.
Police went to the area after an hour or so and attempted to disperse the protest.
Police conducted a baton charge when the protesters refused to leave, which triggered clashes.
According to Zahidur Rahman, the protesters set fire to a covered van and vandalised 10-12 vehicles during the clashes. After an hour of back-and-forth clashes, police used tear gas and batons to disperse the protesters.
Some workers were detained from the scene, the superintendent of industrial police said. Approximately 50 people, including three police personnel, were injured in the incident.
Long lines of traffic stretched out on either side of the Adamjee-Demra-Narayanganj road due to the protest.
According to the workers, the Soad Fashions authority had not properly paid 3,000 of its employees for the past five to six months. On Sept 22, amid demands for back pay, a notice announcing the closure of the factory was posted without advance notice to workers. This triggered demonstrations.
“The garment factory has recently been sold,” said Zahidur Rahman. “A Kuwait-based company has bought it. But, as the deal has yet to be implemented, it has not been possible to pay the workers.”
The factory authority has announced that the workers would be given their back pay on Nov 20.