Savar, Jun 17 (bdnews24.com)—Readymade garment workers at Ashulia demonstrated again on Sunday as the weeklong unrest reached a new height after factory owners shut all garment factories in the industrial hub for an indefinite period.
Ashulia Industrial Police Inspector Mokhlesur Rahman said the workers took to the streets around 9am by blocking the Dhaka-Tangail highway as they criticised the decision of factory shutdown.
By 11:30am police cleared the blockade after the protesters fought pitched battles with the security officials. Witnesses said the workers clashed with police when they tried to remove them from the street.
Police used loudspeakers asking the workers to stop the protest and clear the street as the factories were closed.
The garment workers in Ashulia have been demonstrating since June 11 demanding better wages.
Hundreds of people have been injured and over 150 vehicles vandalised during the weeklong protest.
On Thursday, the owners failed to agree on the proposal of FBCCI President AK Azad, owner of Ha-Meem Group, to raise salaries.
The meeting, however, ended deciding that all factories in Ashulia would be shut down if the ongoing unrest was not contained by Sunday.
Apex bodies -- Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) -- took the decision and also threatened to shut all factories nationwide.
"Considering security of people and the industry over the current situation, we cannot but shut the garment factories in Ashulia area for an indefinite period in line with Clause 1 of Article 13 of the Bangladesh Labour Act," BGMEA President Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin said in a written statement at a press conference on Saturday.
He also demanded measures against the people responsible and ensuring security at the industry.
"It won't be possible to reopen the factories until those responsible for the unrest in the industry are given exemplary punishment," Mohiuddin said.
Around 450,000-500,000 workers are engaged in nearly 350 garment factories in Ashulia and there are about 3,500 garments factories across the country.