More than a hundred readymade garment (RMG) factories have affixed closure notices at their entrances, following the workers' demonstrations for a wage hike and subsequent incidents of vandalism.
During a spot visit on a Saturday morning, the factories in Jirabo, Nischintapur, Narsinghpur, and Jamgara areas of Savar were found closed, with some anxious workers waiting outside for updates on reopening.
The workers have staged demonstrations for the last several days, demanding a minimum wage of Tk 23,000.
The minimum wage board, a designated regulatory agency, raised the wage to Tk 12,500, but the workers rejected the decision immediately and continued their protest programmes.
Under several organisations and alliances, they held a series of processions and rallies in the capital's press club area on Friday morning, demanding the wage hike and justice to the three workers who were killed during the ongoing protest.
However, there were no movements or demonstrations before the RMG factories, or anywhere else, on Saturday. The workers came to the factories to learn when the factories will reopen.
Otherwise, the wages of helpers should be increased to Tk 17,000, and that of operators to Tk 23,000. That's our sole demand
Marjina Akter, an operator at Envoy Fashion Limited factory, came to her workplace at Jamgara around 9:30 am only to discover a closure notice hanging on the entrance.
When she asked the probable date of reopening, a security guard informed her that the authorities would announce it later.
Similarly, other workers who came to their respective workplaces saw closure, no recruitment, or vacation notices at the entrances.
According to the industrial police-1 at Ashulia, four people have so far been arrested in connection with seven cases filed for attacking and vandalising factories.
There are 1,792 factories in Savar, Ashulia, and Dhamrai areas, while some 130 factories have closed for an indefinite period.
On the premises of a Sharmin Group factory, a worker told Prothom Alo that it will be acceptable for workers if the authorities reopen service quarters, arrange lunches, and bring down commodity prices.
“Otherwise, the wages of helpers should be increased to Tk 17,000, and that of operators to Tk 23,000. That's our sole demand,” she added.
Sarwar Alam, superintendent of industrial police (SP), said there are 1,792 factories in Savar, Ashulia, and Dhamrai areas, while some 130 factories have closed for an indefinite period.
He further said the factories that encountered workers' strikes have been closed for an indefinite period, in accordance with labour laws.