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RMG factories reopen Wednesday

Staff Correspondent
14 Nov 2023 22:28:45 | Update: 15 Nov 2023 13:51:36
RMG factories reopen Wednesday
Garments workers walk off a factory at lunch break in Ashulia on November 8, 2023, a day after Minimum Wage Board authority declared the minimum wage of 12,500 taka ($113) for garment workers — AFP Photo

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has decided to reopen Wednesday the garment factories that were closed following the demonstrations staged by the workers demanding salary increase.

The decision was taken in a tripartite meeting held at BGMEA’s office in Dhaka’s Uttara on Tuesday.

BGMEA President Faruque Hassan said, “The factories that were closed due to labour unrest accounted for 5 per cent of the total number of factories, though those are big exporters.”

As a result, he said, it would put a negative impact on export earnings in November and December.

“As per Section 13/1 of labour law, no factories shall be closed. Some factories located in Dhaka’s Mirpur remain shut although discussions are going on to reopen them. If the workers want to work, the garment factories will be opened when the situation becomes normal,” he added.

The apex trade body has claimed that around 99 garment factories in the capital’s Ashulia and Mirpur areas were closed as workers continued staging demos demanding Tk 23,000 as minimum monthly salary amid high inflation.

Commissioner of Gazipur Metropolitan Police Md Mahbub Alam said, “We have found political involvement in this strike as different opposition political parties used the labour movement. Security will be ensured from our end. If anyone tries to make the situation worse, law enforcement agencies will take necessary steps.”

Apart from BGMEA leaders, local administration and industrial police officers were also present in the meeting.

Former president of BGMEA Md Siddiqur Rahman told The Business Post that they have talked to many workers. “They want to join work.”

On November 7, the government set Tk 12,500 as the minimum monthly wage for an entry level RMG worker. The workers rejected the proposal, saying that it was not enough to lead life with a monthly wage of Tk 12,500.

However, at least four workers were killed and many others injured in clashes with police. Two garment factories were set on fire and several others were vandalised by agitating workers.

Amid such a situation, factory owners decided to suspend production and closed their factories.

According to the Industrial Police, at least 137 factories in Gazipur, Ashulia and Mirpur areas were shut down for an indefinite period. Of them, 78 factories adopted ‘no work, no pay’ policy under Section 13/1 of Labour Act.