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Monday, January 7, 2019 10:52:01 PM
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RMG workers again block Airport Road, bus torched

Implementation of minimum wages demanded: Commuters' suffering mount

 Implementation of minimum wages demanded: Commuters' suffering mount
photo by NN Photo

Several hundred agitated garment workers stage demonstration in Uttara blocking the Airport Road for about five hours, demanding implementation of minimum wages in entry level. A bus was torched (inset) by the workers on Monday.

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Staff Reporter  :
Several hundred garment  workers on Monday blocked  the Airport Road for five hours demanding implementation of  the minimum wages in entry level and salary hiking for senior level staff in all factories across the country  immediately.
Hundred of vehicles were stuck due to gridlock as the agitating workers from various factories in Uttara staged demonstration on the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport intersection and its adjacent areas around 9:30am.
The protest got big to bigger when workers from Uttar Khan, Dakkhin Khan and Tongi joined them from Airport to Tongi Bridge.  People, including airport-bound passengers, were trapped inside the buses and private cars due to the demonstration by the agitated workers.
Passengers bound for Mymensingh, Netrokona, Sherpur, Gazipur, Manikganj, Tangail, Kishoreganj, Jamalpur and Northern districts  suffered due to severe traffic congestion, witnesses said.
To restore discipline on the roads, Police lobbed tear gas shells, witnesses said.
The garment workers dispersed and re-organized and started again to protest, blocking the main road in Abdullahpur area around 11:20am.
A bus was torched  by the apparel workers around 1:20pm.
The protesters withdrew their demonstration after getting assurance of acceptance of their demands from the concerned authorities around 2:30pm.
Airport Police Station Officer-in-Charge (OC) Nure Azam Miah, confirming the torching of the bus, said, "The garment workers are still blocking the road, while Fire Service is on stuck in traffic."
Meanwhile, Police dispelled a demonstration of garment workers over the new wage structure in Dhaka's outskirts Savar on Monday morning.
Several hundred workers of two factories of Standard Group were agitating on Hemayetpur Tannery Road, our local correspondent reports.
Industrial police dispelled the agitation around 9:00pm, said Sana Shaminur Rahman, Superintendent of Dhaka Zone Industrial Police.
According to workers sources, the apparel workers have demanded a minimum wage of Tk16,000 with Tk 10,000 as basic salary. Some of their other demands are that workers cannot be sacked by factory owners as per ill motive without proper reason, and fixation of around 51% per cent salary boost for the older employees who had been working as helpers in the factories.
Siddiqur Rahman, President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), said that  the factory owners in a meeting on Thursday night decided to implement the new salary structure following the new gazette published by the government.
Earlier, the government formed the wage Board for 4.4 million RMG workers in January last year and the Board recommended the minimum wage for the garment workers at Tk 8,000 from Tk 5,300 in September last year.
The board also recommended the salaries of other six grades in the gazette involving transport, meal, house rent and other allowances.
The minimum wage was last fixed at Tk 5,300 in 2013, up from Tk 3,000 in 2010, Tk 1,662.50 in 2006, Tk 940 in 1994 and Tk 627 in 1985.

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