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Ashulia tense, security tightened

Security measures have been beefed up in Ashulia, on the outskirts of Dhaka, after several ready-made garment factories were closed down with workers demonstrating for a hike in wages.

Owners of more than 50 RMG factories closed down their units after the workers walked out of the factories demanding higher wages and benefits.

A lot of workers came to factories on Wednesday only to find a closure notice at the entrance.

Apart from regular and industrial police, 15 platoons of the Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) have been deployed.

Police have been announcing on megaphones asking workers not to gather on the streets.

“The BGB is patrolling the area. Workers are not being allowed to gather. The situation is under control,” Ashulia police OC Mohsinul Quader said.

Workers have been demonstrating for over a week now to press home a series of demands including a minimum monthly pay of Tk 16,000.

The present monthly salary of Tk 5,300 is considered woefully inadequate by the workers.

On Monday, workers of as many as 25 factories walked out to protest, Next day, workers of 30 factories were involved in the agitation.

Factory owners, however, describe the demands as ‘absurd.’

On Tuesday, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) said  55 owners decided to keep their factories closed after the workers walked out, with pay cut, until they resume work.

At a Tuesday media briefing, BGMEA President Siddiqur Rahman said the workers were agitating for no good reason.

Earlier in the day, State Minister for Labour Mujibul Haque Chunnu warned of legal consequences against agitating workers.

Following the previous day’s development, law enforcers intensified patrols in Ashulia.
Patrols of the local police, industrial police, armed police battalion as well as the BGB were found frequenting the zone since Wednesday morning.

Police were found urging workers not to stage any kind of demonstration and warned them of ‘legal consequences.’

Ashulia police OC Quader said that the factories, which have not been declared shut, were in operation.

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