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Police beat garment workers at rally PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Staff Correspondent

The police on Sunday charged at garment factory workers with truncheons when they rallied for an increase in their salary on Rokeya Sarani in Dhaka.

The workers of the Kimberly Fashions Ltd located at Pashchim Kafrul had blocked the road for an hour before the police dispersed them.

The workers, however, called off their programme after they had reached an agreement with the factory management.

The workers said they had placed a 13-point charter of demands to the factory management on Saturday and sat at a meeting which ended inconclusive.

The management sat at a meeting again Sunday morning. But some workers walked out of the factory as a dispute developed.

The workers took to the streets at about 11:00am and others went out on demonstrations inside the factory housed on the fifth to the eighth floor of the 10-storey building.

The policemen, who were present at the place, blocked the workers inside the building from coming out and locked up the gate.

The workers who were outside blocked the road stretch from the Shewrapara crossing to the bus stand, keeping vehicles stranded on both ends.

In the meantime, a rumour was rife that two garment factory workers were killed as the police beat the demonstrators inside the factory.

The authorities said two female workers, Reba and Rekha, became injured when they hurried down the stairs inside the factory.

The two were admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital and were treated, said the factory's general manager, Siddiqur Rahman.

Some demonstrators vandalised a number of vehicles as they tried to pass the road stretch by the wrong lane, witnesses said, and the police started beating the demonstrators in which several workers and pedestrians were injured. The police cleared the road at about 11:30am.

Informed, senior police officials reached the place. The officials of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters' Association also reached there and sat at a meeting with the workers and the factory management. The parties signed an agreement.

The factory management agreed to pay the salary in the first seven working days of the month, pay overtime bills which would be double the basic pay by the 25th of the month and festival allowance which would be equal to the basic salary, ad grant sick and annual leave in keeping with the labour law.

The management also agreed not to terminate the job of any workers in violation of the labour law.

The agreement stipulates that the workers would face legal action if they take to the streets to realise their demands.

The workers of two other garment factories went out on demonstrations on Roquiah Sarani on Saturday and on January 2.

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