BNP Backed Union President Arrested over GMG Unrest
Monday, 09 August 2010

The detective police have detained the president of a BNP backed trade union, along with six garment workers, on Sunday night, accusing them of involvement in vandalism, arson and obstruction of police duty during the workers unrest at Tejgaon industrial zone on July 30.

Assistant commissioner of DB police Mishuk Chakma said that Mohamed Shahidul Islam president of the BNP backed Kendriya Garments Sramik Dal was arrested as the investigators had found direct links with him and the incidents on July 30.

The police said that hundreds of garment labourers took to the streets from Tejgaon industrial zone to Banani Chairman Bari on July 30 demanding withdrawal of the new wage structure and resetting the minimum wage at Tk 5,000.

The workers are alleged to have vandalised and burned public property, and obstructed police in carrying out their duty.

Metropolitan detective police deputy commissioner Mahbubur Rahman told that the six workers - 'Shahjahan' alias 'Shanu', 26, Asma Begum, 22, Parul, 21, Rupa, 27, Shahnaz Begum, 21, and Parvin, 22 - were detained from Tejgaon industrial area on Sunday night. They were all employed at Florate Fashion Wear Limited:

He alleged that 'Shanu', 'Asma' and 'Parul' led the unrest on the day.

"They are the local representatives of Montu Ghosh, the advisor of CPB-backed Garment Workers Trade Union Centre and Narayanganj district CPB president," Raman continued.

However, 'Shanu', 'Asma' and 'Parul' denied the accusation.

Police claimed that they were arrested after they were identified from the video footage that was telecast and the photographs that were published of the clash.

Mahabur Rahman also said that investigation into the clashes has unveiled a 'quarter' active in trying to destroy the garment industry in Bangladesh. However, he avoided mentioning any names to protect interests of the ongoing investigation.

Following continuous labour unrest, Labour minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain announced a new pay package on July 29.

The consolidated minimum wage was set at Tk 3000 for general workers and Tk 2400 for apprentices.

He also announced that the new pay package will take effect from Nov 1 after completion of legal procedures.

The chiefs of business bodies FBCCI, BGMEA and BKMEA, present at the briefing, said they will implement the structure within the three-month time frame set by the government.

However, three worker bodies demanded reconsideration of the wage structure.

Hundreds of garment workers demonstrated on the next day at Tejgaon industrial zone.


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