RMG worker killed, 35 injured during protests against contributions
Police members took up positions outside Dhaka’s EPZ in Ashulia on Sunday after they dispersed workers from Lenny Fashions Limited who blocked the Dhaka-Tangail highway demanding unpaid wages. – Photo New Age
A ready-to-wear worker was killed and 35 others injured as police disperse workers protesting for payment of arrears on the Dhaka-Tangail highway in Ashulia on Sunday.
Police fired tear gas, fired rubber bullets, loaded batons and used water cannons to disperse workers at Lenny Fashions Ltd who blocked the highway in front of Dhaka’s export processing area to assert their claim. asks, according to witnesses.
The deceased, Jesmin Begum, 32, was a junior sewing operator at Goldtex Garments Ltd of DEPZ.
“Jesmin sustained a serious head injury as she hit an iron pole as she fled the area,” Ashulia Industrial Police Superintendent Md Asaduzzaman said.
She died of her injuries at Dhaka Medical College hospital, said Bacchu Miah, head of the DMCH police camp.
Workers claimed Jesmin was one of 6,000 workers at Lenny Fashions Ltd, a two-unit Indian factory that was declared closed on January 20.
Jesmin joined Goldtex Garments after the closure of Lenny Fashions.
Witnesses said more than 500 Lenny Fashions workers joined the protest around 6.30am, halting traffic on the busy highway for about two hours.
While the police used force to disperse the workers, they shelled law enforcement with bricks.
Protesting workers said authorities announced the plant was shutting down without paying premiums in January.
Since then, they have been demonstrating for their arrears. But authorities have yet to fully clear the arrears, the workers said.
DEPZ chief executive Abdus Salam said factory authorities have paid Tk 35 crore so far, but have yet to pay the remaining Tk 59 crore.
“The owner of the factory and the Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority are together trying to sell the factory to pay the workers, but it will take time,” he said.
The Garment Workers’ Central Trade Union, Garment Workers’ Solidarity and Garment Workers’ Front, among others, condemned Jesmin’s murder.
Union leaders demanded a fair investigation, justice and compensation for the worker.
GWS President Taslima Akhter said workers were protesting for their arrears because they had the right to protest.
Instead of paying, the authorities attacked the workers, killing Jesmin, she said.
The GWS has declared a protest rally outside the National Press Club for today.
Police said Jesmin was the wife of Mahbub, a security guard from Khulna.