59 garment workers had been illegally sacked from New Age apparel Limited, Ashulia, in the month of February 2013. 49 of them were fired on 15 February 2013, and 10 on 22 February 2013. The workers informed us that those whose employments were terminated had protested against the low wages in the factory.
On 10 February 2013, 6 male workers (sewing operators) and a janitor of New Age had been physically beaten up by local goons hired by the factory owner after lunch hour, witness reports. The victims voiced intolerance towards an increase of the basic wage by BDT 200-300. The workers demanded that their basic amount be increased to at least BDT 4500 in total. The management paid no heed to the workers’ plea and thus terminated employment of the protesters and the supporters of the latter. The owner,
enraged, called the police force to control agitated workers and later with assistance drove out 2500 workers out of the factory for the day.
Some workers mentioned that the tank of boiling water with chili powder was to be used by the owner any minute if the workers did not evacuate the factory premise soon enough.
Shadhin Bangla Garments Sramik Karmachari Federation, Trade Union Kendra and National Garments Workers’ Federation reached out to the hapless individuals and the factory management to mitigate the matter and the communication gap within the premise. No print and electronic media made any coverage of the issue.
The RISE Team.