00:35:16 local time BANGLADESH
* Tuba workers threaten tougher movement:
Tuba Group Workers Movement Committee threatened tougher movement if workers of the closed factories are not paid their dues within next 24 hours.
The warning came Monday when workers of five closed Tuba Group factories staged demonstration in front of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) headquarters in the city demanding two months’ wages and festival allowances.
“The Tuba Group workers must be paid their dues and festival allowances within 24 hours. If not, we will go for tougher movement,” said Moshrefa Mishu, coordinator of the committee.
The Tuba Group authorities have kept the units shut illegally, she said demanding wages for the month of August and September and two festival allowances.
“If the authorities cannot run the units, they should declare those shut according to the law and pay the workers accordingly,” she suggested.
* Tuba workers issue 24-hour ultimatum to pay wage, allowance:
Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Committee on Monday issued a 24-hour ultimatum to the government and Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association to pay wages and festival allowances to the workers of five Tuba Group factories or face agitations.
The committee convener Mushrefa Mishu issued the ultimatum at a demonstration in front of BGMEA Bhaban at Karwan Bazar in the city.
Several hundred workers of Tuba Group on Monday staged sit-in in front of the BGMEA Bhaban pressing for their dues and festival allowances.
They chanted slogans and hoist red flags during the demonstration.
The workers demanded wages for the month of August and September and festival allowances for Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha. Mushrefa said that the Tuba Group owner must pay the wages to the workers for the months of August and September as factory authority kept the units shut illegally and the government also termed the closure of the factories illegal.
‘The owners will not be allowed to celebrate the Eid if the festival of the workers is ruined for non-payment of the wages and allowances,’ she warned.
* Garment workers issue 24hr ultimatum for wages, bonus:
Hundreds of workers of Tuba Group take part in the programme
Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Committee, a platform of 15 trade unions, yesterday issued a 24-hour ultimatum to both the government and the BGMEA to pay wages and festival bonuses for workers of five closed factories of Tuba Group.
The ultimatum came from a siege programme in front of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporter Association (BGMEA) organised by the Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Committee.
“If the workers of the closed factories of Tuba Group are not paid their dues and festival allowances within 24 hours, we will go for a tougher movement,” Moshrefa Mishu, convener of the committee, told the programme.
Hundreds of workers of Tuba Group took part in the programme while the leaders from several federations and trade unions joining the demonstration, demanding pays by the government-set deadline.
Mishu demanded wages for the workers for the month of August and September, plus festival bonuses for Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Azha as the factories’ layoff is not valid as per the government as well as the Labour Act.
* Tuba workers demonstration for dues:
* Payment of festival allowance to RMG workers is a must:
It is although unacceptable but not surprising that almost half of the apparel factories did not pay festival allowance to their workers by the government-set deadline that expired on Sunday
Although the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association acting president’s statement that about 60 per cent of the apparel factories had paid the festival allowance and the rest of the factories would pay it by October sounds refreshing, there are reasons to not repose trust in it, as it was noticed in the recent past that most employers keep reneging on commitments and resorting to non-industrial and extraneous methods to suppress workers rights, with the government joining hands with the owners and letting exploitation and deprivation in the RMG sector continue by deploying the police.
One example will be enough to justify our observation. The Tuba Group owner could secure his bail in the case related to a fire at Tazreen Fashions Ltd, where he was managing director, and release from jail, where he landed in February 2014 after his arrest on surrender, aided by the government and the BGMEA.
The police also barged into a tuba factory on his behalf and drove out people and apparel workers who had been on hunger strike since July 28, demanding payment of their dues and the festival allowance on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr that was celebrated on July 29.
About 1,200 workers of five Tuba Group clothing factories went on demonstrations and finally on hunger strike to force the authorities to pay them their dues.
The workers passed their Eid starving on the factory premises at Badda, with their families, living in outlying districts, ill-fed or half-fed.
As evidenced in the past, many, if not most, factory owners have what could very well be termed an organic aversion to the idea of improving the standard of living of workers with substantial increase in their pay and perks.
One is, therefore, uncertain if rest of the factory owners will pay the workers their dues and the festival allowance in due time.
However, if the factory owners fail to meet the workers’ justified demands this time in accordance with the promise, it will result in violent outbursts, as had happened in the recent past.
* Payments for Tuba workers before Eid uncertain:
Tougher movement threatened
Uncertainty looms over payment of wages of workers of closed Tuba Group factories before the Eid-ul-Azha festival, sources said.
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and the Tuba Group authority blamed the insurance company for not getting insurance claim of deadly fire incident which burnt 112 garment workers alive and injured many.
On the other hand, the Tuba Group Workers Movement Committee threatened tougher action if the workers are not paid by today (Sunday).
Earlier, the authority of the Karnaphuli Insurance Company had turned down the claim of the Tazreen Fashions terming the fire incident malicious.
Later, the government sat with the Karnaphuli insurance authorities following the Tuba Group’s request to intervene so that they can get Tk 182 million insurance claims made to the Karnaphuli Insurance Company Ltd after the incident.
* RMG owners not exempt from law:
If current laws are not adequate, the government should propose stronger measures
The government has rightly asked the BGMEA and BKMEA to agree to pay festival bonuses and salaries on time, ahead of upcoming Eid and Durga Puja celebrations.
Anticipating and preventing problems is the best way to build better industrial relations.
We are concerned then that the state minister recently told former Tuba Group workers that existing laws do not allow the government to take punitive actions against RMG factory owners.
This cannot be wholly correct as the government is using the law to support much-needed initiatives to improve health and safety across the RMG industry.
If, as the minister appears to suggest, current laws are not adequate to hold to account RMG owners who are responsible for the poor safety and abuses of workers’ rights, then this needs to be changed.
* Delwar’s bail extended by 6 months:
The High Court has extended the tenure of Tuba Group owner Delwar Hossain bail by six months on the ground that he would pay festival allowance and other service benefits that are due to the workers of the factory.
The bench of Justice Syed AB Mahmudul Huq and Justice Md Akram Hossain Chowdhury passed the order on September 17 on Delwar’s appeal to extend his two-month bail which expired on Wednesday, deputy attorney general Bashir Ullah told New Age on Thursday.
The bench on July 24 granted Delwar interim bail for two months on his appeal that he would pay wages to 3,000 workers that had remained outstanding since his imprisonment on February 9.
* Tuba Group and Tazreen Owner Gets Extension of Bail:
Often termed as the “Butcher of Bangladeshi Garment Workers” the infamous Delowar Hossain extended his bail for another 6 months after the High Court accepted his plea which was made on 14 September 2014.
Even after huge uproars by rights organizations across Bangladesh and the wider global labor right activists and sympathizers, Delowar Hossain displayed the power of money and influence exercised by BGMEA for him and his own financial capability time and again since the Tazreen Fire, and many consider that he is showing that same strength behind the scenes where he claims to be broke only to refuse workers their proper payments and reemployment.
Delowar is now again a free man, even though 125 workers lost their lives and several hundred injured workers live a painful and traumatic life since then.
The impunity Garment Owners enjoy in Bangladesh still is astonishing.
* Tuba workers set deadline to government for paying compensation:
Later, they also submitted a memorandum mentioning their demands to State Minister of Labour Mujibul Haque Chunnu
Workers of the Tuba group have set a September 25 deadline for the government to pay the workers their due compensation in accordance with the labour law or face stern demonstrations before Eid.
From a rally in front of the National Press Club yesterday under the banner of “Tuba Group Workers Action Committee,” they also called for the group’s five closed factories to be reopened before Eid.
Later, they also submitted a memorandum mentioning their demands to State Minister of Labour Mujibul Haque Chunnu.
Addressing the rally, the committee’s convener Moshrefa Mishu said workers of the five shut-down factories were living their lives in inhuman conditions as they were unable to pay their house rent or buy necessary food and daily necessities.
They were constantly being threatened by their creditors, Mishu claimed.
Claiming that Tuba Group owner Delwar victimised 1,600 workers by shutting down the factories illegally, Mishu added that authorities concerned would have to pay the workers with wages for August and September as per the labour law.
* Govt to compel Tuba owner to pay workers’ dues before Eid: Mujibul:
The state minister for labour and employment, Mujibul Haque, on Sunday said that the government would take necessary steps to ensure payment of dues of the workers of five closed down apparel factories of Tuba Group by the owner before Eid-ul-Azha.
He assured Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Committee leaders that the government would keep pressure on the owner to force him to pay the workers as per the labour law.
Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Committee leaders met the state minister at his office and submitted their demands including payment of workers for the months of August and September and festival allowance by September 25, reopening of the five garment factories under government management and cancellation of bail of Tuba Group owner Delwar Hossain.
The minister said that the government would sit with the garment sector leaders on September 21 to discuss the issue. Earlier, Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Committee held a rally in front of the National Press Club pressing for the demands.
The committee convener Mushrefa Mishu, worker leaders Joly Talukder and Shahidul Islam and Tuba Group worker Rehana Akter addressed the rally. More than 1,600 workers of the five factories – Bugshan Garments Ltd, Taif Designs Ltd, Tuba Fashions Ltd, Tuba Textiles and Mita Designs Ltd – went on a hunger strike on the day before Eid-ul-Fitr demanding their wages for the months of May, June and July.
* Tuba workers’ salary, arrear before EId: minister:
The state minister for labour and employment, Mujibul Haque Chunnu, on Sunday said that the government would take necessary steps to pay the arrear allowances, compensations and other dues of the workers of five closed down factories of Tuba groups before Eid-ul-Azha.
The minister came up with the remarks as a delegation led by Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Committee leader Mushrefa Mishu discussed the issues with him at the ministry.
Tuba Group workers demanded the compensations as defined by labour law as the owners closed down the factories.
They also demanded payment of their other dues including overtime bills and festival allowances.
More than 1,600 workers of the five factories – Bugshan Garments Ltd, Taif Designs Ltd, Tuba Fashions Ltd, Tuba Textiles and Mita Designs Ltd –began a hunger strike on the day before Eid-ul-Fitr demanding their wages for the months of May, June and July.
Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Committee battled for realising the demands for several months.
* Pay salary, bonus before Eid: Chunnu:
State Minister for Labor and Employment Ministry Majibul Haque Chunnu asked the authorities concerned to pay the salary and bonus of Tuba Group workers before Eid-ul-Azha.
The ruling Awami League lawmaker made the plea in a meeting with Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Committee members led by its convener Moshrefa Mishu in secretariat of the city on Sunday.
The committee also handed over a memorandum demanding the due within September 25.
The state minister said they are taking steps to pay the arrears before the upcoming eid.
They will also sit with the garments owners including Tuba group owner on September 21 about the matter.
* Minister: Laws do not allow punishing RMG owners:
The government is trying its best to keep pressure on owners and force them to pay the due wages, says Chunnu
State Minister for Labour Mujibul Haque Chunnu has said the existing laws do not allow to take punitive actions against the readymade garment factory owners.
The junior minister made the statement when a delegation of “Tuba Workers Welfare Association” met him at his office on Sunday morning.
The delegation, led by Moshrefa Mishu, met the minister and submitted their demands.
They urged the government to take action in order to ensure the payment of the due wage and festival bonus to the workers of factories under Tuba Group before the upcoming Eid.
* Labour leaders demand immediate payment of Tuba workers’ dues:
Leaders of Sammilita Garment Sramik Federation on Wednesday at a protest rally in the capital called on the Tuba Group owners to pay the dues of the workers immediately.
The federation organised the rally in front of the National Press Club, where its president Nazma Akter said the Tuba owners should follow the labour law in closing its garment factories.
The owners must pay all the dues of the 1,600 workers as early as possible, Nazma said.
She also called on the government to take steps to compel the Tuba owners to pay the dues of the workers.
Otherwise, the federation would announce tougher movement to compel the owners to pay the dues of the workers, Nazma warned.
* Clear Tuba workers’ back pay: SGSF :
The demands were made from a rally held under the banner of Sammilita Garments Sramik Federation (SGSF) in front of the Jatiya Press Club.
Speaking on the occasion, federation president Nazma Akhter urged the government and BGMEA to take immediate steps to clear the dues and allowances of the Tuba garment factories, threatening to launch a movement.
The federation leaders also demanded cancellation of bail granted to Tuba Group owner Delwar Hossain and his capital punishment.
After the rally, the garment workers brought out a procession.
* Tireless labor yet to win some basic rights. Tazreen Fashion and Tuba Group Injustice Continues:
Since November 2012, different Bangladeshi news dailies, activists, academics, trade unions as well as the international media have been rallying in support of the rights of Tazreen Fashion victims and their families for their compensation and for the punishment of their criminally negligent boss Mr. Delwar Hossain – who as a matter of fact also happens to be the owner of the closed factories of Tuba Group.
Mr. Delwar, claiming himself to be the victim of those who “conspire” to support and defend human and worker rights for the underprivileged or rather oppressed working hands that build Bangladesh, have recently closed down 4 of his factories where workers demanded their unpaid wages and some festival bonuses.
According to Mr. Delwar and the powerful elites of BGMEA’s interpretation of Bangladesh Labor Law 2006 (amended 2013), the workers have staged an illegal protest demanding their unpaid monthly wages and overtime payment for which they worked day and night to earn their factory millions of dollars.
Such a sin of workers, backed by their expectation of a festival bonus, could not be accepted by Mr. Delwar and his BGMEA friends.
Thus, ultimately, Mr. Delwar closed down his factories without a flinch!
The continued hue and cry by activists, academic, Tuba Group workers and the general public keeps falling into deaf ears as the leaders of the BGMEA and Delwar Hossain with support of the government rally together in support of one another.
After repeated denial of involvement in Delwar’s release by the BGMEA, new evidences have surfaced from a leading news daily regarding BGMEA’s pressure on the government for the release of Delwar Hossain, where the BGMEA sent a letter to the Employment Ministry (received by the Ministry on 30 June 2014) listing the reasons for which the government should become active and work for the release
of Tuba Group and Tazreen Fashion’s infamous owner.
Alone, abandoned and cursed with names such as “illegal” “conspirator” and “nuisances” by the elite and powerful of their own land, Tuba Group workers claimed back their jobs and unpaid salaries for August and September this year.
The workers demand the right to self dignity, the right to see punishment reaching their murderous boss.
* Police stop Tuba workers:
Police on Sunday stopped a procession of Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Committee near the National Press Club which was heading towards the labour ministry.
Police stopped the marchers with fence barricades on the road near Press Club, in front of the Bangladesh Secretariat, at 12:00noon.
Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Committee was scheduled to hold a demonstration in front of the labour ministry to press its demands for immediate reopening of the five garment factories of Tuba Group, payment of festival allowance and other dues of the workers, cancellation of bail granted to the owner of Tuba and Tazreen Fashion, Delwar Hossain.
The marchers instead sat on the street and held a rally near the barricade and voiced their demands.
* Police foil Tuba workers’ procession:
Police on Sunday barred procession of Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Committee, who struggle for realising several demands including to take steps to reopen its factories immediately, near at National Press Club as they marched towards the labour ministry.
Police stopped the marchers putting barricade in front of the Bangladesh Secretariat at about 12:00pm. Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Committee called for demonstration in front of the labour ministry to press its demands of immediate reopening of the five garment factories of Tuba Group, paying festival allowance and other dues of the workers, cancellation of bail granted for the owner of Tuba and Tazreen Fashion Delwar Hossain.
Facing police barricade, the marchers sat on the street and held impromptu rally there.
* Tuba group fails to submit detailed report on workers’ dues by deadline:
Tuba Group authorities have failed to submit a detailed report on the dues of workers of their closed five factories within the stipulated timeframe and sought more time in this connection, sources said.
On the other hand, labour leaders have prepared the details of the dues from their part and submitted the same to the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
The labour leaders, however, alleged that the Tuba authorities are dillydallying in preparing the details.
The government in a meeting held on August 26, gave the Tuba Group authorities a four-day time to submit a detailed report on the workers’ dues including service benefits.
Later, in another meeting held last week with the labour state minister, Tuba Group Managing Director Delwar Hossain sought another four days’ time in this connection.
President of Sammilito Garment Sramik Federation Nazma Akter said, “We have submitted our report to the BGMEA but the Tuba authorities are dillydallying in preparing their details.”
“We have calculated the dues in two ways,” she said.
According to the article 20 of the existing law of the land, the dues of 1,306 workers of five Tuba Group factories stand at Tk 38.37 million (Tk 3.83 crore), she said adding that one month’s basic pay and the duration of workers’ job have been calculated as per the article.
The workers’ dues stand at Tk 54.98 million, according to the article 26 of the labour law, she added further.
* Tuba workers staging demo:
The agitated workers of Tuba Group are staging demonstration in front of the secretariat in the capital’s Shegunbagicha area.
Police stopped the workers when they were staging demonstration under the banner of Tuba Sangram Committee in front of the secretariat gate on Sunday afternoon, reports this correspondent.
In their protest, the workers demanded immediate payment of compensation declared by the government and scrapping of Tuba Group owner Delwar Hossain’s bail.
* Tuba Group yet to estimate workers’ benefits:
Tuba Group has failed to submit an estimate of benefits and compensations to be paid to the workers of its five closed apparel factories to the government in time.
Earlier, the government had asked the Tuba Group owner and trade union leaders to set the amount of benefits and compensations for the workers and to submit to the labour ministry in four working days.
The deadline expired on September 1.
Trade union leaders said that they had already estimated the arrears and benefits of the workers under the Sections 20 and 26 of the Bangladesh Labour Act 2006.
Factory authorities said that they were working on it and got the deadline extended by the government as the task was not so easy.
On August 26, at a tripartite meeting, the state minister for labour rejected the notice issued by the Tuba Group managing director declaring closure of the apparel
factories under citing Section 13(1) of act.
At the tripartite meeting, the government representatives, labour leaders and the owner decided that the notice was not appropriate and the owner must pay the workers as per the law.
* Govt efforts on to reopen Tuba factories: Minister:
Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan said Friday the government has been making all possible efforts to reopen the closed units of Tuba Group to fulfil workers’ legitimate demands.
The labour leader-cum-minister also made a promise of clearing all the arrears, saying that they have instructed the owner of the struggling apparel group to pay overtime bills and festival bonuses of its workers before the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha.
“The government has been working for the wellbeing of the workers. It would also force the Tuba Group owner in this connection,” he said while addressing a rally in the capital.
Garment Sramik Samonnoy Parishad, a platform of several workers’ groups, organised the rally in front of National Press Club demanding immediate resumption of production at the closed Tuba factories.
Speaking as the chief guest, the minister said Tuba Group has an insurance claim of Tk 180 million to Karnaphuli Insurance Company Ltd.
He said he sat with owners of Karnaphuli Insurance and Tuba Group Thursday to deal with the issue. But the insurance authorities failed to give any satisfactory response relating to the compensation claim.
* RMG workers want reopening of Tuba factories:
Garments Sramik Samannay Parisahd, a combine of 28 government-backed apparel worker organisations, on Friday demanded reopening of five apparel factories of Tuba Group and payment of festival allowance and dues to the workers.
The demands were made at a rally organised by Samannay Parishad in front of
the National Press Club. Addressing the rally, the Samannay Parishad coordinator, Shajahan Khan, also the shipping minister, said that the Tuba Group owner must pay the festival allowance and dues to 1,600 apparel workers immediately.
‘We have resolved the Tuba Group crisis paying the wages of the workers and now we are also working on payment of others dues and festival allowance to the workers,’ Shajahan said.
He called on the Tuba Group owners to take steps to reopen the factories to save the workers. ‘Some quarters had tried to use the Tuba crisis politically and we called them to refrain from inviting politics in trade unionism,’ the minister said.
* Tuba owner will be forced to pay dues before Eid: Shipping Minister:
Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan has said that the government would force the Tuba Group owner to pay arrears, overtime bills and festival bonuses of its workers before Eid-ul-Azha.
The veteran labour leader also threatened that Delwar Hossain – the owner of the group would also be forced to reopen his five garment units to meet the workers’ legitimate demands.
Khan was addressing a programme arranged by Garment Sramik Samanya Parishad demanding immediate resumption of the five factories of Tuba Group in front of the National Press Club today.
Khan also convenor of the Garment Sramik Samanya Parishad blasted the people who criticised him calling him an agent of the government instead of the workers.
“I am telling without any hesitation that we would ensure the rightful demands of the Tuba Group workers in exchange of our blood if necessary,” he cautioned.
* Mirpur Factory Fire Shows Poor Safety Standards; Badda Factory Protests Show Poor Security for Workers:
After the recent fire in Cordial Design Limited at Mirpur-1 on 31 August 2014, workers, intellectuals and worker rights organizations have expressed their deep concern and frustration over the safety situation of Garment factories even after disasters like Tazreen, Rana Plaza, Tun-Hai and Aswad.
Fire broke out at 5:45PM in the evening at the storeroom of Cordial Design Ltd housed on the third floor of an eight-storied building at Shah Ali Bagh area of Sector-1, Mirpur. 12 Units of Fire Fighters arrived within minutes and doused the fire in 30 minutes.
Workers trapped inside were those who were supposed to do overtime, and had to made a daredevil escape with the help of common people in neighboring buildings.
Apart from the safety, Bangladesh seem to be plunged in the nightmarish conditions of worker security due to the brutal worker rights abuse consistently downplaying the industry’s repeated promises of improvement to Bangladeshis and foreign stake holders of this important sector.
After the unresolved issue of Tuba Group, where the factory owner closed down his factory with sheer injustice, pointing out to a law which is easily being abused in its definition to harm workers rights , we have more upsetting conditions in other parts of Dhaka.
* Labor Dispatches: Tuba Group Workers’ Struggle Gestures Towards a Broader Labor Movement in Bangladesh:
We are building a national, democratic workers’ rights movement” explains Moshrefa Mishu, Garment Workers Unity Forum (GWUF), on their recent campaign by Tuba Group workers for their wages and benefits that has led to street protests, hunger strikes, and being on the receiving end of violence by police.
“Our movement is not over.”
She continues countering the naysayers: “The workers’ have shown an aspiration to realize greater workers’ rights, and we want to spread this aspiration to all workers in Bangladesh.”
Ms. Mishu’s rejection of the Tuba Group workers wage strike as one being parochial and pertaining to one factory owner was echoed by workers’ themselves. Chanting for all workers to struggle and to be united, workers spoke of the challenges of their movement.
Since May, the garment workers of five factories owned by Delwar Hossain, the same owner of Tazreen Fashions where a factory fire resulted in the deaths of at least 112 workers, have been struggling for their owed wages and benefits.
Earlier, in February of this year, the court brought formal charges against Hossain for homicide, and he remained in jail until he was released on bail on August 6. Incredibly, the reason given for the bail was so that he could pay the workers wages owed. He remains out on bail.
* Clear Tuba workers’ back pay within 3-day: Mishu:
Garments Sramik Oikya Forum president Moshrefa Mishu has reiterated the threat to launch tougher programme in their on-going movement if the Tuba workers are not paid their dues fully by the owners within the next 3 days as per the country’s labour law.
Mishu also reiterated the demand to cancel the bail granted to Tuba Group’s managing director Delwar Hossain, and the reopening of the Tuba factories immediately.
Addressing a rally of 1,600 Tuba Group workers in the city, Mishu announced that the garment workers will demonstrate in front of the Labour Ministry on September 7 to realise their demands, according to a news agency.
* Tuba labourers claim to be blacklisted:
The wrongful thing was that the owner was delaying paying the workers their wages
Ex-Tuba Group workers are struggling to stay afloat as their savings run dry and factory owners, they claim, refuse to give them jobs.
The recently laid-off garment workers claim they have been tainted by the tar brush of labour unrest, and are being denied employment at other garment firms.
Former workers of the group said they were denied work by factory owners in Badda, Rampura, Gazipur, Savar, Mirpur and Ashulia.
“I did not do anything wrong by participating in the demonstration. It was an effort to get our due wages and Eid bonus,” Moina Akter, a worker of Bugshan Garments, a sister concern of Tuba Group, told the Dhaka Tribune.
The wrongful thing was that the owner was delaying paying the workers their wages, said Moina.
First we were treated badly by Tuba Group, now we are suffering because we resisted that bad treatment, she added.
* Tuba Group workers want jobs back:
Tuba Group workers yesterday reiterated their demand for immediate cancellation of the bail of Delwar Hossain, owner of the group, in a case filed in connection with the Tazreen Fashions fire.
The workers also demanded their due bonus, and urged the government to take control of the company and open up employment opportunities for them as some factories under the group shut down without prior notice.
Hundreds of demonstrating workers gathered in front of Jatiya Press Club under the banner “Tuba Group’s Sramik Sangram Committee” to press home their demands.
Doli Akhter, a 30-year-old worker of the group, said she has been struggling to feed her family of five since the closure of the factory she worked at.
“Since the factory closed, I have been applying for jobs at other garment factories, but they have all turned me down after finding that I had worked for Tuba Group. I need a job to feed my family,” she said.
* Reopening of Tuba Group factories demanded:
Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Committee and National Garment Workers Federation on Friday demanded reopening of the five garment factories of the group.
Leaders of Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Committee, at a sit-in programme in front of the National Press Club, said that the owners of Tuba Group had shut down its factories through an illegal notice.
They said they would announce tougher programmes if the management did not reopen the factories immediately.
They also demanded cancellation of the bail the court had granted to Tuba Group and Tazreen Fashions owner Delwer Hossain, responsible for the death of 124 workers of the Tazreen Fashions.
* Labour groups rally for reopening Tuba Group factories:
Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Committee and National Garment Workers Federation on Friday at separate programmes in the city demanded reopening of five garment factories of Tuba Group.
The leaders of Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Committee, at a two-hour sit-in programme at 11:00am in front of the National Press Club, demanded immediate reopening of the factories.
The convener of Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Committee Mushrefa Mishu said, the owners of Tuba Group had shut its factories giving an illegal notice, the committee would announce tougher movement to compel the owners to reopen the factories if the owns does not meet the demand soon.
Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Committee announced a stage demonstration in front of the labour ministry on September 7 to press the demands of the Tuba workers. They also demanded cancellation of the bail for Tuba Group and Tazreen Fashion owner Delwer Hossain.
* Clear Tuba workers’ back pay or face movement: Mishu:
Garments Sramik Oikya Forum president Moshrefa Mishu on Friday said they will go for tougher programmes if the back of 1,600 Tuba Group workers is not cleared within the next four days.
She announced the ultimatum while addressing a sit-in programme organised by Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Committee in front of the Jatiya Press Club.
Mishu also demanded cancellation of the bail granted to Tuba Group managing director Delwar Hossain, and the reopening of the factories of the group.
* Action Committee calls to employ 1,600 jobless Tuba Group workers:
Moshrefa Mishu, convenor of the committee, made the call at a media briefing in the city yesterday
Tuba Group Workers Action Committee called upon the stakeholders to ensure jobs for 1,600 workers who were rendered jobless due to the shutdown of the group’s five RMG units.
Moshrefa Mishu, convenor of the committee, made the call at a media briefing in the city yesterday.
On August 18, the Tuba Group owner announced the closure of five of his factories in line with article 13(1) of Labour Act 2006.
In her address, Mishu threatened to wage tough movement and continue till their demands are met.
At the briefing, she made a three-point demand including reopening of the closed factories, ensuring jobs security for 1,600 workers of the group, scrapping of Delowar’s bail and punishment for him as he was alleged to have killed workers deliberately in Tazreen Fashions.
To realise their demands, the Tuba Group workers’ platform will hold a sit-in in front of the National Press Club on August 29 and stage demonstration in front of the Labour and Employment Ministry on September 7.
* Tuba workers to continue demo:
Apparel workers of Tuba Group have vowed to continue their agitations until they were paid outstanding wages and other payments.
Workers said this at a news conference organised by the Tuba Group Workers’ Action Committee at the Mukti Bhaban in Dhaka on Wednesday to push for their five-point demand.
Action committee convener Moshrefa Mishu, also Garment Workers Unity Forum president, read out a written memorandum at the programme.
Workers demands include reopening of five garment units of Tuba Group, cancellation of Delwar’s bail and ensure punishment of the Tuba Group owner.
* Reopening of Tuba Group factories demanded:
Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Committee on Wednesday demanded reopening of all five factories under Tuba Group immediately and payment of current month’s salary to workers.
Addressing a press conference held at CPB office in the city, Convener of the committee Moshrefa Mishu placed the demand.
She alleged that government alongside the garment factory owners undermined the rational movement of the workers against torture, lay off and deprivation terming the movement as ‘conspiracy to destroy the garment industry’.
* Tuba Group workers announced fresh programmes:
Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Committee, a combine of 15 left-leaning garment workers’ organizations, on Wednesday announced fresh programmes to press for the demands of the workers of five garment factories of the group.
The committee would hold a sit in in front of the National Press Club on Friday and hold demonstrations in front of the labour ministry on September 7.
The coordinator of the combine, labour leader Mushrefa Mishu, at a news conference at Communist Party of Bangladesh central office announced the programme.
The platform demanded immediate reopening of garment factories of the Tuba Group, cancellation of the bail granted for owner of the group Delwer Hossain and giving him exemplary punishment on charge of killing 124 workers by negligence at his factory Tazreen Fashion Limited.
Labour leaders Mantu Ghosh, Shamim Imam, Dipak Roy, Joly Talukder, Ahsan Habib Bulbul and others attended the news conference.
* Bangladesh Tuba garment workers confronted by plant closures:
About 1,600 Tuba Group garment workers are threatened with the loss of their jobs after the group’s owner suddenly closed down its five factories, near Dhaka, on August 18.
The owner, Delwar Hossain, claimed at a press conference that he could reopen the factories if the company could obtain a government-backed bank loan of 250-300 million Taka ($US3.2-3.8 million) at a lower interest rate.
A notice was hung on the factory gates, stating that the factories were closed, with effect from June 11, the day workers started protests demanding unpaid wages and overtime pay from May.
On July 27, workers occupied the factory.
The next day, they started a hunger strike which was brutally attacked by the police and thugs, deployed by the government and the employers.
Fearing that the workers’ continued protests could draw other garment workers into struggle, the Awami League government and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) organised to pay the wages arrears.
However, Tuba refused to pay the Eid (Ramadan) festival bonus.
The Tuba Group, which operates other plants, is one of the largest manufacturers in Bangladesh, supplying giant international retailers such as Walmart and IKEA. The group included Tazreen Fashions, which was gutted by fire in 2012, killing 112 workers and injuring many more.
Tazreen violated basic safety and fire protection rules, but Hossain, the owner, was only arrested in February this year, after much agitation by workers.
After just six months in custody, he was bailed out on August 6, reportedly with political backing.
* Govt asks Tuba Group owners to compensate workers:
The government on Tuesday asked the owner of Tuba Group to pay the benefits and compensation as per the law to workers of the factories closed by the group.
A tripartite meeting organised by the labour minister rejected the notice issued by the group managing director declaring closure of the apparel factories under Section 13(1) of the Bangladesh Labour Act 2006 claiming the recent labour movement at the factories were illegal.
At the tripartite meeting, the government representatives, labour leaders and the owner decided that the factory authority and the representatives of the trade unions would jointly fix the amount of benefits and compensations in four days.
‘After getting the amount we will sit again to decide when and how the amount will be paid, but it is obvious that the owner will have to pay the workers,’ state minister for labour Mujibul Haque told reporters after the meeting. He said that the closer of the factories of Tuba Group was not legal and at the same time the strike in the factories was also not lawful.
The shipping minister, Shahjahan Khan, also a labour leader, also attended the meeting.
Tuba Group authorities on August 18 hung the notice on the gates stating that the factories were closed with effect from June 11 under Section 13(1) of the Bangladesh Labour Act 2006.
* Tubas factories closure not proper : Minister :
The labour ministry asked Tuesday the Tuba Group management to pay wages and other benefits to the workers of its five closed factories as the closure of the units under article 13 (1) was not proper.
At a meeting with the factory owner and garment sector leaders in the city, the state minister for labour Mujibul Haque Chunnu also gave the Tuba Group authorities a four-day time to submit a detailed report on the workers’ dues.
* Delwar asked to submit accounts of dues:
The labour ministry has ordered Delwar Hossain, the owner of Tuba Garment factory, to submit the account of all the workers’ dues within the next four days.
The order was made in a tripartite meeting among the garments’ owners, workers and the government at the ministry of labour in the afternoon on Tuesday.
In the meeting, Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan, Junior Labour Minister Mujibul Huq Chunnu and BGMEA leaders and trade union representatives took part.
* Govt set to ask Tuba to show cause on closure:
Owner seeks fresh loan to reopen factories
The government is set to serve a show-cause notice asking the Tuba Group management to explain why it will not be declared that the five factories of the Group were closed illegally.
The decision on issuance of the show cause notice came at a meeting of the labour ministry at the Secretariat Sunday amid the Tuba Group owner’s appeal for support from financial institutions to reopen the closed units.
“I can reopen the units if I get a loan at least to the tune of Tk 250 to 300 million at a low interest rate from any financial institution or bank,” Tuba Group owner Delwar Hossain said at a press conference on the day.
However, the government found that closure of the five units under an article of the labour law that the Tuba Group authorities followed in doing so was ‘not proper’, meeting sources said.
So, the government was going to issue the show-cause notice. The move came just a week after the Tuba Group units had been declared shut under the article 13 (1) of the existing labour law, the sources said.
Labour leaders and workers of the closed factories and the owner are now locked in a row over payment of lawful compensation following the closure.
“We’ll send a show cause notice to the Tuba Group authority Monday,” a top government official said.
* Tuba Group workers deprived of lay-off benefits, bonuses:
Delowar described himself as being penniless. He said he lost everything since Tazreen Fashions fire that engulfed the factory
The workers of five closed factories of Tuba Group are being deprived of termination benefits, gratuity and Eid bonuses as the factory owner yesterday expressed his inability to pay the dues.
“I am unable to run the factories. I had to shut them down as I am going though cash crunch,” said Tuba Group Managing Director Delowar Hossain at a media briefing at a city hotel yesterday.
Delowar described himself as being penniless. He said he lost everything since Tazreen Fashions fire that engulfed the factory.
In reply to a query, the owner claimed that the garment workers would not get any dues as he had paid them three months’ wages and overtime.
“I am unable to pay the Eid bonuses for I am in a dire state and have not enough fund,” he said when asked about the bonus.
On August 18, the Tuba Group owner announced the shutdown of five factories in line with article 13(1) of Labour Act 2006.
“If I get the loan, I will be able to resume operation and export RMG products worth $5 million per month.”
Delowar added that he would also be able to employ over 2,000 workers at Tazreeen Fashions if the insurance company pays him Tk18 crore, which he owes them as fire insurance claim.
He called for the RMG factory owners to hire workers, who turned jobless in the wake of shutdown ofhis five factories.
The Tuba Group boss laid blame on some outsiders, who he said, had stolen parts of the factory machinery and other equipment in the guise of workers during agitation that forced him to shut the factories.
* Tazreen owner turns to govt to get Tk 182m insurance claim:
The owner of Tazreen Fashions Ltd, Delwar Hossen, has now moved the government high-ups to get insurance claim of deadly fire incident which burnt 111 garment workers alive and injured many, sources said.
Last week Mr Hossen submitted an application to the ministry of commerce (MoC) seeking its intervention so that he can get Tk 182 million insurance claim made to the Karnaphuli Insurance Company Ltd after the incident. The copy of the application was also given to the finance secretary and the president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
The authority of Karnaphuli insurance had turned down the claim of Tazreen Fashions terming the fire incident malicious.
Mr Hossen, in his letter, referring to fire brigade report, claimed that his factory had incurred loss of Tk 192 million because of the fire incident of November, 2011. After that he made claim to the insurance company on December 26, 2012 which three companies, selected by Karnaphuli Insurance, surveyed.
The surveyors in their report said: “The concerned policy does not cover the risk of malicious act. As such we are unable to recommend the assessed loss amount to pay to the insured.”
After getting the report from the surveyors, the authority of Karnaphuli insurance closed the file of Tazreen Fashions mentioning it as “no claim”.
Mr Delwar in his letter said the survey report was biased and unacceptable since not all the investigation reports proved the incident as malicious.
* Tuba owner seeks Tk 30cr loans to turn around:
Delwar Hossain, managing director of Tuba Group, yesterday sought Tk 30 crore in soft loans from the government to help his businesses turn around.
“I have lost everything. I have nothing left to sell for money,” said Hossain with tears in his eyes, while reading a written statement during a media briefing at Hotel Sundarban in Dhaka.
“I was in jail. I could not pay the workers. The workers could not celebrate the Eid and I am guilty.”
“I came to the press conference, with a guilty conscience.” Taking questions from reporters, Hossain said four of his garment units are now in operation, where 1,100 workers are employed.
After a fatal fire at Tazreen Fashions, a unit of Tuba, Hossain shut down eight units, leaving about 6,000 workers jobless.
* Delwar now wants low-interest loan to reopen Tuba factories:
Tuba Group managing director Delwar Hossain on Sunday sought a low-interest loan from the government to reopen the five factories located at Badda in the city which were closed on August 18 without paying benefits to the workers.
‘If any banks or financial institutions provide me with a low-interest loan of Tk 25-30 crore, I will be able to resume production in the five factories and export garment worth $4-5 million,’ he said in a press conference at Sundarban Hotel in the city.
A total of 1,500 workers of five apparel factories of Tuba Group began a hunger strike the day before Eid-ul-Fitr for wage arrears of three months and allowances.
* Tuba workers pay dearly for their strike:
Letters to the editor
The owner of Tuba group has closed down five of his factories on the plea that the workers observed an ”illegal” strike.
This means the 1500 workers of those factories have become jobless overnight. They have already suffered a lot because of the owner’s delay in paying three months’ outstanding salaries plus Eid bonus.
They have been living miserable lives not for their own faults. Now they are thrown out of jobs. Where will the workers go now?
We demand justice for the workers.
* Tuba’s Delwar now seeks low interest bank loan:
Tuba Group managing director Delwar Hossain on Sunday sought soft loan from the government to reopen the five factories located at Badda in the city which have been closed in August 18 without paying benefits and compensation to the workers.
‘If the bank or any financial institutions provide me a low interest loan for Tk 25 crore-Tk 30 crore I will be able to export worth $4-$5 million through resuming production in the five factories,’ he said at a news conference at Sundarban Hotel in the city.
A total of 1500 workers of five apparel factories of Tuba Group went on fast unto death the day before Eid-ul-Fitr for arrears of their wages for three months and allowances.
After 11 days, the workers were paid partial arrear wages and no festival allowance under arrangement of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association as the owner of the company was in Jail.
Delwar, the owner of Tuba Group, is also the owner of Tazreen Fashions Ltd, where at least 117 workers were killed in a fire accident in November 2012 and he had been in jail since February as the police had pressed charges against him for culpable homicide by negligence.
He said that all the dues of the workers have been paid but the demand for festival allowance could not be met as he was in the prison and his business had been ‘ruined’.
Accusing workers Delwar said that the company had failed to provide wages and allowances in time as the workers halted production on June 10 demanding wages for the month of May.
‘Had the workers continued productions keeping patience, payment of wages for May, June and July and festival allowance would not be problem,’ he claimed.
read more. & read more.
* Troubled Tuba now wants Tk 30cr loan to reopen factories:
Tuba Group owner Delwar Hossain on Sunday sought at least TK 25-30 crore loan from any financial institution to reopen its five garment factories situated in the city’s Uttar Badda area.
“I’ll be able to export US$ 40,000-50,000 by reopening the factories if I get at least TK 25-30 crore loan on relatively low interest rate from any financial institution or bank,” he said.
Delwar who got out from jail recently on bail came up with the demand at a press conference at a city hotel in the morning.
Describing the reasons that forced him to shut the five factories, he claimed that he had no option but to shut down those due to financial crisis.
“I’ve no saleable lands left at this moment. After securing bail form jail, I’ve sold a printing factory housed on a 16 acres of land, nine kathas land and garment machinery to collect Tk 5 crore 38 lakh,” he said.
* Delwar seeks bank loan to reopen factories:
Delwar says he paid all the dues and allowances of the Tuba Group workers
Tuba Group Managing Director Delwar Hossain has sought Tk25 crore to Tk30 crore bank loan for reopening the closed factories of the group.
He came up with the urge in a press conference at a city hotel on Sunday afternoon.
“If I get Tk25 crore to Tk30 crore bank loan in low interest, I can be able to reopen the closed factories of Tuba Group,” said Delwar.
He further said: “I did not shut the factories willingly. I was compelled to do it because of financial crisis and lack of work order.”
He informed that he paid all the dues and allowances of the Tuba Group workers.
However, he said he is unable to pay the bonus as he does not have money right now.
* I have no way but to close factories: Delwar:
Tuba Group owner Delwar Hossain said that he had no option but to close his five apparel units at Uttar Badda in the capital.
Delwar Hossain said this while responding to the question of a journalist. He faced newsmen at a press conference at a hotel at Karwan Bazar on Sunday.
At one stage of his deliberation, he brought his hands together and pleaded, ‘I didn’t have any other way other than closing those factories. I am penniless. I have lost my everything.’
He also said, “If any insurance or financial organisation granted a 25-30 crore loan to me without interest; I could have a fresh start.
* Govt steps in to resolve Tuba closure dispute:
The government has initiated a move to resolve the dispute over payment of compensation to workers of the five Tuba Group units which have been declared closed, officials have said.
The move has come as labour leaders and workers of the closed Tuba Group factories and the owner are locked in a row over payment of lawful compensation.
The Group management declared the factories closed on Monday last for an indefinite period.
The ministry of labour and employment (MoLE) has already directed its Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) to look into the matter.
“We have already asked the DIFE to take necessary steps,” Labour Secretary Mikail Shipar told the FE on Wednesday.
When contacted, DIFE Inspector General Syed Ahmed said: “We’ll scrutinise the legal aspect of closure of the Tuba Group factories. And we are going to consult legal experts to find out whether the factories have been closed by following the existing rules or not.”
If the factories were not closed according to the law of the land, the authority had to pay rightful compensations to the workers, he said. The DIFE then would take action accordingly, he added.
* Tuba factories’ closure notice under scanner:
The labour ministry has taken an initiative to look into the closure notice of Tuba Group factories under Section 13(1) of the Bangladesh Labour Act to see whether the Section is applicable for the factories.
The Section stipulated that ‘the employer may, in the event of an illegal strike by any
section or department of any establishment, close down either wholly or partly, such section or department and the workers who participated in the illegal strike shall not be paid any wages for such closure.’
Ministry officials said that the Department of Inspection of the Factories and Establishments would scrutinise the legal aspect of the closure as there was an allegation that Tuba Group’s the owner Delwar Hossain closed the factories under Section 13(1) of the Bangladesh Labour Act to deny the rights of the workers.
The Labour secretary, Mikail Shipar, has already asked the inspector general of the DIFE to look into the matter, source said.
Tuba Group authorities on August 18 posted the closure notice on the gates of the factories stating that the factories were closed with effect from June 11 under Section 13(1) of the Bangladesh Labour Act.
Labour leaders termed the closure notice of the factories illegal and said that the workers of Tuba Group went on fast unto death the day before Eid-ul-Fitr demanding arrears of their wages for three months and allowances but any destructive work had not taken place during their movements.
Syed Ahmed, inspector general of the DIFE, told New Age on Thursday that they will start work on it on Sunday and would consult with labour law experts.
* Bangladeshi factory owner, out of jail, accused of more worker abuse:
Garment workers earning poverty wages go on hunger strike for unpaid wages, then face retaliation and factory closure
Nearly two years after a preventable fire killed 112 garment workers in Bangladesh, the owner of the Tazreen Fashion factory is out of jail, still in business and accused of cheating and retaliating against 1,600 employees at a separate five-factory complex.
Delwar Hossain spent fewer than six months in pre-trial detention before his release on bail on August 5.
He and his wife, Mahmuda Akter, had surrendered to Dhaka authorities in February, having been charged with culpable homicide 13 months after the deadly fire at Tazreen. But until now, the courts have repeatedly denied Hossain’s request to be let out on bail. (Akter must report to the station every week.)
While Hossain was in custody, his wife and close associates continued to operate Tuba Fashions and four other garment factories in a large building in Dhaka’s Badda neighborhood.
Garment workers’ rights advocates contend that in May he instructed Tuba managers to withhold pay from some 1,600 employees and pressure them to sign a petition supporting his release.
At the time, the factory was producing soccer jerseys emblazoned with the FIFA World Cup logo, say labor organizers in close contact with the workers.
By July 9 employees were still owed two months’ compensation, it was alleged. They began to protest in front of the factory, on the streets and outside the offices of the powerful Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), only to be hosed down, teargased and shot at with rubber bullets by the police.
One woman reported a miscarriage to Saydia Gulrukh, a labor advocate with the Asia Floor Wage group, which supports a regional, baseline living wage.
* Tuba Group workers:
Tuba Group workers give a helpless look at a rally organised in front of the National Press Club Friday to press for reopening of the closed Tuba factories.
— FE Photo
* Five Tuba factories shut; workers’ leader Mishu released after arrest:
The closing of the factories made 1,600 workers jobless
The Tuba Group owner has illegally shut down his five garment units to deprive the workers of their termination benefits and gratuity, claim a lawyer, labour activists and trade union leaders.
The closing of the factories made 1,600 workers jobless. The five units were Tuba Fashions, Tuba Textiles, Mita Design, Taif Design and Bughsan Garments.
On Monday, Delowar Hossain, the managing director of Tuba Group, announced the shutting down of the five factories in line with article 13(1) of the Labour Act, 2006.
According to the Labour Act, 2006, employers may, in the event of an illegal strike by any section or department of any establishment, close down either wholly or partly such section or department and the striking workers shall not be paid any wages for such a closure.
But the factory owner made a vague announcement about the closure with retrospective effect from June 10, said labour activists and trade union leaders.
They said it was not illegal to stage demonstrations to demand the payment of dues. The government had also echoed the same and forced the owner to pay their dues, they added.
According to the law, the announcement about the lay-off should have been made during the notice period and on the day of strike. But the owner did not follow this.
“As per the Labour Act, 2006, the factory owners can shut down his or her factories under section 13(1) in case of illegal strike, but the declaration should be effective from the notice period and when the workers started their strike,” AHM Sazedur Rahman, a High Court lawyer, told the Dhaka Tribune.
The owner could not announce the shutdown with retrospective effect, he added.
“The strike conducted by the workers of Tuba Group was not illegal. It was a legal fight for their dues and benefits,” Syed Sultan Uddin Ahmed, assistant executive director of Bangladesh Institute of Labour Study (BILS), told the Dhaka Tribune.
* Mishu picked up by police, eleased after 6 hours:
Police foiled a scheduled rally of the Garments Sramik Oikya Forum and detained its president Mushrefa Mishu, and another activist, for about six hours, on Wednesday.
The forum had called the rally to highlight their demand to reopen the factories owned by Tuba Group.
Police arrested Mishu and student activist Jesmin Jui from Badda Link Road at about 3:30pm, snatched banners and foiled their procession toward Aftabnagar in Merul Badda, where the Tuba group factories are located.
Law enforcers released Mishu and Jui at about 8:45pm from the Detective Branch office in Mintoo Road.
The owners of the Tuba Group on Tuesday closed the five factories hanging the notices at the factory gates.
Mishu was leading the procession which was attacked by police, who snatched the banners of the organisation and forced the leaders and activists of the organisation to leave the spot, Shahidul Islam Sabuj, a central leader of Sramik Oikya Forum told New Age.
* Police club Tuba workers demanding reopening of closed units:
Police intercepted Tuba Group workers who were staging demonstration Wednesday demanding immediate reopening of all closed units.
Several hundred workers under the banner of Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Committee came under police action at about 3:10pm when they were staging the agitation on Badda-Gulshan Link Road.
The law enforcers also charged baton on the demonstrators to maintain smooth movement of vehicles on the busy road that left a few of the protesters injured.
President of Garments Sramik Oikya Forum Mushrefa Mishu, also coordinator of the Sangram Committee, was picked up by the police as the workers were trying to put up a barricade around Hossain Super Market, which house three units of Tuba Group.
When contacted, Officer-in-Charge of Badda Police Station, Abdul Jalil, said they foiled the agitation for not having any permission of holding such programme.
“We will not accept anything that hinders vehicular movement in the capital,” he added.
Talking to the FE, Finance Secretary of the Forum Shahidul Islam Sabuz said police launched the attack while the demonstrators were moving towards Aftabnagar in the area.
“It was a programme that was announced earlier and we informed the police about it,” he said.
He was very critical of the decision to shut down five Tuba units under article 13(1) of the labour laws, saying that the owner cannot do so as no worker was involved in vandalism or violent activities.
But leaders of workers’ groups rejected the owners’ claim, saying that owners of the factories must declare lay-off if they want to shut the units as the demonstrating workers did not resort to violence.
* Moshrefa Mishu freed:
The workers have been protesting in the capital’s Badda
The police have freed labour leader Moshrefa Mishu on Wednesday evening, hours after she was detained from the capital’s Badda area.
Masudur Rahman, deputy commissioner at the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Media Centre, confirmed the Dhaka Tribune about the release.
Earlier in the day, the police picked her up from in front of Tuba factory around 3:30pm, while she was attending a protest programme of RMG workers.
* Police scatter Tuba workers, pick up Mishu:
Police scattered Tuba group workers who gathered on Gulshan-Badda Link Road in Dhaka on Wednesday afternoon to protest at shock closure of five garment units of Tuba group by its owner.
The law enforcers also picked up Tuba Group Workers Action Committee Convener Moshrefa Mishu from the spot.
Earlier the factory owner on Tuesday announced sudden shutdown of the factory following the group workers 11-day hunger strike ended on 6 August demanding outstanding wages for three months.
Workers were paid salaries and overtimes in two instalments on August 6 and 7, but deprived of festival bonus that is promised to be paid.
Police said workers gathered on the road few minutes before 3:00pm.
Local people said police inhibited them from bringing out a procession and snatched away banner of the workers.
At one point, the law enforcers got into a scuffle with the workers and later picked up workers’ leader Moshrefa Mishu in a prison van and disperse the workers.
Badda police officer-in-charge MA Zalil said, “It’s [Gulshan-Badda Link Road] a very busy road. They were deterred as they had no permission to bring out procession and hold rally.”
“Moshrefa Mishu is now in police custody,” he added.
* RMG workers’ leader Moshrefa Mishu held in Dhaka:
Police detained two leaders of garment workers including Moshrefa Mishu from Gulshan-Badda link road in the capital this afternoon.
Law enforcers detained Mishu, the president of Garment Workers Unity Forum, and Liza around 3:30pm as they were trying to put barricade on the road near Hossain Market which house several units of Tuba group, said Abdul Zalil, officer-in-charge of Badda Police Station.
A worker, preferring anonymity, claimed that police nabbed the duo when they were going to attend a rally organised by the forum.
The organisation organised the rally at Abtabnagar demanding reopening of the Tuba Group’s factories.
The authorities on Monday hanged a notice outside the office, saying that the factories will remain closed due to the ongoing unrest centring full payment of their wages.
to read. & read more. & read more.
* JS watchdog grills labour secretary over Tuba mayhem:
Faced hard questions from MPs over its role in dealing with labour unrest
The labour and employment ministry on Tuesday faced hard questions from MPs over its role in dealing with labour unrest at Tuba Garments, embarrassing the authorities in front of international buyers.
Ever since the devastating fire at Tazreen Garments and the Rana Plaza collapse, ready-made garments (RMG) buyers have pressed the government to improve working conditions for Bangladeshi labour or face a boycott of products from the country.
In a discussion on the recent unrest at Tuba Garments over the non-payment of three-months wages and festival bonuses, the parliamentary standing committee on labour and employment said the ministry should sue the owners for violating labour laws.
According to the law, owners must pay the previous month’s wages by the 10th day of the current month or face legal action from the labour directorate.
Mujibul Haque, the state minister for labour and employment, did not attend the meeting because he was unwell.
Mikail Shipar, the labour secretary, answered questions posed by members of the 10-person watchdog body whose job is to ensure the transparency and accountability of the ministry.
“Why did you not intervene before the situation got out of control?
Why did workers have to take to the streets to get paid?
Why did you negotiate with the owners?”
committee member Rezaul Haque Chowdhury told the Dhaka Tribune members had asked at the meeting in the parliament building.
Israfil Alam, another committee member, said if the ministry had intervened immediately, workers could have gotten their wages on time and the unrest could have been averted.
* Tuba Group factories closed:
Tuba Group authority has closed its factories at Badda in the city for an indefinite period.
Notifications, signed by the Tuba Group managing director, Delwar Hossain, posted on the gates of the factories on Monday, stated that the factories were closed with effect from June 11 under Section 13(1) of the Bangladesh Labour Act.
The section empowered an employer, in the event of an illegal strike by any section or department of any establishment, to close down either wholly or partly such section or department and the workers participated in the illegal strike might not be paid any wages for such closure.
The workers of five apparel factories of Tuba Group went on fast unto death day
before Eid-ul Fitr for arrears of their wages for three months and allowances.
After 11 days, the workers were paid partial arrear wages and no festival allowance under arrangement of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
The association had said that problems over the wages took place as the owner of the group was in jail. Delwar Hossain, also the owner of Tazreen Fashions, in which at least 117 workers were killed in a fire accident in November 2012.
Garment Sramik Oikya Forum president Mushrefa Mishu said that factories were closed illegally only to deprive the workers of their lawful demands.
* Delwar shuts down 5 Tuba factories:
Owner Delwar Hossain has shut down five factories of Tuba Group for an indefinite period, pointing to labour strikes as an excuse. According to the Labour Act 2006, Article 13 (1), the closure will be effective from June 11.
Last Monday the closure notices were put up on the factory gates of Tuba Textiles, Taib Design, Mita Design, Bukshan Garments and Tuba Fashions.
This closure has rendered 1500 garment workers of these five factories jobless. The management may also try to thus avoid paying Eid bonus and service benefits. Under the clause used for the closure, workers participating in a strike will not receive wages, even though Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed on August 10 told a press conference that the workers would be paid according to the law, even if the factory closed.
BGMEA, the association of garment industry owners, says that Delwar’s decision is legal, but the labour leaders see it as unethical. Tuba’s Managing Director Delwar Hossain has refrained from comment. He has not been answering his mobile phone.
Moshrefa Mishu, Convenor of Tuba Group Workers Action Committee and President of Garments Workers Unity Forum, says that according to the law, if the workers are laid off, the management would have to pay a few crore taka in dues.
That is why Delwar has taken this decision.
Moshrefa Mishu says, “We will not let Tuba’s owner off so easily. We are preparing to file a case with the Labour Court to ensure that the workers receive their dues.
We have spoken to lawyers.
In the meantime, Tuba workers will continue in their movement.”
Shahidullah Azim, Vice President of BGMEA, tells Prothom Alo, they should not close down production to voice their demands. That is why Delwar’s closure of the factories is lawful.”
The closure notice signed by Delwar states that the workers did not get their May wages on time as the Managing Director was in hail. The workers had stopped work from June 10 in protest. The workers were putting pressure on the management for their wages by halting work and in other manners. The notice stated that the workers had brought in outsiders to illegally join in their sit-in, loot, damage machinery and raw material, etc. The notice said that this amounted to unlawful strike.
Moshrefa Mishu says, “The people have seen the peaceful movement of the Tuba workers. Actually, not much more can be expected from the murderer and corrupt Delwar.”
* Five Tuba Group units closed:
The Tuba Group authorities have declared their five units closed for an indefinite period under the article 13(1) of the labour law with effect from June
A notice signed by the Group’s Managing Director Delwar Hossain was put up at the Badda factory.
The notice said any decision on reopening the factories would be notified later.
— FE report
* JS body asks for restoring stability in RMG sector:
Suggests modern frontier patrol against drug smuggling
A parliamentary panel Tuesday recommended taking necessary steps to establish stability in the readymade garment sector while another body asked for bolstering frontier patrol with modern watercraft to halt menacing drug smuggling largely done through waterways.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour Ministry also suggested payoff of all legal benefits to workers in case of closure of any factory, taking a cue from the Tuba turmoil.
In this context, the lawmakers called for removing all kinds of prevailing discontent among the workers of the five factories of Tuba Group and paying them Eid bonus.
The committee suggested the ministry to scrutinize necessary issues before approval for giving registration to any trade union.
Allowing trade union in the apparel factories is one of the compliance conditions tagged to the matter of restoration of the GSP facility on the US market. It’s also a strong plea from the European Union.
* Accept the Demands of the Tuba Garment Workers:
translation: “Accept the Demands of the Workers: Garment Workers Unity Forum”
translation: “Honor a worker memorial at the Rana Plaza site”
read more in ‘Aftermath of the Rana Plaza Tragedy: Social and Health Issues Emerge Amid Struggle for Workers’ Rights’
* RMG workers, rights activists voice renewed demands :
As per their declared schedule, the Garment Workers Unity Forum (GWUF) held the solidarity rally at Shahbag yesterday
The workers of Tuba Group, RMG workers leaders and rights activists again urged the Tuba Group owners yesterday to reopen closed factories and demanded payment of Eid bonuses immediately.
The workers and activists made the renewed demand at a “Solidarity Meeting” held in support of Tuba Group workers’ demands.
As per their declared schedule, the Garment Workers Unity Forum (GWUF) held the solidarity rally at Shahbag yesterday.
Mosrefa Mishu, president of the organisation, presided over the meeting which was also attended by Dhaka University Professor Emeritus Serajul Islam Choudhury, Anu Muhammad, a rights activist and economist, and leaders of RMG workers.
“The hard labour of our workers sustain the economy of our country but they do not get due respect for their diligence,” said Serajul Islam Choudhury.
The government and the BGMEA are working for the owners, not for the workers, he added.
“The RMG workers are being deprived of their demand due to Trade Union leaders and BGMEA,” said Anu Muhammad, who expressed solidarity with the workers.
He expressed concern that the workers might not get their dues.
“Our prime demand is reopening factories as we are now jobless and have to starve if the factory does not run,” said Amena Akter, a worker of Tuba Group.
* Tuba workers threaten for stern movement:
The workers of Tuba Group threatened for stern movement if the authorities failed to open the factories and pay bonus by August 20.
The leaders of Garment Sramik Oikya Forum issued the threat while addressing a rally held in front of the National Museum at Shahbagh in the capital on Sunday afternoon.
Addressing the rally, President of the forum Mosrefa Mishu forewarned that if the authorities keep the factories closed, they have to pay salaries as per the factory rules.
She added: “Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) have to take imitative to employ the workers and we will wait till August 20.”
At the rally, the workers claimed that some 95 percent people of the country supported the demonstration and the rest five percent did not support them as “they are mass enemy”.
* Reopening of Tuba Group factories demanded:
Bangladesh Garments Sramik Sanghati leaders on Saturday demanded immediate payment of festival allowance to workers and reopening of all the apparel factories of the Tuba Group.
From an hour-long hour human chain formed in front of the National Press Club, the Sanghati leaders pressed the demands. Sangahi coordinator Taslima Akhter demanded immediate reopening of all the five factories of Tuba Group.
She also called for cancelling the bail of Delwar Hossain, the owner of the Tuba Group and Tazreen Fashion Limited.
Delwer was responsible for killing of 124 workers of Tazreen Fashion at Nischintapur in Savar in 2012, she said.
After 11 days’ hunger strike by Tuba Group workers they were paid partial arrear
wages but not the Eid festival bonus, Taslima said.