20 Dec 2016 Ferado

Ashulia RMG factories closed despite ministers’ assurance of salary review

BANGLADESH: They demand a minimum Tk 16,000 as monthly salary instead of the current paltry Tk 5,300.The resentment has been growing over the last eight days.

Amid the tension, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed recently promised to keep house rents unchanged for the next three years in Ashulia, the area that houses these garment factories on the outskirts of Dhaka.

At a meeting on Monday, the labour leaders proposed requesting the wage board for reviewing the demand of pay hike, said Garments Workers’ Trade Union General Secretary Khairul Mamun Mintu.

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal, State Minister for Labour and Employment Mujibul Haque attended the meeting held at the residence of Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan.

“The labour leaders have informed these decisions to the workers, but they do not seem to take them seriously,” said Mintu.

The workers’ movement is yet to gain momentum as the leaders have not joined them, but they appear united to continue their agitation, Mintu added.

Workers of at least 25 factories walked out in Ashulia on Monday as a token of protest.

The unrest had been growing among the workers of factories located in Jamgorha, Norshinghopur and Beron areas of Ashulia industrial area.

“The workers want an immediate announcement of a pay hike,” said Garment and Industrial Workers Federation President Rafiqul Islam Sujan.

They have refused to return to work even after the ministers requested them to do so, he said

20 Dec 2016 Ferado

Workers, farmers protest outside Kohar’s residence

INDIA: On a call given by labourer and farmer unions, many activists gathered to hold a protest outside the residence of Punjab Cabinet Minister Ajit Singh Kohar.

The labourers and farmers staged protests across the state outside the residences of the SAD-BJP ministers for the unaddressed demands of labourers, including atrocities at Jaloor Kand.

Speaking at a dharna outside the house of Cabinet minister Kohar, leaders said the state government was again spending crores of rupees to dupe people in the name of development ahead of the elections, while at the ground level, farmers and labourers were forced to commit suicides.

They said for the past 10 years the state government had not been able to fulfill the promise of residential plots and work through MNREGA to labourers. Other demands of labourers like compensation for farmers, debt-laws in favour of labourers-farmers, cancellation of false cases against labourers and workers, solving of the problem of stray animals were also not being addressed.

They said the government was rather imposing unannounced restrictions on dharnas of farmers/labourers and resorting to lathicharge, arrests and registration of false cases against workers.

They said in villages, the rich landlords were also committing atrocities against Dalits, the latest example of which was the incident at Jaloor village in Sangrur.

They said the administration was also adopting a dilly-dallying approach on the demands raised in the Sangrur incident.

Tarsem Peter from the Pendu Mazdoor Union Punjab, Harmesh Malri from the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union, Santokh Singh Tangar from the Kirti Kisan Union and Surinder Singh Bains, Harpal Bittu, Balwinder Singh Bhullar, among others, were present on the occasion.

20 Dec 2016 Ferado

Salary crisis threatens to derail programmes

With the salaries of the employees of Delhi Commission for Women pending for over three months, the women’s body’s projects will be wound up by this month.

Officials with the DCW told The Hindu that programmes such as 181 Helpline for women in distress, Rape Crisis Cell, Acid Watch and Anti-Trafficking Cell will close by the end of this month if salaries are not paid.

No clarity

“Staff will start to leave. We don’t know when the salaries will come as there is no clarity. How long can people work without money?” said a DCW official.

The 181 Helpline was started after the December 16, 2012 gang-rape to help women in distress and was handed over to the DCW this year.

After assuming charge, DCW chief Swati Maliwal started the Acid Watch, wherein the employees help acid attack survivors and also ensure that acid is not sold over the counter. “Our employees are themselves victims. Despite repeated letters to the Lieutenant Governor and the President, nothing has been done,” said the official.

Case against Maliwal

After a case was filed against the DCW chief over an alleged recruitment scam, salaries of the employees haven’t been disbnrsed. Ms. Maliwal had earlier said that financial powers of the Commission have been curtailed and files were sent to the Women and Child Development department.

The officials said they are not hopeful that salaries will come this month.

“Autonomy of the Commission is under attack. Attempts are being made to crush our work and shut down the Commission,” Ms. Maliwal had said.

19 Dec 2016 Ferado

Workers of 10 RMG factories go on strike

Dhaka: About 20,000 workers of a dozen factories in Ashulia, the garment hub in outskirts of Dhaka city, have been demonstrating for increased wages. Workers of at least 10 factories went on strike, without resuming work on Monday morning. Workers of three more factories also observed work stoppage, remaining within the factory premises of Setara Group, Bando Design and Star Link Creation. Production came to a halt due to workers’ strike at the factories De Rose, Pioneer, Washing Design, Palmal Group, Safa Knit, Dong Xiang and Envoy. Workers alleged that they could not meet their family expenses with the current wages. “If we pay house rent, we cannot run the family throughout the month and if we try to meet other expenses, we cannot pay house rent,” a worker said. The officer in charge of Ashulia police station Mahesinul Quadir confirmed that the garment workers were on strike. The last time they received a pay-hike was in 2013 and the minimum wage was fixed at Tk 5,300 a month. However, the workers now demand Tk 15,000 salary a month. The workers also alleged that they were not given gratuity and leave to which they are entitled. They even complained about harassment by the owners of the factories. The workers in Ashulia began demonstrating last Monday when workers of Windy Group went on strike. Workers of at least 10 factories followed them in the past one week