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BNP instigating garment workers’ movement: Home Minister

Opposition BNP leaders and workers are instigating the ongoing movement of ready-made garment workers in the country, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal has alleged.

He made the allegation while responding to a question of a reporters at his office at the secretariat in the capital early Sunday (November 12) afternoon.

The garment workers took to the street in different parts including Dhaka and Gazipur recently demanding to raise their wages. During the movement, the workers also vandalised and set ablaze some garment factories. Then the government announced the minimum wage of Tk 12,500 raising from the existing wage of Tk 8,000.

But, the workers have rejected the new wage  hike outright saying that they will not be able to survive with this scant amount. They again demonstrated in different parts including Dhaka, Gazipur and Mirpur. In the wake of the movement, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) said they have stopped all the activities of 130 ready-made garment factories.

Asked why the garment workers took to the street despite the government announced a minimum wage for them, the home minister said the prime minister has recently raised 56 per cent wage for garment workers recently. The wage was hiked after the Ministry of Labour, BGMEA and others discussing the matter. The minimum wage was raised to Tk 12,500 from Tk 8,000. “However, we heard that there are speculations in the mind of many workers about the grades. I firmly believe that our garment owners must resolve these issues. But, the workers can’t put pressure on them resorting to vandalism or blockade,” he said.

“After examining the video footage of the movement, we have found the involvement of BNP activists in almost all of those. We saw that a BNP leader was instigating the workers coming at Konabari in Gazipur from Kushtia. Examining the other video footage that we have received from different places, we have reached the conclusion that almost all of those were BNP activists,” the home minister said.

Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said they (BNP) are instigating the innocent workers. “After failing at all places, they have chosen it so that success come from here. I think if the workers had any demand, they could resolve those sitting with the owners. But, instead of doing that, they took to the street harming themselves and the country. They should actively think about it.”

The Home Minister said politics has entered the garment workers’ movement. “BNP has instigation, and we are certain about it. We’ve intended to say this.”