Protests reignited yesterday in Ashulia, the Bangladeshi apparel industrial zone on the outskirts of Dhaka. A ceasefire brokered between owners, strikers, and the government apparently failed due to actions taken by owners to dismiss workers involved in strikes earlier in July.
Those strikes erupted into violence and factory vandalism following police provocation and led to the closure of over 300 RMG units for a week.
Owners have also failed to pay outstanding wages, leading 10,000 workers to take to the streets demanding payment of two months back wages and three months back overtime.
The strikers have blocked the Dhaka-Tangail and Dhaka-Sylhet highways and have vandalized vehicles. Police are taking action to contain the violence. Owners have not yet issued a statement explaining their violation of the brokered agreement.
The RMG sector accounts for the vast majority of Bangladesh’s export earnings and has been experiencing strong growth, despite suffering from frequent power shortages and labor unrest. The strikes will likely be met with decisive government intervention, due to the importance of the sector.