Workers of ready-made garment factories blocked the Dhaka-Chattogram and Dhaka-Sylhet highways on Thursday demanding payment of salary arrears.
The demonstration which began at 9:00 am snarled up the traffic on the highway creating a 10-kilometre tailback and causing immense suffering for commuters.A number of ambulances were also left stranded as demonstrating workers did not even allow them to go.
Relatives of many patients were spotted crying inside the ambulances around 10:30 am, police and witnesses said.
They said workers of Opex and Sinha Group blocked the highways in Kanchpur area of Sonargaon upazila in Narayanganj.
Hossain Mia, an ambulance driver, who was transporting a patient from Cumilla, said he was waiting near the Kanchpur Bridge for more than one and a half hours with a dying patient.
“I’ve requested the protesters, but they didn’t let me go to Dhaka.”
The workers, on the other hand, alleged that they have not received their wages for four months. And the factory is now closed.Though the owner has assured them of paying wages and allowances at different times, they failed to keep their promise.
The workers said they would continue their demonstration until the salary arrears are paid.
Shujauddin Ahmed, a factory official, however, claimed that only six to seven workers have not been paid for a few months. The authorities had planned to clear their dues by July 7, but it was not possible due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Now the factory has assured the workers of paying their wages by July 15, said Ahmed.