B`desh garment workers continue stir against new wages

Readymade garments and knitwear are Bangladesh`s top export earners.

Dhaka: Bangladesh`s garment factory workers on Monday continued their protests against a new wage structure announced by the government. The industrial violence has forced suspension of production in at least 350 units.

The workers held a demonstration in Narayanganj industrial suburb on Monday, although their representatives had agreed on Sunday to the newly announced pay structure and pledged cooperation to ensure normal work environment, reported Star Online, the website of The Daily Star.

Vehicular movement on Dhaka-Narayanganj link road came to a halt since morning as workers put barricades on the road, rejecting the wage structure and demanding Taka 5,000 (USD 86) as minimum monthly pay.

At least 350 garment factories in Savar, Ashulia and Fatulla suspended production on Sunday after the workers clashed with police, injuring over 100 people.

The angry labourers damaged nearly 150 business establishments and vandalised more than 50 vehicles.

The factories called off production after the workers demonstrated against the new wage structure the second consecutive day. Three factories in Ashulia were shut down indefinitely.

Industrial violence spread to the Chittagong port city, according to New Age newspaper.

The government last week fixed Taka 2,500 for an apprentice and Taka 3,000 (USD 46) for a worker as the entry pay, up from Taka 1,660 (USD 25).

Employing 3.5 million workers, readymade garments and knitwear are Bangladesh`s top export earners, netting USD 12 billion last year.

The sector has, however, suffered due to recurring industrial violence due to low wages and poor working conditions.


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