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B`desh PM vows minimum wages for troubled garment sector

Last Updated: Sunday, May 2, 2010 - 10:31

Dhaka: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has promised minimum wages for the industrial violence-hit garment sector that is also the country`s highest foreign exchange earner.

She accused "a third party" of being behind the recurring violence in the key industrial sector and claimed to have gathered "some names" and "some information", but did not specify anybody or party at a May Day rally here.

Her targets are the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its Islamist ally, the Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh, political analysts said.

She alleged that thousands of workers had lost jobs when the opposition was in power.

Recurring violence has hurt the private readymade garments and knitwear sector where wages are low and working conditions poor.

In the last round on Friday, 50 workers were injured in clashes with the police on the outskirts of the national capital.

Hasina pledged a minimum Taka 5,000 (USD 72.1) wage per month.

She had made a similar pledge last year, but was not able to honour it, newspaper website said.

Enforcing wages has been difficult for past governments.

Employers have gone back on wage pacts they have signed. They also demand that the government compensate them with tax concessions and aid packages.

Growing at an average 15 percent, garment exports fetched Bangladesh USD 14 billion during 2007-08.


First Published: Sunday, May 2, 2010 - 10:31

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