Thursday, January 10, 2019

Bangladeshi Workers Protest

Bangladeshi police used water cannons, tear gas and batons to disperse thousands of protesting garment factory workers on Wednesday, after they pressed their demands for higher wages by blocking roads for a fourth day. 

The government of Bangladesh, the world's second biggest garment exporter behind China. The garment industry generates about $30 billion of exports a year, accounting for 80 percent of Bangladesh's merchandise export earnings and serving some of the biggest brands in the world. It said on Tuesday it would consider demands for an increase in the minimum wage, after police killed one worker and wounded dozens. The government has formed a panel of factory owners, union leaders and officials to investigate the pay demands

Protesters came out again on Wednesday, blocking roads and burning tyres in the Savar industrial district just north of the capital, Dhaka. Similar protests were going on in the Mirpur area of Dhaka

Ruhul Amin, executive president of the Garments Trade Union Centre, told Reuters police used batons, tear gas and also water cannons in some places to disperse the crowds.

The government said in September the minimum wage for garment workers would increase by up to 51 percent this year to 8,000 taka ($95) a month, the first such increase since 2013. But workers say that increase would benefit only a small percentage of the more than 3.5 million people employed in the sector.

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