Home / International/ Tear gas, rubber bullets as Bangladesh garment workers strike

Tear gas, rubber bullets as Bangladesh garment workers strike


Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Wednesday, 9 January 2019 00:00

Facebook

Bangladesh's 4,500 textile and clothing factories exported more than $30 billion worth of apparel last year, making clothing for retailers such as H&M, Walmart, Tesco, Carrefour and Aldi – AFP 

DHAKA (AFP): Bangladeshi police Tuesday fired rubber bullets and tear gas as thousands of striking workers in the South Asian country’s huge garment industry staged protests for a third day demanding wage hikes. 

Bangladesh’s 4,500 textile and clothing factories exported more than $30 billion worth of apparel last year, making clothing for retailers such as H&M, Walmart, Tesco, Carrefour and Aldi. 

Police said more than 5,000 workers blocked a national highway at Hemayetpur outside the capital Dhaka and clashed with them for hours after they walked out of their factories. 

“At least 12 policemen were injured after they threw rocks at our officers. We fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the protesters. Twelve factories were shut down,” police official Sana Shaminur Rahman told AFP. 

The online edition of the Manabjamin newspaper said at least 50 protesters were injured in waves of clashes, which also spread to garment factory hubs in Dhaka, Ashulia and Uttara involving thousands more workers. 

The protests are the first major test for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina since winning a fourth term in December 30 elections marred by violence, thousands of arrests and allegations of vote rigging and intimidation. 

Bangladesh raised the minimum monthly wage for the garment sector’s four million workers by 51% to 8,000 taka ($95) from December. 

But senior workers say their raise was less than this and unions, which warn the strikes may spread, say the hike fails to compensate for price rises in recent years. 

“The wages were hiked after five years. But in the five years the cost of living has increased more than the wage hike,” Babul Akhter, head of the Bangladesh Garment and Industrial Workers Federation, told AFP Bangladesh is the world’s second-largest garment maker after China. 

But despite the industry’s role in transforming the impoverished nation into a major manufacturing hub, garment workers are some of the lowest paid in the world. 

The industry also has a poor workplace safety record with the collapse of a Rana Plaza garment factory complex killing more than 1,130 people in 2013 in one of the world’s worst industrial disasters. 

Following the disaster, major retailers formed two safety groups to push through crucial reforms in the factories, prompting manufacturers to plough in more than a billion dollars in safety upgrades.


Share This Article

Facebook Twitter


DISCLAIMER:

1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.

COMMENTS

Today's Columnists

2 June 1941: Operation Barbarossa

Friday, 21 June 2019

The 22nd of June marks the 78th anniversary of the bloodiest conflict in human history, the titanic World War 2 struggle between Germany and Russia. In this clash of irreconcilable racial and ideological foes, no quarter was asked for, no quarter giv


The contemporary Nikaya system, the most unBuddhist legacy of Buddhism

Friday, 21 June 2019

The recent comments made by the Mahanayake of the Asgiriya Chapter of the Siam Nikaya hopefully will generate an objective discussion on the Buddhist institution and its role in Sri Lanka. The Venerable Mahanayake’s comments belied what Buddha beli


Laundering the Parliament

Friday, 21 June 2019

There are strict laws and rules in force to ensure the honesty and integrity of people’s representatives in all countries where there is a democratic system of governance. People’s representatives elected by public vote are prohibited to pursue b


SOFA/VFA: A worrying scenario

Friday, 21 June 2019

An unrestrained communal animosity towards ethnic and religious minorities, anchored in mythology and historical half-truths, and popularised by sections of the Buddhist clergy and a sectarian media have combined to drive Sri Lanka to a point where t


Columnists More