Almost 140 Bangladeshi garment factories were shut on Monday as thousands of workers protesting at a new minimum wage clashed with police outside Dhaka, police and manufacturers said.
Protests at poor wages and working conditions have gained in intensity since the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory complex in April, which killed 1,135 people.
Police said violence erupted at Ashulia, home to Bangladesh\’s biggest garment plants which make clothing for top Western retailers such as Walmart, at Konabari in the industrial district of Gazipur north of Dhaka and in other parts of Gazipur.
The trigger for the new protests was worker unhappiness at the new minimum wage the government has announced for the country\’s four million garment workers.
Although the minimum monthly salary for entry-level workers has been raised by 76 per cent to $68 as of December, unions have complained that skilled employees have been deprived, while some bosses cut food and transport allowances.
The new wages still leave Bangladeshi garment workers as some of the lowest paid in the sector worldwide.
“At least 10,000 workers demonstrated at Konabari. They threw rocks at the officers. We fired rubber bullets and tear gas,” Shamsur Rahman, a spokesman for the industrial police, told AFP.
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via 140 factories closed in new Bangladesh wage protest – Channel NewsAsia.
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