Bangladesh workers riot over wages

Garment workers clash with police in capital Dhaka, angered by "inadequate" pay hike.

    Agitating workers burnt cars and attacked
    garment factories in Dhaka [Reuters]

    Hundreds of riot police have been deployed, he said, adding that officers had used baton charges and tear gas to try to disperse the crowds.

    Mosherafa Mishu, the head of the Garment Workers Unity Forum, which has rejected the proposed wage hike, said that "the workers' emotion is running very high".

    Below poverty line

    "The government has just done what the garment factory owners want. This offer is not acceptable to workers," Mishu said.

    "They are frustrated, they feel let down by the government. They thought they would get a good salary and then are just offered nothing," she added.

    "They thought they would get a good salary and then are just offered nothing"

    Mosherafa Mishu, head of the Garment Workers Unity Forum

    Mishu warned that unless a better offer was forthcoming, workers would strike and organise "a militant movement" over poor pay and working conditions.

    The garment industry is Bangladesh's biggest export market, accounting for more than 80 per cent of the impoverished country's annual export earnings of $16bn, but workers earn wages well below the poverty line.

    Manufacturers say that their profits are being squeezed as shoppers seek a bargain amid the global economic downturn.

    "We are rejecting what has been offered as increased wages because it is too inadequate to make ends meet," said one worker at a protest.

    The sector is the second biggest employer in the country, with about 4,500 factories employing about 3.5 million workers, many of whom work in dangerous conditions.

    Last week, Sheikh Hasina Wajed, the country's prime minister told parliament that garment workers' salaries were "inhuman" and said manufacturers should share profits with the workers.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    Prince Philip has done the world an extraordinary service by exposing the racist hypocrisy of "Western civilisation".

    China will determine the future of Venezuela

    China will determine the future of Venezuela

    There are a number of reasons why Beijing continues to back Maduro's government despite suffering financial losses.