12 Dec 2010

Deadly wage protests in Bangladesh

A protest over low wages in Bangladesh's garment industry has left at least three people dead and dozens of others injured in clashes with police in several major cities including the capital, Dhaka.

The garment workers, who make clothes for many popular Western brands, were angered over a delay in the implementation of a government rise in wages due last month.


The revised pay structure took effect in November, but workers say many factories have not yet implemented the measure, which has led to continuing protests in recent months. The new wage of at least $45 a month represents an 80 per cent increase on the existing minimum wage, and is the first since 2006.

Reza Al Hasan, a police official, said tear gas and rubber bullets were fired into the crowd during the demonstrations after thousands of workers attacked factories and smashed vehicles at the Chittagong Export Processing Zone on Sunday.

In Dhaka, about 4,000 mainly female workers torched two vehicles and blocked a main road in protest against employers, accusing them of not implementing the wage increase.

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