Violence in Dhaka garment sector as government readies wage revision

July 26th, 2010 - 10:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Sheikh Hasina Dhaka, July 26 (IANS) At least 50 people were injured and a factory was ransacked Monday in renewed industrial violence in the garment sector, as the government prepared to revise wages by this weekend.
Over 3,500 workers turned violent and damaged the Vortex Group factory at Savar on the outskirts of the national capital following the death of an “ailing” fellow worker.

A woman worker was killed by factory officials in another incident on Friday, Star Online, the website of The Daily Star reported.

Police fired rubber bullets and lobbed teargas canisters to disperse the agitators who retaliated with brickbats and bamboo sticks. The law enforcers picked up several employees from the scene.

Fifteen factories were shut down for the day after the post-lunchtime violence.

Bangladesh’s money-spinning garment sector has witnessed recurring industrial violence over poor wages and working conditions, causing factories to shut down frequently.

Labour, Employment and Expatriates Welfare Minister Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain on Monday reiterated that the government would formally announce a new wage structure for the garment workers on July 29 aimed at protecting the workers’ interests.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told parliament last week that the present wage structure was “inhuman”.

The government has reportedly finished its “difficult job” of reaching a consensus over fixing minimum wages for garment workers, United News of Bangladesh (UNB) news agency reported.

Garment and knitwear production exports that netted $12 billion last year are vital to Bangladesh’s economy.

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