Home > News > World
Tuesday August 5, 2014 MYT 5:10:04 PM
Tuesday August 5, 2014 MYT 5:11:22 PM
by ruma paul
DHAKA (Reuters) - Bangladeshi garment workers staging a hunger strike for nine days to press for back-pay and a holiday bonus clashed with police in the capital, Dhaka, on Tuesday, police and witnesses said.
About 1,600 workers from five factories of the Tuba Group have been on hunger strike since July 28 demanding the payment of salary for three months, overtime and a holiday bonus. About 100 of them have fallen sick.
Police used truncheons to disperse several hundred of the workers who tried to besiege the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) headquarters, witnesses said.
On Sunday, the association agreed to pay wages for two months this week, and said the Tuba Group would pay the rest of the salaries and a bonus for the Eid al-Fitr holiday later.
But the workers rejected the offer.
"We will continue our protests and fasting until our demands are met," one worker shouted to fellow protesters at the demonstration.
Low labour costs and, critics say, shortcuts on safety, make Bangladesh the cheapest place to make large quantities of clothing and the second-largest exporter of readymade garments.
The $24 billion (£14.2 billion) export industry, which supplies many Western brands such as Wal-Mart, Tesco and H&M, has been under scrutiny since last year when a building housing factories collapsed killing more than 1,130 people. That came five months after a factory fire killed 112 people.
The owner of the Tuba Group, Delwar Hossain, has been in detention since February after he turned himself in to face homicide charges for the deaths of the 112 workers in the 2012, fire, the country's worst factory fire.
Last year, the government raised the minimum wage for garment workers by 77 percent to 5,300 taka (£40.4) a month and amended the labour law to boost workers' rights.
The industry accounts for 80 percent of Bangladesh's exports but accidents and strikes have put at risk the livelihoods of nearly 4 million workers, most of them women.
Bangladesh's exports, however, in the year to June hit a record $30 billion, up 11 percent from a year ago on the back of stronger garment sales.
(Editing by Robert Birsel)
Bangladesh garment workers stage biggest wage hike protest
Bangladesh police forcibly end garment workers' strike
Angry Bangladesh garment workers protest over pay, factories shut
Cambodian police clash with thousands of garment workers, 23 hurt
Bangladesh garment factory workers detain boss until he pays bonus
Analysis - New leadership seeks to rebuild EU self-confidence
Boxing great Muhammad Ali hospitalised with pneumonia
Romania parliament approves 2015 budget with IMF deficit target
Obama says Putin presiding over economic contraction - CNN interview
Ladies, time to stand up and fight for your man
Looking out for your ears
Remembering Tsunami 2004: Phuket bounces back from disaster
Wikipedia reveals what the world edited in 2014
Copyright © 1995-2014 Star Publications (M) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)