News / Asia

Bangladesh’s Garment Workers Protest Over Wages

Activists and garment workers shout slogans during a protest demanding a minimum wage of 8,000 Bangladeshi Taka [$100] in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Nov. 8, 2013.
Activists and garment workers shout slogans during a protest demanding a minimum wage of 8,000 Bangladeshi Taka [$100] in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Nov. 8, 2013.
Anjana Pasricha
Bangladesh’s garment industry is witnessing more turmoil as garment workers demanding higher wages clash with riot police. About 200 factories have been closed and at least 50 people have been injured in two days of labor unrest.
   
There were expectations that a government-appointed panel’s recommendation to hike minimum wages of garment workers to about $66 per month would have been welcome news in an industry where the current minimum wage is just $38 per month.

The industry’s 4 million workers, however, have turned down the proposal for the 75-percent hike. They are demanding a wage of about $100 per month.

Thousands of angry workers came out on the streets in the Ashulia industrial belt on the outskirts the capital Dhaka for the second day Tuesday, hurling stones and attacking factory owners. Riot police fired tear gas shells and rubber bullets to disperse the protestors.
 
  • Garment workers assist injured colleagues during a clash with police in Ashulia on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Nov. 12, 2013.
  • Riot police chase garment workers during their clash in Ashulia on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Nov. 12, 2013.
  • A riot police officer chases a garment worker during clashes in Ashulia on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Nov. 12, 2013.
  • Garment workers walk out from a factory as other workers clash with police in Ashulia on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Nov. 12, 2013.

A Next Collection Limited employee, Jhoma Begum, said workers need more money. She said a salary of $66 does not meet their needs. She said nothing in the market, such as rice, costs less than 75 cents. She demands to know how they can live with this salary and asks whether they have the right to live?
 
The low wages paid to workers in Bangladesh have partly helped to catapult its ready-made industry to the world’s second largest, after China. The wages are just half of those paid to workers in countries like Vietnam.
 
Worried that a salary hike will take away its competitive edge, though, the industry has not yet endorsed the recommendations of the government panel. They fear it will increase production costs significantly.

Economist Khondaker Golam Moazzem at the Center for Policy Dialogue in Dhaka said the protests by the workers are meant to put pressure on the factory owners to accept the wage hike.

“I think if they accept the proposal, more or less the workers will calm down and the situation will improve. Entrepreneurs said they should take a more positive move to raise the workers wages,” said Moazzem.

The industry has been hit by the violent protests over wages when it already is under scrutiny for unsafe conditions following a building collapse in April that killed more than 1,100 workers.
 
Moazzem said Bangladesh needs to resolve the labor unrest if it hopes to continue getting trade privileges from the European Union, which are under review for the next year.

“Definitely this kinds of protests and unrest for better wages if continues, has an adverse impact in terms of Bangladesh’s global image as well as continuing GSP [Generalized System of Preferences] facility, particularly in the European market,” said Moazzem.

Activist groups, who support the demand for higher wages, say Western buyers also need to recognize the need to improve payments to the industry so that salaries can be raised.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violencei
X
Lenny Ruvaga
November 27, 2014 7:05 PM
The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid