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

Anti-Terror Drills Highlight China’s Push Into Central Asia

China, Russia, several central Asian countries wrap up massive anti terrorism military drills in Inner Mongolia More

Erdogan’s First Step: Secure More Power in New Role in Turkey

Erdogan was sworn in as Turkey's first popularly elected president on Thursday; he picked former foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu as PM More

Pakistan Army Fails to Break Political Deadlock

PM Sharif claims he didn't ask army to defuse crisis; military rejects claim 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.
Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assaulti
X
Daniel Schearf
August 29, 2014 9:30 PM
After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.

AppleAndroid