News / Asia

Bangladesh's Garment Factories Reopen After Violent Protests

TEXT SIZE - +

Hundreds of garment factories near the capital of Bangladesh, Dhaka, are up and running again amid heavy police protection following a wave of protests over wages.

Earlier this week, angry workers took to the streets, smashing vehicles and throwing rocks at factories, forcing many to shut down. Riot police and protesters clashed, injuring hundreds of striking employees, many of whom are the lowest paid in the world.

Workers demanded the minimum wage to be raised from $25 to about $70 a month. The rate has not been raised since 2006, despite a sharp rise in living costs.  But Bangladesh's garment exporters say the industry will be hurt if labor costs rise to this level.

The head of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Abdus Salam Murshedy, said they are waiting for a government appointed board on minimum wages to submit its recommendations.   

"Whatever the committee and government will decide and finalize, our members will definitely follow this," Murshedy said.

But it is not clear if the wage board's recommendations will be acceptable to workers, who criticized the last pay revision as too small. Labor unions say rising food prices are particularly hurting the poor in one of the world's poorest countries.     

Bangladesh's garment factories export mainly to the United States and Europe.  The thriving sector has grown into one of the country's main industries as low labor costs have helped exporters sell at competitive rates.  

Business is improving following the global recession, said garment association leader Murshedy.   But he added the recession has affected the industry.

"Price has dropped down, and on top of that cotton price is high, but our ultimate garment price has not been increased," Murshedy said. "So we are under tremendous pressure from price point of view."  

As in many South Asian countries, Bangladesh's garment industry is the largest employer after agriculture. About two million people work in garment factories -- most of them women. The industry earns nearly $12 billion annually, and is the country's largest source of foreign exchange.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid