News / Asia

Bangladesh's Garment Factories Reopen After Violent Protests

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

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL 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.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid