Bangladesh Garment Workers Clash With Police Over Wage Deal

By Chowa Cho
Chowa Cho
Chowa Cho
August 1, 2010 Updated: August 1, 2010

Garment workers in Dhaka, Bangladesh, clashed with the police on August 1, demanding a minimum monthly wage of 5000 taka, equivalent to about $72.

For the third consecutive day, thousands workers took to the streets in violent protest in several districts following the government´s announcement last Thursday to raise their minimum wage to 3,000 taka or $43 per month, which did not meet their demand, reported Bangladesh Business News.

According to Bangladesh Today, at least 200 people have been injured, including 24 police, in clashes in the districts of Savar, Narayangonj and N’ganj. Disgruntled workers put up barricades choking traffic in various parts of the city, and there are reports of factories being vandalized. In confrontations with protesters, police have used tear gas shells and rubber bullets.

The garment industry in Bangladesh is notorious for its sweatshop image, poor working condition and extremely low wages. On February 25, 21 workers died and at least 30 others were injured in a fire in Garib & Garib, a garment factory in Bangladesh. Since then, the poor working conditions of garment workers have received some attention. Several clashes involving the workers have also occurred.

The garment industry employs 3.5 million workers in about 4500 factories, and maade up 80 percent of the country's export income last year, according to Bangladesh Business News.

Chowa Cho