Montag, 13. Dezember 2010

Bangladesh: Four people killed and hundreds injured during garment workers protests

Bangladesh garment workers are protesting since Friday for the implementation of a minimum wage law which should already come into force in November (The photo, dating possibly from an earlier demonstration, is from the European Pressphoto Agency via Al Jazeera - See video about similar protests in Summer)

From today's Agence France Press:

"Bangladesh garment protests spread after deaths

DHAKA — Protests by Bangladeshi garment workers over low wages spread on Monday, a day after four people were killed in violent clashes between demonstrators and the police.

More than 4,000 garment factory staff blocked roads and staged a sit-in in the northern district of Gazipur, one of the country's main manufacturing areas which produces clothes for many Western brands.

On Sunday, four people were killed in the southeastern port town of Chittagong, where police fired live bullets and tear gas shells to control riots.

Dozens of people were also injured at protests in the capital Dhaka.

Bangladesh's garment workers have been angered that a government hike in wages has not yet been implemented by some employers, while senior staff complain they will not benefit from the new pay structure.

"They have blocked the main highway linking Dhaka to the north of the country," Khandaker Shafiqul Alam, police inspector at Gazipur, told AFP.

"The protests are led by senior workers who are frustrated that they have lost out under the new wage scheme," he said, referring to the new minimum wage plan introduced in November.

Bangladesh's 4,500 garment factories, many of which produce clothes for retailers such as Wal-Mart, H&M and Levi Strauss, must now pay workers at least 3,000 taka (43 dollars) a month -- up 80 percent on the 2006 minimum wage.

In Chittagong, 30 people have been arrested and criminal cases have been lodged against a further 3,000 over involvement in the recent violence, Kusun Dewan, deputy commissioner of police in Chittagong, told AFP.

Garments accounted for 80 percent of the country's 16.2 billion dollars of annual exports last year. Bangladesh's factories employ more than three million workers, about 85 percent of them women."

See also

Bangladesh police shoot striking garment workers (World Socialist Web Site)

Garment Worker Riots in Bangladesh Continue After 4 Killed (Time Magazine Newsfeed /Krista Mahr)

Labor violence in Bangladesh (The Donga-Al Ilbo, South Korea)

Six Korean firms hit by Bangladesh protests (The Korea Herald via Asia News Network)

Deadly wage protests in Bangladesh (Al Jazeera)

Bangladesh police break up workers protests: three dead (Reuters India)

Bangladesh raids militant hideout, detains five (Reuters India)

Proteste der Textilarbeiter in Bangladesch weiten sich aus (AFP Germany)

Tote bei Arbeiterprotesten in Bangladesh: Viele Verletzte bei gewaltsamen Ausschreitungen (LabourNet, Germany, mit umfangreichem Dossier)

Fleeing Catastrophe, Stuck in the Slums of Bangladesh (Time Magazine Video)

Photos from this weekend's protests: AFP via The Peninsula Qatar, Getty Images via Time Magazine and APA/EPA via Der Standard

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