Massive Garment Workers Protest in Bangladesh

June 30, 2009

50,000 garment workers have taken to the streets of Dhaka, demanding the reversal of recent wage cuts. Employers have often resorted to 20-30 percent cuts, citing the economic crisis as the reason.

According to “police sources” consulted by AFP, “Two people have died and scores have been injured in violent clashes as protests entered a second day and spread to scores of factories at the Ashulia industrial zone 30 kilometres (19 miles) outside Dhaka.”

Yesterday’s much larger demonstration comes a day after a smaller one involving 7,000 people, during which one worker was killed and several others injured as police fired upon the protesters.

According to other reports from AFP, in one incident workers torched a factory, while two workers were shot dead by security guards. The Dhaka Mirror reports that the factory was targeted as it belonged to the Hameem Group, at which the two dead workers were employed.

AFP also reports that “a survey by the government’s Factory Inspection Department released Monday found that 122 of 825 factories surveyed — or almost 15 percent — did not pay their staff on time between January and May” making the rage on the streets perfectly explicable.

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