Bangladesh apparel makers decide to shut factories

Dhaka, Nov 13 : The apex body of Bangladesh's woven garment manufacturers Wednesday decided to shut down all garment factories in Ashulia on the outskirts of the capital Dhaka following workers' unrest over wage hike.

The decision was taken at an emergency meeting of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Tuesday night after violent demonstration by tens of thousands of garment workers in Ashulia, Xinhua reported.

"We've decided to shut down our factories in Ashulia area Wednesday due to security concerns," said Salam Murshedy, leader of the association.

Like the last couple of days, tens of thousands of workers Tuesday morning took to the streets demanding a minimum monthly wage of 8,114 taka (about USD 104).

Over 100 people, including policemen, were reportedly injured as the unruly labourers fought pitched battles with the police in Ashulia for hours.

"Almost all the 782 factories in Ashulia area suspended their production Tuesday fearing violence," said Badrul Alam, chief of Ashulia police station.

The Bangladeshi government Nov 4 recommended 5,300 taka (about USD 68) minimum monthly wage for the country's four million garment workers -- nearly 77 percent hike from the existing monthly pay.

But the country's garment factory owners Monday rejected the proposed minimum wage.

The South Asian country's garment sector, which turns out USD 20 billion worth of exports annually, comprises about 5,000 factories employing more than four million workers, 80 percent of whom are women.

--IANS (Posted on 13-11-2013)

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