December 14, 2010
Days of violent protests by Bangladeshi garment workers – who produce clothes for western brands like Marks & Spencer, H&M, Tesco and Walmart – demanding a higher minimum wage peaked on Sunday when at least three people were killed and 250 people were injured in clashes with police.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
Since then, production has resumed in some units of the Dhaka and Chittagong Export Processing Zones, after employees were given assurances that they would reap the full benefits of a new pay scale promised last month. But many have remained closed, with the issue of wages still looming.
Bangladesh’s 2m garment workers are among the lowest-paid textile workers in the world. Their monthly minimum wage was supposed to rise from $23 to $43 by December 1 but not all companies met the deadline.
The renewed violent labour unrest over higher wages threatens to destabilise an economy reliant on garment exports, which account for 80 per cent of the country’s annual exports.