Dozens of people were injured in clashes in Bangladesh as thousands of garment workers rallied to demand a minimum wage of US$100 per month. Over 100 factories were forced to shut down as protesters attempted to attack plants that remained open.
Police used rubber bullets and tear gas against rock-throwing demonstrators as the violent protests entered their third day.
Abdul Baten, police chief of the Gazipur industrial district, told AFP that nearly 200,000 workers had joined the demonstrations.
Workers are demanding an almost threefold increase to their monthly salaries – from the current 3,000 takas ($38) to 8,114 takas ($100).
Factory owners recently offered a 20 percent pay rise to employees. Workers rejected the offer, calling it “inhuman and humiliating.” Employees then resorted to vandalism, blocking major roads, damaging vehicles, hurling stones at factories, and burning furniture taken from nearby buildings.
One worker, Laizu Akhter, also called for the body of a co-worker purported to be missing to be returned to his family, AP reported.
“Our major demand from them is to return the dead body. We demand their punishment. Additionally, we demand an increase of our monthly wages,” she said.
“We work to survive but we can’t even cover our basic needs,” another protester added, as quoted by Reuters.
According to police, the brutal protests mainly took place in the Gazipur and Savar industrial areas, where hundreds of apparel units that produce clothing for global brands are located. see more