Work­ers protest $95 min­i­mum wage re­jected

Bangladesh

Arab Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

DHAKA, Sept 15, (AFP): Bangladesh unions staged street protests Fri­day to re­ject what they called an “in­hu­man” $95 a month min­i­mum wage fixed by the gov­ern­ment for the coun­try’s four mil­lion gar­ment work­ers.

Au­thor­i­ties said the new wage marked a 51 per­cent rise and would be ap­plied from De­cem­ber but hun­dreds of work­ers hit the streets of Dhaka within hours of the an­nounce­ment vow­ing to fight for more.

Unions said they would or­ga­nize ac­tion across Bangladesh.

The cur­rent min­i­mum wage of 5,300 taka ($63) was set in 2013 af­ter at least 1,130 peo­ple were killed when a the Rana Plaza gar­ment fac­tory in Dhaka col­lapsed. The new wage was set at 8,000 taka.

“We can’t ac­cept this salary. It is an in­jus­tice and in­hu­man. It is cheat­ing the work­ers,” Jolly Talukder, a top union leader, told

AFP.

Talukder’s group is one of three left­ist out­fits that staged protests in Dhaka and she said more were planned to de­mand a wage of at least 16,000 taka.

An­other union leader Babul Ak­ter told AFP al­most all unions, ex­cept pro-gov­ern­ment groups, had re­jected the new wage set af­ter months of ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Bangladesh is one of the world’s lead­ing gar­ment man­u­fac­tur­ers and last year its 4,500 fac­to­ries shipped $30 bil­lion worth of goods, ac­count­ing for more than 80 per­cent of the coun­try’s ex­ports.

Top Euro­pean and North Amer­i­can re­tail­ers such as H&M, Tesco, Gap and Wal­mart are the main buy­ers.

The re­tail­ers have set up two or­ga­ni­za­tions to push through re­forms in Bangladesh fac­to­ries af­ter the Rana Plaza dis­as­ter.

Talukder

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