Wages of protest
Thousands of garment workers in Bangladesh launched a protest movement to demand higher wages. The protests that spanned over weeks forced authorities to close more than 100 factories located in two industrial districts near Dhaka. A number of factories were also set ablaze by angry protesters. The districts of Gazipur and Narayanganj house hundreds of factories that supply garment products to numerous global brands, including Wal-Mart and H&M. The workers demanded 8,114 takas ($100) instead of the current monthly minimum wage of 3,000 takas ($38) – lowest in the world. Factory owners held that it was difficult for them to significantly raise the minimum wage because of the unwillingness of global brands to pay higher prices amid stiff competition and economic crisis in the West.
Bangladesh is the world's secondlargest garment manufacturer after China. It earns $20 billion a year from garment exports, mainly to the United States and Europe. The sector employs about four million workers, mostly women. The harsh and often unsafe working conditions in Bangladesh's garment industry drew global attention after the April 2013 collapse of an eightstorey factory building in which more than 1,100 people were killed. The sector has also experienced numerous fires, including one in November 2012 that killed 112 workers.