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Bangladesh garment workers' violent wage protest enters 5th day

DHAKA, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of Bangladesh garment factories again on Wednesday halted operations due to vandalism and blockades generated by workers in industrial zones of Dhaka for the fifth consecutive day to demand hike in minimum wage.

Some 50 people including garment workers and cops were injured as the unruly laborers fought pitched battles with the law enforcers and vandalized nearly a dozen vehicles in capital Dhaka' s Narayanganj, Gazipur and Savar industrial zones.

Like previous days, thousands of workers, who took to the streets on Wednesday, vandalized several garment units in the industrial hubs on the outskirts of the capital city.

Instead of joining their work places at 8:00 a.m. local time in the morning, they started demonstrations for hours in places of the industrial hubs defying incessant rains that lasted the entire day.

The unruly workers put barricades at different points on highways leading to the South Asian country's capital city.

Vehicular movement in the areas returned to normalcy after police pummeled the stone throwing workers to bring entire situation under control.

The ongoing workers' unrest stemmed Saturday when Garment Sramik Samannay Parishad, a federation of trade unions in garment sectors, organized a rally of over 50,000 workers to meet their different demands including raising minimum monthly salary to 8, 000 taka (about 102.56 U.S. dollars).

The Bangladeshi government for the last time in July, 2010, set 3,000 taka as the minimum monthly wage for the then over 2.5 million garment workers.

Bangladesh garment workers have long been protesting to demand higher wages and safe working conditions, but their protests have become much more common over the last few months after five factories collapsed on April 24 in which at least 1,130 people were confirmed dead.

The Savar tragedy revived questions about the commitments of factory owners and their global buyers to provide safe working conditions in the annually 20 billion U.S. dollars export sector, which comprises about 5,000 factories employing more than 4 million workers, 80 percent of whom are women.

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