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Bangladesh workers continue protest for higher minimum wage

DHAKA, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- Bangladesh garment workers again on Thursday morning took to the streets and staged violent protests despite the owners had agreed to pay a minimum monthly salary of about 68 U.S. dollars to them, nearly a 77 percent hike from the existing monthly pay as recommended by a government board recently.

Garment owners agreed to the new wage in a meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her official residence late on Wednesday night.

The owners also decided to resume production in all the garment factories at a mega industrial belt Ashulia on the outskirts of capital Dhaka.

Citing security concerns, the apex body of Bangladesh's woven garment manufacturers on Tuesday night decided to shut down all the 782 Ashulia garment factories for Wednesday.

The decision was taken at an emergency meeting of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Tuesday night after violent demonstrations by tens of thousands of garment workers at Ashulia.

Like the last couple of days, thousands of workers took to the streets Thursday morning demanding a minimum wage of 8,114 taka ( about 104 U.S. dollars).

Local Gazi television reported that over 50 people including cops were injured as the unruly laborers fought pitched battles with the law enforcers in Ashulia for higher minimum wage hike.

The authorities of dozens of factories in Ashulia area suspended their production for Thursday fearing violence, it said.

The Bangladeshi government board on Nov. 4 recommended 5,300 taka (about 68 U.S. dollars) as the minimum monthly wage for the country's 4 million garment workers, nearly a 77 percent hike from the existing monthly pay.

The garment factory owners then rejected the minimum wage fixed by the board.

The South Asian country's garment sector, which turns out 20 billion U.S. dollars' worth of exports annually, comprises about 5, 000 factories employing more than 4 million workers, 80 percent of whom are women.


One dead, dozens injured in Bangladesh hartal violence

DHAKA, Nov. 10 (Xinhua) -- An auto-rickshaw passenger was dead and dozens of others including cops injured Sunday in stray incidents of violence during the first day of a nationwide 84-hour non-stop general strike enforced by Bangladesh's main opposition alliance.

Nirmal Das, 45, died on Sunday morning when the auto-rickshaw he was travelling in overturned after being allegedly chased by strikers in Chittagong, some 242 km southeast of capital Dhaka. Full story

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