DHAKA: Garment workers demanding higher pay clashed with police and attacked factories on Monday in an industrial belt on the outskirts of Bangladesh’s capital.

The workers have rejected a proposed 5,300 takas ($66.25) monthly minimum wage, a raise by 77 per cent.

They demand 8,114 takas ($100) instead of 3,000 takas ($38) they currently get.

A government-appointed panel voted last week to raise the minimum wage for millions of garment workers to about $66 a month — still the lowest in the world.

But factory owners have not endorsed it and urged the government to revise the proposed amount.

They argue that the proposed amount for an unskilled newcomer would destroy the industry amid fiercely competitive global market.

They say, if effective, their production cost would increase significantly while global brands bargain hard amid a protracted economic crisis in the West.

The Ministry of Labour would still have to approve the proposed amount to make it a law.

Bangladesh’s burgeoning garment industry has come under global scrutiny for its often harsh and unsafe conditions after the collapse of an eight-story factory building which killed more than 1,100 people in April.

In another horrific case, a fire last November killed 112 workers.

Mustafizur Rahman, director of the Industrial Police, said at least 100 factories were closed Monday in Ashulia and Savar areas to avoid further violence after the clash started in the morning.

Rahman would not say if there were any injuries, but Somoy TV station says up to 30 people were injured.

”The situation is under control now, but there is no chance to resume work in factories today (Monday),” he said. ”We have remained alert.”

Another top police official of Dhaka district told The Associated Press by phone that they called in paramilitary border guards to aid police in the troubled areas as part of heightening security. see more

source: dawn