Monday, December 13, 2010

Bangladesh wage protests turn violent

Three people have been killed and scores injured in Bangladesh as tens of thousands of garment workers clash with police in protest rallies over wages.

Garment workers demanding the implementation of a new minimum wage law, clashed with police in the southeastern city of Chittagong on Sunday, leaving 250 people hurt, AFP reported. 

"Three people have died, including a rickshaw driver that died on the spot after he was hit by a brick," said Meshbahuddin, Chittagong Police Chief. 

Bangladesh's 4,500 garment factories make clothes for many Western brands. The factories must pay workers at least 43 dollars a month, up 80 percent from the minimum wage set in 2006. 

Unions say that the government wage hikes that were due last month have not been implemented by the manufacturers. 

In the country's capital Dhaka, police fired live bullets and tear gas shells at angry workers who torched two vehicles and blocked a main road. 

The protests come a day after Korean company Youngone, the country's largest exporter, closed all 17 of its factories following demonstrations by workers. 

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