Garment workers work at a textile factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, 03 May 2020. EFE-EPA FILE/MONIRUL ALAM

One textile worker killed in fresh unrest in Bangladesh over wage hike

Dhaka, Nov 8 (EFE).- At least one worker was killed and another was critically injured as unrest over a wage hike in Bangladesh’s textile industry continued on Wednesday.

Bangladesh authorities on Tuesday announced a 56 percent raise in the minimum wage for the country’s millions of textile workers amid violent protests.

The government said that the new minimum wage for workers would be 12,500 taka ($112.60), a 56.25 percent increase.

The new wage will be effective from Dec. 1, Bangladesh’s junior minister for labor affairs, Monnujan Sufian, said.

However, trade union leaders, who were demanding 23,000 taka ($207.20) as the minimum wage, rejected the government’s decision and vowed to continue the protest.

Bangladesh last revised salaries for textile workers in 2018, when it set a minimum wage of 8,000 taka per month.

Protests erupted on Wednesday in Gazipur district’s Konabari area, where thousands of workers took to the streets in the morning, rejecting the new minimum wage and demanding a review of the government’s decision.

The officer-in-charge of the Konabari police station, Ashraf Uddin, said that the police had removed the workers from the streets without providing more details.

Dhaka Medical College Hospital police outpost in-charge Bacchu Mia told EFE that two injured workers were taken to the hospital in critical condition after clashes.

“One female worker, aged around 22, was declared dead at the hospital. A man who is about 42 years old is now undergoing treatment,” he said.

At least 10 workers had been injured in the clashes, local newspaper Prothom Alo reported citing police sources.

At least two workers were killed and several others injured in Gazipur as the workers’ protest turned violent last week.

The unrest soon spread to other areas, triggering clashes that forced hundreds of factories to suspend their operations.

The textile sector in Bangladesh has faced intense scrutiny for years due to poor working conditions, especially after the collapse of the Rana Plaza complex in 2013, in which 1,100 workers were killed and 2,500 injured.

Textiles accounted for nearly 85 percent of Bangladesh’s total exports worth $55 billion last year. EFE