Bangladesh garment workers protest over unpaid wages

DPA Dhaka | Updated on August 03, 2014

Hundreds of garment workers from five factories in Bangladesh protested in central Dhaka on Sunday, demanding that three months of overdue wages be immediately paid along with extra allowance for the Eid holidays. The demonstration comes after nearly 100 factory workers went on hunger strike last Monday. The workers have not been paid since April because the factories’ owner is in jail.

Delwar Hossain, owner of the Tuba Group, was arrested in February on homicide charges for the 112 garment workers who died in the 2012 fire at Tazreen Fashions factory, which he owned.

Participants in Sunday’s protest laid siege to the headquarters of the Bangladesh Garment Manufactures’ and Exporters Association (BGMEA).

“The Industries Ministry will also be under workers’ siege if the government fails to act properly,” said Mushrefa Mishu, head of Bangladesh Garment Sramik Oikya Forum, at the demonstration. Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said in statement the workers will be paid in the next one or two days.

“We have no other option but to stay on the street until we get the salary,” said Mohammad Miraz, a worker at the Bukshan Garments factory, owned by the Tuba Group. He said he could not celebrate the major religious festival because he had not been paid.

Abullah Baki said his life has been miserable for the past three months. “The owner should feel the pinch we are bearing without money and food,” he said.

Bangladesh, the second largest clothing producer after China, adds more than 70 per cent of its total export earnings, mostly from Europe and United States. But its factories have largely been criticized over poor safety standards and delayed payment of salaries.

Published on August 03, 2014

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