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2,000 jobs lost due to workers’ agitation: Bangladeshi minister


Dhaka : Over 2,000 jobs were lost as a garment factory was burnt down in a workers’ agitation for which instigation came from “a certain quarter”, a Bangladeshi minister has said.

Finance Minister A.M.A. Muhith did not elaborate on his allegation while replying to queries in parliament Tuesday.

He said the police “are badly corrupt, and it is a tough job to improve this situation”, The Daily Star reported.

The minister said the government is mulling over formation of an industrial police to control untoward situations in garment factories.

Several units of Ha-Meem garment factory were burnt down during the three day agitation in which two workers died and over 200 people, including policemen, were injured on the outskirts of the capital.

Sanjiv Behal, the Indian origin executive of the firm, said the company would relocate its operations. But half of its 4,000 workers would have to go.

Having an annual turnover of $7 million, the firm had a full order book, Bahal said.

Readymade garments and knitwear are Bangladesh’s highest export earners.

The country’s export earnings during the ten months of the last fiscal (July 2008 to April 2009) totalled $1.2 billion, marking 12.76 percent rise, according to data of the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).

“Spill-over effect” of long-pending demands of workers, along with corruption among police and traders who deal in garments discarded as part of the quality control was cited by The Daily Star as the reason for the latest round of violence.

Low wages and poor working conditions and the employers going back on agreements are the basic reasons for frequent industrial violence in Bangladesh’s garment industry.