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50,000 Bangladesh workers booked for violence


Dhaka: As many as 50,000 to 60,000 garment industry workers have been booked for violence over the last weekend in Ashulia, a suburban industrial township on the outskirts of the national capital.

Four cases were lodged at the Ashulia police station by Wednesday evening — one was against 50,000 to 60,000 unnamed people while two were against 180 people on the charge of attacking factories and one against 200 unnamed people.

About the case filed against 50,000 to 60,000 people, New Age quoted the Ashulia police officer-in-charge, Sirajul Islam, as saying: “We have taken the decision to avert further unrest in the area.”

The area’s 250 garment units resumed work Wednesday following assurance of protection from the government.

The private garment sector is Bangladesh’s top foreign exchange earner. It netted $12 billion in 2009.

The latest round of violent protests was triggered over wage dispute. The workers want Taka 5,000 ($86) as minimum wage, while the employers are not willing to pay beyond Taka 1,600.

The garment sector has witnessed recurring violence in Bangladesh where wages are low and working conditions are poor for an estimated three million workers, mostly women.

A global survey by the Vienna-based International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), released here last week, has said that the Bangladeshi workers in this sector are “world’s most poorly paid” and that their exploitation was “on the rise”.