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Demanding higher wages, workers in Bangladesh attack garment factories
Tuesday November 12, 2013 8:00 PM, Agencies

Over 100 garment factories were closed in Ashulia and Savar areas, an industrial belt on the outskirts of Bangladesh's capital, on Monday after workers demanding higher pay clashed with police and attacked factories.

The workers have rejected a proposed 5,300 takas ($66.25) monthly minimum wage, a raise by 77 percent. They demand 8,114 takas ($100) instead in place of 3,000 takas ($38) they currently get.

A government-appointed panel voted last week to raise the minimum wage for millions of garment workers to about $66 a month — still the lowest in the world. But factory owners have not endorsed it and urged the government to revise the proposed amount, reported Associated Press.

They argue that the proposed amount for an unskilled newcomer would destroy the industry amid fiercely competitive global market. They say, if effective, their production cost would increase significantly while global brands bargain hard amid a protracted economic crisis in the West.

Bangladesh's burgeoning garment industry has come under global scrutiny for its often harsh and unsafe conditions after the collapse of an eight-story factory building killed more than 1,100 people in April. In another horrific case, a fire last November killed 112 workers.

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