Bangladeshi textile workers on protest

Dhaka, September 30 :

Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets on thousands of textile workers demanding higher wages in the Bangladesh capital, injuring at least 50 people, police said today.

Police fired the tear gas to try to disperse some 3,000 workers who went on the rampage over demands for better wages and a new work timetable for the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan, police chief S M Naimur Rahman said. The workers smashed cars and buses and vandalised shops in markets in Dhaka’s northern residential district of Uttara, he said.

At least 50 people, including some police officers, were injured in clashes between the two groups that lasted two hours. Hundreds of cars and buses were left stranded along a major national highway, he added.

Bangladesh has been rocked since May by a series of protests over low wages in the growing textile sector. At least 16 factories have been torched and hundreds ransacked by tens and thousands of rioting workers.

Early this month, unions rejected a minimum wage of $23 announced by the government’s National Wage Commission and demanded at least $29 per month.