Bangladesh garment workers protest in Dhaka over wages

Workers protest in the streets of Dhaka

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Violence erupted in the Bangladeshi capital as thousands of garment workers protested over a government-backed wage increase that fell short of demands.

Police said protesters blocked traffic and burned cars in Dhaka.

It comes after officials said on Thursday that the minimum monthly wage would rise to 3,000 taka ($43), up from 1,662 taka. However, some labour unions had called for a wage of 5,000 taka.

It follows weeks of violent protests over the issue.

Officials said thousands of workers blocked one of the city's key link road and attacked several cars in a factory district.

A senior police official, Mohammad Kamaluddin, told the BBC that the protesters then pelted factories with stones.

He said another group of garment factory workers had targeted some high-end shops, looting the contents and then setting fire to the buildings.


Additional police forces have been rushed to the violence-hit areas.

"We are rejecting what has been offered as increased wages because it is too inadequate to make ends meet," a worker told Reuters news agency.

Bangladesh-based factories make clothes for international brands such JCPenney, Wal-Mart, H&M, Marks & Spencer, Zara and Carrefour.

More than three million people, most of them women, work in Bangladesh's garment industry. It accounts for more than 80% of annual export earnings, and is worth $15bn.

Pay and working conditions have long been a source of concern.

Factory owners have said growth would be damaged if they increased salaries, but workers say they are not being paid a living wage.

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