Police in Bangladesh used batons, rubber bullets and teargas on Wednesday to quell continuing protests by garment workers demanding higher wages for making cheap clothes for export to Europe and the United States. The booming garment industry in the poor and unstable south Asian state made headlines earlier this year when a factory producing clothes for the west collapsed , killing more than 1, people. Companies such as Walmart, Primark, Gap and other household names have since spent months discussing new schemes designed to improve conditions in workshops where their products are made. Bangladesh is the world's second-largest garment manufacturing country after China. The fifth day of protests in two industrial districts near Dhaka, the capital, forced authorities to close hundreds of factories for the day, police and news reports said. Factory owners say it is difficult for them to significantly raise the minimum wage because the global brands are unwilling to pay higher prices amid stiff competition and a protracted economic crisis in the west. The government has set up a panel to review the minimum wage but workers are unwilling to wait until November, when it is supposed to make its recommendations.
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Informal garment and textile workers, a huge workforce in some countries, are often invisible — especially those who work in their homes. But garment workers . Each year, workers pour into clothing manufacturing areas like Ashulia in search of jobs, despite a low minimum wage of $37 a month. Women, who make up
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India is the third largest exporter of clothing from Asia after China and Hong Kong accounting for
The garment industry exemplifies the challenges of global manufacturing: Informal garment and textile workers, a huge workforce in some countries, are often invisible — especially those who work in their homes. But garment workers are organizing, and policy gains are being made.