Bangladesh police end worker hunger strike with tear gas

Workers called for a national strike in Bangladesh after police used tear gas and batons to forcibly end a 10-day protest.

Bangladesh police end worker hunger strike with tear gas

World Bulletin / News Desk

Protesting workers in a Bangladesh garment factory have called for an indefinite industry-wide strike on Thursday.

They made the call after police forcibly ousted them from a factory run by the Tuba garment group, where they had staged a 10-day hunger strike in demand for salaries unpaid for three months.

Kalpana Akter, the executive director the Bangladesh Centre for Workers Solidarity said: "We are still discussing with our colleagues and workers to decide whether to support the call of indefinite strike in garment factories by Tuba group workers. But, the fact is that police action against workers and not paying workers wages is of course not acceptable."

Police used tear gas and baton charges to force the protesting workers out of the factory, and detained some of the organizers, including Moshrefa Mishu and Joly Talukder, assistant general secretary of the Bangladesh Trade Union Centre.

The protesters had continued their hunger strike even on Eid al-Fitr, the day of religious celebrations that marks the end of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.

The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association had mediated for two months of payment to be made but the workers rejected the offer and continued their strike, demanding all outstanding payments at once.

The offer was made after a meeting between the association, workers and government representatives including Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan and Labor Minister Mojibul Haque Chunni, who requested the workers end their strike.

The workers also demanded that the overturning of bail granted to the Tuba group's Managing Director Delwar Hossain on Tuesday. Hossain had been jailed in relation to a fire at one of the group's factories in 2012, which killed 112 workers.

Bangladesh's ready made garment industry has become a $19 billion industry but 1,800 have died in accidents since 2005, according to the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety. The deadliest accident was in 2013 when an eight-story building housing clothing factories, apartments and several shops collapsed in Savar, killing 1,129 people and injuring 2,515 others.  

Güncelleme Tarihi: 08 Ağustos 2014, 09:57
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