EU concerned over garment sector violence in Bangladesh

Dhaka, July 6 (Calcutta Tube) The European Union (EU), whose member-nations are among the major importers of Bangladeshi readymade garments, has expressed ‘concern’ at the prospects of consignment delays caused by continuing industrial violence.

A three-member delegation led by the EU Ambassador Stefan Frowein met Labour minister Khandakar Mosharraf Hossain and spoke about their concern.

They told the minister that the EU and their citizens, who are consumers of the Bangladeshi garment products, are very worried over the state of the sector.

The delegation asked the government to intervene quickly to restore a peaceful atmosphere, Hossain told reporters quoting the EU representatives, The Daily Star newspaper said.

Twenty-six factories from out an estimated 250 were closed again Monday after violence in Ashulia and Narayanganj on the national capital’s outskirts.

All factories were closed last month when the violence was widespread, leading to injuries to over 200 people.

The Bangladesh government is also ‘worried’ at the continuing violence and disruption of production.

Hossain Sunday told New Age that he had requested the global importers not to worry over the unrest in the local garment industries.

Industrial violence is a recurring phenomenon in Bangladesh’s readymade garments and knitwear sectors that earned $12 billion in foreign exchange last year.

Poor working conditions and low wages have led to frequent clashes.

A global survey by the Vienna-based International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) last month called Bangladeshi workers in these sectors ‘world’s poorest paid’, and noted that the abuse of workers’ rights had gone up in the last two years.

Workers are demanding Taka 5,000 ($86), while employers want to pay no more than Taka 1,600 ($26) a month.

Factory owners have gone back on wage pacts and have delayed paying festival bonuses.

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