Bangladesh workers resume production as Hasina gets tough

Dhaka, Dec 14 (IANS) Production partially resumed in garment factories in Bangladesh Tuesday as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ordered tough action against the agitators in a bid to end violence that has left four people dead.

Hasina also ordered the setting up of two committees to look into the implementation of the new wage structure formulated for workers in the readymade garments sector.

One committee will conduct a review to remove any discrepancy as alleged by workers’ representatives, while the other will monitor the enforcement of new wages announced in June.

Production resumed Monday in three of five units in Dhaka’s Export Processing Zone (EPZ) and in two units of the 13 in Chittagong EPZ, as workers returned to some factories.

The latest bout of violence Sunday on wage grievances left four people dead and 200 injured in Chittagong, Dhaka and Narayanganj.

The workers returned to their jobs after factory owners assured them of full benefits from the new pay scales and payment of arrears for November, The Daily Star said Tuesday.

Hasina Monday told authorities to identify those involved in the unrest and take stern actions against them. She also asked ministers to remain alert to possible conspiracies to create unrest in the nation’s top-earning sector.

Home Minister Sahara Khatun told the meeting that ‘outsiders, not the garment workers,’ were involved in the vandalism.

Police filed four cases accusing some 33,000 people in connection with the violence in Chittagong and Dhaka.

The apparel industry, which is the country’s highest money-spinner netting $12 billion last year, has heavy foreign investment.

Korean-owned Youngone Ltd restarted production at two factories and expects all 11 of its units to commence operations again by Wednesday. The company was at the centre of the disruptions.

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