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Bangladesh Apparel Sector Pleads For Protection From Striking Workers

Leaders in the Bangladesh apparel sector are urging the government to protect them from strikes and protests in order to avoid negative impacts on the country’s economy. The country is in the midst of a three-day countrywide shutdown, and the appeal was made at a meeting with Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul.

“We want to run our business uninterruptedly. We need to find a solution to stop the strikes and protect our economy,” Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), as quoted in just-style.

The current delays may lead to order cancellations, according to Mohiuddin.

“Many entrepreneurs are facing discounts, cancellation and deferred payment for failing to make timely shipments. It’s a matter of fear the buyers are threatening to cancel orders for delays in delivery.”

Strikes and protests are recurrent features of the Bangladeshi business landscape. Owners often fail to pay workers for overtime, sometimes for months at a time. Safety concerns also prompt worker action.

Recent mass protests have centered on raising the minimum wage, which is currently only $36 a month. Owners contend that the low wages protect their competitive advantage in international markets and an increase would lead to losing orders.