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Bangladesh: BGMEA Shuts 55 Garment Factories Amid Wage Strike

Workers in Bangladesh are striking over wages and at least 55 factories in the Ashulia area have been closed indefinitely. With the workers absent, factories were forced to shutter.

“Managements of the factories where workers observed work abstention for the last nine days have been forced to declare their units shut from Tuesday according to provision of the 13(1) of labor law,” the Financial Express reported Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) president Siddiqur Rahman as saying at a press conference in Dhaka.

The conference was called to discuss the current labor situation in Ashulia and what to do about it.

Workers last won a battle for better wages in 2013 when the Bangladesh government agreed to a 77 percent increase, bringing the minimum wage to $68 a month, but no hikes have happened since.

So far, BGMEA has deemed the work abstention illegal as workers did not act in accordance with appropriate procedures, like filing written demands with the factory or the government.

Those workers on strike will not receive any pay for the days they are out of the factory.

Bangladesh has been continuously making strides to improve conditions in its ready-made garment sector, and the World Bank said recently that it has the potential to become an export powerhouse if it can undertake efforts to boost its international competitiveness and productivity.

As part of efforts to do just that, a new testing lab for accessories manufacturers will soon launch to help Bangladesh improve its product quality with timely and reliable testing.

London-based company DP Rail also signed a memorandum of understanding with Bangladesh Railway to finance, build and operate a new railway in Dhaka connecting with a port at Payra, according to the Financial Express. The railway is expected to provide a quick and high-capacity export route for garments made in Bangladesh.