Over 100 Bangladesh garment plants halt operations in the strike

Strikes at garment factories around the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka stretched quite long, disrupting output for brands like H&M in the world's second-largest apparel exporter after China. Thousands of workers are protesting a government minimum-wage hike widely viewed as unfair. At least 100 sewn-goods factories had halted operations. There was one casualty and over 70 injured in clashes with police as some demonstrations turned violent.

A factory that makes garments for  H&M Hennes & Mauritz joined those stopping production, an official at a Dhaka labor union told the media. Japan's Fast Retailing, which operates the Uniqlo casual clothing brand, said no noteworthy strikes were taking place at facilities producing its apparel.

Last month, the government of recently re-elected Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina enacted the national garment industry's first minimum-wage hike in five years, increasing monthly pay by 51 percent to 8,000 Bangladeshi taka ($96). But workers were frustrated, saying the change benefits only a limited segment of employees.

Bangladesh exports $30 billion worth of ready-made garments yearly for global apparel companies, forming just over 80% of the country's exports by value. But apparel companies have pressed for stronger safety checks since a building that housed garment factories collapsed in 2013, killing over 1,000 people.


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