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In an unfortunate update to the April 2013 Bangladesh Rana Plaza building collapse, news reports are stating that workers, who are unsatisfied with the measures taken to improve safety measures and enforce a minimum wage, have protested in the streets of Dhaka and faced violent opposition from local police.
After the collapse of the garment factory earlier in the year, the Ministry of Labour worked to improve safety conditions in factories and increase the garment sector’s minimum wage. However, the pending legislation, which is designed to raise minimum wages from $38/month to $66/month (a 77% increase), still leaves Bangladesh’s 4 million garment workers as the worst paid in the world.
Consequentially, activists and workers have gone to the streets, calling for a minimum wage of $100/month and more safety requirements. On Monday Nov. 11th, 2013, the protests turned violent with the Bangladeshi police firing a water cannon, tear gas and rubber bullets. On the other end, protestors have been reported to be armed with rocks and sticks. As a result of the violence, approximately 100 factories have been closed and 30 injuries have been reported. In essence, this has costed more workers their wages and quite possibly their lives.
Despite the international outcry, the agreement between 70 U.S. an European retailers to upgrade safety conditions and factories, and the government’s meagre efforts – the Rana plaza collapse continues to harm workers in Bangladesh.