The United States on Wednesday condemned recent violence against readymade garment workers in Bangladesh protesting over minimum wage hike for the sector labourers.
The US Department of States spokesperson Matthew Millar, in a statement headlined ‘On Worker Rights and Wage Protests in Bangladesh’ and posted on the department’s website, also condemned the criminalization of legitimate worker and trade union activities.
The US state department’s statement came on the day when a female garment worker was killed and 10 others injured in a clash between RMG workers and law enforcers in Gazipur.
‘The United States condemns recent violence against workers in Bangladesh protesting over the minimum wage, as well as the criminalization of legitimate worker and trade union activities. We were saddened by the reported killing by police last week of Rasel Howlader, a 26-year-old factory worker and union member from Sommilito Garments Sramik Federation,’ the statement read.
‘Additionally, we mourn the loss of Imran Hossain, a 32-year-old worker who died in a fire set by protestors inside a Dhaka factory. We extend our condolences to their families and the greater labor communities,’ it said.
‘We are also concerned about the ongoing repression of workers and trade unionists. We call on the government of Bangladesh to protect workers’ right to peaceful protest and investigate allegations of false criminal charges against workers and labor leaders,’ it said.‘We commend the members of the private sector who have endorsed union proposals for a reasonable wage increase. The United States urges the tripartite process to revisit the minimum wage decision to ensure that it addresses the growing economic pressures faced by workers and their families,’ the statement read.
‘Governments must ensure workers are able to exercise their rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining without fear of violence, reprisal, or intimidation. Through our work in Bangladesh and globally, we are firmly committed to advancing these fundamental human rights,’ the statement said.
The RMG workers demonstrated on Wednesday rejecting the government announced minimum wage of Tk 12,500 per month and demanding Tk 23,000 per month as minimum wage for the sector workers.
They were on demonstration for past couple of weeks to press home their demand of hiking their minimum wage as Tk 23,000 per month and the demonstrations witnessed action from law enforcement agencies.
Earlier on October 30, two workers were killed and 30 others injured in clashes in Gazipur and Savar over the pay hike demonstrations.