Police in Bangladesh today booked nearly 4,000 garment sector workers protesting against a new wage structure announced last week, signalling tough measures to curb industrial violence that has caused large-scale destruction and halted production.
Forty of the trade union leaders of the striking workers were named for the continuing unrest in the industrial suburb of Narayanganj where workers have barricaded the roads and engaged in pitched battles with the police, Star Online, the website of The Daily Star, said.
Among those named was Montu Ghosh, adviser of the Garment Sramik Trade Union Kendra, also a leader of the Communist Party of Bangladesh.
He was placed on an 11-day remand in connection with five cases filed for creating unrest in the readymade garment sector.
While some workers's bodies have fallen in line, others have continued agitation against a seven-layer wage structure that guarantees Taka 2,500 for an apprentice and Taka 3,000 at the entry point, up from Taka 1,660.
Workers are agitating for Taka 5,000 as the minimum wage. Taka 69 make a US dollar.
Readymade garments and knitwear are Bangladesh's highest money-spinning sectors that netted $12 billion last year in foreign exchange earnings.
However, the sector has been ailing for long due to poor wages and working conditions for its 3.5 million workers, mostly women. Employers have in the past gone back on wage pacts, resulting in frequent clashes, vandalising of factories and suspension of production.