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11,000 garment workers dismissed after pay protest: IBC

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Staff Reporter  :
At least 11,000 workers have been sacked from garment factories following last month's protest over pay hike.
IndustriAll Bangladesh Council (IBC) disclosed the figure at a press conference held at the National Press Club in Dhaka on Tuesday.
Besides, police filed 34 cases over the labour unrest in Savar, Ashulia and Gazipur accusing some 3,500 workers and arrested over hundred others, according to the industry body.
"Garment owners have dismissed at least 11,000 workers at 99 factories after protests over inconsistency in the minimum wages," said Salauddin Shawpon, Secretary General of IBC while reading out a written statement at the press conference.
He claimed that garment owners dismissed workers after every occasion of pay protest. But this time, the number of sacked workers has reached an all time high. We're concern over the rising number of dismissed workers.
He also demanded reinstatement of the sacked workers and immediate withdrawal of cases against them as they "took part in peaceful protest and did not involved in any vandalism."     
"The latest pay protest was largely peaceful and logical," claimed Salauddin Shawpon, adding, "As a result, the government formed a high-powered body to identify the inconsistencies in the minimum wages. Later, it government revised the minimum wages after discussion with the industry owners and labour leaders."
The IBC urged the authorities to form a tripartite body with representatives from government,   owners and labour leaders to look into these incidents and take necessary steps to bring a peaceful solution over the crisis.
Thousands of workers walked out of their factories during the week-long protest resulting in  closure of hundred of high-rated apparel factories, which supply clothes to top Western brands and retailers.
In September last year, the government raised the minimum monthly wage for RMG workers by around 51 per cent to Tk 8,000 from Tk 5,300. The new wage took effect in December.
But when workers drew their pay in January, they found a huge disparity, triggering the protest.
Later, the government formed a 10-member committee with representatives from the government, union leaders and factory owners to overcome the crisis.
On January 13, the government announced a revised pay structure for the garment sector workers, increasing in both basic and gross wages in six of the seven grades.

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