Garment workers in Bangladesh will receive a 77 percent pay increase following a labor strike against the country’s industry, a small step toward victory among a group of workers that has long battled an industry responsible for dangerous working conditions.
Bangladesh garment workers were hoisted into the spotlight earlier this year when the roof of a factory building collapsed, killing more than 1,100. Experts claimed the accident would not have occurred if safety measures had been met.
Despite the pay increase for factory workers, who are largely women, the agreement fell short of the workers’ demands. The negotiated salary will provide workers, on average, with 5,300 taka per month, which equates to roughly $68 per month. Initially, workers requested $3,000 taka a month, or $100 per month.
As garment workers protested the lower-negotiated deal, police fired tear gas and bullets into the crowd as workers occupied the street. Yet the negotiated salary, accepted by union leaders, did prompt some workers to return to the factories.