BBC Home > BBC News > South Asia

Garment workers in Dhaka protest

2 January 08 12:02 GMT

Hundreds of garment workers have taken to the streets in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, in protest over the sudden closure of their factory.

They blocked roads in the Sheorepara area of the city, causing huge traffic jams during rush hour.

The workers say that they were paid so poorly at the factory they could barely afford to buy enough food to live.

Many people have been hit hard by spiralling food prices, which in some cases have doubled over the last year.

Severe destitution

Garments are Bangladesh's biggest export earners - accounting for 75% of total export earnings last year.

But workers have taken to the streets regularly over the past few months in protest over pay and conditions.

Garment workers say that even if they are paid the national minimum wage of $25 (£13) a month - it is difficult to buy enough food, especially when the price of staple goods such as rice and oil has become so expensive.

Correspondents say that many garment factories in Bangladesh are under threat of closure because of competition from other Asian countries.

They say that those workers who have lost their jobs in the latest factory closure face a life of severe destitution.

Business leaders and politicians from the two largest political parties have called on the government to ensure that the prices of essential goods do not rise further.

Related BBC sites

*