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Bangladeshi textile workers clash with police over pay

Thousands of Bangladeshi garment workers have clashed with police over the failure of factories to implement a new, higher minimum wage.

The latest riots in the country over pay took place in the capital Dhaka and the port city of Chittagong and left three people dead and at least 250 injured.

About 4,000 workers attacked factories and vehicles, resulting in the closure of some 300 factories in the Chittagong Export Processing Zone, an area home to about 70 foreign companies.

The textile workers, who produce clothes for retailers including Marks & Spencer, H&M and Tesco, took to the streets in anger after they were not paid a new minimum wage which was set to come in to effect last month.

Bangladesh’s two million garment workers are among the lowest paid in the world. Their monthly minimum wage was supposed to rise from $23 (£14.60) to $43 (£27.30) from December 1 but not all companies have implemented the new rate.

Some workers were also angered by the fact that new workers would be paid the same amount as longer-serving employees.

Protests over the minimum wage in the country have been ongoing with riots taking place in recent months, impacting the ability of factories to operate.

Bangladesh has about 4,000 textile factories which export mainly to businesses in the US and Europe, which have been attracted to the region by low labour costs.

Garment exports have risen from $5bn (£3.2bn) eight years ago to $12bn (£76.bn), accounting for 80% of Bangladesh’s annual exports, according to the Financial Times.

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