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Bangladesh factory owners threaten to cut off pay to protesting workers

16:30 13-01-2019
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The head of Bangladesh's garment manufacturers association on Sunday called on protesting workers to return to work by Monday or companies will cut off their pay, after demonstrations calling for higher salaries that have lasted for a week, Euronews reports.

The workers' protests, which have broken down into clashes between police and protesters that killed one worker on Tuesday and wounded dozens more last week, pushed the Bangladesh government to consider the demand for higher pay. The country is the world's second-biggest garment exporter behind China.

Seeking to end the turmoil, Siddiqur Rahman, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) threatened to cut off the workers' pay at a news conference after further clashes on Sunday.

"If you don't return to your work by tomorrow, you will not be paid any wages and we will shut down factories for an indefinite period," he said. "Despite repeated assurance of meeting the demands, the workers are being incited to create unrest. We will not allow this anymore."

At least 20 people were hurt after police used teargas and water cannons to disperse workers, who blocked a major highway in the Ashulia garment manufacturing hub, said Saminur Rahman, a director for the Industrial Police, which patrols the country's business hubs.

The Ashulia hub, on the outskirts of the capital, Dhaka, accounts for nearly 20 percent of Bangladesh's total garment exports.