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The death toll in Bangladesh has topped 200 after an eight-story garment factory building collapsed with thousands of workers inside. More than 1,000 people were injured, and an unknown number of workers are still trapped in the wreckage. Cracks had been found in the building, but workers say the factory owners forced them to go to work anyway.
Protests broke out in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka today as angry workers blocked key highways, marched on several factories, and rallied outside the headquarters of Bangladesh’s main manufacturers group. The disaster comes exactly five months after a massive fire killed at least 112 garment workers at Bangladesh’s Tazreen factory, which made clothing sold by Wal-Mart, among other companies.
Bangladesh now is the second-largest garment exporter in the world, right after China. And as a matter of fact, the Chinese garment factories are moving to Bangladesh because of the low wages, 14 cents an hour up to about 24 cents an hour. The workers are hard-working; they work 14 hours a day. They’ll work often seven days a week. Bangladesh is sacrificing all of these young women, who are just being brutalized, starvation wages. There is no right to organize in Bangladesh.
Ted Rudow III, MA