I hope this is the start of a movement that results in these workers forming unions, because they won't get much from the owners until they have no other choice:
Hundreds of thousands of garment workers walked out of their factories in Bangladesh Thursday, police said, to protest the deaths of 200 people in a building collapse, in the latest tragedy to hit the sector.
Grief turned to anger as the workers, some carrying sticks, blockaded key highways in at least three industrial areas just outside the capital Dhaka, forcing factory owners to declare a day’s holiday.
“There were hundreds of thousands of them,” said Abdul Baten, police chief of Gazipur district, where hundreds of large garment factories are based. “They occupied roads for a while and then dispersed.”
Police inspector Kamrul Islam said the workers had attacked several factories whose bosses had refused to give employees the day off.
“They were protesting the deaths of the workers in Savar,” he said, referring to the town outside Dhaka where Wednesday’s collapse of an eight-storey building housing five garment factories took place, injuring more than 1,000 people.
“Many wanted to donate blood to their fellow workers,” he added.
Some 1,500 workers marched to the Dhaka headquarters of the main manufacturers association, demanding the owners of the collapsed factories be punished.
“The owners must be hanged,” one protester cried, as others tried to lay seige to the headquarters.
Some workers smashed windows and vehicles before they were chased away by police, Wahidul Islam, a deputy commissioner of Dhaka police, told AFP.
Rescuers in Savar pulled dozens of bodies from the collapsed building on Thursday as the death toll in the country’s worst industrial disaster reached 200, police said.
Managers had allegedly ignored workers’ warnings that the building had become unstable.