Bangladesh clothes factories reopen after safety shutdown

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Bangladesh clothes factories reopen after safety shutdown

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Hundreds of textile factories in Bangladesh have reopened after protests over pay and working conditions in the wake of last month’s deadly building collapse.

The plants had been closed by the authorities on safety grounds in the Ashulia industrial belt on the outskirts of the capital Dhaka.

At the Setara Group factory it is hoped that production will be back in full swing over the weekend. Workers said they want factories to continue running in order to keep their jobs.

“I’ve been working in this factory for a long time and we’ve never faced any problems,” said Fatema Begum, one of the employees. “There were problems at other factories in the area after the Rana Plaza collapsed so we closed. We want to let the industry run smoothly so we can survive. We want our factories to remain open.”

International workers organisations have welcomed an agreement signed by 31 Western clothes brands to improve safety at factories in Bangladesh.

The collapse of the eight-storey Rana Plaza complex on April 24 is known to have killed 1,127 people.

Earlier this week the government approved an amendment to labour laws, paving the way for parliament to allow textile workers to form trade unions without prior approval from factory owners.

It also formed a wage board to consider pay increases for garment workers.