Hundreds of Bangladesh textile plants shut indefinitely

DHAKA (AFP) - Hundreds of factories which form the hub of Bangladesh's garment industry are to close indefinitely after worker unrest sparked by the death of more than 1,100 colleagues, employees announced on Monday.

As the search for bodies from last month's collapse of a factory complex wrapped up, the textile industry's main trade body said all operations at the nearby Ashulia industrial zone were being suspended until further notice.

Mr Shahidullah Azim, of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, said the decision to shut down all the factories at Ashulia, on the outskirts of

Dhaka, was made "to ensure the security of our factories".

"All factories at Ashulia industrial area will be shut down indefinitely from Tuesday due to unrest by the workforce," he told AFP.

The local police chief said that workers in 80 per cent of the factories had walked out earlier in the day to demand an increase in salaries as well as the execution of the owner of the collapsed Rana Plaza complex in the town of Savar.

Most of Bangladesh's top garment factories are based at Ashulia and there has been "virtually no work" there since the April 24 Rana Plaza disaster, Mr Azim said.

Ashulia is home to around 500 factories which make clothing for a string of major Western retailers including Walmart, H&M, Tesco, Inditex and Carrefour.