A union working with the strikers said 288 had been fired for going on strike. Free Trade Union president Chea Mony told Reuters that the dismissals are “completely illegal” and that the strikes are in fact legal.
Hundreds of workers also protested at a provincial court on Tuesday to demand the release of workers who were arrested on June 3. Thousands of workers have been holding strikes and protests since May 21 to demand a pay increase of $14 a month to cover living costs on top of the minimum wage of $74 a month.
The protests have turned violent, with 23 workers injured at the end of May, including a pregnant woman who lost her baby after being pushed to the ground by police. About 4,000 workers forced their way into the Nike factory on June 3 and clashed with those who had remained on the job.
Unrest in the garment industry has also appeared in Bangladesh after the factory collapse that killed 1,127 people. As many as 20,000 people took to the streets to demand better pay and conditions. They were similarly met with violence from police to disperse a crowd occupying a road.
For its part, the Bangladesh government has said it will raise the minimum wage for garment workers following the collapse and also make it easier for them to form unions. Eight major retailers have also signed a binding factory safety upgrade agreement in the country.