Around 55 Bangladesh garment factories are understood to have declared themselves shut for an indefinite period following an "illegal strike" by workers demanding a wage hike.

The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) made the announcement at a press conference in Dhaka yesterday (20 December), explaining that workers had undertaken work abstention for nine days without following appropriate procedures.

According to the provision of 13(1) of the country's Labour Act, workers are required to place any written demands to either the government or the factory. And, an employer may, in the event of an illegal strike in any section or department of any establishment, close down either wholly or partly such section or establishment.

The abstention was termed "illegal" by the BGMEA, which said that according to the law, workers would not get any wage for the period of closure.

The BGMEA recently undertook a transparency initiative, funded by the C&A Foundation, aimed at creating a digit map of the country's ready-made garment industry.

A first of its kind, the programme will map RMG factories across all garment-producing districts in Bangladesh, providing a detailed database of factories, including subcontractors, on an interactive, digital map.

C&A Foundation funds Bangladesh transparency programme