After days of labour unrest that forced the closure of hundreds of factories in Bangladesh, the garment manufacturers have agreed to a US$73 minimum monthly wage for the country's four million garment workers. The agreement was reached after garment manufacturers met the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on 13 November when she ordered them to implement the new wages recommended by the government's Minimum Wage Board panel.
The panel voted to raise the minimum salaries to 5,300 taka (US$73) from 3,000 taka this month following a series of disasters in garment factories that highlighted terrible labour conditions and poor wages in thousands of units, many of which make clothing for the world's top retailers.
However, manufacturers opposed the decision dragged saying that it would be impossible for most factories to ratify the panel's decision and argued that workers were less productive while the foreign retailers were not keen to raise order prices in line with the pay hike.
The manufacturers had demanded the new minimum wages be fixed at 4500 taka, but labour ministry stated that it had changed their minds after meeting the prime minister at her office. "During the meeting, the prime minister ordered them to implement the new minimum wages of 5300 taka from December. And they've agreed to implement the pay hike," he said.
Even with the new wages Bangladeshi garment workers would still be the lowest paid in the textile workers across the world.
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