Bangladeshi unions demand increased minimum wage

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2023-02-14 17:29:36 – Bangladesh

Bangladeshi unions are urging the government to establish a wage board to evaluate the minimum pay for the nation's garment workers.

Affiliates of ndustriAll in Bangladesh are calling for a rise in the minimum wage for garment workers from BDT8,000 (US$75) to BDT23,000 ($215) as employees struggle to make ends meet due to rising inflation.

Affiliates of the global union are requesting that the government of Bangladesh "immediately" establish a minimum wage board to evaluate the minimum monthly salaries. According to Bangladeshi labor law, a new wage board must be established every five years to determine the pay scales for each industry. The minimum wage for entry-level garment employees was set at BDT8,000 ($75) in 2018, the last time the government examined the pay of garment workers.

Before presenting a memo to the Labor Ministry on February 5, the IndustriALL Bangladesh Council and Garment Sramik Karmachari Okko Parishod staged a protest in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka. The demands include a BDT23,000 ($215) minimum salary for entry-level garment workers, with an annual raise of 10% rather than the existing 5%. In light of the rising expense of living, workers' unions also call for rationing facilities.

Between 2018 and 2022, the market environment in Bangladesh underwent a significant change, according to IndustriAll. It has become impossible for workers to afford a respectable quality of living due to the increasing inflation. In August 2022, Bangladesh's inflation rate reached 9.5%, the highest level in eleven years. Between July 2022 and January 2023, RMG exports from the nation climbed by 14.31% to $27.418 billion.

Amirul Haque Amin, president of IndustriAll Bangladesh Council, said that the administration must right away reassemble the national minimum wage board with labor representatives on it. Garment workers are in a terrible predicament as a result of rising prices. Accordingly, their wages must be changed, and suitable social security measures must also be taken.

Prior to going to press, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has not replied to Just Style's request for comment.

Bangladesh digitized its salaries for garment workers in November of last year. To give employees "more convenient, safer, and smarter options" than cash, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Mastercard developed special credit and pre-paid card services in collaboration with SouthEast Bank Ltd.

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