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Friday, February 23, 2024

Bangladesh garment workers disappointed with new minimum wage

Garment workers in Bangladesh are disappointed after the Minimum Wage Board at its fourth meeting, proposed Taka 10,400 as the monthly minimum wage for the workers.

The workers have been demanding a monthly minimum wage of Taka 23,000 taking into consideration the high inflation rates in the country and nearly doubling or even tripling in prices of essential commodities.

According to the workers, when the minimum wage was last set in 2018, the government had hiked the minimum wage by 60 percent as against just 30 percent now and that too at a time when inflation is very high.

Media reports quoted a union leader as saying that when considering the wages in foreign currency, in 2018 the government had set the minimum wage at US $100 when one US dollar was quoted at Taka 80, which is now Taka 110.5.

“So if the wages are calculated in foreign currency, the new minimum wage proposal is lower than the existing minimum wage,” the union leader observed.

The Bangladesh workers union argued that other garment exporting countries like China pay $161 as minimum wage, India pays $155, Pakistan $100, Cambodia $200 and Vietnam $190.

According to them, Bangladesh had fixed $100 or Taka 8,000 in 2018 as minimum monthly wage. But if the depreciation of the Taka is taken into account, then their actual wages would be just $74 per month.

A few days back the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) had recommended Taka 17,568 as monthly wage for garment workers and added that factories would be able to easily pay if garment brands increased per unit price by just 7 cents.

US clothing brands too had written to the Prime Minister last week recommending a rise in minimum wages to a figure that is sufficient to cover basic needs, provide discretionary income, and takes into high inflation.

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