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Friday, February 23, 2024

New minimum wage to be announced today as workers unrest impacts Bangladeshi exports

As unrest among garment workers continues in Bangladesh the State Minister for Labor and Employment, Begum Monnujan assured that a new salary structure would be announced on November 7, after the sixth round of the wage board meeting.

Garment workers in Bangladesh have been protesting for the last 11 days to increase the minimum wage to Tk2300 while the garment manufacturers declared that they are willing to increase the minimum wage by 20 percent to TK1010. None of the stakeholders hinted at the mutually agreed minimum wage.

To console the workers the state minister hinted at launching ration cards for the workers so that they can buy essential commodities at cheaper prices. Factory owners’ representative on the board, said primarily family cards will be given to the workers along with the increased salary. Later, he added that ration cards would be given to the workers so they could buy essentials at cheaper rates.

Nazma Akter, president of the Sammilito Garment Sramik Federation, called the issuance of family cards or ration cards to the workers an excellent initiative for the government. Sirajul Islam Rony, the workers’ representative on the board, said the new wage structure is expected to be announced today. He also did not comment on the amount of minimum wage to be fixed.

Faruque Hassan, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), said they want the salary to be fixed soon as the sector has faced losses due to the latest unrest.

Meanwhile, the political unrest and the garment workers’ agitation in the apparel sector have started to take a toll on the economy that is already grappling with elevated inflation, a depleting dollar stockpile, slowing exports, and decelerating private sector activities.

Both passenger and cargo traffic on the roads inside the cities and highways has drastically reduced for fear of getting caught up in clashes. The seaports, which handle 90 percent of Bangladesh’s $130 billion international trade, have registered a decline in cargoes as businesses preferred not to transport goods — be that industrial raw materials or consumer goods — during blockades to avoid any risk of damage.

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