Government officials, garment manufacturers and union leaders in Bangladesh today (31 October) have failed to agree on a rise in the minimum wage paid to garment workers.

Bangladesh's garment factory owners proposed a minimum wage increase of 50% to BDT4500 (US$57.88) per month in the latest round of pay talks.

This beats an earlier offer of a 20% rise to BDT3600 (US$46.30) tabled last month, which triggered violent protests across industrial belts by workers demanding more. 

But the labour representative on the wage board rejected the latest proposal as unacceptable for the country's 4m garment workers.

"We'll submit a revised proposal to the board in the next meeting, scheduled to be held on 4 November," Sirajul Islam Rony told just-style. In August, Rony demanded a minimum monthly wage of BDT8,114 ($104.36). 

Garment makers and labour leaders last month pledged to work together on wages to try to prevent more violence from breaking out.

Talking to the just-style, Arshad Jamal Dipu, representing the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters' Association (BGMEA), said there was no scope to review the factory' owners' proposal because of the investments being made to upgrade fire and building safety.

He also said the BGMEA took into account the general inflationary pressures on the economy during since November 2010, as well as rising production costs, raw material prices and the overall capacity of the industry when finalising its revised proposal.

Once finalised, the new wage structure will come into effect from 1 November.

The six-member wage board was set up in June to look at lifting the existing BDT3,000 (US$38.58) entry-level minimum wage for a worker in Bangladesh, which was set in 2010.

The minimum wage and other issues, including poor workplace safety, have drawn criticism internationally after the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory building in April with the loss of more than 1,100 lives.