BANGLADESH: Minimum wage deal imminent
A significant rise in the minimum wage of garment workers in Bangladesh is expected to be announced today (29 July).
Talks between the country's Ministry of Labour and Employment and industry representatives are nearing an end, a source in Bangladesh told just-style.
The ministry has so far made no official statement, but widespread press reports and labour groups report that wages are likely to double, from BDT1,662 (US$23.90) a month to BDT3,000.
It follows recent worker unrest in Bangladesh, but the proposed increase was deemed insufficient by labour-rights groups yesterday.
Wage disputes in Bangladesh's garment industry, one of the lowest paid in the world, have been the source of unrest this year.
Just last month 15,000 workers reportedly blocked roads during a protest in the capital Dhaka.
Currently the world's cheapest sourcing destination for apparel, ministers will be looking to balance workers' rights against its export competitiveness, with garments Bangladesh's main industry.
In March, Fazlul Hoque, president of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BKMEA), told just-style that retailers should support increased wages.
He said: "They should say 'OK, I paid you $1 last year, this year I would like to pay you $1.10, and you have to make sure that extra 10 cents is being spent on the workers'."
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