BANGLADESH: Wage hike for garment workers ruled out
Bangladesh's state minister for labour has told just-style an immediate pay hike for garment sector workers is not possible despite employees' demands for a 30% increase.
"At least there should be a gap of three years between two wage reviews," labour minister Begum Monnujan Sufian said. "The last review came into effect in November 2010 raising minimum monthly pay to BDT3,000 [US$36]."
But employee organisations are not ready to give in. "We stick to our demand for a 30% wage hike," Abul Hossain, president of the Textile Garments Workers Federation (TGWF) told just-style, adding wages have "not kept pace with the rising cost of living."
In mid-June, protests by garment workers led to the temporary closure of 300 factories. There is no threat of fresh strike action, but global clothing buyers have been raising concerns over Bangladeshi worker unrest.
Last month CEO of Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) Karl-Johan Persson met Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and urged regular reviews of workers' salaries.
Despite this, garment employees doubt buyers' sympathies.
"We know that more than 80% of the share in the profit from the RMG [ready-made garment] is consumed by foreign brands. Less than 20% out of total profit are consumed by the local manufacturers," the TGWF said in a recent statement, calling for a proportionate distribution of profits.
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