Garment production in as many as 50 factories in Bangladesh has been suspended as workers embark on a strike over wages.

Local reports, citing detail given by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) at a press conference, suggest 25 factories are in Ashulia and 25 in Gazipur.

In September, the Bangladesh government raised the minimum worker wage by 51% to BDT8,000 (US$95) per month – half what the IndustriAll Bangladesh Council (IBC) had been seeking. The Council, made up of IndustriAll Global Union affiliates in Bangladesh, said the new wage is "inadequate" to meet the living costs of Bangladeshi garment workers, adding that rent has increased by up to 50%, and other living costs have also increased.

Unions have rejected the proposed wage, saying it should be doubled to BDT16,000 (US$190).

Prior to this, the last increase was made in 2013 following international pressure after a string of fatal factory accidents. This was an increase from BDT3,000 (US$35) adopted in 2010.

The new wage structure is to be implemented in January.

According to the Daily Star, the BGMEA suspects workers are being provoked by small pockets of instigators ahead of the national election on 30 December.

"Workers' demonstration at this moment is not logical as the adjustment of the new wage structure has not been made yet. They are demonstrating based on rumours only," the BGMEA told the conference

On its Facebook page, the BGMEA added the instigators were "trying to spread confusion between workers and common people in the recently increased minimum wage and trying to create an unstable situation in this industry." It urged workers to continue as normal and "unite and work for the sake of industry."