Bangladesh Minimum Wage
On June 6, 2013, the Bangladesh Government convened a six-member Minimum Wage Board to provide recommendations for a revision to the minimum wage in Bangladesh. At present there is no regularity to the setting of minimum wage levels in Bangladesh with the last change in minimum wage levels happening in 2010.
The Minimum Wage Board was made up of representatives of the owners associations, workers and independent members and reported to the Ministry of Labour.
Far from a living wage
The minimum wage before the increase was 3,000 taka (€28.60) a month for workers in the lowest grade. Just 11% of what the Asia Floor Wage calculates to be a living wage for Bangladesh.
Trade Unions and workers representatives were calling for an increase in the wage to at least 8,000 taka (€76.08) but the owners representatives were calling for a rise to just 3,600 taka (€34.33).
4 million people work in the garment industry in Bangladesh with at least 80% of those women.
Rallies across Dhaka
The past few months have seen widespread industrial action as workers join together to demand wages are set high enough to cover the basic costs of living.
As Clean Clothes Campaign partners the Garment Workers Trade Union Center explained in September “Workers have been demanding a fair wage for a long time. Recent times have witnessed huge demonstrations and strikes in the apparel sector demanding wage increases and enhancement of other benefits. In Bangladesh itself garment workers get less than what workers in many other sectors receive as minimum wage. Even the poverty reduction project undertaken by the government envisage 18000 taka as minimum wage for a family.”
In September the largest demonstration of it's kind took place in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka when over 200,000 garment workers taking part.
Still a long way to go
On 21 November the government of Bangladesh officially announced the new minimum wage of 5,300 taka (€50.32).
Whilst the proposed revision represents a 77% increase on the current minimum wage of 3,000 taka (€28.48) it will still be just 21% of the €259.80 (25,687 taka) that the Asia Floor Wage Alliance, of which Clean Clothes Campaign is a member, calculates to be a living wage for the country.
We urge the government of Bangladesh and the brands and retailers that buy from the country to take urgent steps to ensure every garment worker is paid a wage they can live on.