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Feeble payrise rejected by campaigners

Jul 28

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28/07/2010 12:52  RssIcon

Bangladesh minimum wage doubled, but it's not enough, say campaigners



This week sustainable fashion company People Tree forwarded 2082 names collected from their their Humanity in Fashion petition to the National Garment Workers Federation to support their call for a threefold increase in the Bangladeshi minimum wage.


2,000 taka short

The BBC reported today (28th July 2010) that the minimum wage has been increased, but not by enough. The minimum wage for garment workers will be raised to 3,000 taka a month, or about $43, from 1,662.50 taka; workers’ groups and unions wanted 5,000 taka. The new wage includes an allowance of 200 taka for medical expenses and 800 for housing.

More than 3 million Bangladeshis work in the garment industry, which accounts for the vast majority of the country’s exports. From 2004 to 2009, the nation’s exports of clothes nearly doubled.


Rejected by some

At least one garment workers’ group denounced the decision, saying the new wage was not enough given that inflation has been as high as 10 percent in recent years. The government last increased minimum wages for the industry in 2006.

“We don’t accept it,” said Mushrefa Mishu, president of the Garment Workers’ Unity Forum, an association that claims to represent more than 60,000 people. “We will go for protests.”


But not all

But a member of the wage board — who was appointed by the government to represent workers’ interests — told the AFP news service that several worker groups had accepted the new minimum wage.

In the last two months, protests by workers demanding higher pay have periodically shut down garment factories across Bangladesh. The protests have often turned violent, leaving some workers and police officers injured.




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