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7 Mär 2023

Bangladesh: Garment worker unions & labour orgs. demand minimium wage increase amid rising inflation

In 2022, Bangladeshi trade unions and labour organisations demanded a a minimum wage increase for garment workers, which currently stands at 8,000 Tk. The demands have varied across groups between 22,000 Tk and 25,000 Tk as the new minimum wage. This comes as workers across the country are face rising inflation and report struggling to make ends meet. The last time the minimum wage was increased was in 2018, as Bangladesh's labour law requires the formation of a new wage board every five years to set wages across all industries.

Demands from some unions also include a yearly increment of 10%, as opposed to the current 5%, ration facilities for workers, and the removal of two grades from the existing seven-grade wage structure for garment workers, which unions allege keeps workers under-graded.

In March 2023, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) confirmed that the government had formed a wage board to review the minimum wage.

On 15 March 2023, leaders of 12 labour rights bodies held a joint press conference calling for a new wage board to be formed within 30 days, and a minimum wage of Tk 25,000. The groups also announced several demonstrations that would take place between March and April.

In April 2023, the government announced it had formed the minimum wage board to review wages of the country's readymade garment workers.