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27 Jul 2023

The Daily Star

Bangladesh: Labour leaders & economists call for Tk25,000 (USD230) min wage for garment workers amid increased cost of living

"Set Tk 25,000 as minimum wage for RMG workers", 27 July 2023

The government must fix a minimum wage of Tk25,000 (USD230) for garment workers considering the increased cost of living, said noted economists and rights leaders at a discussion yesterday.

The discussion was organised by Bangladesh Garment Sramik Sanghati at Jatiya Press Club.

The speakers also called for an end to abrupt termination of workers, filing of fake cases, and suppression of rights. They also urged the government to scrap the Essential Services Bill 2023.

...garment worker Shahida Akter expressed concern over inadequate wages, which leads to financial instability among the workers' families...

Noting the inflation, Taslima Akhtar, organisation president, said, "Even though prices of essentials as well as RMG products are increasing, the workers' wages are not."

She blamed low wages for the decreasing number of female employees in the sector...

Sabina Yasmin of Naripokkho said those who protests in this regard are often silenced...

Economist Prof Anu Muhammad said women have to combat various challenges while commuting to work from home. "We have to ensure that existing policies on preventing sexual harassment are implemented properly. Besides, facilities like daycare centres should be made available for female workers," he said.

Terming the current wage structure "exploitative", he said, "When democracy is absent, workers become the biggest victims. So, workers must raise their demands through a democratic movement."

At the event, speakers also demanded facilities such as medical allowances and life insurance for workers...