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4 Jan 2021

Simon Glover, Ecotextile News

Bangladesh: Unions urge govt. to reject garment manufacturers' plea to suspend planned 5% minimum wage increase for garment workers due to pandemic

"Factory owners want minimum wage freeze", 4 January 2021

Union leaders in Bangladesh are urging the government to reject a plea by garment manufacturers to suspend a planned five per cent hike in the minimum wage for garment workers because of the pandemic.

The Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) wants the minimum wage to be frozen for two years to help its members survive the economic impact of COVID-19.

However, the Samilito Garments Sramik Federation (SGSF) says garment workers are already facing abject poverty and desperately need the money to support their families.

Garment factories are legally required to increase their workers' wages by five per cent this year under the country's minimum wage legislation but the BKMEA says factory owners cannot afford the rise.

Mohammad Hatem, senior vice-president of the BKMEA, confirmed a letter had been sent to the Labour Ministry seeking the suspension of the pay rise, citing the severe effects of COVID-19 on exports...

Amirul Haque Amin, president of the National Garment Workers Federation, called on the government, buyers and factory owners to provide additional support to vulnerable garment workers. "Instead of taking such initiatives, the owners are proposing something illogical, unacceptable, illegal and shameful,"...