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7 Nov 2023

Annie Kelly and Redwan Ahmed, The Guardian (UK)

Bangladesh: Workers making clothes for international fast fashion brands paid so little they have to scavenge food from bins

Credit Musfiq Tajwar, Solidarity Center

"Workers for fast fashion brands fear starvation as they fight for higher wages", November 7 2023

Garment workers making clothes in Bangladesh for UK high-street brands say they are facing starvation and are having to steal and scavenge food from fields and bins to feed their children, as protests continue over a new minimum wage for the garment workforce of 4 million people.

Over the past week, tens of thousands of workers have taken to the streets in increasingly violent protests that, according to unions and news reports, have left one young garment worker, Rasel Hawlader, dead.

...Bangladesh has one of the lowest minimum wages for garment workers in the world, which has remained set at 8,300 taka (£60) since 2018.

Factory owners in Bangladesh are proposing that the government set a new minimum wage of 10,400 taka (£76) ...

Garment workers taking part in protests in Dhaka told the Guardian that anything less than 23,000 taka a month would condemn their families to starvation.

“The leggings I make retail for more than my entire month’s salary,” said one garment worker with young children who did not want to be named ...


Many fashion brands, which source clothes from Bangladesh, say they support workers’ calls for a higher minimum wage. In a joint letter, brands including Next, Asos, New Look and Inditex, which owns Zara, said they recognised their role in “supporting wage developments”.

However, labour rights groups argue that, despite many brands coming out in support of workers’ demands for higher pay, it would require the brands to agree to pay more for their clothing orders for this to become a reality.


Part of the following timelines

Global: Garment workers face mass layoffs, suspended employment & reduced working hours as suppliers report reduced & cancelled orders from brands amid cost-of-living crisis

Bangladesh: Struggle for higher minimum wage for garment workers ongoing