Bangladesh has raised the minimum monthly wage for garment workers by 56.25 percent to Tk 12,500. The new wage will take effect from Dec 1.
The new wage structure was discussed at a meeting at the Ministry of Labour and Employment on Tuesday before the announcement was made by State Minister Monnujan Sufian.
Garment worker protests had engulfed Dhaka and Gazipur for several days, with two buses torched and several vehicles vandalised on Tuesday.
A closed-door meeting was held between representatives of factory owners and workers at the state minister’s office in the Secretariat prior to the press conference.
The new minimum wage has been set in line with the recommendations of the wage board and after consultations with representatives from both labour and employer groups, State Minister Sufian said.
Workers have been agitating for a long time for a pay hike, she noted.
“We ask the owners to reopen factories and we ask workers to return to work. The 5 percent increment remains in place.”
Five years ago, in December 2018, the government set the wage structure for garment workers. Accordingly, the new wage structure was to be declared by Nov 30.
The government formed the Minimum Wage Board in April to scrutinise the proposals for the new wages.
Labour representatives submitted a proposal for a minimum wage of Tk 20,393 at the wage board’s meeting on Oct 22. The owners countered with a minimum wage offer of Tk 10,400.
Garment workers took to the streets in Gazipur on Oct 23 after a rumour spread that the new minimum wage had been set at Tk 10,400.
The protests then spread to Ashulia, Savar, and Dhaka’s Mirpur. Protesters engaged in vandalism and clashed with the police. Owners closed down 500 factories in stages to try and control the situation.
On Tuesday, protesting workers in Gazipur torched two buses and vandalised several vehicles. However, there were no casualties.