Readymade garment workers in Bangladesh are paid one of the lowest minimum monthly wages among the global apparel producing countries.
Despite the 51 per cent hike in the proposed minimum wage to Tk 8,000, Bangladesh still will remain in the lowest terrain in the global scenario, particularly when compared with that of competitive countries like China, India, Vietnam and Cambodia.
Currently, Bangladesh stands in the second lowest position after Sri Lanka in terms of minimum monthly wage of Tk 5,300 or $63 ($68 as per the exchange rate of December 2013 when
the wage was implemented).
With implementation the proposed minimum wage equivalent to $95, RMG workers of the country will be the forth lowest paid after Sri Lanka ($63), Indonesia ($75) and Myanmar ($86).
Bangladesh’s major competitors have been paying minimum monthly wage to apparel workers at much higher rate.
Minimum wage in China is $160 per month, in India $168, in Vietnam $154, in Cambodia $170, in Pakistan $125, in Mexico $140 and in Philippines $160, according to Centre for Policy Dialogue.
Factory owners pay minimum wage fixed by the government’s Minimum Wage Board as they cannot pay competitive salary to workers.
Minimum Wage Board on September 13 proposed the minimum wage for lowest grade at Tk 8,000 up from the existing minimum wage of Tk 5,300 ignoring the demands of workers and their organisations for Tk 16,000 monthly minimum wage.
The factory owners’ representative had proposed Tk 6,360 while the workers’ representative proposed Tk 12,020.
CPD also proposed the wage at Tk 10,028 per month though it found that a worker required minimum Tk 22,435 per month to meet his or her monthly family expenditure with 4.4 members.
A family of workers having on an average 2.1 earning members needs at least Tk 11,004 to meet its monthly basic expenditure.
CPD research director Khondaker Golam Moazzem on Tuesday expressed apprehension that Bangladeshi workers might again become the lowest or second lowest paid among the RMG producing countries once Myanmar, Indonesia and Sri Lanka carried out next review of minimum wage.
He said that there was still scope to make upward adjustment of proposed minimum wage to ensure decent living cost for workers.
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