Int’l rights group drums for BDT 16K min wage in Bangladesh

Garment Factory in Bangladesh
Garment Factory in Bangladesh

Clean Clothes Campaign has written to apparel retailers and brands, calling out to support the minimum wage demand of BDT 16,000 for Bangladesh’s 3.6 million workers in the readymade garment business.

According to a press release of the global rights body for the apparel industry dated April 25, 2018, it said it wrote to more than 20 of the largest brands sourcing from Bangladesh, requesting them to support the garment workers’ demands regarding minimum wage.

The minimum wage has not been revised since 2013 and is one of the lowest in the global garment industry, Clean Clothes Campaign said, adding that it also urged the brands to call on the Government of Bangladesh, to immediately end the harassment of workers and labour activists over this demand.

The retailers which received the request are: H&M, GAP, Walmart, Tesco, Inditex, C&A, VF Corporation, Levi’s, Marks & Spencer, Primark, Next, Takko, Aldi, Lidl, American Eagle, Hugo Boss, Esprit, El Corte Ingles, Sainsburys, HBC, A&F, Kik, Carrefour, Li & Fung and Benetton. Only Kik and Esprit responded, notably.

Also, Clean Clothes Campaign has urged the retailers and brands to make a long-term commitment to continue sourcing from Bangladesh after the wage increase, agree to increase the FoB price to allow for the wage increase to be met in practice, express concerns at the ongoing repression and harassment of trade unions leaders, and state clearly that these brands support the genuine engagement in the negotiation.

The rights group also repeatedly stated that labour unions faced repeated threats to freedom and extreme pressure, including arrests, since December 2016, since the voicing of demands for BDT 16,000 minimum wage for Bangladesh’s apparel industry.

It is necessary to note that Bangladesh’s apparel makers have termed the demand of BDT 16,000 unrealistic; saying the commission that will set the new standard of minimum wage in a few months will formulate a pay structure according to the capacity of the manufacturers and need of the workers.