Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), a local independent think tank, has proposed BDT 10,028 as the minimum wage for Bangladesh’s 3.6 million workers in its apparel industry.
It said, the figure has been ascertained by assuming a family size of 4.4 with 2.1 being its earning members on average, and taking into consideration the living expenses including food and non-food items and 3 per cent savings on basic wages.
However, the body also considered the squeezing profitability of garment business worldwide, in the backdrop of falling prices of apparel, and possible risks of trade wars, fluctuating petroleum prices, and the rise in prices of fuel such as gas.
Khondaker Golam Moazzem, research director at the CPD, presented the proposal at a programme in Dhaka’s Brac Centre Inn on July 5, 2018. He said: “At the current situation, the proposed minimum salary is not adequate for garment workers. But, at the same time, the industry will not sustain if higher salaries are proposed.”
It is to be noted that the owners’ body, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has proposed BDT 6,360 as the minimum wage for the workers – what is only a 20 per cent rise from the prevailing BDT 5,300 – in the backdrop of mass demands that the minimum wage be fixed at BDT 16,000.
On the other hand, the workers’ representatives have proposed the minimum wages at BDT 12,020 – double of what the owners have come up with. However, pro-labour bodies have rejected the proposal saying that nothing below BDT 16,000 is acceptable.