Minimum wage protests in Bangladesh: tension rises

Minimum wage protests in Bangladesh: tension rises

As the stalled debate over raising the minimum wage in Bangladesh’s garment industry pits workers against the government and factory owners, tension in the country is rising.

Ultimately, the police decided to investigate 11,000 workers in connection with the protests.

In the protests that have been going on for days, workers considered the salary increase offered by the government insufficient and the closure of 150 factories in the country for an indefinite period was announced.

Unions said police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the protest. So far, at least three workers have died in the protests and more than 70 factories have since been damaged.


On the other hand, the US State Department also made statements on the subject. “We condemn the recent violence against workers protesting the minimum wage in Bangladesh, as well as the criminalization of legitimate labor and union activities,” the statement said.

The statement also asked the Bangladesh government to reconsider the decision on the minimum wage.


Thousands of textile workers, who considered that their salaries were insufficient, went on strike and stopped production since the previous weekend. More than 300 factories across the country had suspended operations.

Following deadly clashes between garment workers and police, Bangladesh’s government said in a statement last week that the minimum wage would increase by 56.25 percent monthly to 12,500 taka ($114) starting on 1 from December. This was the first increase in five years.

Unions believe that 23,000 taka ($208) a month is needed to cover basic living costs due to inflation and the cost of living crisis.

Bangladesh is the world’s second largest garment producer after China, with around 3,500 factories employing approximately 4 million workers, most of them women. Many famous brands like Gap, Walmart, H&M, Zara, Inditex, Bestseller, Levi’s, Marks and Spencer, Primark and Aldi produce their products in Bangladesh.

Despite being a major supplier of clothing to fast fashion brands, Bangladesh has one of the world’s lowest minimum wages for garment workers, set at 8,000 taka ($74) as of 2018.

Source: Sozcu


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