DHAKA Nov 21 Garment workers in Bangladesh will
get a 77 percent pay increase from December as the government
tries to end a wave of strikes that have roiled the world's
second largest clothing exporter in recent months.
The official wage board approved on Thursday increasing the
monthly minimum wage for entry-level garment industry workers to
5,300 taka ($68) from 3,000 taka currently, a raise that was in
line with the expectations of factory owners who had said they
would ask retailers to shoulder part of the costs.
Workers had asked for the minimum wage, which was last
raised in 2010, to go up to 8,000 taka a month, but the wage
board negotiated a compromise which was acceptable to all sides,
said Sirajul Islam Rony, a member of the government appointed
"The representatives of the owners and workers have agreed
to comply with the decision of the wage board," Rony said.
The new wage structure includes allowances for food, rent,
transport and medical care. Workers' basic salaries will also be
increased by 5 percent a year, Rony added.
The pay increase follows international pressure on
Bangladesh after a string of fatal factory accidents that thrust
poor working conditions and pay into the spotlight.
Rock bottom wages and trade deals with Western countries
have propelled Bangladesh's garments sector to a $22 billion
industry accounting for four-fifths of its exports, with
retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc, JC Penney Company
Inc and H&M Hennes & Mauritz AB buying clothes
from its factories.