Clean Clothes Campaign supports Bangladesh garment wage increases

Five years after Rana Plaza,the demands of
Bangladeshi garment workers were finally invited to address their minimum
wage concerns at a national Minimum Wage Board meeting, set to take place
on July 8th. Workers propose an increase of the minimum wage from 5,300
taka (63 US dollars), some of the lowest wages in the global garment
industry, to 16,000 taka (about 191 US dollars) per pay period.

In addition to a pay increase, demands included a fixed structure of job
grades that will determine an employee’s pay, which is currently
non-existent in the country’s garment facilities. An annual pay increase of
10 percent has also made the list of demands, as well as a shortening of
apprenticeship periods to a maximum of three months, along with increased
wages for apprentices from 4,180 taka to 10,000 taka.

The list of demands, which has been formally submitted to the Minimum
Wage board, has been widely supported by trade unions and labour rights
groups, according to a statement from Clean Clothes Campaign.

“The owners, the government and the buyers should consider that workers’
health and quality of life affect the production process and the products
that come out of it. Large volume and quality production cannot be expected
when workers are hungry, in poor health and unable to meet basic needs,”
said the president of the National Garment Workers Federation, Amirul Haque
Amin, in a statement.

The Clean Clothes Campaign has also taken action, by sending letters to
major apparel brands currently sourcing out of Bangladesh, including Gap, H&M, and Walmart. The organization urged the
companies to support the workers’ demands.

In a press release, Ineke Zeldendrust of Clean Clothes Campaign stated:
“Many garment brands have been claiming for years that they support and
strive for a living wage in their supply chain. Now is the time to
demonstrate that those are not just empty words.

“We fully support all workers’ demands and call for an immediate wage
increase, so that workers’ earnings will enable them to finally lift
themselves and their families out of the extreme deprivation they currently
have to endure on a daily basis.” Zeldenrust added.

Image: Sustainable clothing production


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