Wage of apparel workers in Bangladesh has in real terms decreased by 26 per cent although the factory owners claim that they had raised the wage by 23 per cent in the new wage structure as declared by the government in January this year.
This has been viewed by non-governmental organization Transparency International Bangladesh while unveiling a study report on the wage and working conditions of garments workers on Tuesday.
The study report reveals that garment workers’ minimum wage in Bangladesh was the lowest among the competing countries like Vietnam, Cambodia and India.
The anti-graft watchdog unveiled the report a day before the nation observes the sixth anniversary of Rana Plaza collapse, the worst industrial disaster of the world, which killed 1,148 workers and injured 2,000 on April 24, 2013.
TIB executive director Iftekharuzzaman said that they believed that the Rana Plaza had collapsed for lack of good governance.
TIB researcher Nazmul Huda Mina said that garment factory owners claimed that they had increased wage by 23 per cent but the real wage of the workers was 26 per cent less than what they claimed.
He explained that in 2013 the minimum wage for grade VII workers was Tk 3,000. As per the law, the wage would have reached Tk 3,829 by the end of 2018 after adding five per cent increment yearly.
Now, the wage for the grade should be Tk 5,207 if the wage was increased really by 36 per cent as the owners claim.
But the workers’ basic wage is Tk 4,100, which is Tk 1,107 less than the real wage.
The organisation also found that after wage hike, production target was increased by 30 to 36 per cent in different factories.
TIB conducted the research on 80 factories situated at Savar, on the outskirts of Dhaka, and in Dhaka, Gazipur and Narayanganj in the period between May 2018 and April 2019.
Iftekharuzzaman said that the $30-million export industry implemented 39 per cent of their initiatives they had taken after the Rana Plaza disaster.
‘Forty-one per cent of those are in progress and 20 per cent remain stalled,’ he said.
He said workers’ wage was the lowest in Bangladesh among the comparable countries as Bangladesh workers got only $101.