Bangladesh Sets $91.06 Minimum Monthly Wage for Cotton Textile Workers

Amid previous protests by workers in Bangladesh about wage increases, the Ministry of Labor and Employment (MoLE) recently announced a minimum monthly wage of 10,001 Tk ($91.06) for workers and employees in the cotton textile sector.

The previous amount was 5,710 Tk ($51.99) set in 2018. According to the gazette notification, the newly announced wage will be effective March 1, 2024.

The new wage structure incorporates 10 grades, which include a base salary of 5,162 Tk in subdistrict towns, rent at 55% of base salary (2,839 Tk), a medical allowance of 750 Tk, a travel allowance of 400 Tk, and a food allowance of 850 Tk. In addition, grade 10 workers in provincial and divisional cities will receive 60% and 70% of their base salary in rent, respectively.

The minimum wage board had recommended that the minimum wage be 10,000 tk. to 5,000 tk. as the basic wage, 60% (3,000 tk.) of the basic wage as rent for upazila town areas, 750 tk. as medical allowance, 400 tk. as travel allowance, and 850 tk. as food allowance.

The government set the monthly minimum wage for workers in grade 10 at 10,001 Tk, grade 9 at 10,417 Tk, grade 8 at 10,643 Tk, grade 7 at 10,962 Tk, grade 6 at 11,250 Tk, grade 5 at 11,570 Tk, grade 4 at 11,889 Tk, grade 3 at 12,723 Tk, grade 2 at 13,250 Tk, and 14,307 Tk for grade 1.

According to Bangladesh media, the government also established six grades for employees in the sector and set the same amount (10,001 Tk) as the minimum wage for employees in grade 6. The wages for grades 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 are Tk 10,547, Tk 11,378, Tk 13,250, Tk 15,361, and Tk 18,545 respectively.

The Ministry of Labor also announced a monthly salary of 7,503 Tk for apprentice workers and employees on a six-month apprenticeship. The basic wage is 3,550 Tk, rent is 55% of the basic wage (1,953 Tk), medical allowance is 750 Tk, travel allowance is 400 Tk, and food allowance is 850 Tk.

According to the notification, these wages will apply to all textile factories nationwide, and both workers and employees will be allowed a 5.0% annual salary increase.

Protests erupted in Bangladesh last year as garment workers demanded a nearly threefold wage increase. They surrounded the capital city of Dhaka, sparking unrest. As a result, the minimum wage for garment workers was set at 12,500 Tk, effective December 1, 2011.

Amid these developments, the Swedish fast fashion brand H&M has also decided to raise the prices of clothing produced in Bangladesh to compensate for the increased wages of its supplier workers.

It is estimated that there are currently about 7,000 textile factories in Bangladesh, which employ about 5 million people.

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