Ethical fashion trade groups representing more than 2,500 international brands, retailers and suppliers have written to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to express concerns over controversial changes to the country’s minimum wage for garment workers.
The apparel manufacturing hub announced a 60 percent increase in basic salaries for sector last week, but the substantial hike still fell well short of what unions say is needed to lift wages above poverty levels. Protests ongoing since late October have been met with a harsh crackdown that left several people dead.
In a letter sent to the country’s prime minister this week, the Fair Labour Association, Amfori, Ethical Trading Initiative, Fair Wear and Mondiaal FNV asked the government to reconsider its decision on wage levels, according to a press release from FLA.
The organisation, whose members collectively source from nearly 3,000 factories in Bangladesh, said the proposed new minimum wage is too low and contradicts the government’s commitment to decent work standards, the release said.
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This week, deadly protests after the Bangladeshi government proposed a minimum wage increase well below the level unions had called for highlighted a fundamental challenge in raising worker salaries: somebody has to pay for it.