Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged buyers to increase prices of garments, so that the government can pressurize employers to raise wages in the country’s readymade garment industry. Wages of garment workers have been raised in the last five years from Tk 1,600 to Tk 5,300 in two phases, and dormitories have also been constructed for them.
Bangladesh plans to set up garment villages to ensure good working conditions. Bangladesh is currently the second largest garment exporter in the world, next only to China. The garment sector accounts for nearly 80 per cent of the country’s foreign exchange earnings. Bangladesh has taken several steps post the Rana Plaza tragedy, including the appointment of inspectors to garment factories and amendment to the labour law. It has taken initiatives aimed at increasing the quality of life of garment workers.
The Bangladesh government feels if buyers increase prices of readymade garments, it would help the government to put pressure on owners of RMG companies to hike workers’ salaries. However, factory owners say if they ask buyers for a better price, buyers threaten to go elsewhere.