Bangladesh's garment industry has been hit by a dispute between factory owners and workers over minimum wages.Labor groups are demanding a big increase to offset the impact of high inflation rate that has often climbed above 10 per cent in the country. Factory owners say a higher minimum wage could hobble the industry as costs of other inputs are also rising, in addition to which demand from many Western markets is weak.
In June, Bangladesh's Ministry of Labor and Employment formed a committee with factory owners, workers and government representatives to review wages in the garment sector. The committee is supposed to report back with a negotiated solution by December.
Bangladesh's garment industry exported more than $20 billion of clothes in the fiscal year ended June 30 and employs roughly four million workers. About 80 per cent of the people in the industry are women and most of them are from poor, rural areas.