Facing a backlash due to wage protests within the industry, Bangladesh apparel owners, specifically BGMEA and BKMEA members, have issued directives to exporters to halt new worker recruitment. This decision comes in the aftermath of over two weeks worker protests demanding wage increase.
Faruque Hassan, President of BGMEA, instructed members to regularly update the biometric database of workers. This is aimed at facilitating various financial benefits, job control, and preventing irregular migration. BGMEA had already announced a suspension of fresh recruitment on November 9, posting a 'no-vacancy' notice at the main factory gate.
Similarly, Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), through a circular dated November 12, directed members to suspend fresh recruitment and avoid sharing any information without prior approval. AKM Salim Osman, President of BKMEA, also mandates members to collect all personal information of workers from the labor database and ensure regular updates.
Since October 23, the Bangladesh apparel sector was grappling with two-week-long wave of wage protests, driven by demand for an increased pay scale of Tk 23,000, rejecting the owners' proposed figure of Tk 10,400. The government finalized the minimum apparel wage at Tk 12,500 on November 12, and with the prime minister urging workers to return to work, the labor situation has gradually started returning to normal.
Amidst the protests, unfortunate incidents occurred, with at least four garment workers losing their lives, hundreds sustaining injuries, and thousands facing legal implications. The unrest led to the arrest and imprisonment of a hundred individuals in connection with the violence.