Bangladesh Hikes Wages For Garment Workers

77% Increase Will Take Effect Dec. 1

Bangladesh Wage HikeGarment workers in Bangladesh will receive a minimum wage increase amid worker protests that shut down more than 250 factories last week. Bangladesh factory owners agreed to the 77% increase that was recommended by a government board two weeks ago. Minimum-wage garment workers will now make $68 a month, up from the previous total of $38. The wage increase will take effect December 1. Factory owners initially opposed the wage hike but since relented.

“In the greater interest of our garment sector, we agreed to it,” Mohammad Atiqul Islam, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers’ and Exporters' Association, told Reuters. “But many small factories cannot afford the rise.”

Working conditions and wages for Bangladesh’s garment workers have been under intense international scrutiny since the collapse of the Rana Plaza complex of factory buildings in April that killed more than 1,100 people. Dozens of major companies who source from Bangladesh agreed to safety audits in the wake of the disaster.

On Monday, Walmart revealed that 10 of 75 apparel factories that have been audited failed their safety inspections. The retail giant said that the factories that failed their audits have since made improvements. The company plans to audit all of about 200 factories it uses in Bangladesh and will release the results as they are finished. After the April industrial accident, most retailers signed one of two safety accords. Walmart, like many American retailers, signed the agreement that does not include a legally-binding clause.