Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged buyers to increase the prices of garments, so that the Government can pressurize the employers to raise the wages of those who are working in the country’s readymade garment industry.
The Prime Minister said this during a meeting with Michael Sommer, president of International Trade Union Confederation and chairman of German Confederation of Trade Union, in Dhaka.
Briefing media persons after the meeting, the Prime Minister’s special assistant Mahbubul Hoque Shakil said Ms. Hasina informed Mr. Sommer about her Government’s initiatives aimed at increasing the quality of life of garment workers. She said the 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.
She told Mr. Sommer that in all countries the first initiative started in an unplanned way, but later concrete shape was given through some planned measures, which solved several problems. She said the Bangladesh Government would be setting up planned garment villages to ensure good working conditions.
She said her Government does not lack sincerity to raise the wages of garment workers. However, if the buyers increase the price for the readymade garment (RMG) items, then it would help the Government to put pressure on owners of RMG companies to hike their salaries.
Mr. Sommer expressed satisfaction over the steps taken by the Bangladesh Government post-Rana Plaza tragedy, including the appointment of inspectors to garment factories and amendment to the Labour Law.
Bangladesh is currently the second largest garment exporter in the world, next only to China. The garment sector accounts for nearly 80 percent of the country’s foreign exchange earnings.