Bangladesh: the conflict returns to the streets after the last salary increase
Yesterday during the last confrontations between demonstrators and police officers, one person died and approximately twenty were injured. The demonstrators claimed a higher increase of the minimum wage, which now is in 95 dollars.
The tension reappears in Bangladesh. The workers from the retail sector have taken the streets for the third day in a row to demand a new salary increase. The demonstrations are generated after the salary of 8.000 takas (95 dollars) came into effect on 1 December, a salary that is still insufficient for the unions.
The mobilizations happened amidst the troubled climate the country is living in since last 30 December, when general elections were celebrated and the current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s party won. The electoral process took place in the middle of a generalized climate of violence that left 19 people dead.
Retail workers joined the demonstrations to demand a higher increase of the wages. Yesterday, during the mobilizations in Dacca, one of the demonstrators died and around twenty people were injured.
The Government of Bangladesh analysed the possibility of conducting a new salary review for the retail sector
The unions of the industry ask for an increase in wages, taking into account that the last increase that came into effect on 1 December does not satisfy the workers’ needs. Currently, the minimum wage is 8.000 takas (95 dollars), 51% more than the one settled previously. The workers consider the increase is not enough, in comparison with their proposal of 16.000 takas (190 dollars).
The Government of Bangladesh has opened a door to revise salaries, while launching a platform that allows negotiations with factory owners and union leaders, according to a declaration by the Commerce Minister, Tipu Munshi, as reported by Reuters.
The penultimate time the minimum wage was reviewed in Bangladesh was in 2013, as a result of the collapse of Rana Plaza, when the Government settled it in 5.300 takas (63 dollars). Until that moment, the salaries in that sector stood in 3.000 takas (42 dollars) from November 2010.
Bangladesh is the second biggest producer of clothing in the world, only bellow China. The retail industry in Bangladesh had a revenue of 8.19 billion dollars for its exports in the first quarter (finished last September), 14% more than the same period last year.
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