Bangladeshi garment workers get low wages: study

June 1st, 2008 - 1:32 pm ICT by admin  

Dhaka, June 1 (IANS) Indian workers employed in the garment manufacturing sector get the highest wage, while Bangladeshi workers are at the bottom of the heap among South Asians, a study says. Among the South Asians, Indian garment industry gets the highest at 51 US cents per hour.

In comparison, at 22 US cents per hour, a Bangladeshi worker gets a fourth of the 86 US cents that his Chinese counterpart takes home.

Two Tiger economies pay much more. The average wage of a garment worker is $1.07 in the Philippines and $1.18 in Malaysia, says Global Apparel Manufacturing Labour Cost Update 2008, prepared by US-based consulting house Jassin-O’Rourke Group.

The study shows that the average hourly wage of a garment worker is $0.51 in India, $0.44 in Indonesia, $0.43 in Sri Lanka, $0.38 in Vietnam, $0.37 in Pakistan and $0.33 in Cambodia.

Readymade garments and knitwear manufacturers are Bangladesh’s highest foreign exchange earners, but the working conditions and low wages have led to frequent violence, causing deaths, injuries and damage to factories.

International labour organizations have blamed it on the employers’ unwillingness to implement wage agreements.

The study quoted Dhaka’s labour leaders as observing that the Bangladeshi workers were being deprived while factory owners claimed they could not make much profit because of low payments from the importers.

“Tales of miserable wages for Bangladeshi garment workers are not fresh any more,’ said Nazma Akter, a Bangladeshi labour leader, who represents the Garment Workers Unity Forum, a combine of 21 labour organizations, New Age newspaper said.

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