A Long-Term Solution for Bangladeshi Workers in the RMG Sector

A Long-Term Solution for Bangladeshi Workers in the RMG Sector

Md. Amir Khasru1 & MD. Hasibul Islam
SARSTEC Science and Research Club
Email: santo.amirkhasru2002@gmail.com1


The textile and RMG sector is the backbone of the national economy of Bangladesh. Where the textile and RMG sectors contribute to around 84% of export earnings. Although our capacity for production and export is growing daily, salaries do not keep pace with this growth. It is caused by far too many factors. To begin with, raw material prices are rising daily, and our textile industry and RMG sector rely on imported raw materials such as cotton, trimming and accessories, related machinery, and occasionally yarns for manufacturing that are directly imported from other countries.

Bangladeshi workers protest

The drive to raise worker salaries has been led by textile and garment workers for a long time. Wage movements have occasionally led to disputes between business owners and employees. The government of Bangladesh boosted the minimum wage of workers to 12,500 Tk, but labor leaders refused to accept it and continued the movement to demand a minimum wage of 25,000 Tk. After a three-day strike, workers began to picket and destroy industrial equipment. According to Labor Act-13 (no work, no pay), the production of 130 garments has been halted indefinitely..

Behinds the Seen:
In a written statement at the press conference, BGMEA President Faruk Hasan said that 317 factories were closed in the country in the fiscal year 2020-21 due to the coronavirus pandemic. After the corona, 260 factories have been closed due to other reasons for not being able to maintain competitive capabilities.

The number of closed factories is increasing with the rise of the industry. The factory has been closed due to various problems. So far, almost 6,885 garment factories have become members of BGMEA, but over time 3,964 member factories have been closed for various reasons.

He said, it is very sad that when we are engaged in the struggle to survive in the midst of the ‘global and economic’ dual pressure, then various disasters have started with the industry. Especially our peaceful workers are being provoked and disturbed.

From Prothom Alo News, The different workers’ organizations and federations have protested and announced the new wage structure by holding a rally and procession. They demanded to increase the minimum wage of the workers from 12,500 Taka to 25,000 Taka. They also demanded to find out the cause of the death of the workers in the fire and to compensate them. At 11 o’clock in the morning, 11 workers’ organizations and federations of the Giant Workers’ Federation took part in a rally in front of the National Press Club with the permission of the traffic police. They announced the final strike of the new wage structure, suspended the workers’ strike under section 13/1 and demanded to revise the minimum wage of the workers to 25,000 Taka.

The wife of the deceased, Nargis Parveen, said that her husband went to the factory as usual every day. They came home after the factory was closed due to the movement. He was shot dead in front of the street of the house. Why was he killed like this?

Government fixed Minimum Wage for RMG workers below:

GradeBasicHouse rent (50% of basic)Medical allowanceTransportFoodGross wage
Trainee Worker4950247575045012509875
Grade 567003350750450125012500
Grade 470503525750450125013025
Grade 374003700750450125013550
Grade 278003900750450125014150
Grade 182004100750450125014750

*Adding an additional 50% as house rent to basic wages
*Food allowance 1250 *Transport 450 *Medical 750

Serving cost for RMG workers below:

Serving cost for RMG workers

*The following two are employed and have families, whereas the first two are single.

Serving cost for RMG workers

A statement from the workers;

“Why can’t we increase our wages if we can in other countries? The rate at which the prices of products are rising is not being matched by the increases in our salaries. The household will not be traveling. Not able to send any money home.”

Another worker statements,”The overall price of the good is currently too high for the wage of a worker to cover. Travel expenses and housing rent are also included. That’s why a minimum income of 15 thousand TK is desirable.”

The words of a different worker are,”We can’t survive on this earnings without taking out loans to pay for our children’s education.”

The comment from Textile Engineer’s :

“One’s pay increment should be commensurate with merit. Because from our point of view, when we negotiate with a buyer, each buyer has a different need. Some give more, some give less. If we have a fixed budget then it is good but the budget should be kept in such a way that it is less than other countries but profitable. Sometimes the factory also loses. Owners also have to struggle to continue their business. But if we can use our technology in our country to reduce the cost of imports and raise a few cents per dress then our daily life will be beautiful with textiles. If the economic condition of the country’s textiles is like this, many textile engineering students will step back from their relevant studies. There will be a shortage of skilled people in this sector. If there is a salary structure for the workers then accordingly our starting salary range should be good and everyone should be treated cordially.”

Q & A statement between Industrialist and worker leader was like this:

Q & A statement between Industrialist and worker leader

Worker leader: Currently, the cost of the goods in the market doesn’t match the earnings of a worker. With expenses for rent, transportation, and other necessities, the minimum wage is barely sufficient, making it challenging to make ends meet.

So, the question now arises: for those who have completed their honors degree, after investing so much in education, will they still be content with a minimum wage of 15,000?

Industrialist: We increase the salary for those who perform well in their jobs. As for those who under perform, what should we do to enhance their wages?

Then another question there, Are there any potential losses for the industry, if the salary is increased?

Worker leader: The cost of each garment is increased by just 70 cents, could it fulfill everyone’s needs.

Then, they mentioned, “Due to the increase in the overall cost of everything, including our materials, we find it challenging to afford the rise in prices.”

Bangladesh Labor Act, 2006
(Act No. 42 of 2006)
Chapter II

Recruitment and conditions of employment

Recruitment and conditions of employment
Close the establishment

13 (1) On account of an illegal strike in any branch or department of an establishment, the owner may close down the said branch or establishment in whole or in part, and in case of such closure the workers participating in the strike shall not receive any wages.

13 (2) If, due to the closure of any branch or department under sub-section (1), any other branch or department of the establishment is affected to such an extent that it is not possible to continue it, then the said branch or department shall also be closed, but in that case the workers concerned shall be given three shall be paid wages equal to the compensation payable in case of lay-off up to days, but they may not receive any wages for the additional period of this period.

13 (3) As soon as possible, the owner shall inform all concerned about such closure by pasting or hanging a notice on the notice board of the concerned branch or department or in any public place of the institution and also notify the matter of resumption of work in the same manner.

Our sustainable solutions:
Providing food, housing, industry-sponsored medical & education, Annual pay raises, transportation, better worker-officer connections, and worker psychological care could all help to resolve the issue.

sustainable solutions in RMG industry

Food & Accommodation:
An employee worked from approximately 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. It takes about eight hours (not including overtime). A worker has dinner from 9:00 to 10:00 pm, lunch from 1:00 to 2:00 pm, and breakfast from 8:00 to 9:00 am. If companies could offer free/cheap breakfast and lunch for regular workers and free or cheap breakfast, lunch, and dinner for overtime workers, then workers could easily make ends meet on their government-set daily wage.

The largest challenge faced by workers when moving to a new city. The workers’ living and commuting expenses will be significantly decreased if adequate housing is provided for them. It could be associated with the industry or in close proximity to it.

Worker-officer connections and worker psychological care:
According to a recent survey, many Bangladeshi workers in the readymade garment industry suffer from somatization, personality disorders, and pervasive depression. Stakeholders surveyed stated there was an immediate need for gender-sensitive, evidence-based, and affordable mental health care.Better connection between worker-officer is needed to understand the mental and physical condition of worker. If physically and mentally not fit then try to support,

Benefits for industry:

  1. Worker maintain their regularity.
  2. It helps them to concentrate their works.
  3. They will give their service as their own companies.

Education related allowance:
Every garment worker has children who study in schools and colleges. But according to the current salary, they are not able to educate their children. If companies give proper guideline and consultancy and support (if needed ) to its worker’s children , then the worker will be engaged with industry.

How is it possible?

  1. Education funds.
  2. Ensure A portion of the ZAKAT due to workers is spend on education .
  3. Providing Stipend to meritorious students.
  4. To provide proper guidance in higher education and to give priority to the deserving in industry after completing higher education.

Imports should be reduced:
Emphasis on our countries natural fibers and renewable fibers. In certain years, our young generation working with new fiber and ideas. Industry must focus on alternative raw materials . Try to use Bangladeshi raw material though we don’t have. But focusing on Research could possible to find out a sustainable solution for imports.

Emphasis on researchers:
Strong Connection with Textile Universities, Textile Engineering Colleges, and Institutes also help their research on sustainability. All the textile-based institutes are now focusing on research but they couldn’t have a proper field of research. If our Textile industry gives us opportunities to work with them then very soon Industry will get a sustainable solution.

Trends of prize on wastage reduction:
In textiles, when the cloth is cut in the cutting section, there is a lot of wastage which is later sold as lots and used in various ways. But if our owner sells this wastage some percentage like 30% they keep and if the remaining 70% is given to the workers then they will also make the product very well and work with their own strength. But if they make a mistake, the money they get as a reward can be deducted from it.

All civilizations benefit greatly from the labor force’s contributions. The majority of contributions are made by laborers; without them, civilization cannot advance. The great majority of people in Bangladesh get their jobs from the textile and apparel industry. In the apparel industry, conflict arose from miscommunication between laborers and employers. The recent battles have caused damage that has forced numerous factories to close, affecting both sides. We must communicate with employees more in order to stop this kind of harm. Supporting laborers with fundamental issues will help boost their enthusiasm for their jobs and the artisan factory. Bangladesh is a developing nation that will soon join the ranks of developed nations. A developed nation is only a pipe dream if its workers’ fundamental rights aren’t protected. Concurrently, a number of challenges facing the textile and garments sector, including rising costs to feed raw materials, an increase in the value of dollars, and worker wages, are making it difficult for factory owners to maintain their operations. To propel our textile and garment sector forward, we need the owners of our industry to find alternatives to foreign raw materials and try to use indigenous raw materials. We also need new technologies, renewable energy sources, and a focus on research to advance our industry like the developed world.


  1. https://www.bvnews24.com/economy/news/109571?fbclid=IwAR1hJgpVAnO9_z9c6icbvYIcotAhs06tU8tDXBmhTeNLCeZiQEEfkHMQFMM
  2. https://www.jugantor.com/national
  3. https://www.banglanews24.com/economics-business/news/bd/1223293.details
  4. https://bangla.thedailystar.net/news/bangladesh/news-531826
  5. https://www.prothomalo.com/
  6. http://bdlaws.minlaw.gov.bd/act-952/section-29081.html
  7. https://www.ntvbd.com/law-andorder
  8. http://www.populationmedicine.eu/

You may also like:

  1. Analysis of Production Planning Procedure in RMG Industry and Its Impact on Operations
  2. Prospects of Garments Industry in Bangladesh

Share this Article!

Leave a Comment