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    Why Garments Workers Wages are Cheap in Bangladesh

    Why Garments Workers Wages are Cheap in Bangladesh
    Mayedul Islam
    Merchandiser at Fashion Xpress Buying House.
    Badda, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
    Email: mayedul.islam66@gmail.com

    Agriculture has been the backbone of economy and chief source of income for the people of Bangladesh, the country made of villages. Government wants to decrease poverty by getting highest productivity from agriculture and achieve self-reliance in food production Apart from agriculture, the country is much concerned about the growth of export division. Bangladesh have accelerated and changed her exports substantially from time to time. After Bangladesh came into being, jute and tea are the most export oriented industries. But with the continual perils of flood, failing jute fiber prices and a considerable decline in world demand, the role of the jute sector to the country's economy has deteriorated (Spinanger, 1986). After that, focus has been shifted to the function of production sector, especially in garment industry.

    Ready Made Garments (RMG) sector has emerged as the biggest earner of foreign currency. The RMG sector has experienced an exponential growth since the 1980s. The sector contributes significantly to the GDP. It also provides employment to around 4.2 million Bangladeshis, mainly women from low income families. The garment sector is the largest employer of women in Bangladesh. The garment sector has provided employment opportunities to women from the rural areas that previously did not have any opportunity to be part of the formal workforce.

    Around 81.5 per cent of the total export earnings from the textile and garment sector, in the past fiscal year 2013-14. Bangladesh gain 24.5 billion US dollars of foreign currency, which it covers about 18 percent of GDP.
    Bangladesh has a population of more than 160 million people. It is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Most people live below the living standard, forcing the majority of people to seek jobs that will provide them with more profit. The Bangladeshis that live in rural areas move to the cities where there are supposed to be jobs and better living conditions. However, there are fewer jobs and homes than there are people moving to the cities, thus producing a string of shantytowns where people live in terrible conditions. These conditions have led people to welcome the coming of textile factories and the development of the industry in Bangladesh. Textile manufacturers are always looking for the next location that will give them an edge in efficiency and cost. They need to find places that will provide them with an efficient labor force and that will render their investments more valuable than anywhere else. Bangladesh seems to be the place where the textile industry has shifted to in response to the multitude of Bangladeshis that need consistent and substantial wages.

    Before December, 2013 wages are so poor. Wages for Bangladeshi garment factory workers are set to rise after owners said they had agreed to a proposed 77% increase in the minimum wage. Now a garment worker get 5,300 taka ($68) per month.

    If I give an example then concept will be clear, A comparison by Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights shows that the labour cost to make a Denim Shirt is $0.22 in Bangladesh whereas it is $7.47 in USA.

    If we compare with other countries then we can see the actual scenery of garment worker wages.

    1. Bangladesh Raises Minimum Wage for Garment Workers After Unrest-by Arun Devnath.
    2. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/14/bangladesh-garment-workers-pay-rise
    3. http://www.ethicaltrade.org/news-and-events/blog/stirling-smith/is-bangladesh%27s-new-minimum-wage-enough
    4. "Bangladeshi Labor and the Attraction of the Textile Industry" from Textile Learner
    5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangladeshi_RMG_Sector 
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