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Bangladesh PM Promises Wage Hikes

Following an announcement that the government will be convening a special wage board, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina  inspirited garment factory workers by reassuring them salary increases were inevitable.

Historically, a wage board assembles every five years to revisit the issue of compensation for workers. Given the ferment surrounding labor conditions in Bangladesh, especially in the still hot contrails of the Rana Plaza tragedy, the government decided it would be prudent to meet earlier than scheduled.

In her remarks, Hasina emphasized the importance of the garment industry to the whole of Bangladesh’s otherwise fragile economy. She discussed the sector as an antidote to poverty and an engine of gradual female empowerment.

Hasina also took the opportunity to announce new land in Baipayl that has been earmarked for the development of special “colonies” to be constructed in the future, designated for housing facilities for factory workers. For the time, separate dorms will be built exclusively for women workers.

Still, the high point of Hasina’s address were her comments on the possibility of wage increases, confidently delivered. Salaries for garment workers have not been raised since 2010. Then, it was lifted 82 percent.