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In response to protests over low wages in Bangladesh, Fair Wear Foundation and the Fair Labour Association (FLA) have written a joint letter to the government of Bangladesh.
In the letter FWF and the FLA express their concern about government and employer reactions to recent protests by garment worker in Dhaka, which included the firing of protesting workers and the detention of union leaders and workers’ rights advocates.
Striking workers in Bangladesh want an increase in the minimum wage. They have expressed that current minimum wage levels are not sufficient to meet their basic needs – a finding supported by research from FWF and the FLA. In the letter, concern is expressed about the current level of worker’s wages compared to the cost of living in Bangladesh.
More than 50 factories were temporarily closed in response to worker protests, with at least 1,500 workers (and as many as 3,500 workers according to some reports) being fired, and others arrested. Union leaders and labour rights advocates were also arrested or detained by authorities.
Since 2006, FWF has been active in Bangladesh. Currently 17 FWF members are sourcing from 215 Bangladeshi garment factories. One of the main challenges in Bangladesh is related to payment of living wages.