International Journal of Advanced Multidisciplinary Research and Studies
Volume 3, Issue 3, 2023
Bargaining or Begging? The Politics behind Bangladesh's Readymade Garment Workers' Unwinnable Demands for a Living Minimum Wage
Author(s): Muhammad Saddam Hussain
Minimum wage policy is practiced in most ILO ratified countries with the intention of establishing income equality and for that living wage is primarily advocated for equity. This study reveals the complex relationship between wages, partisan trade unions' bargaining power, and workers' survival in Bangladesh's ready-made garment industry. Using a qualitative research methodology, the study collects data through in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, and document analysis to investigate the key variables driving the minimum wage and relating to its global and national partisan politics. The findings suggest that global value chains, disunity among federations, partisan politics for worker representative nomination, political obedience of civil society groups, government reluctance, and business elite dominance in policy regulations are the driving forces for the determination of an inefficient minimum wage structure in the readymade garment industry. The study also finds global buyers interest in Bangladesh, but Bangladesh's apparel sector is not capable of meeting their demand due to labour unrest and political impasses that affect the region's inclusive growth. The analysis underlines the necessity for a comprehensive and inclusive approach to wage bargaining that addresses the core causes of low wages, engages all relevant stakeholders, and encourages the full implementation of Bangladesh's labour policies. The study contributes to a greater understanding of conflict-affected wage setting among trade unions, employers, and minimum wage bargaining boards by offering policy recommendations to support lasting industrial democracy and inclusive development in Bangladesh’s garment sector.
Keywords: Collective Bargaining, Global Value Chains, Minimum Wage, Living Wage, Partisan Trade Unions
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