A research institution in Bangladesh has proposed an increase of the minimum wage for tannery workers in the country.

The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), which seeks to be the leading institution for in-depth research and dialogue to promote inclusive policymaking in Bangladesh, recommended a monthly wage of Tk22,776 ($194.66).

The CPD said its proposal for the 2024 minimum wage is grounded in a “comprehensive analysis of various factors such as food costs, non-food expenses, family size, and the number of income earners”.

A CPD survey of tannery workers revealed that a worker's food and non-food expenses currently stand at a combined Tk33,478 per month.

A minimum wage of Tk13,500 was fixed for workers in 2018, yet despite that, the average minimum monthly wage for 2020 and 2022 remained below that figure, while about 60% of surveyed tanneries paid less than that in 2024, revealing a widespread lack of proper implementation of the 2018 minimum wage.

These proposals emerged at a media briefing titled Determination of New Minimum Wage of Tannery Industry: Challenges of Implementation? The media briefing was based on a study carried out by CPD, in partnership OSHE Foundation – a Bangladeshi NGO empowering workers to defend their rights at work – and with support from European Union, Solidar Suisse (an NGO fighting for global justice and against extreme inequality) and the Leather Development Forum (LDF).

Liaquat Ali Mollah, chairman of the Minimum Wages Board in Bangladesh, remarked: “The Minimum Wage Board will convene meetings with employers and employees to discuss the minimum wage proposed by CPD and assess its feasibility for implementation.”

However, Mizanur Rahman, vice chairman of the Bangladesh Tanners Association (BTA), responded: “Despite the increase in export volume, there has been a decrease in the price per unit of product. Given this circumstance, it is vital for us to carefully evaluate whether we can feasibly implement the wage proposed by the CPD.”