Bangladeshi products have a global recognition in the rest of the world. But the people who create these products are not getting beniitted in the way they deserve. The minimum wage in Bangladesh is the lowest among all Asian countries, shows the International Labour Organisation’s Global Wage Report 2010/2011 released Wednesday.
The United Nations’ labour wing that compiled data of 115 countries and territories said the overall worldwide growth in wages was halved in 2008 to 2009 due to the global financial meltdown, with some regions like Europe even posting a net drop in salaries.
The report shows the average minimum monthly wage in Bangladesh in purchasing power parity is $58, less than that of the tiny kingdom of Bhutan and even the war-ravaged Afghanistan.
The report lists the minimum wages in 28 Asian countries, including those of the Middle East and the Far East.
According to it, the minimum wage in Vietnam and Laos, the nearest competitors to Bangladesh, is $84.
In South Asia, the minimum wage in Pakistan is $229, Nepal $151, India $121, Bhutan $108, Sri Lanka $93, and Afghanistan $89.
Among the Far Eastern countries, China has an average minimum monthly wage of $173 while Japan has the highest, $944, followed by $797 in South Korea.
The real average monthly minimum wage in Bangladesh has been on the slide, although its annual rate of fall had increased from -7.2 per cent in 2008 to -5.7 per cent in 2009, the report reveals.
It also says that the global growth in real average monthly wage declined from 2.8 per cent in 2007, before the recession, to 1.5 per cent in 2008 and 1.6 per cent in 2009.
An ‘unusually high inflation’ due mainly to high fuel prices significantly cut the purchasing power in 2008. Whereas, ‘sharp declines in inflation’ in 2009 helped prevent a more precipitous drop in wages during the year, the ILO said.
In industrialised economies, wages dropped by 0.5 per cent in 2008 before rising by 0.6 per cent in 2009.
In Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the wage-growth-rate reached 17 per cent in 2007, then fell to 10.6 per cent in 2008, and turned negative in 2009, when salaries declined by 2.2 per cent.
‘The recession has not only been dramatic for the millions who lost their jobs but has also affected those who remained in employment by severely reducing their purchasing power and their general wellbeing,’ observed ILO director general Juan Somavia.
The overall data was propped up by wage growth in Asia, where real wages rose by 7.2 per cent in 2008 and 8.0 per cent in 2009.