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Pay Bangladeshi garment workers a living wage: Yunus

Published on May 13, 2013 8:31 PM
 
Bangladeshi economist Muhammad Yunus speaks during the Congressional Gold Medal presentation ceremony after he received the award on April 17, 2013 in the Rotunda of the US Capitol in Washington, DC. Mr Yunus said on Monday, May 13, 2013 that manufacturers and retailers should pay living wages to Bangladesh's millions of garment workers so that they don't live like slaves.- PHOTO: AFP 

DHAKA (AFP) - Nobel laureate and micro-loan pioneer Professor Muhammad Yunus has urged manufacturers and retailers to ensure living wages for Bangladesh's millions of garment workers so that they don't live like slaves.

The 2006 Nobel peace prize winner said on Monday that he was in talks with Berlin-based watchdog Transparency International to fix an index for minimum wages in the countries which make apparel for Western retailers.

"The salaries we're giving them (woman garment workers) that even the Pope now says that they're being paid like slaves: US$40 (S$49.60) a month. We want to make it a thing of the past," Mr Yunus said.

He spoke at a seminar on the collapse of the nine-storey factory complex that killed 1,127 people in the latest tragedy to hit Bangladesh's apparel sector - the mainstay of its economy but now under fire for poor wages and safety records.

 
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