RMG Workforce Survey Reveals Seamless Shift to Digital Payments

According to a survey, some 67% of workers in the RMG sector were reported to have been paid as of May 16.

It was reported in a survey entitled 'Massive shift to digital wage payments in Bangladesh's RMG sector,' conducted on 15 and 16 May by researchers working for the South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM) in Dhaka and Microfinance Opportunities (MFO), a U.S.-based NGO.

It finds that there are some differences in the experiences of male and female workers during the May payment cycle.

"Fewer percentage of women reported being compensated: 64% of women reported being compensated and 74% of men reported being paid," it added.

The researchers surveyed 1,384 workers in the RMG sector in Bangladesh by telephone.

The workers and the researchers had previously participated in the Garment Worker Diaries study, which collected data from 1,300 workers throughout 2019 and until the end of January 2020.

The workers are employed in factories spread across the five main industrial areas of Bangladesh (Chittagong, Dhaka City, Gazipur, Narayanganj, and Savar).

Almost three-quarters of the workers surveyed are women, according to their preponderance in the total labor force of the RMG industry, which is estimated to be 4 million.

A truly breakthrough finding from the survey shows that 82% of paid workers reported receiving their wages through some kind of digital channel (bKash, Rocket, Nagad, or bank transfer) until 15 May.

That is almost three times the number in just April when 28 percent of garment workers were paid digitally. This represents a massive shift of payments from cash to digital within the space of one month.

Both women and men reported being paid digitally at about the same rate—82 and 84 percent respectively

This also found that women were less willing to remove cash from their banks directly after they had been paid—84 percent of women registered to remove their salary from their banks instantly relative to 93 percent of men.

The survey went on to say that despite the large number of workers being paid digitally, many for the first time, the process has also been smooth for most of them: 95 percent were able to cash out their payment at the ATM or agent in their first attempt, and 78 percent waited in line for less than 10 minutes to cash out.

Source: UNB

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