Some 67 per cent of workers in the RMG sector had reportedly been paid as of 16 May, according to a survey.
This was revealed in a survey titled “Massive shift to Digital Wages Payments in Bangladesh’s RMG Sector”, conducted on 15 and 16 May by researchers working for the Dhaka-based South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM), and Microfinance Opportunities (MFO), a US-based NGO.
It finds that there are some differences in the experiences of men and women workers during the May payment cycle.
“Fewer proportion of women report being paid: 64 per cent of women reported being paid while 74 per cent of men did,” 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 surveyed workers are women, in line with their preponderance in the overall workforce of the RMG industry, said to number 4 million.
The really breakthrough finding of the survey states that 82 per cent of the paid workers till May 15, reported receiving their wages through some sort of digital channel.
That is almost three times the number in just April, when 28 per cent of garment workers were paid through digital platforms. 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 per cent respectively
It also said that Women were less likely to have withdrawn the cash from their accounts immediately after they had been paid—84 per cent of women reported withdrawing their salary from their account immediately in comparison to 93 per cent of men.
The survey went on to state that despite the large number of workers being paid digitally, many for the first time, the process too has been smooth going for most of them: 95 per cent were able to cash out their payment at an ATM or agent on their first try and 78 per cent waited in line to cash out for less than 10 minutes.