The government may form by the next week the minimum wage board for reviewing the wages of the country’s readymade garment workers as the labour ministry is scheduled to hold a meeting tomorrow to finalise the decision.
RMG factory owners and workers’ organisation have already sent names of their representatives to the ministry for the board.
Once the board is formed, it will have to announce the new pay structure for RMG workers within six months.
Earlier, labour ministry said that the new wage board would be formed by December and workers would get increased wages by the mid-January of next year.
Officials have said that the ministry has already completed its primary preparations for forming the board.
The decision will be finalised at Wednesday’s meeting, they said, adding that state minister for labour Md Mujibul Haque would also discuss the matter with prime minister Sheikh Hasina.
Name of Jatiya Shramik League president Shukkur Mahmud has been proposed as member of the planned wage board from the workers’ organisation following a request of the ministry.
On the other hand, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association also sent the names of three leaders of the association.
The leaders are BGMEA president Siddiqur Rahman, vice-president Mahmud Hasan Khan Babu and director Adnan Qureshi.
In early December, Directorate of Labour sent letters to Bangladesh Employers Federation and Bangladesh Jatiya Sramik League seeking names of the factory owners’ and workers’ representatives to the wage board.
Shukkur Mahmud on Monday told New Age that three days back, labour organisations had proposed his name as their representative on the board.
‘We are hopeful that the board will be formed soon and consider the existing price hike of essential commodities, inflation and other issues related to living standard while proposing the new pay structure,’ he said.
Labour leaders will sit together to finalise their demands once the board is formed, he added.
Meanwhile, IndustriALL Bangladesh Council has demanded inclusion of representative from their organisation for ensuring representation of genuine workers.
Officials said that the ministry would finalise the names of the representatives of factory owners and workers for the board after getting the names from the Directorate of Labour.
Then, the ministry would issue gazette notification appointing them as members of the wage board.
The ministry initiated the move to review wages of RMG workers last month after getting a request from BGMEA to form the minimum wage board.
On November 8, the trade body sent a letter to the ministry requesting review of the existing wages of workers and formation of a minimum wage board to uplift the image of the sector at home and abroad.
The issue was discussed in the cabinet meeting on November 20 presided over by prime minister Sheikh Hasina at her Tejgaon office.
Following Rana Plaza building collapse in April 24, 2013 that killed more than 1,100 people, mostly garment workers, the government under pressure from national and international community took a measure to review the wages of the RMG workers.
In December 2013, following Rana Plaza building collapse in April that year that killed more than 1,100 people, mostly garment workers, a minimum wage board set the lowest wage for garment workers at Tk 5,300 raised from Tk 3,000, which was set in July, 2010.
In December last year, many RMG workers in Ashulia industrial belt on the outskirts of the capital staged demonstration demanding Tk 16,000 as the minimum monthly wage for apparel workers instead of the existing Tk 5,300.
There are around 4,500 export-oriented RMG units with 44 lakh workers, mostly located in Dhaka, Ashulia, Narayanganj, Gazipur and Chittagong.
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