The minimum wage board formed for the cotton textile sector has finalised its recommendations, setting Tk 5,710 as gross monthly pay for the sector workers.
Currently, the minimum wage for the textile sector workers is Tk 3,302 set in 2011.
The wage board published the proposal along with other recommendations in a gazette notification on January 24 seeking, if there is any, written objections against or suggestions on the recommendation in 14 days.
Both the owners and workers representatives to the wage board said that the board made the recommendation ‘unanimously’ while labour leaders said that the proposed amount was not acceptable.
Wajed-ul Islam Khan, a veteran labour leader, said that the amount of proposed minimum wage for the cotton textile sector was not acceptable.
‘It is not possible at all for a worker to meet the monthly expenditure of his/her family with Tk 5,710. I don’t know how the wage board has proposed such a poor amount as the minimum wage,’ Wajed, former coordinator of Sramik Karmachari Oikya Parishad, said.
In its recommendations, the wage board has incorporated 10 grades for workers and six grades for employees in the sector.
The government formed the wage board in April last year to review the minimum wage for the cotton textile sector workers within six months.
Later, the government extended the time by six more months and the board members visited several textile and spinning mills to assess the living standard of workers, productivity, production costs, prices of products and strength of the sector.
After the assessment, the board has proposed Tk 5,710 as the minimum monthly wage for the workers in grade-10.
The amount includes basic pay Tk 3,600 for upazila town areas, 35 per cent of the basic pay (Tk 1,260) as house rent, Tk 550 as medical allowance and Tk 300 as travel allowance.
For the grade, house rents in the district towns and divisional cities
are 40 per cent and 70 per cent of the basic pay respectively.
Md Jamal Uddin, the factory owners’ representative to the board, on Sunday told New Age that the board members ‘unanimously’ recommended the amount as the minimum wage.
Considering the strength of the sector and the living standard of workers, the board proposed a reasonable amount as the minimum wage for the workers, he claimed.
‘I have agreed to the wage board’s proposal on the minimum wage for the cotton textile sector. The amount of the minimum wage for the workers in grade-10 is slightly small but the amounts proposed for the other grades are good,’ Md Mostafa who is the workers’ representatives to the wage board said.
Asked whether it was possible for a grade-10 worker to meet his/her monthly family needs with Tk 5,710, Mostofa avoided giving any reply to the question by saying, ‘I am busy now.’
He, a workers’ leader at Dhaka Cotton Mills which has remained shut over the years, was appointed as the workers’ representative to the wage board.
‘At this moment I can’t recall the name of my trade union but the registration number of the union is 879. I am also the president of Jatio Sramik League, Postogola industrial area unit,’ Mostafa said in reply to another question.
Later, he could remember the name of the trade union and said he was vice-president of Dhaka Cotton Mills Workers Union.
In its proposals, the wage board has set the monthly minimum wage for the workers in grade-9 at Tk 6,061, for grade-8 Tk 6,250, for grade-7 Tk 6,520, for grade-6 Tk 6,763, for grade-5 Tk 7,033, for grade-4 Tk 7,303, for grade-3 Tk 7,924, for grade-2 Tk 8,275 and for grade-1 Tk 8,977.
According to the recommendations, the wages would be applicable for both the export-oriented and local textile mills across the country.
According to the sector people, there are some 7,000 textile factories under the sector across the country and 50 lakh people are working in the units.
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