The minimum wage received by Bangladeshi garment workers is below poverty level making it rather impossible to build a balanced society with millions of workers living below the poverty line, experts at a workshop said on Saturday.
‘Bangladesh is currently at the minimum stage of “minimum” wage. Eventually we can get to living wage by continuously pushing minimum wage up,’ said a study titled ‘Moving towards living wage in the RMG sector in Bangladesh: What will it take?’ by Care Bangladesh.
South Asian Network on Economic Modelling executive director Selim Raihan presented the study at the workshop which was also attended by Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, chairman of Palli Karmo-Sahayak Foundation as chief guest.
The PKSF chairman stressed for collective movement to fix the wage amount that is pivotal at ensuring a decent life for a worker.
Ration, accommodation, education and healthcare must be provided along with minimum wage by the government or the factory owners, he said adding that there is no need to consider owners’ capability, they have the capacity.
‘By keeping the workforce below the poverty line, a balance society is not possible,’ he added.
Centre for Policy Dialogue research director Khondaker Golam Moazzem suggested for being aware of ‘wage politics’.
The wage should be the amount that helps a worker and his dependents lead a decent life, explained Bangladesh Institute for Labour Studies executive director Syed Sultan Uddin Ahmed
Wage should be fixed based on law but in reality it was decided politically, he said.
The study suggested for continuous push for increasing minimum wage to ensure living wage for the country’s garment sector.
It also recommended the government provide healthcare to the workers at the public hospitals and identify the industry players which are unable to implement wage and incentivise them.
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