Garment Shramik Trade Union Kendra on Friday blamed the government for conspiring with garment factory owners to deny workers a legitimate wage.
The organisation came up with the allegation during a protest rally attended by several hundred garment workers and trade union activists in front of national press club in the afternoon demanding a minimum monthly wage of Tk 16,000.
Addressing the rally, Communist Party of Bangladesh president Mujahidul Islam Selim said that it would be difficult for workers to survive if the minimum wage was fixed less than their demand.
He warned the government against a tougher movement by the workers if it failed to assess the situation amid soaring prices of living cost every year.
He said that the minimum wage proposed to the wage board for garment workers by both garment factory owners and the representatives of the workers were simply not enough to bear a dignified life.
Garment factory owners proposed a monthly minimum wage of Tk 6,300 while workers representative proposed Tk 12,020 to the wage board this week.
‘The wage 6360 taka the owners had proposed, if you take the increment of last five years it would reduce the real income. They in fact proposed less than Tk 5300 taka. With this, the owners had joked with the workers. Our four million garments workers must give an answer to this joke,’ said Joly Talukdar, the secretary of Garment Shramik Trade Union Kendra during the rally.
The rally was also attended by trade union Kendra president Mantu Ghosh, and its leaders including Sadekur Rahman Shamim, Iqbal Hossain, and MA Shahin.
The existing minimum monthly wage of Tk 5,300 came into effect on January 1, 2014.
Bangladesh government in January formed a panel to review the wages for the readymade garment workers.
The panel is headed by a retired judge and represented by trade bodies and workers.
The first minimum wage board for garment workers was constituted in 1994 that fixed Tk 940 as minimum wage per month and the second one formed in 2006 fixed the minimum wage at Tk 1,662.50 while third board was formed in 2010 fixed minimum wage at Tk 3,000.
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