Labour leaders announce hunger strike

They demand Tk 16,000 as minimum wage

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:00, Jul 28,2018 | Updated: 00:01, Jul 28,2018


Garment workers’ organisations bring out a rally in the capital on Friday, protesting at what they called plot against minimum wages for readymade garment workers. — New Age photo

Andolanrata Garment Sramik Sangathan Samuha, a platform of more than 40 garment workers’ organisations, on Friday announced a hunger strike in front of the wage board on August 31 demanding Tk 16,000 as minimum monthly wage for the ready-made garment sector.
After a meeting of the platform, the leaders also demanded a 10 per cent annual increment, instead of existing 5 per cent increment.
Labour leaders Abul Hossain, Mahatab Uddin Sahid, Mahbubur Rahman Ismail, Tauhidur Rahman, and Kazi Ruhul Amin, among others, were present, said a press release.
Labour leaders at separate rallies in Dhaka and Chittagong on Friday said that the proposed monthly minimum wage of Tk 6,360 by the apparel factory owners’ representative at the wage board would decrease workers’ real minimum wage.
They threatened to go for tougher movements if their demand for an immediate declaration confirming Tk 16,000 as minimum wage was not met.
National Garment Workers Federation and Ekota Garment Workers Federation jointly organised a rally in front of the National Press Club calling for setting the minimum wage for garment workers at Tk 16,000.
They rejected the ‘so called workers’ representative’s’ proposed minimum wage of Tk 12,020 alleging that the representative did not represent ‘real workers’ but the ruling party’s labour organisation.
NGWF president Amirul Haque Amin chaired the event where EGWF general secretary Kamrul Hasan and Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies executive director Syed Sultan Uddin Ahmed, among others, spoke.
They argued that the government set the minimum wage at Tk 5,300 in 2013 and if 5 per cent annual increment was added, it should stand at Tk 6,400, which was higher than the owners’ proposed wage of Tk 6,360.
Meanwhile, the Garment Workers’ Trade Union Centre at a rally in Chittagong alleged that the owners were conspiring to decrease workers’ real wage.
GWTUC general secretary Joly Talukder said that if the government sided with the owners, the workers would take to the streets.
The labour leaders argued that considering price spiral of essentials, the government should declare Tk 16,000 as minimum wage for the workers of the highest foreign currency earning sector.
Biplabi Garments Textile Sramik Forum also held a rally in front of the National Press Club to press for their demands. Convener of the organisation Shahidul Islam Sabuj presided over the rally where Bam Ganatrantrik Jote coordinator and Biplobi Workers’ Party general secretary Saiful Huq, among others, spoke.

Want stories like this in your inbox?

Sign up to exclusive daily email