Labour rights groups reject the wage, demand higher pays
The government on Thursday announced Tk 8,000 as minimum monthly wage, up from existing Tk 5,300, for the country’s readymade garment workers amid protests from labour groups demanding higher pays.
State minister for labour Md Mujibul Haque announced the wage at a press conference at the secretariat.
Earlier on the day, the fifth meeting of the minimum wage board was held at the board’s Topkhana Road office in the capital.
Garment workers trade unions, meanwhile, rejected the new wage for apparel workers.
Mahbubur Rahman Ismail, coordinator of Garment Sramik Odhikar Andolan, a platform of 12 labour organisations, said that workers would stick to their demand for a minimum wage of Tk 16,000.
Garment Workers’ Trade Union Centre general secretary Jolly Talukder, rejecting the new wage, said that the wage board announced an unrealistic and unfair wage, deceiving the workers.
The state minister said that prime minister sheikh Hasina proposed Tk 8,000 as minimum wage for the garment workers and all the parties in the minimum wage board agreed to it as the representatives of workers and factory owners to the board failed to reach a consensus over the minimum wage.
‘After forming the minimum wage board for the RMG workers in January, the board held few meetings but it failed to reach any consensus over the minimum wage. Factory owners were not willing to increase the wage over Tk 7,000 while workers representative would not accept anything below Tk 12,000,’ Mujibul said.
Against this backdrop, he said, the prime minister sat with the owners and workers representatives and proposed Tk 8,000 as minimum wage for the RMG workers.
‘The prime minister has made a realistic decision over the minimum wages for the garment workers and I hope all the workers and workers’ leaders will accept the amount, he said.
Syed Aminul Islam, chairman of the minimum wage board, said that following a meeting with the prime minister, the owners’ representative to the board agreed to increase the wage to Tk 8,000 and all the board members also agreed to the proposal.
‘In the fifth meeting of the wage board, we finalised the recommendations on minimum wages of garment workers unanimously,’ he said.
In the new minimum wage, basic was fixed at Tk 4100 up from existing Tk 3,000, house rent at Tk 2,050 up from Tk 1,200, medical allowance at Tk 600 up from Tk 250, transport allowance at Tk 350 up from Tk 200 and food subsidy at Tk 900 up from Tk 650.
Md Siddiqur Rahman, factory owners’ representative to the wage board, said that they agreed to the directive of the prime minister and the new minimum wage would be implemented from December.
‘Our prime minister is workers’ friendly and we have agreed to her direction on minimum wage of Tk 8,000,’ said Shamsunnahar Bhuiyan, workers’ representative to the board.
The government on January 31 issued a gazette notification announcing the name of the owners’ and workers’ representatives of the board to review the monthly minimum wages for garment workers.
In the third meeting of the board on July 16 the factory owners’ representative formally proposed Tk 6,360 as the minimum monthly wage for RMG workers, while the workers’ representative proposed Tk 12,020.
In the fourth meeting on September 3, the minimum wage board requested the representatives to reconsider their respective wage proposals to reduce the gap.
The present minimum monthly wage for the garment worker is Tk 5,300, which was set in 2013.
The first minimum wage board for garment workers was constituted in 1994 that had fixed Tk 940 as minimum wage per month and the second one formed in 2006 had fixed the minimum wage at Tk 1,662.50 while third board formed in 2010 had set minimum wage at Tk 3,000.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Apparel