Garment labour organisations on Friday came down hard on the government for fixing Tk 8,000 as the monthly minimum wage for garment workers claiming that the wage was much lower than the ‘expected’ and ‘rational’ wage demanded by the workers.
Garment workers’ organisations staged demonstrations in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka in protest against the government decision and ‘rejecting’ the wage.
They demanded that the authorities should review the wage immediately to set the lowest wage at Tk 16,000.
Leaders of the organisations, while addressing rallies, vowed to go for massive movement across the country to realise their demand.
Garment Shramik Odhikar Andolan, which is a platform of 12 labour organisations, and Garment Workers’ Trade Union Centre and Garment Workers’ Front held separate demonstrations to step up their demands.
A section of workers also blocked Topkhana Road in Dhaka for half an hour disrupting traffic movement in protest at the decision.
GWTUC general secretary Jolly Talukder said that the minimum monthly wage Tk 8,000 was unrealistic and deception with 40 lakh workers of the highest foreign currency earning sector for the country.
Communist Party of Bangladesh president Mujahidul Islam Selim, addressing the GWTUC rally, said the government outwitted the workers, who should demand Tk 21,000 as the monthly minimum wage considering price hike and inflation but asked for only Tk 16,000.
‘The workers will never accept it,’ he said asking workers to take preparation to wage movement to achieve their rights.
The government on Thursday declared Tk 8,000 as the monthly minimum wage for the garment workers increasing Tk 2,700 from the existing Tk 5,300 set in 2013.
State minister for labour and employment Mujibul Haque announced the wage and said it would come into effect in December.
Mahbubur Rahman Ismail, coordinator of Garment Shramik Odhikar Andolan, said workers would stick to their demand for minimum wage of Tk 16,000.
He said the wage board announced an unrealistic and unfair wage, deceiving the workers.
Garment Workers’ Front president Ahsan Habib Bulbul in his speech termed the new was as a ‘farce’ with the workers.
He said considering prices of essential goods minimum wage should not be less than Tk 18,000.
Industriall Global Union’s Bangladesh branch chairman Gias Uddin Ahmed and secretary general Salauddin Swapan in a press statement asked the government to review the wage as it failed to meet workers’ expectation.
In 2016, apparel workers started demonstration at Ashulia, on the outskirts of the capital, demanding Tk 16,000 as the minimum wage.
Later in January 2018, the ministry of labour and employment formed the wage board amid labour unrest.
Employers proposed Tk 6,360 and the workers demanded Tk 12,020 to the wage board.
Both the parties stood their ground proposing Tk 7,000 and Tk 12,000 respectively.
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