Apparel workers have rejected the new minimum gross monthly wage of Tk 8,000 declared by the government on September 13, saying it was too insufficient to meet the prevailing cost of living.
In 2013, the minimum gross was fixed at Tk 5,300.
They demanded immediate review for fixing the minimum monthly gross wage at Tk 16,000.
They asked the government to immediately declare the wages for the apparel workers in six other grades.
Soma Akter, a sewing machine helper at a Gazipur garment factory told New Age that the wage of Tk 8,000 was very insufficient to maintain her family of five when goods and services became so costly.
She said with the gross wage of Tk 8,000 a worker cannot afford daily necessities.
She said that there were other expenses for health care and children’s education.
She called it a farce to fix the minimum basic wage at Tk 4,100 and the gross wage at Tk 8,000.
A study revealed that 92 per cent of the garment workers borrow money to meet their expenses and 68 per cent eat less to cope up with their poor wage.
The study conducted by the Garment Workers Solidarity in August also shows that 19 per cent of the workers can’t afford beef or mutton even once a month to keep their monthly food budget under Tk 1,110.
Asma Akter, 26, sewing machine operator at a garment factory at Ulail, Savar, said that she left her two grader daughter with her mother in the village as she cannot meet their cost of education.
Anower Hossain, 32, from Tangail said that he married seven months back but still lives in a mess as he could not rent a room at Ashulia to bring his wife.
‘I visit my village twice a month,’ said Anower who lost his father at early age.
He said he promised his wife that she would be brought Ashulia after the new wage was declared.
He said that he could not keep his promise.
Workers said that the new wage would not end their misery and financial crisis.
Akter Hossain, 36, from Gaibandha said that factory owners spend lavishly on luxuries when the workers can’t afford the bare necessities.
He said that he gets Tk 12,000 but has to pay at least Tk 2,000 as house rent, Tk 2,000 on bills of utilities, Tk 2,000 on food.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Country