Both factory owners and workers’ representatives to the readymade garment sector minimum wage board on Sunday failed to submit their wage proposals in the second meeting of the board and sought more time to finalise the proposals.
‘As per the decision of the first meeting of the minimum wage board for reviewing RMG workers’ wages, representatives of both factory owners and workers were supposed to submit separate proposals of minimum wages to the board in the second meeting, but they sought more time,’ Syed Aminul Islam, chairman of the board, told reporters after the second meeting at the board’s Topkhana Road office in Dhaka.
He said that the board allowed eight more days to the representatives of both the parties and asked them to submit their proposals on July 16 in the third meeting of the board.
‘In today’s meeting, we discussed the issues that are considered for setting the minimum wage and also reviewed minimum wages in different sectors, which were set recently,’ the board chairman said.
‘The minimum wage board is committed to set a fair wage for RMG sector workers within the shortest possible time,’ Aminul Islam said.
He added that the board would visit several garment factories before setting the minimum wage.
Md Siddiqur Rahman, factory owners’ representative to the board, said that their work in preparing the wage proposal was at the final stage and they were taking time for fine-tuning it.
He said that the wage proposal would be submitted to the board on July 16.
Siddiqur Rahman, also president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, said that after the submission of the wage proposals from representatives of the two parties, the board would visit garment factories in home and abroad to make an acceptable wage structure for the workers.
‘We had been ready to submit our proposal to the board but at the last moment debates raged among trade union leaders over job grades of the workers and then we decided to take time to resolve the disputes,’ Shamsunnahar Bhuiyan, workers’ representative to the board, told reporters.
She said that they had initially taken the decision to submit the proposal to the board recommending lowering of job grades of workers to five from the existing seven but at the last moment some leaders argued that the proposal might mislead workers.
With corrections, it would be possible to submit the proposal in the third meeting of the board, Shamsunnahar said.
During the meeting, Garments Sramik Karmachari Oikya Parishad, a platform of 22 labour unions, and Garment Sramik Trade Union Kendro staged separate demonstrations in front of the wage board office.
Garments Sramik Karmachari Oikya Parishad demanded Tk 18,000 as minimum wage for garment workers while Garment Sramik Trade Union Kendro demanded Tk 16,000.