Clean Clothes Campaign, a global alliance of labour unions in garment and textile sector, on Friday condemned factory owners’ minimum wage proposal for workers and termed it ‘utmost disregard’ for workers.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association on Monday submitted a proposal to the minimum wage board formed for reviewing RMG sector workers for setting Tk 6,360 as workers’ minimum wage.
Bangladesh garment industry employers’ association has shown utmost disregard for workers’ wellbeing and for their lives outside of garment factories, the global workers rights platform said in its release.
‘We strongly condemn the proposal handed in by the BGMEA as well as the entire wage revision process so far. The proposed “increase” of the basic wage component from 3,000 to 3,600 taka that employers have put forward is nothing but playing catch-up with statutory demands – with a delay that has cost workers hundreds of dollars over the past years,’ said Ineke Zeldenrust, international coordinator of Clean Clothes Campaign.
CCC urged brands and retailers to take action so that workers who were producing clothes for western consumers could get a living wage.
It said that the current minimum wage of Tk 5,300 was set in 2013, and it has ever since been widely criticised as insufficient for workers to meet even their most basic needs.
This minimum wage is composed of a basic wage (Tk 3,000), plus allowances for transport, medical expenses and food.
The platform also criticised the proposal of workers representative to the wage board saying that the proposal of Tk 12,020 was contravening the broad consensus among trade unions and their federations.
‘A workers’ representative – who had been controversially appointed to the Minimum Wage Board by the government – handed in a proposal to raise the wage to Tk 12,020. This proposal is contravening the broad consensus among trade unions and their federations, including the Bangladesh council of the global trade union federation IndustriALL: that the new minimum wage should be set at 16,000 taka,’ the release read.
‘If brands truly want to support the genuine and fair engagement of workers in the negotiation process, they will speak out now. Silence means inaction,’ said Zeldenrust.
She also said that brands had the responsibility to ensure that workers producing the clothes they sell earned a living wage.
CCC called upon all brands sourcing from Bangladesh to live up to their own proclaimed standards and to take action before the minimum wage board meets again at the end of August.