Senior leaders of a number of labour organisations at a solidarity rally on Monday declared that they would soon start tougher united movement for Tk 16,000 as minimum wage for garment workers.
Garment Sramik Odhikar Andolan, a platform of 12 labour organisations, organised the rally, when factory owners’ representative proposed Tk 6,360 as the minimum wage.
The Andolan coordinator, Mahbubur Rahman Ismail, said that they would go for tougher movement if the government would not declare Tk 16,000 as the minimum wage before Eid-ul-Azha.
Rights activists and senior labour leaders from different organisations expressed their solidarity with the demand and assured that they would stand by the workers.
Columnist and anthropologist Rahnuma Ahmed, Jagannath University teacher Shamoly Shill, BRAC University teacher Shehjad M Arefeen and leaders of different student and political organisations expressed their solidarity with the demand.
Garment Workers Trade Union Centre president Montu Ghosh said that Tk 16,000 as minimum wage for the workers of the highest foreign currency earning labour sector was a must considering prices of essential commodities.
Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies executive director Syed Sultan Uddin Ahmed said that a conspiracy was still on over the livelihood of workers.
‘Wage boards are formed to revise workers’ wages upward; they cannot discuss decreasing the wages as per the wish of the owners,’ he said.
Garment Sramik Sanghati president Taslima Akter said that the factory owners were joking with 44 lakh garment workers of the country.
‘They (owners) did not propose any wage hike; in fact, if we consider the yearly five per cent increment of wage of the workers, the amount will higher than what the owners have proposed,’ she said.
In 2013, the minimum wage was fixed at Tk 5,300, up from Tk 3,000 fixed in 2010.
The minimum wage was Tk 1,662.50, Tk 940 and Tk 627 respectively in 2006, 1994 and 1985.
IndustryAll Bangladesh council secretary general Touhidur Rahman said that all the mainstream labour organisations in the country were united over issue despite their political and ideological differences.