The government has taken an initiative to review the minimum wages for the workers of automobile workshop and tailoring sectors in accordance with the Bangladesh labour act as the wages for the sectors were last reviewed eight years ago.
As per the law, the minimum wage for a sector has to be reviewed after each five years.
The government has already issued two separate gazette notifications appointing representatives from owners and workers from automobile workshop and tailoring industries to the minimum wage boards.
Each board consists of a chairman, an independent member, a permanent representative from employers and a permanent member from workers.
The labour ministry has also appointed to each wage board one temporary representative from employers and one temporary representative from workers engaged in the sector concerned.
As per the gazette notifications, the labour ministry has appointed Bangladesh Automobiles Workshop Malik Samity general secretary Md Jahangir Alam as the employers’ representative and Bangladesh Motorjan Mechanic Federation president Mahbubur Rahman Ismail as the workers’ representative to the wage board.
For the tailoring industry, Md Abul Kalam Azad, president of the Bangladesh Dress Makers’ Association, has been appointed as the owners’ representative to the wage board while Md Ayub Ali, president of the Dhaka Mohanagar Darji Sramil League, has been appointed as the workers’ representative.
The minimum wages for the workers of automobile workshops were set in the year of 2009 with minimum monthly pay of Tk 1,930.
The minimum wages for the tailors were set at Tk 2,325 as monthly pay in the year of 2008.
Sector leaders said that around 30,000 automobile workshops are in operation across the country where as many as 25 lakh workers are employed while there are 35,000 standard tailoring shops with more than 10 lakh workers.
‘I have heard that the government appointed employers’ and workers’ representatives to the wage board and it is now essential to review the minimum wages considering the price hike of essentials,’ Jahangir Alam told New Age on Saturday.
He claimed that though the minimum wages for the automobile-workshop workers were now Tk 1,930, but workers even apprentice ones were not getting less than Tk 3,000 as monthly pay.
Jahangir claimed that most of the helpers in automobile workshops were getting Tk 5,000 as monthly pay across the country.
‘We will propose Tk 5,000 as the minimum wage for the sector,’ he said.
Jahangir said that country’s automobile workshops were playing role as training institutes and producing a good number of skilled mechanics every year.
He demanded value-added tax waiver for the sector and planned automobile-workshop zones in every commercial area in Dhaka and other cities.
Mahbubur Rahman Ismail said that considering the present living cost they would propose Tk 16,000 as the minimum wage for the sector.
Tailoring sector owners’ representative Abul Kalam Azad said that he was not yet aware about the formation of the wage board.
Azad said that all of the workers in the sector across the country worked on piece-rate basis and there was no scope for setting the monthly minimum wages for the sector.
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