The Minimum Wage Board for the garment industry directed both the workers’ and owners’ representatives to submit their separate proposals on minimum wage for the apparel workers by April 25.
On January 13, the Bangladesh government formed a wage board for the RMG sector to formulate a new minimum wage structure for apparel workers within six month of its formation.
The decision was taken in the first meeting of the Minimum Wage Board, presided over by its chairman Syed Aminul Islam on Monday.
“It was an introductory meeting, where we discussed the Bangladesh Labor Act, Labor Rules and the problems and prospects of the apparel industry,” he said after the meeting.
“After having the discussion with the board members, the board has taken the decision that the representatives of the workers and owners will submit their separate proposals on minimum wage by April 25”, said Aminul.
“We cannot ignore the contribution of workers in graduation of Bangladesh to a developing country. Inflation, living standard, risk factor, cost of production and the capacity of the owners to be taken into account to set the minimum wage,” he added.
The demands have already been placed to the board by trade unions and workers’ representative to be discussed in the next meeting, said Aminul, also a senior district judge.
“As soon as possible, the board will send its recommendation to the government,” he further said.
“There will be several talks and demands from several groups. Considering all these issues, we will reach a consensus and ultimately have an acceptable proposal,” BGMEA president and owners’ representative Siddiqur Rahman said replying to a question on workers' leaders demand of minimum monthly wage of Tk16,000.
During the meeting, several trade unions staged demonstrations in front of the Minimum Wage Board office. During their demonstration, a group demanded Tk18,000, while another group demanded Tk16,000 as minimum monthly wage.
“There will be no shortage of cordiality from the owners as the BGMEA requested the government to form new wage board to set workers’ wage,” he added.
Labor representative and Women's Affairs Secretary of Jatyo Sramik League Shamsun Nahar Bhuiyan, owners’ representative Siddiqur Rahman, independent board member Md Kamal Uddin, a teacher at Dhaka University in the Department of International Business and Labour adviser of Bangladesh Employers' Federation Kazi Saifuddin Ahmed were present.
In the 2013 aftermath of the Rana Plaza incident, the then minimum wage board set Tk5,300 as minimum wage with a basic starting wage of Tk3,000 for entry-level garment workers with a 5% yearly raise.
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