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Apparel exporters for fiscal incentives before fixing new wage structure

  • Published at 02:21 am September 10th, 2018
The Accord and Alliance was set up after the Rana Plaza disaster in 2013 to protect workers rights and their workplace Mahmud Hossain Opu
File photo: A woman worker seen working at a garment factory in Dhaka Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

They also urge the policy makers to link the wage hike with the country’s inflation

 Apparel exporters sought fiscal incentives from the government before it announces new wage structure for garment workers.

 They also urged the policy makers to link the wage hike with the country’s inflation.

 Apparel makers came up with the call at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) held in the capital on Sunday.

 BGMEA and BKMEA jointly organized the meeting to seek opinions from their members on the new wage structure for the country's garment industry as the government formed Minimum Wage Board for the RMG sector.

 Earlier, BGMEA President Md Siddiqur Rahman placed its minimum wage proposal to the board recommending Tk6,360 per month as minimum wage.

 “If we have to increase minimum wage, the government has to reduce existing taxes imposed on us or offer fiscal incentives,” FBCCI president Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin said.

 We do not want to talk about workers wage and go to wage board for fixing workers wage. Instead, we want to adjust the inflationary rate every year with the salary instead of reviewing wages each after a five year gap, said Mohiuddin, also a former president of BGMEA.

 In the name of forming new wage structure, the factory owners have become hostage to the trade unions and face threat of workers’ protest, he added.

 The trade body leader also urged the manufacturers to raise their voices to buyers and negotiate for enhanced prices for CM (cutting and manufacturing).

.Former BGMEA president Md Atikul Islam urged to abolish grades in upper level and let the amount be set through bargaining. Workers, who will perform well, will get better wages, he opined.

 We are facing troubles as the buyers are not increasing prices, although cost of production has risen, he added.

 Echoing Mohiudding, former BGMEA president Tipu Munshi said the move to hike wages for garment workers will dent the industry afresh as election draws near.

 “ The issue of workers wage came in such a situation, which is not in favor of the industry people as there is the national elections ahead,” Tipu said the meeting.

 Several BGMEA member  urged the incumbent president to hold discussion with the Prime Minister seeking his intervention in fixing the new workers wage.

 The garments owners blamed civil society members for provoking workers for higher wages.

 BGMEA president Siddiqur Rahman assured the garment owners of holding talks with the policy makers to shield small factories from extra burden.

 Earlier, Workers-nominated representative Shamsun Nahar Bhuiyan placed the proposal to raise the baseline monthly salary from Tk5,300 to Tk12,020 before the Minimum Wage Board.