Officials reported that the government has taken steps to evaluate the minimum monthly salaries for the nation’s ready-made garment (RMG) employees.
In this regard, the Ministry of Labour and Employment’s Department of Labour (DoL) has requested the names of representatives from the employers’ trade associations, the BGMEA and BKMEA, to serve on the pay board responsible for re-fixing the monthly minimum salaries.
On January 25 and 26, it wrote in two separate letters to the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) respectively.
In 2018, the government last reviewed the wages of about four million garment workers and fixed the entry-level minimum wages at Tk 8,000 from Tk 5,300.
BKMEA Vice President Fazlee Shamim Ehsan and BGMEA Vice President Shahidullah Azim said they would send the names of their respective representatives within a couple of days.
Besides that, talking to the FE, Bangladesh National Garment Workers Employees League President Sirajul Islam Rony said the DoL asked him to provide some documents in this connection.
According to sources, the DoL asked for the same from some other labor leaders, as there are more than 50 workers’ federations.
“Time demands to review the wages, taking into consideration inflation and daily essentials’ prices, which are skyrocketing,” Rony said.
Also, there is a legal obligation to review the minimum monthly wages of industrial sectors after every five years, and also suggested factory owners to effectively negotiate with buyers while taking work orders.
Babul Akhter, leader of labour said, “We want representation from the IndustriAll Bangladesh Council (IBC) in the wage board to negotiate minimum monthly wages, claiming the IBC has representation of 90 per cent RMG workers.”
He demanded Tk 23,000 as minimum wages with 65 percent basic payment.
In recent months, labor organizations pushed for a minimum monthly pay of Tk 20,000 to Tk 25,000 for entry-level employees.
The Bangladesh Garments Employees Unity Council (BGWUC) sought the immediate formation of the pay board and Tk 22,000 as the minimum monthly wage for the sector workers from a human chain, taking into account high inflation on January 20.
The BGWUC leaders also demanded 65 percent hike in the basic pay for 7th grade, the lowest grade in the garment workers’ wage structure.
Additionally, the government has set minimum pay for RMG employees four times since 2006, but sadly, the basic wage has reduced each time in favour of rising benefits.
RMG is the industry with the highest foreign exchange earnings, bringing in US$42.61 billion in the most recent fiscal year, or roughly 82 percent of the total $52.08 billion in export revenue for the nation.