A pro-labour organisation recently protested in Dhaka demanding an immediate implementation of BDT 16,000 as minimum wage for Bangladesh’s garment workers; threatening of stirring unrest in the sector otherwise.
Garments Workers’ Trade Union Centre, an organisation that has been drumming for the minimum wage level for months now, placed the threat from a rally held at Jatiya Press Club on July 20, 2018, and issued an ultimatum to this regard.
Jolly Talukdar, general secretary of the organisation, said the government and owners will have to accept their demand for fixing minimum wage at Tk 16,000, including a basic of Tk 10,000, within the next 15 days. “Or else, we’ll go on an all-out movement.”
She also said they rejected the minimum wage proposed by the owners at Tk 6,300 during the Minimum Wage Board’s stakeholder meeting on Monday. “The workers cannot survive with such a low wage. The demand is the demand of their life and death.”
Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) President Mujahidul Islam Selim, who was also present at the rally, urged the authorities concerned to accept the workers’ demand.
Speaking on the occasion, Garments Workers’ Tread Union Centre President Advocate Mantu Gosh said they will organise demonstrations in all industrial areas in the city next week.
Last Monday, the owners’ body Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) proposed raising the minimum wage of the workers to BDT 6,360, up from what is currently BDT 5,300. The workers’ representatives have proposed the minimum wage to be double that – at BDT 12,020.
The pro-labour organisations have denounced both the proposals, terming that the workers’ representatives within the pay structure formulation committee are indeed agents of the government and their affiliate workers’ bodies.