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Apparel makers demand govt support for wage hike

by Apparel Resources News-Desk

2 weeks ago  |  3 mins   read

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A moment from the emergency meeting of the apparel manufacturers in Dhaka. The meeting was jointly organised by BGMEA and BKMEA in purview of the approaching fresh pay scale for Bangladesh’s apparel industry workers.

Bangladesh’s apparel manufacturers have demanded government support in paying the wages of workers, ahead of the introduction of the new pay scale for the apparel industry workers.

The apparel manufacturers will be negotiating with the government on this issue, they decided in an emergency general meeting held between Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA); held at BGMEA Complex in Dhaka on September 9, 2018.

BGMEA President Siddiqur Rahman told his fellow apparel owners, “We will try to get benefit from the government – like cash incentive or tax waiving – to adjust the increased wage of the workers. Keep faith in me. I will negotiate with the government for the benefit of the garments sector.”

He also said the tide is against the manufacturers with the approaching general elections of Bangladesh. “The salary of the workers will have to increase as per the need of the workers and the ability and capacity of the owners.”

Bangladesh will introduce a new pay scale for its apparel industry workers this year. The owners have proposed BDT 6,360 as minimum wage, a 20 per cent hike from the existing BDT 5,300. The workers’ side has sought for BDT 12,000. However, there is a commotion going on and pro-labour organisations are demanding BDT 16,000 as minimum wage.

Meanhwile, Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, president of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), who attended the meeting, blasted “intellectuals” for demanding “illogical” wage hike in favour of the workers. “We will keep confidence on board of BGMEA and its president regarding the negotiation salary hike of the workers. If we will have to increase wage, the government will have to reduce our tax and increase incentive.”

Tipu Munshi, a running lawmaker and former president of BGMEA, underlined that there was a prevailing pressure on the garments sector ahead of the election. “If our workers were skilled and efficient, there would have been no problems in hiking the wages.”

He suggested that the provision of wage boards should be scrapped and that the salary of the workers should be increased annually on basis of inflation.

Among others, Selim Osman, president of BKMEA, Mohammed Nasir, vice president (Finance) of BGMEA, Mohiuddin Ahmed, first vice president of BGMEA, Atiqul Islam, former president of BGMEA, Faruk Hossain, senior vice president of BGMEA, SM Mannan Kochi, vice president of BGMEA, and Ashif Ibrahim, former president of BGMEA, also addressed the meeting.