A new proposal may be given by the owners and BGMEA in the wage board meeting on Tuesday to determine the minimum wages of the workers in the garment sector.
After the owners proposed a minimum wage of Tk 10,400, after workers’ protests, clashes, and the death of two people, in the last meeting of the board on November 1, the former president of BGMEA, Siddiqur Rahman, said that they will make specific proposals in the next meeting.
The notice signed by Raisa Afroz, Secretary of the Wage Board on Monday informed that the sixth meeting of the Minimum Wage Board is going to be held on Tuesday. The concerned parties will meet in the meeting organized for the workers of this sector.
Wage structure of apparel sector is announced every five years. There is a legal obligation to finalize the wage structure and announce it by this November. It will be implemented by December, with the increase in salary to be added to the January salary.
In the fourth meeting of the board on October 22, the representative of the labor side proposed setting the minimum wage at Tk 20 thousand 393. On that day, the owner offered 10 thousand 400 taka.
The workers in the industrial areas of Dhaka, Savar, Ashulia, Gazipur, who were angry with the proposal of the owners, closed the factories and started blocking the roads. Two workers have already died in the protest violence. Protests are going on somewhere every day.
At the end of last Wednesday’s meeting, BGMEA representative Siddiqur Rahman told reporters, “They (the board) have requested that the wages we have proposed earlier should be increased further. Yes, we also agreed to increase. I will submit the proposal in writing in the form of a proposal in the next final meeting.
“Today we can say this much, we will increase far beyond what we gave. Even after this, the government remained one. Whatever we propose, whatever the board proposes, the government can increase or decrease it wherever it wants.”
Bdnews24.com tried to talk to some of the leaders of BGMEA over the past few days about what this ‘going too far’ means.
Jolly Talukder, General Secretary of Bangladesh Garments Workers Trade Union Center, told bdnews24.com, ‘The workers have relaxed their agitation a little ahead of the meeting of the wage board on Tuesday. If the desired wage proposal is not forthcoming in that meeting, it will again anger the workers.”
Some of the protesting workers are demanding 23,000 taka, some are demanding 25,000 taka.
However, Sirajul Islam Roni, the labor representative in the wage board, thinks that this demand is ‘not realistic’.
At the end of the fifth meeting of the board, he told the reporters, “23 thousand, 25 thousand taka is not enough. Real situation should be understood.”
He said that the owners will decide on the new proposal.
He said he expects the new wages to be set by mid-November, after the owners make new offers.