After five years, a union of agitating workers has demanded a reconsideration of the decision of the minimum wage set by the Wage Board to be 12,500 taka.
In protest of this, the alliance called ‘Wage Increase Garment Sramik Andolan’ has also announced to hold a workers’ rally in Dhaka next Friday to demand an increase in the minimum wage. They demanded that the minimum wage be announced at 25 thousand taka.
Meanwhile, the leaders of many labor unions, who have been agitating for a long time to demand an increase in wages, did not want to comment at this time. They wanted to talk about it later.
However, the leaders of the Tongir regional committee of some labor organizations have expressed their satisfaction about this.
On the other hand, president of Garment Workers’ Unity Forum, Moshrafa Mishu said, “Currently, at the time of rising commodity prices, this amount of wage increase cannot be accepted in any way, it cannot be accepted. It is not right to declare wages below 20 thousand rupees. We request the government and garment factory owners to reconsider the matter.”
Earlier, workers protested in Gazipur’s garment factory area, blocked roads and set cars on fire, but after the announcement of wages, there were no reports of dissatisfaction anywhere.
Workers protesting in front of the office of the Minimum Wage Board on Topkhana Road in Dhaka on Tuesday, demanding an increase in wages. They protested outside the garment sector during a meeting to fix wages. The salary was finalized in the board meeting on this day.
On Tuesday, with the consent of the labor representatives in the wage board, the basic wage was increased by 56.25 percent and the minimum wage of Tk 12,500 was finalized for garment workers. The new salary structure will be effective from December 1.
In the sixth meeting of the wage board, the owners proposed to increase their previous proposal from Tk 10,400 to Tk 12,500. That proposal was accepted in the meeting of the wage board.
Last in December 2018, the government announced a new wage of 8 thousand rupees for garment workers for five years.
The government formed the Minimum Wage Board last April to fix the minimum wages of garment workers. Accordingly, the workers demanded to announce the new wages by November 30.
In the fourth meeting of this board on October 22, the representative of the labor side proposed a minimum wage of Tk 20 thousand 393. And the owner offers a wage of 10 thousand 400 taka.
Rejecting this proposal of the owners, the workers went on strike in Dhaka, Gazipur and Savar. Clashes and arson took place at various places; There is loss of life. Amidst their protest, the sixth meeting of the board was held today.
Minister of State for Labor Mannujan Sufian held a press conference at the Secretariat to announce the new wages for garment workers. Before this, he held a closed-door meeting with representatives of employers and workers in his office.
The representatives of the owners and workers on the board said that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina supports this proposal.
After receiving this decision from the government, the ‘Garment Workers’ Movement for Wages Increase’ immediately protested. The protest demanded immediate revision of the announced wages and the announcement of a minimum wage of Tk 25,000 for the garment workers.
The alliance includes Garment Sramik Oikya Forum, Bangladesh Garment Sramik Solidarity, Bangladesh Textile Garment Sramik Federation, Garment Sramik Mukti Andolan, OSK Garment and Textile Sramik Federation, Garment Sramik Federation, National Sweater Garment Workers Federation, Garment Sramik Andolan, Bilabbi Garment Sramik Solidarity, Garment Sramik Sabha and Garment Sramik Trade Union Centre.
Taslima Akhtar, convenor of the alliance, said that the owners have deliberately delayed the issue of wage hike. The issue of increasing the wages of the workers within 6 months as per the law has been delayed till November. Now, by offering 12,500 taka, the anger of the workers, who have been suffering from the commodity prices for a long time, is being provoked.
They also demanded to ensure a fair environment in this industry by announcing the minimum wage of 25,000 taka.
Dhaka’s Mirpur No. 11 has been chased by the police since Thursday morning with the garment workers.
Labor leader Jolly Talukder said, according to the current market price, it is not possible for the worker to live with this wage. Such wages would naturally create resentment among the workers.
He hopes that the Prime Minister will surely intervene in this matter and take a good decision.
What are the leaders of Tongi saying?
Tongi regional committee president of United Federation of Garment Walkers, Abul Hashem Mollah said, our demand is endless. Wages have increased a lot this time than in the past. We also have to survive, the factory owners also have to survive.
“If our leaders understand this message to the workers, I think there will be no problem. There are some pro-BNP organizations who are always working against the government. Everyone should beware of them.”
National Garment Workers Alliance, Tongi Regional Committee Secretary of Bangladesh. Rashed Ali said, “We leaders are satisfied with this salary. Inshallah, the workers will also be satisfied. With this new announcement, the workers did not create any unstable situation in my area today, there was no disturbance, no trouble.”
Sheikh Rubel, organizer of the Tongi regional committee of the Combined Garment Workers Federation, said in response, “It would be better if some more money was raised. This increase in wages has not increased much compared to the pace at which house rents and prices of daily necessities have increased. On Wednesday, we will understand the attitude of the workers.”