Leaders of labour organisations on Thursday demanded a decent salary for RMG workers, as they are major contributors to Bangladesh’s economy.
They also urged the authorities concerned to increase the basic salary of the workers, so that they could lead a decent life and at the same time save some money for their future.
The leaders made the demands at a round table discussion organised by IndustriALL Bangladesh Council (IBC) at Dhaka’s CIRDAP auditorium.
“Only 0.40% of garment workers can save some money while 99.60 percent have no savings,” said Bangladesh Textile and Garment Workers League President ZM Kamal Anam while presenting a survey report conducted by IBC.
The survey also showed that around 64% of RMG workers did not earn enough to meet their basic needs, while 77.2% work overtime in order to compensate for the insufficient wages.
IBC conducted the survey on 850 garments workers in Dhaka, Gazipur, Ashulia-Savar, Narayanganj and Chittagong in 2016.
Kamal added that workers in Bangladesh earn lower wages than neighbouring countries such as India and Cambodia. “Bangladeshi workers earn $67 where workers in India and Cambodia get $168 and $170 respectively.”
He also said the minimum salary for a sweeper on the government pay scale is Tk15,250, while the minimum salary for a garment worker is Tk5,300. In addition, only 13% of garments workers can afford to take holidays.
Addressing the discussion IndustriAll Global Union’s South Asia Office Regional Secretary Apoorva Kaiwer said: “Each and every worker has the right to a decent life, and IdustriAll is committed to defending that right.”
Leaders of various labour organisations attended the discussion, which was chaired by IBC Chairman M Mojibor Rahman Bhuiyan.