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Dhaka Tribune

RMG minimum wage set at Tk5,300 with 5% of basic as yearly increment

Update : 21 Nov 2013, 08:19 PM

The government-formed wage board has finalised Tk5,300 as minimum wage with a basic of Tk3,000 for entry-level garment workers.

“The wage board has unanimously decided the minimum wage at Tk5,300 with a 5% yearly increment on the basic, having thread bear discussion on the objections placed to the board by the owners and the labour leaders as the both party came to a consensus,” AK Roy, chairman of the board, said at a press briefing on Thursday.

The representatives of owners, workers and independent members agreed with the proposal, he added. 

The new minimum wage, which is 76.66% higher than the existing Tk3,000, will be in effect from December 1, which means the workers will receive the new wages in January next year.

The board on November 4 proposed Tk5,300 as minimum wage, of which Tk3,200 was recommended as basic. The workers had been demanding for Tk8,000.

The following day, the government published a gazette notification and the board received around 500 objections from both parties. “We have discussed the issue broadly and at one stage, come to a consensus to declare TK5,300 as the minimum wage,” Roy told journalists.

The new structure includes Tk1,200 as house rent, Tk250 as medical allowance and Tk200 for transportation. The workers would also get Tk650 per month as food subsidy.

Meanwhile, a novice worker will get Tk4,300 with a basic of Tk2,200  of which Tk880 for house rent, Tk250 for medical allowance and Tk200 for transportation and Tk650 as food subsidy.

Trainee period of a worker would be three months but it can be extended by three more months if the employee cannot improve his or her skill. 

“We have accepted the board’s final proposal to save the RMG sector though it will be tough for small and medium owners to implement it,” Arshad Jamal Dipu, owner’s representative to the board, said.

The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) would take necessary steps to ensure that the new minimum wage structure is implemented by the all factory owners, said Dipu, also a director of the owners’ body. He hoped that they would be successful like the previous time.

The previous hike was made in August 2010 and it came into effect from November. The rise was 67% to 81% depending on job category as the previous wage was Tk1,662.50 per month, set in 2006. The first minimum wage board, constituted in 1994, had fixed Tk940 as minimum wage for the garment workers.

Replying to a query, Kamal Uddin, independent member of the board said they had to cut Tk200 from the proposed basic to reach a consensus.

“There is no confusion over inclusion of the sweater factory workers as the board mentioned it in the proposal. They will get benefit as per the government decision,” Sirajul Islam Rony, representative of workers to the wage board, said.

On the recent unrest in RMG sector, Rony told the Dhaka tribune that it erupted after the owners had rejected the board’s proposal. He also blamed a vested quarter for trying to turn the largest export-earning sector volatile.

“To stop further unrest and remove confusion over the wage structure, we will distribute leaflets among the workers after publication of a gazette,” said Rony, also the president of Bangladesh National Garments Workers Employee League.

He hoped that the gazette notification would be published by the board in a day or two.

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