They said the decision is unjust and illogical
Turning down the minimum wage of Tk8, 000 as fixed by the government, garment workers have demanded raising it to Tk16, 000.
They made the demand from different programs held under the banners of different workers' organizations on Friday
Several hundred garment workers under the banner of “Garments Workers' Trade Union Centre”, a platform of RMG workers, staged a sit-in in front of the National Press Club around 11:30am to press home their demand, reports UNB.
"Setting the minimum wage at Tk8, 000 for RMG workers is unjust and illogical," said Joli Talukder, the general secretary of the union.
She also urged the government to reconsider the decision, or else, she threatened go for a tougher movement and announced to stage demonstrations in industrial areas of the city.
Abul Hasan, officer-in-charge of Shahbagh Police Station said: “The RMG workers also brought out a procession protesting the government decision.”
Vehicular movements at Topkhana road and its adjacent areas remained suspended for nearly an hour following their demonstrations.
Later, police went to the spot and dispersed the workers.
On Thursday, the government fixed the minimum wage for the RMG workers at Tk 8000.
The decision will come into effect in December next after the publication of a gazette notification.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Garment, Textile and Leather Workers Federation (BGTLWF) made the same demand in its biennial council 2018 held at the National Press Club.
BGTLWF President Kutubuddin Ahmed said: When the country is graduating towards a middle-income one, workers' salary should be minimum Tk16,000 considering the growing price of daily needs.”
Executive Director of Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies (BILS) Zafrul Hasan criticized the amendment to the labour law, saying the amendment is not favourable for the workers.
“Due to the amendment of the law, working hours have increased,” he claimed.
Giasudin Ahmed, Chairman of Industriall Bangladesh Council (IBC), and its General Secretary Salauddin Swapon also urged the government to reconsider the decision at the program.
Bangladesh is the largest exporter of readymade garment products, after China. The sector employs an estimated 40 million workers, mostly women, and contributes to more than 80% of Bangladesh’s export earnings.
Unsafe working conditions and low wages have long been a concern in the garment industry. However, the country has come a long way since the 2013 Rana Plaza collapse, which killed more 1,100 people—primarily RMG workers.
The workers’ wages were last raised in 2013.