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Dhaka Tribune

Govt forms wage board for RMG workers

The last minimum wage was reviewed in 2018 and set at Tk8,000 for an entry-level worker

Update : 10 Apr 2023, 05:33 PM

The government on Sunday formed a minimum wage board to review the wages of the workers in the country's readymade garment (RMG) industry.

In this regard, the Ministry of Labour and Employment announced the selection of the board representatives from the owners and workers sides of the RMG sector in a circular.

The government took the initiative to review the minimum monthly wages of workers and employees five years after the last review undertaken in 2018.

According to the circular, Sirajul Islam Rony, president of the Bangladesh National Garment Workers Employees League, and Md Siddiqur Rahman, former president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), have been named as the owners' and workers' representatives respectively.

Senior district judge Liaquat Ali Molla will serve as the chair of the wage board, which has four permanent members.

Other permanent members of the board are: Bangladesh Employers' Federation representative Moksud Belal Siddiqui, workers' representative and Jatiya Sramik League leader Sultan Ahmed, and independent member and Dhaka University Professor Md Kamal Uddin.

The last minimum wage was reviewed in 2018 and set at Tk8,000 for an entry-level worker with Tk4,100 as basic pay, Tk2,050 as house rent, Tk600 as medical allowance, Tk350 as transport allowance, and Tk900 as food allowance.

Labour leaders representing various organizations are now demanding minimum wage at a range of Tk23,000 with 65% basic payment.

They are also demanding a hike in wages, ranging from Tk20,000-Tk25,000 as minimum monthly wage for entry level workers due to the high inflation and abnormal hike in the price of daily necessities.

They are also demanding a 65% hike of the basic pay for the 7th grade, the lowest grade in the wage structure of the garment workers, saying the government had announced minimum wages for the RMG workers four times since 2006, but unfortunately basic wages decreased every time in the name of increasing allowances.

Moreover, RMG factory workers across the country and labour rights groups have staged demonstrations for more than a year demanding pay hikes for workers considering the growing living cost.

Among them, Garment Sramik Karmachari Oikya Parishad, a platform of RMG sector trade unions, has demanded Tk23,000 as minimum monthly pay for the garment workers.

Kalpona Akter, executive director of the Bangladesh Centre for Workers Solidarity, demanded Tk23,000 as minimum monthly pay with 65% basic pay.

Garments Sramik Front demanded Tk24,000 as the lowest monthly wage for the garment workers.

Samajtantrik Sramik Front general secretary Razekuzzaman Ratan said that the minimum wage of RMG workers should be set at Tk24,000 following high cost of living due to price hike of essentials.

RMG is the largest foreign currency earning sector that fetched $42.61 billion in the last fiscal year, which was about 82% of the total $52.08 billion export earning, according to official data.

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