6 years ago

BGMEA, TU leaders meet Thursday to discuss wage hike


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Apparel sector leaders will sit with labour leaders Thursday to discuss the present situation of the industry and mobilise opinion about wage hike in the sector.

Leaders of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and labour rights organisations affiliated with Industriall Bangladesh Council (IBC) are expected to attend the meeting.

"The main purpose is to explain the capability of the sector and know opinion related to the wage hike," BGMEA vice president Mahmud Hasan Khan said, informing the FE about the meeting schedule.

The BGMEA will also hold discussion on the issue with other local rights groups soon.

Welcoming the move, IBC secretary general Touhidur Rahman said they will place their demand for raising the monthly minimum wage to Tk 16,000 for the garment workers.

Representatives from all the 16 trade union (TU) federations affiliated with IBC are expected to join the meeting, he said.

The apparel sector trade body in a letter issued on November 08 last year requested the labour ministry to form a wage board to review the existing wages of the garment workers.

Industry insiders, however, claimed that the move came following pressure especially from the international arena. The latest initiative has also been taken to avert a likely labour unrest centering the demand for wage hike, they said.

More than 50 RMG units in Ashulia belt remained closed for nearly a week sometime at the end of 2016, following a two-week work abstention enforced in support of the demand for wage hike, among others, which drew international attention.

Following the situation, international rights groups alleged that the workers' rights situation was getting worse in the country's RMG sector and they repeatedly urged the European Union (EU) to review Bangladesh's eligibility for Generalised System of Preferences (GSP).

The labour ministry at a press conference held on December 14 last year announced the formation of a new wage board for garment sector to review the wages and send their recommendations within six months.

BGMEA president Md Siddiqur Rahman and women's affairs secretary of Jatiya Sramik League Shamsunnahar Bhuiyan have been nominated as owners and workers representatives of the board with other four permanent members.

The last wage board formed in December 2013 fixed minimum wages for garment workers at Tk 5,300. Minimum wages for garment workers were fixed at Tk 3,000 in 2010 while Tk 1,662.50 in 2006 and Tk 940 in 1994.

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