The apex apparel trade-body - BGMEA - termed implementation of the new wage structure for the sector a 'big challenge', saying the declining global demand for apparel products has increased market competition among the manufacturer countries.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) also apprehended that many factories might face closure, if the enhanced wage structure comes into effect.
A total of 1,200 garment factories have faced closure from 2014 to 2018, as they have failed to sustain in the business due to various reasons, BGMEA President Md Siddiqur Rahman said at a press conference at its headquarters in the capital on Monday.
"The industry is able to pay Tk 7,000 as minimum monthly wage for each worker. But we have agreed to pay Tk 8,000, as (it is) set by the Prime Minister (PM)."
It will be difficult for many factories to implement the new wage structure, as the industry is now passing through hard times due to some challenges, he noted.
Citing the World Trade Organization's (WTO) statistics, he said the global market size stood at US$ 454 billion in 2017, which was $ 483 billion in 2014.
During the 2014-2018 period, apparel prices in US, one of the country's main markets, have declined by 11.72 per cent, while production costs have gone up by 29.54 per cent, Mr. Rahman further said.
On the other hand, the local ready-made garment (RMG) sector entrepreneurs have to invest Tk 50 million to Tk 200 million each for post-inspection flaw fixing safety work in their units, he added.
The BGMEA president also criticized some labour leaders, who are demanding revision of the newly-announced minimum wage structure for the country's RMG workers.
Some labour leaders and non-government organisations (NGOs) are engaged in propaganda and trying to create an unstable situation by instigating the workers despite acceptance of the PM-set minimum wage by the owners, he alleged.
He raised question over motives of the trade union leaders, who rejected Tk 8,000 as the minimum wage.
Many organisations, including trade unions, congratulated the PM for setting the RMG workers' minimum wage, but only a few organisations are creating problems, Mr Rahman noted.
Criticising National Garment Workers Federation, a garment sector trade union, the BGMEA president said the organisation provided false information to the workers regarding the new minimum wage.
He also urged all to agree with the PM's directive regarding the RMG sector minimum wage and to work together to implement the government's Vision 2021 and Vision 2041.
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