Months ahead of a new wage structure for garment workers, Bangladesh’s garment suppliers have urged all to refrain from agitation in this regard and said that the new wage would balance the needs of the workers and the capacity of the factory owners.
The call came in the purview of pro-worker forces of Bangladesh raising demands for BDT 16,000 as minimum wage, up from what is BDT 5,300 now, taking into consideration the increased cost of living in the country.
“Demand for BDT 16,000 minimum wage is unrealistic. But we want to assure you (all) that the new wage structure will balance both the needs of a worker and the capacity of a manufacturer,” said Siddiqur Rahman, President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association (BGMEA).
“We have to keep in mind that the 3.6 million worker force of Bangladesh is the most important part of this industry. But, we want to emphasise that no unrealistic demands are placed forward regarding the wage structure. We want to urge you all to refrain from agitating the workers,” he added.
The BGMEA President was speaking at an awarding ceremony of LEED Certified factories of Bangladesh, organised at Apparel Club, BGMEA Complex, Dhaka on March 1, 2018.
Last December, the garment exporters proposed the formation of a new wage board for garment workers in Bangladesh as the five-year tenure of the last board expired. Already, the board has been formed and it is expected to place new wage recommendations by June.
However, since the formation of the wage board, pro-labour forces have become vocal in voicing demands for a minimum wage of BDT 16,000 – what they say is only fitting in the current cost of living.