October 23, 2023
BANGLADESH – The garment factory owners proposed a minimum wage of Tk 10,400, which is half of that being asked by the workers.
Sirajul Islam Rony, the workers’ representative at the minimum wage board, proposed Tk 20,393, which is higher than the Tk 17,568 suggested by the Centre for Policy Dialogue but lower than the amounts demanded by the labour rights organisations.
Of the amount, Tk 12,462 would be basic pay, Tk 6,231 house rent, Tk 500 medical allowance, Tk 300 conveyance and Tk 900 food allowance, Rony told reporters after the meeting.
The proposal was made considering the elevated inflation, high house rents and cost of living.
Rony also proposed a 10 percent annual increment, up from 5 percent in the existing wage board. The total number of grades has been brought down to five from seven.
On the other hand, Siddiqur Rahman, the factory owners’ representative in the wage board, proposed Tk 5,330 as basic salary, Tk 2,665 as house rent, Tk 750 as medical allowance, Tk 455 as conveyance and Tk 1,200 as the food allowance.
The minimum wage of Tk 10,400 is reasonable given the current volatile situation of the global economy, lower work orders, gas and power tariff hikes and high inflation, he said.
He also called for removing grades one and two from the grading system as the eligible workers receive higher salaries.
Both the workers and owners’ representatives proposed introducing subsidised groceries at the factory premises.
The two proposals, which were submitted at the fourth meeting of the minimum wage board that was held yesterday at its office at Segunbagicha, will be assessed at the next meeting to be held on November 1, said Liaquat Ali Mollah, the board’s chairman.
Union leaders from different trade bodies yesterday chanted slogans outside of the wage board’s office and rejected the owners’ proposal. They have been demanding over Tk 23,000 as the minimum salary.
The government formed a wage board on April 9 this year to recommend a new wage structure for the over 4 million garment workers of Bangladesh. The new minimum wage is scheduled to come into effect in December.