Apparel manufacturers on Sunday demanded “tax cut” benefit to increase the minimum wages for the country’s readymade garment (RMG) workers. They also asked to the BGMEA to initiate talks with the government in this regard.
They came up with the observation at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) held in the capital.BGMEA and BKMEA organised the meeting to seek opinion about the new wage structure for the country's RMG workers. The government has formed a new wage board for the RMG sector and asked the owners to reconsider the proposal placed to the board.
Earlier, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) President Md Siddiqur Rahman placed its minimum wage proposal to the board recommending Tk 6,360 per month as minimum wage.
“If we have to increase the minimum wage, the government has to either cut the tax or offer incentives,” said FBCCI president Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin at the meeting.
“We do not want to talk about workers wages and move to the board for setting wages. We want to adjust the inflation rate every year instead of reviewing the wages after a five years gap”, said Mohiuddin also a former president of BGMEA.
In the name of new wages, we have been hostage to trade union organisations and always face the threat from the workers, he added.
The trade body leader also urged the manufacturers to raise their voice to buyers to negotiate prices of export products. Former BGMEA president Md Atikul Islam urged the authorities concerned to abolish the grade in upper level and let the amount to set through bargaining. Workers, who will perform well, will get better wages, they added.We are all facing troubles as the buyers are not increasing prices of products despite rise in prices of production cost, he added.
Former BGMEA president Tipu Munshi also supported the FBCCI leader. However, He also expressed concern as it is an election year, which might have a pressure on the garment owners to increase the wages.
The issues of workers wage came in such a situation, which is not in favour of the industry people as the general election is ahead. Several BGMEA members also advised the FBCCI president to talk to the Prime Minister seeking his intervention in setting workers wage.