The government has formed a new wage board for workers of ready-made garments (RMG).
State Minister for Labour and Employment Mujibul Haque made the announcement at hissecretariat office in the capital on Sunday.“The board will come up with recommendations within the next six months after scrutinising the present salary structure of the RMG workers. The minimum wages will be announced by next December,” he said.
It is the fourth wage board for the country’s RMG workers. The last wage board formed in December 2013 fixed minimum wages for garment workers at Tk 5,300, Tk 3,000 in 2010, Tk 1,662.50 in 2006 and Tk 940 in 1994.
In response to the demands from several trade unions and workers’ federations in the sector, the BGMEA appealed to the government to form a new wage board, the minister said.
“It is a good practice. Considering the aspects, the government has decided to form the new wage board,” said Mujibul.
The board is comprised of representatives of the owners, the workers, the government and independent members. As per the decision, Shamsun Nahar Bhuiyan will represent the workers while BGMEA President Siddiqur Rahman will represent owners at the new board.
Siddiqur Rahman said they will try to come up with a ‘perfect’ salary structure.The briefing was also attended by former president of FBCCI AK Azad, leaders of the workers’ federations and organisations.
Earlier, the BGMEA in a letter on November 8 last year requested the labour ministry to form a wage board.
Sources said that the BGMEA’s move came following pressure especially from the international arena. The latest initiative has been taken to avert probable labour unrest over the demand for wage hike, they said.
More than 50 RMG units in Ashulia belt remained closed for nearly a week following a two-week work abstention in support of the demand for wage hike.
International rights groups had alleged that 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).