Friday, September 21, 2018

Bangladesh apparel workers reject Tk 8,000 minimum wage

  • Staff Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2018-09-13 23:44:02 BdST

bdnews24

Readymade garment workers have rejected the minimum wage set by the government, accusing it of pandering to the owners and said they will fight to get a monthly wage of Tk 16,000.

Their reactions came hours after the government raised the minimum wage for clothing workers to Tk 8,000 on Thursday.

“The government has done injustice to the workers by declaring the minimum wage. We reject this wage,” Joly Talukder, a leader of Garment Workers’ Trade Union Centre backed by the Communist Party of Bangladesh, told bdnews24.com.

In protest, several garment workers' organisations, including the Trade Union Center, will hold a rally in front of the National Press Club on Friday.

In a statement, CPB President Mujahidul Islam Selim and General Secretary Shah Alam also rejected the wage declared by State Minister for Labour Md Mujibul Haque.

They demanded Tk 16,000 as monthly minimum wage in line with the workers' demand and market prices.

“The owners have betrayed the workers by announcing the new wage and so has the government," Garment Workers Leader Moshrefa Mishu told bdnews24.com.

The garment owners proposed Tk 6,360 minimum wage in a discussion with the wage board.

“We have repeatedly tried to convince the government, BGMEA and BKMEA that a family of six of a worker cannot survive if Tk 16,000 was not fixed as a minimum wage. The new wage has no rationality,” said Mishu.

Member Secretary of Garments Sramik Sanghati Julhasnine Babu told bdnews24.com, "We cannot accept it. This wage structure has been made in line with the factory owners’ proposal.”

“The owners have benefited from the government that reduces corporate taxes and gives other benefits.”

He said prime minister did not go with the spirits of workers' demand.

“We demand that the wages be increased again. As it is coming in the form of a proposal, there is no notification, so there is a scope for increasing the wages."

Mahbubur Rahman Ismail, the coordinator of the Movement for Garment Workers’ Rights, a platform of 12 organisations, told bdnews24.com, "This wage is in no way acceptable. Hopefully, the prime minister will consider our demands. "

BNP-affiliated Sramik Dal President Anwar Hossain told bdnews24.com, "In terms of reality, it is nothing but a joke with the garment workers.”

However, ruling Awami League-backed Jatiya Sramik League President Shukur Mahmud welcomed the new minimum wage and said, "What has been done is good for the workers."

But, he would not give an official reaction without speaking to the garment workers.