State Minister for Labour and Employment, Begum Monnujan Sufian, announced that the new wage structure for ready-made garment workers would be finalized by November 30th and put into effect on December 1st of this year. She made this declaration during an emergency meeting with trade union and federation leaders at Shromo Bhavan, addressing the ongoing issues in the industrial zones.
“We have convened this meeting to unveil the background of the current strike,” she stated, raising the question, “Is there any benefit for workers in a workplace marred by vandalism? Ensuring a peaceful workplace is crucial for positive outcomes for employees.” She emphasized, “If any factory is subjected to vandalism, it is the workers who are impacted first.”
Md. Ehsan-e-Elahi, the secretary at the Ministry of Labour and Employment, mentioned that the RMG wage board had not yet reached a decision despite receiving proposals from both workers and factory owners’ representatives. He suggested that this offered an opportunity for further discussions before arriving at a final decision. He pointed out that some factories had recently experienced shutdowns and acts of vandalism, underlining the significance of the export-oriented garment industry as a lifeline, and the need to avoid actions that might disrupt it.
It is to be noted that RMG factory owners proposed a minimum monthly wage of Tk 10,400 to the wage board, in contrast to the workers’ organizations’ proposal of Tk20,393 at the fourth wage board meeting. However, various labor rights groups rejected both of these proposals and instead called for a minimum monthly wage ranging from Tk 23,000 to Tk 25,000.
The Industrial Bangladesh Council (IBC), comprising 18 labor federations, insisted on a minimum wage of Tk 23,000, with 65% allocated as the basic wage and an annual 10% increment.