NewsTextiles & Apparel

Trade unions in the RMG sector are advocating for a Tk 2,000 distinction between grades

BTJ Desk Report
Trade unions in the RMG sector are advocating for a Tk 2,000 distinction between grades

‘Sommilito Garments Sramik Federation’, a coalition of trade unions in the apparel sector, formally communicated their demands to Chairman Liaquat Ali Mollah of the Minimum Wages Board.

Among their requests, the apparel sector trade unions insisted on a Tk 2,000 disparity between grades, along with a monthly minimum wage of Tk 23,000. They advocated for 65% of the basic salary, the retention of grades one and two, and the removal of grades five and six.

Affiliated with IndustriAll, the alliance, known as Sommilito Garments Sramik Federation, articulated these demands in a letter to Chairman Liaquat Ali Mollah.

On 7th November, State Minister for Labour and Employment Monnujan Sufian announced Tk 12,500 as the minimum salary for entry-level RMG workers, approved verbally by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. However, this proposal faced rejection from trade unions and workers, leading to protests since 23rd  October, which escalated into violence.

Tragically, during the protests, at least four workers lost their lives, hundreds were injured, and a hundred were arrested and imprisoned in connection with the unrest. The attacks on workers prompted condemnation from the US State Department, the European Union, and representatives of brands in Bangladesh.

In response to the turmoil, the Minimum Wages Board issued a gazette on 11th November, inviting comments and appeals within 14 days. However, workers expressed dissatisfaction, feeling that their demands were largely overlooked, with only the owners’ proposals being accepted.

According to the gazette, the highest-grade wage was set at Tk 14,750 per month, a mere Tk 2,250 more than the lowest grade. Displeased with the proposed wage structure, trade unions submitted appeals in accordance with labor laws and the gazette. Additionally, they are advocating for Tk 1,000 in healthcare benefits and Tk 600 as a transport allowance.


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