APPAREL PAY: BGMEA rejects TIB report | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 26, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, April 26, 2019

APPAREL PAY: BGMEA rejects TIB report

The garment makers’ platform has rejected the report of the Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) that says garment workers are getting 26 percent less than they should have despite a hike in their salary.

 The assertion of not adjusting 5 percent annual automatic increment with the basic of the new wage structure is found to be false, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) said.

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Whereas the accumulated impact of the automatic annual increments yields an aggregated 27.63 percent increment to the basic in all grades over five years, the actual hike ranged from 28.7 percent to 36.7 percent, the association said.

“We would appreciate if the TIB clarifies the methodology of its calculation,” the BGMEA said in a statement on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the TIB said it also found that factory owners have raised the production target by 30 percent to 36 percent with the hike of the wage, which came into effect in December last year.

As a result, workers are under pressure to fulfill the time-bound production target and they even sometimes could not go to toilets as they have to fulfill the target.

It said nearly 4 lakh workers lost jobs because of the inspection of the factories by the Accord and the Alliance. However, all the workers were not paid compensation.

In response, the BGMEA said production efficiency is a continuous process.

“We have to bear in mind that we are operating in a global market where economic competitiveness matters most. Whereas China, Vietnam and Turkey’s efficiency are 65 percent 55 percent and 70 percent respectively, we are at 40-45 percent only.”

“To the best of our knowledge there was no correlation with the increase in the minimum wage and efficiency as considered by the Minimum Wage Board.”

However, in order to sustain the competitiveness of the industry, wages should always be linked to skills in future. “The BGMEA will strongly recommend wage – skill matrix so that workers get paid according to their skills.”

The BGMEA statement said workers go to toilets during working hours.

Workers working overtime without additional payment are not also properly substantiated by the TIB, the association said.

“Similarly, the issue of unpaid or unmet compensation is not substantiated and detailed data are sought from the TIB on these matters.”

“In the light of the misinterpretation and misrepresentation of the facts, the BGMEA could formally like to sit and collaborate with the TIB to assess the actual situation based on a substantial sample size.”

The trade body said the publication of such reports just a day before the Rana Plaza anniversary is not appreciated.

“Ours is an industry where the exports alone are more than $30 billion. Striking improvements in safety and workers’ rights have occurred over the past years. To condemn the whole industry based on a study with a sample size of 80 respondents is indeed unjust.”

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