5pc annual hike offers long term solution | The Daily Star
12:53 AM, November 15, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:15 AM, November 15, 2013

New RMG Wage from Dec 1

5pc annual hike offers long term solution

rmg wage

The government yesterday announced a 77 percent hike in minimum wage for garment workers, a move which is set to end the labour strife unsettling the country's chief export earning sector.
From December 1, the entry level wage for garment workers would be Tk 5,300, as per the recommendations of the wage board, up from the existing Tk 3,000 set in November 2010, Labour Minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju told reporters after a meeting at his ministry to lock down the new salary structure.
“Our expectation has been fulfilled. I now hope the workers will not engage in any further unrest,” said Sirajul Islam Rony, workers' representative on the six-member wage board.
Under the new pay scale, the other six grades of garment workers, too, will enjoy a 77 percent increase in their basic wages from December onwards.
Moreover, there would be a 5 percent increment in basic pay every year as well for all workers, a provision which was absent in previous salary structures.
As for entry level workers, Tk 3,000 would be basic pay, Tk 1,280 house rent, Tk 320 medical allowance, Tk 200 transport allowance and Tk 500 food subsidy.
“Seeing the owners will now be paying them more, I also hope that the workers will be considerate and enhance their productivity,” Rony added.
However, some worker organisations are unhappy with the new salary structure and are still demanding a minimum wage of Tk 8,114 per month, as originally proposed by Rony to the wage board.
“We announced a big pay rise for them. This is just not right,” Labour Secretary Mikail Shipar said.
Raju said that he expects normal service to resume in all garment factories from Friday.
“There are still many sorts of conspiracies going on in the sector. But, we will not tolerate any further unrest.”
Meanwhile, Abdus Salam Murshedy, a former president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, said the owners are counting on no further conflict with the workers as their demand has been met. “Everybody should play a responsible role here.”
He added that many small and medium garment factories will face difficulties in implementing the new salary structure as their profit margins are lower than the bigger ones.
Following widespread criticism and unrest, the government on June 26 formed a six-member panel headed by Judge AK Roy to recommend a new salary structure for the country's 3.5 million garment workers.
Originally, the workers' representative on the wage board demanded the minimum pay be hiked to Tk 8,114, but the owners were willing to increase to Tk 3,600, which they later raised to Tk 4,500.
After a series of meetings, the wage board, through voting, on November 4 locked down the figure of Tk 5,300. The garment owners initially rejected the amount, which sparked off labour unrest. But after a meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday night, they agreed to it.
The minimum wage for garment workers was last revised in November 2010 to the existing Tk 3,000 from Tk 1,662.50 fixed in 2006. In 1994, it was Tk 930 per month, up from Tk 627 in 1985.

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