It's final: 77pc hike in garment wage
Minimum wage rose about 77 percent to Tk 5,300 a month for garment workers, but their basic salary will be lower than the previous recommendation.
A trainee or apprentice worker will get Tk 4,810 as the minimum salary. The working period for a trainee worker will be three months, extendable by another three if owners fail to see an improvement in standards.
After that period, trainees will be appointed as permanent workers under Grade 7, the lowest rung.
As per the revised structure, a Grade 7 worker will receive Tk 3,000 in basic salary that had previously been recommended at Tk 3,200 on November 4.
Furthermore, Tk 1,200 will be for house rent, Tk 250 for medical purposes, Tk 200 for transport and Tk 650 for food subsidy.
The wage board finalised a 5 percent increment on basic salary a year, which was absent in the previous structure.
The new pay structure will be effective from December.
AK Roy, chairman of the board responsible for setting the wage structure, informed reporters about the new salary level at a briefing after the board's tenth meeting in Dhaka yesterday.
If a worker's existing salary surpasses the newly announced wage structure, his or her salary cannot be decreased from the current level, according to a notice by the minimum wage board.
On a decrease in basic salary, Md Kamal Uddin, independent member of the wage board, said the owners did not accept the previous recommendation. “But a consensus of all parties is needed to finalise the wage structure and the basic salary was revised.”
The revised and final recommendation will now be sent to the law ministry for vetting, and then to the BG Press for gazette notification, Labour Secretary Mikail Shipar told The Daily Star. “The salary for garment workers under six other grades also increased proportionately,” he said.
Arshad Jamal, owners' representative in the wage board, said: “We can't afford it, but we accepted the new wage structure considering the current political situation and labour unrest and to save the garment industry.”
“We have to face difficulty implementing the new wage. Even then, we, on behalf of BGMEA, will persuade our members to implement it,” said Jamal, also a director of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
BGMEA will monitor the implementation of the new salary structure, he said. “Besides, the government and International Labour Organisation should also monitor these.”
Sirajul Islam, workers' representative, said the workers are being misled about the new wages. “A group is trying to convince the workers that the salary of all would be Tk 5,300 and thus, they are confused.”
The workers need to be made aware about the new wage structure through leaflets and posters after the gazette notification, he said.
Production resumed in full swing yesterday in Savar and Ashulia industrial belts on the outskirts of the capital, following two weeks of suspended operations in those areas, as many workers went berserk on the minimum wage issue.
Atiqul Islam, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, said: “The situation has returned to normal in Ashulia and production resumed without any untoward incident.”