The minimum wage for garment workers is likely to be set at Tk 5,000 per month, a 67 percent rise from the current Tk 3,000, in today's meeting of the wage board.
The breakthrough comes after both the workers' representative and garment owners' representative on the wage board formed in June decided to make a compromise so that the new wage structure could be announced at the earliest to avoid possible labour unrest.
Originally, the workers' representative bargained for a minimum salary of Tk 8,114 per month, while the owners' representative was willing to provide a 20 percent raise to Tk 3,600.
“I hope the board will finalise the salaries in tomorrow's [Monday] meeting. There is a possibility that the minimum wage would be fixed at Tk 5,000,” Sirajul Islam Rony, workers' representative on the wage board, told The Daily Star by phone.
The new wage structure would take effect from the first of next month.
He said only 20 percent of the country's 3.6 million-odd garment workers fall under the category of minimum wage, while the remaining 80 percent are sewing operators and old workers.
“But they [the operators and old workers] should also be benefited proportionately and equally from the new wage structure.”
Rony also called for reducing the number of workers' grades from seven to three as the workers are rarely promoted to the higher grades.
Meanwhile, Reaz-Bin-Mahmood, vice-president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and also a member of the wage board, said the new wage will be announced very soon for quick implementation.
“We expect the wage board to finalise the minimum salary soon. But, as in previous cases, the government might have some recommendations after the finalisation of the salary structure by the board,” he said.