The first meeting of the Wage Board formed to formulate a new pay structure for Bangladesh’s garment workers was held recently amid a demonstration for a minimum wage of BDT 16,000.
The meeting was held at the office of the Wage Board Committee in Dhaka on Monday, March 19, 2018, under the leadership of the Wage Board’s Chairman Aminul Islam.
Among those present in the meeting were Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) President Siddiqur Rahman, labour representatives Shamsunnahar Bhuiyan and Fazlul Haque Montu, owner representative Kazi Saifuddin, neutral representative Kamal Uddin and Wage Board Secretary Md Shahidullah.
Meanwhile, outside the meeting venue, labour representatives were demonstrating for a minimum wage of BDT 16,000. 10 minutes before the start of the meeting, some labour activists under the banner of Garment Workers’ Rights Movement handed a memorandum to the Wage Board Chairman to press for the demand of a minimum wage of BDT 16,000.
Apparel Resources tried to reach two the officials in the running board of BGMEA regarding the content of the discussion but both of them declined to comment over the issue.
Back in January 2018, Bangladesh Government formed a fresh wage board for the 3.6 million workers in the country’s garment sector. The board is expected to come forward with recommendations for a new pay grade for the workers by July this year.
All the while, demands for a minimum wage of BDT 16,000 have been prevailing. BGMEA, on the other hand, has termed such demands “unrealistic” and has urged all to refrain from agitating the workers over the minimum wage issue. They say the new pay structure will balance the capacity of the manufacturers and also fulfil the needs of the workers.