The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) recently wrote a letter urging the labour ministry to form a minimum wage board to review the existing wages of the readymade garment (RMG) workers. Industry insiders, however, say, the move followed international pressure and is aimed at averting a likely labour unrest related to wages.
Refixing the minimum wages would help brighten the image of the apparel sector both at home and abroad, the letter, signed by BGMEA president Mohammad Siddiqur Rahman, said.
The sector has been facing adverse situations since December 2013 when the last minimum wages regulation came into effect, a business daily reported citing the letter. The last wage board had fixed the minimum wages for garment workers at BDT 5,300.
More than 50 RMG units in Ashulia zone remained closed for a week following a strike enforced in support of the demand for wage hike, among others, which drew international attention.
Following that, global rights groups highlighted the worsening workers’ rights situation in the country’s RMG sector and urged the European Union (EU) to review Bangladesh’s eligibility for generalised system of preferences (GSP).
According to labour leader Sirajul Islam Rony, factory owners to judiciously negotiate product prices with buyers and should not pass their failure on to the workers.