Representatives of labor leaders in human chain-meetings
Bangladesh Nari Pragati Sangh (BNPS), Asia Floor Wage Alliance, Bangladesh Garment and Sweaters Workers Trade Union Center, Textile Garment Workers Federation, Green Bangla Garment Workers Federation, Bangladesh Garment and Shilpa Sramik Federation and Garment Sramik Oikya League jointly announced minimum wage for garment workers. Claimed to fix 23 thousand taka.
Today, August 13, 2023 Friday, the leaders of the labor organization raised this demand in a human chain organized in front of the capital’s press club. The speakers said that in the disastrous economic situation, despite keeping the wheels of the economy running at the extreme risk of life and health, all the hardworking people including garment workers are currently dying of hunger. Real income has fallen by less than half due to rising prices of daily necessities. As the cost of living has skyrocketed, it is no longer possible to survive. If we talk about the misery, they are being fired without paying fair wages, sometimes they are abusing the law and sometimes they are being harassed with false cases. BGMEA, an organization of workers and owners, is admitting the inhuman and cruel situation in which the dismissed workers of the garment sector do not get jobs due to fraud in the online database system. President of Textile Garments Works Federation Abul Hossain presided over the human chain. In the president’s speech, he highlighted the research data of Asia Floor Wage Alliance and said that garment workers are engaged in hard and long physical work and are consuming food less than the poverty-level caloric standard set by the Bangladesh government. This inadequate food intake affects the health and safety of workers and their families. Raising the minimum wage will play an important role in improving the health and safety of garment workers. He also said that 6 months have passed since the formation of the wage board but still it has not been possible to determine the minimum wage of the workers.
Garments Sramik Oikya League president and convenor of Asia Floor Wage Alliance Bangladesh Chapter Kazi Rahima Akhter Sathi said that every five years the government’s wage board works to determine the wages of workers. The government is still working this year, now is the time to collect the workers. Self-interested circles are conspiring to fix the wages of workers, we have to be aware. If we all work together to implement the 23 thousand taka wage, we will force the government.
Garments Sramik Oikya League General Secretary Md. Sarwar Hossain said that a special group has proposed 17 thousand five hundred and sixty eight taka to mislead the wage board, which has undermined the rights of the workers. Such objective research will hamper the development of apparel industry.
General Secretary of Bangladesh Garment Labor Congress Shamima Akhter said how can a worker survive with a wage of 23 thousand taka, there is a proposal to kill the worker who has offered 17 thousand five hundred and sixty eight taka. We will remain in the field until the minimum wage is fixed at 23,000 taka.
President of Bangladesh Garments and Sweaters Workers Trade Union Center Idris Ali, the government must take into account the basic needs of the workers in determining the wages, otherwise the development of the garment sector will be hindered.
At the end of the human chain, a discussion meeting was held at Sagar-Rooney Auditorium of Dhaka Reporters Unity on “The Concept of Socialization of Joint Employer’s Responsibility to Ensure Dignity Wages and Safe Working Environment”.
Also speaking were General Secretary of Textile Garments Workers Federation Tapan Saha, General Secretary of Green Bangla Garments Workers Federation Md Elias, Md Rafiqul Islam Sujan- President,; Bangladesh Garment and Industrial Workers Federation General Secretary Abdullah Al Basir, Progressive Garments Workers Federation General Secretary Kamrunnahar, Bangladesh Garments and Sweaters Workers Trade Union Center Rupali, Bangladesh Garment Workers Federation General Secretary Bachchu Mia, Motherland Garments Workers Federation General Secretary Al Amin, Bangladesh Project Coordinator of Nari Pragati Sangh Arifur Rahman, etc.
Garment workers’ organizations unitedly presented 5-point demands to the government to make the garment industry worker-friendly and keep the economic growth of the country running.
- Keeping 65% of the basic wage, the minimum wage should be fixed at Tk 23,000.
- Wages shall be increased at the rate of 10% of the total wage every year from the first year of wage announcement.
- 5 grades instead of 7 grades. Proportionate increase of wages at equal rate in all grades. Piece rate/Sweater Workers to be fixed in Basic Grade 3
- The new wage structure should be announced by November 2023 and implemented in all garment factories from December 2023.
- Factory-based rationing system should be introduced. The rise in commodity prices should be controlled.