Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association on 24 April disagreed with some findings of a study of the Transparency International Bangladesh on wages of apparel workers and other related issues. In a statement, BGMEA said that TIB’s claim of not adjusting 5 per cent annual automatic increment with the basics of the new wage structure was not true.
The accumulated impact of 5 per cent automatic annual increments would yield an aggregated 27.63 per cent increment to the basics in all grades over 5 years, whereas the actual increase by the Minimum Wage Board was made at rates ranging from 28.7 per cent to 36.7 per cent, the trade body claimed.
TIB on 23 April in a study report said that wage of apparel workers in Bangladesh in real terms decreased by 26 per cent although the factory owners claim that they had raised the wage by 23 per cent in the new wage structure.
It also said that garment workers’ minimum wage in Bangladesh was the lowest among the competing countries like Vietnam, Cambodia and India. BGMEA also sought clarification from TIB about the methodology of its calculation.
BGMEA said that production efficiency was a continuous process. Bangladesh’s worker efficiency is only 40 per cent to 45 per cent whereas China, Vietnam and Turkey’s efficiency is 65 per cent, 55 per cent and 70 per cent respectively, it said.
As per BGMEA’s knowledge, the Minimum Wage Board did not consider the correlation of the increase in minimum wage and efficiency, said BGMEA. BGMEA thought wages should always be linked to skills and it would strongly recommend wage – skill matrix so that the workers got paid according to their skills, it said. The association also said that TIB could not properly substantiate the claim of non-payment for overtime and not allowing enough time to workers to use toilets during work hours.
Similarly, the issue of unpaid or unmet compensation was not substantiated, it said, adding that detailed data was sought from TIB on these matters. The trade body said that TIB could avoid misinterpretation and misrepresentation of facts by working together and BGMEA could collaborate with TIB to assess the actual situation based on a substantial sample size.