Ignoring the objections and observations of major trade unions in the apparel sector, the Minimum Wage Board for garment workers has finalized its recommendations without any changes. The Board submitted its recommendations to the Labour and Employment Ministry last recently, for the next course action by the government.

In a gazette notification issued on October 8, the Wage Board recommended Tk 5,975 as the gross monthly pay for apprentice workers, and Tk 8,000 as the minimum monthly wage for operators. It also sought written objections or suggestions on their draft recommendations from trade unions and apparel factory owners within 14 days of the notification. In a meeting on October 24, the Wage Board decided to finalize its draft recommendations and submit them to the Labor and Employment Ministry without any changes.

In mid-September, State Minister for Labour and Employment Md Mujibul Haque Chunnu announced Tk 8,000 as the new minimum monthly wage for the apparel workers. Of the total, Tk 4,100 has been set as basic pay, Tk 2,500 as house rent, Tk 600 as medical allowance, Tk 350 as transport allowance, and the remaining Tk 900 as food allowance. “In line with the 5 per cent annual increment on basic salary, the minimum wage for a seventh grade worker stood at Tk 8,900, but the government set Tk 8,000 per month as the minimum wage,” according to Taslima Akhter, President of Bangladesh Garments Sramik Sanghati. She further added, “With this amount, it is quite impossible for a worker to meet their basic needs. That is why we urged the Board to increase the basic salary and give proportionate increments to other grades in our objections.”

“We have received the final wage structure from the Minimum Wage Board, and subsequently formed a committee to review the recommendations,” State Minister Chunnu said. “It will be finalized after revision, but there is no chance of changing the gross salary, as the amount was unequivocally agreed by representatives from workers, owners and the government,” he added.

Regarding the demand for proportionate increments to other grades, the Minister said it would depend on the findings of the committee, but there will be no changes unless there are major problems. The Wage Board has recommended Tk 8,399 as gross monthly pay with Tk 4,366 as basic salary for grade VI, Tk 8,855 with Tk 4,670 as basic salary for grade V, Tk 9,245 with basic salary of Tk 4,930 for grade IV, Tk 9,578 with basic salary of Tk 5,152 for grade III, Tk 14,621 with basic salary of Tk 8,514 for grade II, and Tk 17,504 with Tk 10,436 as basic salary for grade I employees.