IndustriALL Bangladesh Council, a rights group, demanded the minimum wage for garment workers be set at Tk 12,020 a month. “We have earlier wanted the monthly minimum wage to be Tk 16,000,” said Salauddin Shapon, Secretary General of the rights group. “But after a meeting recently, our management has decided to lower the demand to Tk 12,020 a month, which was also proposed by the workers’ representative at the minimum wage board for the garment workers.” The government—in a gazette published on October 8—announced that the minimum wage would be Tk 8,000 a month. Shapon has also provided a set of demands to Syed Aminul Islam, Chairman of the minimum wage board, with a call to reviewing the structure, as a provision in the law allows making a recommendation within 14 days of the gazette’s publication.
The group also demanded that the garment workers get a 10 per cent annual increment, up from the existing 5 per cent. The rights group also called for a proportion rise in salary in six other grades of the minimum wage structure. In the gazette, salaries of the workers of other grades were not specified. Shapon said the garment sector would not face any challenge if the salary was hiked to Tk 12,020 a month. Even after the hike, Bangladesh’s minimum wage will remain the lowest among the garment producing nations, he said. It is impossible to bear the cost of living in Bangladesh with Tk 8,000 ($95) a month, the group said.
Begum Shamsunnahar Bhuiyan, workers’ representative in the board, said the board members do not have any power to change the amount as the gazette has already been published in this connection. “Only the government can change the amount if it wants.”