The Bangladeshi government has started initiatives to revise the minimum pay for workers in the garment industry, which accounts for over 80 per cent of the country’s exports. The existing minimum monthly wage of Tk 5,300 or almost $65 came into effect from January 1, 2014. The Ministry of Labour and Employment has formed a panel by including a representative each from the trade body and labour organisation to its existing four permanent wage board members. State Minister Mujibul Haque says the committee will file a report with its recommendations in six months, after which the government will finalise the new wage structure.
RMG workers’ organisations are demanding Tk 16,000 as minimum wage, citing rise in cost of living post inflation. Around 4 million workers, mostly women, are involved in the around $28 billion industry in Bangladesh.
Despite being the second largest exporter of garment products, the country often faces allegations that all its factories do not follow the pay structure. The state minister hoped they’ll be able to give a new pay structure for the RMG sector within five years from the last one.
The permanent wage board panel headed by a retired district judge has a member who is not involved with any industry. When the government wants to decide the pay structure of any industry, it adds one representative from the workers and owners from each of the corresponding industry. Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association President Siddiqur Rahman and Jatiya Sramik League’s Women Affairs Secretary Shamsunnahar are the two new members of the panel that will review the pay structure of the clothing industry.