Apparel workers to get Tk 3,000 at entry point

July 30, 2010

Govt announces new wage structure
The government announced on Thursday a revised wage structure, unanimously recommended by the tripartite Minimum Wage Board, for the apparel industry workers.
The workers, however, have to wait at least for three months to get the new wages as the employers took the time while signing the wage agreement on Thursday, reports NewAge.
The labour minister, Khandaker Mosharraf Hossian, announced the new wage structure at a news conference at his office, in the presence of the wage board chairman Ikteder Ahmed, FBCCI president AK Azad, BGMEA president Abdus Salam Murshedy, and BKMEA president Selim Oslam.
Under the new structure, an entry point worker a helper, placed at grade-7, would get Tk 3,000 a month from November, up from Tk 1,662, set in 2006.
A grade-6 worker would get 3,210, up from Tk 1,851; grade-5 — Tk 3,455, up from Tk 2,046; grade-4 — Tk 3,763, up from Tk 2,250; grade-3 — Tk 4,120, up from Tk 2,449; grade-2 — Tk 7,200 up from Tk 3,840 and a grade-1 worker would get Tk 9,300, up from Tk 5,140.
It takes 14 days for a new wage structure to come into effect after it’s notification on the official gazette.
During this period, the law allows either of the two parties, the employers and the workers, to go to the board to lodge their dissent.
The wage board recommended the new pay structure on Tuesday, when the owners’ representative did not sign it. The employers signed it two days later.
The employers lobbied the government and the wage board for two days to delay implementation by four months and seeking extra incentives for the industry.
The minister said replying to a question that three months time had been allowed for implementation for arriving at a unanimous decision on the new wage structure.
Recently, he had said that the apparel workers’ wages would be increased before the Eid-ul-Fitre, to be celebrated in the second week of September.
Asked whether the workers could feel frustrated not getting the new wages during the Eid, he said, ‘We increased the wages before the Eid.’
But the workers said that due to delayed implementation 2.5 million workers would be deprived of increased wages and festival bonuses during the Eid.
Industry analysts said that the industry owners would save approximately Tk 2,000 crore by delaying the implementation by three months.
The industry owners said that as the cost of production is based on existing wages so they needed time to bargain with importers to re-fix the prices.
BGMEA president Abdus Salam Murshedy said the industry owners would be delighted to increase the wages but for the depressed prices of the products due to global recession and production losses due to gas and electricity supply crisis.
He said that these factors eroded their capacity to pay higher wages.
Mushrefa Mishu , the convenor of the Garment Workers Unity Forum said that that by fixing Tk 3,000 as the entry point wage, the owners had bluffed the apparel workers.
By delaying the implementation of the “so called increased wages,” she said, the government only bowed to the owners.
‘As the workers don’t accept Tk 3,000 as the minimum wage,’ she said, we are thinking of a movement against the pay structure.’
In all 14 rounds of negotiations took place between the employers and the workers brokered by government representatives at the tripartite wage board in last six months, many of which proved stormy with the employers remaining reluctant to increase of the wages, fixed nearly five years back.
Industry owners said that the new wages will reduce their profit margin and make it difficult to compete in the global market.

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