- Workers’ lowest grade or 7 grade wages increased to Tk. 2,700
- The basic wage is Tk 1,100
- Wages for all other grades also increased at the same rate
- In this simple statement, there is a misery
- Many workers of grades 3, 4 and 5 are already getting the same basic wage as the new structure announced
The minimum wages of grade 7 workers in the new wage structure increased by Tk. 2,700. The basic wage in it is Tk 1,100. Other grade wages also increased at the same rate. In this simple statement, there is a misery. Because, the workers’ wages increased at 5 percent per year. That’s why many of the older grades of Grade 3, 4 and 5 are getting the basic wage equivalent to the new wages announced. In almost every factory, most workers work in these three grades.
Factory owners took the same old technique to increase the basic wage in lower rates resulting no significant increase at the end. Therefore, overtime and festival allowances will not increase either. The workers have become angry because the new wage structure, after five years, failed to fulfil their expectations, as many labour leaders have said.
The Ministry of Labour issued notification on November 25, declaring the minimum wage of eight thousand taka. Workers will get wages as per the new minimum wage structure from this month. However, the workers of Narayanganj and Gazipur, who came to the movement in the first week of last month, alleged discrimination in the new wage structure. Although the movement was somewhat moderate before the election, the workers of garment factories protested for a long time in the capital city’s Uttara, Ajampur, Abdullahpur area and blocked the roads. Workers protests took place in Hemayetpur of Savar.
Asked about labor unrest on wages, former Secretary General of the Industrial Bangladesh Council Towhidur Rahman said in the first light that the owners of the past had tried to reduce basic (basic wages) strategies in the past. In that continuity, the increase in the allowance has reduced the basic wages. This strategy of owners is one of the reasons for labour unrest. Since last year’s implementation of the minimum wainfrastructure, the basic increase has been 5 percent per year.
Touhidur Rahman said there is no problem with the minimum wage of eight thousand rupees. The problem is in the upper grade, where skilled workers work. The rate at which the wages needed to be increased in those grades did not happen. The workers could not be happy for that.
However, owners of the garment industry owners BGMEA president Siddiqur Rahman claimed that the owners did not have any strategy. Yesterday he said in the first light, ‘No strategy has been done. The total wage of every worker increased from 1 thousand 200 to 15 thousand taka. Basic (original wages) may decrease. As the total wages increase, the basic will decrease. He said wages have increased substantially. This is the highest wage rate this year.
In the past few days, a few factory owners have talked about the issue of wages.They said that the workers of 4th grade or operator are working as laborers. The main wage of this grade is 4 thousand 930 in the new structure. The original wage was Tk 3,800 in the previous works, which was implemented in December 2013. But due to the 5 percent annual increase, the original wages of the old workers working in this grade increased to 4 thousand 615 last year. Now, instead of the new structure, if the increment, then the wage stood at Tk 4,51.That means the original wage of the old workers in the grade in the new structure has increased only to 79 rupees. In the same way, the main wage of grade 5 increased to 164 rupees. However, unlike the number 3, the original wage decreased to 44 rupees.
The owners of the lower grade labor, like the lower grade, do not actually increase the wages, the owners are slightly relieved. Owners of a factory in Gazipur said on condition of anonymity that 51 percent wages in seventh grade increased. That’s why our cost was about 40-50 percent increase. But 25-26 percent increased. The reason being that the wages of the upper grade workers did not really increase. Besides, the owners of a factory in Narayanganj said that due to the increase in the wages, the wages of workers in the factory increased by 14-15 percent.
Asked, Labor leader Nirmul Haque Amin, president of the National Garment Workers Federation, said in the first light that the minimum wage board was made in 2013 by three years. This has been five years later Accordingly, the workers did not increase the wages as expected. Problems with Grade 3, 4 and 5 The wages of these grades need to be reviewed. The government, the employer and the workers-three of them advised to resolve the whole issue.
The full in-depth report may be available upon request from the author.