‘No scope for discontent with RMG workers’ wage hike’

 September 17, 2018 00:00:00

State Minister for Labour Mujibul Haque said there is no scope for discontent over the announcement of the Tk 8,000 minimum wage for public sector garment workers, reports bdnews24.com.

“We have the support of the labourers, so we believe there will not be any problems,” he said. “We announced the wage increase in accordance with the prime minister’s commitments in order to curb dissatisfaction.”

The state minister made the remarks at an event handing over dividends to the Sramik Kalyan Foundation treasury on Sunday amid announcements from several labour organisations that the minimum wage would be boycotted.

On September 13, the government announced a 51 per cent increase in the minimum wage for garment sector workers, raising their pay to Tk 8,000 from Tk 5,300.

Asked whether there could be any disturbances because of the minimum wage ahead of the national election, Haque said: “I discussed the matter unofficially with workers, the Sramik Foundation and many members of unions. They said that if it was Tk 8,000 then most would accept it.”

“I believe that, aside from a small portion, most garment workers will accept it. There is no scope for discontent as the minimum wage was raised by 51 per cent.”

“Even if you do good work, some people will oppose it,” Haque said. “Even if you gave a wage of Tk 100,000, some people will still claim it is not enough.”

His attention was brought to some labour organisations that had opposed the proposed minimum wage.

“It is their business if they accept it or not,” Haque said. “But this is the minimum. They cannot pay less.”

“Garment factory owners have improved their infrastructure at the demand of foreign buyers. They have spent millions. But even after they were compliant, the buyers lowered their prices. On the one hand, they pressure owners to be compliant, and on the other, they lower prices. This two-faced business is not right.”

Many factories may have to shut down if the minimum wage was higher, Haque said.

“If that is the case, workers would lose jobs. I want to know to what extent those organisations [who are boycotting the proposed minimum wage] are attempting to alleviate the hardships of workers and to what degree they are pursuing other agendas.”