BGMEA seeks support of buyers, unions, consumers in adopting new wage board

RMG Times
সোমবার, সেপ্টেম্বর ২৫, ২০২৩
  • শেয়ার করুন

The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has sought support from all beneficiaries of the apparel sector – including buyers, brands, trade unions, and consumers to adopt the new wage board to ensure a better life for garment workers.

Its President Faruque Hassan sent a letter on Sunday to all members of the Action, Collaboration, Transformation (ACT), an initiative of 19 international apparel brands and retailers, and the IndustriALL Global Union, addressing the issue of better living wages for the readymade garments (RMG) workers. He sent it in response to the ACT’s letter from 12 September regarding the minimum wage board.

The ACT letter said, “We sincerely hope and urge that the minimum wage board members reach a negotiated consensus that allows setting the new wage covering the minimum income necessary for a worker to meet their basic needs, as well as some discretionary income. This should be earned during the normal working hour limits.”

The BGMEA’s letter states that it believes ensuring a better life for workers is not only the manufacturers’ responsibility but also brands, consumers, international organizations, and trade unions.

Referring to the stakeholders, the trade body said it would not be possible to execute a new wage structure if they do not cooperate in consideration of low product prices amid high inflation and the ongoing global economic crisis.

The apex body also assured that Bangladesh has safe workplaces for workers, and the apparel sector is making progress; especially through its green initiatives.

BGMEA President Faruque Hassan further said, “Workers are the lifeline of our industry and we are always trying to pay better wages. However, buyers and brands also have a responsibility to pay fair prices for products. An ethical purchasing practice is key to ensuring a better life for workers.”

The government has already formed a new wage board. We will get a new salary structure as soon, he added.

Besides, the BGMEA also sought duty-free market access till at least 2032 – though Bangladesh will graduate from the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) list in 2026 – from export destinations’ government authorities.

Speaking to The Business Standard, BGMEA Vice President Shahidullah Azim said every exporter is facing challenges in running their units due to the liquidity crisis. “Despite that, we have to adopt the new wage board to give breathing space for our workers during the inflationary pressure.”