BGMEA director loses cool at meeting on minimum wage

Commerce Secretary and Labour Secretary on Wednesday came under fire when a BGMEA director came down heavily on the government for what she says the government is only focusing on the RMG sector for wage hike.

Though the surprised secretaries – Mahbub Ahmed and Mikail Shipar – tried to correct her notion, BGMEA director Vidiya Amrit Khan kept on arguing with her point with support from her some fellow owners, reports UNB.

Amrit Khan, also Managing Director of Desh Garments Ltd, raised her finger at both the secretaries and wanted to know why the government should fix the wages for the RMG workers and argued that it should be fixed by the owners. “You (govt) are only focusing on us.”

bgmeaLabour Secretary Shipar said, “You’re making mistakes from the very beginning. There’re separate wages for 42 sectors. For example, minimum wage for the tannery sector is Tk 6000 plus.”

The Commerce Secretary said the government is not fixing the wages. ‘It’s the wage board, and your representative is also there. So, you’re wrong.”

He said there is no reason to lose temper. “Sky is the limit for us. There’s nothing to be frustrated. We need to move ahead keeping both heart and head cool.”

The incident took place at the BGMEA auditorium shortly before conclusion of a discussion ‘Exchange of Views on Compliance Issues of RMG Sector in Bangladesh’.

Netherlands Ambassador in Dhaka Gerben De Jong, BGMEA President M Atiqul Islam, Deputy Chief, Political and Economic Section, Deputy Political and Economic Counselor at the US Embassy in Dhaka Tobias Glucksman, Country Representative of Department for International Development (DFID), Bangladesh Sarah Cooke BGMEA Vice President Reaz-Bin-Mahmood (Sumon) and BKMEA first vice president M Hatem were present at that time.

On November 4, the wage board, formed to re-fix the minimum wage for the garment workers, finalised a new minimum wage structure at Tk 5,300 for the garment workers but the garment factory owners turned it down.