‘Will shut business if forced to pay’

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Ready-made garments are Bangladesh’s biggest exporters, that fetched more than $ 19 billion last year.

The threat of closure came after a joint meeting of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) on Tuesday.

The meeting was convened at the BKMEA’s Karwan Bazar office a day after the government-sponsored Wage Board proposed a Tk 5,300 monthly minimum wage for ready made garments workers.

The workers have been asking for a Tk 8100 monthly wage.

The BGMEA-BKMEA joint meeting rejected the wage board proposal, saying it would ruin the industry if implemented.

The BGMEA President Atiqul Islam said they could pay no more than Tk 4,500 in monthly wage to a worker and condemned the Wage Board’s award.

“We will appeal against the proposal (Wage Board’s) on Wednesday, and we will request for accepting the wage structure proposed by us.”

Atiqul went on further ahead to state that BGMEA and BKMEA members would shut their businesses if their demand was not met in 15 days.

“We don’t want to close garment factories. But if we are forced to follow the Wage Board’s decision, the garment industry will be closed down.”

He requested the government for for finding an honourable ‘exit’ from the present predicament.

“We can close down after paying arrears to all workers. But the responsibility of paying the bank debt will rest on the government.”

Source: Bd news24

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