A new wage structure for readymade garment workers was finalised on Monday. The present entry-level monthly wage of Tk. 3,000 ($39 approximately) has been increased to Tk. 5,300 ($69).

However, representatives of factory owners rejected the new scale, said A.K. Roy, chairman of the government-appointed wage board.

Bangladesh, the second largest readymade garment manufacturer after China, employs over 40 lakh Readymade garment (RMG) workers, among whom 80 per cent are women.

Announcing the new wage structure after a meeting, the wage board chairman said that of the total, Tk. 3,200 ($41) has been shown as basic; Tk. 1,280 ($17) as house rent; Tk. 320 ($4) and Tk. 200 ($3) as medical and transport allowances; and Tk. 300 ($4) as food subsidy. The wage scale had seven grades like the present one and the workers would enjoy salary hike proportionately after the changes of grades, the board chairman said.

Though only partially satisfied, the workers have accepted the new structure.

The workers, having staged demonstrations for years, had proposed Tk. 8,100 ($105 approximately) a month while the garment owners stuck to the figure of up to Tk. 4,250 ($55). The representatives of factory owners staged a walk out from the meeting opposing the new structure.