Workers are the largest population in Bangladesh by profession. They are also the driving force of the country’s economy.
Considering the latest labor survey data (2016-17) and the fact that 15 to 20 lakh new faces are added to the labor market every year, it can be seen that now the size of Bangladesh’s labor force has reached 6 crore. Officially, these people are looked after by the Ministry of Labor and Employment and the Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment. However, these two ministries receive very little allocation during the budget period. Demands have been raised to change this situation.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
In the fiscal year 2021-22, the total allocation for the two ministries in the labor sector was Tk. Not even the whole 1 part! It is also worth noting that this share is decreasing year by year.
If the budget allocation is seen as a national priority, then it is easy to see that the development of the labor sector is not on that list at the moment.
It is normal for different sectors to be given priority in the development of a country at different times. But in times of fear of inflation and recession, the largest population in the country and their interests must now demand more attention. That is exactly what the workers’ organizations are saying.
The largest group of workers in the country is the informal sector workers. They do not have legal recognition as ‘workers’. As a result, there is no protection of minimum wage. A good solution to this situation could be a national minimum wage. The government’s attitude towards the ‘National Minimum Wage’ has been seen as positive. An announcement was made once in 2001, which was then suspended due to objections from the owners.
In order for the government to succeed in alleviating poverty in Bangladesh and to increase the living standards of the workers, it is necessary to fix the minimum wage. Good products do not match if you do not get good prices. He also talks about labor. Again, due to non-availability of minimum labor cost and surplus labor in many areas, it is not possible to run the household by working all day in those places in many seasons. It is also a big problem for the government. On the one hand, the government is trying to reduce poverty by spending a large part of the national resources, on the other hand, the workers are getting wages which are constantly giving birth to ‘poverty’.
Dozens of countries around the world have already introduced national minimum wages to reduce poverty and extreme poverty. Without the announcement of the minimum wage, it is becoming increasingly difficult for millions of working families in the informal sector to finally recover from poverty. Workers’ organizations are demanding a minimum wage of Rs 20,000 a month. It is, of course, negotiable.
Economists and nutritionists can provide a scientific solution by thinking in coordination with national productivity. The national minimum wage without state spending could be the country’s largest social security initiative. Initiatives to fix the national minimum wage may come before the budget or even in the announcement of the budget. Many organizations, including the Workers’ Unity Council (SCOP) and the Democratic Budget Movement, have made similar demands. They are also talking about the constitution in favor of the demand.