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Tk 22,776 minimum wage for tannery workers proposed by CPD

The Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD) has proposed minimum wage of Tk 22,776 for tannery workers in the backdrop of existing food prices and inflation rates.

CPD senior research associate Tamim Ahmed presented the findings at a press conference titled “Minimum Wage for the Bangladesh Tannery Industry in 2024: An Empirical Analysis” held at CPD office at Dhanmondi in Dhaka on Saturday.

The study was conducted based on factors such as food and non-food costs, the number of family members, and the number of earning members.

The CPD conducted the study in collaboration with the Leather Development Forum (LDF) and the OSHE Foundation.

However, tannery owners said the wages proposed by the CPD was not realistic one and was also impossible to raise to that extent due to the current economic reality of the industry.

Meanwhile, the workers’ representatives already have proposed a minimum wage of Tk 25,000 per month to the wage board.

According to the CPD study, in the current market situation, the cost of food for a worker family in the tannery or leather industry sector is Tk 20,564 per month and non-food expenses are Tk 12,914.

The average number of members of each worker family is 4.6 and among them, 1.5 are earning members.

Minimum Wage Board Chairman Liaquat Ali Mollah, Bangladesh Tannery Association (BTA) Chairman Shaheen Ahmed, BTA Vice President and owners’ representative to the MWB Md Mizanur Rahman, Tannery Workers Union (TWU) President Md Abul Kalam Azad, TWU General Secretary and workers’ representative to the MWB Abdul Malek spoke at the event.

CPD research director Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem delivered the welcome address and moderated the event.

Furthermore, Dr. Moazzem highlighted the need for a simplified and unified grading system within the tannery industry, noting the limited opportunities for advancement due to the sector’s diverse job roles.

As there is no scope for promotion within the current system, it is proposed to introduce subgrades within some grades (A, B, and C within Grade 5), which would create opportunities for promotion and enhance worker motivation, stated CPD.

The CPD emphasized the significance of the tannery industry as a key economic sector in Bangladesh, following the garment industry in importance.

According to the Tanners’ Association, the industry comprises some 200 active tanneries spread across 127 plots at Savar area, contributing about US$1.2 billion in leather product exports in 2023.