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Govt trying to increase rates of RMG workers' allowances
The government has moved forward to compensate the 'low paid' apparel workers by raising the rates of allowances as the factory owners are reluctant to raise wages now, sources said.
Last week the Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE) has asked the Labour Director and the Chief Inspector of Factories to sit with the apparel factory owners and convince the latter to raise different allowances like house rent, and over-time work rates.
The government has taken the new move against the backdrop of demand from the apparel factory workers to raise their wages to compensate for the hike in living costs.
Several months back the apparel factory workers in Savar area burst into protest demanding hike in wages and other allowances. They vandalised vehicles and apparel factories and clashed with law enforcers to press home their demand.
Factory owners of the many apparel factories of that area had kept suspended production for several days to save their establishments from the aggrieved workers. But they did not agree to raise wages and allowances citing their inability.
Workers said the minimum wage of Tk 3,000, which came into effect in November 2010, is not enough to survive. They said the minimum wage has already lost its value by at lest 30 per cent due to depreciation of Taka and soaring cost food and non-food items, including house rent.
President of Textile, Garment Workers' Federation Abul Hossain told the FE Friday that their main demand is immediate increase of wages and other allowances.
"After paying house rent, the low paid workers hardly have any money left in their hands to buy foods and clothes," he said adding the workers lead an inhuman life due to the inflationary pressure.
Mr Hossain said: "We welcome the government's move to raise allowances but that should not bypass our main demand of raising our wages at least by 30 per cent."
He said Labour Minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain sat with the labour leaders last week where they demanded payment of wages and festival bonus before Eid.
"The minister gave strong directive to the factory owners to make payment before Eid and asked them not to make any labour cutback in this time," Mr Hossain said.
He thinks more than 100 factories across the country are in risk of failing to make payment of wages and festival bonus in time.
Talking to the FE Friday president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin said very few workers get the minimum wages since adjustment is being made automatically.
"You know we have 20 per cent shortage of skilled manpower. So, when a worker wants to leave a factory demanding higher payment, we have to raise the payment," he said.
He said: "Market itself set workers' wages since supply is less than demand. We do not find it logical of raising wages or allowances at this time."
Apparel is the highest foreign currency earning source of Bangladesh with nearly $19 billion annual export. Presently some 3.5 million people are working in the apparel industry of which 80 per cent are women.
[ Last Page ] 2012-08-11