Wednesday, March 20, 2019 | ePaper

Deal RMG workers' issue delicately

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POLICE dispersed a protest rally of garment workers over the new wage structure at Savar yesterday. Newspapers reported that over a hundred workers of two factories were agitating in Hemayetpur Tannery Road while police dispelled the agitation. Workers said that they had urged the owners to eliminate the discriminations in the new wage board. In the last couple of days, the news of unrests of garment workers was coming from different parts of the city, including Mirpur, Kalshi and Uttara.
As per the new wage board for apparel industry, the minimum wage is Tk 8,000 which was in effect from 1st December 2018. The authorities had fixed the amount following the workers demand for getting Tk 16,000 minimum wage per month. So the offer of Tk 8,000 was not well taken by the workers and they have termed it "discriminatory". Earlier, the minimum wage was Tk 5, 300 per month.
It is alleged that the salary of the workers in other grades did not increase at the same rate. What's most irksome for the RMG workers, the salary hike for the entry-level workers was more than that of their senior operators, who have been working for more than seven to eight years. Major disparity in is the salary hike has also been surfaced in the third and fourth grades as the workers' salaries were not raised like that of entry-level workers. Other than the seventh, in most of the grades only Tk 500 was raised in the new salary structure. But an entry-level worker's salary had increased by Tk 2,700 at first stage.
Country's garment sector employs about 5 million workers, of whom 80 percent are women. After China, Bangladesh is the largest apparel supplier in the world. We must say, the authorities concerned will take the issue seriously in an urgent basis. The RMG workers are the major contributors to our economy. But most of them do not earn enough money. Their basic needs must be fulfilled, so that they could lead a comfortable life and at the same time save some money for their future security.

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