Review body holds first meeting, quick solution assured
Special Correspondent :
The first meeting of the 12-member committee formed to address the alleged disparity in the new wage structure for ready-made garment workers was held in the secretariat on Thursday.
Secretary for the Ministry of Labour and Employment Afroza Khan presided over the meeting in the presence of all members of the committee.
"We thoroughly discussed the alleged anomalies in the new wage structure for apparel workers. The committee members placed their observations regarding the matter in the meeting. We will set next course of action in line with their observations," Afroza Begum told reporters after the meeting.
Among the seven wage grades, she said, the committee members gave observations only on grade number three, four and five. Their observations over the three wage grades have been taken into consideration. But no problems in other wage grades. "The government is sincerely working to address the wage dispute. The protesting workers should return to work keeping confidence on the government," said Afroza Khan.
She also said that the government has already assured the workers of addressing the alleged wage discrimination within a month. The matter may not be resolved in one meeting. We will meet againâ€¦. We will come out a quick solution over the issue," she added.
When asked, Afroza Khan said, outsiders might be involvement in the latest workers' unrest. Some garment factories, which are paying more than the latest wage structure, are being vandalized during the protest. Even, moving vehicles are also being vandalized at that time of demonstration in Uttara although there were no garment factories.
"All these incidents indicate that outsiders might incite the protest. The government is closely monitoring the situation," she added.
M Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, president of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Abdus Salam Murshedy, MP, M Siddiqur Rahman, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and trade union leaders also attended the meeting.
"We discussed the alleged inconsistency in the wage structure of workers at the meeting. If problems are arise over the matter, we will solve it through discussion," M Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin told The New Nation after the meeting.
The government on September 13 last year announced Tk 8,000 as minimum monthly wage, up from existing Tk 5,300, for the country's readymade garment workers following the fifth meeting of the minimum wage board.
Later, a gazette was published citing the new wage structure would be applied from December.