Wednesday, February 20, 2019 | ePaper

RMG owners worried

Wage disparity a motivated campaign

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Kazi Zahidul Hasan :
Garment industry owners have expressed deep concern over the latest spate of labour unrest, fearing such protest effort will negatively impact the country's image and erode confidence of global buyers.
They also accused a 'vested quarter' of inciting the labour unrest with an aim to destroy the country's vital industry.
"The latest workers unrest will definitely hamper the industry reputation and erode buyers' confidence. Furthermore, it will also tarnish the image of the country," Abdus Salam Murshedy, MP, a leading apparel exporter and former president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), told The New Nation yesterday.
He said, hundreds of garment factories in Savar and Gazipur were forced to shut following unrest by the workers. They have suffered huge production losses for the around four days of closure.     
"The local garment industry has gained global spotlight    due to its remarkable growth in the recent years. Much of this growth has been fueled by the industry's ability to produce high quality products in competitive price. Even, we have some of the world's best garment factories.
All these development have helped attract global buyers. But sporadic labour unrest often erodes buyer's confidence and therefore leaves an adverse impact on the apparel export," said Salam Murshedy.   
He accused a 'vested quarter' of fuelling unrest in the sector time and again. The quarter is active again to create fresh anarchy in the sector spreading 'misinformation' among the workers over the latest wage structure.   
Murshedy also urged the workers not to pay heed to such 'propaganda' and refrain from any act of vandalism and maintain peace and stability in the garment sector.
Bangladesh is the world's second-largest exporter of ready-made garment (RMG) after China and its RMG export crossed US$30 billion mark in the last fiscal year.
Local garment factories produce clothing for the US and European giant brands and retail corporations such as Tommy Hilfiger, Gap, Calvin Klein, Zara, H&M, Uniqlo, Target, Walmart and Marks & Spence, among others.
"It's really a disturbing situation as workers are taking to the street even after a new wage structure comes to an effect," FBCCI President M Shafiul Islam told The New Nation yesterday.
"We are concerned over the latest workers' unrest and act of vandalism in the industry. We never expect such an unpleasant situation as it always harm the industry and tarnish image of the country."
When asked, M Shafiul Islam said, "I found no 'disparity' in the apparel workers' new wage structure. The government's wage board set the structure after long negotiation with owners' and workers' representatives. A gazette has already been published making new wage structure effective from December last year."
Terming the 'wage disparity' as a motivated campaign, the FBCCI said that a 'vested quarter' is carrying out the campaign to instigate the labour unrest. They have an ill political motive. They want to shatter the industry reputation as well as the new government.
M Shafiul Islam, a garment industry owner and former BGMEA president, also urged the government to find out the troublemakers for maintaining proper working atmosphere in the industry.

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