Food rationing, housing facilities
Budgetary allocation for RMG workers demanded
Staff Reporter :
A labour rights group has demanded budgetary allocation for food rationing and housing facilities for the readymade garment (RMG) workers in recognition of their contribution to Bangladesh's economy.
Industrial Bangladesh Council (IBC) raised the demand from a press conference held at the National Press Club on Tuesday.
IBC's Secretary General Salauddin Shapon said though the apparel workers worked hard and contributed immensely to the economy, they did not get hygiene food and proper housing facilities.
"The government unveiled a mega budget, but it did not allocate funds for apparel workers who contributed immensely to the national economy. Even, workers of other industrial sectors are also deprived of budgetary allocation for their welfare," IBC's Secretary General Salauddin Shapon said. He said that even no budget in the past had made any allocation for apparel workers although the apparel sector fetches over 80 percent of the country's export earnings.
"Apparel industry is the lifeline of Bangladesh economy and workers are the throb of it. So, our question is why workers' contribution is ignored in the budget."
Shapon also said that proposed budget lacks welfare measures for the workers though the government Ministers and industry owners often highlight a long list of welfare measures in statements in seminar and symposium."
He alleged that despite announcement of minimum wage in December many of the apparel units are yet to implement the new wage for their workers. Even, many workers are roving in the roads with criminal charges after losing their jobs for participating in the wage hike protest.
The new minimum wage structure, which consists of seven wage grades, has come into effect on December 1.
Shapon mentioned that the government has increased one percent cash incentive for apparel exporters allocating Tk 2,825 crore additional fund for the proposed budget. In fact, the industry owners have been receiving a number of state facilities. But the workers are getting nothing.
"BGMEA and BKMEA are not serious to pursue the issues of workers. Both the trade bodies are only busy for upholding owners' interest," he commented.
Considering the fact, Shapon urged the government to allocate necessary budgetary funds for food rationing and housing facilities for apparel workers.
He also called upon the government to build five hospitals and adequate number of dormitories in key garment industrial belt for the welfare of apparel workers.
"The government should also launch transport service for the female workers of the garment industry," he added.
The IBC leader said the government needs to address these issues considering interest of the country.
IBC Chairman Gias Uddin Ahmed, Senior Vice-Chairman Amirul Haque Amin and its central leaders were present at the press conference.