Friday, April 19, 2019

Govt pledges swift measures on RMG worker wage as unrest escalates

  • Staff Correspondent,
    Published: 2019-01-09 23:39:42 BdST

State Minister for Labour and Employment Monnuzan Sufian speaking at a news conference in Dhaka on Wednesday on RMG workers' unrest over new wage structure.

The government is working for a swift resolution to the crisis surrounding the new wage structure for the readymade garment workers, state minister for labour and employment has said.

Monnujan Sufian urged the workers to calm down at an urgent news conference in Dhaka on Wednesday night after unrest over the wage board continued for the fourth day in the capital and nearby industrial hubs.

“We want to settle the issue quickly. It is possible to review the discrepancies, if any, through talks,” she said.

The committee formed to review the wage structure with Tk 8,000 as the minimum monthly pay will convene for its first meeting at the Secretariat at 3pm on Thursday, according to Monnujan.

Like her predecessor Md Mujibul Haque Chunnu and Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, she suspects “a third party” has stoked the unrest.  

The RMG workers hit the streets in Dhaka on Sunday blocking key Airport Road for hours, while a new government was being installed, over several demands, including implementation of the new wage structure announced one and a half months ago.

The government formed the committee to review the wage board in a meeting with representatives of the RMG industry owners and workers on Tuesday after the protests continued for the third day.

The committee comprises five owner representatives, as many from the workers and the secretaries to commerce and labour.

Earlier on Wednesday, at least 30 people were injured in clashes between the agitating workers and law enforcers at Savar on the outskirts of the capital.

The authorities closed 15 factories in the area to tackle the situation. The workers also demonstrated at Kalshi and Dakkhinkhan in Dhaka and in Narayanganj.

The government on Nov 25 last year gazetted the new wage structure for RMG workers and ordered the garment factories to implement it from Dec 1.

Different leftist worker groups have demanded that the minimum wage for garment workers be raised to Tk 16,000. They have also been organising programmes such as rallies for months over the demand.

The workers started the protest alleging the owners were not paying them as per the new wage board. They also alleged different forms of injustice.