Minimum wages for RMG workers not yet implemented

Annisul Islam Noor :
A large number of garments units are yet to implement the government announced minimum wage for apparel workers creating much dissatisfaction among the workers and labour leaders, sources said on Thursday.
While talking to the New Nation yesterday, an office bearer of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) claimed that about 62 per cent factories implemented the minimum wage of Tk 5300 and rest 38 per cent factories are taking time due to their poor financial condition.
The new minimum wage came into effect from December 1, last year.
Refuting the claim of BGMEA, labour leaders said, only 50 per cent factories implemented the new wage structure for their workers and others have not implemented it excusing weak financial condition.
 “Our survey showed that about 50 per cent factories have implemented the new wage structure and rest of them are yet to implement it describing poor financial condition,” said Sirajul Islam Rony, President of Bangladesh National Garments Workers Employees League (BNGWEL).
He alleged that those who implemented the minimum wage did not properly follow the gradation system of the workers with an ill motive to deprive the workers.
Referring to their survey, Rony said, if we calculate the actual number of the factories, it would be only 25 per cent.
Rony, who was a member of minimum wage board, further said that the factories which had not implemented the new wage structure are mostly small and medium garment factories used to run their production as sub-contracting basis.
 “The owners have expressed their unwillingness to implement the wage with an excuse that they are not getting much order from the
big factories to cover the additional payment for the workers in line with the new wage structure,” he noted.
When asked, he said, the workers already expressed their worry to us and we asked them to concentrate to their work without starting any anti-industry activities.
But we don’t know how long we can keep them cool if they do not get new pay scale, he added.  
Riaz Bin Mahmud, Vice- President (finance) of BGMEA said that BGMEA team so far visited about 700 apparel factories and the percentage was calculated (62 pc) as per our surveillance. The rest of the factories will be visited within next two months, said
Some small and medium RMG factories have sought more time to implement the wage, as they could not run the factories smoothly in last November and December due to random hartal and blockade, he said.
Nazma Akhter, a leader of Garment Sramik Union said, the BGMEA has to ensure the implementation of wage as soon possible before labour took to the street.

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