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Tuesday, January 8, 2019 11:07:04 PM
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Inconsistency in wage structure to go soon

RMG workers asked to return to work: Meeting with owners, Union leaders

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Special Correspondent :
The government has decided to resolve inconsistencies in the newly announced wage structure for ready-made garment workers within a month.
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi made the announcement after a meeting with the garment industry owners and union leaders held in the city on Tuesday.
The meeting was convened amid workers protest for third consecutive day yesterday.
It formed a 10-member committee, comprising five government officials and five labour leaders, to produce recommendations to address the issue.   
"Inconsistencies in the newly announced wage structure for apparel workers would be solved within a month in line with the committee's recommendation," said Tipu Munshi.The Commerce Minister, a garment industry owner and former leader of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), also called for calm and urged the protesting workers to return to work from today (Wednesday).
The government issued an amended gazette notification on November 29, four days after the final gazette notification on the new wage structure, raising confusion among the workers about their pay hike.
They alleged that their basic wages in some grades in the new structure have been decreased from what they were previously.
As per the gazette notification, the monthly minimum wage for garment workers has been raised to Tk 8,000 from 5,300, given inflation in the country over the past five years.
 "The new wage structure for the apparel workers has come to effect following publication of the gazette notification. It has become a 'convention' we cannot change it shortly. But if finds any disparity in the new wage structure among the different grades in the latest wage gazette, we can adjust it to the salary," said State Minister for Labour and Employment Begum Monnujan Sufian, who presided over the meeting.
Senior government officials, incumbent and former BGMEA president M Siddiqur Rahman, Abdus Salam Murshedy, MP, Anwar-Ul-Alam Chowdhury Parvez, labour leaders and high officials of industrial police, attended the meeting among others.  
"A committee has been formed to know on whether or not there is any inconsistency in the new wage structure. If any disproportionate rise in wage for different grades is found, we will definitely address it through proper procedure," Abdus Salam Murshedy told The New Nation after the meeting.
He said, workers would be paid proportionately in their January salary if we found inconsistency in the salary structure.
"We want peaceful working condition in all the apparel factories as it is vital for export growth. We do not expect unlawful activities in the name of protest," said Murshedy adding, "A vested quarter is trying to create unrest in the sector to tarnish image of the country."   
Earlier, government formed a wage board for 4.4 million readymade garment workers in January last year.
"We sat for the meeting to settle the wage dispute," labour leader Samima Nasreen told The New Nation. 
She opined that wages in all the seven grades of the new structure have not increased proportionately, which is one of the reasons behind the ongoing workers' protest.
"We are trying to resolve the ongoing crisis peacefully in coordination with the government," BGMEA president Siddiqur Rahman told The New Nation.
Bangladesh is the world's second-largest apparel exporter behind China.
The country's apparel export crossed US$ 30 billion in the last fiscal year (2017-18), posting an 8.76 per cent year-on-year growth.
Knitwear products earned $ 15.18 billion, while export receipts from woven garments stood at $15.42 billion during the last fiscal.



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