Malicious elements within labour movement

Shafiqul Islam
Published : 11:14, Jan 11, 2019 | Updated : 15:42, Jan 12, 2019

RMG workers took to the streets demanding minimum wages. Jan 8, 2019Workers of the RMG industry are carrying out a movement across the country, demanding the implementation of the government declared wage board and an end to salary discrepancy.

However, it’s believed that the movement is not being seen positively by the government. It believes that that movement which began when Sheikh Hasina was preparing to take over power for a fourth term, was aimed at scarring the image of the government.

The police are looking for several people behind this agitation movement, said sources at the ministry of home.

Already the government has formed a committee comprising two secretaries to tackle grading crisis for garment workers. This committee also has ten members from the workers and will submit a report in one month.

At a meeting held on 8 January, Tuesday, it was decided that the workers will get new salary scale in February.

Decision taken to call back the workers to their duty stations was not implemented as the workers were seen to carry on the movement on Wednesday.

Both the commerce minister, Tipu Munshi, and state minister for labour, Munnujan Sufian, have said that there are infiltrators in the movements, harbouring malicious intent.

The whole garment sector was kept under strict surveillance with vigilance maintained over 200 factories in Dhaka and 150 in Chittagong.

The new salary structure of the garment sector was made effective from 1 December, 2018 and workers were supposed to get the new wages from January, 2019.

However, there is a prevailing sense of dissatisfaction among workers over the new scale which is used by certain quarters to trigger unrest.

President of the National Garment Workers’ Federation, Amirul Huq Amin, said: “do not listen to rumour or get involved in any action that may tarnish the image of the sector.”

The discrepancies in the salary scale will be fixed, he assured.

Commerce minister Tipu Munshi, said: “though the wages of workers in the RMG sector have risen by 51 per cent, efforts are underway to create anarchy in the sector through various misinterpretations.”

The minimum wage of the garment worker was raised to a minimum of Tk. 8000, with a Tk. 2700 rise. President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers’ Association, BGMEA, Siddiqur Rahman, said: “there’s no confusion about the new scale.”

State minister for labour, Munnujan Sufian, added: “wages of workers never fall and if there are attempts to bring the wages down then the government will resist on behalf of the workers.”

The prime minister is pro-workers’ rights, she added.