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Knitwear workers to get special allowance PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 10 August 2008

Decision to take effect after govt. nod

Staff Correspondent

Knitwear manufacturers have announced a special allowance for workers—20 percent of their basic salary—to help them cope with the rising cost of living in a gesture that will need clearance by the government.

Fazlul Hoque, president of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association, made the announcement at a press conference at the association office at Sonargaon Road in the city on Saturday.

The BKMEA board of the decision was taken at a board meeting of the association, said Hoque adding that the decision would come into effect after receiving positive response from the government.

"BKMEA will submit a proposal recommending the pay rise to the government and over 1,500 factory owners will implement it once the government gives the go-head," Hoque said.

"We cannot make a decision on the pay rise on our own. The government would take a final decision on the matter in line with the labour law," the BKMEA leader added.

Hoque said the association had also decided to open shops to sell daily essentials at subsidized prices in Narayanganj, Savar and Gazipur for workers during Ramadan.

"About eight lakh workers of the knitwear industry have been leading miserable life in the wake of abnormal hike in commodity prices," Hoque said.

The BKMEA opened such shops in Narayanganj in May which were run until July 15.

Hoque said the shops were closed as it was assumed that the rice price would come down with Boro harvest.

"This time we have decided to open shops in a large scale ahead of Ramadan as the rice price did not ease," he said.

Three shops would be opened in Narayanganj, one in Savar and one in Gazipur which would sell commodities at lower prices than in BDR-run shops.

The BKMEA president said a shop might be opened in Chittagong too.

In the last fiscal year, knitwear sector earned $ 5.53 billion in export earnings, $ 365 million more than the oven sector had earned.

Hoque said production in the knitwear sector has been hamstrung by gas and power crises.

"If the problems are not solved, the sector will not grow further," he said.

The government set the minimum wage for an operator in knitwear sector at Tk 1,662 a month, with the basic salary at Tk 1,125.

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