Owners Reluctant Over Minimum Wage Demand
Monday, 26 July 2010

Ready-made garment factory owners are not interested in providing more than Tk 2,400 as minimum wage a month against the workers' demand of Tk 5,000, a parliamentary panel has been told.

Considering the owners refusal, the watchdog on the labour and manpower ministry had recommended providing the workers with conveyance, accommodation facilities and other allowances for the poorly-paid workers.

Ministry officials informed the standing committee meeting that the minimum wage for the RMG workers could be announced a day later than the previously announced time-frame of July 28, which is a public holiday.

"The officials have informed us that the owners are not interested in paying more than Tk 2,400 per month," Israfil Alam, the standing committee chairman, told reporters after the meeting at parliament building.

He said the government was in consultation with the RMG owners to persuade them to pay more.
"We have recommended that the workers can survive if the owners provide them conveyance and other allowances plus accommodation facilities for the workers," said Alam, a labour leader, adding that only pay hike was not the solution for the workers' woes.

He said the standing committee suggested that the owners could build dormitories for the workers with loan from the government with only one percent service charge per year.

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina last Wednesday announced in parliament that the government was ready to give loans to the RMG owners for constructing dormitories for the workers.

She termed the present minimum wage (Tk 1,662.50 per month) not only "inadequate but also inhuman".

The government formed a wage board headed by a justice to set a fresh minimum wage structure for the ready-made garment sector. Labour minister announced in parliament that the wage board would be made public on July 28.

The RMG sector contributes account for about 80 percent of the country's $18 billion export earnings.
Poorly paid RMG workers often take to the streets demanding pay hikes and other allowances.

Source: bdnews24.com

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