Former Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan, convener of Garments Workers' Coordination Committee, yesterday urged readymade garments factory owners to accept and implement the revised wage structure for workers that came after eight days of unrest in the sector.
“The problems in the RMG sector can be solved through dialogue,” he said at a press conference arranged at Shadhinota Hall in Segunbagicha yesterday.
Shajahan called the press brief following the agitation across the RMG sector that started on January 6 over the disparity in the wage structure.
“Factory owners should try to find out the reasons behind the dissatisfaction among workers, instead of trying to dig up local and foreign conspiracies behind this,” he said at the press conference.
These problems can be solved through discussions with the trade union and participatory committee at the factory level, Shajahan said.
“We would like to call upon the garment factory owners to be considerate towards their workers and to ensure that no one is harassed,” he added.
He said there is a disagreement between RMG workers and owners on the salary structure of the new wage board which was put into effect on December 1, 2018.
RMG workers rejected the pay structure in certain grades as the salaries were not consistent with current market prices.
After nearly one and a half months of protests, the government has revised the pay structure for the garments industry workers, giving raises between Tk 15 to Tk 786.
WHAT WAS THE ISSUE?
The workers alleged that the monthly wage in the seventh grade increased to Tk 8,000 from Tk 5,300 as per the gazette published by the government last year but the salaries of workers in other grades did not increase at the same rate.
The salary hike for entry-level workers was more than that of their senior operators, who have been working for over seven to eight years. Major disparity in the salary hike was noticed for third and fourth grade workers, as they also received a smaller raise than that of entry-level workers.
In most of the grades other than the seventh, only Tk 500 was raised in the new salary structure, whereas an entry-level worker's salary had increased by Tk 2,700 at one go.