Azad: RMG workers deserve pay hike
The president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers and Commerce Industry (FBCCI) yesterday hinted that garment workers deserve a pay hike against the backdrop of rising inflation and house rents.
“House rents increased three times in Ashulia; non-food inflation marked a rise. So I have decided to hike salary for my workers from June instead of November,” said Azad, also the owner of Ha-Meem Group, a leading player in the sector.
But Azad came under fire from other garment makers due to his decision of increasing salary of his workers.
"It was my personal decision," he defended himself.
Azad spoke at a hurriedly-called press conference by Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) in Dhaka.
The garment makers met as thousands of workers continued violence for the fourth day in the industrial belt of Ashulia yesterday, demanding a pay hike in a series of street protests that halted production in around 300 factories.
Azad also said, only the workers are not responsible for the unrest in the sector, some other groups are also playing behind the scene.
He said workers and owners should work together to end the crisis.
The protests will spread across the country if the government and industry leaders fail to control the situation, he added.
Turning down the workers' demand for raising their salary, BGMEA President Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin said food inflation declined to 7.4 percent recently from 11.91 percent in December. "So there is no logical reason for a pay hike," he said.
Non-food inflation is high and so the industrialists will request the local people not to increase house rents too much, said Mohiuddin.
He also said the industry is facing problems, as the cost of doing business increased by 10 percent compared to that in the last fiscal year.
"This is due to high interest rate on bank loans, and gas and power crises," he added.