Wage hike needed for RMG sector | The Daily Star
12:36 AM, September 25, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 04:32 AM, September 25, 2013

Wage hike needed for RMG sector

Says German envoy

German Ambassador to Bangladesh Albrecht Conze yesterday said pay hike for garment workers is necessary as the garment industry here pays the minimum wage compared to other industries.
Talking to a select group of journalists at his office in the afternoon, he stressed the need for an agreed procedure to look into the wages of the garment workers every year to avoid any confrontation.
“Now again, it [workers' wages] has become a big political issue. It should be depoliticised,” he noted.
Asked if he found any politics behind the present unrest in the garment sector, the diplomat said, “No comments, because it's a complicated game with many actors. So, it's not for an outsider to make any comment on it.”
Referring to the current dispute over the basic pay of the apparel workers, he said an increase in the basic pay by 20 percent or 100 percent is unrealistic.
Citing an example, he said, “In Germany, we have a tradition that the state doesn't interfere in the negotiations between the employers and workers, which is a very healthy approach.”
He hoped that the employers and workers' representatives here will accept a settlement through negotiations.
“There should be a body that would meet regularly once in a year in order to fix wages. Then you wouldn't need to hike wages significantly in every few years,” he observed.
Asked about Bangladesh-Germany bilateral trade, Albrecht said the trade has been booming and it was not affected by the Tazreen and Rana Plaza incidents.
He, however, mentioned that Bangladesh's garment industry came under focus in his country by the German media and politicians. If a similar incident occurs in future, then questions might arise about what the government and other stakeholders have done to improve the situation in the industry.

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