Worker leaders demand hike in textile wages | The Daily Star
12:11 AM, September 30, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:56 AM, September 30, 2013

Worker leaders demand hike in textile wages

Worker leaders yesterday protested against the recent police attacks on garment workers in Dhaka and Chittagong and demanded an immediate hike in the textile sector wages.
They asked for an increase in the minimum wage to Tk 8,000 at the entry level, in the backdrop of the rising prices of essentials and skyrocketing house rents. They also demanded their salaries and bonuses be paid before Eid-ul-Azha.
The government and owners should take proper steps to stop the ongoing unrest, said Sukkur Mahmud, president of Jatiya Sramik League, the workers' wing of the ruling Awami League.
He spoke at a press conference on the causes and solutions to the labour unrest, organised by Sramik Karmachari Oikya Parishad (SKOP), a labour organisation, at its office on Topkhana Road in the city.
The owners' proposal to hike the garment workers' wages by only Tk 600 has fuelled the unrest, he said.
The minimum wage is Tk 10,000 in Pakistan's garment industry, so the amount should be at least Tk 8,000 in Bangladesh, Mahmud said.
Wajedul Islam Khan, general secretary of Bangladesh Trade Union Kendra, another platform, termed the workers' demonstration for a wage hike logical.
The owners are making wealth exploiting cheap labour, he said.
Khan also turned down the claim that most owners will not be able to pay Tk 8,000 as minimum salary.
The owners often claim they are making losses despite rising exports and new orders, said Rajekuzzaman Ratan, general secretary of Samajtantrik Sramik Front, another national trade union federation.
"Their claim is baseless," he said, adding that some big factories often grab business of the small ones and subcontract work to noncompliant units.
In 2010, the government had set the minimum monthly wage of garment workers at Tk 3,000, raising the amount from Tk 1,662.50 though workers demanded Tk 5,000.
The garment sector earns about $20 billion a year from exports and employs around 3.6 million workers, mostly women.

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