Call for amicable settlement of RMG wage dispute

Garment makers should go for an amicable settlement of the minimum wage for the workers to avert any fresh unrest in the sector, senior journalists and analysts said yesterday.

The gap between the owners and workers should go, said the experts, and called upon the owners to give the workers a fair minimum wage.

Any failure to pay an acceptable wage will lead to mistrust among the workers, and the owners have to face the unrest again, the speakers told a meeting at Dhaka Sheraton Hotel.

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) organised the meeting to discuss the present situation of the garment sector with the editors of different national dailies.

Habibur Rahman Milon, advisory editor of the daily Ittefaq, suggested the owners create an environment where the workers can develop a sense of belonging.

"Now, the incidents of unrest are taking place at the factories as there is hardly any belongingness among the workers," he said.

Abdul Quayum, joint editor of the daily Prothom Alo, said the upcoming wage structure should be settled through discussions among different stakeholders.

"The owners should feel the psychology of the workers. They should bring confidence among the workers."

Shyamol Dutta, editor of the Bhorer Kagoj, blamed the frequent labour unrest on a lack of ability of both the government and the owners to handle millions of young workers.

He attributed the influence of local politics to frequent labour unrest in some areas particularly in Ashulia.

Khandaker Muniruzzaman, acting editor of the daily Sangbad, said sometimes the workers of the factories that pay low wages vandalise the neighbouring compliant factories out of jealousy.

"We have to build trust between the workers and the owners. We have set up a lot of factories over the last 30 years, but could not develop a workforce," he said.

Mostafa Kamal Mazumder, editor of The New Nation, called upon the owners to create industrial intelligent units.

Mustafizur Rahman, executive director of private think tank Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), said the exports figures of RMG over the last four months indicate that Bangladesh has started enjoying the benefits of global economic recovery.

"So, this is a very important period for the country. We should make the best use of the time. We have created some new export destinations like Japan, Turkey and South Africa," he said.

BGMEA President Abdus Salam Murshedy moderated the meeting, also attended by former president Tipu Munshi and Shamokal Editor Ghulam Sarwar.

Source : The Daily Star

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