Man­u­fac­tur­ers agree to raise work­ers’ salaries

A Bangladeshi gar­ment worker was killed and dozens wounded dur­ing protests over salaries, prompt­ing the gov­ern­ment to form a panel of fac­tory own­ers, union lead­ers and gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials to in­ves­ti­gate the pay de­mands

The Gulf Today - - ASIA -

DHAKA: Gar­ment man­u­fac­tur­ers in Bangladesh have agreed to raise work­ers’ pay, the com­merce min­is­ter said on Sun­day, urg­ing peo­ple to re­turn to work after a week of vi­o­lent de­mon­stra­tions.

Last week at least one worker was killed and dozens wounded dur­ing protests over salaries, prompt­ing the gov­ern­ment to form a panel of fac­tory own­ers, union lead­ers and gov­ern­ment ofi­cials to in­ves­ti­gate the pay de­mands. On Sun­day at least 20 peo­ple were hurt at in fur­ther clashes be­tween pro­test­ers and po­lice out­side Dhaka.

All par­ties in­volved agreed to raise wages across 6 of the 7 pay grades, leav­ing the min­i­mum wages un­changed at 8,000 taka ($95), Com­merce Min­is­ter Tipu Mun­shi told re­porters after a meet­ing of the panel.

Low wages and trade deals with Western coun­tries have made the sec­tor a $30 bil­lion in­dus­try ac­count­ing for 80 per cent of Bangladesh’s ex­ports, mak­ing Bangladesh the world’s sec­ond-big­gest gar­ment ex­porter be­hind China.

Ear­lier on Sun­day, Sid­diqur Rahman, pres­i­dent of the Bangladesh Gar­ment Man­u­fac­tur­ers and Ex­porters As­so­ci­a­tion (BGMEA) had threat­ened to cut off work­ers’ pay if they did not re­turn to work.

“If you don’t re­turn to your work by to­mor­row, you will not be paid any wages and we will shut down fac­to­ries for an in­dei­nite pe­riod,” he said. “De­spite re­peated as­sur­ance of meet­ing the de­mands, the work­ers are be­ing in­cited to cre­ate un­rest. We will not al­low this any­more.”

The re­vised wages are ef­fec­tive from De­cem­ber and will be ad­justed from Jan­uary, Mun­shi said.

At least 20 peo­ple were hurt on Sun­day when po­lice used tear­gas and wa­ter can­nons to dis­perse work­ers block­ing a ma­jor high­way in the Ashu­lia gar­ment man­u­fac­tur­ing belt, on the out­skirts of the cap­i­tal Dhaka, ac­cord­ing to Saminur Rahman, a di­rec­tor for the In­dus­trial Po­lice, which pa­trols the coun­try’s busi­ness hubs.

The protests are a test for the gov­ern­ment of Prime Min­is­ter Sheikh Hasina, who just won a third straight term in a Dec.30 elec­tion. The vote was marred by vi­o­lence and al­le­ga­tions of wide­spread rig­ging and voter in­tim­i­da­tion.

The gov­ern­ment said in Septem­ber that the min­i­mum wage for gar­ment work­ers would in­crease by up to 51 per cent to 8,000 taka ($95) a month, payable in Jan­uary, the irst in­crease since 2013.

Sheikh Hasina

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Bahrain

© PressReader. All rights reserved.