PIECE-RATE WORKERS

Body suggests factory owner-worker consultation to set wage

Moinul Haque
A file photo shows an employee working in a sweater factory in Dhaka. The working committee formed by the government to identify problems of the sweater factory workers who work under piece rate system has suggested factory owner-worker cosultation to set wage. — New Age photo

A file photo shows an employee working in a sweater factory in Dhaka. The working committee formed by the government to identify problems of the sweater factory workers who work under piece rate system has suggested factory owner-worker cosultation to set wage. — New Age photo

The working committee formed by the government to identify problems of the sweater factory workers who work under piece rate system has suggested that factory owners should set rates after consultations with their workers.
To resolve the prevailing disputes over payment on piece-rate basis, the committee on Monday submitted its eight-point recommendations to the labour ministry’s sub-committee.
The working committee recommended that categorisation of grades of the workers should be based on workers’ efficiency, factory owners should pay workers as per the piece rate during pick season, should pay workers on basis of the piece rate or grade, whichever will be higher, during the dull season and should give workers basic pay during off season.
The working committee comprising the representatives of the government, factory owners, workers and labour rights groups made the recommendations after visiting three sweater factories in Dhaka, Narayanganj and Gazipur.
The labour ministry officials said that based on the information gathered during the factory visit by the sub-committee and the recommendations made by the working committee, the sub-committee would prepare the final recommendations within a short time.
After getting the final recommendations the labour ministry will formulate a set of comprehensive guidelines for the sweater and knitwear factory workers who work under piece-rate system.
Moshiur Rahman, additional director general of the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments, told New Age on Sunday that they had submitted the recommendations to the labour ministry sub-committee for the next course of action.
The sub-committee headed by Md Faizur Rahman, joint secretary (labour) has decided to visit more factories and to talk to more workers before preparing final recommendations, he said.
Moshiur, also the head of the working committee, said that the representative of factory owners in the working committee demanded that the business of sweater factory should be considered as seasonal business and they also demanded that the committee should recommend that the job of the workers should be dismissed with the end of season.
‘But we did not agree with the factory owners,’ he said.
Sirajul Islam Rony, president of National Garment Workers League and also a member of the working committee, said that with the aim of preparing the final recommendations the head of the labour ministry’s sub-committee Md Faizur Rahman started visiting more factories.
The sub-committee visited two factories in Ashulia on Saturday and will visit two more factories on June 7, he said.
Mohammed Hatem, vice-president of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association, said that factory owners agreed to the recommendations made by the working committee except one that said categorisation of grades based on workers efficiency.
‘If workers are categorised in grades based on efficiency, the owners would not provide production bonus to the workers,’ he said.
Under the existing practice, owners place the sweater factory workers/piece rate workers in grade-6 irrespective of their efficiency.
On the first week of January this year the labour ministry formed the 11-member sub-committee comprising the representatives from factory owners to identify the wage-related problems of sweater factory workers.
The sub-committee in its first meeting formed the working committee on January 28 to visit factories and to talk to workers to dig out the real scenario of sweater factory workers.
The committee submitted its recommendations after four months of its formation though the working committee was supposed to submit its report within one month of its formation.
The government’s move came following frequent demonstrations by the sweater factory workers and demand from labour leaders for guidelines for the workers under piece-rate system as they think that such workers are being deprived of benefits of legal service and the new wage structure for the garment workers as there is no clear indication of wage hike for piece-rate workers.
There are at least eight lakh sweater and knitwear factory workers across the county, who are paid on piece-rate basis.




One Comment

  1. Abul Karim says:

    I think employment in sweater industries is dominated by male employment. As such and because of recently declining manpower export which is dominated by male manpower, it is important to provide policy support to sweater industries to mitigate the deteriorating male unemployment situation. By policy support, I mean to provide export incentives. Because sweater industries is one business out of many business of the clothing industries, foreign buyers who will be wooed to come to buy, will also buy other items of the clothing industries .

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