Labour leaders said Wednesday that not a single tannery factory owner implemented the new wage structure for their workers though the government announced it six months back.
They said that the tannery factory owners taking the advantage of getting the service of workers without issuing appointment letters and identity cards to 80 per cent workers in gross violation of the labour law.
They said that at least 20,000 workers were employed by 155 export oriented tannery factories.
The tannery industry is the country’s 2nd highest foreign exchange earner after the apparel sector.
Bangladesh Tannery Workers’ Union general secretary Abdul Malek told New Age that the factory owners pay wages to workers according to their whims.
He said that the owners ignored the new wage structure announced by the government in February.
The new structure, he said, contains five grades.
The new structure increased the wage for a beginner living at Savar or in a divisional city to Tk 13,500 from Tk 8,750.
The beginner starts at grade five.
The wage for grade I, the top grade, has been increased to Tk 25,400 per month.
The previous wage hike for tannery workers were announced in 2011.
Workers had demanded Tk 16,000 as the minimum monthly wage in view of increased cost of living.
Bangladesh Tanners Association general secretary Shakawat Ullah said that the owners were facing existence crisis after shifting their factories to Savar for which they were not in a position to implement the enhanced wages now.
Wage Board member Md Abdul Malek said in 2016 30,000 workers were
employed by tannery factories and 50 per cent of them were sacked during relocating the factories to Savar without paying them legal benefits.
Later, the owners hired 60 per cent workers on daily basis and another 20 per cent on contracts, he said.
Mukta Tannery Ltd workers Ohidul Islam, Abdul Motaleb and Shorif said that during relocation they expected better working conditions at Savar the reality proved to be quite different with thousands of colleagues losing jobs.
They said their wages fell arrears since June.
Shorif said that he was unable to take legal action as he was working without appointment and identity card.
Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments deputy inspector general Zakir Hossain admitted that the tanners did not implement the new wage structure until now.
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