Garment Shramik Odhikar Andolan, a platform of 12 labour organisations, on Tuesday submitted to the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association a memorandum, demanding Tk 16,000 as the minimum wage with 10 per cent annual increment for the readymade garment workers.
The platform also demanded permanent rationing system, contributory provident fund and variable dearness allowances for the RMG workers.
Since the formation of a wage board by the government on January 14 for reviewing the minimum wage for RMG workers, the combine of the labour organisations has been holding a series of programmes across the country to press for its demands.
Criticising the process of the formation of the wage board, labour leaders said that the government was in fact working for garment
factory owners as it disregarded the recommendation made by the garment sector workers’ leaders in appointing the workers’ representative to the board.
‘Without movements the interests of the RMG workers will not be protected in the wage board as the government and the workers’ representative are actually representing the factory owners in the board,’ Garments Sramik Oikya Forum president Mushrefa Mishu said at a rally in front of the BGMEA headquarters in the capital before submitting the memorandum.
She said, ‘The garment factory owners in Bangladesh are living their lives in the lap of luxury, while the country’s RMG sector workers are the lowest paid in the world.’
The government and factory owners always tell the tales of the success of the garment sector but both of them are united to deprive workers of their rights, Mishu claimed.
The workers who raised their voice for wage hike have faced job termination and cases have been filed against them on charge of sedition, she alleged.
Bangladesh Garment Shramik Sanghati president Taslima Akhter said that request from the BGMEA for forming a wage board was nothing but an election year policy of the government.
‘BGMEA leaders requested the government for forming a wage board and on the other hand the police have been restricting opening of branch offices of trade unions situated in the industrial belt following the formation of the board so that workers cannot raise their voice,’ she said.
The government and the BGMEA are planning to pass unilateral recommendation in the wage board as the real representation of workers are completely absent in the board, she alleged.
Garment Shramik Odhikar Andolan coordinator Mahbubur Rahman Ismail, also the president of Bangladesh Textile-Garment Workers’ Federation, called upon the workers and workers’ leaders to remain vigilance so that garment factory owners cannot deprive them of their rights.
OSK Garment and Textile Workers Federation president Md Yeasin and Garment Workers Trade Union Centre general secretary Jolly Talukder also spoke at the demonstration.
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