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RMG factory owners threaten to shut down units

Published : Monday, 14 January, 2019 at 12:00 AM  Count : 197

Garment workers association BGMEA in a statement said that protesters are being goaded to demonstrate by 'a particular quarter.' It remained silent on the issue of claims of wage discrimination made by the agitating workers.
"If you do not return to work tomorrow (Monday) then you will not be paid any wages," BGMEA President Md Siddiqur Rahman announced at a press conference at the BGMEA building on Sunday. "Otherwise factories will be closed indefinitely according to Section 13/1 of the Labour Act."
Garment workers in Gazipur, Savar, Ashulia and several other areas have taken to the streets with allegations that they are being paid less than they were before despite a new wage grade being initiated that raises their salaries.
Workers have also claimed that the new wage structure has not been implemented in a timely manner at other factories.
Asked about these allegations, the BGMEA president said that a tri-party committee to investigate whether wage Grades 3, 4 and 5 need further adjustment.
"The committee will meet this afternoon at 3:00pm at the Ministry. The workers will have to accept their decision. If anyone refuses to return to work after this their wages will be frozen."
When informed of the allegations that the new wage structure was not followed, the BGMEA president said that the protests were occurring at factories where it had been implemented. Asked who they suspected was behind the protests he said it was up to the government's investigation agencies to investigate.
It could be domestic or foreign forces, he said.
"They create unrest whenever we attempt to advance," he said.
Meanwhile, the government has decided to adjust the wages of readymade garment workers at several grades amid ongoing workers' protests over the wage structure.
State Minister for Labour and Employment Begum Monnuzan Sufian made the announcement following a meeting of a special committee on Sunday. Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi was present.
The committee has decided to adjust the wages of Grades 1 through 6 by consensus of all parties involved.
BGMEA, BKMEA and other owners have assured the committee that all factories shut down amid the protests will be immediately reopened. The government hopes that workers will return to work immediately.
On January 7, the government formed a 10-member committee to resolve the crisis over the discrimination of wages in different grades in the new pay structure for apparel workers, amid unrest in the industry.

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