In its effort to quell the ongoing labour unrest over the alleged disparity in pay, the government has hiked wages for readymade garment (RMG) workers in six grades, keeping the minimum salary unchanged at Tk 8,000.
State minister for labour and employment Begum Munnujan Sufian informed journalists about this at a press briefing at the Secretariat in the capital on Sunday, saying that wages for grade 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 have been revised. As per the revised wage structure, grade 1 employees will get Tk 18,257 while Tk 15,416 for grade 2, Tk 9,849 for grade 3, Tk 9,347 for grade 4 and Tk 8,875 for grade 5.
As per the previous revised wage structure, 2018, the grade 1 employees was getting Tk 17,510, Tk 14,630 for grade 2, Tk 9,590 for grade 3, Tk 9,245 for grade 4, Tk 8,855 for grade 5, Tk 8,405 for grade 6 and Tk 8,000 for grade 7.
The decision came following a direct intervention of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina who urged to increase labour wages at reasonable rates.
The government hopes this announcement will put an end to the unrest and encourage the workers to return to work for the sake of the industry.
The garment factory owners’ association announced that all the factories already shut due to the unrest will be opened.
Since Sunday, thousands of RMG workers in capital Dhaka and its suburb Savar and Gazipur had continued holding protest rallies and staging demonstrations. They also locked into a series of clashes with police at many places.
It is to be noted here that the minimum monthly wage for RMG workers increased by around 51 percent to Tk 8,000 from Tk 5,300 and the new salary structure was made effective since December 1 last year.
However, sections of workers were dissatisfied with the new structure from the very beginning and the government, law enforcing agencies and garment owners’ association suspected that a vested quarter was trying to use this dissatisfaction to create an uncomfortable situation for the government.
Earlier, the tripartite committee formed to resolve the labour unrest in garment industry found disparity in three grades of the workers’ pay structure, and started working to minimise the wage gap that sparked the protests five days ago.
The 10-member committee with representatives from the government, union leaders and factory owners said disparity was found in grades three, four and five.