Staff Correspondent: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has ordered to readjust five of the seven grades in wage structure for readymade garment workers.
Sources at the labour and employment ministry confirmed that the instruction came late on Saturday (Jan 12) when State Minister Monnuzan Sufian and Secretary Afroza Khan were called in at the PM’s official residence the Ganabhaban. 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.
The protests have entered the eighth day yesterday.
A senior official of the labour ministry told Bangla Tribune that the prime minister has ordered to readjust five grades in the wage structure.
Meanwhile, a meeting between the government, representatives of factory owners and workers’ bodies is scheduled later in the day.
State Minister for Labour Sufian and Commerce Minister Tipuy Munshi are supposed to brief the media on its outcome.
The government on Nov 25 last year gazetted the new wage structure for RMG workers setting Tk 8,000 as the minimum monthly pay. It ordered the garment factories to implement the new structure from Dec 1.
Different leftist workers’ groups have demanded that the minimum wage be raised to Tk 16,000 considering the hike in commodity prices. They have also been organising programmes like rallies over the demand for months.
Amid the process to form the new government after the Dec 30 elections, the workers started protesting against the new wage board by blocking the key Airport Road in Dhaka on Jan 6.
They alleged the workers in some grades of the new wage board are facing inequalities.
The monthly pay of the grades three, four and five workers have increased over 40 percent, according to the new wage structure.
The protesters say the basic salary of the grade three workers is supposed to be Tk 5,204 following the law that stipulates 5 percent annual rise in salary of the RMG workers but the new wage board has set it at Tk 5,160.
Beside the “Tk 44 less pay” for grade three workers, they protested against the rise by “only Tk 79 for grade four workers and Tk 164 for grade five workers” while the salary of new workers under grade seven has increased by Tk 2,700.
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