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Govt to allow trade unions in RMG units
Sep '10
According to the Commerce Minister, Faruk Khan, the government would soon start allowing formation of trade unions in the RMG and other allied sectors.

The Minister stated this, while responding to US Ambassador James F Moriarty's comment that, the US government is apprehensive regarding disturbances prevailing in the RMG sector in the country.

The country each year generates around US $18 billion worth revenues from exports, with RMG sector accounting for around 80 percent of the same, but still the RMG workers time and again are seen agitating with their demands for rise in wages and other allowances.

In spite of all this, the RMG exports have almost grown by two fold over the last five years, from $6.4 billion in 2004-05 to $12.5 billion 2009-10.

The Minister said that, to ensure that workers in the sector enjoy labour rights that are commensurate with the labour laws and the International Labour Organization standards, they are considering the proposal of allowing trade unions in all the industrial units in the RMG sector.

According to Ambassador Moriarty, if proper legal process is not followed while dealing with the workers who were arrested for violence, there are chances that some sort of industrial strife may stir up, whereas if the government successfully resolves the issues, this will definitely boost exports, he said.

The government, while disregarding workers' demand for a minimum wage of Tk 5,000, released the new wage structure on July 29 where under, minimum wages of workers were raised from Tk 1662.50 to Tk 3,000, whereas apprentices got a raise from Tk 1,200 to Tk 2,500. But, as the worker's demands were not satisfied, it gave rise to labour unrest.

Soon after the announcement of the new minimum wage structure, RMG worker's associations rejected the same, claiming it to be unsatisfactory and far away from the wages they were demanding. This ultimately took form of continuous agitations for three days followed by serious conflicts amongst workers and the law enforcing agencies.

However, the workers' representatives approved the new minimum wage structure and said yes to minimum wage of Tk 3,000 on August 1, in a tripartite meeting with garment units and the government.

After completion of the legal formalities, the new wage structure will take effect from November 1. Till then, current minimum wage of Tk 1,662.50 per month will apply.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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