Dhaka, Sep 9 (UNB) – From an emergency general meeting on Sunday, country’s export-oriented readymade garment (RMG) factory owners urged the government to give an ‘exit plan’ for RMG units which want to leave the business for non-viability.
RMG owners also demanded the government to introduce inflation-based yearly wage increase system on permanent basis instead of the existing system of raising wage in every 5-year by forming a commission.
“We want adjustment in the workers’ wage keeping in line with rate of inflation”, said Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, President of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) and a former president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
He was addressing the emergency general meeting of the RMG factory owners held at the BGMEA’s Nurul Kader Auditorium in the city under the joint aegis of BGMEA and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA)—the two main representative bodies in the country’s RMG sector.
“We’ll call for an exit plan for those who want to leave the garment business”, he added.
Most of the speakers severely criticised the civil society members and NGO leaders for their advocacy in favour of garment workers’ wage hike in seminars and TV talk shows.
Some civil society members and NGOs are involved in conspiracy to destroy the country’s garment sector, they alleged.
The FBCCI chief was echoed by other speakers at the meeting held against the backdrop a perception that the government might move to declare the minimum wage as per wage commission’s recommendations. The commission was formed in January this year.
With BGMEA president Siddiqur Rahman in the chair, the meeting was also addressed, among others, by BGMEA’s former leader and present ruling party lawmaker Tipu Munshi, BKMEA president and Jatiya Party lawmaker Selim Osman, garment businessman Atiqul Islam, Wage Commission member Arshad Jalam Dipu, BGMEA vice president SM Mannan Kochi and former Dhaka Chamber president Asif Ibrahim.
Siddiqur Rahman said that he would pursue the government to accept their demands.
He mentioned that in the wage commission, the BGMEA has proposed the minimum wage to be Tk 6360 while the labour leaders have proposed it at Tk 12020.
He said although BGMEA proposed the minimum wage at Tk 6360, for many factory owners it would be hard to implement it.
The last minimum wage was Tk 5,300 declared in 2013.
Tipu Munshi said the time is not in favour of garment industries as the general election time is nearing and the government feels pressure to announce the new wage for the garment workers.
Atiqul Islam said the factory owners already raised 20 percent wages of the workers at different forms while they have to spend extra money at the government offices at every stage of their business in exporting goods.
“But buyers never want to increase their prices of the goods”, he said.
BGMEA leader Ehsan Fazle Shamim said the organisation should do more to improve efficiency of the workers as two workers gets $175 a month to run a machine in Bangladesh while one worker in Vietnam runs same and gets $160.
Dhaka, Aug 30 (UNB) – In Bangladesh’s readymade garments (RMG) sector, 97.5 percent factories don’t have trade unions.
A comprehensive survey on RMG sector conducted by Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) also found out that the workers’ organisations continue to remain in either weak or non-functional in the garment factories.
CPD research director Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem led the team that conducted the survey by collecting data from 3,856 factories having 3.6 million workers. Of the factories, about 50 percent are found to be small, 42.5 percent are medium and 7.4 percent are large.
The survey report was presented at a seminar titled: “Conference on Transformation in the RMG Sector in Post-Rana Plaza Period” at a hotel in the city on Thursday.
While presided over the inaugural session of the seminar, CPD Chairman Prof Rehman Sobhan, said that a global consultation is required for social improvement of the RMG workers who should be given the most credits for success of the garment sector.
He said the government and parliament can play the vital role for the improvement of the situation by ensuring the sharing of profit for the garment workers as there is now prevailing an unfair and unjust situation.
He said that one-third of the parliament members are garment owners but added that he does not know how many trade union leaders are parliament members from the RMG sector.
He said Rana Plaza incident was a result of the severe competition of the local factories to sustain in the global market.
He urged Saber Hossain Chowdhury, the president of the Inter-parliamentary Union (IPU) and also a member of the current parliament and chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on Ministry of Textile and Jute to pursue the issue to draw the global attention for social improvement of the garment workers.
Speaking at the seminar as chief guest Saber Hossain Chowdhury said Rana-plaza incident was a wake-up call for the RMG sector. “But now we don’t want a second wake-up call”.
He said the RMG sector has done exceptionally well in the post-Rana Plaza period. But the garment owners and government have to be pro-active to do better. “We have to take the future challenges to achieve the $50 billion export target by 2021”.
FBCCI president Shafiul Islam Mohidddin admitted that there is lack of trade union activities in the RMG sector but said that workers welfare committees in the factories are working to protect the interest of the workers.
He said 70 percent profit in the RMG sector is taken away by the brands and buyers for which local factory owners always remain under pressure to sustain in the global competition.
He said in the post-Rana Plaza period most of the factories were transformed into compliance factories while now owners are trying to convert them into green factories.
He mentioned that about 1200 factories had to face closure in the post-Rana Plaza period.
The FBCCI chief said the factories should allow the trade unions as Bangladesh signed the ILO convention.
Garment Workers Trade Union Centre president advocate Montu Ghosh said all the elements of the RMG sector is imported from abroad except the men and machines.
He said the factory owners have no attention to improve the working and social condition of the workers.
“Most of the workers are subjected to rough behavior of top management in the RMG sector”, he alleged.
He said the government formed a wage commission about 5 years ago but the report has not been published yet.
He also urged the FBCCI chief to play an active role to reinstate the terminated workers in Tongi area for which garment workers staged demonstration in Uttara area.
Dhaka, July 25 (UNB) – Bangladesh has invited German manufacturers to invest more in the country taking the advantages its offers.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam discussed the issue with outgoing German Ambassador in Dhaka Dr Thomas Prinz on Wednesday.
He mentioned that Bangladesh if not the best place, it is a better place to invest, said the Foreign Ministry here.
German Ambassador informed that Siemens is going to make a huge investment in Payra Port for production of LNG based electricity.
State Minister hoped that German company would not only produce goods but also enhance knowledge base and transfer technology to Bangladesh.
Shahriar thanked the outgoing Ambassador for his constructive role in developing the bilateral relations between Bangladesh and Germany from where they launched broad-based partnership ranging from trade and investment to the implementation of sustainable development goals (SDGs).
Ambassador Prinz praised the bold leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her government for giving shelter to the Rohingya people who escaped atrocities in Myanmar.
He also lauded the generous attitude of Bangladeshi people towards the Rohingya people.
In reply, State Minister briefed the present situation in Rohingya camps and initiatives taken by government to cope up the natural calamities during this rainy season.
He also thanked the German government for its continuous support in crisis management and in political process top insure sustainable return of the Rohingya people top their ancestral home in Rakhine state.
State Minister expressed satisfaction at the implementation of the commitment of the Prime Minister regarding engagement of Veridos GmbH in the e-passport project.
He wished the German diplomat success and good health; and requested him to act as goodwill ambassador of Bangladesh wherever he goes.