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Dhaka Tribune

Shun violence; join work, PM to RMG workers

Update : 20 Nov 2013, 10:01 AM

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday called upon agitating garment workers to resume work by shunning the violent acts in the name of wage hike.

"I would like to tell apparel sector workers to go to work and boost production. Otherwise, they will have to return home empty handed by losing the job due to their excessiveness. If the factories are closed, the orders will be cancelled and will be given to other countries," she said.

The Prime Minister added the workers should realise this situation in the greater interest of the sector, reports BSS.

Sheikh Hasina said this while addressing a function arranged on handing over of the National Export Trophy 2010-11 at Osmani Memorial Hall this morning, where she was chief guest.

Commerce Minister GM Quader, Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed and FBCCI President Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed also spoke at the function, while Vice-Chairman of Bangladesh Export Promotion Bureau Shubhashis Bose delivered the welcoming address.

The Prime Minister said, this time is very crucial for the garment sector as Christmas is close. "We will have to catch the Christmas market. If we fail to do so, buyers will not give us more orders," she said.

She said it would affect the country's entire garment industry, which includes 4m workers. "I don't know whether the pockets of some labour leaders will be heavier or not, but I can surely say that the workers will be the ones who lose the most," she said.

Pointing out the government's initiatives to increase RMG worker wages over the last four years, she said the wages have been increased twice during the period.

"When we assumed office in 2009, the minimum wages for the RMG workers was Tk1,600 only. At that time, we took an initiative to increase it and made it Tk3,000," she said.

In this connection, she said the RMG owners were not ready to pay the increased wages and that she forced them to do so. "I worked as the bargaining agent for the workers. The owners agreed to pay more wages, but instead they took several facilities from the government," she said.

The Prime Minister said this time; she again forced RMG owners to pay TK5,300 (amount fixed by wage commission) as the minimum wages as Tk5300.

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