Maulana Shafi behind RMG labour unrest: Labour ministerNew Age Online
Labour minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju on Sunday claimed that Hefajat-e-Islam chief Ahmed Shafi was behind the latest labour unrest in the export-oriented apparel industry.
‘Demand for wage hike is not the main issue. There are some other factors behind the unrest in the apparel sector…Maulana Shafi has instigated the most recent labour unrest,’ Rajiuddin told reporters after a meeting with the representatives of the garment factory owners at the secretariat.
The minister also claimed that the situation had turned normal Sunday after weeklong agitations by the workers demanding for an upward adjustment to their minimum monthly wage to Tk 8,000, from the current Tk 3,000.
‘You now know who were creating law and order situations across the country,’ Rajiuddin told a questioner. He could not, however, produce any concrete prove on how Shafi instigated the unrest.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association president Atiqul Islam said some outsiders were responsible for violence in the clothing industry.
Many of the agitators wearing ‘lungi’ were seen vandalising vehicles and factory premises during the workers’ demonstrations that continued over a week, he added.
The Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association leaders also attended the meeting that also discussed a study conducted by the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies on compliance issues in the industry, which employ over 40 lakh workers, of them, 80 per cent are women.
The BGMEA president said they would accept the recommendations of the wage board tasked with the new wage structures for the apparel workers and that theu will also try to pay monthly wages and festival bonuses ahead of Eid-ul-Azha, next month.
The minister said the wage board was expected to submit its recommendations wither in early November or during the last week of October. He said no one should organise any protests over the wage issue before wage board declaration.
Over 400 factories in Gazipur were shut temporarily in the face of the fresh agitations that began on September 21. Later the agitations flared in the industrial belts of Savar, Narayanganj and Dhaka also as the owners offered a hike of only Tk 600 only. The industry fetches over $20 billion annually.
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