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Committee formed to end row over sweater factory worker payment

Moinul Haque

An employee is seen working in a sweater factory in Dhaka on Saturday. The government has taken a move to resolve a prevailing dispute over the payment of piece-rate basis for the sweater factory workers. — New Age photoAn employee is seen working in a sweater factory in Dhaka on Saturday. The government has taken a move to resolve a prevailing dispute over the payment of piece-rate basis for the sweater factory workers. — New Age photo

The government has taken a move to resolve a prevailing dispute over the payment of piece-rate basis for the sweater factory workers.
The government has recently formed an 11-member committee comprising the representatives from factory owners and workers headed by a joint secretary to identify the problems and decide on the next path of solution, labour ministry officials said.
Labour leaders have been making allegations for long that the sweater factory workers are deprived of legal service benefits like overtime allowances and festival bonuses.
They also demanded hike in piece-rate payment, food and travel allowances for sweater factory workers in accordance with the newly-announced minimum wage for the woven garment factory workers.
Though the sweater factory workers receive their payments based on piece-rate but the rate was not set in the sector.
Usually, owners set the piece-rate for peak and off-peak season every year.   
‘We have formed a sub-committee in last week to identify the wage-related problems of sweater factory workers as the ministry has received repeated allegations over the issue,’ labour secretary Mikail Shipar told New Age on Saturday.
He said that the committee would sit with both the sweater factory owners and the workers and work out a path so that no workers of sweater factories remained underpaid during off-season.
Mahbubur Rahman Ismail, president of the Textile Garment Workers Federation, said he was not aware of the subcommittee.
At least eight lakh of sweater factory workers across the county, who are paid on piece-rate basis, are deprived of their legal benefits and they are not getting payment in accordance with the wage structure, he said.
Md Faizur Rahman, joint secretary (labour) and also the head of the sub-committee, told New Age that the first meeting of the committee would be held next week regarding the disputes of factory owners and the workers.
‘After finding out the problems the committee will decide what will be the next course of steps to resolve the issue,’ he said.
Mohammed Hatem, vice-president of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association, told New Age that the demand for hike in piece-rate payment was not acceptable as the sweater factory workers were earning higher than the woven garment workers and in some cases they could earn more than double.
‘Some people are trying to create anarchy in the sector in the name of illogical demand and we will resist the conspirators at any cost,’ he said.
Hatem said there was no scope to set the piece-rate in fixed amount as it depended on the varieties of design.
He also said it was not true that the sweater factory workers were being deprived by the owners. ‘The owners are providing the workers with all facilities as per the labour law,’ he said.
‘On January 2, the labour ministry made a clarification that the sweater factory workers will not get allowance for overtime as, according to the Section 108 of labour law, the workers in an establishment paid on a piece-rate basis will not be entitled for overtime allowance,’ Hatem said.




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Committee formed to end row over sweater factory worker payment

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