Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today assured the garment workers of all measures to provide them with a better life and urged them not to do anything detrimental to the garment sector.She said the government has already decided to constitute wage board for increasing the salaries and allowances of the garment workers and asked the owners to give adequate salaries to them according to the recommendation of the board.
Urging the garment workers to remain careful about the propaganda of BNP, Jamaat and Hefajat against the present government, the Prime Minister said in the name of religion they are misguiding people.
Calling upon the garment workers to vote for Awami League in the next general election, the Prime Minister said female garment workers might lose their job if the unholy alliance led by BNP comes to power.
The Prime Minister said this at a function on the occasion of laying foundation of the country’s first dormitory for female garment workers at Ashulia on the outskirts of city this afternoon.
The Prime Minister said the preparatory work for formation of a wage board to give recommendation to increase wages and allowances of the garment workers is progressing fast.
“As long as I’m in office, you need not go for any movement as I have full support for your all legitimate demands,” Sheikh Hasina said adding usually a wage board is formed in every five years, but we have taken decision to constitute the wage board considering the interest of the workers.
In the hostel building, to be constructed by Department of Women and Children Affairs, the female garment workers will get residential and dining facilities at low cost, free furniture, healthcare services, recreation and sports facilities, and daycare services for their children.
State minister for Children and Women Affairs Meher Afroz Chumki presided over the meeting while Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan, state minister for labour and employment Munnujan Sufian, chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on ministry of children and women affairs Fazilatunessa Indira, secretary of the ministry Tariqul Islam spoke among others on the occasion.
The Prime Minister said, the government has taken initiatives for construction of the dormitories so that the female garment workers can live in a healthy and good atmosphere. The government would provide same facilities for the garment owners if they are ready to create same facilities for garment workers, she said.
Sheikh Hasna said, the government has selected land at Bipail for construction of garments colony with better housing facilities for several thousand garment workers, she said.
The country is earning valuable foreign currencies owing to hard labour of the garment workers, entrepreneurship of the owners and supportive government policies, the Prime Minister said.
“Garment sector is contributing to getting our economy strong and creating employment. It’s empowering the womenfolk and reducing poverty,” she said.
The Prime Minister said, the present government has attached special importance to garment sector and taken steps for boosting the industry and providing the garment workers with better living facilities.
She said the salaries of the garment workers has been increased by 82 percent in 2010 making their initial salary to Taka 3,000 from Taka 1,600. Steps were also taken for regular payment of the salary, bonus and overtime allowance, she added.
Pointing out the responses of the government to recent fire and building collapse incidents in the garment factories, the Prime Minister said, “We have tried to respond with all our efforts in the quickest possible time.”
The rescue operation and rehabilitation works after Rana Plaza building collapse is an evident example of our stride, she said.
The Prime Minister said the government has given financial support of Taka 16 crore to the injured and families of the deceased workers from the Prime Minister’s Relief and Welfare Fund.
Moreover, the government spent around Taka 1.5 crore for treatment of the injured. Families of the unidentified garment workers would get support from the government after DNA matching, she said.
“No government but the Awami League provided so much financial support for the workers from the Prime Minister’s Fund,” Sheikh Hasina said.
Sheikh Hasina said, Bangladesh Awami League, whenever it has formed the government, worked for the welfare of the womenfolk.
“Bangabandhu constituted a board in 1972 for rehabilitation of the women affected during liberation war. We are following the footprint of Bangabandhu to ensure socio-economic and political empowerment of the womenfolk,” she said.
She said, the present government has established 29 Labour Welfare Centre (LWC) in different industrial areas of the country. These centres are conducting educational courses for the workers, providing primary healthcare services and medicine apart from providing advice on family planning, she said.
The Prime Minister urged the countrymen irrespective of political opinion to be united for country’s development and keep the pace of development uninterrupted.
She urged the business organizations to come forward side by side with the government for improving the living standard of the garment workers.