Worker dissatisfaction continues despite RMG factory owners finally agreeing to a higher minimum monthly salary of Tk 5,300. The workers are continuing their violent demonstrations in demand of a monthly salary of Tk 8,000, mainly concentrated around the Gazipur and Ashulia areas.
However, field investigations reveal a that a group of trade union leaders are intentionally inciting workers to protest by spreading politically motivated rumours.
Workers’ representative on the wage board, Sirajul Islam Rony said he received news of the murder of two workers in Savar whose bodies were at a local hospital, but when he went to inspect, he found the news to be fabricated.
There is also dissatisfaction over the new minimum wage as the new wage is unilateral for both skilled and unskilled workers. Moreover, the basic pay has also been reduced.
Sources said there are around 60 garment workers trade unions in the country, but only 10-15 unions are active. The rest do not have control over their members. Thus, their promises of ceasing further violence hold no value.
Authorities said almost all the violent demonstrations that have happened in the past two weeks were started on rumours instigated by local politicians, trade union leaders and other influential people.
BGMEA President Atiqul Islam told Ittefaq that the source of the rumours was difficult to trace. “We can’t find the source of the rumours, and the demonstrations are getting out of hand.”
He also denied the claims that worker’s basic pay had been reduced in the new structure. He said previously the basic pay was Tk 2,000 and now it is TK 3,000.
Sirajul Islam Rony said there has been a 77% increase in wages in this sector in the past three years. “No other sector witnessed such increase in wages,” he pointed out. “There are some labour leaders who are in effect double agents, and they pretend to broker negotiations while in effect they keep workers’ dissatisfaction fermenting to further their own personal and political agendas.”