After eight days of labour unrest, we are relieved at the resolution of the RMG workers wage dispute. The government announced a revised pay structure for the garment sector yesterday with a slight increase in both basic and gross wages in six of the seven grades. The RMG worker versus owner confrontation was played out on the streets by the protesters. They vandalised vehicles, burned tyres and objects on the road which halted the city traffic for several hours, even as a 20-member tripartite committee formed by the government comprising workers, owners and government representatives sat in a meeting to reach consensus on wage coordination.
On the other hand, factory owners declared, "No work, no pay," and threatened to shut down their units if the protestors did not go back to work. Due to such unrests from time to time, owners have to face severe consequences such as cancellation of work orders and high air shipment cost. As a result, the sector is incurring a huge loss, according to owners and officials of several factories. Therefore, considering the RMG sector as the lifeline of the country’s economy, the government stepped in to resolve the issue rapidly forming the tripartite committee. The committee has been able to reach a satisfactory solution in cooperation with all parties. After yesterday's announcement, so far as we know, the workers are resuming work.It is perturbing the way we resort to the streets - vandalising state or private property and immobilising traffic to resolve any political or economic issue! We should develop a better system of protest to put forward our viewpoint or express difference of opinion. Holding the nation hostage is not a solution. Blackmailing of the country, destructive acts of violence are detrimental to our economy and national interest. Every person, object and organisation harmed or damaged during protests belongs to us all as fellow Bangladeshis. All of us together, we own our country and everything in it. We must not destroy what belongs to us. As a nation we should refrain from behaving like errant children breaking toys by walking out of the parliament, not talking to the other side in a tiff, or slandering each other publicly. But for now, all’s well that ends well.