Real wages for RMG workers fall by 26pc: TIB

Staff Correspondent

24 April, 2019 12:00 AM printer

Real wages for RMG workers fell by 26 percent in the newly announced wage structure, Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) observed on Tuesday.  

RMG owners claimed to have increased workers’ wages by 23 to 36 percent in 2018 from 2013 level, which TIB opposed saying that real wages rather fell as it was inconsistent with 2018 market price level.

In its latest study on RMG sector, the graft watchdog, also finds that the minimum wages are not paid in sub-contract factories, although minimum wage was increased by 66 percent to Tk 8,000 in 2018.

Beside, the provision of providing 5 percent yearly increment is not followed by most of the RMG owners, it finds.

“We’ve found that real income of RMG workers after the new pay structure fell by 26 percent and in some cases 32 percent wage fall was found,” commented TIB executive director Dr Iftekharuzzaman.

In addition, the workers who took to the streets have been fired or harassed with filing numerous cases against them, he added.

TIB said although the garment sector as a whole saw some progress, but the important issue of workers’ rights is still neglected.

Trade unions were found in only 3 percent factories and most unions are influenced by the owners, which TIB said weakness in enforcing existing law.

After the latest workers’ movement, 5,000 workers were sued under 35 cases, while 10,000 workers have been fired in 168 factories. 

There were also allegation of forcible firing of workers aged over 40 years or on other grounds.

TIB also found that the amount of default loans totaled Tk 10,790 crore in the RMG sector. Out of the top 100 loan defaulters, 26 were found to be from this sector.

The study also said primary inspection was done in all the 4,346 factories with the initiatives of national body and accord and alliance, but reforms were found okay in 73 percent of them.

Progress of 28 percent of the inspected factories found below 50 percent. In 950 new or transferred factories, no inspection was done.

On the other hand, BGMEA continued utilization declaration (UD) facility to 200 non-compliant factories, violating government instruction, the study finds.  

TIB came up with a 12-point recommendation to establish good governance in the RMG sector.