Maulana Shafi behind RMG labour unrest: labour minister

September 30, 2013

Labour minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju alleged on Sunday that Hefajat-e-Islam chief Ahmed Shafi was behind the latest labour unrest in the export-oriented apparel industry.
‘The Demand for wage hike was not the main issue,’ alleged the minister.
‘Moulana Shafi instigated the latest labour unrest,’ Rajiuddin told reporters after a meeting he had with the representatives of the industry owners at his secretariat office.
‘There were some other factors behind the unrest in the apparel industry,’ he said.
He claimed that the situation became normal on the day after weeklong agitations of workers demanding an increase in the minimum wage to Tk8000 from Tk3000.
The minister blamed Shafi for his stand against the women workforce.
Representing industry owners, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association president Atiqul Islam, however, blamed outsiders for the recent violent protests in the industry over increased minimum wage.
Many lungi clad agitators were seen vandalizing vehicles and factories during the week-long workers’ demonstrations, he said.
The Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association leaders also attended the meeting.
They took up for discussion a study conducted by the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies relating to compliance issues facing the apparel industry, which employs over 40 lakh workers, 80 per cent of them women.
On September 25, home minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir in a statement claimed that there was no labour unrest in the apparel industry excerpt for a few stray incidents of disorder at some places.
The BGMEA president said they would accept the recommendations of the wage board, now working out a new wage structure for the workers.
They owners would also try their utmost to clear the wages and festival bonuses ahead of Eid-ul-Azha, he said.
In the absence of the labour minister who was abroad for a week for medical treatment, home minter Muhiuddin and shipping minister Shajahan Khan, also a transport sector labour leader, held a series of meeting with the factory owners, trade union leaders and law enforcement agencies to restore order in the beleaguered apparel industry.
This might be their ‘personal comment’, said the labour minister regarding the allegations of some trade union leaders that the shipping minister was responsible for the unrest.

-Input from New Age

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