Ashulia: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday said the present government has taken steps to further increase the wages of garment workers and she had directed the factory owners to raise their salaries rationally.
“The wages of garment factory workers must be increased rationally keeping pace with time, and I’ve already asked those concerned to raise salaries to this end,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said it is often seen whenever the wages of workers are raised, the house owners also increase their rents where the workers live.
She said loan would be provided at a rate of 1 percent service charge to the interested factory owners to construct hostels and dormitories for their workers.
The Prime Minister was addressing a function after unveiling the plaques of the foundation stone of the country’s first hostel for female garment workers at Ashulia School & College Ground in Savar. The Ministry of Women and Children Affairs organized the function.
The 12-storey hostel will be built on one acre of land in Ashulia at a cost of Tk 26.98 crore.
Hasina said she has already asked the garment factory owners to increase the salaries of the workers and steps have been taken to increase their salaries through a wage board.
Urging the factory owners to increase salaries, Hasina said, “As long as I’m with you, there’s no need for you to wage a movement for increasing your salaries. We’ll be there beside you,” she assured the workers.
The Prime Minister also called upon the garment workers to remain vigil so that no one could harm the garment factories.
“You’ll have to remain alert so that no one could harm factories that you work for through which you maintain your living. Those who commit such things do these with evil designs and you’ll have to remain alert against them,” she added.
Hasina, also the President of the ruling Awami League, said steps would be taken in the future to gradually construct hostels for the female garment workers across the country in RMG factory zones.
The AL chief also sought votes for ‘Boat’, the party’s election symbol, to serve the nation for another term saying that whenever AL government assumes office, people get something as it does not deprive theme.
Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan, State Minister for Labour and Employment Begum Munnujan Sufian, Parliamentary Standing Committee chairman on Women and Children Affairs Begum Fazilatunnesa Mujib Indira, MP, BGMEA president Atiqul Islam spoke on the occasion chaired by State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Meher Afroze Chumki while Women and Children Affairs Ministry Secretary Tariqul Islam delivered the address of welcome.
Director General of Women and Children Affairs Department Md Ashrafuzzaman highlighted various activities of the government on women development and welfare of the female garment workers through video presentations.
Hasina said whenever there was any accident in the garment sector, her government tried to face the situation with all its capacity without making any delay.
In this regard, she mentioned the prompt rescue operation and rehabilitation activities after the tragic ‘Rana Plaza’ building collapse on April 24 is a unique example of that effort. “I don’t want such incident to reoccur in future.”
In this connection, Hasina said her government has already provided Tk 16 crore to the family members of the deceased and injured of the Rana Plaza building collapse.
Although 80 percent of the garment workers are female, Hasina said no government, not even any Prime Minister, in the past had thought of accommodation of the female garment workers, but the present government for the first time has undertaken a project for the construction of hostels for the female workers.
She said in the first building to be built under the project, some 1,000 female workers would get safe and improved accommodation facilities at an affordable cost alongside food in dining room, free furniture, doctors, sports, a common room and daycare facilities for their children.
The Prime Minister said initiatives have also been taken to construct the second building where over 1000 female workers would get the same facilities. Besides, she said, the present government has also taken steps to set up a garment colony at Baipail where some several thousands garment workers would get improved accommodation facilities.
She said her government, after assuming office this time, had given utmost importance to the garment sector and increased the minimum wages of the workers by 82 percent in 2010. The initial wages have been re-fixed at Tk 3,000 from previous Tk 1,600 alongside ensuring salaries, bonus and overtime allowances and there was no need to wage any movement in this regard.
RMG workers’ wages to be raised again: PM