Friday, August 15, 2008

Threat by BGMEA and RMG workers

The recent threat by Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) to resort to strike certainly bodes ill for the economy of the country.

RMG sector has been thriving since the 90s thanks to country's huge manpower and in the process contributing to the country's economy to a great extent. Nevertheless, the workers have been persistently exploited by the owners who never deemed it necessary to increase wages during inflation and they did it only when the workers became violent and forced the owners to meet the demand. As a result, a culture of violence as a tool to press home the very just demands has flourished and now the RMG sector is being plagued by this insidious phenomenon.

BGMEA's disregard for workers' way of venting pent-up frustration attributing it to some miscreants' misdeeds will prove foolhardy. In spite of recent low profit caused by, as the owners claim, increased production cost and declined prices of finished products, BGMEA cannot afford being callous to the plight of workers who are bearing the brunt of price hike. For the owners, it's a question of amount of profit. On the contrary, it's a matter of making both ends meet for the workers. Can we expect progress with a half-fed dissatisfied work force?

The workers who toil from dawn to dusk deserve wage raise. The BGMEA shouldn't exploit them as hostage when dealing with the government with regard to security and improvement of infrastructural facilities.

[ published as a quick comment in New Age on August 18, 2008 ]