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BGMEA President urges to stop propaganda against Bangladesh RMG sector

Recently in a media briefing, BGMEA President Md. Siddiqur Rahman claimed that some NGOs and labor leaders are spreading propaganda against Bangladesh RMG sector.

Staff Correspondent

The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) said at a press conference on 15 October that the garment sector has been witnessing a peaceful and calm situation over the last four years, as there were no incidents of unrest.

BGMEA President Md. Siddiqur Rahman spoke at a media briefing on 15 October 2018 on the new wage structure for apparel workers and current condition of RMG factories in Bangladesh
Figure: BGMEA President Md. Siddiqur Rahman spoke at a media briefing on 15 October 2018 on the new wage structure for apparel workers and current condition of RMG factories. Courtesy: BGMEA

BGMEA Md. Siddiqur Rahman said, “We have heard that some NGOs and a handful of labor leaders are spreading propaganda and manipulating other active and sincere workers to create anarchy in a peaceful sector. This is utterly unacceptable.”

“There are a few groups who would be happy to create problems, but if this sector faces problems then it will be the workers who will be worst affected. It would further create an imbalance in the socio-economic ecosystem. It is better not to provide manipulative and partial information, which can destabilize the industry, provoke workers, and tarnish the global image of the sector,” he added.

Implementation of new pay structure is a major challenge, said the garment makers’ platform, at the press conference at its office in Dhaka.

From 2014-2018, about 1,200 RMG factories had to shut down their operations because of their lack of compliance and falling behind in the competitive landscape, said Siddiqur Rahman.

“It is our fear that some more factories will be shuttered soon as they are failing to make profits,” he said.

“Bangladeshi garment products have been losing competitiveness because of longer lead time, poor productivity and poor demand for apparel worldwide,” he added.

There are a few groups who would be happy to create problems, but if this sector faces problems then it will be the workers who will be worst affected.

Md. Siddiqur Rahman, President, BGMEA

In 2014, the global market size for apparel was $483 billion in 2017, the figure declined to $454 billion.

BGMEA President claimed that each of the garment owners has spent Tk. 3-5 crore for fixing the electrical and structural loopholes as per the recommendations of the Accord and Alliance experts although the prices of Bangladeshi garment items declined in the US market by 11.72 percent while the cost of production increased 29.54 percent.

He predicted that the cost of production would go up further after the implementation of the recommended minimum wage of Tk. 8,000 from December this year. At present, the garments sector’s minimum wage is Tk. 5,300.

In a letter to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the American Apparel and Footwear Association urged the implementation of a new and inclusive wage structure in the RMG sector.

“The prime minister has done her job and increased the workers’ wages, so we think buyers now have a responsibility to increase the prices they pay for products,” BGMEA president further said.

BGMEA Senior Vice President Faruque Hassan and Vice President Mahmud Hasan Khan Babu were also present at the press briefing.

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