6 years ago

Wage arrears trigger majority labour unrest in 2017: Survey

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The majority of labour unrest that took place in 2017 was over the payment of wages arrears with highest number of such incidents in the apparel sector, according to a new survey.

The survey released Monday by the Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies showed that a total of 181 labour unrests took place in different industrial sectors last year, of which 59 per cent occurred in the garment industry, followed by 23 per cent in the transport sector.

Some 56 unrest occurred because of wages arrears, while 43 same incidents were recorded in the readymade garment sector, followed by 35 unrests due to absence of several rights of workers.

Other causes of the unrests took place centering payment of over time, compensation, illegal closure of factory and workers' termination.

Workers staged some 68 demonstrations, formed 21 human chains, observed 18 strikes, 15 road blockades and 12 rallies to press home their demands in the industrial sectors, according to the survey titled 'Labour Situation-2017'.

The BILS survey also found that some 784 workers including 21 female died in the workplace accidents with the highest 307 passed in the transport sector in 2017.

Of the dead, some 134 construction workers, 59 day labourers, 36 agricultural workers, 24 electricians, 21 ship-breaking workers, 25 rice mill workers, 17 fishing workers and 17 garment workers.

Some 64 per cent out of the total 784 deceased workers died in road accident, 19 per cent in electrocution, 9.0 per cent fell from the high-rise and 4.0 per cent each in fire incident and land slide, it revealed.

Comparing with the government pay-scale, the survey showed that workers of most of the industrial sectors are receiving minimum monthly wages lower than the amount of lowest grade of the government pay-scale.

The minimum monthly wages of workers of hotel and restaurant sector is Tk 3,710, which is 75 per cent lower than the amount of the lowest grade of government pay scale-Tk 15,250, according to the report.

The minimum monthly wages of hosiery industry workers are 70 per cent lower than the government pay-scale.

Similarly, tailoring sector workers get 68 per cent, sop and cosmetics industry 63 per cent, tea packaging 54 per cent, pharmaceuticals 47 per cent and tannery industry 16 per cent lower than the government pay-scale, according to the survey.

Though it is mandatory to review the industrial sectors' wages in every five years, the same has not been done in 21 sectors despite more than five years have passed, it said.

The wages of workers of type foundry sector and petrol pump have not been reviewed since 1983 and 1987.

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