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Buyers urged to up RMG prices

TofailCommerce minister Tofail Ahmed urged international brands and retailers to pay more for Bangladeshi apparel items as the costs of exporting garment products have gone up due to spike in wages for garment workers.

He said the global buyers of Bangladeshi clothing though promised a lot to meet the needs of affected workers caused by the Rana plaza collapse, were still far from fulfilling their pledges.

The minister was talking to reporters on Wednesday at his secretariat office after a meeting with a Canadian rights group delegation, led by Matthew Kellway, an MP of House of Commons. Heather Cruden, High Commissioner of Canada in Bangladesh was present.

The 10-member delegation included eight labour union leaders based in Canada and the USA.

‘We have increased salaries as much as 227 per cent for the garment workers over the last five years. But the buyers did not increase prices to cover the increased cost of doing business inflicted on factory owners,’ he said.

Tofail said the brands and global retailers of Bangladeshi apparel products should play their judicious role by increasing product prices so that labourers employed in the sector get paid fairly and the industry sustains.

The minister said an Alternative Dispute Resolution Council to solve the problems between owners and workers of the readymade garment sector would be set up in next two weeks.

The stakeholders from factory owners, workers associations and ministries of labour and commerce will be included in the proposed council, aimed at quick disposing of the disputes to be arisen between labourers and garment owners, he elaborated.

‘We have discussed bilateral issues ranging from investment, trade and labour rights. They (Canadian) are eager to see our actions towards ensuring workers safety and work place standards in the garment sector,’ Tofail said.

He said the owners of the garment factories are now more careful on safety issues. They have taken initiatives to improve working environment, especially on fire safety and structural faults of factory buildings.

The minister expressed his hope that the existing bilateral relations between Bangladesh and Canada would be strengthened in future to boost two-way trade and investment.

Bangladesh exported goods worth $ 1.09 billion to Canada in 2012-13 fiscal year, against the import of $ 613.80 million. The woven and knitwear products constitute the lion’s share of Bangladeshi merchandise export to Canada.

Source: New Age

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