The Truth about Megatex: management unilaterally slashed the workers’ wages
March 22, 2012 | Share
On Wednesday, March 21, Megatex management unilaterally slashed
the workers' wages by 20 to 47 percent!
The Megatex sweater factory in North Bengal has been operating for nearly two years, yet in that entire period, not a single worker has been able to rise above the low level, low wage "Trainee Operator" category. This, despite the fact that many Megatex workers have 10 to 15 years prior experience in other textile and garment factories and should surely be classified as "Senior Operators" with higher wages.
As we have pointed out earlier, the legal minimum wage for a "Trainee Operator" is set at $55 a month, or 4510 taka. (The current exchange rate is $1 = 82 taka.)
But management does not pay this. Instead of 4510 taka per month, they pay the workers just 4086 taka. This means the workers are routinely shortchanged of 424 taka each month, or $5.17, which amounts to a loss of 2.7 days' wages each month.
Legal Minimum Wage
26 cents an hour
$2.12 a day (8 hours)
$12.69 a week (48 hours)
$55 a month
$660 a year
Megatex Shortchanges the Workers
Of their Legal Wage
24 cents an hour
$1.92 a day (8 hours)
$11.50 a week (48 hours)
$49.83 a month
$597.95 a year
These wages fall well below even the most minimal subsistence needs of the workers' families.
Then, on Wednesday, March 21, Megatex management unilaterally slashed the piece rate wages by 20 to 47 percent, and this resulted in an altercation.
The workers are paid according to production. For relatively simple operations, the piece rate was 20 taka (24 cents), while for more complicated operations it was set at 30 taka (37 cents). With absolutely no discussion, on Wednesday, management simply re-set the piece rate to 16 taka (20 cents).
The workers were shocked, facing a 20 to 47 percent drop in their piece rates! How were they and their families going to survive?
No one condones violent protests. If Megatex management had negotiated in good faith with the Workers Welfare Association, this never would have happened.
The Megatex and Rosita factories are trying to impose the Chinese "sweatshop model" on Bangladeshi workers. It is critical that Rosita and Megatex be held accountable to respect Bangladesh's labor laws and the core ILO internationally recognized worker rights standards -which give the workers the right to organize and bargain collectively.
[Campaign] Chinese Sweatshop in Bangladesh