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Fear of labour unrest in RMG sector before Eid

Many factories yet to pay workers\' wages

Published : Sunday, 24 April, 2022 at 12:00 AM  Count : 543

Many factories yet to pay workers' wages
The people fear protests regarding wages and bonuses from garment workers of around 200 garments in Ashulia, Savar and Tongi including capital in the upcoming Eid-ul Fitr.
This time before Eid, the ready-made garment factories have been closely monitored with the salaries and bonuses of about 300 factories. According to industry police, about 30 per cent of factory owners have not yet paid their March wages.
However, BGMEA, an association of ready-made garment manufacturers, thinks that some factories have to be monitored every year. This time too there are several such factories.
Labour leader Sirajul Islam Rony said about 600 factories had not yet paid the workers. These irregular small and medium scale factories somehow dismiss the workers before Eid with a lump sum of money. There is a danger of creating workers' dissatisfaction with the bonus and arrears of wages in these factories
"We are taking care of these issues on a regular basis," Faruque Hassan, president of  BGMEA, an association of garment manufacturers and exporters, told the Daily Observer. He said that factories whose orders have been cancelled or are in a financially weak position are provided loans by banks as well as assistance from BGMEA. But we have not received the police report yet. If found, we will take action accordingly.
Similarly, Mohammad Hatem, executive president of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), said action would be taken after receiving the report.
BGMEA vice president Nasir Uddin said, "Like
every time, we have a crisis in some factories with salary and bonus. These factories have been kept under close observation. We expect 99 per cent of employers to pay workers wages and bonuses before Eid. He said that there is some crisis in the factories in Gazipur, Ashulia, these will be resolved quickly."
Meanwhile, at least 93 garments in the country cannot be able to pay their salaries and allowances in March.
These garment owners said the Ukraine-Russia war has begun to affect the world economy and trade. Exports of ready-made garments to various European countries, including Russia and Ukraine, have declined, bank transactions with many countries have stopped, and ship fares have risen.
This has come up in a report given by the police headquarters on March 31. Most of these organizations are members of BGMEA and BKMEA. According to the latest data, out of a total of 4,346 garments in Dhaka, Savar, Ashulia, Tongi, Gazipur, Chattogram, Narayanganj and Mymensingh areas, 93 garment owners are unlikely to pay their salaries and allowances by March.
As a result, there is a danger of creating labour unrest in garments at any time.
Abu Naeem Khan Biplob, a worker leader at Narayanganj district said Eid is actually a crisis in factories over salary and bonuses. Most of the owners give bonus of Tk 500 to Tk 1000. Many do not. Basic bonuses are given in government institutions. However, those whose production brings in foreign currency are not given proper bonuses. Workers have to pay full bonuses like government institutions. Eid will be at the end of April and the beginning of May. It is fair to get the April salary of the workers before Eid. He said state minister for Labour and Employment Begum Monnujan Sufian has promised to give 15 days salary. The workers are rejecting the statement of the state minister who is protecting the interests of the owners. If the workers' salary and  bonus is given at the last moment of Eid, the workers will not be able to shop well in a hurry to go home. The full bonus and current full salary of the worker has to be paid before the 21st day of Ramadan. Owners and administrators will be held responsible if labour unrest is created in industrial areas due to delays of salary and bonuses.
Before the upcoming Eid-ul-Fitr, the workers will be able to go home with a bonus and at least 15 days' salary this month, said the Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Employment Ehsan E Elahi.
When asked about the issue of workers-employers' problems with salaries and bonuses even after the instructions, Ehsan Elahi said, "No, these are lies." One or two companies got into a little trouble. They are a little late. I'm new, but I got the news. They (workers) are demanding more for separate arrears, they are other things.
Earlier, in a meeting on April 11, State Minister for Labour and Employment Begum Monnujan Sufian said workers in all sectors, including ready-made garments, were instructed to pay bonuses and pay at least 15 days' salary before the Eid-ul-Fitr holiday. Workers should be able to travel well during Eid holidays. But the decision has not been implemented till now.

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