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Payment of wages, allowance before Eid

442 textile, RMG units prone to unrest

Monira Munni | June 07, 2018 00:00:00

Some 442 textile and readymade garment (RMG) factories across the country are 'vulnerable' to labour unrest over payment of wages and festival allowances, officials said.

Intelligence agencies recorded 168 and 158 incidents of unrest in March and April respectively this year.

Such incidents occurred in Savar, Ashulia, Gazipur, Chattogram, Narayanganj, Mymensingh and Khulna areas.

Sources said non-payment of dues, varying amounts of festival allowance, workload ahead of Eid and sudden closure of factories are among the reasons that might fuel unrest.

The Industrial Police (IP) have prepared a list of 442 units at risk of unrest and already started talks with the factory authorities over the issues.

The list includes 165 member factories of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).

Another 86 on the list are member factories of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) and 23 of the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA).

Dozens of factories located in export processing zones (EPZs) are also listed by the IP as vulnerable to labour unrest, the officials said.

There are some other factories that are not members any of the BGMEA or BKMEA. There are jute and re-rolling mills also.

They all run the risk of witnessing labour unrest any time, the officials added.

Rights organisations have demanded that the workers be paid wages for the month of May and the festival allowance by June 10.

On the other hand, the labour ministry has instructed the garment owners to pay the wages for May by June 10 and the festival allowance by June 14 respectively.

Abdus Salam, additional inspector general of the IP, said some 7,557 industrial units, including jute, RMG, textile and re-rolling mills, are under their purview.

"We've sent the lists to BGMEA, BKMEA and BTMA so that they can take necessary steps to avert any untoward incident in the industrial units ahead of Eid," he told the FE.

The IP is in contact with the units identified as vulnerable to labour unrest, he said.

Authorities of the units have given assurance of paying wages and festival allowance along with other dues by the deadline, he added.

Mr Salam said they are remaining vigilant against any labour unrest.

The people will suffer, once any labour unrest brews ahead of Eid in the industrial zones close to highways, he stated.

The BGMEA in a meeting with the labour minister last week said it was closely monitoring about 1,200 factories prone to unrest.

BGMEA President Md Siddiqur Rahman assured the meeting that the factories would pay wages and allowance in time.

He, however, urged the government to monitor the factories that are not members of BGMEA or BKMEA.

As they are not registered with any of the two trade bodies, Mr Rahman said the associations cannot put pressure on them.

Additional DIG (Intelligence and Special Affairs) Moniruzzaman at the Police Headquarters told the meeting that they listed about 200 RMG units.

Labour unrest can break out there over payment of wages, he added.

Factory owners, regardless of their ability to pay, should give wages in time, he said.

"We've information that a crisis might be created over payment of wages and other allowances," he said.

Labour leaders warned that owners would be held responsible for any unstable situation over non-payment of wages and allowance.

National Garment Workers Employees League (NGWEL) President Sirajul Islam Rony said the number of untoward incidents over non-payment of wages declined in recent years.

But there are still a good number of factories where workers are worried over getting their monthly wages and festival allowance in time, he added.

"We demand that both monthly wages and festival allowance are paid by June 10 so that workers can buy tickets to go home and do some shopping," he stated.

Mr Rony requested the government to fix an amount equal to the basic pay as festival allowance.

According to the BGMEA, about 4,300 factories are listed with the association.

On the other hand, about 900 factories listed with the BKMEA are currently in operation, the officials said.


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