Labour unrest feared over non-payment of wages

BGB kept standby to maintain order

Staff Correspondent
Workers of Tuba Group on Wednesday go out on demonstration inside Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association building against the authorities’ failure to pay wage and allowances despite issuing several deadlines. —Snigdha Zaman

Workers of Tuba Group on Wednesday go out on demonstration inside Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association building against the authorities’ failure to pay wage and allowances despite issuing several deadlines. —Snigdha Zaman

AN INTER-MINISTRY meeting on Wednesday identified non-payment of wages in readymade garment sector and rundown highways in many places as major concerns for maintenance of law and order ahead of the Eid-ul-Fitr.
Law enforcement agencies apprehended that non-payment of wages and festival allowance in the RMG units in Dhaka, particularly at Ashulia, Savar and Naraynaganj, might cause labour unrest.
But the owners alleged that some quarters were out to create anarchy in the labour-intensive industry, said officials who attended the meeting.
Presiding over the meeting on law and order at the secretariat, state minister for home Asaduzzaman Khan directed the law enforcement agencies to strengthen vigilance in the industrial belts in Dhaka, Chittagong and Khulna to prevent labour unrest or any untoward incidents there.
‘We have asked the apparel factory owners to clear wages and festival allowances of workers before Eid,’ Asaduzzaman told reporters after the meeting.
He said the factory owners had already started paying wages and festival allowance to their workers so that non-payment of wages did not cause labour unrest in the export-oriented apparel industry that employs over 40 lakh workers, most of them women.
‘The BGMEA leaders have informed the meeting that it would be a huge pressure for many of them to pay wages of almost two months together along with the festival bonus before Eid,’ the junior minister said.
He, however, said the Border Guard Bangladesh personnel were kept standby for meeting any emergency.
He claimed that the rundown highways were already repaired temporarily. ‘The homebound people would not face any troubles during Eid if it does not rain.’
The police and RAB were asked to take stern action against extortionists, Asaduzzaman said, adding that the highway police had also been kept on alert to maintain order on highways as thousands of people would leave the capital next week to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr with their family members at the end of July.
Heads of law enforcement agencies including police and Rapid Action Battalion, senior officials from various ministries and representatives from Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries attended the meeting.
The RMG owners on July 15 agreed with the government and labour leaders to pay the workers’ partial wages of current month and festival allowance by July 26 so that the low income group could celebrate Eid peacefully with their families.
The industrial police in a report earlier cautioned authorities concerned that labour unrest might flare up in 506 apparel units at Ashulia, Gazipur, Narayanganj and Chittagong ahead of Eid, demanding payment of wages and festival allowance.
Most of the labour groups were pressing the demand for payment of arrears, wage of current month and festival allowance before Ramadan 20 (July 19) as Eid is likely to be celebrated on July 29.
The three-day public holiday on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr would begin on July 28.

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