Two apparel sector trade bodies — BGMEA and BKMEA — are discouraging their members from paying their workers full wages for the period of closure in April and have asked them to comply with the government decision of paying 60 per cent of their wages.
The factory owners, those who are interested to pay their workers full wages for April, are in a dilemma over the payment as trade bodies issued letters to their members asking them to calculate the wages of workers for the period of closure in April at the rate of 60 per cent of their gross wages.
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association in separate letters to their members said that the government, factory owners and labour leaders in a meeting decided that the workers and employees of readymade garment factories would get 60 per cent of their gross wages for the period of closure in April.
Most of the garment factories remained closed from March 26 to April 25 in line with the government-declared holidays amid the coronavirus outbreak in the country and the factories started gradual reopening from April 26.
The trade bodies have asked their members to comply with the decision made at the tripartite meeting.
The letters said that any single factory should not make any decision, deviating from the tripartite meeting’s decision that could result in worker unrest in the other factories.
Meanwhile, another tripartite meeting held on Monday with state minister for labour Monnujan Sufian in the chair decided that the workers would get 65 per cent of their gross monthly wages for the period of closure.
The meeting was held as the RMG sector trade union leaders had rejected the decision of paying 60 per cent of gross monthly wages.
In the meeting, labour leaders affiliated with IndustriALL Bangladesh Council demanded full wages for the period of closure in April and at one stage of the meeting they demanded that the factory owners pay the workers at least 80 per cent of gross wages for the period but factory owners did not agreed to their demand.
Finally, the state minister announced that the workers would get 65 per cent of their gross wages for the period of closure in April but the increased 5 per cent would be paid in June with the wages for May, trade union leaders said.
After the first Tripartite Consultative Council meeting over the issue on April 29, Monnujan had announced that the workers of the readymade garment factories, which remained closed in April due to general holidays announced by the government amid the coronavirus outbreak in the country, would get 60 per cent of their gross monthly wages for the period of closure.
Factory owners and a group of trade union leaders loyal to the government attended the meeting but most of the representatives of garment sector trade unions were not present in the meeting.
Monnujan had also announced that the workers who worked in the few factories that remained open in the month would get their full wages.
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