GT chair Yunus, MD Ashraf sued for not paying workers’ dividends

Ershad Kamol | Published: 00:28, Mar 15,2017 | Updated: 00:54, Mar 15,2017

 
 

Three former employees of Grameen Telecom filed separate cases with a Dhaka labour court Tuesday accusing GT chairman professor Muhammad Yunus and managing director M Ashraful Hassan of denying the workers of their dividends from the profits the company earned in last 10 years.
GT earned Tk 2158.65 crore as profits during the period and by refusing dividends to workers it flouted the Bangladesh Labour Act 2006, alleged the plaintiffs.
The labour ministry secretary Mikail Shipar and the
labour ministry’s Workers’ Welfare Foundation Fund director general ANM Anisul Awal were made substitute defendants in the case.
Petitioners, former GT assistant manager Amir Hossain, former senior officer Hanjala Ibrahim and former assistant officer Mostafa Al Amin, alleged in their petitions that they were not paid their dividends during the period under review.
They alleged that none of the 110 GT employees were paid their dividends from Tk 2158.65 crore the company earned as profits in last 10 years in gross violation of the Bangladesh Labour Act 2006, amended in 2013.
Following admissibility hearing all the three cases were accepted by the Third Labour Court chairman Sultan Mahmud for trial.
The law requires GT to pay four per cent of its net profit as dividends to its workers, plaintiff’s lawyer Jafrul Hassan Sharif told New Age.
The lawyer said that GT violated the law by not paying the dividends to its workers.
Under the law, he said, GT owes Tk 86.34 crore in arrear dividends to its 110 workers.
The law requires GT to pay four per cent of its net profits to its workers as dividends and contribute 0.5 per cent to the Workers’ Welfare Fund run by GT itself and another 0.5 per cent to the Workers’ Welfare Foundation Fund run by the government, said the lawyer.
He said that the MD of GT did not care to reply to a legal notice he had served on him on February 8 which had requested him to pay the workers’ lawful dividends.
Grameen Telecom, founded by Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus, holds 34.2 stakes in Grameenphone.
Audit reports show that Grameen Telcom earned dividends worth Tk 21,586,520,417 from the profits Grameenphone earned in last 10 years, said the lawyer.
In reply to two government notices asking the GT to contribute 0.5 per cent of its net profits to the Workers’ Welfare Foundation Fund, GT managing director Ashraf said that being a non-profit organization Grameen Telecom did not come under its mischief.
Ashraf told New Age that GT the company would face the cases in the court.
Plaintiff’s lawyer said that the law provided no exemption to any company from paying the dividends to their workers.
He said that sections 232 and 234 of the Bangladesh Labour Act stipulate without any ambiguity that a company with paid up capital of Tk one crore and fixed assets worth Tk two crore must share its profit with their employees and workers.
Labour ministry secretary Mikail Shipar and Workers’ Welfare Foundation Fund director general Anisul Awal could not be contacted for comments as both are in germany. 

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