Country’s readymade garment factory owners have failed to keep their pledge to pay festival allowances to their workers by Ramadan 20 that fell on June 16.
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, however, claimed that about 60 per cent of the RMG factories across the country had already paid festival allowances to their workers, while labour leaders and the Industrial Police claimed that a very few number of compliant factories started to pay the allowances and most of the other factories were yet to decide when they would start distributing the allowances.
In a meeting of the Crisis Management Core Committee on the RMG sector held on May 29 at the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments’ office in the capital Dhaka, BGMEA vice-president Mohammad Nasir pledged that factory owners would pay festival allowances to their workers by Ramadan 20.
He also said that factory owners would made a partial payment of June wages after consulting with their respective workers before Eid-ul-Fitr, one of the biggest religious festivals for the Muslims.
State minister for labour Mujibul Haque chaired the committee meeting.
‘Some of the big companies have started to pay festival allowances to their workers and as of today the number of the factories in which workers received allowances are very low,’ Bangladesh Garment Workers-Employee League president Sirajul Islam Roni told New Age on Saturday.
He said that the BGMEA had failed to keep its commitment and more than 500 RMG factories in the Dhaka city might face labour problems centring the payment of festival allowances.
Roni claimed that the authorities of the factories were yet to decide when the allowances would be distributed and they were not willing to pay the equivalent amount of basic pay as festival allowances.
According to Industrial Police sources, about 27 per cent of the factories located at Ashulia in Dhaka paid festival allowances, a very few factories in Gazipur, Narayanganj and the Chittagong belt started paying allowances.
The Industrial Police hoped that festival allowances would be paid in 80 per cent of the factories by Sunday (today) and Monday (tomorrow).
BGMEA vice-president Mohammad Nasir said that factories had started to pay festival allowances and as of Saturday 60 per cent of its member factories paid their workers the allowances.
Brushing aside the Roni’s claim, the BGMEA vice-president said that the labour leader was not aware about the actual picture.
‘At present 400 to 450 factories across the country remain under the close monitoring of the BGMEA as the units are suffering from acute shortage of fund to pay their workers. The BGMEA is trying to resolve the crisis of the factories and the situation in 10-12 factories is still vulnerable,’ Nasir said.
According to the Industrial Police officials, there are 1,073 factories in the Ashulia industrial belt and 297 of them have so far paid festival allowances, which is 27 per cent of the total units.
The officials said they considered that 25 RMG units in the belt would face risk over payment of festival allowances.
There are 1,884 industrial units including 1,300 RMG factories in the Gazipur industrial belt and few of the factories started to pay festival allowances from Saturday.
Industrial Police sources said they found 182 RMG units problematic in the belt as the factory owners were not willing to pay the equivalent amount of one month’s basic pay as the allowances.
One of the sources said that workers of at least five factories in the belt on Saturday observed work abstention, demanding the equivalent amount of one month’s basic pay as festival allowances.
There are 2,442 industrial units including 925 RMG factories in the Narayanganj belt and the Industrial Police found problems in 15 per cent of the factories.
Industrial Police sources said that 252 RMG factories in the belt paid festival allowances by the promised time and more than 80 per cent of the factories would clear their payments within Sunday (today) and Monday (tomorrow).
RMG factories in Chittagong started to pay festival allowances on Saturday and a very few number of the units made their payments on the day.
Out of the 638 RMG factories in Chittagong, the Industrial Police found 70 units might face labour problems.
Industrial Police sources said it would take one week more to clear the payment of festival allowances to the RMG workers.
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