The Labour Court-3 in Dhaka on Wednesday ordered Grameen Telecom chairman professor Muhammad Yunus and its managing director Ashraful Hassan to submit written statements on January 9 explaining why they did not pay workers’ dividends in the past 10 years.
The court passed the order after hearing two cases filed against Yunus and Ashraful by former Grameen Telecom employees Sheikh M Shariful Islam and Chandan Kumar Roy alleging that Yunus and Ashraful paid no worker dividend on profits earned by the company in the past 10 years.
The court also posted for January 9 the hearing on the defendants’ petition that claimed that the cases could not run under Section 213 of the Bangladesh Labour Act as the plaintiffs were no more employees of Grameen Telecom.
The Section 213 empowers any collective bargaining agent or any employer or worker may to petition the Labour Court for the enforcement of any right guaranteed or given by or under the act.
So far, 14 former and 39 current Grameen Telecom employees have filed cases with the Labour Court against Yunus and Ashraful under the Section 213 alleging that the two had flouted the Bangladesh Labour Act 2006 by refusing to pay workers dividends.
They alleged that Grammen Telecom’s profits in the past 10 years stood at Tk 2158.65 crore.
Defendants’ lawyer Raju Ahmed Razib told New Age that he filed a petition on August 27 with the court arguing that former employees were not entitled to the advantage of the Section 213.
Plaintiffs’ lawyer Jafrul Hassan Sharif said that the act did not discriminate the ‘guaranteed rights’ for current or former employees.
‘The plaintiffs claimed the due dividends on the company’s profit made before their resignation in 2016,’ Jafrul said.
Thirty nine current employees also filed cases against Younus and Ashraful on allegation of flouting the law denying workers of payment of 4 per cent of Grameen Telecom net profit in dividends, Jafrul said.
The court ordered maintaining a status quo over the service of the 15 current employees who sued Grameen Telecom for dividends until next hearing on January 3.
The law also requires the company to contribute 0.5 per cent of its profits to the Workers’ Welfare Fund run by itself and another 0.5 per cent to the Workers’ Welfare Foundation Fund run by the government, said the lawyer.
Founded by Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus, Grameen Telecom holds 34.2 stakes in Grameenphone.
Grameen Telecom earned Tk 21,586,520,417 in dividends from the profits Grameenphone earned in the past 10 years, said the lawyer.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Country