Department of inspection for factories and establishments on Wednesday gave Grameen Telecom authorities two more weeks to officially inform the department that the telecom operator had taken corrective measures in compliance with Bangladesh Labour Act.
The notice had been served addressing Grameen Telecom chairman professor Muhammad Yunus, its managing director Md Ashraful Hassan and six high officials asking them to comply with 13 sections of the law.
The department served the notice following a request letter from GT managing director Ashraf on Tuesday seeking three weeks for explaining his position in response to the department’s previous letter issued on December 21 asking the telecom operator to take measures as per with the labour law within a week.
The department served the first notice following an investigation at the GT office on December 14 that found proof of the complaints from GT workers that the telecom operator had not followed the provisions of the law related to ensuring job security and other benefits of its workers, the department’s deputy inspector general Mohammad Zakir Hossain told New Age.
The notice asked the GT authorities to take permission from inspector general of the department of inspection for factories and establishments for following a different appointment procedure.
The GT renews the appointment of its permanent workers every three years, which is not stipulated in the labour act.
It also asked the GT authorities to regularise the permanent staff members under the purview of law, provide them appointment letters and identity cards following Bangladesh Labour Rules, provide them service books and maintain duty roaster and registrar.
The GT was also asked to keep firefighting equipment at the office, provide its employees due leave benefits, take licence from the department of inspection for factories and establishments and share company’s profits with the workers.
It is to be mentioned that 14 former and 39 current Grameen Telecom employees have filed cases with Dhaka’s third Labour Court against Yunus and Ashraful under the Section 213 alleging that the two had flouted Bangladesh Labour Act 2006 by refusing to pay workers dividends.
The workers also told New Age that GT started recruiting workers through third party ‘with the ill motives of terminating
the workers who took legal action against the telecom operator to get their due share in the company’s profits.’
Grameen Telecom earned Tk 21,586,520,417 in dividends from the profits Grameenphone earned in the past 10 years, they said.
GT MD Ashraful Hassan admitted that the telecom operator was appointing staff members through a ‘third party’ to ‘open new windows of the company’ and to replace staff members who left jobs.
‘Since a dispute is going on between the company and the staff members over certain issues, we preferred to appoint new staff members through a third party,’ Ashraf told New Age.
‘We will follow order of the court in the profit sharing cases filed by employees,’ Ashraf assured.
He also said that GT would officially inform the department of inspection for factories and establishments after taking corrective measures within the time frame.
‘I think we have to take very little measures to comply with the law’, Ashraf said.
Deputy inspector general Mohammad Zakir Hossain said the department would take legal action against GT authorities under section 306 of Bangladesh Labour Act if the GT failed to take measures within the time.
Section 306 of the act stipulates that a person may be punished with six months of imprisonment, or with fine up to Tk 25,000, or with both for not complying with the law.
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