The government has decided to offer assistance for treatment of sick readymade garment workers and education of workers’ children from the RMG sector Central Welfare Fund.
The Bangladesh Workers’ Welfare Foundation under the labour ministry sent a letter recently to the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and exporters Association seeking application from workers for financial assistance for medical treatment.
The BWWF also sent a format of the application to the trade body and asked workers to use the prescribed form.
The BGMEA officials said that they had forwarded the prescribed form to member factories and were receiving applications from the workers.
According to the labour rules that came into effect on September 15, 2015, the export-oriented factories have to contribute 0.03 per cent of their freight on board prices to the central fund while contributions to the fund from the government and the buyers are voluntary.
The government started collecting money from RMG factories on July 1, 2016 and the money was being deposited equally in two accounts –– a beneficiary account and a contingency account.
As per labour rules, grants for workers or their family members will be taken from the beneficiary account while the amount deposited in the contingency account will be used by owners to pay the premium of group insurance and health insurance and dues of workers of any closed factory if its owner is unable to pay the workers.
‘Tk 96 crore has been deposited to the central fund in last two years and the portion for owners’ use has already been finished. We have decided to provide financial assistance for treatment to sick workers and education of workers’ children from the other portion,’ BWWF director general AMM Anisul Awal told New Age on Wednesday.
He said that of the total deposited money, factory owners used about Tk 50 crore for meeting insurance claims for deceased workers and the government used Tk 7-8 crore to pay the families of workers who died in accidents.
Anisul, however, said that the amount deposited to the fund was 25 per cent lower than the expected level and if the amount was not deposit properly the factory owners would have to face crisis in meeting insurance claims.
He said that the BWWF had already informed the BGMEA that the owners’ portion of the fund had finished and they had to wait for two more months to realise new insurance claims.
‘Earlier we used to provide financial assistance in case of accidental deaths of workers and now we have included assistance for treatment and education for workers’ children,’ Anisul said.
Replying to a question, he said, the collection of fund was lower than expected as the fund was not collected from factories located in special economic zones.
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