No stimulation for factories making layoffs

Staff Correspondent | Published: 17:46, Apr 20,2020 | Updated: 00:16, Apr 21,2020


The government has decided that the exportoriented factories which have been announced layoff amid coronavirus outbreak would not get facility from the financial package of Tk 5,000 crore for the payment of workers’ wages.

In a circular issued by the finance division of finance ministry on Sunday said that the industrial units which export more than 80 per cent of its products would be entitled to get facility from the fund for the payment of wages and allowances of workers.

It said that if any industrial unit announced layoff it would not be entitled for financial support under the package.

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on March 25 announced a stimulus package of Tk 5,000 crore for export-oriented industries to fight the adverse impact of coronavirus on the country’s economy saying that the fund could only be used for paying wages and allowances of workers and employees.

Later on the finance ministry on April 1 revealed guidelines for disbursement of the financial package saying that industries could avail funds from the package with 2 per cent service charge to pay wages for up to three months.

The guidelines also said that wages must be paid to either a bank or through mobile financial service account of workers and employees.

Despite proving financial package for workers’ wages from the government, many of the exportoriented industries especially owners of readymade garment factories are making layoffs using the pandemic as a pretext.

Labour rights groups termed the layoff unlawful during public holiday amid coronavirus outbreak.

The finance division issued the circular when trade unions raised their voices against factory layoffs and retrenchment of workers in RMG sector amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The circular said that the 80 per cent export oriented industrial units (with scrutinising letter of credit documents) would get support from the package constituted for workers’ wages.

It also said that the deemed exporters would be entitled for working capital from the incentive package of Tk 20,000 constituted for the small and medium enterprises.

They could pay their workers from the fund, the circular added.    

The prime minister on April 5 announced a package of Tk 20,000 crore for small and medium enterprises.

She announced that the interest rate of this lending facility would be 9 per cent and the concerned industries and business organisations would pay 4 per cent while the government would provide the remaining 5 per cent as subsidy.

BGMEA officials said all the factories that were shut down, had the option to follow the provisions related to layoff in labour law in this worldwide situation of pandemic.

The trade body did not provide any number of factories which were made layoff during holiday.

The Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments on Friday asked its field offices to investigate whether the factory owners shut their units lawfully of not during the public holiday.

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