Many of the readymade garment workers across the country were not given their wages and festival allowances on Tuesday, the last working day before Eid-ul-Fitr.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association claimed that more than 97 per cent of factories paid wages and 99 per cent cleared festival allowances to their workers although the Eid, one of the biggest religious festivals of the Muslims, is to be celebrated on Thursday or Friday depending on the sighting of the moon.
Labour leaders, however, differed with the BGMEA statistics and claimed that wages and festival allowances still remained due in many factories.
Meanwhile, different labour organisations on Tuesday staged demonstration in the city against opening fire on readymade garment workers at Tongi in Gazipur injuring at least 15 workers as they demanded an extension of Eid holiday.
Condemning the firing on workers by Industrial Police, labour rights groups demanded punishment of the police officers responsible for the attack.
Organisations also demanded payment of wages and festival allowances in all RMG factories as per the law.
There are about a thousand RMG factories that are not members of BGMEA, BKMEA and BTMA.
According to BGMEA data, 97.54 per cent of its active member factories paid wages for the month of April to their workers till Tuesday while 99 per cent of unit cleared festival allowances.
Data showed that out of 1,913 active factories of the trade body, workers’ wages had been paid in 1866 factories and festival allowances had been cleared in 1,882 units.
The rest of the factories would pay wages and festival allowances to their workers today (Wednesday), the BGMEA said.
‘The BGMEA statistics is not acceptable as workers’ wages and festival allowances remained unpaid in many garment factories in Ashulia, Dhaka city and Chattogram,’ Nazma Akter, president of Sammilita Garment Shramik Federation, told New Age on Tuesday night.
She said that workers in the RMG sector did their jobs with life risk amid the coronavirus pandemic but some of the factory owners were dilly-dallying to pay wages and allowances before Eid.
Nazma said that not paying workers’ wages in seven working days of very next month is a criminal offence and the government should compel the factory owners to pay their workers as per the labour act.
At least 15 readymade garment workers of Ha-Meem Group demonstrating for the extension of three-day Eid holidays at Millgate under Tongi in Gazipur sustained bullet injuries on Monday when the police opened fire on them on Monday.
Bangladesh Garment Workers’ Trade Union, Bangladesh Garment Shramik Federation, Socialist Workers’ Front, Socialist Students’ Front and Bangladesh Trade Union Sangha on Tuesday condemned the firing on workers and demanded actions against the police personnel who opened fire on workers.
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