RMG workers who did not work in April amid the shutdown will get 60 percent salary for this month before Eid
There will be no layoffs at readymade garment (RMG) factories in May, and those who worked throughout April will get full salary and allowances.
State Minister for Labour and Employment Monnujan Sufian made the announcement on Wednesday, after RMG industry owners reached a consensus with the government and workers' representatives in a tripartite meeting.
RMG workers, who have left Dhaka after the shutdown of factories amid the deadly Covid-19 pandemic, will no longer have to fear losing their jobs.
After the meeting, the state minister for labour said, "RMG workers who did not work in April will get 60 percent of their salary for this month before Eid. Those who worked in factories that remained open amid shutdown in April will get 100 percent salary.
"Besides, those who resumed work from April 26 will get 60 percent of their wages for the previous 25 days, and full wages for the last five days of this month."
The salaries for April will be sent through mobile financial services directly to the RMG workers' accounts.
Monnujan Sufian further said, "No factory owners will terminate or lay their workers off in May and no factories will be shut down. The owners have given me their assurance.
"Another meeting of the tripartite advisory council will be held soon to discuss matters of the RMG workers' wages and Eid bonuses for May."
Responding to a query, Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association's (BKMEA) First Vice President Mohammad Hatem said, "We will apply to the Bangladesh Bank along with the meeting minutes for implementation of the decision made today [Wednesday].
"The central bank will then inform the scheduled banks in this regard. We will submit a list containing information on workers' attendance at factories and their salary sheet to those banks."
"They will then disburse salaries directly to the workers' accounts from the government's Tk5,000 crore stimulus package,"Mohammad Hatem added.
Meanwhile, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has again urged RMG workers who have gone to their native homes amid the shutdown not to return to their workplaces right now.
In a press release on Wednesday, the BGMEA said, "Workers who are currently outside Dhaka will get their salaries for April through mobile financial services. No worker will lose their job for not returning to work."
Present at the tripartite meeting, a labour ministry official told The Business Standard, "The RMG sector will get around Tk4,200 crore from the government's Tk5,000 crore fund, which was recently announced to pay wages to export-oriented industry workers.
"According to industry owners, the RMG sector spends around Tk3,800 crore per month for paying salaries. Forty percent of the money goes to officials, and sixty percent to workers. To pay the workers' full salary, around Tk2,300 crore is needed monthly."
The official added that around Tk1,500 crore will be spent to pay the RMG workers' 60 percent salary for April.
According to industrial police data, a total 1,318 garments and textile industries resumed their operation on Wednesday. Among them, only 85 are from the textile sector, while the rest are garments.
However, workers from 194 garment and textile industries are still unpaid and 169 among them are garment factories.
Of those factories, 97 are members of the BGMEA, 72 are of the BKMEA and 25 are textile factories.
The same day, RMG workers staged demonstrations in Savar, Ashulia, Gazipur and Narayanganj areas demanding their salary. Industrial Police said workers from six garments factories staged the demonstrations at Savar and Ashulia areas.