Labour leaders demand legal action against factories who did not pay April salaries and festival allowances before Eid
Labour leaders have demanded the government to take legal action against the ready-made garment (RMG) factories who failed to provide the workers with April salaries and Eid bonuses.
Thousands of apparel workers had to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr with an empty pocket as the factories did not pay them before the festival, said Sommilito Garments Sramik Federation (SGSF) in a letter to the Ministry of Labour and Employment Wednesday.
Citing the Industrial Police data, SGSF President Nazma Akhter and General Secretary Nahidul Islam in the letter said that 261 garment and textile factories did not pay their workers April wages, while nearly 500 apparel makers failed to pay festival allowances before Eid.
The defaulter factories include members of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BKMEA) and Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA).
According to the labour leaders, the highest 539 BGMEA member factories did not either pay April salaries or festival bonuses.
Referring to the Labour Law, they said a factory must pay the workers the salary for the previous month within the first seven days of the next month.
Therefore, the factories were supposed to clear the April payment within the first week of May.
Despite filing several complaints with the Department of Factory and Establishment Inspection (DIFE), any action is yet to be taken up against the salary and bonus defaulter apparel manufacturers.
BGMEA disagrees with the number of defaulter manufacturers
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) disagreed with the number of factories the labour leaders claimed to fail providing April salaries and festival allowances.
"The numbers of factories that are mentioned here do not match with the numbers we have," said BGMEA Mand PR Standing Committee Chairman Khan Monirul Alam Shuvo.
According to the BGMEA, only 48 factories could not pay their workers before Eid while 1878 garment factories cleared the payments by May 22.
"Out of 1,926 running BGMEA member factories, only 1,377 got BGMEA certificates for government stimulus packages. All of them made the payments directly to the workers' mobile banking accounts. On top of that, several hundred factories cleared payments even without the government funding."
Shuvo said only a few factories "unfortunately" could not pay as their orders were cancelled amid the pandemic and they did not get any assistance from the government.
More factories reopen amid coronavirus fear
Thousands of garments and textile factories across the country resumed operations Thursday, the second day of the factory reopening after Eid.
Workers resumed production when the Covid-19 cases spike and more infections are feared in the upcoming June.
According to the Industrial Police, 568 garment and textile factories resumed operations in Gazipur industrial zone Thursday.
On Wednesday, the first day after the Eid festival, only 350 factories reopened across the country.
Apparel makers of the factories reopened claimed that they were continuing production with fewer workers than usual to maintain health safety.
They also talked about sending the workers on a 14-day self-isolation who just have returned to the factories after Eid celebration.