The labour ministry will hold a meeting with workers’ representatives and factory owners on Monday to discuss the payment of wages and festival allowances ahead of Eid
Workers of 1,175 ready-made garment (RMG) factories have not received their June wages as of July 19, according to industrial police data.
Of those, 472 are Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) factories, 571 are Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) factories and 132 factories are under Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA).
However, BGMEA officials claimed they had already paid workers of 1,628 factories until July 18. They also said the payments of 298 factories were in process.
BKMEA officials said about 50 percent of their factories had already paid their workers, and the rest would be paid before the Eid-ul-Adha vacation.
Meanwhile, The Business Standard has obtained a list of 790 factories prepared by the industrial police that may fail to pay wages and bonuses before Eid.
Of those, 382 are under BGMEA, 92 under BKMEA, 40 under the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association, 32 under the Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (Bepza), and 244 are other factories.
The labour ministry will hold a meeting with workers' representatives and factory owners on Monday to discuss payments of wages and festival allowances ahead of Eid.
Last week, State Minister for Labour and Employment Monnujan Sufian urged factory owners to pay the Eid bonuses and salaries of the workers by July 25.
However, factory owners expressed their concern that this call is contradictory with the labour law, which says workers should be paid their monthly wages within seven working days of the following month.
They said such a request will influence workers to create unrest.
"A large number of garment workers have not received their June payments. Further, factory owners are terminating workers during the pandemic," said Jolly Talukder, general secretary of Garments Workers' Trade Union Centre.
"Factory owners should pay workers before the Eid vacation as Eid should be celebrated on the last day of July," she added.
She said most of the orders that had been cancelled and withdrawn have already been restored.
She also said the labour ministry's request to pay workers before Eid would not be fruitful.
Jolly said owners of most of the large factories are delaying payments of workers despite having financial capability.
The government has announced a stimulus package of Tk5,000 crore at a two percent service charge to help export-oriented industry owners pay their workers' wages from April to June.
RMG entrepreneurs also received an additional Tk2,500 crore from the Tk30,000 crore fund, which was announced for the industrial sector's working capital.
At a recent meeting chaired by the commerce minister, BGMEA President Rubana Huq and former president Siddiqur Rahman said workers in the export sector, including RMG, would have to be financed at a two percent service charge from July to September to ensure their salary and allowance for the three months.
Salman F Rahman, private industry and investment adviser to the prime minister, told the meeting Tk2,500 crore had been taken from the Tk30,000 crore fund when the Tk5,000 crore fund was finished after April-June payments were made.
"In the next three months, the same can be done to pay workers from the funds of the industrial sector. However, Eid bonuses of workers must be paid by owners from their earnings," he added.
In total, workers of 2,290 industries have not been paid yet.
Of those, 1,175 are RMG factories, 37 are under Bepza and 1,078 are other factories.