Pay apparel workers’ Eid bonus by May 30, wage by Jun 2: Govt

BDApparelNews Desk
24 May 2019  

Inside a readymade garments factory in Bangladesh.

Inside a readymade garments factory in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh government has called upon factory owners to clear festival bonus of apparel workers by May 30 and wages by June 2 ahead of the Eid-ul-Fitr, the largest religious festival.

State Minister for Labour and Employment Munnujan Sufian conveyed the call during a meeting of the Crisis Management Core Committee held at labour ministry on May 23, 2019. Senior leaders of the apparel manufacturers and exporters were in the meeting.

“Our factory owners have agreed to clear the Eid bonus of workers by May 30, and wages for 20 days by June 2. If any factory owners cannot pay the workers in time, we have asked them to resolve the issue in discussion with workers,” she said in a post-meeting briefing.

Rubana Huq, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association (BGMEA), said at the briefing: “The government, factory workers and owners want peace in the apparel sector. We must all work together to maintain peace and production in the industry.”

Among others present in the meeting were labour ministry’s Acting Secretary Ummul Hasna, Department of Inspector for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) Director General Shibnath Roy, Labour Directorate Director General AKM Mizanur Rahman, Industrial Police Director General Abdus Salam, and Sramik League President Shukkur Mahmud.

SITUATION ON THE GROUND

According to insiders in the BGMEA, several factories may fail to pay up to workers this Eid as many are counting losses due to a falling price of apparel in the international market.

AM Chowdhury Selim, a vice president for BGMEA, told Bangladesh Apparel News that the new board is very sincere in paying the workers ahead of Eid. “We, the factory owners, sincerely want that the workers too can enjoy Eid like we do.”

It is almost traditional in Bangladesh that every year before Eid the apparel industry workers come down to the streets demanding due wages or bonus from factory workers.

This time though, things are a bit more serious as Bangladesh has freshly gotten off the biggest labour unrest over discrepancy in the latest pay structure during December 2018 and January 2019. Over 11,000 workers were reportedly sacked in the fallout of the unrest.

Without delay, the government formed 23 ‘monitoring committees’ after the unrest, which are still working on the ground and taking information about the latest situation of labour unrest. Governed under the Crisis Management Committee, it is also ensuring a smooth atmosphere.

One of the prime work of those ‘monitoring committees’ have been to relay ground information to the government for swift tackling of any untoward situation that may arise. The government also is sitting regularly to check back with these ground teams to stay informed.

Now, the government and factory owners must tread carefully regarding the Eid pay and bonus of the workers. Concerns are, the labour unrest may spring back.