The old story is being repeated. When it comes to Eid celebrations every year, it is almost always the workers in a large segment of garment sector who are pushed into agony, indeed often downright suffering. Now that reports of 500 factories yet to clear the salaries and bonuses of their workers have come in, it is only proper that we demand to know why these units have failed to do what they should have done weeks ago.
Eid is only a couple of days away. The moral thing for these defaulting factories should be to clear the dues of their workers without resorting to subterfuge or excuses. If past is any guide some, if not all, of these factories might try to skirt around the issue by agreeing to give bonuses but not salaries. It is the duty of the BGMEA to ensure that the factories pay up without resorting to the old cliché of the units running at losses.
We expect factory owners to show respect to their employees and demonstrate their sincerity in business by clearing all salaries and bonuses. A crucial part of the rationale for investment in an export-oriented industry consists in giving the labour its dues.
For the future, all garment factory owners in the country, as also the BGMEA, must ensure that every worker is given his or her festival dues well before Eid. Why must workers be made to feel they are seeking alms when it is their hard-earned wages and bonuses they ask for?