Nearly 500 garment factories are under watch of the industrial police as the units are still not ready to pay worker salary and bonus before Eid-ul-Fitr.
The industrial police have prepared a list of such factories in five zones -- Dhaka, Chittagong, Savar, Narayanganj and Ashulia -- and are holding meetings with owners to avert any untoward incident.
Owners of many factories are yet to pay salaries of June, though workers demand salaries of July and festival bonus before the 20th of Ramadan, Abdus Salam, director general of industrial police, said yesterday.
Workers of some factories have already staged demonstrations for salary and bonus, he said.
“Many owners have agreed to pay festival bonus and 15 days' salary of July before Eid,” Salam said.
The workers are also bargaining for additional leave during the festival as many will go to their villages, but the owners are against granting such leave due to strict lead-time, Salam said.
However, Shahidullah Azim, vice-president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, said the number of vulnerable factories that are struggling to pay salaries would be around 250.
The BGMEA is keeping close watch on these factories, Azim said.
“Initially, the number of such factories was around 1,000. We negotiated with the owners and many of them agreed to pay the workers now,” he said.
Azim said many factories might not be able to pay salaries of two months and bonus at one go, but may pay salaries of June, 15 days of July and the festival bonus.
On the arrears of five garment factories of Tuba Group, Azim said the BGMEA held meetings with banks to help arrange loans for the group, which recently received work orders worth around $1.8 million.
But the banks did not agree to give loans as its owner is in jail for the fire incident at Tazreen Fashions, a concern of the group, according to Azim.
A total of 112 workers died in Tazreen Fashions fire in Ashulia on November 24, 2012.
Nazma Akter, president of Sammilito Garment Sramik Federation, a platform of workers, said the labour and employment minister will hold a meeting with trade union leaders today to find a solution on how to pay the workers of Tuba Group.
Workers of many factories are demanding full salary of July and additional leave during the Eid vacation, she said.
The total number of active factories in the country is 4,000 that employ more than 3.5 million workers, most of whom go to villages to celebrate Eid.