A labour court in Dhaka yesterday granted bail to Nobel Laureate Dr Muhammad Yunus after he had surrendered before it seeking bail in five cases filed over sacking five employees of Grameen Communications.
Acting chairman of Dhaka Third Labour Court Zakia Parveen passed the order.
The same court exempted Prof Yunus from personal appearance in the cases after his lawyer submitted separate petitions.
But the court asked him to be present during the hearing on charge framing in the cases.
On July 3, three former employees of Grameen Communications -- Abdus Salam, Shah Alam and Emranul Haque -- separately filed three cases against the company’s Chairman Prof Yunus, Managing Director Naznin Sultana and Deputy General Manager Khandaker Abu Abedin with the court as they were sacked in June for their roles in forming a trade union at workplace.
Two other staff of the company -- Abdul Gafur and Hossain Ahmed -- were sacked on the same charges in July.
They filed two more cases against the three on August 26.
Naznin Sultana and Abu Abedin were earlier granted bail in the cases.
Advocate Mustafizur Rahman Khan, a defence lawyer, told The Daily Star that the five employees used to work for Grameen Communications on a contractual basis.
“As their contracts were not renewed, they went on to file the cases,” the lawyer said.
The sacked employees, however, claimed that they were terminated as they wanted to form a trade union.
The court on October 9 issued an arrest warrant for Prof Yunus as he failed to appear before it despite an earlier summon order.
On October 28, the bench of Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury and Justice Khandaker Diliruzzaman of the High Court ordered the government not to harass or arrest Prof Yunus until November 7 following a writ petition filed by Yunus’s brother Dr Muhammad Ibrahim.
The HC, however, asked him [Prof Yunus] to surrender before the trial court at any convenient time by November 7.
Meanwhile, Grameen Communications yesterday in a statement said the question of terminating the staff does not even arise as all of their employees, including those who had filed cases, were hired on a contractual basis.
“The application made for forming the trade union in Grameen Communications was rejected by the Registrar, as contractual employees cannot form a trade union,” the statement said.
So the question of terminating them on charge of forming trade union does not arise, it said.