All the garment factories, irrespective of their affiliation with the BGMEA and BKMEA, have paid workers' salaries and festival bonuses as of yesterday, dispelling apprehension that some might not be able to do so ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr, according to factory owners.
Moreover, workers' Eid vacation has started at all the factories yesterday, said Siddiqur Rahman, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
His statements came at a press conference organised at the BGMEA office in Dhaka to inform of the payment and labour situation in the garment sector ahead of Eid. Union leader and industrial police affirmed the statements.
Most of the 4.4 million garment workers employed in the nearly 5,500 BGMEA and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA)-member factories are scheduled to return to their village homes to celebrate Eid with their near and dear ones.
Confirming over phone that the payments have been made, Sirajul Islam Rony, a union leader, told The Daily Star, “Some factories met workers' demand paying 10 days' salary of June.” Rahman also said BGMEA's zonal crisis management committees in areas like Dhaka, Gazipur, Narayanganj, Savar and Ashulia primarily observed 1,220 factories to be at risk of failing to make the payments on time.
In the end, 35 units were deemed to be in critical condition but even those made the payments following the BGMEA's intervention. In such cases, the BGMEA mediates with banks concerned to provide emergency loans to resolve the crisis, Rahman said.
The workers were allowed leave in phases to avert long traffic congestion on the roads and highways, he said. Abdus Salam, additional inspector general of police (industrial police), also confirmed that the workers have been paid.
Owners of two factories, one in Narayanganj and another at Gazipur's Sreepur, were absconding fearing that they would fail to make the payments and cause unrest among workers. “However, after negotiations arranged by the industrial police, those owners also paid their workers,” Salam said.
Rahman complained that trucks carrying garment shipments destined for the country's premier port were not being allowed to enter Chittagong.
However, trucks carrying garment items, medicines and other perishable goods had been kept off a ban list prepared by the roads and highways departments earlier to avert traffic congestion ahead of Eid, Rahman said.