Committee mulls selling Swan land to pay workers

Workers of Swan Garments stage a sit-in outside the National Press Club in Dhaka yesterday, demanding due wages and Eid bonuses. The factory has been shut since April. Photo: Star

Four bighas of land belonging to the owner of Swan Garments might be sold off by the committee formed to pay outstanding salaries for more than 1,300 workers, Labour Secretary Mikail Shipar said yesterday.

The committee will sit in a meeting today at the office of the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) in Dhaka to discuss all possible ways of arranging the required funds for payments, Shipar told The Daily Star by phone.

The labour ministry formed the committee headed by Inspector General of DIFE Syed Ahmed last week as Swan Group's two units have remained shut since April this year. The Chinese owner of the group died on April 22, he said.

“Earlier, on June 26 we advertised for the sale of the land in a local newspaper, but nobody responded as the owner could not be contacted,” he said.

“But now we have found the heir to the factory and the land and have called the wife [a Bangladeshi] of the owner to the meeting,” Shipar said.

There is no scope of selling the machinery of the two factories of Swan Group, situated at Mollartek in Dhaka, as the company's assets are mortgaged with a bank for Tk 42 crore.

“So far, we found that the group holds four bighas of land in Dhaka, which we will try to sell for funds to pay the workers with,” he said.

Primary estimates put a month's salary bill over Tk 80 lakh.

“We need at least Tk 4 crore to settle all workers' payments,” Shipar said.

“However, we don't know as yet if the land is mortgaged to a bank or not.”  “In case of no resolution, we will have to resort to a settlement through the courts,” he said.

Some Swan Garments workers have been demonstrating for payments in front of the National Press Club over the last few days. 


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