Over 97% factories paid salary to garment workers: BGMEA chief | The Daily Star
06:30 PM, May 12, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 06:34 PM, May 12, 2021

Over 97% factories paid salary to garment workers: BGMEA chief

Some 99 per cent of garment factories paid the festival allowance and 97.54 per cent of factories paid the salary to the garment workers as of May 11 ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr.

Faruque Hassan, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), said this at a press conference today.

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Among 1913 active members of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), 1652 out of 1667 factories in Dhaka  paid the salary to the workers as of May 11.

And 214 out of 246 factories in Chattogram paid salary to workers, he said.

Besides, 1659 factories in Dhaka and 223 in Chattogram paid the Eid bonus to workers until May 11, the BGMEA chief also said.

Today, 15 factories paid wages for the month of April. Eight apparel factories in Dhaka paid bonus to their workers.

In Chattogram,  32 factories cleared payment to their workers for the month April today. Some  23 gave bonus, Hassan also said.

The BGMEA chief said primarily 800 factories were in trouble and finally, 44 were in a vulnerable position in payment to the workers. 

"We have closely monitored their financial situation and consulted with the banks so that they can get a loan to pay the workers timely. The vulnerable factories have also been paying the workers finally," Hassan said at the press briefing.

Regarding the Eid holiday, Hassan said the factory owners have been allowing extended holidays in consultation with the workers. 

However, he suggested the workers not leave their residences and stay near their workplaces to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus because the government allowed three-day of holidays for Eid.

Hassan also sought three months' salary support from the government to offset the fallouts of the Covid-19 in the garment sector. 

He has already sent a letter to the government seeking three months' salary support.

Last year, the government allocated Tk 10,500 crore soft loan to the garment entrepreneurs to pay the workers' salary only at a 2 per cent service charge.

Hassan also demanded the government extend the repayment period of borrowed money from the stimulus package to three-year from present  two-year as the sector faced difficulties from the second wave of the Covid-19.

Moreover, the BGMEA chief demanded reduction of source tax on export proceeds to 0.25 per cent from 0.50 per cent and to continue the same rate for the next five years. 

He also urged the government to continuation of the corporate tax at 12 per cent for non-green factories and 10 per cent for green factories for the next five years.

The cost of business has increased because of the high freight charge, cotton and yarn price hike, he said.

Earlier, the government has extended the lockdown period up to May 16.

However, many factory managements have approved extended holidays to the workers in the face of demand from workers. 

As per the labour law of Bangladesh, a garment worker is entitled to enjoy 11 days of festival leave, 10-day casual leave and 14-day sick leave. Workers are entitled to get 18-day of earned leave. 

The workers can enjoy those leaves by adjusting in consultation with the factory management, said Hassan.

Last fiscal year, the garment export declined by 18 per cent to $28 billion from $34 billion in the previous fiscal year. The downward trend in export earnings from apparel also continued this year because of the fallout of Covid-19.

During July-April this fiscal year,  garment export declined by 9 per cent year on year to $26 billion, he said. 

The prices of apparel items have been continuing to reduce at 5 per cent over the last two years, he added.

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