Bonus, arrears before Eid
Garment factory owners have agreed to pay workers their bonus and arrears before Eid holidays to avert unrest in the sector.
Home Minister Shahara Khatun said this to reporters after a meeting with the leaders of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers & Exporters Association, Bangladesh Knitwear Manufactures & Exporters Association, Bangladesh Textile Mills Association and workers unions at her secretariat office.
The minister said the government would beef up vigilance in industrial zones so that no factory was shut down and no workers were dismissed ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr.
According to government data, as many as 247 incidents of labour unrest took place in May and 193 in June in Savar, Gazipur, Narayanganj and Chittagong.
A meeting source said the government had identified some issues that caused labour unrest in Ashulia, Savar and Narayanganj in May and June this year.
For instance, termination of workers sparked protests at Radiance Knitwear, GB Garments Industries Ltd and Helical Sweater Ltd in Ashulia last month.
Closure notice at a garment factory of Ha-Meem Group and no pay-hike announced by the authorities of Naz Knitwear triggered violence in Ashulia in June.
Another source said the government at yesterday's meeting warned of stern actions against factories mulling shutdown before Eid, as labour unrest does not remain confined to one factory but spreads to adjacent ones.
A report of the Special Branch of police revealed that in May, 35 percent of workers demonstrations in Ashulia took place over pay-related issues. During the same month, 31 percent of the agitation in Narayanganj was over the same issue and 22 percent over worker termination.
Sukkur Mahmud, president of Bangladesh Sramik League, who was present at the meeting, told The Daily Star that they were preparing a list of factories that work under sub-contracts. These factories, he said, go for layoff without prior notice and thus cause labour unrest.
The workers leader added that these factories do not follow the BGMEA or BKMEA rules and hence they should be held responsible for the violence in the RMG sector.
The home minister told the meeting that the government would ask banks to keep open on the “holidays” before Eid so that the factory owners could disburse salaries to their workers.
State Minister for Home Shamsul Haque Tuku, Home Secretary CQK Mustaq Ahmed, representatives of BGMEA and BKMEA, senior police and intelligence officials, and leaders of different workers bodies were also present at the meeting.