HC: Grameen Telecom Workers’ union seeks liquidation of the company

The workers’ union of Grameen Telecom, a company owned by Nobel Laureate Dr Muhammad Yunus, filed a petition to the High Court on Monday seeking its liquidation.

Mahmud Hasan Feroz, secretary of the ‘Grameen Telecom union of workers and employees’ filed the petition on behalf of the members.

HC bench of justice Muhammad Khurshid Alam Sarkar set 3 April to pass an order in this regard during hearing the petition, said lawyer M Yusuf Ali, petitioner’s lawyer.

Lawyer Yusuf said, according to labour law workers are supposed to get 5 per cent of the organisation’s profit and Grameen Telecom owes more than 2.5 billion to its workers now.

But the company has not paid it and appointed a lobbyist to avoid it forcing the workers to seek liquidation of the company, he said.

The petition also appealed to the High Court to appoint a liquidator for the company, he added.

A section of workers has long been agitating against lay-offs from Grameen Telecom.

In a notice signed by the company’s managing director Mohammad Ashraful Hasan a total of 99 workers were laid off at once without any prior conversation with the workers and employee’s union.

The High Court summoned Dr Yunus in this regard after 28 of the discharged workers filed a petition against that notice.

On 4 April 2021, the court directed the company to reappoint those workers.

On 12 September, last year, Labour Inspector Arifuzzaman of the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments filed a case with Dhaka third labour court against Dr Yunus and three others for violating labour laws.

Other accused in the case are Ashraful Hasan, managing director of Grameen Telecom, it's director Nurzahan Begum and Shahjahan.

According to the case complaint, in an inspection visit to Grameen Telecom inspectors of the department found that 101 workers and staff who were supposed to be permanent were not made so.

No participation fund and welfare fund was formed for them and five per cent of the company’s profit was not provided to the workers following the law.

Upon the complaint a criminal case was filed under section 478, 117, 234 of the Labour Act.

On 12 October, the labour court granted bail to the all four accused.

Later on 7 December, Dr Yunus filed a petition with the High Court seeking dropping of the case.