Pay all wages, bonus of workers before Eid

Prothom Alo illustration

Every year before Eid there arises a problem with the payment of salaries and allowances of the workers. Most of the factory owners pay the dues of the workers before Eid. However, there are also examples of some owners closing their factories without paying the workers before Eid. In such cases, the apprehension of labour unrest in the industrial areas cannot be ruled out.

Under these circumstances, a meeting to exchange views on maintaining law and order situation in industrial areas and payment of salary-bonus of workers was held recently. Leaders of BGMEA, BKMEA and BTMA were present at the meeting. The meeting identified 416 factories in industrial areas where problems might arise over salary and bonus before Eid. There are a total of 9,467 factories in eight industrial areas in Ashulia, Gazipur, Chattogram, Narayanganj, Mymensingh, Khulna, Cumilla and Sylhet.

The industrial police in the meeting requested the owners to find an alternative way if any garment owner fails to pay the salary. The police also requested owners not to lay off workers under any circumstances without reasonable cause before Eid.

Meanwhile, a tripartite meeting chaired by state minister for labor and employment Md Nazrul Islam Chowdhury also stressed on the need to pay wages and bonus of the workers before Eid. Labor organisations have been demanding that payment of the workers be paid before 20 Ramadan. The state minister also conveyed the government’s strict stand on the issue.

Whether this message of the government will work depends on the owners. There should be more caution so that no problem arises over payment in the aforementioned 416 factories. If necessary, alternative ways should be found out upon discussion with the owners of these factories. BGMEA and BKMEA used to give financial assistance to the owners in such cases in the past. The organisations might need to come forward this time too if necessary.

The workers who are the mainstay behind the business and profit of industries can no way be duped. Wages are lower in Bangladesh than in any other countries. How can they meet their ends if they don’t get their hard-earned money regularly?

We want to expect that every factory will pay the wage of March and bonus before the Eid. Unrest might take place in the whole industrial area if workers of any factory do not receive their wages before Eid. The factory owners have a tendency to pay dues a day before holiday. The workers would be in severe strain if all factory owners continue to follow this strategy. Eid journey would become tougher if all workers head for their village home simultaneously. On the other hand, many factory owners do not pay wages on the pretext that the workers might delay joining work after Eid. Such action is not only against the interests of workers but also inhumane.

While announcing the salary structure of the workers this time, the government said that there would be a rationing system for the workers. But it has not been implemented yet. We hope the government will take necessary steps in this regard immediately.