As usual, many workers have not received their salaries, arrears or bonus before the Eid. Many have not gotten the salary of June, let alone bonus. And not surprisingly, this is most happening in the readymade garment (RMG) sector. They have made it a practice not to pay the workers in due time.
A timeline to clear the dues had been set long ago by the sector leaders, which was 25 July for the general sector and 27 July for the RMG sector. Despite the decision taken at a meeting of the labour ministry three months back, things do not look promising. According to a Prothom Alo report published on Tuesday, over a thousand factories did not pay their workers the salary for the month of June yet. The holy Eid-ul-Azha commences on 1 August, and they do not look likely to get the Eid or festival bonus either. These factories hardly pay these bonuses as arrears afterwards.
According to industrial police, as many as 2,290 among 7,602 factories in Savar, Ashulia, Gazipur, Narayanganj, Chattogram, Mymensingh, Khulna, Kushtia and Jessore did not pay the salaries yet. At least half of these are RMG factories. They could not table data of Dhaka-based factories that did not pay their workers yet.
The government had announced a Tk 50 billion stimulating package to help the factory owners, but on the condition that the workers will be duly paid their salaries. Although the situation has improved lately, in April many owners had paid only 65 per cent of the salaries. Many even did not pay the Eid bonus, too. We wonder how heartless they can be to deprive the workers yet again.
Amid the coronavirus crisis, the workers had been forced to join their work. But if they do not get paid, it would be a crime. But the reality is that such cruel practices happen every year. This can only be ended if the government becomes strict. Or else, nothing will change.