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RMG workers` unrest feared

Payment of arrears & eid bonus

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Special Correspondent :
The government agencies have beefed up vigilance at key garment industrial zones across the country fearing workers' unrest ahead of Eid centring non-payment of arrear salaries and festival bonuses.
Intelligence agencies and Industrial Police have already prepared a list of 100 vulnerable readymade garment (RMG) factories located in Ashilia, Savar, Tongi, Narayanganj and Chattogram.
They sent the list to the ministries concerned and Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) expressing the apprehension that labour unrests are likely to take place in these RMG units over non-payment of arrear salaries and Eid bonus.
"BGMEA's crisis management cell is closely monitoring the situation of the factories to avert any untoward situation ahead of Eid," Faruque Hassan, Senior Vice-President of BGMEA, told The New Nation yesterday.
He said these factories are vulnerable to workers' unrest, as the owners are not paying their workers on a regular basis.
"We have asked the garment factory owners to immediately pay arrear wages, salaries and Eid bonuses before the Eid holiday begins. The BGMEA will mediate with the owners, workers leaders and workers if any impasse is created in this process," said Faruque Hassan.
When asked, the BGMEA leader said the majority of the vulnerable factories are small and medium in size and many of them are engaged in subcontracting. They are passing through financial hardship resulted from inadequacy or lack of work orders in the wake of stringent safety and compliance rules enforced by the global buyers.
However, BGMEA President Md. Siddiqur Rahman ruled out the possibility of labour unrest.
"I see no possibility of labour unrest, as factory owners have been asked to clear arrear salaries and festival allowances before the beginning of Eid holiday, " he added.
Labour leaders, however, urged the authorities concerned and BGMEA to clear workers' arrear on time to maintain peace in the garment industrial zones.
"Owners of these factories may be adopted various tricks so that they can avoid workers' payment before the Eid. This can lead to disorder in the country's key garment industrial belts," Amirul Haque Amin, IndustriALL Bangladesh Council Chairman, told The New Nation yesterday.
He urged the government and the BGMEA to take immediate steps to clear the workers' due salaries, wages and festival allowances on time to avert any untoward situation.
On Thursday, hundreds of workers of Prepilor Garments in Narayanganj staged demonstration taking to Dhaka-Narayanganj road.
They took to the street in protest of sudden closure of the factory without payment of arrear salaries for three months
Meanwhile, the law-enforcing agencies, including industrial police, have been put on alert to tackle any untoward incident in the readymade garment sector ahead of Eid.

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