RMG sector hots up

Labour unrest feared ahead of Eid: Security tightened

05 July 2014 Kazi Zahidul Hasan

The government agencies have beefed up security measures and vigilance in the country's key garment industrial belts sensing trouble ahead of the Eid-ul-Fitr centering non-payment of wages and festival allowances, sources said.
Besides, some labour leaders have a plan to create anarchy in the garments sector cashing the workers' sentiment of non-payment, it is alleged.  
As part of the effort, a senior official of an intelligence agency said that they had been keeping five influential labour leaders under close watch so that they could not mobilize workers for creating unrest.  
He said, these labour leaders of the garments sector had played key role in flare-up labour unrest in several previous occasions.
"We have information that the labour leaders are acting against the interest of the garments sector. They are serving the purpose of the foreign countries here to destroy this largest industrial sector. They also recently sent secret letter to the US government that garment workers are being harassed here," added the intelligent agency official.
Labour unrest may flare-up at 1,000 garment factories ahead of the Eid-ul-Fitr over payment of wages and festival allowances, according to an investigation of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
BGMEA, the apex trade body of garment manufacturers, has identified the factories located at the key garments industrial belts in Dhaka, Gazipur, Savar and Narayanganj.
"These factories have been struggling to pay their workers' monthly wages and other allowances for a long time due to inadequate export order. So, labour unrest might erupt there any time,"
said the report.
The BGMEA investigation committee led by its vice-president SM Mannan Kochi has recently submitted the report to the authorities of the trade body.  
Admitting the matter, SM Mannan Kochi told The New Nation yesterday that they had identified 1,000 vulnerable garment units where labour unrest may break out ahead of Eid festival centering payment of salary and festival allowances.
"As their financial condition is poor, as per our assessment, they might be failed to clear wages and festival allowances before the Eid. And this could lead to labour unrest in the key RMG industrial belts," he said.
According to him, among the 1,000 factories, most of them are small and medium in sizes and they are sufferings from dearth of work orders.
When asked, SM Mannan Kochi said, BGMEA is working on the issue so that the workers could be paid before the Eid.
"We have already started contracting with the factory owners asking them to pay the dues as soon as possible to prevent any untoward situation," he added.
He further said that they also talked with the law-enforcing agencies over the issue requesting them to intensity vigilance in the garment industrial zones to avert any attempt of labour unrest.

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