The government on Wednesday ordered law enforcement agencies to enhance surveillance in the industrial belts of Dhaka, Gazipur, Narayanganj and Chittagong to preempt possible labour unrest over nonpayment of wages and festival allowances in the export-oriented readymade garment industry ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr.
An inter-ministerial meeting on law and order chaired by state minister for home Asaduzzaman Khan at the secretariat also asked police to keep the labour leaders in the apparel sector industry under watch so that they could not create any trouble in the labour intensive areas of Ashulia, Savar, Gazipur and Narayanganj over payment of wages and allowances before the Eid festival, said officials who attended the meeting.
‘We have asked the readymade garment industry owners to pay wages by July 10 and festival allowances before the Eid vacation so that the workers can enjoy the religious festival of the Muslims with their families in remote village homes,’ Asaduzzaman told a press briefing after the meeting.
He said the factory owners were asked to declare Eid holidays in phases from July 14 to check onrush of passengers on highways, railways and waterways just a day before the Eid, which is likely to be celebrated on July 18.
‘The law enforcement agencies would remain vigilant so that none can create trouble in the industrial areas before Eid,’ the junior minister added.
He said all the commercial banks located in the industrial belts would be asked to keep open on July 15 to ensure disbursement of cash as the day is a public holiday on the occasion of Shab-e-Qadr.
Heads of law enforcement agencies, officials from labour ministry and commerce ministry and representatives from the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association, among others, attended the meeting.
The meeting also formed a committee led by an additional secretary of the labour ministry to look after the payment of wages and festival allowances to the RMG workers.
Officials from commerce ministry and representatives from garment owners would be included in the committee.
The labour leaders were demanding festival allowances by July 5 and wages by July 10 so that workers could go shopping timely for celebrating Eid.
Over 350 factories in Dhaka, Ashulia and Gazipur were reportedly identified as problematic where labour unrest may erupt centering nonpayment of wages and festival allowances ahead of Eid.
There were around 4,500 apparel factories, mostly in Dhaka and Chittagong, which employ over 40 lakh workers, mostly women.
Source: New Age