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Bangladesh - 4 weeks ago

RMG owners under pressure ahead of Eid

Many have to borrow to pay salary-bonus-arrears

Mohiuddin Farizi : About 84 percent of the country’s export earnings come from the garment sector. It can be said that the wheels of the country’s economy are turning on the hands of this sector. The sector has recently faced several challenges. In particular, the increase in fuel prices and the decrease in orders have put additional pressure on the owners. In addition, the income from the major exporting countries of the ready-made garment sector has decreased in the eight months from July to February of the current financial year 2023-24. All in all, the owners claim that they are in crisis.
In the meantime, Eid is knocking at the door. Usually, the owners have to pay the previous dues, salaries and bonuses during Eid. However, industrial entrepreneurs are claiming that payment of salary and bonus has become a difficult challenge for the owners during the upcoming Eid-ul-Fitr. They say that many factory owners are taking loans to pay their salaries due to not getting bank loans. In such a situation, they are assuring that the dues of the workers will be paid before Eid anyway.
On the other hand, the labor leaders say that the workers have to pay all the dues within 20 days. Many factories do not pay 100% even though they promise to pay salary and bonus just before Eid. Due to the holiday, the demands of the workers cannot be settled. Therefore, if they give at least 10 days before Eid, they can conveniently shop during work.
In this regard, Jolly Talukder, general secretary of the Garment Workers Trade Union Center said that full bonus should be paid to garment factories within 20 days. At the same time all dues including half salary for the month of April must be paid. Through this, the labor brothers and sisters will be able to celebrate Eid well with their families. And if there is any problem, then it should be solved in advance. No worker should be harassed.
Talk to Nushrat Bari Asha, Managing Director of Momson Services and Industries. The director of BGMEA told that currently the garment sector is facing a tough challenge. Utility costs have increased in factories, wages have increased. Bank loan interest rate has also increased. Still, the owner wants his workers to be happy. Because the factory is about workers.
He said, the owner does not want any factory to be destroyed. Now our problem is quadratic. Orders have just started coming in after the national elections. Factory owners could not take orders for January. Current orders will be paid in June. But rising interest rates and utility costs have made things difficult for entrepreneurs. The worker must have love for the factory. But the situation is more difficult for traders working on sub-contracts. They do third party work, bring money then get workers. Sometimes they are late in getting payment. However, excluding these equations, the labor leaders have demanded payment of salary and bonus in all small-big or sub-contract factories before Eid.
Labor leader Manjur Moin told that the work he does with sub-contracts is for some big factory. They support their exports throughout the year. Then why the factory or their organization will not take responsibility for Eid bonus-salary?
About this, Zahirul, the managing director of Alfi Fashion, who works in sub-contracts told, “We try to take the work of big factories and remove them.” In this case salary-bonus is paid on holidays or salary first, bonus later. Because many times to get the payment it is a bit late. We resolve it through discussion with the worker. I hope it won’t be a problem this time.
Garment industry entrepreneurs say that the Ministry of Labor has fixed the minimum wage of Tk 12,500 for workers in the garment sector, which has been effective since last December. But buyers did not come forward with this, did not increase the price of clothes. Product prices have not increased, on the contrary production costs have increased. On the other hand, bank loans also have complications. Again, in the eight months (July-February) of the current financial year 2023-24, the income has decreased in the major destination countries of this sector.
In this regard, the president of Readymade Garment Industry Owners and Exporters Association, BGMEA, Shahidullah Azim told that the entrepreneurs are going through a very bad situation. Bank loans are not available, interest rates have increased, production costs have increased. Now the factory owners are taking loans to pay the Eid bonus-salary-arrears. As there are no bank facilities, they are borrowing in any way to keep the workers well. We are also monitoring the member factories. I hope that 100 percent of the factories will get salary and bonus on time.

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