Garment workers and union leaders ‘have expressed the fear that fresh workers’ unrest could flare up, at least, in the city’s five garment factories that defaulted on the payment of wages, overtime bills and festival allowances to their workers since August this year.
They have warned the manufacturers of tough agitation if their unpaid payments are not cleared as early as possible. But owners of these units said they did not receive orders from buyers for the last several months, resulting in their failure to pay the dues.
The five garment units are — S Nahar Garment Factory in Karwanbazar, Reu Fashion Ltd and Jas Fashion Ltd in Arambagh, Millennium and Brishti Garment Factories in Tikatoli of the capital.
Nearly 2000 workers, who make clothings in the factories, have been struggling to survive for the last two months as they are not getting salaries, overtime bills and other financial benefits at a time when the prices of daily commodities are skyrocketing, union leaders said.
“The unpaid and half-fed workers of the factories could turn violent any moment as they are yet to get any assurance from the owners over their payments after their repeated efforts,” President of National Garment Workers Federation Amirul Haq Amin said.
The workers’ leader said they have submitted separate memorandum to labour ministry and the headquarters of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) seeking their effective interventions to resolve the crisis.
The workers of the factories recently formed a human chain in front of the National Press Club, saying that they would launch a tough movement to realise their hard-earned wages.
“We don’t have any other alternative to movement as the owners repeatedly ignored our legitimate demands,” a worker of Reu Fashion Amena Bagum told the FE.
She said the factory management assured them that their monthly salaries, overtime bills and festival bonuses would be paid after the Eid-ul-Fitr.
“We accepted the offer considering the factory’s economic condition. Now it is the owners’ turn to fulfil their commitment,” the 32-year-old operator said.
Admitting the crisis, BGMEA labour wing official Rakibul Islam said they will discuss today (Friday) the issue with the owners of the factories.
A sub-inspector of Motijhel Police Station said that they have stepped up security around the factories located near the police station. “The owners should immediately clear the unpaid payments to avert any violence”.