As many as 2,711 factories in the readymade garments and textiles sectors have not paid their workers' festival bonus for this Eid-ul-Adha within the government-announced deadline that ended yesterday, while around 300 factories are yet to pay their workers' wages for June, according to the industrial police.
Among the factories that are yet to pay their workers' Eid bonus, 1,439 are members of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), 967 of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), and 305 are members of the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA).
Data provided by the industrial police says that only 443 BGMEA member factories, 134 BGKMEA factories, and 84 BTMA factories paid their workers' Eid bonus as of Monday.
However, the BGMEA claims that 1,378 of its member garment factories have paid their workers' festival allowances within the deadline, while the remaining 496 are in the process of paying their workers' Eid bonus before the Eid holidays.
The industrial police data also shows that around 300 garments and textile factories are yet to pay their workers' June wages. Meanwhile, labour leaders claimed that the number of factories that have not paid their workers' June salaries is no less than 500.
The government issued a directive asking industry owners to pay half of the July wages of their workers before the Eid vacation.
The BGMEA, however, claimed that all of its member factories have paid June wages to their workers.
"The labour ministry had asked us (factory owners) to pay workers' Eid bonuses within July 27. Alhamdulillah, 74 percent of our member factories have paid their workers within the deadline and the remaining ones will be able to pay in the next 2/3 days," said Khan Monirul Alam Shuvo, chairman of BGMEA standing committee on media and public relations.
"The ministry has also asked us to pay half of the July salaries of the workers within July 30. This is also under process", he added.
"June salaries have already been paid and, to the best of our knowledge, we don't have any issues with any of our member factories in this regard", said Shuvo.
However, industrial police data shows that 291 factories ─ 176 under the BGMEA, 63 under the BKMEA, and 52 under the BTMA – did not pay their workers' June salaries as of Monday.
Meanwhile, Jolly Talukder, general secretary of the Garments Workers' Trade Union Centre said, "At least 500 factories have not paid their workers' June wages. We are also protesting in front of several factories demanding payment of June wages."
"We had demanded the payment of all salaries including full payment of July salaries before July 25. However, by setting the deadline at July 30, the government has made a scope for non-payment of a large number of workers before the Eid vacation," she added.
Earlier on July 20, State Minister for Labour and Employment Begum Munnujan Sufian asked garment factory owners to pay their workers' festival bonuses by July 27, and half of their current month's salary in advance by July 30.
She also asked employers in all other sectors to pay their workers' current month's salaries and Eid bonuses by July 25.
She also advised factory owners not to lay off any workers to keep the wheels of the economy turning and to keep production steady.