The upcoming Eid-ul-Adha is going to bring no joy for a large number of readymade garment workers at 692 factories as they have not got Eid bonus.
Moreover, around 1,500 factories have not paid their workers' wages for July. Of them, around 300 factories have not paid wages since June, according to data received from the industrial police on Thursday.
Among the factories that have not paid festival allowances to their workers, 476 are members of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), 122 of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) and 94 of the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA).
Data provided by the industrial police say 1,500 factories have not paid wages for July as of Thursday. Of them, 756 are BGMEA member factories, 848 BKMEA factories and 219 BTMA factories.
On the other hand, only 1406 BGMEA member factories, 979 BKMEA factories, and 296 BTMA factories paid their workers' Eid bonus, while 756 BGMEA member factories, 848 BKMEA factories, and 219 BTMA factories paid their workers' half of July's wages as of Thursday, according to industrial police data.
Earlier, the government issued a directive, asking the factory owners to pay half of the July wages to their workers before the Eid vacation.
Labour leaders alleged that the government has made a scope for nonpayment to a large number of workers before the Eid vacation, by setting the last working day as a deadline for workers' payments.
"As many factory owners have not paid wages to their workers for June, we were negotiating with the owners of at least 10 factories, including Dragan Sweaters, a former BGMEA president's factory, till Thursday evening for paying workers' salaries," said Jolly Talukder, general secretary at the Garments Workers' Trade Union Centre.
However, the BGMEA claimed that all of its member factories have paid June wages to their workers. And most factories have paid festival allowances and made half of July payment.
"The RMG sector is going to celebrate Eid holiday," said Khan Monirul Alam Shuvo, chairman at the BGMEA standing committee on media and public relations.
Of 1898 running factories, 1821 (96 percent) gave bonus, 1788 (94 percent) paid July salary, he added.
"This update has been collected from the field today [Thursday] till 3 pm and balance is expected to be clear by the evening as well. There is no issue in any factories," said Shuvo.
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 afloat and to keep production steady.
The ministry of labour and employment expressed happiness over not happening any unrest ahead of Eid vacation.
"The situation in the labour sector is satisfactory ahead of Eid," said a press release on Thursday. It is because of continuous efforts at field-level by the ministry and the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE), it claimed.