Salaries and festival bonuses of all workers will be paid before Eid day, says Faruque Hassan
The president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has expressed his hope that 100% of readymade garment factory workers’ salaries and festival bonuses will be paid before the day of the Eid-ul-Fitr.
“We urge all workers to not create any indiscipline. Over 97% of factory owners have paid the workers’ salaries. We hope 100% workers will get paid before the Eid day,” Faruque Hassan told a virtual press conference on Wednesday.
He said they have taken measures in collaboration with the government so that workers would get their salaries and bonuses before Eid.
He said 1,913 factories under the BGMEA were currently operating in the country. Of them, 1,667 factories are in Dhaka and 246 in Chittagong.
The owners of 1,866 (97.54%) factories have paid the salary for the month of April up to May 11. Of these, 1,652 are in Dhaka and 214 in Chittagong, he said.
He added that the bonus was also paid in 1,882 factories (1,659 in Dhaka and 223 in Chittagong) -- 99% of the total -- till Tuesday.
Faruque said some 15 factories have paid the April salary and eight factories paid the bonus in Dhaka on Wednesday, while 32 factories in Chittagong also paid the salary and 23 factories paid the bonus.
“About 800 factories in Dhaka have been brought under close monitoring, and payment of salary and bonus has been ensured by cooperating with 44 factories in various ways,” he added.
“We always want that our workers stay well. In the last 10 years, the facilities of the workers have been increased. We can provide more facilities in future if our productivity and capacity increase. We have to pass a difficult time in the next three months.
“We hope that the garment industry will overcome its existing problems from the next year. So, we need more support from banks,” said the recently elected president of the apex body of the country's apparel industry.
He said many factory owners fell into a cash crisis because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We operate factories amid the pandemic lockdown maintaining health safety. So, our cost also went up vastly. Even, some buyers did not pay as they were bankrupt due to the pandemic,” he added.
Faruque said 4.4 million workers were involved in the garment industry at present.
“The livelihood of around 50 million people, directly and indirectly, depend on this industry. The ages of most workers are between 18-30 years. So, the coronavirus infection rate is low in the industry,” he said.
According to his written statement, after an unprecedented 18% decline in exports in the last financial year, exports have declined by a further 8.72% in the first 10 months of the current financial year.
The export crisis especially in the oven sector has reached a climax. During March, it reduced 24.70%, and in April it decreased 6.375 compared to the same period of FY2018-19.
It has been possible to avoid major catastrophes in the economy thanks to a positive decision by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.