Home RMG News Uncertainty over Wages, Bonus RMG sector unrest may flare up

Uncertainty over Wages, Bonus RMG sector unrest may flare up

Unhappy over non-payment of wages and festival bonus ahead of Eid, readymade garment (RMG) workers may burst into violence in Dhaka and Narayanganj, intelligence agencies fear. Industrial police have identified 410 factories across the country as vulnerable to violence ahead of the Muslims’ largest festival. Meanwhile, the home ministry has sent letters to BGMEA and BKMEA-two trade bodies of woven and knitwear segments of the RMG sector-asking for paying wage and bonus to workers in time. Garment factory owners have also been asked to take necessary measures to help stem any possible unrest. However, industrial police, as per instruction from the ministry, have stepped up patrol and vigilance in the country’s 4,500 plus factories across the country, “We’ve intensified security measures in the risky units to avert any further trouble during the fasting month. Our intelligence officials have identified 407 garment factories as risky and vulnerable to violence,” an intelligence official told the Daily Observer. At least 90 RMG trade union leaders are under strict intelligence surveillance, the official further said. Unrest in the RMG sector takes place almost every year just before Eid over the payment of workers’ arrears and bonuses. The workers take to the streets to press home their demands, causing long tailbacks on highways. Of the 407 RMG units, 136 factories have been branded as risky and vulnerable at Ashulia-Savar-Dhamrai industrial hub, home to most of the country’s biggest apparel manufacturers. At least 142 factories have been found vulnerable in Chittagong belt, 102 units in Gazipur-Tongi areas and the rest and Kanchpur region, senior police officers said, quoting from their findings. They pointed to the fact that said nearly 45 per cent of the risky factories are not registered with BGMEA and BKMEA where the security force keep their eyes open round the clock to prevent any more chaos. “Garment factory owners have assured us that they would pay the workers their salaries and bonuses,” a home ministry official said. “We hope the problems will be solved,” said BKMEA Vice-President GM Faruk. He also said RMG accounts for nearly 76 per cent of the total export earnings. On the recurrent labour unrest during the festival, the BKMEA leader said an international plot is going on to ruin the sector. “If the government does not take immediate steps to identify these perpetrators for foiling such conspiracy, the sector would fall in deep crisis,” he said. Sources claimed that uncertainty looms over the payment of salaries and bonuses in some factories of the 1,200 factories that are not members of BGMEA. Of the total 5,300 factories listed with BGMEA, 4,300 are now operative.