April 21, 2024, 8:04 pm

RMG owners facing challenges over Eid bonus

  • Update Time : Wednesday, May 5, 2021
  • 266 Time View
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Special Correspondent:

Garments owners are facing extreme trouble to tackle the challenges over payment of workers’ wages and bonuses ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr during the second wave of corona pandemic.

Eid-ul-Fitr, the first largest festival of Muslims, is expecting to be observed in the mid of this May amid severe corona pandemic.

Entrepreneurs apprehended that, it will be very difficult to pay the wages and bonuses to the workers before Eid-ul-Fitr due to extreme hit by the second wave of corona pandemic that hampers normal production and supply. Instability is prevailing in the RMG (ready-made garments) sector as the country is still going through an uncertainty due to ongoing lockdown imposed by the government with a view to prevent spread of coronavirus.

MA Rahim Firoz, Vice-President of the Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) said, “It has now become a burden for the garment industries to pay the workers’ wages and bonuses at a time. Currently, lockdown is going on. Many RMG outlets cannot go on production, supply or sell in full swing. Response of foreign buyers is now very poor. To handle the present corona situation, many of them have reduced the proportion of work orders.”

Mohammad Hatem, Senior Vice-President of BKMEA said, “Garment sector in the country is the main lifeline of earning foreign currency. But, workers of the sector are passing miserable life with their families as the owners can’t pay their salaries in time due to clutch of corona pandemic.”

Misery of the sector was started on March 2020 following the onslaught of corona epidemic. The industries were shut down for few months centering the then lockdown. Consequently, all kind of productions, exports and taking new work orders had gone stopped.

At that time, many were forced to shut down their factories, while a large number of the factories were partially or completely laid-off. Many workers came down on the streets to stage demonstration despite the corona risk. To address the situation, the government announced Tk 7,500 crore as incentive to pay the workers with a low interest.

Then, the factories resumed works and the production started to increase gradually as well as the work order and export started to boosting. The incentive announced by the government at that time was very helpful to normalize the situation in the garment sector.

But the second wave of new variant corona hits the country’s garment sector again. The government imposed repeated lockdown in a bid to control the spread of virus. With the initiative, the work order started to decrease. This led to a disappointing situation.

Entrepreneurs said, Eid-ul-Fitr is approaching first and Eid-ul-Azha will be observed its immediate later. In this situation, payment of wages and bonuses will be very difficult.

Sources said, the export of RMG goods is going on despite the corona pandemic as the government has kept open the export-import activities for keeping the country’s economic wheel activated.

Payment from buyers is not available after exporting of the goods in time. Earlier, we would get export value as soon as early after exporting the products. But now, the money is not paid in time. It is taking two to three months time to pay the bills. There is no guarantee as to when the payment will come after exporting of goods. So, the next situation turns more difficult to deal with the impact of the corona. Eid bonus for the workers has now become a big challenge.

Touhidur Rahman, President of the Bangladesh Garment Industry Workers’ Federation said, “Production and export of garment factories have remained usual like other time. Lockdown did not fell massive impact on it. So, the owners should pay the wages and bonuses in time as they have kept continuous their production during the lockdown.”

Executive Director of PRI Ahsan H Mansur said, “Payment of wages and bonuses is possible by the RMG owners, if they are sincere like the previous year as their production and export activities were not stopped during the lockdown. The workers work hard to keep the production of the factories continual.”


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