Many RMG owners habitually bad employers: survey

June 29, 2009

At least one in every seven garment factories does not pay salaries to the workers regularly and one in every three factories could in no way be considered a good employer in view of the labour laws, an official survey reveals.
Labour rights violation is actually more widespread in garment factories than the survey has projected, said labour leaders, who alleged that factory owners had found global recession as a useful pretext for cruel exploitation of workers.
The latest survey of the office of the Chief Inspector of Factories found that some 14.8 per cent of the factories inspected had not paid salaries to their workers regularly.
A total of 825 garment factories were surveyed between January and May this year and 122 of them were found irregular in payment.
The survey, conducted in Dhaka, Gazipur, Narayanganj and Chittagong, also found that 53 factories had deprived their workers of rightful pay for working overtime.
In May the 180 factories were surveyed and 21 of them were found to be very irregular in payment to their workers, the officials said.
The report also listed 34 per cent or 309 of the factories surveyed as substandard in terms of implementation of labour rules.
The factories have been categorised considering the extent to which they have implemented different clauses of labour laws, particularly weekly holidays and maternity leaves with payments to female workers.
President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Abdus Salam Murshedy argued that with global recession affecting their businesses, some factories might be facing difficulties in recent times.
‘The association is arbitrating between workers and owners whenever it comes to know about delay in payment to workers in any factory,’ he told New Age.
Murshedy did not contradict the findings of the government’s survey but claimed that the situation as regards implementation of labour rights was improving.
Bangladesh Garment Workers’ Trade Union Centre adviser Montu Ghosh said a section of garment factory owners were in the habit of delaying payment to workers…In most of the cases they do it deliberately.
‘It is very sad that the low-paid garment workers are often evicted by landlords for their inability to pay rents or heckled for having failed to clear grocers’ bills,’ Montu Ghosh said.
He said that by delaying payments and exploiting workers by different other means, the owners were investing the surplus in other businesses.
‘As suppliers of low-cost garment Bangladesh’s garment exports have not been affected significantly by the global recession but many factory owners delay payments on the pretext of recession, Ghosh said.
‘Not only that. A section of garment owners are desperate for receiving fiscal support from the government on the same pretext of recession,’ he said.
The Awaz Foundation president Nazma Akter said recession had become an effective excuse for a section of garment factory owners who were categorised as ‘habitually bad employers’.
Nazma, who represented the workers in the 2006 tripartite committee to review minimum wages of the garment workers, urged the government and the industry body to take tough actions against the factory owners who were violating the labour laws.

Courtesy of NewAgebd

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