Some 99 percent of garment factories paid the festival allowance and 97.54 percent of factories paid the salary to the garment workers as of May 11 ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr, said Faruque Hassan, President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) at a press conference yesterday.
Among 1913 active members of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), 1652 out of 1667 factories in Dhaka paid the salary to the workers as of May 11 and 214 out of 246 factories in Chattogram paid salary to workers.
Besides, 1659 factories in Dhaka and 223 in Chattogram paid the Eid bonus to workers until May 11, the he said.
Yesterday, 15 factories paid wages for the month of April. Eight apparel factories in Dhaka paid bonus to their workers and in Chattogram, 32 factories cleared payment to their workers for the month April. Some 23 gave bonus.
The BGMEA chief said primarily 800 factories were in trouble and finally, 44 were in a vulnerable position in payment to the workers.
“We have closely monitored their financial situation and consulted with the banks so that they can get a loan to pay the workers timely,” he said.
Hassan also sought three months’ salary support from the government to offset the fallouts of the Covid-19 in the garment sector and in this regard, he has already sent a letter to the government seeking three months’ salary support.
Last year, the government allocated Tk 10,500 crore soft loan to the garment entrepreneurs to pay the workers’ salary only at a 2 per cent service charge.
He also demanded the government extend the repayment period of borrowed money from the stimulus package to three-year from present two-year as the sector faced difficulties from the second wave of the Covid-19.
Also, the BGMEA chief demanded reduction of source tax on export proceeds to 0.25 percent from 0.50 percent and to continue the same rate for the next five years.
He also urged the government to continuation of the corporate tax at 12 percent for non-green factories and 10 percent for green factories for the next five years.
The cost of business has increased because of the high freight charge, cotton and yarn price hike, he said.
Earlier, the government has extended the lockdown period up to May 16.
However, many factory managements have approved extended holidays to the workers in the face of demand from workers.
As per the labor law of Bangladesh, a garment worker is entitled to enjoy 11 days of festival leave, 10-day casual leave and 14-day sick leave. Workers are entitled to get 18-day of earned leave.
The workers can enjoy those leaves by adjusting in consultation with the factory management, said the BGMEA President.