Tuba workers promised part payment

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters' Association, BGMEA, said Tuba factory workers, on hunger strike for four days, may get a part of their dues within a week.

Staff Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 31 July 2014, 02:12 PM
Updated : 31 July 2014, 04:13 PM

“We’ll try to partially clear their outstanding salaries and bonuses within a week,” acting president SM Mannan Kochi said on Thursday.

“We agree with your demands,” he said, addressing the ailing factory workers and urged them to be patient. “Please allow us some time.”

A fire in Tuba Group owned Tazreen Fashions in 2012 had killed 112 trapped workers.

Owner Delwar Hossain was behind bars on charges of negligence, seen as the cause of the fire that had left hundreds with burn injuries.

When asked how BGMEA plans to source the money, Kochi said Tk 10.2 million Packing Credit can be had from the bank in exchange of Tuba Group’s LC (Letter of Credit).

The amount will be enough to pay workers’ wages for two months, while the rest would be cleared in phases, he said.

The workers of Tuba’s five factories say the management owes them three months’ wages as well as bonuses.

The BGMEA’s acting chief said problems would be resolved if Tuba’s owner Delwar was released on bail.
Former BGMEA President Tipu Munshi, also present at the briefing, said they ‘tried in various ways’ but failed to pay the workers before Eid and apologised for their suffering.
More than 1,500 workers of Tuba’s five factories have been demonstrating for May, June and July wages, overtime payments and bonuses.
Workers had set the BGMEA several deadlines to meet their demands and finally began their fast-unto-death from Monday night, just hours before Eid, after the BGMEA failed to arrange the payments.
Ahad Ali Ansar, chairman of the BGMEA’s Labour Standing Committee said there was money in the bank for clearing dues but one of Tuba’s factories ‘cleverly’ removed it from the bank. His comment came after a protest was held outside the BGMEA Bhaban on Jul 23.
“We’re trying our best,” Ansar told bdnews24.com on Wednesday. “The government told us the workers would be paid even if a floor of one of Tuba’s building were to be sold off.”
“We began the initiative to sell it but soon found out that it was mortgaged to Jamuna Bank.”
He said they also tried to sell a factory the group owns in Badda but could not find a buyer.
“We’ve even considered paying them with BGMEA’s own funds, but the amount there would allow us to only pay some of them. It would have made the matter worse,” said the BGMEA official.
“We request the government to make sure the workers are paid by whatever means possible. The government can do it itself if necessary.”
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