Govt mulls bringing workers’ festival allowances under legal framework

Staff Correspondent
A file photo shows workers of a garment factory holding demonstration inside Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association office in Dhaka in July, last year demanding arrear wages and festival allowances. The government is considering bringing festival allowances of workers including those of readymade garment sector under a legal framework to avoid unrest ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha. — New Age photo

A file photo shows workers of a garment factory holding demonstration inside Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association office in Dhaka in July, last year demanding arrear wages and festival allowances. The government is considering bringing festival allowances of workers including those of readymade garment sector under a legal framework to avoid unrest ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha. — New Age photo

The government is considering bringing festival allowances of workers including those of readymade garment sector under a legal framework to avoid unrest ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha.
‘To ensure two festival allowances in a year for the workers a guideline may be stipulated in the implementation rules under the labour act but it will not be possible to include separate clause for any particular sector as the implementation rules will be applicable for all industry,’ state minister for labour Mujibul Haque said at a press conference at the secretariat in the capital Dhaka on Sunday.
Labour secretary Mikail Shipar and inspector general of the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishment Syed Ahmed attended the press conference.
The state minister said the government was also considering fixing an amount of festival allowances for the readymade garment workers as the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association demanded setting an amount for all factories.
‘We are working on the proposal of the BKMEA and trying to set the amount of festival allowances for the readymade garment workers before Eid-ul-Azha,’ Mujibul said.
The junior minister shared his experience over the recent Germany tour and described the social safety net and occupational safety standard in the European country.
‘Like Germany we want to introduce Social Accident Insurance for the workers in Bangladesh,’ Mujibul said.
The government will adopt a project consulting with the stakeholders to start the Social Accident Insurance on pilot basis, the state minister said.
He hoped that the preliminary work of the insurance project would be possible to start within October this year.
Recently, a high-profile delegation led by commerce minister Tofail Ahmed visited Germany at the invitation of the German government. During the visit the delegation took part in several meetings on social dialogue, workplace safety and social accident insurance.
High officials of the labour ministry, however, told New Age it would not be possible to bring the festival allowances of the readymade garment workers under a legal framework without changing the labour law.
There is no scope to include the issue of festival allowances of particular RMG workers in the implementation rules as the rules were formulated based on the labour act, they said.
According to the labour ministry officials, the amount of festival allowances for the RMG workers will not be possible to determine before Eid-ul-Azha as factory owners were not agreed on the issue.

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