Govt asks BGMEA to settle dues in a day or two

State minister for labour Mujibul Haque on Saturday urged garment industry leaders to find a way out of the ongoing crisis over the wage arrears and festival allowance of the workers of Tuba Group in a day or two.
The state minister sat with the leaders of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association at the association’s head office on the day and requested them to arrange the payment to the workers at any cost in the shortest possible time.
BGMEA acting president SM Mannan Kochi, vice presidents Mohammad Shahidullah Azim and Reaz bin Mahmood, former president Tipu Munshi and former vice-president Siddiqur Rahman attended the meeting.
‘The promise [of payment] in seven working days is pretty vague. The BGMEA will have to announce a specific date for the payment to the workers and I have requested the association leaders to resolve the crisis without delay,’ Mujibul told New Age.
‘I asked the BGMEA leaders to meet the lawful demands of Tuba Group workers and said that waiting for seven working days would be tough for the workers who are already hard pressed,’ he said.
He warned that the government would be forced to take legal action against the factory authorities concerned, if the BGMEA failed to settle the issue of payment to the workers of the five garment factories of Tuba Group.
Mujibul also said that the government did not want to take legal action at the moment because it might delay the process for payment to the workers.
More than 1,600 workers of five factories – Bugshan Garments Ltd, Taif Designs Ltd, Tuba Fashions Ltd, Tuba Textiles and Mita Designs Ltd – began a hunger strike on the day before Eid-ul-Fitr demanding their wages for May, June and July along with festival allowances.
BGMEA vice-president Shahidullah Azim told New Age that they had informed the government about the plan of the association for payment of wages and allowances to the Tuba Group workers in seven days.
He hoped that the problem would be resolved by next Thursday.
‘We have promised that the dues would be paid in seven working days, and if necessary, the BGMEA would seek assistance from its members, but we do not want the workers to continue the hunger strike,’ he said.
The BGMEA decided to initiate a move to arrange the money from its members and banks for payment to the workers and all liabilities would be met by Delwar Hossain, managing director of Tuba Group, after his release, Azim said.
He said that before the Eid, banks had assured the Tuba Group of sanctioning credit but at the last moment they declined to provide the facility to the factories of the group excepting the Tuba Garments Ltd.
‘I think, even after the release of Delwar Hossain, banks would not allow packing credit against the export orders of the factories as  the group is in trouble, and the banks may not take the risk,’ Azim said.
He said that for the sake of the apparel sector, the BGMEA would arrange the money for payment of the workers’ wages and allowances.
Any further trouble in any factories of the Tuba Group would tarnish the image of the apparel sector and the group should face cancellation of the membership of the association, Azim said.

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