• Monday, Jun 27, 2022
  • Last Update : 04:24 pm

All industries to operate amid extended lockdown

  • Published at 09:21 pm August 5th, 2021
RMG workers
Dhaka Tribune

Apparel manufacturers plan overtime and working during holidays to recuperate for lost time

The government on Thursday allowed all industries and factories to resume their operations, keeping them out of the lockdown purview, which was extended until August 10.

The Cabinet Division issued the notification on the day, which will remain in force from midnight of August 5 until August 10.

According to the notification, the industries and factories will remain out of the purview of the restriction, while domestic flights can also operate following rigorous health guidelines.

Manufacturers welcomed the governmental decision and pledged to do their utmost to continue production in compliance with adequate health directives. 

Along with export-oriented industries, the reopening of all industrial units will bring momentum in the domestic economy. Moreover, the stagnation in the SME sector will also be removed, they also said.


Also Read - Factories to stay open, domestic flights to operate during extended lockdown


Earlier, all factories were ordered to remain shut during the strict lockdown from July 23 until August 5.

Later, after much convincing, the government allowed reopening of export-oriented factories on August 1.

Overtime for workers

Meanwhile, some apparel manufacturers are planning to make their workers come to factories on their weekly holidays, to make up for all the time lost due to the shutdown.

But manufacturers' organizations said that it entirely depended on the factories and its respective workers.

If any factory owner wishes, they will be able to make it happen without cutting wages, by negotiating with its respective workers and adjusting the days when the factories were closed due to the lockdown after Eid, they also said. 

In this case, the apparel workers will have to do overtime throughout the week and even work on multiple weekends, they added.

Mohammad Hatem, vice-president of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), told Dhaka Tribune that they advised factory owners to adjust their vacation time caused by the lockdown by doing extra work without deducting wages. 

“However, it is a matter of discussion between the factory owners and their workers. No organizational decision has been taken in this regard and discussions are still going on,” he added.

“Moreover, if any factory owner or worker expresses inability to adopt this approach, they can deduct the salary as per the labour law,” he also said.

Talking to Dhaka Tribune, Shahidullah Azim, vice-president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), said that they have not yet made any decision regarding this.

“We will decide on this soon with the opinion of the factory owners. But the owners may decide as per their convenience,” he added.

He also said that they have no intention to cut off the wages of any workers and they are determined to pay all the wages.

Sources from major export-oriented factories said that 85%-90%, in some cases 95%, workers were present at their respective workplaces on the first five days after the reopening of factories.

BGMEA Vice-President Shahidullah Azim said that around 90%-95% workers joined their respective workplaces at the BMGEA's member factories across the country. 

“There are around 2,000 active factories that are also BGMEA members. We are optimistic that the factories will restart their activities in full swing if the government relaxes restrictions after August 5,” he added.

A BKMEA also said that 85%-90% workers have returned to the factories under the association. 

An official of the Bangladesh Ceramic Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BCMEA) said that more than 87% workers rejoined their respective factories on Sunday.

Clash erupts in Tongi

Workers at two garment factories in Gazipur's Tongi staged a protest on Thursday. Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to bring the situation under control.

According to eyewitnesses and workers, the authorities laid off 10 workers of Crossline Knit Fabric Limited in the Vadam area of Tongi without any reason recently.

Fellow workers have been protesting inside the factory for the past three days demanding their return.

Workers of Crossline Knit Fabric Limited in the Vadam area of Tongi protest for the wrongful termination of their colleagues' employment on Thursday, August 5, 2021 DHAKA TRIBUNE


On Thursday, workers protested in front of the factory, halting production in response to the demand.

At that time the traffic on the Vadam-Tongi road was stopped.

Police urged the workers to stop the protests and move from the road. At one stage, the workers got into an argument with the police. At that time the workers threw brickbats at the police.

Gazipur Industrial Police Superintendent of Police (SP) Siddiqur Rahman said law enforcers had to fire at least 60 rounds of tear gas and rubber bullets to bring the situation under control.

Six policemen and three Ansar members were injured in the attack, he also said.

They were given first aid at Tongi Ahsan Ullah Master General Hospital. However, there were no incidents of workers being injured, he also claimed.

After the incident, the authorities declared an indefinite factory holiday.

 

Raihanul Islam Akand from Gazipur also contributed to this report

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