Due wages: Tannery workers see no end to suffering

The Daily Star  September 10, 2019

Due wages: Tannery workers see no end to suffering

Aklakur Rahman Akash

Over 200 workers of three tannery factories have been passing difficult times for the last couple of months as their wages have remained unpaid. 

The factories are Ruma Leather Industries Ltd and Crescent Tannery Ltd in Savar and Lesco Tannery in the capital’s Hazaribagh.

Workers of Lesco Tannery claimed that their wages have been remained unpaid for the last seven months. While workers of Ruma Leather Industries have been unpaid for around five months and Crescent Tannery Ltd for around one and half months.

They held discussions with the factory authorities several times but to no avail. The workers even filed complaints regarding this matter with different government bodies including Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments, local lawmakers, trade bodies and police.

But workers are yet to get any benefit as the factory authorities continue to show the excuse of shortage of liquid money.

The correspondent visited the factories last week and talked to several workers there.

“I have to spend around Tk 120 daily to come to the factory. But they (factory authorities) have not pay our wage for around five months. I have borrowed Tk 33,000 from friends and relatives to run my family. I don’t how many days I can survive in this situation,” said Astahar Talukder, 50, a worker of Ruma Leather Industries.

“If they (factory authorities) do not want to employ us anymore, they should terminate us after giving all of our due wages and other benefits,” Astahar who has been working in the factory for around last 19 years lamented.

“The factory management told us their business is going through a dull situation. Furthermore, they are not getting bank loans. That is why, they are not paying our wage. But they don’t try to understand our suffering, our hardship due to non-payment our wage,” said Masud Rana, a worker of Crescent Tannery.

SM Monjurul Haque, 39, a worker of Lesco Tannery said, “We, some 132 workers, have not gotten wage for around seven months. I have due wages of around Tk 2 lakhs from the company. We are demanding that the company authority pay our wages immediately.”

Talking to The Daily Star, Tannery Workers’ Union president Abul Kalam Azad alleged that the factory owners want that the workers leave their job volunteer because the owners will have to pay due wages and other benefits, if they terminate workers.

On behalf of the deprived workers, the union leaders filed complaint with the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments last February.

On the basis of the compliant, the department filed a case with the labour court to this matter, said Azad.

Of the three factories, Crescent Tannery and Lesco Tannery are owned by the same person MA Kader, who is now in jail over a money-laundering case.

Contacted, the two factories’ spokesperson Giash Uddin Bahar said they would pay wages of the workers of Crescent Tannery within shortest possible time.

But a case over the wages of Lesco Tannery’s workers remains under trail. That is why, decision payment of their wage would be taken after the trial completes, said Giash.

Contacted, Ruma Leather Industries Ltd’s chairman Eng. Abu Taher said their business were going through very dull situation. That is why, they have fallen in severe financial crisis. Now, they have taken initiative to sell their land to pay wage of workers.

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