Hotel and restaurant workers on Saturday demanded that their wages, arrears and Eid bonus be paid before the 27th Ramadan.
At a protest rally in front of Jatiya Press Club, they also called for government intervention to stop the violation of labour rights as they are facing a job-cut spree and oppression by the owners of hotel and sweetshops during the fasting month of Ramadan.
The rally was organized by Action Council to Implement Minimum Wages and Labor Law in Hotel Sector.
Addressing the rally, Hotel Workers' Union president Akhtaruzzaman Khan said although the Eid is looming near, most of the hotel workers across the country have not yet received the wage of the previous month, let alone the festival bonus and the arrears. “In addition, there has been a spree of illegal job cuts by the owners reported in the month,” he said.
Talking to UNB, Akhtaruzzaman Khan said: “About 10 hotel workers in 100 are terminated every year before Ramadan as the owners want to avert to pay the dues and allowances of the workers before the Eid.”
“It’s a matter of thousands of workers becoming jobless all of a sudden in a month. Such violation is being repeated every year due to the lack of implementation of the labor laws,” he said.
“We’re receiving reports that workers and their family members are facing threats to leave the areas, and even attacks were being carried out on their messes and residences by miscreants paid by the owners,” he said.
Action Council member Rahmat Ali said the root cause of all the harassment and deprivation of hotel workers is the lack of implementation of the labor law in the sector.
"Although the minimum wage was awarded in 2009, most of the 11 lakh workers in the hotel and restaurant sector are paid much lower than the awarded amount," he noted.
Besides the wage board award, the hotel owners have signed an agreement with the workers to implement the provisions of the labor law, including providing identity cards, without which a worker becomes more vulnerable to illegal termination, he added.
“Years have passed since the agreement was signed, but the conditions are yet to be met. The workers who are fresher are not given the Id cards and face the exploitation in various forms,” he said.
Meanwhile, hotel workers in Natore district on Saturday went into a work abstention for indefinite period in protest of the illegal termination of the general secretary of the district unit of the Hotel Workers’ Union, Samar Sarker.