At least 538 manufacturing units, including textile mills and readymade garment (RMG) factories, across the country have the risks of facing labour unrest over payment of wages and festival allowance ahead of the Eid-ul-Fitr, officials said.
Meanwhile, the government on Thursday asked all the industrial units to pay workers' April wages and festival allowance by May 10.
The instruction came at a meeting, led by state minister for labour Monnujan Sufian, held at Srama Bhaban in the city.
The tripartite meeting with factory owners and workers' representatives was held to discuss the payment of monthly wages and festival allowances, and the current labour situation across the country.
Labour secretary KM Abdus Salam, inspector general of the Department of Factories and Establishments (DIFE) Md Nasir Uddin Ahmed, vice presidents of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) SM Mannan Kochi, Md Nasir Uddin and Khandoker Rafiqul Islam, labour leader Sirajul Islam Rony, among others, were present at the meeting.
Non-payment of dues and festival allowance are among the reasons that might fuel unrest, according to the people familiar with the situation.
Of the total 538 factories, some 143 are non-RMG factories that also run the risks of witnessing labour unrest while 261 are the members of BGMEA, according to Industrial Police (IP).
Some 76 are registered with Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) and 33 are affiliated with the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA).
Twenty-five factories under the Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA), listed with the IP, might also face unrest over non-payment of wages and other allowances.
The listed units are located in the six IP zones - Dhaka except for Dhaka metropolitan area, Gazipur, Chattogram, Narayanganj, Mymensingh and Khulna areas.
When asked, an IP official said they were closely monitoring these factories and will sit on Sunday for working out measures to avoid any untoward incidents.
According to the IP, a total of 158 factories are yet to pay wages for the month of March last.
Out of the non-paid factories, some 68 are non-RMG factories while 49 are listed with BGMEA, 14 BKMEA, 15 BTMA and eight with BEPZA.
Labour leaders said the risks of unrests were created due to the absence of fixed festival allowance in garment factories, partial and non-payment of festival allowance during the last Eid, payment of wages and allowances on the last working day before Eid holiday, mass termination, non-payment of legal benefits and sudden closure or lay-off of the factories.