A Dhaka labour court on Tuesday commenced the trial proceedings against Prof Dr Muhammad Yunus, Chairman of Grameen Telecom and a Nobel laureate, along with three other high-ranking officials of the company.
The charges against them pertain to the violation of labour laws, as per the case filed against them.
Judge Sheikh Merina Sultana of the Dhaka 3rd Labour Court framed the charges after conducting a hearing. The order was issued in the presence of Yunus and the other accused individuals, namely Grameen Telecom Managing Director Ashraful Hasan, and directors Nur Jahan Begum and Md Shahjahan.
Following the order, Barrister Abdullah Al Mamun, Yunus’ lawyer, informed the media that the labour court had formally charged the four individuals, including Dr Yunus, in the case. He stated, “We are yet to decide on our course of action regarding the indictment order.”
On May 8, the Appellate Division had rejected a petition to dismiss the trial proceedings against Dr Yunus in the aforementioned case. The case was initially filed on September 9, 2021, by SM Arifuzzaman, the Inspector (general) of the Inspection for Factories and Establishments Department, at the Dhaka Third Labour Court.
According to the case, officials from the Inspection for Factories and Establishments Department conducted an inspection on August 16, 2021, at Grameen Telecom’s office in Mirpur, Dhaka, and discovered several violations of labour laws. On August 19 of the same year, the department sent a letter to the authorities of Grameen Telecom, notifying them that 67 employees were supposed to be granted permanent status, which had not been done.
The case statement also highlighted that the employee participation fund and welfare fund had not been established, while the workers were supposed to receive 5% of the company’s dividends, which had not been paid.