Retrenchment of garment workers starts in June: Rubana Huq
Published : Thursday, 4 June, 2020 at 6:28 PM Count : 558
Retrenchment of workers at the country's readymade apparel sector will start from the current month of June, said Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) president Rubana Huq.
The BGMEA president disclosed it at a virtual press conference organised on the occasion of inaugurating "State of The Art Covid-19 Lab" in Dhaka on Thursday.
Rubana said: "Demand of readymade garments among consumers has declined worldwide due to coronavirus pandemic. Work at the country's garment factories has also declined by 55 per cent. In such a situation, retrenchment of workers will start from June. We, the garment owners, have nothing to do in this regard."
However, she said the BGMEA will sit with the government about those who would be retrenched.
Prime Minister's Private Sector Industry and Investment Adviser Salman F Rahman, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Malek, Labour and Employment Secretary KM Abdus Salam, FBCCI and BGMEA's former president Shafiul Alam Mohiuddin MP, Dhaka North City Corporation mayor Atiqul Islam, former president of Bangladesh Textile Mills Association Matin Chowdhury, former BGMEA president Abdus Salam Murshedy, MP and Diabetic Association of Bangladesh president Professor Dr AK Azad Khan were present at the press conference.
Terming the retrenchment of garment factory workers as "an undesirable reality," Rubana said, "We've nothing to do, because the factories are running on 55 per cent capacity."
"We don't see any other alternative except retrenchment. However, the sitaution can change any moment. Then the retrenched workers will get priority to get jobs at the factories," she said.
Replying to a question, the BGMEA chief said, "We can't predict what is going to happen in July. We may face greater difficulties in that month. It's nothing unexpected."
According to Rubana Huq, there were 2,274 garment factories enlisted with the BGMEA. Now, 1,926 of those factories are in operation. "It means that quite a large number of factories have been closed," she said.
She said the export orders worth 3.15 billion US dollar have been cancelled by foreign buyers amid global coronavirus pandemic. "We have succeeded to regain 26 per cent of the cancelled orders. However, those who have come back have imposed fresh conditions."
Quoting different agencies, Rubana Huq said demand of readymade garments among consumers will decline by 65 per cent in near future. So, there is no possibility of the growth of demand of apparels in the international market.
"Some 55 per cent of the garment factories in Bangladesh will face closure," she said
Responding to another question, she said worldwide people are giving more emphasis on health in the wake of coronavirus pandemic. "As a result, 65 per cent orders have declined. The United States has lifted 55 per cent of its investment from China. It has also withdrawn 2 per cent of its investment from Bangladesh."
The BGMEA president claimed that the country's redaymade apparel sector would incur losses amounting to Tk 42,000 crore from March to May 2020. Almost 99 per cent of the garment factories will run their 55 per cent capacity. Garment factories will witness only 30 per cent of work of their capacity in June. However, whatever happens, Bangladesh is expected to fetch export earnings worth 23 billion US dollars during the current fiscal of 2019-2020.
She also laid emphasis on exploring and creating virtual markets in the days ahead. "The entire world now buy products through online. The manufacturers will have to proceed from businessman to consumer (B2C) market. As a result, we'll not have to do business on the mercy of buyers' alliances."