630 RMG factories closed in six zones
Published : Wednesday, 5 May, 2021 at 12:00 AM Count : 238
Some 630 readymade garment (RMG) factories, around 31 percent of the total 2036 factories housed in the country's six industrial zones of Ashulia of Dhaka, Gazipur, Narayanganj, Chattogram, Mymensingh and Khulna, suspended their operations due to Covid-19 pandemic.
As a result, about 30,000 workers of the factories have lost their jobs, according to the statement of Industrial Police working to ensure safety and security of factories and workers.
According to the statistics of BGMEA and Industrial Police, there are 2,036 garment factories in these six industrial areas out of the total 8,982 factories across the country. As a result, the zones are identified as worker-dense area.
Along with those, there are around 315 backward linkage textile and other factories in these areas. Besides, there are also textile and garment factories under Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA).
Out of the 8,982 garment factories across the country, the total number of factories is 2,601 in the six industrial areas.
Apart from BGMEA, BKMEA and BEPZA textile and garment factories, there are 4,618 other factories including leather goods, furniture, mobile phones and medicines.
The factories were closed after the Covid-19 was identified in March last year. And according to the latest count of the industrial police, more than 600 factories are currently closed.
Due to Covid-19, 30,000 workers have lost their jobs in garment sectors. In the months of the lockdown, the income of workers in the formal sector garment industry has declined by 35 percent.
Some of them have lost their jobs, some of them have lost their working hours while wages of some of them gone down. Wages have been irregular for many. Some factories have been forced to reduce production activities.
Amirul Haque Amin, President of the National Garment Workers Federation, said most workers were unemployed because of the corona. The income of those who are working has also decreased by 40-45 percent.
The BGMEA says the impact of the first wave of coronavirus on the garment sector was temporary. This time the horror of coronavirus is much more. So there is a risk of losing 30 percent of the orders by next June.
In many of the factories, workers are working with the panic of pruning. Therefore, the garment workers have placed a 7 point demand including ensuring hygiene in workplaces, payment of travel, risk allowance and stopping lay-offs.
The garment workers' organization 'Sammilita Garments Sramik Federation' has sent the demands to the government's Ministry of Labour and Employment.
Nazma Akhter, President of the organization, confirmed this information to this correspondent.
She said at the request of the owners, the garment factory had been kept out of the lockdown without any discussion with the workers. But the factory owners are not obeying the government restrictions.
Workers are forced to work with health risks. Therefore, I have sent a letter to the Ministry of Labor and Employment on Monday (April 19) to take necessary actions in this regard.
After that the government issued a circular on April 13 with 13-point instructions to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The President of the Bangladesh Garment Exporters and Owners Association (BGMEA) Faruque Hasan said, "Most of the workers live in the vicinity of the factory. Again some factories have arranged their own transports for their workers. Yet some workers are in trouble for staying away. We have asked those factories to take steps."
He said workers should not be laid off and we will take action if we receive specific information if any factory is yet to pay the March arrear.
Touhidur Rahman, President of the Bangladesh Garment Workers Federation, said the government declares an all-out lockdown keeping all the factories open.
As many as 45 lakh garment workers have to go to factories. But transportation was not arranged. It is not possible to maintain social distance in the factory. As a result, the workers remain insecure.