US-based renowned denim giant Levi Strauss is due to deliver cash aid to 1,000 female ready-made garment (RMG) workers of Bangladesh who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect.
Under Levi’s COVID-19 Response for RMG Women Workers in Bangladesh program, a 600 apparel workers in Dhaka and 400 workers in Chattogram would get Tk5,000.
Besides, 600 more apparel workers – 360 in Dhaka and 240 in Chattogram – would get hygiene kits including soap, detergent and reusable face masks, worth more than Tk1,200 per person.
Non-governmental organization (NGO) ActionAid Bangladesh would distribute the cash aid and hygiene kits among the workers through its two associates – Safety and Rights Society in Dhaka and Sangsaptak in Chattogram.
The NGO officials said some additional apparel workers who have lost their jobs in the COVID-19 pandemic will also be taken under the cash assistance.
Sekender Ali Mina, Executive Director of Safety and Rights Society, said they will list the project recipients from their RMG workers database. Moreover, they will gather information from the RMG workers.
Mina told that they had already prepared 50 volunteers for the aid payment. By mid-March, they expect to reach out to the RMG workers with the aid.
Annually, Levi’s sources 39.5 million pieces of denim from Bangladesh. Valued around Tk25.20 billion. Levi Strauss designs and markets jeans, casual wear and related accessories for men, women and children.
Levi Strauss’s COVID-19 response project aims at promoting awareness about COVID-19 safety measures between RMG workers and their families.
The Levi Strauss Foundation has promised to deliver more support to the Bangladesh’s RMG workers in future.
Levi’s promises to support 1,800 more RMG workers
Azadul Islam, the focal person at ActionAid Bangladesh, said Levi’s promise them to provide more support depends on the success of the COVID-19 response project.
“A large number of RMG workers have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. Many of them joined other factories with lower wages than they used to get. Against this backdrop, ActionAid proposed that Levi’s provide cash assistance to more 1,800 workers and hygiene kits to 1000 workers,” Islam added.
Azadul Islam optimisms the Levi Strauss Foundation will review the proposal soon.
Khondaker Golam Moazzem, Research Director at the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), said such assistance for apparel workers is positive. “Earlier, the European Union also announced such assistance to workers. Such initiatives will encourage others,” he added.
The EU said €113 million in cash assistance to Bangladeshi workers. Under the program, each worker is getting cash aid of Tk3,000. A worker will get support for a maximum of three months.