Just a day after the govt. decided to exempt the export industries from the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown – readymade garment (RMG) factories started busy with activities on 1 August.
Numerous apparel manufacturers and workers’ leaders told that 85%-90% of workers were present at their respective factories on the first day of RMG factory reopening.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) President Faruque Hassan said, “Some factories even reported a workers’ attendance of 95%. We are optimistic about restarting work in full swing if restrictions are relaxed after 5 August.”
Syed Nazrul Islam, First Vice President, BGMEA said, “Around 90% workers rejoined their workplaces at the BMGEA’s member factories in Chattogram.”
Around 2,000 active factories are BGMEA members, while there are 800 active members in the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA).
However, some factories reported workers’ attendance below 80%.
After the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown was completed on 14 July this year, the government declared another lockdown from 23 July to 5 August. The government also decided to shut down all factories excluding those making essential goods and personal protective equipment.
The government decision – which caused 18-20 days of holiday – upraised worries among the export-oriented industry owners. Garment manufacturers then approached the government pronouncing worries about possible losses in exports and facing the financial weight of high airfreight costs.
After that announcement, scores of workers left their workplaces for home to celebrate Eid-al-Adha with their families. According to workers’ leaders, more than 20 lakh RMG workers left Dhaka during that time.
The government on 30 July said that the export-oriented factories will be allowed to reopen amid the stricter lockdown from 1 August. However, concerned parties offered no solutions on how these workers will return to their workplaces.
Since 1 August morning, RMG and many other sectors workers started their long and hard journey back to their factories on trucks, covered vans, auto-rickshaws and even on foot. Braving severe rain and paid several times the usual fare to return to work.
Courtesy: The Business Standard