The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BKMEA) have urged the owners to keep their factories closed until April 25. They urge it to align with the government decision to close all the businesses to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Rubana Huq, President, BGMEA and A. K. M. Salim Osman, President, BKMEA made the request today on 10 April considering the overall situation. Earlier Rubana Huq assured that RMG workers will get their wages and salaries for March.
“There should be no confusion about that,” she mentioned.
Rubana Huq clarified factories that have international purchase orders and are producing PPEs can remain open if they ensure necessary protective measures for their employees.
She assured no garment worker will lose their jobs due to absence at their workplace, urging all factory owners to consider it on humanitarian ground.
BGMEA also informed that buyers have so far canceled worth $3.02 billion work orders following the coronavirus outbreak, affecting 1,104 factories and approximately 2.19 million workers.
Meanwhile, thousands of RMG workers, who left Dhaka after the government declared general holidays from March 26, started returning to the capital. Many of them said they fear losing jobs if they fail to show up for work.
The apparel industry employs about four million people in the sector, mostly women. According to health experts, the labor-intensive sector, which contributes more than 80 percent to the country’s export earnings, is at high risk of coronavirus outbreak.
Bangladesh has so far confirmed 70 cases and eight coronavirus deaths till today. The country has shut down educational institutions, mass transports and urged people to stay indoors to prevent further transmission of the virus.