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COVID-19 led dismissals brought millions of RMG workers into insecurity: CPD

Inadequate work orders, cancellations, payment hold by apparel buyers led to readymade garments (RMG) factory layoffs and dismissals of workers in the COVID-19 outbreak. Plunging millions of RMG workers into insecurity, Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) said on 21 January.

Figure: CPD says layoffs, dismissals plunge millions of workers into uncertainty.

CPD said apparel factories in Bangladesh with no or limited work, closing down operations due to lack of orders, and laying off and firing workers have thrown millions of workers into insecurity.

CPD recognized lack of raw materials, cancellation of orders, and illegal pressure of discounted selling price, late payment from buyers, low export growth and factory shutdown as the most vital challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CPD research director Khondaker Golam Moazzem said, “The global fashion brands and buyers should have associated with the local initiatives taken by the government and RMG manufacturers to fight the pandemic together.”

Moazzem added that the success of Bangladesh’s RMG sector in the last seven years since the Rana Plaza collapse would be under threat, mainly in decent women employment and industrial workplace safety would be endangered if the COVID-19 pandemic risks prolonged in the apparel export destinations.

‘It is worrying that a large section of RMG workers and those involved in RMG-related businesses might get affected because they are stationed in Dhaka, Narayangonj and Gazipur, the hotspots of coronavirus outbreak,’ he added.

CPD presented these findings at a virtual discussion titled ‘7th Anniversary of Rana Plaza Tragedy: Crisis of Workers and Employers during the Corona Pandemic.’

CPD in its presentation also highlighted that the workers were facing a shortage of food which has been becoming acute day by day due to the lockdown measures.

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