The biggest loss for labor unrest is the image crisis to the global buyers, which is irreparable and not manageable; says BGMEA President.
Readymade Garments (RMG) is the main foreign exchange earning sector of Bangladesh. At the same time, the labor-intensive sector is very important to address the demands of occupation of a huge population. The reputation of this sector is high which underpins the success of this sector. But in recent times the growth and existence of this sector came under threat when this sector faced severe labor unrest.
Due to labor unrest, there has been huge loss of production, and some of the factories were ruined by protesters, several workers were killed, and many were injured and arrested.
It is said that there was legitimate demand of the workers which should have been addressed by the owners. But these demands were not addressed which created the grievance of the workers. In course of time, these grievance turns violent.
On the other hand, some workers were not sincere and honest to their job and responsibilities. The workers involved themselves in the destruction of their own factories.
Fazlee Shamim Ehsan, MD of Fatullah Apparels Ltd and 2nd Vice President of BKMEA, explained about the issue to Textile Today, “In the last 9 days the situation was not under control as many workers in the factories were involved in this destructive works but today only 5 factory’s workers situated at Savar are doing movement. So we can say that by the day after tomorrow these workers will go back to their works and the factories will run as usual.”
“Today’s movement is not about the wages it is for not cutting the salary for the absenteeism as some factories were closed for three days,” he added.
In the last 9 days the situation was not under control as many workers in the factories were involved in this destructive works.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) President Md Siddiqur Rahman, concerned about the image crisis of the country and said, “Financial losses can be managed by any means. But the biggest loss that labor unrest causes is the image crisis to the global buyers, which is irreparable and not manageable.”
Meanwhile, Siddiqur Rahman urged the workers to go back to their works as many factories are facing the cancellation of shipment.
Factory owners have to enter a hectic production mode with massive overtime to recover the lost production and to avert the cancellation of orders as buyers refuse to extend deadlines. “We have witnessed losses of 30,000 pieces of production a day. And there is no other option but to go for massive production, even on Fridays, and extra overtime to recover losses and avert order cancellations,” said a manager of a factory to this correspondent.
Like these RMG units, there are a good number of other factories who are bearing the brunt of unrest by having to bear shipping costs and counting losses on price discounts. However, BGMEA could not offer any ready statistics on lost production and other financial losses the well-oiled industry suffered due to weeklong violent protests and clashes.