COVID-19 Fallout

21,331 RMG workers lose job after Eid

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:52, Jun 18,2020


Garment workers block Dhaka–Mymensingh Highway at Azampur of Uttara in Dhaka on Wednesday demanding unpaid wages. — Sourav Lasker

A total of 21,331 workers, mostly from readymade garment sector, have lost their jobs after Eid-ul-Fitr due to the cost-cutting measures adopted by the factory owners on the excuse of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Out of 21,331 workers, nearly 11,000 were retrenched in the last two weeks, according to the Industrial police data.

Labour leaders, however, said that the number of workers who lost their jobs after Eid would be much higher than the official data showed as many incidents of job cuts were taking place in the factories without notice.    

Data showed that 21,331 workers have lost their jobs from 129 industrial units under the jurisdiction of six industrial zones of industrial police as of Wednesday.

There are hundreds of industrial units out of the jurisdiction of industrial police and the laid-offworkers of the units are not included in the data.

Out of the total 21,331 workers, IP sources said, 19,409 were garment and textile workers.

Of the total terminated workers, 16,853 are from 86 factories of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, 2,298 from 16 factories listed with Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association and 258 from four mills under Bangladesh Textile Mills Association.

Data showed that 56 workers from eight factories under Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority and 1,866 workers from 15 non-RMG units were retrenched after Eid.

One of the high officials of Industrial Police told New Age that they were monitoring the situation everyday to avert any untoward incident.

Nazma Akter, president of Sommilito Garments Shramik Federation, said that the number of retrenched workers would be much higher than the IP data as many workers were laid off from the factories located in Dhaka Metropolitan area.

She said that the workers, who are working less than one year, are the worst sufferers of job cuts as they are not entitled for any compensation according to the law.

Nazma demanded lawful compensation for the retrenched workers and alleged that the wages of May sill remained unpaid in a good number of RMG factories.  

Data showed that out of 21,331 laid-off workers, the job duration of 13,942 workers was less than one year.

Earlier, BGMEA and BKMEA leaders said that some of the workers would be laid off as most of the factories were running with 50-55 per cent capacity due to lack of export orders.

They feared that many of the factories might close down permanently as they lost businesses due to the coronavirus situation.

BGMEA president Rubana Huq at a press conference on June 4 said that shedding workers might take place in the readymade garment sector as the factories had been suffering from the lack of export orders due to global outbreak of the pandemic.

‘Unexpected reality awaits the sector and workers will have to face terminations as entrepreneurs are helpless as 99 per cent of factories are running at only 55 per cent capacity,’ she said.

The BGMEA president also said that many entrepreneurs would be eliminated from business and many workers would also lose their jobs due to the unprecedented COVID-19 outbreak.

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