Over 100 readymade garment factories have shut down in Dhaka, Narayangaonj and Gazipur during last one month leaving over 20,000 workers retrenched due to mainly unavailability of buyers, Directorate of Labour (DoL) sources said.
“More factories are facing the threat of shutting down. Three factory owners joined a tripartite meeting today (Tuesday) at BGMEA and concluded with the process of shutting down their factories,” Mohammad Aminul Haque, Convenor of Crisis Management Committee formed to oversee the labour situation arisen over covid-19, told the Business Mirror.
The garment owners also have little option to keep their factories open as they don’t have any order, Mr. Aminul Haque also the Direcor of DoL said.
Large factories ‘Asko Abedin Apparel at Banani, Sir Denim at Uttar Khan, Passion Jeans and Rakeb Apparels at Savar which altogether have over 5,000 employees shut down operation last week, Mehedi Hasan another DoL official said. Kalpona Akter, Executive Director of the Bangladesh Centre for Worker Solidarity, projected that around 1.0 million garment workers will lose their jobs in this shutting down spree. “Many factories, however, are not complying with the labor laws among which we identified 4500 workers from 16 factories who did not get rightful benefit,” Kalpona added. Bangladesh is the top garment exporter in the world after China and is heavily reliant on European and American orders. Some 83 per cent of the revenue that Bangladesh makes through exports are linked to the garment industry, a total of more than $32 billion every year. The sector employs more than four million workers, most of them are women. This season, the industry has suffered a loss of $3.5 billion as orders have been cancelled and suspended. Brands that procure their clothes from Bangladesh include Asda, Sports Direct, Peacocks, and Topshop, among many. The world’s wealthiest nations ramped up spending and poured unprecedented aid into the traumatized global economy as coronavirus cases ballooned, prompting widespread emergency lockdowns. Recently, Debenhams, a fashion retailer stalled all its orders and was unable to pay for the ordered garments due to the loss incurred by COVID-19. As of now, the garments are stationed across ports, and the company is expecting discounts from Bangladesh. This sudden disruption has made the lives, especially workers, very difficult. Just in April, over 150,000 workers did not receive their wages. After this, protests, demonstrations took place across the country for demanding help.