Seventy thousand! That’s the total number of garment workers who are said to have been laid off by around 106 apparel manufacturing factories in Bangladesh since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Media reports maintained this while underlining that the figure was disclosed by the President of the apex garment makers’ body, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), Dr. Rubana Huq, in a recent webinar.
Titled, ‘Covid-19 Experience: Workers’ Perspective’, BRAC University’s Centre for Entrepreneurship Development (CED) organised this webinar on Wednesday night as a part of its ongoing Rapid Survey on the RMG industry in Bangladesh.
Titled ‘The Impacts of Covid-19 on the Lives of Workers in the Bangladesh Garment Industry’, a recent survey – as per the organisers, the survey was conducted between 30 June and 13 July this year in which a total of 1,038 garment workers from 225 factories participated – was reportedly carried out jointly by the Subir and Malini Chowdhury Centre for Bangladesh Studies at the University of California, Berkeley and the CED-BRAC University and BRAC James P Grant School of Public Health (JPGSPH).
Citing information from the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE), Director of Subir and Malini Chowdhury Centre for Bangladesh Studies at the University of California, Dr. Sanchita Banerjee Saxena, maintained that over 26,110 workers have been dismissed while 14,132 have been laid off, and 1,55,010 workers retrenched since the onset of the pandemic.
An overwhelming 70 per cent of those surveyed were very worried or somewhat worried about workers in their factory who lost their job or might lose their job because of the pandemic, Dr. Sanchita added.
Aimed at disseminating the findings and policy implications of the rapid survey amongst the sector stakeholders, the webinar was reportedly attended by State Minister for Labour Begum Monnujan Sufian, who also addressed the virtual event, amongst others.