The Bangladesh Government’s move to shift the tanneries from Hazaribagh to Savar – aimed at making the leather sector more eco-friendly while also creating new jobs – has resulted in scores of workers losing their source of livelihood.
This was stated by the experts and workers.
“In spite of huge investment and Government efforts to make tanneries environment-friendly and create jobs by moving to Savar, the industry is now facing more challenges,” maintained Manager for programme at the Bangladesh Labour Foundation (BLF) Mahmudul Hasan Khan, adding, “Workers were dealt with the biggest blow for this modification as tannery owners are cutting jobs blaming dull exports.”
Mahmudul said this while presenting a keynote paper at a dialogue on “Tannery workers after relocation to Savar: challenges and way forward” organised by the BLF at the National Press Club in Dhaka recently.
It may be mentioned here that exports of leather and leather goods dropped by around 30 per cent year-on-year to US $1.08 billion in 2017-18, falling further to US $ 1.01 billion in 2018-19, according to data from the Export Promotion Bureau.
In the first 5 months of the current fiscal year, receipts from leather and leather goods exports slumped 10.03 per cent to US $ 391.09 million.
“Not only that, workers weren’t paid the Government-set minimum wage for the sector and many factories are subcontracting works to cut the number of staff,” claimed Mahmudul.