The factory owners claim that since most of them live within the vicinity of their workplace, they can easily walk to the factories during lockdown
Apparel workers must walk to their respective factories on foot during the upcoming weeklong strict lockdown, despite the government's instructions for apparel factory owners to ensure their own transport systems.
The factory owners claim that since most of them live within the vicinity of their workplace, they can easily walk to the factories during lockdown.
Faruque Hassan, newly elected president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), echoed similar sentiments, adding that only factories which have work orders may continue their operations despite the lockdown.
Hence, only a small portion of apparel workers will need to follow the directive, he also said.
“Most of the factories have their own transport system for workers who live far away from factories.
Hence, the garment owners do not need to worry about carrying workers,” Hassan added.
“Apparel workers are traditionally used to coming to their factories on foot, so the directive is nothing new, even during lockdown,” said Mohammad Hatem, vice-president of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers Association (BKMEA).
Siddiqur Rahman, former president of BGMEA and vice-president of FBCCI, said: “We want vehicle-free roads during lockdown. Most of our factories are in Ashulia, Savar, Narayanganj, and Dhaka Mirpur
areas, where workers live near their respective factories. For this reason, no new vehicles will be needed to carry them.”
Earlier, the Cabinet Division issued a notification imposing restrictions on the overall operation and movement for seven days from tomorrow (April 14) to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
On Monday (April 12), the Cabinet Division issued the notification with 13-point directives. According to directives, all government, semi-government, autonomous, and private office, financial institutions will remain closed.
In an immediate reaction, Ruhul Amin, president of Bangladesh Federation of Workers Solidarity (BFWS), said that it is not a logical decision.
Those who live near the factories - the decision will not affect them, but will adversely affect the others who live far away, he also said.
"Many workers live more than 5km away from factory are at risk of getting infected. If any worker gets infected, the whole factory will be at risk. Moreover, the responsibility will fall on the workers if they cannot reach the factories on time. Thus, we cannot accept the decision in any way. We will soon issue an organizational statement against this decision, Amin added.