BGMEA said that to prevent a surge of Covid-19 infections and ensure social distancing, the government has instructed everyone to stay in their work areas. The organization has requested its members to implement these government directives
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has urged garment workers to stay at their respective workplaces during Eid holidays.
BGMEA said that to prevent a surge of Covid-19 infections and ensure social distancing, the government has instructed everyone to stay in their work areas. The organization has requested its members to implement these government directives.
Earlier, the government informed all organizations not to give leaves or holidays exceeding three days to deal with health risks and safety at work.
Syed Nazrul Islam, first vice-president of BGMEA, said the government has imposed restrictions on movement until May 16, the day the lockdown ends.
“We have requested owners to ensure 3-day leaves, and ensure all workers stay in their workplaces to protect themselves from Covid-19,” he added.
Salauddin Swapan, acting president of IndustriALL Bangladesh Council (IBC), said that all organizations have to follow through as this was a government instruction.
This instruction is to protect the workers. If a large number of workers leave for their village homes during this holiday, they will come into contact with other people. There will be health risks and also risks of getting infected, said Swapan.
Manufacturers will have to pay workers overtime for the extra work done in preparation for the Eid holidays, he also said.
Moreover, in some cases, it takes three days for many workers to travel to and from home especially as inter-district transport will also be closed. So, it will be difficult for workers to leave for home, he added.
However, a source from BGMEA said that they had many preparations for the upcoming Eid holidays.
Islam said both the BGMEA and the union leaders are hopeful they will be able to pay wages, bonuses, and other allowances by May 10 as per the Labour Ministry’s instructions.
He also said that currently, the state of the industry is very fragile. They have applied for a bank loan to pay wages and will pay them once the loan is processed.
When asked about the incentives, Islam noted that the BGMEA has appealed to the government again, but “the government has not taken any decision yet about it.”
When asked if there are any difficulties in transporting goods during a pandemic, he said that there are no problems in transporting goods, but transportation costs have increased.
Regarding the wages, bonuses, and allowances, IBC Acting President Salauddin Swapan said that some factories have started paying wages already.
“I hope it will start in full swing from next Sunday. Every year some small factories remain unable to pay wages and allowances, but most of them are not members of BGMEA and are not associated with any unions,” he added.