The report also revealed that more than 1,900 RMG factories were shut down or its workers were laid off during this time
A total of 324,684 readymade garment (RMG) workers became unemployed during the Covid-19 pandemic in Bangladesh, said a study by the Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies (BILS).
The report also revealed that more than 1,900 RMG factories were shut down or its workers were laid off during this time.
The study, titled "Covid-19: Decent Work in Readymade Garment Sector," was recently revealed at a press conference.
Naimul Ahsan Jewel, member of the BILS Advisory Council and joint coordinator of the Sramik Karmachari Oikya Parishad (SKOP), read out a written statement at the press conference chaired by Anwar Hossain, vice chairman of BILS.
The study also found that 80% of the workers had no savings, while 27% of the workers had reduced their food expenses as monthly wages became irregular during the pandemic.
It further said that some 26,500 garment workers were fired by 87 factories without following the provisions of labour laws since March earlier this year.
The study said although the country’s export sector got Tk5,000 crore as loan under the stimulus package to pay workers wages amid the pandemic and fight the Covid-19 fallout, the benefit of the package was not transmitted to the workers.
BILS vice chairman Anwar Hossain said the country's RMG workers have been struggling for their survival due to frequent retrenchment and factory layoffs amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In many cases the workers' retrenchment took place without following labour laws and rules, he alleged.
Almost every day since April this year, workers took to the streets demanding their wages or protesting job cuts and shutdown of factories, said the worker leaders.
The leaders also alleged that many factories were running their production without complying with the Covid-19 health guidelines.
They said the government had taken no initiatives to prevent layoff in factories.
Citing a previous study conducted in 2019, BILS said 56% of the RMG workers procured their essential commodities on credit, and 72% had no ability to get proper treatment due to low wages, while the pandemic amplified their crises even more.