• Sunday, Nov 01, 2020
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Survey: 25% garment workers spent savings to survive during Covid-19 pandemic

  • Published at 02:15 pm September 7th, 2020
Garment workers
File photo: Garment workers return from a workplace as factories reopened after the government has eased the restrictions amid concerns over the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak in Dhaka Reuters

18% borrowed money and 9% relied on extended family assistance to survive

A recent survey has found that that 25% of the workers had spent savings to cover living expenses, while 18% borrowed money and 9% relied on extended family assistance to survive after the Covid-19 pandemic hit their income hard.

The survey on Garment Worker Diaries during Covid-19, conducted by South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM) and Microfinance Opportunities (MFO), during July revealed the findings on Monday. 

Around 1,269 workers, employed in factories in Chittagong, Dhaka City, Gazipur, Narayanganj, and Savar participated in the survey. 

Meanwhile, 15% of these workers disobeyed quarantine rules to earn alternative incomes and 4% moved to cheaper locations to adjust their expenses. 

Although 18% of respondents reported that the Covid-19 crisis made no significant impact on their livelihoods, the remaining respondents reported at least some impact on the livelihoods and earnings, said the survey report. 

Fewer than 1% of workers have sold assets to bear household expenses, while 3% moved back home and 3% looked for other jobs, but only 2% managed to find new jobs.  

Sending money home

The survey findings also showed that the Covid-19 pandemic has adversely impacted the workers sending money to their family members as the pandemic shrunk the income.   

As many as 51% of respondents reported that prior to Covid-19 they had sent money to family members, with 47% of women saying they had done so compared to 66% of men. 

Of those 51% of respondents who were sending money to family before Covid-19, 18% said they are no longer sending money to family.

On the other hand, 58% said they are sending either less money to family or sending it less frequently.

However, 22% said there has been no impact of Covid-19 on the money they send to their family and 2% are sending either more money to family or sending it more frequently. 

To assess the impact of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic on the overall working and living conditions of garment workers in Bangladesh, SANEM in partnership with MFO conducted a series of surveys, with new questions and among slightly changed number of respondents each week. 

Some of the questions of this survey were questions supplied by the International Labour Organization (ILO), mentioned a blog report on the survey, published on the website Garment Worker Diaries.

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