Tag: ILO

Garment factories reopen in Bangladesh despite COVID-19 concerns

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Photo: people dispatch

Resumption of work may provide some relief to workers but there are concerns about the spread of the disease due to the absence of adequate safety measures in most factories

By Peoples Dispatch, 29 April, 2020

Thousands of readymade garment workers returned to work in Bangladesh on April 28, Tuesday, amid confusion and delay in the disbursal of salaries for the month of March. There is also uncertainty about the fate of thousands of other migrant workers who come to the capital, Dhaka, from different parts of the country seeking jobs.

According to Daily Star, out of a total 7,602 garment factories in the country, 2,916 opened up on Tuesday. The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturer and Exporters Association (BGMEA) expects more factories to start operations soon.

Bangladesh home minister Assaduzman Khan, after a meeting with the representatives of BGMEA, announced that no worker from outside the Dhaka city limits will be allowed to enter the city for now. Trade union representatives were not present at the meeting.

Bangladesh has imposed a COVID-19 lockdown since March 25, leading factories to shut production. The country has around 6,462 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 155 deaths, as on April 28. The countrywide lockdown will continue till May 5.

The reopening of garment factories may provide relief to workers whose wages for the month of March were delayed and who are worried about being laid off.

Though Bangladesh authorities recently released a USD 588 million package to aid workers, garment manufacturers complain that the funds are not sufficient to check the damage caused by the lockdown. As per BGMEA estimates, orders for 953 million pieces of readymade garment worth USD 3.05 billion have been cancelled. The cancellations affect more than 2.19 million workers, IndustriAll reported.

Garment workers have also been protesting for the payment of their wages. Though part of the wages were disbursed after protests from the workers and interventions by trade unions, full payment of wages is still pending.

Bangladesh is the world’s second largest exporter of readymade garments. However, the fate of the industry in the near future will depend on how European markets, where the bulk of the exports go, cope with the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, re-operationalizing garment factories at a time when the number of COVID-19 cases in Bangladesh is still rising has led to concerns about the security and health of the workers.

Though some factories have arranged for hand washing stations, masks and disposable caps for workers and temperature checks, most have failed to implement adequate physical distancing norms that are mandatory for preventing the spread of the highly contagious virus.

Even minimum protective facilities were reported missing in a large number of factories. Several workers also complained about the lack of transport facilities to commute to work.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) had issued guidelines for production units and governments to carry out proper risk assessment through dialogue with all the stakeholders, including workers, before resuming work. The ILO has emphasized that workplaces need to meet strict occupational and health safety standards.

However, most of the factories in Bangladesh operate with space constraints, where even with a small workforce, physical distancing norms are difficult to implement. The government and factory owners are also often accused of suppressing the voices of the trade unions and the workers.

On April 6, two garment workers died after participating in a protest against authorities in Mymensingh district over a policy of suspending thousands of garment workers and denying allowances during the ongoing lockdown. Workers accused the management of unfair dismissals and the denial of due wages. Workers also alleged being threatened with blacklisting if they demanded their rights.

- Thousands of readymade garment workers returned to work in Bangladesh on April 28, Tuesday, amid confusion and delay in the disbursal of salaries for the month of March. There is also uncertainty about the fate of thousands of other migrant workers who come to the capital, Dhaka, from different parts of the country seeking jobs.

According to Daily Star, out of a total 7,602 garment factories in the country, 2,916 opened up on Tuesday. The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturer and Exporters Association (BGMEA) expects more factories to start operations soon.

Bangladesh home minister Assaduzman Khan, after a meeting with the representatives of BGMEA, announced that no worker from outside the Dhaka city limits will be allowed to enter the city for now. Trade union representatives were not present at the meeting.

Bangladesh has imposed a COVID-19 lockdown since March 25, leading factories to shut production. The country has around 6,462 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 155 deaths, as on April 28. The countrywide lockdown will continue till May 5.

The reopening of garment factories may provide relief to workers whose wages for the month of March were delayed and who are worried about being laid off.

Though Bangladesh authorities recently released a USD 588 million package to aid workers, garment manufacturers complain that the funds are not sufficient to check the damage caused by the lockdown. As per BGMEA estimates, orders for 953 million pieces of readymade garment worth USD 3.05 billion have been cancelled. The cancellations affect more than 2.19 million workers, IndustriAll reported.

Garment workers have also been protesting for the payment of their wages. Though part of the wages were disbursed after protests from the workers and interventions by trade unions, full payment of wages is still pending.

Bangladesh is the world’s second largest exporter of readymade garments. However, the fate of the industry in the near future will depend on how European markets, where the bulk of the exports go, cope with the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, re-operationalizing garment factories at a time when the number of COVID-19 cases in Bangladesh is still rising has led to concerns about the security and health of the workers.

Though some factories have arranged for hand washing stations, masks and disposable caps for workers and temperature checks, most have failed to implement adequate physical distancing norms that are mandatory for preventing the spread of the highly contagious virus.

Even minimum protective facilities were reported missing in a large number of factories. Several workers also complained about the lack of transport facilities to commute to work.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) had issued guidelines for production units and governments to carry out proper risk assessment through dialogue with all the stakeholders, including workers, before resuming work. The ILO has emphasized that workplaces need to meet strict occupational and health safety standards.

However, most of the factories in Bangladesh operate with space constraints, where even with a small workforce, physical distancing norms are difficult to implement. The government and factory owners are also often accused of suppressing the voices of the trade unions and the workers.

On April 6, two garment workers died after participating in a protest against authorities in Mymensingh district over a policy of suspending thousands of garment workers and denying allowances during the ongoing lockdown. Workers accused the management of unfair dismissals and the denial of due wages. Workers also alleged being threatened with blacklisting if they demanded their rights.
-Thousands of readymade garment workers returned to work in Bangladesh on April 28, Tuesday, amid confusion and delay in the disbursal of salaries for the month of March. There is also uncertainty about the fate of thousands of other migrant workers who come to the capital, Dhaka, from different parts of the country seeking jobs.

According to Daily Star, out of a total 7,602 garment factories in the country, 2,916 opened up on Tuesday. The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturer and Exporters Association (BGMEA) expects more factories to start operations soon.

Bangladesh home minister Assaduzman Khan, after a meeting with the representatives of BGMEA, announced that no worker from outside the Dhaka city limits will be allowed to enter the city for now. Trade union representatives were not present at the meeting.

Bangladesh has imposed a COVID-19 lockdown since March 25, leading factories to shut production. The country has around 6,462 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 155 deaths, as on April 28. The countrywide lockdown will continue till May 5.

The reopening of garment factories may provide relief to workers whose wages for the month of March were delayed and who are worried about being laid off.

Though Bangladesh authorities recently released a USD 588 million package to aid workers, garment manufacturers complain that the funds are not sufficient to check the damage caused by the lockdown. As per BGMEA estimates, orders for 953 million pieces of readymade garment worth USD 3.05 billion have been cancelled. The cancellations affect more than 2.19 million workers, IndustriAll reported.

Garment workers have also been protesting for the payment of their wages. Though part of the wages were disbursed after protests from the workers and interventions by trade unions, full payment of wages is still pending.

Bangladesh is the world’s second largest exporter of readymade garments. However, the fate of the industry in the near future will depend on how European markets, where the bulk of the exports go, cope with the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, re-operationalizing garment factories at a time when the number of COVID-19 cases in Bangladesh is still rising has led to concerns about the security and health of the workers.

Though some factories have arranged for hand washing stations, masks and disposable caps for workers and temperature checks, most have failed to implement adequate physical distancing norms that are mandatory for preventing the spread of the highly contagious virus.

Even minimum protective facilities were reported missing in a large number of factories. Several workers also complained about the lack of transport facilities to commute to work.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) had issued guidelines for production units and governments to carry out proper risk assessment through dialogue with all the stakeholders, including workers, before resuming work. The ILO has emphasized that workplaces need to meet strict occupational and health safety standards.

However, most of the factories in Bangladesh operate with space constraints, where even with a small workforce, physical distancing norms are difficult to implement. The government and factory owners are also often accused of suppressing the voices of the trade unions and the workers.

On April 6, two garment workers died after participating in a protest against authorities in Mymensingh district over a policy of suspending thousands of garment workers and denying allowances during the ongoing lockdown. Workers accused the management of unfair dismissals and the denial of due wages. Workers also alleged being threatened with blacklisting if they demanded their rights.

Thousands of readymade garment workers returned to work in Bangladesh on April 28, Tuesday, amid confusion and delay in the disbursal of salaries for the month of March. There is also uncertainty about the fate of thousands of other migrant workers who come to the capital, Dhaka, from different parts of the country seeking jobs.

According to Daily Star, out of a total 7,602 garment factories in the country, 2,916 opened up on Tuesday. The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturer and Exporters Association (BGMEA) expects more factories to start operations soon.

Bangladesh home minister Assaduzman Khan, after a meeting with the representatives of BGMEA, announced that no worker from outside the Dhaka city limits will be allowed to enter the city for now. Trade union representatives were not present at the meeting.

Bangladesh has imposed a COVID-19 lockdown since March 25, leading factories to shut production. The country has around 6,462 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 155 deaths, as on April 28. The countrywide lockdown will continue till May 5.

The reopening of garment factories may provide relief to workers whose wages for the month of March were delayed and who are worried about being laid off.

Though Bangladesh authorities recently released a USD 588 million package to aid workers, garment manufacturers complain that the funds are not sufficient to check the damage caused by the lockdown. As per BGMEA estimates, orders for 953 million pieces of readymade garment worth USD 3.05 billion have been cancelled. The cancellations affect more than 2.19 million workers, IndustriAll reported.

Garment workers have also been protesting for the payment of their wages. Though part of the wages were disbursed after protests from the workers and interventions by trade unions, full payment of wages is still pending.

Bangladesh is the world’s second largest exporter of readymade garments. However, the fate of the industry in the near future will depend on how European markets, where the bulk of the exports go, cope with the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, re-operationalizing garment factories at a time when the number of COVID-19 cases in Bangladesh is still rising has led to concerns about the security and health of the workers.

Though some factories have arranged for hand washing stations, masks and disposable caps for workers and temperature checks, most have failed to implement adequate physical distancing norms that are mandatory for preventing the spread of the highly contagious virus.

Even minimum protective facilities were reported missing in a large number of factories. Several workers also complained about the lack of transport facilities to commute to work.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) had issued guidelines for production units and governments to carry out proper risk assessment through dialogue with all the stakeholders, including workers, before resuming work. The ILO has emphasized that workplaces need to meet strict occupational and health safety standards.

However, most of the factories in Bangladesh operate with space constraints, where even with a small workforce, physical distancing norms are difficult to implement. The government and factory owners are also often accused of suppressing the voices of the trade unions and the workers.

On April 6, two garment workers died after participating in a protest against authorities in Mymensingh district over a policy of suspending thousands of garment workers and denying allowances during the ongoing lockdown. Workers accused the management of unfair dismissals and the denial of due wages. Workers also alleged being threatened with blacklisting if they demanded their rights.

400 million people in India’s risk falling into poverty in the informal economy during the COVID-19 crisis: ILO report

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Photo: ILO

“81 percent in the global workforce of 3.3 billion are currently affected by full or partial workplace closures.”

By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 8 April 2020: The Coronavirus crisis is affecting tens of millions of informal workers in the unorganized sector. Latest ILO figures for India, Nigeria, and Brazil reveal unprecedented numbers affected deeply towards poverty as a consequence of the lockdowns and other steps.

“Current lockdown measures in India, which are at the high end of the University of Oxford’s
COVID-19 Government Response Stringency Index, have impacted these workers significantly, forcing many of them to return to rural areas, says the ILO Monitor 2nd edition: COVID-19 and the world of work Updated estimates and analysis released on 7 April 2020. (ilo.org)

At the global level, the report press release says, “The COVID-19 crisis is expected to wipe out 6.7 percent of working hours globally in the second quarter of 2020 – equivalent to 195 million full-time workers.

Large reductions are foreseen in the Arab States (8.1 percent, equivalent to 5 million full-time workers), Europe (7.8 percent, or 12 million full-time workers) and Asia and the Pacific (7.2 percent, 125 million full-time workers).

Huge losses are expected across different income groups but especially in upper-middle-income countries (7.0 percent, 100 million full-time workers). This far exceeds the effects of the 2008-9 financial crisis.”

The rather disturbing report reveals more than four out of five people (81 percent) in the global workforce of 3.3 billion are currently affected by full or partial workplace closures.

“Workers and businesses are facing catastrophe, in both developed and developing economies,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder. “We have to move fast, decisively, and together. The right, urgent, measures, could make the difference between survival and collapse.”

Worldwide, two billion people work in the informal sector (mostly in emerging and developing economies) and are particularly at risk.

Large-scale, integrated, policy measures are needed, focusing on four pillars: supporting enterprises, employment, and incomes; stimulating the economy and jobs; protecting workers in the workplace; and, using social dialogue between government, workers, and employers to find solutions, the study says.