Keep factories shut until Apr 11: BGMEA urges owners

Keep factories shut until Apr 11: BGMEA urges owners

The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has urged the owners to keep their factories closed until April 11 to help tackle the spread of coronavirus.

BGMEA President Rubana Huq made the request on Saturday considering the overall situation.

In a separate message, she assured that RMG workers will get their wages and salaries for the month of March. “There should be no doubt about that,” she said.

BGMEA on Saturday said buyers have so far cancelled orders worth $3.02 billion following the coronavirus outbreak, affecting 1,104 factories and approximately 2.19 million workers.

Meanwhile, thousands of RMG workers, who left Dhaka after the government declared general holidays from March 26, started returning to the capital. Many of them said they fear losing jobs if they fail to show up for work.

Bangladesh, the second largest exporter of RMG goods after China, employs about four million people in the sector, mostly women.

Health experts say the labour-intensive sector, which contributes more than 80 percent to the country’s export earnings, is at high risk of coronavirus outbreak.

Bangladesh has so far confirmed 70 cases and eight coronavirus deaths. The country has shut down educational institutions, mass transports and urged people to stay indoors to prevent further transmission of the virus.

Meanwhile, in a separate message, Rubana clarified that factories that have international purchase orders and are producing PPEs can remain open if they ensure necessary protective measures for their employees.

She said no garment worker will lose their jobs due to absence at their workplace, urging all factory owners to consider it on humanitarian ground.