All Parties Have to Take Responsibility
to Save the Lives of the Workers Garment Workers’ Trade Union Centre, representing the interests of more than five million garment workers in Bangladesh, a leading supplier of garments in the whole world, has called on all parties involved in the industry to take a responsible role in tackling the global Corona pandemic. The statement also demanded that during this crisis local owners, international retailer brands and other supply chain beneficiaries move forward in a sensitive, humane role in order to save the lives of workers whose blood-soaked labor is running the apparel industry. At the same time, consumers have been urged to stay by the workers in solidarity during this time of biggest disaster in recent history.
Garment TUC believes that international retailer brands need to clarify their position on the propaganda spread at the very first stage of the crisis by the factory owners of the country that billion-dollar work order has been canceled. Locals and international, those who receive almost all of the financial benefits of this industry cannot by any means deny their responsibilities.
During the lockdown period announced by the Bangladesh government to prevent mass transmission, the owners have kept many factories opened. With the consent of the government, many closed factories announced sudden opening within a week of the lockdown announced. When Mass transit being suspended, thousands of workers walked hundreds of kilometers, pressed into non machinery vehicles and returned to work. Which put workers at risk of widespread transmission. In the face of protests, some factories have been closed again. Yet many factories are currently operating. Many factories have announced lay-offs instead of giving workers paid leave. As a result, workers who get very much insufficient wages, will be deprived of half of their basic wages during this leave.
At the very beginning of the situation, the owners expressed their inability to pay the wages of the workers owing to the termination of the work orders. Later, although the government is providing large financial assistance to pay the wages of workers, a notice has been issued in many factories declared lay-off instead of paid leave which shall let them cut the wages of the workers. On the other hand, many factories have been kept open despite the risk of widespread virus transmission. Garment TUC considers all of this to be very unwanted. We will never accept a threat on the lives of the workers by the bid to get the ‘big bailouts’.
Garment TUC strongly protests thousands of fired, dismissals, forced resignations on the occasion of the Corona epidemic. Based on the data recorded at the Garment TUC’s office alone, it is said that more than fifteen thousand pruning incidents have occurred so far. All layoffs, dismissals, forcible resignations should be banned at this time, and all job vacancy orders occurred in the last three weeks must be canceled. The Garment Workers’ Trade Union Centre expects the owners to give up the mentality of misusing the crucial situation during this great crisis.
The Garment Workers’ Trade Union Centre is playing a viable role in providing food and medical treatment to the workers suffering in the current situation and we expect the solidarity and cooperation of all.
Garment Workers’ Trade Union Centre, Bangladesh