Some 26,500 garment workers were fired by 87 factories without following labour laws
Some 1,915 readymade garment factories have been declared laid off and 324,684 workers have become unemployed during the Covid-19 pandemic, said Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies (BILS)
It also revealed that some 26,500 garment workers have been fired by 87 factories without following the provisions of labour laws since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in the country.
As a result, the workers are not getting their due wages and fair compensation.
BILS made the disclosure at a press conference styled "Covid-19: Review of Decent Work Situation in the Readymade Garment Industry" at the National Press Club in the capital on Thursday.
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.
In the written statement, BILS expressed its fear that about 60 percent of RMG workers will lose jobs due to the use of advanced technologies in garment industries.
It mentioned that the world is becoming more and more dependent on technology and definitely its use will increase in the country's apparel sector in future.
Blaming the inconsistent wage structure, BILS leaders said despite a positive growth in the RMG sector, the living standard of RMG workers is getting down gradually.
An economic slowdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has intensely brought the RMG workers' pathetic life into fore, they said, adding that job and salary cuts, job uncertainty, sudden layoffs and shutdown of factories have put them into uncertainty.
They mentioned that workers' agitations happen round the year mainly in protest of job cuts and factory closure, and for arrears, and there is no exception even during the pandemic.
Almost every day since April this year, workers took to the street demanding their salaries or protesting job cuts, shutdown of factories, said the BILS leaders.
They also feared that hundreds of thousands of workers would go below the poverty line due to the adverse impact of Covid-19.
Replying to questions from journalists, the trade union leaders said the actual number of layoffs is much higher than the news of layoffs coming out in the media.
Saying that mostly the factories having trade unions are being closed down, they alleged that the government has not yet taken any action in this regard.
They also alleged that the registration of new trade unions has remained closed for a long time.
The leaders said although factories were supposed to ensure health safety of workers, they are not sincere about this crucial issue.
Amirul Haque Amin, vice-chairman of BILS and coordinator of IndustriALL Bangladesh, moderated the press conference, while IndustriALL Bangladesh Council General Secretary China Rahman, IndustriALL Bangladesh Council Tongi-Gazipur Cluster Committee Coordinator Salauddin Swapan, Bangladesh Federation of Workers Solidarity President Ruhul Amin, Bangladesh Mukta Sramik Federation acting general secretary Shahidullah Badal and BILS Director Nazma Yesmin, also spoke at the event.