Thousands of garment workers in distress over unpaid wages

With garment factories beginning to reopen to resume production, textile workers have returned to work across Bangladesh, fostering distresses over the risk of infections to both communities and workers amid the nationwide spread of #COVID-19.

Despite the advice of the Bangladesh Manufacturers and Exporters Association, that have stated to only engage workers living nearby, factories have been witnessed putting profit before the wellbeing of their workers, have requested laborers who had returned to their hometowns to resume with the work, with the bleak market situation where job security and regular payment of wages is a serious concern, this has made difficult for up to 2,000 workers to refuse.

Garment workers are at increased risk of #COVID-19 infection as factories supplying to major brands reopen this month

Unions have also raised concerns regarding garment factories not adapting to adequate social distancing and safety measures to safeguard the workers against the risk of infections, which has resulted in hundreds of workers testing positive for Covid-19.

Meanwhile, the ongoing protest over unpaid wages after various fast fashion retailers cancelled orders and postponed payments to their suppliers in response to the pandemic has left thousands of workers in a state of distress.

Factories have said they need to resume production and reopen due to being under pressure from higher chains of command that are liable to ship orders and meet deadlines. Conferring from the publicly available supplier lists and reports, companies who are visibly sourcing from the garments factories who have now reopened include Primark, Sainsbury’s, C&A and Tesco (Bangladesh: Garment workers at risk of COVID-19 infection as factories supplying to major brands reopen, against Health Ministry advice, 2020).

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