FE REPORT | March 29, 2020
The majority of the country’s readymade garment (RMG) factories remained closed on Saturday amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to the sector trade bodies.
The workers of some factories, located in Mohammadpur, Ashulia and Gazipur, protested against running production, fearing the spread of the virus, industry people said.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) said about 80 per cent of its member factories remained closed on Saturday.
The rest of the BGMEA member factories remained open in the morning but many of them were forced to announce closure after lunch break due to workers’ protests amid Covid-19 outbreak.
On Friday, Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) instructed all its member factories to keep their units shut until April 04 in line with the government’s decision.
BKMEA senior vice president Mohammad Hatem said more than 60 per cent of its member factories were closed on Saturday.
BGMEA, on the other hand, on Thursday recommended factory closure.
In line with a government instruction, it said, the factories which have work orders and are engaged in emergency manufacturing of personal protective equipment and masks to prevent the coronavirus can run, provided the units will ensure adequate health safety of workers.
Earlier on March 23, BGMEA made a five-point suggestion including mentioning labour law provisions 12 and 16 to its member factories regarding closure.
It recommended citing the coronavirus as the reason of closure, the duration of closure and possible opening date, and informing the government authority concerned about closure.
The BGMEA suggestions also included paying monthly wages according to the ability of factories, if possible, or announcing the due date for timely wage payment.
Labour leaders, however, opposed mentioning the provisions 12 and 16 saying that under the provision, workers will get half of their basic pay and full house rent during the closure period.
According to industry insiders, a good number of factories shut down until April 04 under the labour law provisions 12 and 16.