Thousands of garment workers started rushing to Dhaka on Saturday morning amid lockdown
Readymade garment factory workers, who are currently outside Dhaka, do not have to return to their workplaces before the ongoing Covid-19 lockdown ends on August 5, says the state minister for public administration.
“In this particular case, the workers do not have to worry about losing their jobs,” Farhad Hossain said in a bid to assure the workers, after virtually joining a program on a private television channel Friday night, reports Bangla Tribune.
The government had earlier announced that all export-oriented factories would remain closed throughout the strict lockdown.
However, the authorities on Friday issued a circular stating that from Sunday all export-based industries and factories would remain out of the lockdown’s purview.
Replying to a query, Farhad said: “We have talked to the factory owners and they said only the workers who are currently in Dhaka will have to return to work. Those currently not in Dhaka won’t have to come to work.”
“Since there will be no public transports, workers outside Dhaka must stay where they are right now.
“They will gradually return to their respective workplaces after August 5. No one needs to be anxious about losing their jobs,” added the state minister.
Asked why the factories have been allowed to reopen amid the lockdown, he said: “We have to consider the country’s economy as well.”
“The garment industry — which employs around four to five million people — is one of the biggest export earners for the country.
“It is necessary to take orders from foreign buyers. Not taking orders will put the whole industry at risk and countless workers will lose their jobs. That will have an adverse impact on the economy,” Farhad said.
However, despite his assurances, the fear of unemployment trumped pandemic panic among the garment workers.
Since Saturday morning, thousands of people from multiple districts have started to return to their workplaces in Dhaka, Gazipur and Narayanganj.
Brushing aside social distancing, massive crowds of people were seen travelling through roads and waterways from Barisal, Sirajganj, Bogra, Tangail, Netrokona, Mymensingh, Sherpur, Jamalpur, Bhola and Madaripur districts, among others.