• Thursday, Aug 18, 2022
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Survey: 81% RMG workers walk to their workplaces amid lockdown

  • Published at 08:53 pm April 26th, 2021
RMG apparel workers
Scores of apparel workers walking to the respective factories on foot amid the strict lockdown in Dhaka in April Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

Currently, there are more than 4 million workers working in RMG factories of the country

Most of the readymade garment (RMG) workers have to walk to reach their workplaces amid the strict lockdown, as many factory owners did not arrange any transportation for their workers.

According to a recent survey conducted by the Asian Center for Development (ACD), 81.1% of workers of RMG sector have to walk to their workplaces where 5.6% go by non-motorized vehicles, 7.3% by buses, and the rest use other types of motorized vehicles.

Currently, there are more than 4 million workers working in RMG factories of the country.

The government imposed a set of restrictions to be followed during the nationwide weeklong strict lockdown starting from April 14 to curb the staggering Covid-19 surge.

But factory owners demanded to keep the industries open during the strict lockdown. So, most garment workers have to walk on foot to their workplaces.

Earlier, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) President Faruque Hassan and others involved in this sector said that most of the workers lived near their respective factories, so there will be no need for separate vehicles for the workers.

However, experts said that concerned authorities should provide safety and hygiene-compliant transportation facilities for the workers, otherwise ensuring hygiene rules inside the factories will be useless.

Babul Akhter, president of Bangladesh Garment and Industrial Workers Federation (BGIWF), said a large portion of the workers lived near their factories.

But at least 20% of workers of a factory who used public transport to get to work are facing problems. Now they manage rickshaws or other motorized and non-motorized vehicles to get to work, he added.

Asking about the survey, Faruque Hassan, president of BGMEA, said to the media: "Around 80% of the workers live in the vicinity of their respective factories. They usually go to the factory on foot.”

Faruque Hassan said: “We have divided the time for the workers to enter the factory in 3 stages. Workers enter the factory at 7:30 am, 8 am, 8:30 am, so they can enter the factory by maintaining social distances and wash their hands according to the hygiene rules.”

"We have also separated the ending shifts, lunchtime of all factories and we made wearing masks compulsory for all workers. At the entrances of the factory, we ensure body temperature checks, hand sanitizers and have kept a 3-meter distance from one machine to another.”

Sources said that the factories have made required arrangements so that the workers can enter the factories by maintaining health rules.