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ED: Leave no worker behind

  • Published at 08:42 am August 13th, 2021
RMG Worker
Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

Despite our workers being the backbone of our economic progress, we have not been able to adequately protect them

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought death and suffering to millions of people worldwide and across Bangladesh, making periodic nationwide lockdowns necessary in order to curb the rising rate of cases and subsequent deaths.

But, inevitably, this has left many out of work, especially in Bangladesh’s substantial informal economy, thereby with no sustainable source of income.

According to a webinar organized by Nagorik Shangathan, a platform comprised of rights activists, researchers, and academicians, this has caused extreme difficulties to workers as the pandemic has raged on, forcing them into the category of what experts are now calling the “new poor,” or put their lives at risk every day by going out into the world.

As expected, many contracted the coronavirus as a result, which has brought about the additional burden of paying for treatment that they can barely afford, if at all.

One of the best initiatives taken by the government in the initial stages of the pandemic was the influx of various stipends into different sectors of the economy in order to ensure that workers and their families are provided for, in addition to keeping them inside the safety of their own homes.

It is unfortunate that, despite our workers being the backbone of our economic progress, we have not been able to adequately protect them during this most difficult time, and it is imperative that we increase our social safety net so that no Bangladeshi citizen is forced risk their life and health in order to feed their families.

No amount of economic progress will ever excuse the needless suffering of our fellow citizens, and if we have the means to provide for them, there is no reason we should not.