The end of the COVID-19 lockdown and the reopening of the garment factories in Bangladesh has brought in its own set of challenges. Some factories have been shut down permanently, leaving thousands of workers jobless. The number of terminated and retrenched workers is increasing gradually, although there is disagreement among multiple parties regarding the actual number. Workers and Trade Union (TU) leaders have protested by staging physical demonstrations (rallies, human chains and sit-ins) to claim their jobs and livelihoods security while the virus is still at large. BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD) has undertaken a media tracking exercise to understand the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the Ready Made Garments (RMG) industry and the 4.1 million workers it employs, the majority of whom are women. The study attempts to identify the roles of different actors including trade unions and workers’ rights activists as they navigate the crisis while dealing with international buyers, RMG owners, and the GoB. The report covers media reports on the current situation of the RMG sector during COVID-19. The fifth instalment covers the period 17 June – 25 July 2020.
Authors: Antara, Iffat Jahan; Syed, Samia Kalim
Type: Research Update