Phase VI: COVID 19 Crisis Impact on RMG Wages and Employment and Role of Trade Unions – Media Tracking Report

To combat the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the RMG sector, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturer and Exporters Association (BGMEA), the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) and a number of leading trade unions have requested and lobbied with buyers and brands to pay the dues instead of cancelling orders. International labour rights groups also initiated campaigns with similar demands, which gave local suppliers the power to voice their demands. As an outcome, it seems the sector is reviving and export orders are coming back. However, workers’ struggle for regular pay and job security continues as reported by the media. BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD) has undertaken a media tracking exercise to understand the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the readymade garments 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 sixth and final instalment covers the period 25 July – 15 August 2020.

Authors: Antara, Iffat Jahan; Syed, Samia Kalim
Type: Research Update
Year: 2020