World, Asia - Pacific

Bangladesh garment workers demand payment of salaries

Protesters flout all rules of social distancing, factory owners bemoan cancelation of international orders

Md. Kamruzzaman   | 13.04.2020
Bangladesh garment workers demand payment of salaries

DHAKA, Bangladesh

Hundreds of garment factory workers held a demonstration on the outskirts of Bangladesh's capital Dhaka on Monday for the second day in a row demanding payment of salaries.

The country has been under lockdown to stem the spread of coronavirus pushing daily wage workers toward unemployment.

Readymade garments are the South Asian nation's main export employing nearly 4 million people, mostly women, who work without any job security.

"My family of five fully depends on my income. I sent them all to my village, but stayed back to collect my wages," Mohammad Mohsin, a protester, told Anadolu Agency by phone.

Officials are concerned that protesters are flouting all rules of social distancing to curb the outbreak during these demonstrations.

"These workers pack in one center without paying any heed to our repeated request of maintaining distance," said local police head Shahid Hossain, noting these were tough times for the entire nation.

The garment factory owners' association has assured of payment of salaries to workers in batches.

"We asked all factory owners to clear due salaries by April 16, but the government extended the lockdown and now it is difficult to collect all the workers," said Fazle Shameem, a leader of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association.

He added that orders worth billions of dollars had to be canceled due to the situation globally.

“We are passing through a serious crisis. In this situation, there is no scope to continue the salary of temporary workers. But those who are permanent will be continued in jobs.”

Bangladesh has reported 39 fatalities from coronavirus, with 803 confirmed cases, according to health officials.

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