The government has barred apparel factory workers from leaving their workplace during the Eid-ul-Azha holidays, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal has said.
Kamal announced the decision after a meeting over the wages, festival allowances and holidays of these workers at the Secretariat on Thursday, reports bdnews24.com.
“This vacation will not be extended,” he added.
The home minister said the workers’ wages for the month of June have been paid and the labour ministry would sit with the garment exporters' body BGMEA to reach a decision over the workers’ salaries for the month of July and their Eid allowances.
The state minister for labour and employment would sit with BGMEA and the labour leaders on Sunday to discuss the matter, according to Md Aktarul Islam, the public relations officer of the labour ministry.
Bangladesh enforced nationwide general holiday in late March after the emergence of coronavirus infection, asking people to stay indoors to avoid contracting the disease. The decision was accompanied by the shutdown of public transports at that time.
The owners, however, decided to reopen the factories amid the shutdown, forcing thousands of workers to pour back into Dhaka and other areas where the garment factories are located, including Gazipur, Narayanganj and Chattogram, travelling from their homes on foot.
The decision to reopen was met with harsh criticism and the owners reversed their decision and shut the factories down again, once more compelling the workers to travel back to their hometowns.
In the meantime, the rate of infection soared, taking the tally of infected to almost 200,000 around the country while the death toll climbed to 2,733 as on Thursday, according to data from Directorate General of Health Services or DGHS.
Many experts believe workers travelling back and forth from Dhaka to their hometowns had a lot to do with the surging rate of infection despite the two-month shutdown.