The Financial Express

0.35m RMG workers lost jobs during pandemic, survey finds

| Updated: January 23, 2021 21:06:47

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Picture used only for representation. Courtesy: Courtesy: ILO in Asia and the Pacific via Flickr Picture used only for representation. Courtesy: Courtesy: ILO in Asia and the Pacific via Flickr

A total of 350,000 (0.35 million) garment workers lost their jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a latest survey.

It also revealed that the practice of safety measures declined in all categories of garment factories while small scale factories observed the highest drop in such measures.

The report also found that 13.3 per cent of the surveyed 610 garment factories did not take any measures.

Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) and Mapped in Bangladesh (MiB) jointly conducted the survey titled ‘Vulnerability. Resilience and Recovery in the RMG Sector in view of COVID Pandemic: Findings from the Enterprise Survey’.

The findings were disclosed at a virtual dialogue held on Saturday.

“The average number of workers in a factory during December 2019 was 886 which came down to 790 in September 2020 (reduced by 10.8 per cent),” CPD research director Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem said while presenting the findings.

Although sample enterprises reported 2.7 per cent laid off of their workers, however, total job loss during this period was as high as 13.95 per cent, he said adding in other words, the sector has lost jobs of 0.357 million workers during this period.

Overall gender composition did not change in the sector, but as many as 33 per cent of factories have lower share of female at present compared to that of the pre-covid period.

During Covid period, about 232 factories were closed -- which is about 6.9 per cent of total 3,342 factories.

Regarding safety measures, he said factories largely followed three types of measures for workplace safety against coronavirus that included checking the body temperature, sanitising workers, and wearing of masks.

Over time, application of all these and other measures have declined, he said wearing face masks which was most applied in April (96 per cent) have reduced (80 per cent).

Sanitising workers and checking body temperatures have reduced to almost half now compared to the initial period, he noted.

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