The readymade garments (RMG) factories can now use only half their workforce due to the coronavirus crisis, which may lead them to shed jobs from June, Rubana Huq fears.
She says the owners are ready to work with the government for the rehabilitation of the workers who are losing their jobs.
The chief of BGMEA, the apparel exporters’ lobby, took questions from the media about the situation during a virtual news conference on Thursday.
The media call was organised to mark the inauguration of a coronavirus testing lab for the workers.
According to Rubana, as many as 1,926 of the 2,274 factories registered with the BGMEA are operating after the foreign buyers cancelled or postponed orders due to the pandemic that has hit global consumption as well. This means a number of factories are closing.
“Many are asking about layoffs. The layoffs will actually be counted from Jun 1. This is an unexpected reality. We have nothing to do now. Because we will have the layoff option only if the factories continue using 55 per cent of their capacity,” she said.
She appealed to the government to find a solution so that “all can ride out the crisis together”.
“But there will be layoffs,” Rubana maintained.
She also said the sacked workers will be prioritised when the situation improves.
However, speaking to bdnews24.com later, the BGMEA chief said she did not announce that the workers will be sacked within June.
“Such headlines are an attempt to stir trouble in the garment sector. What I said is that the overall cut in orders led the factories to use only 55 per cent of their total capacity in June, which may cause layoffs.
The second-largest apparel exporter after China, Bangladesh makes more than 80 per cent of its exports earnings from the sector. The majority of around 4.0 million workers in the sector are women