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Pressurise buyers not to cancel work orders

BD urges ILO amid pandemic


MONIRA MUNNI | Friday, 10 July 2020


Bangladesh called on International Labour Organisation (ILO) on Thursday to put pressure on global buyers for not cancelling work orders during the Covid-19 pandemic and for abiding by the existing business contracts.

It also pressed ILO for taking necessary measures to ensure jobs for migrant workers amid the coronavirus outbreak.

State minister for labour and employment Monnujan Sufian made the appeals in the two-day 'ILO Virtual Global Summit on COVID-19 and the World of Work' that began on Wednesday.

The global summit was the largest-ever online gathering of workers, employers and governments. Its participants discussed how to address economic and social impact of the pandemic, which has 'laid bare the extreme vulnerability of millions of workers and enterprises'.

The summit examined a range of issues, including - how to promote full and productive employment in this new environment, and what needs to be done to address massive vulnerabilities in the world of work made evident by the pandemic.

It also discussed which workers require particular support and attention, and how to position reduction and elimination of poverty as central objectives of the recovery process, according to ILO.

The event examined how the international community could come together with real common purpose and rededicate itself to the delivery of the UN's 2030 agenda.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina along with other leaders from over 80 nations, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, and chiefs of other UN and international agencies addressed the summit via video messages on Wednesday.

During her speech, Ms Sufian said, "Unfortunately Bangladesh has experienced a sharp decrease in exports, particularly in the ready-made garment (RMG) sector, due to cancellation of orders. Many factory owners are forced to stop their production."

"Moreover, many Bangladeshi migrant workers have lost their jobs, and we are facing a crisis in remittance inflow because of the Covid-19 pandemic."

"ILO should come forward to ask the buyers not to cancel their orders and to fulfill their existing contractual obligations," she noted.

According to Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), a total of 1,134 of its member factories reported that (work orders of) some 975.20 million pieces of RMG products worth US$ 3.15 billion have either been cancelled or held up until mid of April due to the pandemic.

The minister said ILO should also ensure job of migrant workers during this pandemic, and proposed that prioritised market access should be given for the weaker economies.

She stressed on working together for achieving ILO's 100-year declaration and agenda 2030 despite the current challenging situation.

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected millions of people working in formal and informal economies, Ms Sufian said, explaining Bangladesh government's measures taken during the period.

She informed the summit that the government has allocated US$ 12.1 billion as recovery package, while $1.0 billion has been allocated for paying salaries of workers.

Munni_fe@yahoo.com