84% garment workers concerned about Covid-19 situation: survey
Around 84 per cent of the garment workers are concerned about the current state of Covid-19 in Bangladesh, according to a survey revealed today.
South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (Sanem) and Microfinance Opportunities (MFO) jointly conducted the survey -- "Worker Diaries: Working during COVID-19 Lockdowns" – since April 2020.
The data of the survey has been collected through interviews conducted over the cellular phone on 1,278 workers of garment factories in five major industrial areas -- Chittagong, Dhaka City, Gazipur, Narayanganj, and Savar.
The survey focused on the effects of lockdown on garment workers and their feelings about the current state of their workplace safety and the prospect of more or less pay in their upcoming paychecks.
During the first week of August this year, garment workers were recalled to work amid the unexpected easing of the national lockdown, Sanem said.
A slightly smaller share of women worked than men, 81 per cent compared to 89 per cent, respectively.
Among those 83 per cent of respondents who had worked in the first week, only 44 per cent told that they were comfortable going to work during the national lockdown.
Only 45 per cent of the workers were given a mask to wear while working. Around 77 per cent of those working respondents told that they had been able to socially distance while working in the factory.
Sanem's finding showed that only 47 per cent of respondents told that their factory had taken additional steps to prevent Covid-19 infections.
"Workers are having to work with uncertainty about their future economic security. In this situation, concerned authorities need to take adequate steps to ensure the safety of their workers and address the concerns of their employees," Sanem said.
To facilitate the recovery process of the readymade garments (RMG) sector, export, and the economy as a whole, Sanem said.
Factory owners, government officials, policymakers, and advocacy groups will have to come together to prioritize the safety and wellbeing of workers, it also said.