TWO MILLION BANGLADESHI GARMENT WORKERS SACKED – 53.64 million face extreme poverty!

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Demonstration by farmers on May 23 seeking fair prices for farm products

MORE than two million garment workers have been sacked in Bangladesh since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Because of fewer orders from the United States and Europe, more than 1,000 factories have closed and more than two million workers have become unemployed.
Conversely, the prices of food, rents and other basic necessities have risen.
Meanwhile, international remittances from Bangladeshis working abroad represent around 7% of Bangladesh’s gross domestic product, according to the the World Economic Forum.
But according to the World Bank, total remittances by migrant Bangladeshi workers will decrease by US$14 billion this year. That is 25% down on 2019.
The decrease in monthly remittance, which average from $300 to $600, will have severe effects on millions of households in Bangladesh.
At least 53.64 million Bangladeshis are facing extreme poverty, earning less than 160 taka ($1.90) per day, according to a new study, which also found that more than half of these people already live in extremely poverty-stricken conditions and say they have already run out of money.
According to the South Asian Network on Economic Modelling (SANEM), the rate of poverty in Bangladesh may have doubled to 40.9% since the beginning of the pandemic.
Since March, the average family income has fallen by 74%.
Farmers also faced a loss of more than $6 billion just between March and May.
Manufacturing has suffered tremendously, particularly the ready-made garments sector, which accounts for 80% of the country’s export earnings.
More than four million garment workers depend on the textile industry for their livelihood and are thus severely affected.
Clothing factory workers in Bangladesh were hit twice by Covid-19, once when their factories closed, and again when global retailers cancelled orders
As fashion outlets re-opened in the UK last week, on the other side of the world the workers who stitch and sew the clothes hanging on their racks are losing their jobs and facing starvation.
In March, at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, as shops shut and countries went into lockdown, fashion brands cancelled billions of dollars of clothing orders with their suppliers, including clothing boxed and ready to be shipped or already on cutting and sewing lines.
In Bangladesh alone, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers Export Association (BGMEA) estimates that fashion brands have recalled around £3bn of orders they had already placed with suppliers.
According to an online tracker launched by the Workers Rights Consortium, British retail brands including Arcadia, Primark and Edinburgh Woollen Mill are among those yet to make a commitment to pay in full for all orders completed and in production with overseas suppliers.
Bangladesh is the eighth-most populous country in the world.
With a population exceeding 162 million people, it is one of the most densely-populated countries in the world.
It shares land borders with India to the west, north, and east, Myanmar to the southeast, and the Bay of Bengal to the south.
It is narrowly separated from Nepal and Bhutan by the Siliguri Corridor, and from China by Sikkim, in the north.
Dhaka, the capital and largest city, is the economic, political and cultural hub, with Chittagong, the largest sea port, the second-largest city.
China has said Bangladesh will get priority in terms of cooperation and support if they can successfully develop vaccine for the coronavirus.
‘Of course, Bangladesh is our important friend and Bangladesh will surely get priority,’ Deputy Chief of Mission at Chinese Embassy in Dhaka Hualong Yan said on Sunday.
He said Bangladesh and China are working closely to deal with the situation amid the coronavirus outbreak and that five Chinese companies are working to develop vaccine.
An inactivated Covid-19 vaccine candidate developed by the Institute of Medical Biology under the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences has entered phase-2 clinical trials in China, the Science and Technology Daily reported on Saturday.
The phase-2 trials, which further evaluate the immunogenicity and safety of the vaccine in humans, are conducted in the southwestern province of Yunnan.
So far, five Covid-19 vaccine candidates have been approved for clinical trials in China, accounting for 40 per cent of the total vaccines in clinical trials worldwide, according to the Ministry of Science and Technology, reports Xinhua.
As Bangladesh’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic continued to become fiercer, Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, had a phone call conversation with Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, last month.
During the talks, President Xi reassured Hasina of standing by Bangladesh as the truest friend in this all-out war against Covid-19.
Bangladesh on Sunday reported 3,531 new Covid-19 cases in just 24 hours, raising the total number of confirmed cases to 112,306, with 39 more patients losing their lives that day, raising the death toll to 1,464.
Meanwhile, a survey report by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has listed Bangladesh as being among the world’s ten worst countries for workers in 2020.
The ITUC’s Global Rights Index 2020 said last Thursday: ‘Workers in Bangladesh were exposed to mass dismissals, arrests, violence and state repression against peaceful protests.
‘In the garment sector, strikes were often met with extreme brutality by police forces.’
It also said that workers in Bangladesh could not exercise their basic rights at work without fear of retaliation and brutal repression.
It said that they face three major issues, including violence, mass dismissal and regressive laws in the country.
Others on the list of ten worst countries for workers in 2020 include Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Honduras, India, Kazakhstan, the Philippines, Turkey and Zimbabwe.
The report mentioned that in Bangladesh’s garment sector, which represents an overwhelming share of the country’s export economy, over 500,000 workers employed in EPZs were not allowed to form or join unions, which left them without real power to bargain for better working conditions.
‘This trend, by governments and employers, to restrict the rights of workers through limiting collective bargaining, disrupting the right to strike, and excluding workers from unions, has been made worse by a rise in the number of countries that impede the registration of unions,’ the ITUC observed in the report.
‘These threats to workers, our economies and democracy were endemic in workplaces and countries before the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted lives and livelihoods,’ ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said in the report.
At the same time, the report also observed a new trend in 2020 that showed a number of scandals over government surveillance of trade union leaders in an attempt to instil fear and put pressure on independent trade unions and their members.
‘In many countries, the existing repression of unions and the refusal of governments to respect rights and engage in social dialogue has exposed workers to illness and death and left countries unable to fight the pandemic effectively,’ he added.
The Middle East and North Africa remain the worst region in the world for working people, for seven years running, due to the ongoing insecurity and conflict in Palestine, Syria, Yemen and Libya, coupled with the most regressive region for workers’ representation and union rights, the report said.
Key findings of the report also include:

  • 85% of countries violated workers’ right to call a strike.
  • 80% of countries violated the right to collectively bargain.
  • The number of countries that impeded the registration of unions has increased.
  • Three new countries entered the list of ten worst countries for workers (Egypt, Honduras, India)
  • The number of countries that denied or constrained freedom of speech increased from 54 in 2019 to 56 in 2020.
  • Workers were exposed to violence in 51 countries.
  • Workers had no or restricted access to justice in 72% of the countries.
  • Workers experienced arbitrary arrests and detention in 61 countries.

endsmore than two million garment workers have been sacked in Bangladesh since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Because of fewer orders from the United States and Europe, more than 1,000 factories have closed and more than two million workers have become unemployed.
Conversely, the prices of food, rents and other basic necessities have risen.
Meanwhile, international remittances from Bangladeshis working abroad represent around 7% of Bangladesh’s gross domestic product, according to the the World Economic Forum.
But according to the World Bank, total remittances by migrant Bangladeshi workers will decrease by US$14 billion this year. That is 25% down on 2019.
The decrease in monthly remittance, which average from $300 to $600, will have severe effects on millions of households in Bangladesh.
At least 53.64 million Bangladeshis are facing extreme poverty, earning less than 160 taka ($1.90) per day, according to a new study, which also found that more than half of these people already live in extremely poverty-stricken conditions and say they have already run out of money.
According to the South Asian Network on Economic Modelling (SANEM), the rate of poverty in Bangladesh may have doubled to 40.9% since the beginning of the pandemic.
Since March, the average family income has fallen by 74%.
Farmers also faced a loss of more than $6 billion just between March and May.
Manufacturing has suffered tremendously, particularly the ready-made garments sector, which accounts for 80% of the country’s export earnings.
More than four million garment workers depend on the textile industry for their livelihood and are thus severely affected.
Clothing factory workers in Bangladesh were hit twice by Covid-19, once when their factories closed, and again when global retailers cancelled orders
As fashion outlets re-opened in the UK last week, on the other side of the world the workers who stitch and sew the clothes hanging on their racks are losing their jobs and facing starvation.
In March, at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, as shops shut and countries went into lockdown, fashion brands cancelled billions of dollars of clothing orders with their suppliers, including clothing boxed and ready to be shipped or already on cutting and sewing lines.
In Bangladesh alone, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers Export Association (BGMEA) estimates that fashion brands have recalled around £3bn of orders they had already placed with suppliers.
According to an online tracker launched by the Workers Rights Consortium, British retail brands including Arcadia, Primark and Edinburgh Woollen Mill are among those yet to make a commitment to pay in full for all orders completed and in production with overseas suppliers.
Bangladesh is the eighth-most populous country in the world.
With a population exceeding 162 million people, it is one of the most densely-populated countries in the world.
It shares land borders with India to the west, north, and east, Myanmar to the southeast, and the Bay of Bengal to the south.
It is narrowly separated from Nepal and Bhutan by the Siliguri Corridor, and from China by Sikkim, in the north.
Dhaka, the capital and largest city, is the economic, political and cultural hub, with Chittagong, the largest sea port, the second-largest city.
China has said Bangladesh will get priority in terms of cooperation and support if they can successfully develop vaccine for the coronavirus.
‘Of course, Bangladesh is our important friend and Bangladesh will surely get priority,’ Deputy Chief of Mission at Chinese Embassy in Dhaka Hualong Yan said on Sunday.
He said Bangladesh and China are working closely to deal with the situation amid the coronavirus outbreak and that five Chinese companies are working to develop vaccine.
An inactivated Covid-19 vaccine candidate developed by the Institute of Medical Biology under the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences has entered phase-2 clinical trials in China, the Science and Technology Daily reported on Saturday.
The phase-2 trials, which further evaluate the immunogenicity and safety of the vaccine in humans, are conducted in the southwestern province of Yunnan.
So far, five Covid-19 vaccine candidates have been approved for clinical trials in China, accounting for 40 per cent of the total vaccines in clinical trials worldwide, according to the Ministry of Science and Technology, reports Xinhua.
As Bangladesh’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic continued to become fiercer, Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, had a phone call conversation with Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, last month.
During the talks, President Xi reassured Hasina of standing by Bangladesh as the truest friend in this all-out war against Covid-19.
Bangladesh on Sunday reported 3,531 new Covid-19 cases in just 24 hours, raising the total number of confirmed cases to 112,306, with 39 more patients losing their lives that day, raising the death toll to 1,464.
Meanwhile, a survey report by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has listed Bangladesh as being among the world’s ten worst countries for workers in 2020.
The ITUC’s Global Rights Index 2020 said last Thursday: ‘Workers in Bangladesh were exposed to mass dismissals, arrests, violence and state repression against peaceful protests.
‘In the garment sector, strikes were often met with extreme brutality by police forces.’
It also said that workers in Bangladesh could not exercise their basic rights at work without fear of retaliation and brutal repression.
It said that they face three major issues, including violence, mass dismissal and regressive laws in the country.
Others on the list of ten worst countries for workers in 2020 include Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Honduras, India, Kazakhstan, the Philippines, Turkey and Zimbabwe.
The report mentioned that in Bangladesh’s garment sector, which represents an overwhelming share of the country’s export economy, over 500,000 workers employed in EPZs were not allowed to form or join unions, which left them without real power to bargain for better working conditions.
‘This trend, by governments and employers, to restrict the rights of workers through limiting collective bargaining, disrupting the right to strike, and excluding workers from unions, has been made worse by a rise in the number of countries that impede the registration of unions,’ the ITUC observed in the report.
‘These threats to workers, our economies and democracy were endemic in workplaces and countries before the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted lives and livelihoods,’ ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said in the report.
At the same time, the report also observed a new trend in 2020 that showed a number of scandals over government surveillance of trade union leaders in an attempt to instil fear and put pressure on independent trade unions and their members.
‘In many countries, the existing repression of unions and the refusal of governments to respect rights and engage in social dialogue has exposed workers to illness and death and left countries unable to fight the pandemic effectively,’ he added.
The Middle East and North Africa remain the worst region in the world for working people, for seven years running, due to the ongoing insecurity and conflict in Palestine, Syria, Yemen and Libya, coupled with the most regressive region for workers’ representation and union rights, the report said.
Key findings of the report also include:

  • 85% of countries violated workers’ right to call a strike.
  • 80% of countries violated the right to collectively bargain.
  • The number of countries that impeded the registration of unions has increased.
  • Three new countries entered the list of ten worst countries for workers (Egypt, Honduras, India)
  • The number of countries that denied or constrained freedom of speech increased from 54 in 2019 to 56 in 2020.
  • Workers were exposed to violence in 51 countries.
  • Workers had no or restricted access to justice in 72% of the countries.

• Workers experienced arbitrary arrests and detention in 61 countries.