Bangladesh will sue factory owners that do not pay their staff during the lockdown, with thousands of garment workers struggling after factories shut without paying March wages. Workers have taken to the streets to demand they be paid, defying a mass lockdown that has seen thousands of factories shut as orders from Western retailers dry up.
The government has said at least 350 factory owners have not yet paid March wages, with more than 150,000 workers affected, though labor leaders say the true figure is much higher. Labor ministry official Shibnath Roy said businesses that did not pay staff would not receive any money from a $588 million rescue package that Bangladesh announced last month for its crucial export sector.
The head of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association Rubana Huq said 98 of the 2,274 factories it represents had yet to pay workers. Millions of households in Bangladesh depend upon the garment sector, which has been hit hard by the cancellation of more than $3 billion-worth of orders as shops around the world shut down.