Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has engaged different international rights groups to ensure international retailers and brands pay local suppliers. It is also working closely with the Bangladesh government and the country's missions abroad to initiate parallel track of discussions with foreign buyers and governments.
So far, work orders worth nearly $3.50 billion have been cancelled by different international retailers and brands due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the amount, most have been assured of payment by the buyers, though delayed. There is still uncertainty in payment as some buyers are not responding to the calls of BGMEA, for instance the British retailer Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM), which along with its affiliates, have been sent a letter by BGMEA threatening to have them blacklisted.
Some others, such as the American retailer JC Penney, have filed for bankruptcy, putting the local suppliers in uncertainty. The British retailer Debenhams has also already appointed administrators, making a payment of $66 million uncertain to the Bangladeshi suppliers.
BGMEA has taken all-out steps to reengage the buyers in discussions. It is also working closely with social and international partners like International Labour organisation, Human Rights Watch, Workers Rights Consortium and academia to build a global opinion to support our manufacturers and workers in this difficult time.