The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has urged factory owners not to display photos of the workers sacked or suspended for their alleged involvement in labour unrest. It may be remembered that in December last, factory owners fired or suspended 1,600 workers for their alleged links to unrest in the manufacturing hub of Ashulia.
Some companies posted pictures of those employees on factory walls for easy identification, claimed Siddiqur Rahman, president of BGMEA. This suspension and subsequent identification of those workers were later heavily criticised by rights groups both at home and abroad. The BGMEA chief was speaking at an emergency press conference at the association's office in Dhaka to discuss the current situation as a volatile global situation and some domestic challenges are having an impact on the sector.
Rahman requested the concerned factory owners not to display the photos of terminated or suspended workers as the law doesn't support this practice. As the units resumed operations after two weeks of deadlock, all suspended and sacked workers have been given their dues and salaries as per the labour law, he observed.
The growth of garment exports from Bangladesh declined 3.53 per cent year-on-year in December last year due to a volatile global situation coupled with domestic challenges including the chronic crisis of gas and power. Additionally, Brexit, currency swings and the US elections did impact apparel exports from Bangladesh, Rahman said.
In July-December this fiscal year, garment exports grew only 4.37 per cent year-on-year to $13.7 billion; at least 12.25 per cent annual growth is required to achieve the export target of $50 billion by the end of 2021. Garment shipments to the UK, the third largest export destination for Bangladesh decreased 5.19 per cent as demand weakened in early signs of Brexit's impact on the British economy.