- Kristopher Fraser |
As Western countries continue to cancel factory orders with stores closed and e-commerce only doing so much to level off money lost from brick-and-mortar, Bangladesh's garment workers are getting let go left and right as the factories they work at continue to lose revenue by the day. To help ameliorate some of the financial struggles these workers shall face, unions have urged the government to step in and do something ASAP.
Over 3 billion dollars worth of orders has been cancelled or suspended, and over 10,000 workers from 37 factories have lost their jobs. It could be mid-summer before these factories are able to rebound and start hiring workers again. Unions are urging the government to ensure that the factories will hire their workers back once things get moving again.
The garment industry accounts for 80 percent of Bangladesh's exports, and employs 4 million people, mostly women. It is the primary industry that has been able to make people in Bangladesh economically mobile, despite the meager wages. Many people who had very little work or income were able to secure regular paychecks as garment industry workers.
The Bangladesh government has declared a 588 million dollar package to help the garment industry stay afloat, but it doesn't look like it will be enough. Western companies are being encouraged to support garment factory workers in Bangladesh if they can, although with many losing revenue with temporary store closures that could prove difficult.