Bangladesh garment factories reopen, defying virus lockdown, Retail News, ET Retail

Bangladesh garment factories reopen, defying virus lockdownDHAKA: Hundreds of Bangladesh garment factories defied a nationwide coronavirus lockdown to reopen on Sunday, boosting fears the industry’s susceptible and mainly feminine workforce could be exposed to the contagion.

Big-identify intercontinental manufacturers have cancelled or held up billions of bucks in orders due to the pandemic, crippling an sector that accounts for above nearly all of the South Asian country’s export earnings.

Factories shut their doorways in late March but some suppliers said they were being now staying pushed by suppliers to satisfy remarkable export orders.

“We have to settle for coronavirus as aspect of existence. If we never open factories, there will be economic crisis,” said Bangladesh Knitwear Producers and Exporters Association vice president Mohammad Hatem.

He said his MB Knit company had reopened aspect of a factory that helps make outfits for Britain’s Primark and a number of other suppliers.

Factories were being “under strain” from manufacturers to meet up with export deadlines and feared the possibility that billions in orders could be diverted to competing operations in countries like Vietnam or China, Hatem added.

More than four million people operate in hundreds of garment factories throughout Bangladesh, which last 12 months shipped out $35 billion of clothing to suppliers these kinds of as H&M, Inditex and Walmart last 12 months — second only to China.

Hundreds of people factories had resumed operations above the weekend in the industrial areas of Gazipur and Ashulia, just outdoors the funds Dhaka.

Some two hundred,000 personnel were being probably back again at operate just in Ashulia, law enforcement spokeswoman Jane Alam told AFP.

Mofazzal Hossain said he felt compelled to return to his factory, exactly where he earns $a hundred and fifteen a month.

“The anxiety of coronavirus is there,” he told AFP.

“But I am now far more concerned about getting rid of my position, wages and added benefits.”

Labour rights leaders said they were being fearful the return to operate could spark an explosion of COVID-19 cases.

“Its impression could be even worse than Rana Plaza,” said activist Kalpona Akter, referring to the collapse of a garment factory complicated in 2013 that killed one,130 personnel.

Bangladesh, a country of 168 million people, has virtually five,500 confirmed COVID-19 bacterial infections and 145 deaths in accordance to the authorities.

Experts say the genuine range is probably substantially higher due to a deficiency of affected individual testing by authorities.