Business Desk: BGMEA, BKMEA urge workers to remain patient

Leaders of the country’s garment manufacturers and exporters yesterday urged global buyers and brands to import apparel items from the country that are ready for shipment and under process  for the sake of 4.1 million workers’ livelihoods.

They also urged apparel workers not to panic and advised them to listen to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s speech to be delivered tomorrow for next course of actions.

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) President Rubana Huq and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) President AKM Salim Osman made the calls in separate video messages, meant for both buyers and workers.

“I’m appealing your (buyers’) good sense so that you kindly take all your current goods which are under process and ready for shipment. Please take them under normal payment method. If you have any uncut fabrics, allow us and give us a portion of the cutting and making (CM) charge so that we can pay workers’ salary,” Rubana Huq said in a video message for global apparel buyers and brands.

 

If that was not possible, it would jeopardize the livelihoods of 4.1 million workers and create social unrest and chaos, she warned.

In another video message, Rubana narrated the current dire situation prevailing in the export-focused apparel industry, urging the workers to exercise patience.

“Work order situation is very vulnerable. In the last four days, work orders worth $1.4 billion have been cancelled. There will be hope if buyers hold orders or cancel those partially. But there will be no hope left for us should buyers cancel orders,” said Rubana Huq.

With the order cancellations, about 12 lakh workers would be affected and the situation might worsen, feared Rubana in her video message.

She urged the workers to exercise patience.

Prime Minister’s speech to be delivered tomorrow for the nation might have some directions regarding the RMG factories, she added.

“Trust me, you (workers) will get the wages timely,” said the business leader.

She also requested brands and retailers to take goods already produced here. Otherwise factory owners would be unable to run their factories within next six months, she added.

Meanwhile, BKMEA in a separate video message urged the garment workers to listen to the Prime Minister’s speech for direction.

“Situation in the export destinations is very bad and we cannot predict the future as the major export markets including the EU and the US are going through crucial times,” BKMEA President AKM Salim Osman said in a video message.

If the exporters wanted to shut the factory, they had to pay wages for March, but where the money would come from if buyers cancelled their orders, he questioned.

“Don’t produce excessive products. Also, don’t take risks by keeping factories open. Listen to the Prime Minister’s speech on March 25,” said the business leader.

After her speech, decision would be taken whether factories would run fully or partially, he added.