Around 4,000 ship-breaking labourers joined their work at different shipyards in Shitakunda, Chattogram amid the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday.
According to the information from the Ship-breaking Labourers' Trade Union, on Thursday, 20 to 22 shipyards were open.
The labourers complained that the authorities have not provided adequate safeguards to protect them from the virus.
Tapan Dutta, convener of Ship-breaking Labourers' Trade Union Forum, said, "The labourers have been forced to join their work by the shipyard owners."
On Wednesday, the shipyard owners' organisation Bangladesh Ship Breakers and Recyclers' Association (BSBRA) issued a letter to the yard owners mentioning that shipyards could be opened under some conditions.
Md Abu Taher, president of the BSBRA, told The Business Standard, "Owners had been given letters to open the shipyards after they ensure adequate security because without security no one will be able to work there."
Mohammad Ali Shahin, coordinator of the private development company Young Power in Social Action (YPSA), which deals with shipyard labourers, told The Business Standard, "Some labourers had to stay in the shipyards and surrounding areas since they could not go home during the general holidays."
About 60 shipyards are operating in Sitakunda, where about 30,000 labourers work.