The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has appealed to apparel buyers and brands to accept delayed shipment of goods without imposing any additional charges on factories severely impacted by the labour unrest over the past three weeks.
The apparel manufacturers' body made the call in a meeting with representatives of buyers and brands at its Uttara office in the capital on Wednesday.
Amid intensive protests by apparel workers, hundreds of ready-made garment (RMG) factories were forced to halt operations due to absence of workers and concerns about vandalism. However, as the situation improved following the recent wage hike, nearly all factories have resumed production.
Furthermore, the BGMEA has appealed to global buyers to actively promote positive stories about Bangladesh's RMG industry, particularly its significant strides in compliance, within their respective markets, said sources present at the meeting.
BGMEA President Faruque Hassan and other senior leaders of the association were present at the meeting attended by representatives of more than 30 leading brands and buyers including H&M, Marks & Spencer, Tom Tailor and Kiabi.
"Factories affected by the unrest should be given the preference of delayed shipment. The BGMEA has requested buyers for it urging them not to impose any charges for the delay," a BGMEA leader present at the meeting told The Business Standard, on condition of anonymity.
Faisal Samad, a director of BGMEA, told TBS, "We have proposed that delays in shipments from factories affected by labour protests should be considered. While buyers have expressed receptiveness, a definitive outcome is yet to be determined."
Sources said buyers sought detailed information about the recent labour unrest during the meeting. Discussions also addressed reports of worker fatalities, lawsuits, and factory damage. BGMEA representatives clarified that the unrest was instigated by outsiders rather than workers. The buyers were also shown video footage of attacks on various factories.
The BGMEA has asked buyers to address the cost of production, which has increased by 40%, including utility bills, other financial costs and new wages.
Faisal Samad said, "They [buyers] said they will take the increased cost into consideration while placing orders and negotiating prices."