RMG factories reopen ensuring health safety: BGMEA Director
Workers are required to maintain health safety measures when entering factories and throughout their shifts
Following the Eid-ul-Adha vacation, most readymade garment (RMG) factories have resumed operations ensuring safety in line with the government's health guidelines.
The labour and employment ministry announced a three-day Eid vacation from July 31 to August 2 for all industries, and asked workers to not leave the city.
However, factory owners gave workers five to eight days of holidays.
Industry officials said RMG workers generally enjoy two vacations during Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha, and they go to their villages for holidaymaking. That is why factory owners allow them a vacation of five to seven days for each of the festivals.
Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) officials said most of the factories opened last week, but not all.
According to industrial police, there are 1,356 industries in Dhaka, Savar and Ashulia under Zone 1, and 140 of them were closed on Sunday.
In that zone, 421 out of 458 Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) member factories, 75 out of 81 Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) member factories, and 20 out of 21 Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) member mills opened on Sunday.
Also, 700 out of 796 other factories reopened the same day.
"We resumed operations on Saturday, but about 20 percent of workers are still absent," said Fazlee Shamim Ehsan, chief executive officer of Fatullah Apparels Ltd, a Narayanganj-based knitwear factory.
"This year, factory owners allowed an eight-day holiday, including two Fridays, considering the recreation of workers during the pandemic. Workers were asked not to travel to their village homes," he said.
Workers should follow health safety rules before joining work, said Ehsan, also the director of BKMEA.
BGMEA Director Rezwan Selim said RMG workers have to follow health safety measures by wearing masks, washing hands and using hand sanitiser when they enter factories plus maintaining physical distancing when they work.
This has become regular practice in all factories during the pandemic, and will help reduce the possibility of Covid-19 infections among workers, he said.
"Workers have to have their temperature checked at the factory entrance. If someone has a high temperature, they are placed on paid leave," added Rezwan.
BGMEA and BKMEA have 1,882 and 1,101 active member factories, respectively, according to industrial police data.
BTMA Secretary Monsoor Ahmed said the association has over 1,000 active member factories, and almost all have reopened after the Eid vacation ensuring safety measures.
BGMEA standing committee on public relations and media Chairman Khan Monirul Alam Shuvo claimed that all of their member factories reopened on the day.