Some 16,600 workers have been listed for providing them with financial benefits from the European Union (EU) and Germany's Social Protection fund.
Of them, 16,406 workers are from ready-made garment (RMG) factories and 200 others from the footwear sector, according to the industry people and the labour directorate sources.
The EU estimated to provide financial assistance to 10 lakh workers in the RMG, leather goods and footwear sectors, who have been unemployed and distressed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In this regard, the EU and Germany signed an agreement to provide €113 million in support to the government's "Social Protection Programme for Unemployed and Distressed Workers in the RMG, Leathergoods and Footwear Industries," said a press release on Thursday.
"Forty-two factories have provided a list of 16,406 workers to the labour directorate," said Rezwan Selim, a director of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
The BGMEA has sent a notification to all its members, asking for sending a list of retrenched workers to the directorate, he added.
According to the BGMEA data, since April, the apparel owners' association had conducted meetings with its 178 member factories over the issue of retrenching 66,612 workers.
The BGMEA has 4,500 members, around 1,900 of which are currently running their factories.
In the knitwear sector, the number of curtailed workers is very nominal, and most of them have already joined other factories as the sector has been facing a worker shortage for long, said Fazlee Shamim Ehsan, a director of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA).
Since April, BKMEA officials had conducted meetings with only 9 factories over the issue of worker retrenchment, he added.
"We have got a list of a very small number of workers from factories," said AKM Mizanur Rahman, the director general of the Directorate of Labour.
Besides, many of them also did not provide required information, he said, adding that they are now sorting out the qualified workers.
The EU financial assistance is like other social safety net benefits. However, it is not possible to disburse the money without details, including the MSF number.
The labour directorate chief said, "Thursday [yesterday] is the last date for providing the list of workers who suffered retrenchment. If any factory or association provides another list with details before the fund disbursement deadline, we will consider that."
They have a plan to disburse the support after December 15, he added.
According to the BGMEA, the apparel industry has faced about $3.18 billion worth of cancellations and withdrawals by international brands and buyers due to the global pandemic.
The association also mentioned that about 90% of those orders have been reinstated since June last.
According to the EU Delegation in Bangladesh office, the EU and Germany joined hands with the government of Bangladesh to safeguard the livelihoods of workers in the export-oriented industries.
This programme – a part of Team Europe's contribution to fight Covid-19 and its consequences in Bangladesh – offers a safety net to workers whose livelihoods are affected by the economic fallout. It also contributes to strengthening the resilience of Bangladesh's social safety system.
This support will allow these workers to transit over a specific critical period, without major disruptions in their lives and consumption levels.
"It is also part of longer-term efforts to establish sustainable social security mechanisms for workers, alongside continuous investments in skilling and job creation," said EU Ambassador Rensje Teerink.
German Ambassador Peter Fahrenholtz added: "During these difficult times, we are glad to join forces with the EU in order to help the Government of Bangladesh to mitigate the negative impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on the livelihoods of textile workers."
Under the programme, each eligible worker will receive 3,000 taka per month for a period of up to 3 months.
The first payments to eligible beneficiaries should take place before the end of this year as announced by the government.
The EU and Germany grants will be channelled through the EU sector budget programme on National Social Security Strategy reforms in Bangladesh.