Speakers at a programme Monday said garment owners taking loans from Covid-19 stimulus package should be brought under accountability, clarifying and documenting how they spend the fund.
They said it must be ensured that the stimulus package is spent for paying salary of the workers. There is no way to invest the money in another sector, or misappropriate in any other way. Clarity and documentation of use of the package is the only way to make the stimulus fruitful.
Representatives from different local and global non-government organizations came up with the demand at the launching ceremony of a new project of Naripokkho, one of the leading women's rights organisation of the country.
The project titled Sojag is being implemented with the assistance of UK-based relief and development agency Christian Aid.
Detailing different aspects of the new project, Christian Aid country unit's head of program Farhana Afroj said, Shojag coalition works to mobilise against violence against women, providing advocacy on rights, justice and gender discrimination to RMG workers.
It would also work on leadership development, provision of legal awareness and service and institutional capacity development of partner factories, she added.
Speakers at the event said we also demand accountability from actors benefitting from financial stimulus package funds for impacts of their actions on human rights of workers impacted by Covid-19.
Maheen Sultan, team leader of Shojag, said our purpose is to find out how the stimulus package received by RMG factories is being spent, besides documenting and disseminating evidence odf impact of the package.
"Documentation and acknowledgement of good practice of compliance with labour law during this Covid situation is what we demand, she said.
Dr Khondokar Golam Moazzem, research director, Center for Policy Dialogue, said, "Garments owners got the stimulus package but laid off the workers simultaneously, which was undesirable."
Again, they cut the salary of the workers as well as proposed to rejoin with lower salary, he said.
Even many workers who lost jobs still do not get any work by their company, he continued.
On this issue, Hanifur Rahman Lotus, chairman of BGMEA standing committee on health, said, we are working with so many components--including paying jobless workers, health, sanitation and nutrition--for the wellbeing of the workers.
Among others Pankaj Kumar, officer of Cristian Aid, Sara Hossain, honorary executive director of Blast, Rowan Ara, project director of Shoja from Naripokkho also spoke at the programme.