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1 May 2020

Nazma Akhter, The Daily Star

Bangladesh: Labour leader warns of putting profits before garment workers' health as factories reopen without adequate protections

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“‘The risks are grave. We don’t want to go back to work right away.’”, 01 May 2020

[T]his May Day we … are … fighting COVID-19, which has led to hundreds of thousands of workers losing their jobs, losing their pay and fighting with police and factory owners.

… [W]e are demanding job security and social protection, the payment of wages and proper social distancing. Many [workers] have still not been paid for March …

[I]t is much too soon to open factories, but the pressure on us is immense and the government has instructed us to reopen.

Brands are also pushing as some stores in America and Europe are starting to reopen ….

The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association has asked for our support to open the factories.

The consequences of putting competitiveness and profit before workers' health are too grave…

There is no respect, there is no dignity and there is no legal protection.

… [C]ompanies who promised accidents like the Rana Plaza collapse will never happen again … are asking us to reopen factories and risk our lives.

Workers … do not want to go back to work at this moment like they had said just before the Rana Plaza disaster when the building's owners ignored warnings to avoid using the building after cracks had appeared the day before.

Part of the following timelines

Bangladesh: Garment workers at risk of COVID-19 infection as factories supplying to major brands reopen, against Health Ministry advice

May Day 2020: Labour groups & unions call for decent work, living wages, union rights, social protections, & to build back better after COVID-19