Sramik Karmachari Oikya Parishad (SKOP), a platform of over a dozen labour rights bodies, on Monday demanded Covid risk allowance for export-oriented factory workers and punishment for the owners for negligence in ensuring health protocols in workplaces.
In a statement, the SKOP leaders strongly criticised the decision for opening the factories, which is mostly apparel ones, in an alarming situation with high Covid-19 infection and death rates, without making transport arrangements for workers to return to their workstations and protection measures in workplaces amid the Covid lockdown.
Following the sudden announcement that the export-oriented factories would be open on August 01, tens of thousands of workers had to face untold sufferings and count over three-four times transport cost in their ways back to the respective workstations due to the Covid-19 lockdown after the Eid vacation, they bemoaned.
It was not possible for the workers (who are mostly readymade garment (RGM) workers) to follow the health protocols on their ways back to the workstations, they said.
The SKOP leaders said the lives of workers were undermined for the owners’ interests by opening the factories without Covid-19 test arrangements in every factory gate, and promises from the owners to keep corona infected workers in isolations under their management, bear the responsibility of medical treatment for them and provide compensation in case of death.
They asked not to terminate if any worker falls sick due to coronavirus infection.
The SKOP leaders who made the statement include its two joint coordinators Shahidullah Chowdhury and Nur Kutub Mannan, Mesbah Uddin Ahmed, Shah Mohd Zafar, Anwar Hossain, Razequzzaman Ratan, Saifuzzaman Badsha, Kamrul Ahsan and Dr Wazedul Islam Khan, said a release.