Bangladeshi Readymade Garment (RMG) labourers have lost their jobs during the pandemic. According to Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies, more than 324,684 workers have become unemployed in the last one year or so. Because of job loss, RMG labourers go through critical situations.
This project contains nine case studies of Readymade Garment (RMG) labourers who lost their jobs.
Tajrina Akter is 20 years old, and has been working as a readymade garment worker since 2016. She has a son. She has four family members in her family (including her mother-in- law).
Tajrina worked for Aplane Garment. Her husband is a garment labourer too. They both are working to support their family. During the Covid-19 both she and her husband lost their jobs. Her husband gets a new job but his salary is less than the family expenses.
"We are not able to buy baby food for my son. My mother-in-law has lots of ailments. She needs treatment but we are not capable of providing her that."
Rehana Khatun, 34, has been working as a readymade garment worker for 15 years. She was just a newly married woman when she started her job. Now she has two children and has been living with her husband. Her elder daughter studies in class seven and her son is in class two.
Rehana worked for Aandho Garment. Her husband works as a day labourer but he is not earning enough. Rehana mainly supports her children's study fees. During the Covid-19 she lost her job.
"For the last nine months I haven't paid my house rent, or my children's education's cost. My husband earns Tk 300 per day. But he doesn't get work on a regular basis. If you do not trust me just check my purse; there is no money inside."
Chadni is 25 years old, and has been working as a readymade garment worker for the last seven years. She has two kids, one is four years old and the other one is just one year old. She is divorced.
Chadni worked for Al-Muslim Garments Ltd. She has to take-care of her three family members. Chadni's parents had died a couple of years ago.
"My kids cry for toys. This is not my kid's fault. They notice that other children are playing with toys. My kids are innocent because they don't understand my pain. I have three sisters. I don't have any brother that I can go to."
Shwpna Begum is 38 years old, and has been working as a readymade garment worker for the last 20 years. She has two children. One is a boy and the other one is a girl. The boy has become separated from the family after his marriage. The girl is studying in class five.
Shwpna worked for NewAge garments Ltd. Her husband is a street vendor. During covid -19 she lost her job.
"After I lost my job, I started sewing Katha. I don't want to be a burden to my son's family. But sewing Katha doesn't fetch me a decent amount of money. I am Struggling to survive for now".
Dolly Akter, 27, has been working as a readymade garment worker for the last six years. She had three family members (husband, daughter, and mother-in-law). She came from Natore district around seven years ago to Tongi with her husband.
Dolly and her husband both are readymade garments labourers. They both lost their jobs during the pandemic. She has sent her daughter and mother-in-law to Natore.
"Me and my husband are trying to find a new job again. Here the situation is getting harder day by day. We don't have any alternative support. We are not literate people. We just only know garment work. We are just alive as a dead."
Ms Hasina Begum is 29 years old, and has been working as a readymade garment worker for the last nine years. Now she has one kid. Her husband is a local bus driver. He is a drug-addict. She had a love marriage but now her husband doesn't take care of her. She doesn't have any contact with his parents.
Hasina worked for Star-five Garments Ltd. During the pandemic she lost her job.
"Corona (Covid-19) is a disaster of God. Allah always plays games with his servant to test their endurance. Why does Allah put us in so much trouble?"
Aamina Begum is 38 years old and has been working as a readymade garment worker for the last 10 years. Her husband is a rickshaw puller. She has two children. Both are Hafiz in quran( Islamic education). Before Covid-19 they were leading a normal life. But during the pandemic she lost her job. After losing her job she is not being able to contribute to her family. Her husband's income is also not sufficient enough.
Aamina used to work for inter-five Garments Ltd.
"During lockdown we took loans from my brothers for house rent. We get partial discounts from children Madrasha. But what will be next?"
Nayon Bala is 29 years old, and has been working as a readymade garment worker for the last four years. She has two children. Her husband also works as a readymade garment labourer
Nayon worked for Panorama Apparels Ltd. While the government declared a nationwide shutdown in March last year, she was at her village home. She couldn't join the work later on as she was sacked.
"I just have only the ID of my factory. I was asking for my salary and benefits but my factory authority didn't agree to give me those. They said that when factory will be open they will give me the chance to join again"
Qulsum Begum is 35 years old, and has been working as a readymade garment worker for the last six years. She has three children. In total, she has eight family members. Her husband works as a wood craftsman.
Qulsum worked for Alif garments Ltd. During the pandemic she lost her job.
"I am struggling with a big family. Me and my husband have to take-care of them. My job is very important for my family"