Bangladeshi textile and garment workers formed a human chain Wednesday to demand increased security in light of recent blockades and strikes.
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) and the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association are protesting the disruption of production caused by delayed or missing deliveries of raw materials, and increased transportation cost, according to a Dhaka Tribune editorial.
Textile production has dipped recently, affecting millions of people as a significant amount of the country’s export earnings are dependent on garment exports. The Tribune contends that the sector is being damaged during a time when it needs to capitalize on safety improvements that have taken place since the Rana Plaza building collapse.
The European Union is the biggest importer of apparel products from Bangladesh and accounts for 60 percent of the country’s yearly production.
Cambodia and Vietnam achieved twice the 11.7% growth rate in exports to the E.U. achieved by the sector last year, according to the Tribune, so Bangladesh can’t afford to lose future orders to its competitors.
The only way for the industry to meet its $27 billion export target for this fiscal year, order will have to be restored immediately. The prospects for growing exports to $50 billion by 2020 without this guarantee are severely jeopardized.
“The industry must be helped to restore confidence. The country cannot afford to let the livelihoods of the huge numbers of workers being put in jeopardy by reckless political violence,” The Tribune concluded.