Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Bangladesh: Government Reopens Textile Factories As Delta Rages

Millions of workers in Bangladesh must return to their jobs in textile factories due to the reopening ordered by the government. This involves 4,500 textile factories employing 4 million workers. In the meantime, the cases of Covid-19 continue to grow, with the added factor of the Delta variant.

Mirta Pacheco

August 5, 2021
Facebook Twitter Share
Photo: HAP/Quirky China News/REX/Shutterstock

In Bangladesh in particular, the health situation is alarming. But in service to the textile companies, especially those exporting the best fabrics and garments to Europe and North America, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ordered the reopening of thousands of textile companies.

Between July 23 and August 2, the authorities had decreed the closure of these companies, although the major brands were exempted. On August 3, due to the reopening, hundreds of thousands of workers flocked to Dhaka, the capital,  from their homes in the outskirts and even from remote villages. On foot in the monsoon rains, by train, bus, or ferry, textile workers had to make their way to their workplaces.

When the closure was decreed, they had to leave quickly to be able to reach their places of residence and not be left in Dhaka far from their homes and families. Now they had to take the opposite route as best as they could, because the government ordered this measure, which only serves to meet the demands of the employers, without implementing any policies at all to protect the workers.

Caption: The green color indicates the increase in Delta variant infections in Bangladesh during the month of July. Source: covariants.org

In the meantime, the number of infections of the Delta variant continues to grow. As of August 2, 15,776 new cases have been recorded.

After the reopening of the factories, it is very likely that the number of cases will increase considerably, given the circulation of the Delta variant.

The Guardian published testimonies of some workers who had to move to Bangladesh because of the new reopening of the factories. Mohammad Masum, 25, said he left his village before dawn, walked more than 20 miles and took rickshaws (i.e., bicycle cabs) to reach the ferry port. “The police stopped us at many checkpoints and the ferry was full,” Jubayer Ahmad, another textile worker,  said, “It was a mad rush to get home when the lockdown was imposed and now we are having trouble getting back to work.”

The government only listened to the employers who had been demanding the immediate reopening, such as the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association. Their vice-president, Mohammad Hatem, stated that they ran the risk that “European brands would divert orders to other countries,” with the consequent threat of workers’ layoffs.

Originally published in La Izquierda Diario on August 4, 2021

Translated by K.S. Mehta

Facebook Twitter Share


The Roots of the Rebellion at Foxconn

Jenny Chan is a researcher and professor at the Polytechnic University of Hong Kong. She is co-author of the book Dying for an iPhone. She spoke with La Izquerda Diario about the causes of the rebellion by workers at the Foxconn plant in Zhengzhou, China.

Josefina L. Martínez

December 7, 2022
Participants in a memorial ceremony lay flowers to pay respect to a deceased 23-year-old worker in front of the SPC headquarters in Seoul, Thursday. She died in an accident at a baking factory in Pyeongtaek affiliated with SPC on Saturday.

How Workers and Socialists are Responding to a Workplace Death at One of South Korea’s Largest Food Manufacturers

Following a workplace death at SPC group, one of the largest food manufacturers in South Korea, a consumer boycott quickly gained traction. Organized workers and revolutionary socialists are playing a role in this struggle.

Sam Carliner

November 12, 2022
A man holds a Sri Lankan national flag during a protest outside the Parliament complex in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Protests Against Inflation and the IMF Return to Sri Lanka

Protesters, along with unions and political organizations took to the streets of Sri Lanka on Thursday, mobilizing against inflation, staggering food prices, and new IMF adjustment programs ushered in by the the illegitimate government of Wickremesinghe, which replaced Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s government by mass demonstrations in July.

What’s behind the Escalations in Korea?

For the first time in five years, tensions in the Korean peninsula are escalating. This comes in the context of a U.S. military buildup in the Pacific, driven by greater capitalist competition between the United States and China.

Sam Carliner

October 7, 2022


Protesters gather during a demonstration on Place de la Concorde in Paris on March 17, 2023, the day after the French government pushed a pensions reform using the article 49.3 of the constitution. - French President's government on March 17, 2023 faced no-confidence motions in parliament and intensified protests after imposing a contentious pension reform without a vote in the lower house. Across France, fresh protests erupted in the latest show of popular opposition to the bill since mid-January.

Battle of the Pensions: Toward a Pre-Revolutionary Moment in France

President Macron's use of article 49.3 to push through an unpopular pension reform bill has opened up an enormous political crisis that has changed the character of the mobilizations against the French government. We are entering a "pre-revolutionary moment" that can change the balance of power between the classes in France.

Juan Chingo

March 21, 2023

20 Years Since the U.S. Invasion of Iraq: A Reflection from a Socialist in the Heart of Imperialism

A Left Voice member and anti-war activist reflects on the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq and how he learned to hate U.S. imperialism.

Sam Carliner

March 20, 2023

It is Possible to Win: The Pension Reform Crisis in France

A French socialist reflects on the way forward after Macron invites Article 49.3 to pass pension reform.

Paul Morao

March 20, 2023

“We are your economy”: Trans Youth Walkout and Speak Out

The following is a speech by a young trans person as part of an action called for by NYC Youth for Trans Rights.

Tatiana Cozzarelli

March 20, 2023