We did not get any government help. Former restaurant worker Shahidul Islam told Ittefaq Online about his current situation. Like him, about five lakh restaurant-sweetmeat workers have been forced to change their jobs after losing their jobs.
In Bangladesh, about 1.52 crore workers work in infrastructure construction, transportation, restaurants and residential hotels. In the Corona crisis, they are not in the discussion, they did not get any help or encouragement. In the current lockdown, they are living an inhuman life.
According to data from Bangladesh Restaurant-Sweetmeat Workers Federation, Building Construction Workers Union Bangladesh, Road Transport Workers Federation and Bangladesh Hotel and Tourism Workers Federation, there are at least 2.5 million restaurant workers in the country, approximately 4 million construction workers, 7 million in the transport sector and at least 8 million in the tourism sector. 16 lakh.
Speaking to the central leaders of the organizations on behalf of Ittefaq Online, it was learned that most of the job changes in the Corona crisis took place in the restaurant sector, with at least 20 per cent workers losing their jobs and moving to other professions. Their number is about five lakh.
At present, at least 50 percent of the estimated 12 lakh construction workers in the capital Dhaka are unemployed. Some of them have gone to other sectors as seasonal workers in search of work. The other half got some work in isolation. However, the concerned organizations claim that there has been no significant change of profession in the transport and tourism sectors.
The workers’ leaders also raised the issue of lack of adequate public-private support in the sectors in front of Ittefaq Online. It is learned that residential hotels and tourism have not yet been recognized as separate labor sectors. Although the construction workers received some private assistance, it was very inadequate. The restaurant workers got nothing to say.
Transport workers, on the other hand, have received one-time meals at inter-district bus terminals from the beginning of this year’s lockdown on behalf of the federation. Once they got relief from rice, oil, potatoes and onions. Transport workers leaders have also promised to give Eid gifts before Eid. Polaway rice, sugar and semai will be given as gifts. However, the amount of assistance is not enough compared to the demand.
Osman Ittefaq, general secretary of the Road Transport Workers Federation, told Online that the assistance was inadequate compared to the actual needs. Stomach irritation is bigger than corona. I fed a worker at the terminal but what will happen to his family?
He also told Ittefaq Online that CNG is running, auto is running and microbuses are also running from Dhaka to different districts. It can be said that everything goes. When the transport workers see these, they say, something will work and something will not work – it cannot be a lockdown. When there is a lockdown, everyone gives a lockdown, we go as hard as we can. No one will eat and no one will eat, it will not happen.
Osman Ali lamented and remarked, if garments-raw market-factory is open then what is the enmity with transport!
Former state minister for labor and incumbent MP Mujibul Haque Chunnu told Ittefaq Online that the workers in the transport, construction, restaurant and tourism sectors were not discussed, adding that the workers did not really get help. They are not on social security networks, they are living inhumane lives. The government should make a list of these workers and provide them with financial assistance so that they can last for two or three months.
Anwar Hossain, general secretary of the Bangladesh Restaurant-Sweetmeat Workers Federation, told Ittefaq Online that they did not fulfill the minimum responsibilities of the state and restaurant owners towards the workers. Most of the owners have not picked up the workers’ phones since the closure of the company in Corona. A significant part of the workers have been forced to change their profession. We have given a memorandum to the government since last year’s lockdown to protect the workers. I also gave a memorandum to the Prime Minister on April 13 in this lockdown. We have not received any response from the government yet.
Abdur Razzak, general secretary of the Building Construction Workers Union Bangladesh, told Ittefaq Online, “According to our information, only two to three percent of the 4 million construction workers have received various assistance.” Many have gone to work as seasonal laborers in various agricultural activities including paddy harvesting for the sake of life. Again, in the current situation, it is difficult to bring and take construction materials, so a lot of work is stuck. We demand that the next budget allocate a lump sum for occupational safety, including rations and pension schemes for construction workers.
Rashedur Rahman, convener of the Bangladesh Hotel and Tourism Workers Federation, told Ittefaq Online that there was no change of profession in the sector due to the Corona crisis. Instead, many workers in other sectors have started working in tourism since the lockdown was lifted last year. This sector has not yet been recognized as a separate sector. They can’t even form trade unions in the workplace. We have appealed to the government for financial assistance but we do not know if we will get it.