Garment factories can now operate with 50% staff – The New Indian Express
BENGALURU: The government of Karnataka on Wednesday issued an addendum to its existing order on a 14-day “Corona curfew” in the state to allow garment factories to operate. In its second addendum since the shutdown decision, the state government said factories and garment units can operate with 50% workforce and adequate Covid protocols in place, as of Thursday.
The order comes as a huge relief for thousands of garment factory workers who were losing their wages for 14 days as all manufacturing industries except the garment industry were allowed to function. The order comes after a delegation from the garment and textile workers union submitted a memorandum to the government, highlighting the economic strain lakhs of workers will experience if the garment units remain non-functional for the next two weeks.
“Despite a government order imposing full wages on garment workers during last year’s lockdown, only 50,000 workers outside the lakhs could earn a wage. Many workers are the sole breadwinners in the family and closing factories means they have no source of income. Many factory workers have reduced food consumption due to financial constraints. The industry picked up steam in October of last year and slowly returned to normal. The 14 day shutdown would have left lakhs penniless.
This ordinance will ensure that at least 50% of the workers will get the money, ”said Jayaram KR, legal adviser to the Garment and Textile Workers Union. He added, however, that factories should be required to strictly follow Covid protocols, including distances, signs to separate workstations, etc.
The Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce also welcomed the government’s decision and said it “would bode well with the Prime Minister’s message to reconcile life and livelihood in the fight against the Covid pandemic.” The Karnataka government initially allowed all industrial and manufacturing units, except clothing, to operate during the 14-day shutdown period.
Workers in garment factories can use their ID cards to get to work, the command added. While many garment workers in Bangalore live within a 2 km radius of the factory and can walk to work, workers in districts like Mysuru, Tumakuru, etc., who walk 20-25 km for work , are worried about the lack of public transport.