When the factories reopened on April 26 after a month-long lockdown due to the Covid-19 epidemic, the RMG sector was in danger of a catastrophe! However, due to the untiring efforts of the industry and the sincerity and dedication of the entrepreneurs, it has been possible to come out of the grip of this disaster. This success surprised many, but it was not easy.
A. B. M Shamsuddin, the Chairman and Owner of Hannan Group, is a shining example of how workers were cared for to protect them from the pandemic. He has fought a tough battle against COVID-19 in Bangladesh. And he came out victorious in flying colors.
After the factories reopened on April 26, Shamsuddin rented nine buildings in Gazipur to ensure the care of all of his 12,000 workers and quarantined anyone suspected of being infected with Covid-19.
Despite hardship caused by rampant order cancellation from buyers, Shamsuddin had not left his workers alone in a difficult time. Rather he made sure that these suspected workers do not spread the disease in their homes and communities. Each of the suspected workers were screened with the help of a medical team of six doctors and the same numbers of nurses.
His company paid for their food, medicine and every tiny thing they needed when they were quarantined. He bought flux for each of them so that they can drink hot water and ginger, cardamom laced tea. All the workers were paid of their wages including Eid bonuses. He organized COVID-19 tests for suspected workers at his cost. The suspects spent a mandatory 14 days in the quarantine centers and the infected stayed there as long as it took them to recover.
Two months later all the workers have recovered and they resumed work. It cost him 20 million takas. Shamsuddin mentioned that “It was like a war of independence.”
He also added that when all of his friends confined themselves at home, he was in the middle of a war.
“And by the grace of Almighty Allah, none of our workers have died or lost jobs,” he said.
Shamsuddin is a shining example of how many factory owners fought this battle – but their stories remain untold. While it’s true he has gone to extraordinary length to ensure safety for his workers, and not everyone has the same capacity, it is also true that each factory owner tried their level best according to the best of their ability to ensure workers’ safety. This industry-wide effort has resulted in the success of limiting the infection to such a small percentage.