About 69 of RMG workers stop sending money to families
About 69 percent of the readymade garment (RMG) workers who used to send money to their families in villages have stopped doing so after the coronavirus outbreak, a recent study found. Seventy-six percent of the female workers and 61 percent male workers did not send money to their families, said the study by Innovation Consulting, a Dhaka-based international consultancy providing research, technical assistance and project management services to multilateral and bi-lateral donor agencies.
According to the study findings, 97 percent of the workers will stop sending money to their villages if they do not get salaries for the month of April. “The data is similar for male and female workers – 52 percent of the respondents reported that the food consumption of the family members in the villages will be affected if the workers continue to refrain from sending money,” it said.
This is followed by education for 7 percent, repayment of loan for 14 percent, clothing for 11, entertainment for 9 percent and savings for 4 percent, it added. The Innovation conducted the study titled ‘Deep Dive on the RMG workers of Bangladesh in Selected Clusters’ to assess the impact of COVID-19 on low-income occupational groups on their livelihood.
“We undertook a simple random sample survey on 84 garment workers from seven garment factories of Gazipur, Narayanganj and Mymensingh,” the survey firm said adding that the data presents the status of the workers in factories that can be termed as progressive. These factories have been working with development partners on Occupational Health and Safety (OHS), workers’ health, empowerment, and rights issues.
The Innovation collected the data from April 7-9 which coincided with the salary payment date on April 7. It used Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) method for the survey. It also used KoBoToolbox to collect the data on tab through phone survey. The study result provides in-depth insights on how the income and expenditure patterns of low-income population are shifting as a result of shutdown, how the households are coping and what measures should be undertaken to support them.
According to the study, some 85 percent of the respondents said they have cash in hand to pay for expenses for some time. “These respondents currently have Tk 3,686 as cash in hand on average. This can support their family expenses (food and non-food) for 16 days,” revealed the survey. All the RMG workers reported that their factories are currently closed (Data from April 7-9). Twenty-four percent of the respondents already returned to their village home while76 percent are still living in the premise from where they attend their work.
Higher percentage of male workers (33 percent) returned to villages compared to female workers (14 percent), the study noted. About food expenditure, the surveyed respondents said they have reduced food expenses by 27 percent. “Before the closure of their work, the workers used to spend on average Tk 266 per day on food consumption which has been reduced to Tk 193,” it said adding that reduction in per day food expense is higher for the female workers (32.5 percent) compared to the male workers (20.7 percent).
About access to mobile-banking account, some 79 percent of the respondents have mobile wallets – 83 percent male workers and 74 percent female workers. Some 54 percent of the respondents are currently paid salary in cash, 33 percent are paid through mobile account and 13 percent are paid through bank accounts.