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Bangladesh factory owners find relocation tough

Owners of some non-compliant readymade garment factories in Bangladesh would like to relocate their units to new places. But non-availability of suitable land, gas and electricity, and unwillingness of workers to shift have emerged as major impediments to their initiatives.

The issue arises against the backdrop of the ongoing factory inspections on workplace safety by western retailers and the government. It is difficult to convince workers to migrate from one place to another due to reasons like lack of facilities for accommodation, education for their children among others.

These non-compliant factory owners are demanding a garment village, especially for Chittagong-based units, saying the port city factories would not shift to the capital. They want the government to provide funds at a low interest rate, especially for the closed factories, so that they can relocate their units to safer places.

Labor leaders say workers will lose their jobs and be deprived of their lawful rights of compensation and other service benefits following relocation. Women who constitute a large section of the workforce say they can’t pack their bags and leave and uproot their children from school.

However, amid all this confusion and uncertainty some manufacturers have already started the process of relocation. Some 50 factories have already shifted.