The European Commission said that, due to the unprecedented socio-economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, these workers are at heightened risk of being pushed into poverty. This financial support, part of Team Europe’s response to the Covid-19 crisis, aims to offer a safety net to workers affected by the economic fallout and to contribute to strengthening the resilience of Bangladesh’s social security system. “We will either beat Covid-19 together, or not at all. It is a strong sign of solidarity that Team Europe stands together and remains a reliable partner for Bangladesh in these demanding times. The many vulnerable workers in the garment and leather industries will be better protected through our joint effort. This is important, as Bangladesh, in this pandemic, is the second most affected country in South Asia”, said Dr Gerd Müller, Germany’s Federal Development Minister.

The EU and Germany’s €113 million grant is to be channelled through the EU sector budget programme on National Social Security Strategy reforms in Bangladesh. This support is to allow these workers to transit over a specific critical period, without major disruptions in their lives and consumption levels. In line with guidelines issued by the Ministry of Labour and Employment of Bangladesh, temporary cash assistance will be provided to workers who suffered income losses during the pandemic and who lost their jobs because of reduced worldwide demand or due to health and safety precautionary measures.

Eligible workers will receive TDK3,000 (€30) per month for a period of three months. They will be identified in close coordination with the employers’ associations, which include the Leathergoods and Footwear Manufacturers & Exporters Association of Bangladesh (LFMEAB) and the Bangladesh Finished Leather, Leathergoods and Footwear Exporters Association (BFLLFEA), Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), and the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA).