BENGALURU: About half of the 4-5 lakh strong workforce of women garment workers in Bengaluru are back to work with the easing of the lockdown norms.
Since the garment production units, establishments and industries are operating following government norms at minimal strength, many medium and large ones have been holding vaccination camps on their premises itself.
In a special Covid-19 vaccination drive organised recently, many garment units were successful in getting 70-90 per cent of their on-duty staff vaccinated.
Presently, vaccination camps have been set up at their workplaces in Peenya, Yeshwantpur, Kanakapura Road, Kodigehalli-KR Puram, RT Nagar, Bommanahalli, and Marathahalli.
Although 10 per cent of the workers have resisted taking the jabs, the rest are up for it due to fear of losing their jobs. Since last year, many garment companies have either shut down or imposed job cuts with 10,000-15,000 workers losing their jobs.
According to Raj Purohit, president of the Karnataka unit of Bharati Udhyog Vyapar Mandal, since the garment sector functions in crowded conditions, they are operating with 30 per cent workers till July 5.
“We are getting good help from the Health Department for vaccinating workers and other staff. In fact, the Peenya Industries Association, SMEs as well as the FKCCI have taken the lead in organising vaccination camps.”
As per BBMP health officials, micro-planning for each of the city’s zones has been done to vaccinate garment workers, cab drivers, agro workers and street vendors.
However, since garment units opened up, many had been making rounds of the PHCs and government hospitals in the city to get their first dose of vaccination and returned disappointed.
But in the last few weeks, many garment units started taking the initiative and tied up with BBMP to hold camps.
Jessy Lawrence of Lawrence Clothing Pvt Ltd, told The New Indian Express that close to 300 workers were vaccinated in a camp held recently.
She added, “Some are not ready to take the jabs while others will be given soon. We are providing two days leave for our workers to get over any side-effects. The remaining workforce who are at home now will also be vaccinated soon.”
Ratna, who works in a medium scale unit at Konankunte Cross, said, “I took my first dose a few days back. A camp was organised by our employer and it was free. We were given two days off after our first dose.”
There are around 4,000 garment factories in Bengaluru which provide employment to some eight lakh people, including migrants from other states.