Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Bangladesh: Free garment union leaders now!

'LABOUR Start' and the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) are raising concerns about the safety of trade union leaders and workers in Bangladesh, after a number of labour activists and workers were arrested on apparently arbitrary grounds.  CCC reports that the arrests have come in the wake of a week of unrest, as thousands of workers in the Ashulia area of Dhaka went on strike to demand higher wages. The strike, started on the 12th December, 2016 at the Windy Apparels factory - most recently in the news following the death of one its employees in October. The factory supplies a number of well know high street brands including H&M, Inditex (known for the brand Zara), Esprit, Tesco, Arcadia, S Oliver, and Debenhams. The strike spread over the following days to other factories in the Ashulia area. By the 20th December 2016 59 factories were closed, although many were shut down as a preventative measure by factory owners rather than by striking workers. The workers are demanding the implementation of minimum monthly wage of 15.000 BDT/ month (182 EUR). At the moment the minimum wage is 5.300 BDT, which was set in 2013 after the Rana Plaza collapse.
It is unclear how the strike started but it is generally acknowledged that it was not a coordinated action and none of the major trade union federations have endorsed the strike. At a number of press conferences trade union leaders have instead urged workers to return to work, while recognizing that their concerns need to be dealt with by the government and employers. Despite this it appears the government is taking the opportunity to carry out a crackdown on trade unions, by threatening and arresting their leaders.
For more go to www.labourstartcampaigns.net/show_campaign.cgi?c=3310


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