Union attacks 'shoot workers' threat

3 August 2006 - 2:44pm
News

The garment industry has been held up as an example of business success in Bangladesh, earning the country almost £4 billion a year. However, behind the veneer of corporate profits, workers fail to reap any of the benefits, often working 90-100 hour weeks with mandatory overtime, often for as little £13 a month. Poor safety conditions have exacerbated discontent among factory workers, with a number of high profile cases including the 2005 collapse of the Spectrum factory, which killed 60 workers and seriously injured hundreds more.

In May this year strikes and protests spread through a number of factories after protests in the Gazipur factory producing for high street brands such as H&M, Gap, M&S, Tesco and Next, led to the arrest of ten workers. This popular discontent was fuelled when police began opening fire on workers, shooting one protester. Demonstrations then spread to some other factories, which workers had singled out as the worst abusers.

Protesters have called for an end to low wages and long working hours. Given the unsafe conditions and the almost complete lack of respect for workers' fundamental rights, particularly the right to organise, it should come as no surprise that people take to the streets.

War on Want partner, the National Union of Garment Workers, has been at the centre of negotiations with the government. In June they reached an agreement to increase the minimum wage to £22 a month. Yet the government has failed to fulfil its promise.

Amirul Haque Amin, general secretary of the NGWF, said: "We condemn the minister for calling on factory owners to shoot protesters. It is imperative that the government and factory owners address the root causes of the problems and give workers a wage that they can live on. There needs to be more stringent legislation so that these horrific accidents which we have seen cannot happen again. I assume this is the very minimum people in the west who buy these clothes would ask for"

]]>

Latest news

Migrant and Precarious Workers are Winning Britain a Pay Rise!

17 October 2017 - 3:00pm

Migrant and precarious workers are winning Britain a pay rise. Migrant and precarious workers are leading the fights to get organised. They are tackling precarious work, outsourcing and privatisation, the real drivers of low pay and insecurity at work.  Despite facing stigmatisation by a media that too often blames them for low pay and insecurity at work, they are standing up for themselves and winning. Their struggles tell an important story about how Britain can win a pay rise: by standing with migrant workers and ending precarious contracts.

Read more

Open Democracy: EU approval of Sri Lankan labour standards whitewashes abuse

17 October 2017 - 11:30am

Thulsi Narayanasamy, War on Want's Senior International Programmes officer for Asia & the Pacific reports on how the EU's so-called trade concessions whitewash ongoing violations in Sri Lankan factories - as well as the profoundly unequal terms of global trade, which prevents meaningful development for the global South. 

Read more

Join the conversation

TOMORROW: stand with frontline defenders from #Colombia & #Brazil against #BHP & hear their stories #BHPAGM #Resisthttps://t.co/aARpto0Elf 3 hours 38 min ago
#modernslavery persists in the #UK & globally because politicians put corporate profits first #AntiSlaveryDayhttps://t.co/xasfEDbrIv 4 hours 42 sec ago
#modernslavery persists in the #UK & globally because politicians corporate profits first #AntiSlaveryDayhttps://t.co/dqxCzwvOrK 6 hours 27 min ago