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

H&M’s offensive advert is just one thread in the rotten fabric of a deeply racist industry

15 January 2018 - 5:15pm

Written by Thulsi Narayanasamy & Marienna Pope-Weidemann for Open Democracy

 

Will those angered by the H&M advert also support the fightback by the brave and resilient women of colour who produce H&M's clothes for poverty wages?

Read more

Forgetting Marikana: What does Ramaphosa’s rise mean for poor South Africans?

15 January 2018 - 5:00pm

Written by Saranel Benjamin for African Arguments

As director of Lonmin, the multi-millionaire saw miners striking for a living wage as criminals.

 

Read more

Join the conversation

Dr. King spent his life fighting ‘the three evils’ also at the heart of our work: #racism, #poverty and #militarismhttps://t.co/qqHOU80Qqw 14 hours 9 min ago
Solidarity with all those arrested for standing up for #HumanRights. Join court solidarity demonstrations at… https://t.co/G3ISmQZ6xh 17 hours 26 min ago
On #MLKDay, we’re celebrating the radical legacy of Dr. King: a man who truly understood why #PovertyIsPoliticalhttps://t.co/JGsOa17V5w 17 hours 44 min ago