News

Video of Bangladeshi trade union leader on sweatshop labour

17 June 2009 - 11:26am

In this video Amirul Haque Amin, President of the NGWF, discusses his group's fight for the rights of garment workers.

 

Spaces still available for event on Bangladeshi sweatshops

16 June 2009 - 1:47pm

On 17 June War on Want will host Sweatshops, Bangladeshi Workers and the 2006 Labour Law, a public event on sweatshop labour in Bangladesh's garment factories.

This free event will include a roundtable discussion featuring Hena Begum, a former sweatshop worker from Bangladesh, and Amirul Haque Amin, the President of the National Garment Workers' Federation (NGWF), a Bangladeshi trade union and War on Want partner organisation. Also joining the panel discussion on sweatshop labour are Niaz Alam of Unite and John Hilary and Graciela Romero of War on Want.

At the event War on Want will be releasing Ignoring the Law, a new research briefing that outlines the lack of enforcement of Bangladesh's labour laws. Although the garment sector in Bangladesh generates three quarters of its total export revenue, the country's garment workers suffer from dire conditions in factories and earn well below a living wage. There are over 2.5 million workers employed in 4,500 garment factories across Bangladesh.

Sweatshops, Bangladeshi Workers and the 2006 Labour Law

6.30 - 7.45pm
Development House
56-64 Leonard Street
London EC2A 4LT

To RSVP, please email Anna Smith or telephone 020 7549 0578

A leading advocate for the rights of Bangladesh's garment workers, the NGWF represents over 23,000 workers and maintains a presence in over 1,000 factories. War on Want has worked in partnership with the NGWF since 2002.

Comment is free: Time to pull down Labour's big tent

15 June 2009 - 2:34pm

We need a new pluralism in politics, based on an acceptance of difference, to address the global effects of the financial crisis

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Miliband pressed on Israel trade agreement

12 June 2009 - 2:46pm

NEWS HOOK
Monday, 15 June-Tuesday 16 June 2009
European ministers meet in Brussels on proposals to upgrade political and trade links with Israel


War on Want calls for sanctions over human rights

British foreign secretary David Miliband today faces pressure to call for the suspension of an agreement which gives Israel preferential trade deals with the European Union.

The pressure comes from the anti-poverty charity War on Want, which says Israel's continuing aggression and human rights abuses in Gaza and the West Bank disqualifies it from trading preferences granted under the EU-Israel Association Agreement.

European foreign ministers will hold talks next week with far-right Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman to discuss the possible upgrading of EU-Israel relations.

Yasmin Khan, senior campaigns officer at War on Want, said: "The intensification of Israel's aggression and its increased human rights abuses against Palestinians mean that any upgrade of EU-Israel relations is unacceptable. As the people of Gaza enter the third year of a devastating Israeli blockade the EU-Israel Association Agreement must be suspended immediately until Israel complies with human rights law."

The meeting with Lieberman will take place during a gathering of the EU-Israeli Association Council in Brussels on Monday (15 June) and Tuesday (16 June).

These talks coincide with the second anniversary of the start of Israel's blockade of Gaza, and come five months after the Israeli assault on Gaza which left over 1,400 Palestinian dead, including hundreds of children.

War on Want argues Israel's human rights abuses have worsened since the EU began the process to upgrade relations with Israel last June.

It says:
*the Gaza blockade has been tightened, with vital commodities denied entry and people forced to live like prisoners.
*the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank has accelerated.
*the number of illegal checkpoints has increased from 602 last June to 632 in March.

In December the EU council said any upgrade "must be based on the shared values of both parties, particularly on democracy, respect for human rights, the rule of law and fundamental freedom, good governance and international humanitarian law."

War on Want is calling on Miliband to confirm the suspension of the upgrade, demand an immediate end to the Gaza blockade and suspend the EU-Israel Association Agreement until Israel observes international humanitarian law and human rights.

CONTACT: Paul Collins, War on Want media office (+44) (0)20 7549 0584 or (+44) (0)7983 550728

Firm halts rail work for Israel settlers

9 June 2009 - 3:34pm

Campaigners' breakthrough on Veolia hailed

The anti-poverty charity War on Want today welcomed reports that French company Veolia has abandoned the $500 million rail project linking Jerusalem and illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

War on Want hailed the news as a significant victory for campaigners who have exposed companies that are complicit in Israel's illegal occupation of Palestine.

Yasmin Khan, senior campaigns officer at War on Want, said: "The end of Veolia's involvement is an important victory for the International campaign to win justice for the Palestinian people. It sends a clear message to other companies profiting from Israel's illegal occupation of Palestine that their complicity will be challenged."

The charity's report Profiting from the Occupation in 2006 exposed the role of Veolia in the rail project.

Veolia has waste management contracts with local governments and university across the UK.

The rail project, due for completion by 2020, is set to run from west Jerusalem to the major Israeli settlements of French Hill, Neve Ya'akov and Pisgat Ze'ev, with further lines to settlements such as Gilo, near Bethlehem, and Ramot.

The Israeli government has openly stated that the project will help complete the annexation of East Jerusalem.

The Veolia move comes only days after US president Barack Obama called on Israel to cease building settlements, which, he said, violate earlier agreements and undermine peace efforts.

Next week UK foreign secretary David Miliband will join other ministers for Brussels talks on European Union proposals to upgrade political and trade links with Israel.

Miliband faces heavy pressure to oppose the upgrade after Israel's onslaught on Gaza.

War on Want has repeatedly called for an end to the EU-Israel ugrade.

NOTE TO EDITORS

The European Council meeting which Miliband will attend takes place on Monday (15 June) and Tuesday (16 June).

CONTACT

Paul Collins, War on Want media office (+44) (0)20 7549 0584 or (+44) (0)7983 550728

 

 

Honduran women lead milestone meeting on workers' rights

8 June 2009 - 2:24pm

On the anniversary of the International Day of Action for Women's Health, Codemuh, a Honduran women's collective and War on Want partner organisation, brought together women from across Central America for a forum on workplace health and safety. Laia Blanch, War on Want Programmes Office, and Clare Hawkes of Prospect, visited Honduras for this historic meeting.

Over 80 delegates from six Central American countries recently gathered in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, for the International Forum of Work and Health, a landmark meeting that addressed health and safety in the workplace. The meeting, which was jointly organised by Codemuh and the Secretary of Work and Social Security, has raised public awareness of the severe danger that sweatshop conditions pose to workers' health.

After two days of roundtable discussion, the delegates agreed on the need to create a national occupational health policy based on more robust safety provisions and enforcement mechanisms. For its part, government authorities agreed to work closely with Codemuh to strengthen the country's labour law, which remains out of date and has not led to improvements in factory conditions. Reform legislation is currently being reviewed by the Supreme Court, after which it will be passed on to National Congress. This piece of legislation was submitted by Codemuh in March 2008.

The government's willingness to work alongside civil society groups like Codemuh marks an important step towards full recognition of workers' rights in Honduras. There are currently 229 sweatshops in Honduras, which employ over 130,000 workers, the majority of whom are women. War on Want is proud to work alongside Codemuh as it campaigns for justice for workers in Honduras.

Honduran women lead milestone meeting on workers’ rights

8 June 2009 - 2:24pm

<p><strong>On the anniversary of the International Day of Action for Women's Health, Codemuh, a Honduran women's collective and War on Want partner organisation, brought together women from across Central America for a forum on workplace health and safety. Laia Blanch, War on Want Programmes Office, and Clare Hawkes of Prospect, visited Honduras for this historic meeting.</strong></p>

<p><img src="/images/stories/sweatshops_and_plantations/honduras_labour_meeting.jpg" width="560" height="362" /></p>

<p>Over 80 delegates from six Central American countries recently gathered in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, for the International Forum of Work and Health, a landmark meeting that addressed health and safety in the workplace. The meeting, which was jointly organised by <a href="index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=14276:women-factory-workers-in-honduras&catid=241:sweatshops-and-plantations-programme&Itemid=127">Codemuh</a> and the Secretary of Work and Social Security, has raised public awareness of the severe danger that sweatshop conditions pose to workers' health.</p>

<p>After two days of roundtable discussion, the delegates agreed on the need to create a national occupational health policy based on more robust safety provisions and enforcement mechanisms. For its part, government authorities agreed to work closely with Codemuh to strengthen the country's labour law, which remains out of date and has not led to improvements in factory conditions. Reform legislation is currently being reviewed by the Supreme Court, after which it will be passed on to National Congress. This piece of legislation was submitted by Codemuh in March 2008.</p>

<p>The government's willingness to work alongside civil society groups like Codemuh marks an important step towards full recognition of workers' rights in Honduras. There are currently 229 sweatshops in Honduras, which employ over 130,000 workers, the majority of whom are women. War on Want is proud to work alongside Codemuh as it campaigns for justice for workers in Honduras.</p>

<p><strong></strong></p>

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