International labour rights group urges B’desh to release arrested garment workers

by Apparel Resources News-Desk

07-February-2019  |  2 mins read

Bangladesh Workers Protest
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Following media reports saying, scores of workers employed in Bangladesh’s readymade garment industry have been detained by the police as a fallout of the recent workers’ agitation demanding correction of discrepancies in the minimum wage structure.

The United Steelworkers, one of the largest unions in North America and Canada, has  reportedly called upon the Bangladesh Government to immediately release all garment workers and union representatives arrested on ‘trumped-up charges’.

“We are deeply concerned about the repressive measures taken in the last two months against workers protesting against the wholly inadequate minimum wage increase announced in November 2018, as well as the unequal treatment of workers in different pay grades.” – Ken Neumann National Director, Canada, USW

In a letter sent to Mizanur Rahman, Bangladesh High Commissioner in Canada, Neumann added that for the past two months, garment workers had been taking to the streets in massive numbers to demand a decent living wage for their work and the protests had been met with violence and repression by Bangladeshi authorities.

“Recent developments in Bangladesh threaten progress that has been made in garment factory building safety since Rana Plaza, and undermine commitments to worker rights. Respect of workers’ rights is fundamental to building a sustainable Bangladesh garment sector into the future.” – Ken Neumann National Director, Canada, USW

It may be mentioned here that the USW — which is reportedly the largest private sector union in North America with more than 2,25,000 members in Canada and more than 8,00,000 members continent-wide — also demanded dropping charges against workers involved in demonstrations in December last year, as well as those charges that remained unsettled following the protests in 2016 demanding wage hike.

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