Following some more research we can confirm, that workers at Dragon Sweater produced for retailers such as New Yorker, Lidl and Walmart in huge numbers in 2019. Therefore they were one of the last major profiteers before closure of the factory in March 2020.
All 6.000 workers are still waiting to receive their full wages, bonuses and compensation payments.
Following the call for solidarity released by the Garment Workers’ Trade Union Center (GWTUC) various activities took place so far, e.g. pickets by IWW Bristol, rallies by garment workers in Dhaka, correspondence with the factory management.
The Free Workers’ Union (FAU) in Hamburg focussed its activities particularly on New Yorker. They contacted the headquarter in Braunschweig (Germany) asking them to increase the pressure on the Dragon Group and get directly in touch with GWTUC. Furthermore a rally was held in front of a store within the city center of Hamburg.
In reaction they did get in touch with the GWTUC within a few days saying that New Yorker will blacklist Dragon Sweater. The brand also responded to the email sent by the FAU Hamburg saying that under the current circumstances Dragon Group as a whole disqualified itself from any future collaboration with New Yorker.
Außerdem wird auch der für die damalige Zusammenarbeit zuständige Lieferant mit einbezogen. Dies erfolgt sowohl um den Sachverhalt weiter zu durchdringen, wie auch um im Rahmen unserer Möglichkeiten, Einfluss auf Dragon Group zu nehmen, möglichen Pflichten nachzukommen. Der Einfluss besteht vorrangig darin, der Dragon Group deutlich zu machen, dass eine weitere Zusammenarbeit unter solchen Umständen nicht in Frage kommt. Unser oben erwähnter Lieferant hat sich zudem bereits vertraglich verpflichtet, keine weitere Produktion unserer Ware dort zu beauftragen.Excerpt from the email sent by New Yorker to FAU Hamburg (July 8th, 2020)
[…] Damit Sie über den Fortgang informiert sind, werden wir Herrn Sadaat Mahmood bitten, direkt über die Ergebnisse zu informieren.
Außerdem werden wir uns erlauben, weiterhin mit GWTUC in Kontakt zu bleiben, um bestmögliche Informationen zu solchen Themen zu erhalten.
In the last paragraph New Yorker confirms to stay in touch with GWTUC. Furthermore they write that they will ask Sadaat (GWTUC) to keep the FAU Hamburg informed on developments. Well, they could have skipped that part, because there is a stable level of communication between those two labor unions. Therefore we also know that since then nothing happened. During that single phone call between New Yorker and GWTUC in the beginning of July, Sadaat asked New Yorker to release a public statement denouncing the behaviour of Dragon Sweater. The person working for New Yorker in Bangladesh confirmed that he will forward all the information provided by Sadaat to the management and that a statement from the brand is to be expected. The phone call took place on July 7th. But since then nothing happened, although GWTUC tried to reach out to New Yorker again several times.
Therefore we keep expecting a statement from New Yorker publicly denouncing how Dragon Sweater is treating the workers and demanding them to pay their due wages, bonuses and compensation payments!
The struggle continues – focussing on Dragon Sweater, New Yorker, Lidl and Walmart!
Various labor unions such as the CNT (Spain), FORA (Argentina), FOB (Brazil) and Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) Ireland already confirmed to join the fight.