Global Month of Solidarity: Pickets at Lidl stores in Siegen

Workers organized with the General Syndicate Siegen (section of FAU Koblenz) in Germany rallied at two Lidl stores on September 5th, 2020. An action as part of the Global Month of Solidarity with Garment Workers at Dragon Sweater in Dhaka.

A report published by FAU Koblenz:

On Saturday, September 5th, 2020, we, the General Syndicate of Siegen organized an action to express our solidarity with the textile workers at Dragon Sweater (Dragon Group) in Dhaka, Bangladesh and to draw attention to the injustice of their working conditions.

We picketed two Lidl branches in Siegen (at Frankfurter Straße and Hagener Straße). Equipped with a banner and pamphlets we informed the local people about the grievances of the workers at Dragon Sweater in Dhaka.

Each time we received a reprimand from the respective branch manager after about 30 minutes. Nevertheless we are very satisfied with our action, because the people were mostly very interested and open-minded towards us and our concerns. We were able to distribute many leaflets and also had some short conversations to describe the current situation of the workers.

Worldwide many such actions take place in the period from August 15th until September 15th as part of the Global Month of Solidarity with the Workers at Dragon Sweater #UnitedAgainstTheDragon and thus increase the pressure on Dragon Sweater to finally pay the full wages and bonuses to the 6000 workers who were dismissed in February/March. We are convinced that the Covid-19 pandemic was used as an excuse to fire the workers, as a large number of them are organized in the resolute Garment Workers’ Trade Union Center (GWTUC) and are fighting for better working conditions.

In March, workers’ protests began at the Malibag factory (Dhaka neighborhood) and outside the National Press Club. Since then, international attention and networking has been growing more and more. NewYorker contacted the FAU Hamburg and GWTUC in July and announced that they would put the Dragon Group on a “black list” and would not give them any more orders. However, NewYorker has yet to make a public statement, so the protests outside the stores, as well as at Lidl and Walmart, will continue.

The factory owners are still refusing to pay out, but the actions are showing the first results. Workers, owners and government representatives sit down together to negotiate solutions (as of August 2020).

International solidarity is not only important but also effective. As consumers, we have a great influence on the development of events, since the greatest profit is made by selling the products. This gives us the opportunity to build up pressure. We are all part of the capitalist system, which works worldwide. But let us no longer let ourselves be convinced that we do not have the opportunity to make a difference. Together we can stand up against the system and change something.

original in German:

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