#UnitedAgainstTheDragon – International Day of Action on “Black Friday”

In Solidarity with the former textile workers at Dragon Sweater and against excessive consumerism!

This call was initiated by the Free Workers’ Union (FAU) Hamburg, Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) Hamburg, in Progress Braunschweig as well as the Working Group Asia of the International Confederation of Labor (ICL).
It is also available in German here.

November 27th marks the so called Black Friday. Crowds will flock into the shops to stock up on stuff such as clothes. Clothes that were also made in the Dragon Sweater factory in Dhaka (Bangladesh).

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#UnitedAgainstTheDragon: Workers block Factory Owner inside Labor Ministry

Since the Dragon Sweater factory management broke the agreement with the textile workers, hundreds of them have been taking to the streets again. Since November 11th workers are protesting continuously in front of the Labor Ministry in Dhaka.

On November 15th the Labor Ministry was blocked with Mostafa Golam Quddus, former president of BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association) and currently the managing director at Dragon Sweater as well as chairman of the Dragon Group, inside.

Monzur Moin, secretary of the Garment Workers Trade Union Center (GWTUC), says:

Workers have been struggling for more than six months. Workers are protesting in front of the labor building in protest of the violation of the dragon owner’s contract and demand for the immediate payment of all legal dues. That is why the workers have detained Mostafa Golam Quddus inside the building of the Labor Ministry.
The workers agreed to the contract and waived more than half of what they were entitled to. The owners proved that they have no the least respect for the laws of the country and the rights of the workers by violating the agreement made with the workers who accepted huge financial losses.

Article published in Bangla: ekota.live

To support the garment workers in their struggle this fundraising site was set up.

#UnitedAgainstTheDragon: Factory Owners break Agreement – Workers continue to fight!

To get straight to the point: The textile workers were not paid!

Since March/April hundreds of them have been struggling for overdue wages, bonus payments and severance pay. Following many rallies in Dhaka and an extensive Global Month of Solidarity, the factory owners signed an agreement with the workers on October 12th, 2020. According to that agreement workers and owners maintain an amiable relationship and refrain from conflict and renounced about half of all the money owed to them. In return the owners agreed to finally pay the remaining amount in four instalments. In addition an open letter – signed by 19 federations, labor unions/syndicates and collectives – was initiated after the agreement was signed. The first payment was suppose to take place on November 7th. Workers went to the factory – but no cash was seen.

In reaction to the non-payment hundreds of textile workers took to the streets of Dhaka the following day as well as on November 10th. For next Friday workers announced to hold a ‘hunger rally’ and lay siege to the Labor Ministry indefinately!

Local media like ekota.live report about those latest developments.

How will things continue now?
To discuss this further a local solidarity alliance consisting of the Free Workers’ Union (FAU) Hamburg and Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) Hamburg together with a local group from Braunschweig held a meeting today. They agreed to initiate an International Day of Action in Solidarity with the Dragon Sweater Textile Workers in collaboration with the Garment Workers’ Trade Union Center (GWTUC) for November 27th – the so called “Black Friday”. Furthermore a fundraising campaign initiated by the International Confederation of Labor (ICL) and with support of FAU Hamburg will be launched next week.

More details on the day of action as well as the fundraising campaign to be announced soon – Stay tuned!

Madrid: CGT calls for General Strike

CGT calls for a General Strike in Madrid and its region

CGT has called for a general strike in Madrid and its region on 11th November. For this strike, and on the basis of a vast array of shared demands, the union has brought together different unions and social organisations that are similarly concerned by the current situation in
Madrid.

The different governments have privileged economic rather than health and social criteria in their response to the collapse of the health system. In fact, the healthcare system is being privatised even at this time of pandemic for the sole benefit of private companies. Where are the public hospitals we need? What measures are being taken in care homes? What means have health and socio-sanitary workers at their disposal? What about those who cannot get a job, those are being ejected from their houses? What about the most underprivileged, who do not have a home neither a job? 

It is yet unknown whether public schools will stay open. Due to spending cuts, there is not enough staff (including healthcare staff), the number of students per classroom does not allow for the safety distance to be kept, and there are no means for distance learning and to guarantee attention to diversity. People are forced to take overcrowded buses, undergrounds and regional trains to get to their work and study places, which increases the rates of contagion. The use of private, more polluting means of transport is encouraged instead. The selective confinement of certain areas within the region of Madrid has had a clear ideological bias, targeting mainly working class neighbourhoods.

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Open letter to Dragon Group management

This open letter was sent to the Dragon Sweater Ltd./ Dragon Group management on November 1st, 2020:

In cooperation with the Garment Workers’ Trade Union Center (GWTUC) the following open letter was initiated and is herewith officially delivered to the management of Dragon Sweater Ltd.
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Dear Deagon Sweater Ltd./Dragon Group management!

First of all we welcome the fact that an agreement between the textile workers and the Dragon Sweater management was finally reached. At the same time we have to acknowledge that the owners got away cheaply, since by far not all payments were agreed on that the workers are entitled to.

We will continue to observe future developments closely. In case we realize that you deviate from the agreement – for example by not paying your dues on the given days – we are ready to become active again by confronting your customers (e.g. New Yorker, Lidl and Walmart). The campaign #UnitedAgainstTheDragon would become even bigger.

Kind regards,

International Confederation of Labor (ICL)
National Confederation of Labor (CNT) Aranjuez (Spain)
Free Workers’ Union (FAU) Bielefeld (Germany)
FAU Bonn
FAU Freiburg
FAU Hamburg
FAU Leipzig
FAU Sektion Mönchengladbach
FAU Münster
FAU International Committee
Feministische Gruppe Realitätenwerkstatt Freiburg (Germany)
Federação das Organizações Sindicalistas Revolucionárias do Brasil (Brazil)
Federación Obrera Regional Argentina
Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) Bristol (UK)
IWW Hamburg
IWW Ireland
Central Organization of Workers in Sweden (SAC-Syndikalisterna) Fairdruckt eG
Root of Compassion eG

Express solidarity with feminist movement in Bangladesh

Lately thousands of people have been taking to the streets against sexualized violence in Bangladesh. The movement was triggered by numerous gang rapes that had taken place throughout the country last month. The protests are not only directed against these blatant incidents, but they aim at changing society as a whole putting sexism in its many forms on the table.

Two weeks ago a Long March organized by organisations like the Bangladesh Student Union (BSU), Garment Workers’ Trade Union Center (GWTUC), the anarchist network Auraj as well other feminist groups was brutally attacked by ruling party cadres and police. Since then the protests continued and so did the attacks by reactionary forces.

The feminist movement calls on the international community to express their support. On one hand it will help to raise awareness about those developments in Bangladesh and on the other hand it will help activists on the ground struggling with attacks on various levels.

One way of expressing your solidarity is by taking a picture of yourself holding a sign with your personal message and send it to globalmaydaynetwork@gmail.com.

Submitted pictures will be published here and forwarded to activists involved in the movement, which will then also share them on social media channels and by doing so reach many more people directly involved in the movement.

Here is a suggested frame, which can be used freely:
(download .pdf / online editable .pdf to display on tablets)

This call was initiated by individuals organized with the Free Workers’ Union (FAU) Hamburg, Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) Hamburg as well as the Garment Workers’ Trade Union Center (GWTUC) in Bangladesh and the Banglaesh Students’ Union (BSU).

Success: Workers at San Yuan Garment factory win and get back to work

Report from a fellow worker on the ground:

Sisters and brothers of the San Yuan Garment factory, members of the Federation of Garment Workers Myanmar (FGWM), celebrate their first day back to work by singing “Solidarity Forever” in Burmese.

After the factory mass-fired all union members for organizing a union to demand improvements in working conditions including Covid-19 safety measures, the union has fought for months and won reinstatement of all union members and beat back the union-busting using a strong membership and international solidarity from the Spanish and American labor movements.

The workers produce mainly for ZARA and Bershka (both Inditex Group).

International worker solidarity is both a necessity and an unstoppable force!

Bangladesh: Long March Against Sexualized Violence Attacked

Lately thousands of people have been taking to the streets against sexualized violence in Bangladesh. The movement was triggered by numerous gang rapes that had taken place throughout the country in recent weeks. The protests are not only directed against these blatant incidents, but they aim at changing society as a whole putting sexism in its many forms on the table.

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Glasgow: IKEA, reinstate labor unionist Richie Venton

Campaign to reinstate Richie Venton

Trade unionist Richie Venton was sacked by management of IKEA in Glasgow, Scotland in August for standing up for workers’ sick pay.

Call sent to the Global May Day mailing list:

The campaign set up by workers furious at the victimisation and sacking of the elected Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers shop steward and convener in IKEA Glasgow, Richie Venton, and IKEA’s attacks on workers’ rights and conditions, including removal of wages from workers off sick with COVID-19.
Richie has been singled out and sacked for standing up for the health, safety and lives of workers he represents, demanding safety measures and full average pay for all workers sick or self-isolating with the virus.

He is the first trade unionist in Scotland to be sacked by employers in disputes over workers’ safety from the Coronavirus.
Since sacking him, IKEA imposed even worse cutbacks, including on company sick benefit, putting far more workers on just £95 Statutory Sick Pay, which could force some to continue working because of hardship, spreading the virus, endangering lives.

This campaign is to reinstate Richie to his job and his elected union position; to win full average wages for all COVID-sick workers, in IKEA and every other workplace; and to stop employers making £billions in profit but endangering workers’ lives by expecting them to survive on £95-a-week Statutory Sick Pay.

So far the campaign has had pickets in support at IKEAs all over the UK. If it goes global it will put even more pressure on the IKEA management to give in to the campaign’s demands and reinstate Richie. If your organisations can do solidarity pickets at your nearby IKEA branches, do solidarity protests and spread the news in your own networks it would be a great help.

And if you do any actions, I would ask that you please send pictures and write-ups to the email address of the campaign: ReinstateRichieVenton@protonmail.com 
or send them to the campaign facebook page at: fb.com/ReinstateRichieVenton

#ReinstateRichieVenton
#ReinstateSickWorkersWages
An Injury to One is an Injury to All!

Link to the campaign website: reinstaterichieventon.com
Link to the campaign petition: reinstaterichieventon.com
Link to article about the most recent pickets:  reinstaterichieventon.com

Employers will be watching what’s going on at Ikea, to see if they can get away with attacking their own trade unionists.” – Analysis: Why so much depends on a fight at Glasgow Ikea