The Global Month of Solidarity is over, but the fight for full wages and severance pay continues for the garment workers at Dragon Sweater in Dhaka. On September 17th hundreds of them rallied once again in the city and managed to lay siege to the Labor Ministry after breaking through a police line. They shouted slogans such as “Action! Action! – Direct Action!; Workers’ Action! – Direct Action!” and “Workers of the World unite!”.
The struggle of garment workers at Dragon Sweater (Dhaka, Bangladesh) for full wages and serverance pay continues. So do solidarity activities at brands that profited from the exploitation of exactly those workers.
In the focus is also the brand New Yorker. Until 2019 they profited from the workers at Dragon Sweater. Therefore people rallied in front of a New Yorker store in Hamburg for the third time already (1, 2).
The store management was not amused and confirmed to inform the headquater in Braunschweig (Germany).
In the context of the Global Month of Solidarity with Garment Workers at Dragon Sweater in Dhaka, Bangladesh a local alliance consisting of the Free Workers’ Union (FAU) Hamburg, Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) Hamburg, the Libertarians H-Burg as well as individual comrades recorded this video message:
As an act of solidarity with the fighting garment workers at Dragon Sweater in Dhaka members of the anarcho-syndicalist Free Workers’ Union (FAU) Freiburg, feminist organisations and socialist party „Die Linke” rallied in front of a New Yorker store in the city center of Freiburg on July 18th. They were one of the first to do so.
Since not only New Yorker (a clothes retailer with its headquarter in Braunschweig, Germany) but also Lidl (a major grocery store chain also selling some clothes) placed orders in huge numbers with Dragon Sweater at least until the year 2019, the same alliance pickets in front of Lidl in Freiburg today, Sept. 12th, 2020.
They also spoke to the sales manager of the store, passed him a letter and contact details of the GWTUC and demanded that Lidl publicly states to blacklist the Dragon Group as long as wages and compensations are not paid.
During the Global Month of Solidarity the (former) garment workers at Dragon Sweater in Dhaka organized with the Garment Workers’ Trade Union Center (GWTUC) held a press conference on August 29th, blocked the Labor Ministry on August 31st and attempetd to lay siege to the factory owner’s residency on September 7th. The fight continues.
After negotiations with the factory owners broke down, hundreds of workers took to the streets again on September 10th. They stopped at the National Press Club as well as the Labor Ministry.
Though the police came to the scene, there were no confrontations this time.
On September 8th workers organized with CNT Iruñea rallied in front of Mercairuña – a shopping center in Iruñea (Pamplona, Spain) – to stand in solidarity with the garment workers at Dragon Sweater in Dhaka (Bangladesh). They are still fighting for their full wages and compensations to be paid. According to the business report of the Dragon Group Lidl purchased huge amount of garments at least until the year 2019.
In support of Dragon Sweater textile workers in their ongoing struggle for full wages and compensation payments members of Free Workers’ Union (FAU) Bonn as well as FAU Köln rallied in front of the NewYorker store in Bonn itself on August 29th.
A similar action already took place on August 22nd.
This video was made:
On the same day workers also rallied in Hamburg, as well as Wuppertal and at Lidl stores in Ireland as part of the Global Month of Solidarity.
In Dhaka itself the Garment Workers’ Trade Union Center (GWTUC) held a press conference announcing more protests.
On September 6th textile workers rallied in front of the National Press Club.
There they announced to lay siege to the factory owner’s residency. His name is Mostafa Golam Quddus. He is the majority shareholder and managing director of the Dragon Group.
Currently, Mostafa Golam Quddus occupies the position of Chairman for Dragon Group of Cos., Chairman of Rupali Insurance Co. Ltd. and CEO, Director & Managing Director at Dragon Sweater & Spinning Ltd. Mr. Quddus is also on the board of Imperial Sweaters (BD) Ltd., Perag Socks Industries Ltd., CD Spinning Mills Ltd. and CD Acrylic BD Ltd.source: marketscreener.com
In his past career Mr. Quddus occupied the position of President at Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers & Exporters Association.
On September 7th around 500 garment workers rallied in front of the Ministry of Labour.
When attempting to reach the residency of the factory owner, which is located in Gulshan, the wealthiest area in Dhaka, the workers were blocked by a strong police force. According to people on the ground, workers were also attacked by ruling party cadres.
Fortunately no injuries or arrests were reported.
The struggle continues.
For more info: globalmayday.net
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.original in German: koblenz.fau.org
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.
August 15th, August 23rd and now on September 5th, workers organized with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in Belfast rallied in front of a Lidl store in an effort to stand in solidarity with the garment workers at Dragon Sweater. The workers there keep fighting for their outstanding wages and benefits as well as compensation payments.
The IWW Belfast reports:
The Industrial Workers of the World took part in todays solidarity action earlier outside Lidl Store at Hi Parks Centre, Belfast. Those in attendance felt that there was a great response from people passing and coming out of the store highlighting the ongoing struggle by garment workers.originally published on onebigunion.ie
A representative of the IWW spoke following todays action stating: “This action is part of a wider international series of actions to highlight how multinationals such as Lidl are exploiting and profiteering from their continued engagement with ruthless companies like Dragon Group in Bangladesh.
“It’s been brilliant to speak to the public directly to highlight and inform them of how members of the Garment Workers Trade Union Centre have been treated as well as to highlight their demands.
“It’s safe to say that the public are supportive and echo the call for Lidl to end any trade with companies who clearly mistreat their work force in such a way as what Dragon Sweater Group have been doing.
“The Industrial Workers of the World once again call upon Lidl to cease all trade with Dragon Group, demand that workers are fully reinstated and wages owed to workers are fully paid out.”