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.”
During the mobilization for a young man murdered by the Buenos Aires police, Facundo Astudillo Castro, workers organized with FORA (Argentine Regional Workers’ Federation) expressed their solidarity with the 6,000 textile workers at Dragon Sweater in Dhaka (Bangladesh). The rally took place in Lomas on September 3rd, 2020.
One day later the banner and many pamphlets were pasted nearby a Walmart store in Buenos Aires. FORA reports:Continue reading
Workers organized with grassroot union CNT Aranjuez (Spain) picketed at a Lidl outlet as part of the Global Month of Solidarity with the Garment Workers at Dragon Sweater (Dhaka, Bangladesh). Pamphlets were distributed to passers-by, slogans were chanted and the call for the month of solidarity read out loud.
According to the Dragon Sweater business report 2019, Lidl placed major orders at their factory last year.
As the movement spreads around the world, some Bangladeshi mainstream media became suddently concerned about the international coordinations in solidarity with the textile workers at Dragon Sweater and Imperial Sweater (Dragon Group). They are mostly framed as “anti-national”, stating that they tarnish the interests of the garment sector in Bangladesh. A strategy already used by the Dragon Sweater management in the past to defame the labor union Garment Workers Trade Union Center (GWTUC) and its actions.
Here are two examples:
An attempted translation of the second article:
The country’s export sector in the image crisis!original article (published online and offline)
This time there is a series of actions in Europe to get owed payments of the garment workers.
Dissatisfaction has been going on for two years over the issue of layoffs and dues in several factories of Dragon Group in Malibagh. Last Monday, the workers also took position in front of the Labor Ministry in the capital’s Vijayanagar. This time the workers’ rights organizations are walking a different path to realize their demands.
Representatives of various labor rights organizations have organized pickets in several European countries in front of Dragon’s international buyers and brand stores. Apart from Hamburg, Germany, there have been reports of rallies in several cities, including in Ireland, Spain and Brazil, alleging layoffs and non-payment of wages.
It is known that Dragon’s factories make clothes of brands like New Yorker, Walmart, Lidl. Gathering in front of the retail outlets of these brands, workers’ representatives from different countries demanded an end to the ‘illegal layoffs’ of the factories and the payment of dues.
The Garment Workers Trade Union Center is leading the Dragon labor movement in the country. The organization is part of the International Federation of Unions. It seems that this organization is the main source of communication on the international level regarding the issue of collecting the owed wages and benefits of Dragon workers. “We have been forced to tell the international trade unions to put pressure on the buyers,” said Monzur Moin, international affairs secretary at the Garment Workers Trade Union Center. For some time now, they have been standing in front of retail stores of brands in different parts of the world, including Germany and Ireland.’
Meanwhile, questions have been raised in various places about the issue of the country’s workers being dragged into the international arena. This is tarnishing the image of brands as well as garment exporters of the country as a whole. In this context, Monzur Moin said, “If the workers are not paid, why do they say that international buyers are also responsible. Because the brands are taking advantage of the deprivation of workers here. ‘
Joly Talukder, general secretary of the Garment Workers Trade Union Center, said, “We have suspended the program for the time being after factory and establishment inspection (DIFE) officials assured us that the issue would be resolved tomorrow (Wednesday).”
By the way, the struggle of the Dragon Sweater garment workers is also getting increasing attention in Turkey:
On August 29th workers together with the Garment Workers Trade Union Center (GWTUC) held a press conference. They announced to continue their struggle for full wages and compensation payments. All of them (used to) work for the Dragon Sweater or Imperial Sweater factories. Both of the factories are located inside the so-called Dragon Tower in Dhaka (Bangladesh) and belong to the Dragon Group.
On August 31st around 300 of the workers rallied in the city and blocked the Ministry of Labor.
The following day, on September 1st, workers assembled to discuss further steps. More can be expected to come.
Members of the Free Workers’ Union (FAU) Bergisch Land picketed in front of the NewYorker store of Wuppertal (Germany) on August 29th as part of the Global Month of Solidarity.
They reached out to the public to inform about the ongoing struggle of textile workers at Dragon Sweater in Dhaka (Bangladesh).