Category: Solidarity Actions

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

#UnitedAgainstTheDragon: Bicycle Rally in Dresden

Dozens of people joined Tour de Classe – a bicycle rally in Dresden – on September 22nd. In solidarity with the textile workers at Dragon Sweater they stopped at three Lidl and two New Yorker stores in the city.

Both, Lidl and New Yorker, had business relations with the Dragon Group at least until 2019. Therefore we expect a public statement from them announcing to blacklist the Dragon Group as long as wages and severance pay are owed to the workers.

The tour was organized by the local syndicate of the Free Workers’ Union (FAU).

#UnitedAgainstTheDragon: Picket at New Yorker store in Mönchengladbach

On September 19th members of the Free Workers’ Union (FAU) Section Mönchengladbach in Germany rallied in front of the shopping center Minto in the city center.

Today we held a rally in front of the New Yorker branch of the Minto shopping center in solidarity with the 6000 workers laid off and cheated for wages at the Dragon Sweater factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

In February/March this year they were dismissed under the pretext of corona incisions. More realistic is the assumption that union involvement there should be destroyed. For the vast majority of the workers were part of the Garment Workers‘ Trade Union Center (GWTUC), a union of sewers and others.

In the factory of the Dragon Group clothes were produced, which were and are sold profitably in Germany by LIDL and New Yorker.

We stand in solidarity with the exploited workers in Dhaka and their struggles! That is why we are trying to build up pressure here on the spot – as in many other cities and regions of the world through different grassroots unions.

Because we are convinced that we as workers, who have to sell their labor every day to satisfy our needs, are all confronted with the same problem. No matter how different the concrete situations of workers in Dhaka or Mönchengladbach may be, we are ultimately cost factors for our bosses. And they have to be kept as small as possible in capitalist competition.

There is no use in moaning, only our collective organization and the fight for better working conditions and ultimately a world in which we manage the production and all other areas of life ourselves according to our needs.

So what can you do concretely now to support the exploited workers? Here are a few possibilities: globalmayday.net

#1world1struggle
#SolidarityFromMönchengladbachToDhaka

#ItsTimeToOrganize 🏴🚩

source: duesseldorf.fau.org

Global Month of Solidarity: Third picket at New Yorker in Hamburg

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).

Global Month of Solidarity: Picket at Lidl in Iruñea

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.

Global Month of Solidarity: Second rally at NewYorker in Bonn

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.

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: koblenz.fau.org

Global Month of Solidarity: Picket at Lidl in Belfast

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.

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.”

originally published on onebigunion.ie