November 24th | Solidarity from Goettingen, Hamburg, Heidelberg and Munich on Black Friday
In the city of Göttingen comrades marked Black Friday by visiting H&M and NewYorker stores in the city center and placing leaflets inside, since those retailers are also sourcing from the garment factories in Bangladesh.
A few comrades of FAU Hamburg held short rallies in front of stores of retailers in the city center sourcing from garment factories in Bangladesh to inform the public about the ongoing fight for a proper minimum wage. Leaflets in German and English were distributed. Big posters were also spotted in other parts of Hamburg.
Members of the anarcho-sydicalist FAU Heidelberg rallied in front of the local H&M store and distributed leaflets to customers and passersby.
Also in Munich members of the local FAU syndicate rallied in front of the H&M store in the pedestrian zone and reached out to the public to inform about the ongoing labour struggle.
November 17th | Coalition of international associations challenges minimum wage decision
A coalition of international associations (incl. brands) approaches the prime minister of Bangladesh to revise the decision of setting the minimum wage at 12,500 BDT only. To what extend this can be taken seriously or is rather a pre-emptive social washing attempt, remains to be seen. Retailing companys should clearly state that they will only continue to place orders, if the minimum wage is set at 25,000 BDT!
The Fair Labor Association (FLA) has partnered with sustainable organisations, Amfori, Ethical Trading Initiative, Fair Wear, and Mondiaal FNV to seek a reconsideration of the decision made by the minimum wage board for garment workers in Bangladesh.
The group of international associations, representing over 2,500 brands, retailers, and suppliers and working with more than 2,900 factories in Bangladesh, have expressed concerns about the recently announced minimum wage for the ready-made garment (RMG) sector in the country.
In a letter addressed to Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina, the group has called for a reassessment of the proposed minimum wage and has encouraged a collaborative effort between employers and worker representatives to establish a legal minimum wage that adheres to international labour and industry standards, prioritising human rights.
The five organisations collectively advocate for periodic adjustments in minimum wage levels to prevent the erosion of workers’ purchasing power and address wage inequality.
The gap between the legal minimum wage and the average living wage in Bangladesh is reported to be the highest among major garment-producing countries. […]
They emphasised the importance of respecting the freedom of association, the right to strike, and the right to demonstrate. […]
The government of Bangladesh could not be reached for comment at time of press.
The GWTUC reports that at least five workers lost their lives in the recent struggle for a living wage. Those five workers are: Russel H. (shot by police), Emran (died in a factory fire), Anjuaran K. (shot by police), unknown (run over by a bus when running away from the police) and Jalal U. (injured with gun shots from the police – passed away in hospital on Nov. 12th).
November 11th | 150 factories closed – Police files cases against 11 000 unidentified workers
Bangladeshi garment manufacturers on Saturday shuttered 150 factories “indefinitely”, as police issued blanket charges for 11,000 workers in connection with violent protests demanding a higher minimum wage, officers said.
November 10th | Unions demand revision of minimum wage
Garment Workers’ Trade Union Centre holds a rally in Dhaka to press home their demand for upward revision of government announced minimum wage for RMG workers, on Friday. Different garment workers right bodies on Friday held separate rallies in Dhaka demanding revision of minimum wage announced for apparel sector workers. […] Garment workers right bodies for increasing wages, a combine of 11 right bodies held a protest rally in front of the National Press Club where its coordinator garment labour leader Taslima Akhter chaired. Taslima Akhter said that the announced minimum wage for the garment workers was not sufficient for running their families as the prices of essential commodities were increased much. Garment labour leader Mantu Ghosh called on the government to refrain from applying forces to stop the movements of the garment workers in different parts of the country.
November 8th | Workers on strike at nearly 40 factories and clash with police – para military (BGB) in the streets
Hundreds of garment workers in Bangladesh clashed with police for a second day on Thursday (Nov 8) as they protested against a government-mandated pay rise, forcing the closure of nearly 40 factories in the world’s second-largest clothing exporter.
November 7th | New minimum wage (increase of 56%) announced, but rejected by unions – workers keep protesting
The minimum wage is fixed by a state-appointed board that includes representatives from the manufacturers, unions and wage experts. “The new minimum monthly wage for garment factory workers has been fixed at 12,500 taka ($113),” Raisha Afroz, the board secretary, told AFP. The figure was immediately rejected by unions, which have been demanding a 23,000 taka minimum.
Garment worker protests around the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, erupted again on Tuesday, as police fired tear gas at thousands of workers who set a bus on fire. For weeks, protesters have been demanding higher wages, claiming current pay leaves them unable to make ends meet. Police on Tuesday reported a large protest in the industrial city of Gazipur, around 25 kilometers (16 miles) north of Dhaka. Some 10,000 workers walked out of their plants and staged protests following news that authorities did not fully meet their demands to raise wages. Other large-scale protests were reported in the environs of Dhaka. Despite Bangladesh on Tuesday raising its minimum monthly wage for garment workers to 12,500 taka (€106, $113) from 8,300 taka. Some protesters said the 56% increase was too small. They’re demanding a 23,000 taka (€196, $209) minimum.
November 4th | Thousands of workers block factories preventing re-openings – attacked by cops
In the industrial conurbation of the capital Dhaka, 600 factories producing for major global clothing groups have resumed their activity, according to the police, after having been stopped for a week due to a workers’ movement. However, clashes broke out in the industrial town of Ashulia, west of Dhaka, when 10,000 workers tried to prevent their colleagues from returning to their jobs. Police officers fire rubber bullets to disperse textile workers who are organizing a rally to demand a near tripling of their wages on November 4. A total of 1,500 police officers had been deployed there and in the neighboring town Savar, he added. A 35-year-old woman was seriously injured when police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at hundreds of protesters in Sreepur, some 60 kilometers north of Dhaka, police inspector Ibrahim Khalil told Reuters. ‘AFP.
Authorities and factory owners state that around 500 factories were closed temporarily due to the ongoing strikes and protests.
Police officials said officers used tear gas and sound grenades to disperse thousands of protesting workers who occupied major streets in Mirpur on Thursday. […] Meanwhile, after a discussion with the government, factory owners said they would attempt to reopen their factories, noting protesting workers risk not getting paid if they continue to strike. Faruque Hassan, the president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, said that 50 more factories had shuttered on Thursday due to the worker walking off, bringing the total number of factory closures to about 500.
October 30th/31st | Intense clashes between workers and cops; factories burnt; two workers died
Tens of thousands of workers went on strike and rallied in the streets of different regions leading to intense clashes with riot cops. Dozens of factories were attacked – e.g. windows and furniture smashed – and cars burnt.
On the eighth day of the ongoing strike called to press home their demand for the salary hike, the clash took place between the RMG workers and police in Gazipur, Ashulia, Savar and Konabari areas. During their protests, workers blocked roads and vandalised a number of vehicles and factories. A few vehicles were also set on fire. Police fired teargas shells and rubber bullets to bring the situation under control, which left a garment worker dead and a good number of police and workers injured. However, the strike was confined to Dhaka, Gazipur, Ashulia and Savar industrial areas. […] Besides, a man died after workers set fire to a garment factory–ABM Fashion Ltd–in Konabari area on Monday, fire service sources said. […] The garment workers have been demonstrating since early last year, demanding a monthly minimum wage of Tk 23,000 to Tk 25,000, according to reports received from industrial police, BGMEA, labour ministry and trade unions. […] A senior official of the industrial police told The Business Post on Monday evening, “Though the workers were protesting since last week, today’s violence was massive than previous days. Workers blocked roads and vandalised factories and vehicles. When police tried to disperse them from the street, they also threw brickbats. Police fired teargas shells and rubber bullets to bring the situation under control.
October 23rd | Garment workers kick off movement on the streets and block highway
Hundreds of workers occupied Dhaka-Tangail highway for up to five hours after the association of manufacturers’ announcement to increase the minimum wage by 25 percent only. They were attacked by cops, which led to clashes in the streets.
According to the factory workers and the police, the workers of Purbani Group’s Karim Textile Factory in the Telirchala area of the upazila started a protest demanding a minimum basic salary of Tk15,000. Meanwhile, the workers of Lagos Apparels, Hydro Oxide Sweater Factory, APS Apparels, and Bay Footwear Factory joined them and started protesting. At one point, the workers blocked traffic on both sides of the highway.