Unions Alleged Bangladesh Clothing Manufacturers Fire Protesters



Three labor unions representing 500,000 have been sacked since protests in October demanding greater salaries and many more have fled for fear of being arrested.

Four workers were killed and numerous others were injured in clashes during the rallies, which coincided with larger opposition anti-government demonstrations in advance of the general election on January 7. The police have filed vandalism cases against hundreds of unidentifiable individuals.

Many workers still think the government’s November minimum wage rise of more than 56% to 12,500 taka ($114) per month is too low, but the action was applauded. Bangladesh is the world’s second-largest apparel exporter behind China due to low wages.

The Bangladesh Garments and Industrial Workers Federation, National Garment Workers Federation, and Bangladesh Garments Workers Unity Council estimate that 1,000 to 5,000 workers were fired or went into hiding in the past two months.

Related link: Amazon Begins Layoffs In Its HR & Cloud Divisions

Faruque Hassan, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters body, said the industry body would respond if “any such incidents are brought to our notice” but was unaware of any layoffs.

Remarks were requested, but the Ministry of Labour in Bangladesh did not reply. Senior police officer Momanul Islam stated that no garment workers had been detained by police for participating in the protests in Ashila, a hub for the apparel industry.

Approximately 4 million workers are employed by Bangladesh’s over 4,000 garment manufacturers, which supply well-known Western brands.

Companies including Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF.N), Adidas (ADSGn.DE), GAP (GPS.N), Levi Strauss (LEVI.N), Puma (PUMG.DE), PVH (PVH.N), Under Armour (UAA.N), and GAP (GPS.N) requested the government in October to make sure that workers demanding fair wages were not subjected to retribution.

Employee Delowar Hossin of Ducati Apparels claims he was let off earlier this month without being given a reason or receiving money for his severance benefits.

Today, Hossin works part-time as a bricklayer. “I was just blocked from entering the factory,” he claimed.

During the protests, 15 to 20 workers vandalized the factory, according to Ducati’s managing director Khayer Mia, but no one was fired. He added that despite the factory being closed for ten days due to protests, Ducati paid all of its employees their full salary.

“I love my workers and factory like my family,” he stated.

($1 = 109.5000 taka)

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