Justice for Labor Rights Advocates in Bangladesh
Fueled in part by Walmart's subcontractor factory, the crackdown on peaceful labor advocates in Bangladesh continues without an end in sight.
Photo: Babul Akhter and Kalpona Akter.
Bangladesh employs 3.4 million garment workers in 4,200 ready-made-garments (RMG) factories that produce US$12.59 billion in export earnings, representing 78% of the country’s total. Contributing nine percent of the gross domestic product, the industry is directly or indirectly responsible for the employment of 24 million people.
The minimum wage is $43/month or about $10/week. This equals 20 cents an hour, the lowest wage, by far, of any major garment producing country. Studies show that this wage fails to cover the cost of the minimum nutritional needs of even a single worker, let alone her family.
Read more in our report, Enemies of the Nation or Human Rights Defenders? Fighting Poverty Wages in Bangladesh, which reveals a severe and ongoing government crackdown on labor rights activists in Bangladesh.
• Labor leaders Kalpona Akter, Babul Akhter and Aminul Islam are arrested by on false charges for demanding their human and labor rights (more details here)
• Following a campaign by ILRF, the leaders are released on bail, but their labor rights organization is still banned (the latest is here)
• Fire breaks out in a factory near Dhaka, killing 35 and injuring dozens
• ILRF pressures the U.S. companies buying from the factory to fairly compensate the families and prevent future factory fires
• Activism for a just wage, decent working conditions, and freedom to organize continues (Help by taking action!)
3/8/2011 Statement on Congressional Letters in Defense of Labor Rights Leaders in Bangladesh
11/1/2010 Press Release. Media inquiries: Bjorn Claeson, 207-262-7277.
9/1/2010 Congressional letter to Walmart, Sears / Kmart, JC Penney, H&M, Cintas, and VF
9/1/2010 Congressional press release
8/19/2010 Rally at Embassy
8/16/2010 New York Times
8/13/2010 From members of Congress
8/10/2010 From Human Rights Watch
8/5/2010 Press Release