Garment workers in Bangladesh: Tens of thousands strike for higher wages

Nearly 50,000 garment workers in Bangladesh were on strike for two weeks at a stretch from . They downed their tools and walked out of their factories in protest. The workers clashed with police but did not relent their strike action. Police used water cannon and tear gas to disperse huge crowds of workers who had barricaded a highway at a garment hub just outside the capital, Dhaka. Thousands of factories had to close because of the strike.

Garment workers strike in Bangladesh

The estimated 40 lakh garment workers in Bangladesh who make clothes for top global brands are some of the lowest paid workers in the world - receiving a minimum wage that is only 9% of a living wage. The existing minimum monthly wage of Tk 5,300 or almost $65 came into effect from 1st January, 2014. On 16th January, the owners of readymade garment factories offered the workers Tk 6,360 as minimum monthly wage, which falls nearly 40 percent short of Tk 16,000 wage that workers are demanding. This was rejected by the workers.

The industry also has a poor workplace safety record. The Rana Plaza garment factory collapse in 2013 killed more than 1,130 people in one of the world's worst industrial accidents. Garment factories subject their workers to very poor working conditions with the low wages regularly compelling them to work overtime in unsafe environments. More than 85% of the workforce comprises women, who have to work in the absence of basic amenities and without the proper enforcement of laws granting maternity leave and benefits. The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) is an association of factory owners whose members basically constitute the ruling class, and have full support of the government in flouting every standard of safety.

The last major protests demanding salary hikes occurred in late 2016, resulting in heavy repressive measures undertaken by the state. More than 1,500 workers lost their jobs for participating in the demonstrations. There is great unity among the workers at present, despite the attempts of factory owners to provoke dissention among them. Trade unions are planning to engage in talks with government officials to address the minimum wage demand but are prepared for more serious action if that fails.

Tag:   

Share Everywhere

Feb 1-15 2019    World/Geopolitics    Rights     2019   

PARTY DOCUMENTS

Click to Download PDFInterview with Comrade Lal Singh, General Secretary of Communist Ghadar Party of India

by Comrade Chandra Bhan, Editor of Mazdoor Ekta Lehar

(Click thumbnail to download PDF)

History of Ghadar PartyA Presentation of Communist Ghadar Party of India

100 years ago Ghadar Party was formed by Indians in the US.It was historic milestone in our anti-colonial struggle.

The goal of this party was to organise a revolution to liberate our motherland from British servitude and establish a free and independent India with equal rights for all. It believed this to be the necessary condition for our people to hold their heads high anywhere in the world.

(Click thumbnail to download PDF)

Call of the Central Committee of Communist Ghadar Party of India, 30th August, 2012

Working class representatives from all over the country are gathering on 4th September, at a time when a titanic struggle is going on in our country. The struggle is between the majority of toiling and exploited people and a minority of exploiters. It is between the majority whose labour expands wealth and the minority who enjoy the fruits of wealth creation on the basis of their private property and positions of power.

(Click thumbnail to download PDF)

Call to the Working ClassDefeat the program of privatisation and liberalisation!

Fight with the aim of establishing workers’ and peasants’ rule!

Call of the Central Committee, Communist Ghadar Party, 23 February, 2012

(Click thumbnail to download PDF)

Necessity for the working class to take political powerThe initiating speech, at the working class conference on the Way Forward held on 23-24 December 2011, was made by comrade Lal Singh, on behalf of the Central Committee of the Communist Ghadar Party of India. The document entitled the necessity for the working class to take political power has been edited based on the discussion in the conference and is being published according to the decision the Central Committee.

(Click thumbnail to download PDF)

Power to DecideVoice of the Communist Ghadar Party of India on the Power to Decide

This publication contains three statements issued by the Central Committee of Communist Ghadar Party on 1st, 18th & 28th Aug, 2011.

(Click thumbnail to download PDF)