Daily CSR
Daily CSR

Daily CSR

Daily news about corporate social responsibility, ethics and sustainability


Turmoil Within Bangladesh Clothing Sector Threatens The Western Markets’ Supply Chain



01/25/2017

Bangladesh government is taking actions against garment sector workers over their demand for increment in minimum wage, while some are inside the lock up.


Dailycsr.com – 22 January 2017 – Following a move from the government authorities, in regards to the Bangladesh garment sector’s workers’ and leaders’ persecution, a group of “international trade union” has “called for a quick end”, reported Brian Collett.
 
As many as eleven workers and leaders’ activists, to be the least, are under police arrest, so far. Simultaneously, over “1,600 employees” faced suspension, while six hundred union leaders and workers are facing charges from the police.
 
The above mentioned actions taken against the workers ad leaders were a consequence of strikes by them, whereby the demand was an increment on the monthly minimum wage “from $68 to $190 (£66 to £156, €64 to €180)”.
 
In the fear of police, many workers supposedly “fled to the countryside” while others seem “too scared” to come back to work. However, the local affiliates of the “IndustriALL Global Union”, which is an “international federation of unions” based out of Geneva, fighting for the “workers’ cause, closed their offices, while some even were damaged.
 
Moreover, Brian Collett writes:
“In more retaliatory action the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association has stopped production at 59 of the factories where workers have been suspended. Two of the factory owners have filed criminal complaints against 239 workers and a third is reported to be taking similar action against up to 1,000”.
 
The government of Bangladesh is conducting talks with IndustriALL, while the latter is also communicating with the retailers sourcing factory goods to the EU. Nevertheless, the issues at hand seem “complex”, whereby the treatment needs to be sensitive as well, as the Assistant General Secretary of IndustriAll, Jenny Holdcroft, said:
“This is a tense time. There are even terrorist threats to the garment industry.”
 
The council of IndustriAll for Bangladesh has requested the workers in police custody to be released. At the same time, the further six hundred police charges against union leaders and workers are also urged to be dismissed off. Additionally, the council has also asked the “International Labour Organisation” to negotiate with the factory owners as well as the employee representatives through a meeting.
 
In the words of the General Secretary of IndustriAll, Valter Sanches, outlining the resulting threats of a “prolonged dispute”:
“The crackdown on trade unionists and workers in the Bangladesh garment industry cannot continue.
“IndustriALL demands that the government immediately release the detained trade union leaders and activists, and drops the criminal cases against hundreds of garment workers. Government repression will not silence them or us.
“Garment workers have a fundamental right to organise and must be paid a living wage.
“The government risks losing it precious garment industry if it cannot treat its workers humanely.”
 
If the garment factories were to close down in Bangladesh, it would be a disastrous blow for the country’s economy as the sector make up eighty percent of the exports of Bangladesh, while the retailers on the western side of the globe would not also be spared for they will have to replace their suppliers amid heavy competition, whereby reaching out either Pakistan or China for they are “working flat out to meet worldwide demand”.
 
 
 
 
 
References:
http://www.ethicalperformance.com/