24 February, 2016Unwavering mobilization by the Sommilito Garments Sramik Federation (SGSF) trade union and solidarity action by Japan's largest industrial union, UA Zensen, has seen 12 workers reinstated at Donglian Fashion Ltd in Bangladesh.
In a memorandum of Understanding (MoU) reached between Donglian Fashion (BD) Ltd and SGSF on 10 February 2016, the company agreed to reinstate the workers with all back wages and benefits. The 12 workers, which included the union president and general secretary, were forced to resign from the factory because of their involvement in union activities.
After workers formed the Donglian Fashion (BD) Ltd. Sommilito Workers Union in November 2014, union members and office bearers were in some cases subjected to forced resignations, physical attacks and even death threats. The management also obtained a high court order to restrain union activities on the premises of the company.
However, steadfast mobilization to defend workers’ rights by SGSF and the intervention of IndustriALL Global Union affiliate UA Zensen resulted in bringing the company to the negotiation table and sign an MoU with the union. UA Zensen, supporting SGSF, requested that the Japanese parent company intervene and urge Donglian Fashion in Bangladesh to respect ILO conventions and core labour standards on Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining (Convention No. 87 & No. 98).
In the MoU signed between Ren Weidong, Chairman of Donglian Fashion (BD) Ltd and Nazma Akhter, President of SGSF, the management also agreed to take immediate steps to withdraw the High Court writ petition No 12244 of 2015 restraining trade union activities at the factory. In line with the agreement, the union office bearers returned to work on February 19.
UA ZENSEN said “We feel happy that this case has been resolved with almost all the demands accepted by the company and wish that the Donglian Fashion trade union will be able to establish good industrial relations for the workers concerned. UA ZENSEN will continue to assist trade union to establish unions and industrial relations in Bangladesh.”