Jump to main content
IndustriALL logotype

Bangladesh union repression intensifies

13 February, 2017A further nine trade union members from an IndustriALL Global Union affiliate in Bangladesh were arrested over the weekend as the government crackdown on garment workers escalates.

Nine trade union members of IndustriALL affiliate, the Bangladesh Independent Garment Workers Union Federation, were detained by authorities in Chittagong on Friday 10 February after police interrupted a training session in union offices.

They were released on bail this morning, but the charges have not been dropped.

Since December, at least 26 trade union leaders and garment workers have been jailed and remain in detention. At the same time, union offices have been ransacked, vandalized and had their documents and equipment stolen. Many union leaders have gone into hiding for fear of arrest.

Only last week, police spent four hours grilling trade union officials at the Gazipur offices of IndustriALL affiliate, the Bangladesh Revolutionary Garments Workers Federation, leading them to halt their union activities for fear of police interference.

IndustriALL’s general secretary, Valter Sanches, said:

“We demand the government stops this shameful repression of trade unionists in Bangladesh. The government must drop the charges and release all those that are still detained.  By continuously flouting international laws on trade union and worker rights, it is seriously risking its most precious asset – the garment industry.”

IndustriALL is coordinating a campaign together with UNI Global Union and the ITUC to defend trade unionists and end the repression of trade unions in Bangladesh.

There are many ways you can participate:

  • Hold an action at a Bangladesh embassy or consulate in your country. Make sure to send photos or video of the action to [email protected]. In some cities efforts to organize embassy visits are already underway.  If you are interested in participating or organizing a visit in your city, please contact Adam Lee at [email protected], who can help to link you with other interested unions in the area.
  • Either deliver the attached protest letter to the Bangladeshi embassy or send it directly to the Bangladeshi government (in English only). Put it on your union’s letterhead, insert your union’s name in the first sentence, add a signature and send it to the email addresses listed at the top of the letter.
  • Send the attached letter to your government asking it to demand the Bangladesh government free the jailed trade unionists and respect workers’ rights.
  • Take photos with the attached solidarity sign and post them online with hashtag #EveryDayCounts and send them to [email protected]
  • Sign the LabourStart online petition