6 August, 20141,600 Bangladeshi garment workers on hunger strike for more than a week have called for a strike at garment factories across the country on 10 August if outstanding salaries and bonuses are not paid.
More than 1,600 workers at garment manufacturer Tuba Group have been on a hunger strike since 28 July because they have not been paid for three months. They are demanding payment of their salaries, three months worth of overtime, as well as their Eid festival bonuses.
The workers, who produced garments for the International Football Federation (Fifa), today announced that if outstanding payments are not made by 7 August, they would call on garment workers across the country to strike on 10 August.
Monika Kemperle, assistant general secretary of IndustriALL Global Union, calls for immediate payment of outstanding wages and bonuses.
“The women and men who toil in the garment industry in Bangladesh are our members and we will fight for them. They are the backbone of a very profitable industry which can’t afford to treat people like this.”
The managing director of the Tuba group, Delwar Hossain, had been in jail since February 2014 for his role in the Tazreen tragedy, a factory fire claiming 112 lives and injuring more than 200 people. However, in a move by the High Court he was released on bail on 5 August.
The workers on hunger strike have been camping out in one of the factories. To date nearly 100 have fallen ill as a result, and around 20 people have been admitted to hospital.
This morning, 6 August, they woke up to find the entrances locked. The workers were confined for six hours before the gates were opened by the police.
Police then entered the building and ousted labour leaders and activists who had joined the workers in a show of solidarity. At least 20 people were injured in the raid and ten were taken to the police station. All but one was later released.
Authorities have stopped the supply of food and saline to the workers who are continuing their fast, and police have restricted the movement of media inside the factory.
Monika Kemperle says:
The Tuba Group, the BGMEA and the brands must ensure that all outstanding payments are made immediately, before the human cost is too high.