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Justice for murdered trade union leader

30 June, 2023The IndustriALL Bangladesh Council held a protest at the Gazipur district commissioner's office on Monday 26 June, to demanding justice for the murder of Shahidul Islam Shahid, president of the Gazipur unit of Bangladesh Garments and Industrial Workers Federation (BGIWF), who was killed a day earlier.

With the rising attacks on trade union leaders, hundreds of garment workers, trade union organizations and labour activists took to the streets across the country after the brutal killing of Shahidul Islam’s.

Shahidul Islam was killed by factory-hired thugs for demanding payment of wages and festival bonuses for workers employed at Prince Jacquard Sweater Limited. Union leaders Mostafa Kamal, Ahmed Sharif, and Akkas Ali were also injured in the attack.

IndustriALL Global Union and UNI Global Union have made a statement and written a letter to the Bangladeshi prime minister Sheikh Hasina, strongly condemning the horrific attack.

General secretaries, Atle Høie and Christy Hoffman said,

“those responsible for this heinous crime should be held accountable and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Freedom of association continues to be violated in the country and the government must ensure that trade unions and their representatives can operate without intimidation, and violence in their role as elected representatives of workers.”

Kalpona Akter, IndustriALL Executive Committee member and president of Bangladesh Garments and Industrial Workers Federation, says: 

“Shahidul mobilised thousands of workers to join unions, empowering them to become solid factory-level trade union leaders. Throughout his life, he assisted thousands of workers in receiving arrears and severance pay wrongfully denied by their employers. With workers' needs always in mind, Shahidul and three other union leaders met on the evening of his death to discuss a peaceful resolution to a wage dispute and the Eid-ul-Azha festival bonus. He met his fate due to the industry’s ill practice to promote yellow unions and the neglect of workers' voices. This needs to be stopped. Workers must be allowed to organize and join unions. Shahid's contributions to the labour movement were remarkable and will be sorely missed.”