Union leader tortured

published 07-01-2015 13:48, last modified 07-01-2015 13:48
In May 2014 a local union leader of the National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF) was found unconscious by the roadside about 45 kilometres from Dhaka.
Union leader tortured

Injured Monir with his family

The union leader, Munirizzaman Monir, had been beaten up and badly injured, resulting in a broken leg and other injuries. The attack took place shortly after 32 workers were dismissed from the Pioneer Knitwear Factory in Gazipur due to their efforts to organise a union.

Factory management

Monir was kidnapped by a group of armed men, who claimed they were acting on the orders of the Pioneer factory management. The local NGWF union office and Monir's house were vandalised and looted. Two more local union leaders from the Pioneer factory were beaten with iron bars. They were even held hostage at gunpoint. All these violent events happened on the same day.
The next  day, Monir’s brother-in-law was threatened, physically attacked, and his hand was broken. Monir’s family were forced to flee their home, fearing for their safety.

C&A and H&M

The NGWF informed the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC), who contacted C&A and H&M – the main buyers of the factory – urging them to investigate the matter and ensure that a solution could be found.

Conciliation

After a few months, the NGWF and the factory owners’ trade associations (the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association or BGMEA and the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association or BKMEA) – held a conciliation meeting. The parties reached an agreement on the reinstatement of the dismissed workers and compensation for the medical costs of Monir and his family, as well as compensation for material damages to his family and the NGWF office. The media covered the case extensively, and many members of the public were delighted that the brutal incidents appeared to have been remedied.
The implementation of the agreed resolution took a few more months. The factory management provided some compensation and assured Monir and his family of their safety.

Unfortunately union-bashing appears to have become a trend among garment factory owners. As a result, garment workers’ rights to organise are systematically violated in Bangladesh.

See also
Window-dressing in Bangladesh?

workers protesting