Solidarity with the brave garment workers of Bangladesh

Workers Uniting ad has major impact supporting Bangladesh wage demands

A Workers Uniting full page ad, supporting the 3.5 million mostly young women garment workers in their demand for a 35-cent-an-hour minimum wage--was published on July 21 in The Daily Ittefaq.

This is what the union leaders told Rafiq:

"This kind of solidarity support for the garment workers in their campaign to raise the minimum wage from the Western world via the media is unprecidented. Most of the trade union leaders told me that an ad of this type is the first in the labor history of Bangladesh, and it has helped to build confidence both of the workers and the union leaders. They realized that they are not alone and that the working class across the globe are with the garment workers of Bangladesh."

Mr. Abul Hossain, president of the Textile Garment Workers Federation, immediately printed 20,000 copies of the ad, which are being distributed at rallies and worksites across Dhaka and Chittagong.

The day after the ad appeared, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told the media: "The wage the workers are paid, I will say, is not only insufficient, but also inhumane. The workers cannot even stay in Dhaka with the peanuts they get in wages."

Another popular newspaper, The Prothon Alo, carried a news story on the Workers Uniting campaign to support Bangladesh's garment workers' wage demands.

In the Workers Uniting delegation meeting with the Bangladeshi Minister of Labour, the Minister directly accused the giant multinational retailers--like Wal-Mart and Tesco--of constantly driving down production costs and wages, leaving the workers trapped in misery. The multinationals have to be controlled, he told us, as they have no interest or regard for the Bangladeshi people.

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