Bangladesh

Turning the world inside out!

The disaster in Rana Plaza on 24 April 2013, where at least 1,138 Bangladeshi garment workers died, has spurred more people to fight for better conditions for the world’s 75 million garment workers.

“Fashion Revolution Day” on 24 April marked the first anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh.

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From Maoism to Trotskyism in Bangladesh

Badrul Alam, a member of the Communist Party of Bangladesh (Marxist-Leninist), visited Britain recently. During his visit he told Sacha Ismail and Martin Thomas from Solidarity about the history of his group, and how it evolved from Maoism towards Trotskyism.

A member of the Communist Party of Bangladesh (Marxist-Leninist) who visited Britain recently discusses the history of his group and how it evolved from Maoism towards Trotskyism.

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End sweatshops! Support Bangladeshi workers!

When Rana Plaza, a multistorey building housing garment factories, collapsed in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka in April 2013 the focus of the world media was on the conditions of Bangladeshi workers.

It seemed that a turning point might be reached in their fight for rights. But a new investigation by ITV journalists, featuring the campaigning NGO Labour Behind the Label, has shown that little has changed for the better.

A review of Exposure: Fashion Factories Uncovered (ITV, 6 February 2014).

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Mobilising workers in Bangladesh

Badrul Alam, a member of the Communist Party of Bangladesh (Marxist-Leninist), an observer section of the Fourth International, spoke to Solidarity about the political crisis in that country and its implications for working-class politics.


The Awami League and the Bangladeshi Nationalist Party (BNP), the two main bourgeois parties in Bangladesh, are fighting each other for power. There are no real ideological differences between them. Both parties belong to the bourgeoisie.

A member of the Communist Party of Bangladesh (Marxist-Leninist), an observer section of the Fourth International, discusses the political crisis in that country and its implications for working-class politics.

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Bangladeshi wage increase

Bangladeshi workers have won a 77% increase in the minimum wage which will rise to 5,300 takas (£43) per month.

The increase comes after months of struggle following the Rana Plaza factory collapse in April, in which over 1,000 workers were killed. A 10-day wave of protests from 21 September saw tens of thousands of workers mobilise, demanding an even higher increase (8,114 takas, a 170% increase). Protests were continuing as recently as Thursday 14 November. Many protests had been met with police repression, including the use of tear-gas.

Bangladeshi workers have won a 77% increase in the minimum wage which will rise to 5,300 takas (£43) per month.

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Global strikes and solidarity

The Hong Kong Confederation of Trade unions (HKCTU) held a solidarity rally on 1 October at a Government office in Hong Kong.

The demonstration called for the release of Wu Guijun, imprisoned for organising with co-workers against job losses when the furniture factory where they worked re-locates.

According to the IUF trade union federation:

Hong Kong unions rally for imprisoned activist; Bangladeshi textile workers walk out; South African miners strike.

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North London protest: Solidarity with Bangladeshi workers! No more factory deaths!

Date: 

19 May, 2013 - 12:30 to 14:00

Location: 

Gap, Unit 5, Parkfield Street, London N1 0PS

Description: 

Facebook event here.

The death toll from the Rana Plaza factory collapse has now passed 1,100.

Mass mobilisations by Bangladeshi garment workers, supported by international solidarity, has forced many retailers into compensating victims' families and signing the Bangladeshi Fire & Building Safety Agreement. Restrictions on unions' rights to organise have also been relaxed.

But some retailers, including Gap, are refusing to sign the accord. We'll be leafleting and petitioning outside Gap's outlet near Angel station (Unit 5, Parkfield Street, London N1 0PS) to demand they sign the agreement and respect their workers' rights to organise — in their suppliers' factories, and in their stores.

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Bangladesh: workers oppose the Islamists

Badrul Alam from the Communist Party of Bangladesh (Marxist-Leninist) spoke to Solidarity.


We’ve read about big demonstrations organised by Islamists demanding stronger religious laws. What effect are they having on the garment workers’ movement?

An interview with Badrul Alam from the Communist Party of Bangladesh (Marxist-Leninist).

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No more blood for profit: solidarity with Bangladeshi workers. AWL London Forum

Date: 

29 May, 2013 - 19:00 to 21:00

Location: 

University of London Union, Malet Street, WC1E 7HY. Room 2B

Description: 

Facebook event here.

After the Rana Plaza massacre, where over 1,000 Bangladeshi workers were murdered for profit when their unsafe workplace collapsed, the Bangladeshi workers' movement has taken great steps forward.

The wave of militancy with which the Bangladeshi labour movement met the killing - with support from their allies around the world - has already won a series of victories, including a change in the law making it easier for workers to unionise, compensation, and improved building safety agreements.

The victories of organisations like the National Garment Workers Federation of Bangladesh show that real change is possible, that solidarity wins - and also that it is the workers' movement, not charity or ethical shopping that is the real force for human liberation and civilisation.

Come to this Workers' Liberty forum, which will be addressed by Bangladeshi labour activists via Skype, where we will learn about the workers' movement in Bangladesh and discuss positive steps forward we can make to help it.

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Bangladesh unrest grows as death toll rises

The death toll from the Rana Plaza factory collapse has now passed 700. It is one of the worst industrial disasters in recent history, and the worst ever in Bangladesh.

A government building inspector has confirmed that the building, which housed five factories, was built with inadequate, weak materials that could not withstand vibrations caused by electricity generators on the top floor. The building’s architect has said it was intended to house residential or light commercial properties rather than heavy industry.

The death toll from the Rana Plaza factory collapse has now passed 700. It is one of the worst industrial disasters in recent history, and the worst ever in Bangladesh

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No more factory deaths! Second Lewisham protest in solidarity with Bangladeshi workers!

Date: 

11 May, 2013 - 13:00 to 15:00

Location: 

Primark, 190 Lewisham High Street Lewisham SE13 6JL

Description: 

On 4 May Workers' Liberty organised an action outside Primark in Lewisham to protest about the deaths of hundreds of garment workers in Bangladesh and demand safe factories and recognition of unions. On 11 May, we're protesting again. Please come along!

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After the deaths of hundreds of garment workers in Bangladesh, the National Garment Workers' Federation (NGWF) in Bangladesh has launched a campaign and petition. It asks UK high street chains Primark, Mango, and Matalan to commit to forcing their Bangladeshi suppliers to comply with the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement.

We demand that the big chains force suppliers to allow trade unions to organise in their factories and to negotiate with workers' own representatives.

More info: 07883 520 852

Online campaigning:

NGWF petition here

LabourStart campaign here

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North London protest: Solidarity with Bangladeshi workers! No more factory deaths!

Date: 

4 May, 2013 - 12:00 to 14:00

Location: 

Primark, 365-371 Mare Street, Hackney, London, E8 1HY

Description: 

After the deaths of hundreds of garment workers in Bangladesh, the National Garment Workers' Federation (NGWF) in Bangladesh has launched a campaign and petition. It asks UK high street chains Primark, Mango, and Matalan to commit to forcing their Bangladeshi suppliers to comply with the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement.

We demand that the big chains force suppliers to allow trade unions to organise in their factories and to negotiate with workers' own representatives.

**Join us outside Primark in Hackney on Saturday 4 May to support workers in Bangladesh and demand factories and workplaces there and worldwide are made safe. Please also consider calling a protest in your town.**

Facebook event here.

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South London protest: Solidarity with workers in Bangladesh! No more factory deaths!

Date: 

4 May, 2013 - 12:00 to 14:00

Location: 

Primark, 190 Lewisham High Street, Lewisham SE13 6JL

Description: 

After the deaths of hundreds of garment workers in Bangladesh, the National Garment Workers' Federation (NGWF) in Bangladesh has launched a campaign and petition. It asks UK high street chains Primark, Mango, and Matalan to commit to forcing their Bangladeshi suppliers to comply with the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement.

We demand that the big chains force suppliers to allow trade unions to organise in their factories and to negotiate with workers' own representatives.

Join us outside Primark in Lewisham on Saturday 4 May to support workers in Bangladesh and demand factories and workplaces there and worldwide are made safe. Please also consider calling a protest in your town.

Facebook event

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Dhaka factory tragedy: capitalism is guilty

Solidarity — not ethical shopping — is what the garment workers of Bangladesh are demanding.

On the afternoon of 24 April, Rana Plaza, an eight-storey building housing textile factories in Savar, a suburb of the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, collapsed. When rescuers gave up searching for survivors on 29 April, the official death toll was 380.

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Protest at Primark, Matalan, Mango!

Protest at high street shops to make them meet the demands of Bangladeshi workers and insist that suppliers allow real trade union organisation.

The National Garment Workers' Federation (NGWF) in Bangladesh has launched a petition. It asks UK high street chains Primark, Mango, and Matalan to commit to forcing their Bangladeshi suppliers to comply with the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement.

We also demand that the big chains force suppliers to allow trade unions to organise in their factories and to negotiate with workers' own representatives.

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Factory fire deaths: this was murder

At least 112 workers were killed in the fire on 24 November at the Tazreen Fashions garment factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Every year dozens are killed in such fires. They are murdered by a venal system overseen by culpable individuals.

The mainly women workers were caught out when a fire broke out on the ground floor of the factory. There were no emergency exits. Some workers jumped out of windows to their deaths. Rescue workers have found many unrecognisable bodies; families will not even be able bury their dead relatives.

At least 112 workers were killed in the fire on 24 November at the Tazreen Fashions garment factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

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Islamist is new UAF vice-chair

The new vice chair of Unite Against Fascism is a leading activist in an Islamist group linked to the murder of hundreds of thousands of Bangladeshis in 1971.

The new vice chair of Unite Against Fascism is Azad Ali, leading activist in the Islamic Forum of Europe, an Islamist group based mainly in the Bengali community of East London.

There are many things socialists should say about UAF, Ali and the IFE, but I want to concentrate on one.

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Britain trains Bangladeshi death squad

US embassy cables leaked by Wikileaks reveal that the UK government has been training a paramilitary death squad in Bangladesh – in the name of “counter-terrorism”, naturally.

US embassy cables leaked by Wikileaks reveal that the UK government has been training a paramilitary death squad in Bangladesh – in the name of “counter-terrorism”, naturally.

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Bangladeshi garment workers rise

Following a wave of textile strikes in Bangladesh, a reviving workers’ movement is facing savage repression in Bangladesh.The campaign in solidarity with victimised strikers and activists continues. The following is an extract from an article on the US SocialistWorker.org website.

Following a wave of textile strikes, a reviving workers’ movement is facing savage repression in Bangladesh.

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Student struggles go global

Author: 

Darren Bedford

Students all over Europe — and, indeed, the world — are planning a wave of high-level direct action as part of the Global Week of Action, called by the “International Students Movement”.

Students all over Europe — and, indeed, the world — are planning a wave of high-level direct action as part of the Global Week of Action, called by the “International Students Movement”.

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Bangladeshi textile workers: "They won't keep us quiet"

Author: 

Harry Glass

In December 2008, Shahida Sarker, president of the National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF) and Suma Sarker, NGWF activist, visited the UK on a tour for the No Sweat campaign. They spoke to Harry Glass.

Can you explain about the NGWF – its history and organisation?

Shahida: The National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF) was founded in 1984. It is made up of 31 garment factory-based trade unions in Bangladesh. It now has 22,655 members.

Interview with two activists from Bangladesh's National Garment Workers Federation.

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