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Bangladesh’s Crackdown on Labor

Author: New York Times, Published on: 7 February 2017

...A strike by workers at the Windy Apparels factory in December, to protest working conditions and shockingly low wages, set off protests that spread to dozens of factories. Owners responded by suspending or firing some 1,500 workers. Factory owners who produce clothing for brands like H&M, Gap, Walmart, C&A, Abercrombie and Fitch and Tommy Hilfiger filed criminal complaints against 25 labor activists and workers, charging some under the country’s sweeping 1974 Special Powers Act...2013 labor-law reforms did little to improve workers’ rights: As of last year, just 10 percent of Bangladesh’s more than 4,500 garment factories had registered unions. The minimum wage of 32 cents an hour has not been raised since 2013, despite inflation. The crackdown is clearly intended to intimidate workers and keep Bangladesh a low-wage country, thus protecting an industry that accounts for some 80 percent of export earnings.

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Related companies: Abercrombie & Fitch Gap H&M PVH (Phillips-Van Heusen) Walmart