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13 Jan 2020

Clean Clothes Campaign & International Labor Rights Forum

Bangladesh: Hundreds of garment workers still face retaliatory charges a year after wage protest crackdown

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"A year after crackdown on wage protests in Bangladesh, hundreds of workers still face retaliatory charges", 13 January 2020

A year ago ... a minimal wage revision was announced that, together with massive repression, led [garment] workers to end... [ongoing] demonstrations [against poverty wages]... Thousands of workers... however, fac[ed] punishment for their peaceful protest through politically-motivated dismissals, blacklisting, and criminal charges...

[A]t least 33 cases [were] filed under Bangladesh’s penal code, cumulatively targeting thousands of garment workers. Almost all cases were filed by factories producing for major international brands...

[N]ational and international labour organizations... have reached out to apparel brands... urging them to require their suppliers to immediately withdraw all baseless criminal complaints against workers, reinstate the terminated or forcibly dismissed workers with full back pay, and to put an end to the blacklisting. Several brands, including H&M, Primark, and Next, have... engaged with their suppliers... but... each of these companies still has at least one trumped-up case that could not be confirmed as dismissed in their Bangladesh supply chain.

[A]ll 65 workers jailed... [have been] released and factories... [have] start[ed] withdrawing cases filed against striking workers... [F]ive criminal cases, which together had charged at least 949 workers, have been dropped by the court after the factories... asked for the dismissal of cases. Several other factories have already filed for dismissal...

Part of the following timelines

Bangladesh: Widespread garment worker protests over minimum wage increase; leads to mass dismissals

Bangladesh: Brands respond to mass dismissals of garment workers following minimum wage protests