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Garment Workers Country-Wide Strike om 1st September, 2002

From: Amirul Haque Amin
General Secretary
National Garments Workers Federation



In Bangladesh,garment workers will observe country wide Strike in whole garment sector on 1st September,2002. This strike called by the Bangladesh Garment Workers Unity Council (BGWUC). BGWUC is an umbrella organisation of 6 garment workers federations including the National Garments Workers Federation (NGWF ). NGWF is the initiator of the BGWUC.

In Bangladesh, the total number of garment factories are 3300. The number of garments workers are : 16,00000. 80% are women worker.Garment is the biggest industrial sector of Bangladesh and it earns the highest foreign money.

But till now garment workers are inhuman condition.In 1994 government declared minimum wage was Tk.930/ per month. It was equvalant to $ 23.25 , on that time and now it is equvalant to $ 16 . In this 8 years there is no new wage structure though acconding to law it should revise every 2 years. Even till now workers receiving minimum wage tk 800($14) per month.

Many cases workers work 14 to 16 hours per day and 7 days in a week.The workers donot have the appointment letter/contact letter and service book. Management do not allow the trade union right and activities though according to the law it have.There is no gratuity or provident fund or social security fund.Working condition and factory envernment is very bad.Health and safety condition is very poor.BGMEA ( Bangladesh Garments manufacturers And Exporters Association ) had signed MOU with BGWUC in 1997 and 2000. But these are not implemented .In this condition the BGWUC have called strike on the basis of 6 points charter of demands.

This 6 points are in the attached file.

For the success of the strike, Bangladeshi garment workers need your support, solidarity and cooperation.

In solidarity
Amirul Haque Amin
General Secretary, NGWF
Coordinator, BGWUC

Six-Point Charter of Demands

  1. Wages and Other Financial Benefits:
    1. Determining and providing garment workers and employees wages on the basis of grade. The minimum basic wage will be Tk 1,800/- and grading will be on the basis of seniority, experience and status.
    2. Providing 35 percent of the basic wage as house rent, Tk 150/ transport allowance, Tk 200/- medical allowance and Tk 100/- laundry allowance.
    3. Introduction of Provident fund which will comprise 10 percent of basic wage of the workers-employees and equal contribution by the authorities.
    4. Giving gratuity equivalent to two-month basic wages for every one year work.
    5. Providing Eid bonuses ahead of the two Eids. The amount of the bonus will be equivalent to two- month basic wage.
    6. Compensating a worker killed in a fire incident by Tk 200000/ and for an injured by Tk 50,000/-.
    7. Compensation a worker died in the workplace or on way to and from the workplace by the amount of 36-month basic wage.
    8. Compensating a worker injured or hurt in the workplace as per laws.
    9. Introducing group insurance for workers and employees by the money given by the authorities.
    10. Providing overtime which will be double that the original wage.
    11. Ten percent of the total profit will have to be given to the workers-employees as profit allowance.
    12. Determining Tk 1,000/- as apprentice allowance. The apprentice period will have to be limited within three months.
  2. Health and Security:
    Making affective the clauses 20, 22 and 34 of the Factory Act-1965 to ensure health and security of the workers.
  3. Boosting Garment Industry:
    1. Expanding international market.
    2. Ensuring duty-free entry of Bangladesh's readymade garments s to other countries including the U.S. market
    3. Taking appropriate steps for developing quality and productivity of readymade garments and productivity.
    4. Taking necessary steps to face the challenge of year 2005 Free market.
  4. Trade Union Rights:
    1. Ensuring Trade union rights of all garment workers, including in the EPZs.
    2. Stopping corruption in Register of Trade Unions and Factory inspection offices and ensuring transparency and accountability of the two offices.
    3. Scrapping anti-labor interest clause 19 (Ka) of labor Law, Public Safety Act and Special Powers Act.
    4. Introducing democratic labor law.
  5. Garment Industrial Zones:
    1. Introducing separate industrial zones for garment industry.
    2. Building colonies for workers in the industrial zones.
    3. Making arrangements for hospitals, educational institutions and recreation centers in the industrial zones.
  6. Implementing the agreements signed by the BGMEA on November 29. 1997 and September 10, 2000:
    1. Providing all workers-employees with appointment letters, identity cards, service books and wage slips.
    2. Paying wage and other allowances within seven days of the next month.
    3. Ensuring weekly holidays.
    4. Giving women workers 12-week maternity leave with wages and introducing Daycare centers.
    5. Giving identity cards for one year for all workers-employees.
    6. Stopping works by female workers at nighttime.

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