Sunday, August 3, 2014

[Appeal for Solidarity] Textile Workers in Bangladesh on Fast-Unto-Death Hunger Strike

Dear Friends and Comrades,

Lal Salaam!

Can hungry people go on hunger strike? That is exactly what the textile workers of Tuba Group in Bangladesh are doing since July 28, 2014.

1600 textile workers of Tuba Group have been agitating since June, 2014 over unpaid wages stretching back to May, 2014. On July 26, 2014 the workers had confined two relatives of the Group chairman and managing director Delwar Hossain within the factory premises demanding immediate payment of their due wages. Last Monday (July 28, 2014) several hundred workers of Tuba Group took over factories they work at (Taif Designs Ltd., Mita Designs Ltd. and Tuba Fashions Ltd. at Uttar Badda Dhaka) and began their fast unto death demanding the unpaid wage and festival bonus. 

Six days later about 92 workers are suffering from different level of dehydration and 11 workers are hospitalized as their health condition took a critical turn. Representative from neither garment owners association Bangladesh Garment Manufacturer & Exporter Association (BGMEA) nor the government has contacted the agitating workers and taken any initiative to end this hunger strike by meeting their demands. Instead, they have used this issue of non-payment to secure the owner, Delwar Hossain's bail. He was in jail in connection with the fire at one of his factory, Tazreen Fashions Ltd. which killed more than 125 workers on November 24, 2012. While an injured worker of Tazreen Fashions Ltd., Amena Begum, is counting her last days at a Palliative Care Center, missing workers' families still awaiting proper compensation and 1600 workers starving for three months without pay, the owner is granted bail. When the garment owners lock workers inside burning buildings, should we to expect them to care if the latter die fasting? We are writing to you to inform you about the ongoing workers struggle, we are writing today to request you to support the movement. We request you to:

- If possible organize a vigil outside Bangladeshi Embassy in solidarity with the struggling workers and to put pressure on the Bangladeshi Govnernment to intervene so that workers are paid immediately and that the bail of the owner who is charged with culpable homicide is revoked.

- If you are part of press fraternity, or if you know someone who is in the press please help us get this news of workers occupation and hunger strike out, help us mobilize the international media.

- If possible please send a text message to the president and vice-president of BGMEA, condemning their complicity in allowing the owner to steal workers wage.Here are the numbers:
Atikul Islam, President, BGMEA +8801711520099/01716240893
Md. Shahidulla Azim, Vice-president, BGMEA +8801711520514

-If possible fax a letter to the Ministry of Labor, Govt. of Bangladesh, at this number condemning the government's inaction. Fax no: +88029575583 

Thank you for your continued support, we will keep you posted.

In solidarity,
Saydia Gulrukh and Moniruzzaman Masum
Members, Activist Anthropologist Collective
Dhaka, Bangladesh

Below are few photographs of the ongoing hunger strike and the struggle:

Photo: Khalequzzaman Lipon

Photo: Shahidul Islam

Photo: Moniruzzaman Masum

Taslima Akhter

Photo: Moniruzzaman Masum

Photo: Moniruzzaman Masum

Photo: Rahul Talukder

Photo: Moniruzzaman Masum

Photo: Monzur Rahat

Photo: Moniruzzaman Masum

Photo: Moniruzzaman Masum


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