A fire in a Bangladeshi garment factory in Dhaka this week, in which eight people were reportedly injured, confirms that national inspection bodies are not yet ready to take over the work of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety.
Workers and supporters protesting unjust dismissals, 2018
Three years after worker rights violations were first reported by labour rights advocates to Gap and other brand buyers, their Morelos-based supplier closed the factory rather than reinstate workers fired who had been attempting to form an independent union. The last remaining workers were dismissed in December 2018.
In January 2019, the Labour Research Team (Equipo de Investigaciónes Laborales -- EIL) published its annual report comparing inflation rates and increases in the monthly minimum wages for maquila workers in Central America’s four garment-producing countries. The three-page report provides brief analyses of the political and economic context within which the tripartite minimum wage negotiations took place in each country, highlighting actions of a variety of actors including government, industry, women’s organizations and trade unions.
On January 29, 30 and 31, the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) and International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) will be organizing protests outside Bangladesh embassies in the US and Europe in support of safe factories, living wages and an end to repression against workers mobilizing for decent wages.
A new minimum wage of 8,000 Taka (US$94), which came into effect on December 9, was rejected by workers and their unions asserting that the increase, the first of its kind since 2013, did not cover the rise in prices over the last five years. Bangladeshi unions, including those in the IndustriALL Bangladesh Council, have been demanding a monthly minimum wage of 16,000 taka (US$191).
Workers formerly employed by the clothing manufacturer, Alabama Mexico, in Yucatan, Mexico are protesting the company’s failure to provide full legal severance pay, back wages and other compensation owing after the company closed its factory in late December 2018.
On December 11, 2018, six prominent Cambodian union leaders were found guilty of instigating violent protests in December 2013 and January 2014 and ordered to pay a collective fine of approximately US$8,600. The sentence comes just two months after Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, under increasing international pressure, publicly urged labour and justice ministers to finalize all court cases against union leaders, a call originally lauded by union leaders.
Read more about Six Cambodian union leaders unjustly sentenced in a trial riddled with irregularities
On November 29, the Bangladesh High Court conducted a hearing following the appeal filed by the Bangladesh Accord against the restraining order on its Bangladesh operations. The restraining order was due to take effect today. A new hearing by the High Court was subsequently re-scheduled twice and will now take place on December 17, and the restraining order has been lifted until that date. The hearings have taken place amidst mounting international pressure and calls from the international community for the permanent removal of the order.