20 February 2017, Mon, 11:03

Govt crackdown worsens labour situation: UNI

Switzerland-based UNI Global Union and other international labour rights body have voiced concerns over the “deteriorating situation in practising trade unions in Bangladesh as the government resort to punitive crackdown on labourers.”

“Trade union offices ransacked and vandalised, leaders arrested and imprisoned, workers and organizers in hiding for fear of retribution - this is the face of Bangladesh’s punitive crackdown on labour,” read an article the UNI Global Union released on its website recently.

The article went on saying, “The situation is deteriorating further - 9 trade union members were arrested over the weekend in Chittagong. They were released, but the charges have not been dropped.”

UNI and IndustriALL, along with the international labour organisation, joined together to condemn the suppression of organised labour in Bangladesh.

Since December, over 35 trade unionist leaders, organisers and workers have been arrested and detained for taking part in protests, according to the UNI.

“We are fighting back to gain the release of the jailed workers and insist on basic trade union rights in Bangladesh,” said Philip Jennings, general secretary of UNI Global Union. “The government is acting unfairly and arrogantly. This repression is ultimately damaging to their number one export earner.”

IndustriALL’s general secretary, Valter Sanches, said, “We demand the government stops this shameful repression of trade unionists in Bangladesh. The government must drop the charges and release all those still detained.  By continuously flouting international laws on trade union and worker rights, it is seriously risking its most precious asset - the garment industry.” 

UNI is coordinating a campaign together with IndustriALL and ITUC to defend trade unionists and end the repression on trade unions in Bangladesh, said the article.