Bangladeshi workers set fire to factories

Bangladeshi garment workers calling for a minimum wage increase clashed with police outside Dhaka. Source: AAP

Bangladeshi garment workers calling for a minimum wage increase clashed with police outside Dhaka. Source: AAP

The Australian, September 23, 2013

ANGRY Bangladeshi garment workers have blocked roads, set factories alight and clashed with police for a third day as protests demanding a minimum monthly wage of $US100 spread outside the capital Dhaka.

Abdul Baten, police chief of the Gazipur industrial district near Dhaka, which is home to hundreds of factories, said on Monday “up to 200,000 workers” had joined the latest demonstrations.

His deputy Mustafizur Rahman said about 300 factories, which make clothing for top Western retailers such as Walmart, were shut on Monday to contain the violence as protesting workers attacked plants that stayed open. Continue reading

Mass hysteria outbreaks hit Bangladesh’s garment workers

[Entire societies have been brutalized, poisoned and traumatized by inhuman colonial and neo-colonial/comprador-ish exploitation.  The most recent mass trauma has hit Bangladesh, where the largest part of the world’s clothing is produced by workers in desperate conditions.  —  Frontlines ed.]
Doctors say ‘mass psychogenic illness’ – not contaminated water – is to blame for recent outbreaks of sickness. Garment workers are fearful of workplace safety after a year of deadly accidents. 

By Correspondent / June 17, 2013

 Bangladeshi garment workers who fell ill during their shifts at a sweater factory lie on beds at a hospital on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, June 6, 2013. About 450 garment workers fell ill at the Starlight Sweater Factory near Bangladesh's capital, due to possible water contamination.  --   A.M. Ahad/AP


Bangladeshi garment workers who fell ill during their shifts at a sweater factory lie on beds at a hospital on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, June 6, 2013. About 450 garment workers fell ill at the Starlight Sweater Factory near Bangladesh’s capital, due to possible water contamination. —
A.M. Ahad/AP

Hundreds of garment workers fell ill on Sunday after drinking water of questionable quality at their workplace in Gazipur at the outskirts of Bangladesh‘s capital, Dhaka.

The incident occurred less than two weeks after about 800 workers fell ill and were hospitalized after drinking water at Starlight Sweaters Ltd., which produced clothes for European buyers Carrefour and Otto.

The Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research in Bangladesh, which tested samples of the water after the incident at Starlight Sweaters on June 5, said they did not find anything unusual from the regular contaminants in water. The Institute’s director, Dr. Mahmudur Rahman, found the case to be a result of “mass psychogenic illness.”

The director believed the illness was a result of a panic attack that may have been triggered by factory authorities announcing that something was wrong with the water and closing work for the day. Continue reading

Bangladesh: Neo-Colonial/Corporate-Terrorist Criminals on Damage Control, restoring Business as Usual

Bangladesh bosses plead to Western firms after tragedy

The heads of Bangladesh’s textile companies pleaded with foreign retail giants to keep doing business with them after a recent factory collapse that killed nearly 400 people. Bangladesh’s $20 billion garment industry is the second largest in the world behind China.

Bangladesh building collapse

[Bangladesh building collapse]

Bangladeshi textile bosses pleaded Monday with Western clothing giants to keep doing business with them after nearly 400 people died in a factory collapse as hopes of finding more survivors faded.

Organizers of the mammoth rescue effort ordered in cranes on Monday to clear the ruins of what was once an eight-story factory compound before it caved in five days ago while some 3,000 textile workers were on shift.

As Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina paid her first visit to the tangle of concrete, the confirmed number of dead stood at 382.

But the toll is expected to shoot up now heavy lifting equipment is being used. Rescuers had earlier been wary of using anything but hand-held drills, over fears that machinery could force more masonry to collapse onto survivors.

Emergency workers, who have been battling the stench of rotting corpses, were shattered by the death late Sunday of a female garment worker who had clung to life against the odds before being overwhelmed by a fire at the scene.

The tragedy has once again focused attention on the poor safety conditions in the $20 billion Bangladeshi garment industry, which is the world’s second biggest after China.

Britain’s Primark and Spain’s Mango have acknowledged their products were made in the block. Italy’s Benetton acknowledged having its clothes made in Rana Plaza recently, but claimed it was a “one-time order”.

Worried that Western firms could look elsewhere, manufacturers met with representatives of leading brand names on Monday in a bid to assure them about safety standards.

Shahidullah Azim, a vice president of the Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association which represents more than 4,500 factories, said firms such as H&M, Gap, C&A and Li and Fung would be present at the meeting in Dhaka. Continue reading

Bangladesh garment factory collapse kills hundreds, ignites massive protests

[Bangladesh’s garment industry, the second-largest exporter of clothing after China, has a notoriously poor fire safety record. Since 2006, nearly 1000 Bangladeshi workers have died in factory fires and building collapses, according to Clean Clothes Campaign, an anti-sweatshop advocacy group in Amsterdam. Experts say many of the fires could have easily been avoided, but the profits generated by the lowest wages and no corporate spending on safety and health conditions have made the garment industry a death trap.  The industry employs more than three million workers in Bangladesh, most of them women. Activists say that global clothing brands like Tommy Hilfiger and the Gap and those sold by Walmart dismiss their responsibility for the working conditions in Bangladeshi factories that produce their clothes. “These brands have known for years that many of the factories they choose to work with are death traps,” Ineke Zeldenrust, the international coordinator for the Clean Clothes Campaign, said in a statement. “Their failure to take action amounts to criminal negligence.” — Frontlines ed.]

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Token, symbolic arrests over Bangladesh building collapse

Owners of collapsed buildings and an engineer responsible for maintenance arrested while death toll rises to 324

 27 Apr 2013
Bangladeshi police say they have made three arrests after a garment factory outside Dhaka collapsed, killing more than 300 people.The building’s owners and an engineer who was responsible for maintenance were arrested on Saturday after the death toll rose to 324.

“We’ve arrested Bazlus Samad, the chairman of New Wave Buttons and New Wave Style factories, and Mahmudur Rahaman Tapash, a managing director of one of these plants, after midnight,” Shyamal Mukherjee, deputy chief of Dhaka police, told AFP news agency.
image

[Associated Press–Bangladeshis watch the rescue operations at the site of the collapse on Thursday.]

One manager for the New Wave Styles company, one of the five manufacturers in the building, said the owner had consulted an engineer but then ignored his warnings.”Those who’re involved, especially the owner who forced the workers to work there, will be punished,” Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told lawmakers.

“Wherever he is, he will be found and brought to justice.”

The police said they plan to arrest at least ten more, after the Hasina’s statement.

Widespread anger has been fuelled by revelations that factory bosses forced 3,000 workers to continue working on Wednesday despite police orders to evacuate the building because of cracks found in the structure the day before.

Thousands of garment factory workers in Bangladesh protested on Friday.

Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets on Friday as protesters attacked factories and smashed vehicles, forcing many garment factories to shut down operations.

“The situation is very volatile. Hundreds of thousands of workers have joined the protests,” M Asaduzzaman, an officer in the police control room, told the AFP news agency. “We fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse them.”

Greece: Farmer shoots 30 unpaid Bangladeshi migrant workers when they demand pay

Greece farm shooting: 30 injured in pay dispute
BBC, 18 April 2013

Migrants are employed to pick strawberries in Nea Manolada

Migrants are employed to pick strawberries in Nea Manolada, a Peloponnesian village in souther Greece.

 

About 30 migrant workers have been injured in a shooting on a strawberry farm in Greece after requesting salaries that had not been paid.

The migrants – mainly from Bangladesh – were shot at by at least one farm supervisor, in a Peloponnesian village in southern Greece.

Several of the workers have been taken to hospital but none are in a critical condition.

The owner of the farm in Nea Manolada and one foreman have been arrested.

Nea Manolada, about 260km (160 miles) west of Athens, is an area where thousands of migrant workers are employed.

Around 200 workers had gathered to request their unpaid salaries when at least one farm supervisor opened fire, reports the BBC’s Mark Lowen.

Police Captain Haralambos Sfetsos told the AP news agency that the workers had “moved threateningly” towards foremen when the shots were taken.

In addition to the two men already arrested, warrants for two further arrests have been issued.

‘Blood strawberries’

Nea Manolada has previously been in the spotlight over exploitation of migrants.

In 2008 workers staged a strike against inhumane conditions. There have also been reports of previous attacks.

A social media campaign has now been launched to boycott the fruit from Nea Manolada, calling them “blood strawberries”.

The Council of Europe – the main European human rights watchdog – issued a report this week detailing abuse against migrants in Greece.

The report warned of a growing wave of racist violence, stating that “democracy is at risk”. It highlighted the role of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party.

Bangladesh: On The Shahbagh Movement Against War Criminals Of 1971

To see The Hindu slide show on the Shahbagh Movement, click on this link:

Shahbag: Bangladesh’s war against fundamentalism – The Hindu.

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Badruddin Umar

Bangladesh22 March, 2013
Courtesy: Countercurrents.org

Some young people gathered on the cross-roads of Shahbagh in Dhaka on February 5, 2013 , to protest against the judgment of t he International Crimes Tribunal ( ICT ) which sentenced Kader Mollah, a 1971 war criminal, to life imprisonment. They demanded capital punishment for Mollah and eight others who are now under trial in the ICT.

In many ways it was an extraordinary situation. First, this demand was being made to a war crimes tribunal which has been constituted for the first time after forty-two years since the end of the war of independence and the emergence of Bangladesh in 1971. Second, the trial is being conducted only of some local collaborators of the then Pakistan government and the Pakistan army. The 195 Pakistani army officers who were initially identified as the principal war criminals and on whose bidding the collaborators committed their crimes, have been left out of this trial.

DSU poster for a Delhi University program on the Shahbagh Movement

DSU poster for a Delhi University program on the Shahbagh Movement

Today it seems amazing that in spite of the Bangladesh government’s occasionally demanding apology from Pakistan government for war crimes of 1971, a demand for the return of the 195 army criminals for trial in Bangladesh was never made. But the Awami League (AL) government under Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had forgiven all the arrested Pakistani army personnel, including the 195 identified criminal army officers, and returned them to their country as a gesture of goodwill towards Pakistan ! In this case, in their own interest, India played the role of a decisive mediator. Referring to this gesture of goodwill Sheikh Mujibur Rahman ‘magnanimously’ declared that the people of Bangladesh knew how to forgive and forget.

Yet in spite of this, in fact false, declaration of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on behalf of the people of Bangladesh , the latter never forgot the atrocities committed against them, and they have always sought justice against the military and civilian war criminals who perpetrated every imaginable crime against them. Nothing could be a more conclusive proof of this than the movement for the proper trial and punishment of the 1971 war criminals which began on February 5.

A small number of young men and women started the movement, but almost immediately it began to spread like wildfire all over the country. The way it spread cannot be properly explained only in terms of peoples’ desire to try and punish the war criminals of 1971. In this connection it should be noted that the movement has started by a new generation of people who had no direct experience of Pakistani atrocities committed in 1971. They were not even born at that time. Thus the stirring which happened was caused by reasons other than the mere desire of the people to punish the war criminals, though at the surface nothing else was visible. It actually happened because the ground was prepared by what happened to the people of this country since the independence of Bangladesh.

During the independence movement and the war, the aspirations of the people were very high. But after independence the government led by Sheikh Mujib threw overboard what the people actually stood for and what they understood by the spirit of liberation war. Continue reading