Posts Tagged ‘Bangladesh’


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Today, as they have every year since 1889, workers around the world are celebrating International Workers’ Day.

They marched, for example, in Kuala Lampur and Dhaka (on the left and right above, respectively). And they attempted to march on Istanbul’s Taksim Square (but the government sent police and fired water cannons to stop them).

But workers around the world have also developed a new strategy: to take over the enterprises where they work.

In Turkey [ht: ja], for example, a subset of the 94 workers who were fired in January 2013 from the Kazova Textile factory in Istanbul eventually formed a worker-owned cooperative, Free Kazova. It is now in its third month of operation.


And, as the Guardian reminds us, many groups of workers in other countries—in Greece, France, Spain, and Argentina—are doing the exact same thing, taking matters into their own hands and showing they can organize and operate enterprises democratically, without the previous bosses and boards of directors.


According to a new World Bank report [ht: sm], on inequality in South Asia, among the United States, Bangladesh, India, and Vietnam, the probability of moving out of poverty within a generation (from 2005 to 2010) was highest in Vietnam.

Just to put a point on it: upward mobility from poverty was the same in the United States as in Bangladesh.


After months of protests, New York University’s Student Labor Action Movement [ht: ke] persuaded the University to cut its merchandise licensing deal with JanSport “until and unless” the manufacturer signs onto the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety.

The JanSport victory caps a months-long pressure campaign to persuade the administration to incorporate the Bangladesh accord in its Labor Code of Conduct for licensees; VF remained an outlier by refusing to sign on. But NYU student Iraj Eshghi noted that it took a while to grab the administration’s attention, because “they essentially did their best to ignore us. We spent most of the semester trying to get meetings with the administration. We sent them letters, we sent them emails, they responded saying that JanSport doesn’t produce in Bangladesh.” They kept up the pressure on the main target, the parent company VF, and after they staged a sit-in, the administrators finally sat down with the protesters. Then, recalls Eshghi, they discovered the students were the last to be consulted after discussions within the administration and with outside labor activists.

Noting that “essentially they were going to ask us last,” Eshghi says the process reflected, in his view, a generally dismissive attitude toward students. “This was probably the biggest struggle within this campaign… seeing that NYU doesn’t consider us a large decision making force within the campus.”


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Up to 200,000 garment factory workers [ht: sm] participated in a third day of protests in Dhaka and surrounding areas yesterday, forcing hundreds of factories to close as the workers’ call for a better minimum wage was met with teargas and rubber bullets from police.


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Bangla Desh Tariffs

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