Respected Comrades, Friends and Well-wishers,
It is with heavy heart we, Garment Workers’ Trade Union Centre (GWTUC) would like to inform you about an ongoing workers’ movement.
The Lakhsma Sweaters Movement
The said movement concerns a garments company named Lakhsma Sweaters Ltd. The company is a successful one and has big shot buyers (http://www.lakhsma.com/buyer-list/).
- For the past 3 months the workers of the said company has been demanding their due salaries and also demanding the production to be started again as it has been shut down without any legitimate reason and also without following any legal procedure whatsoever.
- The top management of the company is falsely claiming that the factory is not profitable anymore hence they were compelled to shut it down. However the truth is different as the company is opening up a new factory in a different place which would make their business more profitable.
- We do acknowledge that according the relevant statute and code of the law the company has every right to set up new factory or office wherever they are allowed to do so. However the company has failed to acknowledge the relevant parts of the law concerning service benefits of workers forced to quit their job.
- The workers were promised payment on 23 November 2017 and when they went on to get their payment, they were beaten up by the Industrial Police and many workers were injured and had to be admitted in the hospital.
After exhausting all the procedure for their demands to be met and still their voices unheard, the workers of the said factory decided to take their demands straight to the authority representing all the owners also known as Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and have decided to protest in front of BGMEA building and stay there until their demands are met. This has been going on since 26 November 2017.
The Bigger Picture
Recent Tendency of evading payment:
Due to our involvement in various movements in the garment sector what we are witness since the last year is that the factory owners, whenever they get a better prospect of opening up a more profitable factory in a new place, they shut the old factory down using the excuse of that factory not being profitable anymore to defraud the workers and also government authority to make it appear that they are not firing any workers from the but job but they are getting compelled to shut down production which inevitably resulted in the loss ofjobs. The implication of such fraud is to avoid paying the legitimate service benefits to the workers and tire the poor workers after they delay the procedure of meeting the demands by not responding to any of it. The same line of unlawful conduct has been also implemented in the Lakhsma Garment Movement as the owner and the top management is simply not responding to the demand of the workers. Almost recently the same form of fraud were committed on the workers of a garment company called Tex-tec and company also shut down the old factory without paying 3 months’ salary and opened up a new factory. Later on the workers protested for 2 months and after negotiating they were compelled to take only 1 month’s salary. We are certain that the Lakshma Sweater Ltd is just following the precedence.
Role of the Government:
The Government passively encourages the said activities by not taking proper legal regulatory action against the owners. We do understand that the BGMEA lobby is very strong and influential over this Government and has also been the same over every other past Governments. Whenever a movement happens they repress the workers by arresting and threatening the trade union leaders and activists. The trade union leaders and activists are in constant fear of being a victim of forceful disappearance.
Our request is very plain and simple. Stand with the oppressed workers of Lakhsma Sweaters Ltd. Please use whatever resources you have to show your solidarity and support to these helpless workers. Be their voice and make the concerned authorities such as BGMEA, the relevant public office listen to what the workers of Lakhsma Sweater Ltd is going through. They do not have any job, shelter or food right now. Stand in solidarity with us fighting the system responsible for such atrocities.
Garment Workers’ Trade Union Centre