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Urgent Update - Workers Beaten at Western Factory

July 17, 2006  |  Share

Western is currently producing jackets for the Reebok label.  There are about 90 Bangladeshi workers in the factory along with some Indian and Jordanian workers.

The Ministry of Labor should immediately intervene to end the threats and secure the safety of the workers.  Western should be shut down and the workers relocated to a better factory.  Western’s owner should be prosecuted.

Following the release of the NLC report in May, Western management reduced its daily shifts, closing the factory at 9:30 p.m., and workers started to receive one day off a week.  But this was short-lived.

Factory management has not returned the workers’ passports, nor have the workers received their residency permits.

Beginning in June, the workers are back to working seven days a week, 16 to 17 hours a day, from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 midnight or 1:00 a.m.  There are also mandatory all-night shifts three to four times a month.  The only “break” the workers receive is that they are let out “early” on Fridays at 6:00 p.m. 

The workers are routinely at the factory 109 hours a week.  The workers have not been paid in the last two months—not their regular wages, nor overtime.

On Sunday, July 16—after the workers asked for payment of the back wages owed them and for shorter hours—management called in the police (no doubt under false pretext), who allegedly beat several men and women workers severely—Ms. Aleya, Ms. Beena, Mr. Noor Alam, Mr. Sumon and Mr. Alimudding.

The Indian owner of Western told the workers that he has hired gang members to threaten the workers. 

Any worker asking for his or her wages or daring to speak with outsiders regarding factory conditions will be beaten and immediately forcibly deported.

The workers are frightened and did not go to work today.  In response, management has cut off food and water to the workers’ dorm.  The workers are terrified and begging for help.

Click here to read the chapter on the Western factory from the original May 2006 NLC report.

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