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UPDATE--Major Breakthrough at R.L. Denim / Bangladesh

June 2, 2009  |  Share

Click here to view the R.L. Denim/Bangladesh (Metro Group) campaign page

* The general manager of the R.L. Denim factory, Mr. Tapash—who kicked 17-year-old Yasin when he was lying sick and unconscious on the factory floor, has been fired!  The abusive supervisors Mr. Munir and Mr. Mahfuz, who slapped 18-year-old Fatema and overworked the sick teenager to death, have also been fired.

* R.L. Denim management will not oppose the workers' right to organize an independent union at the factory!  The Bangladesh Center for Workers' Solidarity (BCWS) can immediately begin awareness training with the workers, many of whom for the first time will learn their legal rights.

* Management has agreed to provide open access to the factory to the Bangladesh Center for Workers Solidarity to guarantee that factory improvements, working conditions and respect for workers rights continue.  

* All threats against workers collaborating with the Bangladesh Center for Workers Solidarity and the National Labor Committee will immediately land permanently cease.

Members of the Bangladesh Center for Workers Solidarity and the National Labor Committee inspected the R.L. Denim factory today and can confirm the following major improvements.

* Purified drinking water is now being provided to the workers.

* A small medical clinic has been set up with a doctor, nurse and a good range of medicines, which will be provided free of charge to the workers.

* A small daycare center has been built, with toys, cradles and baby beds.

* A factory canteen/lunch room has been built, so the workers will have a proper place to eat their lunch.

* Overall, the factory has been cleaned—including the bathrooms, which were nothing but disgusting just a short while ago.

* Management has not declared a layoff and though there is not work, the workers are to be paid.

* A completed order for Metro Group is sitting in the factory, as Metro has cancelled the shipment.

We have never seen anything like this before in Bangladesh.  This is the quickest and most serious turnaround we have seen.  It is also huge that the workers will have the change to organize an independent union with the Bangladesh Center for Workers Solidarity.  Right now you can count on one hand the number of real unions in Bangladesh's garment industry, which employs more than 2 million workers—who are most often abused and trapped in misery.  A real union at R.L. Denim could set a new standard in Bangladesh giving real hope to the workers in the country's over-4000 garment factories.

It would be terribly wrong for Metro Group not to immediately restore all of their former orders to the new and vastly improved R.L. Denim factory.  This can be a Win-Win situation, for the workers, R.L. Denim, Metro Group and consumers—that should not be lost.  

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