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Bangladesh: 3 union leaders freed; one still imprisoned. Please act!

September 9, 2010  |  Share

After nearly a month of imprisonment, Ms. Kalpona Akter, director of the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity, Mr. Babul Akhter, director of the Bangladesh Garment and Industrial Workers Federation, and Mr. Aminul Islam organizer for BCWS's district office in Savar have been granted bail and will be released from prison tomorrow,  just one day before the very important Eid Al Fitr religious holiday. 

They still face charges, but they have tremendous international solidarity and an excellent team of attorneys.  Fearing that Bangladesh's 3.5 million mostly young women workers would continue their struggle for a 35-cent-an-hour minimum wage, the powerful Bangladesh Garment and Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) filed trumped up charges against the union leaders for supposedly fomenting  worker violence--including "use of explosives" to damage garment factories.

But another very important and progressive trade union leader, Mr. Montu Ghosh, legal advisor to the Garment Sramik Trade Union Kendra, remains imprisoned.  We need to redouble our efforts to free Mr. Ghosh.

It was a major international effort which led to the release of Kalpona, Babul and Aminul.  Labor played a huge role, especially Workers Uniting, the world's first global union with over 2.5 million members in the U.S., Canada, England and Ireland, which was formed by the merger of the United Steelworkers Union and United-the-Union in the U.K.  The Food and Commercial Workers, the AFL-CIO, Wake-up Wal-Mart, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the National Labor Committee and others fought for the release of the union leaders.  Perhaps more than anyone else, the International Labor Rights Forum/Sweatfree Communities did a tremendous job in reaching members of Congress and putting pressure on U.S. garment companies.


Mr. Montu Ghosh must also be released.


Please write the Bangladesh Embassy now!

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