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Campaign and Action of Garment Workers in Bangladesh

29. October 2003

by the National Garments Workers Federation

In Bangladesh, National Garments Workers Federation (NGWF) has demanded payment of Festival Bonus before the main festival EID enabling the garment workers to celebrate their greatest religious festival with a peaceful mind.
The federation leaders at a press conference yesterday 27th October expressed the hope that the owners of the garment factories of the country would fulfil their demands. Otherwise, they said, a greatest movement would be launched to realise their legitimate dues.
To press their demand, the federation has already announced a month-long programes, ancluding meetings, to exchange views, processions, rallies,submission of memorandums to the BGMEA (Bangladesh Garments Manufacturer and Exporters Association) and inspectors of factories in the country.
Amirul Haque Amin, general secretary of the federation, read out the written statement at the press conference held at Dhaka Reporters Unity Aditorium in the city yesterday. Among others, federation president Kazi Muhammad Ali, Senior vice president Miss Shahida Sarker, Vice president Miss Nurun Nahar, Joint secretary Mojibur Rahman Pintu and Assistance secretary for women affairs Mrs Nargis Akter were present.
The federation leaders said that there are 1.8 million garment workers are 3700 garment factories including 80% women. Garment workers earn 76% foreign money. But they are deprive from the festival bonus, 50 percent garment owners did not pay the bonus.Fifty percent who pay the bonus , most of them also do not pay according to the law & convention-they pay half, one third or lumpsum but Festival bonus is equivalent to one month salary or wage.
The federation leaders also said all these garment workers are from the rural area and long far away from their working places.Due to the heavy pressure of work, in absence of holidays and due to the financial limitation garment workers can not go to their village. In the occation of main festival all the workers desire to go to their village, desire to meet their families,buy new clothes for own & families . But thousands of garment workers fail to their village, meet their families , buy new clothes or gifts, even fail to arrange special festival foods. Because they are the hand to mouth workers and on the other hand their owners deprive them from the bonus.
The federation leaders urged the garment owners and BGMEA to give festival bonus in all garment factories. They also urged the government to take positive actions for the realisation of garment workers festival bonus.
The federation announced a month-long programes as:
* October 28th to 30th :Organisers and activist meeting in all levels.
* October 31st :Garment Workers Festival Bonus Publicity Day.
* November 1st to 6th : Exchange views with other garment workers trade unions,women organisations,Labour ngo,s,human rights organisations and other professional groups.
* November 7th : gathering and processions in all garment industrial areas outside Dhaka.
* November 8th to 13th :gate meetings and local meetings of garment workers.
*November 14th : Garment Workers Festival Bonus Demand Day.
* November 15th to 20th : Memorandum to the BGMEA, Chief & Deputy chief Inspectors of factories.
* From November 21 st : Actions against those will not pay or commit the BONUS.
** the federation will submit demands to all the garment owners.
*** The federation publicized posters, leaflets, stikeers in support of the bonus.

Garment Workers of Bangladesh and NGWF need international support and cooperation.

Pls Write:
1. Solidarity message:NGWF, mailing:GPO Box 864, Dhaka,Bangladesh; Fax:88 02 7171711;
2.Write to the MNC,s so that they order to their subcontactors to provide the bonus.
3.Write to the local Bangladesh Embassies so that govt take proper measures.
4. Write to the BGMEA to take proper initiatives to provide EID BONUS in all factories.(after November 20)
BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufactururers & Exporters Association): 7-9, Kawran Bazar, Dhaka-1215, Bangladesh; Fax:88 02 8113951

Amirul Haque Amin
General Secretary
National Garments Workers Federation