Actions at Lidl Stores in Solidarity with Garment Workers
Solidarity pickets continues this week as members of the Industrial Workers of the World Ireland Branch take part in a series of month long international solidarity protests in support of Garment Workers in Bangladesh.
In Belfast and Derry this weekend IWW members held pickets out an number of Lidl stores at the Hi Park Centre and on the Buncranna Road stores as part of ongoing efforts to highlight how 6000 illegally sacked Garment Workers continue to have their wages withheld.
A member of the IWW spoke during todays action on Belfasts High Street stating: "Our union has taken part in a series of international actions in an effort to draw attention to the fact that 6000 members of the Garment Workers Trade Union Centre (GWTUC) were illegally sacked in March and have still not been paid by Dragon Sweater Group.
"We have organised a series of high profile solidarity actions against major supermarket chains such as Lidl and Walmart/ASDA globally who have directly profited from the cheap labour of Garment Workers for years.
"These stores have been and continue to be supplied by garments made by Dragon Sweater Group. Back in March this company, cruelly and illegally terminated over 6000 garment workers positions and refused to pay wages owed to them."
A representative of the GWTUC stated that "Wages and benefits have gone unpaid to workers, majority of whom have worked for at least five years, some of whom have been employed at the factory for the better part of two decades.
"Dragon Group targeted those workers who have accrued a lot of unpaid benefits and wages. It is a widespread practice in the Bangladesh Garment Industry to leave years upon years of workers' wages and benefits unpaid, and eventually the owners terminate the workers, bring in a new batch and start the whole process again. So, it is safe to say, that a lot of these brands have benefited from unpaid labor over a number of years."
Following today's action a member of the IWW Derry Branch told us that: "By holding a month long series of rolling solidarity pickets, we are demanding that both Lidl and Walmart/ASDA urgently revoke their suppliers contracts from the Dragon Sweater Group to help ensure that ALL workers receive their full wages and payments owed to them, and that their all their suppliers fully adhere to labour rights.
"In doing so, we call upon both of these multinationals to equally ensure that their supply chain is transparent in order to stop the exploitation of workers which is the wish of all their customer's, here in Ireland and throughout Europe.
"We will continue our solidarity with the GWTUC and others through the CIT-ICL, in an effort to highlight what the Dragon Sweater Group are doing. We demand the reinstatement of all 6000 garment workers and for wages owed to them to be paid in full. We would encourage other unions to come forward and add their voices to the international call."
As part of today's solidarity actions, members of Clydeside IWW Branch in Scotland, held a picket in Glasgow's Southside in support of sacked Dragon Group workers in Dhaka. They held a picket outside the city's Lidl Store based in Govanhill's Victoria Road.