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  • Writer's pictureIWW Ireland

IWW Welcomes Partial Victory – Garment Workers sign agreement with Owners

The worldwide protests around #UnitedAgainstTheDragon have shown an impact: wage payouts for workers are now scheduled to start on November 7.

In a statement issued earlier by a spokesperson for the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) said "This marks a sizeable breakthrough in this ongoing struggle by garment workers throughout Bangladesh for the right to receive what is owed to them.

"Dragon Sweater Group, just like that multinational companies which they supplied, are now known across the world for how really treat their workers and the working class communities they come from. The recent international campaign lead by revolutionary syndicalist unions shined a bright light into many dark corners in which garment workers are forced to work.

"Those garment workers, who supply many fashionable western stores and markets with cheap clothes have unionised and have stood up against their employers and suppliers, and have said "No more!". No more wage theft, no more ill-treatment and no more deplorable working conditions, we deserve better. With one international united voice they have told the world that in order to achieve respect, decent rights and conditions we must unionise and be prepared to fight back, no matter how long it takes.

"The IWW welcomes the recent agreement now confirmed by the Garment Workers Trade Union Centre (GWTUC) in Dhaka with Dragon Sweater Group is a victory. After months of struggle, there is now a commitment to pay the garment workers what is rightfully owed to them. In the coming days the GWTUC will formally issue a statement on the agreement through the International Confederation of Labour."

Following many rallies and press conferences by organized by textile workers of Dragon Sweater and many actions in solidarity at New Yorker, Lidl and Walmart stores around the world, an agreement was reached on October 12th, 2020. It was signed by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), representatives of the government, as well as factory owners and workers’ representatives.

The document consists of the following six points:

  1. The workers will receive every year a basic wage for 15 days as compensation for unpaid wages.

  2. All vacation wages and holiday bonuses after 2018 will be paid.

  3. The wages owed to administrative staff will be given based on the owners own accounting.

  4. These above wages will be delivered in phases according to the following timetable 7 nov 20 / 22 nov 20 / 7 dec 20 / 22 dec 20.

  5. The above is not applicable for newly joined workers.

  6. As according to the above agreements, the workers and owners will maintain an amiable relationship and refrain from conflict.

Why this is considered a partial victory only? Because in the end the factory owners get away with paying only around half of the benefits owed to the workers at large.

In mutual agreement with the Garment Workers’ Trade Union Center (GWTUC) labor union activities related to the conflict will be halted for now.

In case the factory management does not stick to the agreement and doesn’t pay the workers on the dates agreed on, pressure on the international level can be reactivated any time.

We call on all unions standing in solidarity with the textile workers at the Dragon Group factories to stay alert and keep following the developments.



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