Protests to Continue at Lidl Stores in Solidarity with Garment Workers
As part of a month of action called by the International Confederation of Labour (ICL - CIT) in solidarity with 6000 sacked garment workers, members of the IWW continue to hold information pickets at Lidl Stores in Ireland. The action is seen as an international effort to help raise awareness with the public, of the ongoing struggle by garment workers in Bangladesh, represented by members of the Garment Workers Trade Union Centre (GWTUC).
This weekend the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) have once again held public information pickets outside Lidl stores in both Belfast and Derry. To date, information pickets have been placed outside Lidl stores both and south of the country to help highlight the ongoing struggle by GWTUC members to ensure they are not isolate or forgotten.
A spokesperson for the IWW Branch in Belfast today said, "We have conducted a series of actions here in Ireland as well as internationally, together with other members of the ICL-CIT, which brings together a number of revolutionary unions from around the world. This is an international effort to put pressure on multinationals who have traded, or continue to trade with Dragon Sweater Group based in Bangladesh.
"Our information pickets are designed to take the message directly to these companies who have profited from the cheap labour of garment workers. Due to these actions, we have been hugely successful in gaining support from both workers and the general public who now know about what these stores are directly engaged in. Likewise, it has raised the spotlight on the Dragon Sweater Group as more and more companies have been publicly shamed into getting supplies with them again, specifically because of the way in which garment workers are treated.
“To date international labels such as Gap, Zara, Primark, H&M, Woolworths, Next have now confirmed that they will no longer work or trade with the Dragon Sweater Group. Many of those had to be publicly shamed into doing so. Only this week, due to a number of protests held across Ireland, the ASDA/Walmart, have now officially stated that they no longer trade with the Dragon Group. The ASDA/Walmart group have now informed us directly, of the dates they ceased trading with Dragon. They (ASDA/Walmart) have now put in place a series policies that is said to ensure this type of trading will no longer happen in the future. Instead they will only trade with manufactures who will adhere to strict protocols and can actually guarantee workers rights, wages, health and safety practice. If that is the case then we (IWW) Ireland welcome that move.
“In turn, this leaves only a handful of high profile international brands such as Lidl and the New Yorker who have yet to publicly declare their hand, with regards trading with notorious companies who treat badly treat their staff, such as the Dragon Sweater Group. We would again call upon both Lidl and the New Yorker to cease trading with Dragon Sweater Group. We call on them to engage with the GWTUC representatives, ensure that the demands of garment workers are met, and have ceased all trading with firms that continue to exploit and treat garment workers with contempt.
“Until that happens, the IWW, along with our sisters and brothers internationally will continue to publicly picket stores as we have done again today in Belfast and Derry.”