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Urgent Alert: Bangladesh workers’ organization stripped of legal status, staff detained and beaten

July 26, 2010

BCWS members demonstrate for a minimum wage increase

The Bangladesh government has launched an attack on an outspoken workers' organization in a bid to silence mass protests for an increase to the poverty wages paid to garment workers. Workers are demanding the minimum wage be raised to US$72 per month, which would allow them to pay for basic needs and live with dignity.

On June 3, 2010, the government stripped the Bangladesh Center for Workers Solidarity (BCWS) of their legal status, alleging the organization was inciting unrest in garment factories.

On June 16, BCWS staff member Aminul Islam was detained by Bangladeshi security forces, beaten, and forced to sign a self-incriminating statement. Mr. Islam was told that if he refused to sign, he would be killed in a staged "cross-fire incident," that his wife would be murdered and his children orphaned. Mr. Islam is now in hiding.

Founded and led by former garment workers, BCWS is an internationally-known and well-respected advocate for workers' rights that is trusted by Bangladeshi workers. This crackdown on BCWS will send a chilling message to unions and other organizations that dare to speak out in defence of workers in Bangladesh.

Please send a letter today to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh insisting that BCWS's legal status be reinstated and that all harassment of BCWS and its staff cease immediately.

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