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Bangladesh apparel makers seek action against labor groups

The leaders of the apparel sector in Bangladesh have sought government action against rights groups who are engaged in tarnishing the image of the country’s garment industry abroad. These are labor rights groups that have lodged complaints to different international organisations bypassing the government and other local stakeholders.

Heads of the apparel sector say if there is any such incident of workers' oppression in garment factories, the complaint should be first lodged with the local authorities concerned instead of engaging in a conspiracy against the industry. Some labor leaders have alleged to have lodged complaints with a US authority that Bangladesh garment workers are oppressed.

Rights groups say the Bangladeshi government should stop garment factory owners from intimidating and threatening workers who organize trade unions. Some union organizers say they have been beaten up, and others say they have lost their jobs or been forced to resign. More than 50 factory-level unions have been established. But the law still requires union organizers to get the support of 30 per cent of factory’s workers before registering a union. Employer threats and intimidation make it a difficult task, especially in factories employing thousands of people.