This video says about itself:
27 December 2016
At least 1,500 workers have been sacked from Bangladesh garment factories after protests forced a week-long shutdown at dozens of sites supplying top European and American brands.
Tens of thousands of workers walked out of factories this month in the manufacturing hub of Ashulia which make clothes for top western brands such as Gap, Zara and H&M, prompting concerns over supply during the holiday season.
The protests were sparked by the sacking of 121 workers, but soon evolved into a demand for the trebling of workers’ pay from the current monthly minimum of 5,300 taka (£54).
From daily News Line in Britain:
Friday, 6 January 2017
RELEASE NAZMUL HUDA! – first journalist to report on the Rana Plaza danger
REPORTERS Without Borders (RSF) call for the immediate release of Nazmul Huda, a reporter who was arrested on 24 December 2016 because of his coverage of a strike by garment workers in Ashulia, the Dhaka suburb where Bangladesh’s biggest garment factories are located.
The police accuse Huda, who works for Bangla Daily and Ekushey TV (ETV), a privately-owned satellite TV service, of reporting false information and encouraging the strike that began in mid-December in factories that produce clothes for leading international retail chains such as Gap, Zara and H&M.
Huda’s computer and mobile phone were seized at the time of his arrest. He distinguished himself in 2013 by being the only reporter to draw attention to structural problems in the Rana Plaza building in Dhaka before it collapsed, killing hundreds of garment workers and others.
A Dhaka police officer told Agence France-Presse that Huda is also accused of ‘destabilising the government’ and of meeting secretly with seven trade union leaders, who have also been arrested. The authorities say he was arrested under section 57 of the Information, Communication & Technology Act (ICT Act), which states that deliberately publishing material in electronic form that ‘causes to deteriorate law and order, prejudice the image of the state or person, or causes to hurt religious belief’ is punishable by seven to 14 years in prison.
RSF called for the complete repeal of the ICT Act in September 2013 on the grounds that it ‘enables the government to gag netizens (citizens of the net) and to arrest and detain them without legitimate grounds’.
The amendments adopted in August 2013 ‘permit even more arbitrary behaviour by the police and judicial authorities towards news providers,’ RSF said at the time. Harun Ur Rashid, local correspondent for Deutsche Welle (DW) and former head of programming at ETV, said Huda was the only journalist to have filmed the cracks in the support pillars of the Rana Plaza, a building that housed many garment factories.
Huda’s report was broadcast shortly before the building collapsed in April 2013, with a toll of 1,138 dead and more than 2,000 injured. Rashid praised the ‘unparalleled courage’ of Huda, who reportedly received many death threats after the arrest of the Rana Plaza’s owner, and said he deserved to be recognised for his work instead of ‘being treated like this by the authorities’.
Two days before Huda’s arrest, the powerful Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association decided to close 55 factories in Ashulia on the grounds that they feared acts of vandalism.
Nazmul Huda stands accused of incorrect reporting and holding secret meetings with union leaders – a charge that has been denied by at least one of his employers. He was the first journalist to report on problems with the structure of the Rana Plaza complex, just a day before it collapsed in 2013, killing more than 1,100 people.
The collapse of the building sparked global outrage and put the spotlight on working conditions, low wages and safety standards in a garment sector that manufactured clothes for some major global brands. Garment manufacturing makes up the vast majority of Bangladesh’s exports and any interruption is likely to have an impact on the economy.
It was the sacking of 121 workers that prompted the initial walkout last month. The workers’ protest soon expanded to demand a monthly minimum wage of 16,000 taka (£165; $203). It is currently 5,300 taka (£55; $67).
But factories nevertheless resumed operations on Tuesday 27th December and that was when hundreds discovered they had lost their jobs, reports say. Union chiefs said police used a controversial law to shut down the protests. Ashulia is a vast garment production hub used by clothing companies around the world, including Western giants like Zara, Gap and H&M.
See also here.
The Bangladesh government and the country’s garment industry employers are continuing a joint assault on apparel workers who have been involved in major strikes and protests for higher wages and other demands in a Dhaka industrial area. The repression is aimed at preventing a broader eruption by workers against the living and working conditions they face: here.