August 12, 2010
MSN is pleased to announce that Kalpona Akter, Babul Akhter, and Aminul Islam of the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity (BCWS) have all been released on bail though they still face prosecution. MSN is no longer requesting emails be sent to the Bangladeshi Government and thanks everyone who participated.
BCWS Director Kalpona Akter
Recently we asked you to take action to stop the intimidation and harassment of the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity (BCWS). We’re pleased that so many MSN supporters responded quickly to counter the threat to labour rights defenders at such a critical time in Bangladesh.
However your support is needed once again. On July 30, more criminal cases were filed against the BCWS staff and other worker leaders. On August 13, two more BCWS leaders (Ms. Kalpona Akter, pictured right, and Mr. Babul Akter) were arrested and are being held by the Bangladesh authorities.
The Bangladeshi government’s crackdown on labour rights advocates is taking place amidst massive public demonstrations by apparel workers who have been demanding increases in the country’s 11 cents/hour minimum wage. The Bangladesh government responded with a new minimum wage proposal on July 29. The minimum wage proposal of 3000 Taka ($45 Cdn) per month is well below the 5000 Taka proposed by unions to meet the basic needs of workers. The struggle to improve and implement the wage proposal continues, and workers have continued to protest. Arrests warrants have been issued against hundreds of workers and several labour rights leaders, including BCWS leaders Ms. Kalpona Akter, Mr. Babul Akter, and Mr. Aminul Islam.
There is strong evidence that a specific company, Nassa Global Wear, has played a significant role in spurring the government’s attacks against the BCWS, in retaliation against worker organizing efforts at its factories.
Please write (again) to the Bangladesh authorities to demand withdrawal of the criminal cases and a guarantee of safety for the worker leaders under attack. Your letter will also be sent to Nassa Global Wear, to let them know that attacks on workers and their allies will tarnish their export business’ name internationally.