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BGMEA protests against Fashion United report

 A recent report published by Fashion United citing the “largest crackdown” on workers’ rights in Bangladesh has yet again misled readers about working conditions in Bangladesh’s RMG sector.

 

The report cites misleading figures from International Labour Rights Forum claiming that 11,600 workers were dismissed without legal justification. Earlier BGMEA had sought list from IBC upon which IBC had provided a list without details lacking names and ID numbers of workers.

 

The data also contradicts detailed reports and statistics prepared by the BGMEA, which says the number of terminated workers remain well below 4,000 in an industry involving 4.4 million workers — less than 0.1 percent of the total workforce.

 

Regarding the cases filed against workers for protesting the minimum wage back in 2018, the BGMEA had prior discussions with unions that claimed, without providing names or ID cards, that 12,000 workers had been terminated from 104 factories. The BGMEA has thoroughly investigated the claims and found that 91 factories were involved in dismissing workers and of them 12 were not members of the association. The 79 factories that are part of the BGMEA were called in on August 29 and September 1 of 2019 for resolving the cases filed against the workers.

 

Detailed discussions revealed that 37 out of 79 factories were involved in dismissing workers, of which 15 factories dismissed 2,298 workers without filing any cases and 22 terminated 1,664 jobs and filed cases. In total, 30 cases were filed — 27 of them related to minimum wage protests. Till now, 10 cases have been withdrawn and the remaining 17 are in the process of being withdrawn.

 

The Fashion United report also implies worker abuse at a Lululemon sourcing factory. It is unfortunate that such misguided claims make their way to such reports despite the BGMEA’s exhaustive efforts to curb such premeditated misinformation campaigns. The rebuttal of the Lululemon report can be found here.

 

The reporters are expected and urged to maintain their professional integrity. The least they can do is try and reach out to the quarters being alleged of misconduct. The BGMEA is always ready to entertain queries and requests for information, which would surely go a long way in clarifying much of the misperceptions.

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