Is your favorite clothing brand complicit in the crackdown?

In December 2018, a new minimum wage of 8,000Tk (US$95) a month for Bangladesh’s garment workers went into effect. In protest of the sub-poverty wage – which is half the amount the labor movement had demanded – workers at dozens of factories took the streets in largely peaceful strikes. The government of Bangladesh’s security forces responded violently. They shot one worker dead on the street on his way home during his lunch break and many others sustained injuries at the hands of the police. Over the next two months, 65 workers were arrested with hundreds more facing unsubstantiated charges at the behest of factory owners. As many as 11,600 workers were dismissed without legal justification, most of whom have been unable to find other jobs due to systematic blacklisting.

This is the largest crackdown on workers’ rights in the last two decades of garment production in Bangladesh.

The table below, updated on October 25, 2019, lists major apparel brands linked to factories that filed unsubstantiated cases against workers who demonstrated for higher wages. As a result of campaign efforts, the charges filed by Hameem Group and Shin Shin Apparels have now been dropped and several other factories have filed a petition to withdraw their charges, which could result in the dismissal of more cases before the end of 2019.  At least 25 other cases are still underway, however, with no sign yet of the buyers taking sufficient action to press for the dismissal of the charges. 

Brand

Factories that pressed trumped-up criminal charges against workers

Factories that filed a petition to withdraw their charges

Factories
whose charges were dismissed in court

Workers still facing charges

How consumers can take action

3

2

0

54 named and
320-425 unnamed workers

Tweet at C&A

Post on C&A’s Facebook

6

4

2

86 named and
909-1,164 unnamed workers

Tweet at H&M

Post on H&M’s Facebook


(Inditex)

6*

3

1

217 named and
529-739 unnamed workers

Tweet at Zara

Post on Zara's Facebook

5*

3

1

141 named and
720-875 unnamed workers

Tweet at Mango

Post on Mango’s Facebook

3

2

0

110 named and 
29-39 unnamed workers

Tweet at Marks & Spencer

Post on Marks & Spencer’s Facebook

 

6

3

1

134 named and
920-1,175 unamed workers

Tweet at Next

Post on Next’s Facebook

3

1

0

57 named and
220-275 unnamed workers

Tweet at Primark

Post on Primark’s Facebook

 

* Mango and Inditex (Zara) do not disclose their supplier lists publicly. Therefore, the factories supplying these brands were identified from customer information publicized on factory websites, and the actual numbers may vary.