Blog: Bangladesh

Our Own Best Defense: How Unions Can Stop GBV at Work

Even with every effort being made to prevent gender-based violence at work, it’s not possible to eliminate it entirely in a world that prioritizes the desires of men over the safety of women and people of other/no genders. As the International Labour Organization prepares to adopt a Convention on Violence and Harassment in the World of Work, it is paramount that it identify that unions and collective bargaining are critical to preventing gender-based violence. Whether it be global, national or local labor unions, worker centers, or any organizations that genuinely represent the interests of workers, labor must be an integral creator and implementer of any programs to address violence and harassment.

In the Drivers’ Seat: Why the ILO Should Care about the Commute

Hold your keys in your hand. Stick to that street, not this one, it has more lights. Don’t go down that block, whatever you do – there’s a group of gamblers on the corner ready to scream drunkenly at you as you pass by.

It’s a dance every woman around the world is familiar with: minimizing your risk and exposure, keeping yourself safe, while trying to get from point A to point B. For garment workers in Cambodia, that dance takes place nearly every night. So much so that the Center for Alliance of Labor and Human Rights (CENTRAL), keeps a crowdsourced map up on the wall. Workers who come through the center for trainings and meetings add to the map. They draw arrows down the safest paths, and mark hazards with orange dots.

Families and Labor Leaders Observe 6th Anniversary of Ali Enterprises Fire

Six years ago, on September 11, 2012, the Ali Enterprises factory in Baldia Town, went up in flames. The factory employed hundreds of workers, but only had one exit. At least 260 workers died while trapped inside. This was the deadliest fire ever in a garment factory. After the fire, a major campaign ensued that ultimately secured compensation for the affected families.

This morning the National Trade Union Federation of Pakistan, the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education & Research, and the Home-Based Women Workers Federation held a press conference in front of the Karachi Press Club, noting that garment and textile factories in Pakistan are no safer than they were six years ago and calling for workplace safety.

In the afternoon, they were joined by many more union leaders and members of the Ali Enterprises Factory Fire Affectees Association for a memorial gathering and rally in front of the factory building in Baldia town.

Najma and Abdul Jabar mourned the loss of their son Abdul Hafiz. "Our son died and we couldn't find his body. If we had his body, we could have had a grave for him."

"First there should be preventive measures. There should be the possibility of evacuation in the case of fire. There was none of that at Ali Enterprises. So we have to provide for that," said Husna, who lost her husband Mohhammad Wasim in the fire. 

In Lieu of a Silver Bullet: #metoo in the Global Workplace

Stories of sexual harassment and violence on movie sets and in newsrooms continue to dominate media cycles. Following a stunning 80 women coming forward to accuse former movie producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual violence, survivors in entertainment, journalism and even US Congress have begun to share their experiences and the names of industry predators. By now, it follows a familiar pattern: first one person comes forward, followed by a second, then a seemingly endless onslaught of stories come out. Celebrities like Alyssa Milano and Rose McGowan have come forward with their own testimonies of rape and harassment.

Remembering Rana Plaza, Advancing Women Workers’ Rights in Global Supply Chains

This week marks three years since the most horrific tragedy in the history of the global apparel industry - the collapse of the Rana Plaza factories in Bangladesh that killed 1,134 workers and caused hundreds of others to lose a limb or suffer long-term injuries.

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