Kalpona Akter's Remarks at WEP at United Nations

Publication Date: 

March 10, 2015

Twenty years ago, when the Beijing Declaration was developed, I was 18 years old. A few years prior, I had been fired from a garment factory in retaliation for trying to form a union in my factory. I had attended only five years of primary school before entering the workforce at age twelve.  In the beginning I earned $6 a month working for companies like Walmart. It wasn’t enough to feed my mom, my younger siblings and my disabled father. At 18, I had already been married, in what became an abusive relationship, and left the relationship.

Broad Coalition Seeks Stronger Labor Protections, Corporate Responsibility in Palm Oil Industry

Publication Date: 

March 4, 2015

While the world’s growing palm oil industry has long been (justifiably) the target of environmental NGOs for its role in land grabs and rainforest destruction, too often activists have overlooked another of its dirty secrets: the palm oil industry’s reliance on risky employment practices that place migrant workers and day laborers at risk of wage theft, child labor, and even forms of modern day slavery. 

Joint Letter to FLA Re. Wage Strategy

Publication Date: 

February 2, 2015

As national and international trade unions and nongovernmental organizations, we are writing in response to the Fair Labor Association’s request for input concerning the FLA’s “Organizational strategy on wages,” that was shared with some of us in December 2014 and FLA’s “Draft Fair Compensation Workplan.”

Overall, the wage strategy that FLA has circulated is exceedingly long on plans to study what constitutes adequate wages, but notably short on what FLA member companies will actually be obligated to do to raise wages in their supply chains.

While the FLA’s proposed wage strategy is presented as a mechanism for implementing a recently added provision in the FLA Workplace Code of Conduct -- that member companies make progress toward adequate wages for workers -- it lacks the urgency commensurate with the global crisis of poverty wages, and associated severe labor rights and safety violations, in the supply chains of FLA member companies.