Free Jailed Labor Activists

H&M, Gap, Inditex (Zara) & VF (North Face)

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The minimum wage in Bangladesh's garment industry is equal to just US$67 a month. This wage has been fixed since 2013 and is not due to be reviewed for at least another year. Meanwhile the cost of living has increased dramatically: over 6% per year since 2013. Workers who already couldn't cover basic expenses on these low wages are now struggling even harder to survive.

In December, with no other route for raising their frustrations and demands, workers at dozens of factories held peaceful walk-outs and demonstrations for a higher wage. Instead of agreeing to pay a living wage, or even to bring forward a wage review, factory owners brought unsubstantiated criminal complaints against at dozens of labor leaders and garment workers. At least 34 activists and workers have been arrested since December. As of February 20, five of them still remain in police custody or jail. Many have received threats of torture or death while in custody. All 34 continue to face the falsified criminal cases. These complaints also include hundreds of "unnamed" workers, allowing factory owners to simply add workers they see as troublemakers to the list whenever they wish. Over 1500 workers have been reportedly dismissed from their jobs and potentially blacklisted from future garment work.

Please sign the petition to call on brands whose clothes are made at the factories behind the complaints to take immediate action for the withdrawal of the falsified complaints and the release of the jailed activists and workers! This petition will be delivered to H&M, Gap Inc (owns Banana Republic and Old Navy), Inditex (owns Zara and Bershka), and VF (owns 30 brands including North Face, Jansport, and Lee), which source from the factories pressing the complaints.


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To: H&M, Gap, Inditex (Zara) & VF (North Face)
From: [Your Name]

As customers and people of conscience, we urge you to uphold your company's commitments to the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining.

We call on you to take immediate action to insist that your suppliers withdraw all unsubstantiated criminal complaints against labor leaders and garment workers in Bangladesh.

We also urge you to increase pressure on the Bangladesh government (specifically the Prime Minister, Minister of Labor, and Minister of Commerce) until they intervene to drop the complaints against labor activists and release them from jail; cease all forms of harassment and intimidation against labor activists' exercise of their fundamental rights of expression and association; and immediately institute a wage review process.

Sincerely,