Drop False Charges Against 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. 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 2016, 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 hundreds of labor leaders and garment workers. At least 34 activists and workers were arrested and jailed during December 2016 to February 2017. Several of them reported receiving threats of torture or death while in custody. As a result of campaign pressure, they were all eventually granted bail and released. At least 1,200 workers were dismissed from their jobs and left with concerns of being blacklisted from future garment work. As of July 2017, more than 100 of these workers still have not received severance pay or been reinstated with back wages.

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! 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.
Petition by
International Labor Rights Forum
Washington, District of Columbia

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,