World’s Lowest Wage Workers Commence Hunger Strike

600 Workers Sewing FIFA 2014 World Cup Kits Starve For Wages

At 7pm on 28th July 2014 over six hundred Bangladeshi garment workers commenced a hunger strike. One thousand others are taking other action.

They are employed in five factories in the Tuba Group – infamous for the Tazreen Fashions fire which claimed the lives of over 130 workers (including children as young as 12) in November 2012. The owner, Delwar Hossein, was arrested in February 2014 and awaits trial for the murder of the workers.

The workers have not been paid for the last three months work despite numerous commitments to pay the workers before the Eid Festival which commenced this week. The Eid Festival has now finished and the workers are still not paid.

The work done during the last three months included sewing thousands of FIFA 2014 World Cup kits and many other labels. Examples of labels are included on this media release.

"Many of the workers are falling ill and collapsing as the hunger strike enters its third day," said Mr Moniruzzaman Masum

"The owner, Delwar Hossein, made paying workers their last three months wages conditional on him being granted bail." Said Mr Masum.

“It is horrifying that some of the world’s lowest paid workers are being forced to starve to death in their final attempt to be paid for three months work,” said Dr Colin Long.

“These workers live hand to mouth already. It is amazing they have survived for three months.”

“When the giant buyers of Europe, America and Australia buy clothes such as the FIFA 2014 World Cup kits from the TUBA Group they knew who they were dealing with.” Dr Long said.

“Delwar Hossein had the gates locked at Tazreen after the fire started. FIFA should not be surprised that he won’t pay workers,” said Dr Long.

“Every buyer, every major retailer that has stocked these products has a responsibility to immediately ensure the starving workers are paid their wages.” Said Dr Long.

Media Enquiries:
Dr Colin Long, ABSN, +61 403 920 361
Mr Moniruzzaman Masum, Bangladesh Labour Union Organiser, +88 017 4167 9967
Josh Cullinan, Secretary ABSN, +61 416 241 763

Australia Bangladesh Solidarity Network Incorporated (ABSN) was established following a special solidarity visit by Australian union officials to Bangladesh in February 2014. The delegation was led by Victorian Trades Hall Council President and NTEU Secretary Dr Colin Long. ABSN has strong links with workers and their supporters in Bangladesh and builds action in Australia and Bangladesh to improve the working conditions of Bangladesh workers, particular workers in the Ready Made Garment sector.

Mr Moniruzzaman Masum is a solidarity partner of ABSN and can arrange video skyping and images of the hunger strike.