Bangladesh: Deaths Exceed 300, Warrant Out for Building Owner–and other news from Labor


 

 

Bangladesh: Deaths Exceed 300, Warrant Out for Building Owner

April 26, 2013—More than 300 workers now have been confirmed dead from Wednesday’s building collapse in Bangladesh. Some 2,200 survivors have been pulled from the ruins of what is being called one of the worst manufacturing disasters in history. More than 3,000 garment workers were on the job when upper building floors pancaked on top of each other.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has ordered the arrest of the building’s owner, Mohammed Sohel Rana, a local leader of ruling Awami League’s youth front, who told factory operators the building was safe. Hasina also has ordered the arrest of five garment factory owners.


Bangladesh Fire Survivors Describe Hardships after Tragedy

April 25, 2013—“The factory caught fire about 6 p.m. After the fire, they did not allow us to go out,” says Nazma. “They locked the gate. The workers were screaming together.”

Nazma is among the Tazreen Factory fire survivors inthis video who describe the horrific workplace conditions that killed 112 garment workers in November. The unsafe and deadly working conditions at Tazreen are similar to those many Bangladesh garment workers face every day. But for many, living through the fire is just the beginning of their ordeal.


Sumi Describes Surviving the Tazreen Garment Factory Fire

April 25, 2013—Workers Memorial Day, internationally observed each April 28, is more timely than ever this year. The rising death toll from yesterday’s building collapse in Bangladesh and the recent workplace deaths at the fertilizer factory in West, Texas, serve as tragic reminders of how much more needs to be done to ensure the safety and health of workers around the world. As part of Workers Memorial Day events, the National Labor College in Silver Spring, Md., is hosting a symposium: “From Mourning to Mass Movements: Garment Workers, Fire Safety and the International Fight for Social Justice.” 

Sumi Abedin, a 19-year-old Bangladesh garment worker, was among the survivors of another horrific workplace tragedy, the disastrous Tazreen Fashion Ltd. factory fire that killed 112 workers in November.


Solidarity Center Mourns for Workers Killed in Bangladesh

April 24, 2013—Another four garment factories in Bangladesh became death traps today, and the Solidarity Center is mourning the senseless loss of life and the grievous injuries that have befallen hundreds of workers who were simply trying to make a living. The organization is calling on the Bangladesh government to enforce its labor and building codes, on brands that source from the country to prioritize health and safety conditions in factories, and on both to respect the rights of workers and to recognize that the only way Bangladesh will have safe factories is if workers have a voice on the job.


Mexican Mine Workers Mark Anniversary of Two Killed in Strike

April 24, 2013—Thousands of workers, their families and supporters gathered in Lázaro Cárdenas, Mexico, in recent days to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the deaths of two steelworkers killed during a strike for union recognition and an ensuing confrontation with security forces. Mario Alberto Castillo and Hector Alvarez G?mez were among 500 members of the National Union of Mine and Metal Workers, known as Los Mineros, who had been on strike for 18 days when 800 police moved in to forcibly remove the strikers. Two men were shot dead and 41 injured, two of them seriously, during the break-up of the strike. No arrests were ever made for the murders.


AFL-CIO Report: Death Trap Plants Win Safe Certifications

April 19, 2013—This is a crosspost by Mike Hall from the AFL-CIO Now blog.

Would you trust that your food is clean and uncontaminated, the plane you’re flying in airworthy or your workplace safe, if those were certified by companies counting on the profits they’ll make from your purchases, travel and labor? Of course not.

But that’s the dilemma millions of workers around the world face—often with deadly results—when it comes to their safety on the job, a new report from the AFL-CIO reveals.


Mexico: Auto Workers End Strike with Pay Victory

April 19, 2013—More than 2,000 auto workers ended a three-day strike at a major plant in Mexico April 19 after management agreed to increase the amount of employee profit-sharing payments, as required by law. The company also said it would not to retaliate against any worker who went on strike.

Workers at the El Salto, Jalisco, plant each will receive $1,383 in profit-sharing, a big increase from the $25 the company originally offered. In 2011, the company gave the workers a $5,500 profit-sharing payment. The workers went on strike April 16 after management announced a drastic reduction in the state-mandated annual profit-sharing bonus, even though the company’s production and sales were higher in 2012 than in 2011.


Los Mineros Leader Details Mine Tragedy, Exile in New Book

April 19, 2013—More than seven years after an explosion at Mexico’s Pasta de Conchos mine killed 65 miners, 63 bodies remain buried in the mine, trapped there because the government and the company, Grupo Mexico, ended the search and closed the mine only five days after the mine collapse.

“We felt that the company and the government were more concerned about damage control than rescuing our colleagues,” said Napoleón Gómez Urrutia, general secretary of the National Union of Mine and Metal Workers, known as Los Mineros. Gómez Urrutia spoke at a press conference April 17 to discuss his new book, Collapse of Dignity, The Story of A Mining Tragedy and the Fight Against Greed and Corruption in Mexico, which describes the February 2006 mine disaster and the subsequent attacks on him and Los Mineros. Most of the victims were temporary contractors with no training and insufficient oxygen supplies.

 


Hong Kong: Dock Workers Strike against Exploitation and Injustice
April 15, 2013—About 450 Hong Kong dock workers continue their strike against port operator Hong Kong International Terminals (HIT), a subsidiary of billionaire Li Ka-shing’s Hutchison Whampoa, and its subcontractors. Struggling to live in one of the most expensive cities in the world, the workers are demanding higher pay and better working conditions. According to HIT the strike is costing the company over $640,000 a day. The strike is crippling the third-busiest container port in the world.

Bahrain: Medics, Patients Persecuted in Ongoing Repression
April 11, 2013—For sick or injured Bahrainis, going to the hospital means risking a prison term—or even death. Describing the “militarization of hospitals,” Rula Al-Saffar, president of the Bahrain Nursing Society, said patients with “head traumas, broken bones or burns” are first interrogated by police to determine if they are involved in protests against the government. 

Health professionals are only allowed to treat patients after police investigate and clear them for treatment. For some, the delay means death.

About eslkevin

I am a peace educator who has taken time to teach and work in countries such as the USA, Germany, Japan, Nicaragua, Mexico, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman over the past 4 decades.
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