The suffering of Garment workers in Bangladesh during major national and religious festivals continues throughout the month of fasting and the Eid day (“Eid” is the end of the fasting month and the greatest festival of Bangladesh).
On 14 July 2015, just 4 days before the auspicious Eid Festival, news came in that workers of 1372 factories were not paid their due wages – let alone their bonus . Eid means an amazing lot to workers for more than just the traditional importance, but also because this is the only time of the year that they get a few days off from their work in which they can visit their hometown (village) to meet the rest of their family. These workers dream to get their salary and bonus with which they may buy something for their loved ones to bring a smile upon their faces. However, as usual, many of them end up being dismayed. No pain seems bigger and more cruel than the pain of not seeing their family’s faces and failing to bring one good day in their lives.
Along with other factories, workers of Swan Garments were denied of their rights and they took it to the streets of Dhaka in protest. The management called it an “unavoidable situation” due to the death of one of the owners, although, many workers claim that 3 months worth of their wages have not yet been paid by the factory management, bleeding these workers so dry that now many of them hardly manage food on the table – this is the conditions of the those who stitch for the elite though working for some of the most expensive brands in the world.
Although the owner died, worker leaders claim that the owner had USD equivalent of $120 million worth of property which can be liquidated to pay the workers and his bank loans. However, there is no concrete step being taken to ensure the payment of these workers.
The workers out on the streets at times when they should be celebrating like any other normal and deserving human being – drying in the hot summer sun of Dhaka, and getting drenched again by the stormy rains of Bangladesh, their struggle continues without an end.
May the Eid bring blessings to our lives,