We are deeply troubled by reports of the detention and interrogation of nearly a dozen labor rights leaders by the Bangladesh government. The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety strongly supports the rights of workers to organize in accordance with the laws of Bangladesh. Our Member Agreement formally asserts the right of workers to refuse to work in dangerous conditions, and we support and encourage the right of workers to unionize in Alliance-affiliated factories.
We consult closely with our Board Labor Committee—comprised of five trade union leaders—on all matters related directly to workers. And by July 2018, we will have established Worker Safety Committees—groups of workers trained and empowered to monitor on-site occupational safety and health issues—in all 600+ Alliance factories.
To the Alliance, empowering workers is nothing short of fundamental to ensuring factory safety. We have trained 1.2 million workers in fire safety and evacuation skills, and trained 22,000 security guards to play a leadership role in protecting worker’s lives—not property—in case of emergency. We operate Amader Kotha—the nation’s first and only worker helpline—which allows more than one million workers to report issues of concern within their factories anonymously and without fear of retribution. And we are proud to have provided wage compensation to the more than 6,600 workers displaced by factory repairs.
While progress has been made, dedicated efforts to support worker’s rights in Bangladesh must continue, and any unwarranted detention or interrogation of labor advocates should not be undertaken or tolerated. We call for workers and management to settle any differences at the negotiating table, peacefully and in accordance with Bangladesh law.