Bangladesh parliament amends labor law
Bangladesh’s parliament amended the country’s labor law on July 15 in response to mass protests and mounting political pressures after more than 1,200 garment workers were killed on the job.
To win recognition, unions still need the support of at least 30 percent of the workers at a workplace, but the labour ministry is now barred from the practice of turning over a blacklist of union supporters to the boss.
Leaders of Bangladeshi worker federations say the change is still inadequate and sharply criticized other provisions in the amended law.
On April 24, Rana Plaza, an eight- storey building housing five garment factories, shops and a bank in Savar, 20 miles from the capital Dhaka, caved in. In spite of major visible cracks in the wall the day before — prompting evacuation of the bank and shops — garment bosses pressured workers to return to work the next morning. About an hour into the workday the building collapsed, killing more than 1,100 workers.
Tens of thousands of workers took to the streets in response. A wave of strikes and other demonstrations demanded arrest of bosses and landlords, compensation to families of workers killed and wage raises in the industry.