- Michael DukeCeo
Tell Walmart to Stop Exploiting Bangladeshi Workers
Update: Despite Walmart's efforts to fight it, Bangladesh recently increased the minimum wage for garment industry workers to $43 a month. However, this is still a poverty level wage. This petition has been revised to ask Walmart to support the Bangladesh Center for Workers' Solidarity
Wonder how Walmart can sell you $8.00 jeans? It's because the women who made those jeans were paid pennies to make them.
The 2500 workers at the Anowara Apparels factory in Bangladesh make jeans, primarily for the Faded Glory brand of clothes sold at Walmart. They are 90% young women, some with families to support and others trying to simply scrape a living. The women have made between 11 and 17 cents an hour sewing jeans, and they're expected to produce at least ten pairs an hour.
Recognizing the gross underpayment of these workers, the Bangladeshi government successfully raised the minimum wage for garment workers to $43 a month, despite Walmart lobbying against Bangladesh's efforts.
But still, the employees of Anowara Apparels can't afford even basic living expenses on their salary of pennies an hour. They live in make-shift shacks, suffer from malnutrition, and have no source of heat other than burning wood. Dozens of workers and their families use a communal water pump for all their sanitation needs, from washing clothes and their bodies to drinking. Yet Walmart refuses to pay a living wage, so they can keep selling you $8.00 jeans at a high profit margin.
Tell Walmart its time to stop exploiting the people who make their clothing and support workers' rights in Bangladesh.
As a Walmart customer and someone who cares about workers' rights around the world, I was appalled to learn Walmart fails to pay Bangladeshi workers a decent and fair wage for their work.
As a significant buyer of Bangladeshi garments, you must do more to ensure Bangladeshi garment workers do not need to fear retaliation for speaking up for their rights. Baseless charges against Kalpona Akter, Babul Akhter, Aminul Islam, and Montu Ghosh must be withdrawn and the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity’s (BCWS) legitimate function as a labor rights defender must be restored. Garment worker wages must be living wages.
I respectfully call on you to:
1. Insist that the Envoy Group and the Nassa Group use their influence with the Bangladeshi government to ensure all charges against BCWS staff members and other labor rights advocates are dropped.
2. Insist that the Bangladeshi government unconditionally restore BCWS’s nongovernmental organization registration with the NGO Affairs Bureau.
I expect to hear from you shortly that you have taken immediate effective action to protect worker rights defenders in Bangladesh. I also look forward to hearing that you are taking concrete steps toward fair business practices in your relationships with suppliers in order to sustain decent working conditions and good wages.
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