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Bangladeshi Workers: Still Oppressed

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Over half a decade has passed since the Rana Plaza sweatshop collapsed and 1,138 workers were killed making your clothes. Since you haven’t done anything about it, your politicians haven’t prioritized it or even mentioned it, and your companies have actively fought against any accountability, nothing has improved. The Workers Rights Consortium has a new report on conditions of work and labor activism in Bangladesh, and it is brutal. Strikers are arrested and shot, their unions violently crushed. European companies at least give lip service to caring; American companies are actively indifferent and even hostile to anything being done about it. There have been many mass strikes for higher wages in recent years, but with the factory owners politically influential, including many sitting in the nation’s Parliament, nothing has happened to help them. It’s a situation of significant desperation. Given the government’s open hostility to being accountable to workers, it is going to take a consumer-worker alliance, with countries holding their companies legally accountable for what happens in their supply chains and opening their courts to lawsuits to enforce that. But that only starts if people care enough to even mention it in their politics and they don’t so workers will die instead.

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