Bangladesh: ITUC condemns murder of Shahidul Islam

photo: Shahidul Islam

The ITUC condemns the brutal murder of Shahidul Islam, a union organiser who dedicated his life to winning justice for garment factory workers in Bangladesh.

According to reports, Shahidul Islam and other officials from the Bangladesh Garment and Industrial Workers Federation (BGIWF) went to the Prince Jacquard Sweaters factory in Gazipur to address a wage dispute at the request of workers. The factory workers are owed over two months’ wages.

On leaving the factory, the BGIWF officials were violently attacked by a gang leaving Shahidul Islam with fatal injuries.

ITUC Acting General Secretary Luc Triangle said: “This is a horrific event. We send the solidarity of the international trade union movement to the family and friends of Shahidul Islam and his colleagues at the BGIWF. Their fight is our fight and we condemn outright this violence.

“But this is not the first murder of a union organiser in Bangladesh and we call of the government there to fulfil its duties under international law to protect the right to organise.

“Also, we call on the global brands sourcing products from factories in Bangladesh to carry out human rights’ due diligence in their supply chains. The brands must use their leverage to ensure respect for human rights and international labour standards in law and practice. There is no excuse for doing business with anyone who doesn’t respect basic rights, such as the right to freedom of association. They must hold to account their suppliers for their respect of workers’ rights.”

In the 2022 ITUC Global Rights Index, Bangladesh is one of the ten worst countries for working people with a rating of 5 – no guarantee of rights. The 2023 Index will be published Friday, 30 June.