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Support for garment workers

13 September 2013

by a staff reporter


"Oppressed": garment workers in Dhaka, Bangladesh, demand to be paid the minimum wage

"Oppressed": garment workers in Dhaka, Bangladesh, demand to be paid the minimum wage

A CHURCH-led campaign will lobby for better working conditions and wages for Bangladeshi garment workers, in the wake of the more than 1000 deaths caused by a factory collapse earlier this year.

A global coalition of Churches launched the campaign in London on Thursday of last week, highlighting the fact that garment workers in Bangladesh are paid just ten pence an hour - only 14 per cent of the living wage in Bangladesh - and that 1800 workers have died in recent years in factory collapses and fires in the country.

The Rana Plaza factory collapse at Savar, Dhaka, in April this year, killed more than a thousand, and left thousands more injured. The factory made clothes for many British high-street stores.

The Moderator of the Church of Bangladesh, the Rt Revd Paul Sarker, said: "The Church of Bangladesh is passionate about the fight for social justice. Ongoing support from the wider community can help us deliver real justice for this oppressed group of workers."

The coalition has produced resources to help consumers in the UK lobby for wage justice and better working conditions.

Steve Pearce, from the Methodist Church, said: "The distressing tragedy at Savar has given us the opportunity to take action and make a difference for garment workers in Bangladesh. As the story of the inexcusable loss of life at Rana Plaza fades from our media, I hope people will use these resources to make sure it doesn't fade from our memory before we have done our best to create irresistible pressure for change."

There are about four million workers in the clothing industry in Bangladesh, producing about 80 per cent of the country's export earnings.

The alliance of Churches working alongside the Church of Bangladesh includes the Church of Scotland, the Anglican Alliance, the diocese of Llandaff (Church in Wales), the Church Mission Society, the Methodist Church in Britain, Us. (formerly USPG), and the Presbyterian Church of the Netherlands.

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