Mitch Ellmauer, Intern, International Labor Rights Forum
In 2010, workers in Bangladesh protested for higher minimum wages and better working conditions at the country's garment factories, including major Walmart suppliers. In retaliation, suppliers for Walmart and other multinational retailers have filed false charges against prominent labor rights leaders: Babul Akter, Kalpona Akter, Aminul Islam and other activists from the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity. If convicted, they could face life imprisonment or even the death penalty. That is why ILRF has set up an e-mail action to Walmart here.
So far, Walmart’s response to human rights violations committed by its suppliers has been insufficient. On May 18, Walmart issued a statement claiming that charges against BCWS had been dropped. However, the charges have not been dismissed; and BCWS is still subject to government and company intimidation. According to Babul, Kalpona, and Aminul, the activists are still required to show up in court regularly.
Walmart also refuses to address the deplorable working conditions in its subcontracter factories. Garment workers in Bangladesh are among the poorest paid in the world. Workers at Walmart’s Nassa Group factory are paid no more than the minimum wage of $43 a month, barely enough to feed one person, much less a family.
Help us pressure Walmart to take responsibility for its subcontractors! Go to Walmart’s Facebook page and post a message like this: "Walmart: don't do business with your Bangladeshi suppliers until they drop the fabricated criminal charges against labor rights advocates." Or post a message like this on Twitter: @Walmart: intervene before Bangladeshi #labor leaders are sentenced to death. http://bit.ly/WMAction via @ILRF #Walmart