A global coalition of churches and church-based groups on Sept. 5 launched a campaign to press for justice and better rights for garment workers in Bangladesh.
Churches in the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States vowed to lobby retailers and politicians to ensure just wages and safe working conditions in the wake of a factory collapse that killed over 1,000 workers and injured 2,000 others in Dhaka last April. The eight-storey factory that collapsed, Rana Plaza, produced inexpensive clothes for retailers in the West.
Monika Hambrom, a worker who was rescued from the factory rubble, recounted her ordeal via Skype at the London launch of the campaign, according to a press statement by the Anglican Alliance, a coalition member.
“As the main income earner in her household,” said the statement, “she provided for her family. Now they are left without a livelihood on which to survive.”
Hambrom said she continues to have sleepless nights and has made a slow recovery.
“We need to work together to ensure just wages and conditions for the garment workers in Bangladesh,” said a statement by Bishop Paul S. Sarker, moderator of the Church of Bangladesh.
Since 1985, over 1,000 Bangladeshi garment workers are estimated to have died from factory fires and collapses, said a campaign resource pack produced by the Anglican Alliance. Bangladesh garment workers are paid only US$0.15 an hour, which constitutes 14 per cent of the living wage in that country, it said; Bangladeshi women garment workers also earn much less than their male counterparts.
Other members of the coalition are Church Mission Society, Church of Scotland, Council for World Mission, diocese of Llandaff (Church in Wales), Methodist Church in Britain, Presbyterian Church in the Netherlands, Oxford Mission and United Society.
The Anglican Alliance co-ordinates the development, relief and advocacy work of members of the Anglican Communion. The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF), the relief and development arm of the Anglican Church of Canada, is a member.
For more information about the campaign, contact [email protected]
You can also check the Anglican Alliance Facebook page.