IndustriALL Global Union and UNI Global Union condemn in the strongest possible terms the killing of trade union leader Shahidul Islam Shahid on 25 June in Gazipur, Bangladesh.
Shahidul Islam Shahid was President of the Gazipur unit of the Bangladesh Garments and Industrial Workers Federation (BGIWF), which is affiliated to IndustriALL Global Union. Shahidul Islam Shahid was killed by miscreants in the Gazipur area on Sunday night. According to Shahid’s colleagues, some local criminals attacked him for speaking in favour of payment of wages to the workers at the company Prince Jacquard Sweater Limited. Three more labour leaders were injured in the attack. They are Md Mostafa Kamal, Ahmed Sharif, and Akkas Ali.
According to local sources, the workers of Prince Jacquard Sweater Limited have been aggrieved for the last few days as they did not receive the payment of the outstanding salary of two months and the Eid bonus. Shahidul Islam Shahid discussed the issue, on behalf of the workers, with the owners of the company. The workers were supposed to get the outstanding salary and bonus on Sunday. The workers were kept waiting for the whole day on Sunday, but they did not receive any payments.
Shahidul Islam Shahid and three others came out of the factory at around 7:00 pm and stood in front of the main gate. Suddenly, some 10 to 12 criminals attacked them. Locals rescued them and took them to the Hospital in Gazipur where an on-duty physician declared Shahidul Islam Shahid dead. The three injured union leaders were receiving treatment at the same hospital.
We join forces with the IndustriALL Bangladesh Council, which has organized a human chain and protest in front of the Gazipur District Commissioner’s Office, to demand justice in this unconscionable murder and attack on trade union leaders. Those responsible for this heinous attack should be held accountable and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Freedom of association continues to be violated in the country and the government must ensure that trade unions and their representatives can operate without intimidation, and violence in their role as elected representatives of workers.
Regrettably, this murder is another stark reminder of the situation for organized labour in Bangladesh. When people are killed for exercising their constitutional right to organize, we are seeing government and employers at their weakest and most dangerous. It is the responsibility of the Bangladesh government to investigate the crime and to bring the perpetrator(s) to trial to face the legal consequences.
UNI Asia & Pacific