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R.L. Denim Workers ask Metro Group not to Punish Them

May, 18 2009 Share

R.L. Denim Workers Ask Metro Group Not to Punish Them
Now that they have their Legal Rights


"Now that the factory has been cleaned up and conditions improved,
Why should the factory be closed?"

               --R.L. Denim worker
               Friday, May 15, 2009

 

Click here to view the R.L. Denim/Bangladesh (Metro Group) campaign page

 

Recent Improvements at R.L. Denim

  • Humiliating and violent treatment has stopped altogether:  Workers are no longer cursed and shouted at, slapped, punched, kicked or beaten.  Workers are happily surprised at the "new system," where management respects their rights.
  • Death Benefits paid to Fatema's parents:  On Wednesday, May 13, 2009, Fatema's parents were paid 50,000 taka ($730 U.S.) as a death benefit for their 18-year-old daughter, who was denied sick leave, slapped and overworked to death on December 7, 2008.
  • Maternity Benefits paid:  Both Mrs. Fatema and Mrs. Parvin were paid their maternity benefits on May 13 at the R.L. Denim factory.  Mrs. Fatema received 9,053 taka ($132.16 U.S.) and Mrs. Parvin 7,085 taka ($103.43).  (Mrs. Fatema received slightly more because she was a sewer while Mrs. Parvin was a helper.)
  • The factory is now open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with an hour off for lunch.
  • All Fridays—the Muslim weekly holiday—are now off.
  • Workers are paid correctly and on time.  (Workers are now paid on the 7th of the following month. Management is no longer withholding a month's back wages.)
  • Factory bathrooms have been cleaned.
  • Purified water is now available to the workers.
  • Management is making space to provide the workers with a proper factory canteen, where they can sit at tables to eat their lunch.
  • More importantly, representatives of the progressive National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF) and the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity (BCWS) were allowed access to the factory on Thursday, May 14 to verify some of the positive changes.

R.L. Denim management agreed to allow NGWF and BCWS representatives open access to enter the factory at any time to monitor ongoing worker rights improvements.


Mr. Yasin—17-year-old worker who was beaten:

Question: 

How were the workers abused before?

Mr. Yasin:

It is almost impossible to describe.  Workers were screamed at, beaten, slapped and scolded.  The overtime payments were not given correctly.  I worked 183 hours in January, including 5 all-night shifts.  But I was paid only 3,800 taka ($55.47 U.S.).

Question: 

What do you expect from the factory?

Mr. Yasin:

We want the factory to operate justly, as it is running at the moment.  Also, the buyers should not withdraw their work orders.  Because, if the buyers like Metro pull their work out, it will be a great loss for the workers.  They will be unemployed.  For that reason, I want the factory to run with a proper, legal system that will be good for the workers as well as for management.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ms. Fatema, who was denied maternity leave:

 

My name is Fatema.  I have worked with R.L. for many years, 8 years in total.  The company did not give my legal payment on maternity leave.  The management allowed my leave but denied the payments.  For that reason, I applied many times to get my legal dues.  Finally, management staff came to my home and took us to the factory and paid up on May 13, 2009.

After a report was published, management provided my maternity leave payment, which was Tk. 9,053 ($132.16 U.S.)

I would like to thank the people who helped me receive my legal dues. I want the factory to run as it is currently running, maintaining a proper system.  We expect buyers will give more work, so that the workers won't be unemployed.  We are observing that the factory has a very little amount of work and may close soon.  We don't want the factory to shut down.  We want more orders from Metro Group.  I want the factory to run decently and the rights of the workers expected.

Question:

Are you happy after getting your pending legal dues?

Fatema: 

Yes, we are happy. 
If the NLC works to improve other bad factories which do not care about workers rights, they will also be turned into good factory like R.L. Denim. I want all factories to respect workers rights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ms. Parvin, who was denied maternity benefits:

Question:

Where do you work?

Ms.Parvin: 

At R.L. Denim

Question:  

Did you get your money for the maternity leave?

Ms. Parvin:

Yes.

Question:

How much did you get?

Ms.Parvin: 

Tk 7,085 [$103.43 U.S.]

Question:

Is the factory better now?

Ms. Parvin:

Yes.  It has improved its operating system.

Question: 

What do you want now?

Ms. Parvin:

I want to be employed soon.  I will be happy if the factory is provided with more work orders.  We want the factory to run fairly, and to be provided with our legal payments.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Workers want Metro to return its orders to R.L. Denim:

Question:

What are your names:

Workers:

My name is Morjina, card #771
My name is Rokshana, card #659
My name is Bakul, card #743
My name is Aklima, card # 1618

Question:

What is the current condition of the factory?

Workers: 

It is very good.  We are now getting pure drinking water.  We have Fridays off.  We can leave the factory at 4:30 or 5:00 p.m.  Our salary is now provided on the 7th, and we get a one-hour lunch break, with many positive changes.

Question: 

If Metro pulls out their orders, will you be happy?

Workers: 

No. No!  We want Metro to stay with this factory.  If we won't be able to work, how will we survive?  If we don't get our salary, we will die.  If there is no work at the factory, we will have to go back to our villages.  We badly need the work with R.L. Denim.  We don't want our factory to be closed.

The factory has improved a lot from previously, but we need work.