Rohima: Gap Worker Denied Maternity Leave and Illegally Terminated

February, 11 2014 Share

Gap did the right thing and there has been very positive progress at Next Collections and other Ha-meem Group factories.  Our team on the ground will continue to monitor conditions at Next Collections.  More details will be available on our website soon.


“My name is Rohima and I am 22 years old.  I have been working at Unit One of the Next Collections Limited factory for the last 14 months as a senior sewing operator.  My badge number is 8627.  I worked on the third floor of the factory, on production line #175.

 “I earned a monthly wage of 4,800 taka ($61.80 U.S.), but with a lot of overtime hours, I could earn 8,000 to 9,000 taka ($102.99 to $115.87 U.S.)

“I got pregnant in November 2013 and informed the welfare officer, Ms. Shamima of my pregnancy.  [Note: Welfare officer Shamima was recently terminated for repeatedly denying pregnant women workers their legal right to maternity leave.  Five other Next Collections managers have also been fired.]

Rohima and her husband.


“As I was not feeling well, I visited the medical officer, Dr. Shamsun Nahar of the Ha-Meem Group on January 2, 2014.  She advised me not to do any heavy lifting or excessive work.  Moreover the doctor strongly suggested that I take a full day’s rest. 

“On that same day, the medical officer phoned both the production manager, Mr. Rana, and the line chief, Mr. Mamon, urging them not to put excessive pressure on me, since such extra work could harm the development of my baby.

“I returned to my production line after I consulted with the doctor.  After a short while, the production manager and line chief came to my station and ordered that I do double work.  At that time I was hemming pairs of long pants for Gap.  The production manager told me, ‘If you can work for two people, then you should come to the factory.  Otherwise, you should leave.’

“That same day, the line chief, Mr. Mamun, behaved harshly with me, grabbing my hand and trying to drag me out of the factory.  He demanded that I immediately leave the production line, but I refused.  Mamun then slapped me for disobeying his orders.

“I went to the Executive Director, Mr. Shahabuddin, to explain what had happened, but he told me to get out of the factory immediately.  I begged him to allow me to work.  Then the production manager, Mr. Rana, called the security guards to take me out of the factory.  They pushed me out of the factory at 11:00 a.m. on January 2, 2014.  I returned home frightened and worried over how I would survive.

“On January 3, 2014, I went back to the factory gate to receive my wages for December, but the security guards would not allow me to enter the factory.  Three days later, on January 6, I tried again to get into the factory so I could receive my wages.

“The general manager, Mr. Liton, kept me standing, waiting the whole day from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  When the medical officer saw me standing like that, she told me to go home.  She said that waiting like this could be harmful to my pregnancy.  [Note:  Mr. Liton has been sent out on leave.  His current status with the Next Collections factory is unknown.]

“On January 7, I again returned to the factory to resume work and to receive my last month’s wages.  The line chief said he couldn’t take me back in, but the production manager, Mr. Rana, said I could start working at 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  He also told me I could work on January 8 and 9.  I worked until 7:00 p.m.  The company then paid my wages for December 2013.  With overtime, I earned 8,000 taka ($102.22). 

“But management refused to pay the nine days I worked in January.  The production manager said to me,     

‘I will f**k your mother and fourteen generations if you come anywhere near the factory gate again... I will call the police if you come to the factory again.’

“How can they cheat me of my nine days wages in January, of my earned leave [vacation pay] and also deny me the legal right to maternity leave?  I wanted to continue working until the time of my maternity leave, but management forced me out of the factory so that the company could cheat more money from us.  In the past, everything about the Next Collections factory was illegal and corrupt.  But after a report was written in October 2013, we thought the factory had improved a lot since some women received their maternity benefits.  It seems that the Next Collections factory has returned to its earlier stage of routinely cheating workers.* For the last two months we have not seen the buyers monitoring the factory.”


Ms. Rohima

Ashulia, January 9, 2014


* Note:  Rohima stated:  “For the last two months we have not seen the buyers monitoring the factory.”  From October 25, 2013 through January 8, 2014, there were constant large and violent street clashes along with political upheaval as opposing parties called for massive strikes.  During that period, it was extremely dangerous to travel outside of Dhaka, which may be why Gap auditors were not seen.





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