WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs Thea Lee made the following statement on the recent violence against unionists in Bangladesh:“The U.S. Department of Labor is deeply concerned over the escalation of violence and crackdown on workers and trade unionists in connection with Bangladesh’s minimum wage review. The department condemns the alleged police shootings of Rasel Howlader on Oct. 30, 2023, and Anjuara Khatun today. “A 26-year-old maintenance operator at Design Express Factory and member of the Sommilito Garments Sramik Federation, Howlader was killed during a protest. Khatun, a 23-year-old sewing machine operator and mother of two, was also killed during a protest.“We call on the government of Bangladesh to respect workers’ freedom of assembly, end the violent crackdown on workers and conduct a full investigation of alleged police involvement in Howlader and Kahtun’s killings. “We also call for the immediate release of Jewel Miya, a labor organizer from the Bangladesh Independent Garment Workers Union Federation arrested in connection with the minimum wage protests. “We urge the government of Bangladesh to revisit the recent minimum wage decision to ensure that it provides equitable compensation that meets the needs of workers and their families. To prevent future unrest, we also urge the amendment of existing labor laws to guarantee that all workers can fully exercise their right to freedom of association and collective bargaining, as called for by the International Labor Organization.”Learn more about the department’s international work.

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