A global coalition of the world’s major churches is to launch a campaign to press for better rights for Bangladeshi garment workers in the run up to Christmas and the winter sales.
The campaign will be launched on 5 September 2013 to mobilise church members, especially in the UK, US and Canada, to lobby retailers and politicians to improve wages, safety and working conditions for Bangladeshi garment workers.
There are 4,000,000 workers in the industry that produces 80 per cent of Bangladeshi export earnings.
On the platform at midday on 5 September in Methodist Central Hall, London, will be the Rt Rev John Christie, former Moderator of the Church of Scotland, Sally Keeble, Director of the Anglican Alliance and Bishop Paul Sarker, Moderator of the Church of Bangladesh, will be joining the event via Skype.
The campaign follows action by Bishop Paul Sarker to support the injured and bereaved families after the Rana Plaza factory collapse at Savar, Dhaka, Bangladesh in which over 1,000 people died and thousands more were injured.
A pack produced by the Anglican Alliance will be featured at the launch, and will focus on:
- Global justice for Bangladesh garment workers who are paid USD$0.15 an hour compared with over $6 for their US counterparts
- Wage justice for the workers who are paid only 14 per cent of the living wage in Bangladesh, with women in the industry earning much less than men.
- Living justice – over 1,800 Bangladesh garment workers are estimated to have died in factory collapses and fires since 1985
It provides an action plan for grassroots campaigning, and a letter for consumers to send to their retailers demanding improvements to the pay and working conditions of garment workers. Real-life stories from garment workers in Bangladesh also highlight the oppression they face and the struggle to survive.
Bishop Paul Sarker, said: “The Church of Bangladesh is passionate about the fight for social justice. Ongoing support from the wider community can help us deliver real justice for this oppressed group of workers.”
The global coalition of churches in the Church of Bangladesh Group includes: Anglican Alliance, Church of Bangladesh, Church Mission Society, Church of Scotland, Council for World Mission, Diocese of Llandaff (Church in Wales), Methodist Church in Britain, Oxford Mission, and Us (United Society).