Human rights for workers in Bangladeshi garment Industry
Geraldine McNamara, National PRO for Republican Sinn Fein, on April 29 called on all workers to express solidarity and sympathy with the workers at the garment factory in SAVAR, Bangladesh. This terrible tragedy in which over 400 workers were killed is a sad indictment on the capitalist western world that uses and exploits those in the world’s poorest countries to avail of cheap mass-produced garments.
It was the worst tragedy to hit Bangladesh's massive garment industry, and focused attention on the poor working conditions of the employees who toil for $38 a month to produce clothing for top international brands.
While it is good to see people in the Third World working and producing goods for the world market we must ensure their basic human rights. No worker should have to work for a wage which keeps them living below the poverty line and in conditions that are detrimental to their health and wellbeing.
Geraldine called on all workers to be mindful of these conditions when purchasing goods from retail outlets here. We should demand a fair-trade agreement between countries and we should not expect workers in Bangladesh to endure long working hours in hazardous conditions just so that we can have cheaply-produced items. The employers in Third World countries are making vast profits, as are the retailers in Ireland and it is grossly unfair that the workers many of whom are only children are living and working in deplorable conditions.
Bangladesh's garment industry is the third largest in the world, after China and Italy, having grown rapidly in the past decade. The country's minimum wage is the equivalent of about $38 a month.
Among the garment makers in the building were Phantom Apparels, Phantom Tac, Ether Tex, New Wave Style and New Wave Bottoms. Altogether, they produced several million shirts, pants and other garments a year.
The New Wave companies, according to their website, make clothing for several major North American and European retailers.
Britain's Primark/Penneys Ireland acknowledged it was using a factory in Rana Plaza, but many other retailers distanced themselves from the disaster, saying they were not involved with the factories at the time of the collapse or had not recently ordered garments from them.
Geraldine said that last year a fire in a factory in Bangladesh killed 111 workers and although there were pledges to improve working conditions nothing was done. If the people in the western world don’t speak out and say “not in my name” to these companies nothing will be done and the deplorable working conditions will continue.
POW Easter Statement
A chairde is a comradaithe
It is a great honor that we - the Republican POWs in Maghaberry - have this opportunity once again to address you, the people of Ireland and abroad, on this the 97th anniversary of the 1916 Rising. We extend Easter greetings to our comrades, friends and supporters not just in Ireland but throughout the world. We would also like to thank Republican Sinn Féin and CABHAIR for all the work done on our behalf. We extend special greetings to our families whose support is invaluable.
To our comrades on the outside, we extend hearty congratulations and admiration on your continued defiance of British rule, your efforts to build the Republican Movement in the face of adversity is a testimony to your courage and principles. It is clear to see that the legacy of the 1916 Rising lives on. Only by standing firm to the principles of genuine Republicanism will we see our country realise its destiny as a free nation.
The legacy of the insurrection in 1916 and the sacrifices made by so many Irish Patriots has inspired us to withstand the dreadful conditions of our imprisonment. We are aware that we are only the latest generation of Irish Republicans who have been imprisoned for struggling to free our country and we take encouragement from those who have gone before us.
As Prisoners of War we find ourselves incarcerated due to British Rule in Ireland, your efforts and actions give us great hope. We affirm that Irish Republicanism is alive and vibrant, kept alive by people like you. As Republican Prisoners of War we will not shy away from our duty and we salute all those in Ireland and abroad who work towards the Independence of Ireland by any means necessary.
With three years to go until the Centenary of the Historic Easter Rising, we are confident that our comrades will remain resolute in their attempts to drive the British occupation forces from our country. We pledge our allegiance to the leadership of the Republican Movement and urge all our people to stand with us in our fight against British imperialism.
An Phoblacht Abú
Signed O/C Maghaberry Gaol, March 2013.