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DHAKA – Global trade unions have condemned in the strongest possible terms the killing of trade union leader Shahidul Islam Shahid on 25 June in Gazipur, Bangladesh.

Shahidul Islam Shahid was president of the Gazipur unit of the Bangladesh Garments and Industrial Workers Federation (BGIWF), affiliated to IndustriALL. According to Shahid’s colleagues, local criminals attacked him for speaking in favour of payment of wages to the workers at the company Prince Jacquard Sweater Limited.

Three more labour leaders were injured in the attack. They are Md Mostafa Kamal, Ahmed Sharif, and Akkas Ali.

According to local sources, the workers of Prince Jacquard Sweater Limited have been aggrieved for the last few days as they did not receive outstanding salaries of two months and the Eid bonus. Shahidul Islam Shahid discussed the issue, on behalf of the workers, with the owners of the company. The workers were supposed to get the outstanding salary and bonus on Sunday. The workers were kept waiting for the whole day on Sunday, but did not receive any payments.

Shahidul Islam Shahid and three others came out of the factory at around 7:00 pm and stood in front of the main gate. Suddenly, ten to twelve criminals attacked them. Locals rescued them and took them to hospital in Gazipur where an on-duty physician declared Shahidul Islam Shahid dead. The three injured union leaders received treatment at the same hospital.

A statement from IndustriALL said: “We join forces with the IndustriALL Bangladesh Council, which has organized a human chain and protest in front of the Gazipur District Commissioner’s Office, to demand justice for this murder and attack on trade union leaders. Those responsible for this heinous attack should be held accountable and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

“Freedom of association continues to be violated in the country and the government must ensure that trade unions and their representatives can operate without intimidation, and violence in their role as elected representatives of workers.

“Regrettably, this murder is another stark reminder of the situation for organised labour in Bangladesh. When people are killed for exercising their constitutional right to organize, we are seeing government and employers at their weakest and most dangerous. It is the responsibility of the Bangladeshi government to investigate the crime and to bring the perpetrator(s) to trial to face the legal consequences.”


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