Pay Withheld Wages to Struggling Workers

Target: Dr. Zafar Uddin, Secretary of Commerce, Bangladesh

Goal: Impose penalties on textile businesses that have refused months’ worth of pay to workers.

Wages have been withheld from garment workers in Bangladesh for nearly half a year for work they’ve already done, placing them and their families under intense pressure as they battle the coronavirus pandemic and abusive employers at once. Many of the workers, who make up the backbone of Bangladesh’s economy, had been striking for better pay, safer working conditions, and freedom from bullying and sexual harassment in the workplace.

But as soon as international clothing brands began canceling orders as the pandemic closed stores, pay was withheld from 4 million people. The Bangladeshi minimum wage equates to about $95 per month, and without even this, workers and their families are unable to pay their expenses or feed themselves reliably.

Clothing factory owners and fashion brands were happy to profit off the international fast fashion trade before the market was rocked, but they seem to have found it all too easy to abandon those who built their fortunes as soon as it was inconvenient. Sign the petition below to demand that the Bangladeshi Commerce Secretary impose fines on the guilty businesses if they don’t pay their employees.


Dear Dr. Uddin,

The 4 million garment workers of Bangladesh have been cruelly abandoned by their employers just when they had every right to expect loyalty from those whose profits they built. Without the money they’ve earned, they and their families are in precarious situation as they fight to weather COVID-19.

I urge you to exercise your authority as Minister of Commerce and impose penalties on those business owners who refuse to pay their workers. It is unacceptable that so many millions should lack respect and basic necessities in this most difficult of times.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Derek Blackadder

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