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Bangladesh Jails Leaders of Tea Workers' Union

    Labor Rights Now strongly protested the jailing of top leaders of the largest union in Bangladesh. Police arrested Rajendra Prashad Boonerjee, president of the Bangladesh Cha Sramik Union (BCSU) on March 24, 2006.

    In a letter to Shamsher M. Chowdhury, the Bangladesh ambassador to the U.S., Labor Rights Now President Don Stillman urged his immediate release along with that of Narendra Boonerjee and Bupesh Sind, also officials of he BCSU.

    The BCSU represents more than 80,000 tea workers in Bangladesh. Unfortunately, when BCSU workers demonstrated against the arrests in front of the union office, the police employed brutal force to halt the protest.

    These trade unionists had been investigated beginning more than a year ago by the trade union registrar, who concluded that no wrongdoing had occurred. Nevertheless, bail petitions by the BCSU were rejected on March 28 and April 2, despite mass protests by tea workers in Srimongal, Sylhet, and Chittagong. All three union leaders remain imprisoned.

    The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) has protested these arrests and workers throughout the world are watching developments in Bangladesh.

    "American trade unionists are particularly concerned about these arrests and want to see justice done here," Stillman told the ambassador.

    Bangladesh is a member of the International Labor Organization (ILO) and has an obligation to uphold its conventions, such as the right to freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining.

    "If trade union leaders cannot carry out their duties without being arrested and jailed, then Bangladesh is failing to honor its ILO commitments," Stillman said.

    "Labor Rights Now calls upon your government to free Rajendra Prashad Boonerjee, Narendra Boonerjee, and Bupesh Sind immediately and unconditionally."

More Information

ICFTU's Annual Survey of Violations of Trade Union Rights in Bangladesh

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