Since the Rana Plaza disaster, consumers in North America and Europe have come to realize the real cost of fast (and cheap) fashion. The growing international attention to worker rights abuses in Bangladesh has increased pressure on the Bangladeshi government to reform its labour laws to allow garment workers to organize unions and to bargain collectively for improved wages and working conditions.
From November 24 to December 6, 2013, Kalpona Akter, Executive Director of the Bangladesh Centre for Worker Solidarity will be visiting Vancouver, Ottawa, Québec City, Montréal and Toronto to garner Canada’s support for Bangladesh’s vulnerable garment workers. She has been invited by the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the Maquila Solidarity Network and the Public Service Alliance of Canada Social Justice Fund.
Akter, who started working as a garment worker when she was 12 and was then fired when she was 16 for trying to organize a union in her factory, has dedicated her life to protecting Bangladesh’s garment workers. The main objectives of her Canadian tour will be to raise awareness among union members and the general population, to increase pressure on Canadian companies linked to the Rana Plaza and to encourage the Canadian government to provide incentives to the Bangladeshi government to improve its labour legislation.
For more information about Kalpona Akter’s cross-Canada tour, please read the documents listed below.