BWI on Bangladeshi union leader beaten to death for trying to resolve labour dispute

(Photo: Solidarity Center)

The murder of well-known Bangladeshi trade union leader Shahidul Islam and the wounding of trade union organiser Ahmed Sharif at the hands of several assailants are strongly condemned by the Building and Wood Workers' International (BWI), particularly its Asia Pacific trade union affiliates. After attempting to resolve a labor dispute involving workers of a major clothing manufacturer and management over unpaid wages, the said trade unionists came under attack resulting in the killing of Shahidul who was beaten to death. We send our heartfelt sympathies to Shadihul's family, friends, and comrades as they go through this trying time.

This horrific crime serves as a stark reminder to us all of the real and present dangers that many union activists and workers continue to confront for simply by exercising their right to organise and safeguard their interests. BWI asserts that no worker should face retaliation for exercising their labour rights under the law, particularly their freedom of association and the ability to form a union and engage in collective bargaining. Trade unionism is not a crime. It is a fundamental protected by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which enshrined the freedoms and rights of all people, irrespective of their race, gender, or beliefs.

BWI, along with the Bangladeshi labour movement and the rest of the world, calls on the Bangladeshi government to launch an immediate, in-depth inquiry into this heinous, cowardly act, and prosecute all responsible parties. We will not rest until justice is served for Shahidul's senseless killing. Any genuine democracy that promotes the rights and welfare of the working class must include trade unionism and respect for labour laws. Without them, justice is only a pipe dream, and democracy is nothing more than a hollow idea.