Bangladesh: a paradise for the bosses, and a hell for the workers

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THE arrest of the owner of the collapsed building in Dakha is just a tiny sop to the massive anger felt by Bangladeshi workers and the working people of the world, at the latest disaster which has cost the lives of over 300 women workers.

Those responsible for this disaster are the Bangladesh government, and employers, but principally the huge western companies (Primark, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Next, Walmart, GAP, H&M etc) that make their superprofits out of working the Bangladesh working class to death, either through working long hours for a pittance, or through repeated disasters, building collapses and fires, after which normal business recommences with hardly a pause, but without any change in hours, wages, safety and working conditions.

The employers of the world flock to Bangladesh because they face health and safety regulations at home, as well as stronger trade unions and higher wages.

However, to give the western governments, like the UK’s, their due, they are not wasting a minute in abolishing health and safety regulations at home, as well as industrial tribunal rights. Their ambition is to have a level playing field with Bangladesh so as to return UK and EU companies into world beaters and ‘their’ workers into slaves.

Meanwhile in Bangladesh, at this very moment, the government is clearing the disaster-stricken site, regardless of the fact that workers are buried there.

After all, holding up the clearing work would affect Western companies’ profits and give Bangladesh a bad name as a place for the vultures of western capitalism to do business.

More than 360 people are now known to have died in the Rana Plaza building, which housed a number of factories, and hundreds more are missing.

The Bangladeshi government says it wants to improve conditions but thinks that the clothing giants will simply move on to new pastures if that happens. ‘The biggest human right is the right for survival,’ said commerce minister Ghulam Mohammed Quader in an interview justifying government toleration for providing slave labour for the West.

Roy Ramesh, IndustriALL Bangladesh Council (IBC) General Secretary, has demanded the death penalty for all those responsible for the mass murder and injury of the workers.

‘No words can describe the horror of the criminal action of the manufacturers, brands, employers’ groups BGMEA and BKMEA, and the regulatory authorities for their greed for profit, at the cost of precious human lives, injuries and misery to thousands,’ said Ramesh.

The IBC has put forward a Charter of Demands to the Bangladesh government consisting of five major demands among many: Inquiry into the tragic incident; Published list of dead and injured workers; Arrest of owners of the building, factories and regulatory authorities; Criminal cases against those responsible for mass murder and injuries to workers; Severest punishment to be awarded including death penalty.

The ITUC has reacted angrily to the continued refusal of the Western global clothing brands to join a union-supported workplace safety plan in Bangladesh.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said, ‘These huge global companies continue to show callous indifference to the lives of the thousands of workers who toil for their Bangladesh contractors and subcontractors … How many people will have to sacrifice their lives for the corporate bottom line before the big players in the industry finally show that they care?’

In fact, the five demands will only be achieved by a socialist revolution in Bangladesh.

Burrow might as well be waiting for hell to freeze over as wait for the big western bosses to ‘show that they care’.

With capitalism driving to restore 19th century conditions all over the planet, the only solution is world revolution to overthrow and expropriate the bosses in the West, joining hands with the revolutionary peoples of the East to build worldwide socialism.