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Bangladesh: Perfetti van Melle workers fighting for their rights keep up the protests

Workers at the Perfetti van Melle (PvM) factory in Gazipur are keeping up their fight for collective bargaining rights with continuous daily protests at the factory. More than a year after their union was legally certified, local management of the Netherlands-based maker of Mentos and Chupa Chups insists on unilaterally setting basic terms and conditions like wages and leave.

Photo from March 4, 2020 protest when the PvM Asia Pacific President visited the Gazipur plant

PvM factory workers in Gazipur struggled to overcome massive management resistance when they formed their union, eventually receiving legal collective bargaining status from the government in early 2019. Their bargaining demands included negotiations for a collective agreement setting basic terms and conditions of employment, permanent status for the many outsourced contract workers and an end to child labour in the factory. In response, thugs organized by Rahat Corporation, the contractor supplying the contract workers, including the children, launched an organized attack on union members at work. PvM management stood by as over 20 goons entered the factory, beat and intimidated union members with bats and wooden sticks. Negotiations for a collective agreement have not advanced due to management’s ongoing violation of the union’s collective bargaining rights.

As of August 2019, 25 children were working at the factory. When the IUF exposed this exploitation, the children disappeared. Some have been located working in nearby factories; PvM refuses to discuss appropriate measures to remedy the harm inflicted on them.

The PVM Union and the IUF are committed to ensuring that the Gazipur workers’ rights are fully respected. PvM must take responsibility for the ongoing human rights violations at the factory and respect the union’s collective bargaining rights. The company claims that “Ever since 1958, Chupa Chups has brought happiness to children of all ages.” Agreed action is needed to remedy the harm caused to the child workers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More photos from March 4, 2020 protest when the PvM Asia Pacific President visited the plant

 

 

 

 

Photos from March 9, 2020 protest in front of the plant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 11, 2020 demonstration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 13, 2020 demonstration

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Written by IASWI

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