NEW YORK —?The head of an international apparel labor union last week blasted what he called an effort by South Korean investors to prevent the rise of labor unions in Bangladesh.
Neal Kearney, general secretary of the International Textile, Garment & Leather Workers’ Federation, in a letter, harshly criticized a move by the Youngone Corp. — which has investments in a Bangladeshi export-processing zone — to stop Bangladesh’s government from lifting a ban on unions within the zone.
Youngone made its challenge in a December 2003 Bangladeshi court filing.
“The legal action initiated by Youngone is a disgrace,” Kearney said in a statement. “For a foreign investor to say that the minister of labor of Bangladesh has no authority to introduce freedom of association shows incredible contempt for the government and the people of the host country.”
In his letter to the South Korean minister of commerce, Kearney noted that Bangladesh has been in violation of global standards allowing unions since 1992.
“Continuing to ban trade unions in EPZs is a sure-fire way of destroying the garment industry,” he wrote.
— Scott Malone