A demonstration was staged today by thousands of tannery workers at Bangladesh’s Savar Tannery Industrial Estate, who are demanding “basic workplace rights and facilities".

Roughly 4,000 workers from several tanneries, dressed in red and carrying red flags, rallied at 10am under the banner of the Tannery Workers’ Union.

Their demands include: the implementation of the minimum wage as declared by the government; a halt to work under contractor according to bipartite contractual condition; the implementation of all rights in accordance with the law; a hospital at the estate; one canteen per factory; a housing facility; and the modernisation of the Tannery Industrial Estate thus making it environmentally friendly.

Abdul Maleque, general secretary of the union, claimed that more than 7,000 workers have lost their jobs, following the relocating of the tanneries from Hazaribagh and the job losses continue. He demanded an end to the termination of workers’ contracts.

The leaders of the Tannery Workers’ Union also threatened tougher action if their demands are not met soon.