Garment worker Shahidul Islam has been killed after trying to meet factory management to discuss a wage dispute, reported Jay Kerr of anti-sweatshop campaign No Sweat.

Shahidul, who was president of the Gazipur branch of the Bangladesh Garment and Industrial Workers Federation (BGIWF), a trade union federation that No Sweat works with in the production of its T-shirts, was attacked by a gang and seriously injured on 25 June after leaving the Prince Jacquard Sweater factory in Tongi in Gazipur. He died from his injuries soon after. He leaves behind his wife, a former garment worker who is currently receiving chemotherapy for cancer, and two sons.

Garment workers have been holding protests in cities across Bangladesh to demand justice for Shahidul.

According to the US-based international worker rights organisation, the Solidarity Center, which condemned the attack, Shahidul had worked as a trade union organiser for 25 years “and died fighting for what he believed in”. In a statement posted on its website, it said: “Throughout his career, Shahid successfully mobilised thousands of workers to join unions and empowered them to become solid factory-level leaders. He also assisted thousands of workers to receive arrears and severance pay wrongfully denied by their employers. His contributions to the labour movement were truly remarkable. His murder serves as a reminder of the terrible odds garment workers are up against in Bangladesh and represents an immense loss for the labour movement.”

No Sweat is raising money through its Garment Workers Solidarity Fund to support the BGIWF’s campaign and give some financial support for Shahidul’s family.

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