Churches Look Behind the Labels

Churches Look Behind the Labels

• UK Churches in Solidarity with Garment Workers inBangladesh

The Methodist Church, as part of the UK Churches' BangladeshGroup, will join a global coalition of Churches to launch acampaign against the plight of Bangladeshi garment workers.

The coalition will meet on 5 September at Methodist CentralHall, Westminster, at 12pm to discuss workers' rights. This followsthe collapse of the nine-storey Rana Plaza in Savar, Bangladeshwhere over 1,127 people were killed in April. Guest speakers at theevent will include the Very Revd John Christie, Former Moderator ofthe General Assembly of the Church of Scotland; Bishop Paul Sarker,Moderator of the Church of Bangladesh; and a garment factory workerfrom Bangladesh.

Steve Pearce, Partnership Coordinator for Asia and the Pacific,said: "The distressing tragedy at Savar has given us theopportunity to take action and make a difference for garmentworkers in Bangladesh. As the story of the inexcusable loss of lifeat Rana Plaza fades from our media, I hope people will use theseresources to make sure it doesn't fade from our memory before wehave done our best to create irresistible pressure for change."

The Methodist Church has been working alongside the Church of Scotland,the Church in Wales,the mission organisation US, Anglican Alliance,Oxford Mission, the Church MissionSociety and the Council forWorld Mission, in order to campaign with the Church of Bangladeshfor safe working conditions and fair wages for Bangladeshi garmentfactory workers.

The materials and resources shared at the event will offergreater insight into the situation for workers within Bangladesh.The resource pack will include an action plan for grassrootcampaigning, a Bible study and prayer and a letter for consumers tosend to their retailers demanding improvements to the pay andworking conditions of garment workers. The coalition is also takingthe campaign to social media, using the Twitter hashtags #LookBehindTheLabel#garmentworkersand #Bangladesh.

The Rt Revd Paul Sarker, Moderator of the Church of Bangladesh,said: "Importers and buyers should not stop their garments businessin Bangladesh. At present the garment manufacturing sector is thesecond largest foreign exchange earner of Bangladesh. A large poorsection of our population is surviving on this sector. We have tokeep in mind that the garment manufacturers are rich, powerful andgreedy. In Bangladesh most businessmen have no ethics. They wantonly easy profit."

To find out more about the situation for workers in Bangladesh,download the latest Methodist Church podcast, Bangladesh: The Real Cost of Clothing to listen to Steve Pearcediscussing the socio-economic realities for garment workers inBangladesh.