The seamstress said it is her biggest victory since being elected president in October of the workers’ union at Jeans Factory Limited in Dhaka, amid a push to improve conditions across the global fashion supply chain.
“In all these years, I have heard supervisors yell, verbally abuse, call us prostitutes and slap us behind our heads to work faster,” Akhter, who spends eight hours a day stitching pockets on jeans and shorts, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“Then I became the union president and everything changed. Overnight, I became important.”
Akhter, 28, is among scores of women in Bangladesh standing up to head unions and negotiate with male-dominated management for more pay, safer workplaces and respect on the job.
Bangladesh is the world’s second-largest garment exporter with some 4 million people working in its 4,000-plus factories, nearly 80 percent of them women, campaigners say.
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