occupational safety and health

Two Years after Fatal Tazreen Fire, Life Worse for Survivors

November 24 marks the two-year anniversary of the deadly fire at Tazreen Fashions Ltd. in Bangladesh that killed 112 garment workers. Since then, at least 30 garment workers have died in factory fires and 844 have been injured in 68 incidents, according to data collected by Solidarity Center staff in Dhaka, the capital. Many of… [READ MORE]

Swaziland: Textile Workers Sickened from Dangerous Chemical

Workers continue to be sickened at a Swazi textile factory where dozens of workers required hospitalization earlier this month after the plant began using the dangerous chemical butyl acetate to clean clothing stains. The workers, who went to the hospital at their own expense, reported chest pains, severe headaches, vomiting and bleeding, and some collapsed…. [READ MORE]

Bangladesh Garment Union Leaders Making Change Together

Some 600 factory-level garment union leaders and workers from 35 factories met during the recent Bangladesh Garments and Industrial Workers Federation (BGIWF) Convention in Dhaka, the Bangladesh capital. Joining together under the convention theme, “Together we can bring change,” participants described the workplace improvements that followed after workers formed unions. “Before forming the union, the… [READ MORE]

‘The Key to Development in Africa Is Empowering Women’

Up to 80 percent of workers across Africa labor in the informal economy, many as street vendors, taxi drivers and domestic workers. With few legal rights, most informal-sector workers make low wages and have no health care or other social protections. Because women comprise the vast majority of workers in the informal economy, they are… [READ MORE]

Mexico: Mineworkers Leader Cleared of All Criminal Charges

A panel of federal judges in Mexico dropped all criminal charges against Napoleón Gómez Urrutia, president and general secretary of the National Mine and Metal Workers Union (Los Mineros), freeing him to return to Mexico from Canada where he has lived in exile.  Gómez Urrutia, who was removed as president of the 250,000-member union by… [READ MORE]

Swazi Union Leader Backs AGOA; Country Must Meet Benchmarks

U.S. trade benefits for Africa—known as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA)—provide key economic support for countries such as Swaziland, according to Vincent Ncongwane, secretary general of the Trade Union Confederation of Swaziland (TUCOSWA). Yet some in the Swazi government are falsely accusing Ncongwane and human rights lawyer Sipho Gumedze of taking a stand… [READ MORE]

Survey Reveals Abuse of Textile Workers in Swaziland

A recent survey by the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) of more than 400 textile workers in Manzini, Swaziland, reveals that workers in the textile sector are subject to harsh and sometimes abusive conditions, many of the country’s labor laws are routinely violated by employers, and union activists are targeted by employers for punishment…. [READ MORE]

24 Bangladesh Union Leaders Complete Fire Training

Twenty-four garment worker union leaders and organizers in Bangladesh have completed a first-of-its-kind, in-depth training course on fire and building safety, conducted by the Solidarity Center and Selim Newaz Bhuiya, former deputy director of Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil Defense. The 10-session course aims to equip union leaders with essential knowledge and skills on workplace… [READ MORE]

UN Convention on Economic Rights a Powerful Tool for Workers

Worker rights advocates have lots of tools available to them to help foster safe and healthy workplaces, family-supporting wages and social protections. One item in the toolbox is rule of law—and a recent Solidarity Center analysis of Mexican laws and policies through the lens of a key international standard offers an example of how to… [READ MORE]

Los Mineros Leader Details Mine Tragedy, Exile in New Book

More than seven years after an explosion at Mexico’s Pasta de Conchos mine killed 65 miners, 63 bodies remain buried in the mine, trapped there because the government and the company, Grupo Mexico, ended the search and closed the mine only five days after the mine collapse. “We felt that the company and the government… [READ MORE]