First Bangladeshi workers' union in UK | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 04, 2011 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 04, 2011

First Bangladeshi workers' union in UK

The Bangladeshi community in East London made history this week, with the formation of the first ever workers' union catering to the rights of Bangladeshi workers in the UK.
Already commanding a membership of over 500, on November 28 the Bangladeshi Workers Union became an affiliate member of GMB -- one of the UK's three largest trade unions -- through a ceremony at Preem Restaurant in Brick Lane, the heart of East London's Bengali community.
Tower Hamlets MP Jim Fitzpatrick, local Councillor Shiria Khatun, and Labour peer Maurice Glasman attended the programme.
As would be expected, the overwhelming majority of the workers are drawn from the restaurant industry, but there are also members from manufacturing and other trades. Although it only became official by affiliating itself with GMB last Tuesday, members have been meeting on Mondays -- the typical day off for restaurant workers -- since early August.
The union has managed to recruit members from all over the UK, with workers reportedly travelling into London to attend meetings from as far away as Birmingham, Portsmouth and Tunbridge Wells.
Most of the members have been living in the UK for 5-10 years, and the group hasn't yet come across anyone living illegally in the UK seeking membership.
Councillor Khatun said to the agency yesterday that a collective bargaining unit for Bangladeshi workers has been “long, long overdue”.

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