A news story published on June 14 under the headline কোকাকোলার কারখানায় ‘আন্দোলন দমাতে’ শ্রমিকনেতাদের ওপর হামলা [Attack on workers’ leaders to suppress movement at Coca-Cola factory] described last week’s brutal attack on the union president by goons of a 3rd party waste management contractor for Coca-Cola Bangladesh. Within two hours the story disappeared due to what one source simply described as “pressure”.
After being released from hospital and recovering, the union president went to the police station on June 15 to follow up on the complaint filed against Coca-Cola management over his abduction and vicious assault. The police claimed no such complaint exists. This is despite the fact that the Coca-Cola Bangladesh management named in the police complaint had raised concern about allegations of their involvement. Instead of challenging these allegations, the police complaint – like the news story – disappeared.
Meanwhile, goons of the 3rd party waste management contractor providing services to Coca-Cola Bangladesh continued following union members home, intimidating and threatening them. In the factory managers and supervisors told workers they will be terminated if they resume their protest actions.
With protests stopped and the disappearance of the police complaint and the only news media story, the ground has been laid for Coca-Cola Bangladesh to now claim that nothing actually happened. If that occurs, then it will be a massive failure of corporate governance. Making the evidence disappear is not the purpose or intent of the human rights due diligence that should have protected union leaders and members in the first place.