When workers formed a union at Danone’s factory in Bangladesh for the first time in January 2022, they believed it was an opportunity to finally secure the decent benefits and wages that a “social enterprise” is supposed to represent. Instead they faced a backlash from management that escalated with the termination on September 12 of an active union member, Mohammad Shahabuddin, who management had chosen to victimize in February to set an example to other workers.
While the union wrote to management and repeatedly sought negotiations to resolve the dispute, management (which refuses to keep written records as a business practice) did not reply. Management did nothing to avoid the escalation to protest actions. Instead, a day before the protest, security personnel at the factory were ordered to remove the company sign. Hiding Danone’s brand name took priority over fairness and rights.