UBINIG carries out the activities with workers, particularly readymade garment workers through Sramabikash Kendra – the Trade Union Education centre. Sramabikash Kendra (SBK) is a trade Union education centre for workers, particularly workers in garment sector, informal sector and agricultural sector. SBK conducts small studies based on information collected from workers on their working conditions, health, social issues and their wages. SBK responds to immediate situations affecting the workers such as incidents like fire and roof collapse in the garment factories, termination of workers, violence against women workers, situation arising out of price rise for essentials.
Through the activities of Sramabikash kendra, UBINIG has been able to respond to very critical issues related to the workers at times when it is necessary for policy makers as well as for the Associations working with the workers. So far, Sramabikash Kendra has been able to reach:
• Readymade garment workers: 5000 mostly women workers, i.e. the majority are women workers with whom Sramabikash Kendra works.
• Informal sector workers: 1700. They are mainly rickshaw and van puller, construction labour, hawkers, vegetable sellers, brick breakers, green coconut sellers etc.
• Garment workers Associations: Presently Sramabikash Kendra is working with 25 Garment Workers’ Association and Federations in Bangladesh. We also organize procession, demonstration, media meeting and conference jointly and collectively
• Policy making bodies: Sramabikash Kendra also works with the leading and policy making organizations and bodies. We keep relation with BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturer and Exporter Association), Bangladesh Garments and Textile Workers’ Federation etc.
• Media: Sramabikash Kendra has good relation both with print and electronic media. The electronic media also covers our events and they do always extend their cooperation.
The most significant role Sramabikash played was to support the injured workers after the collapse of the Sweater factory in Baipail, Savar. Spectrum Sweater Factory housed in a nine storied building at Baipail, Savar collapsed on the ground on 10 April, 2005 at about the midnight. About three hundred workers on duty were pressed inside the rabbles. The death toll was 73 as per the information of the rescuing and investigating army. A total of 84 persons were rescued alive and where about of 97 persons could not be known. Sramabikash immediately went to the spot, collected information about the damage. Sramabikash helped the injured workers in the hospitals and helped in finding the addresses of the deceased for the payment of compensation.
Sramabikash Kendra follows every garment factory incidents of fire or building collapse such as Garib and Garib, Tazreen Garment factory, Rana Plaza etc. and keeps contact with the injured workers and the families of the deceased to give them support from the relevant quarters.
The garment workers keep regular contact with Sramabikash Kendra and seek support in times of their need. On the other hand, Sramabikash kendra also undertakes campaign and advocacy works at national and international level on crucial issues.