The 81 workers were "illegally fired" from Grameen Knitwear Limited on 12 March 2015

The 81 workers were "illegally fired" from Grameen Knitwear Limited on 12 March 2015

Over 80 Bangladesh garment workers working at a factory supplying Japanese casual clothing brand Uniqlo have taken part in a hunger strike, claiming they are still due compensation after being fired in 2015.

The 81 workers are said to have been illegally fired from Grameen Knitwear Limited on 12 March 2015, with "false cases" filed against the employees according to Bangladesh's National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF). The factory is owned by Nobel Laureate and microcredit trailblazer Professor Dr Muhammad Yunus, as part of a social business venture with Fast Retailing brand Uniqlo.

The social business venture began producing clothing in Bangladesh in 2010, with profits reinvested in building the business, improving the quality of life and achieving financial independence for worker communities.

NGWF says it led several worker demonstrations in 2015 and 2016 in protest at the sacking, but adds the false cases against the 81 workers have not yet been withdrawn. It says they are being "deprived of their legal dues and compensations."

Consequently, the union led the 81 workers in a token hunger strike yesterday (30 July) in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka.

The union says Grameen and Uniqlo are yet to reinstate and compensate the workers.

The companies could not be reached for comment at the time of going to press.