The story of Nahidul Islam Nayan, trade unionist

Nahidul Islam Nayan has come a long way since he began as a garment worker, earning 300 taka as a cutting helper on the factory floor. He first joined a union in 1991 and is now the General Secretary of the United Garments Labour Federation.

Unions continue to face various forms of harassment in Bangladesh. Even now, Nayan says, such difficulties prevail as factory owners view unions negatively, despite efforts to showcase the advantages of unions over the past 25 years.

Nayan identifies the biggest challenge faced right now as the safety and mental health of women workers working in the garment industry. When a female worker wants to join the union, they face pushback and difficulties from all angles, such as having their jobs threatened by factory management or being harassed by goons on the streets.

Watch the video below to learn more about Nayan’s work in helping empower women garment workers.


Photos: b.a.sujaN / Plan International / Map Photo Agency, Dhaka, Bangladesh.