…”fighting against inequality is a hard path. Often people get frustrated as because they don’t see a significant change but changes are there. People can’t notice the difference because the process itself is very slow. I have taken the hard path, consciously, and will follow this path till the last day of my life.”
– Khorshed Alam
On Sunday 18th November Labour Behind the Label received the sad news that our friend and colleague, Khorshed Alam had died in Dhaka, Bangladesh. With his death we have lost a great ally and a brave activist whose work over the last decade has helped us, and others, to uncover and report on the terrible exploitation faced by the millions of women employed in the Bangladesh garment industry.
Khorshed Alam was the director of the Alternative Movement for Resources and Freedom, which carried out research and advocacy on a wide range of issues, including the rights of workers employed in Bangladesh’s growing garment industry.
Khorshed was always ready with his time and expertise to help anyone with an interest in pushing for change, from journalists to students, activists to academics. He worked tirelessly and fearlessly to make sure the voices of those women making our clothes could be heard over the endless noise of corporate public relations and industry excuses.
For the last decade Khorshed worked closely with the Clean Clothes Campaign to help us and our allies better understand the issues afflicting garment workers of Bangladesh. This included advising us on what issues our campaigns should focus on, providing information about the industry itself and clarifying the demands we make to brands and governments. He support in connecting with the numerous Bangladesh trade unions and labour rights groups was invaluable.
In the UK Khorshed was responsible for carrying out the research for almost every public report done on the Bangladesh garment industry in the last five years. This has included reports for Action Aid, War on Want, Labour Behind the Label and numerous newspaper exposes. In 2012 he helped us do the first ever investigation into the sandblasting of jeans in Bangladesh – uncovering information that we believed would be impossible to find.
On a personal level Khorshed became a trusted and much loved friend, whose humour, warmth and openess will be greatly missed by all of us at Labour Behind the Label. Our thoughts and best wishes go out to all his friends and family at this sad time.