At 9:30am on the 25th August 60 workers from the Viva Global factory in India were brutally attacked as they made their way into work. 16 women workers were severely beaten and one union leader, Anwar Ansari, was kidnapped by thugs who were waiting for them as they approached the factory.
Anwar was found at 10:45 this evening (25th August) with serious injuries sustained through beating by his kidnappers. It seems he was taken by them to the office of a local labour contractor, where he was warned that he should leave the state immediately. If he choose not to they have stated that he will be killed.
Fellow workers from the Garment and Allied Workers Union have been holding a vigil today for his safe return. The vigil will continue until Anwar is back with his fellow workers at the picket line.
The attacks on workers follow months of campaigning by the union to improve conditions at the M&S supplier. Only a few weeks ago the Observer exposed the conditions faced by Viva Global workers in a full page article. Yet over recent weeks the harassment of workers and union members has increased, with VG management clearly feeling such incidents will go unpunished.
Write to Mr Vohra, the owner of Viva Global, to demand he takes action today. Emails will also be copied to Marks and Spencer, the main buyer from the Viva Global factory. Go to http://bit.ly/d6tUup