18:08:01 local time CHINA
20150909 * Pressure builds on Walmart in Shenzhen as trade union activists fight back:
Sacked Walmart workers in Shenzhen are joining forces to put pressure on the world’s largest retailer to curtail its harassment of labour activists and genuine trade unionists.
Yu Zhiming, a democratically elected member of the union committee at Walmart Store No. 5722 in Shenzhen’s Nanshan district, took the company to arbitration court for illegal dismissal earlier this year and won.
He has now teamed up with veteran Walmart worker activist, Wang Shishu, who is also suing the company after being dismissed for a second time earlier this year.
Yu, 43, from the central province of Hubei, had worked in the seafood department at the No. 5722 store since 2002. He was elected to the store union committee in 2013:
“All of the six committee members and the union president were democratically elected, and we were doing a good job,” Yu said.
“I am very proud to say that our union was the only one in Shenzhen that was functioning as it should and was not controlled by management.”
17:08:01 local time VIET NAM
20150904 * Workers want price control along with wage increase:
The province is one of the country’s largest industrial hubs.
The National Wages Council voted in support of a 12.4 per cent minimum wage increase yesterday, after VGCL, which represented the labour force, and VCCI, which represented the business sector, could not reach a consensus.
With the increase in minimum wages, the monthly wages of millions of workers in the country will increase by VND250,000 to VND400,000 (US$11-$17.5) next year, as compared to this year.
Not all of them, however, were entirely convinced that the wage increase would be as effective if living expenses such as rent and food were allowed to rise freely.
“Measures must be taken to control everyday expenses, especially rent and food, as wage increases alone will not improve workers’ living standards,” Le Thi Bich Hoa, a worker from the Viet Huong 1 Industrial Zone, said.
20150904 * Do you think that one can survive in cities with only $155 a month? :
Next week: Is living in Viet Nam really that cheap?
A proposal to increase the minimum wage of workers starting next year has been submitted to the Prime Minister for approval. Workers of private companies and organisations living in big cities like Ha Noi, Hai Phong and HCM City have a minimum wage of VND3.5 million (US$155) a month.
Lawmakers who proposed this said that this wage was enough for the workers to be able to live on in cities.
Do you agree with this? Do you think that one can survive in cities with only $155 a month? If you are an expat, do you find living in Viet Nam comfortable with the money you earn? Is the living standard in Viet Nam’s cities considered “cheap” compared to other neighbouring developing countries? Is it good value for money?
20150904 * Regional minimum wage to rise 12.4% next year:
The regional minimum wage in 2016 will be raised by 12.4% as approved at the third meeting of the National Salary Council on September 3.
The increase level for Region 1 is VND400,000 (US$17.8) while the respective figures for Region 2, 3 and 4 are VND350,000 (US$15.6), VND300,000 (US$13.3), and VND250,000 (US$11.1). The expected minimum wages will be VND3.5 million (US$155.6), VND3.1 million (US$136.4), VND2.7 million (US$118.8), and VND2.4 million (US$105.6), respectively.
Regionally-based monthly minimum wages vary in four different regions based on four separate benchmarks determined by living standards in each area.
20150903 * Vietnam’s regional minimum wages may rise 12.4% next year:
The Vietnam National Wage Council has arrived at a consensus that the regional minimum wages in 2016 should be 12.4 percent higher than the current rates.
At 12:30 pm on Thursday, after nearly five hours of debate, the council conducted a poll on the increase rate and 92 percent of the members voted for a 12.4 percent rise, Chairman Pham Minh Huan said.
20150903 * Labor unions unhappy as mediators solve wage dispute with 12 pct increase:
The National Wage Council on Thursday decided to increase the minimum wage for Vietnamese workers by 12.4 percent next year, ending months of dispute between labor and business associations.
Under the proposal, still pending government approval, the new minimum wage for 2016 will range between VND2.5-3.5 million (US$111-156) a month depending on regions.
The National Wage Council, which comprises 15 members representing the national labor force, employers and the labor ministry, made its decision after the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), which represents thousands of employers in the country, failed to reach an agreement.
20150903 * Meeting to seek consensus on minimum wage today:
If an agreement on the minimum wage increase between the labour and business groups is not reached today, the Prime Minister may have to decide the matter.
After two meetings during which a consensus could not be reached, the Viet Nam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL) and the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry will meet today to try and reach a final decision.
20150905 * EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement and its benefits on enterprises:
On Friday, the National Economics University of Vietnam and the Solvay Brussels Management and Economics College organized a Business Forum themed “EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement and enterprise benefits”.
Professor Claudio Dordi, Chief Technical Advisor of the EU-MUTRAP Project in Vietnam, emphasized 5 aspects that Vietnamese exporters need to focus on while exporting to the European market.
They include tariffs and administrative procedures, brand regulations and intellectual property rights, quality and safety regulations, logistics, and risk management.
Once the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement takes effect, the two sides will eliminate 65% of import duties and the remaining will be liberalized within 10 years after. The signing of EVFTA is expected to help Vietnam further integrate into the world economy.
20150913 * Garments and textiles sector prepares for integration:
Vietnam is about to sign some important trade deals including the Trans Pacific Partnership, the EU-Vietnam Trade Agreement, the Vietnam-Korea Free Trade Agreement, and has already signed an economic agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union.
To gain the maximum benefit from these deals, Vietnam’s garments and textiles sector has put forward plans to grasp the opportunity and maintain its current growth rate.
Since the beginning of this year, Vietnam has earned US$12.8 billion from exporting garments and textiles, one of its spearhead economic sectors.
The industry will have even greater opportunities when Vietnam signs pending trade deals like the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement because the EU is one of the sector’s crucial markets.
read more. & to read.
20150914 * VITAS: Apparel firms can enjoy part of TPP tax incentives:
The vice chairwoman of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS) said that with heavy reliance on material imports, it would be a success for local apparel firms if they take advantage of just 30% of tax incentives offered in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Dang Phuong Dung told the Daily on the sidelines of a seminar on apparel technology in HCMC on September 9 that most of the materials imported by local apparel enterprises came from China.
“Therefore, when Vietnam joins the TPP, which provides a strict rule of origin, Vietnam’s apparel sector will not be able to enjoy all tax incentives in the TPP but getting around 30% of them would be an achievement,” Dung said.
The biggest problem of the apparel sector is the knitting and dyeing process, so most of fiber output is for export. The country exports over US$2 billion worth of fiber annually, accounting for 70% of the volume of domestically produced fiber.
read more in BUSINESS IN BRIEF 14/9. (6th item).
20150911 * Vietnam textile and apparel industry likely to face big challenges over the TPP’s rule of origin:
During a Vietnam-Republic of Korea (RoK) scientific seminar on garment technology held in Ho Chi Minh City on September 9, co-hosted by the Ministry of Science and Technology’s National Office in the Southern Region and representative office of the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology, concern was raised that once the looming Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) comes into force, regulations on the origin of goods will present big challenges to Vietnam’s textile and garment sector.
Moon Byung-chul, Commercial Counsellor at the RoK Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City, said that Vietnam must follow TPP’s “yarn-forward” rule of origin which requires that only textile and apparel products using the US and other TPP countries’ yarns and fabrics qualify for the benefit of the agreement.
Although Vietnam is one of the world’s top apparel exporters, 70 percent of its textile makers are working as sub-contractors on medium and small scales, but are still weak in fibre manufacturing, weaving and dyeing, with almost all input materials imported from China and the RoK.
20150910 * TPP’s rule of origin challenges Vietnam’s apparel industry:
Regulations on the origin of goods will present challenges to Vietnam’s textile and garment sector once free trade agreements, especially the looming Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), come into force.
The concern was raised during a Vietnam-Republic of Korea (RoK) scientific seminar on garment technology in Ho Chi Minh City on September 9.
Though Vietnam is one of the world’s top apparel exporters, 70 percent of its textile makers are working as sub-contractors on medium and small scales, and are still weak in fibre manufacturing, weaving and dyeing, with almost all input materials imported from China and the RoK.
20150901 * Garment firms await TPP opportunities:
Garments and textile businesses are striving hard to be at the forefront to avail opportunities ushered in by the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
As garments and textile sector is viewed as one of the industries which will benefit the most from TPP, many businesses are proactively putting in place measures to be able to avail these opportunities such as investing in modern production lines, upgrading facilities, improving design and product quality and finding access to the market.
Their efforts are being met by encouraging results.
Specifically, six garments and textile businesses listed on the stock exchange have recorded strong growth in terms of both revenue and profits in the second quarter of this year.
read more. & read more.
20150901 * Vietnam garment firms strive hard to avail opportunities ushered in by TTP:
Vietnam garments and textile sector is viewed as one of the industries which will benefit the most from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), many businesses are striving hard to stay ahead to avail opportunities ushered in by TTP and have started proactively putting in place measures to be able to avail these opportunities such as investing in modern production lines, upgrading facilities, improving design and product quality and finding access to the market.
Following the signing of the TPP, the “Made in Vietnam” products would enjoy a zero percent tax instead of the current 7-32 percent when exporting to the US.
20150831 * TPP to open up investment opportunities in Vietnam: expert:
How the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP will open opportunities to attract investment in Vietnam was the focus of an interview between Nhan Dan (People) newspaper and Dr. Phan Huu Thang, former Head of the Foreign Investment Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment.
* Joining the TPP is expected to open up opportunities for Vietnam to attract foreign investment from TPP countries. Could you give us more details about these potential opportunities?
read more. & read more.
20150831 * Experts urge firms to study laws for TPP:
Most Vietnamese businesses are still unclear about international trade and business laws, which could result in a loss of opportunities presented by the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), experts have said.
Lawyer Chau Huy Quang, founding partner of Rajah & Tann LCT Lawyers, and also arbitrator of Vietnam International Arbitration Centre, said that domestic companies needed to understand the rules of play on the world market.
“Otherwise, they will be forced to retreat on the home playing field,” he said.
17:08:01 local time LAOS
20150904 * Garment factories keen to sew up more labour:
While the construction of garment factories in Laos has gradually increased in recent years the industry says it still faces a shortage of workers to help fuel continued growth.
17:08:01 local time CAMBODIA
20150910 * Mass Fainting hits Target Supplier:
At least 22 female garment workers collapsed at their factory on the outskirts of Phnom Penh yesterday, in the latest mass faintings incident.
The exact number of workers who fainted could not be immediately confirmed. The cause is still being investigated, but Dr. Veag Vuthy, at the Porng Toeuk Health Center, told Khmer Times the most likely reasons were “toxic odors” or low blood sugar.
One or two of the women collapsed first and that triggered a chain reaction among co-workers, the Ministry of Labor said in a statement. The incident occurred at a factory owned by Moha Garment Company on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.
It supplies Target stores in the United States and Canada as well as the department store chain Kohl’s, according to shipping data.
One of those who collapsed told Khmer Times from her bed at the Porng Toeuk health center when she saw others fainting first.
“I didn’t know why I fainted,” she said, asking not to be identified. “But when I saw the people around me fainting and heard a lot of other workers also fainted, I became afraid. I had trouble breathing and then I fainted too.”
Another woman said some workers had gone to other centers for medical help.
20150914 * Independent Unions Raise Minimum Wage Demand:
A group of independent unions say they will push for a new monthly minimum wage of $207 for garment workers when three-way negotiations with the government and factories begin in earnest next week.
The number comes from an in-dependent study that a group of labor rights groups commissioned last month to find out how much the country’s 700,000 garment workers were spending, in order to help unions decide how significant a raise to the current minimum wage of $128 to ask for. On Friday, DC Research came back with a preliminary median figure—the middle number among the 745 workers it surveyed—of $207.50.
William Conklin, country director of the U.S.-based Solidarity Center, which helped support the research, said $207.50 would not necessarily be the figure that all of the unions—some of which are aligned with the government—would ultimately agree to put forward in the coming negotiations.
The talks start next Monday.
Ath Thorn, who leads the largest independent union in the country, said he and a handful of like-minded union leaders had already decided to make $207.50 their starting position.
“We will use this number to negotiate with the factories, because we cannot use just any number without grounds,” he said. “This number is the basic living cost; if we wanted the workers to live with dignity, it would be even higher than this.”
Union leader Yang Sophorn said she also supported the figure and that about seven unions had agreed to push for $207.50 so far.
20150908 * Unions, Employers Meet Ahead of Wage Showdown:
Union leaders and employers attended a closed-door meeting at the Labor Ministry yesterday to discuss their findings on labor conditions in the lead-up to official talks on a new minimum wage for the textile and footwear industry.
“The meeting this morning is just a session for a presentation of findings from the Ministry of Labor and the International Labor Organization (ILO) and [a presentation on the] data that we [labor unions] get,” Ath Thorn, president of the Cambodian Union Federation, said said.
“It is not a request or negotiation about the minimum wage yet.
Labor unions will propose the minimum wage on September 11 and the official negotiations will be on September 22.
The meeting is just about the indicators and the reason for the wage increase,” he said at the National Tripartite Workshop on the Minimum Wage.
20150908-09 * H&M eyes ‘fair wage’ push:
Amidst ongoing negotiations to boost the minimum wage for garment workers in Cambodia, H&M, the world’s second-largest fashion retailer, has rolled out a program aimed at improving pay in the Kingdom’s factories, arguing that higher wages improve industrial relations and productivity.
The introduction of the “fair wage method” in 68 factories in China, Bangladesh and Cambodia will focus on ensuring workers receive wage improvements “regularly and fairly”, although no exact wage level is being set, an H&M representative said yesterday.
“I want the negotiation for the minimum wage this year to go smoothly, so it can be accepted by everybody,” said Labour Minister Ith Samheng at a workshop on the issue in Phnom Penh yesterday.
“We want the two parties [labour and management] to be in harmony.”
Trade unions are demanding a raise to $177 per month from the current $128, which they say will cover rising living costs in the Kingdom.
20150903 * Too many unions: owners:
In a strongly worded defence of the proposed trade union law, employer association CAMFEBA released a position paper yesterday claiming the law would curb instances of illegal strikes and a proliferation of minority unions, which it says is needed to harmonise the country’s troubled industrial relations.
With an average of seven registered unions per factory, across more than 600 garment and footwear exporters, the Cambodia Federation of Employers and Business Associations, or CAMFEBA, said the multiplicity of unions impedes consensus-building and restrictions are necessary on the number of people needed to form a union.
Citing Labour Ministry and Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia data, the report says there are over 3,000 labour unions in Cambodia, 90 per cent of them representing garment workers.
The government announced several revisions to the law on July 28, such as reducing the number of workers required to form a union from 20 per cent of a factory’s workforce to 10 people.
Ath Thorn, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union, agreed, saying that even when only one independent union existed in a factory, management rarely cooperated.
“They want to put the unions under control of the employer,” he said.
Thorn said the process of drafting the union law was far from inclusive, with no copy having been shown in full by the government.
20150902 * Unpaid workers ready to ‘burn down factory’:
More than 150 garment workers at the Tien Tien factory in Kandal province have threatened to burn down their workplace after its Chinese owner disappeared without paying them almost a month ago.
Dip Sopheakdey, a 30-year-old worker, said yesterday that the owner escaped on August 6 for reasons that remain unclear, leaving about $30,000 in unpaid wages.
She said that authorities had not responded to petitions and marches from the workers, causing them to threaten to set the now-abandoned factory alight.
“We will burn the factory down if we don’t get our salaries,” she said.
“We do not have any more money to buy food and pay the rent.”
20150903 * Svay Rieng Unionists Appeal Convictions for Protest:
A lawyer for four unionists who were handed suspended 18-month prison sentences for blocking a road last year filed an appeal with the Svay Rieng Provincial Court on Wednesday.
Toun Saren, Chea Oudom, Cham Samnang and Suth Chet, of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, were charged with incitement and fined $750 each following a protest at the You Li garment factory in Bavet City in August 2014.
Phan Ratana, a deputy prosecutor at the provincial court, said last month that the actions of the unionists—blocking National Road 1 for about an hour—were as serious as those of former Bavet governor Chhouk Bundith, who shot and wounded three workers during a strike in 2012.
But the lawyer for the four unionists, Sary Buthchakrya, said he did not agree.
20150903-04 * GMAC Starts Building Training Institute:
The Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia yesterday broke ground on a new worker institute in the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone, seeking to improve labor skills in the Kingdom.
The institute will train in skills from basic sewing to more advanced subjects like pattern making and marketing, according to GMAC. It is meant to move Cambodia higher up the value chain and alleviate a significant skill shortage in the country, according to government officials and the private sector.
“We hope that this will help meet some of the human resources needs of garment and footwear factories and reduce our dependency on foreign labor for management positions and other specific functions,” Van Sou Ieng, the president of GMAC, said in a statement.
read more. & read more.
20150912 * Rival on the rise:
Structural reform in ASEAN neighbour means more competition for Cambodia’s key export industries
While Cambodia’s economic development is often compared to that of neighbouring Vietnam and Thailand’s, industry insiders say the Kingdom needs to keep a close eye on the steady progress being made in Myanmar, which is predicted to eat into Cambodia’s exports in the long term.
After decades of isolation, Myanmar has in the last four years seen structural reforms.
An improved business environment propelled its gross domestic product growth to 7.7 per cent in 2014, and it is expected to reach 8.3 per cent for 2015, according to the Asian Development Bank.
While Myanmar may not pose an immediate threat to Cambodia, Jayant Menon, lead economist at the Asian Development Bank’s office of regional economic integration, said the Kingdom will need to improve its productivity and increase its pool of skilled labour.
Trade costs in Myanmar are still high, given the dearth of investment and infrastructure development, but as economic reforms begin to kick in, the country will increasingly grow its presence on the ASEAN stage, Menon added.
20150909 * ILO Says Latest Draft Law on Trade Union an Improvement:
The regional director of the International Labor Organization (ILO) said Tuesday that the latest proposed changes to Cambodia’s draft Trade Union Law—which has been blasted by employers and unions alike—marked an improvement over the last version, which the ILO had called a “step backward.”
But Maurizio Bussi, at a meeting on the law in Phnom Penh hosted by the European Chamber of Commerce, resisted inquiries by employers as to his assessment of one of the draft’s most contentious proposals—that as few as 10 people would be allowed to form a union.
Garment factories, Cambodia’s main export earners, blame the proliferation of unions for the bulk of the sector’s rocky labor relations and want the law to keep their numbers down.
They say international buyers are already pulling back because of the uncertainty unions are sowing by constantly threatening strikes and warn that export growth could evaporate if they keep multiplying.
A number of the country’s most prominent unions say the law would make it too easy to dissolve them and want it scrapped entirely.
18:08:01 local time INDONESIA
20150902 * 36,000 Jobs at Risk as Small-Scale Textile Factories on the Verge of Collapse:
More than 100 textiles and garment manufacturers are on the brink of collapse due to declining domestic demand, threatening 36,000 jobs, a business association said.
“The goods produced two or three months ago remain in the warehouse,” said Ade Sudrajat, chairman of Indonesia Textile Association (API), as quoted by Investor Daily on Tuesday.
A majority of the companies that are currently suffering are small-scale, employing about 360 workers on average, Ade said.
These manufacturers sell their wares solely to local market.
“There was no demand, so those factories cannot produce,” Ade added.
The Indonesian economy expanded at 4.67 percent in the April-June period, its slowest in five years as the purchasing power of its consumers took a hit from lower commodity prices in the global market, and sluggish government and private investment.
20150903 * Thousands of workers rally for new wage in Indonesia:
Around 35,000 workers took to the streets of Jakarta on 1 September to demand a new minimum wage for 2016 and improved labour laws. Indonesia’s main trade union centres, KSPI, KSPSI, and KSBSI are asking that the government increase their efforts to protect the interests of the people.
Indonesia is experiencing a period of slower economic growth, with around 26,000 workers having already lost their jobs this year.
With a large part of the Indonesian population already living just above the poverty line, unions are demanding that the central government guarantee the availability of jobs, as well as the basic rights of workers.
20150902 * Workers Demand Protection Against Impact of Slowdown:
The thousands of workers rallying in Central Jakarta on Tuesday primarily wanted to get the message across that they need higher wages and better protection against the impacts of Indonesia’s economic slowdown, labor activists said.
Three labor groups organized Tuesday’s protest march from the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle to the State Palace: the Confederation of Indonesian Workers Unions (KSPSI), the Indonesian Trade Union Confederation (KSPI) and the Indonesian Prosperous Labor Union Confederation (KSBSI).
Andi Gani Nenawea, who heads the KSPSI, said workers’ lives had been badly impacted by the fluctuating prices of staple food prices and, overall, by the slowing economy.
“We demand the government issue policies that side with the workers. For a long time the government has sided with business. We want the government to take real action to save the economy,” Andi said in his speech addressing the crowd on Tuesday.
20150902 * Indonesian Employers Resist Workers’ Calls for Higher Wages:
An Indonesian employers association labelled workers’ demands for steep annual wage hikes as “unrealistic” on Tuesday, and warned there could be more layoffs at companies struggling amid a slowdown in Southeast Asia’s largest economy.
Labor-intensive sectors like manufacturing and mining have shed thousands of jobs in recent months as economic growth in the second quarter slowed to its weakest pace in six years.
“The economy is slowing and companies all over the country are already either closing down or cutting jobs,” said Hariyadi Sukamdani, head of the Indonesian Employers Association.
“And this could get worse if the annual wage increase is too high,” he said, adding that firms in the association had cut 50,000 jobs since January.
20150901 * Today is only a warm-up, labor activists say:
Thousands of workers gathered in front of the State Palace in Central Jakarta on Tuesday, calling on the government to stop the economic slowdown and stem the inflow of foreign workers into the country.
“Today is only a warm-up. The actions to come will involve millions of workers. We invite workers from across the country to come here,” one speaker said from an open vehicle parked in front of the State Palace during rally.
The labor activists also expressed concern about the large possible inflow of workers when the ASEAN Economic Community starts late this year and the weakening of the rupiah that will negatively affect the lives of the workers.
20150901 * Massive labor protests:
Thousands of laborers started to flood the streets near the National Monument (Monas) park at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.
The park is expected to become the central point for a large labor demonstration.
A number of labor activists guided them to certain places to minimize their disruption to the traffic, which started to slow due to the presence of the laborers on the city’s main thoroughfare, Jl. M.H Thamrin, Central Jakarta.
Hundreds of laborers from Depok, West Java, gathered in Cimanggis before heading to Jakarta. Hundreds of other laborers form South Tangerang, Banten, gathered in Serpong. While waiting for other laborers to come, some of them have started to voice their aspiration.
The central point of their aspiration is calling on the government to take action on the economic slowdown that had already affected their purchasing power and they also feared that the continuous economic deceleration would force the factories to lay off their workers.
“We are seriously affected by the condition of the economy,” chanted one of the laborers in South Tangerang on Tuesday calling on the government to have a concrete solution as quoted by Antara news agency.
20150830 * Labor Unions Organize Rally on C. Jakarta Streets on Tuesday:
Members of a number of different labor unions will gather for a street rally in Central Jakarta on Tuesday, mainly to protest rising prices.
Confederation of Indonesian Workers Unions (KSPI) chairman Said Iqbal said on Saturday that protesters will meet at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle and then walk to the State Palace.
Said said the workers would like to express their concerns about several issues, including the fact that their purchasing power is under pressure due to the high price of goods and fuel.
20150902 * Small Indonesian textile companies on the brink of closure:
The textile industry in Indonesia is currently facing pressure from both inside and outside the country.
The slowing economic growth of the country led to a decline in the people’s purchasing power causing lower demand for textile products in domestic market.
Ade Sudrajat, chairman of Indonesia Textile Association (API), said that due to lack of demand, the factories cannot produce as the goods produced 2-3 months back are still in their warehouses. Most of these companies are small-scale with 360 employees on average, he added.
16:38:01 local time BURMA/MYANMAR
20150912 * Government Announces Low-Cost Housing Plan as Minimum Wage Bites:
Garment manufacturers loudly opposed the level of the country’s first minimum wage, which came into force on Sept. 1 at 3,600 kyat per day.
Some workers have reportedly already been laid off by employers, who claim that the level makes it hard for them to compete internationally for orders from clothing brands.
But, according to state media, the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security is hoping that a new low-cost housing project will help to offset higher labor costs.
20150911 * Four factories threaten to sack staff:
Although some proprietors threatened to close their factories if the minimum wage was set at Ks3,600 (US$2.8) a day, there were only four businesses trying to issue redundancy notices, according to Myo Aung, the permanent secretary of at the Ministry of Labour.
20150907 * Myanmar emphasis on productivity:
Manufacturers in Myanmar have been told to shift their focus to productivity, following the government’s approval of the country first minimum wage last week, said industry players.
Aung Thein, vice chairman of the Myanmar Industries Association (MIA) and managing director of Nibban Electronics, said in an exclusive interview that Myanmar was still competitive in comparison with other countries in Southeast Asia.
“But the competitive advantage may amount to nothing if productivity is very low. For example, in the textile and garment industry, if a Bangladesh worker can produce 10 casual outfits per day while a Myanmar worker can produce only five, it is impossible to pay very high [salaries] in Myanmar.
If workers want more money, they should try to improve their skills and increase productivity,” he said.
According to the law, the minimum wage will be reviewed every two years. It does not apply for enterprises employing fewer than 15 workers.Despite the move, Myanmar’s wage remains the lowest in the region.
The minimum wage is US$250 (Bt9,000) a month in Thailand, $128 in Cambodia and $110 in Laos.
Last week, Vietnam’s National Wage Council approved a 12.4-per-cent increase in minimum wage for 2016, with it set to rise from $107 to $156.
Zaw Min Win, vice president of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry, does not see the minimum wage as a problem.
20150905 * Garment Factories Downsize in Response to Minimum Wage:
At least one factory has shut down, and several others have reduced their workforces and cut allowances, following the government’s adoption of a minimum wage.
Ahead of the introduction of a 3,600 kyats (US$2.80) minimum wage, which took effect on Sept. 1, the Sabel Pwint Garment Factory in Rangoon’s Hlaing Tharyar Industrial Zone closed its doors. It is believed the company provided termination payments to all of its 237 employees.
They submitted an application for closure on Aug. 26,” said an official from the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security, who requested anonymity. “It said it would cease operations on Aug. 31 and compensate all employees according to the law. Employees have so far not filed complaints.”
Before the minimum wage was finalized, following two years of discussions, some garment factories based in Hlaing Tharyar cut their workforces in anticipation of the changes. At least 97 employees of the Shwe Hsan Yi canvas bag factory were made redundant in July, while the Asia Rose garment factory laid off 190 workers.
20150904 * Thousands out of work as minimum wage kicks off:
September 1 was a dark day for some 200 employees turning up to work at their garment factory in Hlaing Tharyar Industrial Zone. Instead of earning their first day of the newly implemented K3600 minimum wage, they learned their factory had shut and they were all suddenly out of work amidst an industry-wide gutting of staff.
More than 1000 factory workers have lost their job in the wake of the new minimum wage, according to the Ministry of Labour. Just one factory has so far closed however.
U Maung Maung Hlaing, head of the Labour Laws Inspection Department in Hlaing Tharyar township, said the Jasmine Pwint factory shuttered on August 31, the day before the national minimum wage took effect. The factory has not provided an official reason for closing. U Maung Maung Hlaing said repeated requests for information from the factory’s owners have gone unanswered.
A total of K200 million of compensation was divvied between the 237 former workers, but job prospects are in short supply as the garment sector undergoes an industry-wide purge to accommodate the new salary floor.
20150901/04 * Some factories consider lay-off after new minimum wage set:
After the government set the basic wage at Ks 3,600 (US$3) per day, some factories have considered redundancy, reports say.
Myo Aung, the permanent secretary of labour ministry, said that the officials are in talks with the factory owners to know the reason behind the possible redundancy.
“We’re trying to know what makes the factory owners to consider so – whether they really find difficulty with the new minimum wage,” said Myo Aung.
The committee from the labour ministry set the minimum wage which is, by any comparison, the lowest daily rate in the world on June 29. The Korean and Chinese business owners threatened they would shut down the factories and refused to pay Ks 3,600 a day.
20150901 * Garment industry responds to minimum wage law:
Myanmar has for the first time set a national minimum wage following two years of embittered negotiations that saw garment factory owners threaten to close if the wage was set too high the Andalou Agency reported on 31 August.
Employers will have to pay at least 3,600 Kyats, roughly $2.80, to workers for an eight-hour day from 1 September.
Factory owners have responded to the new law, announced in state media over the weekend, by laying off workers, Ko Nay Linn Aung of the All Myanmar Workers Union Network told the Myanmar Times.
20150831 * Burma sets US$2.80 minimum wage:
Burma has set a minimum wage of 3,600 kyat ($2.80) for an eight-hour work day, a move likely to boost investment in the fast-growing country’s garment industry.
The decision on a minimum wage, which follows two years of often acrimonious debate between garment factory owners and labor unions, was announced on Saturday.
Burma’s government has targeted garments for rapid growth, and Saturday’s statement may help spur this, as it gives clarity on the law and labor costs to global apparel brands buying clothes from Burma.
20150829 * Government approves first-ever national minimum wage:
Myanmar’s government has approved the country’s first-ever national minimum wage, state media reported on Saturday, after months of bitter negotiations with labour groups and employers.
The wage has been set at 3,600 kyat ($2.80) “for a standard eight-hour work day” and takes effect from Tuesday, said the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper.
It will apply to workers “across all sectors and industries” but small businesses employing less than 15 people will be excluded, it added.
Myanmar has seen a wave of protests for better pay and conditions, particularly among workers in the growing garment sector, after decades of direct junta rule came to an end in 2011.
The decision on the wage, announced by the National Minimum Wage Committee on Friday, follows several rounds of talks between the government, labour groups, employers and workers since a law approving its introduction was passed in 2013.
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20150830 * Myanmar sets $2.8 daily minimum wage:
Myanmar has set a minimum wage of 3,600 kyat ($2.80) for an eight-hour work day, a move likely to boost investment in the fast-growing country’s garment industry.
The decision on a minimum wage, which follows two years of often acrimonious debate between garment factory owners and labour unions, was announced on Saturday.
Myanmar’s government has targeted garments for rapid growth, and Saturday’s statement may help spur this, as it gives clarity on the law and labour costs to global apparel brands buying clothes from Myanmar.
16:08:01 local time BANGLADESH
20150912 * 100 workers fall sick at Gazipur RMG factory:
At least 100 workers of a readymade garment factory fell sick for unknown reason at Jarun in Konabari of Gazipur on Saturday.
Workers at the Keya Knit Composite Factory said a number of them started falling sick for an unknown reason shortly after joining works in the morning, reports United News of Bangladesh.
Witnesses said some of the workers complained of dizziness and stomachache and started vomiting.
Later, most of them became unconscious at one stage.
The sick workers were taken to several local hospitals while some of them were shifted to Gazipur Shaheed Tajuddin Ahmed Medical College Hospital.
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20150910 * 200-500 RMG workers fall sick after drinking water:
About 200 apparel workers, mostly women folks, fell sick after drinking water at a canteen of an apparel factory in the district’s Konabari industrial area on Wednesday.
The sick workers were admitted to local hospitals, police and witnesses said.
The dressmakers, employed at Keya Knight Composite Garment, owned by Khaleq Group of industries, agitated as their fellows got sick. They also blocked the Dhaka-Tangail highway for an hour.
The authorities shut the factory for the day and that police took control.
Gazipur industrial police inspector Rokanuzzaman and Konabari police post sub-inspector Mobarak said the seamstresses took their breakfast as usual at the factory canteen.
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20150912 * Workers lowest-paid people in Bangladesh: speakers:
Sramik Federation for increase in wages
A section of politicians and labour leaders at a city rally on Friday called on the Awami League-led government to take steps to enhance wages of the workers, immediately.
Jatiya Sramik Federation held a red flag rally in front of the National Press Club, to press its demands.
They argued that the government has enforced a fresh pay scale for its employees and officers, ignoring the mass workers who run the wheels of the economy.
A politburo member of the Workers Party of Bangladesh and also a member of the parliament, Hajera Sultana, said the labourers of the country are the lowest-paid people.
‘They live a miserable live with what they get,’ she said.
20150901 * In Bangladesh, the sham of Shams factory:
Mega-chain the Children’s Place continues to source clothes in unsafe sweatshops
On March 2, 135 large cardboard boxes arrived at the Port of Savannah, in the U.S. state of Georgia.
They were packed with hundreds of pairs of shorts in two patterns and delivered to the warehouses of the largest kids’-clothing-only retailer in the United States, the Children’s Place.
The first pattern featured blue pineapples on red cotton twill and the second, red palm trees on a dark blue background.
Both styles were a bargain, just $19.95 at retail and, after discount, well under half that on TCP’s website at the time of writing.
Belying their carefree design, the mini surfer dude shorts came from a cheerless factory in a landlocked city in a country half a world away — Shams Styling Wears, located on the outskirts of Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka.
Shams occupies a drab nine-story concrete tower in Savar, a polluted industrial suburb.
The structure is less than five miles from Rana Plaza, the eight-story garment factory building that collapsed on April 24, 2013, killing more than 1,100 workers and injuring at least twice as many.
The disaster was supposed to mark a turning point in the manufacturing of ready-made garments, the largest industry in Bangladesh.
The Children’s Place, however, joined other American brands like Walmart in forming the far less strict Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, which relies on third-party inspectors to identify key deficiencies but imposes no real deadlines in implementing changes.
Similarly, the accord mandates that foreign brands must finance improvements to bring their Bangladeshi factories in line with international standards, but the alliance doesn’t.
20150911 * Female labour force could drive economy further: WB:
Bangladesh misses out on significant economic growth by keeping its female labour force out of work, the World Bank said in a report yesterday.
The country can add 1.8 percentage points to potential gross domestic product growth each year by increasing its female labour force participation rate from the existing 34 percent to 82 percent, the current rate of male participation, it said.
20150909 * H&M moves to boost wages for apparel workers:
H&M will introduce a “fair wage method” in 20 garment factories in Bangladesh this year to help improve productivity and factory conditions and combat unrest in the plants that make apparel for the Swedish retail giant.
The move by Europe’s second-largest clothing retailer comes as part of a programme for three of its Asian suppliers — Bangladesh, China and Cambodia.
The method will ensure higher prices for the garment items the retailer buys from the factories — a measure that will raise wages for workers, one of H&M’s Bangladesh suppliers told The Daily Star, asking not to be named.
Bangladesh increased the monthly minimum wage for the garment workers to Tk 5,300 in November 2013 from Tk 3,000 before.
H&M has a plan to introduce the method for all of its sourcing factories by the end of 2018, which will focus on a well-functioning dialogue between employers and employees for settling disputes, according to a statement from the company.
20150907 * ‘Raped’ RMG worker yet to be found:
A female worker of a sweater factory, who went missing on August 26 allegedly a day after she was raped at her workplace at Hemayetpur in Savar, outside the capital, is yet to be found.
Elder brother of the 20-year-old worker said his sister set off for office on that morning but did not return. When he reached the factory searching her during the lunch break, her coworkers informed him that she did not show up and was raped by “their electrician Yunus” on August 25 around 10:00pm while everyone was leaving.
The brother immediately lodged a complaint with Savar police following which Yunus was arrested. But on August 29, the factory authorities got him released on bail.
Admin Manager of Badrunnesa Sweaters Ltd, Wahidul Islam, said he also heard “a rumour” but the girl did not complaint to him.
Many workers told our correspondent that they had also heard about the rape incident from others but none could ascertain what really happened. During primary information, Yunus denied the allegation, said police.
20150829 * Reopening of Swan and Tuba Garments demanded:
The garment workers’ trade union centre on Friday at a human chain in the capital demanded reopening of the Swan and Tuba Garments immediately.
The not-for-profit labour organisation formed a human chain in front of Abul Hotel at Malibagh Chowdhuripara, in the afternoon, to press the demand.
Kazi Ruhul Amin, the general secretary of the organisation, said that the Swan Garments and Tuba Group had closed their factories unlawfully.
He demanded reopening of both the apparel factories, immediately.
The Swan garment factory was shut due to ownership crisis and fund crunch after its owner died four months ago.
Tuba group has a different story. Its crisis had begun following a devastating fire in one of its sister organisation, Tazreen Fashions limited, in 2012.
The factory caught a shocking fire on 24 November 2012, killing at least 117 people.
Over 200 were injured.
20150911 * LABOUR RULES : Rights orgs in dark as govt set to issue gazette:
The government is going to publish a gazette of implementation rules of Labour Act 2006 keeping labour leaders concerned in the dark.
The labour leaders say they are unaware whether their proposals have been included in the final draft or not.
The state minister for labour Mujibul Haque on Sunday told reporters that the gazette of implementation rules under labour act would be published by a week and after completing all the legal procedures the final draft had already been sent to the Bangladesh Government Press.
Labour rights groups say the government was supposed to hold a meeting with the labour leaders before finalising the final draft.
‘But the government did not hold any meeting with the labour leaders and we do not know whether our proposals have been included in the rules or not,’ Wajed-ul Islam Khan, general secretary of Bangladesh Trade Union Centre, told New Age on Tuesday.
He said it would be illogical to publish the gazette of the implementation rules of labour act without having discussions on final draft with the labour leaders.
20150909 * Labour rules delay may affect Nov review:
Delay in formulation of rules on labour law may emerge as a crucial issue when top officials of the Sustainability Compact reviews progress in workplace safety in Bangladesh apparel sector, officials feared.
The second review meeting is scheduled to be held in Dhaka in November next, where top officials and representatives from the European Union (EU), US, Canada, the Netherlands, the UK and ILO will be present.
People involved with the process said Bangladesh has failed to comply with some important conditions of the Compact, including formulation of rules to implement the labour law and extend those to the export processing zones (EPZ) or making necessary changes in the existing EPZ law and completion of factory inspection.
After the devastating Rana Plaza building collapse that killed more than 1,100 workers, the EU and the government signed the Compact in July 2013, and later the US joined the initiative.
The first review meeting, attended by 120 participants, held in October last year in Brussels that asked the speedy formulation of the rules for implementing the labour law and making necessary changes in the existing EPZ law, completion of factory inspection and publishing the inspection results and advancement of recruitment of labour inspectors.
20150904 * Gazette on rules to implement labour law in 10 days: Chunnu:
State Minister for Labour and Employment Mujibul Haque Chunnu on Thursday said gazette on the rules to implement the new labour law will be published within 10 days, reports UNB.
The came up with the disclosure while talking to reporters at his Secretariat office.
The labour law enacted in 2006 was amended in 2013. But still there is no rule to implement the new law.
Earlier, a delegation of Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety made a call on the state minister.
About the meeting, the junior minister said they discussed the security of workers as well as fire-safety measures of garment buildings.
20150911 * Apparel manufacturers in a fix over factory remediation for fund crisis:
The country’s apparel makers are in a difficult situation to successfully carry out their ongoing factory remediation programme, for which the industry needs around US$ 2.0 billion, following poor response from foreign stakeholders to this effect, insiders said.
Although pledges were initially made by various corners to help the country’s apparel manufacturers in conducting their required factory remediation activities, any positive response from them is yet to be visible, they said.
The remediation programme started last year after the completion of initial inspections by the western retailers.
Garment factory inspection was launched to identify the workplace safety risks and ensure the safety compliances after the country’s worst industrial incident – Rana Plaza building collapse — that killed more than 1,100 workers.
Some 3,000 garment factories have so far been assessed by the three parties – Accord, Alliance and national initiative — though the last is yet to be completed.
Both the Accord and the Alliance on separate occasions termed the ongoing remediation activities ‘slow’ quoting the unwillingness of a good number of factory owners to repair the flaws, non-availability of safety equipment including fire doors, sprinklers and experts to install them and the recent political instability.
20150910 * Significant increase in BD RMG workers’ response, awareness:
Alliance report on detection of fire hazards
The response and awareness relating to detection of fire hazards in Bangladesh’s garment factory workers has increased significantly over a couple of years, according to the latest report of the Alliance.
University of Texas-Houston, in cooperation with Dhaka University, conducted an in-depth impact assessment of Alliance’s training methods to measure their effectiveness and suggest improvements.
The assessment involved targeted surveys of 4,591 workers, as well as focus group discussions in which 220 workers offered additional perspectives on health and safety within their factories.
20150910 * Accord: External factors hindering RMG remediation works:
The limitations of government institutions to enforce building regulations, the limited availability of safety equipment, lack of engineers with the expertise required to support remediation are the key challenges to end the remediation works in the RMG sector within the stipulated time.
The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety (Alliance) has come up with the observation in its second annual report, detailing progress on factory safety and unveiling findings and impact assessment of its worker safety training program.
“There are few engineers in Bangladesh with the expertise required to support remediation. But, there are no manufacturers of fire doors, sprinklers or other fire protection equipment operate in Bangladesh. All the equipment must be imported,” the North American retailers’ platform said in its report released on Tuesday.
The report said, “During our verification visits, the Alliance staffs have learned about the external factors affecting the ability of factories to remediate hazards.”
20150910 * Govt limitations, lack of expertise, tools challenges for RMG sector remediation:
Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, a consortium of North American retailers, has said lack of expertise, shortage of compliance equipment and government’s limitations in enforcing building regulations were the challenges for making progress on remediation in the country’s readymade garment sector.
‘There are a few engineers in Bangladesh with the expertise required to support remediation.
No manufacturers of fire doors, sprinklers or other fire protection equipment operate in Bangladesh.
All equipment must be imported,’ Alliance said in its second annual report published on Tuesday.
The lack of expertise and equipment has slowed progress of remediation at many factories, it said.
The buyers’ group said the progress on remediation was slowed in the second year of its operation due to the lack of remediation capacity in Bangladesh and the political unrest also affected normal operations of Alliance.
Substandard equipment has also created problems in many factories, Alliance identified.
20150910 * Alliance happy with upgrades in garment factories:
The Alliance, a platform of 26 North American retailers for factory inspection, expressed satisfaction over the progress in remediation work.
As of July, most factories have completed 21 to 80 percent of repair work, while six have already passed their final inspections, Alliance said in its second annual report that came out yesterday.
Formed after the twin industrial disasters of Tazreen fire and Rana Plaza collapse, the Alliance and the Accord have been working to upgrade fire, electrical and structural safety in the garment sector.
“Real, measurable improvements in garment factories are now well underway, with the Alliance and our partners providing the training, financial support and remediation expertise to make a safer Bangladesh garment industry a reality for millions of workers,” said Ellen Tauscher, independent chair of the Alliance.
20150907 * Move to introduce safety insurance for workers:
Project to be piloted in November
State Minister for Labour and Employment M Mujibul Haq Chunnu on Sunday said the government has taken an initiative to introduce safety insurance for workers.
The labour ministry will launch a pilot project in November with a view to bringing working people of all strata under the safety net and a high-level committee has already been formed to advance the plan, he said.
He was speaking at a press conference at the labour ministry conference room.
Labour and Employment Secretary Mikail Shipar and senior officials were present at the press conference, which was organised to share the experience gathered by a 24-member government delegation that took part in a month-long training programme in Germany on labour safety and insurance.
20150914 * RMG factories asked to clear workers’ wages before Eid:
The government on Sunday asked the export-oriented apparel factory owners to pay wages and allowances to their workers before the Eid-ul-Azha and declare a staggered vacation for them starting from September 21 to check rush of passengers on highways, trains and waterways just a day before the festival.
The home affairs ministry issued the directives at a meeting with the business community leaders including those from Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association to maintain order during the Eid-ul-Azha, one of the biggest religious festivals of the Muslims.
‘All the readymade garment factory owners have been asked to give the vacation on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha in a staggered manner from September 21 to help check traffic congestions during the festival,’ home affairs minister Asaduzzaman Khan told a press briefing after presiding over the meeting at the secretariat.
20150911 * Eid holidays to begin in phases at RMG factories:
The government has asked RMG factory owners to let workers go on Eid-ul-Azha holidays in phases in order to control holiday rush on the highways.
“We have talked to Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association and told them to give workers holidays in phases instead of letting them all go on a single day,” said Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal in response to question at parliament yesterday.
He said the decision was made to reduce pressure on the highways during the festival, hence reduce sufferings of the homeward bound people.
Kamal further said the factory owners were asked to clear workers’ festival allowance before Eid.
20150907 * Govt mulls bringing workers’ festival allowances under legal framework:
The government is considering bringing festival allowances of workers including those of readymade garment sector under a legal framework to avoid unrest ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha.
‘To ensure two festival allowances in a year for the workers a guideline may be stipulated in the implementation rules under the labour act but it will not be possible to include separate clause for any particular sector as the implementation rules will be applicable for all industry,’ state minister for labour Mujibul Haque said at a press conference at the secretariat in the capital Dhaka on Sunday.
The junior minister shared his experience over the recent Germany tour and described the social safety net and occupational safety standard in the European country.
‘Like Germany we want to introduce Social Accident Insurance for the workers in Bangladesh,’ Mujibul said.
The government will adopt a project consulting with the stakeholders to start the Social Accident Insurance on pilot basis, the state minister said.
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20150904 * Move to educate workers on labour rights:
Radio talk show launched
The government and the International Labour Organization (ILO) have taken up an initiative to make garment workers aware of their rights and responsibilities.
As part of the initiative, a radio show was launched on Thursday to help workers in the export-oriented readymade garment, leather and shrimp better understand their rights and responsibilities in the workplace.
The weekly one-hour radio talk show titled “Amar Shrom Amar Odhikar (My Labour, My Rights)'” will be broadcast on Radio Today (89.6FM) beginning from today (Friday) at 17.00hrs and all the 16 shows are scheduled in a regular schedule on Friday.
The government in cooperation with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and supported by Norway launched the local-language radio-show for workers in a city hotel.
“This radio show will be listened to by large numbers of workers around the country. By covering important issues in an interesting and informative manner it will boost understanding of basic labour issues to the benefit of workers and employers alike,” information minister Hasanul Haq Inu said.
20150831 * RMG SECTOR TRADE UNIONS : Number rising, but most remain ineffective:
The registration of the trade unions in the readymade garment sector has increased in recent years but the unions remain ineffective at the factories across the country.
Labour rights activists said that under special circumstances (amid Bangladesh’s efforts to regain GSP facility in the US market) the government was compelled to give registration to trade unions in the sector but the unions could not play its role in the factories due to barriers put by the factory authorities and lack of proper initiative from the government.
Labour leaders said 326 trade unions got registered with the labour directorate in the RMG sector so far but less than 20 per cent of them could run their primary activities in the factories.
Of the 326 trade unions, 138 got registered in 1983-2012 and the rest got registered in 2013-15 after the Rana Plaza building collapse that killed more than 1,100 people, mostly garment workers.
Though the government has officially allowed trade unions in the RMG factories, the factory authorities are creating critical situation for the workers who are engaged in trade union formation, labour leaders alleged.
20150831 * Trade union registration boosts after Rana Plaza tragedy:
Trade union registration in the RMG sector has seen a sharp rise in recent years due to international pressures after the Rana Plaza collapse that shocked general consciences and strengthened a demand for workers’ rights.
However, the effectiveness of the trade unions is still low due to the inefficiency of union leaders and lack of proper change in mind-set towards the unions, said union leaders and industry experts.
According to Labour Ministry, a total of 326 trade unions have been registered with Directorate of Labour since 2013 after the Rana Plaza incidence.
Since 2012, there were a total of 138 trade unions in the sector, which stood at 464 till August 25, this year. In 2013, a total of 83 trade unions were registered while in 2014 it was 185 and as of August, 2015 the number is 58.
“The number of trade union registrations has increased due to international pressures including human rights organisations, global trade unions, consumer groups as well as retailers,” Syed Sultan Uddin Ahmed, assistant executive director of Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies (BILS), told the Dhaka Tribune.
20150903 * Garment sector victim of int’l conspiracy: Amu:
Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu on Wednesday said the country’s readymade garment sector has been achieving export growth constantly, despite having been the victim of international conspiracy and bad campaign.
“Garment sector is victim of international conspiracy and bad campaign. Our competitors and many others are hatching conspiracy, yet we have been achieving growth,” he said.
He was speaking at the inaugural programme of a four-day textile fair at Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC) organised by CEMS Bangladesh.
Advisor to the Prime Minister HT Imam, the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) acting president Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, deputy high commissioner of India in Bangladesh Assem K Mahajan also spoke at the inaugural ceremony.
Mr Amu said the vested quarter has become more active following Rana Plaza collapse and Tazreen fire.
Following the industrial disasters, ACCORD and ALLIANCE with the participation of Europe, North America, Asia and Australia, imposed many conditions.
20150903 * Bangladesh garment industry: Compliant? Yes. Competitive? Not so much:
Safety concerns that were a big concern after the Rana plaza factory collapse have been largely addressed
With a booming readymade garment manufacturing industry, Bangladesh follows China as one of the largest distributors globally. The industry contributes over 10% of the country’s GDP.
Bangladesh has armed itself with a bold vision for 2021 – to reach USD 50 billion in exports of readymade garment products.
Having set such an ambitious strategy, it is important for the country to take a look at many factors to increase the rate and stage of development.
What’s working for Bangladesh?
Within its borders, the number one factor in the country’s favor is low wages. It is Bangladesh’s comparative advantage. Labor is cheap, and many of the large garment companies are moving in for this very reason.
Another factor that has enabled the country to flourish is its large unskilled population.
With a lack of adequate infrastructure and a low literacy rate, the garment industry presents a lucrative option to people, especially women in the country, who can draw a large source of their monthly revenue from the sector.
20150904 * Alliance finds RMG remediation ‘slow’:
No bar to getting back GSP: Tofail
Terming the progress in the ongoing remediation in the country’s apparel sector ‘slow’, the Alliance for Bangladesh Workers’ Safety said on Thursday that it made remediation verification visits (RVVs) only to couples of factories by the deadline of July last.
Out of the eight readymade garment (RMG) factories visited, the Alliance found six units that fully completed the required remediation work.
The factories are-Green Textile Ltd, Kwun Tong Apparels Ltd, Laundry Industries, Lenny Apparels, Optimum Fashions Ltd and Uni Vogue Ltd.
The platform of North American apparel retailers and buyers set a target in March last to complete all remediation and final inspections at about 600 of its supplier factories by July 2017. It also expected to complete final inspection at least at 10 per cent of its listed units by July 2015.
The RVV could not be made at the targeted factories as the flaw-fixing programme has been advancing slowly mainly because of various reasons, including the political instability during the first quarter of 2015 that hampered the import activities and also created difficulties for the manufacturers to run their businesses, the group said.
20150904 * RMG factory remediation under Alliance going on at snail’s pace:
Only six factories achieve international standards
The remediation work in the readymade garment factories under the initiative of Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, a platform of North American brands and retailers, is going on at a slow pace.
By July 2015, the second year of its initiative, the platform completed final inspections at only 1.2 per cent of the 662 factories where it had conducted initial inspections in 2014.
Alliance at a press conference at the Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka said that they had completed final inspection process at eight factories and found six of them achieved the standards set by the platform.
The Factories are: Green Textile, Kuntal Apparel, Leni Apparel. Laundry Industry, Optimum Fashions and Univac Fashions.
Earlier, Alliance had announced its target to complete final inspections at 10 per cent of the factories by July 2015.
At the press conference, Alliance director James Moriarty said the remediation was going on at a slow pace and there were different issues behind the slow progress.
20150904 * Moriarty hails RMG factory remediation process:
The Executive Director of Alliance for Bangladesh Workers Safety, James F Moriarty, yesterday said six RMG factories have completed 100% remediation work and ensured the highest international standard of safety, but the remediation job is going slowly.
The factories are—Green Textile Ltd, Kwun Tong Apparels Ltd, Laundry Industries, Lenny Apparels, Optimum Fashions Ltd and Uni Vogue Ltd.
According to the report, Alliance in 2014 completed safety inspections in 528 factories from which its signatories source products and started remediation verification visits this year.
Moriarty, also a former US ambassador to Bangladesh, came up with the comment at a press conference organised by the Alliance to inform the progress of inspection in the second year at a city hotel yesterday.
20150904 * USAID to fund safety upgrades in garment factories:
Alliance names six fully compliant garment companies
The United States Agency for International Development or USAID will provide $18 million for factory upgrades in the garment industry.
The USAID and the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, a group of 26 North American retailers, will sign an agreement by the end of this month on the funding programme, allowing the participating local banks to provide low-cost loans for garment factories to improve their structural, electrical and fire safety infrastructure.
20150902 * 7 houses, jhut godown gutted in Gazipur:
Seven tin-shed houses and a jhut (garment factory waste) godown have been gutted in a fire that broke out in Borobari Targachh area in Gazipur.
The fire broke out at the godown and soon engulfed the nearby houses around 12:30am Tuesday.
Gazipur Fire Service Assistant Deputy Director Akhtaruzzaman said: “On information, we went to the spot to douse the blaze around 1am.”
Later, five units from Tongi and Gazipur fire stations doused the blaze around 4am.
He said: “No causalities were reported in the incident.
The reason behind the fire could not be known yet.
20150910 * Textiles earn over $128,000 million in foreign currency:
The country’s textile sector has earned foreign currency of $128,203.71 million in the six fiscal years since 2009-10.
Textile and Jute Minister Md Emaz Uddin Pramanik placed the statistics in Parliament yesterday in reply to a question.
According to the statistics, the textile sector earned foreign currency of $26,509.77m in FY2014-15, $25,508.77m in FY2013-14, $22,556.73m in FY2012-13, $21,496.57m in FY2011-12, $19,002.78m in FY2010-11 and $13,129.09m in FY2009-10.
Emaz Uddin said the government has set a target to earn foreign currency of $28,447.57m in the current fiscal year of 2015-16.
20150908 * August boom keeps RMG export earnings afloat in 2 months:
Country’s export earnings from readymade garment products in two months of the financial year 2015-16 grew by 5.98 per cent to $4.48 billion from $4.23 billion in the same period of the FY 2014-15 as the export of the RMG products boomed in August, the second month of the current financial year.
Following a drastic fall in July, the RMG export earnings grew by 32.47 per cent to $2.27 billion in August from $1.71 billion in the same month of the FY 2014.15, according to the Export Promotion Bureau data to be released today.
Exporters said that the alternating surge and slowdown in the RMG export were normal as the sector had been going through a restructuring phase.
The data showed that country’s export earnings in the July-August period of the FY16 amounted to $5.65 billion with a 4.71-per cent growth from $5.14 billion in the same period of the FY15.
The single-month earnings in August grew by 27.73 per cent to $2.75 billion from $2.15 billion in the same period of last financial year, the EPB data showed.
20150907 * RMG export shines in volume, pales in value:
Bangladesh’s RMG export in terms of volume has registered over 58% rise in last fiscal year, but the value was affected by retailers’ low price offer and devaluation of euro.
According to Export Promotion Bureau data, the country exported 1.57bn units of apparel products to global market in FY2014-15 with 58.17% up from 993m units a year ago.
Of the total RMG exports, woven products were 757m units compared 485m in the previous year and knitwear products amounted to 815m units compared to 508.67m units a year ago.
20150906 * RMG exports to US post steady growth in Jan-Jul:
A file photo shows workers busy at a readymade garment factory in Dhaka. Bangladesh’s exports of readymade garment products to the US market maintained a steady growth in recentmonths. — New Age photo
Bangladesh’s exports of readymade garment products to the US market maintained a steady growth in recent months as the US economy is recovering from a recent slowdown and the buyers are regaining confidence in the Bangladeshi products with the improvement of compliance situation, exporters said.
The RMG export earnings from the US market in the first seven months of this year grew by 8.51 per cent to $1.19 billion compared with that of $2.94 billion in the same period of last year, according to the data released by the Office of Textiles and Apparels under the US commerce department.
20150903 * Apparel exports to Turkey drop:
Garment exports to Turkey, a promising destination for Bangladeshi apparel, fell 21.58 percent last fiscal year mainly due exorbitant duties slapped by the nation and the devaluation of the euro.
Shipment dropped to $488.08 million in fiscal 2014-15, from $622.37 million in the previous year, according to Export Promotion Bureau.
Bangladesh’s garment exports to Turkey were rising fast even a few years ago because of a zero-duty benefit.
Turkey imposed a 17.5 percent duty on apparel imports from least developed countries in 2011 to safeguard its local industry.
20150901 * Smart policy crucial for apparel export growth:
Analysts speak at a seminar organised by HSBC
Effective policy and its timely implementation are crucial for the garment sector in Bangladesh to tap the potential that exporters, the government and international organisations often discuss.
“We need smart policies and their smart implementation. Besides, the labour law has to be implemented honestly to ensure the factories are safer and worker rights are respected,” said Prof Mustafizur Rahman, executive director of Centre for Policy Dialogue.
20150831 * Apparel prospects to stay strong:
Bangladesh will remain the top garment sourcing destination for global retailers at least for the next five years, and buyers will continue increasing purchase from the country, McKinsey & Company said in a report.
During the period, the country’s garment exports will grow 7-9 percent year-on-year, while India and Vietnam will be its nearest competitors, according to the survey report.
The survey was conducted among 40 chief purchasing officers (CPOs) of top 40 international garment retailers during January-February this year.
Some African countries are also coming up strongly in the global garment business, said McKinsey & Company, which is a global management consulting firm and serves leading businesses, governments, non-governmental organisations, and not-for-profits.
20150909 * Denim makers adopt green method:
The eco-friendly initiative is expected to reduce environmental hazards
Bangladesh’s denim manufacturers have launched eco-friendly technology to produce sustainable denim as sustainability and environmental issues become major concerns among the world consumers.
This initiative is expected not only to reduce environmental hazards in every stage of production process, but cut production cost also.
It uses less chemicals, helps to avoid wastage of water and reduce carbon emission and encourages use of recyclable raw materials.
Textile experts say the green system will help cut use of water by 92% and energy by 30% to produce a pair of jeans compared to conventional methods.
The new system will also reduce cotton waste by up to 87%, thus easing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases generated through the burning of cotton.
20150909 * Leather exporters seek Tk 55b fund for tanneries relocation:
Exporters of finished leather, leather goods and footwear sought Tuesday Tk 55.00 billion fund from the government for setting up their industries at Savar Leather Estate.
Leaders of Bangladesh Finished Leather, Leather Goods and Footwear Exporters’ Association (BFLLFEA) made the demand when they met with Finance Minister AMA Muhith at his secretariat office.
They also demanded “blocked account” loan facilities for all outstanding loans without any interest with 8-year repayment facilities.
The new funds, according to BFLLFEA leaders, will include Tk 35 billion fresh investment for the construction of multi-storey building and Tk 20 billion for the purchase of new machinery.
They wanted the funds at 3 per cent interest rate for a 15-20 year term.
20150913 * Plan to build RMG warehouse in Russia:
Finance Minister AMA Muhith said the government planned to set up a mainly readymade garment warehouse in Russia in a bid to increase trade with the Commonwealth of Independent States countries.
“Bangladesh has no warehouse in the world. But we are now thinking of such a one to bring about pace in our exports,” he said at a seminar yesterday.
Muhith urged the entrepreneurs to find a suitable place in the CIS countries to build a warehouse, mostly for apparel goods.
“This is a good idea (building a warehouse) from entrepreneurs, as our products have huge potentials there and such the presence of such a warehouse will help grow exports.”
The seminar was titled as the “3rd Front of Bangladesh’s Export Destination Russia and Other CIS Countries,” organised jointly by Bangladesh Foreign Trade Institute and CIS-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry at a city hotel.
“The country has so far only concentrated on EU and American markets for exports. But now the time has come to explore new markets as well with diversified products,” Muhith said.
20150911 * Relaxing terms for GSP facility:
Bangladesh is, unfortunately, one of the few countries which are suspended by the Obama administration from getting US Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) facility.
The suspension came in 2013, just a few months before the facility was supposed to be timed out automatically.
Though the GSP facility was restored for most of the countries in August 2015, it did not happen in the case of Bangladesh. In Bangladesh’s neighbourhood, countries like Nepal and Bhutan also got the facility restored.
This will help them enter the US market with their exports at lesser duties.
20150910 * Hasina: Bangladesh progressing despite no GSP:
‘Though GSP had not been revived, it would not impact the readymade garments industry’
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told the parliament yesterday that the United States has an investment of around $2 billion in Bangladesh, despite not restoring GSP facilities.
“The US should bear this in mind. Before 1996, when Awami League assumed office, their (US) investment was only $25 million, which turned into nearly $1.2 billion. Now they have an investment of nearly $2 billion. We gave them the opportunity to make it happen,” she said, replying to a supplementary question.
In reply to a query by Independent lawmaker Haji Mohammad Selim, the premier said: “BNP, Jamaat and the MD of a bank have carried out many transgressions, some large ones, to tarnish the image of Bangladesh, but they could not stop its advancement. For no reason, they tried to stop the construction of the Padma Bridge but failed to do so. It is we who have started constructing the bridge.”
20150903 * More progress required for GSP:
The US-based readymade garments (RMG) buyers’ organization ‘Alliance’ wants to see more improvement in Bangladesh RMG factories to get Generalized System of Preference (GSP) in the US.
Alliance executive director James F Moriarty came to this assertion after the meeting with commerce minister Tofail Ahmed in his ministry Thursday afternoon.
They also talked about labors’ security and their employment.
While asked about their negative activities in Bangladesh, the executive director said they just want justice for the garments workers.
Tofail Ahmed claimed that the visit of Alliance official indicated positive nods and they are helping us get the GSP.
According to him, Bangladesh has also achieved the trust of international buyers.
20150903 * No bar to regaining GSP as all conditions fulfilled: Tofail:
The minister for commerce, Tofail Ahmed, on Thursday said there is no barrier to retaining the Generalized System of Preferences facilities in the United States market as Bangladesh has fulfilled all the 16 conditions tagged with the GSP revival process.
‘We’ve met all the 16 conditions. Now, there’s no bar to getting back GSP,’ he told reporters at the secretariat after a meeting with a delegation of alliance for Bangladesh worker safety, reports United News of Bangladesh.
Alliance executive director and former US Ambassador in Dhaka James F Moriarty led the delegation, reports United News of Bangladesh.
A US delegation, led by Assistant United States Trade Representative Michael J Delaney, is scheduled to arrive here on September 13 for a two-day visit to asses the progress made in the RMG sector in line with the US Action Plan announced after the Tazreen and Rana Plaza disasters.
read more. & read more.
20150903 * USTR team due on Sept 13 to discuss GSP:
Dhaka cancels planned Washington visit
A US delegation, led by assistant United States Trade Representative Michael J. Delaney, is due in Dhaka on September 13 for a two-day visit to discuss GSP-related issues and the US action plan.
The upcoming visit of the assistant USTR led to the cancellation of a planned visit of a Bangladesh delegation in Washington this month, aimed at holding a review meeting with the USTR office on restoration of the lost GSP scheme, commerce secretary Hedayetullah Al Mamoon told New Age on Tuesday.
“We are not going, they (USTR) are coming,’
20150913 * Jute mills workers to organise stick procession today:
Leaders and activists of collective bargaining agents and non-CBA oikya parishad of state-owned jute mills of Khulna and Jessore will hold a stick procession today (Sunday) as part of a movement to realise their various demands.
Their demands include adequate allocation of funds to turn the jute mills production-oriented, full payment of arrear wages and salaries of the workers and employees, payment of twenty percent as dearness allowance, effective steps to expand home and overseas markets and removal of all corrupt officials from mills’ administrations.
The fresh five-day programmme was announced in a public meeting on Friday at Khalishpur industrial area.
On September 14, the agitators will carry red flags and the next day the workers and their families will form a human chain.
20150904 * Bangladesh needs powerful media, says German envoy:
German Ambassador to Dhaka Thomas Prinz Thursday said Bangladesh needs independent and powerful media in the context of weak opposition party in the present democracy for check and balance.
He also emphasised on the government’s actions to protect the bloggers.
The German envoy noted that textile and ready-made garment sector has improved tremendously after the Rana Plaza incident due to the initiatives taken by the government, but there is still lacking on the part of buyers in participation in the process.
“It is important for Bangladesh to have independent media. Now it is important for the government to hold up the independence of media in the present situation, especially at the moment when the opposition is very weak,” said Mr Prinz.
He made the comments while speaking at a launch and press conference of Deutsche Welle (DW) television channel, which will broadcast news in English round the clock. DW organised the event at a city hotel.
read more. & read more.
20150904 * Delwar wants to reopen Tazreen Fashions:
Tazreen Fashions Limited owner Delwar Hossain on Thursday said that he was planning to reopen the apparel factory at Ashulia, which was gutted on November 24, 2012 in a fire that killed at least 112 workers, mostly women.
Delwar, also the Tuba Group managing director, while talking to New Age after the Dhaka District and Sessions Judge’s Court on Thursday charged him, his wife Mahmuda Akter and 11 other Tazreen staff with murder, culpable homicide and killing by negligence for the fire at the factory on November 24, 2012.
He said that the court would pronounce verdict and judge whether he was guilty of the charges examining evidences and witnesses.
‘I am not thinking over the case because I know that I have committed no crime rather I have lost my business and property in the accidental fire…Now I am trying to survive with the business,’ he said.
Delwer said that he had a plan to start work in November or December to reopen Tazreen Fashions Ltd and engineers had already visited the building.
20150904 * Bangladesh court frames charges against owner Delwar, 12 others:
Trial begins on Oct 1 for justice to 112 workers burnt to death in 2012
A Dhaka court yesterday framed charges against 13 people, including two owners of Tazreen Fashions, in a case over a devastating fire in the garment factory that killed 112 workers nearly three years ago.
The District and Sessions Judge’s Court fixed October 1 for starting the trial in the country’s worst industrial fire on November 24, 2012.
Tazreen’s Managing Director Delwar Hossain, his wife Mahmuda Akter, also chairman of the company, and six others — all on bail — claimed innocence and submitted separate petitions seeking discharge from the case.
Judge SM Kuddus Zaman rejected all the eight petitions. The other five accused were shown fugitives.
20150904 * TAZREEN FASHIONS FIRE : Delwar, wife, 11 others indicted:
Tazreen Fashions managing director Delwar Hossain, his wife Mahmuda Akter and 11 other staff of the apparel factory were charged on Thursday with murder, culpable homicide and killing by negligence for the fire at the factory that killed at least 112 workers in 2012.
Dhaka district and sessions judge SM Kuddus Zaman also posted for October 1 the commencement of the trial with the recording of testimonies of prosecution witnesses.
The court also ordered the transfer of the case documents to the First Additional District and Sessions Judge’s Court for next proceedings of trial.
As the court read out the charges, eight accused – Delwar, Tazreen Fashions chairman Mahmuda Akter, manager (admin) Dulal Uddin, engineer M Mahbubul Morshed, store in-charges Md Hamidul Islam and Al Amin and security in-charges Al Amin and Anisur Rahman – pleaded not guilty to the charges and prayed for justice.
They are on bail.
20150904 * Tazreen Fashions boss indicted:
A Dhaka court on Thursday indicted managing director and chairperson of Tazreen Fashions for the 2012 fire that killed more than one hundred workers of the apparel maker.
The court of Dhaka’s District and Sessions Judge M Kuddus Zaman framed the charges against the company’s managing director Delwar Hossain, its chairperson Mahmuda Akter and 11 others and set Oct 1 for recording witnesses’ testimonies.
At least 111 people died and more than 104 were injured in the fire at Tazreen Fashions at Ashulia in Savar on Nov 24, 2012.
In December 2013, police submitted a charge-sheet in the case over the incident, holding the 13 responsible for the tragedy. The accused had been charged with manslaughter and culpable negligence under Section 304 and 304 (a) of the Criminal Procedure Code, reports bdnews24.com.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
20150904 * Tazreen owner, wife among 13 indicted:
A Dhaka court has framed charges against 13 people in two cases filed over the deadly fire at the factory of Tazreen Fashions, including its owner Delwar Hossain and his wife Mahmuda Aktar.
Dhaka District and Sessions Judge SM Kuddus Zaman framed the charges after rejecting he discharge petition filed by the accused on Thursday afternoon.
The court fixed October 1 for recording deposition of witnesses of the fire incident.
Read More: Charges filed against Tazreen owners
After framing charges, the court sent the case documents to First Additional District and Sessions Judge Court for trial.
The other accused are Engineer Mahbubul Morshed, Production Manager Mobarak Hossain Manju, Factory Manager Abdur Razzak, Quality Manager Shahiduzzaman, Manager (admin) Dulal Uddin, Store in-Charges Hamidul Islam and Al Amin, Security In-Charges Al Amin and Anisur Rahman, guard Rana and loader Shamim Miah.
The incident, the worst industrial fire in the country’s history, happened on November 24, 2012, killing at least 112 workers and injuring scores of others.
On December 22, 2013, CID Inspector AKM Mohsinuzzaman Khan, also investigation officer of the cases, submitted homicide charges with the court against the 13 accused.
20150903 * Tazreen Fashions chairman, MD, 11 others indicted:
A Dhaka court has indicted Tazreen Fashions’ Managing Director Delwar Hossain, Chairperson Mahmuda Akter and 11 others for the 2012 fire that left more than one hundred workers of the garment factory dead.
The court of Dhaka’s District and Sessions Judge M Kuddus Zaman framed charges against them on Thursday and set Oct 1 for recording witnesses testimonies.
At least 111 people died and more than 104 were injured in the fire at Tazreen Fashions at Ashulia in Dhaka’s Savar on November 24, 2012.
In December 2013, police submitted a charge-sheet in the case over the incident, holding the 13 responsible for the tragedy.
The accused had been charged with manslaughter and culpable negligence under Section 304 and 304 (a) of the Criminal Procedure Code. Hossain, Akter and five others surrendered to the court on June 16 before securing bail.
20150903 * Charge framed against Delwar, Mahmuda in Tazreen fire case:
A Dhaka district and sessions judge’s court on Thursday framed charge against Tazreen Fashions managing director Mohammad Delwar Hossain and its chairman Mahmuda Akter Jesmin and 11 others for the deadly fire at its factory on the capital’s outskirt on November 24, 2012.
Dhaka district and sessions judge SM Kuddus Zaman set October 1 for recording testimonies.
The accused people claimed them innocent during framing the charge when counsels of the defendants sought acquittal of the charge and the state counsel pleaded for pressing charge against them.
20150903 * Delwar, 12 others indicted for Tazreen fire:
A Dhaka court today indicted 13 people, including Tazreen Fashions Managing Director Delwar Hossain, in a case over the devastating fire that killed 112 workers and injured many others in 2012.
The court also fixed October 1 for starting trial of the case.
Delwar, Tazreen Chairman Mahmuda Akter and six others, who are now on bail, pleaded themselves innocent and demanded justice after the charges were read out to them. Five other accused have been shown fugitive in the case.
After rejecting all the eight discharge petitions, Judge SM Kuddus Zaman of District and Session judge’s Court passed the order.
20150907 * No bar to screening of ‘Rana Plaza’:
The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court (SC) scrapped on Sunday the High Court (HC) verdict that banned for six months screening of the ‘Rana Plaza’, a film based on the rescue of victim Reshma alive from the ruins of Rana Plaza building 17 days after its collapse, reports UNB
A four-member bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice SK Sinha, passed the order in response to an appeal filed by Shamima Akhter, producer of the movie.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam stood for the state while Rokan Uddin and AM Amin Uddin stood for the petitioner. Now, there was no bar to release of the movie, said A M Amin Uddin, lawyer of the producer.
to read. & read more.
20150907 * Bangladesh’s apex court clears bar on screening the film:
The Supreme Court yesterday lifted a ban on the release and screening of the film Rana Plaza, which features the miraculous rescue of garment worker Reshma Khatun from under the rubble 17 days after the collapse of the building.
Reshma was pulled out of the rubble of Rana Plaza, which collapsed in Savar on April 23, 2013.
As many as 1,135 people, mostly workers, were killed in the incident, which is seen as one of the worst workplace disasters in history.
A four-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha stayed a High Court order that issued the ban.
20150906 * Rana Plaza movie meant to highlight worker rights: Director (video):
The Rana Plaza movie that portrays the worst workplace disaster in world history aims to speak for garment workers’ rights, its director says.
“I intend to spread the message for safer workplace for the RMG workers,” Nazrul Islam Khan, director of the movie, told The Daily Star.
The plot of the movie revolves around Reshma, the girl who was rescued from rubble 17 days after Rana Plaza caved in and claimed at least 1,135 lives on April 24, 2013.
The incident spread a shock throughout the world.
In an exclusive interview with The Daily Star, director of the movie said that he thought about making a movie out of the “tragically historic event” immediately after the incident happened.
20150906 * SC stays HC ban on screening ‘Rana Plaza’:
The Supreme Court has stayed a High Court order that issued a six-month ban on the screening of “Rana Plaza,” a film on RMG worker Reshma Begum who was buried alive under the rubble of Rana Plaza for 17 days before rescue workers found her.
The four-member of Appellate Division bench headed by Chief Justice SK Sinha passed the order after disposing of a petition filed by the film producer Shamima Aktar.
Shamima Aktar’s counsel AM Amin Uddin said: “Following the SC order, now there is no bar on screening the film on cinema halls.”
Also Read: HC bans screening of ‘Rana Plaza’
On August 24, the High Court issued the ban on screening the film following a contempt of court petition filed by Bangladesh National Garment Workers Employees League chief Sirajul Islam on August 20.
On July 17, the High Court directed the authorities concerned to delete some scenes from the film saying they were too graphic and may have detrimental effects on public sentiment. The court also instructed to remove Reshma’s name from the story.
20150906 * SC clears way of screening Rana Plaza movie:
The Appellate Division on Sunday stayed the high court ban on screening of Rana Plaza, a movie on April 24, 2013 Rana Plaza disaster in which killed 1,129 people, mostly female apparel workers and left 2,000 others maimed.
A four member bench led by chief justice SK Sinha passed the order hearing an appeal filed by the movies’ producer Shamima Akhter.
After the stay, attorney general Mahbubey Alam said no there is no bar to release the movie in theatres.
On August 24, a bench of Justice Naima Haider and Justice Mustafa Zaman Islam banned screening of the movie for six months and also banned posting of the any part of the movie, which was scheduled to be released in September in Bangladesh, on internet or any social media.
20150902 * RANA PLAZA COLLAPSE : Rana’s mother sent to jail:
A Dhaka court on Tuesday sent to jail the mother of Rana Plaza owner Sohel Rana in a graft case filed over the building collapse that killed over a thousand people.
Earlier in the day, Marjina Begum surrendered before the court and sought bail in the case filed by Anti-Corruption Commission in 2014.
Dhaka Divisional Special Judge Court Judge M Atowar Rahman passed the order after hearing.
read more. & read more. & read more.
* Bangladesh won’t let its citizens see a film about its deadliest industrial accident:
Movies can elicit strong emotions when they recreate traumatic events, and in Bangladesh, perhaps no subject matter more so than the deadly 2013 factory collapse at Rana Plaza in Bangladesh, which killed 1,134 and shook up the nation’s rapidly growing garment industry.
Now, a court in Bangladesh has declared a six-month ban on a movie that retells the story of a woman trapped in the rubble for 17 days, purportedly because of the graphic carnage it depicts.
The decision, which applies to screenings both in Bangladesh and overseas, comes in response to a writ petition by a labor group that argues the movie, titled The Rana Plaza, would “negatively portray” Bangladesh’s $25-billion apparel industry.
Apparently the group is concerned that showing a factory riddled with safety hazards collapsing and killing more than 1,100 people would not arouse positive emotions for Bangladesh’s 4 million or more garment workers.
The court had previously instructed Nazrul Islam Khan, the movie’s director, to remove certain scenes that censors identified as “too cruel,” he told UCAnews, a Catholic news site, which Khan says he did.
“The film tried to portray unpleasant truths about the industry, not to harm its reputation, but to promote public awareness,” Khan said. He intends to appeal the ban, and called it a “conspiracy.”
15:38:01 local time INDIA
20150909 * 14 minors rescued from jacket factory:
Fourteen minors employed illegally at a jacket-manufacturing unit in Basti Jodhewal were rescued by the district task force against child labour on Tuesday.
The children are aged between seven and 16 years. One of the youngest of the children, a seven-year-old boy, had been working at the factory for two years on a weekly wage of Rs 50 and a 14-hour shift starting at 8am.
The rescued children hail from Nepal and Sarihi district in Bihar and are victims of human trafficking.
After a three-hour delay during the medical check-up at civil hospital, the children were taken to the child welfare committee and referred to Kurali by the day’s end. “Even according to labour laws, a man can work for about 8 hours a day and has to get a wage of at least Rs 6,775 per month.
But here the condition was so inhumane, these children worked for about 14 hours a day,” told Dinesh Kumar, volunteer of Bachpan Bachao Andolan.
20150910 * Gurgaon: Labourers hurt in boiler boiler blast:
A boiler blast at a garment factory in Udyog Vihar left four workers critically injured on Monday night.
They were rushed to a nearby hospital and later shifted to Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi.
The factory management and a supervisor have been booked for negligence.
According to police, the four were working near the boiler when it exploded.
The injured – Mahipal, Vishal Kumar, Pradeep Sarkar and Dablu Kharwan, all from Bihar – sustained over 50% burns.
The incident happened at the garment factory in plot number 516 of Udyog Vihar Phase-V.Mahi Lal, a colleague of the injured, lodged a complaint with Udyog Vihar police on Tuesday.
20150911 * Programme to reduce risk factors launched:
With adolescent girls, young women and inter-state migrant working in exploitative conditions in textile industry leading to bonded or forced labour, a programme was launched to reduce the risk factors in the industry.
The textile industry is a vital source of employment and income where excessive overtime, restricted movement and communication, extremely low pay and failure to receive promised sum are a common problem despite many initiatives by the government.
Hence, 13 local organisations in four districts, Virudhunagar, Erode, Namakkal and Dindigul, are intensifying their work with hundreds of communities in order to reduce young workers’ vulnerability to high-risk jobs in some parts of the textile industry.
The programmes were supported by Freedom Fund, an NGO.
20150904 * Trade unions eyed Rs 15,000 per month minimum wage as national baseline:
One of the key issues on which the negotiations between the government and the 10 central trade unions that had called for a general strike on Wednesday broke down was that of minimum wages.
A labour ministry document circulated amongst the trade unions days before the strike, argued that by current norms, prices and calorific needs, Rs.6330 per month is the monthly wage adequate for an unskilled worker with a wife and two small children.
The trade unions and various other federations that represent 15 cr workers had demanded Rs.15,000 per month minimum wage as a national level floor wage. Striking a generous posture, the government modestly increased its proposal to Rs.7098 per month.
20150903 * Trade unions’ bandh gets a good response:
The bandh call by the Joint Committee of Trade Unions (JCTU), a platform of various trade unions in different sectors, as part of the nationwide strike called by 11 central trade unions in protest of the Union government’s “pro-corporate” and “anti-people” policies evoked a good response here on Wednesday.
Shops, hotels, garages, theatres, parlours trading units at APMC and other business establishments including all banks did not raise their shutters. Roads wore a deserted look in most parts of the district headquarter.
Though government offices functioned as usual, they witnessed fewer activities.
Public buses operated by the North Eastern Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NEKRTC) remained off the roads as the employees actively participated in the agitation.
LIC employees skipped work and staged a demonstration outside the divisional office before joining the agitation at Ambedkar Circle and the protest rally. Postal services were hit as the employees joined the strike.
20150903 * 150 million workers strike in India:
Millions of workers from all sectors joined India’s largest strike on 2 September. Demonstrators were protesting against proposed labour reforms which will in practice make it easier to fire workers.
The decision to call for a nation-wide strike was taken at a National Convention of Workers called by the national trade union centres in May.
Rallies were held all over India, seeing an estimated 150 million workers on the streets after trade union talks with the government broke down.
20150902 * In huge show of strength, lakhs of workers go on strike over ‘anti-labour’ reforms:
Lakhs of workers across India went on strike on Wednesday in protest at planned labour law reforms, the biggest show of strength by trade unions since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took office.
They say labour reforms planned by Modi’s government will put jobs at risk, and are demanding it scrap changes that would make it easier to lay off workers and shut down unproductive factories.
All India Trade Union Congress secretary Gurudas Dasgupta said the response had been “magnificent” and estimated over 150 million workers participated in the strike, although this could not be independently confirmed.
AS IT HAPPENED: Trade unions’ strike
The strike – the biggest in India for more than two years – included staff at state-run banks and mines as well as some factory, construction and transport workers.
20150902 * Trade unions in NCR prepare to join nationwide strike today:
Trade unions across the industrial pockets of the National Capital Region (NCR) on Tuesday held meetings, raised slogans and went on marches in support of the strike called by trade unions across the country on Wednesday.
The unions have called a nationwide strike, demanding right to collective bargaining, raising minimum wages to Rs 15,000 and rolling back changes — both proposed and effected — to labour laws that adversely affect workers.
“We gave the call for the September 2 strike across the country for raising two issues primarily — one, the drastic changes made and proposed to labour laws and, second, to mobilise the country’s largely contractual and unorganised (around 96 per cent) labour force towards collective bargaining in the backdrop of the global slowdown and price rise,” said Sitaram Yechury, CPM General Secretary.
20150902 * Tens of Millions Strike in India to Defend Labour Rights:
Tens of millions of Indian workers have joined a national strike called by ten major trade union bodies today, in what may be the largest strike in history.
The unions are protesting at plans announced by Prime Minister Modi to deprive large segments of India’s workforce of labour law protection at the behest of local and foreign investors.
Workers from manufacturing, mining, the public sector, transport and other sectors, along with workers in the informal economy have joined the nationwide movement. Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said, “The government’s plans will widen India’s already huge economic inequality and make it even harder for workers to organise unions to protect their interests.
With one of the highest economic growth rates of any country, India should be concentrating on lifting people out of poverty and ensuring economic security for working families rather than delivering yet more benefits to the wealthiest and bowing to the demands of foreign investors.”
20150902 * Maharashtra joins 300 million workers in all India strike:
Maharashtra joined a staggering 300 million workers in the government and private sector, the financial sector, banks and financial institutions, and the farming community across the country for a day’s token strike protesting what they alleged was the government’s ‘anti-exployees’ policies here on Wednesday, a top organizer said.
The strike which started at daybreak mostly hit the finance and business sectors on which the entire commercial capital of the country is dependent on, as large sections government, ports, college professors, state transport and other sectors enthusiastically joined in.
20150902 * Millions strike in India over government labour reforms:
Trade unions say prime minister’s proposed changes will put jobs at risk and make it easier to lay-off workers.
Millions of workers across India have begun a 24-hour strike in protest against planned labour law reforms, the biggest show of strength by trade unions since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took office last year.
Unions say labour reforms planned by Modi’s government will put jobs at risk, and are demanding it scrap changes that would make it easier to lay off workers and shut down unproductive factories.
read & see more. (videoreport).
20150902 * 15 crore workers of 10 unions go on strike:
20150901 * Trade unions firm on strike tomorrow:
Two days ahead of a nationwide strike, trade union leaders on Monday accused the BJP-led government of weakening the labour laws by including “anti-worker” clauses in them.
“It is not a political strike,” Gurudas Dasgupta, general secretary of the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), said at a press conference. “It is a strike for the national interest.”
Ten trade unions — together with a strength of 30 million workers from various sectors such as oil, gas, coal, banks, insurance, post office and transportation — have come together to mobilise workers to push the government to recognise their 12-point charter and roll back the “ill-conceived” labour law reforms.
One of their key demands is raising the minimum wage cap and ending the wage partiality between regular and contract labour. .Mr. Dasgupta accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of underselling the country’s workforce in foreign markets. “He [Prime Minister Modi] goes abroad and tells business people, ‘Come to India, we have cheap labour’,” Mr. Dasgupta said. “Is this how one should speak for his workforce?”
20150901 * Indian unions to hold one-day national strike:
Tens of millions of Indian workers will join a one-day national strike this Wednesday, September 2, in protest against the pro-investor policies of the 15-month-old Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government.
Led by the self-styled Hindu strongman Narendra Modi, India’s BJP-led coalition has accelerated the pace of neoliberal “reform.” It has slashed social spending, curtailed price subsidies and pressed ahead with disinvestment (partial and full privatization) of state-owned industries from Coal India and the railways to ports, airports, and intercity bus service.
The BJP government has also initiated changes to India’s labor laws aimed at making it far easier for employers to lay off workers and shutter operations. And in Rajasthan, the BJP state government, at Modi’s urging, has begun to privatize the public school and health systems.
Ten labor federations are sponsoring Wednesday’s strike. Prominent among them are the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) and the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), respectively the labor affiliates of the twin Stalinist parliamentary parties, the Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPM.
The strike is also being supported by the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), the trade union arm of what has traditionally been the Indian bourgeoisie’s premier political party, the Congress Party. Speaking to reporters Sunday, INTUC President Ramen Pandey said that Congress Party head Sonia Gandhi had expressly approved the labor federation’s participation in the walkout.
20150830 * Trade unions to take part in Sept. 2 national strike:
Activists of as many as 11 national-level trade unions, along with the Anganwadi Workers Association, the Janavadi Mahila Sanghatane among others, will take part in a national strike on September 2 to protest against the alleged anti-labour and anti-people policies pursued by the Union government.
Addressing a joint press conference here on Saturday, T.G. Vittal, Somashekar, A.R.M. Ismail, H. Adimurthy, J. Satyababu strongly condemned the policies of the Centre.
Benefit to corporates
They said that attempts to amend labour laws would only benefit capitalists and the corporate sectors and the working class would become bonded labourers and their rights to social security, pension and other benefits would be deprived.
20150829 * September 2 strike looms as govt-unions talks fail:
“Trade unions will go ahead with September 2 strike,” said INTUC president G Sanjeeva Reddy after a three-hour long meeting of union leaders.
Despite a softening of stand by the government, 10 of the 11 Central trade unions on Friday decided to go ahead with a country wide strike on September 2.
However, cracks have begun to emerge over the joint front presented by the trade unions. RSS-affiliated BharatiyaMazdoorSangh is understood to have called for deferring the strike in order to let the government deliver on its promises.
“We have appealed to the other trade unions that since the government has taken so many positive initiatives, we must give them some time to deliver as many of these measures such as amendments to minimum wages require Parliamentary approval,” said VrijeshUpadhyay, general secretary, BMS, adding that the union will now hold internal meetings on Saturday to discuss whether it should participate in the strike.
20150828 * Govt gives in to trade unions’ demands but gets no assurance strike will be called off:
The BJP government Thursday indicated it was ready to meet their crucial demands but central trade unions kept the Centre on tenterhooks by saying a final decision on their nationwide strike call will be taken on Friday.
After the meeting with trade union representatives, the government said it was ready to consider the demands related to minimum wages, bonus payment, pension, contract workers and social security to workers.
The ministerial panel, headed by finance minister Arun Jaitley, assured the unions that the government would move legislation for making formula based minimum wages mandatory and applicable to all employees across the country.
“Till now, the minimum wage clause is only advisory in nature and the government has decided to make it mandatory,” petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan said. “After a detailed discussion, the labour ministry will take it to the Cabinet,” he said.
20150912 * Women prisoners stitch uniforms for school children in Telangana:
School uniforms that women prisoners are stitching in jail are being worn by students of various social welfare schools in Telangana.
Inmates of the Special Prison for Women, Chanchalguda, Hyderabad are on the job of stitching 5,000 school uniforms for boys and girls.
A garment manufacturing that has been set up at the jail for the first time and 25 women prisoners have been trained in tailoring and designing by experts.
The unit was set up at a cost of Rs 10 lakh sanctioned by the Telangana prisons department authorities.
Prison superintendent Basheera Begum said the garment manufacturing unit, has 25 sewing machines which run on power.
There are 14 social welfare hostels for both boys and girls in Telangana and out of which some have placed an order with the women’s prison for stitching of uniforms for the students.
The amount the social welfare department would otherwise have paid to private tailors is being paid to the jail.
20150902 * Garment-making unit to empower women:
500 women will be given training in advanced sewing machines
Minister for Panchayat and Social Justice M.K. Muneer has plans to revive the glory Kozhikode once had in the field of garment-making, by envisaging a garment-making unit for his constituency.
The Rs.1-crore project has been mainly conceived as an instrument to empower unemployed women from the coastal regions of his constituency, the Minister said.
As a first step, as many as 500 women selected from the constituency will be given training in garment making and advanced sewing machines and other apparatus required for the job will be distributed to them.
Talks will be held with different garment-making units in and around the city as part of this, said Mr. Muneer.
20150911 * Tamil Nadu govt asks textile firms not to trust subsidy givers:
Is attack the best form of defence? On Thursday, Tamil Nadu government of ficials adopted this strategy to hit out at neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and others who were targeting its textile businesses by offering tax incentives and subsidies.
“Don’t look at subsidies alone. There are other parameters you should consider before you invest outside Tamil Nadu. Here we have a track record of fostering textile businesses,” said Harmander Singh, principal secretary , handlooms & textiles Tamil Nadu government.
Textile business does not thrive in isolation and instead needs the entire ecosystem, he said. “We have the ecosystem in place and we are here to hear you and help you,” he told a gathering of textile entrepreneurs and delegates at the Global Investors Meet on Thursday .
20150910 * Sircilla textile zone mooted:
Zone to cover Sircilla, Vemulawada, Konaraopeta and Yellareddypet
In order to benefit the powerloom weavers and also the industrialists to ensure that the textile units function regularly to provide employment round the year, the district administration had proposed Sircilla Textile Zone covering four mandals of Sircilla, Vemulawada, Konaraopeta and Yellareddypet mandals.
At the Sircilla Textile Park advisory committee in Karimnagar on Wednesday, Collector Neetu Prasad said that the Sircilla municipality and 37 grama panchayats would be covered under the Sircilla textile zone with a jurisdiction of 58,633 acres of land.
This Sircilla Textile Zone would be developed at a cost of Rs. 365 crore with all units such as warping, sizing, dyeing and other units, she said and added that the textile units setting up in this zone would get benefits of industrial zone such as infrastructure, basic amenities, concessions, exemptions etc.
20150907 * Textile units in SIPCOT struggling to stem slide:
15 units closed down operationsover the last four years
While on the one hand Tamil Nadu has pioneered implementation of Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) system for industrial units generating harmful effluents, textile units operating out of Perundurai SIPCOT Industrial Growth Centre lament that they are losing out on competitiveness in pricing of products due to enormous expenditure involved in complying with the norms.
Of the nearly 50 textile processing units in the SIPCOT complex, about 15 industries closed down operations over the last four years after incurring losses.
An equal number among the existing units find themselves in a similar predicament, as retaining customer base in export market is pretty difficult due to disadvantageous pricing, S. Selvaraj, joint secretary, Perundurai SIPCOT Textiles Processors Association (PSTPA), said.
20150906 * State to decide on textile policy after Sept 11:
The state government has decided to take a final call on the proposed textile policy after September 11.
The policy is expected to attract investments worth Rs 80,000 crore. The investment will come in the form of new machines, setting up of clusters and infrastructure provision.
Suresh Halwankar, BJP MLA from Ichalkaranji who designed the policy, said, “The state government has approved the policy in-principle. Now, it is being discussed at the secretary level as we are a major cotton producer and processor in the country.”
State cooperation and textile minister Chandrakant Patil also said the state government is planning to hold a meeting once the state secretary, who is on leave, returns. “We will hold the meeting to discuss the locations, available infrastructure, power requirement and its smooth supply among other issues,” he said.
Halwankar said, “There are some textile industries and parks across the country, but nowhere will you find all types of industrial units needed to convert cotton into usable clothes. Vidarbha region produces cotton but ginning mills are in Marathwada, while primary processing is done in Ichalkaranji.
Thereafter, it either goes to Bhiwandi (Mumbai) or to Rajasthan or Kanpur as per the requirement.
Sometimes, it goes to Tamil Nadu as well. Finally, it is shipped to Bangladesh for stitching purpose after which we get the final product that can be sold to retail customers.”
20150903 * SIMA plans textile processing park for SMEs:
Southern India Mills’ Association (SIMA) is contemplating setting up a textile processing park in the State for the small and medium-scale units.
The association chairman T. Rajkumar told The Hindu on Wednesday that about 50 SMEs in the Salem, Karur, Erode, Tirupur, Coimbatore and Madurai textile clusters will benefit from the park, when it is developed.
20150831 * Hosiery industry team meets textile commissioner:
A delegation of the hosiery and textile industry – led by Vinod Thapar, chairman of the Ludhiana Knitwear Club – met Kiran Soni Gupta (IAS), the Commissioner of Textiles, at her office in Mumbai, to apprise her of the issue of delay and other problems being faced by the industry in availing the Technical Upgradation Funds Scheme (TUFS).
Thapar said they had received representations from many members of the industry, especially members of the Ludhiana Knitwear Club, about the difficulties being faced in availing of TUFS subsidy benefits.
They informed the commissioner that some member-units had applied for subsidy under the scheme within the specified time of one year from the date of sanction.
However, due to some delay at the textile commissioner’s office, these could not be punched into the system for UID creation within the stipulated time period, and hence, were lying pending at the office of the textile commissioner in Amritsar for more than one-and-a-half years, even though the Ministry Of Textiles had delegated the authority to allow the application of these units on a case-by-case basis.
20150830 * ‘Set up textile parks in every district’:
The Tamil Nadu Visaithari Thozhilalar Sammelanam urged the State Government to take steps for setting up textile parks in all the districts to augment the sale of textiles manufactured by power loom societies.
The parks will enable in bringing the buyers within the State, and outside under one roof.
This will immensely benefit in getting reasonable price for the textiles, and augmenting its sales.
This will improve the financial position of the societies, and the power loom weavers, a resolution adopted at the State committee meeting of the Sammelanam held at Pallipalayam, near here, on Thursday.
The meeting urged the Centre to suspend the import of cotton and yarn with immediate effect.
Due to the availability of foreign cotton and yarn, the local traders could not market theirs. This has led to a glut in the cotton and yarn market, the meeting said.
Another resolution said that the power loom industry was undergoing a crisis because of the rise in the production cost and drop in the exports.
The power looms in Tirupur, Coimbatore, and Erode districts were not functioning for the last few months.
This has badly hit the livelihood of a large number of power loom workers.
The State Government should take immediate steps to protect the industry and the interest of the workers involved in it.
The meeting demanded the government to fix a minimum wages of Rs. 15,000 a month for the power loom workers.
20150909 * Black clouds over BT cotton as whitefly runs amok:
Farmers in Punjab and Haryana are perturbed over a sense of deja vu they are experiencing ever since the attack of the pest – the whitefly – on their BT cotton crop.
It has unnerving similarities to attack of the American bollworm, colloquially known as ‘Amrikan sundi,’ in the 1990s and 2000s on hybrid cotton varieties.
The bollworm attack had led farmers to shift to the BT variety post 2004 which resisted the pest.
But the whitely has shown that the BT cotton too can be vulnerable, creating a crisis at a time when the monsoon has failed.
Both Punjab and Haryana account for about 11-12% of country’s total cotton output, but the pest could cause a noticeable drop in average yields thereby hitting output as picking of cotton has begun in the region.
In Haryana, area under cotton is 5.80 lakh hectares and in Punjab it is 4.50 lakh hectares this season.
20150909 * Farmer outfit wants action against sale of spurious seeds, pesticides:
To protest against the losses suffered by farmers due to whitefly attack on cotton crop, farmer outfit Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta Sidhupur) on Tuesday started protest at Nandgarh village on the road leading to chief minister Parkash Singh Badal’s native village.
The organization is demanding a thorough probe to check the quality of cotton seeds and pesticides and take strict action against the companies responsible for losses.
Police stopped the protesters at Chak Attar Singh Wala village, 5km from Badal, amid heated exchanges. Angry farmers later blocked traffic on Bathinda-Badal road and decided to spend the night at Chak Attar Singh Wala.
20150831 * Amarinder seeks probe into purchase of “spurious” insecticides:
Senior Congress leader Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday demanded probe into the purchase of “spurious” insecticides for the cotton crops which came under severe whitefly attack in Punjab.
He also sought investigation into the role of agriculture minister Tota Singh in buying the insecticides.
“It is a massive scandal involving crores of rupees, besides having caused immense loss to cotton growers whose crop has been hit by the whitefly,” Amarinder Singh said while addressing a public rally here on Sunday.
Blaming the Akali-BJP government for the “sorry” state of farmers, he alleged that “spurious” insecticides was supplied under the patronage of the Akalis, particularly Tota Singh.
“There was a nexus of spurious insecticide suppliers and Akalis under government patronage,” he alleged.
20150911 * 25K workers in Tamil Nadu to be trained for leather sector:
Concerned at the poor supply of quality work ers, the Leather Sector Skill Council plans to train an estimated 25,000 people in Tamil Nadu this year to acquire various skills related to the industry , its chairman Habib Hussain said on Thursday .
If the target is achieved, it would be a significant increase from last year when 4,600 workers were trained.
“We have set a target of training 100,000 workers across India this year. Since 35% of the country’s leather manufacturers are in TN, we expect to train at least 25,000 in the state,” said Habib at the Global Investors Meet.
15:38:01 local time SRI LANKA
20150829 * Australian trade unions support sacked Ansell Sri Lanka strikers:
Nearly 300 Sri Lankan workers of Australian-based condom and medical gloves manufacturer, Ansell who were sacked in December 2013 for going on strike in a local factory, received backing from their Australian counterparts who protested outside the head office in Melbourne last week.
According to the Australian daily, The Age Textile and manufacturing unions on Tuesday rallied outside Ansell’s head office in Melbourne, accusing the company of sweatshop-like exploitation and unfairly firing employees for trying to exercise basic industrial rights.
“The mainly female Sri Lankan workers, who unions say were paid 80 cents an hour and subjected to demoralising conditions, were terminated by Ansell after going on strike in 2013,” the newspaper said.
Meanwhile, National Secretary of the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia, Michele O’Neil in an opinion column published on The Daily Telegraph on Monday, charged that the workers were treated unfairly especially when they had tried to solve issues through negotiations.
“The company’s response was swift and harsh and many workers have not found work since,” she said.
She also accused the company of unfairly cutting down the wages of these workers. “Ansell made more than $3 million a week last year but it wanted to take a few extra cents an hour off these poor women. Is this the behavior we would expect from an Aussie company?,” she questioned.
15:08:01 local time PAKISTAN
20150912 * Fires gut two factories in a day:
Exactly three years after 289 factory workers perished in what was stated to be the country’s most devastating industrial fire, two more factories were reported to have caught fire on Friday as authorities continue to ignore installation of fire safety mechanisms and equipment in their units.
According to the central fire station, the fire caused due to a short circuit, broke out at around 4:15am in the morning at a chemical factory located in Korangi.
Said to be a category two fire, the blaze engulfed the whole facility within minutes. Eight fire engines of the KMC were used to put the fire out. No casualties or injuries were reported to have occurred.
The second fire broke out at a towel warehouse in Gabol Town.
Officials said the fire had occurred due to a short circuit.
20150910 * Blaze: Fire erupts in garment factory:
A fire erupted on the first floor of a garment factory, JB Enterprises, near Ghani Chowrangi, SITE, on Tuesday.
It took two and a half hours to extinguish the fire with the help of seven fire tenders, two water bowsers and a snorkel, said a fire brigade official.
“The first fire tender, after reaching the location, informed others that it was a second degree fire,” said the official.
“Therefore, more fire tenders were sent from the SITE, Lyari, Nazimabad, Baldia Town fire stations.”
The firemen were late because of the heavy traffic on roads, he added.
The reason for the fire and estimated loss have yet to be determined.
20150909 * SITE factory fire: man killed, garments destroyed:
“One life and two shipments gone, burnt!” said a boiler operator at J.B. Industries in SITE area while speaking to Dawn about the fire that broke out in the top-floor warehouse of the garment factory on Tuesday morning.
For a while as the firefighters tried putting out the blaze, there was a big confusion as to who had died in the fire. Some said it was the guard, others believed it was his friend resting in his quarters.
“I don’t know the guard personally, as there is no interaction between the various departments of the factory. We also enter through separate gates but we heard that there was an overweight elderly man and a younger more agile one in the quarters at that time. Both were tired and asleep when the fire broke out. Then realising what had happened, they must have tried to get out. The agile one escaped leaving behind the other who suffocated,” said the boiler operator.
Asked why didn’t the young man help the other one, the boiler operator, who declined to give his name, shrugged and said: “It’s human nature to save oneself at such a time. He must have thought that the other would also be able to make a getaway like him, which sadly didn’t happen.”
It was not clear as to how the fire started. “It was still pretty early when it happened. We were already here and working. The moment we smelt smoke we ran downstairs through the exit points and back stairs. We don’t know what started it,” said another worker before excusing himself to help with cleaning the premises.
A police constable said he believed it was a short circuit on the top floor. “A wire broke, too, and the sparks started a fire when that wire fell on top of the garments,” he said.
But when it was pointed out to him that there were no electricity wires or poles at that height, he said that perhaps there was a short circuit in the internal wiring.
20150909 * Factory fire claims watchman’s life:
Some water bowsers were empty while others were not functioning properly at the time of the incident, says chief fire brigade official
A 60-year-old man was burnt to death on Tuesday after a fire broke out in a garment factory, situated in SITE, allegedly due to a short circuit.
Abdul Ghaffar was posted as a watchman at the factory.
The fire which broke out at the JB Industries, situated near Ghani Chowrangi in SITE, was stated to be of the second category as it managed to engulf the entire building within minutes.
10 fire engines of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) were used to put the fire out.
Chief fire brigade official, Ehtesham, while talking to The News informed that the fire tenders were rushed to the scene immediately after the information was received.
However, he confessed to a few water bowsers to be completely empty, while a few others were not working properly.
20150905 * Death traps four in factory roof collapse:
Four labourers were killed and 18 others injured when the roof of a garments factory in Nishter Colony caved in on Friday.
More than 40 labourers were working in morning shift in the factory when its roof collapsed, trapping 25 of them under the debris.
Rescue teams extricated the labourers from the rubble and shifted them to the General Hospital, where doctors pronounced four of them dead.
The deceased were identified as Tariq, 30, Muhammad Ali, 30, Muhammad Boota, 20, and Shahzad, 32.
Relatives of some of the labourers blocked Ferozepur Road to protest against factory owner Rana Aqeel. Police assured the protesters that action would be taken against the factory owner and later registered a case against Aqeel and arrested six people including the factory manager.
A Rescue 1122 official said the factory roof was made of mud and wooden pillars. An injured labourer said the roof collapsed owing to rickety structure which was further weakened by last month’s rains.
He said after the heavy rains the workers pleaded to the owner to renovate it but he kept ignoring the demand.
20150905 * Shoddy construction: Four workers die, 14 injured in roof collapse:
Four people died and at least 14 were injured after the roof of a garments factory near Rohi drain collapsed on Friday.
Scores of workers at neighboring factories, Rescuce-1122 teams and a Nishtar Colony police team arrived at the scene.
They hauled out workers trapped under the debris and took them to a hospital for treatment.
Later, the administrator got into an argument with journalists covering the story.
The Jeans Company (Pvt) Ltd factory was housed in a two-storey building. A third ‘storey’ had been added later to make space to accommodate a grinding unit (raghrai). The roof was thatched with mud, straw and girders.
Akbar, a worker at the factory, said he had just returned from his Friday prayers when he heard an explosion from the upper most floor followed by screams.
20150905 * Four workers die in roof collapse:
Four workers died while 16 others were injured when roof of a garment factory collapsed in Kahna area on Friday.
Rescue sources said that roof of a factory located in Rohi Nullah locality in the provincial capital, Lahore came down when the workers were engaged in their routine work.
Five labourers were buried under the debris of which two died on the spot while three others sustained critical injuries.
20150904 * 4 workers die as factory roof collapses
4 garment factory workers died as a result of a roof collapse while 12 others were injured on Friday.
Police has taken owner and manager of the factory into custody, reported Dunya News.
Roof of a factory in Gajju Matta collapsed and trapped more than 20 workers under it.
The workers were taking a lunch break when the roof collapsed.
Upon hearing the news, rescue teams reached on spot and started rescue efforts. When the workers were finally pulled out of the rubble, 4 workers had expired including Muhammad Boota, Muhammad Ali, Tariq and Shehzad while 12 others had sustained serious injuries.
20150904 * Four workers die as roof of a garment factory caves in; 92 News cameraman tortured by employees:
Four workers died while 16 others were injured when the roof of a garment factory collapsed in Kahna area on Friday.
The injured were shifted to Lahore General Hospital.
The factory employees manhandled the mediamen, while 92 News cameraman Waseem Ashraf was manhandled.
The police have arrested two accused.
20150904 * Two labourers die in Lahore roof collapse:
CM Shahbaz Sharif seeks a report from concerned officials about the incident.
Two labourers expired when the roof of a garments factory building collapsed in the Kahna area on Ferozepur Road in Lahore on Friday afternoon.
According to the Rescue 1122, four labourers have been rescued while the rescue operation is underway to recover the remaining trapped people.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has taken notice of the incident.
He has directed to accelerate the rescue activities to bring out the trapped people from the debris of the building.
The Chief Minister directed to provide best medical care facilities for the injured people.
He has also sought a report from the concerned officials about the incident.
20150901 * First online portal about labour inspection launched:
Pakistan’s first online portal and database about labour inspection was launched on Friday with participation from labour departments of all the four provinces.
The online portal has been developed by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), under its project on ‘Promoting Gender Equality for Decent Employment’ funded by the Canadian government.
The Gender Sensitive Labour Inspection System portal is part of ILO’s work with the provincial departments of labour aimed at assisting inspectors in their routine inspections by providing measurable indicators for gauging progress against gender-inclusive targets.
The online portal brings together information about registered labourers, factories, inspection staff and the inspections conducted. The data will help track trends and measure performance and progress.
All the information is sex-disaggregated and the reports will analyse differences such as wage discrimination between women and men or the incidence of child labour.
20150901 * Govt to protect working women’s rights:
MNA Tahira Aurganzeb of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz on Monday assured that the government would protect the rights of working women.
Speaking at Women Workers Convention, organized by Uks –a research, resource and publication centre– in collaboration with Gender Equity Programme (GEP) at a local hotel, she said the government had initiated a number of programmes for women aimed at providing peaceful environment at their workplace.
This was second convention arranged by Uks on the theme of “women-friendly policies at workplaces’ for formal sector workers with emphasis on the protection of women against sexual harassment at workplaces Act 2010.
20150901 * Govt urged to ensure same wage for same work:
The government should strictly enforce labour laws in both public and private sectors. A board should be formed at federal level to enforce payment of equal wages for the same work, speakers at an awareness seminar said on Monday.
HomeNet Pakistan had arranged the event titled: Awareness-raising and policy advocacy on women’s rights and labour laws for women workers. It was funded by the USAID under Aurat Foundation’s Gender Equity Programme (GEP).
HomeNet Pakistan’s Programme Manager Babar Raza said that the GEP had been launched to address issues faced by workers.
He said that the government had adopted the Punjab Fair Representation of Women Bill 2014 to amend certain laws to ensure 33 per cent representation for women in the decision-making bodies.
“Similarly, 5 per cent women labour inspectors have been recruited in the factories after a resolution was moved in this regard by some parliamentarians,” he said. Activist Mehnaz Rafi said that women’s rights had received little attention so far in Pakistan.
20150831 * Industrial workers to get best medical facilities, says minister:
Punjab Labour and Human Resources Minister Raja Ashfaq Sarwar has said the Punjab government is using all out resources for the provision of best medical facilities to registered industrial workers and labourers.
Congratulating newly-appointed Medical Superintendent of Nawaz Sharif Social Security Hospital Prof Dr Muhammad Ashraf Nizami for improving medical facilities, administrative matters and cleanliness situation during a short period of two months, Raja Ashfaq Sarwar said at a time when Punjab Healthcare Commission teams expressed reservations regarding cleanliness situation during inspection of hospitals throughout Punjab.
20150903 * Call to amend laws to protect industrial workers:
The rate of fatal and non-fatal accidents of the workers engaged in electricity, mining, engineering, textile, construction and chemical and other industrial and commercial industries and agriculture sector have been rising every year on account of prevalence of outdated safety laws promulgated years ago alike Factories Act, 1934 and Boiler Act, 1910, Mining Act, 1923 and Electricity Act 1910 and absence of effective independent labour inspection machinery as required under the principles of ILO Convention No. 81 ratified by the Government of Pakistan.
That is reason that non-fatal accident of the workers in Pakistan have almost raised from 2.1% in the year 2007-8 to 4.1% in the year 2012-13 which are still on the rise.
More than 250 members of line staff working on electricity lines became victim of fatal accidents and far more became permanently disabled.
20150904 * Workers threaten to stop doing ‘multiple tasks’:
Labour Qaumi Movement and Powerlooms Workers Union have announced stopping cleansing and oiling of looms, loading and unloading of the beams after Sept 10 if their demands were not accepted.
Earlier, the powerloom owners of Sidhar had observed a strike for three weeks — Aug 8 to Aug 28 — owing to demand for alleged extortion money by LQM office-bearers.
The loom owners have termed the demand of the unions an attempt to exert pressure “just to justify the funding they are receiving from foreign and local NGOs”.
City Police Officer Afzaal Kausar along with DCO Noorul Ameen had resolved the issue.
On Thursday, scores of posters were pasted in different powerloom sectors, including Sidhar, Faizabad and Ghulam Mohammadabad, urging the workers to stop cleaning the looms and the units and ‘throw away the broom’.
The unions said weavers of any powerloom factory would neither clean the looms nor lift the beams.
Talking to Dawn, Aslam Miraj, secretary general of LQM, said it was clearly mentioned in the Punjab Gazette notification that factory owners would employ oil men, cleaners and loaders separately.
20150829 * Patch-up between loom owners, LQM workers:
Powerloom owners of Sidhar have agreed to reopen their factories on Saturday (today) and Labour Qaumi Movement (LQM) office-bearers also ended their six-day long sit-in outside the DCO office.
City Police Officer Afzaal Kausar along with DCO Noorul Amen Mengal held talks with factory owners and LQM incumbents late on Thursday night and persuaded both sides to first resume their activities and then any kind of action would be taken against the people responsible for taking law into their hands.
It took almost seven to eight hours to satisfy LQM leaders to withdraw the demand of strike immediately.
20150829 * Power-loom factories to reopen:
Owners of power-loom factories, belonging to Sadhar sector, Jhang Road and Faisalabd, have decided to re-open their factories immediately following labourers ended their week-long sit-in.
A decision to this effect was taken at a joint meeting of owners of power-loom factories and agitating labourers which was called by DCO Noor-ul-Amin and CPO Afzal Ahmad Kausar for resolving their lingering dispute.
Representatives of power-looms factories’ owners – Waheed Khaliq Ramay, Haji Nazir Ahmad, Mian Adil, Sarwar Ali, Safir Ahmad, Mian Muhammad Akram and labour leaders Aslam Mehraj, Rana Tahir, Abdul Latif Ansari, Fazal Elahi and Malik Mumtaz Ahmad participated in the meeting.
20150903 * Powerloom workers hold rally in Hafizabad against overbilling:
Powerloom workers on Wednesday took out a rally against the Wapda for sending overbilling in the electricity bills.
The rally was led by Powerloom Labour Union president Muhammad Zaman Ansari which started from Mian Da Kot and ended at Fawara Chowk.
The labourers chanted slogans against the Wapda for sending overbilling in the electricity bills.
They said that due to overbilling, they were facing numerous problems.
The protesters warned that if their bills were not corrected, they would besiege the Wapda offices. They also demanded strict against those Wapda officers who were involved in sending overbilling.
20150912 * ‘Textile manufacturing sector still has huge potential’:
Textile manufacturing sector still has huge potential which could be best utilised through business excellence, said Nadeem Allahwala Senior Vice President Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI).
He was addressing a seminar organised by the business administration department of National Textile University (NTU) here in FCCI auditorium.
He said that Pakistan is 5th largest cotton producing country but in value addition our performance is dismally poor.
He said that Bangladesh like countries is earning much more than Pakistan by importing our cotton and re exporting after its value addition.
He said that NTU graduates have played a major role in bringing the qualitative improvement in textile sector and we must encourage them by offering more job opportunities to these graduates. He also lauded the efforts of NTU towards industry-academia linkages and assured full support in organisation of informative and academic sittings in FCCI.
20150911 * Nawaz concerned about declining exports:
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has expressed his dissatisfaction over the dwindling exports saying, other countries in South Asia have surpassed Pakistan in the export field.
While chairing a meeting of heads of chambers of commerce, representatives of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association and exporters in Islamabad today, the prime minister sought suggestion from the business community to fix the problem and boost exports.
He said that his government wanted to address the problems being faced by the business community.
Nawaz underscored the need for enhancing exports and revenues by exploring new avenues in order to achieve the objective of development.
He said that no country could make progress without enhancing its revenues, which will also be utilized to pay off country’s debts.
read more. & read more.
20150910 * ‘Pakistan loses comparative share in global market’:
Pakistan has lost comparative share in the global textile market since the start of this century, depicting a fundamental flaw in the national textile policy over the years, experts said on Wednesday.
They have warned that continued indifference by the government towards the textile sector may turn it in to a nonentity globally.
In 2001 Pakistan’s share in global textile and clothing trade was 2.2 percent that has gradually declined to 1.66 percent.
Similarly, in 2005 Bangladesh’s share in global textile and clothing market was less than Pakistan at four percent only. It is now 2.5 times higher.
While, India had a share of 3.2 percent in the global textile market at the start of this century. It increased to 5.20 percent in 2005 and currently stands at 7.5 percent.
Thus, India’s share in the global textile and clothing trade was only one percent higher than Pakistan in 2001 and is now six percent higher.
20150910 * Boosting textile export: Senate panel calls for taking required measures:
Recommending power tariff at par with regional competitors, withdrawal of duty on coal, and zero-rating regime for textile industry, a parliamentary panel Wednesday called for taking tangible measures to boost the textile export.
The Senate standing committee on textile industry which met here with Senator Mohsin Aziz, a textile tycoon, seemed perturbed over the deteriorating condition of the industry.
The panel recommended giving priority in gas availability and immediate refund of all outstanding claims of sales tax, DLTL and customs rebate to reduce the cost of doing business and make the industry compatible in the region.
The industry pledged against the anticipated support by the government a minimum of 50 percent, ie, $4.5 billion rise in exports within the next three years which means a surplus current account and trade account of the country.
read more. & read more.
20150914 * Govt package can lead to resurgence of textile industry:
All Pakistan Textile Mills Association Chairman S M Tanveer has thanked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for holding a detailed meeting with textile industry associations to finalise a relief package in context of the high cost of doing business and relating issues.
He hoped that the approval of a timely relief package by the Prime Minister would lead to resurgence of the presently impaired textile industry and reaping the socio-economic benefits for the country through a strong textile industry.
“A billion dollar investment for structural balancing, earning precious foreign exchange to get rid of the lending agencies, employment creation and consequent revenue generation would be the immediate socio-economic benefits of a textile industry on strong footing” he stressed.
20150914 * Prime Minister thanked for holding talks with textile bodies:
All Pakistan Textile Mills Association Chairman S. M. Tanveer has thanked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for holding a detailed meeting with textile industry associations to finalise a relief package in context of the high cost of doing business and relating issues.
He has also appreciated the role of the Ministry of Commerce, Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce & Industry President Mian Mohammad Adrees and Trade Development Authority of Pakistan Chief Executive Officer S.M Munir for organising the industry associations’ meeting with the Prime Minister.
Furthermore, he expressed his gratitude to all members of the Ministerial Committee on Textile Industry and PM’s Special Assistant on Revenue Haroon Akhtar for taking up and understanding the textile industry viewpoint regarding the requirement for the government to intervene appropriately.
20150913 * Apparel Sector dissatisfied over exporters meeting with Prime Minister:
It is indeed a great irony and an apathy that the Prime Minister of Pakistan called a meeting of Exporters Associations after two and a half years – ie after 50% of the tenure of the incumbent government and further irony that in this crucial meeting he gave time to the Spinning Sector – APTMA and very little time to the vital Value Added Textile Export Sector, lamented Muhammad Jawed Bilwani.
He further said that the Prime Minister does not at all understand who should be given more time – the Spinning Sector with exports of just 1.8 billion dollars or the Value Added Apparel Sector which contributes 5.267 billion dollars of exports. Bilwani asserted that APTMA, which was given major of the time by the PM, in its presentation has surely taken the PM for ride by spinning a yarn and lying that it represents the entire Textile Sector and its exports is 13.5 billion dollars.
20150910 * PLGMEA demands measures to arrest slide in exports: Body to meet Prime Minister tomorrow:
Pakistan Leather Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PLGMEA) demands government to urgently take measures to check decline in exports of leather garments and leather goods.
The exports of leather garment declined 10 percent to $366 million in FY15 down from $406 million in FY14. In July 2015, the decline is 23 percent as compared to July 2014.
Fawad Ijaz Khan Patron-in-Chief PLGMEA said that in terms of quantity the decline was more than 30 percent which was very alarming. The exports of leather goods declined 24 percent during FY15 to $12 million from $16 million in the previous year. In July 2015 the decline is 50 percent as compared to July 2014.
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20150908 * Incentives for revival of industry: textile stakeholders to meet Prime Minister:
The textile industry stakeholders are going to meet Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, wherein they will seek incentives for the revival of the sector to improve the declining export, as high cost of doing business has made it difficult for the sector to compete with regional countries in the international market.
Sources told to Business Recorder that a meeting of textile industry stakeholders/associations with the prime minister was scheduled for Friday, where the PM would be appraised about the continuous decline in exports, high cost of doing business, challenges with respect to energy availability/tariff, taxation and incentives provided by other regional competitors to their respective textile industry especially India.
20150902 * Textile industry pins high hopes on meeting with Prime Minister:
The textile industry has pinned high hopes on the upcoming meeting of the premier with industry associations, signalling a much-awaited relief package that is expected to be announced in the follow-up, sources claimed.
Nawaz Sharif is due to meet the textile associations one-by-one.
The sources say his office has sought four names from each association for the meeting and that he will extend audience to each textile industry association individually to listen to their concerns.
There are as many as 11 associations representing different sectors right from basic textile to the value-added sector.
Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) Chairman S M Munir has played a key role in convincing the premier to resolve the textile issues.
20150831 * Textile issues: meeting with PM expected in mid-Sept: S M Tanveer:
All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Chairman, S M Tanveer has said that the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has assured of resolving the textile industry issues in a meeting, likely to be held in second week of September with APTMA and other textile industry associations.
He said the spade work for this meeting is under process with the inter-ministerial committee. Earlier, APTMA had represented eight-point proposal to the Federal Textile Board, working group of the Ministry of Commerce and the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Revenue Haroon Akhtar Khan.
20150830 * Prime Minister to meet textile industry representatives on September 11: Munir:
Chairman of the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan S M Munir confirmed that Nawaz Sharif would meet textile industry representatives on September 11.
He was talking to Business Recorder in an opening ceremony of a three-day international textile Asia exhibition at the Expo Centre in Lahore said the premier had invited four representatives from each association of the textile industry.
“The premier will hold meetings with each delegation on individual basis.”
There are 11 associations of the textile industry, representing both basic and value-added textile sectors.
The association has pushed the premier in resolving the cost relating issues of the industry. Both Gohar Ejaz and SM Tanveer have recently briefed the premier on textile industry issues on his way to Kazakhstan.
20150904 * Banning import of raw materials: textile bodies oppose proposal:
Value-added textile industry associations have opposed a proposal of banning the import of textile raw materials, saying the local textile industry is unable to produce these raw materials.
While talking to Business Recorder, Chairman of Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA), Ijaz Khokhar admitted that the leadership of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) had held a series of meetings with him.
20150829 * Textile exporters still waiting for refunds: FBR issues RPOs:
Though the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has issued refund payment orders (RPOs) for January and February 2015, some exporters are still waiting for their cheques.
This was revealed during an anecdotal survey of textile exporters by Business Recorder.
The exporters lamented this delay which they pointed out was in spite of the commitment of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar made in his budget speech 2015-16 that refunds to export oriented sectors relating to tax periods till May 31, 2015 shall be issued by August 31, 2015.
When contacted, textile industry stakeholders said that about Rs 100 billion of textile exporters are stuck with FBR in sales tax, customs rebate and federal excise duty refund regimes creating severe financial crunch.
20150906 * PRGMEA concerned over increase in gas tariff:
Jawed Suleman, Chairman PRGMEA (Pakistan Readymade Garment Manufacturers & Exporters Association) concerned over increase of 23 percent in gas tariff from Rs 448 per mmbtu to Rs 600 for the industry, power sector and domestic consumer.
He said that govt should reduced rates as international markets prices of petroleum items declining, whereas, in Pakistan it’s available in highest rates.
20150904 * APTPMA slams increase in gas and power bills:
All Pakistan Textile Processing Mills Association (APTPMA) Faisalabad region has expressed its grave concern over the new taxation in gas and electricity bills, which is yielding a negative impact overhandloom value-added textile sector.
Despite duty free access to European countries, Pakistani textile exports are declining and the government is failed to take any corrective measures and instead bills of gas and electricity have been increased manifold to put additional burden on the textile processing sector.
20150831 * Procurement of seed cotton through TCP: textile ministry”s proposal rejected:
Finance and Commerce ministries have rejected the proposal of textile ministry for procurement of seed cotton through Trade Corporation of Pakistan (TCP), terming it impracticable due to operational reasons and estimated financial loss of up to Rs 13 billion to the public exchequer, documents available with Business Recorder revealed.
However the Ministry of National Food Security and Research has supported textile ministry proposal while saying that TCP has the expertise, infrastructure and capacity for the gigantic task of procuring phutti from the farmers directly.
During 2014-15, due to fluctuating international lint prices, cotton growers suffered badly; average seed-cotton price during cotton picking season last year remained below the average cost of production calculated by Punjab Cost of Production Committee.
It is expected that the cotton price trend during this year (2015-16) will not be much different from the previous year, which means that farmers cannot expect a fair return for their cotton crop.
20150830 * Call for fixing minimum wages of glass bangle workers:
Speakers at a consultative meeting have advised the government and industrialists to sit together with representatives of home-based bangle workers, majority of whom are women, to fix their minimum wages.
They were speaking at a ‘Stakeholders’ consultative meeting on issues of glass bangle industry’ organised by the Home-based Women Workers Federation (HBWWF) at a local hotel on Friday.
HBWWF leader Zahra Khan said the meeting was aimed at discussing issues related to minimum wages of glass bangle workers and get input from workers, contractors, industrialists and government on fixing of minimum wages for the workers, majority of whom were home-based women, who were presently highly underpaid.
“Home-based workers use their homes as workplaces, pay for utility bills like electricity, gas and water of the informal workplaces and the entire families including children toil in it but still they do not get proper wages,” she said.
20150909 * Fashion Revolution: For the Kaarigar behind your clothes:
1,133 people were killed and several injured when Rana Plaza collapsed in Dhaka in 2013.
The eight-storey commercial building also housed a garment factory, where workers were producing clothes for high-end international fashion brands.
The fatalities and injuries could have been avoided, had the building’s foundation had a more sturdy structure, something even remotely close to the well-maintained retail outlets of those brands.
However, what sprung as a silver lining reaction to the disaster was a Fashion Revolution (FR), a global fashion movement that brought together the fashion community and the entire value chain under one banner to ask questions and raise standards within the industry.
Deeply inspired by the FR campaign taking place in london Amirah Abbasi, an economics gradute, decided to bring the venture to Pakistan.
“The initiative really hit home,” Abbasi tells The Express Tribune. “The decision to bring FR to Pakistan was pretty instinctive for me. Pakistan is a major participant in the global fashion supply chain and our labour and resources are an integral aspect of the whole process.”
20150912 * Enforcement of fire safety codes demanded:
The Punjab Emergency Service (Rescue 1122) commemorated Baldia Town, Karachi, and Bund Road, Lahore, Factory Fires as 9/11 of Pakistan on Friday, as around 300 people had lost their lives in twin factory fires on September 11, 2012.
The Director, Punjab Emergency Service stated that it was 9/11 of Pakistan as around 300 lives had been lost in back-to-back incidents of the fire at Baldia Town Karachi and Bund Road Lahore.
He said that Fire Service of Rescue 1122 had saved losses worth over Rs 185 Billion by responding to over 69, 619 fire incidents across the province through timely and professional firefighting.
He asked them to ensure implementation of fire safety codes and did not risk their lives and investment to save small amounts of money.
He appealed to the business community and high rise building owners to ensure implementation of fire safety codes and not risk lives for investment, adding that even if they established the best fire service in the world it could not be effective without implementation of fire safety codes.
He said that high rise buildings without proper exits and violation of building and fire safety codes would be the disasters of future.
20150912 * Are we waiting for another Baldia tragedy?:
The black patches on the walls of Ali Enterprises are a stark reminder of that fateful night when 260 workers were burned alive.
Three years on, hundreds of mourners stood in front of the factory premises in Baldia, holding pictures of their loved ones who were lost in the tragedy.
The National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) and Association of Baldia Tragedy organised a condolence reference at the site to mark the third anniversary of factory inferno on Friday evening.
The reference was attended by scores of civil activists and heirs of the victims. Missing in action were the elected representatives and government officials.
The charred building reminded elderly Muhammad Tariq of his 22-year-old-son, Faizan, who lost his life in the incident. “In just five minutes, the whole building was burned down,” he recalled.
He said that his son used to pray five times a day. “He went back to the factory after offering Asr prayers and then never came back,” he said, adding that he was the only breadwinner of the family.
Tariq does not seek any compensation.
|He said that no amount of money could heal his wound. “I just want justice,” he said. “I just want to see the culprits behind bars at least once. Maybe that will provide a bit of solace to us.”
Trying to cover her face with a scarf with one hand and holding pictures of her two sons with the other, Sarwari Begum couldn’t control her emotions.
She was standing outside the building where she lost everything. She said that her two young sons, Adil and Asif, were her world. “Life without them is nothing,” she said.
She demanded justice.
“The owner of the company has run away and there is no one to listen to our woes,” she complained. Sarwari gets a monthly stipend for her two sons but that too will end after two years.
She said that if the government was doing nothing for them, it should at least make the stipend life-time.
According to NTUF deputy secretary Nasir Mansoor, the inferno was one of the biggest industrial tragedies in history.
When asked what the government had learned from the incident, he replied, “Nothing.”
20150912 * Third anniversary of Baldia factory fire : Speakers express concern over health, safety of factories workers:
The third anniversary of the worst-ever factory fire incident in Pakistan’s history, Ali Enterprises in SITE area Karachi, commonly known as Baldia factory fire, was observed here on Friday.
On the occasion, leaders expressed their serious concerns regarding the further deteriorating conditions at workplaces in Pakistan, with no adequate measures installed on part of the government after the deadliest incident in which more than 255 workers lost their lives.
Sindh Workers Solidarity Committee, a representative committee of the trade unions, federations and labour support organisations, in collaboration with the Sindh government’s Labour and Human Resource Department organised a seminar on “Requirements and facts about health and safety of work places” at the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) House here.
Trade union leaders, civil society representatives and family members of the victim workers attended the seminar.
Researcher Zulekha Zar presented the occupational health and safety situation in textile and garments sector.
She said that in the textile sector, various chemicals like dyes and acids are used but workers are not provided personnel safety or protective gear/equipment. “Unfortunately, textile and garments sector in Pakistan is not providing preventive measures for the health and safety of the workers.”
She said that Pakistan is a signatory of various conventions of International Labour Organisation (ILO) and it has to ensure provision of ILO standards at the industries.
Farhat Fatima from the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) discussed at length the legal battle for provision of compensation to the victim families of Baldia fire incident.
She said that due to the Sindh High Court’s commission the families of the victims had received compensation.
20150912 * Protesters slam German brand in factory fire payout row:
German textile brand KiK was in the line of fire at protests by trade unions in Pakistan on Friday for refusing to pay promised compensation to the relatives of 259 workers killed in a factory fire three years ago.
Thousands of workers rallied in major cities across Sindh with banners and placards criticising the low-cost clothing retailer and the government.
The demonstrations took place exactly three years after the blaze, which was the deadliest industrial disaster in the country’s history.
The flames gutted the huge compound of Ali Enterprises, textile manufacturers located at the edge of Karachi which supplied products to KiK.
The brand agreed to pay compensation in three instalments but backed out on its promise after a one-time disbursement of one million US dollars, union leader Nisar Mansoor said.
Mansoor described the rallies as a “commemoration as well as protest against the government to provide workers a safe working environment and against KiK to fulfil its commitment.”
Families of the victims filed a case against KiK in the German city of Dortmund this year. KiK reiterated in a court statement last week that it is not obligated to pay any more compensation.
20150912 * Concern expressed over factories’ health, safety conditions:
3rd anniversary of Baldia factory inferno
Third anniversary of the worst ever factory fire incident in Pakistan’s history, Ali Enterprises in SITE area Karachi commonly known as Baldia factory fire, was observed here on Friday with a serious note of the further deteriorating conditions at the work places in Pakistan with no adequate measures on part of the government after the deadliest incident in which over 255 workers lost their lives.
Sindh Workers Solidarity Committee, a representative committee of the trade unions, federations and labour support organisations in collaboration with Sindh Government’s department of Labour and Human Resource Department organized a seminar on “Requirements and Facts about Health and Safety of Work Places” at Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) House here. Trade union leaders, civil society representatives, family members of the victim workers attended the seminars.
Senior labour leader Habibuddin Junaidi presided over the seminar, where as the main speakers were Zulekha Zar, ex-Director of National Institute of Labour Administration and Training (NILAT), Ali Ashraf Naqvi, Joint Director of Occupational Health and Safety in Sindh Labour Department, Farhat Fatima from Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER), A. H. Haidri of Employers Federation of Pakistan, Mir Zulfiqar Ali of NOW Communities and others.
After the seminar, a candle-light vigil was organized at Karachi Press Club.
20150912 * Pakistan lags far behind in compensating industrial victims:
While the families of the 289 victims of Karachi’s Baldia Town factory inferno have been awaiting justice and compensation since September 11, 2012, one continues to envy the prosecution and judicial systems of countries like the United States where the heirs of 146 garment workers were paid $75 each over 100 years ago, after their dear ones had died in New York’s Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of March 25, 1911.
Using the CPI inflation calculator, which uses the average Consumer Price Index for a given calendar year; one finds that the amount of $75 in 1913 or 102 years ago is approximately equivalent to $1,808 in 2015 in dollar terms or Pakistani Rupees 188,450 of today.
Research conducted by the “Jang Group and Geo Television Network” reveals that the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, one of the deadliest in American history, had led to the demise of 123 women and 23 men, all of whom had lost lives due to burns, smoke inhalation, falling or jumping to their deaths.
The owners of the New York factory had survived the fire by fleeing to the building’s roof when the fire began, but were later indicted on charges of first- and second-degree manslaughter because they had locked the doors to the stairwells and exits, a common practice used to prevent workers from taking unauthorized breaks and pilferage.
During the initial trial, the jury had acquitted the two men of first- and second-degree manslaughter, but they were found liable of wrongful deaths during a subsequent civil suit in 1913 in which the plaintiffs were awarded compensation in the amount of $75 per deceased victim.
When it comes to investigating industrial accidents and prosecuting the guilty elements, even Bangladesh is far ahead of Pakistan.
Following the April 2013 Savar building or Rana Plaza collapse in Dhaka, deemed to be the deadliest accidental structural failure in modern human history, murder charges were filed in June 2015 by the Bangladeshi police against 42 different people, including the owners of the building.
While 1,129 humans had perished in this accident, some 2,515 injured people were rescued alive from the Savar building or the Rana Plaza, which was housing clothing factories, a bank, apartments, and several other shops.
As far as the compensation to the victims of this tragedy is concerned, Messrs Primark (an Irish clothing retailer operating in Europe and United States) had paid a $200 compensation for families of each victim after they were able to provide DNA evidence of their relative’s death in the collapse.
In case of Karachi’s Baldia Town factory (Messrs Ali enterprises) incident, a case was initially against the factory owners, manager and other employees for their alleged negligence in managing the evacuation process during the fire and not providing a safe exit.
In 2013, the court had ordered to release the factory owners and their key managers against surety bonds of Rs200,000 each. The owners had, of course, alleged that their factory was set ablaze by stalwarts of a political party after they were not given the extortion money.
The Sindh High Court had then constituted a commission headed by Justice (Retd) Rehmat Hussain Jaffery to distribute compensation pledged by the prime minister, the chief minister, factory owners, local administration and Messrs KIK, the German buyer of the factory’s products.
20150912 * Families seek monument to Baldia factory fire victims:
A monument be erected at the place where the burnt-out facade of the Baldia garments factory stands and the culprits behind the country’s deadliest fire that claimed 259 lives on September 11, 2012 be arrested, demanded the families of the victims on the third anniversary of the incident.
Congregated in front of the Baldia factory where they were received with red flags on Friday, the families once again relived the evening when the fire broke out in the factory claiming hundreds of lives apart from injuring countless others.
Organised by the National Trade Union Federation (NTUF), the memorial reference made most people break down from time to time as they discussed their ordeal after losing their loved ones.
Sitting with the pictures of their loved ones, some of them were made to sit on the stage where they shared their stories one by one and demanded justice for those left behind.
20150911 * Three years since factory fire killed hundreds in Karachi:
It has been three years since a fire at a garment factory devoured over 260 people, relatives and families of the victims are still looking for justice and financial assistance.
Whatever caused the fire at the factory in Baldia town, the tragedy left tales of pain, dejection and helplessness.
Nazia’s last telephonic conversation with her Husbanb Riaz, who was trapped in the burning factory, still gives her sleepless nights.
“Nazia take care of my children after I am gone,” Shahid had told her before being killed with hundreds others at Ali Enterprises.
Hoping against the hopes, she wanted Shahid to keep talking so that she could comfort her heart that father of her children was alive.
The government may have forgotten the incident and its victims, but tragedy still haunts Nazia and other families whose loved ones fell victim to the deadly blaze.
20150911 * Three years on, heirs of Baldia factory fire victims still living in despair:
The fateful night of September 11, 2012 when a ravaging blaze at a Karachi’s factory gobbled over 250 lives marks three years of the most tragic factory disaster, with families of the victims still remain uncompensated.
Till date, the investigations could not track the elements responsible for the fire. Recent investigations suggested political motive backed by alleged demands of extortion from some influential quarters in Karachi.
The families of the victims were made several promises by the senior government officials, mill owners and international institutions for compensation, but to no avail.
Chief Minister of Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah had expressed ‘heartfelt condolences’ over deaths in the tragedy and announced to give government job and plot to each family of the victim, but that promise never materialized.
More to the woes, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had also assured the heirs of fire victims to give Rs 3,00,000 as compensation to each family, however he also failed to keep his word.
Several protests have been staged by National Trade Union Federation and Baldia Factory Fire Affectees’ Association in Karachi to voice support and highlight the forgotten promises to the affected families, but justice remained a distant dream in any way.
20150911 * Baldia factory fire: Three years, as many reports and the trial goes on:
There are 17 unmarked graves on the outskirts of Karachi. They have not been identified three years after the harrowing incident that claimed the lives of 259 workers in a garment factory in Baldia Town.
The mystery of the 17 victims is unlikely to be resolved. Neither is the case. The decomposed bodies of the 17 victims were buried unidentified five months after the tragedy. The case has lingered on, with the culprits unidentified much like the victims.
Such is the irony with regards to the country’s worst industrial disaster that the investigation has yet to determine whether it was an intentional act of sabotage or an accident.
Over 250 workers perished inside the locked premises of the Ali Enterprises, in Baldia on September 11, 2012.
Three years on, three investigation reports later, the case is still directionless. Initially, the case was registered by incorporating sections of premeditated murder against the factory owners, manager and other employees for their alleged negligence in managing the evacuation process during the fire and not providing a safe exit.
20150911 * Seeking justice for deadly Pakistan factory blaze:
Victims demand compensation from foreign company for fire that killed 289 garment workers in 2012.
When the fire broke out at the Ali Enterprises factory in Karachi, Pakistan, there was no way for workers to escape the flames – no firefighting equipment, no safety procedures in place, and steel bars blocked windows.
Workers who managed to breakthrough the bars had no fire escapes to climb onto, forcing many to leap to the concrete three or four storeys below.
This was not an informal sweatshop in the back lanes of Karachi, but a large-scale factory with more than 1,500 employees in the heart of the Sindh Industrial and Trading Estate (SITE), one of Pakistan’s largest industrial areas.
A commission set up by the Sindh High Court said fire – Pakistan’s worst industrial incident – killed 289 garment workers and seriously injured 55 more. In the three years since the fire, the victims have encountered delays in their quest for compensation, and now there are reports that the factory owners have fled Pakistan.
Karamat Ali, executive director of the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER), has been working to secure long-term compensation from KiK, a company with net sales that amounted to $1.68bn in 2014.
Ali described how in the aftermath of the fire, KiK paid $1m in short-term compensation and signed an agreement to enter into negotiations with PILER for long-term compensation and support measures to avoid future tragedies.
“KiK entered into preliminary negotiations and then they backed out,” explained Ali. “They said ‘We do not have responsibility for long-term compensation.'”
20150910 * ‘Three years on, no lessons learnt from Baldia factory fire’:
As families of the Baldia factory fire victims mark three long years since their loved ones never returned from work, a talk held by the National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) at the Karachi Press Club on Wednesday served to reinforce the regrettable belief that not much has changed in Pakistan’s industrial circles, at least with respect to labour conditions and work safety management.
“Till today, almost 90 percent of factories operating in Pakistan remain unregistered,” said NTUF Deputy General Secretary Nasir Mansoor while addressing a sombre audience that included family members of several of the 260 victims.
“Moreover, despite the Supreme Court’s stance, the infamous contract labour system remains fully functional.Workers are still not being given appointment letters at the time of recruitment; social security and old-age benefits are also provided selectively.”
“Many famous international brands and companies that are earning millions by utilising Pakistan’s cheap labor remain hesitant to implement accepted labour standards in their factories and workplaces, he added.
20150910 * German firm refuses to pay lifelong compensation to heirs of Baldia factory fire victims:
Months after allegations filed against them in a German court, the German brand KIK has finally filed a detailed response in court refusing to pay long-term compensation to the Baldia factory fire victims, it was stated during a press conference on Wednesday.
Explaining details of the case at the Karachi Press Club, general secretary of the National Trade Union Federation Nasir Mansoor said the brand, which already paid one part of the compensation, adding up to one million dollars, “exonerated itself from sharing further responsibility in providing the second phase of compensation for the families of the victims”.
Filed in the regional court of Dortmund in March — making it a first for a case to be filed by outsiders against a German brand in their own country — the basic demand put forth by four heirs of the victims was to provide life-long compensation to people either dead or injured in the Baldia factory fire. Eleven people submitted their documents in the German court and out of them four heirs were the first ones to file their cases. Others, decided to appear as witnesses if required, said Nasir.
The heirs of the victims were helped in filing the case by a group of German lawyers who visited Karachi in August last year and then again in January 2015.
“In their response, the brand owners have argued they are not responsible for providing lifelong compensation for the victims.
“It goes against our agreement with them last year, in which the company categorically admitted to provide financial support,” added Nasir.
The NTUF alleged that the response came after the brand agreed to provide compensation to the families in three phases. Although the brand already dispensed one million dollars as part of negotiation with the NTUF and the heirs, there were other ‘defaulters’, who refused to fulfill their promises, he added.
20150909 * German retailer KiK must pay promised compensation to Pakistani factory fire victims:
Two-hundred-and-fifty-four people burnt to death and 55 were seriously injured when a factory supplying budget-clothing brand, KiK, exploded into flames on 11 September 2012. Desperate workers were trapped in the inferno behind locked exits and barred windows.
In the aftermath of the disaster, KiK, with 3,200 stores across Germany, Austria and Eastern Europe, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), legally committing the company to make an initial payment of US$ 1 million to the victims and their families for immediate relief.
As per the agreement, KiK paid $1 million to the interim fund. However, it has so far failed to fulfill its obligations under the MOU to engage in good faith negotiations to determine long-term compensation for victims.
Additionally, the MOU required KiK to pay a sum of US$ 250,000 for future labour standard enforcement; this has also yet to be paid.
Since it signed the MOU on 21 December 2012, the company has engaged in various stalling tactics to avoid paying long-term compensation for loss of income, medical costs, pain and suffering, and more.
Rifit Bibi’s husband, Muhammad Asghar Khan, burnt to death at the Ali Enterprises fire leaving her a widow with four young children to support.
“I get a tiny amount of PKR. 5000 (US$ 47) a month as a pension, which is not enough to buy food for my children. Life is miserable since my husband died,” she said.
Shahida Parveen, a 37-year-old mother of three, lost her husband Muhammad Akmal in the disaster. Her three sons, aged 11 and under, are afraid of a future working in a factory in case they die in a fire:
“They want to work in offices, for which they need a good education. But I don’t have enough money to afford their education,” said Parveen.
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20150909 * Baldia factory fire: 64 families of victims yet to be compensated:
Three years since the country’s deadliest factory fire claimed 259 lives in Baldia, investigation is still under way and the court has yet to decide whether the fire was accidental or the result of an arson attack while the families of as many as 64 victims have not been compensated so far, it emerged on Tuesday.
Most of these people do not have computerised national identity cards, or their documents are not in place, or they are not getting the cheques due to dual nationality. In some cases, women who lost a brother or a father in the inferno, or got married in the ensuing years, are not getting permission from their in-laws to make CNICs causing issues in creating a bank account for them.
Besides, there are families which after waiting for the promised compensation relocated from Karachi or even the country.
For the past three years, labour rights organisations have been fighting on behalf of the victims and say the remaining people could have been paid if “there were not too many lacunas in the way the compensation was dispensed to the deserving”.
They have also been insisting on the need for an overhaul of the entire labour system to ensure workplace safety and precautions for workers.
Shujauddin Qureshi, executive director of Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research, said: “What boggles my mind even today is that the accused in the case, whose statement based on mere hearsay was bandied about so much, is nowhere on the scene any more. Apparently, he was given a bail and shortly afterwards moved abroad.”
Nasir Mansoor, general secretary of the National Trade Union Federation, said: “It rests on the court to decide whether the fire was accidental or arson. At the same time, whether accidental or arson, what should be focused on, is whether the factory had all precautionary arrangements for its 1,500 labourers? The answer to that is a clear no.”
At present, Rehana claims, her biggest struggle during her daily 9 to 5 routine is to look for the families of the victims.
So far, the families of the victims have been paid in three instalments: Rs700,000 from the Sindh government, Rs400,000 from the German company KIK, which is the only instalment the company is willing to pay, according to NTUF, and Rs500,000 from the death grant paid by the owners, Rehana said.
20150907 * Heirs of Baldia factory fire victims looking for justice:
“I am not here just to protest for the compensation money for my son, I want that no more mothers go through what I have to,” said Saeeda Khatoon, mother of 20-year-old Ayan, one of the over 200 victims of the Baldia Town factory fire, the worst industrial fire incident in the country’s history.
Saeeda, a resident of Orangi Town, was among scores of the family members of the victims of the Baldia factory fire who gathered in front of the Karachi Press Club on Sunday to mark the third anniversary of the tragic blaze that killed 260 people and wounded hundreds others.
The incident took place on Sept 11, 2012. However, the organisers held the protest demonstration to mark the third anniversary on Sunday as most participants were wage-earners and it was not easy for them to join a protest on a working day.
Her eyes brimmed with tears as she spoke about her son, her only child, who had started working in the factory just a few weeks before the deadly incident.
“It is not just a matter of money,” she said. “Our aim is to strive for better conditions in factories to ensure that no mother should lose her son in the future.”
Muhammad Jabir, 65, who lost his 22-year-old son Jehanzaib, said that the incident psychologically affected him so badly that he quit his work as a gas cutting machine operator in Shershah’s scrap and disallowed any of the remaining three sons to work in any factory.
“My son was a machine operator in the factory,” said Mr Jabir as he tried to suppress tears. “I raised my four sons and thttp://www.tagesschau.de/wo daughters as their mother as my wife died 19 years ago.”
The demonstration he was part of was organised by the National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) and Baldia Factory Fire Affectees’ Association.
20150908 * Apparel companies make a beeline for Ethiopia:
Even as the Modi government aggressively pushes its ‘Make in India’ programme, a host of home-grown apparel makers are putting in millions of dollars in Ethiopia, a promising sourcing destination for global manufacturers.
The Ethiopian government is offering attractive incentives to draw foreign investors, such as land on decades-long lease, cheap power and duty-free exports to key markets like the US and Europe.
Indian enterprises, both large and mid-sized, have taken note of the benefits and are setting up manufacturing facilities in Africa’s oldest independent country. Fabric-to-apparel maker Raymond will be investing $100 million over the next two-three years for a garmenting unit in Awasa, a lake-side city, which will be one of its largest facilities.
“There are two major manufacturing costs – labour and power. We looked at various options including Ethiopia, Vietnam and Myanmar, and decided to go for Ethiopia because of its favourable political and economic climate,” said Sanjay Behl CEO, Raymond. Behl explained that labour costs in Ethiopia are 50% cheaper compared to India and power tariffs one-third.
15:08:01 local time UZBEKISTAN
* Cotton Harvests Underway in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan: Top 5 Issues to Track:
Every year for their entire history, the governments of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan have systematically coerced their own citizens to cultivate and pick cotton, with the profits benefiting the government elite rather than the people.
To harvest cotton last year, the Uzbek government forced over a million citizens to the fields, and the Turkmen government forced tens of thousands.
Since neither government has changed its cotton production system it is inevitable that government-orchestrated forced labor will continue this harvest season, in violation of national and international law.
In Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, the world’s fifth and seventh-largest cotton exporters, the annual harvests began this week.
Here are five key issues to monitor:
1. Will the Uzbek and Turkmen governments uphold laws prohibiting forced labor?
After committing in an agreement with the ILO to eradicate forced labor in April 2014, the Uzbek government forcibly mobilized more adults to harvest cotton than ever last fall, apparently to compensate for fewer children being sent to the fields. The welcome reduction in forced child labor in 2014 demonstrated that the Uzbek government responds to international pressure and can end the forced labor system. (…)
2. Will the Uzbek and Turkmen governments allow independent human rights organizations, activists and journalists to investigate and report on conditions in the cotton production sector without fear of reprisals?
3. Will the World Bank suspend its loans to the Uzbek government if there is forced labor in Bank project areas?
4. Will Daewoo International, General Motors, Teliasonera, Telenor and other multinational companies operating in Uzbekistan stop contributing to and benefitting from forced labor?
5. Will H&M, Inditex and other global apparel companies urge the Turkmen government to stop its use of forced labor?
20150904 * Why Consumers Matter in Realizing Workers’ Rights:
In March of 2002, Irvine California saw its first public protest. Ever. Long before you could see anything at Taco Bell headquarters, you could hear something coming.
People going about their daily routine stopped and inclined to listen. It sounded at first like a strange, far-off buzzing, then a rumble that gradually crescendoed to the beat of thousands of feet marching.
Under the blazing Southern California sun, a thin ripple of color began to rise across the horizon where the street meets the sky as a great river of humanity began to take shape in the distance.
Now you could hear them chanting, “Boycott Taco Bell” as they surged forward toward the company’s headquarters more than 2,000 strong, consumers and farmworkers together, banners soaring, cries for justice reverberating in the air. The power and hope was palpable. It was an exhilarating moment.
But it was more than that. It was the dawn of a new strategy for worker rights protection.
The Taco Bell boycott was the seminal battle in the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ (CIW) Campaign for Fair Food.
Through the campaign, tomato pickers from the dirt-poor town of Immokalee, Florida, joined forces with consumers in a national alliance to demand real, measurable supply chain accountability from some of the world’s largest retail food corporations.
Today, 14 of these corporations have signed binding agreements with the CIW, and the Fair Food Program has eliminated many longstanding human rights abuses, including forced labor, and increased wages for tens of thousands of tomato workers from Florida to New Jersey.
U.S. farmworkers and their activist allies are not alone in using consumer pressure to compel giant retailers to accept fundamental change in their supply chains or in their franchises. US fast-food workers appear to be reaching the tipping point in the Fight for 15 with their own employers, thanks in large part to their successful outreach to consumers across the country.
Meanwhile, workers and consumers have achieved a breakthrough in the battle for safe and decent conditions in the garment factories of Bangladesh, where more than three million workers sew clothes, for 31 cents an hour, to supply American and European brands and retailers.
The horrific Rana Plaza factory collapse, which took the lives of more than a thousand workers in April of 2013, was the worst such disaster in Bangladesh, but it was not the first.
After every prior disaster — like the seven different fires and building collapses in 2005 and 2006 that collectively killed more than 200 people — the global corporations that use these factories promised to clean up the industry, but then failed to keep their promises.
* editors note:
That are just some articles, “In Case You Missed It”.
Probably there will be many articles more than are posted here, during this period…