in the news on-line, 14 September 2012

05:12:49 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Identifying Vietnamese victims in Russian fire:

Initial statistics showed that six victims come from Nghe An province, three from Quang Binh province, three from Hai Duong province, one from Thanh Hoa province, and one from Ha Nam province.

Representatives from Vietnamese and Russian agencies have been working hard to identify the victims using the DNA technology.

A special working group was established by the Vietnamese Embassy in Russia to speed up the rescue work. They comprise embassy officials, representatives from the Vietnam garment association and the Vietnamese community in Russia.

The embassy will re-grant personal papers to those who survived the disaster and lost all their belongings so that they can either stay longer in Russia or return to Vietnam, said Nguyen Dong Trieu, Minister Councellor of the embassy, head of the working group.

Embassy representatives arrived at a local hospital to inquire into the health of those who were injured in the fire.

More than 50 Vietnamese nationals were working when the fire broke out. Fourteen workers were burnt to death, one was injured, and the remainder managed to escape the roaring flame.

According to Trieu, survivors were asked to come to the hospital to identify their peers. In case the victims are not identified, their DNA samples will be taken to refer to those of their relatives sent from Vietnam. to read.

* National jobs, training programme to boost employment:

A national employment and vocational programme will help create up to 800,000 new jobs by 2015.

The VND30.5 trillion (US$1.45 billion) programme, approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, will have various projects funded by loans from the National Employment Fund.
It will provide vocational training, promote labour export, and develop labour markets, especially in rural areas, to foster national development and global integration.
By setting up 130 vocational schools of national, regional, and global standards, the programme will help increase the number of skilled workers to 40 per cent by 2015.
read more.

05:12:49 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Faintings and strikes continue:

More than 50 workers from H&L Apparel in Phnom Penh were taken to hospital yesterday after fainting at work.

“They fainted because they lacked food and adequate hygiene and the chemicals in the clothes made them weak,” said Free Trade Union official Oum Lina, who visited the workers at the hospital.

According to the Free Trade Union, 1,424 Cambodian factory workers have fainted so far this year.

Meanwhile, Kampong Speu province’s Sein-Atree factory workers, who had been striking since Tuesday for better working conditions and wages the factory withheld, met yesterday with union and provincial labour department officials but failed to find a solution. read more.

* Plush-toy factory to pay up:

The owner of teddy-bear company First & Main promised yester­day to pay 357 em­ployees at its shuttered factory in Phnom Penh half of the wages they are owed, a workers’ representative said.

Amid speculation the factory had gone bankrupt, First & Main’s US-based President Brad Holes took to Skype to resolve the issue, said Mech Mom, a worker who witnessed his call with Social Affairs Ministry officials.
“We will go to the factory [this morning] to get our wages for August,” she said. “Ministry officials said we would receive the other half in a week or two.” read more.

* 19 factory workers injured as vehicle crashes:

Nineteen workers from a garment factory in the Manhattan Special Economic Zone were injured Thursday as the vehicle in which they were traveling crashed, a source said.

The source said that the accident, involving a vehicle loaded with about 60 people, took place in Tropang Bun village in Prey Koki commune in slippery road conditions.
Victims were sent to Svay Rieng hospital. to read.

* China’s investment in energy crucial to Cambodia-minister:

Cambodian Minister of Industry, Mines and Energy on Thursday hailed Chinese companies for hugely investing in the country’s energy sector, which is a key element to support the sustainable social and economic development.

Suy Sem’s appreciation was made during a bilateral meeting with Wu Yin, Deputy Administrator of China’s National Energy Administration.

“Most investors in the country’s energy sector are from China. Chinese investors have invested billions of U.S. dollars in building hydropower dams and power transmission lines in Cambodia,” he told reporters after the meeting. “The investment in this sector is very vital for Cambodia’s social and economic development and poverty alleviation.” read more.

06:12:49 local time map of malaysia MALAYSIA

* Bonia on overseas expansion drive:

While the major shareholders are maintaining that they do not intend to privatise Bonia Corp Bhd, the leatherware, shoes and apparel company will focus on an aggressive overseas expansion drive.

Group managing director Albert Chiang Heng Kieng told StarBiz that the expansion in Indonesia and Vietnam, after reaching critical mass, would keep the company busy for the next three to five years.
“We started with joint ventures with local parties in these countries, and now we are expanding our presence on our own. We are looking at setting up our own retail stores there and also seek opportunities in the Middle East,” he said.
He said although the retail market was going through challenging times, the family would continue to grow the business. read more.

04:12:49 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

* RMG workers ransack factory in city for arrears:

Angry garment workers ransacked their factory in the city’s Mirpur area on Thursday morning demanding payment of their salaries that fell several months’ arrears.

Police said the workers of Rebeka Garment situated at Akram Tower near the Mirupr branch of Cambrian School and College abstained from the work in the morning and attacked the factory office at about 10:30 am.
They vandalised the window panes, chairs and tables of the office room demanding their due salaries be paid immediately.
On information, police rushed in and pacified the angry garment workers giving them assurance that their salaries would be paid on September 17.
The authorities also declared the factory closed until September 16.
to read.
read more.
  

* RMG workers block Dhaka-Ctg Highway for wages:

Several hundred apparel workers on Thursday blocked the Dhaka–Chittagong Highway at Shimrail of Shiddhirganj in Narayanganj for an hour demanding their payment in arrears.
The workers of Prime Fashion said that the factory authorities suddenly announced holiday for all the workers without paying them their wages for August. The workers then took to the streets and had blocked the road stretch for an hour from midday, causing a tailback back, the police said.
The police later dispersed the protesters.
The factory manager, Mahbub Hossain, said that they could not pay the wages as they had not received any work order. to read. & read more.
  

* RMG worker’s death in Gazipur road crash sparks violence:

Outraged by the death of a fellowman in a road accident at Soydana in Sadar upazila on Thursday morning,  garment workers and local people torched three buses and damaged many more passing vehicles on the busy Dhaka-Mymensingh Highway.

The deceased was identified as Hazrat Ali, 18, a worker of ‘Eva Sweaters Limited’ and son of Babar Ali of Khiradia village in Kishoreganj Sadar upazila.
Police and locals said the accident occurred when a Dhaka-bound bus, ‘Balaka Paribahan’, ran over Ali at about 8am, leaving him dead on the spot.

As the death news spread around, agitated garment workers and local people blocked the highway and torched the three buses and damaged other vehicles.
On information, firefighters from Gazipur rushed in and put out the fire.
read more. & read more. & read more.
   

* Russian apparel market invites Bangladesh:

Apposite business planning is fundamental for shaping up business strength. It is shown that in a world of diverse beliefs, to be rational, a belief must fluctuate around the empirical frequencies, generating endogenous amplification.

Market belief, which is the distribution of individual beliefs, is then observable via sampling. Traditional finance is built on the rationality paradigm. But if we view financial markets as complex evolutionary systems, we are bound to be rational in investment decisions and dependent upon market-forecasting heuristics.

Business is now a mechanism and so, we tend to think about prices and market beliefs to stand against any financial straits that may slacken off pace of the economy of the globe. Strategy choice should therefore be driven by evolutionary selection so that we could adopt strategies that meet expectations of real financial market with human subjects being discussed. read more.

* Power loom gaining popularity over handloom in Pabna:

Thousands of women have lost their jobs due to closure of hundreds of handloom factories and at the same time power loom is gaining popularity in different upazilas of the district.

Once the weavers were contented with the work in their own houses and played a significant role in the rural economy But now scenario has changed.

At least ten thousand men and women are working in the handloom and power loom factories at different upazilas of the district. Their works include rolling looms with machines and doing other related works.
Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS) organized a field trip recently under “Advocacy and Communication for Children and Women Development (4th phase) project” with the assistance of UNICEF.

Champa Begum,30 living with her husband Aftab uddin and two sons Sobuj, Shimul and one daughter, Shanti at Jogannathpur village of Bholbaria under Santhia upazila, work as a weaver at her house.
She said ” women workers compared to male workers earn less amount here. In short time many power loom factories grew up in the district and that are producing double the amount of handloom. It is a traditional work in the area.

I can earn Tk 120 to 150 by weaving 4 to 5 lunges from 7am to 5 pm per day, Champa said adding the handloom owners are not getting financial help from the government or non-government side. Besides, power loom owners are not interested to appoint female workers now a days. read more.

* State-owned banks urged to provide Tk 4.0b loan to jute sector:

Textiles and Jute Ministry has asked the country’s state-owned banks to provide Tk 4.0 billion loan to jute sector to lessen the present crisis of the industry.

The ministry proposed the four state-run banks to disburse Tk 1.0 billion each to the jute mills to keep smooth their operation, sources said.
The banks are Sonali Bank, Janata Bank, Agrani Bank and Rupali Bank.

The decision came in a recent meeting focusing on present situation of jute sector, chaired by Abdul Latif Siddique, minister, Ministry of Textiles and Jute where jute millers and bankers were present, among others.
The textiles and jute minister said the prices of raw jute decreased recently mainly due to scarcity of money in the market. read more.

03:42:49 local time map of india INDIA

* Income inequality on the rise in India, says Unctad report:

Experts in the Planning Commission and policy analysts can deliberate endlessly over the relatively faster reduction of poverty in the post-liberalisation phase of the Indian economy.

But the incontrovertible fact is that inequalities in income and consumption within the country have widened.
The Trade & Development Report (TDR) of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad), released here on Wednesday, noted that while the processes of globalisation have been associated with greater inequalities of income and consumption in developing countries and in China, this is “particularly evident in India”.
Without mincing words, the flagship report of Unctad said the gains from growth in India have been concentrated among “the surplus-takers which includes profits, rents and financial incomes”. read more.

* Rural wages double, industry wages up 63% in last 10 years:

Farm labourers have a reason to cheer as their average daily wages have more than doubled during the last decade due to short supplies while industrial workers have to be happy with 63% rise due to recent slowdown and as government failed to link their minimum wages to retail inflation rate.

Farm labourers also benefited from the linking of NREGA wages to consumer price inflation. The average daily wages for agricultural field labour for ploughing increased by 108% while it was up 117% for labourers used for harvesting during 2001-2011.

At the same period, increase in average wage for industrial workers covered under Annual Survey for Industries (ASI) has gone by only 62.6%. A harvesting job yielded a daily wage worker an average R117 till last year as against R 56 in 2001-02. For ploughing, the prevailing daily wages is around R108, rising from R 69 a decade ago. During the same period, the daily wages in the non-agriculture or industrial sector has gone up from R152 to R 247. In absolute terms, industrial wages may look more than farm wages, the cost of living in cities and places where industries are located are much higher. Though the government mandated minimum wages for factory workers is now a R115 per day, big companies offer a higher wage to their workers —both permanent and contract labourers. Wages are low in small and medium enterprises. Acknowledging that wages for the agricultural labour vary from state to sate, the agriculture ministry’s assessment says “wage levels in the agricultural sector have increased considerably during recent years.” read  more.

* 60% cotton crop fails:

The cotton and ground nut crop in the state has failed. According to an estimate, about 60 per cent of the cotton has failed in the state.

Sources in the industry said that the cotton crop has turned yellow, while the groundnuts are very small as compared to its regular size. Officials said that the cotton crop in Saurashtra, Kutch, Mehsana, Patan and Banaskantha has totally failed.
Crops like cotton and groundnut that had been sown earlier in the beginning of the monsoon have failed on account of rain deficiency that was experienced for most of the last two months. read more.

* Diesel price hike a blow to Tirupur knitwear industry:

The decision to raise the diesel prices by Rs. 5 a litre has caused a wave of disappointment in Tirupur knitwear cluster.

“It is a big blow to already cash-starving apparel manufacturers in the cluster. With power cuts back to more than 10 hours a day, the garment manufacturers have been heavily depending on the diesel-run generators to run the unit and meet the delivery schedules,” R. Girish, spokesperson of Tirupur Exporters and Manufacturers Association said.
The industry experts pointed out that the increase in diesel prices would thus be hiking the production costs significantly and make the entrepreneurs end up producing apparels on very thin margins. read more.

* Irked shoe retailers to observe strike on Friday:

Irked by the increased VAT, shoe manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers have decided to observe complete strike on Friday, September 14 across Punjab.

Shoe Merchants Association of Punjab spokesperson Harpreet Singh said, “The state government has increased VAT on footwear, leaving the footwear industry in crisis.” Singh said earlier there was 5.5% VAT on items except leather and 12.50% on leather items. Now the government has introduced 5.5%VAT and 10% surcharge on all footwear on the sale price up to Rs 250.read more.

* Digjam mulls foray into readymade garments:

Having gained experience in its long association with major fashion brands in the US and Europe for over two decades, Gujarat-based vertically-integrated textile manufacturer, Digjam Limited, is now contemplating entering the readymade garments space.

The publicly-listed company, at present, feeds the readymade garments segment in a big way by exporting around 45% of its annual five million metre production to Europe, India’s second largest market after the US.

“Readymade garments segment is not a direct entry target for us now as we actually do not want to hit our own customer base. We, however, are constantly evaluating that space and we will get into it whenever it make sense,” C Bhasker, managing director of Digjam Limited, told Business Standard.  read more.

* Quest for textile technology ends at India ITME 2012:

India’s most prestigious Textile Machinery Show is to be held in Mumbai from 2nd to 7th December 2012 at Bombay Convention & Exhibition Centre, Goregaon (E), Mumbai, India. India ITME 2012 is a much awaited and spectacular event showcasing hi-tech machinery, innovative technology and accessories and services related to textile engineering sector and is the “gateway event” to a vast market opportunity.

Indian textile industry is exploding with opportunity and is hungry for technology, machinery and joint venture partners to enable them meet the market demand. The Indian textile industry has a unique position as it is a self reliant industry from production of the raw material to fabrics and garment and contribute majorly to employment and economy of the country. read more.

03:42:49 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* Sri Lanka Orient Garments helped by children’s wear:

Sri Lanka’s Orient Garments Ltd, a listed apparel exporter said a strategy of focusing on children’s had helped it survive a downturn in key Western markets, though both profits and revenues fell.

In the year to March 2012, revenues of Orient Garment group fell 4.7 percent to 3.41 billion rupees and profits fell 23.9 percent to 85.1 million rupees.
Chief executive Ramli Ghaffoor told shareholders the firm was the largest children’s wear supplier to Tommy Hilfiger worldwide, the only children’s wear supplier to Burbery in Sri Lanka and the largest woven vendor for Tesco in Sri Lanka.”Our strategy of being a leading children’s wear supplier has worked well, as we find pratents continuing to buy clothing for their children even during hard times,” he said.
“Being specialized outer wear manufacturer making technically super garments has enabled use to maintain high levels of skill in all our manufacturing facilities.”He said the firm’s marketing team worked hard to establish strategic relationships and the firm offered wide product range with design capabilities, shorter lead times and a skilled workforce.
The firm’s 3,600 strong workforce was provided transport, free and subsidized meals and medical centres in the factories. read more.

03:12:49 local time map of uzbekistan UZBEKISTAN

* Cotton Campaign Calls on UBTIC to End Its Support for State-Sponsored Forced Labor System of Cotton Production:

Today, the Cotton Campaign sent the following letter to Mr. Peter Lilley, MP, House of Commons and Co-Chairman of Uzbek-British Trade & Industry Council, following the UBTIC’s promotion of the upcoming Uzbek Cotton and Textile Fair

13 September 2012

Rt. Hon. Peter Lilley MP
Co-Chairman of Uzbek-British Trade & Industry Council
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
Dear Mr. Lilley,

Ahead of the 19th session of Uzbek-British Trade and Industry Council, the Cotton Campaign calls on the UBTIC to end its support for the state-sponsored forced labour of children and adults in the cotton sector of Uzbekistan, a system that is a serious and systematic human rights violation and as such presents a specific responsibility to companies that source cotton or are directly invested in this high-risk environment to take action to ensure that they are not complicit.
read more.

03:12:49 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Energy woes: over 40 percent of textile industry has shifted to Bangladesh?:

More than 40 percent of the Pakistani textile industry and around 0.2 million power looms have shifted to Bangladesh in the last five years due to energy crisis in Pakistan and better incentives in Bangladesh, which has created serious employment related problems in the country.

Discussion with the industry stakeholders, farmers’ representatives and officials of Textile Ministry revealed that only in Punjab over 200,000 families are directly or indirectly negatively affected. Mohsin Aziz Khan, Chairman All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) said that about 15 million people are directly or indirectly associated with textile industry and around 3 to 4 million people have been negatively affected, adding that the sector is facing six hours power outages daily, besides two-day gas loadshedding.

He said at present all the textile units are working in two shifts instead of three shifts, which has deprived numerous people of their jobs. According to an official of Textile Ministry, Bangladesh as a least developed country, has tax-free access to 37 countries including the European Union, Canada and Australia, which is one of the key reason why a large number of Pakistani textile units have relocated there in recent times.read more.

* European Parliament: APTMA welcomes trade incentives:

Chairman All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Mohsin Aziz has welcomed the trade incentives from the European Parliament. The European Parliament Thursday gave a go ahead to the temporary trade incentives for Pakistan, two years after its announcement made with a view to help the country recover from the massive devastation caused by widespread floods in 2010.

Chairman APTMA has expressed the hope that Pakistan’s total exports to Europe could witness a boost up to $800 million to $1 billion under the above package. This exceptional measure, to apply until the end of 2013, will include fabrics, garments, linen, ethanol and leather, he added.read more.

* Textile industry gas supply reduced to four days a week:

Gas supply to the textile industry has been reduced to four days a week against earlier arrangement of five days a week due to annual turnaround of Qadirpur Gas Field. Textile industry circles reported huge problem due to further reduction in gas supply schedule and termed it detrimental to the production capacity of the industry.

The SNGPL sources said restriction of four days a week gas supply will continue until the end of next week, followed by resumption of five days a week gas supply per week. Talking to Business Recorder, many industrialists pointed out that the SNGPL field staff is busy in arm twisting by disrupting their connections without prior notice. It may be noted that energy shortage to the textile mills in the province of Punjab has become a stumbling block in smooth production flow. Not only gas supply to the captive power plants of the textile mills is slashed but also the electricity supply is short.read more.

* Karachi factory fire: Fearing fallout, industry keeps its distance:

The inferno at the Karachi garment factory was contained by Thursday but has left several burning issues behind.

Fearing fallout from the inferno, the export-oriented textile industry tried to keep its distance from the ill-fated factory, but also called upon a thorough investigation of the incident.
“It is a big incident and we cannot ignore it,” said, chairman Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) Shahzad Saleem.
The association has 650 members, and Ali Enterprises, the Karachi factory where 259 workers perished, was a member.

“Our association does not have the power to check every member factory of ours,” Saleem said when asked what PRGMEA does for safety inspections.
“The buyer that places an order with a local company does its own audit of the factory,” he said. read more.

THE KARACHI  & LAHORE FIRES

* Survivors narrate nightmarish experience:

“The electricity went off with a sound of a blast, followed by four to five more explosions that filled the entire floor with poisonous gas. There was total chaos as people ran for safety but found no way to escape, because the main entrance and the gate on the second floor were closed,” says Shehzad Ali while narrating how he survived the devastating fire at the garment factory in Baldia.

“How the gates got closed on that day when they always remain open,” wonders 47-year-old Ali, who is currently under observation at surgical ward-II of the Civil Hospital Karachi, believing that the incident is somewhat like a conspiracy.

According to the survivors’ accounts, more than 500 people, including 50 women, were present inside the factory when the fire engulfed the building on Tuesday evening at around 6.30pm, half an hour before its closing time. Luckily, half of the over 1,000 factory employees had already left the premises by that time, some survivors at the hospital tell Dawn.
read more.
& read HUNDREDS SAW HELL ON EARTH: Nation’s worst industrial tragedy.

* Choosing between hazardous work or starvation:

“Everyone has to die one day. People like me will die of starvation if they don’t work,” says a survivor of the Bund Road shoe factory inferno.

“I am ready to resume work in the basement (of the burnt factory) as soon as possible. Everything there is intact,” Khurram told Dawn on Wednesday near the factory gate.

The 22-year-old resident of Ganda Engine Chowk of Gowalmandi was among more than 50 labourers giving final touches to soles in the basement of the factory on Tuesday evening when flames engulfed its upper storeys.

A blast followed by cries of panicked labourers on the upper storeys forced Khurram and his colleagues to come out and subsequently run for their lives.

“I know it is very risky to work at such places. The chemicals used in closed places like this do have health hazards… there is no escape from death in case of a fire but what other option people like me have? Isn’t it better to be burnt alive than to die of starvation,” he argued. read more.

* No killed worker had appointment letter:

Not a single deceased employee of the burnt factory at Baldia, Ali Enterprises had appointment letter and thus no one of them was registered with Social Security, Employees Old-Age Benefits Institution and other as such institutes, The News has reliably learnt.

The majority of victims of the worst fire eruption case in industrial areas in Pakistan’s history were below the age of 35 years. The factory was setup some 12 years ago at the main road of Hub River and officials concerned of Labour Department could not see extreme labour laws’ violation over there. No case was ever registered in some court of law by any government department against this factory which they could have made if some labour inspector had paid the visit of the factory.

The News has got sketchy profile of owner of the factory whose name is reported to be Dr Shahid Bhaila who happened to be in his late forties. He is qualified medical doctor but not practicing medicine anymore due to his business activities.

He is one of the major exporters of garments especially trousers in Pakistan to developed countries and he is the member of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industries besides having membership of Readymade Garments Association of Pakistan. The person in question has business family background and was influential enough to keep authorities concerned silent over labour issues. read more.
                                

* Murder case registered against Karachi fire factory owners:

Police in Karachi have registered a murder case against the owners of a garment factory where a fire killed at least 258 people in the country’s worst ever industrial disaster, officers said on Thursday.

The government has ordered an inquiry and a senior official already told AFP that the two brothers who owned the factory have been barred from leaving the country.
A case has been filed against Abdul Aziz, Mohammad Arshad and Shahid Bhaila and other members of the management of Ali Enterprises, Mohammad Nawaz Gondal, the head of the local police station, told AFP.

“We have registered a murder case against the owners of the factory and several government officials for showing utter negligence to provide adequate security to the factory workers, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people,” Gondal said.
read more.

* Burned alive: Who is to blame?:

The Civil Hospital Karachi was shadowed in a strange silence and gloom yesterday morning. Over fifty ambulances sprawled the space outside the morgue.

Every few minutes a siren blasted from round the corner, and another ambulance made its entry. As a group of anxious relatives surrounded the ambulance, no one spoke. Many families repeated the exercise, till suddenly a cry of horror would break cut the deadly silence like a knife. As each member of the family peeked inside the ambulance, their grief, shock and despair would give way to tears ─ they had identified their loved one ─ only that the victim no longer lives.

They too fell prey to one of the most tragic incident this city has witnessed. The fire broke in a textile factory on Hub River road and could not be controlled even after twelve hours of fire-fighting.

As the ambulances poured in with more dead bodies, there was no more space in the morgue. The burnt victims were left to be identified in the vehicles parked all over the hospital. Grieving families could be seen sitting in the corners wiping their tear-stained faces. Some fainted with the shock and were taken to the Emergency Department for treatment. read more.& read Scenes of horror engulf Karachi.

* They had no chance of survival: Firefighters:

For Feroze Khan, a senior fire brigade official, it was the toughest day of his life.

“I haven’t seen anything like this in 29 years of my career. There have been devastating fires before but so many deaths just boggle the mind,” he said. “They had no chance of survival.”

Twenty-two hours after the fire broke out at the factory, smoke was still coming out of the three-storey building on Wednesday. The heat of the floor burned the feet and the water left by the night-long fire fight simmered. Every few minutes a body would come out, followed by an unconscious rescue worker.

Slippers, a purse and some identity cards were spared by the raging fire. Half-done jeans hung from stitching machines. Blood splattered the washroom on the second floor from where people had attempted to escape.

“Bodies were lying on top of each other in a heap. They must have struggled hard to find an exit,” Feroze Khan said talking about a part of the factory where 100 bodies were found – some charred beyond recognition. read more.

* Industrialists want govt to ensure safety standards:


Rescue workers try to access the top floor of one of the buildings belonging to Ali Enterprises using ladders on fire trucks. The volunteers were reluctant to enter the building since there were fears that it might collapse. They cautiously accessed rooms on the top floor using the roof of the adjacent building.

In view of the blaze at the textile factory, the country’s topmost body of traders and industrialists has called on the government to start a nationwide drive to ensure safety standards at factories.

“This is a huge loss. We want to follow it up until its logical end,” said Haji Fazal Kadir Sherani, the president of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) while talking to The Express Tribune on Wednesday.

“We must ask the government how such factories get the clearance from government departments without meeting the safety standards,” he replied when asked about the safety rules prevalent at factories. “The owners are to be held responsible if safety standards are neglected at their factories.”

The incident is not the first. Some factories are located in congested streets where even fire tenders can’t go. “Both the fire incidents of Karachi and Lahore need thorough investigations and we are ready to support the government in this task,” Sherani added. read more.

* City hospitals can treat only 50-70 burn victims at a time:

In case of a massive fire incident on the pattern of Baldia garment factory, Karachi’s tertiary-care hospitals have the treatment capacity for only 60 to 70 burn patients, as the Civil Hospital Karachi alone has a fully-equipped burns centre with trained staff and an Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

The News conducted a survey on Wednesday following the tragic fire incident at the garment factory in Baldia, in which over 300 persons were burnt alive, wherein it was revealed that only Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK) has a dedicated Burns Centre with a maxim patient capacity of 50.

The other largest public sector hospital in Sindh, Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), has no facility to treat burn patients while Abbassi Shaheed Hospital, which is run by the Karachi’s local government, has dedicated a few beds at the Plastic Surgery Ward to treat completely or partially burnt patients. read more.

* Haunted factory throws up human remains:

Rescue workers at the gutted factory wrapped up their operation on Thursday after battling the deadly fire for almost 45 hours.

They recovered limbs and other parts of human bodies from the haunted industrial unit, allowing police investigators and forensic experts to start their job of ascertaining the reasons behind the incident.
A number of area people and relatives of the victims gathered outside the Ali Enterprises, chanting slogans against the ‘slow-paced operation’ by rescue organisations. Many of them entered the building to assist firefighters and charity volunteers.
“We have found a couple of limbs and some parts of human bodies from the building’s basement,” said Karachi commissioner Roshan Ali Sheikh. read more.

* KCCI asks govt to give relief to inferno affectees:

The Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Thursday demanded of the government to provide relief and monetary support to the affectees of inferno at a factory in Karachi.

More than 260 people were burnt and suffocated to death in the incident besides more than dozens of people received burn injuries.
The members of KCCI said there was utmost negligence on part of various government agencies who were responsible to implement safety measures.
Concerned government departments pressurise industrialists on monthly basis to extort money in the name of implementation of rules and do not pay attention in the real implementation. read more.

* Burnt Karachi factory was not registered: Ministry of Labour report:

Sindh Ministry of Labour has submitted its initial report in the deadly factory fire in Karachi to the Sindh Government on Thursday, Express News reported on Thursday.

According to the report prepared by Director Labour-West Division, the factory had not been registered under the 1934 Factories Act and the organisation had also failed to submit a Letter of Occupation to the concerned authorities.
An organisation is bound to submit a Letter of Acceptance and or Permission Letter to the authorities. read more.

* Karachi fire and after :

The factory fires in Karachi and Lahore, which killed a combined total of over 300 people, were entirely preventable. Had the factory owners complied with existing laws and had local authorities shown any interest in enforcing these, the fires would have been preventable.
It is likely that the fires were caused by a short circuit, which accounts for nearly 50 per cent of all industrial fires and could be reduced simply by updating the obsolete electric supply system in the country. In addition, fire safety laws, which fall under the purview of district and provincial governments, should be refined in the wake of this tragedy to force all commercial and residential buildings and homes to use only fire resistant cables.

As it is, the laws we have on the books should have been enough, had they been followed and enforced, to contain the fallout from the fires. The Factories Act of 1934 (amended in 1997) has an entire section devoted to fire safety. Ali Enterprises, the textile company which owned the factory where the fire took place, is guilty of flouting several laws. According to eyewitnesses, only one exit was open while the rest were fastened. The owner and chief executive officer of Ali Enterprises have been placed on the exit control list but that on its own is not enough. They must be prosecuted and jailed for their negligence and criminality. read more.

* Geo.tv- Full Coverage:

Khi factory fire: 80pc water drained, 2 more bodies recovered
Karachi fire: Relatives risk lives to reach remains

Fire erupts once again in Karachi garment factory
Karachi inferno: factory owner expresses grief over death of workers

To read & See.

* in The News – an overview- updated:

Khi factory fire: 80pc water drained, 2 more bodies recovered

* Around 350 workers were caught by fire and died:

By Nadeem Parwaz General Secretary PTGLWF
We shocked as the reports appeared in media that around 350 workers were
caught by fire and died at the  spot in Karachi Garments Factory
and Lahore shoes Factory.Our hearts are out on the Saded incidents and We are Concerned about the
Prevailing Safety conditions at the Work place in the Factories .
These incidents Speaks in Volume about the implementation of Labour Laws
and rules while performance of relevant departments is also questionable.At this moment Pakistan Textile Garments and Leather Workers Federation
Demands:
1. The Legal heirs of all Workers died during these incident be compensated within seven days.
2. The Workers injured due to that incident be treated on state expenses and compensation be also given to them without delay.
3. A complete and comprehensive survey be conduct to all the factories to determine there measures for safety and fire.
4. Regular inspection by the Labour , Industry , Civil defence , Environment and Building departments be enforced and their periodical reports be made public.
5. Inquiry commission to investigate the both cases of the incident and fixed responsibilities may also recommended minimum requirements for exit points in each and every Factory.

* Pakistan Factory Fires Tied to Criminal Negligence by Government and Employers:

By Khalid Mahmood is the director of the Labour Education Foundation in Pakistan.

At least 289 textile workers in Karachi and 25 shoe makers in Lahore died due to factory fires on Tuesday. This is the biggest loss of worker lives due to factory fires in Pakistan in some decades. The cruel negligence of governments in Sindh and Punjab and also of the federal government has resulted in such a huge loss of lives of the poorest of the poor.

Looking at the factories engulfed with fire on television, I could imagine the working conditions inside these factories, with very small work spaces for each worker, no proper ventilation system, only one exit, no fire safety equipment and an atmosphere full of chemicals. This is the horrifying situation that still exists in many thousand other small factories in Pakistan’s largest cities. Sindh and Punjab are both provinces that have had a ban on the labour inspection of factories until last year. Even still, the labour department officials cannot inspect the factories without prior approval from the employer. In addition, rampant corruption within labour departments deprives workers of their basic rights.

Today, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that the Federal Investigation Agency will investigate these factory fires. The irony is that the government is still not upholding its responsibility to implement laws with sufficient political will in order to ensure the protection of workers’ basic rights, including safe working conditions and freedom of association. Instead, the government’s response is to investigate the incident as an isolated, exceptional incident. No doubt it is heinous crime that should be investigated, with responsible persons from employers and government brought to justice; but government should also show a willingness to implement labour laws in their true spirit, and providing sufficient tools and trainings to its officials in order to adequately monitor workplaces.read more.
 

* Death Trap Factories in Pakistan:

-Simultaneous Labor Protests In Four Countries Target Hemisphere’s Largest Supplier of Adidas and Nike-
By Nasir Mansoor Deputy General Secretary of the National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) of Pakistan.

It was the darkest and saddest day in the history of Pakistan’s labour movement when more than 300 workers were burned alive in Karachi on Tuesday, September 11, in the country’s most severe garment factory fire accident.

The accident was not the first one in this factory, or in other factories. Unsafe working conditions are an everyday phenomenon, which go unnoticed until the most heinous crimes finally capture the media limelight. This week, more than 300 workers lost their precious lives at the alter of capitalist greed and lust for profits.

The Pakistani society is so criminally brutalized that in a sense no-one heeds the voices and cries of the downtrodden until uncalculable damage and the unimaginable miseries are inflicted upon them. The same is the case for workers at Ali Enterprises, a garment factory at Hub River Road in Karachi’s SITE industrial area. The zone is the site of a couple of previous fires in which no government agency took any stern action.
(….)

The NTUF also demanded compensation of PKR one million (US$10,576) for the families of deceased workers and PKR 400,000 (US$4,230) for wounded workers along with free medical treatment. NTUF also demands strict labour inspections of all factories in coordination with worker-representative bodies, the registration of all factories under the Factory Act, the upholding of health and safety laws, the abolishment of the dreaded contracted-worker system, the issuance of appointment letters to all workers at the time of hiring, and registration with social security, old-age benefit institutions, and worker-welfare programs.

The NTUF also appeals to international bodies of workers to put pressure on international apparel brands to force local manufacturers to respect labour laws and workplace safety standards, in accordance with ILO conventions and local laws in the country of production.  read more.
  

* The horror of it all is almost unimaginable:

Over 300 workers burned and suffocated to death in their workplaces, a garment factory and a shoe factory.  
Some died while trying to jump out of windows to safety.
There were no emergency exits, no escape routes.
Not in Victorian England in the 19th century.  Not in New York City a century ago.
But this week, in the second decade of the twenty-first century.
They died in Karachi and in Lahore, making the garments and shoes that you may be wearing right now.
We honour the memory of those lives cut short by demanding justice 
  • an impartial inquiry into what happened – and punishing those at fault;
  • compensation for the families of those killed and injured;
  • and an investigation into the failures of those public authorities who should have been there to ensure the workers’ safety.
The unions in Pakistan are asking us all to take a minute and send off our messages of protest to the Prime Minister.
Please click here to do so now.:

* Make textile factories safe:

Over 300 workers were killed in devastating factory fires on 11 September at a garment factory in Karachi and a shoe factory in Lahore, Pakistan.

Various reports indicate that workers could not escape the fire because the factory buildings lacked basic fire safety standards and emergency exits.

The fire at Ali Enterprises, the garment factory located in Hub river road, Sindh Industrial Trading Estate (SITE) in Karachi killed more than 289 workers. Many of them died of suffocation as they were trapped in the basement. A large number of workers suffered grievous injuries as they jumped from the building to safety.

It is reported that the factory was illegally established and identifying the dead is extremely difficult as the workers were not registered with government authorities nor received written contracts.
In another fire accident at the four-story shoe manufacturing unit at Lahore about 25 workers were killed.

IndustriALL Global Union joins with unions in Pakistan to demand the government pay compensation of five million rupees (53,000 USD) to the families of the workers who were killed, and two million rupees (21,000 USD) to injured workers and that the workers continue to receive their salary.

Unions are also demanding the government arrest the employer and charge him with murder and take action against the labour department and government authorities that failed to ensure the safety and health of these workers.

Send your message in support of these demands to the Pakistan Prime Minister today.
 

map of Asia

VIET NAM
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CAMBODIA
* Faintings and strikes continue
* Plush-toy factory to pay up
* 19 factory workers injured as vehicle crashes
* China’s investment in energy crucial to Cambodia-minister

MALAYSIA
* Bonia on overseas expansion drive

BANGLA DESH
* RMG workers ransack factory in city for arrears
* RMG workers block Dhaka-Ctg Highway for wages
* RMG worker’s death in Gazipur road crash sparks violence
* Russian apparel market invites Bangladesh
* Power loom gaining popularity over handloom in Pabna
* State-owned banks urged to provide Tk 4.0b loan to jute sector

INDIA
* Income inequality on the rise in India, says Unctad report
* Rural wages double, industry wages up 63% in last 10 years
* 60% cotton crop fails
* Diesel price hike a blow to Tirupur knitwear industry
* Irked shoe retailers to observe strike on Friday
* Digjam mulls foray into readymade garments
* Quest for textile technology ends at India ITME 2012

SRI LANKA
* Sri Lanka Orient Garments helped by children’s wear

UZBEKISTAN
* Cotton Campaign Calls on UBTIC to End Its Support for State-Sponsored Forced Labor System

PAKISTAN
* Energy woes: over 40 percent of textile industry has shifted to Bangladesh?
* European Parliament: APTMA welcomes trade incentives
* Textile industry gas supply reduced to four days a week
* Karachi factory fire: Fearing fallout, industry keeps its distance
* THE KARACHI & LAHORE FIRES:
* Survivors narrate nightmarish experience
* Choosing between hazardous work or starvation
* No killed worker had appointment letter
* Murder case registered against Karachi fire factory owners
* Burned alive: Who is to blame?
* They had no chance of survival: Firefighters
* Industrialists want govt to ensure safety standards
* City hospitals can treat only 50-70 burn victims at a time
* Haunted factory throws up human remains
* KCCI asks govt to give relief to inferno affectees
* Burnt Karachi factory was not registered: Ministry of Labour report
* Karachi fire and after
* Geo.tv- Full Coverage
* in The News – an overview- updated
* Around 350 workers were caught by fire and died
* Pakistan Factory Fires Tied to Criminal Negligence by Government and Employers
* Death Trap Factories in Pakistan
* The horror of it all is almost unimaginable
* Make textile factories safe

latest tweets (& news)

Convention on the Rights of the Child
Universal Declaration of Human Rights

I wonder who they are
The men who really run this land
And I wonder why they run it
With such a thoughtless hand

What are their names
And on what streets do they live
I'd like to ride right over
This afternoon and give
Them a piece of my mind
About peace for mankind
Peace is not an awful lot to ask
    David Crosby

I wonder who they are
The people who are buying these clothes
I'd like to know what they've paid for it
How much the makers have paid for this
Fairer income is not an awful lot to ask
Better working conditions is not an awful lot to ask
    A. Searcher

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