09:19:16 local time CHINA
* Bad dye in Wal-Mart clothing:
US-bsed Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, has been accused of selling children’s clothing containing a carcinogenic dye in its chain stores in Shenzhen City in southern China’s Guangdong Province.
A former Wal-Mart clothing supplier surnamed Sun found in August a brand of children’s wear on the shelf in the Xixiang store emitting a strong odor, and suspected the clothes were of poor quality. He then asked the Shenzhen Academy of Metrology and Quality Inspection to check, and the result confirmed his suspicion, showing decomposable aromatic amine dyes, a banned material in clothing, in the clothes, Shenzhen Economic Daily reported yesterday. read more.
09:19:16 local time PHILIPPINES
* Labor groups call Aquino’s new wage system as ‘many-tiered deception’ :
Labor groups slammed the Aquino government’s two tiered wage system saying that it would effect wage cuts, prompt massive layoffs and contractualization, and legalize violations against the minimum wage law.
The opposition to Aquino’s new wage system appears set to escalate as Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz announced last week the implementation of the two-tier wage system in 11 regions in the country.
Already, diverse labor groups have formed an alliance to press for a significant wage hike, vowing to hold mass actions against government policies that negate that. In Congress, Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Rafael Mariano filed a resolution this week seeking to investigate the two-tier wage system.
The new wage system sets up two tiers in the country’s wage system. It orders employers per region to pay a mandatory amount as “floor wage,” and “encourages” employers to pay workers a productivity-based incentive on top of it. That is, if the company reports improvements in productivity. The amount of the floor wage is to be determined by the government. The other tier, the productivity-based wage, is to be determined by productivity committees to be formed per company. read more.
08:19:16 local time VIET NAM
* HCM City: Hundreds of workers pursue debt-evading director:
The director of Korean-invested Sae Hwa Vina Company in Cu Chi district, HCM City has disappeared, leaving VND10 billion ($500,000) of debt, including wages and social insurance.
On September 19, hundreds of workers of the dyeing and garment export Sae Hwa Vina Co., Ltd. sent applications to HCM City authorities asking for intervention and protection of their interests.
Workers also grouped up to hunt the Korean director who was suspected to flee.
The Sae Hwa Vina Co. suspended operations since the early September 2012.
“The company suspended operations for nearly one month, but workers remain unpaid. The person of the highest responsibility is general manager but he has been missing,” said worker Nguyen Thi Cam Ly.
According to our investigation, Sae Hwa Vina Co., Ltd. went into operation in August 1999. Since late 2011, the company faced a lot of troubles in production and business, resulting in loss. That is why the company did not paid salary and social insurance for workers.
For the last one month, hundreds of workers have had to look for work to pay for accommodations and to cover their living expenses. Some workers were frustrated and returned home to wait for the day they are paid. Read more.
* Remains of Russia fire victims handed to families:
Families of fourteen Vietnamese workers who had died almost two weeks ago in a fire erupting about 114 kilometers from Russia’s capital Moscow received Sunday the victims’ bodies and ashes at the Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi.
The remains were sent home Saturday on a Vietnam Airlines flight after the Vietnamese Embassy in Russia together with a few Vietnamese associations had carried out a moaning ceremony for all of them one day earlier.
Vietnamese Ambassador to Russia Pham Xuan Son offered condolences to the unfortunate families and thanked Vietnamese individuals, organizations, and competent authorities in the European country for their help at the reception of the bodies and ashes this morning.
On September 11, a fire swept through a garment factory outside Moscow, killing the fourteen Vietnamese.
Firefighters sent to put out the blaze found their bodies in the factory in the town of Yegoryevsk, southeast of the Russian capital, and four other victims were hospitalized with burns, Reuters reported then, citing the Moscow region emergencies department. read more. & read more.
* With no tax payment grace period, garment companies anticipate a hard lot:
If the current regulation on the 275-day tax payment grace period is removed as suggested by the Ministry of Finance (MOF), garment companies would have to arrange 800 million dollars a year to pay tax and only get a tax refund later.
800 million dollars was the figure cited by the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (Vitas) to show the unreasonable articles of the draft law on tax management, which was put into discussion at the National Assembly’s Standing Committee’s working session on August 15.
MOF, which is compiling the draft of the amended law on tax management, is going to impose a tighter management over the tax payment by enterprises.
The ministry plans to amend the Article No. 42 of the current law, requesting enterprises to make tax payment before the customs clearance time. The regulation would be applied to the enterprises that do the outsourcing for foreign partners (import materials, make products domestically for export), and the enterprises which import products for re-export later.
08:19:16 local time CAMBODIA
* Protesters stage EU faint-ins – 77 workers faint in Svay Rieng:
In a year in which more than a thousand Cambodian garment factory workers have fainted on the job, activists across Europe are demonstrating for higher wages and better working conditions in the Kingdom’s factories.
Throughout the past week, demonstrators mimicked faintings by collapsing on the floors of H&M, Gap, Levi’s and Zara outlets in European cities including London, Paris, Copenhagen, Warsaw, Amsterdam and Brussels after distributing pamphlets about Cambodian factory conditions.
The demonstrations are part of a campaign in 11 countries “to call on popular brands to pay a living wage to workers” in Cambodia, activist group Clean Clothes Campaign said in a press release.
Jill Tucker, chief technical advisor of ILO-Better Factories Cambodia, and Dave Welsh, country director of the American Centre for International Labour Solidarity, said they approved of the intention to raise awareness, but noted that with significant international recognition of mass faintings since last summer, the key now is to search for active and nuanced policy answers.
“It doesn’t really lend itself to easy solutions,” Tucker said.
Despite such moves by H&M and other companies, faintings show little sign of abating, with another 77 female workers collapsing on Friday at Yorks Cambodia, a Svay Rieng-based branch of Japanese international glove supplier Yorks Co Ltd.
While many of the factory’s workers said they fainted due to the smell of toxic chemicals, Ministry of Labour officials found no evidence of them, the ministry’s health department director, Pok Vanthat, said. read more.
* Insecticide blamed as 59 workers faint in border zone:
Fifty-nine workers fainted Friday at a footwear factory in Tai Seng Special Economic Zone near the Vietnam border, a security guard said.
Tan Noeun blamed the smell of insecticides being used in nearby fields. The victims were sent to Prey Ang Konh hospital near Chi Phu market, she added. to read.
* Textile exports expected to reach $4 billion by late 2012:
Ministry of Commerce Secretary of State Pan Sorak Sak said Friday that exports of textile products were expected to reach $4 billion by the end of the year.
Speaking at a workshop, he said exports have been strong since the world economic crisis in 2009 and will continue to rise with annual growth of between 20 and 30 percent.
“We will be able to export more if there is no economic crisis as we get duty-free access to the United States and the European Union,” he said. to read.
09:19:16 local time MALAYSIA
* Union urge Bernas to extend retirement age to 60:
The Malaysian Bernas Workers’ Union (KPBM) has called on Padi Beras Nasional Berhad (Bernas) to extend the retirement age of its employees to 60 years from January next year.
Its president Mashitoh Abu Seman said the union had brought the matter to the management and was awaiting consideration by Bernas board of directors.
She said the request was made based on the union’s study that all Bernas employees seconded from the National Rice and Padi Board would be due for retirement by 2015. read more.
09:19:16 local time INDONESIA
* Hit by Global Crisis, Unitex Expects Lower Garment Production This Year:
PT Unitex Tbk (UNTX) expects a lower garment production this year as its garment demand would be hit by global crisis, Bisnis Indonesia reported this morning.
Sugi Hadi Purnomo, UNTX’s director, said for this year Unitex targets to produce 700,000 to 800,000 meters of fabric per month compared to 1 million meteres in 2011.
“Last year our company grew by 11% but this year the growth would lower,” he said.
Sugi said currently 65% of Unitex’s production is exported to Australia, Japan, United States and others while 35% for domestic market. to read. & read more.
* Textile Industry Growth will Exceed 5 Percent:
Indonesia Textile Association estimates that the nation’s textile industry’s growth could exceed 5 percent in 2013. According to the Chairman of the API, Ade Sudrajat, the achievement was supported by foreign investment.
Ade said today several companies from a number of countries have expressed their commitment to invest in the textile sector. “The highest came from Japan and Taiwan,” he said.
Ade refused to mention the identity of the company and the value of the investment in Indonesia. The plan, he said, could only be realized in December 2012. “Right now there is a new investment agreement.”
In addition to investment, factors driving the growth of the textile industry is the stimulus from the government. According to him, the textile machinery restructuring aid is now mostly melted and would contribute to the increase company productivity.
“This helps the growth of the textile industry in the future,” he said.
Director of Textile and Miscellaneous Industries Ministry of Industry, Ramon Wake up, say textile machinery restructuring program completed in October 2012. Recorded 150 companies that received aid worth a total of Rp 145 billion. Of the total aid, USD 115 billion has been disbursed. “The rest will be disbursed after the engine order arrived,” he said.
Ramon said the restructuring of the textile machinery in 2012 is given by the activity of each company. According to him, the program running this year enjoyed equally by all components of the industry.
(translated by google) & read original. & read more.
TEMPO/Aditya Herlambang P.
* Regional Economic Integration spurs RI Textile Trade:
Indonesian Textile Association (API) to assess regional economic integration within the framework of the ASEAN Economic Community by 2015 will increase the trade of textiles and textile products (TPT) Indonesia if utilized optimally.
“After the integration, the ASEAN region has a population of around 600 million people will be our domestic market. Market countries with a population of high purchasing power, such as Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand, can be used. Positive and negative impact is definitely there,” said Chairman common API, Ade Sudradjat, in Jakarta, Friday.
In addition, the trade cooperation between the countries in the ASEAN region are economically integrated with dialogue partners, according to Ade, would open up opportunities to expand markets and increase exports to the Indonesian textile industry.
“Perpetrators of domestic textile industry will take advantage of the market opportunities of Asean economic integration if the government provides necessary support to strengthen competitiveness. Importantly logistics facilities should be improved so that we can be more competitive products,” he explained.
It is important to remember textiles and textile products (TPT) is one of the main export products that contributed greatly to the increase in the value of non-oil exports Indonesia.
“Currently, the textile industry began to enjoy increased textile trade agreements in the region after the elimination and reduction of tariffs within the framework of the implementation of the ASEAN free trade agreement,” he said.
Ade added that the export rate rose slowly after the tariff reduction.
“In the last two years, the value of exports of textiles and textile products to ASEAN countries increased significantly from 300 million dollars to 1.3 billion dollars,” he said. (translate by google) & read original.
* BetterWorks Indonesia Media Update:
1. Ministry opens job access for the disabled. read more.
2. Tightening the Outsourcing, Muhaimin prepare new regulations.
read Google Translate English Version.
3. Textile Industry Growth will Exceed 5 Percent.
read the Google Translate English Version .
4. Launch of the Indonesia Decent Work Country Programme ILO. read more.
5. Indonesia second fastest economy in the world. read more.
6. Indonesia’s Investment Body Sees Blue Skies Ahead. read more.
7. Regional Economic Integration spurs RI Textile Trade.
Read the Google Translate English Version here
07:04:16 local time NEPAL
* Govt proposes handicraft village at Kharipati:
The government is finally gearing up to develop a handicraft village in Kharipati, Bhaktapur.
Handicraft industrialists had previously wanted the handicraft village to be developed in the Himal Cement Factory area, but things did not work out due to various issues. However, the government later proposed the area occupied by Nepal Electricity Authority in Kharipati, Bhaktapur to develop the handicraft village.
“We are delighted with the government’s decision and we are also looking forward to its future strategy regarding the development of a handicraft village in the proposed area,” said president of Federation of Handicraft Associations of Nepal (FHAN) Bikash Ratna Dhakwa. read more.
07:19:16 local time BANGLA DESH
* Minimum wage scale for labourers demanded:
Speakers at a conference on Friday demanded declaration of minimum wage scale and its subsequent implementation for all labourers across the country.
They also stressed the need for bringing all kinds of labourers under the existing labour law.
The biennial conference of Jatiya Sramik Jote was held at the National Press Club with the organization president Mesbahuddin Ahmed in the chair.
Eminent historian Prof Syed Anwar Hossain, convener of Nagorik Oikya Mahmudur Rahman Manna and former general secretary of Dhaka University Central Students Union (DUCSU) Dr Mushtak Hossain, among others, addressed the conference.
Prof Anwar Hossain, in his speech as the chief guest, said wage of labourers in Bangladesh is less than that of in China, Cambodia and Vietnam, which does not reflect the spirit of independence.
He laid emphasis on the balanced development and proper distribution system for the benefits of the poor and labourer classes. read more.
* BKMEA to explore Russian apparel market:
A joint initiative by private entrepreneurs and Bangladesh government can enhance export volume to Russian market, said Bangladesh Knitwear Manufactures and Exporter Association (BKMEA) president AKM Salim Osman on Saturday.
He was addressing a press conference on “New Market Expansion” at Planners Tower Conference Hall in the city.
BKMEA President urged the government to open dialogue with the Russian government so that Moscow gives GSP facilities to Bangladeshi knit export.
He said, “GSP facilities in Russian market will increase Bangladesh’s export volume to that country.” read more.
* Tchibo to improve fire safety in Bangladesh:
The Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC), International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), IndustriALL Global Union, Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) and Maquila Solidarity Network (MSN), together with Bangladeshi trade unions and labour rights groups, have reached an agreement with Tchibo to implement a fire and building safety programme in Bangladeshi garment factories, according to Fibre2Fashion web portal.
The German-based company becomes the second retailer to commit to such a large safety programme, which was first agreed with PVH (owner of Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger) in March. Since 2006, more than 600 garment workers died in Bangladesh due to unsafe buildings, Says Jyrki Raina, General Secretary of IndustriALL Global Union: “The garment industry is notorious for its safety hazards.
The requirements of this programme are straightforward, commonsense measures which will have a significant impact on worker safety in many factories in Bangladesh. Tchibo and PVH have taken the lead, now it’s time for other brands to follow.” read more.
* Duty-free access of RMG to US mkt to be sought:
Bangladeshi apparel businessmen will request the US goverment officials to allow duty-free access of ready-made garment (RMG) to their market, a leader of the sector said.
To this end, a 23-member trade delegation of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) left the country Saturday night for New York as the entourage of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina who will attend the 67th United Nations General Assembly there. FBCCI president AK Azad arrived in the US earlier to lead the business delegation.
Bangladesh has long been pressing the US to grant duty-free access of RMG to the US market. read more.
* Raw Jute Market: Farmers fall prey to middlemen:
Although the jute mills and raw jute exporters have so far purchased about half of their demands this year, most of the farmers, frustrated with the almost stagnant price over the last month, have already sold out their produce to the middlemen.
Sources at the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC), Bangladesh Jute Mills Association (BJMA), Bangladesh Jute Spinners Association (BJSA) and Bangladesh Jute Association (BJA) said they are yet to achieve even 50 percent of their targeted purchase.
But market sources reveal that about 80 percent of the jute harvest has been sold out at the farmers’ level. read more.
* Jute, textile mill workers agitate in Khulna:
Privately owned jute, cotton, and textile mills workers yesterday observed rail-road blockade programme in Khulna to press their 10-point demand, including implementation of minimum wages.
Workers from several industrial units took out processions during the two-hour-long programme from 9:00am to 11:00am.
Privately-owned Jute, Cotton, and Textile Mills Sangram Parishad called the programme to press the demands.
Addressing a rally at Phulbarigate area, leaders of the parishad urged the authorities concerned to meet their demand immediately.
Otherwise, they threatened to launch a tougher agitation programme.
read more. & read more.
* RMG factory fire injures five:
At least five workers were injured while trying to douse a fire that broke out at an export-oriented readymade garment factory in Masdair Police Line area of Narayanganj town yesterday.
The fire originated at Amena Knitex Garments Factory around 10:00am, said Fatullah Model police, quoting witnesses.
Huge quantity of loin cloths and Jhut kept in the factory warehouse were gutted in the fire, said its owner.
On information, three fire fighting units of Mondalpara Fire Service Station rushed to the spot and doused the fire.
The injured factory workers were given first aid.
The fire might have been originated from an electric short circuit, said fire service sources. read more.
06:49:16 local time INDIA
* How textile SMEs are mismanaged:
It is reported that 79 micro-, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) fall sick in a day, probably three units an hour. Out of 1.33 crore sick units in the country, more than two lakh are currently sick and 29,000 units are being added to the list every year. In financial terms, these units account for more than Rs 7,000 crore of outstanding loans.
A unit is deemed to be sick in the following circumstance: when, after borrowing from financial institutions, it has not paid its instalments on due dates; the situation continues for more than six months in this way; and there is an erosion in net worth due to reported losses to the extent of half of its net worth in the previous accounting year.
In Tamil Nadu, for example, out of the 14 lakh SME units, 25,433 units are sick with 566 of them eligible for rehabilitation according to the guidelines of the Reserve Bank of India. Recently, there was a representation from textile units on the need to rehabilitate sick textile units, involving about Rs 50,000 crore.
After a lot of deliberations, the reference by the Ministry of Finance to the RBI did not elicit a positive response. It was thought that since only 22 per cent of the textile units had suffered, a mass-crisis approach to the problem was not warranted.
* Lack of fire safety measures turn textile markets into ticking bomb:
The massive fire on Friday at Trade House, which houses hundreds of textile shops, has brought to the fore the harsh reality of its vulnerability to a fire hazard. Surat Municipal Corporation’s ( SMC) fire and emergency department has failed to carry out regular surveys and also to fix the responsibility of traders and market associations in this regard. Forget about fire protection system, sources said textile markets do not even have the basic fire-fighting equipment – a fire extinguisher.
At least eight small and big incidents of fire reportedly break out on an average in textile markets located on Ring Road, Mahidhapura and Sahara Darwaja. In most of the cases, the fire fighters are unable to get access with their fire tenders due to narrow and congested lanes in the textile markets.
Sources said Friday’s fire incident was a big one as more than 15 people had received serious injuries, while nearly 300 people were trapped on the fourth floor of the Trade House. It took over four hours for the fire department to control the fire.
* Labour reforms needed to attract investors- Experts:
Labour reforms have become important as India would require millions of skilled labour in the next 10 years, which calls for investments in the employment generating sectors, experts said on Saturday.
“Labour reforms should have started alongside economic reforms in the 1990s, but we are still working with old archaic labour laws…(and) labour reforms are required to attract investors in the employment generating sectors,” Senior Vice President-HR, Aegis India, Vivek Kumar said.
He was speaking at the Human Resource conclave here on “Turning the tide on unrest in the workforce” organised by the Indian Institute of Management, Ranchi.
* Textile debt restructuring package to be implemented:
The Union Ministry of Finance recently issued directions to the banks for implementation of the debt restructuring package for textile sector, thus setting in motion the long-awaited restructuring of loans for the textile and clothing units that were hit by financial problems last year.
Chairman of the Southern India Mills’ Association S. Dinakaran has said in a release that the banks would implement the package on a case-to-case basis according to the data provided by the industrial associations to the Ministry of Textiles.
Though the Rs. 35,000 crore package was announced in May this year, it was not implemented as the banks had not received any communication in this regard.
* Reebok India case: Corporate mismanagement led to scam:
Sources say bills were inflated by the company and not recorded correctly
Agencies probing the alleged Rs 870 crore corporate fraud in the operation of Reebok India have detected a systemic “mismanagement” in the business planning and running of the company reportedly done by some of its officials and employees.
Three different agencies — the I-T department under Finance Ministry, the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) under Corporate Affairs Ministry and the Economic Offences Wing of Gurgaon police — have recorded the findings almost four months after a criminal case was filed by Reebok India against two of its former employees.
read more. & read more.
* City Union Bank vulnerable to NPAs from textile sector-CRISIL:
The higher exposure to textile sector, which is passing through downturn, may make private lender City Union Bank vulnerable to spike in payment defaults and slippages, according to CRISIL.
The conservative lending policy and large share of adequately collateralised advances enables Tamil Nadu based small private lender to maintain comfortable asset quality. However, further restructuring of loans to textiles unit where its exposure is high at 8.6% could exert downward pressure on asset quality.
06:49:16 local time SRI LANKA
* India opens textile market to Sri Lanka:
In a major bilateral trade move in which access to the huge Indian textile market is opened to our garment exporters, India has decided to open its textile sector to Sri Lanka in a considerable way.
“Favourably considering your official request made to Minister Anand Sharma during his visit to Colombo recently, Minister Sharma has now decided to increase the current five million piece quota given to Sri Lanka to eight million without any sourcing requirements imposed by us,” said Kiran Dhingra, Secretary, Ministry of Textiles India on Wednesday at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Colombo. Visiting Secretary Dhingra, who is leading the biggest ever textile industry delegation from India to Sri Lanka, made these observances during a special courtesy call on Minister Bathiudeen on Wednesday in Colombo.
According to independent international trade estimates, the current share of the highly promising Indian textile and apparel sector in world trade (4.5% in March 2012) is expected to boom to a huge $ 80 billion by 2020 (8%). Minister Bathiudeen, addressing the delegation said, “On behalf of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, we warmly welcome you here in the aftermath of Minister Anand Sharma’s visit to Colombo to boost bilateral cooperation. Your visit is an important event for mutual engagement in our textile and apparel sector.” read more.
* More Lankan readymades to India at zero duty:
Sri Lanka will be permitted to export eight million pieces of readymade garments to India at zero duty under the India-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement, the Indian High Commission said yesterday.
This followed the visit here last month of India’s Minister of Commerce, Industry and Textiles, Anand Sharma, when Sri Lanka raised the issue of relaxing conditions for the export of readymade garments to the Indian market.
Sharma agreed to give the request “favourable consideration” and following this assurance discussions to enhance bilateral cooperation between the two countries in the textiles sector was held last week in Colombo between senior officials of India’s Textile Ministry and representatives of apparel exporters, spinners, fabric exporters and home textile manufacturers.
The Indian High Commission said here in a news release that during the visit of the delegation led by the Secretary of India’s Textiles Ministry “two very significant announcements” relating greater market access to Sri Lanka in India’s domestic market in the textile and apparel sector were made. read more.
* Leather product exports to reach $ 25 m mark by 2015:
Sri Lanka is planning to increase direct and indirect leather product exports from $ 3.28 million in 2009 to $ 25 million by 2015 and is focusing on attracting nitch market buyers while developing local sales to the tourism industry. Demand for leather goods has seen a sharp increase as a result of rapid development in the local tourism industry, Sri Lanka Export Development Board said.
Colombo District has around 14 tanneries that process rawhide and skins to semi finished leather and finished leather. The production of tanneries is about 28 tones of raw materials per day .
The total production of local raw hides and skins is 8,400 tons per annum and finished leather is used for domestic as well as export purposes. Many very small informal units produce various leather goods for the local market including the tourist market. Some tanneries are extending their operations towards the travel goods and leather garment manufacturing. read more.
06:19:16 local time PAKISTAN
* Pakistan Textile Garments and Leather workers federation (PTGLWF) Labour confrence resolutions:
A labour conference was held by Pakistan Textile Garments and Leather workers federation on 9 September 2012 at Faisalabad.
Following resolutions were passed in that conference :
1. Government must stop unscheduled load shedding for industries and a long term planning must be made.
2. Government must at once implement minimum wages according to new notification.
3. All the workers must be issued social security cards and EOBI cards.
4. Government must register all Power looms under factories act 1934 so that the rights of workers of these power looms must be secured.
5. All textile garments ,leather industries must stop Contract Labour system and daily Wages system.all workers must be enrolled on permanent basis.
6. District Government must implement the agreement of 16 july 2012 about the increasing the salary up to 16 % for workers of Power Looms.
* APTMA condemns EMC for ruining Punjab-based textile industry:
The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) has condemned the Energy Management Cell (EMC) for ruining the Punjab-based textile industry, which is still enduring seven hours a day loadshedding rather than reducing it to zero.
The APTMA spokesman said that the EMC had withdrawn the exemption from load shedding to the textile industry in Punjab since May 2012. It may be noted that the textile industry had been exempted from load shedding even during the load shortage of 5000MW in the past.
He said this situation had resulted in the promotion of corrupt activities at the end of DISCOs. He said that the APTMA leadership called on the Minister for Water and Power last week to apprise him of the crisis in the industry due to power shortage.
THE KARACHI FIRES
* Fire put out at another factory:
The firemen have fought down a fire at another garments factory in Karachi after a struggle of seven hours, Geo News reported.
Reportedly, no one was hurt as the employees escaped in time.
It is suspected that combustible material caught fire at the first floor, which houses the cutting department of the apparel-making unit located in Rashidabad near SITE area, an industrial cluster.
Initially a couple of fire tenders arrived to douse the fire but the blaze soon grew out of their control and the backup was sent for.
The fire department finally subdued with the stubborn blaze with the help of five tenders abetted by a water bowser. read more.
* Fire breaks out in garment factory:
A major fire broke out in a local garment factory in the SITE police limits on Sunday causing loss of millions of rupees.
According to the Central Fire Station, the fire broke out at about 11:15pm and had spread to other parts of the factory within minutes, reducing goods worth millions of rupees to ashes.
At least seven fire engines of the KMC reached the spot later on. Leaping flames and thick black smoke could be seen from far-flung areas of the city. The cause of the fire was short circuit.
KESC authorities rushed to the scene and disconnected power, while Sui gas officials were also present to disconnect the gas connection.
Police and law-enforcement agencies cordoned off the area and the Edhi ambulances were also present at the site.
PPI adds: Meanwhile, after a 13 hour long operation, the Fire Brigade of KMC finally controlled the fire erupted at the oil mills in SITE Limited on Saturday. Fire tenders and staff from KPT, PAF, CAA, Clifton Cantonment Board, Municipal Services, Machinery Pool and Rescue Department also took part in this fire fighting operation.
* Workers’ death in Karachi and Lahore: Condolence references and protest rallies by PTUDC:
Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign is organizing condolence references and protests in various cities of Pakistan to condemn this barbarity which happened due to decaying capitalist system in Pakistan.
In Lahore a condolence reference was organized for more than 300 workers who lost their lives in factory fires in Karachi and Lahore. The meeting was held in Lahore Press Club. The reference was attended by the International Secretary PTUDC Dr. Lal Khan, Central General Secretary Railways Labour
Dr. Tahir Shabbir recited a revolutionary poem at the start of program. After that one minute silence was observed for the victims of this tragedy.
The speakers said that there are no laws in Pakistan for the protection of workers and the workers in the factories are brutally oppressed and their lives are worse than that of animals.
The factory owners openly violate the few regulations that exist on papers.
The minimum wage set by the government is already very low but factory owner pay much less than even that paltry amount.
Official minimum wage of eight thousand rupees is paid nowhere and in most factories the workers are forced to work for wages less than three to four thousands rupees a month.
If there are two hundred registered workers in a factory then in reality there are two thousand people working there and thanks to the system of contract labour, no record is kept about the workers. 99% workers don’t have any kind of social security and old age benefit because the condition for it is to have a permanent job in factory and permanent jobs are very rare these days as most of the workers are hired on contracts or on daily wages which is covered by no law or regulation.
Unions don’t exist in most of the industrial sector which is encouraged by the rulers. There is no justice for the workers in labour courts.
The workers cannot afford to go to the labour courts and if they manage to do so the cases prolong for several years and usually the decisions are always in the favour of capitalists and factory owners. Life of the worker has been made hell by this system.
A meeting was held on 14 September at SITE industrial area in Karachi in the aftermath of tragedy in which more than 300 workers died in factory fire. Meeting was chaired by president of SITE Labour Forum Khasta Rehman.
He is also president of labour union in Coca Cola Karachi.
He proposed the agenda to start struggle for the legal rights of workers killed in this tragedy. In this meeting a committee was formed which will take care of the legal proceedings of the case of killed workers. Bakht Zaman who work in a pharmaceutical firm was made in charge of this committee.
Unanimous decision was made to hoist banners in front of all factories in SITE industrial area in protest over these killings.
A leaflet will also be distributed to all workers. A committee was formed for this purpose.
A fund was formed immediately in which 10,000 rupees were collected at the spot. Comrade Janat Husain of PTUDC also addressed this meeting and said that workers will themselves have to fight for their rights.
He said that according to government sources there were 268 workers in this factory but at the time of incident it came to knowledge that 3000 people worked there.
He said that PTUDC will always fight for the workers cause and will take the message of this meeting to all the workers of Pakistan and other countries.
* Workers Rights Movement formed to help victims’ families:
The Workers Rights Movement (WRM) has been formed to struggle for implementation of labour laws, grant of compensation to families of victims and arrest of gutted Baldia Town factory’s owners as well as confiscation of their assets and bank accounts.
The movement was formed after a meeting of the representatives of more than 70 trade union federations and labour rights organisations at the Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi, the other day.
The meeting was presided over by noted politician and labour rights activist, Yousuf Masti Khan. A number of representatives of plant-level unions, different industrial zones labour bodies, left wing parties, human rights organisations, youth, students, women and social workers were present at the meeting. read more.
* PM distributes cheques among factory fire victims’ heirs:
Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah on Saturday distributed compensation cheques among the relatives of the deceased and the injured workers of Baldia Town factory fire incident.
The inferno killed over 250 factory workers and injured hundreds others. The prime minister distributed cheques worth Rs 400,000 each for the deceased and Rs 100,000 each for the injured of the fire incident.
While the chief minister gave cheques of Rs 300,000 million each for those who lost their lives and Rs 50,000 each for the injured. Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan, Punjab Governor Sardar Latif Khosa, Federal Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Federal Religious Affairs Minister Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah and Federal Minister Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Speaker Sindh Assembly Nisar Ahmed Khuhro and Deputy Speaker Syeda Shehla Raza, Sindh ministers, members of National Assembly and Sindh Assembly were also present at the ceremony.
* Owners of gutted factory show distrust in probe committees:
The owners of gutted Baldia garments factory have expressed their distrust in all investigation committees, including those of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and Sindh Police, formed to investigate into the incident that resulted in around 289 deaths.
This was stated by Advocate Aamir Munsib Qureshi, counsel of the factory owners, before Judicial Commission (JC) constituted to probe factory fire incident here on Saturday. The JC formed to probe garment factory fire headed by Justice (retd) Zahid Qurban Alvi proceeded the hearings of the commission.
Factory owners counsel Aamir Munsib Qureshi appeared before the commission and stated that his client had no confidence in the investigation committees. The investigation committee from Sindh Police is headed by Senior Superintendent of Police, Farooq Awan, while that of the FIA by Amir Farooqi.
“The factory owners demand international investigators to probe the matter impartially and ascertain facts,” he said, adding that the owners were ready to pay all the expenses of the committee/commission. read more. & read more.
* When misery repeats itself, but not quite:
March 25, 1911:
As the closing hours of the day approached, a fire broke out at the Triangle Waist Factory in New York City that resulted in 146 people losing their lives in 18 minutes. The company was a typical textile manufacturing unit based in Manhattan, characterised by long working hours, low wages, and unhealthy, unhygienic working conditions.
The fire erupted on the eighth floor. As a standard company policy, managers had locked the doors to every possible exit – a practice to prevent excessive and unauthorised break from work. Workers who could not escape the building jumped from the eighth, ninth, and tenth floors to the streets below. Some got severely injured; the others were less fortunate and lost their lives.
September 11, 2012:
Over a decade later, as the closing hours of the day approached, a fire broke out at Ali Enterprises Factory in Karachi, killing almost 300 people. The company was a typical textile manufacturing unit characterised by long working hours, low wages, and unhygienic working conditions. Workers were unable to leave the office premises because the doors were locked – a practice to prevent them from leaving their shifts early.
The fumes became increasingly toxic in the presence of textile chemicals present in the factory. There was no emergency exit and the only way for the workers to escape was to smash iron bars on the windows to jump the four storey building. The company thrived on immigrant worker population, both from within and outside borders, willing to work in compromising conditions and low wages. read more.
* Social Accountability International: We are devastated by the Pakistan fire & determined to find answers:
All of us at Social Accountability International (SAI) and at Social Accountability Accreditation Services (SAAS) are horrified by the fire at Ali Enterprises in Karachi, Pakistan, on Wednesday, September 12, in which nearly 300 workers died. We are determined to learn how and why it happened. The day following the fire SAAS was informed by RINA, a global certification body based in Genova, Italy, that RINA had issued an SA8000 certification to the Ali Enterprises factory in August 2012. Once we learned this, SAI and SAAS began an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the certification, and released a public statement on September 16 based on verified information. News reports have been full of discrepancies, from the number of workers at the factory, to the number of victims, to whether fire emergency doors failed to work – and we have to be careful about this speculation. It is essential that we act, but only on factual information.
We have many questions, and others have raised questions as well. To help eliminate some of the inevitable confusion in a matter like this, we have prepared a list of questions and answers to the extent we know them at this time.
1. What is the name of the audit company that issued the certificate?
2. How could a certificate have been issued under the conditions widely reported in the media to have existed at the Ali Enterprises factory?
3. Doesn’t this failure demonstrate the inadequacy of the social auditing model?
4. What is being done to ensure adequate oversight over SAAS accredited audit firms?
5. What companies were sourcing apparel from the Ali Enterprises factory?
06:19:16 local time UZBEKISTAN
* Police threaten family for student’s failure to pick cotton:
Resident of Jizak Revit Kulayev says a police officer has threatened him for his student son’s unwillingness to pick cotton.
The Jizak Region branch of the Independent Organisation for Human Rights of Uzbekistan has received a complaint from Kulayev, 38.
The man said his 17-year-old son, a second-year student of the Jizak industrial college, had refused to go to cotton fields.
The young man explained his refusal by poor living conditions in cotton fields.
On 15 September, a beat officer called Kilich responsible for their Madaniyat neighbourhood and a college teacher visited them in their house.
” I met them and the beat officer started rudely asking about my son,” Kulyaev complained. “I asked him not to shout but he, despite this, continued to shout saying ‘who are you?’ and ‘what are you living here
“He used swear words and added: ‘If you don’t want to go to cotton fields, f*** off from Uzbekistan,'” he said.
In response to Kulayev’s requests to stop swearing and to respect his civil rights, or he would complain to higher bodies, the officer said: “F*** off with your complaints.” Then he started wringing Kulayev’s hands, provoking a fight. read more.
* Civil society calls for boycott of Uzbek textile:
Uzbek civil society activists have called for an international boycott of Uzbek textile because of the use of forced labour of millions of Uzbek citizens in the country’s cotton industry.
About 90 signatories called for the boycott of Uzbek textile because it is made of cotton the production of which uses the forced labour of adults and children.
Conventions and laws fail to free cotton slaves
“Foreign investors and partners of Uzbek textile enterprises should observe international human rights standards and demand this from the Uzbek government,” the appeal said. read more.
* Schoolchildren studying while college students still picking cotton:
Children have not been seen in cotton fields in Bukhara Region as they remain at school while 15-17-year-old teenagers from colleges are mercilessly exploited in cotton fields.
The leader of the Human Rights Alliance of Uzbekistan (HRAU), Elena Urlayeva, spent the whole day on 18 September in remote areas of Bukhara Region, but could not find schoolchildren in cotton fields.
“Teachers pick cotton only on Sundays,” she said. “I specially chose Jondor District where I was last year.”
The human rights defender said last year fields were crowded with children, including first-form pupils that “could not even reach the top of cotton shrubs”.
“Every school was assigned to a cotton field, but I only saw adult cotton pickers in those fields,” Urlayeva said. read more.