in the news on-line, 29 November 2012

16:22:07 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Chinese clothing becomes Made-in-Vietnam products for export:

The labels of famous brands are usually sold for VND 400 – VND500/unit at garment accessory stores in Hang Bo Street, Hanoi.

In Hanoi, along the streets of Hang Dau, Chua Boc, Ton Duc Thang, Bach Mai, Ngoc Lam, Hai Ba Trung, etc. have a series of shops selling “Made in Vietnam” garment products, meaning products for exports. These products have labels of famous brands like Zara, Mango, H&M, F21; but their prices are less than half of Zara, Mango, H&M, F21 products selling in luxurious shops or in shopping centers like Parkson and Vincom.

The owner of a “Made in Vietnam” shop on Chua Boc Street said, these clothes are “genuine” of Zara, Mango, H&M, etc. which are produced in Vietnam but are sold much cheaper than similar products on these firms’ websites or overseas shops. The reason is that these products have small errors so they are not exported.

Actually, “Made in Vietnam” products look quite similarly to “genuine” products of Mango, Zara, F21, H & M, etc. The designs are also updated. Even the genuine products do not have diverse designs as faked products. Some designs are mixed between the designs of both Mango and H&M, etc.  read more.

16:22:07 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Ministry urges relief for firms hurt by wage hike:

The Labour Ministry will propose to the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking a raft of urgent relief measures to lessen the burden on businesses of January’s nationwide increase to Bt300 in the daily minimum wage.

Speaking at a seminar yesterday on the effect of the minimum-wage hike on small and medium-sized enterprises, permanent secretary Somkiat Chayasriwong said the ministry planned to propose three groups of measures to minimise the impact.

The first relates to lowering the burden on business operators. Proposals include reduction of contributions to the Social Security Fund and tax cuts. read more.

* Jintana in deal to make Japanese lingerie:

Sumikin Bussan Corporation, a unit of Sumitomo in Japan, has shifted its lingerie production base to Thailand and other Asian countries to reduce risk from relying solely on China.

The company yesterday signed an agreement with one of Thailand’s oldest lingerie makers, the Thanalongkorn Group of Cos, owner of the Jintana brand, to produce 2,000,000 pieces a year under an original-equipment manufacturing (OEM) contract.
Under the deal, the products will supply the Japanese market from 2013-17.
Sumikin makes 20% of its lingerie in Japan and the rest internationally.
Of the total outside Japan, 95% comes from China.

Savitee Thanalongkorn, a vice-president of Jintana Intertrade Co, said the order of lingerie received from its Japanese partner will represent 20% of total product sourced outside of Japan.
The five-year deal should generate 1.1 billion baht in revenue for Jintana Intertrade.
To support its new orders from Japan, the company will install new machines at its two factories in Nakhon Ratchasima and Nakhon Pathom and hire 400 workers.
Apart from Thailand, the Japanese firm will also look for sourcing in Indonesia, Myanmar and Vietnam. read more.

* Extensions to work permits face the chop:

The Labour Ministry is considering reducing work permit extensions for migrant labourers to protect the Thai workforce when next year’s minimum wage hike takes effect.


The ministry would make the cuts if next year’s 300-baht minimum wage results in severe job losses, said Pravit Khiengpol, the director-general of the ministry’s Department of Employment.

“If the work permits are not extended, those jobs will be available to Thais,” Mr Pravit said, adding that about 1.7 million migrant workers are employed in Thailand _ half of them in the industrial sector. read more.

17:22:07 local time map of malaysia MALAYSIA

* Analyst: Top Glove can mitigate higher labour costs:

Although giant glove maker Top Glove Bhdwould not be able to escape the minimum wage policy, its major capacity share and automation initiatives are expected to mitigate higher labour costs.

According to CIMB Research analyst Yeoh Yung-Juen, while the policy could cut Top Glove’s financial year 2013 net profit by up to 15%, its dominant capacity share and automation initiatives will mitigate higher labour costs.

“We believe Top Glove will not escape the minimum wage order as the law has been gazetted. However, its automation programme and dominant market share will help to soften the blow,” he said. read more.

* No need for more industrial court judges:

The number of labour disputes that have been settled in the industrial court within a year, which are more than cases being filed, shows that there is no need for more industrial court judges, Human Resource Minister Datuk Seri Dr S Subramaniam said today.

He said in 2011, a total of 1,346 cases were referred to the industrial court and a total of 1,670 cases (including backlog cases from previous years) were resolved with both sides reaching an amicable solution.
“There are currently 24 industrial court judges working to handle these disputes, with two more vacancies expected to be filled by the end of the year,” Subramaniam said during question time in Parliament. read more.

17:22:07 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Textile factories poison Citarum river:

The Citarum River in West Java is full of toxic waste. A report released on Wednesday by Greenpeace and the West Java branch of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), found the water to contain hazardous chemicals.

“Textile manufacturers in Citarum have treated the river – the source of water for the community – like their private sewer,” said Dadan Ramdan of Walhi.

The report “Toxic Out of Control”, found dangerous chemicals in the canal and sewers of eight industrial areas in Citarum: Majalaya, Rancaekek, Cisirung – Dayeuhkolot, Margaasih – Leuwigajah, Batujajar, Padalarang, Jatiluhur and Karawang.

Hexavalent chromium, widely used in textile dyes, and other noxious materials are at alarming levels. Carcinogen hexavalent chromium is highly toxic even at low concentrations and may accumulate in the living body through food chain.
read more.

* The Gov’t appreciates increasing minimum wage in 2013:

Minister of Manpower and Transmigration Muhaimin Iskandar said the government appreciated increasing minimum wage in 2013 that will be above average compared to the previous year, following the government’s commitment to raise the welfare of the workers.

“This is the most significant increase with an average increase of 40%. This is the highest wage increase in history,” he said after a limited cabinet meeting at the presidential office, Tuesday (11/27). read more.

* No foreign investors leaving Indonesia: BKPM:

Head of the Capital Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) Chatib Basri said no foreign investor had left the country due to workers` rallies of late.

“There is no companies under the BKPM which have left Indonesia due to labor demonstrations of late. Foreign firms have paid salaries than the minimum regional provincial wage (UMP). They are only nervous if demonstrators conduct sweeping at firms and force other workers to join their rallies,” he said.

He said that foreign companies were not affected by the rallies themselves. They only affected small companies, namely local or domestic companies. read more.

15:22:07 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH


* RMG workers go berserk in Ashulia, 20-50 hurt:

Production at most of the readymade garments factories in Ashulia zone was suspended for Wednesday as workers ran amok and clashed with police demanding justice and safety at workplace.

At least 20 people were injured during the clash that started around 9:30am, four days after a fire tragedy at the Tazreen Fashions Ltd at Nischintapur in Ashulia had claimed the lives of 111 workers.
The marauding workers also vandalised a number of factories including a unit of Azmat Group in Amtola and torched two motor cycles there.

Transport movement on the Dhaka-Tangail highway and Ashulia-Baipail road remain suspended following the vandalism and clash, said Moktar Hossain, deputy directory of Industrial Police in Ashulia.
Authorities of most of the garment factories suspended their production for today (Wednesday) fearing further vandalism, Moktar said.
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* Fire survivors tell stories of utter neglect:

The officials of Tazreen Fashions Ltd in Ashulia, where more than 100 workers died in a fire on Saturday night, played music to suppress the sound of the fire alarm, a survivor alleged at a discussion yesterday.

Maria Akhtar, who miraculously survived the inferno, said the fire alarm rang at 6:50pm and the workers on the sixth floor ran to the staircases for exit.
But the production manager on duty asked them to go back to work, saying there was no danger. They later managed a makeshift bamboo bridge to escape to a nearby building with life risk, she said.

The discussion on how to stop deaths in fire at garment factories was organsied by the Prothom Alo at its office in the city.
Maria said Delwar Hossain, the owner, visited the factory 15 minutes before the raging fire started to engulf the eight-storey factory building. read more.

* My fault, but none alerted me:

” It was my fault,” said Delowar Hossain, managing director of Tazreen Fashion Ltd, yesterday.

“But nobody told me that there was no emergency exit which could be made accessible from outside. Nobody even advised me to install one like that, apart from the existing ones,” he argued in an exclusive interview with The Daily Star, for the first time since the deadly fire killed 111 workers at his factory on Saturday.

“I could have done it. But nobody ever suggested that I do it.”
While Delowar was apparently shaken by the tragedy, he did not announce any compensation for the families of the deceased, nor did he clearly express any sympathy for them, at least not in public.

Besides shouldering the entire responsibility for the incident, Delowar also blamed others for the tragedy — at least partly. He alleged that the officials of the labour department had visited his factory several times, but they had not raised any question about the exit routes.

It was the social compliance audit of the retail giant Walmart that complained only about the excess working hours at the factory. “But we have rectified the problem after receiving the complaint,” he claimed.

The retailer did not complain about the absence of any emergency exit from outside, Delowar said, adding that it did not even raise any objection over having a warehouse on the ground floor in the same building and near the staircase.
read more.

* Workers stage demo in Ashulia:

Garment workers of Ashulia yesterday blockaded the Dhaka-Tangail highway for six hours and vandalised vehicles and several factories following a short-circuit mishap in a factory.

The demonstrators also clashed with police when the law enforcers tried to calm the situation down.
Production of all the units in the area remained suspended yesterday owing to the agitation.
The outburst started around 9:30am when several thousand workers of Ha-Meem Group came out on street upon a rumour that one of the group’s units had caught fire. The rumour originated after sparks from an electric short circuit had been discovered on the 7th floor of the unit.
Seeing Ha-Meem workers on streets, workers of around 400 nearby garment factories joined the agitation. read more.

* Helpline for Tazreen victims:

The workers injured in a fire at Tazreen Fashions in Ashulia may contact Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.

BGMEA urged them to call its additional secretary, Md Zaglul Hayder, on 01817044677 or 8140310 (hunting) to get any help regarding their treatment.
BGMEA will bear all treatment costs for the injured workers, it said in a statement yesterday. The workers will be paid their outstanding salaries on December 1.
The workers and relatives of the victims were also urged to contact nearby garment factories where they will be given jobs on a priority basis. to read.

* BGMEA to disburse salaries of Tazreen Fashions’ workers Dec 1:

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) will provide the salaries of the workers of the fire-hit Tazreen Fashions Ltd on December 1, officials said on Wednesday. 

The apex body of the apparel manufacturers also suggested the workers to look for jobs in the adjacent garment factories as they will get jobs on priority basis if they communicate.
 The decisions, including the rehabilitation plan, came from a meeting of the BGMEA held at its office.
Meanwhile, the BGMEA authorities asked the workers who suffered burn injuries at the factory inferno to communicate with the officials at the BGMEA to avail of the necessary treatment. The workers have been advised to contact M Jaglul Haider (01817044677) in this regard. to read.

* 3 Tazreen Fashions officials on 5-day remand:

A Dhaka court on Wednesday placed three officials of fire-ravaged Tazreen Fashions Ltd on a five-day remand each in connection with the inferno at the factory that killed at least 111 workers.  

Senior Chief Judicial Magistrate Wasim Sheikh passed the order after police produced them before his court seeking remand for the Tazreen Fashions officials.

Those remanded are administrative officer of the garment factory Dulal Uddin, store in-charge, Hamidul Islam Lavlu and security in-charge Al Amin.
Mostafa Kamal, a sub-inspector of Ashulia Police Station, produced the trio before the court with a seven-day remand prayer.

The court, however, granted a five-day remand for each after hearing.
Earlier, the Tazreen Fashions officials were arrested from different places in Dhaka and Savar on Tuesday night in connection with a case filed on charges of killing and injuring people. read more. & read more.

* Arrests made after Bangladesh factory blaze:

Three mid-level managers held for preventing workers from leaving factory premises after fire alarm went off.

Police in Bangladesh have arrested three managers of a factory where a fire killed at least 110 people.
The managers arrested overnight on Tuesday were accused of stopping workers from leaving the plant, saying an alarm was just a routine fire drill.
“All three are mid-level managers of Tazreen. Survivors told us that they did not allow the workers to escape the fire, saying that it was a routine fire drill. There are also allegations that they even padlocked doors,” Habibur Rahman, head of police in the capital Dhaka, told the AFP news agency on Wednesday.

Dulal Uddin, an administrative officer, Hamidul Islam, store room head, and Al Amin, a security officer in charge at the time of the Saturday evening blaze, apparently told workers of Tazreen Fashion that they had nothing to worry about when the fire started.
Survivors and witnesses told AFP that workers, most of them women, tried to escape the burning factory, which supplied clothes to international brands including Walmart, European chain C&A and the Hong Kong-based Li & Fung company.
Around 700 garment workers have been killed in dozens of fires since 2006,  according to the Clean Clothes Campaign, an Amsterdam-based textile rights group.
But none of the owners have been prosecuted over previous blazes.
Campaigners say Western firms whose clothes are made in Bangladesh hide behind inadequate safety audits in an effort to shave costs.
After European chain C&A and Hong Kong-based Li & Fung confirmed they had orders at Tazreen, the US retail giant Walmart also acknowledged some of its products were made there and said it had terminated ties with the supplier.
read more.

* BGMEA to form taskforce to oversee fire exit facility at factories:

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) is to constitute a four-member high-powered taskforce to oversee the fire exit system of Readymade Garments (RMG) manufacturing units in the country.

“The planned taskforce would be formed to reduce casualties due to fire incidents at garments factories,” M Siddique Rahman, 2nd Vice President of BGMEA, told BSS today.
Rahman said the taskforce would be formed taking in representatives from Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA), Fire service and Civil Defense and Institute of Engineers, Bangladesh (IEB).

Focusing on the salient features of the taskforce, he said members of the taskforce will take factory-to-factory visit to create awareness about the fire incidents among the factory owners.
About the government’s declaration to shut down factories having less than two fire exits, he said the association refrain from providing license to run factories without two fire exits.

The BGMEA leader, however, pointed out that some garment factories set up at the initial stage of the industry may not have fire fighting facilities
Referring to the non-BGMEA member factories, Rahman said their number would be around 500 and these non-compliant factories are detrimental to the industry.
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* Bgmea seeks buyers’ coop- Help reduce safety risks:

The country’s apparel manufacturers on Wednesday sought an enhanced cooperation from global apparel brands and their retailers including the Wal-Mart to reduce the risk of fire incidents in the local garments industry.

The industry is passing through shocks and a growing fear of critical global reactions to the incidence may further cause destabilisation to the industry.
It is time for cooperation to come out of the shock overcoming the grief rather than finding faults and make the situation further uncertain, said leaders of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) while giving their reaction to The New Nation yesterday.

The issue of safe working place comes to the forefront of the global buyers this week again following the devastating fire at Tazreen Fashion Ltd that used to execute orders from the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart.
BGMEA leaders said they are serious to work with global buyers to further strengthen the safety regimes to avoid future incidents.
The global apparel market can’t avoid Bangladesh at this stage because of it size and competitiveness so also Bangladesh earnestly seeks their cooperation to make the industry further safe, BGMEA president Shafiul Islam (Mohiuddin) said.
read more.

* Hunt for cheap garments leads to workers’ plight:

German Ambassador Albrecht Conze yesterday blamed the sufferings of readymade garment workers partly on the international buyers’ tendency to get products at excessively cheap rates.

The German media covered the fire tragedy at Tazreen Fashions in Ashulia extensively, he said. “Our first criticism in Germany is against ourselves.”

“First culprits are the German customers who want a pair of jeans for 5 euros, which is Tk 500. You cannot have a pair of jeans without someone suffering down the line, some workers in bad condition,” Conze said quoting the German media.
read more.

* Break-up with Walmart may send Tazreen to bankruptcy:

BGMEA president says the retailer’s decision to end ties with the garment maker is deceitful

The Walmart’s decision of cutting ties with Bangladeshi garment supplier Tazreen Fashions is ‘deceitful’, said BGMEA President Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin yesterday.

Such a unilateral decision might push the garment maker to bankruptcy, he said.
The US retail giant terminated its relationship with Tazreen after at least 111 workers were killed in a deadly fire in the garment maker’s factory in Ashulia on Saturday night, mainly due to lax safety measures.
“The Walmart met neither the BGMEA leaders nor the government high-ups, and took the decision unilaterally. It is a deceitful one,” Mohiuddin told The Daily Star by phone.
“But I hope the orders placed by Walmart with other factories in Bangladesh will not be affected for cutting the ties with the affected Tazreen Fashions,” he said.
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* Wal-Mart, Disney clothes found in Ashulia fire:

The garment factory in Bangladesh where 112 people were killed in a fire had been making clothes for Wal-Mart, Disney, Sears and other major global retailers — some of whom say they thought they had stopped doing business with the place.

The apparent confusion underscored what some industry experts say is a major obstacle to improving factory safety in developing nations: Many retailers in the US and Europe rely on such a long and complex chain of manufacturers, vendors and middlemen to keep their shelves stocked that it is difficult to keep track of where certain products are made.

Amid the blackened tables and melted sewing machines at Tazreen Fashions Ltd, an Associated Press reporter discovered clothes and account books Wednesday that indicated the factory was used by a host of US and European retailers.

Among the items discovered: children’s shorts with Wal-Mart’s Faded Glory label, hooded sweaters marked “Disney Pixar,” shorts with hip-hop star Sean Combs’ ENYCE tag, and sweaters from the French company Teddy Smith and the Scottish company Edinburgh Woollen Mill. Sears was among the companies listed in the account books.

The tragedy is putting a spotlight on dangerous workplace conditions around the world, with no clear answers to how consumers should react or who is ultimately responsible. read more. & read more. & read more.

* Workers Burn, Walmart Ducks Responsibility:

Perhaps the images no longer have the power to shock. Charred bodies and wailing families appear in the news with grim frequency, giving the numbing impression that industrial fires are simply a necessary toll for poor nations on the road to “development.”

The latest factory inferno in South Asia should prompt us to ask why this keeps happening, but once again, challenges from local and international labor advocates are being dodged by the global apparel-manufacturing machine.

The fire this weekend at the Tazreen factory outside Dhaka, Bangladesh, which killed more than 110 of the 1,000-plus workers, bears the stamp of some of the world’s most iconic fashion labels. According to labor advocates, the Western brands linked to the factory included Disney, Sears, Dickies, Sean Combs’s Enyce and Walmart’s Faded Glory.

According to initial reports, the workplace was fraught with fire-safety issues, including the lack of a viable road for rescue workers to approach the facility and a lack of safety exits. Before workers could flee, some managers reportedly “stopped them running to safety after the fire alarm had gone off.”

Just about everyone who could be held responsible has a story to deflect the blame, and some are even implicating workers. read more.


* The other fire- 50-60 hurt in stampede in Ctg RMG factory:

At least 50 garment workers were injured as they jostled to come out of their factory in panic of a fire at Chittagong Export Processing Zone area in the port city on Wednesday.

All the injured workers of Section-7 Limited of Shirt Makers Group were rushed to Chittagong Medical College Hospital for treatment, reports our Chittagong correspondent.
Md Mezbah Uddin, senior executive officer of the factory, said the workers hurriedly get out of the building after seeing smoke which was originated from an electric short circuit on the fourth floor of the five-storey building around 8:00am.
The workers of the floor managed to extinguish the fire immediately, the official of the factory said.
Nasima, 24, a worker of the factory, told The Daily Star that panic gripped the workers as they all are haunted by the memory of Ashulia fire where at least 111 people were killed on Saturday night.
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* Garment ‘jinx’ gets going:

At least 60 garment workers were injured in three factories in Dhaka and Chittagong from fall and stampede yesterday as they ran for their lives following rumours of fire, with the apparel sector still reeling from the horror of Saturday’s deadly fire in Ashulia.

In the port city, at least 50 workers of Section Seven Ltd were wounded when they tried to escape in panic on hearing that the factory caught a fire, officials and workers said.
The incident happened at around 8:00am following an electric short circuit on the third floor of the five-storey building.
Of the victims, most suffered injuries from fall. At least three of them had their hands broken while six others sustained head injuries.

All the victims were taken to Chittagong Medical College Hospital, said Zahirul Islam, sub-inspector of the CMCH police outpost.
Later in the day, 25 of them were discharged after initial treatment while the other 25 were admitted to the hospital.
“We all panicked because we are yet to forget the Ashulia tragedy,” said Nasima, a worker of Section Seven. read more.

* 5 workers injured in city RMG factory stampede:

Five workers were injured in a stampede sparked by a fire rumour at a garment factory in the city’s Elephant Road area on Wednesday.

The injured are Shahida, 35, Dolly, 40, Akbar Ali, 25, Rupa Akhtar, 22, and Shilpi Akhtar, 23.
Police said the workers of Starlight Garments scrambled to get down from the top two floors of the five-storey factory building through a narrow staircase in a panic after someone rang the fire alarm bell at about 3:30 pm, leaving the five injured.
The injured were admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
to read.

* Criminal Negligence Leads to Tragedy at the Tazreen Fashion Factory:

A Senior Worker—An Eye Witness—Relates What Happened at the Tazreen Factory,  As Flames Engulfed the Workers, Many of Whom Were Purposefully Locked In.

“I was working on the fifth floor in the sewing section on the evening of Saturday, November 24th. Fifty percent of the workers left the factory at 5:00 p.m. and the remaining 50 percent had to stay for overtime. All overtime is obligatory.

“Just a few days earlier, the factory had received piles of cartons full of cloth, yarn and thread, and some sewing machines. It was 6:30 p.m. on Saturday when the fire started on the ground floor, and it quickly spread to the upper floors. About 1,800 workers were trapped.
Some men from the finishing section started to go downstairs to flee the factory. They were burned but escaped death.
Our production manager, Mr. Monju, pulled down the collapsible gate on the third floor, forcing us to continue working.
We pleaded with him to let us out, but Mr. Monju assured us that nothing was wrong and we should keep working. He told us not to listen to any rumors.  He said again, ‘Nothing has happened, just keep working.’ read more.

* Bangladesh to ensure friendly environment in RMG sector: Mozena:

US Ambassador to Bangladesh Dan W Mozena today urged Bangladesh government to create worker- friendly environment in all ready-made garment (RMG) factories.

“The devastating fire in Ashulia garments factory is really a very sad incident and I hope that the government of Bangladesh will ensure friendly environment in all labour industries”, the US envoy said to a group of journalists at Chittagong Shah Amanat International Airport on way back to Dhaka after spending a day- long visit to Chittagong.
In reply to a question, Mozena said the issue of caretaker government is exclusively an internal matter of Bangladeshi politicians.

“I should not talk about it”, he added. Earlier, Mozena attended a programme on gender violence held on Patiya College premises. read more.


* The fallout from the Tazreen fire:

The fire at the Tazreen factory in Ashulia originated from a warehouse on the ground floor of the nine-storey building that was used to store yarn and it quickly spread to the upper floors.

The factory employed about 1,500 workers. It produced T-shirts, polo shirts and fleece jackets. Most of the workers who died were on the first and second floors and were killed because there were not enough exit routes. The workers could not come out when the fire engulfed the multi-storied building.

The prime minister said in parliament that the Ashulia garment factory fire was pre-planned and urged the people, garment owners and workers to remain alert to foil any subversive activities in future. She also said those behind the incident would be identified through investigation. Attacks were being made on the garment sector that had been earning foreign currency, said the prime minister. read more.

* Lax Safety Measures Blamed for Tazreen Factory Fire Tragedy:

The death toll of 111 in the fire at the Tazreen Fashions factory in Bangladesh would have been significantly lower if safety measures were upheld by retail companies in the country, according to a leading labour rights NGO.

Garment factories in Bangladesh, the world’s biggest exporter of clothing after China, are often located in unsafe buildings that were originally constructed for residential or commercial purposes.

“The electrical wiring is set up for residential buildings, not for heavy industry with hundreds, sometimes thousands, of machines,” Liana Foxvog, of the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), told IBTimes UK.

“The majority of factory fires in Bangladesh are caused by electrical circuit shortage. The chaos that follows the fire is caused by the fact that workers don’t receive proper fire emergency plans, and exit doors and windows are usually blocked. They are not properly trained.”

The ILRF has set up a comprehensive fire safety programme to alleviate the decades-old deadly working conditions of workers at supplier factories in Bangladesh. read more.


* BTMA urges govt to re-adjust energy charges:

Calling on the Government to take wise measures to re-adjust the energy prices, Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) president Jahangir Alamin said abrupt rise in energy charges may badly impact the country’s textile sectors, which is considered to be a key stimulator of the nation’s economy.
At a media briefing, Mr. Alamin said Bangladesh has a potential to largely draw the investment from China, where production has almost halved due to high wages. Chinese investors are looking at shifting their industries to Bangladesh, however high cost of energy and high interest on bank loans are impeding their way.
He added that the Government is planning to increase the energy rates by 104 percent, which is likely to annihilate the textile industry which operates with 1200 mega watt captive generation. read more.

14:52:07 local time map of india INDIA

* 17% women sexually harassed at workplace:

Sexual harassment at the work place is rampant but no one talks about it — 17% of working women in major cities have admitted to it. However, most of these women said the harassment wasn’t physical.

These findings are part of the survey, ‘Sexual Harassment at Workplaces in India 2011-2012’, done by Oxfam India during a workshop at the India Islamic Cultural Centre. The report was released on Tuesday. read more.

* Textile firm to exchange know-how with Pakistan:

City-based textile company, SEL plans to send a five-member technical committee to Lahore to visit textile manufacturing units and learn how to manufacture best quality yarn even if the raw material, cotton, is sub-standard. In return, SEL will give knowhow on captive power generation to sections in Pakistan Punjab industry, which faces persistent problem of power shortage.

“During a recent trip to Pakistan, I realised that the country produces good quality yarn despite having sub standard cotton. Here, things are the opposite. We have planned to send a technical committee to learn the know-how behind this,” Neeraj Saluja, managing director of SEL, said. read more.

* Integrated Textiles Parks being set up by Indian govt:

Forty textile parks are being or have been established by the Indian Government under its Scheme for Integrated Textiles Park, according to a statement given by Minister of Textiles, Mr. Anand Sharma in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian Parliament.

Under the scheme, the Central Government has allocated Rs. 8.79 billion during the last two years and current year, and about Rs. 2.64 billion have already been disbursed during the same period.
More than half of the Integrated Textile Parks are coming up in the three states of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat. read more.

14:52:07 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* Sri Lankan garment sector may miss US$5bn target:

The Sri Lankan apparel sector may not be able to achieve the US$ 5 billion target fixed by the Government for 2015, mainly due to waning exports and increasing costs of production, according to experts.

In the first three quarters of the current year, clothing exports from Sri Lanka plummeted 7 percent over same period last year. The main fall was witnessed in exports to the EU and the US, which dipped by 10 percent year-on-year and 6 percent year-on-year, respectively.

Sri Lankan garment sector is losing its competitive edge in world market due to high production cost, and leading buyers are now shifting to cheap sourcing destinations, experts said at the annual meeting of the Sri Lankan Apparel Exporters Association.
read more.

14:22:07 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Pakistan textile sector welcomes MFN with India:

“We favour opening up of trade with India with respect to the ‘Most Favoured Nation’ (MFN) status granted to India recently by Pakistan. The textile sector from both India and Pakistan, should explore the competitive advantage inherent in both the countries”, said a top official of an influential textile trade lobby in Pakistan.

These comments came in the backdrop of the Pakistan Textile Ministry recently raising concerns over eliminating the negative list with immediate effect. It suggested that the negative list should be reviewed in detail and extensive discussions should be held with stake holders and their opinions should be heard. read more.

* APTMA for uninterrupted power supply to meet export orders:

 Chairman All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) Ahsan Bashir has said that the textile industry is not being supplied with uninterrupted electricity supply despite lowest domestic demand at present. He said the industry is usually in dire need of electricity in this season to meet export orders from around the world. But the industry is facing with six hours a day load shedding at present.

According to him, the Ministry of Water & Power had assured the Aptma of complete exemption from load shedding after 10th Muharram, requesting to bear with the situation until 10th of Muharram. However, he added, the decision to this effect is yet pending on the part of the ministry. He has demanded the Ministry of Water & Power to restore uninterrupted electricity supply to the textile industry, as the energy security is prime concern of the industry. read more.

* Energy shortages, law and order: numerous textile companies relocated to Europe, Bangladesh:

As many as 34 textile companies have shifted their business to Europe and Bangladesh during the last few years due to power and gas shortage and the prevailing deteriorating law and order situation in the country, informed sources revealed to Business Recorder here on Wednesday.

Another reason behind the relocation or shifting of textile industry is better financial benefits of preferential trade agreements, uninterrupted power and gas supply to the industry, better law and order situation and concessions on taxes provided by the competitors, sources maintained.

Sources further said that a total of 34 companies have shifted outside the country; however every company has a number of units. This means that a large number of textile units have been shifted to other countries. Pakistan is expecting a bumper cotton crop of over 14 million bales for the current season. The industry is facing serious problems due to non-availability of gas and electricity therefore it is next to impossible for the industry to consume domestic cotton and fulfil export orders.
read more.

* FCCI urges government to release funds for textile industry:

Mian Zahid Aslam, President Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FCCI) has said billions of refund claims in the context of Duty Drawbacks, Sales Tax and R&D are pended with the government.

The exporters are facing severe liquidity crunch to fulfil their export orders particularly at this critical stage when exports under EU Autonomous Trade Preference Scheme (ATPS) have also been allowed.

Referring to a news item, he pointed out that government earmarked Rs 7.5 billion in budget 2012-13 for implementation of Textile Policy (2009-14) but not a single penny has been released to the ministry in the first quarter of the year undermining the effectiveness of policy initiatives. read more.

* Factory fires highlight myriad problems of labourers:

The growth of clothing retail giants across the globe do come at a very hefty price – the pitiable living and working conditions of labourers in developing countries where the manufacturing task has been outsourced to.

The fire in Bangladeshs Tazreen factory last weekend highlights this phenomenon quite aptly. Over 100 factory workers lost their lives as a fire broke out in the clothing factorys building, with some bodies too badly burnt to be identified.

Once again, the deplorable conditions in which factory workers, often women, are being highlighted by the local Bangladeshi and international media. At a minimum wage of slightly over 43 dollars per month, nearly 3.4 million workers in 4,500 factories across Bangladesh continue to work long hours cutting and sewing apparel that is sold for way above the makers monthly salary.

Among the many things brought to light are the deplorable work conditions for these cheap labourers. There was no fire exit towards the outside of the building and factory managers had allegedly told workers to return to work even though fire alarms rang and smoke had started spreading.

Bangladesh is not the only one mired by such incidents. In September this year, a fire at a garment factory in Karachi killed nearly 300 people. It was called the worst factory disaster in Asia since a fire in a Thai toy factory in 1993. read more.


map of Asia


* Chinese clothing becomes Made-in-Vietnam products for export

* Ministry urges relief for firms hurt by wage hike
* Jintana in deal to make Japanese lingerie
* Extensions to work permits face the chop

* Analyst: Top Glove can mitigate higher labour costs
* No need for more industrial court judges

* Textile factories poison Citarum river
* The Gov’t appreciates increasing minimum wage in 2013
* No foreign investors leaving Indonesia: BKPM

* RMG workers go berserk in Ashulia, 20-50 hurt
* Fire survivors tell stories of utter neglect
* My fault, but none alerted me
* Workers stage demo in Ashulia
* Helpline for Tazreen victims
* BGMEA to disburse salaries of Tazreen Fashions’ workers Dec 1
* 3 Tazreen Fashions officials on 5-day remand
* Arrests made after Bangladesh factory blaze
* BGMEA to form taskforce to oversee fire exit facility at factories
* Bgmea seeks buyers’ coop- Help reduce safety risks
* Hunt for cheap garments leads to workers’ plight
* Break-up with Walmart may send Tazreen to bankruptcy
* Wal-Mart, Disney clothes found in Ashulia fire
* Workers Burn, Walmart Ducks Responsibility
* The other fire- 50-60 hurt in stampede in Ctg RMG factory
* Garment ‘jinx’ gets going
* 5 workers injured in city RMG factory stampede
* Criminal Negligence Leads to Tragedy at the Tazreen Fashion Factory
* Bangladesh to ensure friendly environment in RMG sector: Mozena
* The fallout from the Tazreen fire
* Lax Safety Measures Blamed for Tazreen Factory Fire Tragedy
* BTMA urges govt to re-adjust energy charges

* 17% women sexually harassed at workplace
* Textile firm to exchange know-how with Pakistan
* Integrated Textiles Parks being set up by Indian govt

* Sri Lankan garment sector may miss US$5bn target

* Pakistan textile sector welcomes MFN with India
* APTMA for uninterrupted power supply to meet export orders
* Energy shortages, law and order: numerous textile companies relocated to Europe, Bangladesh
* FCCI urges government to release funds for textile industry
* Factory fires highlight myriad problems of labourers

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

For more and other (labour) news you can follow on twitter: @asearcher2