in the news on-line, 5 December 2012

09:18:04 local time map of china CHINA

* 14 killed in clothing factory fire in south China:

Fourteen people were killed and one was injured in a fire at an underwear factory in south China’s Guangdong Province Tuesday, authorities said.

The fire broke out at about 3:30 p.m. at the factory in Chaonan district in the city of Shantou and was put out half an hour later, the emergency management office of the Guangdong provincial government said in a statement.
The injured worker is under treatment at a local hospital.
Senior provincial officials have ordered to set up a working team to investigate the cause of the fire and to step up safety measures to avoid similar fatal fires. to read.

* Suspected arsonist arrested in China clothing factory fatal fire:

A suspect has been arrested for setting fire to an underwear factory in south China’s Guangdong Province that left 14 people dead and one more injured Tuesday, according local police authorities.

An initial investigation showed that the fire at the factory in Chaonan district in the city of Shantou was an arson fire and a suspect surnamed Liu has been arrested, the Shantou public security bureau said in a statement late Tuesday.
The fire broke out at about 3:30 p.m. and was put out half an hour later.
The injured worker is under treatment at a local hospital.
Local police authorities are further investigating the case. to read. & read more.
 

* Factory fire kills 14, suspect nabbed:


A view of the factory where 14 women died in fire in Shantou, Dec 4, 2012. [Photo provided by unknown Internet user and published on the Southern Metropolis Daily website ndnews.oeeee.com]suspect has been arrested for setting fire to an underwear factory in South China’s Guangdong province that left 14 people dead and one more injured Tuesday, according local police authorities.

An initial investigation showed that the fire at the factory in Chaonan district in the city of Shantou was an arson fire and a suspect surnamed Liu has been arrested, the Shantou public security bureau said in a statement late Tuesday.

The fire broke out at about 3:30 p.m. and was put out half an hour later.
The injured worker is under treatment at a local hospital.
Local police authorities are further investigating the case.   to read.

* Arson suspected in death of 14 workers:

Fourteen young workers were killed and one was severely injured in a fire at an underwear workshop in Shantou, Guangdong Province around 3:30 pm Tuesday, said local authorities.

All 14 victims are female employees between the ages of 18 and 20. The injured worker is undergoing treatment at hospital.
The fire was extinguished around 4 pm. After initial investigations, police confirmed arson was the cause. Local police said a former employee set the workshop on fire. Some people said the arsonist was enraged over a payment dispute.
The arson suspect was detained late Tuesday, local police said.
Senior officials also ordered an inquiry into the incident in order to prevent future cases. to read.

* Arson Suspect Arrested After Fatal Factory Fire:

The Southern Metropolis Daily said in an online report that the victims were all women aged 18-20.
It said the cause of the fire was arson, according to an initial police and fire investigation.
Senior provincial officials set up a team to investigate the cause of the fire and step up safety measures to avoid similar fatal fires, Xinhua said in its brief report. The factory made underwear, it said.

The suspect, Liu Shuangyun, told Guangdong Satellite Television during a taped jailhouse interview early Wednesday morning that he started the fire “because I couldn’t get my salary.”

Asked whether he had thought about or regretted the loss of life the fire had caused, Liu said: “I didn’t think about these things.”  read more. & read more.
 

* Chinese policies control & stabilise global cotton prices:

One major source of uncertainty regarding short-term global cotton supply and use projections stems from Chinese policies. The Chinese government has accumulated a national reserve of over 7 million tons in the last 14 months by buying domestic and foreign cotton.

This national reserve will likely continue growing until the end of March 2013 but it is not clear how it will be managed after that point. International cotton prices are currently supported and stabilized by Chinese policies, but changes to these policies could have opposite results.

The Secretariat projects that global cotton production will decrease by 11% to 23.2 million tons in 2013/14 due to lower cotton prices and increased attractiveness of competing crops. This would be the second consecutive season of decline in cotton production and the smallest output in four years. read more.

09:18:04 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

*International migrants tribunal declares 37 states guilty of violating:

“Governments look at remittances as a tool for development and a means to repay global debt. They have actually put a positive spin on massive forced migration and commodification of workers. They have the gall to call it a ‘tool for development’ when it fact it results in the decimation and break-up of families, the exploitation of millions of workers and the uneven distribution of wealth and power in the world.” – Irene Fernandez, migrants’ rights activist.

An international tribunal, the first on the theme of migrants, has declared 37 governments guilty of using migration to advance neoliberal globalization policies and of violations of the economic, social, cultural and political rights of migrants by sending and receiving states.

Organized by the International Migrants Alliance, International League of Peoples Struggle, International Women’s Alliance and the Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants, the two-day tribunal proceedings was held to try the Global Forum on Migration and Development and its Steering Committee comprised of 37 governments.

Held at the University of the Philippines College of Law from November 28-29, the trial was presided over by a panel of judges who heard testimonies given by experts on migration and migrant workers, from various countries, who have suffered from migrants’ rights violations. The jurists were Osamu Niikura, from Japan, of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, Bp. Soritua Nababan, from Indonesia, of the World Council of Churches, renowned theatre actress and Filipino women’s rights activist Monique Wilson, Mexican human rights lawyer Ana Lorena Delgadillo Perez, and UP College of Mass Communications Dean Roland Tolentino.
read more.

08:18:04 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* VN’s leather exports to earn US$8.5 bln this year:

The export turnover of footwear and handbags is estimated to reach US $8.5 billion in 2012.

The export of footwear can attain US$7.5 billion, up 12% against 2011.
Despite reduction in production and consumption, Viet Nam has made efforts in seeking for export markets to deal with inventories, said Chairman of Viet Nam Leather and Footwear Association (Lefaso).
The Ministry of Industry and Trade forecasted that the export turnover of footwear and handbags will obtain around US$9.5 billion in 2013. to read.

08:18:04 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Trade, investment mission to Myanmar:

The Board of Trade of Thailand and the Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC) next week will lead a mission to seek new trade and investment opportunities in Myanmar.

The mission takes place amid the backdrop of fears of a serious impact on the business sector from the nationwide minimum-wage increase to Bt300 per day in the new year.

Phongsak Assakul, who heads up both organisations, yesterday said many Thai enterprises were keen to invest or form joint ventures in Myanmar as it has the highest growth potential in Asean, with the capability of serving expanding manufacturing and service businesses while possessing a large market to serve domestic growth.

“Many leading businesses in the Kingdom will look for new opportunities in Myanmar as it has lower labour costs and high consumer demand. To invest and do businesses in Myanmar will increase the competitiveness of Thai businesses,” he said. read more.

08:18:04 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Cambodia’s cheap labour attracts interest:

Workers assemble garments in a factory on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. Photograph: Pha Lina/Phnom Penh Post

TK Garment Co Ltd, a leading Thai original equipment manufacturer for fashion lines in Thailand, is relocating its largest production site to Cambodia to escape high wage costs, the Bangkok Post reported yesterday.

The company’s chairman Thaveekij Jaturajaroenkhun was reported as saying that 10 other garment companies are also in the process of relocating to neighbouring countries, especially Cambodia and Vietnam.
Last month, the Thai government approved a proposal to implement a minimum wage of 300 baht (US$9.77) per day nationwide from January 1, according to the Bangkok Post.

When contacted yesterday for further information, the company declined to confirm or give further details to the Bangkok Post’s report.
Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh said there are a lot of garment factories moving from China and other countries to Cambodia due to the rise in labour costs.

“You know why they are moving here because their labour costs are increasing,” he said.

“It is also high in Thailand and Vietnam while we are still low so that they are coming to invest here. In addition to that, if you are producing garments and textiles for export to European markets, you need to pay tax in those countries. But we don’t. When you are producing in Cambodia exports to those markets are duty free. At the same time, we also have cheap labour costs.” read more.

* Nex-t Apparel factory sues employees for damage:

Nex-t Apparel has filed a lawsuit against its workers for damaging factory property during their ongoing strike.

More than 200 workers smashed windows, bikes, cupboards, flower pots and other items in the factory last Saturday.
“We demand that the court find justice for the company,” Chea Sovann Chansambath, the administrative manager of Nex-t Apparel, said.
She declined to state how much the company is asking for in damages.

San Sopha, the dispute resolution officer for the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union, said it had not been the workers’ intention to damage company property.
Instead, it was an unfortunate consequence of the workers’ frustration against the company.
(…)
Company representatives, factory workers, union representatives and local officials held a meeting yesterday to find a resolution, but it ended in deadlock.
The Nex-t Apparel factory workers are demanding better pay, better work conditions and the reinstatement of three fired union members.
read more.

09:18:04 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Workers Rally Against Indonesia’s Outsourcing System in Jakarta Protest:

Thousands of workers marched on foreign embassies in Jakarta on Wednesday in the latest labor protest demanding the end of Indonesia’s controversial contract worker laws.

The demonstrators massed at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle Wednesday morning before marching to the South Korean and Japanese embassies in protests against Korean tech-giant Samsung and Japanese carmaker Toyota. Labor unions accused both companies of using contract workers in a process locally referred to as “outsourcing.”

“We’re going on a long march to the Korean Embassy because Samsung employs many workers with the outsourcing method,” president of Confederation of Indonesian Trade Union (KSPI) Said Iqbal said. read more.

07:18:04 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

 * ASHULIA- TAZREEN GARMENT FACTORY FIRE:

* Hunt down those instigating workers to set fire to RMG factories: PM:

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday called upon all concerned to hunt down those instigating the workers to set fire to garment factories and thus thwart their ‘all-destroying games’.

“You’ve noticed workers are frequently being instigated with money to torch garment factories. Why is it happening?…It needs to be identified who’re instigating workers to set fire to factories by giving money like Tk 20,000 or Tk 1 lakh,” she said.
The Prime Minister was distributing cheques among the family members of the Tazreen garment fire victims at her office.

Hasina also urged all concerned to remain alert so that the tragic fire incident like Tazreen garment factory in Ashulia does not reoccur in the future.

The Prime Minister handed over cheques for a total of Tk 2.58 crore — Tk 6 lakh to each family of the 43 Tazreen garment fire victims out of 110 who were killed on November 24.
As per her earlier announcement of financial assistance, Hasina distributed the cheques from the Prime Minister’s Relief and Welfare Fund, Labor and Employment Ministry, BGMEA, Bankers Association of Bangladesh and Hong Kong-based RMG importer Lee and Fang.
read more. &read more. &read more. &read more. &read more. &read more.
& read more.
         

* Tazreen workers to get full benefits today:

The workers of Tazreen Fashions Ltd affected by the devastating fire will get wages for the month of November along with compensation today (Wednesday) on the premises of the Industrial Relations Institute (IRI) at Tongi in Gazipur.

Some 990 ill-fated workers enlisted by the apparel manufacturers’ association will be given the wages and compensation at 11:00 am.
The decision was taken at a tripartite meeting of Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) leaders, garments trade union leaders and the government at the Labour and Employment Ministry at the Secretariat Tuesday.
The workers, who worked for maximum three months, will get wages for the month of November along with compensation worth Tk 1,000. read more. & read more.
  

* ‘An act of sabotage and murder due to negligence’:

The inquiry committee, constituted by the home ministry, has termed the fire tragedy at the Tazreen Garments Factory in Nischintapur as “an act of sabotage and murder due to negligence”.

A member of the inquiry committee on the “Nischintapur Fire Tragedy” revealed this to The Independent. The committee is preparing its report and has already interviewed a number of workers, survivors, owner of the garment factory, witnesses and local people.
On Monday, the inquiry committee separately questioned MD Delwar Hossain, owner of the Tazreen Garments Factory, and its workers. The committee put forward 27 questions to Delwar, and asked him to submit the answers within three days. “Delwar pleaded his innocence before the committee. At one stage, he even started crying. He expressed grief for the tragedy,” the committee member said.
read more.

* We the self-destructive nation! :

We might be the only nation in the world who doesn’t care of their fastest horse in the battle field. The more surprising thing is that instead of taking care, we took all necessary steps to kill that horse!

I am talking about the garment workers of our country. They are our speedy ‘horses’ in the national economy. Keeping the reserve of central bank healthy in return of their sweat, their life stays always ‘unhealthy’. But we hardly listen to their sufferings.

Our authorities apparently think the lives of garment workers have hardly any worth. The death of workers in accidents is taken lightly. Even if the accident takes place because of the fault of garments owners, nothing happens to them.

The whole nation was shocked on November 24 by seeing the long row of dead bodies of Tazreen Fashions in Ashulia. More than hundred workers were killed in a deadly fire. This was the worst tragedy in the industrial history of Bangladesh. People demand proper investigation of the incident and exemplary punishment to the criminals. Unfortunately, even before any investigation had taken place the government declared that it was ‘preplanned’ by a particular group. Instead of advancing ‘conspiracy theory’, the government should expedite investigation and find out the criminals. Otherwise, our garments industry, the world’s biggest exporter of clothing after China, will become unstable.
(…)
Our authorities apparently think the lives of garment workers have hardly any worth.  read more.

* From the ashes of Bangladesh fire, evidence of a complex global supply chain:

In the charred bones of the Tazreen Fashions Ltd. factory, the labels and logos – sewn and printed in scarlet and royal blue – beckon from the ashes.
Even in ruins, there’s no missing that these T-shirts and jeans were intended for U.S. stores and shopping carts, designed as bargains too good to pass up, or stocking stuffers just in time for the holidays and in just the right size.

But a week after the blaze outside Bangladesh’s capital killed 112 workers, a glaring question remains unanswered: How, exactly, did brands worth fortunes end up in such a place? And what does the odyssey that brings them to market across thousands of miles say about the everyday economics most consumers take for granted?
Retailers and marketers whose clothes were found in the embers, including Wal-Mart, Sears and Disney, are carefully vague in explaining why that was the case. But piecing together the information they provide with records and the insight of apparel and sourcing experts reveals a complex and ever-morphing supply chain, in which Tazreen was just an interchangeable link.

It is a chain whose combination of ultra-low labor costs, maximum flexibility and delegated authority offers undeniable advantages. But it is also comes with considerable risk.
“A lot of people go into the store and see ‘Made in China’ or Bangladesh or India or whatever and it’s almost like this magical thing, that somebody said I want to make some shirts and it shows up the next day,” says Vinod Rangarajan, who advises apparel companies on product development and sourcing for consultant Kurt Salmon.
“But it is a lot more involved than people would imagine.”
In fact, there is no single answer to how and why so many branded garments from Tazreen found their way to U.S. consumers, because that is precisely the advantage of the global supply chain: It never has to be one size fits all.

Some big retailers buy clothes directly from scores of such factories, searching for the production capacity to meet the demands of the coming season’s fast fashions. Others work through supply chain managers, independent suppliers or in-country agents. Still other so-called “vertical manufacturers” produce much of their product line in-house, but turn to a factory like Tazreen to handle specialty items that fall outside their line of expertise.

“There are lots of companies who exist between brands and factories and their job is really to just take technical specifications on an order and turn around and make sure that there is a poly-bagged, perfectly folded item that comes with a SKU (stock-keeping unit) number and a price tag,” said Kevin O’Brien, a partner in Ethix Ventures Inc., a Massachusetts distributor of “ethically sourced” apparel.
read more.

* Factories resume operation at Ashulia amid sporadic clashes:

Garment factories in Ashulia resumed production amid sporadic clashes between the police and workers on Tuesday as labour unrest in the industrial zone on the outskirts of the capital still continued 11 days after the deadly fire at Tazreen Fashions.
Workers and the industrial police said garment workers had joined their duties at the factories in Ashulia although an opposition political party had enforced a nationwide shutdown on the day.
Garment units in Ashulia had suspended operation after the country’s worst factory fire at Tazreen Fashions Ltd at Nishchintapur killed at least 111 workers and injured more than a hundred on November 24.

Witnesses said the workers of S Suha Garments at Jamgora rallied at the factory in the morning demanding safety at workplace, adequate compensation for the Tazreen Fashions workers, killed and injured in the deadly fire and stopping of termination of workers.
The police charged baton to disperse the workers who retaliated by hurling stones which left 10 people injured, sources said.
Ashulia industrial police deputy director Muktar Hossain said most of the factories located in the area resumed operation Tuesday morning. The police quickly intervened after some workers of a factory tried to stage demonstrations, he said. read more.

* A future burnt out:

With high hopes for a better living, Bilkis Begum and her 18-year-old daughter Munni Akter joined Tazreen Fashions on November 14, only to have their dreams shattered in ten days.

Munni was killed in a devastating fire at the garment factory on the night of November 24. The fire left at least 111 workers dead.
Along with her husband and daughter, Bilkis came to Ashulia from Satkhira three years ago in search of a better life.
Devastated, she is now considering going back to her village.

The mother and daughter were employed in the same production line on the fifth floor of Tazreen Fashions.
“I survived but my daughter was burnt alive,” Bilkis sighed.

The last time Bilkis saw her daughter was when she was frantically making her way from the fifth floor to the ground floor.
“But I could not follow her as I lost my sight in the thick of the smoke,” she recalled.

Somehow, she managed to get to the sixth floor, from where she exited the building with the help of some male workers through a broken window.
Her husband Shahidul was a worker at Sharmin Garments until November 24, when he resigned. The reason, he said, is, “How can I leave my wife on her own in such a state and go to work?”

“We are jobless now,” Shahidul said. “I don’t know when my wife will get her salary or when we will receive compensation for the loss of our daughter’s life.”
He reiterated their desire to go back to their village in Satkhira.
“The city has become excruciating for us since the deadly fire. We cannot bear the scar for the rest of our lives.” read more.

* Waiting for death:

Momena came from Rangpur for making herself a solvent woman. A day before death she talked to her mother about arrangement of ten thousand taka to be paid as dowry for her younger sister’s marriage.

She assured her mother that she would arrange the money within three months. Momena did not get that chance. She is lost. Her mother and sister could not identify her body from the pile of fire victims of Tazreen Fashions – more than hundred in number. Many of them jumped in panic from various floors of the nine-storey factory building located at the Ashulia industrial belt. There were many more like Momena’s mother who were wailing to see the bodies of their loved ones.

Working conditions at garments factories are notoriously poor, with little enforcement of safety laws while overcrowding and locked fire doors are common. The cause of this fire was not immediately known.

Bangladesh has around 4,500 garment factories and is the world’s biggest exporter of clothing after China. Readymade garments make up 80 per cent of Bangladesh’s $24 billion annual exports.

The Tazreen fire incident recorded the highest ever death toll in a Bangladeshi factory fire. In 2006, eighty four people were killed in a blaze in Chittagong where fire exits had been blocked in the same manner. More than 300 factories near the capital remained shut for almost a week earlier this year as workers demanded higher wages and better working conditions. read more.

* Another Tazreen worker dies:

Another Tazreen Fashions Limited worker succumbed to her severe head injury on Tuesday after fighting for life for the last 10 days.
The worker, Fatema, died at Apollo Hospital in the capital, taking to 112 the number of people killed in the incident of fire at the readymade garment factory at Ashulia on November 25.
Fatema, along with other colleagues, jumped out from the multi-storied factory to escape death, sustained injury in the head.
She was rushed to Dhaka Medical College Hospital in a critical condition and later transferred to Apollo Hospital for better treatment.
Fatema had been on life support at Apollo since November 25.
Her body was sent to her ancestral home at Madhupur in Tangail, Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association leaders said.
to read. & read more. & read more.
   

* Apparel makers optimistic about overcoming fire shock:

Bangladesh apparel makers on Tuesday exuded optimism about overcoming the shock of the fire incident that took 111 lives and destroyed a big factory in Dhaka late last month.

They said the tragic incident had shaken the country’s pivotal ready-made garment (RMG) sector that contributes more than 80 per cent to its aggregate exports of more than $24 billion annually.
The incident has exposed some of its operational risks, making it obligatory to the stakeholders for rectifying all those lapses in order to stay competitive in the trade.
According to the apparel manufacturers and exporters, the tragic fire incident that has riveted the attention of the global media since the day of its occurrence on November 24, may slow down the garment export for a few days. read more.

* Tazreen fire: Our share of corporate criminality:

The Tazreen Fashions fire has been doused, but the thick swirling smoke remains. The country’s worst industrial blaze that claimed 110 lives as per official counts is reportedly the only equivalent of a factory fire in New York’s Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in 1911 that killed nearly 150 workers.

The comparison makes little sense, neither in terms of proportions nor in trying to trace a pattern of factory fires as a handy expedient to redeem, however partly, the extent of our corporate criminality. The New York fire occurred more than a hundred years ago, and imagining what the world was like hundred years back should better be a matter of archeological dig when it comes to comparing workplace safety in those days and now. read more.

OTHER NEWS:

* Chinese team in city to explore RMG outsourcing:

Bangladesh’s apparel export to China is expected to get a boost, as an 18-member high- powered delegation from the country arrived in the city Tuesday to explore apparel outsouring here. Another 15 members will join the team tomorrow (Thursday), industry insiders said.

The delegation, headed by Lin Yunfeng, vice-chairman of the Sub-council of Textile Industry, CCPIT, is visiting the country at a time when Bangladesh’s apparel industry is facing an image crisis after the worst ever fire incident at Tazreen Fashions Ltd that claimed 112 lives and injured several others.

They termed the visit as a great opportunity and also important for Bangladesh, as it will help increase the country’s export volume.  read more.

* India commits to export 1.5m bales of cotton to Bangladesh annually:

India made assurances on Tuesday to Bangladesh about its exports of 1.5 million bales of cotton annually.

Besides, India also promised to look into the issues about various non-tariff and para-tariff barriers to help raise Bangladesh’s exports to it.
Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed briefed the media personnel about India’s assurances and promises after a secretary-level bilateral meeting with his Indian counterpart S R Rao.
Dhaka and New Delhi are already at the final stage of signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for cotton trade as frequent bans on export of the item by India cause jolts to be Bangladesh’s textile industry. read more.

06:48:04 local time map of india INDIA

* Pay garment workers minimum wageof Rs. 12,096 a month, says AFWA:

The figure was arrived at based on actual market costs of basic needs

The minimum wage fixed by the State government for a highly skilled garment worker in Bangalore, at Rs. 179.80 a day, is less than half of what he or she needs for subsistence as per the calculations made by the Asian Floor Wage Alliance (AFWA), based on realistic daily expenses.

AFWA, a world-wide coalition of union leaders and labour activists, has arrived at a minimum living wage of Rs. 12,096 a month based on the food costs for intake of 3,000 calories per unit, non-food costs on housing, healthcare, education and other basic needs.

Food basket
Jeroen Merk, member of the international committee of the AFWA, who was in Bangalore recently, told The Hindu that the alliance arrived at the figure taking into account the actual market price of a food basket and other expenses at average costs and then projecting it for 30 days for three consumption units, with two children counted as one unit.

In comparison, the National Floor Level Minimum Wage (NFLMW) is fixed by different States in India by taking into account 2,700 calories while not counting for the prevailing market prices of food items and services. read more.

* India, Bangladesh vow to work together in textile business:

The absence of minister of commerce Anand Sharma at the ‘India Show’ in Dhaka has not been a big dampener as the warmth of both Indian and Bangladeshi business communities marked the day celebrated in Bangladesh as the countdown to its independence when India had formally joined the freedom war on December 3, 1971.

Even as a majority of the local newspapers and FM channels hailed India’s role in Bangladesh’s independence, on Day One of the India Show, representatives from corporate India and the Bangladeshi business community evinced interest to work for a long-lasting friendship on the business front, beginning with the textile and garments sector. The India Show is organized by leading industry body Ficci and the ministry of commerce under the umbrella of ‘Maitree Bandhan’ , an initiative of The Times of India and Prathom Alo, a leading newspaper in Bangladesh, to bring the two countries closer. read more.

* Low price in open market distress cotton farmers:

The cotton growers in Vidarbha region are once again in distress as prices of the cash crop were dropping below expectations in the open market.

Though the Government has fixed the minimum support prices (MSP) at Rs 3900 per quintal but prices in local market are far below expectations.
As compared to last year, the demand in the international market particularly China and Pakistan is virtually nil due to good crop there. This has resulted in less prices compared to last year when it rose to the higher side.

The Maharashtra State Cotton Marketing Federation which is bound to protect interest of farmers have so far not intervened in the price issue.
Moreover, this year the produce or the yield of cotton per acre shrunk to about two quintal which is worrying farmers. This is the third year when they are facing the problem. read more.

* Cotton farmers in Vidarbha distressed due to low prices in open market:

The cotton growers in Vidarbha region are once again in distress as prices of the cash crop were dropping below expectations in the open market.

Though the Government has fixed the minimum support prices ( MSP) at Rs 3900 per quintal but prices in local market are far below expectations.

As compared to last year, the demand in the international market particularly China and Pakistan is virtually nil due to good crop there. This has resulted in less prices compared to last year when it rose to the higher side. The Maharashtra State Cotton Marketing Federation which is bound to protect interest of farmers have so far not intervened in the price issue. read more.

* Cotton farmers allege denial of MSP for their produce:

The cotton farmers narrated about their “unabated exploitation” by the greedy traders at the cotton market yard here when a team of revenue officials led by Revenue Divisional Officer V. Venkateshwarlu visited the yard on Tuesday to take stock of the situation.

Some of the aggrieved farmers expressed their anguish over the sorry state of affairs at the market yard and alleged denial of minimum support price to their cotton produce.
They bitterly complained against the “greedy traders” accusing them of colluding with some errant staff of the cotton purchase centre of Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) at the yard. read more.

* India cotton seen range bound, rising supplies meets higher demand:

Cotton spot prices in India rose in the last week on buying by exporters to meet demand from Bangladesh, and are expected to remain range bound on aggressive buying by yarn makers.

Traders were expecting cotton prices to fall after Diwali with the surge in supplies as farmers accelerated harvesting to clear fields for planting winter crops. read more.

* Government buys 20.74 lakh quintals of cotton so far at MSP:

The government has procured 20.74 lakh quintals of cotton at the minimum support price (MSP) so far in the 2012-13 marketing year that began from October, Parliament was informed today.

In the wake of falling domestic prices, the government had last month announced it would procure 90 lakh bales (of 170 kg each) of cotton at MSP this year to protect the interests of growers. State-run agencies CCI and Nafed were designated to undertake the procurement operation.

“Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) and Nafed together made procurement of 20.74 lakh quintals of cotton under price support scheme up to November 28 of 2012-13 season (October-September),” Minister of State for Agriculture Tariq Anwar said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha. read more.

* Lanka rhetoric of TN likely to affect textile, agri traders:

The Sri Lankan governments decision to issue an advisory to its citizens against travelling to Tamil Nadu may adversely impact trade between the two neighbours,resulting in a loss of opportunity for textile and commodity businesses here.

In the near term,the impact may be felt by the smaller businesses.Numerous Lankans shop in T Nagar for wedding purchases.I know each Lankan boarding the plane back to Colombo carries 40 sarees each.The margins are nearly 100% for these sarees.These guys may get impacted, said an exporter,on condition of anonymity.

Businesses of small traders and unorganized traders could be affected as they might not be able to ship directly to Chennai and would have to route it through Mumbai or such other locations, C S Muthu Subramaniyan,president of the India-ASEAN Sri Lanka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said. read more.

* Weavers wait as bankers sit on applications:

The purpose of Weavers Credit Card (WCC) scheme launched this financial year is getting thwarted in the district because of the lethargic attitude of banks in processing the applications submitted by weavers seeking credit.

According to official statistics obtained by The Hindu , only 32 of the 1,700 applicants had so far been given loans.
The remaining applications were lying with various bank branches without any sort of scrutiny made or decision taken on it.

It was learnt from officials sources that the District Consultative Committee on Banking Development, a few days back, had pulled up the erring banks for the inactivity despite the scheme being a Union Government-sponsored initiative.
The introduction of the scheme was mooted by Union Ministries of Finance and Textiles and Indian Bank’s Association with an aim to improve the well-being of weavers in the handloom sector by enabling them an access to institutional credit.

Since the weavers come under unorganised sector, the launch of the scheme was seen with great hope by weavers in the district to meet working capital needs, purchase tools, and upgrade the existing capacity. read more.

06:48:04 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* Wage rise worries Sri Lankan apparel exporters:

Garment manufacturers and exporters in Sri Lanka are worried over the Wages Board’s decision to raise the minimum wages in the country by up to 30 percent.
Yohan Lawrence, the newly appointed chairman of the Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association (SLAEA), said an increase in minimum wages could become a hurdle in achieving the US$ 5 billion target in apparel exports by 2015.
Speaking at the annual general meeting of SLAEA, Mr. Lawrence said the hike in wages would hurt the bottom line of garment manufacturing companies. He added that the increase in minimum wages by up to 30 percent would affect the production cost, which will then be passed on to the customers. read more.

* SLFP now heavily dependent on ‘jangi’ factories – Tissa:

Govt. spies tried to sabotage UNP convention

The SLFP, which once labelled the UNP established garment factories as catering to the supply of jangi (knickers) for foreign women, was now heavily dependent on the garment sector which had become one of the prime sources of foreign exchange earnings, the UNP said yesterday.

UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake told a news conference in Colombo that the SLFP, when in the Opposition, had ridiculed the garment factories as outlets for producing “Jungis for Sudhis” (Knickers for foreign women), but it was still heavily dependent on the revenue generated by the apparel sector.

Due to the lack of foresight and proper planning, the SLFP-led UPFA government had neglected the garment industry, resulting in the loss of valuable foreign exchange, he noted.
Attanayake said that the Mahinda Rajapaksa government by shooting its mouth off, had antagonised Europe causing the GSP Plus facility to be withdrawn. read more.

06:18:04 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Up in flames: Garment factories catch fire in SITE:

No casualties were reported as two garment factories in SITE caught fire on Monday.

Fire department officials said that it took around five fire tenders and a total of three hours to control a fire in the factory near Zia Morr in SITE.
Two fire tenders were immediately dispatched to the site, followed by another three later, the officials said.
They added that the fire broke out in the folding department of the factory, and goods worth millions of rupees were destroyed.

The cause of the fire could not be immediately ascertained. The second fire broke out in the electrical wiring at another garment factory in the area.
Officials said that the fire was apparently a result of a short circuit. The situation was brought under control within one hour. to read.

* Accident prevention: Notices issued to 425 factories:

As many as 425 factories, situated in residential areas, have been issued warning notices and the factory owners have been asked to come to the Environment Protection Department (EPD) office within four days to explain as to how the accident risks in their factories could be reduced.

The notices were issued after a six-month survey conducted by four government departments on the directions of District Coordination Officer Noorul Amin Mengal.
read more.

* Precautionary step: Workplace safety to be discussed:

The Sindh Labor Department, in collaboration with the International Labor Organization, the Employers’ Federation of Pakistan and the Pakistan Workers’ Federation, is organising a consultation on “Promoting Workplace Safety & Health in Sindh” on December 6 at a local hotel in Karachi.

The moot will help towards developing a joint action plan for promoting awareness on workplace safety and health. The consultation will generate recommendations from stakeholders and help develop a plan of action to reduce the chances of a reoccurrence of factory fires like the in Baldia town tragedy.

The workshop will also help secure a joint statement of commitment from employers, workers and the government in helping adoption of safety measures for workers at their workplaces. to read.

* Pakistan – World’s fourth largest producer of cloth:

Pakistani workers dye thread at a factory in Lahore. The country is the world’s fourth-largest producer of cloth and the industry accounts for 60 per cent of export revenue according to official data.
But shortages are heaping pressure on Pakistan’s crippled and debt-ridden economy.  — Photos and Text by AFP. See more.

* Textile segment shines:

The bulls firmly controlled the country’s stock markets last week with the benchmark KSE-100 index closing at a new peak on Friday. Amongst other stocks, the textile shares continued to attract investors to help the bulls hold their sway and make it what an analyst termed as an ‘all-in-all bullish week’.

A week before, over 30 textile stocks had hit their upper circuit in trading, according to a market report. By November 27, according to the JS Global note for investors, the textile sector had outperformed the market by 28 per cent during the current fiscal with spinning companies leading the sector’s rally.

Analysts say it is first time in many years that the textile stocks have been in the ‘forefront of the market’s march’ toward a new record high. “Historically, the textile sector doesn’t participate so actively in the rise of the stock market. But the soaring profitability of many listed companies in the recent months has changed the situation this time and brought the sector in the forefront of the rally, sustaining the surge of the bulls in the recent weeks,” says Lahore-based financial and stock analyst Shahid Zia. read more.

* APTMA protests reduced gas supply:

 Chairman All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Shahzad Ali Khan has strongly protested against five days a week gas curtailment to textile industry by the SNGPL, as the industry would not be able to perform when it is already passing through six hours a day electricity loadshedding.

He said the industry was unable to understand the logic behind gas curtailment for five days a week when CNG pumps were on countrywide strike against price reduction.

According to him, the textile industry has faced gas curtailment for 56 days since July 2012 till date against 186 days of last fiscal year. He expressed the fear that the industry might witness gas curtailment for more than last fiscal if the SNGPL continued with five days a week curtailment for next three months. read more.

* EU trade package for Pakistan: textile Ministry seeks clarification of implementation procedure:

The European Union (EU) exceptional trade package for Pakistan has been implemented, however the implementation procedure for the items entitled 25 percent quantity cap is ambiguous, informed sources revealed to Business Recorder.

Textile Industry, the main stakeholder, is in a quandary regarding the implementation procedure of the package, as the EU has yet to issue policy guidelines for the items entitled to quantity cap, sources maintained.

According to the notification, the package is being implemented from November 15, 2012. It further maintains that 75 items at H.S code 8 digit level have been granted duty free market access out of which 64 are of textiles sector. Out of the total 64 textiles items, 16 items are subjected to Tariff Rate Quota (TRQ), while the remaining 48 items are under a 25 percent quantity increase cap based on average of last three years export. read more.

* Government urged to announce cotton policy:

Kisan Board Pakistan (KBP) Central President Sardar Zafar Hussein Khan has urged the federal government to immediately announce a cotton policy as growers are being exploited in absence of such a policy.

In a statement issued here on Tuesday, he said that prices of agricultural inputs including fertiliser and petroleum products had increased manifold and cotton prices also needs upward revision in the light of increase in input cost.

He demanded that the government should fix ‘phutti’ price at Rs 4000 per maund and ensure that the cotton growers should not be exploited by any stakeholder. He said that sugar mills should not be allowed in cotton area and steps should be taken to increase area under cotton sowing. read more.

    THE KARACHI FIRE:

* Tribunal recommends closing down police’s forensic department:

When the Sindh police’s forensic department cannot carry out modern scientific tests, it should be closed down, recommended the tribunal that investigated the Baldia factory fire in its inquiry report.

On September 11, the tragic incident at Ali Enterprises claimed the lives of more than 250 people. Later, the provincial government constituted a two-member tribunal to investigate the cause of fire.

The inquest was completed within 12 days with more than 40 people, including government officers, fire fighters, factory workers and doctors, recording their statements.

In their recommendations, Justices (retd) Zahid Kurban Alavi and Khalilur Rehman Shaikh have advised the Sindh government to shut the police forensic department, which has failed to serve its purpose to resolve crimes through scientific methods. From each floor of the ill-fated garments factory, forensic officials could only collect pieces of burnt wires and cloth that were handed over to police for further investigation, the former judges wondered.

“It is a sad reflection on the competency and efficiency of this [forensic] department,” the report says. In its findings, the panel has termed an electrical short-circuit as the most plausible cause behind the blaze. read more.

* Bail pleas to be decided on 7th in factory fire case:

The appellate court in the Baldia Town factory fire case will hear bail pleas of two accused, Fazal Ahmed and Ali Muhamad, on December 7.

The two watchmen of Ali Enterprises, the ill-fated garments factory where the Category 3 fire killed 259 labourers on September 11, moved the bail applications, protesting that they were under detention while they had no involvement in the fire incident.
Additional District and Sessions Judge Abdullah Channa announced on Tuesday he would conclude bail matters on December 7. to read.

 

map of Asia

HEADLINES TODAY:

CHINA
* 14 killed in clothing factory fire in south China
* Suspected arsonist arrested in China clothing factory fatal fire
* Factory fire kills 14, suspect nabbed
* Arson suspected in death of 14 workers
* Arson Suspect Arrested After Fatal Factory Fire
* Chinese policies control & stabilise global cotton prices

PHILIPPINES
*International migrants tribunal declares 37 states guilty of violating

VIET NAM
* VN’s leather exports to earn US$8.5 bln this year

THAILAND
* Trade, investment mission to Myanmar

CAMBODIA
* Cambodia’s cheap labour attracts interest
* Nex-t Apparel factory sues employees for damage

INDONESIA
* Workers Rally Against Indonesia’s Outsourcing System in Jakarta Protest

BANGLA DESH
* ASHULIA- TAZREEN GARMENT FACTORY FIRE
* Hunt down those instigating workers to set fire to RMG factories: PM
* Tazreen workers to get full benefits today
* ‘An act of sabotage and murder due to negligence
* We the self-destructive nation!
* From the ashes of Bangladesh fire, evidence of a complex global supply chain
* Factories resume operation at Ashulia amid sporadic clashes
* A future burnt out
* Waiting for death
* Another Tazreen worker dies
* Apparel makers optimistic about overcoming fire shock
* Tazreen fire: Our share of corporate criminality
OTHER NEWS:
* Chinese team in city to explore RMG outsourcing
* India commits to export 1.5m bales of cotton to Bangladesh annually

INDIA
* Pay garment workers minimum wageof Rs. 12,096 a month, says AFWA
* India, Bangladesh vow to work together in textile business
* Low price in open market distress cotton farmers
* Cotton farmers in Vidarbha distressed due to low prices in open market
* Cotton farmers allege denial of MSP for their produce
* India cotton seen range bound, rising supplies meets higher demand
* Government buys 20.74 lakh quintals of cotton so far at MSP
* Lanka rhetoric of TN likely to affect textile, agri traders
* Weavers wait as bankers sit on applications

SRI LANKA
* Wage rise worries Sri Lankan apparel exporters
* SLFP now heavily dependent on ‘jangi’ factories – Tissa

PAKISTAN
* Up in flames: Garment factories catch fire in SITE
* Accident prevention: Notices issued to 425 factories
* Precautionary step: Workplace safety to be discussed
* Pakistan – World’s fourth largest producer of cloth
* Textile segment shines
* APTMA protests reduced gas supply
* EU trade package for Pakistan: textile Ministry seeks clarification of implementation procedure
* Government urged to announce cotton policy
* THE KARACHI FIRE:
* Tribunal recommends closing down police’s forensic department
* Bail pleas to be decided on 7th in factory fire case

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