in the news on-line, 7 December 2012

16:39:27 local time map of china CHINA

* Arsonist set deadly factory blaze that killed 14 to avenge docked pay:

A man arrested on suspicion of a deadly arson attack on an underwear factory in South China’s Guangdong Province confessed Wednesday that he committed the crime out of anger over a labor dispute, according to investigators.

Fourteen people were killed in a blaze that broke out around 3:30 pm Tuesday at a factory in a four-story building in the province’s city of Shantou. One worker was injured.
The local emergency response office on Wednesday identified the suspect as Liu Shuangyun, 26, from Hunan Province.

Liu was caught by police in Puning around 10 pm Tuesday. He allegedly bought petroleum, set the fire and fled the scene.
The fire was contained within half an hour, with more than 200 square meters burned.

Liu had worked in the factory for about a year and been paid on a piece-work basis to produce underwear.
The factory boss, surnamed Chen, continually docked his wages, deducting about 3,000 yuan ($481.8), said Liu while being questioned by police. read more.

* Employee benefits system ‘needs to improve’:

China’s employee benefits system is still underdeveloped, with a majority of employees hoping to see improvements in their packages, a research report said on Wednesday.

The China Employee Benefits Index 2012 – the country’s first index gauging the well-being of employees – stands at 65.37, indicating that the benefits system is at a basic level.
The index was launched by Ping An Annuity Insurance Company of China and the Industrial Relations Research Center of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions.
read more. & read more.

* Oerlikon to sell textile divisions:

OC Oerlikon Corp, the world’s largest maker of textile machinery, agreed to sell its natural fibers and textile-components units to China’s Jinsheng Group as part the biggest sale yet organized by Michael Buscher, Oerlikon’s chief executive officer .

The units were the source of a quarter of Oerlikon’s 4.2 billion Swiss francs ($4.53 billion) in revenue in 2011, have an enterprise value of 650 million Swiss francs and employ 3,800 people. to read.

* GIE Stepping Into Garment Industry:

Global Intelligent Eye (GIE), a subsidiary of ANV Security Group (OTCBB:ANVS), has formally signed a long term contract with Chengdu Lei Heng Garments Company in November 2012.

Lei Heng Garments Company is a large nation wide chain store of established garments brand. GIE will provide “Remote Video Centralized Management System”, to monitor & to improve their outlets management system.
This contract proves Lei Heng Garments Company’s trust in ANV Security Group’s Video network surveillance system and other security products. It is believed that the beginning of this cooperation between these two companies will be beneficial and develop a long-term relationship.

Lei Heng Garment Company is engaged in designing, production and sales of their branded garments. The company has two main popular brands and specializing in women’s garments. They own more then 20 stores in major cities of China.
read more.

15:39:27 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Reduction of employer contributions:

The Social Security Office yesterday expressed concern that the plan to lower employers’ monthly contributions further could threaten the stability of the Social Security Fund (SSF).

As the government’s policy to raise the minimum daily wage to Bt300 takes effect across the country next month, employers have demanded that the monthly contributions, equivalent to 2 per cent of their employees’ salaries (the maximum salary ceiling recognised by the SSF is Bt15,000), be lowered throughout 2013.

“If this demand is met, SSF will receive Bt40 billion less than what it should next year,” Social Security Office secretary-general Jeerasak Sukhontachart said yesterday.
The SSF offers employees medical, old-age, unemployment, disability and childbirth benefits.
If its income from the monthly contribution decreases, authorities will have to decide how to find money to be able to provide the benefits.  read  more.

* Ministries to consider aid plan for SMEs:

The Finance and Labour ministries yesterday agreed to jointly consider the Joint Private Committee’s new proposal to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) cope with the new Bt300 minimum wage.

The measures are initially expected to cost the government Bt50 billion over three years. read more.

15:39:27 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Labour shortage in Cambodia’s garment industry:

Cambodia’s garment factories face a shortage of workers, because of migration, more job opportunities in different sectors and poor labour conditions, industry experts said.

According to Ken Loo, secretary general of the Garment Manufacturer’s Association in Cambodia, there is a definite shortage of labour in Phnom Penh’s garment factories.
Sophorn Tun, national co-ordinator of the International Labour Organisation in Cambodia, said factories face problems finding enough workers to fulfil their production.

“We have a lot of factories approach the national employment agency seeking assistance to help them find workers to for their production,” he said.

According to Hay Hunleng, advisor at the National Employment Agency (NEA), the garment companies or factories working with the NEA at the moment are looking to recruit 3,720 workers and the NEA helped them to recruit 1,439. “In general, I would say that the garment industry is still needing many more workers,” he said.

According to Sophorn Tun, a lot of people, including Cambodian garment workers, migrate to Thailand where the minimum wage has been raised recently. read more.

16:39:27 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Workers want foreign firms to lift labor union ban:

Thousands of workers rallied on Wednesday at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle, in front of several embassies and at the Presidential Palace, resulting in severe traffic congestion around Central and South Jakarta’s commercial and government office areas.

The rally was organized by the Indonesian Workers’ Assembly (MPBI) to demand that the government abolish outsourcing and crack down on foreign companies that ban their workers from joining labor unions.

Workers under the Federation of Indonesian Metal Workers Union (FPSMI), the All-Indonesia Workers Union Confederation (KSPSI) and the Confederation of Indonesian Prosperity Trade Unions (KSBSI), joined the rally and assembled at the traffic circle before heading to the South Korean Embassy on Jl. Thamrin, Central Jakarta. read more.

* Medan Wage Rally Forces 25 Companies to Halt Operations:

A large-scale labor rally in Medan forced dozens of companies to suspend operations on Thursday, with the firms’ workers following the lead of their Jakarta counterparts by demanding a significant minimum wage increase.

Thousands of workers from Medan and surrounding areas continued their rally for a second day on Thursday, after their Wednesday protest caused widespread traffic jams across the North Sumatra capital.

They demanded a minimum wage increase to Rp 2.2 million ($228) per month for North Sumatra, almost double the current minimum wage of Rp 1,375,000. The strikers’ demand matches the amount agreed to recently by Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo for Jakarta. read more.

14:39:27 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH


* Commotion over salary persists:

More than 100 workers of fire-ravaged Tazreen Fashions demonstrated at Nishchintapur Primary School in Ashulia demanding salary and compensation yesterday.

Workers started gathering on the school ground around 8:30am, and started demonstration as their names were not on the victims’ list prepared by the factory authorities, industry association and labour rights groups.
Dozens other joined the protest for they got “less salary than expected”. Some of them refused to take the money.

Kolpona, who worked at the finishing section of Tazreen, said: “I fled the factory after hearing the fire alarm.”
She refused to take Tk 7,000 the company officials offered.

Kolpona, whose identification card number is 1,823, says she is entitled to a payment of over TK 15,000 — three months and 13 days’ salary at the rate of Tk 2,634 per month, her gross salary of Tk 3,900 for November and another Tk 3,000 for her earned leave she did not enjoy. She joined Tazreen Fashions on April 9, 2011.
“I want my full salary. I refused to take the money [Tk 7,000] on Wednesday,” she told The Daily Star yesterday. read more.

* Five Wal-Mart vendors made clothes at Tazreen factory:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc, which has acknowledged one of its suppliers used the Bangladesh factory where more than 100 people died in a November 24 blaze, worked with at least five suppliers there this year, documents found in the ruins by a labour-rights group show.

Wal-Mart said the Tazreen factory near Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital, was no longer authorised to produce merchandise for the company and that it had cut ties with one supplier that kept using the facility. It’s not clear if any other suppliers continued to use the factory, which Wal-Mart had de-authorised before the blaze, the company said.

Purchase orders, shipment statements, inventory reports and other documents show that two New York-based suppliers for Wal-Mart and a third in California had sourced merchandise from Tazreen. Two companies in Bangladesh also manufactured apparel there for Wal-Mart, the records show. As recently as September, five of 14 production lines at the factory were making shirts and pajamas for Wal-Mart, an income report shows.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.

* Workers under constant threat:

700 RMG units run with poor safety

Nearly 700 apparel units in the country are running their operation without fire safety measures posing a constant threat to security of lives for the workers, sources said.
They said these factories did not install adequate fire fighting equipments, emergency fire exists and flouted building codes while setting up manufacturing units and godowns.
 “Most of them do not have adequate fire extinguishers and even they never run fire drill and trained its workers about how to respond when a fire breaks out at a factory,” a BGMEA office bearer told the New Nation yesterday, on condition of anonymity.
BGMEA members own a total of 5063 factories mostly located in Dhaka and Chittagong regions.
The fire safety issue at readymade garment (RMG) manufacturing units comes to the spotlight again following the devastating fire incident at Tazreen Fashion Ltd at Ashulia. The inferno killed at least 113 workers of the factory. read more.

* Death of poor workers in devastating fire:

Consequence of the devastating fire in Tazreen Fashions at Ashulia is the death of 112 poor workers who were burnt to death. Many other sustained injury while they jumped out from roof top and windows of the factory.

Earlier many workers have lost their lives and were wounded seriously due to fire incidents in several garments factories.

We, however, wonder that neither the owner, director, manager nor any officer of any garments factory have been reported to have died or been wounded seriously so far.

How could they escape death or injuries? Would the police, RAB or DB police find out the secret kindly. to read.

* Labour leaders demand arrest of Tazreen owner, more damages:

Bangladesh National Council of Textile Garments and Leather Workers on Thursday demanded arrest of the owner of Tazreen Fashions Limited and more compensation for the families of workers who died or were injured in the deadly fire at the factory.

Chairman of the labour rights body Roy Ramesh Chandra at a press conference expressed anger at the factory owner, Delwar Hossain, not being arrested yet regarding the fire incident at his Ashulia factory that consumed more than 100 workers on November 24.
Demanding proper investigation into the fire the labour leaders also demanded exemplary punishment of those responsible and more compensation for the families of the deceased and the injured as well. read more. & read more. & read more.

* Safety gets risky for corruption:

Two dozens of licences fail to ensure improved workplace condition as unscrupulous govt staff join hands with errant factory owners

The existing rules for setting up factories are stringent enough to prevent large-scale accidents. But accidents continue to happen due to factory owners’ negligence in ensuring workplace safety and regulators’ reluctance to enforce the relevant laws.

To run a factory, entrepreneurs require more than two dozen permissions from various authorities, at least seven of them directly related to workers’ safety.
The authorities are Rajuk, Fire Service and Civil Defence, environment department, chief inspector of factories, boiler licensing authority, insurance companies and the business association concerned.

In addition, factory owners must take permission from the Export Promotion Bureau, Board of Investment, the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms and the Controller of Imports and Exports. These offices basically deal with money matters but can still interfere in ensuring workplace safety.

The issue of workers’ safety has come to the fore following the Tazreen Fashions fire that claimed at least 111 lives. An investigation into the blaze is on but it is clear that the factory had poor safety measures in place. read more.

* Make uniform fire safety checklist: official:

The Department of Fire Service and Civil Defence yesterday suggested the government introduce a standardised fire-safety checklist for factories for ease of inspection.

“At present, the checklists vary across the sectors, making the job harder for us,” the fire department’s Director General Abu Nayeem Shahidullah told reporters after a meeting at the commerce ministry on social compliance in the readymade garment sector.

At the meeting, Commerce Minister GM Quader instructed the factory owners to put at least 25 percent of the workers on fire safety training immediately, a senior official of the ministry said.
The training has to be continued every month, the minister added.
The minister also asked the factory owners to set up closed-circuit televisions to monitor the safety measures.
The minister, however, declined to comment after the meeting. to read.

* Govt orders regular fire drill for workers:

The government on Thursday directed all the readymade garment factories to organise regular fire drill to train up their workers and staff to avert recurrence of fire incidents in the garment factories.

The Ministry of Commerce gave the directives at a meeting of the ‘Social Compliance Forum’ of the garment factories.
Commerce Minister GM Quader presided over the meeting of the forum which is formed comprising representatives of the garment sector and related ministries.
The ministry’s Public Relations Officer Abdul Latif told reporters that the factories were directed to impart fire drill training on at least 25 percent of their workers immediately and all the workers in phases.  read more.

* Social Compliance Forum asks all to be more vigilant to avoid accidents:

The Social Compliance Forum (SCF) Thursday asked all concerned, especially the factory owners, to strictly comply with safety rules to avoid deadly incidents like Tazreen Fashions fire, sources said.

The SCF also asked them to follow other compliance issues giving utmost importance.

A meeting of the SCF was held at the commerce ministry Thursday with Commerce Minister G M Quader in the chair. State Minister for Labour and Employment Monnujan Sufian and representatives from different ministries and departments, factory owners, trade bodies and other stakeholders attended the meeting.
G M Quader, however, declined to talk with newsmen about the outcome of the meeting. read more.

* US buyers seek trade union rights for RMG workers:

In a breakfast meeting with local exporters Thursday, American buyers sought trade union rights for workers in their factories in Bangladesh. They also wanted to see a major improvement in Bangladesh’s factory environment, especially in the garment sector, meeting sources said.

The high profile breakfast meeting with the American buyers took place at the city’s Ruposhi Bangla hotel. A senior official of the Board of Investment (BoI), representatives from the BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Associa-tion), American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Bangladesh and the Leather Goods & Footwear Manufacturers & Exporters Association of Bangladesh (LFMEAB) took part in the meeting.

At least six reputed American buyers, who are mainly involved in apparel and footwear business were present at the breakfast meeting. read more.

* US, EU stress improving factory safety:

US and European Union ambassadors to Bangladesh on Thursday stressed on improving safety standards in garment factories in the country. 
In separate meetings with the leaders of Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association at the BGMEA office, the ambassadors expressed their concern about factory safety in Bangladesh, following the recent fire at the Tazreen Fashions factory in Ashulia. read more.& read more.

* EU ambassador William Hanna  &  US amb. Mozena tells BGMEA to allow trade unions in factories:

US Ambassador Dan W. Mozena Thursday urged the readymade garment (RMG) entrepreneurs to improve workplace environment and ensure the rights of the workers to form trade unions if Bangladeshi apparel were to enjoy duty-free access to the US market.
The envoy made the specific suggestions while taking to the executives of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) when he made a surprise visit to the BGMEA Bhaban Thursday afternoon.
you can read more. & read more.

* Horrific Bangladesh factory fire revealed a gap in safety for global brands:

The fire alarm shattered the monotony of the Tazreen Fashions factory. Hundreds of seamstresses looked up from their machines, startled. On the third floor, Shima Akhter Pakhi had been stitching hoods onto fleece jackets. Now she ran to a staircase.

But two managers were blocking the way. Ignore the alarm, they ordered. It was just a test. Back to work. A few women laughed nervously. Ms. Pakhi and other workers returned to their sewing tables. She could stitch a hood to a jacket in about 90 seconds. She arranged the fabric under her machine. Ninety seconds. Again. Ninety more seconds. She sewed six pieces, maybe seven.

Then she looked up.

Smoke was filtering up through the three staircases. Screams rose from below. The two managers had vanished. Power suddenly went out throughout the eight-story building. There was nowhere to escape. The staircases led down into the fire. Iron grilles blocked the windows. A man cowering in a fifth-floor bathroom called his mother to tell her he was about to die.

“We all panicked,” Ms. Pakhi said. “It spread so quickly. And there was no electricity. It was totally dark.”

Tazreen Fashions Ltd. operated at the beginning of the global supply chain that delivers clothes made in Bangladesh to stores in Europe and the United States. By any measure, the factory was not a safe place to work. Fire safety preparations were woefully inadequate. The building itself was under construction — even as sewing work continued inside — and mounds of flammable yarn and fabric were illegally stored on the ground floor near electrical generators.

Yet Tazreen was making clothing destined for some of the world’s top retailers. On the third floor, where firefighters later recovered 69 bodies, Ms. Pakhi was stitching sweater jackets for C&A, a European chain. On the fifth floor, workers were making Faded Glory shorts for Walmart. Ten bodies were recovered there. On the sixth floor, a man named Hashinur Rahman put down his work making True Desire lingerie for Sears and eventually helped save scores of others. Inside one factory office, labor activists found order forms and drawings for a licensee of the United States Marine Corps that makes commercial apparel with the Marines’ logo.

In all, 112 workers were killed in a blaze last month that has exposed a glaring disconnect among global clothing brands, the monitoring system used to protect workers and the factories actually filling the orders. After the fire, Walmart, Sears and other retailers made the same startling admission: They say they did not know that Tazreen Fashions was making their clothing.

But who, then, is ultimately responsible when things go so wrong?

The global apparel industry aspires to operate with accountability that extends from distant factories to retail stores. Big brands demand that factories be inspected by accredited auditing firms so that the brands can control quality and understand how, where and by whom their goods are made. If a factory does not pass muster, it is not supposed to get orders from Western customers.

Tazreen Fashions was one of many clothing factories that exist on the margins of this system. Factory bosses had been faulted for violations during inspections conducted on behalf of Walmart and at the behest of the Business Social Compliance Initiative, a European organization.

Yet Tazreen Fashions received orders anyway, slipping through the gaps in the system by delivering the low costs and quick turnarounds that buyers — and consumers — demand. C&A, the European retailer, has confirmed ordering 220,000 sweaters from the factory. But much of the factory’s business came through opaque networks of subcontracts with suppliers or local buying houses. Labor activists, combing the site of the disaster, found labels, order forms, design drawings and articles of clothing from many global brands. read more.


* 50 hurt in fire panic stampede at Ashulia:

At least 50 workers were injured in a stampede caused by a fire panic at a readymade garment factory at Jirabo of Ashulia on the outskirts of the capital city on Thursday.
Witnesses said the workers at the factory of Active Composite Limited began a wild rush to get out of the building as electric sparks at a machine caused smoke.
Ashulia industrial police deputy director Ali Ahmed Khan, referring to the factory management, said a machine on the second floor of the factory sparked while an electrician was doing some repair work at about 11:15am.

The smoke rising from it spread through the floor creating panic among the workers who are already tense from the recent fire at the factory of Tazreen Fashions in the area that took over 100 lives.
At least 50 workers were injured as they ran panic-stricken to get out of the building.
The injured were given primary treatment at the local clinics, workers said.
The factory’s own firemen controlled the situation immediately but some workers did not join duty in fear, he added. to read.

* Fire breaks out at Ctg garment washing factory:

Fire broke out at a washing factory of Liss Washing and Sand Blasting Industries Ltd near AK Khan Intersection in the port city yesterday.

The fire was originated from a gas-operated washing oven due to overheating at the readymade garment factory at around 2:00pm and spread to the whole room, according to fire service officials.
Four units of the Fire Service and Civil Defence in Chittagong put out the fire at around 2:45pm, said its Deputy Assistant Director Md Jashim Uddin.

The fire service personnel estimated that goods worth Tk 15 lakh were damaged by the fire, where the owner of the facility, Hamidul Haq, claimed the amount to be nearly Tk 40 lakh.
The factory lacked enough fire extinguishing equipment and the firm’s electric wiring was not concealed, according to the fire officials.
read more.
& read more. & read more.

* China team explores investment scope in apparel sector:

A high-powered 40-member delegation of the apparel sector of China is now visiting Bangladesh to explore possibility of shifting their production location.

They have expressed happiness after visiting some factories and hoped that they could start a win-win business for both the countries soon.
‘We are interested to shifting our production location to Bangladesh as China is rapidly moving to high-tech industry,’ said China National Textile and Apparel Council deputy director Lin Yunfeng at a signing ceremony of memorandum of understanding at the Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association’s head office in the capital.

The BGMEA and the CNTAC signed the MoU aimed at promoting trade and business relations between the two countries.
The Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association and the CNTAC signed a separate MoU on Thursday aimed at developing the country’s knitwear sector. read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
& read more.

* Minister stresses support for handloom industry:

Information Minister Hasanul Haque Inu yesterday urged the government to disburse financial loans among handloom industry entrepreneurs to boost their efforts of nurturing the traditional cloth of Bangladesh.

“The government can build up specific hand-loom areas to renovate the industry and its position. The handloom weavers have to be provided modern training facilities to sustain in the competitive market,” he said.
Supportive measures like reduced raw material prices are necessary to bring back the industry from the verge of extinction, according to the minister.  read more.

14:09:27 local time map of india INDIA

* Pollution of waterways continues in Erode:

A waterway that runs through a few villages in Bhavani block of Erode district turned dark red on Thursday.

Villagers said the water in the channel, which ends in River Bhavani, became blood-like overnight.
Annoyed, a few of them managed to track down the source of the pollutant: an unauthorised textile processing unit had dumped huge amount of untreated, toxic effluents into the channel on Wednesday night.

Several other waterways in other parts of Bhavani block also change colour often as unauthorised textile processing and tannery units flourish. “Sometimes, it is dark green or blue. We rarely see clean water running in the channels here these days,” says S. Subramani, a farmer in Kattayampatti.

The absence of effective monitoring had encouraged persons to set up illegal processing units in the block, which were dumping hundreds of gallons of untreated effluents into the water carrying channels and vacant lands. “These units do not have any facilities to treat the effluents. All they do is dump the poisonous waste into the water carrying channels,” points out district secretary of Tamil Nadu Farmers Association T. Subbu. read more.

* Weavers call off strike, resume production:

The powerloom weavers of Sircilla textile town, who had launched an indefinite strike demanding an increase in wages, called off their 11-day strike on Wednesday night and resumed their duties on Thursday following the powerloom owners’ decision to increase their wages.

The powerloom weavers were demanding an increase in wages by Rs. 0.18 paise per 10 pics of cloth produced on the loom against the existing Rs. 0.14-5 paise per 10 pics. However, after persuasion by the elected representatives and the district officials, the powerloom owners have agreed to increase the wages from the existing Rs. 0.14.5 paise to Rs. 0.17 paise per 10 pics of cloth produced on the loom.

However, other demands such as providing eight-hours of work, bonus etc. were not accepted. The powerloom weavers trade union leaders said that they were forced to accept the increased wages and neglect other demands in the interest of the weavers, who had been denied wages for the last 11 days.

The owners have promised to continue providing Rs. 600 per annum as bonus. The district handlooms and textiles department has assured the weavers that they will distribute identity cards to them. The powerlooms produce around 50 lakh metres of fabric on the looms in Sircilla town every day.  to read.

* Yarn importers devise route to evade duty:

While the Government of India has imposed anti-dumping duty on all segments of synthetic yarn including nylon, polyester and viscose imported from countries like China, Korea, Chinese Taipie, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, yarn importers in the country’s biggest man-made fabric hub have started indulging in circular import to skip the duty.

In a first of its kind case, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) on Wednesday raided a city-based yarn importer on the charges of importing more than 16 tonnes of imported viscose yarn from South Korea via US in order to skip paying anti-dumping duty worth Rs 40 lakh.
The unprecedented increase in yarn prices has cast a dark shadow on the city’s weaving sector, which is totally dependent on various types of synthetic yarns.
City’s textile industry, which contributes to nation’s 40 per cent of the man-made fibre demand, has more than 6.5 lakh powerloom machines weaving about 3 crore metres of cloth per day with an annual consumption of 6 lakh metric tonnes of different types of yarns and fibres. read more.

* Tirupur first to adopt Zero Liquid Discharge Technology:

Dr. A Sakthivel, Chairman Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) today announced that Tirupur is the first textiles cluster in India to arrive at the Zero Liquid Discharge Technology. Commenting on the development he said, “We are proud to say that Tirupur is first to arrive at Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) in Dyeing & Processing Technology.

At present all Dyeing & Processing units are using 100% Zero Discharge technology.” He further added: “I also declare that we created and generated more than 2000 MW in Wind Mill Energy. That way also we are helping to achieve Green Field Technology in power sector.”

It is to be noted that due to the High Court order, the Dyeing & Processing Industry in Tirupur has terrible problem, with many of the units shut. Dr. Sakthivel informed that, on behalf of Dyers Association of Tirupur, he feels proud that all processing is carried out now with 100% Zero Discharge Technology. read more.

14:09:27 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* ‘SL need to increase share in traditional apparel markets’:

 “We must not only tap emerging markets but work towards increasing our share in our traditional markets on a commercial basis. A concerted effort to increase our market share in the traditional market is a major challenge. We are ethical and are going green that is the path of sustainability in this market.

Simultaneously, a framework for penetrating into other emerging markets particularly China and India needs to be pursued aggressively,”said A .Sukumaran Former Chairman of Joint Apparel Association Forum in Sri Lanka. He expressed these views addressing the 9th Annual General Meeting of the Joint Apparel Association Forum held in Colombo recently.

Sri Lanka has not got any preferential treatment while our competitors such as India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Cambodia, Vietnam are continuing to negotiate preferential trading arrangements from major markets, he said.

Under the new GSP regulation, EU authorities have tightened beneficiary country obligations and these countries are now expected to undertake binding commitments to report to monitoring bodies on conventions, 2 year reviews and reporting to the EU Parliament and Council by the commission, and the burden of proof in the event of an investigation is now passed to the beneficiary countries.

A conscious study of these new dimensions of requirements/obligations needs to be done in deciding our course of action on GSP+, towards obtaining a positive response from the EU. to read.

13:39:27 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Textile export industrial sector: PHMEA seeks exemption from gas loadshedding:

There should not be any load shedding of gas for the textile export industrial sector, demanded, M Jawed Bilwani, Central Chairman, Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers & Exporters Association.

He stated that this vital sector which is the lifeline and the backbone of the nation’s economy, earning huge amount of foreign exchange and generating the largest employment of both male and female workers should not be penalized on account of gas being criminally wasted by the residential and commercial sectors.

Elaborating further he said that Unaccounted For Gas (UFG) losses in the residential and commercial sector are over 10 percent and therefore it is imperative that strict monitoring is done and load shedding should be effected for these sectors instead of the industrial sector where UFG is hardly 2 percent. read more.

* Textile sector to lose $3 billion export orders, says Aptma:

The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association, while appreciating government proposal of restricting CNG fuel only to public transport, has said that textile industry would lose $3b exports if gas curtailment continued for another three months, as gas suspension to industry continued for five days a week.

The leader of textile sector and former chairman of the Aptma Gohar Ejaz hailed the PM Adviser on Petroleum and Natural Resources Dr Asim Hussain for supporting longstanding stance of textile industry in public interest to prevent use of CNG in vehicles over 1,000cc and increasing taxes on CNG with a view to bring its price to a level 20 per cent lower than petrol.

“Aptma endorses Dr Asim’s measures for fair support of local industry as part of the plan to phase out CNG industry, which is eating up 425 million cubic feet gas per day,” the Aptma group leader observed.

Stressing the need for political prudence as well as a will to take right decisions in the larger interest of national economy, he said government was looking for IMF assistance to meet balance of payment commitments while losing $3 billion foreign exchange by curtailing gas to textile industry. read more.

* Textile associations reject proposed raise in gas prices:

The leaders of textile associations have rejected the proposed raise in gas prices by 9.87 percent and termed it an unwise move, as it would further increase the cost of doing business, hit industrial production, affect exports and would be detrimental to the national economy as well as industry.

Commenting over the gas prices, Asghar Ali, Chairman and Muhammad Asif, Vice Chairman Pakistan Textile Exporters Association(PTEA) said that Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority’s (Ogra)decision would badly affect the industry as it was already facing immense problems.

Jacking up gas prices would further paralyse the industries, which were already struggling for survival due to energy crisis, liquidity crunch, and other challenges confronting them, they said. They further said that government should cut the number of taxes on gas, as fuel is the engine of growth. If the fuel is heavily taxed then the entire economy would suffer and the same is happening in Pakistan as the repeated increases in gas prices had ruined the industrial and economic activities.
read more. & read more.

 * Kisan Board Pakistan urges govt to frame cotton policy:

Noting that domestic cotton farmers are facing exploitation due to lack of a cotton policy, Kisan Board Pakistan (KBP) central president Sardar Zafar Hussein Khan has called on the Federal Government to at once introduce a cotton policy. 
In a statement, Mr. Khan noted that there has been a sharp rise in prices of agricultural inputs including fertilizer and petroleum products, which necessitates a rise in cotton prices.
He urged the Government to upwardly revise the ‘phutti’ (raw cotton) prices to Pk Rs. 4,000 per maund (37.324 kg), to save cotton growers from exploitation.
read more.



* Workplace safety: Labour dept likely to launch action plan next month:

An announcement about various exit points in a local hotel in case of a fire or any an emergency set the tone for the main theme of a workshop that was being held at the hotel on the topic of “promoting workplace safety and health in Sindh” on Thursday.

Speaking at the workshop that included three parallel technical consultation sessions on the themes of “occupational safety and health”, “labour inspection” and “work injury insurance schemes”, Sindh labour department secretary Arif Elahi said: “Instead of blaming employers, inspectors, emergency services, etc, we thought of an action plan of first training ourselves to prevent tragedies such as the Baldia Town factory fire.”

He added: “The business people must understand that no one is out to harass them in the name of ‘inspection’. And we should also know what is keeping employers from taking certain necessary measures. Also the employees should not think that no one cares about them. The main objective is to create awareness of the problems of all the three stakeholders and understand them. So please let us just adopt an action plan as the lives of workers are also precious.” read more.

* Tod in der Fabrik: der Preis für billige Kleidung (& KIK):

* Death in the factory: the price of cheap clothing (& KIK):

There is not much that remains Rehana shows us a family photo with her four daughters. You have dreamed of a better life wanted to work hard for a future without poverty. Long shifts they sewed jeans for German textile markets. But then came the fire. On 11 September 2012, shortly before 19.00 clock, a fire broke out, which quickly seized all the factory premises.

The people wanted to flee, but they could not. Probably Rehanas daughters are in panic ran to the windows, emergency exits have been looking for. But the windows were barred, locked the doors, according to many workers apparently. Almost daily, new details shake us out of our sewing rooms in the Far East.

Spent factories, spies, lock the doors, sloppy fire. Certainly, the local firefighters have failed miserably. But it is above all the greed of Western corporations, the press apparently the prices and pass the pressure on suppliers. Efficient fire protection is often the last thing on the list of the owners.

(original text-german:Es ist nicht viel, was bleibt: Rehana zeigt uns ein Familienfoto mit ihren vier Töchtern. Sie haben von einem besseren Leben geträumt, wollten hart arbeiten für eine Zukunft ohne Armut. In langen Schichten nähten sie Jeanshosen für deutsche Textilmärkte. Doch dann kam das Feuer. Am 11. September 2012, kurz vor 19.00 Uhr, brach ein Brand aus, der schnell alle Fabrikräume ergriff.

Die Menschen wollten fliehen, doch sie konnten nicht. Wahrscheinlich sind auch Rehanas Töchter in Panik zu den Fenstern gerannt, haben die Notausgänge gesucht. Doch die Fenster waren vergittert, die Türen nach Angaben vieler Arbeiter offenbar verschlossen. Fast täglich erschüttern uns neue Details aus unseren Nähstuben in Fernost.

Abgebrannte Fabriken, Aufpasser, die die Türen verriegeln, schlampiger Brandschutz. Gewiss, auch die örtlichen Brandbekämpfer haben jämmerlich versagt. Doch es ist vor allem die Gier westlicher Konzerne, die offenbar die Preise drücken und den Druck an die Zulieferer weitergeben. Effizienter Brandschutz ist häufig das Letzte, was auf der Liste der Fabrikbesitzer steht.)

read en see more – video report german spoken.source here.


map of Asia


* The next newsletter and news bulletin will be published 10 December 2012, unless there is “breaking” news.

* In the menu under Special Reports you can find the overviews of articles about “The Karachi Fire”, Indian “National Peoples’ Tribunal” and “Fire in Ashulia”.

* Other (labour) news, than about garment and textile industry, via twitter: @asearcher2


* Arsonist set deadly factory blaze that killed 14 to avenge docked pay
* Employee benefits system ‘needs to improve’
* Oerlikon to sell textile divisions
* GIE Stepping Into Garment Industry

* Reduction of employer contributions
* Ministries to consider aid plan for SMEs

* Labour shortage in Cambodia’s garment industry

* Workers want foreign firms to lift labor union ban
* Medan Wage Rally Forces 25 Companies to Halt Operations

* Commotion over salary persists
* Five Wal-Mart vendors made clothes at Tazreen factory
* Workers under constant threat
* Death of poor workers in devastating fire
* Labour leaders demand arrest of Tazreen owner, more damages
* Safety gets risky for corruption
* Make uniform fire safety checklist: official
* Govt orders regular fire drill for workers
* Social Compliance Forum asks all to be more vigilant to avoid accidents
* US buyers seek trade union rights for RMG workers
* US, EU stress improving factory safety
* EU ambassador William Hanna & US amb. Mozena tells BGMEA to allow trade unions in factories
* Horrific Bangladesh factory fire revealed a gap in safety for global brands

* 50 hurt in fire panic stampede at Ashulia
* Fire breaks out at Ctg garment washing factory
* China team explores investment scope in apparel sector
* Minister stresses support for handloom industry

* Pollution of waterways continues in Erode
* Weavers call off strike, resume production
* Yarn importers devise route to evade duty
* Tirupur first to adopt Zero Liquid Discharge Technology

* ‘SL need to increase share in traditional apparel markets’

* Textile export industrial sector: PHMEA seeks exemption from gas loadshedding
* Textile sector to lose $3 billion export orders, says Aptma
* Textile associations reject proposed raise in gas prices
* Kisan Board Pakistan urges govt to frame cotton policy
* Workplace safety: Labour dept likely to launch action plan next month
* Tod in der Fabrik: der Preis für billige Kleidung (& KIK)/ Death in the factory: the price of cheap clothing(& KIK)

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