20:55:00 local time CHINA
* Foshan shoe factory begins to divide striking workers with compensation offer:
Nearly half of the 600 workers at a Foshan shoe factory who had been on strike for ten days have reportedly accepted a compromise offer by management to pay them half of what they were demanding.
The workers at Shyang Ho Footwear stopped working on 10 December after management prepared to sell off factory machinery prior to closing the plant. The workers demanded the compensation they were entitled to under the law for termination of their contracts, namely one month’s salary for every year at the factory.
Eventually the company offered the workers 50 percent of their average monthly salary multiplied by the number of years they had been employed at the factory. Employees who had only worked at the factory for a few years reluctantly agreed to accept the offer but many of the longer-serving employees were yesterday still refusing to sign. read more.
* Immediate Reinstatement of Wang Shishu, the labor activist who organized a pay rise petition in Shenzhen Wal-Mart! :
While Wal-Mart stores in over 100 cities in 46 states in the United States, are facing thousands of demonstrators protesting and even striking against low wages, long working hours and labor rights violations in Wal-Mart, Students and Scholars against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM ) has learnt that Wal-Mart workers in China are also protesting against their deteriorating labor conditions in recent months through a series of collective actions. Wal-Mart has responded by suppressing the workers and dismissing worker activists, including Wang Shishu. SACOM strongly condemns both Wal-Mart’s hostility to the workers’ legitimate demands and the illegal dismissals.
Since joining a Wal-Mart canteen in Shenzhen in 1996, Wang Shishu, 52, has been a senior employee for 16 years. Over the years, Wang has been keen to promote the labor rights of his fellow Wal-Mart workers. In 2006, Wang was nominated by the workers to stand for the Wal-Mart’s Yuanling Store Trade Union election. Despite Wang got the highest votes in the election, the management refused to recognize him as a union committee member. Since then, Wang has repeatedly complained to the management about the labor abuses such as the undemocratic practices of the trade union and unreasonable pay schemes.
On July 5, 2012, because of dissatisfaction with the pay rise scheme, which would cancel the housing subsidy and the bonus, more than 40 Wal-Mart workers in Shenzhen went on strike at the Shenzhen Distribution Center. Four worker representatives were administratively detained and subsequently dismissed by Wal-Mart. read more & the petion.
* Li Ning to announce a loss for 2012:
The contributing factors are evident: increased competition in the domestic market – which represents 90% of the brand’s activity – and the professionalization of franchises. Li-Ning management has created a “Channel Revival Plan” to address issues. read more.
20:55:00 local time PHILIPPINES
* Nike 2nd quarter net income falls:
Strong demand in North America helped Nike post second-quarter net income that beat expectations, despite weaker sales in China and costs related to the sale of two brands.
The world’s largest athletic gear maker on Thursday reported its net income fell 18 percent during the three months ended Nov. 30, but revenue rose 7 percent, fueled by the continued popularity of its Nike brand. Results reassured investors about the company’s strength and shares rose 5 percent in aftermarket trading.
Like most global companies, Nike Inc. has been dealing with Europe’s weak economy and a slowdown in growth in China. Nike reiterated its message from earlier this year that it is working to reduce its inventory in China and reworking its offerings there to adapt to the changing tastes of Chinese consumers. read more.
20:55:00 local time INDONESIA
* Message from the Kizone workers: “Distribution of food vouchers does not mean that Adidas’ hands are clean” :
In an attempt to deflect public pressure over the $1.8 million in severance pay owed to former workers of the PT Kizone factory in Indonesia, Adidas has distributed food vouchers to the workers as ‘humanitarian assistance’.
As the global campaign for Adidas to pay the workers what they are legally owed, Aslam Hidayat the chair of the Coordinating Committee of the workers of the former PT Kizone factory sent this message of solidarity to activists around the world.Distribution of food vouchers does not mean that Adidas’ hands are clean
On September 13, 2012, the President of Cornell University in the United States stated that starting October 1, 2012, Cornell University would cut its contract with Adidas.
The reason was that Adidas had not carried out its responsibility to ensure that about 2700 workers from PT Kizone International received their severance.
PT Kizone closed in February 2010. As one of the brands that produces collegiate apparel in the U.S., Adidas has to fulfill the rights of the workers that produce its products.
Receiving severance when a factory closes is, in Indonesia, a basic right that must be fulfilled when a factory closes, by the factory or by the brand.
Nike has already paid one million U.S. dollars, and the Dallas Cowboys have already paid $55,000. Adidas has refused to pay the remaining US$1.8 million, the amount still legally owed to workers. read more.
* Govt offers tax incentives to help minimum wage hikes:
Manpower and Transmigration Minister Muhaimin Iskandar has proposed incentives for companies to help resolve disputes between workers and their employers over the provincial minimum wages.
To avoid disputes over the minimum wage issue Muhaimin said the government would give tax and fiscal incentives to small- and middle-scale companies.
The incentives would also be offered to labor-intensive industries to enable them pay their workers in accordance with the current remuneration system. read more.
19:25:00 local time BURMA/MYANMAR
* Myanmar to draft first labour safety law:
The first law on safety and health in workplaces is being drafted by the Ministry of Labour and will be promulgated in 2013, a senior ministry official said last week.
“The law will aim to prevent air and water pollution and improve safety at worksites, including fire prevention, ensuring construction workers use protective equipment, ensuring the safety of worksite operators and taking precautions for natural disasters,” said U Si Thu Aung, head of the Ministry’s Factories and General Labour Law Inspection Department.
U Si Thu Aung spoke about the draft law during a seminar on occupational health and safety at the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Yangon on Saturday, December 15.
“We are considering the safety of all workers in Myanmar’s construction industry. We hope that the law will be obeyed and will ensure the safety of the country’s labourers,” Minister for Labour U Maung Myint said during the seminar.
“According to section 24 of Myanmar’s constitution, the government must provide the means to protect labourers … so we have the task of drafting this new labour law,” he said. read more.
* Myanmar, Japan ink MoU to develop Thilawa SEZ:
18:55:00 local time BANGLA DESH
* Garment Workers Red Flag Procession related to Tarzeen Fashion Fire:
Garment workers red-flag procession held to ensure punishment to culprits, including factory owner, of Tazreen Fashion firing after bringing them under law as per Home Ministry enquiry report, correct list of dead & injured workers, necessary medical treatment, compensation as per loss of earning and “safe workplace”.
None of the culprits, including factory owner, who were responsible for the Tazreen Fashion fire that killed 112 workers on November 24, 2012 were not yet arrested & brought to book although the Home Ministry enquiry report blamed them for the incident and recommended to punish them as per law.
On the other hand, correct list of dead & injured workers were not prepared, engineering were being seen in payment of compensation and move were on to shelve the whole tragedy.
So, Garment workers red-flag rally & procession held demanding punishment to culprits, including factory owner, of Tazreen Fashion firing after bringing them under law as per Home Ministry enquiry report, correct list of dead & wounded workers, necessary medical treatment, compensation as per loss of earning and “safe workplace”.
Organized by National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF) in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka city at 11am today—December 21 Friday.
Presided over by NGWF President Amirul Haque Amin, the rally was addressed by General Secretary Ms Safia Parveen, Ms Sultana Akter and Md Kabir Hossain. Coordinator of Bangladesh Garment Workers Unity Council Md Delwar Hossain spoke at the rally expressing solidarity with the workers.
Speakers at the rally alleged that none among the culprits, against whom the Home Ministry enquiry report recommended punishment as per 304 (a) of the Bangladesh Penal Code, were arrested & brought to book. read more.
* Trade unions in RMG, a tale of exploitation:
The Directorate of Labour (DoL) has refused over 450 valid applications for Trade Union (TU) registration during last three years in consultation with the industry people to keep it free from unionism.
The garment owners subsequently sacked over 250 worker leaders from their factories who submit those applications to DoL, industry sources said.
The DoL has only 149 registered TU for garments sectors despite the workers’ desire and lawful premises to form TU at 5000 plus factories across the country. Of the 149 TUs, 125 are in Dhaka zone and remaining 24 are in Chittagong division.
Most of the registered trade unions in the garments sector got registration before nineties and a few 10 to 12 numbers of registration got in the last two years by getting labour court verdict after DoL refusal.
“The DoL are not giving us new registration on the ground of many unmet conditions that are difficult to meet and are not legally required. We from our federation have applied applications for about 15 new TUs during last two and half years but all of these applications have been rejected. The process had remained suspended during two years of army backed caretaker government,” Nazma Akther, President of Sammilito Garments Sramik Federation (SGSF) and a member of the second minimum wage board told The FE. read more.
* Arrest of Tazreen owner demanded:
Politicians and garment labour leaders at a rally in the capital Dhaka on Friday demanded an immediate arrest of the Tazreen Fashions Ltd owner Delwar Hossain in connection with the killing of 112 workers of the factory in a fire on November 24.
The Workers Party of Bangladesh general secretary, Anisur Rahman Mallick, said that the recent report of the home ministry investigation of the incident suggested legal action against the owner and others for their negligence in ensuring safety of the workers. But the government has not taken action against them.
The National Garment Workers Federation organised the rally in front of the National Press Club demanding action against the people responsible for the incident and more compensation for fire victims. read more.
* 10 hurt in fire panic at 2 RMG factories:
At least 10 panic-stricken workers were injured in separate incidents of stampede yesterday, when fire broke out in two garment factories at the capital’s Uttara and Nischintapur in Ashulia.
The fire originated from an electric short circuit at Sagar Garments in Uttara around 8:25am, fire officials said.
However, factory authorities managed to douse the flames before two firefighting units reached the factory.
According to locals, at least five workers were injured when trying to rush out of the factory located on the 8th floor of the building.
Meanwhile, another fire broke out at New Age Apparels Ltd around 8:00am. Locals said around five workers sustained minor injuries in an attempt to vacate the building. read more. & read more. & read more.
* 15-50 RMG workers hurt in stampede over fire scare:
About 15 workers of three garment factories were injured in a stampede caused by fire scare at a factory at local bus stand on Sunday.
Local sources said smoke came out after a tube light exploded with a big bang at the factory, Ither Tex, on the fifth floor of Rana Plaza.
A worker at the factory set off a fire alarm, which also panicked the workers of two other garment factories at the same building.
Hearing the alarm, about 6,000 workers of the three factories scrambled to get out of the building, leaving 15 of them injured in the morning.
The situation was brought under control before the arrival of local fire service personnel.
The injured workers took first aid from different clinics.
Kamruzzaman, DGM of Ither Tex, said a minor fire took place at the factory and they doused it soon.
Several workers were injured while hurriedly coming out of the building during the incident, he said.
Khan Khalilur Rahman, an official of local fire services, said their two units rushed to the spot after receiving information.
The fire was brought under control before the arrival of the fire fighters, he said.
to read. & read more. & read more.
* 2 Ashulia RMG units announce ‘holiday’:
Two garment factories at Savar’s Ashulia industrial zone closed down on Saturday to avoid trouble over fire alarms that triggered panic among workers who tried to rush out. Many were injured when doing so.
The fire alarms were set off in the two factories –‘New Age Apparels Limited’ and ‘Age Oven Limited’. Both are situated at Nischintapur area where a devastating fire claimed at least 112 lives at the Tazreen Fashions Limited recently.
Industrial Police and factory officials suspect one of the workers had ignited the fire.
Industrial Police Deputy Director Ali Ahmed Khan told bdnews24.com a fire broke out at the first floor of the New Apparels Limited. That was caused by the burning of some goods there and it triggered a panic amongst workers, Khan said.
read more. & read more. & read more.
* 1800 RMG units lag behind fire-safety standard:
read more. & read more.
* RMG Fire Safety: BGMEA taskforce starts work Sunday:
* BGMEA taskforce launches safety check drive:
A taskforce formed by Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association to ensure safety compliance in factories started its inspection drive yesterday with visits to four factories.
The factories — Bando Design Ltd, Starling Creation and Rose Dresses Ltd in Ashulia and Onus Garments in Malibagh — voluntarily offered to be inspected.
The drive was attended by representatives from BGMEA, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology Alumni Association and Fire Service & Civil Defence.
“We want to ensure occupational health and workplace safety for sustainable development of the industry,” said BGMEA President Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
*Factories set up violating rules:
Hundreds of industrial units, including the fire-struck Tazreen garments factory, have been constructed in the rural areas of Ashulia violating building code and the capital’s master plan, according to officials and documents.
The Dhaka Metropolitan Development Plan (DMDP), also known as the master plan, covers up to the Dhaleshwari River in the region, Ashulia and beyond. The plan does not permit factories in the “so-called” Ashulia industrial district, including Nischintapur, Narasinghapur, Jamgora and Jirabo areas on the capital’s outskirts, said Rajuk officials.
These areas, which fall under the jurisdiction of the Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk), were designated for homesteads and croplands, not industries, said Rajuk board member Sheikh Abdul Mannan. read more. & read more.& read more.
* Flammable Material: How Garment Workers Can Respond to the Tazreen
In a fashion industry where trends change by the minute, the lives of the workers who make the clothes are often valued as cheaply as the products they create. The devastating fire at the Tazreen factory in Bangladesh, which killed more than 110 people, is tied to what labor advocates describe as a powder keg: the manufacturing system in the Global South, where countless factories are one spark away from catastrophe.
A new report on factory safety by the International Labor Rights Forum documents the story of one teenager who survived a deadly fire in 2006, which left dozens of workers to burn in a sealed death trap:
I think that they used to lock the doors all the time because most of the workers were my age, and they thought that we might leave the factory any time, as we were kids. That is why they always locked the main door.
Of course, it would be children who lacked the discipline to stay put, whose natural impulse to resist restraint required the industry to literally lock them in.
Today, the charred Tazreen factory represents the extreme end of a long continuum of anti-worker oppression and violence, beginning with multinational brands that build their profit model on cheap overseas labor, to the brutalization of workers who dare stand up for their rights on the job. read more.
* Factory fires bedevil garment industry:
The gruesome fire that killed 112 garment workers in Bangladesh last month underscored a stubborn problem that has dogged retailers for years.
Bangladesh’s garment industry makes clothes cheap for companies like Target, Wal-Mart and the Gap, but the work is too often deadly.
An estimated 600 garment workers in the country have died in fires since 2005, the International Labor Rights Forum says. The persistent safety lapses have fixed a spotlight on U.S. retailers, prompting criticism from labor groups that say companies don’t do enough to protect the people who make the clothes they sell.
“Workers’ lives are on the line while they’re making clothing for export to the U.S. market,” said Liana Foxvog, spokeswoman for the labor rights group.
Stores that sell clothes in the United States are on the end of a supply chain that starts with cheap labor at cheap factories in South Asia. Minneapolis-based Target Corp. is no exception.
The Nov. 25 fire happened at a factory called Tazreen Fashions, whose parent company was a Target supplier until 2008. Tragedy struck the Minneapolis company’s supply chain directly two years ago when a December 2010 fire killed 29 at a factory that supplied clothes to Target, J.C. Penney, Kohl’s and Abercrombie & Fitch. read more.
* US sanctions loom after Bangladesh factory fire:
A dozen US lawmakers pressed President Barack Obama’s administration on Friday to complete a long-running review that could lead to suspension of trade benefits for Bangladesh, after a deadly factory blaze there last month.
“We’re seriously concerned about the deterioration of working conditions and worker rights in Bangladesh,” the congressional Democrats said, in a letter to US trade representative Ron Kirk, reports TVNZ, national broadcaster New Zealand.
“The latest apparel-industry fire, with over 100 workers killed, in the Tazreen garment factory is the latest in a series of events and practices constituting this decline,” the lawmakers said. read more. & read more. & read more.
* Buyers, govt, RMG unit owners need to work in cohesion:
Fire safety issue the country’s highest foreign currency earning sector the apparel industry — has emerged as a key issue that could seriously hurt the export projections.
Both the garments owners and the government must pay immediate attention to the issue of fire safety to ensure much better working conditions inside the factories to take the industry at a level where it needs to be.
The country’s worst ever fire incident at Tazreen Fashions in Ashulia has shown an unfortunate but common picture about how we poorly deal with our workers.
The latest fire tragedy that claimed 112 lives and injured many other had shocked the country of 160 million.
At least twenty one workers were charred to death and dozens others injured in another fire incident at Garib & Garib Sweater Factory in Gazipur in 2010 and one of the country’s leading clothing firm Ha-Meem Group also went through a fire tragedy in the same year in which 23 workers were burnt to death.
Although incidents of fire have been claiming lives in RMG units the owners have tactfully avoided the important issue of fire safety, which can ensure much better production. read more.
* TIB concerned over US move to review duty-free access:
Bangladesh chapter of the Transparency International (TI) called upon the US authorities to act in a responsible manner and refrain from taking any action in the wake of the Tazreen factory fire that might adversely affect the ready-made garment (RMG) industry of the country and further victimise the workers.
In a statement Saturday, Executive Director of the Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) Iftekharuzzaman expressed concern over a reported initiative by a section of the US lawmakers to review the status of duty-free access of Bangladeshi garments to the US market in the wake of the Tazreen tragedy and said nothing in the wake of such tragedies could justify any measure that could restrict duty-free access of Bangladeshi products to the US market. read more.
* Exporters not that worried:
The local business leaders, especially those operating in export-oriented readymade garments (RMF) sector, expressed the view on Friday that the move by the US legislators, calling upon the US Trade Representative (USTR) to complete a long-running view of trade benefits for Bangladesh, is unlikely to have any adverse impact on its export of goods to the US market.
Bangladesh is receiving now very nominal benefits under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) from the US, they observed.
The export earnings from Bangladeshi goods to the American markets would continue even if the existing benefit is suspended, they said. read more.
* Textile cos on the move to raise Tk 17.0b from capital market:
Textile companies are making all-out efforts to go public sooner rather than later to raise capital from the primary capital market as banks are maintaining a cautious policy about disbursing industrial credits, following some loan scams amid their mounting burden of classified loans.
This correspondent found it while talking to top executives of different banks, bourses, some company owners in textile sector and market experts.
They said the companies in the textile sector which contributes significantly to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), have no bar to raising their capital but it is urgent to ensure proper enforcement of IPO (initial public offering) rules and regulations, particularly about the uses of funds. read more.
* Insurance coverage for knit worker doubles:
Bangladesh’s knit factory owners have raised insurance coverage for life for any ready-made garment (RMG) worker to Tk 200,000 from the existing Tk 100,000.
Bangladesh Knitwear Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) made the decision at an emergency meeting Sunday at a local hotel with BKMEA president AKM Selim Osman in the chair. About 400 members attended the meeting titled “Fire safety and capacity building in knitwear industry”.
The BKMEA organised the meeting in the backdrop of Tazreen fire incident to decide enhancement in the workplace safety, improve labour-owners relationship and maintain a congenial atmosphere in knitwear factories.
The meeting urged the RMG entrepreneurs to concentrate more to explore new markets and increase capacity building and enhance safety measures along with the development of infrastructures.
The meeting unanimously endorsed a resolution to raise the insurance coverage to Tk 200,000 for fire death, especially those working in knit factories. read more.
* Textiles and clothing trade in the next decade:
Over the years textile trade has become a centre of discussion due to its globalisation integrating developing countries and LDCs (least developed countries) and its impact on the global environment.
The trade has been a centre of controversy, as it has contributed to economic growth, job creation, poverty alleviation, while at the same time has negatively impacted environment, especially global warming, destruction of bio-diversity and ecological balance.
Today consumers have become more aware of the need to protect the environment and companies use the terms eco-friendly to promote their goods and services with eco-labels. Establishment of Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP) and avoidance of hazardous chemicals in the textile processing have been discussed so much in workshops and seminars that stakeholders are aware of these issues.
Therefore, these issues have been set aside in this article. Rather issues that have not been much discussed shall be dealt with here which also have had profound impact on the environment while trading in textiles and clothing. read more.
* Training on productivity development in leather industry:
A daylong training course on productivity development in leather industry was held at the city’s old part Hazaribag on Thursday.
Leather Sector Business Promotion Council of the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) and Leather goods and Footwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (LFMEAB) have jointly organized the course.
The main objective of the training programme was to focus on the technique of increased productivity for workers especially in leather goods and footwear industry considering that productivity development is essential for sustenance in the competitive world, said a press release. read more.
* EPB urges exporters to diversify jute products:
The urgency for diversification of jute and jute goods was highlighted Saturday when speakers at a meeting recalled the glorious past of jute, the natural golden fibre of the Bengal (Bangladesh).
“The demand for jute and jute goods are increasing in the world market due to environmental awareness in developed countries,” said Export Promotion Bureau vice chairman Shubhashish Bose while addressing a “Buyer–Seller Meet” urging the entrepreneurs to grab the opportunity through diversifying their products.
Addressing the meeting the EPB chairman said the country’s export is heavily dependent on six items only which earn nearly 90 per cent of the total exports.
“The export destination is also limited to a few markets (EU 52 per cent and USA and Canada 30 per cent) he said stressing the need for diversification of export basket as well as the market. Jute Diversification Promotion Centre (JDPC), in association with Katalyst, organised the programme “Buyer – Seller Meet” at IJGS Bhaban to showcase the Jute Diversified Products (JDPs) produced in Bangladesh. JDPC has formally launched the event as a regular agenda in their activities.
The event also showcased the strength of JDP SMEs in producing quality products and created linkage between the suppliers and the bulk buyers. read more.
* Jute thread worth Tk 6 crore charred in Khulna:
A devastating fire brunt to ashes a huge quantity of jute thread at the warehouse of a mill in Dighalia upazila of the district on Sunday afternoon.
The fire originated from an electric short circuit at the warehouse of Specialized Twin Mills in Chandanimahal area at 4.00pm.
Eight fire fighting units from Daulatpur, Khalishpur, Senhati, Boira and Tutpara of the district rushed to the spot and doused the blaze after two hours’ efforts.
About 3.5 tonnes of thread of jute were gutted in the fire and the loss in the accident would be around Tk 5 to 6 crore, said Mizanur Rahman, finished goods officer of the mill. to read.
* Myanmar is not a threat to us: Bangladesh RMG exporters:
* Chinese team arrives in city today to explore RMG outsourcing:
The country’s apparel export to China is expected to get a boost, as another eight-member delegation from China will arrive in the city today (Monday) to explore outsourcing opportunities here, industry insiders said.
They termed the visit important for local RMG sector and Bangladesh also, as it will help increase the country’s export volume.
Bangladesh is gradually emerging a lucrative destination of apparel sourcing for foreign buyers, especially from China, which is switching to high-tech industrialisation due to high manufacturing cost there, they added.
The visiting team will also explore investment potentiality in local silk and sericulture sector, and hold discussion with representatives of the sector, said an official of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers’ and Exporters’ Association (BGMEA).
* Japanese investors eye Bangladesh as ‘lucrative destination’:
Japanese investors are now considering Bangladesh as a lucrative investment destination by shifting their eyes from China.
Due to the recent spat over territorial dispute with China and availability of cheap labour in Bangladesh, the Japanese investors are rating Bangladesh as a ‘favourite choice’, trade and industry sources in Tokyo said.
In several occasions, Bangladesh government also invited investors from the world’s third largest economy to explore the existing’ favourable opportunity’ in Bangladesh. read more.
* B’desh RMG exports defy fall in India, Pakistan:
Export of ready-made garments (RMG) from Bangladesh has been rising while the supply of the item to the world market from India and Pakistan falling over the last several months, trade sources said on Sunday.
Export of Bangladeshi RMG products including the knit and woven apparels registered a 16 per cent growth in the first four months of the current fiscal year (FY) 2011-12 to more than $6.6 billion compared to the corresponding period of the last FY.
During the period value added textile like RMG exports from Pakistan declined to some 11 per cent compared to the same period of the last FY, sources in the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) said quoting data from Pakistani businesses.
However, exports of cotton and other textile-related commodities and products including thread and yarn rose significantly in Pakistan.
But the fall in RMG exports have cast a pall of gloom on the Pakistan textile industries, the trade sources said. Like Bangladesh the FY begins in Pakistan also in July. read more.
* Three Sonali Bank officials held in Hall-Mark scam:
Three top officials of the state- run Sonali Bank Ltd were arrested this evening from the city’s Ramna area in connection with the Hall-Mark scandal.
They are suspended general manager Mir Mohidur Rahman, suspended deputy general managers Sheikh Altaf Hossain and Md Shafiq Uddin Ahmed.
“We arrested them from Ramna area around 5.45pm ,” Senior Deputy Director and head of six-member investigation team Mir Joynul Abedin Shebly of the Anti- Corruption Commission (ACC) said.
With them, seven people including four bank officials have so far been arrested regarding the scandal, he said.
ACC, earlier, arrested Hall-Mark Group Managing Director Tanvir Mahmud alias Tafsir and Chairman Jasmine Islam, also his wife, its General Manager (commercial) Tushar Ahmed and suspended DGM of Sonali Bank AKM Azizur Rahman. read more. & read more. & read more.
* Import of old warm clothes declines as domestic products fulfil demand:
Import of second-hand warm clothes has been declining thanks to high price and increased supply of fashionable domestic products, business insiders said.
As the prices of imported second- hand warm clothes and locally produced new ones are almost same the buyers turn to new clothes.
“In last ten years the price of second-hand warm clothes has increased more than 80 to 90 per cent. So import of second-hand clothes has been decreasing,” an importer Mr Shamsul Haque, owner of Hajee Mohammad Shamsul Haque & Sons told the FE. read more.
18:25:00 local time INDIA
* Indian women work 94 mins more than men every day: Survey:
Women in India work over one-and-a-half hours more than the country’s men every day, making this difference in total work hours the maximum in nearly 30 countries, a report shows.
According to Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) report on gender and employment, there is a worldwide increase in women’s participation in the labour force but considerable gaps remain in working hours, conditions of employment and earnings.
An analysis of the most countries included in the analysis shows that women work more than men when the total time spent including paid and unpaid work.
Across the member countries of the OECD, women on an average spend 21 minutes more in total work each day than men do. Overall, the gap is the widest in India, where women spend on average 94 minutes more time than the men on total work each day, the OECD report said. read more.
* Protesting workers demand minimum wages:
A large number of workers from across the country marched to Parliament here in a protest rally demanding minimum wages and universal social security cover for organised and unorganised workers. One of the main aims of the protest, which saw participation of employees of the Central and State governments and banking, insurance, defence and telecom sectors, was to pressurise the Government for strict implementation of labour laws in the country.
The protest was part of a nationwide campaign to chalk out a unified strategy against “anti-workers policies of the Government” by the Central trade unions, a confederation of all the prominent trade unions and workers groups. In the next stage of its struggle, all the employee and trade unions will organise a two-day general strike on 20-21 February 2013.
Amid slogans against the labour policies of the Government, A. K. Padmanabhan, president of the Centre of Indian trade Unions (CITU), said the working class in the country was working under the worst circumstances and, in some cases,
“bereft of any dignity”. read more.
* Major fire in textile chemical unit:
A textile chemical manufacturing unit was gutted in a major fire that broke out at Tarsadi GIDC in Mahua taluka of Surat District on Friday. The cause of the inferno at Shreeram Rezin Private Limited is said to be a short circuit.
Officials said that presence of inflammable chemicals led to the fire assuming a huge scale. Fire tenders from Bardoli, Mahua, Vyara and Surat were pressed into service to bring the fire under control. to read.
* Textiles industry seeks easier imports of cotton yarn, fabric:
The textiles industry on Friday asked the Commerce Ministry to ease the process of imports of cotton yarn and fabric to help boost exports, which have been hit hard by the global demand slowdown.
“Imports of cotton yarn and fabrics should be permitted without licence at flat fixed customs duty rate,” Apparel Export Promotion Council Chairman A Sakthivel said in a proposal to Commerce Secretary S R Rao.
Bangladesh, Vietnam and Cambodia have achieved phenomenal growth through easy import policy of yarn and fabrics, he said, adding that the move will boost textile exports at competitive prices and help reduce widening trade deficit.
“The current scheme of advance licence in the foreign trade policy, although allows duty free import but it is a tedious route and is not used extensively by the exporters,” Sakthivel said. read more.
* Naidu announces sops for weavers:
In order to woo the weaving community, TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu has announced several sops to them through the weavers’ declaration during his Vasthunna Meekosam padayatra in Rekurthi village on the outskirts of Karimnagar town on Saturday.
The TDP president celebrated the completion of 1,300 km of padayatra in the village by cutting a cake. Announcing the implementation of the weavers’ declaration after attaining power, Mr. Naidu said that they would allocate Rs.1,000 crore for the welfare of weavers every year in the budget and also promised waiver of weavers’ loans. read more.
* ‘Focus on expanding domestic demand of apparel products’:
The Central and state governments should focus on expanding domestic demand of apparel products, ensure adequate supply of cotton and provide quality power to protect the ability of textile export clusters like Tirupur, according to CPI (M) politburo member Sitaram Yechury.
“Enlargement of domestic demand is vital considering the shrinkage in global markets due to economic crisis. Even the anticipated economic growth of United States and European Union, two of the main buyers of products from Tirupur, are pegged at below one per cent and zero per cent, respectively, for 2013, meaning that exports are going to come down further,” he said. read more.
* Lower cotton crop forces Gujarat ginners to rely on other states:
With the current year cotton crop estimated to lower than projected, Gujarat-based ginning mills have been forced to rely on other state for their raw material. Currently, out of total cotton arrivals for ginning, almost 50 per cent cotton has come from Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and other cotton producing states.
“Every year only 20-25 per cent of cotton comes from other state to Gujarat for ginning as we have large number of processing units. But this year situation is different as our crop size has been reduced and most of the ginning mills are forced to source more than 50 per cent of from other states,” said Anand Popat, secretary of Saurashtra Ginners Association (SGA). read more.
* Cotton production for 2012-13 to be around 355 lakh bales: CAI:
Cotton production in the season 2012-13 is expected to be around 355 lakh bales, while the consumption is likely to be around 265 lakh bales, according to Cotton Association of India.
“The cotton production this year is expected to be not less than 355 lakh bales while the consumption is likely to be around 265 lakh bales, leaving a sizable surplus,” CAI President Dhiren Sheth said at its 90th annual general meeting here.
There was an apprehension at the start of the season 2012-13 that the area under cotton may be lower than in 2011-12, consequent to the late onset of monsoon and unfavourable distribution of subsequent rains in some cotton growing areas.
* Cotton ryots victims of exploitation: Kodela:
Senior TDP leader Kodela Sivaprasada Rao said cotton farmers were being exploited by a syndicate comprising middlemen and corrupt officers who were acting in collusion with some people in the ruling party.
The government had backtracked from its own recommendation that cotton should be purchased at Rs. 5,500 per quintal.
Instead, the Minimum Support Price has been fixed at Rs. 3,900 but the prevailing price is just about Rs. 3,000.
At the procurement centres of Cotton Corporation of India (CCI), moisture content is shown as the excuse for rejecting the commodity brought for sale and the waiting middlemen strike a deal for Rs. 3,000 by making the farmers believe that their produce would not fetch higher returns. read more.
* Karnataka to soon announce Textile Policy 2013-18:
17:55:00 local time PAKISTAN
* Factory fire guts goods worth millions:
Fire in a garments factory gutted merchandise worth millions of rupees here on Friday.
The fire caused due to unknown reasons and engulfed the garments factory located in Korangi Industrial Area. The inflammable material, garments goods and raw material present in the factory reduced to ashes.
After getting the information, firemen reached the scene and started efforts to put off the fire.
However, merchandise worth millions of rupees was burnt before the blaze could be brought under control.
Some sources claimed it was not accidental fire rather someone intentionally set the factory on fire. The affected factory owner demanded the authorities for thorough probe into the incident and compensation for his losses. read more. & read more.
* Different trade agreements to boost textile industry:
Advisor to Prime Minister on Textile Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig said that trade concessions on 65 items from the EU, implementation of GSP plus status from Jan 1, 2014, preferential trade agreement (PTA) with Turkey, signing the second phase of free trade agreement (FTA) with China and trade opportunities with India are reasons for buoyancy in textiles.
While talking to the media on his visit to Lahore, he said that the country’s textile industry would get a benefit of $320 million with the duty-free trade facility from EU for concessions on 65 items. “This facility would continue till December 31, 2013,” he said. “A PTA with Turkey would be signed from early next year that would reduce the import duty on Pakistani products by 6.4 percent in Turkey.” Pakistani products are currently attracting a duty of 24.5, which would be slashed down to 18.10 percent after the PTA.
Regarding the GSP plus status to Pakistan, he said that the criteria has been revised and approved by EU and all exports would be accommodated under the facility from January 2014. read more.
* ‘Textile exports decline by 10.38 percent this year’:
It is a great irony that the export of our major raw material – Cotton Yarn and export of low Value Added Greige Cloth has increased while the Value Added Apparel and Home Textile exports has reduced considerably, lamented M Jawed Bilwani, Central Chairman, Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers & Exporters Association.
He said that if comparison is made with exports of last year, textile exports have declined by 10.38 percent while Bangladesh and India show positive growth in its textile exports. When we compare our textile exports with the year 2010-2011 with 2012-13 knitwear exports declined 18.6 percent in quantity terms, bedwear by 22.76 percent, towel by 27.32 percent, readymade garments by 12.40 percent. read more.
* Textile millers concerned over tariff gap:
Tariff gap is a cause of concern for the power-reliant textile mills, paying Rs12 per unit in a situation when the cost of each unit is around Rs6 for the mills busy in self-generation of electricity through gas supply from the system.
But the problem is that the power-reliant mills are note more than 20 percent of the total and rest of the 80 percent mills have switched over to self-generation of electricity through gas supply from the system after investing millions of rupees in the installation of Captive Power Plants (CPPs) since 2002 and around.
The power-reliant mills, however, are having a strong feeling that they are paying through their nose until the government ensures an equal opportunity to grow by equalizing the tariff both for them and gas-fed mills. If not possible, they add, the government should divert gas supply of CPPs to the government-owned Generation Companies (GENCOs) and supply electricity to the whole of industry without tariff discrimination. read more. & read more.
* Gas for textile mills six hours a day:
Petroleum adviser Dr Asim Husain has agreed on a proposal to divide gas available for Punjab’s textile factories into daily installments of six hours over six days a week.
He will announce the new schedule during his visit to Lahore and Faisalabad on Saturday (today), which will remain effective until the end of February.
The SNGPL had suspended gas supply to Punjab’s textile industry indefinitely earlier this week due to increasing domestic demand. It later agreed to restore supply for 36 hours a week on the adviser’s intervention after his meeting with an Aptma delegation led by its former chairman, Gohar Ejaz.
“At the meeting, the adviser asked Mr Gohar to come up with a formula for limiting gas supply to the industry in such a way that its shortages have minimal impact on production and exports,” Aptma Chairman Ahsan Bashir told Dawn on Friday.
In response, he added, Gohar suggested division of gas supply into six-hour daily instalments between 5pm and 11pm when Pepco suspended power supply to the factories. read more. & read more. & read more.
* Power supply to Punjab textile mills suspended indefinitely:
Ministry of Water and Power has suspended electricity supply to the textile industry in Punjab for indefinite period.
Over 80 percent of the textile industry is located in Punjab. There is no power supply to mills in Punjab for last 48 hours and there is no idea as when the ministry would restore power supply to textile mills.
The industry sources told Business Recorder that APTMA Punjab has convened an emergent general body meeting on Monday (today) at the APTMA Punjab office.
* APTMA convenes meeting against power cut:
The power supply to textile industry has been cut in Punjab for indefinite period, Geo News reported on Monday.
Reacting over the move, All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) has convened an emergency meeting to chalk out future course of action.
Chairman APTMA Punjab Zone Shehzad Ali Khan held Ministry of Water and Power responsible for the situation which he said would render large number of people jobless.
He said that permission has been taken from the APTMA chairman to shut the industry across the country. to read. & to read.
* Asim assures to provide 25pc gas to textile industry:
Adviser to Prime Minister on Petroleum and Natural Resources Dr Asim Hussain has assured to provide 25 per cent gas to the textile industry despite its severe shortage in the country during the current winter season.
Addressing a meeting of stakeholders at the Pakistan Textile Exporters Association here on Saturday night, he said that there would be improvement in gas supply after January 2013. read more.
* Concern over surge in export of cotton yarn:
Exporters have expressed concern over surge in export of semi-finished textiles, like cotton yarn and grey cloth as against falling trend in export of value-added textiles and apparels.
In a statement issued on Saturday, chairman, Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers Association (PHMA), M Jawed Bilwani, said that rise in export of textiles mainly constitutes semi-finished textile goods which could otherwise be used by the apparel industry for value-addition.
He said that textile exports have declined by 10.38 per cent while Bangladesh and India have shown positive growth in textile exports.
He said that knitwear exports declined by 18.6 per cent in quantity when compared exports in 2010-11, bedwear by 22.76 per cent, towel by 27.32 per cent and readymade garments by 12.40 per cent. read more.
* WRAP’s fire safety training course held:
Addressing the crucial industrial needs of fire safety and risk assessment within local industries, ‘WRAP’s Fire Safety Training Course’ held at Pakistan Readymade Garments Training Institute (PRGTI) House on December 20, 2012.
This is the first time when a series of international training courses are being organised in Pakistan by World-wide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP), in collaboration with Accordia Global Compliance Group.
Saifullah Khawaja, Director of WRAP’s Bangladesh Liaison Office, was the lead trainer in the course. The participants were informed that a fire risk assessment in industrial setups is an organised and methodical look at factory premises, as there is always a likelihood that a fire could start and cause harm to those in and around the premises. read more.
THE KARACHI FIRE:
* Jawad composes special song to pay tributes to workers:
Noted singer Jawad Ahmed has composed a special song to honour and remember those who died in the Baldia Factory tragedy and to show solidarity with their bereaved families.
Addressing a joint press conference at Karachi Press Club, Jawad Ahmed along with Executive Director of Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) Karamat Ali and other trade union leaders announced a live concert of the song at Labour Square ground in SITE on Sunday December 30, 2012.
“My song is not only a tribute to the deceased workers, but an inspiration with a commitment that no such incident be happened in the future,” he said. This song will be presented at an event where the family members of the victims as well workers from SITE and other surrounding industrial areas of Karachi will be attending.
read more. & read more. & read more.
17:55:00 local time UZBEKISTAN
* 28 new projects to boost Uzbek textile industry: