23:21:12 local time CHINA
* ‘Workers must be paid with no delay’:
The labor authority is working toward legally ensuring migrant workers are paid on a monthly basis.
Migrant workers are often paid according to a project’s progress or even annually, but delays in paying wages have been too frequent over the past year, Qiu Xiaoping, vice-minister of human resources and social security, told China Daily.
Declining export demand and cash flow problems have hit many sectors that employ migrant workers, but the worst-hit sector was construction, Qiu said.
More than 300 cases of delayed wages were reported in 2012, Zou Zhen, director of the social security department under the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, said at a news conference on Dec 20.
Qui said that workers must get their full pay on a monthly basis. read more.
* China mulls more cotton import quotas, to sell state reserves:
China, the world’s biggest cotton consumer and importer, is studying a proposal to issue extra import quotas for textile mills which have been pushing the government to boost the amount of cheaper overseas cotton they can buy, industry sources said.
If approved, the quotas will require mills to buy three tonnes of cotton from state reserves for every tonne they import, said the sources who declined to be named as they were not authorised to talk to the media. read more. & read more.
22:21:12 local time VIET NAM
* Vietnam trade deal sparks a running battle on shoe tariffs:
This is where many of Nike’s Deep Fusion running shoes are born. When a pair of them reaches the end of the assembly line at the huge Taiwanese-owned factory here, the cost of production is about $20 to $25. At malls across the United States, the retail price ranges from $59.99 to $107.
About $3 of that reflects a tariff on US imports of athletic footwear.
Vietnam wants to eliminate the 8-percent to 15-percent tariff as part of a free-trade negotiation with the United States and nine other Pacific nations. US Trade Representative Ron Kirk leads those negotiations for President Barack Obama, and he got Vietnam’s perspective on the tariffs when he went to Hanoi in August.
* Businesses a bit puzzled about 6-month maternity leave policy:
Business owners have affirmed that the new policy on six-month maternity wouldn’t affect their production plans much. However, they said they would encourage female workers to return to work sooner in order to ensure the normal production schedule of enterprises.
From January 1, 2013, female workers will have the maternity leave period of six months instead of four months as previously stipulated. The new policy has raised worries to businesses, especially the ones in the labor intensive fields.
Pham Xuan Hong, General Director of Saigon 3 Garment Company, who is also the Chair of the HCM City Textile and Garment Association, said that the new policy would certainly influence the production schedules of enterprises, where 80 percent of the labor force are female workers. read more.
* Garment makers optimistic for 2013:
Despite predictions that the domestic economy would continue to face difficulties, garment companies remain optimistic about growth this year.
The HCM City-based Century Synthetic Fibre Joint Stock Co (CSF), one of the country’s large garment enterprises, recently approved its business plan for 2013, targeting a significant boost in revenue.
“We would strive to make VND1.6 trillion (US$78 million) in revenue this year compared to last year’s figure of VND995 billion,” CSF chairman Dang Trieu Hoa told online Dau Tu newspaper.
“This year will be an important time for our company as we will put the second phase of our fibre plant in Trang Bang Industrial Zone into operation,” he said.
read more. & read more.
22:21:12 local time THAILAND
* Five measures to ease minimum wage hike:
The Labour Ministry will propose five measures to ease the impact of the new 300 baht daily minimum wage on small- and medium-sized businesses to the cabinet meeting next Tuesday, Labour Minister Padermchai Sasomsap said on Friday.
Mr Padermchai said the first proposal was to reduce official fees collected from small- and medium-sized hotels by 50% for three years. The fee currently stands at 80 baht per occupied room.
The second involves organising workshops to develop the skills of workers in educational institutions and companies.
The other proposals include increasing the payment for organising government-sponsored seminars, so that private firms involved would get more revenue, organising events to sell consumer products at cheap prices, and tax reductions for SMEs, down from 3% to 2%. read more.
* No wage-hike fund for employers: Kittiratt:
Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong yesterday ruled out the idea of setting up a fund to compensate employers in 70 provinces for the added cost of raising the daily minimum wage to Bt300.
Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) chairman Payungsak Chartsutipol, however, said the Joint Standing Committee on Trade, Industries and Banking would continue pushing for the fund.
“This is a measure that will really help small and medium-sized enterprises [SMEs],” he said. read more.
* Wage hike forces Thai firms hire Cambodians:
Thai factories have opted to hire Cambodian workers under a memorandum of understanding between Cambodia and Thailand after the Bt300 minimum wage policy came into effect for Thai workers across the country.
A total of 154 Cambodians – 118 men and 36 women – with work permit documents crossed the border in Sa Kaew’s Aranyaprathet district on Monday.
Four companies brought buses and vans to pick up the Cambodian workers, Lt-Colonel Benchapol Rawdsawat, deputy superintendent of Sa Kaew Provincial Immigration Division, said.
Although legal migrant workers are entitled to the Bt300 minimum wage, Thai factory owners can pay them less by making deductions from their salaries for electricity, water and accommodation expenses. Besides, they said Thai workers were too demanding.
He said Cambodian factories had complained that they were facing a labour shortage because locals have chosen to migrate to Thailand as they can enjoy three times higher wages. Cambodian factory owners also face protests from workers demanding a rise in monthly wages from Bt1,500-Bt2,500 to Bt4,500-Bt6,000
* Padermchai rejects wage compo request:
The government has ruled out setting up a 50-billion-baht fund to help businesses cope with the recent minimum wage hike.
Labour Minister Padermchai Sasomsap said Friday the government had rejected a request from the private sector to set up the compensation fund using public money.
Mr Padermchai made the comments yesterday after meeting Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong at Government House.
The daily minimum wage was increased to 300 baht nationwide on Tuesday. The policy has been in place in seven pilot provinces, including Bangkok, since April last year. read more.
* Silk industry spins eco-friendly yarn from cassava-fed worms:
Thailand’s silk industry has successfully developed a new eco-friendly material called Eri silk from cassava-fed silkworms.
Unlike traditional Thai silk derived from silkworms that eat mulberry leaves, Eri silkworms feed on cassava and castor leaves.
“Eri silk is produced by wild silkworms that originated in northeastern India. They were first brought to Thailand about 40 years ago,” said Prof Tipvadee Attathom.
They normally feed on castor leaves, but Thai cassava farmers later fed them cassava leaves, which are abundant in many parts of the country.
Normally, cassava root is used to process animal feed as well as in the ethanol industry, but the leaves are discarded because they worthless. read more.
23:21:12 local time INDONESIA
* Electricity rate hike to weaken laborers` purchasing power:
An increase in the price of electricity beginning this month will reduce the purchasing power of laborers, Said Iqbal, the president of the Indonesian Workers Unions Confederation (KSPI) said.
“The hike will affect them. Although the price hike will not be imposed on 450-900 VA electricity customers, many laborers hire houses with over 1,300 VA,” Iqbal said here on Thursday.
He said that with the electricity price hike, a laborer would bear a burden of about Rp15-25 thousand per month. This means that the increase in workers` wages by about 5 percent in 2013 would not be meaningful. read more.
21:51:12 local time BURMA/MYANMAR
* The United States and EU relaxed sanctions against Myanmar:
The United States and the European Union have relaxed and lifted sanctions on Myanmar in many sectors during 2012 for the rapid political and economic changes of the Myanmar government led by President Thein Sein.
The US and EU imposed sanctions on Myanmar over two decades, responding against human rights violations of Myanmar military regime.
As a result of the 2010 election, President Thein Sein led a civilian government which embarks on democratic reform, and gained the international interests. read more.
21:21:12 local time BANGLA DESH
* ASHULIA TAZREEN GARMENT FACTORY FIRE:
* Frustration grips families of missing workers:
Families of the missing victims of the deadly Tazreen Fashions fire are passing their days in extreme hardship and uncertainty as the government or the BGMEA did not come forward to help them.
In view of this uncertainty, the victims’ families are in utter frustration and planning to go for movement.
Narrating their plight at a press conference at Dhaka Reporters Unity on Friday, the family members expressed disappointment about the processes of giving compensation as well as identification of the victims by the DNA tests.
They demanded Tk 10 lakh as compensation for each missing worker by January 10 and immediate arrest of the factory owner.
Family members of 46 fire victims were present at the press conference. They said no factories at Ashulia would operate if they were not given the compensation by January 10. read more.
* Arrest, punishment of owner demanded:
Politicians and garment labour leaders on Friday demanded immediate arrest and exemplary punishment of Tazreen Fashion Limited’s owner Delwar Hossain on charge of the killing of more than 100 workers of the factory in a fire on November 24.
The demand came from two different rallies held in front of the National Press Club–one by National Garment Workers’ Federation at 11am and the second by Garment Workers’ Trade Union Centre at 4pm.
Speaking at the afternoon rally, GWTUC president Mantu Ghosh said Delwar Hossain could not shrug off the responsibility of the killing as he had failed to ensure the workers’ safety.
He called on the government to ensure trade union rights in garment factories and also safety of the workers in their workplaces. read more. & read more.
* Garment workers’ symbolic hunger strike held:
Demands: immediate arrest & trial of Tazreen Fashion’s owner & other culprits of factory fire, payment of wages-allowances & compensation to 15,000 workers of Hallmark Group, placing and passing in Parliament the amendment to Labour welfare foundation act and Labour law, establishing ‘safe workplace’ in garment sector and implementation of free trade union rights.
Several hundred Garment workers observed symbolic hunger strike today, January 4, 2013 demanding immediate arrest & trial of Tazreen Fashion’s owner & other culprits for responsibility in killing of 112 workers in factory fire, payment of wages-allowances & compensation to 15,000 workers of Hallmark Group, placing and passing in Parliament the amendment to Labour welfare foundation act and Labour law, establishing ‘safe workplace’ in garment sector and implementation of free trade union rights.
Organized by National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF), the symbolic hunger strike was held in front of National Press Club in Dhaka city from 11:00am to 12:00 noon. NGWF President Amirul Haque Amin presided over the program was addressed by General Secretary Ms Safia Parveen, central leader Md Faruk Khan & Ms Sultana Akter. General Secretary of Workers Party of Bangladesh Comrade Anisur Rahman Mallick, Coordinator of SKOP Dr Wazedul Islam Khan, former General Secretary of Jatiya Sramik League & Chairman of BNC Babu Roy Romesh, Babul Akter, Md Rafiq, Jahanara Begum and Mohammad Ali addressed the program expressing solidarity with the hunger strikers. read more.
* CID now probes Tazreen Garments fire:
Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has started probing Tazreen Garments Factory fire at Ashulia on the outskirts of the city that killed 111 people.
CID Chief, Additional Inspector General of Police Mukhlesur Rahman along with investigation officer ASP ATM Mansur and some other officials visited the place of occurrence this morning.
“We have already initiated investigation into the matter after visiting the place of occurrence this morning,” Deputy Inspector General of CID Saiful Alam told BSS today.
He said that they are mainly focusing on some matters in carrying out the probe, especially on how the fire originated.
Before the case was transferred to the CID on Thursday last Ashulia police was looking into the incident.
Officials familiar with the investigation process said after the submission of a report by a high-powered government committee, the authorities now waiting for the fire service investigations into the details of the blaze before taking next course of action.
read more. & read more.
* JS panel advises action against Tazreen owner:
A parliamentary panel on Sunday recommended legal action against the owner of Tazreen Fashions Ltd for the death of at least 112 workers killed in a fire at the factory on November 24.
The standing committee on the labour and employment ministry at its 27th meeting also denounced the report the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association prepared and observed that the report had been prepared to let the owners off the hook in the death of the workers.
The committee also asked the ministry to ensure re-employment of Tazreen Fashions workers who were yet to get any job after the fire.
The committee chair, Israfil Alam, after the meeting said, ‘No action has been taken against the factory owner even so many after the incident. He has been prosecuted under the Code of Criminal Procedure and labour laws but he is roaming about freely. He can be arrested under both the laws. We have recommended action against him.’
Israfil also denounced the inquiry by the owners’ association and the report that is one-sided. ‘The association has prepared the report to save the owner. When the government is investigating the fire, there is no need for another inquiry.’
A number of committee members resented workers not being paid their dues despite assurances from the government and the owners.
The ministry officials told the committee that most of the workers had been paid their dues the remaining workers would get paid soon.
They also claimed that moves for the re-employment of the unemployed Tazreen workers were also on. read more.
MORE AND OTHER NEWS:
* RMG workers block Panthapath for arrears:
The workers of a garment factory took position in Panthapath near Sonargaon hotel since Saturday morning demanding their arrears.
Around 500 workers of Samahar Garments Factory from Tejgaon Industrial Area gathered in front of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) building around 11:00am and laid siege to it to press home their demand, said Omar Faruk, officer in charge of Tejgaon Police Station.
The vehicular movements on Panthapath between Sonargaon hotel and FDC building came to a halt until police forced them to leave the road around 2:00pm.
The factory authorities closed the unit without a notice in December last year, leaving its workers unpaid.
The workers were protesting peacefully and law enforcers were deployed in the area to maintain law and order situation, the OC added. to read.
* Factory closure prompts workers to besiege BGMEA office:
Around 500 workers of a sweater factory on Saturday staged a daylong demonstration in front of the office of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers’ and Exporters’ Association in the city in protest against their termination and closure of the factory without any notice.
The workers of Shomahar Sweaters Ltd in Tejgaon Industrial Area owned by BGMEA director Nahid Hasan gathered in front of the BGMEA building at around 10:30am and chanted slogans to press for their demands.
Traffic movement came to a standstill on West Panthapath for more than an hour as the workers staged a demonstration on the road.
Later, at noon, BGMEA officials sat in a meeting with the demonstrators at the BGMEA conference room to discuss the issue. The workers tabled a four-point set of demands at the meeting. The demands include payment of dues, service benefits and termination benefits to all workers of the factory.
As the BGMEA side did not agree to meet the demands, the meeting ended inconclusive in the evening.
The workers then issued an ultimatum to launch a tougher movement, if their demands were not met within the next 48 hours. read more. & read more.
* RMG workers protest factory closure in city:
Workers of a garment factory staged demonstration in front of the BGMEA Bhaban in the city on Saturday protesting the closure of their factory.
Witnesses said several hundred workers of Somahar Sweeter Factory situated in Tejgaon Industrial area gathered in front of the BGMEA Bhaban at about 10 am.
They staged demonstration for three hours also demanding payment of their arrears.
Later, the agitated RMG workers withdrew their agitation programme at about 1 pm following assurance from the leaders of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) to look into the matter.
The workers found their factory closed when they went to it on Saturday morning. First, they demonstrated in front of the factory and then gathered in front of the BGMEA Bhaban. to read. & read more.
* 35-40 hurt in CEPZ fire panic:
At least 35 people were injured when panic-stricken employees of a garment factory in Chittagong Export Processing Zone ran for their lives fearing fire at the factory Saturday morning.
Tabu Taslim, director of Bepza Hospital, said sparks from a tube light triggered panic among the workers of Pacific Jeans 2000 Limited around 7:30am.
At least 35 people were injured when the workers tried to escape to safety fearing fire at the factory, reports our Chittagong correspondent quoting the hospital director.
Among the injured, seven workers were sent to Chittagong Medical College Hospital while the rest received first aid at the Bepza Hospital.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* RMG workers go berserk over death rumour in Gazipur:
Garment workers flew into a rage in Telirchala area under Kaliakoir upazila on Saturday following a rumour of the death of a co-worker in a road crash.
The rowdy workers blocked Dhaka-Tangail Highway for two hours and vandalised a number of vehicles and torched a bus, causing immense suffering to the commuters.
Witnesses said Saiful Islam, a worker of ATS Apparels Limited, received severe injuries as a speedy bus hit him near his workplace at about 8:30am while he was crossing the road.
He was taken to a local hospital.
* Local investment in primary textile sector waning:
Electricity and gas supply shortage, high interest rate along with lack of funding, and political unrest have contributed to the decline in local investment in the country’s primary textile sector during the last three years, industry people said.
The textile millers also attributed the lack of policy support and poor infrastructural facilities to the declining trend in investment in this sector.
The primary textile sector, which includes spinning, weaving, printing, dyeing and finishing, plays a vital role as backward linkage industry of woven and knitwear garments by supplying fabrics and yarns. read more.
* Call to relocate tanneries from Hazaribagh:
Green activists on Saturday demanded relocation of tanneries from the city’s Hazaribagh area to Savar in a bid to save human health and environment from the adverse impact of its toxic wastes.
* Bell rings for duty free access to US:
Bangladesh’s GSP facility might be scrapped if govt fails to show improved labour standards
After several years of warning to act on labour standards that fell on deaf ears, the US has finally initiated actions that may take away Bangladeshi products’ duty-free access to the US.
The United States Trade Representative on December 21, 2012 sent a letter to Commerce Minister GM Quader stating that, “We are beginning to consider options that would affect Bangladesh’s continued eligibility for benefits under the GSP”.
* Fuel oil price hike to badly hit expected RMG export earning:
Apparel sector, experts worried
The recent hike in price of fuel oil by the government will put a damper on the expected growth of export earnings from the RMG (ready-made garment) sector, leaders of the sector and experts said.
They said the sector has for some time been facing multifarious problems, such as high interest rates, inadequate gas and power supplies which hampered smooth industrial operation. They also said the recent price hike of fuel oil would only add to the financial burden of the entrepreneurs thus worsening the situation.
They observed that prices of essential commodities would increase and it might ignite labour unrest over demand for higher wages. read more.
20:51:12 local time INDIA
* Unpaid garment workers stageprotest outside Mirji’s office:
Members of the Bangalore District Garments Workers Union protested outside Police Commissioner B.G. Jyothi Prakash Mirji’s office here on Saturday against the owners of three companies which had not paid the hands.
Union secretary T. Leelavathi told The Hindu the workers had rendered their services to Konega International Pvt. Ltd. Unit I and Unit II, besides and Garden View Impex Pvt. Ltd. located in the Byre Gowda Industrial Layout in Peenya II Stage in 2009. However, the firms had not paid the salary and bonus benefits for August, September and October for the year. A case was registered at the Rajagopalanagar police station and the owners of these firms summoned by the 7th Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) court. read more.
* Apparel exports can treble on central incentive: AEPC:
The industry is on the revival path — from the crisis-ridden past three years — and 2013 will augur well for textile exports, particularly apparel and knitwear garments, going by increased orders in the last two months, A Shaktivel, Chairman, Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) said last night at Tirupur.
The heads of export bodies will meet the Textile Ministry on January 7 in Delhi and discuss the issue of import of raw materials such as synthetic and polyester fabrics and yarn, which are not available in India, Shaktivel said. read more. & read more.
* Raw cotton edges out iron ore in export mix to China:
The ban on iron ore export, coupled with the slump in infrastructure development in China, has pushed raw cotton as the major export commodity from India to the Dragon.
“India is supporting immensely the development of the garments industry in China,” said Amitendu Palit, Head (Partnership and Programme) and Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of South Asian Studies, Singapore.
In 2005-06, out of the total exports from India to China, 51.65 per cent was ore and its concentrates. This share dropped by half to 25.5 per cent in 2011-12.
On the other hand, the share of raw cotton exports to China during the same period increased three-fold to nearly 26 per cent. In the last five years, raw cotton has gradually replaced ore and its constituents as the largest export commodity to China.
* NITRA bags two projects from Ministry of Textiles:
In order to facilitate the Indian textiles & apparel industry so that it can explore its potential to a larger extent, the Ministry of Textiles, Govt. of India has awarded NITRA two projects for the year 2011-12. The first project is on Textile Technology and the second one is on Engineering.
The project titles are – Designing A Compressed Air Monitoring System to Optimize Energy Consumption in A Textile Mill for the first project and Exploring The Possibility of Replacing Texturized Nylon Filament Yarn With Eco-Friendly High Twist Cellulose Yarns by Doing Slack Mercerization for the second.
Scientists at NITRA have already started working in the above projects. In this particular issue of NITRA e-Bulletin, we apprise you about the first project i.e. project on designing a compressed air monitoring system to optimize energy consumption in a textile mill. read more.
20:51:12 local time SRI LANKA
* Govt grapples with defaulting foreign investors:
In an effort to deal with the increasing number of foreign investors who are defaulting on loans from state banks, the Sri Lankan government has pledged an investigation – an international one.
According to Lokuge, ten garment manufacturing factories have had to close in Biyagama, Nittambuwa and Katunayake investment zones resulting in over Rs. 5 billion in losses to state banks.
The Sri Lankan Labour minister Gamini Lokuge will meet with Mahinda Rajapaksa next week to discuss what action needs to be taken. to read.
20:21:12 local time PAKISTAN
* Powerlooms workers protest against price hike, low wages:
The businessmen are exploiting poor labours while the Labour Department, Social Security and District Administration have failed to resolve the problem of labour community.
The MQM divisional and district leaders said this while addressing a protest rally here the other day.
The power looms workers took out a rally against price-hikes in essential commodities and aggravating unemployment among workers and youth owing to loadshedding and prevalent anti-labour legislation, such as, the ‘Industrial Relations Ordinance’ here the other day. The rally was attended by thousands of people including women and children. read more.
* Textile exports: Smart planning helps Kay & Emms double sales:
While much of the rest of the textile industry continue to whine and complain about the government taking away its privileges, Kay & Emms, a medium-sized garment manufacturer in Faisalabad, has managed to more than double its sales over the past three years, largely as a result of smarter business planning.
“Before executing any plans to expand our business, we prefer to do extensive market analysis,” said Khurram Tariq, CEO of Kay & Emms, in an interview with The Express Tribune. “About 80% of our sales are in the United State, so market analysis can be expensive, but we still hire international consultants because it saves us from losses and reduces the risk of introducing a new product or brand.”
This bias towards analytics and planning appears to come from Tariq’s own educational background. He is a medical doctor by training, and the scientific education he has received appears to be translating into his business plans.
* Gas supply to textile sector: textile, petroleum ministries fail to devise mechanism:
The Ministry of Textile Industry and Petroleum and Natural Resources have failed in devising a mechanism for provision of gas to textile industry, which has been suspended for the last one month.
Well-placed sources told Business Recorder that a meeting was held in the Ministry of Textile Industry under the chairmanship of Makhdoom Shahabuddin, federal Minister for Textile, here on Friday in which possibilities of gas provision were discussed.
The meeting was attended by Secretary Petroleum Dr Waqar Masood, Chairman National Assembly”s Standing Committee on Textile Akram Ansari and Secretary Textile Shahid Rasheed. Textile Ministry demanded that 30 MMCF gas should be provide to sizing and processing textile units in Faisalabad, which have no other alternative to operate. There are about 250 sizing and processing units, which needed 30 MMCF gas for operation. This quantity of gas is required for giving direct heat to these units and it is indispensable. read more.
* PTEA calls for restoration of power, gas supply to industry:
Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) strongly protested at the injudicious outages of electricity and gas supply and called for an immediate restoration as textile industry is the only hope for the revival of country’s economy which is currently jolted by prolonged energy outages.
Energy supply disruption causing loss of one billion rupee per day rendering 70 percent daily wagers jobless, said PTEA Chairman Asghar Ali here on Saturday.
Expressing serious concern over unprecedented gas and power outages, Asghar Ali said that industry was given gas for five and half day in last 36 days despite the assurance given by the federal advisor Dr Asim Hussain for 25 percent gas supply to the industry. Textile industry was denied gas for 77 days in 2008-09, followed by 100 days in 2009-10 and 157 days in 2010-11, he added. read more.
* Gas supply to textile mills in Punjab: APTMA criticises non-implementation of Prime Minister’s orders:
All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) leadership has said gas supply to the textile industry in Punjab has been completely disconnected since 20th December 2012.
Talking the media, the central Chairman Ahsan Bashir and Chairman APTMA Punjab Shahzad Ali Khan said there is zero supply of gas to the textile mills on the SNGPL network and the industry got gas merely for three days in between 1st to 20th December 2012 after which there a complete shutdown of gas supply to textile mills in Punjab.
According to the APTMA leadership, the textile industry in Punjab has witnessed unhistorical blackout of electricity supply from 22nd December to 1st of January 2013. Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and his key Cabinet members took notice of the situation and directed for 16 hours day uninterrupted power supply to textile mills in Punjab. read more.
* Textile industry, CNG sector race to get gas share:
Govt fails to honour its word on regular gas supply
There is total closure of natural gas for the Punjab textile industry since December 20, 2012 while during the first 20 days of December the textile industry was supplied gas for only three days.
All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Punjab Chairman Shahzad Ali Khan said Dr Asim adviser to Prime Minister for Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources (MP&NR) had made a commitment and announced to restore gas of the industry but the gas supply could not be restored for the whole industry.
He said there was no comparison between the benefits to country with gas supply to industry and the Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) stations.
The textile industry’s demand is 500 MMCFT out of total 4000 MMCFT gas production measuring to around 12.5 percent share while the CNG sector use equal share of gas at 12.5 percent. read more.
* Frustration grows at power cuts to Punjab’s industry:
The Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) has registered a strong protest against what it calls “the injudicious shutdown of electricity and gas supply” and has called for their immediate restoration. It has said that the textile industry is the only hope for the revival of the country’s economy, which has been severely affected by the prolonged energy outages.
PTEA Chairman Asghar Ali said on Saturday that the energy supply disruption is causing a loss of Rs1 billion per day, in addition to having made 70% of daily wagers redundant. Expressing dismay and resentment over the unprecedented gas and power outages, Ali claimed that the industry was given gas for only five and half days in the last 36 days, despite assurances given by federal adviser Dr Asim Hussain for 25% gas supply to industry.
read more. & read more in Millers, CNG station owners engage in blame game.
* Punjab textile industry without gas since Dec 20:
The Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited has supplied gas to industry only for three days during last December while gas supply in current month has totally been disconnected to textile sector.
The government is not fulfilling its commitment of 16-hour power supply to the industry for running two shifts, as just 12-hour electricity supply is being given to mills.
This was stated by the central chairman of the APTMA Ahsan Bashir and Chairman APTMA Punjab Shahzad Ali Khan while talking to journalists on Saturday.
“There is zero supply of gas to the textile mills on the SNGPL network and the industry got gas merely for three days in between 1st December to 20th December 2012 after which there is a complete shutdown of gas supply to textile mills in Punjab. read more.
* Gas supply to Karachi industries suspended:
According to SSGC, gas supply to industries in Sindh including Karachi has been suspended for two days due to low gas pressure and annual maintenance of gas field. Inspection teams would strictly monitor agreed loadshedding schedule.
The gas supply will be restored at 7am on Monday. Meanwhile SSGC has quashed the rumours of five days CNG closure in Sindh terming it baseless Saturday.Talking to a private TV channel, SSGC officials said that no decision has been taken on closing the pumps for five days a week in the province neither they will be closed on Saturday and Sunday in the current week. to read.
* Whither to?: What is the textile sector looking forward to in the coming year?:
Barring a few savvy, innovative players, the textile sector in Pakistan plans on spending 2013 in much the same way it has spent the past few decades: complaining about how the government does not grant them enough privileges and how their businesses are dying. The only upside for the industry is something they did nothing to create: the declining value of the rupee is likely to boost their earnings in 2013.
Speak to any textile manufacturer in Faisalabad, the hub of the industry in Pakistan, and one gets virtually the same talking points every time: the government does not provide us with gas to run our [grossly inefficient] captive power plants, it has taken away our tax breaks and is no longer paying the interest on our loans, etc. What seems strange is that all of these goodies were taken away from the industry about four years ago, and yet, rather than adapting to their absence, the textile industry insists that they be given back. read more.
THE KARACHI FIRE:
* European firm to pay compensation to heirs of Baldia fire victims:
The tragic factory fire had killed around 300 workers and injured several others.
A German buyer of the textile products has agreed to pay compensation to the victims of the Ali Enterprises fire tragedy in Baldia as well as to work for structural changes to improve the system of labour protection in Pakistan.
“Being the major buyer of the Ali Enterprises’ produce, the German brand ‘KiK Textilien’ has been persuaded by Pakistani trade union activists and international labour solidarity organisations including Clean Clothes Campaign to pay compensation to the affected families.”
This was stated by Executive Director of Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) Karamat Ali and other trade union leaders and labour rights activists at a press conference at Karachi Press Club on Saturday. Those who were also present on the occasion included Nasir Mansoor of National Trade union Federation; Habibuddin Junaidi, Noor Mohammad and Rehana Yasmeen.
Karamat said Pakistan’s labour rights groups, including PILER had been working with international labour rights groups after the tragic factory fire in Karachi on September 11, 2012 that killed around 300 workers and injured several others.
* ‘German firm to pay $1m for Baldia factory fire victims’:
A major European buyer of textile products of the ill-fated Ali Enterprises, a factory in Baldia Town that was burnt down in an inferno a few months ago, has agreed to pay up to a total of $1 million as a compensation to the victims of the worst industrial disaster in the country, said labour leaders on Saturday.
Speaking at a press conference organised by the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler) at the Karachi Press Club, they said various labour organisations working with the victims would now approach the Sindh High Court to urge it to form a commission, comprising representatives of the workers and the government, to identify the victims and their legal heirs who could be paid compensation.
Piler chief Karamat Ali said Pakistani workers organisations working in association with their European counterparts identified the German brand/buyer, KiK Textilien, a major buyer of the Ali Enterprises’ products, and after persuasion by the workers’ bodies had agreed to pay the amount to the victims and the families affected by the inferno which left about 300 workers burnt to death and several others injured.
* Seven more bodies identified through DNA tests:
Seven more bodies of the Baldia factory fire, which were lying in Edhi’s cold storage, have been identified through DNA tests.
According to Edhi official Anwar Kazi, five of the seven indentified bodies were taken by the families while the remaining two are still with Edhi.
Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler) executive director Karamat Ali confirmed the identification of these bodies. “There are several more that need to be identified since their families are suffering,” he said.
The fourth month of the Baldia factory fire incident culminates next Friday, and 21 bodies have yet to be identified. At a news conference on Saturday, Ali announced that a German-based textile company, KiK Textilien, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Piler, under which the company will pay compensation to the victims of Ali Enterprises, the factory in which over 260 workers were burnt to death. read more.
* Suspects to be indicted on 19th in factory blaze case:
A sessions court on Saturday set Jan 19 as the date for framing charges against owners and officials of a garment factory in Baldia Town, where a devastating fire had claimed the lives of over 250 workers.
The owner of the ill-fated industrial unit, Abdul Aziz Bhaila, who is on bail, and his sons Arshad Bhaila and Shahid Bhaila, general manager Mansoor and three gatekeepers have been charge-sheeted in the case.
Additional District and Sessions Judge (west) Abdullah Channa supplied copies to the suspects under Section 265-C (supply of statements and docu-ments to accused) of the criminal procedure code and adjourned the hea-ring till Jan 19 for indictment.
Meanwhile, the same court also extended the interim pre-arrest bail of the managing director of the SITE limited, Abdul Rasheed Solangi, director of the labour department Zahid Gulzar Shaikh, additional controller civil defence Ghulam Akbar and chief inspector, electrical Amjad Ali till the next hearing. read more.