in the news on-line, 8 February 2013

21:22:15 local time map of china CHINA

* China’s Labor Contract Law: New Protections for Workers:

In China, “dispatch agencies,” or third-party labor suppliers who recruit, hire, and employ laborers on behalf of other companies, are common.

These agencies are technically the direct employer of dispatched employees, even if their tasks are performed for another company. Although dispatched workers are meant to be temporary, they sometimes end up as long-term employees, and their status makes them particularly vulnerable to lower pay for work equal to that of direct hires.

On July 1, 2013, amendments to China’s labor contract law will come into effect to better protect this category of workers. These amendments, which will close loopholes in the 2008 law, will mean more than “business as usual” for dispatch agencies and companies operating in China.  read more.

* China sees upsurge in worker protests prior to Lunar New Year:

There was a significant increase in the number of worker protests in China during the run-up to the Lunar New Year, with factory workers seeking pay increases and untold numbers of labourers demanding wage arrears.

Demands for wage arrears always spike in the weeks before the holiday as migrant workers, especially in construction, clamour for back pay. This year, with the rapid development of social media in China, the extent of the problem became very apparent with one online activist sometimes recording up to 100 protests a day. However, very few of these reports contained sufficient detail to be included on CLB’s strike map.

Of the 71 strikes and protests that we did include during the month of January, 38 were in the service sector and 26 were in manufacturing. Of the service sector strikes, 15 involved taxi and bus drivers protesting administrative charges and rampant unlicensed cars. There was also an upsurge in teachers’ strikes last month as middle school teachers protested pay reform measures introduced by local governments. read more.

* 361 closes 96 stores in fourth quarter:

61 Degrees International Ltd, the high-profile Chinese sportswear company, closed 96 retail branches during the fourth quarter of last year, as conditions in the retail sector toughened.

In a trading update, the Hong Kong-listed, Fujian-based company said it also opened around 12 new stores during the period ended Dec 31 and that same store sales grew by 4.3 percent.

Last month, 361 warned that its profits for 2012 are likely to decrease by around 40 percent compared to 2011, as high inventory levels and retail discounting pressures had weighed on performance leading to a drop in sales, pressure on gross profit margins and higher selling expenses. read more.

20:22:15 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Safety net urged for workers whose bosses abscond:

The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs recently asked the People’s Committees of provinces and cities to help workers who became unemployed after their companies’ bosses ran away to evade responsibilities.

In a letter, the ministry requested People’s Committees order local State agencies to review the list of enterprises in the area with owners who had run away and pay employees compensation for the salaries and social insurance they were owed.
A report on the situation including solutions to the problem must be submitted to the ministry before April 1.

State agencies were also asked to help the unemployed workers find new jobs and get loans from the National Labour Fund under the National Labour Target Programme, and job placement centres were asked to offer consultations to the affected workers. read more.

* Bigger fines tipped for labour breaches:

Labour violations including delays in paying employees’ salaries could attract fines of VND20-50 million (US$960-2,400) under a new draft decree introduced by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) this week.

The proposed fine is much higher than the current fines of VND2-10 million ($96-480) stipulated by Decree 47 issued three years ago.
The draft decree, currently open for public discussion, also proposes the VND20-50 million fine for those paying lower than minimum wages fixed by the Government.
read more.

* Workers expected to take extended break:

The city is forecast to be in short of up to 15 per cent of labour force after the nine-day Tet holiday.

The estimated figure is about 10 per cent lower than the same period previous years.
Tran Anh Tuan, deputy director of the Centre of Forecasting Manpower Needs and Labour Market Information (FALMI), said the labour shortage would mainly be predicted at textile and garment, processing and services companies. read more.

* Fibre makers bring synergy to textile and garment sector:

Vietnam’s growing textile and garment sector is known as a bustling, labour-intensive producer of profitable exports – but one that still needs to heavily rely on  imported raw materials.

Many said that the sector was appealing to global investors involved in the production of fibres, which could enable Vietnam to have a larger stake in the industry’s global value chain.
Austria’s Lenzing Group chairman Peter Untersperger recently met with state-run Vinatex leaders to discuss a top-grade synthetic fibre production project in Vietnam.

“If two sides reach an agreement, later this year our group will team up with Vinatex to develop an integrated manufacturing system to produce wood powder and viscose fibre to feed Vietnam’s textile and garment industry,” a Lenzing Group source said. read more in BUSINESS IN BRIEF 8/2 (8th item).

* OrthoLite steps in with new factory:

The shoe industry fixture OrthoLite® – a leading supplier of foam insoles for famous footwear brands like Nike, Adidas, Reebok, Timberland and Clarks, last week started construction on its first factory in Vietnam.

The facility is located in southern Binh Duong province’s Thuan An town, about a 45-minute drive from Ho Chi Minh City. The new facility, measuring 13,000 square meters in size, will employ 300 workers and produce roughly three million pairs of insoles per month. As with OrthoLite’s other factories, the company said its new Vietnam factory would be environmentally friendly.
read more in BUSINESS IN BRIEF 8/2 (9th item).

* Vietnam’s garment & textile exports soar in Jan 2013:

The exports of apparels and textiles from Vietnam showed a sharp increase of 28.4 percent year-on-year and rose to US$ 1.05 billion in January 2013, data released by the Ministry of Industry and Trade showed.
During the month, production of fabrics from natural fibres like cotton increased marginally by 2.2 percent year-on-year to 22.1 million sq m, while output of woven fabrics from man-made or synthetic fibres increased by 12.9 percent year-on-year to 81.8 million sq m.
Similarly, apparel production jumped 21.6 percent year-on-year to 184.8 million units in January 2013.  read more.

20:22:15 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Penalties for workplace harassment not severe enough: experts:

The mental distress suffered by victims of physical abuse and sexual harassment in the workplace is long-lasting and often permanent, and even in cases were injuries are evident, the penalties paid by violators are relatively small, experts said yesterday at a seminar at the National Human Rights Commission.

Bruises and small wounds subject attackers to only a one-month prison term and/or a fine of Bt1,000, as such assaults are considered non-felonies as long as the injuries are considered “non-serious”, said Janthima Sawangkul, a public prosecutor.

Many serious cases have taken place at government offices. Abusive superiors should be subject to disciplinary actions, not only small fines, Janthima said, adding that the justice system provides insufficient protection and compensation to victims suffering from mental distress. read more.

* Economists not in favour of rate cut:

A sizeable number of economists have voiced their disagreement at a proposed cut in the policy interest rate to tame foreign-capital inflows, saying lower rates could lead to negative repercussions at a time when Thailand’s domestic consumption has expanded sharply.
Sukij Kongpiyacharn, president of the Thai Garment Manufacturers Association, said many enterprises were affected by the appreciation as few had expected the rapid rise and bought forward contracts. He asked for a fund to help small and medium-sized enterprises now and a programme to educate exporters on the foreign-exchange markets. read more.

20:22:15 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Union files assault court complaint:

The Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU) filed legal complaints yesterday, following allegations on Wednesday that police had assaulted seven garment workers, including a pregnant woman.

“I will file the complaint to Interior  Minister Sar Kheng and the Kandal provincial court to demand justice and compensation for workers injured by the police,” Choem Khieng, a legal officer with C.CAWDU, said before lodging the documents.

Sa’ang district police chief Chea Socheat yesterday again denied officers had been violent during a strike outside the Garment factory in Sa’ang district, but Khieng said witnesses were willing to testify otherwise.  read more.

21:22:15 local time map of malaysia MALAYSIA

* 635 employers in Johor allowed to defer implementation of minimum wage – Asojan:

Six hundred thirty-five employers in Johor have been given the green light to defer the implementation of the minimum wage scheme for their employees.

Chairman of State Committee for Unity, Human Resources, Science, Technology and Innovation M. Asojan said the employers comprised members of the Malaysian Hotel Association and Malaysian Security Guard Services Association. read more.
MY sinchew

* Awkward U-turn on minimum wage:

Human Resource Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam, in responding to calls by certain quarters for the government to introduce separate wage systems for locals and foreign workers, pointed out that Malaysia’s labour laws must adhere to international labour standards.

These would mean that our policies do not allow for discrimination of workers based on race, religion and citizenship. A two-tier wage system – with different schemes for locals and foreigners – would be counter-productive as it would induce employers to evade hiring Malaysians for cheaper foreign workers. read more.

21:22:15 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Thousands of workers hold rally in Jakarta:

Thousands of workers from the Indonesian Metal Workers Federation (FSPMI) of the greater Jakarta area (Jabodetabek) held a rally, demanding social security benefits and refusing low wages.

“The rally also marks the organization`s 14th anniversary celebration,” said the organization`s President Said Iqbal.
Similar rallies were also organized simultaneously in other parts of Indonesia such as in Bandung (West Java), Surabaya (East Java), Batam (Riau Islands), Medan (North Sumatra), and Aceh.

Said estimated that the rallies were participated in by approximately 35.000 workers from greater Jakarta area.
The workers` union also urged the government to issue a draft government regulation (RPP) and Presidential regulation (Perpres) on health insurance and beneficiary contribution recipients. read more.
bisnis indonesia

* Government to Exempt Hundreds of Companies from Minimum Wage Rise:

Hundreds of companies will be exempt from paying their employees the new minimum wage to prevent bankruptcy, the manpower and transmigration minister said on Thursday.

“There are 941 companies requesting the delay of the minimum wage increase, we will grant about 80 percent of them, but please note that the delay was needed as a logical alternative rather than closing down those companies,” said Muhaimin Iskandar, the manpower and transmigration minister.

The announcement was made just a day after hundreds of workers demonstrated in Jakarta to demand the government enforce the minimum wage increase which was announced at the end of last year.  read more.

* Workers Decry Social Security Contributions:

Several thousand workers from across Greater Jakarta gathered at various locations in the middle of the city on Wednesday demanding the government to reduce their monthly social security contribution.

The president of the Federation of Indonesian Metal Workers Unions (FSPMI), Said Iqbal, said that the workers were adamant that employers, and not them, should pay monthly social security premiums.

“We also ask that the workers who earn less than the minimum wage be covered by the social security scheme and exempted from paying premiums,” he said.

Under the 2004 National Social Security System (SJSN) Law, workers are required to pay 2 percent of their monthly salary into the social security fund, with their employers contributing 3 percent of the same base salary. read more.

* Indonesian unions demonstrate their strength in unity:

One day after a massive rally in Jakarta, the leaders of 11 Indonesian unions affiliated to IndustriALL Global Union met and decided to create the IndustriALL Indonesia Council.

Gathered on 7 February 2013, the leaders discussed common challenges, the IndustriALL Action Plan and took the decision to create the IndustriALL Indonesia Council as a platform for coordinating struggles and implementing the IndustriALL plan of activities.

The meeting was result of the leadership forum held in November 2012 ( ) where the affiliates agreed on the points of solidarity and united action, as follows:

  1. Campaigning for changes to social security
  2. Improving labour legislation and stopping union busting and the criminalization of labour leaders
  3. Reducing the prevalence of precarious work
  4. Fighting for a national minimum wage
  5. On organizing and collective bargaining

read more.

* Editorial: Don’t Break Virtuous Cycle of Investment:

As an investment destination, Indonesia is red hot. Foreign investors are pouring billions of dollars into the country, both in the real sector as well as in its capital markets. Earlier this week, the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) said that it was optimistic that foreign direct investments could exceed Rp 80 trillion ($8.3 billion) in the first quarter of the year.

On Thursday, the Jakarta Composite Index (JCI) broke through the 4,500 level for the first time in its history on the back of strong earnings announced by local listed companies. The Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) is now one of the best-performing markets in the region, if not the world.
Given the rosy outlook for both the stock market as well as the economy, this is a perfect opportunity for the government to push ahead on policies that will further strengthen private businesses. In this regard, the government’s decision to grant hundreds of companies a delay in paying their employees the new minimum wage to prevent bankruptcy is welcomed. read more.

19:22:15 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

* Shoe factory catches fire in Savar- 10 workers injured :

A fire erupted at a shoe factory at East Narosinghapur in Ashulia upazila on Thursday.

Fire service sources said the fire originated from a generator of Akij Footware Ltd in the area around 1:15 pm and soon spread through different sections of the factory.
On information, three units of fire fighters from Dhaka EPZ rushed to the spot and doused the flame after almost an hour of frantic efforts.
The loss from the fire could not be known immediately.
to read.  & read more. & read more.
UNB  BANGLA NEWS24  BD new age

* 20 injured as workers clash with staff at Ashulia:

At least 20 people were injured as the workers clashed with the staff of a sweater factory at Jirabo in Ashulia near the capital on Thursday.

The workers also vandalised the factory and staged demonstration protesting at paying them less.
Sources said the workers of Mahbub Apparels at Jirabo of Ashulia alleged that the management did not pay them properly while disbursing wages for the month of January.

The workers engaged in clashes after a hot altercation with the factory officials over the payment. The workers vandalised some of factory furniture and injured four factory officials, witnesses said.
The injured officials were admitted to different clinics and hospitals at Ashulia while the others received primary treatment.  read more.
BD new age

* 300 RMG workers fall sick from food poisoning:

At least 300 workers of a garment factory fell sick after eating foods provided by the factory authorities in the Ashulia industrial belt on Thursday.

Police said about three thousand workers were working at Starling Creation Limited.
The factory authorities distributed foods including egg, banana and bread among them at about 8:0pm.
After eating the foods a good number of workers lost consciousness.
About 300 workers were admitted to Woman and Children Health Complex, Nightingale Medical College Hospital and other hospitals.
read more. & read more. & read more.
daily star bd  INDEPENDENT  UNB

* Cabinet body formed- Safety in RMGs planned:

The government has formed a high-powered committee comprising 11 cabinet ministers including two state ministers to oversee the garment sector.

The cabinet division on Thursday issued a ‘gazette notification’ in this regard evolving 10-points terms of reference (ToR).
The cabinet committee on garment industry includes Minister for Labour, Textile and Jute, Local Government and Rural Development (LGRD) and Cooperatives, Home Affairs, Industries, Commerce, Foreign Affairs, Shipping, Disaster Management and Relief, state minister for Labour and Employment and Housing and Public Works. Labour Minister leads the committee.
Secretaries of the ministries will assist the cabinet committee from time
to time to resolve different problems facing the country’s largest export sector, according to the ‘gazette notification.’  read more.

* Risks from concentrated RMG factories:

During the last couple of years, there had been relentless unrest in garments and knitting factories in the country.

It caused loss of many lives and huge property. However, one should note that the garments and knitting factories are contributing immensely to the economy of Bangladesh generating employment, fetching the largest chunk of foreign currencies, aiding development of new entrepreneurship and so on.

No doubt, low wages for workers are one of the major factors behind resentment among hundreds of thousands of them as they live in areas where the cost of living is now high.
The concentration of labour-intensive factories at a location is another significant cause of unrest that the new entrepreneurs ignored at the time of selecting their factory sites. There are a few hubs of garments and knitting factories in Dhaka city and suburban areas like Fatulla, Ashulia and Savar as well as in Chittagong city.
read more.
FE bd

* “Unorganized Workers Welfare and Social Safety (Informal Sector) Bill, 2013” placed in JS:

A bill concerning the unorganized workers working in different informal sectors was placed in the Jatiya Sangsad today.

Treasury bench member Md. Israfil Alam (Naogaon-6) placed the “Unorganized Workers Welfare and Social Safety (Informal Sector) Bill, 2013” in the House aimed at ensuring welfare and social safety of the unorganized workers in informal sectors.
The bill proposed to ensure welfare and social dignity of the unorganized workers to ensure economic progress by infusing dynamism in their work places.
read more. & read more.
BSS  BD new age

* Hall-Mark Jasmine gets bail in all cases:

A Dhaka court on Thursday granted ad interim bail to Hall-Mark Group Chairman Jasmine Islam under the terms and conditions that she will repay Tk 2,600 crore swindled out money to Sonali bank.

Judge Md Zahirul Haque of the Senior Special Judge’s Court granted the bail to Jasmine in 11 cases after her lawyer filed a petition in last week.
The date for the repayment however was not fixed.
read more. & read more. & read more.
daily star bd  UNB  BANGLA NEWS24

* Russian Consul to help raise RMG export to his country:

Russian Consul General in Chittagong Oleg P Boyco today visited the ongoing apparel and fashion exposition in the city.

During his visit, he was eager to learn about global standard accessories and machineries used in the readymade garment factories in Chittagong and said he would extend all-out cooperation for export of BD RMG to Russian market in greater volume.

He later enjoyed a fashion show presented by models of Bangladesh at the exposition. BGMEA first vice president Nasir Uddin Chowdhury, CAFAXPO chief coordinator Nafud Nabi, director Abdul Wahab, Syed Nazrul Islam and Sabbir Mostafa were present at that time. to read.
FE bd

* BD appears in USTR hearing on GSP facility March 28:

Millions of workers will be jobless if the facility is withdrawn : MoC

Bangladesh will appear in the United States Trade Representative (USTR) hearing next month with a specific action plan related to the readymade garments (RMG) sector.

“We will prepare an action plan and appear in the hearing of the USTR on March 28,” Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed told the FE after Social Compliance Forum (SCF) meeting on RMG sector with the stakeholders at the conference room of the ministry on Thursday.

He said there will be specific timelines in the action plan for implementing different compliance issues including labour rights in the RMG. read more.
FE bd

* Teenaged RMG worker gangraped in Kamrangirchar:

A teenaged readymade garment worker is fighting for her life was admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) after she had allegedly been gangraped by a group of miscreants at Kamrangirchar area, in the city on Sunday.

The 15-year-old victim resided in Dr Tuhin Mia’s residence of the Kamrangirchar area is a worker of Hamim Group.
Mohammad Mizanur Rahman, uncle of the victim said on the hospital premises, “Local resident Shah Alam used to hurl abuse to my nephew and he, along with his five associates, forcefully took her in an under construction building at Kholamora area and gangraped her one after another, when she was coming home after completing her duty at around 9.00pm on Sunday.”  read more.

18:52:15 local time map of india INDIA

* 70% women in garment units have health problems: report:

20130208 THEHINDU
The report by the Legislature Committee on Women and Child Welfare has, among others, recommended medical camps at the workplace once in six months. File photo: M. Balaji

‘Poor working conditions’ in the units blamed

Over the years the garment industry in and around Bangalore might have emerged as a major sector to provide employment to the unskilled and semi-skilled women workers. But this has come at serious health costs for the women, says a report by the Legislature Committee on Women and Child Welfare.

The committee, headed by Dharwad Rural MLA Seema Masuti, has said that nearly 70 per cent of the workers in the garment industries are suffering from various illnesses, including malnutrition/anaemic, dust allergy and breathing-related ailments.

Speaking to The Hindu, Ms. Masuti said that poor working conditions in the garment manufacturing units were to be blamed for the health condition of the workforce comprising mainly of women in the age group of 20-40. The team compiled the report after making surprise visits to some factories.  read more.

* AP Labour Dept launches drive against child labour:

The Department of Labour Welfare, Government of Andhra Pradesh is conducting a drive against child-labour.

As part of the drive, inspections were being conducting by specially-formed teams to rescue and rehabilitate child-beggars across the State from January 26.
“This will go on up to February 15, and rehabilitation measures are currently on,” B. Ramanjaneyulu, Commissioner for Labour, Andhra Pradesh, told newspersons here on Wednesday.

From February 16 to March 31, another drive would focus on rescuing child-labourers working in business establishments including hotels, dhabas, brick-making units and mines, he said.
“According to estimates, there are about 18,000 child-labourers working in different sectors. All those who found employing them will be prosecuted,’’ the Commissioner said.  read more.

* Garment industry pins hopes on budget:

The garment industry in Tirupur cluster is looking with hope on UPA II’s last union budget, before the 2014 general elections, as they feel that the Union Government would listen to some of their long pending demands pertaining to duty benefits and fiscal incentives.

Pleas for duty exemptions to import fabric and machinery from any country of choice and abolishment of the excise duty imposed on readymade apparels and made-up articles of textiles in 2011-12 budget, have been some of the key demands raised.
read more.

* Workers across faiths toil at handloom weaving industry:

Handloom weaving is popular in India and it has always been a major source of income, especially for women.

In Haldwani district of Uttarakhand state, a small handloom unit helps women, mostly college students from different communities, earn some money. The growth and success of the unit is attributed to amity between the women working here.

The Handloom Unit has been growing and expanding since its inception in 1973. Everyone works here in perfect harmony and religion has never come in the way of good relations between the workers. Indians have a unique ability to keep their individualities intact and yet integrate into the society effortlessly. They embrace each other’s differences with open arms and this is a hallmark of Indian culture.
read & SEE more.(video)

* Indian textile industry needs to adopt modern technology:

The textile and apparel sector of India needs to embrace modern technology and change their attitude towards new technological advancements, said the strategy director of Global Fashion Industry, Mr. Robert McKee to fibre2fashion on the sidelines of ‘InPower of Fashion – Business Efficiency Series’ seminar in Mumbai.

Talking about the importance of technology, he says, “Without the right source of information, without the business intelligence and without the right data available, it will be difficult for any organization to take up the right decision.”

In the context of Indian textile and clothing industry, he said, “The manufacturers need to be more open in embracing new technology, as there cannot be a cheaper and easier way for doing everything. In today’s new environment, companies with right kind of software can excel.”  read more.

* GM variety helps India become net exporter of cotton:

The Genetically Modified (GM) variety of cotton or Bt cotton has helped India become a net exporter of cotton, according to Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, chairperson of Karnataka’s Biotechnology vision Group.
Speaking at an industry conference-cum-expo in Bangalore, Ms. Shaw said India’s cotton yield has doubled to 510 kg per hectare from 225 kg per hectare a decade earlier, which has enabled the country to turn net exporter from being an importer earlier.
She said Biotechnology has raised standards in bio-agriculture and bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) cotton has achieved remarkable success resulting in an increase in production by 90 percent in some states.
 She added that the industry has already invested about US$ 7.5 billion in developing new techniques in bio-agriculture to produce newer crop varieties that give increased yields.  to read.

18:52:15 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* Sri Lankan garment exports lose market share:

Sri Lanka’s garment industry is losing market share in its key export destinations, the US and the EU, to its competitors from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Vietnam and Cambodia, according to a report by the Colombo-based Institute of Policy Studies.

“Despite considerable increases in absolute export earnings to both and US and EU markets, it is of concern to note that Sri Lanka’s relative market share in garment exports has been losing ground. The increase in export earnings over the years has been due largely to a shift in Sri Lankan garment exports from the US to EU,” the IPS said in its report, ‘Sri Lanka: State of the Economy 2012’.

“Sri Lanka has been seeing a steady decline in its market share in the US from 2.3 percent in 2005 to 1.8 percent in 2011. Sri Lanka has been losing out to countries such as Pakistan, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Cambodia. Pakistan’s share in the US apparel market was significantly below that of Sri Lanka in 2005 at 1.8 percent, but is now ahead at 2.1 percent. Diversification of its product range, marketing and large investments in value-added sectors including sewing machines, stitching, knitting, finishing and knitting processing have contributed towards Pakistan’s progress,” read more.

18:22:15 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN


* Denied closure, families of Baldia factory fire victims agree to mass burial:

20130208 TRIBUNE missingpeople
The family of Akmal, one of the victims of the Baldia factory fire, have been struggling to make ends meet since the incident. PHOTO: FILE

Tired of waiting for the remains of their loved ones to be identified, families of this subset of Baldia fire victims have agreed to the government’s proposal to hold a mass burial for charred corpses that are lying at Edhi morgue.

“I have been waiting to get my son’s body for months, and now they tell me that I won’t be able to get it,” said Muhammad Rauf, whose 18-year-old son, Muhammad Haris, was among the victims.

On Wednesday, Sindh Health Minister Sagheer Ahmed had announced that a mass burial of the 17 charred bodies that are lying at the Edhi morgue would be held on Sunday. The minister’s statement was lambasted by trade unionists during a press conference on Thursday.

The unionists, as well as activists, of various human rights organisations demanded that the independent commission formed by the Sindh High Court, headed by former Supreme Court judge Rehmat Hussain Jaffery, should be made responsible for disbursing all compensation among the victims’ families.  read more.

* Trade unionists demand compensation to Baldia factory victims:

Trade unions leaders have demanded of the government to provide compensation to all the families of the Baldia factory fire victims, including those who waiting for DNA reports through the commission headed by retired judge of Supreme Court Justice (R) Rahmat Hussain Jafery, set up by the Sindh High Court.

Addressing a joint press conference at Karachi Press Club on Thursday afternoon the Executive Director of Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) Karamat Ali, Nasir Mansoor of National Trade Union Federation and others criticised the statement by Sindh Health Minister that the remaining bodies would be collectively buried soon.

Sindh Minister Dr Sagheer Ahmad who, at a meeting with relatives of the deceased on Wednesday, said that the bodies remaining in the Edhi morgue would be buried collectively. They said after such a long wait period and despite the conducting of the DNA testing 3 times, the bodies have still not been able to be identified, which proves that in this country there is no effective DNA testing system. This is a grave matter.
read more. & read more.
daily times PK  thenation

* Pakistani unions demand justice for textile workers:

Outraged by the news that Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf called for murder charges to be dropped against the brothers who own a Karachi garment factory where 259 workers were killed, unions in Pakistan protested on 30 January 2013.

The National Trade Union Federation (NTUF), an IndustriALL affiliate, and other labour rights organizations have filed petitions against the owners of Ali Enterprises, the garment factory in Karachi where almost 300 workers were killed in a devastating fire on 12 September 2012. ( As it is a case of loss of life, the State initiates the legal actions, NTUF and others have filed petitions, which are being heard by the Sindh High Court.

Mr. Ashraf intervened in the factory fire case on 29 December in an address to Karachi business leaders where he recommended the murder charges be withdrawn against the owners, brothers Arshad and Shahid Bhaila, who have been in jail since September and face trial. Two weeks after the Prime Minster’s comments, a senior police official applied with the court to have the charge dropped. read more.

* Sunn Lo Kay Hum Mazdoor Hain By Jawad Ahmad- for Baldia affectees:


Jawad Ahmad’s Song “Sunn Lo Kay Hum Mazdoor Hain” to pay tribute to the workers of Baldia Factory, Karachi, who were burnt alive in the fire and for showing our solidarity with their families who are still suffering and facing miserable living conditions because of the man made disaster.

It was a catastrophe that could easily have been prevented if the existing labour laws were more humane or were atleast properly implemented in Pakistan.

Don’t You Ever Forget It…

My Tears, my Screams
My Burning, my Crying
My Shouting with Pain…
My Helpless Dying…
Don’t You Ever Forget It…

Just because I am a poor Worker...
Remember that I Am also Human….

My Body feels pain the same way as does yours…
We will never ever Burn and Die like This….

Despotic is the rule, unjust is the law…
Just because I am a poor Worker...
Remember that I Am also Human….

The Hell that you are so afraid of…
I have already gone through its experience…
Look how my dreams burnt in the flames…
And my Body smouldered and melted…

After this catastrophe, you are still quiet…
Just because I am a poor Worker...
Remember that I Am also Human….

My meal was simple food…
My clothes were inexpensive…
I used to do hard labour…
Through which I earned my family’s living…

My death was an accident…
Just because I am a poor Worker...
Remember that I Am also Human….
My Body feels pain the same way as does yours…

Listen everyone, we are the Workers…
This whole world is because of us…
You must know now, we are the workers…

Remember that I Am also Human….
Whatever you have, to eat, to wear, to use, to live in…
We, the Workers, have made it all….
We have made this world run….
Industry, agriculture, progress, riches, are all because of us….
We run the factories and the institutions…
We will never let this happen again….
Now we will never ever burn and die like this…

My Body feels pain the same way as does yours…
We will never ever Burn and Die like This….
Don’t You Ever Forget It…
See  & Listen…Video


* Workers threaten to besiege govt offices:

The powerlooms workers union has threatened to besiege the offices of Sui gas and Gepco if pressure of sui gas was not restored and duration of power loadshedding was not decreased within next three days.

Powerloom Workers Union President Muhammad Zaman pointed out that due to more than 21 hour long power outages hundreds of daily-wage workers were already facing starvation but the sui gas authorities created multiply their problems by lowering the gas pressure to great extent. to read.

* Textile companies abscond leaving 5,000 jobless in Pakistan:

NTUF is campaigning for 5,000 textile workers rendered jobless after an international exporter absconded and closed two companies, Joe’s Fashion Export and J&M Clothing.

The factories were locked up and left without fulfilling mandatory requirements to inform the workers or authorities or pay out accrued benefits to the workers, most of who have worked at the factories for more than 20 years.

The owner, Mohsim Ayoub Mirza, closed Joe’s Fashion Export, situated in Korangi Industrial Area (KIA), on 17 January 2013 and then shut down another business, J&M Clothing, situated in an export process zone, on 31 January 2013.

There is no union present at the factory to represent the workers who have been producing for exporters of garments to the European Union and international brands.
read more.

* Gas supply to Punjab textile mills resumed:

Gas supply to textile mills in Punjab resumed on Thursday for two days in the region of Lahore I & II, followed by supply to the mills in Faisalabad and Multan region on coming Monday and Tuesday.

It may be noted that the SNGPL, on the direction of the Advisor to the Prime Minister on Petroleum & Natural Resources Dr Asim Hussain, resumed gas supply to mills in Punjab on the basis of two days in a week.

Gas supply to the textile mills has remained suspended for 50 days due to high domestic demand. Sources said the minimum temperature was lurking around seven degrees centigrade and once it reaches to 10 degree centigrade, further improvement in gas supply is on the cards. The frequency of gas supply in each zone of Punjab would be increased to thrice a week with further improvement in accordance to the increase in temperature.  read more.

* PHMA for immediate payment of Rs 17 billion DLTL refund claims:

Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers Association (PHMA) on Thursday urged the government for immediate payment of Drawback on Local Taxes and Levies (DLTL) refund claims worth Rs 17 billion of textile industry.

Addressing the luncheon meeting in the honour of Director General (Textile and Clothing), Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), Jamil Anwar, Central chairman PHMA, Jaweed Bilwani, said that DLTL refund claims were pending with government from the last two years and despite several reminders the industry was still waiting for payment.

He said that the government had completely ignored the textile sector, the largest industrial sector of the country which is providing jobs to millions of peoples. “Textile sector should be given top priority like other sectors to further develop this sector and create job opportunities,” he urged.  read more.

* Exporters want export-oriented textile to be a separate sector:

The Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers Association (PHMA) has demanded that the government officially declares the export sector a separate sector with certain priorities as practiced all over the world.

In a meeting with Director General (Textiles) of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, Jawed Bilwani, president PHMA, said that the export sector or export- oriented textile sector should be separated from the industry as a whole and asked the director general (textiles) to forward their recommendations to the concerned authorities.

He said that the textile sector contributed over 60 percent to the overall exports of the country, adding that the sector should be accorded special treatment.
read more.


map of Asia

* Asean apparel sector needs to integrate supply chain:

The textile and clothing chain within the ten countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) needs to be vertically integrated in order to ensure the competitiveness of the Asean apparel industry. This was echoed by various textile and apparel sector experts at the ‘Prime Source Forum –Focus on Asean’ held in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta last week.
Giving an overview of the Asean textile and garment market and its export potential, Mr. Ade Sudrajat, chairman of the Indonesian Textile Association (API), said the 640 million inhabitants of the Asean region themselves create a huge market for apparels. Secondly, the coming into effect of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) by 2015 will speed up the flow of capital, labour and goods within the ten-nation bloc.
Moreover, the free trade agreements (FTA) between Asean and other countries like Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea, along with the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will bring both investors and buyers into the region, he added.  read more.


map of Asia


The next newsletter and news bulletin will be published 11 February 2013.


* China’s Labor Contract Law: New Protections for Workers
* China sees upsurge in worker protests prior to Lunar New Year
* 361 closes 96 stores in fourth quarter

* Safety net urged for workers whose bosses abscond
* Bigger fines tipped for labour breaches
* Workers expected to take extended break
* Fibre makers bring synergy to textile and garment sector
* OrthoLite steps in with new factory
* Vietnam’s garment & textile exports soar in Jan 2013

* Penalties for workplace harassment not severe enough: experts
* Economists not in favour of rate cut

* Union files assault court complaint

* 635 employers in Johor allowed to defer implementation of minimum wage – Asojan
* Awkward U-turn on minimum wage

* Thousands of workers hold rally in Jakarta
* Government to Exempt Hundreds of Companies from Minimum Wage Rise
* Workers Decry Social Security Contributions
* Indonesian unions demonstrate their strength in unity
* Editorial: Don’t Break Virtuous Cycle of Investment

* Shoe factory catches fire in Savar- 10 workers injured
* 20 injured as workers clash with staff at Ashulia
* 300 RMG workers fall sick from food poisoning
* Cabinet body formed- Safety in RMGs planned
* Risks from concentrated RMG factories
* “Unorganized Workers Welfare and Social Safety (Informal Sector) Bill, 2013” placed in JS
* Hall-Mark Jasmine gets bail in all cases
* Russian Consul to help raise RMG export to his country
* BD appears in USTR hearing on GSP facility March 28
* Teenaged RMG worker gangraped in Kamrangirchar

* 70% women in garment units have health problems: report
* AP Labour Dept launches drive against child labour
* Garment industry pins hopes on budget
* Workers across faiths toil at handloom weaving industry
* Indian textile industry needs to adopt modern technology
* GM variety helps India become net exporter of cotton

* Sri Lankan garment exports lose market share

* Denied closure, families of Baldia factory fire victims agree to mass burial
* Trade unionists demand compensation to Baldia factory victims
* Pakistani unions demand justice for textile workers
* Sunn Lo Kay Hum Mazdoor Hain By Jawad Ahmad- for Baldia affectees
* Workers threaten to besiege govt offices
* Textile companies abscond leaving 5,000 jobless in Pakistan
* Gas supply to Punjab textile mills resumed
* PHMA for immediate payment of Rs 17 billion DLTL refund claims
* Exporters want export-oriented textile to be a separate sector

* Asean apparel sector needs to integrate supply chain

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