19:43:46 local time CAMBODIA
* Garment wage raised to $75:
Workers at a garment factory in Kandal province in March. Vireak Mai
BREAKING: Final sum boosted $2 on order from Hun Sen
GARMENT and footwear workers across the country will be paid a minimum wage of $75 per month – an increase of $14 – beginning in May, according to a document released by the Ministry of Social Affairs this morning.
“The minimum wage will be changed on May 1 and the workers will receive it at the end of May or early in June,” the statement, signed by Minister of Social Affairs Ith Sam Heng, says.
The documents add that the government had been willing to approve an increase to $73, but Prime Minister Hun Sen had intervened and said the figure should instead be $75 plus a $5 health allowance that workers are already paid.
“Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered the employers add $2 for this wage to bring it up to $80,” the statement says. “The Labour Advisory Committee will hold a meeting on March 29 in order to complete this process in accordance with the Labour Law.”
Vong Sovann, deputy secretary-general of the Ministry of Social Affairs’ strike resolution committee, also said Hun Sen had insisted on the additional $2.
“The decision is final and relevant parties will have a meeting next Friday with the Labour Advisory Committee,” he said.
The announcement follows a series of talks in recent weeks between the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia and unions, some of which stood firm on $100 per month in the face of GMAC’s $70 offer. read more.
* Workers, cop injured as strike turns violent:
Violence broke out twice yesterday at the Maru Chuen garment factory in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district – first, between police and strikers, and later, between strikers and employees who remained at work.
In the morning, seven workers and one police officer were injured after police intervened to stop workers from blocking several company cars from
entering the factory.
Worker Sun Leang, 24, said that police had used electric batons and stones to hit the protesters, injuring five women and two men, while workers threw stones back at police.
Blows from police bloodied his eye and nose, causing him to pass out, he said, adding that he woke up in hospital alongside two other workers with head injuries.
Worker Kan Srey Leak, who had not joined the strike, said the exchange also injured one police officer and damaged several cars and motorcycles nearby.
Workers Union Federation officer Tha Tory said company officials and police had started the violence, but an administrative officer at the factory, who asked not to be named, maintained that workers had been the initiators.
“We did not order the police officials to use violence against the workers,” she said.
WUF president Ly Veng said the more than 1,000 workers, who had been protesting since last week for a minimum wage increase and other benefits, had said they would return to work if the factory did not cut their wages for the days of their protest, but the factory had not accepted this demand, so the protest continued. read more.
20:43:46 local time MALAYSIA
* Minimum wage for SMEs deferred:
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will not have to pay the minimum wage to their foreign workers until December 31.
However, the National Wages Consultative Council (NWCC) said these SME employers would not be allowed to make any deductions on levy, accommodation and other allowances from the salaries of their foreign workers.
“Only employers practising minimum wage will be given blanket approval to make deductions on their foreign workers’ salaries for levy charges and accommodation costs,” NWCC secretary T. Shanmugam said in a statement yesterday.
However, the SMEs have to abide by the law which requires them to pay the minimum wage to Malaysian workers. read more.
* SME factory operators protest minimum wage:
At least 25 small and medium-scale factory operators in Bakri want the Government to review the implementation of the minimum monthly salary for workers which begin this month.
The operators, most of them from furniture industries scattered in the parliamentary, claimed that the minimum wage policy only benefited foreign workers, not the local workforce. read more.
* Ministry Explains Postponement Of Minimum Wage To Foreign Workers, Embassies:
The Human Resource Ministry has taken the initiatives to explain to foreign workers and embassies the postponement of the minimum wage scheme by certain employers in the country.
Its minister, Datuk Seri Dr S.Subramaniam, said this was because some workers had staged a protest and expressed their dissatisfaction over the postponement as they were not informed that their employers were given approval by the government to postpone the implementation of the scheme. read more.
* BNM: Minimum Wage Policy To Benefit 27 Per Cent Of Workers Across Malaysia:
Some 27 per cent of workers across Malaysia will benefit from the minimum wage policy, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) said.
The central bank said the affected workers in Peninsular Malaysia were expected to receive a 33 per cent increase in wages, while those in Sabah and Sarawak would be given a 38 per cent increment.
“By economic sector, the agriculture industry is expected to be the most affected, as 43 per cent of workers in the sector received wages that were below the minimum wage prior to the implementation of the policy,” BNM said in its 2012 Annual Report released Wednesday.
BNM said the minimum wage policy was envisaged to have an important role in addressing inefficiencies in the labour market and in improving the social welfare of low-paid workers. read more.
18:43:46 local time BANGLA DESH
* Non-compliant apparel units: High time to act:
The after-effects of the Tazreen Fashions fire are still reverberating around the country’s all-important export-oriented apparel sector and beyond the country’s border.
The government is now awaiting the March 28 hearing at the United States Trade Representative (USTR) Office on the continuation of GSP (generalised system of preferences) for Bangladesh.
The USTR took up the long pending issue for a strong review now, particularly in the aftermath of the death of 112 workers in the Tazreen fire. Despite the fact that the withdrawal of GSP would not hurt much the flow of major Bangladesh export items to the US market, it would surely have other unpalatable consequences and both the government and the businesses are certainly aware of it.
But the question that is haunting the mind of the people concerned is: Are the government and the country’s apparel owners doing enough to stop the recurrence of similar accidents in the apparel units? It is quite natural on anyone’s part to raise such a question when all who matter have developed a habit of reneging on the promises after demonstrating initial exuberance about fixing a host of relevant, important problems.
The government, after the Tazreen fire, formed a committee, comprising officials of the relevant agencies, to locate the garment factories that are non-compliant, in terms of safety and security of the workers.
The committee, according to a report published in this paper last Monday, has identified as many as 334 small-scale apparel factories, mainly located in the old part of the Dhaka city, as being highly unsafe as workplaces. The committee, reportedly, has termed such factories as ‘death traps’, in terms of safety and security of workers. read more.
* Institute calls for wage increase in Bangladesh:
Today, every major newspaper across Bangladesh is dominated by the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights’ call for increased wages for Bangladeshi workers and respect internationally recognized labor rights.
Two very important articles published on March 18, 2013 by Women’s Wear Daily (“Wal-Mart said considering Bangladesh pull back” by Karyn Monget and Mayu Saini) and BusinessWeek (“Will Wal-Mart move manufacturing out of Bangladesh?” by Susan Berfield) have swept across Bangladesh.
“Bangladesh is the world’s second-biggest apparel exporter, after China, with an industry worth about $19 billion. Its labor costs are the lowest in the world, says Charles Kernaghan, executive director of the Institute for Global Labor and Human Rights. He says workers there make from 18¢ to 26¢ an hour; in China they make an average of $1.34 an hour. Kernaghan also notes that the Bangladesh Parliament is controlled by the business community, and the export processing zones by the military. “Bangladesh needs to make a giant step forward in terms of enforceable labor rights,” he says. “But when it comes to making the factories safer, this has to be up to the big retailers. It’s at least 50 percent their responsibility.”
Reprinted in The Daily Star and other Bangladeshi papers on 3/20/2013.)
Excerpt from Women’s Wear Daily:
“From the labor rights camp, Charles Kernaghan, director of the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights said, ‘Wal-Mart has the financial muscle to make Bangladesh clean up its act in the manufacturing arena-if it wants to…
“The Bangladeshi government is so corrupt and controlled by the factory owners who live in mansions with money they’ve sweated out of the workers …It would be devastating to the workers if Wal-Mart pulled out all apparel manufacturing in Bangladesh…”
Women’s Wear Daily, 3/18/2013
Reprinted in Bangladesh’s Financial Express 3/20/2013.
Note: Samsung in South Korea is planning to build a new manufacturing hub in an export processing zone in Bangladesh (where, by law, workers are prohibited from joining unions, and where the government openly runs a blacklist of worker activists). There, Samsung will manufacture mobile phones, high-end electrical, electronic and home appliance products. (Financial Express, Bangladesh, 3/20/2013)
* Mini garment factories thrive in Saidpur:
Mini garment factories are simply thriving in Saidpur township in Nilphamary district as the clothing appears to be competitive and of good quality.
More than 5,000 youths are maintaining their families by working in different mini apparel factories housed in Saidpur commercial upazila. Some 250 mini garment factories were set up at mere personal initiative in this town where at least 5,000 tailors are manufacturing various types of the dresses for male, female and the children.
The different kinds dresses made in Saidpur town are being sent to various markets across the country. And, interestingly, some dresses such as jackets and the three- quarters made here are also being exported to India.
The owners of these mini garment factories belong to both Bangalee and Bihari ethnic groups. Some of the manufacturers are hailed from the capital city and other southern districts.
Everyday thousands of pieces of dresses are being sewn here which are being sold at several lakh taka.
“I started my mini garment factory more than 10 years ago with a meager capital. But today, I have employed some 22 workers,” said Md Shahin Islam, an entrepreneur. He is the owner of Lipi Garments. read more.
* Dip in textile investment worries Bangladesh RMG makers:
Bangladesh, the second largest readymade garment (RMG) manufacturer in the world after China, is witnessing a dip in new investments in the field of textile in last two years.
Bangladesh apparel makers are worried about the shortage in fabrics in the domestic market since fabrics for manufacturing are mostly imported from other countries.
The Bangladesh textile sector, especially the woven textiles, have attracted nearly Tk 1 billion investments in 2011, which is a sharp decline from investments of Tk 10.7 billion in 2009.
According to the clothing manufacturers of Bangladesh, the decline in fresh investments is due to shortage of electricity and gas supply. read more.
* MoU between BGMEA and Maa O Shishu Hospital:
Chittagong BGMEA and a private hospital Chittagong Maa O Shishu Hospital today signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to provide better health and medical service to the garments workers.
In addition, the association of garment manufacturers and exporters has signed the MoU with the maternity and children exclusive hospital for improved medication and health service to the RMG workers on humanitarian ground, organizers said.
* India’s FTA with Europe to erode Bangladesh exports:
The imminent bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) between India and European Union (EU) is likely to hurt Bangladesh’s exports, trade analysts and a leading chamber said yesterday.
The negotiations — that started in June 2007 — are being fast-tracked, with the chief negotiators of India and EU due to meet next week in Brussels ahead of the ministerial level talks in April, according to media reports.
A free trade agreement, essentially, eliminates tariffs, import quotas and preference on most (if not all) goods and services traded between the two parties.
The magnitude of the effects of this agreement on a third party such as Bangladesh, however, depends on the importance of either of the markets to the third party: the larger the importance, the bigger the impact.
The EU is the single largest market for Bangladesh’s exports, accounting for 57 percent, or $13.7 billion, of 2011′s export earnings.
The deal will pave the way for Indian companies to expand their market into EU, while allowing EU access to India’s 1.2 billion customers.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
18:13:46 local time INDIA
* Textile traders continue fast:
The relay hunger strike of textile traders entered the 12th day on Wednesday. The traders, who are up in arms against the Value Added Tax (VAT) on textiles and inclusion of textiles in sensitive commodities list, staged a novel protest by cleaning the vehicles passing through Vastralatha and One Town area.
The traders stopped buses, cars, and autorickshaws to explain the government’s ‘indifferent attitude’ towards them. They cleaned the windshields with sarees that were lying in heaps in the transport godowns.
The sarees were damaged as they were stockpiled at the godowns for long. Cloth Merchants’ Association president Chintalapudi Raghuram said that the textile traders in Surat, Mumbai, and other places supported the bandh in the State and submitted memoranda to their Chief Ministers in this regard. With the participation of shopping malls in the State, the agitation got a fillip. read more.
* Budget: Traders give cold vibes:
With an eye on the assembly elections, the Congress is trying to woo the traders in the capital. With close to 30 lakh traders in the city, the community plays a decisive role in elections.
Chief minister Sheila Dikshit announced a series of steps, including streamlining of the government’s tax collection system, for the traders in the budget on Wednesday. But she was quick to reiterate her government’s decision to allow Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in retail.
The threshold limit for registration under VAT has been raised from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 20 lakh. A new scheme has been introduced under which traders would be allowed to pay tax based on their overall turnover. read more.
* Meetings on minimum wages:
The committee formed by the State Government recently to recommend minimum wages for textile mill workers in the State will meet the representatives of textile mill managements and trade unions in different districts from April 3.
According to an official of the labour department here, a meeting will be held at Tirunelvelli on April 3, at Rajapalayam on April 4 and at Dindigul on April 5.
Since a large number of textile units were located in this region, meetings will be held here after April 5. This was decided by the committee meeting held here on Wednesday.
The committee is expected to submit its recommendation to the Government in six months. to read.
* Power cuts push industries to the brink of collapse:
Almost all the industries are running on production losses of not less than 40 per cent’
If the growth of agriculture in the district has been stunted due to years of drought, the industry is on the verge of collapse due to successive years of implementation of severe power cuts.
The industry, however small its size is, employs more than 15,000 people directly and more than another 10,000 indirectly in the district. Now, it faces unassailable turbulence thanks to the enormous power cuts, crippling the industry to a point of no return.
“Almost all industries are running on production losses of not less than 40 per cent of the usual levels only due to power cuts. The situation is just unsustainable,” Seshanjaneyulu, district president of Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told The Hindu. read more.
* Garment industry unhappy with 25 bps repo rate cut:
The reduction in repo rate would not stir up investments by entrepreneurs in the export sector, feel industry insiders.
Reiterating the need for a separate chapter for exports in the monetary policy and the need for lowering of interest rates for boosting the growth of the domestic manufacturing sector, Apparel Exports Promotion Council Chairman A. Sakthivel said that the readymade garment exports have to be treated on par with labour intensive sectors such as agriculture and handloom.
“The garment sector in competing countries pays interest at 6 to 7 per cent, but even with the 2 per cent interest subvention, the effective rate of interest here is between 9.5 and 10 per cent. With today’s announcement, the interest rates could soften by 0.25 per cent. This is miniscule,’’ he added. read more.
* Handloom weavers seek import duty abolition on silk:
Handloom weavers have decided to intensify their stir, which began yesterday, demanding abolition of import duty on silk, which was increased from 5 per cent to 15 per cent in the recent budget.
Accordingly, they would go on a fast at nine major handloom centres in five districts of the region, Rajesh, Convenor, Handloom Silk, Yarn Saree Weavers and Traders Association said today.
Similarly, a silent march would be taken out here on March 22 to condemn the increase in the duty, which would financially affect thousands of families, he said.
Stating that weavers in this region import 100 tonnes of raw silk from China each month to make sarees and other products, Rajesh said the increase in duty, would impose an additional burden of Rs 400 per kg, directly affecting their livelihood, as weavers were selling the products without any profit, facing a loss of Rs 150 to Rs 200 per saree. read more.
* Indian Govt implements revised handloom proposal package:
For implementation, the States were asked to carry out the statutory audit of handloom cooperatives and carry out the legal and institutional reforms of handloom cooperatives. read more. & read more.
* Knitwear industry seeks State export policy:
With exports playing a major role in the industrial and economic development of the State, the exporting community has appealed to the Chief Minister to consider establishment of Export Promotion Board in the State.
In its pre-budget memorandum to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, the President of Tirupur Exporters’ Association A. Sakthivel suggested the establishment of export promotion board at the State level for giving a focused approach to the export development of the State. read more.
* Employment in Indian khadi textile sector to touch 13mn:
Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) implements a number of schemes that provides large scale employment especially in rural areas of the country.
Although there is no such target specifically set for the current year, cumulative employment in khadi and village industries sector is expected to reach an estimated 1.30 crore by the end of current year.
In particular, KVIC has been implementing a credit-linked subsidy programme named Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) since 2008-09 for generating self-employment in all the States/Union Territories including West Bengal by providing assistance in setting up micro-enterprises in the non-farm sector. Under the programme, general category beneficiaries can avail of margin money subsidy of 25% of the project cost in rural areas and 15% in urban areas.
* New pests begin to suck Bt cotton yields in Punjab:
Rising expense on insecticides, labour shortage pose twin challenge
Cotton farmer Sandura Singh from Gulabgarh near Bhatinda is facing problems from the growing menace of white fly that cripples the growth of cotton plant. This has resulted in the yield of Bt cotton on his farm dropping.
In the last two years, the average yield in Sandura’s farm has dropped by about 20 per cent to 10 quintals an acre from 12 quintals earlier.
In addition, his cultivation costs have gone up considerably, as he has to spray at least four to five insecticides to keep the white fly under check.
Singh is not alone. Scores of cotton growers across the Malwa region in Punjab are facing the twin challenge of a rebound in rising insecticide and pesticide costs and increase in labour charges, attributed mainly to labour shortage during the cotton plucking season. read more.
* Our warped cotton policy:
Mills add value and create jobs, yet cotton pricing favours large traders.
Strange were the ways of the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI), when it conducted its marketing operations during the year 2009. The same can be said for what is happening in the current crop season 2012-13.
CCI’s procurement actions (the government announces minimum support prices for the cotton crop) no doubt helped ensure that Indian farmers secure remunerative prices for their cotton, both then and now.
But it has calibrated its subsequent actions so as to benefit textile mills abroad to the detriment of domestic producers of cotton textiles and readymade garments. Its moves have adversely impacted the domestic textile industry, besides causing huge losses to the exchequer.
How has CCI done so? From time to time, the international prices of cotton are lower than the Government-announced ‘support’ prices for domestically produced cotton. During these periods, neither the private trade nor the textile mills are left with any incentive to source cotton from domestic supplies. The field is then left to CCI and NAFED (National Agriculture Cooperative Marketing Federation of India), the other public procurement agency, to maintain prices in the domestic market at the ‘support’ price levels. read more.
* CCI’s selling strategy worries textile value chain – SIMA:
The textile industry has been pleading to the Government to direct Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) to offload the cotton to the domestic textile mills to maintain the stability in cotton prices.
Unfortunately, it has been reported that CCI and NAFED plan to launch e-auctioning to export 10 lakh bales of the 22 lakh bales it has procured from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Odisha and Maharashtra at minimum support price.
Mr.S.Dinkaran, Chairman, The Southern India Mills’ Association (SIMA) said that already cotton export registration crossed the mark of 80 lakh bales and the proposal of government procurement agencies to export 10 lakh bales would ruin the cotton textile industry which has now limping back to normalcy after huge suffering.
* India, China sell cotton stocks to soften global prices:
India will sell cotton to local buyers from government stockpiles, joining China as the world’s top two consumers try to cushion domestic textile mills against soaring costs.
The sales by China and India, also the two leading producers, should ease tight supplies and help cool global prices that have soared 20 per cent this year on strong demand-partly because of the Asian giants’ hoarding.
China, the world’s largest consumer, is expected to sell about 3 million tonnes of cotton this year from state reserves of around 10 million tonnes, Terry Townsend, executive director of international farm group ICAC, said Wednesday. read more.
* Cotton Corporation plans to sell 15 lakh bales:
The Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) plans to sell 15 lakh bales of cotton it had procured this season to exporters and domestic mills.
The CCI had purchased nearly 20 lakh bales at the minimum support price, mainly from the southern States, at the beginning of the current cotton season. It now plans to sell five lakh bales to domestic buyers and 10 lakh bales to exporters and international buyers.
An official of the corporation told The Hindu on Wednesday that the CCI had submitted its proposal to the Union Ministry of Textiles for approval, which was expected in a couple of days. read more.
* Weaving livelihood through cultivating organic cotton:
Farmers picking cotton from the fields. Photo: Special Arrangement
Tentulipada, a small village in Kalahandi district in interior Odisha, is predominantly a dry area. Known for poverty and a harsh dry climate, the tillers there could hardly lead a comfortable livelihood.
Till some years back the entire village was cultivating cotton. The gamble on the crop was accompanied by a baggage of external, expensive, and often toxic inputs in the form of pesticides and fertilizers. But today this entire village is into organic cultivation.
“The transformation towards organic started sometime during 2007 when initially 39 farmers took to the sustainable practice. It took two more years for all the farmers to shift to organic. In 2001 American bollworm infestation was very high and even 15 sprays of toxic chemical pesticides wouldn’t help.
“Today, this village does not worry about pests on cotton. They use their simple, naturally made bio-pesticides to control any pest problems,” says Mr. Ananthoo, co- convener of ASHA —Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture — and coordinator of Safe Food Alliance, Tamil Nadu and an organisation called Restore in Chennai. read more.
18:13:46 local time SRI LANKA
* ‘JAAF must urge Sri Lankan govt to permit foreign workers’ :
* ‘Garments without Guilt’ deliver less than desired sales:
* People do not share Govt’s views on economic growth -Sajith:
UNP Hambantota District MP Sajith Premadasa yesterday told Parliament that though the government boasts of an eight per cent growth rate in the economy, the people do not share the same view, as they do not feel or see the dividends of such growth.
Participating in the debate on the Customs (Amendment) Bill, the MP dismissed the government’s brag of maintaining such a growth rate for years and pointed out that the per capita debt that stood at Rs 129,873 in 2006 has risen to Rs 291,420 at the end of 2012.
Premadasa said that the government could not save the industrial sector, especially the garment industry from collapsing owing to its financial mismanagement. read more.
17:43:46 local time PAKISTAN
* Textile industry ready to invest $1b in BMR:
The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association has said that textile industry in Pakistan is ready to invest $1 billion in Balancing, Modernization and Replacement (BMR) of the units and looking for various options of importing machinery ahead, as textile operators continue to remain engaged in revamping and modernisation of their manufacturing units.
Chairman APTMA Ahsan Bashir and Chairman APTMA Punjab Shahzad Ali Khan were talking to a delegation of top people of Shanghai Ring Frame Maker, during their visit to APTMA office on Wednesday. Ye Fucai, Chairman Pacific Mechatronic Co. Ltd. led the delegation. Members of delegation included Chen Xingqiang, Pan Ronggao, Zhu Wenmin, Xu Lin and Zhangyong. read more.
* Conference on textile technology ends:
“New and advanced technologies should be introduced to boost the textile industry in Pakistan,” said the speakers at the concluding session of the 2nd International Conference on Value Addition and Innovation in Textiles here on Wednesday.
The conference was jointly organised by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and the Pakistan Science Foundation. Textile technology experts from the UK, Turkey, Japan, Czech Republic and Pakistan participated in the ceremony hosted by the National Textile University Faisalabad in collaboration with the University of Bolton (United Kingdom) and the Marmara University (Turkey).
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* Chinese delegation meets APTMA:
A delegation of top people of Shanghai Ring Frame maker visited All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) on Wednesday. Ye Fucai, Chairman Pacific Mechatronic Co Ltd, the delegation included Chen Xingqiang, Pan Ronggao, Zhu Wenmin, Xu Lin and Zhangyong. Chairman APTMA Ahsan Bashir and Chairman APTMA Punjab Shahzad Ali Khan welcomed the delegation.
Both sides exchanged the potential of textile industry to grow in Pakistan and the possibilities of import of textile machinery from China.
The APTMA pointed out that the textile industry in Pakistan was ready to invest $1 billion in BMR of the units and looking for various options of importing machinery ahead. Besides China, the textile industry in Pakistan is looking for the option of importing textile machinery of European and Japanese make.
Also, the option of importing machinery from India is also under consideration, which is far cheaper than the Chinese machinery. read more.
* Experts stress use of new tech to boost textile export:
The second International Conference on “Value Addition and Innovation in Textiles” jointly organised by the Higher Education Commission and the Pakistan Science Foundation concluded here on Wednesday.
The conference was hosted by National Textile University, Faisalabad, in collaboration with University of Bolton (United Kingdom) and Marmara University, Turkey. Eminent textile technology experts drawn from U.K. Turkey, Japan, Czech Republic and Pakistan attended the conference. read more.
* ‘Unless people are empowered, corruption cannot be tackled’ :
If Pakistan needs to fight corruption, it must begin by addressing the gross income inequality between the country’s rich and poor and the disproportionate sociopolitical balance of power it has created.
This was stated by Kaisar Bengali, an economist and former advisor to the chief minister Sindh, who was speaking at a policy symposium titled “Anti-Corruption Strategy: A Civil Society Perspective” organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in Islamabad on Wednesday.
Ali said empowerment would have to come from the rule of law and through workers’ unions that could demand for workers’ rights, especially the majority who labour for more than 12 hours a day whilst still not getting paid minimum wage.