in the news on-line, 30 April 2013

map of asia ASIA

* End in sight for ‘cheap’ Asia labour:

China’s affluent cities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen will raise their minimum wages by 19% in the manufacturing heartland of Guangdong province on Wednesday, to coincide with international Labour Day.

Similar hikes in the minimum wage have been seen this year in Southeast Asia, one of China’s main rivals in labour-intensive industries such as garments, shoes, toys and processed foods.

Thailand in January introduced a nationwide minimum wage of 300 baht (about 10.30 US dollars) a day, an increase of 65%. Malaysia announced its first-ever mandatory minimum wage of 300 dollars a month, up 50% from previous guidelines.
In the Indonesian capital Jakarta, the minimum wage rose 40% to 226 dollars.
The wage spikes top a decade of gradual pay increases for workers in the region.

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), average monthly average wages adjusted for inflation nearly doubled in Asia during the previous decade.
The ILO calculated that a Filipino factory worker takes home 1.40 dollars an hour, compared to the 23.30 dollars earned by workers in the United States.
read more.
Bangkok Post Logo

15:13:00 local time map of korea_n NORTH KOREA

* The risk of a permanent shutdown at Kaesong:

Last South Korean workers, to leave on Apr. 29, but both sides would lose a lot if operations aren’t eventually resumed

While the showdown between North and South Korea over the Kaesong Industrial Complex is heading toward catastrophe, neither side is talking about shutting down the complex. This is because they both know how great the ramifications of a permanent closure would be.

At present, the biggest cause for concern is the potential damage to South Korean companies. During an Apr. 27 plenary session of the National Assembly’s special budget committee, Prime Minister Chung Hong-won estimated that South Korea would lose 1 trillion won (US$900 billion) if the Kaesong Complex shuts down. Business insiders take a different view.
(..)
Even more important than this, though, is that a shutdown would mean the end of the grand vision upon which the complex was founded. The goal was to use cheap labor in North Korea to help South Korean industry transcend the limitations on growth while also helping economic development in the North.

The situation would be even worse in North Korea. The wages of the nearly 54,000 employees working in the complex, which amount to US$90 million would be cut off permanently.
This would mean that there would be 200,000 to 300,000 dissatisfied people on the border with South Korea – people whose livelihoods were jeopardized by the shutdown of Kaesong. Their existence could become a major headache for the North Korean government, despite the tight control it maintains over North Korean society.  read more.
HANI korea

14:13:00 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

 * Labor group calls for living wage, not ‘libing’ wage:

The current minimum wage is a “libing” (literally burial, but may also be starvation) wage, and the workers need a living wage, as provided in the Constitution, Partido ng Manggagawa said Monday.  

To illustrate this point, members of the labor group accompanied a contractual worker (currently jobless) to the Nepa Q Mart on Sunday to use half of the P456 daily minimum wage for Metro Manila and “desperately” found what they bought inadequate to feed a family of six.  read more.
interaksyon

* Labor wants Aquino to move on jobs lack:

As Labor Day nears, moderate labor groups that are set to meet President Aquino tomorrow are preparing to express their concerns on the government’s much-vaunted economic growth that they said has not led to increased job opportunities. 

In separate statements, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) and the Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) said they will raise issues ranging from unemployment to increase in the minimum wage during the pre-Labor Day dialogue and consultation with Aquino in Malacañang. read more.
MaLAYAbusiness INSIGHT

* Labor seeking : lower electricity costs, higher wages:

Cheaper electricity and higher wage top the demands of the standard of living of workers during their breakfast meeting with President Benigno Aquino III on Monday. 

Trade Union Congress of the Philippine (TUCP) Alan Tanjusay said in a statement on Monday that they will push to lower the cost electricity to encourage more local and foreign investors to start their business here in the country.  read more.
MB2

13:13:00 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Where trade union killers go scot-free:

27 December, 2012, will go down as one of the bleakest days in the history of Cambodian justice.
On that day, the Appeal Court of Phnom Penh ordered Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun to return to prison.

These two scapegoats were accused by the authorities of killing Chea Vichea, President of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia (FTUWKC) on Chinese New Year in January 2004.

The arrest of these two men and their subsequent sentencing in Phnom Penh to 20 years in prison in 2005, despite the absence of evidence, unleashed massive protests within Cambodia and internationally, so blatant was the fact that they had nothing to do with Chea Vichea’s murder.

“Born Samnang had confessed to the killing of Chea Vichea under torture whilst in detention. But when the government put him in front of the media he retracted the confession,” explains Naly Pilorge, Director of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defence of Human Rights (LICADHO).  read more.

* Workers strike for fired leader:

6 factory protest
Tyres burn during a strike by workers from the D&L Ultimate (Cambodia) factory in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district yesterday. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post

More than 300 garment workers protested yesterday outside the capital’s D&L Ultimate factory to demand the reinstatement of a worker they say was sacked after the company learned he had been elected as the leader of a newly formed union in the factory.

The workers burned tyres and blared loud music from speakers while they danced and chanted outside the Dangkor district factory, said Suth Seam, a labour dispute resolution officer of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union.

“I did not do wrong,” Pen Sophal, the fired union leader, told the Post yesterday. “I formed the union after hundreds of workers voted me as their leader.”
read more.
PPP2

* Phnom Penh agrees to Union parade on International Labor Day:

Phnom Penh City Hall agreed to allow Unions to congregate at Democratic Park in commemoration of the 127th International Labor Day.

In a letter dated Monday, retired Phnom Penh Governor, Kep Chuk Tema, said, Unions and workers could gather and stage a parade from Democratic Park along Preah Sisowat Blvd to the National Assembly to give a petition, but the gathering must end after that.
The letter also stated that Union leaders should pay close attention to their decisions during the rally.  Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions (CCU) and Ath Thon, President of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Worker’s Democratic Union (C.CAWDU), had written a letter to city hall previously, requesting the rally be held at Olympic National Stadium to celebrate Labor Day, but was only approved for Democratic Park.

The letter also demanded that worker’s wages move up to $150, as well as other issues concerning working conditions.
read more.
CAMHERALD

* Cambodian PM Holds a Get-Together with Workers:

Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia, held a get-together here on Apr. 27 with some 3,900 workers from factories and enterprises as well as representatives of unions and relevant organizations across the country to celebrate the 127th International Labor Day.

Addressing the ceremony, Samdech Techo Hun Sen expressed his congratulations over the celebration of the 127th International Labor Day with workers as well as manufacturers and the people across the country and he also urged all factories and enterprises to organize some entertainment programs for workers including a get-together, dancing, travel tours, etc. instead of participating in demonstrations organized by opposition parties that cause social disorder and instability. read more.
CA akp

* Hun Sen Seeks Garment Factory Worker Vote:

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday asked some 4,000 garment factory workers for their votes in July’s national elections at a rally in Phnom Penh attended by members of several CPP-aligned unions, according to those in attendance.

Cambodian Union Federation president Chuon Mom Thol said yesterday that he was among the 66 pro-CPP unions whose members attended the rally on Koh Pich, where Mr. Hun Sen took credit for a recent pay rise for garment workers.

According to Mr. Mom Thol, the prime minister “said he made the higher minimum wage so that both parties [employers and employees] are happy. He said the government could not make it higher or it will bankrupt the garment factories and workers would lose their jobs.”

Several unions last month reluctantly accepted an increase in monthly garment factory wages from $61 to $73 with an additional $7 health and living benefit, well be­low the $120 they were hoping for.  read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

14:13:00 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Govt Should Set UMR Every 3 Years, Forkan Say:

Industry Association Forum recommended the government to set regional minimum wage every three years in order to reduce labor strike demanding the increase of wage each year.

National Association Communications Forum (Forkan) Franky Sibarani said the regional minimum wage (UMR) could increase each year as long as it’s adjusted with the inflation rate and corporate capability.

“We from the association forum suggested the UMR to be set every 3 years. The wage could increase each year as long as it’s go through bipartite mechanism, based on inflation, and adjusted with the corporate capability,” he said, Sunday (4/28).  read more.
bisnis indonesia

* BetterWork Indonesia Media Update:

1. Poor countries can keep workers safe and still escape poverty.
Read the full article here
2. Please Don’t Gridlock Jakarta, Police Tell Prospective May Day Marchers.
Read the full article here
3. Tangerang workers ‘warm up’ for May Day.  Read the full article here
4. Pay Workers below Minimum Wage, Employer sentenced in Court.
Read the full article here (Article is in Bahasa Indonesia)
Read the Google Translate English Version here
5. Sports Brand Nike Keen on Indonesia as Its Big Base. Read the full article here
6. Waiting for Revolution in Industry to Take Off. Read the full article here
7. Labour Day: DKI Jakarta Government examine about making May 1st as  Public Holiday.   Read the full article here (Article is in Bahasa Indonesia)
Read the Google Translate English Version here

Overview Here.
BW indonesia

12:43:00 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

* Workers’ Rights Improving, but Problems Remain:


Workers from the Myue & Soe Garment factory stand during a protest for a salary increase in front of the Mayangone Township labor office in Rangoon on Sept. 7, 2012. (Photo: Reuters / Soe Zeya Tun)

A year after the enactment of Burma’s labor organization and freedom of association laws, local and international workers’ rights activists say more must be done to support the newfound freedoms in practice.

Addressing a forum of several hundred trade union leaders and labor activists in Rangoon on Monday, International Labor Organization (ILO) Deputy Director-General Gregory Vines said that although the passing of the new laws and the revival of Burma’s long-suppressed labor movement was positive, he added that “there have been some issues around the laws and their enforcement.”

Despite the new laws, and Burma’s wider political liberalization, in practice workers’ rights to form or join unions have not been fully recognized by Burmese officials or businesspeople, activists say.  read more.
The Irrawaddy Magazine

* US to review Myanmar’s GSP:

The US is reviewing Myanmar’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) benefits as the country’s reforms are moving forward .

The least developing countries like Myanmar and Lao could be designated beneficiary countries for the GSP program, the office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) said on April 16.
The USTR is seeking comments on GSP in May and will open public hearing in Washington DC on June 4. The US suspended Myanmar’s GSP since July 1 1989 due to violation of labor rights.

According to USTR, products that are eligible for duty-free treatment under GSP are manufactured items, chemicals, minerals and building stone, jewelry, carpets and certain agricultural and fishery products. Products that are illegible for GSP duty-free treatment are textiles and apparel, watches, footwear, handbags and luggage products.  read more.
Eleven Myanmar

11:58:00 local time map of nepal NEPAL

* Garment to get two per cent incentive:

The government has agreed to increase the cash incentive for readymade garments to two per cent in line with other exports and also include it in the basket of Nepal Trade Integration Strategy (NTIS) products.

“Government will increase the incentive to the sector to two per cent — like other export items — from beginning of next fiscal,” commerce and supplies minister Shankar Koirala informed representatives of export sector that met him today afternoon.

Earlier, readymade garments had been enjoying three per cent incentive as it has more than 60 per cent value addition, but due to recent changes in regulation, it had been provided only one per cent export incentive, exporters led by president of Garment Association – Nepal (GAN) Uday Raj Pandey said.  read more.
THT Home Page

* Trade unions unite for inflation-based salary hike:

Trade unions — associated with Joint Trade Unions Coordination Centre (JTUCC) — are planning to advocate for an inflation-based salary hike besides the minimum wage criteria for workers.

All 11 trade unions, including three major ones — Nepal Trade Union Congress-Independent (NTUC-I), All Nepal Trade Union Federation (ANTUF), and General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (GEFONT) — have accepted the concept, said president of NTUC-I Lakshman Basnet.

Trade unions are bargaining for an inflation-based policy, he said, adding that employers must hike the salary as per the inflation rate. At present, inflation is at around 10 per cent according to Nepal Rastra Bank. Last year, average inflation was one per cent below the current rate.  read more.
THT Home Page

* Jute mills face closure amid power crunch:

Jute mills in the Sunsari-Morang industrial corridor in eastern Nepal have warned that they may have to close down as they have not been able to pay their workers for failure to operate in full swing due to longer load-shedding.

Factory owners said that they had been forced to cut production by 40 percent due to power cuts lasting 14 hours daily.
There are nine jute mills operating in the corridor. About 20,000 workers will be out of a job if the mills are shut down. The jute industry is a labour-intensive industry.
read more.
EKANTIPUR

12:13:00 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

* No one found dead or alive since mechnised rescue in Savar began Sunday:

20130429 BD24

No new bodies have been recovered nor anyone rescued alive from the rubble of the deadliest building collapse on Monday in Savar since the second phase of mechanised rescue operation began Sunday midnight.

The death toll from the collapse reached 380 lastly with recovery of two more bodies from the debris on Sunday night.
The 2nd phase of rescue operation with heavy equipment was started at 12:10am.
Three hundred eighty bodies have so far been pulled out from the wreckage of the building while nearly 2,444 people rescued alive as the search for survivors still goes on, the control room sources said.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
logo  wf-escenic-times banglanews24 Logo 

* Savar Tragedy: BEF demands fair probe, punishment of those responsible:

Leaders of the Bangladesh Employers’ Federation (BEF) on Monday demanded a fair investigation into the Savar tragedy and punishment of those involved in the incidents through proper identification. 

They urged all, especially the owners of all types of industrial units, to remain careful at individual level to avert such serious accident in the future.
“We need to come out from the blame-game culture. We need to be more responsible and the owners must play a very active role to that end,” BEF President M Fazlul Hoque told reporters at a press conference at the MCCI conference room.
read more.

* RMG units reopen:

Workers demonstrating for death penalty of Sohel Rana

Though the readymade garment factories reopened Monday morning after a closure of two days in the wake of labour unrest following Savar building collapse, the workers were staging demonstration in Ashulia and Gazipur.

Workers in Ashulia and Gazipur refused to join work and continued to demonstrate demanding death penalty to Sohel Rana, owner of the nine-storey building that collapsed on Wednesday, said Atiqul Islam, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
He however could not inform the situation of other parts of the country. read more.
daily star bd

* Frantic effort to locate survivors:

Rescuers continued frantic efforts to locate whether anyone is still remaining alive inside the rubble on Monday as they continue second phase of operation using the hydraulic cranes.

They removed the heavy concrete slabs of what once was a nine-story building, starting from Sunday night.
No more body was recovered nor anyone could be pulled out alive from beneath the debris of the building that collapsed on Wednesday.
The death toll from the collapse now stands 381.  to read.
daily star bd

* BGB deployed in N’ganj RMG belt:

Members of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) were deployed in the readymade garments belt of Narayanganj on Monday morning to avert any untoward incident over Rana Plaza collapse in Savar.

Deputy Commissioner of Narayanganj Monoj Kanti Boral said five platoons of BGB members led by Major Pasha will be on guard at the strategic points of the district’s industrial areas.
He said further the BGB members have already started patrolling the city streets to maintain law and order in association with other law enforcing agencies, including police.  read more. & read more.
  logo

* Another Rana Plaza victim dies at DMCH:

Another victim of Rana Plaza collapse died Monday while undergoing treatment at Dhaka Medical College Hospital.

The deceased was identified as Mozammel Haque, 25, a swing operator of New Wave Buttons and son of Zahirul Haque of Uttar Salal village in Sirajganj district.
Family sources said Mozammel succumbed to his injuries at about 8am.
Mozammel was admitted to DMCH on Thursday after he was recovered from the wreckage of the building. He worked at the 4th floor of Rana Plaza.  read more.

* Garment workers’ protest- Factories, vehicles vandalised in Savar, Gazipur:

Thousands of garment workers stormed out of their units and vandalised several factories in Savar and Gazipur as the readymade garment factories reopened Monday morning after a two-day closure.

The vandalised at least 200 vehicles in Savar during the demonstration protesting the deaths of a few hundred workers when nine-storey Rana Plaza collapsed Wednesday.
Workers in Ashulia and Gazipur refused to join work and continued to demonstrate, said Atiqul Islam, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
Our Gazipur correspondent reports, most of the RMG factory has stopped production fearing further vandalism.
The workers also blocked Dhaka-Mymensingh road for two hours since 2:15pm.
Workers also took to the streets and started demonstration in Savar. 
read more.
& read more. & read more.
daily star bd  wf-escenic-times

* High-profile ILO team due Wednesday:

A four-member high-profile delegation of the International Labor Organization (ILO), led by its Deputy Director General (DDG) for Field Operations and Partnerships, Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo, arrives here on Wednesday to discuss labour issues with the authorities concerned. 

The delegation will visit Savar building collapse site and hold talks with the government officials and the owners of the factories during their four-day visit.
“It’s a very important visit and this is a very high-level delegation. What ILO says it’s an urgent visit following the Savar tragedy,” President of Bangladesh Employers’ Federation (BEF) M Fazlul Hoque told reporters at a press conference at the MCCI conference room on Monday.   read more. & read more. & read more.
  daily star bd BSS

* Rana’s father held in Moghbazar:

Detectives arrested the father of Sohel Rana, owner of nine-storey Rana Plaza in Savar, in Moghbazar in the capital Monday.

Abdul Khalek’s arrest came in the afternoon a day after Rana’s arrest in bordering Benapole area by members of Rapid Action Battalion.
Rana Plaza, a nine-storey building housing five garment factories, a branch of Brac Bank and a shopping complex, collapsed on Wednesday trappings several thousand people inside it.
The building collapse death toll now stands 381.
Detectives, acting on a tip-off, raided a flat at Madhubagh in Moghbazar around 2:00pm and arrested Khalek, Deputy Commissioner of Ramna Division Sheikh Maruf Hasan told The Daily Star.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
daily star bd  banglanews24 Logo  logo

* High-powered committee to review safety measures in factories: Cabinet:

Adopting a condolence motion over the huge loss of lives in Savar building collapse, the Cabinet on Monday decided to form a high-powered committee to physically review the infrastructures and other safety measures in RMG factories across the country.

The condolence motion was adopted at the regular weekly meeting of the Cabinet held at the Secretariat with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Cabinet Secretary M Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said the Cabinet decided to form a high-powered committee, headed by a state minister, to physically review the infrastructures and other safety measures in garment factories across the country, aiming to prevent the recurrence of such catastrophes in the RMG sector in the future.  read more.

* Hope dims for Bangladesh survivors:

Rescue workers in Bangladesh have given up hopes of finding any more survivors, after a fire delayed their efforts to dig into the rubble of a building that collapsed five days ago.

Officials leading the operation said on Monday they doubt they will save any more lives, after they failed to rescue a young woman named Shahanaz, whom they believe was the last remaining survivor.

“We found a woman alive,” Mustafa Kamal, a volunteer rescue operator, told Al Jazeera. “When we went to rescue her, an outsider joined the operation with a metal grinder, and from there it sparked, it led to a fire, and she died”.
The firefighters managed to put out the fire, but the smoke spread to several floors leading them to believe that there are no more survivors. The blaze also injured at least six rescuers.  read & see more (video).
aljazeera

* Hopes for more survivors fading:

Hopes of finding more survivors in the building collapse could soon come to an end in a heartrending scene as the rescuers on Sunday midnight began breaking the inaccessible concrete blocks with heavy machines in search of dead bodies.

In a bizarre tragedy-within-tragedy at the last minute before the second phase of the rescue operation, a female garment worker might have burnt alive as “a fire broke out from an electric cutter machine in the hole while she was being rescued”, witnesses and officials on the spot said.

The unfortunate woman was named Shahina, hailed from Kushtia.

Earlier in the evening, the joint rescue team led by army extended the time of first phase of the rescue operation in search of five more survivors who were reported trapped inside the wreckage of the collapsed Rana Plaza at Savar. read more.
DAILY SUN

* Four more bodies found after launching of 2nd phase rescue drive:

Four more bodies were recovered from the wreckage of  collapsed Rana Plaza in Savar since the second phase of rescue operation began Sunday midnight, raising the death toll to 382.

Nearly 111 hours after the Rana Plaza collapse, the 2nd phase of rescue operation using heavy equipment started at 12.10 am Monday.
With the recovery of four more bodies from the debris till this afternoon, the death toll from the collapse now stands at 382. So far, nearly 2,444 people rescued alive, and the search for survivors is still going on, said General Officer Commanding (GOC) of Savar Cantonment Major General Chowdhury Hasan Sarwardi.
read more. & read more.
  daily star bd

* Sohel Rana on 15-day remand:

Dhaka court here on Monday placed Sohel Rana, owner of collapsed Rana Plaza, on a 15-day remand in two cases filed in connection with the complex collapse.

Senior Judicial Magistrate Wasim Sheikh passed the order when police produced him before the court seeking a 20-day remand.
After hearing, the court granted an 8-day remand in a case filed under penal Code Act while seven days’ remand in another case filed under Building Construction Act.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
  daily star bd  BSS  DAILY SUN

* RMG workers block road at Mohakhali:

Garment workers of Nasa Group blocked Gulshan-Mohakhali link road in the capital since Monday morning demanding their arrears.

Transport movement on Dhaka-Tangail highway remains suspended since morning following the blockade, which was continued until 4:30pm when the report was filed.
Biplob Kumar Sarkar, deputy commissioner of Tejgaon Division, said some cracks developed on the wall of the building of Nasa Group at Tejgaon on Sunday.

As the authorities shifted some of the valuables from the building Sunday night, a rumour spread that Nasa Group has decided to shut down its three garment factories, the DC said.
Hearing the news, around 1,500 workers of three factories took to the street in front of Nasa building around 10:00 Monday and started demonstration demanding the arrears, he said.  read more.
daily star bd

* Bangladesh workers vent anger at building disaster:

Thousands of Bangladeshi garment workers walked out of their factories Monday, demanding the death penalty for the owner of a tower block that collapsed and killed at least 381 of their colleagues.

Managers at all of the country’s 4,500 garment factories had given workers an unscheduled two days holiday over the weekend in the hope that anger over last Wednesday’s disaster at the Rana Plaza would subside.

But police and unions said there was a mass walk-out in the Ashulia industrial zone on the outskirts of the capital Dhaka soon after the reopening on Monday morning and workers then began a protest march through the area.
Local police chief Badrul Alam put the number of protestors at more than 15,000 while a local television network, Private Independent, reported that a number of vehicles had been torched, including an ambulance.
Police responded with rubber bullets and tear gas to bring the unrest under control.
read more.
channelnewsasia

* A rescue operation launched amid frustration- Five more bodies found:

As the introduction of the heavy equipment replaced the manual rescue mode at the collapsed Rana Plaza during the early hours on Sunday, the voices of many unseen survivors were still being heard and some even were about to be rescued by civilian rescuers.

Abdur Rahim Mollah, a civilian rescuer, told UNB that the rescuers had to abandon the rescue of some of the survivors in the ruins halfway as the army personnel forced them to leave the site before introducing the heavy equipments.

But the army personnel said the sooner the heavy equipments are used the better the results will be, and forced the civilian rescuers to evacuate the places, leaving their last attempted rescue unfinished.
read more.
& read more. & read more.
  BSS  logo

* BGMEA to form 7-member committee to compensate workers affected from Savar building collapse:

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) today decided to form a committee in a week to determine terms and conditions on how to compensate the workers affected from the Savar building collapse.

The decision came at an emergency meeting of the association with buyers of Bangladesh’s apparel products at the BGMEA’s conference room here.  read more.
BSS

* RMG buyers worried over Savar tragedy, political unrest: BGMEA chief:

The international buyers of readymade garments here on Monday expressed grave concern over the huge casualties in the Savar building collapse and the ongoing political unrest in the country.

“They (RMG buyers) have become extremely worried because of the current political unrest and the Savar tragedy followed by the Tazreen Fashions inferno,” President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) M Atiqul Islam said.
He was talking to reporters after a views-exchange meeting between the representatives of apparel producers and the buyers in the capital’s BGMEA Bhaban in the wake of the Savar building collapse. 
read more.
& read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
& read more.
  wf-escenic-times  logo  newstodayBD  daily star bd 

* BGMEA should be more responsible to protect industry: e-media leaders:

Owners and chief executives of the country’s private television channels on Monday advised the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers’ and Exporters’ Association leadership to be more cautious and responsible to safeguard the export-oriented industry.

Tragic incidents are taking place in the apparel sector one after another and if precautionary measures were taken at the initial stage, such incidents would not have recurred so frequently, they told a views-exchange meeting held at the BGMEA office in the wake of Wednesday’s Savar disaster that resulted in heavy casualties and cast negative impacts on the country’s apparel industry.  read more.

* Govt nods RMG safety panel formation:

Taking a cue from the worst-ever industrial disaster in Bangladesh, the government has decided to form a high-level committee to scrutinise safety measures in readymade garment factories across the country.

Monday’s regular Cabinet meeting, chaired by the Prime Minister, also decided to update the existing building code with specifications for the authorities concerned to approve building designs, Cabinet Secretary M Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan told reporters after the meeting.

A State Minister will head the committee, with representations from various ministries, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) and various workers’ organisations.

Bhuiyan said the committee would physically review the infrastructures and other safety measures in garment factories across the country and then submit a report to the Cabinet committee, aiming to prevent recurrence of such human tragedies in the RMG sector in the future.  read more.
wf-escenic-times

* Cabinet decides to form high-powered body to visit all RMG units:

The cabinet decided on Monday to form a high- powered committee with the responsibility to visit all the garment factories across the country soon and submit reports to the government.

It decided to review and upgrade the existing National Building Code -2006, amid the recurrence of building collapse incidents over the past few years and asked the ministry of housing and public works to submit reports on the present condition of building infrastructures which are vulnerable in the country.  read more.

*  Ensuring safety of the garment workers:

It is so heartbreaking that on April 24, an eight-storey factory building in Savar that housed five garment factories collapsed, causing death to several hundred workers and injuries to thousands.

We saw a similar incident just five months ago when fire in Tazreen Fashions killed 112 workers. But what happened after that? It is unfortunate that after the Tazreen incidence, four probe committees were formed and although all the committees reported of negligence of the owner, no legal measure has yet been taken.

How long will such brutalities continue? It seems we have as though taken these as natural calamities that they will happen and there is nothing to do about? And how long will our politicians continue with lofty pledges after each of such incidents and not take necessary steps to stop these from happening?  read more.

* Apparel sector needs a regulatory body:Un

Deaths of over 380 people under the debris of the Rana Plaza (many like to call the huge number of casualties mass murders) seemed to have drawn a lot of attention, support and sympathy from broader section of people and institutions at home and abroad.

Unfortunately, though humanitarian in nature, these are all reactions only. Deep into our hearts, we know, reactions and aftermath donations, assistance and sympathy will not take us anywhere to make sure the mayhem does not happen at any time or again in future.
The Spectrum episode in 2005 did show us the dilapidated condition our garment factories or plants were in. It pointed fingers at the non-compliance even with the minimum building standards.
The Tazreen Fashion episode showed us our garment owners’ lack of preparedness to ensure workers’ safety or workplace safety. And now the Rana Plaza mayhem tells us everything has broken loose — be it building code, workers’ safety, workplace security, owners’ ability or indifferent attitude to handle crisis situations and the government’s failure to monitor and protect the interests of the toiling masses.
read more.

 * End to hopes:

Heavy equipment come in for recovery; 6 more bodies recovered

Rescuers have pulled out seven bodies from the debris of Rana Plaza in Savar since the beginning of the second phase of the rescue operation using heavy machines at 11:30pm on Sunday.

Last night, according to ISPR, the death toll in the deadliest building collapse in the country’s history stood at 384.
Rescuers comprising specially trained fire fighters, personnel from armed forces and volunteers pulled a total of 2,818 people, including the dead and the survivors, out of the debris. It could not be known how many bodies are still in the ruins.
Yesterday, the site was off-limit to general people with hundreds waiting outside the cordon.  read more.
daily star bd

* Chances for more survivors slim:

Rescuers on Monday began using heavy equipment to remove rubble from the collapsed Rana Plaza as chances of finding any more survivors were getting diminished.

Search was halted on Sunday night by a fire which broke out in one of the hole cut in the north-west of the building. The rescuers believe that the possibility of still survivors being trapped in the rubble was little after the fire, caused by spark from a rod-cutter.
A coordinated move to rescue trapped Shahnaj Parveen went futile because of the fire, ending her 106-hour fight for survival.
The military said the rescuers would continue search for survivors under the rubble even if they use heavy equipment like hydraulic cranes and bulldozers.
read more.

* Voices from debris still heard:

Four more bodies were recovered from the wreckage of collapsed Rana Plaza in Savar since the second phase of rescue operation began Sunday midnight, raising the death toll to 382, reports UNB.

Nearly 111 hours after the Rana Plaza collapse, the 2nd phase of rescue operation using heavy equipment started at 12.10 am Monday.
With the recovery of four more bodies from the debris till this afternoon, the death toll from the collapse now stands at 382. So far, nearly 2,444 people rescued alive, and the search for survivors is still going on, said General Officer Commanding (GOC) of Savar Cantonment Major General Chowdhury Hasan Sarwardi.
Of the total bodies, 370 were handed over to the victims’ families.  read more.
newstodayBD

* Death Toll Reaches over 400 in Bangladesh Factory Collapse:

The death toll is now 400 and will most likely continue to rise, since an estimated 600 to 700 workers remain trapped in the rubble following the collapse of the Rana Plaza building on Wednesday morning, April 24.

Rescue teams fear that many of the trapped workers will not survive.
Hundreds of desperate parents continue to search for their children, many of them in their teens and 20s, who worked sewing garments in the five factories housed on the Rana Plaza building’s upper floors. The bodies of the dead are being brought to a local high school in Savar where families come to search for their loved ones.
read more.
IGLHR

* Workers stage rowdy protests:

Many garment factories faced an unannounced shutdown yesterday after thousands of apparel workers took to the streets of Gazipur, Savar, Narayanganj and Ashulia to protest the deaths of their fellow workers in the Savar building collapse.

The agitating workers blocked highways, vandalised vehicles and disrupted traffic, forcing factory owners to send their workers on leave for the day.
The authorities in Gazipur and Narayanganj deployed Border Guard Bangladesh soldiers to maintain law and order.
The undeclared closure of factories has left garment makers without production for almost six days since the nine-storey Rana Plaza caved in on Wednesday, causing heavy casualties.  read more.
daily star bd

* Workers’ demo in Savar, Gazipur demands Sohel be hanged:

350 RMG units close again amid violent labour unrest

Thousands of apparel workers on Monday staged violent demonstrations at Savar and Ashulia demanding capital punishment of Juba League leader and Rana Plaza owner Sohel Rana and other persons, including local lawmaker Murad Jong and upazila nirbahi officer Kabir Hosen Sarder, responsible for Wednesday’s deadly building collapse.

The agitated readymade garment workers blocked the Dhaka-Tangail highway at Jamgora and Jirabo points in Ashulia and the Dhaka-Aricha highway at Fulbaria in Savar.
They vandalised three factories and set two cars on fire and vandalised more than 50 vehicles, including an ambulance, on the highways during the demonstrations against the death of around 400 workers and injuries of many more in the collapse of the nine-storey Rana Plaza.  read more. & read more. & read more.
   wf-escenic-times 

* Unrest in RMG sector must be dealt with wisely:

We can not over-emphasise the importance of readymade garments because it is the lifeline of our economy.

We are heavily dependent on it as livelihood of millions of people depends on it. We should be very careful before taking any steps regarding this sector. RMG sector has been experiencing a turbulent time. I hope it will come out stronger than ever before.

We need guidelines so that these industries can make progress. We must keep patience for that as change will not appear suddenly. It requires time. If we start now, it will take at least five years to notice the changes. We must go ahead with slow, steady and wise steps. Savar tragedy has shocked the countrymen but we must not make it a political issue. read more.

* Banks to raise Tk 100cr for Savar victims:

Banks have agreed to create a Tk 100 crore fund to help the victims of Savar tragedy and tackle such disasters in future, directors and bankers said yesterday.

The decision came at a meeting between Bangladesh Bank and bankers and owners of commercial banks at the BB headquarters in Dhaka, with Governor Atiur Rahman in the chair.
Bangladesh Association of Banks and Association of Bankers Bangladesh — the platforms of bank owners and chief executives — will sit soon separately to finalise their contributions to the fund.  read more.
daily star bd

* NBR proposes tax-waiver for donations to Savar victims:

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) is set to offer tax exemption facility to encourage people to come forward voluntarily with financial support for the victims of the tragic building-collapse at Savar.

The revenue board has taken the move to this effect and sent a proposal to the ministry of finance (MoF) for its approval.
It has sought Finance Minister AMA Muhith’s consent to allow the income tax returnees a full waiver of tax on the amount donated as support for the victims or the members of their families.  read more.

* Police hunting Spanish national, 2 more RMG unit owners:

The police are hunting the owners, including a Spanish national, of three garment factories that were housed in Rana Plaza that collapsed on Wednesday at Savar.

Additional superintendent of police of Dhaka ABM Masud Hossain said they were out to hunt Spanish citizen David Mayor Raco, managing director of Phantom Tac Limited.
He said they were also hunting Ether Tex Limited managing director Mahbubul Alam and director Jesmin Alam Biva, wife of the company chairman, Anisur Rahman.
Masud said they had been confirmed that Raco was still in the country and the police were trying to trace him and the other two garment factory owners. read more.

* 29 unidentified bodies set to be laid at Jurain:

Twenty-nine unidentified bodies of Savar building collapse will be laid to rest at Jurain graveyard Monday night.

Anjuman Mofidul Islam, a voluntary organisation, will carry out the burial.
The Dhaka district commissioner’s office handed over the bodies to the organisation around 8:20pm.
DNA (Deoxyribo Nucleic Acid) sample of the bodies had been collected for their identification after the burial, Sarwar Jahan, a deputy director of Anjuman Mofidul Islam, told The Daily Star.
The bodies, which were not claimed by their families after their recovery from the collapsed building in Savar, had been kept at Dhaka Medical College morgue.
Rana Plaza, a nine-storey building housing five garment factories, a branch of Brac Bank and a shopping complex, collapsed on Wednesday trappings several thousand people inside it.
to read. & read more.
daily star bd  wf-escenic-times

20130430

* ‘Give me his body, at least’:

Having waited for full five days for her husband working at the collapsed Savar building, Ratna Begum has now given up the hope of his return alive. Now all she wants is his body.
“Give me a trace of my husband. If it’s not possible to return him alive, please return his body at least. Now I want nothing other than my husband’s body,” she was heard wailing on Monday.
Ratna, with her six-month baby in the lap, broke into tears while talking to bdnews24.com at Savar’s Adhar Chandra High School grounds.
Her husband Ruhul Amin was working in a garment factory on the sixth floor of Rana Plaza when the commercial building collapsed on Apr 24.
Since the accident, Ratna has been running from the debris to the school grounds to hospital morgues in search of her husband.  read more.
wf-escenic-times

 * Havoc around lack of data:

Josna Begum desperately asked around for the whereabouts of her son Jasim, a 22-year-old worker in a garments factory which used to be on the fourth floor of the collapsed Rana Plaza.

Her anxious query… “Where is my son?”… remained unanswered for the past four days apparently due to the lack of a database system to list the names of the victims, both dead and alive.
Josna visited the Adhar Chandra High School playground in Savar, along with 15 relatives, to identify if Jasim was amongst the dead brought there. They even checked morgues in Dhaka for his body.
They missed none of the hospitals, clinics, or primary healthcare centres in Savar, and even visited Dhaka clinics and hospitals, where many of the injured were taken.
The family meticulously went through all the lists of the injured being treated at every outlet to no avail. They had listed Jasim’s name at the playground as missing since the collapse, but no news of him surfaced.  read more.
daily star bd

* File murder case to ensure punishment for Savar tragedy: BNP:

Opposition BNP on Monday demanded the government file a murder case against all those, including Rana Plaza owner Sohel Rana, responsible for the Savar tragedy.

“The ministers are saying the Savar tragedy is not an accident, but a killing. So, a murder case must be filed against Sohel Rana and all others responsible for it,” said BNP standing committee member Moudud Ahmed.  read more.

* Cranes used in 2nd phase Savar rescue operations:

The second phase of the rescue operations in Savar began on Sunday morning. This phase involves the use of heavy equipment to dislodge the rubble of Rana Plaza, the eight-storey building which collapsed on Wednesday.

The deployment of heavy equipment created a furore among the relatives of missing workers as they felt this would crush their last hope of finding their dear ones alive. Members of the rescue team claimed they have decided to use heavy equipment only after they became certain that there was no survivor inside the building.
Though officials said the death toll was 389 till Monday, unofficial sources claimed that it rose to 402, including the five bodies recovered on Sunday. So far, nearly 2,444 people were rescued from the rubble and the search for survivors is still going on, said Maj. Gen. Chowdhury Hasan Surwardi, general officer commanding of the Savar Cantonment.  read more.
logo

* Who owns the Rana Plaza land? :

The inquiry committee, set up in the aftermath of the Savar building collapse, is trying to determine the actual ownership of the land where Rana Plaza stood.

Rabindra Nath Sarker, a resident of the area, said the land belonged to him, but was forcibly taken away by Sohel Rana who built Rana Plaza. Local people too stood by Sarker. On Monday, the assistant commissioner (Land) of Savar and tahshilder (local land officer) informed the home ministry’s probe committee through a letter that the owner of the land was Sohel Rana, who was arrested on Sunday by the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) before he could flee to India. This was stated by the probe committee chief, Mainuddin Khandaker. Khandaker, also additional secretary in the home ministry, said an experts committee will try and find out who the real owner of the land is.     read more.
logo

* Lets us make this May Day meaningful:

The International workers’ Day or May Day is just knocking at the door and I hope this day will be celebrated more enthusiastically. Although we are living in twenty-first century, our workers are still deprived of their basic human rights. We can not blame only the owners of garments for that as buyers of international market also have responsibility towards poor workers.

When a buyer pressurises a seller for price reduction, the ultimate effect falls upon the poor workers. International buyers also should consider the plight of the workers when they buy apparel for their renowned companies. I think present situation of RMG sector can be improved considerably if the international buyers and the owners of garments meet and spent a bit of their fortune for the workers to improve their living standard and working environment.  read more.

* US concerned on factory tragedies, political unrest:

The United States has expressed concern over recent tragedies in factories in Bangladesh as well as political violence and reported rights abuse by members of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB).

The concern was expressed by US Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Eileen C Donahoe during the hearing on human rights issues in Bangladesh under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism in Geneva on Monday. “We appreciate the government’s willingness to address worker safety and rights, but remain concerned by the recent tragedies in factories.  Concrete steps should be taken to improve worker conditions and remove barriers to fundamental labour rights,” she said.
read more.
logo

* Sorry Shaheena:

The word “tragedy” falls short in many senses when it comes to the death of Shaheena, a Rana Plaza victim who survived the collapse, but died while waiting to be rescued.

Clinging to life for more than 100 agonising hours trapped in the northeast corner of the third floor, she had given the nation something to hold on to.
But all efforts to bring her out went in vain when a fire broke out inside the sandwiched floors of the collapsed building during the rescue operation.
“It is extremely painful to see a soul of such strong will, determined to survive, slipping through the fingers,” said firefighter Abul Khayer, who recovered lifeless Shaheena yesterday at around 4:00pm.

Shaheena had all the reasons to hope to be rescued once she had managed to communicate with the rescuers Saturday afternoon. She had three more female survivors around her who went silent since Sunday afternoon.
By Sunday morning, the rescuers had made a tunnel and provided her with saline and oxygen. In the evening, they managed to cut some iron rods of the beam, behind which she got trapped. But they could not pull her out, as her body could not slip through the tiny space.  read more.
daily star bd

* Deaths in RMG units must stop:

Before the crimson sun in the sweltering late summer morning blazes down on the street, girls and boys, mostly in their teens stream out of their shanties to reach their common destination — the workplace, a garments factory.

Day in and day out, no matter what the weather is like, it is scorching heat or pouring rain and thunderstorm or biting cold of a winter morning, they weave through the crowded roads to be in time in their factories to escape the wrath of the owners. This is a common everyday sight witnessed in almost all the roads and streets in the capital and its suburbs and also in other cities and towns of the country.
The young bread-earners swarming the garment factories mostly from rural Bangladesh sweat blood for at least ten hours a day with rustic simplicity for their livelihood.

Their hard labour in exchange of a mere subsistence wage helps the employers earn substantially and the country the most coveted foreign exchange by exporting readymade garments (RMG). About 5,000 garment factories in the country employ about three million workers, more than 80 percent of whom are women and most of them in their mid or late teens. to read.
newstodayBD

* Western shoppers concerned at workers’ safety in 3rd World:

Shoppers in the west have expressed their growing concern about workers safety in the developing countries following the tragic Savar building collapse, US news agency Bloomberg reported on Monday.

In the report, it said Bangladesh’s US$18 apparel industry is marred by factories with poor electrical wiring and insufficient number of exists and little firefighting equipment.

More than 1,000 garment workers have died in fires and other disasters in Bangladesh since 2005, the Bloomberg said citing a data of the Washington-based advocacy group — International Labour Rights Forum.
read more.

* Cheap clothes at cost of life:

Garment workers eventually pay the price as buyers strive to pay less

“Low prices. Every Day. On everything” — Wal-Mart’s new slogan replaces the old one in circulation since 2007 — “Save money. Live better”.

Both show the sad face of garment business. They also reveal the crux of the problem: when you want to go cheap, your operation will go cheap too.
You have to get the cheapest thing from the garment manufacturer. And the manufacturer will try to cut corners.
The big question is: which corner will he cut?
If one looks at the value chain of garment manufacturing, the answer becomes clear. The lone objective of the international buyers is to negotiate orders at the same price, if not less, as last year’s.

And, for every year, it is always a done deal as an unofficial league of big buyers maintains an identical low price policy in negotiation.
In the whole string of operations, the job of manufacturers is to bring in fabrics and accessories and then make clothes that involve around 20 percent of the negotiated price. The big international buyers control the remaining 80 percent for, at least, not to sell clothes at a lower price. The sale price is usually 4-8 times the purchase price.  read more.
daily star bd

* Mass Murder At Savar:

It’s past midnight now, I took a shower after returning home but it refuses to go away.

I can smell it on my wet hair as strands blow over my face while the fan whirs above. I can smell it on my nightwear and, as I rest my chin on my clasped hands, I can smell the stench of rotting corpses and bloated bodies which stretches from Rana Plaza to Adhar Chandra school grounds in Savar – rise up from my fingers.

It has not only come home with me, all that scrubbing as I showered has proven to be of little use.
It is not the dead workers who are to be blamed. The stench rises from, as Vijay Prasad puts it, the terror of capitalism.

At this end of the subcontracting regime, terror has become normalised, which is why the BGMEA head Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin could get away by declaring in June, there is “no logic for increasing the wages of workers.”

Which is why the BGMEA could callously disregard the Tazreen factory fire last November ­when more than 112 workers were burnt alive because the gates had been locked. Which is why it could get away by not taking any visible and effective followup measures – of investigating and identifying structurally unsafe factories, of insisting that they be closed down until safety standards had been met, or else, BGMEA membership would be cancelled.

But why should BGMEA members be bothered? As a discussant pointed out in a TV talk show, each BGMEA member chips in only 2,000 taka for a death compensation claim. A pittance when compared to the material benefits owners gain from “shortening the extent of the labourer’s life” (Marx, quoted by Prasad). Shortening, literally.

Ayon, a photography student of Pathshala, remarked on entering the car as we left Savar for Dhaka, “Both Lima apu and you smell of corpses. My family members said the same thing when I got home last night, I couldn’t smell it on me but I can smell it on you.”  read more.
SHAHIDULnews

* Death toll rises to 397:

At least 397 garments workers have been found dead and thousands others injured as an 8-storied building–Rana Plaza–collapsed in Savar bus stand area of Dhaka on Wednesday morning.

The rescue team identified some 352 bodies and handed over to family and relatives.
Death toll may rise as many others were still trapped in the collapsed building. Police and hospital sources confirmed the matter to banglanews.
read more. & read more.
banglanews24 Logo  daily star bd

* Rana, 4 garment owners taken to court:

Owners of Rana Plaza and five RMG factories were taken to the High court on Tuesday morning to produce them before it as per the order.

The owners are Sohel Rana, owner of the collapsed building–Rana Plaza, Baslus Samad Adnan, owner of New Web Bottoms and Mahmudur Rahman Tapos, owner of New Web Style, M Aminul Islam, owner of Phantom Apparels of Rana Plaza and Md Anisur Rahman, owner of Ether Textile Limited.  read more.
banglanews24 Logo

* Govt plans fresh panel for garment factory inspection:

The government yesterday decided to form a high-powered committee for regular inspection of the country’s garment factories.

The decision came at the weekly cabinet meeting, which adopted a condolence motion for the building collapse at Savar last Wednesday, which has, so far, claimed at least 381 lives and injured 2,429.
The committee, to be led by a state minister, will visit every garment factory in the country and examine the building conditions, work environment and fire safety measures.
Based on the findings, a report would be compiled for the cabinet committee, which would decide the next course of action.  read more.
daily star bd

* HC order on Judicial Commission sought:

A directive of the High Court (HC) was sought Monday relating to constituting a Judicial Commission by the government to probe the tragic Rana Plaza collapse that killed at least 381 people at Savar.

Seeking the directive, a Supreme Court (SC) lawyer filed a supplementary petition with the HC.
The matter is likely to be pleaded today (Tuesday) before the HC Bench of Justice Mirza Hussain Haider and Justice Muhammad Khurshid Alam Sarkar, petitioner-cum Advocate Dr Eunus Ali Akond told the FE.  read more.

* Award exemplary punishment to Sohel Rana:

Bangladesh is the brand to the global garment buyers for its fine and ultra-modern stitches. Many workers have been doing such tedious job with satisfaction to promote Brand Bangladesh, the globally famous garments exporting brand. Most of them are women and young girls.

The garment workers are low-paid but still they work hard. Sometimes, the owners of the garment factories do not pay them their due wages, bonus and other allowances but they are working hard and earning foreign remittances for our country.
Hundreds of garment workers have already lost their lives. Savar tragedy has shocked us. It is a great shock not only for Bangladesh but also for the foreign buyers.   read more.

* Savar incident example of mass killing: CPB:

Leaders of the Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) on Monday demanded exemplary punishment for the persons responsible for the Savar incident.

They demanded filing another case against the culprits including the owner of the Rana Plaza for committing crimes as their decision led to death of hundreds of workers. Mujahidul Islam Selim, president of the CPB made the demand while he was addressing at a programme held at National Press Club. The programme was organized by the CPB in protest against the Savar incident.
He said, the cases, which were filed earlier following the Savar incident would not ensure the capital punishment for the culprits as the merit of the cases did not cover the heinous crimes. Hence, the government should file another case against them under the penal Code seeking their death penalty for the mass killing incident, he noted.
Five cases were filed against them in this regard. “If the trial is completed, they would be awarded for two or three years’ imprisonment, which is less compared to their crimes,” he noted.  read more.
logo

* High cost of cheap clothing:

The world’s big retailers, most of which have flocked to profit from Bangladesh’s low wages and poor working conditions, should share the responsibility of building collapse and casualties in Savar, The Financial Times of UK has said in an editorial.

The powerful daily starts the editorial questioning, “WHAT is a fair price for a T-shirt?” The tragedy unfolding in the ruins of a Bangladeshi garment factory, where at last count more than 220 people have died and scores more are missing, is a stark reminder that in a world where consumers demand ever lower prices, the cost of a bargain can be too high, it says.
The disaster in Bangladesh was first and foremost the fault of the building’s owner. A local politician, he used his influence to circumvent building regulations and extend a complex rented out to factories making clothes for cut-price store brands such as the UK’s Primark.
But the world’s big retailers, most of which have flocked to profit from Bangladesh’s low wages and poor working conditions, share responsibility for operating in a country where such abuse is rife.  read more.
Logo

* Made in Bangladesh: The Terror of Capitalism:

On Wednesday, April 24, a day after Bangladeshi authorities asked the owners to evacuate their garment factory that employed almost three thousand workers, the building collapsed.

The building, Rana Plaza, located in the Dhaka suburb of Savar, produced garments for the commodity chain that stretches from the cotton fields of South Asia through Bangladesh’s machines and workers to the retail houses in the Atlantic world. Famous name brands were stitched here, as are clothes that hang on the satanic shelves of Wal-Mart.
Rescue workers were able to save two thousand people as of this writing, with confirmation that over three hundred are dead. The numbers for the latter are fated to rise. It is well worth mentioning that the death toll in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City of 1911 was one hundred and forty six. The death toll here is already twice that. This “accident” comes five months (November 24, 2012) after the Tazreen garment factory fire that killed at least one hundred and twelve workers.

The list of “accidents” is long and painful. In April 2005, a garment factory in Savar collapsed, killing seventy-five workers. In February 2006, another factory collapsed in Dhaka, killing eighteen. In June 2010, a building collapsed in Dhaka, killing twenty-five. These are the “factories” of twenty-first century globalization – poorly built shelters for a production process geared toward long working days, third rate machines, and workers whose own lives are submitted to the imperatives of just-in-time production.  read more.

* Walmart, H&M and Gap: Do your part to stop the murders of garment workers in Bangladesh:

Join us in calling on Walmart, H&M and Gap, the largest buyers of clothing made in Bangladesh, to make immediate safety improvements in their supplier factories by joining the legally-binding Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement. All three retailers have been involved in the scourge of factory disasters in Bangladesh.

Right now, scores of garment workers are still trapped under the rubble of a building in Bangladesh which housed six factories making clothes for dozens of US and European brands.
These workers were denied their right to refuse dangerous work: they were told they would lose a month’s pay if they didn’t report to work the day after cracks appeared in the walls. Over 370 people have perished as a result of Wednesday’s tragedy, and it remains unclear how many more victims will lose their lives as the rescue operation continues. read more & please sign here.
ilrf

 * Urgent: Bangladesh building collapse:

Over 300 people have been killed in the collapse of a building in Bangladesh which housed garment factories making clothes for Primark, Matalan, Mango and other major brands.

Please take action now and demand these UK high street brands take responsibility for this tragedy by paying full compensation to the workers and committing to act to ensure disasters like this become a thing of the past.

Sign the petition to Primark, Matalan and Mango now

Primark, Matalan and Mango make huge profits off the backs of the workers in factories like these, and now they must take responsibility for their failure to ensure workplace safety and prevent disasters like this. If these companies had ensured proper monitoring and health and safety policies were in place these deaths could have been avoided.

Together with our partners in Bangladesh, the National Garment Workers Federation, we are calling on Primark, Matalan and Mango to pay full compensation including lost earnings to the families who have lost relatives and the workers injured in this disaster.  read more.
War on Want

11:43:00 local time map of india INDIA

* Delhi: 23 children rescued from garment factory:

They were packed in one cramped room, worked 18 hours a day and paid a meagre Rs.100 per week.

On Thursday, 23 children, all aged between 7 and 15 years and had been trafficked from Nepal and Bihar, were rescued from a garment factory in central Delhi’s Nabi Qarim.
According to the police, a raid was conducted with the help of NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) at five different units and the children rescued.
They said eight traffickers and employers had been detained for questioning during the raid.
“All the boys who have been rescued are between 7 and 15 years in age. They have revealed that they were made to work in deplorable conditions for 18 hours a day at a stretch,” said Rakesh Senger, an activist of Bachpan Bachao Andolan.
All the rescued children claimed they were brought to Delhi on the pretext of being provided with better education.  to read.

* Severed lives:

As news filters in of the tragedy that garment workers, mostly women, are facing in Bangladesh with the collapse of Rana Plaza last week, the eight-storey building that housed at least four garment factories, we look nearer home at the plight of our women garment and textile workers

WOMEN AT WORK:A factory in Tirupur.PHOTO: M.Balaji.
WOMEN AT WORK:A factory in Tirupur.PHOTO: M.Balaji.

Big spenders, who pay humongous amounts for branded clothing, hardly realise the struggles of those who produce them. Categorised as ‘garment and textile workers’, most of them are women and work in the textile and garment manufacturing hubs of Tirupur in western Tamil Nadu, Gurgaon in the National Capital Region (NCR) and Bengaluru, Karnataka, contributinge between 55 to 60 per cent of the country’s total apparel exports.

The Union Textile Ministry in March, 2012 pegged the turnover of the textile industry at $ 55 billion at current prices, with domestic demand accounting for 64 per cent. WTO data on international trade ranked India as the third largest global textile exporter, coming up behind China and the European Union (EU); and the world’s sixth largest clothing exporter after China, the EU, Hong Kong, Bangladesh and Turkey.

Yet, the people toiling to achieve these figures get minimal benefits. There was a screening of a documentary by Surabhi Sharma, titled Labels from a Global City , on the lives of garment workers in Bengaluru recently. In the discussion that followed, Madina – who has been a garment worker for 10 years – shared the realities of her working life, “I stitched around 60 pieces an hour previously. Now, we produce nearly 150 pieces. Any gap or error means that we have to work extra without pay. This we have to do even if we are unwell, tired out, expecting a baby or face a personal emergency. Failure to fulfill the target attracts a penalty.”  read more.
Return to frontpage

11:43:00 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* SLFP union boss slams govt over wages and electricity:

‘living wage’ to the workers as the purchasing power of current wages was little or nothing and the masses had been pushed from the frying pan to the fire.

The Sri Lanka Nidahas Sevaka Sangamaya is a trade union affiliated to the SLFP.
Addressing an SLFP news conference, at the Mahaweli Centre, Colombo, on the forthcoming May Day, he said that this year’s May Day rally at Campbell Park will be one with many challenges.
“It has come to a stage where the trade unions have to change their stance in dealing with the current crises,” Devendra said.  read more. & read more.
INDEPENDENT SL  Lankapage Logo

 

map of Asia

HEADLINES TODAY:

ASIA
* End in sight for ‘cheap’ Asia labour

NORTH KOREA
* The risk of a permanent shutdown at Kaesong

PHILIPPINES
* Labor group calls for living wage, not ‘libing’ wage
* Labor wants Aquino to move on jobs lack
* Labor seeking : lower electricity costs, higher wages

CAMBODIA
* Where trade union killers go scot-free
* Workers strike for fired leader
* Phnom Penh agrees to Union parade on International Labor Day
* Cambodian PM Holds a Get-Together with Workers
* Hun Sen Seeks Garment Factory Worker Vote

INDONESIA
* Govt Should Set UMR Every 3 Years, Forkan Say
* BetterWork Indonesia Media Update

BURMA/MYANMAR
* Workers’ Rights Improving, but Problems Remain
* US to review Myanmar’s GSP

NEPAL
* Garment to get two per cent incentive
* Trade unions unite for inflation-based salary hike
* Jute mills face closure amid power crunch

BANGLA DESH
* No one found dead or alive since mechnised rescue in Savar began Sunday
* Savar Tragedy: BEF demands fair probe, punishment of those responsible
* RMG units reopen
* Frantic effort to locate survivors
* BGB deployed in N’ganj RMG belt
* Another Rana Plaza victim dies at DMCH
* Garment workers’ protest- Factories, vehicles vandalised in Savar, Gazipur
* High-profile ILO team due Wednesday
* Rana’s father held in Moghbazar
* High-powered committee to review safety measures in factories: Cabinet

* Hope dims for Bangladesh survivors
* Hopes for more survivors fading
* Four more bodies found after launching of 2nd phase rescue drive
* Sohel Rana on 15-day remand
* RMG workers block road at Mohakhali
* Bangladesh workers vent anger at building disaster
* A rescue operation launched amid frustration- Five more bodies found
* BGMEA to form 7-member committee to compensate workers affected from Savar building collapse
* RMG buyers worried over Savar tragedy, political unrest: BGMEA chief
* BGMEA should be more responsible to protect industry: e-media leaders
* Govt nods RMG safety panel formation
* Cabinet decides to form high-powered body to visit all RMG units
* Ensuring safety of the garment workers
* Apparel sector needs a regulatory body
* End to hopes
* Chances for more survivors slim
* Voices from debris still heard
* Death Toll Reaches over 400 in Bangladesh Factory Collapse
* Workers stage rowdy protests
* Workers’ demo in Savar, Gazipur demands Sohel be hanged
* Unrest in RMG sector must be dealt with wisely
* Banks to raise Tk 100cr for Savar victims
* NBR proposes tax-waiver for donations to Savar victims
* Police hunting Spanish national, 2 more RMG unit owners
* 29 unidentified bodies set to be laid at Jurain

20130430

* ‘Give me his body, at least’
* Havoc around lack of data
* File murder case to ensure punishment for Savar tragedy: BNP
* Cranes used in 2nd phase Savar rescue operations
* Who owns the Rana Plaza land?
* Lets us make this May Day meaningful
* US concerned on factory tragedies, political unrest
* Sorry Shaheena
* Deaths in RMG units must stop
* Western shoppers concerned at workers’ safety in 3rd World
* Cheap clothes at cost of life
* Mass Murder At Savar

* Death toll rises to 397
* Rana, 4 garment owners taken to court
* Govt plans fresh panel for garment factory inspection
* HC order on Judicial Commission sought
* Award exemplary punishment to Sohel Rana
* Savar incident example of mass killing: CPB
* High cost of cheap clothing
* Made in Bangladesh: The Terror of Capitalism
* Walmart, H&M and Gap: Do your part to stop the murders of garment workers in Bangladesh
* Urgent: Bangladesh building collapse

INDIA
* Delhi: 23 children rescued from garment factory
* Severed lives

SRI LANKA
* SLFP union boss slams govt over wages and electricity

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