in the news on-line, 3 May 2013

map of asia ASIA

* Low-paid Asian workers rally for better work conditions, benefits:

Tens of thousands of low-paid workers took to the streets on May Day to demand higher wages, better benefits and improved working conditions a week after a building collapse in Bangladesh became a grim reminder of the dangers of lax regulations in poor countries.

Laborers in Indonesia, Cambodia, the Philippines and elsewhere marched and chanted en masse yesterday, sounding complaints about being squeezed by big business amid the surging cost of living. Asia is the manufacturing ground for many of the world’s largest multinational companies.

Thousands of garment factory workers in Bangladesh also paraded through the streets calling for work safeguards and for the owner of the collapsed building to be sentenced to death.

In Indonesia, the world’s fourth-most populous country, tens of thousands of workers rallied for higher pay and an end to the practice of outsourcing jobs to contract workers, among other demands. Some carried banners reading: “Sentence corruptors to death and seize their properties” and protested against a proposed plan for the government to slash fuel subsidies. read more.

* For 25 cents, buyers can wash blood off their shirts:

When a fire at the Tazreen garment factory in Bangladesh killed 112 people in November, many wondered what more it would take before something would be done to improve labor conditions in the country, the world’s No. 2 clothing exporter.

The world didn’t have to wait long for the next test: the collapse on April 25 of Rana Plaza, an eight-story building housing multiple factories. At least 382 people died. In total, more than 1,000 garment workers have been killed in Bangladesh since 2005, according to the International Labor Rights Forum, an advocacy group.

Sewing clothes isn’t inherently dangerous. Deaths can be prevented if factories adhere to basic fire and structural standards. Can this happen in Bangladesh, where in 30 years the garment industry grew from nothing to an $18-billion-a-year business on the premise of cheap labor and minimal effective regulation? It’s an example of the kind of tough challenge that, increasingly, producers and consumers in a global marketplace must jointly meet. read more.  & read more.
businessmirrorPH  daily star bd

01:59:03 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Fast fashion, fair wages: Vietnam’s lesson to Bangladesh:

From factory fires to slave labour, the growth of mass manufacturing in South East Asia has not been problem-free, but having shed its “sweatshop” reputation, the region could have lessons for Bangladesh.

The deaths of at least 550 people in the building collapse near Dhaka last week has unleashed global consternation over conditions in the factories that produce fast fashion — cheap, catwalk-inspired clothes — for top global brands.
Amid talk of consumer boycotts, Bangladesh needs to reform its industry before fashionistas wonder “if they should be wearing blood-stained dresses”, Kalpona Akter of the Bangladesh Centre for Worker Solidarity told AFP.
Communist Vietnam — which produces clothes for disposable fashion industry giants Zara, Mango and H&M — shows it is possible to have “extremely strong” labour laws, fair wages and a healthy garment industry, experts say.
read more. & read more.
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Over 8.7 million USD invested into Sedo Vinako Garment and Textile Company:

Sedo Vinako one member company, Ltd. ( Korea) has just inaugurated and put into operation the Sedo Vinako textile and garment factory in Dong Yen Industrial Hub (Duy Trinh commune, Duy Xuyen district).

 The total investment capital for this factory reached more than $8.7 million USD, located  in 6ha-land area. As planned, the factory needs about 4,000 labourers and most of 600 workers had been recruited in the 1st phase were local residents. The Sedo Vinako factory specially products tents and instruments for camping, toys, handbags and other garment textile products. to read.
QUANGNAMportal

* Local footwear exports surge:

Viet Nam ‘s footwear industry sees many favourable conditions to boost its exports as most local businesses have received steady orders for the second and third quarters of 2013.

According to the Viet Nam Leather and Footwear Association (Lefaso), many Vietnamese producers are now turning to new markets, including the US and Japan, in addition to their traditional consumers in the EU. read more.

* Amended Labour Code takes effect:

The amended Labour Code, which goes into effect this month, permits employees to take a six-month maternity leave but leaves the minimum wage unchanged.

Since enterprises will likely continue struggling in terms of production and business both this year and next year, raising the minimum wage now to meet the minimum living demands of workers could force them into bankruptcy, particularly in the textile and garment and footwear sectors, said Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Pham Thi Hai Chuyen.
However, she added that the minimum wage would be adjusted to meet workers’ minimum living costs by 2016 or 2017.  read more.

01:59:03 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Lese majeste, polarisation strain media:

The media is struggling with ethical issues, political polarisation and the constraints of the lese majeste law, a report has revealed.

Gayathry Venkiteswaran, executive director of the Bangkok-based Southeast Asian Press Alliance (Seapa), said the political divide in Thailand makes it difficult for journalists and editors to make the right decisions in reporting the news.
“Society is divided very much, which puts pressure on journalists. This is the number one problem which the media has to deal with,” she said.
Another major challenge is writing reports related to lese majeste.  read more.
Bangkok Post Logo

01:59:03 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Labour Day 2013:

1 May 2013, there are 6,000 to 7,000 Cambodian workers took to the streets to demand a living wage and improved working conditions.

see video.
CLEC

* Garment Industry Wage Survey: $100 per Month – Not Too Much to Ask:

The Community Legal Education Center (CLEC) would like to express its extreme dissatisfaction with the current result of garment industry wage negotiations.

Further, CLEC commends the draft law put forward by Opposition lawmaker, Mr. Son Chhay which proposes a monthly minimum wage of US$150 for Cambodian garment workers. We support and commend the draft as a prominent step towards the institution of a living wage in Cambodia. Further, in light of the upcoming election we encourage trade confederations to help their members to familiarize themselves with the proposed legislation and the benefits it would provide them.

CLEC brings attention to the inadequacies of the newly instituted minimum wage of US$75 per month. Based on the comprehensive report commissioned by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), only a wage increase to US$100 would ensure that Cambodian garment workers would be able to:

* Maintain their current living standards (in which food expense is insufficient) but;
* Increase their capabilities to support the basic needs of other household members;
* Have some savings remaining for the future.

Currently, the Cambodian garment industry is typified by poverty, malnutrition, exploitation and mass fainting.
If the Royal Government of Cambodia and the Garment Manufacturers’ Association of Cambodia (GMAC) continue to neglect these issues, gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms, mass fainting and frustrated industrial relations are guaranteed to escalate to a point where the industry and the lives of the Cambodians therein, are no longer sustainable.  read more.
CLEC

* Former union leader’s statue unveiled:

The Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia (FTWUKC) unveiled a statue of Chea Vichea, former union leader, on Friday.

The statue was officially set in front of Wat Langka, to the west of Independence Monument where he was shot and killed.  read more.
CAMHERALD

02:59:03 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

 * What Happens If a Business Can’t Afford the New Minimum Wage?:

A business owner in Surabaya was put in jail for not paying 53 of his employees the proper salary according to the new minimum wage. It appeared that his business can’t afford it. I listened with an ache in my heart. How painful is it for him to not even be able to afford minimum wage?

I’m not going to go into the political aspect of this, but I am moved to discuss more about some thoughts you can think about this week to maximize profit and eliminate waste in your business. Let’s just get to it (This may take deeper explanations in future blogs). read more.
The Jakarta Globe

* BetterWork Indonesia Media Update:

1. Labor Inspector Urgency.Read the full article here (Article is in Bahasa Indonesia)
Read the Google Translate English Version here

2. ILO: Better Work Indonesia helps to stamp out fire risks in partner factories.
    Read the full article here
3. Labors urge government to meet seven-point demand. Read the full article here
4. Some Retailers Rethink Role in Bangladesh. Read the full article here
5. Asia‐Pacific Labour Market Update, April 2013. Read the full article here
6. Businessmen told to pay attention to workers’ welfare. Read the full article here
7. Fast Fashion, Fair Wages: Vietnam’s Lesson to Bangladesh.
Read the full article here

BetterWork Indonesia Overview here.
BW indonesia

00:59:03 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

 

THE SAVAR BUILDING COLLAPSE

* Death toll rises to 442:

The death toll from the April 24 building collapse in Savar reached 442 on Thursday when the rescuers have continued their drive using heavy equipments.

So far 2,868 people were pulled out both alive and dead from the debris of the collapsed nine-storey building, Shahinul Islam, director of the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), told reports during a press briefing at the Savar site.
“A responsible section has been spreading propaganda saying that many bodies have been concealed. This comment is not only hurting the relatives of the victims who remain still untraced, but also the rescuers, he said.
“The false allegation is very sad,” he told reporters during the briefing.

The exact number of the missing people still remains unknown as BGMEA could not provide an accurate list of the workers, he added.
The army, which is dealing with the rescue operation, arranged a milad mahfil at Savar for the victims.
On Thursday morning, rescuers pulled out several bodies removing the debris of the nine-storey Rana Plaza.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
daily star bd    BSS   Logo

* Bangladesh minister rebuts safety criticism:

Government “working hard to improve labour conditions and safety standards” as building collapse toll crosses 400 mark.

The foreign minister of Bangladesh has defended the government’s initiatives to improve labour rights in the country, amid mounting pressure over perceived lax safety standards blamed for last week’s deadly building collapse.

Dipu Moni spoke to Al Jazeera on Wednesday as the confirmed death toll from the collapse of the illegally built Rana Plaza near the capital Dhaka crossed the 400 mark.
There have been widespread accusations that safety regulations are both insufficient and rarely enforced in Bangladesh’s $20bn garment industry, as the collapse was only the latest in a string of deadly disasters. read more.
aljazeera

* Foreign minister rebuts safety criticism:

Foreign Minister Dipu Moni has defended the government’s initiatives to improve labour rights in the country, amid mounting pressure over perceived lax safety standards blamed for last week’s deadly building collapse.

Moni spoke to Al Jazeera on Wednesday as the confirmed death toll from the collapse of the illegally built Rana Plaza near the capital Dhaka crossed the 400 mark.
There have been widespread accusations that safety regulations are both insufficient and rarely enforced in Bangladesh’s US$20 billion garment industry, as the collapse was only the latest in a string of deadly disasters.
Moni said a “culture of impunity” had prevailed in the country for many decades, making many people – including owners of buildings and factories – feel they did not need to comply with laws and building codes, according to the Aljazeera report.
read more.
daily star bd

 * Mayday Rally turns to a mourning day at Dhaka, Bangladesh:

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Amidst widespread public condemnation surrounding the consecutive major factory disasters in Bangladesh since last year, the nation went into protests and demonstrations on Mayday 2013.

Since the Spectrum tragedy back in 2005, numerous small scale factory disasters have rattled the workers and their families, killing hundreds already and culminating in two of the most gruesome factory tragedies of industrial – the Tazreen Factory Inferno (November, 2012) and the Savar Factory Collapse (April, 2013), killing together several hundreds and amputating thousands for life.

The need today seem to start from better government policies, implementation of such policies, public resistance against having factories in residential areas, worker resistance to inhuman treatment, manufacturer’s awareness to ensure sustainability of their profits by ensuring a balanced atmosphere among all stake holders rather than a volatile and unstable one, and most importantly it is the top of the pyramid – the sourcing Brands – which need to come forward to put pressure on the entire system for a positive change.  read more.

* Punishment of owners of Rana Plaza, RMG factories demanded:

Civil rights group representing students, teachers, professionals and workers staged daylong sit-in outside the BGMEA building on May 1 to press its seven-point demand including capital punishment for the owners of Rana Paza and five garment factories causing the  deaths of hundreds of workers on April 24 at Savar.

Their demands included publication of a full list of those killed and injured in the collapse of multi-storey Rana Plaza on April 24, paying compensation of Tk 50 lakh to each victim and Tk 30 lakh for each injured worker.  read more.

* Compensation for Savar tragedy victims demanded:

Meherpur district BNP led by former lawmaker and national executive member Masud Arun brought out a huge mourning procession in the city on April 30 demanding trial of the killers of the Savar tragedy and proper compensation for the victims.

With the slogan “We are mournful losing kith and kin”a spontaneous gathering was held prior to the mourning procession in front of the town hall where Masud Arun said, the incident that took place at Rana Plaza in Savar was a genocide.
He demanded im-mediate trial of those responsible for the tragedy. Among others, BNP leaders Abdur Rahman, Alamgir Hossain Khan, Jamaat leader Sirajul Islam and BJP leader Sheikh Sayed Ahmed spoke. The mourning procession paraded the main streets.  read more.
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* May Day: Reflecting on Bangladesh factory disaster and corporate terror:

How is it that we label some acts of violence with the brush of global terrorism while others are relegated to the more mundane category of everyday violence? Tsarnaev brothers were instantly characterised as terrorists, and Muslim terrorists at that, with a national and social media frenzy dissecting their crimes boosted by the live spectacle of the “manhunt” in Boston.

(…)
The horrific factory fire on April 24 outside of Dhaka, Bangladesh, that killed more than 400 people, mostly young Muslim women, and injured at least 1,000 more might conceivably also be understood as an example of globally networked violence.

The eight-storeyed Rana Plaza complex, where the fire broke out, housed a variety of businesses, including a bank and five garment factories that employed 3,122 garment workers. Workers noticed a large crack in the building on April 23 and the building collapsed the next day. Police ordered it to be evacuated, and the bank on the second floor told its workers not to come in the next day.
However, the garment factories decided to stay open for business, and the result was senseless and preventable tragedy. This was only the latest in a series of factory fires and collapsed buildings in Bangladesh that have killed over 900 workers since 2005 and injured thousands more.

Who is guilty?
Big retailers in the US and Europe have pointed fingers at local sub-contractors in Bangladesh as the guilty party behind these “tragic accidents”. But there is nothing accidental in these too common acts of terror against workers and companies like Walmart, The Gap, H&M and hundreds of others, who have refused to address basic demands for safety by workers in the Bangladeshi garment industry.
read more.
aljazeera

* Workers observe May Day:

20130502 NEWAGE

Apparel workers shout slogans at a May Day rally in front of the National Press Club on Wednesday, demanding pay hike and workplace safety. — Sourav Lasker

Tens of thousands of workers, including those from the readymade garments (RMG) sector, on Wednesday observed the historic May Day in the country and organised peaceful demonstrations.

They demanded punishment for Sohel Rana, the owner of the ill-fated Rana Plaza, and of the owners of the garment factories housed in the building. The workers also vowed to fight against repression and social discrimination and realise their rights. They also pledged to press for improving their working conditions and gain better wages and job security.
The nine-storey Rana Plaza collapsed on Wednesday last week, killing at least 402 people and raising concerns about workplace safety in the country’s RMG sector.SYLHET: The district administration and regional labour office brought out a joint rally in observance of the historic May Day on Wednesday. — Focus Bangla
read more. & read more.  & read more.
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* A case for trade unionism in RMG sector:

The recent tragedy following collapse of an ‘unauthorised’ building at Savar killing more than 400 workers (till date) and maiming a large number of survivors epitomises total lack of a safe working atmosphere/place. Such an atmosphere is the minimum right they ought to have been given.

The workers were totally at the mercy of the owners and their trusted lieutenants (the administrative staff).

This scenario obviously has to change as the relationship between the owners and the workers cannot be on a ‘one-way street’ basis when both parties are involved in the common pursuit of manufacturing and exporting garments. Therefore, the risks and rewards must be equitable to each of the parties. But sadly, it is now heavily weighted in favour of the owners.  read more.

* Mass funeral at Jurain:

A large number of unclaimed bodies have been buried at Jurain graveyard in the capital for the second time in less than six months.

Thousands of people thronged the city corporation’s burial ground when 32 victims of the worst-ever deadly building collapse in the country on April 24 were taken on their last journey on Wednesday.
They were laid to rest some 30 yards from the spot where 53 unidentified victims of the inferno at Tazreen Fashions in Ashulia in November last year had been buried.
“It hasn’t been long since the Tazreen fire victims were buried here,” said Tajul Islam, a guard, pointing to the western side of the ground.
The authorities decided to bury the Savar victims on the other side of the fire victims to avoid confusion, he added.  read more. & read more.
daily star bd 

* RMG closes after cracks spotted:

A ready-made garment factory closed down amidst protests by workers who claimed to have spotted cracks in the factory building in Gazipur’s Kaliakoir Upazila on Thursday morning.

The workers said cracks have appeared on the walls of the second floor of ‘Knit Asia’ RMG unit in Safipur area.
The unit’s Manager Mohammad Irfanur Rahman said that the workers spotted the cracks, stopped work and started to protest around 8:00am.
The factory was shut down for the day, Rahman said, promising to ‘repair’ the cracks after consulting engineers and BGMEA office-bearers.
read more.
  & read more.
wf-escenic-times  daily star bd

* ‘Using of heavy machinery contributes to building collapse’ :

An enquiry committee of the government has found that heavy machinery and high-capacity generators set up at garment units are largely responsible for Savar building collapse.

“During the enquiry, we have found that use of substandard materials during the construction also contributed to the building collapse,” head of the committee Main Uddin Khandaker told BSS today.  read more. & read more. & read more.
BSS  Logo

* No permission taken for upper floors:

Sohel Rana, owner of the Savar building that caved in on April 24 killing at least 442 people, has said they illegally raised the upper floors against permission to construct a six-storey structure.

Both Rana and his father Abdul Khaleq, who is the building owner on papers, also admitted their liability saying they had failed to control the quality of both construction and materials, said an interrogator.
“They also named to us three engineers who had been involved in the construction,” said the interrogator asking not to be named.
Police yesterday arrested one of the engineers, Abdur Razzak, 50, who had visited the building after the cracks developed on April 23 and allegedly held out the assurance that those would cause “no harm”.
Besides Razzak, a former engineer of Jahangirnagar University, was hired as the consultant for the ninth floor, which was under construction during the collapse.
read more.
daily star bd

* BGMEA core committee to trace out risky factory buildings:

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers’ and Exporters’ Association (BGMEA) has formed a 5-member core committee, with representative from Rajuk, Buet, BGMEA and BKMEA, to trace out the defective and risky factory building under Rajuk area.

Rajdhani Unnayan Kartipaksha (RAJUK) chairman Eng Nurul Huda leads the committee. Other members of the committee included Buet Civil Engineering chief Prof Mujibur Rahman, Eng Fazlul Azim MP, BGMEA president Atiqul Islam and BKMEA president Salim Osman.
“The committee has already started its work,” said BGMEA president Atiqul Islam while addressing a press briefing on Thursday adding that another technical committee led by Rajuk member Sheikh Abdul Mannan was also formed to help the core committee.
read more.  & read more.
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* PM to receive donations for Savar victims Sunday:

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will receive donations for the ‘Prime Minister’s Relief and Welfare Fund’ on Sunday (May 5) for the Savar building collapse victims.

PM’s press secretary Abul Kalam Azad on Thursday said the Prime Minister will receive cheques for the fund at her office (PMO) from 11 am to 12 pm on the day.
Those  interested to donate to the Prime Minister’s Relief and Welfare Fund for the ill-fated families of those killed and injured in the Savar building collapse have been requested to hand over cheques at the PMO on the day.  to read.

* OFA donates for Savar victims:

The Old Faujians Association, a society of former cadets of Faujdarhat Cadet College, donated money to the Prime Minister’s Relief and Welfare Fund as part of its commitment to standing by the victims of the Rana Plaza collapse.

The association’s Central Governing Body Chairman Maj Sobhan and Secretary General M Musleh-Uz-Zaman met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in her office and handed over the token amount recently.
read more.

* Riddle over the missing:

No reliable data on how many people could not be traced; many still searching for their loved ones

Nine days into the Rana Plaza tragedy in Savar, how many people are still missing is a question officials cannot answer. All they can say is they do not have the exact number.

Rescuers say they are unaware of the number of people working at the nine-storey building when it collapsed on April 24, as the garment owners have not given them the actual figures.
Briefing journalists, ISPR Director Shahinul Islam yesterday said they were yet to ascertain the number of those missing because they were still waiting for a list of workers present on the day from the BGMEA.
Brig Gen Ali Ahmed Khan, director general of Fire Service and Civil Defence, told The Daily Star, “Rescue operation would have been easier had we had a list of the people working on different floors.”
As of 2:30pm yesterday, rescuers have pulled out 45 bodies from the debris since the second phase of the rescue operation began on Sunday night using heavy lifting equipment, according to Inter Services Public Relations Directorate (ISPR).
read more.
daily star bd

* Identify Risky Factories: 5-member body formed led by Rajuk chief:

Over Tk 5 crore deposited in BGMEA disaster fund

A five-member core committee, headed by Chairman of the Rajdhani Unnayan Kartipaksha (RAJUK) Engr Nurul Huda, has been formed to identify risky mills and factories with the Rajuk area, BGMEA president M Atiqul Islam said here on Thursday.

Other Committee members are Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) president AKM Selim Osman, Head of BUET Civil Engineering Department Prof Mujibur Rahman, former BGMEA first vice president M Fazlul Azim, MP, and BGMEA president M Atiqul Islam.
read more.

* BGMEA provides no workers’ lists: ISPR:

Inter-Service Public Relations (ISPR) director Shahinul Islam alleged that Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) didn’t provide any list of workers who worked in RMG units at Rana Plaza.

He came with the allegation in a press briefing in the Army control room at Savar on Thursday.
Shahinul Islam said, “Number of missing labours could have been assumed if we had their support with necessary information.”
He urged people not to spread rumour of covering-up the bodies as it hurts the sentiment of the relatives of the victims.
read more. & read more.  & read more.
banglanews24 Logo    Logo

* Slow legal process delays justice:

Culprits go unpunished

In 2005, at least 64 workers were killed in a building collapse at Spectrum Garments at Savar. The owners of the factory — Shahriar Sayeed Hasan and Abul Hashem Fakir — were sent to jail. But eventually they got out on bail in a month.

A writ petition filed against them is still pending for more than seven years. They are now doing business under different names.
On November 24, 2012, a deadly fire at Tazreen Fashions factory on the outskirts of Dhaka killed 112 workers. A day after the accident Ashulia police filed a case saying the fire was set by outsiders.
Experts suspect police had said so to save owner of the factory Delwar Hossain, despite his numerous faults, including blocking the exit passage and having no emergency exit. Hossain was never charged, let alone being arrested. read more.
daily star bd

* Waiting for a mother:

Theirs is a world of innocence, yet to pass into the sadness of experience.

And yet sadness is what awaits them, for tragedy has already cast its pale shadow on their lives.
Their mother Helena Akhter has gone missing, under all that concrete and rubble which claimed so many hundreds of lives through the Rana Plaza collapse last week.
These young siblings, Tasnur Islam and Tahseen Islam, despite holding up that picture of their mother, know not that she is gone for good, that her remains lie buried somewhere in that accursed soil.  read more.
daily star bd

* The Rana Plaza tragedy and the way forward:

The readymade garment (RMG) sector in Bangladesh has long been playing the role of a ‘goose that lays the golden eggs.’ The entrepreneurs have built up the giant export-oriented sector over the last 35 years-nearly $19 billion worth of RMG are exported to Europe and the United States.

The apparels are manufactured in over 4,500 factories which employ nearly 4.0 million people, mostly poor women, who come from countless villages in Bangladesh in the hope of employment and a better life. The result is not just high economic growth and rising foreign exchange earnings for the economy, but also an economic and social transformation that has lifted families out of poverty and empowered women leading to profound and long-term positive implications for the nation.

At what cost was this success achieved? Critics point out the ‘dark underbelly’ of the markets, the global business in general and the RMG sector in particular. The sector has given rise to massive corruption that has spread its tentacles to every facet of the society and the economy (Bangladesh was earlier consistently ranked one of the world’s most corrupt nations by the Transparency International), unsafe and exploitative working conditions for millions of women (not all factories are unsafe or have poor working conditions, but many are) comparable to the dark days of the Industrial Revolution in Europe. read more.

* Europe action against Bangladesh would have big impact:

If Bangladesh were to lose its preferential trading status with Europe over conditions in its garment factories, it could face hundreds of millions of dollars in duties and limits on access to its largest trading partner.

EU officials said on Wednesday they hoped the threat of action would be enough to make Bangladesh change its laws to secure a market which formed over a quarter of the south Asian state’s $40.5 billion annual exports in 2011. Any action would likely take more than a year.
“This is about firing a shot across the bows of Bangladesh to get them to engage on the issue,” an EU official told Reuters. “We want to turn up the diplomatic heat on them and get them to sit down and discuss this with us.”
read more.  & read more. & read more. & read more.  & read more.
daily star bd  logo  banglanews24 Logo wf-escenic-times

* RMG sector should take EU threat seriously: experts:

Bangladesh readymade garment sector should take the EU threat seriously as scrapping of GSP by the 27-nation bloc could put a severe impact on the sector, economists and exporters told New Age on Thursday.

Centre for Policy Dialogue executive director Mutafizur Rahman said, ‘Obviously it is a warning for Bangladesh. After the Tazreen fire the EU wanted to work with us (in ensuring workplace safety); but this time it moved one step forward and gave the warning.’
‘The warning came as we did not implement all commitments made earlier,’ Mustafiz said. ‘What we are saying that building code, fire safety and workers’ right must be implemented properly and inform the EU.’  read more.

* ILO call to hire more Factory Inspectors & for quick actions:

The chief of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has called upon the Bangladesh government to appoint hundreds of Factory Inspectors on an ‘urgent basis’ so as to ensure safety for the readymade garment workers.

Talking to the Daily Independent of Britain, ILO Director-General (DG) Guy Ryder mentioned some urgent steps that must be taken to avoid frequent accidents in Bangladesh’s garment factories, in which hundreds lose their lives every year.
The first step, he stressed, was to appoint Inspectors to oversee the safety measures in the factories.
He said currently only 55 such Inspectors were working in such a calamity-prone sector. “The number is inadequate,” the newspaper quoted him as saying.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
wf-escenic-times  daily star bd daily star bd   

* US ‘wants to help improve working conditions in Bangladesh’:

The US will continue to engage with its companies to discuss what role they can play in improving the working conditions in Bangladesh as businesses operating in the collapsed Savar building appear to have links to numerous companies in the US and Europe.

“The US actively engages with the highest levels of the government of Bangladesh, with exporters, and with buyers on the issues of workers’ rights and safe working conditions,” acting deputy spokesperson of the US Department of State Patrick Ventrell told reporters in a daily briefing in Washington on Wednesday.
read more.

* Help the humanitarian relief effort in Savar:

Please make a financial contribution to the relief efforts of the killed and injured garment workers of the Rana Plaza industrial homicide via a new dedicated bank account set up by the IndustriALL Bangladesh Council.

IndustriALL’s affiliates and supporters can make solidarity contributions for the humanitarian relief effort for victims of the Rana Plaza tragedy through the bank details below.
The account has been expressly set up by the IndustriALL Bangladesh Council, through which all affiliates in the country coordinate their joint work. This follows numerous requests received by IndustriALL from those wanting to provide support to the victims and their families of the Rana Plaza industrial homicide.  read more. Home

* US shoppers lash out at stores over Bangladesh:

Shoppers are speaking out against unsafe working conditions found in the Bangladesh factory building that collapsed last week.

Dozens of consumers took to social networks after more than 400 workers were killed when a garment factory building in Bangladesh collapsed last Wednesday.
The message that shoppers like Judy Caulfield had for retailers: Shame on you.
“Do the people running this company sleep at night knowing that they are partly responsible for the deaths of so many people?” she asked on the Joe Fresh page.
While some wondered how retailers could tolerate such conditions at factories they buy from, others threatened that they would stop shopping at stores connected to the collapse.
“I have a Joe Fresh gift card and was going to go shopping there. Now I’m not so sure,” Linda Bowser Fallis posted on Joe Fresh’s Facebook (FB)page. “Until companies like yours control the working situation and pay decent wages, it will happen again. And again.”  read more.
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 * US brands used Rana Plaza factories, Canada retailers to update industry guidelines:

The United States on Wednesday acknowledged that American clothing retailers were being supplied by the Bangladesh garment factories in Rana Plaza whose collapse killed more than 450 people.

The US called on the country to ensure workers’ rights and safe working conditions.
‘We understand that businesses operating in this building [Rana Plaza at Savar] appear to have links to numerous companies in the US and Europe, and so we’ll continue to engage with US companies to discuss what role they can play in improving working conditions, including in Bangladesh,’ said state department spokesman Patrick Ventrell.
He declined to identify the companies by name, and stressed that diplomats had an ‘ongoing dialogue’ with US buyers.  read more.

* Global retailers pledge help for Savar victims:

Western retailers have begun pledging compensation for garment workers killed or injured in last week’s building collapse in Bangladesh as rescuers have abandoned hope of finding any more survivors.

The official death toll from the collapse of the Rana Plaza outside Dhaka, which housed five factories that produced clothing for many major Western retail brands, passed 400 Wednesday, according to police, with hundreds more suffering severe injuries.
April 30, 2013: Members of the Beltane Fire Society celebrate the coming of summer during the Beltane Fire Festival.
read more.
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* Buyers want a regulator to ensure safety at factories:

Garment importing countries want a strong regulatory body soon to ensure workers’ rights and safe working conditions at Bangladeshi factories, in line with international labour standards.

Foreign diplomats in Dhaka also warned that “this (Savar building collapse) may be the last opportunity for Bangladesh to improve safety of workers.”
“There is now discussion all over Europe whether they will continue to buy Bangladeshi garment products… I think they will continue to buy, but this time there may be serious warning from foreign countries to enhance wage and work conditions in factories,” said a diplomat of a European country.  read more.
daily star bd

* Retailers rethink their role after Savar tragedy:

In the wake of the worst ever building collapse in Savar that killed over 400 hundred garment workers and injured hundreds of others, some Western retailers doing business with Bangladesh moved quickly to address their public concerns about the working conditions in the country, reports the New York Times. 

In an article published in the digital edition of the newspaper on Wednesday, Steven Greenhouse wrote: “Benetton repeatedly revised its accounts of goods produced at one of the factories, while officials at Gap, the Children’s Place and other retailers huddled to figure out how to improve conditions, and some debated whether to remain in Bangladesh at all.”
At least one big American company, however, had already decided to leave the country — pushed by the last devastating disaster, a fire just six months ago that killed 112 people.
The Walt Disney Company, considered the world’s largest licenser with sales of nearly $40 billion, in March ordered an end to the production of branded merchandise in Bangladesh. A Disney official told The New York Times on Wednesday that the company had sent a letter to thousands of licensees and vendors on March 4 setting out new rules for overseas production.  read more.
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* Dhaka building collapse highlights impact of supply chain on brand:

The tragic building collapse at a clothing manufacturer in Dhaka has thrown the spotlight back on to the issue of the supply chain and the actual cost of fast fashion. Primark, Bonmarché, Matalan, Benetton, Mango and Canadian brand Joe Fresh have all been linked to the factory but what of their reputations?

The tragic building collapse at a clothing manufacturer in Dhaka has thrown the spotlight back on to the issue of the supply chain and the actual cost of fast fashion. Primark, Bonmarché, Matalan, Benetton, Mango and Canadian brand Joe Fresh have all been linked to the factory but what of their reputations?
Some of the retailers involved have moved to pledge support families of those affected by the disastrous event that killed around 400 people and injured many more. read more.
Marketing Week

* Wal-Mart to JC Penney join talks on BD garments safety:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) and J.C. Penney Co. were among retailers sending representatives to a meeting near Frankfurt to discuss allying to improve worker safety in Bangladesh following the nation’s biggest industrial disaster.

The talks, organized by Germany’s international cooperation service known as GIZ, were aimed at winning support from the companies, labor unions and non-governmental groups for Bangladesh’s national action plan and for supplier assessments of fire and building risk, said Peter McAllister, a director of the Ethical Trading Initiative, who attended. A document covering the talks will be published May 15, he said.  read more.
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* Primark admits responsibility:

It’s now been a week since the Rana Plaza building collapsed in Bangladesh killing more than 400 people. Once again retailers, factory owners and the Bangladeshi government failed to ensure proper health and safety for garment workers making clothes bound for British shops.

Together with our partner organisation in Bangladesh – the National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF) – we launched a petition targeting the brands to secure justice for the victims and to press retailers to take responsibility for the workers in their supply chains. We also organised a demonstration outside Primark’s flagship store last weekend to ramp up the pressure on them to act. In Bangladesh hundreds of thousands of garment workers took to the streets protesting against the unnecessary deaths.

The pressure paid off: Primark issued a statement promising to pay compensation to the victims that worked in its supplier factory. Securing acknowledgement of responsibility towards the garment workers from Primark for their role in this disaster is a huge step forwards. Your support and the support of over 60,000 people who signed the petition has been vital to making this happen.

But this alone isn’t enough. Now we need to make sure this is full compensation including loss of earnings for all the workers. We need Matalan and Mango to provide full compensation to workers and their families as well. And above all, we must ensure all of the brands take action to ensure this kind of tragedy never happens again. The first step of this commitment is to sign The Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement –which none of the retailers have done.

To make this happen we need to get as many people as possible to sign the petition. If you’re yet to take action please sign the petition now. Please also email the action to your friends – you can use the text at the bottom of this email.
You can read more and sign here.
War on Want

* 15 May deadline set for Bangladesh safety plan:

IndustriALL and international clothing brands commit to a 15 May deadline to finalize an agreement on fire and building safety that will make the garment industry of Bangladesh sustainable. Funds will be made available for inspections, training and upgrades of dangerous facilities.

IndustriALL Global Union and its NGO partners Clean Clothes Campaign and Workers’ Rights Consortium met on 29 April in Eschborn, Germany with a group of international brands and retailers sourcing from Bangladesh and with the ILO to outline an agreement on fire and building safety in Bangladesh. The parties agreed on a 15 May deadline to finalize the text and commitments.

The meeting was hosted by the German Agency for Development Cooperation, GIZ.
The agreement will support the national action plan that was confirmed on 24 March by the Bangladeshi government, employers and unions.

Talks in Eschborn follow the collapse of a building near Dhaka which contained several garment factories. So far more than 400 bodies of workers have been dug out of the rubble, but the final number of casualties is likely to be much higher.

The agreement, building upon an earlier memorandum of understanding, will include principals on governance, inspections, remediation, training, a complaints process, transparency and reporting, supplier incentives, financial support and dispute resolution.  read more.
Home

* Rana Plaza: Demands to brands:

The Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) is giving a cautious welcome to the announcements of four brands implicated in the Rana Plaza tragedy that they will pay compensation to victims of the building collapse last Wednesday. They also urge more of the 50 plus brands linked to the disaster to step forward.
The details of the brands’ proposals have not been published.

To be worthwhile, the CCC says any compensation package must cover loss of earnings for those left unemployed, immediate medical care for those injured and long term compensation for injured workers and the families of those killed in the tragedy.

The final compensation figures, along with agreed contributions from all stakeholders, need to be negotiated with the Bangladeshi trade unions and IndustriALL, the global trade union federation representing garment workers. It must follow standards for compensation already established following previous factory collapses and fires in Bangladesh.
This includes the development of a clear and transparent mechanism for delivering short and long term compensation to the families of those killed and those injured at Rana Plaza. It is vital that brands and retailers immediately pay into a compensation fund that can be quickly distributed.

Local relief organisations are expressing grave concern about the mismanagement of databases containing information about victims. There is a need for immediate work to start on developing a coordinated, well maintained and comprehensive database of victims, without which the delivery or compensation to those who need and deserve it will prove impossible. Brands need to have representatives on the ground, working together to support such a process.

Ineke Zeldenrust of the CCC says, _”How can compensation be distributed quickly and to the right people without accurate records?
A victims’ database is as essential as negotiating with Bangaldeshi trade union federations and IndustriALL Global Union about the level of compensation”.

We are calling on all brands sourcing from the devastated Rana Plaza factories which collapsed on Wednesday 24th April 2013, killing more than 400 workers, to provide emergency relief, medical costs and compensation to all those affected by the fire.

They are also being asked, along with other key brands and stakeholders, to ensure an immediate and transparent investigation into the events surrounding the collapse and to take urgent steps to prevent future tragedies in the industry.
Brands sourcing from the Rana Plaza factories should send a delegation to Bangladesh immediately to meet victims and their families, trade unions and labour rights organisations and work with other buyers to ensure these demands are met.

Getting justice for the victims of Rana Plaza must be combined with immediate steps to prevent future tragedies. All brands involved must sign up to the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement and begin work to make the Bangladesh garment industry safe.  read more.
Site

* The legally-binding Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement:

Now is not the time for global brands to walk away from Bangladesh. Now is the time for them to join with worker advocates globally and locally, to ensure transparency and make a real commitment to ensure change for garment workers and save lives.

This International Workers’ Day, we are with heavy hearts as we continue to watch the official death toll rise to over 400 dead, with at least another 400 unaccounted for, at Rana Plaza in Bangladesh where construction crews have begun to bury the unclaimed bodies of the workers who were crushed to death when five garment factories collapsed last Wednesday.

As much as ILRF has followed these horrific accidents for years, written about their cause and warned against continued risks in “Deadly Secrets” [ http://laborrights.org/ds ], we too were shocked to our core last Wednesday. Shock has since turned to anger and more determination – for us and for many of the activists we have been hearing from and at the protests we’ve convened during the past month.
read more.  & read more.

& Here you can find the:
JOINT MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING ON FIRE AND BUILDING SAFETY
ilrf  Site

MORE AND OTHER NEWS:

* Factory collapse and corporate social responsibility:

In the wake of the horrific clothing factory  collapse which killed  some 400 near Dhaka, Bangladesh, international brand name retailers whose apparel products may have been produced there are under mounting pressure both to contribute to a compensation fund and to provide financial support for improving safety at some of the country’s 4,000 garment factories.

For international anti-sweatshop organizations such the Amsterdam-based Clean Clothes Campaign, such steps would be appropriate-indeed, morally required-examples of corporate social responsibility, examples of a sort of corporate code of conduct to which firms should subscribe, even if they are not legally required to do so. In fact, in the wake of a previous deadly fire in November, Wal-Mart had already pledged $1.8 million to train Bangladesh plant managers in safety techniques.
Such “CSR ” pressure aims to force firms to meet a so-called “triple bottom line” that considers not just profit but working conditions and impact on the environment, as well.
It can actually be thought of as a form of corporate philanthropy-the voluntary (albeit under pressure in this case) re-direction of profits to social causes. As the Harvard Kennedy School’s Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative has put it, “throughout the industrialized world and in many developing countries there has been a sharp escalation in the social roles corporations are expected to play.”  read more.
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* BGMEA core committee to trace out risky factory buildings:

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers’ and Exporters’ Association (BGMEA) has formed a 5-member core committee, with representative from Rajuk, Buet, BGMEA and BKMEA, to trace out the defective and risky factory building under Rajuk area.

Rajdhani Unnayan Kartipaksha (RAJUK) chairman Eng Nurul Huda leads the committee. Other members of the committee included Buet Civil Engineering chief Prof Mujibur Rahman, Eng Fazlul Azim MP, BGMEA president Atiqul Islam and BKMEA president Salim Osman.
“The committee has already started its work,” said BGMEA president Atiqul Islam while addressing a press briefing on Thursday adding that another technical committee led by Rajuk member Sheikh Abdul Mannan was also formed to help the core committee.  read more.
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* Draft labour law amendment bill draws flak:

The government’s draft labour law amendment bill drew widespread criticism from trade union leaders as well as the industry owners.

On April 22, the cabinet approved the draft labour law amendment bill.
Trade union leaders said that the draft bill was an attempt to enact a ‘black law’ on the part of the Awami League government forgetting its 2008 election pledges to the country’s millions of deprived workers.
They said that the government wasted more than four years on unproductive meetings before producing an anti-worker draft bill.
The business community leaders also expressed concern over several proposals in it saying they would hamper industrialisation.  read more.

* Where labour and life are cheapest:

That Bangladesh’s competitive edge is mostly founded on its cheap labour does not quite make its position enviable.

It gives the garments sector its strength, making it appealing to the buyers abroad, who otherwise boast a heightened sense of safety standard and working environment for workers. Notably, a US senator Tom Harkin made the first decisive step when he warned of Western boycott of readymade garments (RMG) produced by Bangladesh if its factories continued to employ under-aged children at its garments factories.
That crisis was amicably resolved when provisions were made for interim schooling and training for such children working in RMG factories. But the clash of interests came to a head-on when the question of improved working conditions together with safety in work places arose with renewed force.   read more.

LATEST:     THE SAVAR BUILDING COLLAPSE

* BD is reforming its garment industry:

Bangladesh now is a place for good conditions for the investment,” Sheikh Hasina told CNN`s Christiane Amanpour eight days after a nine-story building collapsed on the outskirts of Dhaka, killing at least 437 people, most of them garment workers.

She said 2,437 survivors were pulled from the rubble, where recovery work was continuing.
“Yes, there are some problems,” she said, but added that a committee has been formed to ensure the safety of buildings and workers.  read more.
banglanews24 Logo

* Death toll rises to 486:

Fire service and Red Crescent workers led-by army recovered those bodies from the rubble between 6:00am and 9:00am.

Amongst them, three were identified as Promila, Mamun and Jahangir.
As per Identity card found with the body of Pramila, she worked at sewing section in a garment factory housed in Rana Plaza.
Most of the male bodies had mobile phone but with female bodies had no mobile phone, rescuers said.  read more.
banglanews24 Logo

* Citing work condition, Walt Disney pulls out from Pakistan, Bangladesh:

The Walt Disney Company has announced its decision to pull out of Bangladesh, Pakistan and three other countries by April next year, citing safety standards of workers in the supply chain.

The decision was made before last week’s devastating collapse of a factory building in Bangladesh that left more than 400 people dead and over 2,500 injured.
Disney said that its decision was prompted by the November fire at the Tazreen Fashions Factory in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka that killed 112 people, and another fire in Pakistan that killed 262 garment workers last September.  read more.
The Economic Times

00:29:03 local time map of india INDIA

*  Wage hike brings relief to workers,industry cries foul:

The announcement of hike in minimum wages of workers in Punjab on the eve of International Labour Day by the state government has brought some respite to the workers who are facing the brunt of high inflation; however, it’s not going down well with the industry that has been opposed to such move.
Welcoming the announcement, district secretary of Centre of Indian Trade Union (CITU) Tarsem Singh Jodha said the hike in minimum wages would definitely help the working class to cope up with the rising prices; however, he added, “The move to announce it again on the eve of International Labour Day is politically motivated.”

“The notification of hike in minimum wages, which the labour minister announced on Tuesday, was issued about one-and-half month back, and the minister was merely doing a politics by announcing it on the eve of International Labour Day,” said Jodha.
read more.
hindustan

* Alok Industries, Arvind to see higher margins:

Alok Industries and Arvind Ltd (formerly Arvind Mills), two major textile companies, are likely to see a better quarter as cotton prices during the fourth quarter of FY13 have remained stable at around Rs 10,000 a quintal and synthetic fibre prices have been on the higher side.

Although cotton prices were around the same level last year during the same time, companies were sitting on costly inventory. Both companies still use more cotton than synthetic fibre. For Alok Industries, the share of revenue from polyester rose in the last financial year to 38 per cent from 35 per cent in FY12. read more.
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* ‘Remove export benefits for cotton yarn’:

The 167th executive committee meeting of Tirupur Exporters’ Association held here on Thursday passed a resolution urging the Union Government to remove the duty drawback and other export benefits given for export of cotton yarn from the country. A release said the demand was send as a representation to the Union Commerce Ministry for its consideration.

The knitwear exporters’ call for removal of export benefits for the cotton yarn was following the disappointment prevailing in the Tirupur cluster industry about the recent attitude of the spinning mills in southern India when it comes to reducing the yarn prices.
“Despite the recent reduction in cotton prices, the spinning mills in the southern part of the country have not made any efforts to reduce the yarn prices, which is deplorable,” TEA president A. Sakthivel observed. to read. 
Return to frontpage

* Cotton output may fall as farmers shift to more profitable crops:

With farmers continuing to switch from cotton to more profitable alternatives, India’s cotton crop in 2013-14 (cotton year) is likely to fall 170,000 tonnes at 5.7 million tonnes (33.5 million bales), said the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC). The country produced 34 million bales (each 170 kg) in 2012-13.

In its forecast for the crop released on Thursday, ICAC said the cotton crop would fall globally in 2013-14. An estimated 34.1 million hectares of cotton are being harvested in 2012-13, five per cent below the previous season; another five per cent drop to 32.2 million hectares is forecast in 2013-14 (July-June), it said. Accordingly, global output is estimated to decline about five per cent from 27.8 million tonnes to 26.3 million tonnes this season, and world production is forecast to drop another six per cent to 24.6 million tonnes during 2013-14.  read more.
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23:59:03 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Citing work condition, Walt Disney pulls out from Pakistan, Bangladesh:

The Walt Disney Company has announced its decision to pull out of Bangladesh, Pakistan and three other countries by April next year, citing safety standards of workers in the supply chain.

The decision was made before last week’s devastating collapse of a factory building in Bangladesh that left more than 400 people dead and over 2,500 injured.
Disney said that its decision was prompted by the November fire at the Tazreen Fashions Factory in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka that killed 112 people, and another fire in Pakistan that killed 262 garment workers last September.  read more.
The Economic Times

* Factory fire: Five workers suffocate, critical:

Five workers were critical on Thursday after inhaling smoke in a fire at a textile mill.

The fire is said to have started from an oil leak from a boiler.
Rescue 1122 officials said that a boiler at Sitara Textile Mills on Sargodha Road caught fire due to oil leak. The fire spread across the storage area.
Five workers, later identified as Muhammad Ilyas, 26, Qamar Saeed, 26, Ghulam Niaz, 20, Zahid, 21, and Ashfaq, 37, were trapped in a store and fainted from inhaling the smoke.

Rescuers pulled them out after the fire was controlled. They were taken to Allied Hospital, where doctors treating them said that they were in critical condition. They said the men had some burn injuries as well.
Millat Town Station House Officer Kashif Riaz said no complaint was registered against the owners. He said action could not be taken until then. The mill owners were not available for their comments.  to read.
The Express Tribune

* May Day: workers want protection, better wages:

Labour unions on Wednesday organised the Labour Day processions, rallies and seminars across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa amid calls by workers for better wages and protection.

The main event of the day in Peshawar was a rally of workers organised by Pakistan Workers Federation on Sher Shah Soori Road.  read more.
dawn

*       THE KARACHI-BALDIA (& LAHORE) FIRE:

* Heirs of 23 victims yet to get compensation:

The heirs of some 23 victims of Baldia factory fire tragedy, whose bodies could not be recovered, are still facing difficulties in obtaining their death certificates and receiving the government-announced financial compensation, thus further compounding their socio-economic problems.

The heirs of such victims of Ali Enterprise inferno of September 11 last year narrated their ordeal at a media briefing arranged by the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education & Research (Piler) and the Labour Education Foundation in connection with the International Labour Day on Wednesday.  read more.
thenews.com.pk

 

map of Asia

INFO:
The next newsletter and news bulletin will be published 6 May 2013,
Unless events require an extra edition.

SAVAR COLLAPSE: under “special reports you can find an overview of articlles.

HEADLINES TODAY:

ASIA
* Low-paid Asian workers rally for better work conditions, benefits
* For 25 cents, buyers can wash blood off their shirts

VIET NAM
* Fast fashion, fair wages: Vietnam’s lesson to Bangladesh
* Over 8.7 million USD invested into Sedo Vinako Garment and Textile Company
* Local footwear exports surge
* Amended Labour Code takes effect

THAILAND
* Lese majeste, polarisation strain media

CAMBODIA
* Labour Day 2013
* Garment Industry Wage Survey: $100 per Month – Not Too Much to Ask
* Former union leader’s statue unveiled

INDONESIA
* What Happens If a Business Can’t Afford the New Minimum Wage?
* BetterWork Indonesia Media Update

BANGLADESH
* Death toll rises to 442
* Bangladesh minister rebuts safety criticism
* Foreign minister rebuts safety criticism
* Mayday Rally turns to a mourning day at Dhaka, Bangladesh
* Punishment of owners of Rana Plaza, RMG factories demanded
* Compensation for Savar tragedy victims demanded
* May Day: Reflecting on Bangladesh factory disaster and corporate terror
* Workers observe May Day
* A case for trade unionism in RMG sector
* Mass funeral at Jurain
* RMG closes after cracks spotted
* ‘Using of heavy machinery contributes to building collapse’
* No permission taken for upper floors
* BGMEA core committee to trace out risky factory buildings
* PM to receive donations for Savar victims Sunday
* OFA donates for Savar victims
* Riddle over the missing
* Identify Risky Factories: 5-member body formed led by Rajuk chief
* BGMEA provides no workers’ lists: ISPR
* Slow legal process delays justice
* Waiting for a mother
* The Rana Plaza tragedy and the way forward
* Europe action against Bangladesh would have big impact
* RMG sector should take EU threat seriously: experts
* ILO call to hire more Factory Inspectors & for quick actions
* US ‘wants to help improve working conditions in Bangladesh’
* Help the humanitarian relief effort in Savar
* US shoppers lash out at stores over Bangladesh
* US brands used Rana Plaza factories, Canada retailers to update industry guidelines
* Global retailers pledge help for Savar victims
* Buyers want a regulator to ensure safety at factories
* Retailers rethink their role after Savar tragedy
* Dhaka building collapse highlights impact of supply chain on brand
* Wal-Mart to JC Penney join talks on BD garments safety
* Primark admits responsibility
* 15 May deadline set for Bangladesh safety plan
* Rana Plaza: Demands to brands
* The legally-binding Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement

MORE AND OTHER NEWS:
* Factory collapse and corporate social responsibility
* BGMEA core committee to trace out risky factory buildings
* Draft labour law amendment bill draws flak
* Where labour and life are cheapest
* LATEST:
* BD is reforming its garment industry
* Death toll rises to 486
* Citing work condition, Walt Disney pulls out from Pakistan, Bangladesh

INDIA
* Wage hike brings relief to workers,industry cries foul
* Alok Industries, Arvind to see higher margins
* ‘Remove export benefits for cotton yarn
* Cotton output may fall as farmers shift to more profitable crops

PAKISTAN
* Citing work condition, Walt Disney pulls out from Pakistan, Bangladesh
* Factory fire: Five workers suffocate, critica
* May Day: workers want protection, better wages
* THE KARACHI-BALDIA (& LAHORE) FIRE:
* Heirs of 23 victims yet to get compensation

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