15:07:32 local time PHILIPPINES
* Fatal working condition slammed as workers remember Novo fire, Bangladesh tragedy:
To mark the first year of the fire that razed down the Novo Jeans and Shirts mall in Butuan City and killed 17 workers, the national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and labor NGO Institute for Occupational Health and Safety Development (Iohsad) held a short program May 9 in Plaza Miranda, Manila.
Lighting candles and offering flowers to the memory of the dead workers, KMU and Iohsad also expressed solidarity with the workers of Bangladesh, where more than 760 workers were killed after Rana Plaza, a nine-storey building housing five garment factories, collapsed last April 24.
KMU and Iohsad also opened “Litrato Obrero,” a photo exhibit dedicated to showing workers in their workplaces in order to promote an awareness of occupational health and safety among the public. read more.
* Workers picket SSS, say no to premium hike:
Workers led by labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno picketed the Social Security System’s main office along East Avenue in Quezon City this morning to express their opposition to the impending hike in members’ premium contributions to the state-run insurance agency, saying the hike is an added burden for the poor.
The workers condemned the hike in SSS premiums from 10.4 per cent to 11 per cent, which Pres. Noynoy Aquino pushed for in one of his pre-Labor Day speeches and which will be implemented in June or July according to SSS Director Emilio de Quiros.
Carrying big placards that read “SSS: Sobra Sobrang Singil,” the workers said the hike, which will amount to an additional P66.50 reduction in the monthly earnings of minimum wage earners in Metro Manila, is an insult added to the injury that is the president’s refusal to grant workers a significant wage hike. read more.
14:07:32 local time VIET NAM
* Textile shareholders break out the champagne:
Textile and garment sector shareholders are happy with a solid dividend payment amid continuing economic hardships.
When shareholders of many building material production companies were disappointed with firms’ low business efficiency and their inability to meet dividend payments, those at many textile garment firms were happy with these firms’ upbeat business results and high dividend payments.
Ho Chi Minh City-based Viet Tien Garment Joint Stock Corporation offered shareholders 25 per cent dividend rate in 2012 when the company reported VND3.851 trillion ($476 million) revenue, surging 15 per cent on-year and pre-tax profits VND170 billion ($8.1 million), up 13 per cent.
In the north, Hanoi-based Garment 10 Joint Stock Corporation gave shareholders relatively high dividend at 18 per cent.
Last year, Garment 10 reaped VND1.503 trillion ($71.5 million) revenue, up 24 per cent on-year and pre-tax profits over VND37 billion ($1.7 million). Labourers’ incomes averaged VND5 million ($238) per month. read more.
14:07:32 local time CAMBODIA
* Wage hike leads to rent fears:
Cambodian Confederation of Unions president Rong Chhun yesterday appealed to landlords with properties close to garment factories not to take advantage of the industry’s minimum wage increase by raising rent prices.
The minimum monthly salary in the garment sector – Cambodia’s biggest export industry – officially climbed from $61 to $75 this month, and Chhun said rent prices were already showing signs of following suit.
“Please do not raise prices too high,” he said in a statement. “It will affect the standard of living for workers who are only receiving a small increase.”
Some workers had been told their rent will increase by 15 per cent at the end of this month, Chhun said.
“Please, house and room owners, consider this seriously. Make sure it is acceptable.”
Moeun Tola, head of the labour program at the Community Legal Education Center, said he had heard similar stories from garment workers in Phnom Penh, Kandal and Kampong Speu. read more.
13:37:32 local time BURMA/MYANMAR
* Parliament to describe minimum wage:
Workers from Myanmar Soe San Win (shoe) factory seen during the protest on May 2 (Photo – Aung Ye Ko/EMG)
Workers and labour associations have urge the government to speed up with clarification on the minimum wages, according the worker community.
More than 60 worker associations and over 1000 workers will sign petition to the President and the Parliament to demand explanation.
The issue was discussed in the fourth session of the parliament held on July 4, 2012. It is still pending for the Parliament to approve.
The workers are not getting fully their rights and basic salary so constant protesting has been occurred lately. Singing petition is to solve the minimum wages problem, employee representative offices told the Eleven Media. read more.
12:52:32 local time NEPAL
* Carpet, garment, pashmina exports down in Q3:
Exports of major manufactured goods like woollen carpets, readymade garments and pashmina products continued to fall during the first nine months of the current fiscal year. Increasing production costs, a shortage of manpower and government apathy have been blamed for the slump in exports.
According to the Trade and Export Promotions Centre (TEPC), export earnings from woollen carpets, readymade garments and pashmina amounted to Rs 8 billion, or 14.28 percent of the total export earnings. Export revenues totalled Rs 9.57 billion during the same period in 2011-12, said the TEPC’s Q3 report. Shipments of woollen carpets, which account for one of the largest shares in export earnings, were valued at Rs 3.94 billion during the review period, a decline of 15.6 percent. read more.
13:07:32 local time BANGLADESH
* Deaths in garment factory fire :
The fire comes in the wake of the most deadly garment factory disaster in the world [Reuters]
At least 8 people have been killed when a fire swept through a garment factory in an industrial district of the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, police and an industry association official said.
Thursday’s fire, which broke out overnight in the Mirpur area, occurred two weeks after more than 900 people were killed in a factory collapse outside the city.
“It is not clear to us how the accident happened, but we are trying to find out the cause,” Mohammad Atiqul Islam, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, told Reuters.
The fire broke out at a factory belonging to the Tung Hai Group, a large garment exporter, after most workers had gone home, police said.
Clothes, produced in a factory belonging to Tung Hai Group, a large garment exporter, are seen after a fire in Dhaka May 9, 2013. Credit: REUTERS/Andrew Biraj
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* 8 killed in city garment factory fire:
Mystery shrouds over the incident of fire at a highrise garments building at high rise garments factory building at Mirpur area in the city early Thursday that left eight people including the owner of the factory and an Additional Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of police killed.
The fire broke out on the second floor of Tung Hai Sweater Factory, housed in the 11-storey building near Mirpur Bangla College, on the Darussalam Road at around 11:30 pm, and immediately engulfed the immediate upper before fire brigade fought the blaze under control within two hours.
The additional DIG was identified as ZA Morshed. The managing director of the factory, Mahbubur Rahman, who was also a director of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), was among the eight killed in the blaze.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* Probe team formed for Mirpur factory fire:
An investigation team has been formed today by Fire Service and Civil Defence to find out the exact cause of the fire in a factory at Mirpur here that resulted in death of eight people including owner of the factory and an additional DIG of police.
“The committee is comprised of five members of the force and was asked to submit its probe report within seven working days,” Director General of Fire Service and Civil Defence Brig Gen Ali Ahmed Khan told BSS.
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* BGMEA condoles deaths in Tung Hai factory fire:
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) today expressed deep shock at the death of eight persons at Tung Hai Sweater factory fire incident last night.
“BGMEA is deeply shocked at the death of eight persons including the factory managing director Mahbubur Rahman and additional DIG of police,” said a BGMEA statement issued today. read more.
* New fatal fire as talks continue on Bangladeshi safety plan:
Another factory fire kills eight people, as death toll after Rana Plaza collapse reaches 900 and negotiations between IndustriALL and international clothing brands intensify before the 15 May deadline for a binding fire and building safety plan for Bangladesh.
Yet another garment factory fire occurred at 11pm on 8 May, killing at least eight people in the Mirpur industrial district of Dhaka. The fire at the 11-storey building owned by the garment exporting Tung Hai Group could have been disastrous had it occurred during the day when hundreds of workers toil in the building.
The eight people killed were the building executives holding a meeting and a police officer and drivers. Although the fire broke out on the third floor and the meeting was held on the top floor, the eight killed were trapped. Tung Hai had other factory fires in 2009 and 2010 and produces for well-known retailers.
On 8 May the Bangladeshi authorities announced the closure of 18 garment factories for failing to comply with safety regulations.
The latest fatal fire added a dramatic sense of urgency to IndustriALL’s negotiations with international clothing brands and retailers that source from Bangladesh. The parties have agreed on a 15 May deadline to seal a binding Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh.
The Accord foresees a coordinated system of inspections, training and financial commitments necessary to build a sustainable garment industry, and empowering workers to refuse dangerous work. read more.
THE SAVAR BUILDING COLLAPSE
* Savar toll reaches 978:
The toll from the collapse of the eight-storey Rana Plaza at suburban Savar stood at 978 as rescuers today retrieved 102 bodies while officials said they were at the last stage of the salvage campaign which continued for the 16th consecutive days.
” Some 102 more bodies were retrieved since 6 am to 11 pm today . . . the figure is now 978,” an official of the makeshift army control room told BSS as heavy cranes and bulldozers were removing tonnes of concrete ruins while rescuers looked for decomposed bodies covering their nose against odours.
The retrieved bodies were temporarily kept at the nearby Adharchandra High School ground for identification by relatives and then were sent to Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) morgue for DNA test ahead of their burial as unidentified dead.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* 76 more unidentified victims buried:
Seventy six more unidentified apparel workers, who were among hundreds of other victims of April 24 Rana Plaza disaster, were buried at Jurain Graveyard on Thursday.
Following late recovery, the authorities handed over the bodies of the victims to Anjuman-e-Mufidul Islam for burial.
Recovery of the bodies from under the rubble of the collapsed multi-storied Rana Plaza continues. read more.
* Banks asked to submit account details of Rana, factory owners by Tuesday:
Bangladesh Bank (BB) today asked all scheduled banks to report it back the account details of Sohel Rana, owner of the collapsed building Rana Plaza at Savar and 21 owners and directors of four garment units housed in the building.
The central bank in a circular directed all banks to send the account details of the persons by Tuesday. Earlier on April 30, BB ordered freezing their bank accounts following a directive of the High Court.
The 21 directors of the garment factories include Bazlus Samad, Mahmudur Rahman, Delwar Ahmed, AR Aiyub Hossain and Md Delwar Hossain of New Wave Bottoms Ltd, Nazim Uddin, ABM Sididqu, Suraya Begum and Aleya Begum of Phantom Apparels Ltd, Aminul Islam of Phantom Apparels and Phantom-TAC Ltd, David Mayour Rico and Amirul Islam Mahmud of Phantom- TAC Ltd, Anisur Rahman, Mahbubul Alam, Jasmine Alam Biva, Mohammad Nazrul Islam, Mrs
Marium, Jannatul Ferdaus, Shafiqul Bhuyan, Rafiqul Islam and Monwar Hossain Biplob of Ether Tex Ltd.
to read. & read more.
* The issue of taking foreign help in rescue operation:
The unfortunate and deadly factory collapse at Savar occurred on April 24 and the death toll is now set to cross 900. Another 500 are considered missing as per a guesstimate of rescuers assigned there.
Around 3,500 workers were in the building before it collapsed. Building owner Sohel Rana, a powerful companion of local MP, forced the workers to return to work inside the Rana Plaza in spite of knowing the risks of collapse. In the first response after the incident, the common people of Savar rushed immediately to rescue the people trapped under debris.
This was a nine-storey building which foundered suddenly from the level three. But it showed an ominous sign of visible cracks on the day before the collapse but was ignored by the building and factory owners.
A bank branch in the level two, however, instantly evacuated its staffs and documents fearing the impending collapse.
After the accident, the government swung into action immediately by assigning the Fire Brigade, the Army, the Rapid Action Battalion and the police with available logistics to rescue the trapped workers where common people assisted them with their fullest capacity.
The whole Savar tragedy was telecast live by the satellite channels and the entire country was glued to the TV sets in utter shock. read more.
* Savar tragedy turns spotlight to Murad Jung:
Bangladeshi lawmaker Talukder Mohammad Towhid Jung Murad was guest of honour at the August 2010 inauguration of a five-storey building in his constituency named Rana Plaza. Three years later he was back, this time helping pull survivors from the rubble.
Now, two weeks after the block collapsed killing more than 900 people, Murad is facing a furious backlash from grieving families, some of whom say they want him hanged for his role as a political patron of the block’s owner.
“I rescued 320 people alive,” Murad told Reuters. “But now I’m a villain.”
His words have a hollow ring to relatives clinging to a vanishing hope that rescue crews will retrieve something recognizable of their missing loved ones, many of them young seamstresses, whose bodies lie buried in a morass of fallen concrete in Savar, Murad’s gritty industrial constituency outside the capital Dhaka. read more.
* Body identification a challenge now:
BODIES RECOVERED YESTERDAY 120 DEATH TOLL 996
It is as if an assembly of the departed had gathered at the approximately 120-feet-long L-shaped verandah of Adhar Chandra High School to silently protest the utter injustice done to them.
The silence is often broken at intervals by the wailing of grief-stricken relatives after they identify the victims.
Yesterday was the 16th day of the rescue operation since the country’s deadliest industrial disaster but bodies were still emerging endlessly from the mangled wreckage of the nine-storey Rana Plaza, which housed five garment units and shops, in Savar outside Dhaka.The dead were brought to the school nearly one kilometre from the spot for identification.
For those who have to wait further at the school ground to see their loved ones one last time, the pain seems unbearablle. read more.
* Death toll jumps to 1033:
The death toll from Savar building collapse has reached 1033 on Friday on the 17th day of the disaster.
Twenty bodies were recovered between 6:00am and 10:00am, according to army control room in Savar.
Rescuers still expect more bodies from the rubble of Rana Plaza at Savar as many have remained missing since the country’s deadliest industrial disaster on April 24.
According to the ISPR control room, the number of people rescued alive were 2,437.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
MORE AND OTHER NEWS:
* Muhith praises Yunus’ write-up:
Finance Minister AMA Muhith yesterday commended Prof Muhammad Yunus’ article on the garment sector, published in national dailies.
“He spoke very well. I am happy that he has shared his thoughts on the issue,” Muhith said when asked for his reaction on Yunus’ piece, “Savar tragedy, garments industry and Bangladesh”.
In his article, Yunus urged the government and other stake stakeholders to collaborate to save the garment sector.
“The government has been taking the problems of the garments sector seriously,” said Muhith, adding that the government has formed a panel and given it a timeframe to survey all garments factories and take corrective actions within three months.
* RMG factory in Savar shut as cracks found:
The authority of HR Garment shut its factory as cracks found on third, fourth, and fifth floors of its building in Savar on Thursday.
Later, workers staged protest demanding for safe working place.
Workers said, though cracks found in floors, beams and ground floor but authority covered the cracks with cloths without taking any steps.”
On information journalists tried to enter into the building but authority obstructed them. read more.
* No garments in risky building:
The government will not allow any garment factory in risky building in the country to protect the rights and ensure safety of the workers.
If any garments industry is set up in risky building, the government will close it operation immediately.
The cabinet committee on garments industry on Wednesday took the decision in its second meeting at labour ministry at the secretariat with committee chief labour minister Raziuddin Ahmed Razu in the chair.
“The government has taken the decision to close garments factories in vulnerable buildings in the country to protect the rights and ensure safety of the garments workers,” Abdul Latif Siddiqui, member of the committee and Jute and Textile minister told reporters at a briefing after the meeting. read more.
* 10 of 18 closed RMG factories resume operation:
Ten of the 16 garment factories that had been closed on safety grounds after the April 24 Rana Plaza collapse at Savar resumed their operations on Thursday.
The textile and jute minister Abdul Latif Siddique told New Age that the cabinet committee on readymade garment industry had shut 16 apparel factories in Dhaka but some of them started their production from Thursday as the factory owners collected risk-free certificates from the expert engineers who inspected the buildings.
Labour Ministry secretary Mikail Shipar said that after shutting the apparel factories, owners had been asked to collect certificates from the experts of RAJUK, BUET and the department of public works.
Ten out of 16 owners have so far collected the certificates from the relevant authorities who inspected the factory buildings and the government has given them permission to resume their production, he said.
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* RMG factory inspection underway:
The decision to put in place a fire inspection team to check on whether workers are being paid proper wages, structural integrity of buildings and fire safety issues of a hundred factories in the next week sounds like a step in the right direction.
The problem is that there are some 5,000 plus factories in the country, and while the latest “drive” led by a full member of the cabinet grabs all the attention, solving the systemic problems the RMG sector suffers from will take serious political will and commitment over the long run.
As pointed out correctly by a leading labour rights activist, the RMG sector has been given the last opportunity to prove capable of reforming itself and adhering to nationally and internationally acceptable compliance standards.
What it boils down to essentially is that the different stakeholders — workers, factory owners and the government under the counsel of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) must thrash out and ink a comprehensive and workable agreement on May 9.
Eyewash inspections simply can’t do anymore. Too many lives have been lost and scenes of the carnage of the latest two incidents, i.e. Tazreen Fashions and Rana Plaza have been viewed by millions across the globe.
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* Benetton confirms ties to collapsed Bangladesh factory:
‘Bought 200,000 shirts via subcontractor’
Italian clothing giant Benetton on Thursday confirmed it had purchased shirts from one of the manufacturers that operated inside the Bangladesh garment factory that collapsed and killed over 800 people last month.
“The New Wave company, at the time of the tragic disaster, was not one of our suppliers, but one from whom our direct Indian suppliers had subcontracted two orders,” said CEO Biagio Chiarolanza in an interview with the Huffington Post. The statement comes after the company first claimed that “none of the companies involved are suppliers to Benetton Group or any of its brands”. Photos revealed Benetton labels amid the wreckage shortly after the disaster. read more.
* Benetton won’t leave Bangladesh: chief executive:
Benetton chief executive Biagio Chiarolanza said his company planned to stay in Bangladesh despite concerns over factory safety and work conditions in the country’s £13billion garment industry, reports Daily Mail quoting The Huffington Post.
The head of Benetton admitted that it had links to the garment factory that collapsed last month killing almost 900 people.
Biagio said the company bought shirts from New Wave Style, which was based at the building in capital Dhaka, as it became the latest company to admit links to the Rana Plaza building.
Primark operated a floor of the eight-storey building and other garment makers inside the factory included suppliers to Matalan and Mango.
* US, UN offer to help improve RMG working conditions:
The United States (US) and the United Nations (UN) have offered to assist Bangladesh in its bid to improve working conditions in the readymade garment (RMG) industry after the building collapse that killed more than 900 people, mostly workers, late last month.
The simultaneous, but separate efforts of the US and the UN have brought a message to the garment sector that the global buyers and the consumers will not leave Bangladesh alone in its most challenging time, traders said.
The offer came as there has been a renewed call to the government and the relevant authorities in Bangladesh to take immediate steps to improve working condition in factories and overall status of workers. The steps include rights to form trade unions and provision of adequate wages, said observers and analysts.
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* Allow trade unions at RMG factories:
Govt hears concerns and suggestions from labour leaders
Labour leaders yesterday called for trade unions at all garment factories to give the workers a platform to ensure their rights and save the sector from perennial unrest.
They also said there is no alternative to trade unionism to comply with the convention of the International Labour Organisation.
Their pleas came at a meeting between a government panel on the garment sector and the leaders of various rights groups at the conference room of Bangladesh Jute Research Institute in Dhaka.
The panel organised the discussion to hear concerns and suggestions from the workers and labour rights groups about the sector and a new labour law.
The committee was formed following the recent visit of a high-profile ILO team to Dhaka as the mission called for immediate steps to improve labour standards and working condition at the garment factories.
The panel headed by the textiles minister has already started inspecting factories for structural flaws and will recommend steps. read more.
* Labour leaders for TUs at factory level as govt committee meets:
Labour leaders put forward Thursday a set of demands including allowing trade unions (TUs) at factory level, issuance of appointment letters and proper implementation of maternity leave as per the existing labour law.
They also demanded enhancement of wages, ensuring both fire and building safety and restoring the previous provision of sharing a five per cent profit of factories with workers.
Leaders of various rights groups made the demands at a meeting on ‘the problems of the garment industry and amendment of labour law-2006’ with the government-formed committee, headed by Jute and Textile Minister Abdul Latif Siddiqui, at the office of the International Jute Study Group in the city.
“Let the workers be allowed to form trade unions in garment industry. There would be less unrests,” Shamima Nasrin, a labour activist said adding that the workers are panicked due to frequent accidents in the garment factories.
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* Clothing brands must work to prevent recurrence: UN experts:
A United Nations expert group has urged global clothing brands to work with Bangladesh, international organisations and civil society to improve working conditions in the country’s garment sector, following Rana Plaza collapse that left hundreds dead and wounded.
“The international brands sourcing from Bangladesh have a responsibility to conduct human rights due diligence to identify and address their own impacts on human rights,” a UN news release on Wednesday quoted Pavel Sulyandziga, who currently heads the five-strong UN Working Group on business and human rights, as saying.
“If they are linked with negative impacts on human rights through their suppliers, they have the responsibility to exercise their leverage as buyers to try to effect change.”
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.& read more. & read more.
* US for urgent joint efforts to improve labor safety in B’desh:
The US government has underscored the urgent need for government, owners, buyers, and labor organizations to work together to improve labor safety and the lives of working people in Bangladesh.
The State Department, the Department of Labor and the Office of the US Trade Representative convened a conference call with the US buyers in Bangladesh’s garment industry to discuss the US government engagement to improve workers’ rights and working conditions in Bangladesh, and to review how the private sector can assist in these vital ongoing efforts.
* US buyers asked to work on factory safety:
The US State Department has ‘strongly’ urged American buyers in Bangladesh’s garment industry ‘to coordinate efforts’ with each other and the country’s government, industry leaders, civil society and labour groups on factory safety and fire initiatives.
It also urged them to helping pay for independent safety and fire inspectors.
The State Department, the Department of Labor and the Office of the US Trade Representative on Wednesday convened a conference call with US buyers in Bangladesh’s garment industry.
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* Strikes, factory disasters to hurt investor confidence: Moody’s:
The US-based credit rating agency Moody’s on Thursday warned that continued political violence and recurrent disasters in garment sector may further damage investors’ confidence in Bangladesh, posing a risk to credit rating.
The warning of the firm came following the clash between activists of Islamist outfit Hefajat-e-Islam and members of law enforcing agencies that left more than 30 people killed earlier this week and loss of lives of more than 900 people in the garment factory disaster at Savar on April 24.
read more. & read more.
* Handloom factories facing problem in Narsingdi:
Handloom and power-loom factories in the district are facing serious problems and these are on the verge of closure due to price hike of thread and other raw materials of pit and power-loom.
Sources said about 10,000 weavers and workers are nowunemployed and nearly 50 per cent handloom and power-loom factories remain inoperative.
Narsingdi district specially Sadar and Raipura upazila are famous for producing different verities of saris like Jamdani, Katan, Brocade and Tant. Lungis, bed-sheets, napkins, and mosquito nets are also producing here.
Entrepreneurs of the factories said the problem aggravated due to high price of yarn and dye and unhindered smuggling of Indian fabrics, clothes, saris, lungis and bedclothes.
read more. & read more.
12:37:32 local time INDIA
* Low wages, exploitation the fate of labourers in Tirupur too:
The recent building collapse in Bangladesh, which claimed the lives of 700 garment workers, has turned the spotlight on Tirupur in Western Tamil Nadu, considered the hub of the multi-crore garment industry.
Most of the operations here are highly decentralized. Many units operate from homes. In Pattukottai Nagar for instance, almost every house has been transformed into a tailoring and stitching unit where bulk stitching orders are diverted from the large garment units. Even though the working conditions in Tirupur are comparatively better than Bangladesh, wages and hours of work are not monitored nor are labour laws followed to the letter.
Some units that hire tailors have lodging facilities for migrant labourers but the quarters are often cramped and unhygienic. “At least 10 people share a room, and 55 of us live in the quarters, sharing three toilets. We sleep and cook in the same room,” says Naushad Ahmed, a six-foot migrant labourer from Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh. He and his co-workers live near the Mudalipalayam SIDCO unit on the outskirts of Tirupur.
The workers are paid fixed wages ranging from Rs 130 to Rs 250 on a daily or per piece basis. read more.
* Bengal policies to attract investment in industry, textile in a fortnight:
The West Bengal Government will put up its much-awaited industrial policy on its Web site within two weeks.
Along with the industrial policy, the State’s textile policy will also be uploaded.
The two policies will be uploaded on the Web site of the respective departments for obtaining public opinion.
The decision was taken on Wednesday by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at a meeting of the core committee on industry.
* Indian govt sets up panel to solve issues of Assam weavers:
* India’s cotton & yarn markets operating normally:
Minister:India’s cotton and cotton yarn markets are operating in an orderly manner at present, Minister of State for Textiles Panabaaka Lakshmi informed Lok Sabha, the Lower House of the Indian Parliament.
The Minister was replying to a query whether the Government proposes to limit cotton and cotton yarn exports, Economic Times reported quoting PTI. read more.
* Leather exports up 4 per cent in 2012-13:
Leather exports grew over 4 per cent to $ 5 billion in 2012-13, despite sluggish demand in western markets like Europe.
In 2011-12, these exports stood at $ 4.8 billion, according to the data provided by the Council for Leather Exports (CLE).
“In 2012-13, leather exports touched $ 5 billion mark on account of increase in demand from the US market in the last quarter of the fiscal,” CLE Regional Director (North) Sanjay Kumar said.read more.
12:37:32 local time SRI LANKA
* Why women suffer most when garment industry collapses:
Whether in Sri Lanka, Vietnam or Bangladesh, where a deadly factory collapse has killed over 500 people, the garment factory is fuelled by women who depend on it to keep their families fed.
When garment quotas are reduced, or when a factory closes down, the women suffer. When worker safety is compromised, women and their families are left destitute.
Poor burden bearers
It is a funny cycle, one that classifies the poor of the world from the rich. The demand for garments, cheap, accessible easily available ones, come from the rich west, where fashions change and women are keen to keep abreast of trends.
The garment industry is thus fuelled by women at one end – at the other end, in countries such as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Vietnam, the industry keeps women engaged, employed and empowered. Notwithstanding issues such as industry quotas and factories collapsing, women suffer the most when the garment industry gets affected.
What stands out in the entire story is that if the steps are taken to ensure that worker safety and other important issues are given priority, the garment industry remains a strong, worldwide dynamism that has done more for women’s empowerment than other industries. read more.
* New challenges for apparel sector – EDB:
Export Development Board (EDB) warns future projections of world markets and Sri Lankan product supply, ‘apparels and garment accessories’ segment is faced with the challenge of becoming a ‘loser in a declining market’.
At a recent special presentation session on ‘Suitable Strategies for Export Sector’ made by the EDB, the officials recommended that rising energy costs be curtailed through the introduction of conducive utility rates, introduction of a scheme to implement alternative energy and to provide assistance to implement such investment activities and to encourage wheeling of power (transfer excess power generation to areas lacking in power) with companies who are willing to invest in generation of power using renewable energy sources, to strengthen the apparel exports. read more.
* TUs threaten massive protest :
Trade unions threatened to launch a protest on 21 May, if the government does not take any steps to revise the proposed electricity tariff plan.
The decision was taken when the Coordinating Committee of the Joint Trade Union Alliance met with the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) leadership yesterday.
JVP Leader, Somawansa Amarasinghe, said the Party was able to get the assistance of leaders of various political parties to fight against the revised electricity tariff. He said the proposed tariff hike is a major problem to the general public. “The President is unable to tell the truth to the people,” he charged. read more.
12:07:32 local time PAKISTAN
* Seminar on labour rights discusses manifestos:
Candidates of different parties contesting the general elections have pledged to double wages of labourers, especially for those who are associated with brick-making in the district, and implement all labour laws.
They were speaking at a seminar on “Political parties’ manifesto and labour rights” organised by Society for Protection of Rights of the Child (Sparc) in Tando Hyder to mark the Labour Day on Wednesday night. read more.
* No power supply to textile industry? :
The power supply to the textile industry has been cut off and pressure of gas supply is also dismally low to the Captive Power Plants (CPPs) in Punjab.
According to the industry sources, the majority of production capacities were closed down in major textile hubs of the province with no clue as to when the supply would be resumed.
The Pepco officials pointed out that energy supplies would resume by Sunday morning. They said supplies would be suspended by Friday evening at 0600 until Sunday morning. read more.
* We should not worship growth:
Many people have told me that Mongolians are not religious. These people point out that Buddhism was crushed in the communist purges and that the remnants of Animism and Shamanism are now rapidly disintegrating with the urbanization of Mongolia, as the rural folk, an endangered group, tend to be the only possessors of these belief systems today.
But after several years living in Mongolia, I have to disagree with the common assessment of religion in this country. The people of this country do have a religion. But the dominant religion is not Buddhism, Animism or Shamanism; it is Consumerism.
The “god” of this religion is “Growth in Gross Domestic Product” (GGDP) and the believers worship fervently at the altar of this god, doing everything possible to support GGDP, at the cost of their culture, their environment, and even their livelihoods.
Mongolia is not alone in practicing the religion of Consumerism. This country imported the religion of the Lord GGDP along with their other imports from countries where the religion of Consumerism is well-entrenched, such as the United States and China.
In Consumerism, the vehicles by which the Word of God is spread are media and advertising. Consumerists don’t have to go to a temple or church to get their fix. They just turn on the television, open a magazine, or click on an internet browser. The means of spreading the religion are now so integrated into our lives that most of us don’t even know that we are continually receiving the messages of Consumerism.
This religion of Consumerism is, like most religions, based on certain principles or commandments, as well as on mantras that are unconsciously repeated over and over by the faithful. As Consumerism promotes excess, it of course has more than the usual number of commandments. I’ve listed the top 20 below.
Top 20 Consumerism Commandments:
1. Thou shalt be greedy and consume goods and services even when you don’t need anything, and thou shalt especially overindulge on food.
2. Thou shalt be habitually discontented, but continually seek products and services that soothe your discontent temporarily.
3. Thou shalt envy thy neighbor and covet their objects, and particularly emulate those who accumulate mountains of useless and vulgar ornamental items.
4. Thou shalt be impatient and thou must seek instant gratification and constantly practice the habit of impulse buying.
5. Thou shalt not be compassionate, kind, tolerant or forgiving; thou must instead be competitive at all times, as competition maximizes Profit, which is the Holy Spirit of the Lord GGDP.
6. Thou shalt ridicule and undermine anyone who questions the wondrous God: Growth of Gross Domestic Product. He is the one true God, the only God, so sayeth the Great Prophets: the Leaders of Industry, the all-knowing Economists and the MBA-Possessors, who, like the Lord GGDP, must also never be questioned.
7. Thou shalt always seek the “newest” most “state-of-the-art” objects, even if the version you have works just fine.
8. Thou shalt be slothful and never fix anything that is broken; thou must instead throw it away immediately.
9. Thou shalt reject anything that has been used by anyone else, even when it is in perfect condition.
10. Thou shalt always believe advertising, in any shape or form (including when disguised as a sit-com or news report on television) and immediately purchase the products that are thereby advertised.
11. Thou shalt define your identity by how many possessions you own and how big your debt is; the more the better for the Lord GGDP.
12. Thou shalt only wear clothing that is clearly branded with a designer label, so that everyone can see how much you paid for your clothes and shall see that you are a True Believer. Likewise, thou shalt buy expensive cars that are oversized and use a lot of fuel so that everyone can see that you have money to waste and shall see that you are a True Believer. True Believers go to Platinum Class Heaven, where no recyclers or re-users are allowed.
13. Thou shalt make purchasing decisions based solely on factors of pride, prestige, vanity, and price, with no thought for the working conditions or wages of the workers who make the products or provide the services; and no thought for the environmental impact of the consumption of natural resources, or the pollution caused by the manufacturing process or distribution of the products.
14. Thou shalt dispose of all objects without thought of their impact on the environment.
15. Thou shalt only think in the short term, only as far ahead as the current fiscal quarter, and thou must never learn from the past or someone else’s experience, unless it relates to upholding the Lord GGDP.
16. Thou shalt perceive things such as education, art, nature, and wildlife as the Anti-LordGGDP and reject them, as these things divert spending from mass-produced disposable products that have no long-term value, but which the Lord GGDP thrives on.
17. Thou shalt put your individual interests above everything, except above GGDP or the Great Prophets because They must be worshipped above all.
18. Thou shalt view people only in terms of their current value to the economic system that upholds the Lord GGDP. Unskilled, disabled, sick and elderly people must be suppressed, along with children and anyone who is poor or who re-uses or recycles anything.
19. Thou shalt declare yourself a “philanthropist” when you donate unwanted objects to the poor and pay them below the minimum wage to do things you don’t want to do.
20. Thou shalt treat people as objects and accumulate many of them around you; thou must not seek out the good and unique things in anyone but instead discard people as soon as they are found to have a flaw or lack “utility” in your life, including your parents and other family members.
The Five Sacred Mantras of Consumerism:
“Shopping is fun!”
“Profit is king!”
“More is better!”
“Me, me, me!”