in the news on-line, 26-27 May 2013

20:56:56 local time map of china CHINA

* China’s textile industry ‘more diversified’:

Cost rises of labor and raw materials have pushed China’s textile industry to become more diversified, Karin Malmstrom, China director of Cotton Council International, the export promotion unit of the National Cotton Council of America, said during a promotion campaign on Friday.

“We have noticed some changes in the industry’s supply chain in China, as more and more textile companies are planning to move their production outside of the country,” Malmstrom said.
The Chinese textile market has become more stratified, showing strong growth for sales of the high-end products while sales of low-end products are being squeezed, according to Malmstrom .
“China’s emerging middle class prefer good quality cotton products, which makes it a big market for high-end products,” Malmstrom said, citing a recent survey by the council. to read.
CHINADAILY

20:56:56 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* Workers make a colorful quilt to show solidarity with Bangladeshi workers:

A month after the building collapse in Bangladesh, a tragedy that killed more than 1,100 workers, Filipino workers led by Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) showed their solidarity with Bangladeshi workers in seeking justice and in defense of workers’ right to union.

“Bangladesh’s economic policy is to attract international capitalists with cheap labor. As factories compete to secure contracts from international capitalists, they keep costs low by giving poverty wages (the workers in Rana were earning around PhP1, 500 per month) and by building factory infrastructures cheap,” said Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general.
(….)
“Let us condemn the repression of trade-unions in the Bangladesh garment sector as a key factor in this corporate massacre. Let us call for the right of workers and people to organize,” he added.

“Let us call for justice over the criminal killing of over 1,100 workers – almost all women – and children, by the international capitalists operating in Bangladesh, and by the government complying with imperialist exploitation and oppression of the Bangladesh people,” Soluta said.

“These pieces of cloth are signed by Filipino workers, the KMU and other grassroots organization. We will saw it together to make a quilt, and send it to unions in Bangladesh. It is a reminder for all of us that collective action is the best weapon of the workers and the people,” he added.
read more.
KILUSANG MAYO UNO

19:56:56 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Experts argue over minimum wage adjustments:

The process involved in adjusting the minimum wage of workers has recently been under a lot of scrutiny from policy makers, public officials and labour experts.

While most agree that the gap between the current minimum wage and minimum living standards is unacceptable, the mechanism for raising the minimum wage has been considered unsatisfying.
According to recent research from the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), over the last few years the minimum wage has been regularly adjusted, but still only covers 60 per cent of minimum living standards.
read more.

* Korean KyungBang sets up $40 million yarn plant in Vietnam:

Korean yarn and fabric manufacturing company KyungBang Limited has established a US$ 40 million automated yarn and fibre manufacturing plant across 16 hectares of area in the Bau Bang Industrial Park of Binh Duong province in Vietnam.
The plant is equipped with 25,920 spindles and machinery by Swiss and German companies. It is designed to produce 6,600 tons of yarn annually.
read more.
fibre2fashion

19:56:56 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Female Garment Workers in Cambodia Fighting For The Right Not To Die At Work:

Following the tragedies in Bangladesh the regional garment industry is getting a lot of attention.

Before the events of the last few weeks, we would have said that building safety is not so much an issue in Cambodia.

However, only hours after international brands signed onto the Bangladesh Building and Fire Safety Agreement, a building collapse at Cambodia’s Wing Star Shoes claimed the lives of at least two Cambodian garment workers and injured more than ten. Less than a week later, twenty-three garment workers, one of them a pregnant woman, were taken to hospital after a collapse at Cambodia’s Top World Garment.

This begs the question; where is the improvement in the life of a garment worker?

Since 2010, the Cambodian garment industry has been gripped by an epidemic of mass fainting. There were no recorded fatalities but in the last three years more than 4,000 garment workers have lost consciousness en masse during work. As the gap between wage and living expenses has risen with inflation, so have the reported incidents of mass fainting. read more.

* When You Build a Small Roof for the Dog:

After an overloaded mezzanine collapsed at the Wing Star Shoes Factory on the southern outskirts of Phnom Penh last week, killing two workers and injuring 11 others, the Cambodian government sprang into action.

One of the prime minister’s sons was dispatched to bring cash gifts to the victims’ families. The social affairs minister rushed to the scene and gave a press conference promising additional compensation. He also announced that from now on the government would conduct safety inspections in factories across the country.
This swift reaction underscores the government’s interest in maintaining stability in the garment sector, which is still the broadest pillar of Cambodia’s economy nearly 20 years after the country opened up to market reforms. But that shouldn’t obscure its more typical response to the grievances of garment workers: its systematic effort to severely curtail their attempts to unionize.

In the wake of the Rana Plaza’s collapse in Bangladesh last month, some commentators have written off the Wing Star Shoes incident as an unfortunate anomaly and are holding up Cambodia’s garment sector as an example of best manufacturing practices in a developing country. This is true only to a limited extent.
(..)
By Julia Wallace- managing editor of The Cambodia Daily.
read more.
NYT

19:26:56 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

* EU not allows Chinese grasshoppers exploiting GSP for Myanmar:

The European Union (EU) will strictly regulate the rule of origins for imports from Myanmar so that Chinese abusers, also called “grasshoppers”, are not able to take undue advantage of EU’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) which offers tax advantage to Myanmar products, EU representative said.

Atty Stefan F. Moser from EU’s International Trade Relation spoke at a seminar on EU GSP at the head office of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chamber of Commerce in Yangon on May 11.
He said that EU will not allow the Chinese businessmen to ship their products through Myanmar and export to EU taking advantage of EU GSP for Myanmar products. He requested Myanmar exporters to strictly follow the requirements in the application process of GSP.
read more.
Eleven

18:56:56 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Demand for RMG pay rise- Workers’ protest, work abstention:

The agitated readymade garment workers went on strike demanding salary increase on Saturday morning and the authorities of garments shut their factories.

Danglian Fashion BD of Shimultali area, Global Knitwear of Gazirchar and Ocean Design Limited of Jamgara factories workers became agitated when they saw the factory closed.
At one stage workers tried to blockade Baipail-Abdullahpur road and Industrial police dispersed them.
Ocean Design factory worker Shahidul said to bangalnews, “Though we are demanding to increase salary but on Friday we join factory to work.”
On Saturday morning, seeing factory shut tension spread among workers and police chased them to disperse, he added.read more.
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* 3 RMG units halt production:

The authorities of three readymade garment factories in Ashulia industrial belt shut their production for Saturday in face of continuous demonstration by the workers.

The workers have been demonstrating for several weeks demanding a hike in their salaries.
The garment owners decided to close the units after the workers started demonstration at different parts in Ashulia around 8:00am, a managing director of a RMG unit said wishing not to be named. read more.
daily star bd

* Bangladesh Labour Act- 2013- Workers’ rights still in darkness:

The government of Bangladesh is going to amend the Labour Act-2006 after the series of tragic industrial devastation which arose questions about the countries continued eligibility for generalised system of preferences for the market of United States and European Union, on accounts of its low standard and occupational safety.

Meanwhile, a proposed amendment has been drafted which is expected to be finalised by June this year which claims to bring changes for the betterment of the workers.
But it is still in vague whether the changes could bring better result for the workers or not?
The changes of the law are the dire need to ensure the workers’ rights especially for the Ready Made Garment Sector (RMG) workers.

They are being deprived from their legal right as well as their universal human rights which has been prescribed in the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights (UNHR) and International Covenant on Economics, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).
According to Article 23 of ICESCR, every worker has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to adjust and favourable conditions of work and to protection against undue unemployment.

Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work. Everyone who works has the right to adjust and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
read more.
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* One-third of RMG units non-compliant:

About one third of the ready-made garment (RMG) factories in and around Dhaka lack in fire safety arrangements at their minimum.

This estimate is based on the field-level inspection by the Fire Department. It has found that 30.50 per cent of the RMG factories located in the capital city and on its adjacent areas are non-compliant with the minimum level of fire safety requirements. This implies that the country’s largest foreign exchange-earning sector, in gross value terms, is vulnerable to recurring fire accidents.

Of the units located at Ashulia, Savar, Narayanganj and in the capital city, the department found that 53.20 per cent of them were following safety measures, though those were not up to the mark.
The department, however, identified only 16.30 per cent of the RMG factories as having proper fire safety arrangements to protect their workers, apart from losses of their costly apparel-making machinery and finished products.
read more.

* 18 RMG units shut on safety grounds:

A total of 18 garment manufacturing units in Dhaka and Chittagong have been shut on safety grounds following inspection of teams comprising of government officials, manufacturer representatives and experts, officials said.

Earlier, a core committee was formed to inspect structural design and load capacity of the RMG factories across the country. It is headed by the chairman of Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (RAJUK) and consists of representatives from Bangladesh Garment Manufactures and Exporters Association (BGMEA), Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), and Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET).

The move came after the collapse of multi-storied Rana Plaza at Savar on April 24 that claimed more than 1,100 lives, most of whom were garment workers, drawing extensive media attention at home and abroad.
read more. & read more.
daily star bd

* Ashulia apparel hub operates partially:

A number of the garment units, which were shut Thursday amid workers’ unrest, resumed production Friday amid tight security in Ashulia apparel industrial belt, owners and police said.

Some of the owners, however, adopted a ‘wait-and-see’ policy and suspended production for the second straight day, which was a public holiday.
Garment manufacturers expressed the hope that they would get a clear picture whether the production at Ashulia would go on smoothly or not today (Saturday) when most of the apparel factories, including the closed ones, will resume operation.
Talking to the FE, Chairman of Sterling Group Siddiqur Rahman said the owners have partially operated their units on the day.
read more.

* 20 RMG factories shut at Ashulia amid violence; 50 hurt:

(Saturday)
Twenty garment factories were shut at Tongibari in Ashulia industrial area on Saturday as workers, demonstrating to press home their various demands, clashed with police leaving at least 50 people injured.

Officer-in-charge of Ashulia Police Station Badrul Alam said the workers of Natural Denim Garment factory staged demonstration to press for their various demands, including implementation of the new wage board for workers in the morning.
As police tried to disperse them, a chase and counter-chase took place between them, triggering the clash.
The garment workers threw brick chips towards police when police charged baton and lobbed teargas shells to disperse them, leaving the 50 people injured.
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* RMG workers demonstrate in Ctg:

The readymade garments workers demonstrated and blockaded road in Doublemuring area to press home their demand to reopen factories on Saturday morning.

Officer-in-Charge of Doublemuring Thana Matiul Islam told banglanews that around one month ago Grace Well Fashion Limited was declared shut after Savar Rana Plaza collapsed.
It was scheduled to announce when the factories would be reopened in the morning and hundreds of works gathered in front of the factory gate around 10:00am.
read more.
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* No let-up in RMG unrest at Ashulia 20 workers injured in clashes with police in Gazipur:

At least 20 people were injured as police charged batons to break up demonstrations by apparel workers at Ashulia on the outskirts of Dhaka while protesters damaged about a dozen vehicles in Board Bazar area of Gazipur on Saturday.

The clashes at Ashulia erupted after several hundred garment workers blocked Dhaka-Tangail highway in protest at the closure of several factories while the violence at Board Bazar was triggered by rumour that a worker had died in a traffic accident in Gazipur, correspondents said.
Garment workers in Ashulia, where several hundred apparel factories are located, have been staging protests since the collapse of Rana Plaza on April 24 to push an eight-point demand, including wage hike and workplace safety.

New Age correspondent in Savar reported that 20 apparel workers were injured after police charged batons to disperse the protesters and clear the highway.
Several hundred workers of different factories located at Shimultala, Gazirhat, Narashinhapur and Jamgarh started angry protests after they saw closure notices on Saturday morning, the workers said.
read more.

* RMG workers block highway in Gazipur-  30 RMGs shut in Ashulia:

(Sunday)
Workers of a garment factory blocked the Dhaka-Mymensingh Highway at Barabari in Gazipur on Sunday during a demonstration to press for their 12-point demand.

The demands include raising minimum monthly salary to Tk8,000 and stopping retrenchment of workers.
Witnesses said abstaining from works, hundreds of garment workers of Parksin Garment factory took to the street at about 8.00am and staged demonstration blocking the busy Dhaka-Mymensingh Highway.
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* RMG workers demonstrate in Gazipur:

Five people were injured as workers of two garment factories clashed with police at Barabari in the district on Sunday during an agitation demanding salary hike.

Sources said, workers of Parksen Bangladesh Limited and Inter Fab Garment took to the street and put barricade on the Dhaka-Mymensingh Highway around 10:30am.
On information, police rushed in and charged batons on the agitating workers to disperse them.
read more.
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* 10 RMG factories shut amid protest:

20130526 BANGLA24 Ashulia

Authorities of 10 garments factories in Ashulia shut their factories amid workers’ protest demanding pay rise on Sunday.

The garments include- S Suhi Industrial Park, Dong Lian Fashion, Natural Denims, Birds Group, IDS Fashion, Safa Sewing and Designer Jeans.
Workers of Birds Group started observing work abstention and protest on same demand and police charged baton on them, leaving 20 workers injured.
Besides, a group of 50 miscreants attacked on the workers of S Suhi Industrial Park while they working observing work abstention inside the factory, leaving 30 workers injured.
read more.
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* Garment owners file cases against protesting workers:

Three owners of apparel factories lodged three cases with the Ashulia police station over the recent labour unrest, police sources said Sunday.

The cases were filed against some 200 workers on Saturday night seeking compensation for damaging clothing factories, our Savar correspondent reported quoting the sources.
The owners also sought compensation for the losses they incurred because of the labour unrest.Three owners of apparel factories lodged three cases with the Ashulia police station over the recent labour unrest, police sources said Sunday.
read more. & read more.
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* Making garment factories trouble-free:

Bangladesh is the world’s second biggest apparel exporter with overseas garment sales topping $20 billion last year. The amount is 80 per cent of total exports of the country.

Most of our garment products go to the US and Europe. The garment industry employs over 4.0 million people, many of them young women.
The industry is crucial to the national economy as a source of employment and foreign currency. Some social organisations and trade unions emphasise that our manufacturing formula depends on keeping wages low and restricting the rights of workers.
The minimum monthly wage was fixed at Tk 3,000 in November, 2010. Labour unions are almost non-existent.

Garment workers have taken to streets in recent years in sometimes violent protests over wages and safety work conditions. Some trade unions want the basic monthly wage rate to be raised to around $100, that is, around Tk 8,000. Many international buyers and retailers observe that working conditions in Bangladesh are poor.
The European Union has asked Bangladesh to improve working conditions in the country’s readymade garment (RMG) industries. Though western retailers criticised the poor working conditions, the major western brands still place orders. It is true, the buyers of garment products from Bangladesh have become like non- tariff barriers in the way of import of garment products.

They also cannot be blamed in many cases for demanding compliance with issues such as payment of adequate salaries and ensuring safety to workers. Many lawmakers, environmental and civic groups in the importing countries have been making demands on their own businesses to ensure compliance with these standards.
We believe that the goal of the garment sector should be one of achieving full compliance requirements as well as making their enterprises secure against workers’ wrath by implementing decisions to increase wage and other benefits for the workers at the earliest for long-term security as a whole.
read more.

* CDA-BGMEA team finds two bldgs highly risky:

The joint inspection team of CDA and BGMEA has identified two garments factories in the city highly risky and six others risky during its field-level inspection.

A statement issued by Chittagong Development Authority (CDA), responsible for approving the building designs and post-construction inspection, said the team has suggested immediate shifting of two readymade garment (RMG) factories from a building in Chaktai area.

The team has made field inspection in 42 garment factories over the four days. CDA executive magistrate, engineers and deputy chief town planner, four members of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) have conducted the field inspection.
read more.

In pictures: Bangladeshi garment workers:

20130523 ALJAZEERA
Female workers tend to receive low and irregular wages.Khaled Hasan/Al Jazeera

Fashionable Western labels adorn garments made in Bangladesh – an industry that employes tens of thousands and earns the impoverished country valuable foreign exchange.

Famous international brands source their supply from Bangladesh as labour in the country is one of the cheapest.
But while the arrangement allows for hefty profits, it’s the workers – mostly women – who pay a heavy price. They are ill-paid and working conditions are horribly bad.
A string of deadly accidents, including a deadly blaze in November and the collapse of a building that housed a garment factory in April, have killed more than 1,000 and highlighted the garment workers’ plight – always grim and often deadly. read & see more.
aljazeera

* Bangladeshi garments should not play poverty to outsiders
:

20130524 NEWAGE

A colleague once asked me: ‘If we force the issue of doubling the minimum wage and it is firmly imposed, there is a danger that costs will increase too rapidly and business will be lost.

The strategy is to shame the foreign buyers to reduce their profits (by paying a higher price for the products to support higher wages). Will it work?’
My short answer to this question was that it won’t. I say this is from my experience as a businessman who had been involved in a similar trade for many years. In the case of the garment industry, the buyers had been advocating higher wages for garment workers for a very long time, not to see that it will come and finally land on their lap. Many say it was a PR exercise on their part, I don’t think it was, simply because too much effort went in from their side. read more.

* FM Dipu to visit Brussels to retain duty, quota-free access to EU:

Amid the European Union’s (EU’s) threat to withdraw Bangladesh’s duty-free, quota-free (DFQT) access to its market, Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni will be visiting Brussels from May 28 to 30 to attend a seminar and have talks with EU leaders in an effort to keep Bangladesh’s market there unhurt.

The EU has already warned of withdrawing DFQF facility for Bangladesh and it will press for an investigation into labour practices in the country unless it sees an improvement in its working conditions following the collapse last month of Rana Plaza housing a number of garment factories.
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* EU DFQF benefit withdrawal to be big blow to economy, they say:

Bangladesh needs to consider the European Union (EU) threat to withdraw its duty-free, quota-free (DFQT) access to the EU market seriously and act promptly as the EU might take serious decisions dealing a big blow to the RMG sector in particular and the economy in general, experts said.

They think Bangladesh needs to send out a positive message and a good impression to the EU by taking serious and sincere steps instead of giving lip service.
If Bangladesh loses the biggest market of the 27-nation block, accounting for about 60 percent of the country’s RMG exports, it will be very difficult to recover as the economy does not have the strength to absorb any big shock like this, they said. read more. & read more. & read more.
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* EU threatens to withdraw GSP:

The European Parliament has threatened to withdraw generalized system of preference (GSP), the duty and quota-free access to EU market that Bangladesh enjoys.

The warning comes after allegations of labour rights violations in the recent collapse of Rana Plaza in Savar, where over a thousand have died, and the fire at Tazreen Fashions Limited, which claimed over 100 lives in November last year.
A resolution to this effect was adopted at the European Parliament Plenary Session, a press release said.
Its website said Members of European Parliament (MEPs) called for justice to victims of these incidents and EU actions to prevent similar recurrence in the future. read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
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* EU conservatives support continuation of GSP for BD :

The Conservative Group (CG) representing the United Kingdom, Italy, Belgium and seven other countries in the European Union (EU) has expressed supports for continuation of duty-free and quota-free access of Bangladeshi products to the EU market.

The supports were expressed during a debate in the European Parliament (EP) Thursday before adoption of an EP resolution relating to the readymade garment (RMG) sector of Bangladesh.
During the debate others called for withdrawal of the facility for Bangladeshi products in the EU market in the wake of the deadliest incident in the RMG sector late last month.
read more.

* EU Commission to investigate RMG compliance issues:

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) Thursday urged the European Commission to investigate Bangladesh’s compliance issue and suggested to suspend its preferential trading status in case of violation.

They also suggested to bring the persons responsible for the Rana Plaza collapse and the Tazreen factory fire to the justice and demanded victims full access to justice and  financial compensation. The warning came after allegations of labour rights violations in the recent collapse of Rana Plaza in Savar, where over a thousand have died, and the fire at Tazreen Fashions Limited, which claimed over 100 lives in November last year.
According to EU parliament website, following the recent fires and building collapse at factories in Bangladesh, MEPs called on Thursday for justice for victims and EU action to prevent similar events in future. They want the Commission to promote responsible business conduct among EU companies operating abroad and ensure strict compliance with all legal obligations in the areas of human rights, labour and the environment.
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* Better working environ at RMG units stressed:

European Union (EU) Ambassador to Bangladesh William Hanna called on Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury at her Jatiya Sangsad office in the city on Sunday.

They discussed bilateral issues, including the matters relating to garment sector, during the meeting. The EU ambassador termed the garment sector of Bangladesh as a symbol of success and emphasised on ensuring better working environment, safety and security to the employees and the factories also. Welcoming the EU ambassador, Dr Shirin Sharmin said the role of readymade garment (RMG) sector is very important in ensuring women’s empowerment and establishing rights of the officers and employees of the sector.
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* Threat to revoke GSP ‘unjust’:

Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Saturday said the European Union’s threat to withdraw the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) facilities for Bangladesh is “unjust”.

“EU’s discrimination against Bangladesh is utterly illogical, unjust and unfair,” the minister said while talking to a delegation of International Business Forum of Bangladesh (IBFB) at his ministry.
Talking on garment disasters including Rana Plaza and Tazreen Garment Factory tragedies, he said only three to four such incidents took place in the country in last 30 years.

A committee has been formed to ensure the safety of buildings and workers, which will submit the findings to the Cabinet panel on garment industry in three months, he mentioned.
The government will take measures according to the recommendation of the committee, he said.
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* Lot of pressure on US over GSP facility to B’desh: Moriarty:

Former US Ambassador to Bangladesh James F Moriarty on Sunday said there is a lot of pressure on the US right now regarding the GSP facility to Bangladesh following the tragic Rana Plaza collapse in Savar.

“Rana Plaza was such a great tragedy and it has attracted a whole lot of attention. That’s why I’m really looking and hoping for everybody to work together to improve the standards of fire and building safety and workers rights,” he told a reporter at the Finance Ministry when his attention was sought regarding Finance Minister AMA Muhith’s recent comment on GSP.
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* Rights activists slam US for GSP withdrawal threat:

Rights activists at a discussion here on Sunday came down hard on the US threat to withdraw the GSP facility to Bangladesh on the pretext of labour rights, saying ‘it would not help workers either’.

Speaking at a session of the US-Bangladesh Partnership Dialogue on ‘Best Practices and Benefits from Improving Labour Rights’, they also observed that the ‘unethical buying’ practices by the global brands that have a significant bearing on the standards of occupational safety, wages of readymade garment (RMG) workers of the country, and that pressures should be mounted on the brands to shoulder some responsibility in this regard.

They recommended a multi-stakeholder initiative, involving governments, brands, manufacturers and workers, to resolve the crisis over the violation of labour rights in Bangladesh’s RMG sector.
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* US Congressman in city to inspect RMG factories:

George Miller, a senior member of the US Congress, arrived here on Saturday morning to personally inspect RMG factories in Bangladesh, a country of the world’s second largest garment industry now under microscope due to frequent disasters.

The US Congressman will meet workers, victims, and factories and government officials during his visit.
Miller, the top Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, is the first member of Congress to visit Bangladesh since the Rana Plaza collapse on April 24 that housed five garment factories, killing 1,127 workers and over 2,500 injured making it one of the worst industrial tragedies in world history.
Miller has been pressing major American companies whose products are made in Bangladesh to sign onto a new binding and enforceable building and fire safety accord that has been signed by more than 31 companies worldwide.
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* Further tragedy shouldn’t taint Bangladesh brand: Fernandez:

Visiting US Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Jose W Fernandez on Sunday said they want to work together with Bangladesh to make sure the Bangladesh brand is not tainted by further tragedies like Tazreen and Rana Plaza.

“I think we need to work to make sure that the Bangladeshi brand is not tainted by any further tragedies such as Tazreen and Rana Plaza,” he said after a meeting with BGMEA leaders at its conference room.
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* US-Bangladesh Commercial Relations- At ‘a critical point’:

Workers’ rights seen as reason; visiting senior official says US willing to work with govt, private sector to solve problems

The US-Bangladesh relations have reached “a critical point” over workers’ rights and safety standards in factories, visiting US Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs Jose Fernandez said yesterday.
“No challenge is greater, I believe, than the issue of workers’ rights and safety. I mention it because I believe that we are reaching a critical point in US-Bangladesh commercial relations,” he said.
There are investment opportunities in Bangladesh, but US investments remain on the “surface” here partly because of problems in bureaucracy and energy shortage, said Fernandez.
read more.
daily star bd

* US retailers should sign safe RMG deal:

Observes visiting Congressman Miller; plans to visit factories to see workplace safety

US Congressman George Miller yesterday promised to urge large retailers Wal-Mart, Gap and Target to sign the building and fire safety accord for garment factories in Bangladesh.

So far, only two American firms — Abercrombie and Fitch and PVH, which own the Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger brands — have signed the deal initiated by global trade union IndustrALL.
Miller was speaking at a meeting with labour leaders of four federations of garment sector at the American Centre for International Labour Solidarity in Dhaka. Miller did not speak to the media.
“Safety in work places is a prime concern for the garment workers, so Wal-Mart, now the second largest outsourcing company after Swedish retailer H&M, and other US companies should also sign the accord,” said a leader of a federation requesting anonymity.
read more.
daily star bd

* BD needs to do more to improve working condition in RMG sector: Hanrahan:

The visiting US Deputy Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour, Karen Hanrahan, said Sunday that Bangladesh made a lot for improving working conditions of readymade garment (RMG) workers and more needs to be done.

“The country has taken a lot of initiatives to improve the working condition. There has been significant improvement of working condition. We have to go a long way. All should be working together and figure out how to address the issues in days to come,” she told on Labour Rights issues at the US-Bangladesh Partnership Dialogue: Private Sector Forum” at the DCCI on the day.

Former president of DCCI Asif Ibrahim who co-chaired the session said that the buyers, owners and workers should work together to improve the working condition of labourers.

General Secretary of Bangladesh Trade Union Centre (BTUC) Dr Wajedul Islam Khan in his presentation, suggested formation of sufficient labour courts and minimum wage board, establishment of labour inspection office in all industrial belts, strengthening labour inspection department with sufficient human resources and equipment,safety committees in all factories, formulation of national safety plan, upholding and protecting trade union rights, developing the bipartite and tripartite structure, ensuring social security for all and mind set to accept that labourer is the integral part of development.
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* Why are US garment retailers hyperventilating? :

The collapse of Rana Plaza was a tragedy of historical proportions. The mainstay of our industrial base, the garment industry has been shaken to its roots. But a fresh tragedy is about to unfold.

This time the international buyers of garments produced here, and who are mainly from Europe and the US, are looking to other countries like Cambodia, Indonesia, Pakistan to source their products.
These buyers are increasingly reluctant to sell clothes which are manufactured in unsafe and unhealthy factories.
To their consumers, it is a serious ethical question. Add to that is the very low wages paid to garment workers in our country. So if the western buyers now source these products from other countries, there is a likelihood that thousands of our workers — mainly females — will be left without employment. Whatever money they earned for their family would be lost.

This time it could be cataclysmic for the country as a whole.
The government, the manufacturers (under the banner of the Bangladesh Manufacturers and Exporters Association) , many European buyers as well as the labour organisations have got together and put forward suggestions as to how the industry could run in the future under safer conditions.
These suggestions were collated, discussed and stitched together under what has come to be known as the ‘Corrective Action Plan’ (CAP). It has been agreed that the remedial measures will have to be legally binding on all parties. read more. daily star bd

* Gap renews pledge to stay in Bangladesh:

Spokesman for US retailer defends decision not to sign safety accord for garment industry

Gap Inc will continue to buy garments from Bangladesh and help improve working conditions at factories, a spokesman for the US retailer, said yesterday.

Darryl Knudsen, a senior adviser on business and human rights for Gap, spoke at a discussion on ‘Best Practices and Benefits from Improving Labour Rights’ at Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the capital.
Gap is one of the major US retailers that refused to sign a legally binding fire and building safety accord that pledges to finance workplace upgrades in Bangladesh. On this, Gap breaks with 40 other international retailers that signed the accord designed by IndustriALL, a global federation union.
Morally, Gap supports the agreement, but cannot sign it as the legal systems in Europe and the US are different from each other, Knudsen said.
“We will remain hopeful for the accord. Each of us has taken the issue seriously.”
“Gap has been pressing for a comprehensive fire safety measure since two years ago — even before the Tazreen fire and Rana Plaza collapse, but no agreement was possible to sign,” Knudsen said. “The identification of the problem is not the solution; we need to work together.”
read more.
daily star bd

* Labour issues to top agenda:

The two-day US-Bangladesh Partnership Dialogue is beginning in Dhaka this morning.(sunday)

Sources said the US would seek firm commitment from the government on labour law reform, workers’ rights, workplace safety, and an end to factory disasters like those at Rana Plaza and Tazreen Fashions Ltd.
The US side may take up the issue of delay in signing the Trade and Investment Cooperation Framework Agreement (TICFA).
Security, violence, current political stalemate over the method of upcoming general elections, GSP facility, etc will also figure prominently at the dialogue.
read more.
daily star bd

* US for full labour rights, but not at cost of industry:

The United States wants Bangladesh to ensure labour rights in full, but not at the expense of or damage to the garment industry.

“At the Bangladesh-US Partnership Dialogue that began on Sunday, the US side said we “want full labour rights. But, we do not want the garment industry to be damaged,” a senior official told The Independent in the evening. Three working sessions on trade and investment, governance and development, and security were held on the first day of the partnership dialogue between Dhaka and Washington.
“Understandably, the US side spent more time on labour issues,” said the senior official.
Washington believes that if the government is strict it will be able to go through the current crises with regards to the garment industry,” he said.
They emphasised that the proposed labour law reform would be done in such a manner so that the ILO’s Better Work Programme could be introduced as soon as possible, the official added.
According to another official, the US side has agreed with Bangladesh’s proposal to involve buyers in labour rights and safety and called for a connference of the buyers to be held in Bangladesh to address the issues.
read more.
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* US asks for introducing CSR in RMG, signing TICFA:

The United States has asked Bangladesh to introduce Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the readymade garment (RMG) industry and sign the Trade and Investment Cooperation Framework Agreement (TICFA) to have better industrial and business environment in the country.

On the other hand, Dhaka has sought duty and quota-free market access for its apparels in the US market.
The proposals and demands were tabled on the first day of the second Bangladesh-US Partnership Dialogue, held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Dialogue will conclude today (Monday) with a joint briefing, meeting sources said.

US Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman led the US delegation while Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque the home side to the dialogue.
Three sessions were held under the platform of the Partnership Dialogue. These focused trade and investment, security cooperation and development and governance.
read more.

* Buyers urged to ensure workplace safety in RMG sector:

The National Garment Workers’ Federation on Friday urged the buyers including global brands like Walmart and GAP to take up the responsibility of ensuring safe workplaces in the country’s apparel sector.

The federation also called on the government, the buyers, and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers’ and Exporters’ Association to ensure proper treatment of the workers injured in the Tazreen Fashions fire and the Rana Plaza collapse and pay a compensation of Tk 28 lakh to the family of every deceased for ‘the loss of future earnings’.
NGWF president Amirul Haque Amin made the requests from a news conference arranged to mark the passage of one month since the world’s deadliest building collapse at Savar and of six months since the Tazreen fire. Apart from NGWF leaders, readymade garment workers injured in the incidents and family members of some of the deceased were present on the occasion.
read more.

* Sweating Bangladesh surveyor races to avoid next tragedy:

Amid an international outcry and promises by retailers to improve worker safety, Bangladesh is struggling to conduct even a crude assessment of the country’s garment factories, reported Bloomberg.

To appreciate the Sisyphean task, spend a day with Mohammed Helal Ahmed, a 42-year-old-civil engineer in the Dhaka city government, as he struggles through cursory factory inspections.
His day starts with a decrepit government car that breaks down and a list of misspelled factory names with partial addresses. Factory owners deny him entry to their buildings and stall for time. He encounters blocked fire exits, roofs sagging under heavy water tanks, and former apartment buildings that have been joined haphazardly. Workers whisper about cracks in walls, only to be shushed by security guards.

“It is completely unbelievable,” Ahmed said at sundown, sweat pouring off his forehead and his back aching after surveying four of the seven factories that had been on the day’s agenda. “So much work is needed immediately. Real action is needed.”

Until such action is taken, Ahmed and his 50 colleagues at the Dhaka Development Authority are mostly compiling data in a superficial survey of the city’s factories. Even this basic step is hobbled by shortages of cars, engineers, money and information, emphasising that efforts to oversee improvements cannot depend on the Bangladeshi government’s limited resources.

Instead, any attempt to improve safety conditions for Bangladesh’s 3 million or so garment workers will live and die on a coalition including retailers and unions that was cobbled together in the weeks after the horror of Rana Plaza.
read more. & read more.  & read more.
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* Benetton offers health, financial aid to Savar victims:

Italian fashion giant Benetton Group is backing an initiative that is providing assistance and healthcare for the survivors of the collapsed Rana Plaza Building in Bangladesh and their families.

The group will form a partnership with non-governmental organisation BRAC, offering financial assistance for artificial limbs and surgery for those injured in the tragedy, along with assistance to families of the victims.
“The events at Rana Plaza involve the entire textile sector, and everyone operating in this industry has a moral duty to support the victims` families,” said Benetton CEO Biagio Chiarolanza.
read more.
banglanews24 Logo

* Kmart ceased production at Bangladesh factory after cracks found:

Kmart, the Australian discount department-store unit of Wesfarmers Ltd, said it ceased production earlier this month at a Bangladesh clothing factory and evacuated workers after the plant was designated unsafe, reports Bloomberg.

Employees of the Ratul Fabrics Ltd factory in Dhaka were asked to leave the premises within 70 minutes of the company being informed of the results of an inspection by industrial police, Tracie Walker, general manager of Kmart corporate affairs and sustainability, said in an e-mail on Friday.
read more.

THE SAVAR BUILDING COLLAPSE

* Wait not over for them:

Relatives of those missing in the Rana Plaza collapse keep thronging different places in search of their loved ones, a month after the country’s deadliest industrial disaster that claimed more than 1,100 lives.

With photographs of their missing relatives in hands, some of them go to the local Upazila Nirbahi Office, others to the Savar Model Police Station and local hospitals. Yet others still continue to gather every day at the collapse site with a sense of nothingness.
They knock at every possible door, wondering where else they can go to find at least the bodies for some kind of solace.
In their search efforts, relatives have so far filed 88 general diaries with Savar Model Police Station, police said.
The nine-storey Rana Plaza, which housed five garment factories, a shopping mall and a bank, came crashing down on the morning of April 24, killing at least 1,127 people, mostly garment workers.
Rescuers pulled out 2,438 people alive from beneath the rubble. Around 100 of them are still taking treatment at different hospitals, some with lost limbs.
read more.
daily star bd

* Two more Rana Plaza workers die:

The death toll in Rana Plaza building collapse tragedy rose to 1129 on Saturday with two injured workers succumbing to their wounds despite medical treatment.

Mohammad Ashraful, 18, died at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital around noon.
He used to work at New Wave Fashion, which was situated on the seventh floor of the ill-fated building.
Ashraful came from Jhauganj of Mymensingh’s Gouripur Upazila.
The other person to die was Anjurara Begum, 16. She died at Square Hospital, where she was undergoing treatment, around dawn.
The details of her identity are still no known.
read more. & read more. & read more.
bdnews24 newstodayBD

* Pay for pain, sufferings – Victims deserve compensation from Brands:

CCC protests across Europe

Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) activists staged protests across Europe on Friday calling on major brands to pay compensation for fire and building collapse victims in Bangladesh.

The protests took place exactly one month after the Rana Plaza factory collapse and exactly six months after the Tazreen fire that cost 1239 lives in total.
Fake funerals, factory simulations and fashion shows were part of the Europe wide protests at the failure to pay for pain and suffering, loss of earnings and medical care. Protests were held in front of brands that had production or placed trial orders in Rana Plaza.
Tessel Pauli of Clean Clothes Campaign said, ‘Workers’ debts are rising as brands fail to pay up. These two recent horrific tragedies in Bangladeshi garment factories left 1239 people dead and thousands injured. Compensation is owed to these workers, and financial security is essential for families coming to terms with what has happened. Brands should pay up so that families and workers do not suffer any more’.
read more.
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* Rana Plaza death toll rises to 1,129:

The death toll from the collapse of Rana Plaza in Savar has risen to 1,129 after two more injured workers died a month after the disaster, officials said on Sunday.

Senior government official Zillur Rahman Chowdhury said one male and one female victim of one of the world’s worst industrial disasters had died in hospital.
“They were rescued alive from the rubble and were undergoing treatment but succumbed to injuries, one on Friday and the other on Saturday,” Chowdhury said.
read more.
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 MORE AND OTHER NEWS:

* Deaths of workers in building collapse:

Every country needs cooperation of other countries to move forward in present age. Import and export of goods, services, technology and manpower are indispensable for a country that desires sustainable development and it needs foreign currency.

Garment and knit industry are major foreign currency earners of Bangladesh. It has been contributing to enhancing gross domestic product as well as per capita income. The industry has tremendous potential to develop further. Garment and knitting factories have been contributing to mentionable employment of un-skill and semi-skilled huge poor women; it has been creating new industrialists, professional managers, and technical experts and so on. Mentionable SMEs got opportunity to supply different inputs to the industry.

Good number of traders like buying houses has been developing. All have increasingly contributed to employment generation. Increased income of the people concerned created demand for goods and services resulting in enhanced production and trading activities as well.

But the recent devastating fire and factory building collapse have created a situation that threatens even sustenance of the industry. Many factory buildings of garment and knit industry have not been designed and constructed by professional architects and civil engineers. The multistoried factory buildings are not suitable to take load and vibration of power generator and other equipments and load of production inputs and labours. Fire safety is totally ignored designing as well as constructing the factories.
read more.

* Chinese apparel producers abusing BD’s free access :

Chinese manufacturers are allegedly shipping textile products to the European Union (EU) using labels of Bangladesh, which enjoys duty-free and quota free access for its products to the EU, said OLAF, an anti-fraud investigator of the bloc, on Thursday.

OLAF had conducted a series of investigations with the Bangladesh authorities over the import of textiles to the EU which were fraudulently declared as originating there, according to a senior source at the anti-fraud agency, German news agency DPA said. read more.

* A high price for leather:

Fifty-year-old Emdad Hossain had to have three fingers of his left hand amputated when he met with an accident running a machine in a leather processing factory about two decades ago.

After he had joined work again, he was given the task of processing ‘wet blue’ leather in a machine and the job is considered hazardous when done without precaution.
And now the fingers he has have become rubber-like as he has been doing the job with bare hands for the two decades.
‘I process the wet blue [the first stage of leather], soaked in chemicals, with the machine for at least eight hours a day and I get paid Tk 10,000 a month. I also do overtime,’ he said.
‘My hands never dry as I work continuously without any gloves. Rubbing mustard oil is the only treatment for the skin burnt with chemicals and it gives me a little comfort,’ said Emdad, who also suffers from itches, rash and stomach problems.
He further said that the people who feed newly tanned hides for conditioning it them with water in sammying machines, have similar problems.
read more.

* BTMA places 9-pt demand ahead of national budget:

Bangladesh Textiles Mills Association (BTMA) on Sunday placed a 9-point proposal for consideration of the government in the next national budget that includes fixing income tax at 10 percent on the profit of the textile sector and to continue the rate up to 2018.

A BTMA delegation, led by its president Jahangir Alam, placed the demands to Finance Minister AMA Muhith during a meeting at his secretariat office in the afternoon.
According to the existing provision under section 18 of the Companies Act of 1994, fifteen percent income tax is being charged for the period of July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013 on the profit of any company related to textile production like yarn production, yarn dyeing-finishing, fabric production, and fabric dyeing-finishing-printing.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
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* Sewing machines, cloths distributed among distressed women:

Sewing machines and clothes were distributed among distressed women at Bonkira village in Sadar upazila of the district on May 25.

A non-government organization Bonkira Poribar And Polli Kollyan Somity organised the programme. Journalist Asif Iqbal Kazal was present as chief guest, while Adviser of the Somity Nazama Ahmed presided over the meeting. Among others, Tazima Hossain Mojumdar, Atikur Rahman Tutul, Ahmedul Kabir Afsary were present.
A huge number of distressed women, local people and journalists attended the programme.
to read.
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* On the positive and plus side of RMG:

The onslaught the garment sector is facing almost everyday reveals some sort of ulterior motive, best described in the words of Shakespeare as “Mischief, thou art afoot. Take thou what course thou wilt”.

So much of concocted, fabricated, arbitrary and imaginary allegations are being circulated in headlines and so much of canard is being spread against this sector that it is manifest that a “Frankenstein” is being created and let loose by some perpetrators. Unless this “Frankenstein” is put on the ebb, it will for sure bring in a total catastrophe for the national economy. Today our credit as the second largest garment exporter in the world is left on a very slippery slope and we again should never forget what Shakespeare said: “It is a bright day that brings forth the adder (snake) and that craves wary walking.” read more.

* RMG makers confident of retaining global stake:

Local manufacturers Sunday expressed strong confidence of retaining their stake in the apparel business across the globe as the second largest garment exporter after China.

However, they criticised the role of some local and international rights groups, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and a section of media for tarnishing the image of the industry including the owners, workers and management.

There is no doubt that the garment sector in Bangladesh is passing through hard times following the recent building collapse tragedy. But it is too early to jump into a conclusion that the sector is going to lose international buyers soon, said a leader of the Bangladesh Garment manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
read more.

*  Child Workers in Bangladesh Sew Children’s Clothing for Europe:

You can view another remarkable report  by Holly Williams for CBS Evening
News, May 24, 2013.

European retailers should come clean regarding the children’s clothing
line being sewn at a sweatshop factory outside of Dhaka.

If a journalist with a hidden camera can walk into the factory and quickly document that “there was just one rickety fire escape for 400 people,” and that “many of the workers appeared to be children themselves,” how is it possible that
the European labels have no idea where or how their garments are being sewn?

Wrangler stated that their clothing line being sewn at the Monde Apparels sweatshop had been certified A-okay by “an independent labor group.” Will Wrangler allow the American people to know who their “independent labor group” is? And if the monitoring group was so good, why did Wrangler immediately cut and run, and flee the Monde Apparels factory once they were caught sewing illegal sweatshop goods?
read more.
IGLHR

* Bangladesh: The cost of fashion:

Is there any prospect of a properly regulated garments industry in the country, and what would it mean for the market?

A building collapsed killing more than 1,000 garment workers in Bangladesh last month. The disaster showed the terrible working conditions, and lack of safety, for millions of workers there.

Both Bangladesh and the global community are coming to terms with their roles in the disaster, because whether consumers shop at Walmart or at Giorgio Armani, the clothes they buy are probably produced in Bangladesh, which is ranks number two in the world for garment production.

And that is because garment workers in Bangladesh are the lowest earners in the world. Workers expect to earn 24 cents an hour, with some wages as low as $38 a month – a lot lower than the rate in the world’s other big apparel producing markets. 

The fashion trade has reshaped Bangladesh’s economy. It employs four million people, mostly women, and brings in $19bn a year from the sale of garments. Still, the money Bangladesh makes is minimal compared to the revenue of, for example, Walmart, the big American retailer, which has refused to sign up to any legally binding safety agreements in factories that produce the clothes it sells.
read & see more. (video).
aljazeera

* Prof Yunus, RMG and Bangladesh:

Our noble laureate Professor Yunus has spoken his mind unequivocally on the Savar tragedy; this is what one would expect from a noble mind to do during one of the greatest industrial tragedies of our times; hundreds of our garment workers mostly, young female workers, lay crushed under the debris of Rana Plaza.

The contribution of these poor workers should not be measured in terms of dollars or euros alone which they bring to Bangladesh; what is generally overlooked is the sight of streams of mostly young garment girls going to work in the early hours and coming back late in the evening or night; it is the spectacle of a moving and thriving new Bangladesh pulsating with life and vigor.

The degree of freedom and confidence they exude fill us with pride; we believe we are on our way to achieving the empowerment of women along with micro-credit in a manner which no amount of intolerance can stop; we are firmly set to fulfilling one of the most cherished visions which inspired our Liberation war: the creation of a modern, tolerant and liberal society in Bangladesh.
read more.
daily star bd

* After Bangladesh, labor unions can save lives:

The factory collapse in Bangladesh that killed more than 1,100 workers should be a pivot point for the global apparel industry, moving consumers to demand more accountability from brand-name companies that subcontract production to supply-chain factories around the world.

Sadly, the history of workplace tragedies in so many of these factories suggests that after consumers in rich countries express horror and call for reforms, the demands for better worker protections die down and the marketplace for cheap apparel abides. But this cycle can finally be broken if demands for change start to focus on workers’ right to form trade unions.

In the wake of labor abuses and workplace tragedies exposed in the 1990s, many apparel brands created in-house social compliance functions and joined “multi-stakeholder groups” with detailed monitoring and certification programs. But the one-day visits and checklist-style monitoring routine in such efforts have not worked.

This is where workers’ organizing comes in. Social compliance monitors might visit once a year. Government inspectors might come once in 10 years from understaffed and underfunded labor ministries common to most developing countries. But a real trade union can provide the vigilance and voice that workers need for sustained decency at their place of employment, including a workplace that is not a death trap. read more.
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18:26:56 local time map of india INDIA

* Malnutrition claims girl’s life in Varanasi:

Death of a girl belonging to weavers’ community due to malnutrition has spurred the district and health authorities into action. They have announced several steps to ameliorate the plight of underprivileged people, specially weavers, living in malnourished condition in the city.


District Magistrate Pranjal Yadav visited Lohata area on Friday to take first hand account of the situation arising out of the death of a girl due to alleged malnutrition. The DM met girl’s father Mohammed Rafiq, who hardly manages to earn Rs 60-70 a day. The DM instructed the officials of the handloom and textile department to hold a camp in the area on May 30 to benefit the weavers with departmental schemes.

The weavers told the authorities that they are not getting benefits of the government schemes. Those who are not actually weavers were reaping benefits by forming fake committees, they claimed. There are 16 such committees in the area, they added. read more.
TOInew

* Rise in illegal textile processing units in Erode:

The district has been witnessing a fresh spurt in the establishment of unauthorised textile processing units.

The absence of effective monitoring by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) and the district administration has encouraged persons to establish illegal processing units near waterways and rivers in the district.
“The increased flow of toxic, untreated effluents in the waterways indicates that more units have come up in the district. We have found many units functioning in the surroundings of Erode and Bhavani towns,” Tamil Nadu Farmers Association district secretary T. Subbu says.
read more.
Return to frontpage

* Textile traders oppose FOSTTA’s decision to end agitation against textile processors:

President of the Federation of Surat Textile Traders Association (FOSTTA) and its office-bearers have come in the line of fire from the textile traders for changing the decision of not accepting the deliver of finished fabrics from the textile processors on Thursday.

 

 

Textile traders said that the FOSTTA had informed the traders in all the 140 textile markets in the city for not accepting the finished fabrics supplied by the textile traders starting from Thursday after the transporters refused to pick up unfinished fabrics from the markets.
read more.
TOInew

* Gangotri Textiles may come under BIFR fold:

Gangotri Textiles, an integrated textile company, informed the BSE on Friday that due reference will be made to the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) in terms of Section 23 of the Sick Industrial Companies (Special Provisions) Act, 1985.

The company registered Rs.68 crore net loss for the quarter ended March 2013 as against Rs.11 crore during the last quarter of 2011-12. The net loss for the whole of 2012-13 is Rs.108 crore as against Rs.44 crore in the previous year. The accumulated losses for the financial year ended March 31, 2013, have eroded the peak net worth of the company. read more.
Return to frontpage

* Uttarakhand seeks pvt partner for textile park:

The Uttarakhand government has decided to set up the proposed textile park as a public-private partnership in the Kumaon region. The government will float a special purpose vehicle and look for a private partner for the textile park, said principal secretary, industries, Rakesh Sharma.

The Union government had last year announced a series of sops at an estimated cost Rs 250 crore for Uttarakhand. These included a textile park, two spices parks, two convention centres and horticulture cold-storage chains. Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna had recently expressed his worry over delays in setting up the textile park, where the centre has promised a grant of Rs 100 crore.
read more.
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18:26:56 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* Sri Lanka garment firms boost work conditions:

Campaign starts to improve standards in country gaining reputation as ethical source of clothing.

It has been a month since a garment factory collapsed in Bangladesh, killing more than 1,000 people.

The disaster has prompted calls for better regulation of the industry in the region.
Sri Lanka, a neighbour of Bangladesh, is one country gaining a reputation as an ethical source of clothing, putting pressure on manufacturers to improve safety standards and workers’ rights.
The “Garments without guilt” campaign covers production, working conditions, child labour, forced labour and sweatshop practices.
read & see more. (video report).
aljazeera

17:56:56 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Garment factories violating labour laws:

The governments and international brands are directly responsible for the gory incidents in Ali Enterprises (Baldia Karachi) and garment factories of Dhaka, Bangladesh, as their criminal negligence resulted in loss of lives of thousands of innocent workers. Strict steps should be taken to ensure proper safety of workers and stop turning the factories into slaughterhouses of workers. 

Labour leaders unanimously said this while addressing a large rally in front of Karachi Press Club (KPC) here the other day. The rally was staged by National Trade Unions Federation Pakistan (NTUFP) to express solidarity with the martyrs of garment workers of Bangladesh.
They said, to avoid repetition of Karachi and Dhaka tragedies, it is necessary that local and international labor laws be strictly applied in all textile and garment factories. The international industrial safety standards for labour should be implemented to save the lives of workers.
A large number of workers, trade unions activists, political leaders, representatives of human rights organizations, intellectuals and students attended the rally. Carrying banners and placards, they chanted slogans demanding safety measures for the factory workers.
read more.
thenation

* Call to raise minimum wages:

Workers urged the newly-elected government to raise minimum wages to Rs 15,000.

In a statement issued here on Saturday, Khurshid Ahmed, General Secretary Pakistan Workers Federation, said the government should raise salaries of government, semi-government and private sector employees by 30 percent along with pension benefits in the forthcoming budget.
He said the newly-elected government should accord the highest priority to overcome power loadshedding in the country by providing gas and oil to closed thermal power stations at the earliest.
to read. & read more. & read more. & read more.
PAKOBSERVER  thenation  thenews.com.pk

* Textile exporters urge new govt to forge export oriented policies:

20130525 TRIBUNE
The textile industry is pinning its hopes on the incoming PML-N government which is considered highly favourable for businesses. PHOTO: AFP

Textile exporters have stressed upon the upcoming government to forge export oriented policies to ensure new surge in dwindled economy and battered industrial sector, said Asghar Ali, chairman and Muhammad Asif, vice chairman Pakistan Textile Exporters Association here today.

In a press statement, PTEA office bearers urged the upcoming government to give top priority to boost economy as Pakistan could not make sound progress without turning around its sagging economy. Energy crisis coupled with high interest rate, excessive burden of taxes and stuck up amounts in refund regimes has not only jeopardized growth of the textile industry and exports but put the survival of existing industry at stake.
read more. & read more.
PAKOBSERVER The Express Tribune

* Power cuts may cause unrest in textile hubs: APTMA:

Central Chairman All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Ahsan Bashir has said that the textile industry is braving unprecedented loadshedding in the history of Pakistan, as no such abnormal electricity cuts have ever been witnessed in the past.

He said that dire consequences of the prevailing situation were emerging out fast in the textile hubs of the country.
He said that interestingly no one from among the power distribution authorities were taking ownership of the emergency like situation, which is turning into a mess with every passing moment. Chairman APTMA said the new government should take stock of the situation to avert a crisis like situation once they step in and hold the control of affairs.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

* PLGMEA raps introduction of mini-budget:

Fawad Ijaz Khan, Patron-in-Chief Pakistan Leather Garments Manufacturers & Exporters Association (PLGMEA) and Mohammad Danish Khan Chairman PLGMEA criticized the decision of caretaker government to introduce mini-budget just one month before the announcement of annual budget.

Fawad stated that exporters are already burdened with increasing costs of inputs and severe electricity crisis. They are finding it hard to meet their export commitments.
The adverse law & order situation in Karachi is also affecting the export business severely. Imposing new taxes or increasing tax rates for exporters will cripple their businesses and force widespread closures leading to unemployment.
read more.

PAKOBSERVER

* PCGA to challenge cotton’s hedge trading in Supreme Court:

Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) has decided to challenge the hedge trading of cotton in Supreme Court of Pakistan describing it as un-Islamic and repugnant to Shariah.

PCGA strongly opposed the introduction of International Cotton (Icotton) Futures Contract at Pakistan Mercantile Exchange Limited (PMEX) as the same decision has been taken by the government without consultation with the stakeholders of the cotton economy ie the KCA, APTMA, PCGA, FAP and PCF.

It warned that PCGA would move to the apex court of Pakistan if the government and Securities Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) make any attempt to introduce future contract rules 2005. PCGA will also announce its future line of action if SECP does not entertain the suggestions and proposals of the PCGA.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

 

map of Asia

INFO:

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

HEADLINES:

CHINA
* China’s textile industry ‘more diversified’

PHILIPPINES
* Workers make a colorful quilt to show solidarity with Bangladeshi workers

VIET NAM
* Experts argue over minimum wage adjustments
* Korean KyungBang sets up $40 million yarn plant in Vietnam

CAMBODIA
* Female Garment Workers in Cambodia Fighting For The Right Not To Die At Work
* When You Build a Small Roof for the Dog

BURMA/MYANMAR
* EU not allows Chinese grasshoppers exploiting GSP for Myanmar

BANGLADESH
* Demand for RMG pay rise- Workers’ protest, work abstention
* 3 RMG units halt production:
* Bangladesh Labour Act- 2013- Workers’ rights still in darkness
* One-third of RMG units non-compliant
* 18 RMG units shut on safety grounds
* Ashulia apparel hub operates partially
* 20 RMG factories shut at Ashulia amid violence; 50 hurt
* RMG workers demonstrate in Ctg
* No let-up in RMG unrest at Ashulia 20 workers injured in clashes with police in Gazipur
* RMG workers block highway in Gazipur- 30 RMGs shut in Ashulia
* RMG workers demonstrate in Gazipur
* 10 RMG factories shut amid protest
* Garment owners file cases against protesting workers
* Making garment factories trouble-free
* CDA-BGMEA team finds two bldgs highly risky
* In pictures: Bangladeshi garment workers
* Bangladeshi garments should not play poverty to outsiders

* FM Dipu to visit Brussels to retain duty, quota-free access to EU
* EU DFQF benefit withdrawal to be big blow to economy, they say
* EU threatens to withdraw GSP
* EU conservatives support continuation of GSP for BD
* EU Commission to investigate RMG compliance issues
* Better working environ at RMG units stressed
* Threat to revoke GSP ‘unjust’
* Lot of pressure on US over GSP facility to B’desh: Moriarty
* Rights activists slam US for GSP withdrawal threat
* US Congressman in city to inspect RMG factories
* Further tragedy shouldn’t taint Bangladesh brand: Fernandez
* US-Bangladesh Commercial Relations- At ‘a critical point’
* US retailers should sign safe RMG deal
* BD needs to do more to improve working condition in RMG sector: Hanrahan
* Why are US garment retailers hyperventilating?
* Gap renews pledge to stay in Bangladesh
* Labour issues to top agenda
* US for full labour rights, but not at cost of industry
* US asks for introducing CSR in RMG, signing TICFA
* Buyers urged to ensure workplace safety in RMG sector
* Sweating Bangladesh surveyor races to avoid next tragedy
* Benetton offers health, financial aid to Savar victims
* Kmart ceased production at Bangladesh factory after cracks found
THE SAVAR BUILDING COLLAPSE
* Wait not over for them
* Two more Rana Plaza workers die
* Pay for pain, sufferings – Victims deserve compensation from Brands
* Rana Plaza death toll rises to 1,129
MORE AND OTHER NEWS:
* Deaths of workers in building collapse
* Chinese apparel producers abusing BD’s free access
* A high price for leather
* BTMA places 9-pt demand ahead of national budget
* Sewing machines, cloths distributed among distressed women
* On the positive and plus side of RMG
* RMG makers confident of retaining global stake
* Child Workers in Bangladesh Sew Children’s Clothing for Europe
* Bangladesh: The cost of fashion
* Prof Yunus, RMG and Bangladesh
* After Bangladesh, labor unions can save lives

INDIA
* Malnutrition claims girl’s life in Varanasi
* Rise in illegal textile processing units in Erode
* Textile traders oppose FOSTTA’s decision to end agitation against textile processors
* Gangotri Textiles may come under BIFR fold
* Uttarakhand seeks pvt partner for textile park

SRI LANKA
* Sri Lanka garment firms boost work conditions

PAKISTAN
* Garment factories violating labour laws
* Call to raise minimum wages
* Textile exporters urge new govt to forge export oriented policies
* Power cuts may cause unrest in textile hubs: APTMA
* PLGMEA raps introduction of mini-budget
* PCGA to challenge cotton’s hedge trading in Supreme Court

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