in the news on-line, 28 May 2013

21:29:22 local time map of china CHINA

* Strung out:

Visitors try out stitching machines at an exhibition kicking off Monday in Zhengzhou, capital of Central China’s Henan Province. Photo: CFP.

The stitching machine exhibition will last till Wednesday. Henan Province is now home to over 10,000 garment companies.

Garment makers in Henan Province reported total sales of 56.7 billion yuan ($9.26 billion) in 2012, up 27.29 percent year-on-year, according to data from the Henan Garment Industry Association. Over 500 companies from all over the world are attending the fair. to read.

* Migrant workers see slower wage rise:

China’s 163 million migrant workers saw a slower rise of 11.8 percent in their wages last year as economic growth eased and demand for labor weakened, a National Statistics Bureau survey showed yesterday.

The average monthly wage of migrant workers employed in towns and cities grew to 2,290 yuan (US$374) last year from 2011, the bureau said.
The growth slowed sharply from the 21.2 percent surge in 2011.
Last year, the number of migrant workers rose 3 percent, a slowdown from 2011’s 3.4 percent growth, to 163.4 million, the survey showed.
read more.

* Chinese sportswear makers see drop in orders:

Chinese sportswear maker 361 Degrees International Ltd reported a drop in winter orders of 17 percent, hitting Q1 profits.

Other local sportswear brands have also witnessed a fall in orders and profits.
Fujian-based Xstep saw fourth quarter orders plummet by 15 to 17 percent. Anta, another sportswear brand headquartered in Fujian, also had a five to 15 percent drop in orders in the fourth quarter.
“The sportswear industry has reached maturity,” said Ma Gang, an industry analyst.
“Some players need to withdraw from the market so that others can grow.”
to read.

* China to tighten work safety supervision:

China on Monday pledged tighter supervision of work safety and an improved official accountability system in the wake of a major industrial accident last week.

The State Council, China’s Cabinet, vowed to tighten work safety supervision in high-risk sectors including coal mining, fireworks, dangerous chemicals, roads and transportation.
It was agreed at a plenary meeting of the Cabinet’s Work Safety Commission that China will continue to create unified safety standards nationwide and improve emergency assistance and risk prevention capabilities.
read more.

20:29:22 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Russia police arrest over 300 Vietnamese illegals in shady factory :

The Russian police arrested more than 300 Vietnamese workers following a raid on an illegal garment factory outside Moscow Tuesday.

Police and immigration officers found them at a factory making sports apparel with fake Olympic and other famous logos, Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported, quoting a source from the Ministry of Interior.
All of them were found to be staying illegally in the country.
The police seized thousands of items and cloth samples and shut down the factory.
They found that two Vietnamese companies were involved in the illegal manufacturing, and are looking for their owners.
Many Vietnamese workers in Russia work in slave-like conditions, without benefits.
read more.

20:29:22 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Workers ‘injured by electric batons’:

A pregnant woman who miscarried was one of 20 workers injured yesterday when military police used electric batons to disperse protesters at the Sabrina Garment factory in Kampong Speu province, a union representative claimed.

Sun Vanny, the factory’s Free Trade Union representative, said about 4,000 workers were protesting in front of the factory in Samrong Tong district when military police seized their megaphone.
“The workers asked for it back, but police denied their request,” Vanny said, adding that workers then thronged National Road 4 to try to reclaim their confiscated property.
“It is not a big problem, and we did not block the road. We just needed our megaphone back,” Vanny said.
This was when officers used electric batons to push back the crowd, he added.

Vanny said that among those hurt was a 20-year-old woman two months pregnant, who suffered a miscarriage when she was pushed to the ground.
The factory makes clothing for US sportswear company Nike.
read more.

* 4,000 Workers Demand Living Wage:

4,000 workers on strike for living wage, in Kompong Speu.

To build a strong and skilled labor force for a fair and equitable economic growth, the Cambodia National Rescue government has the responsibility and duty to promote decent employment in safe working environment and ensure living wage for workers to support the safety and dignity of their families.
to read.

* Cambodian police clash with thousands of garment workers, 23 hurt:

At least 23 workers were hurt in Cambodia on Monday when police using stun batons moved in to end a protest over pay at a factory that makes clothing for U.S. sportswear company Nike, a worker and a trade union representative said.

Police with riot gear were deployed to move about 3,000 mostly female workers who had blocked a road outside their factory owned by Sabrina (Cambodia) Garment Manufacturing in Kampong Speu province, west of the capital, Phnom Penh.

Sun Vanny, president of the Free Trade Union (FTU) at Sabrina, told Reuters the injured included a woman who was two months pregnant and who had lost her child after military police pushed her to the ground. read more.

* United call for factory safety:

The International Labour Organization’s Better Factories Cambodia project and the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia yesterday urged garment and footwear factory owners to review building structures in the wake of collapses that have killed two and injured almost 40 this month.

In a joint statement, the organisations said the ceiling collapse at Wing Star Shoes that killed a 15-year-old girl and a man on May 16 and a bridge collapse at Top World garment last Monday were “devastating and unprecedented”.
“We believe that it is in the interest of all to take steps to prevent more such accidents happening in the garment and footwear industry,” the statement says.
read more.

* GMAC and BFC’s letter to factories on building safety review:

Dear factory managers,
The events of the past week have been devastating and unprecedented. As you know, two factory structure related accidents occurred in which two workers lost their lives and more were injured.
We believe that it is in the interest of all to take steps to prevent more such accidents happening in the Cambodian garment and footwear industry.
In the aftermath of these partial collapses on factory premises we are strongly advising a structural review of all buildings in all garment and footwear factories in Cambodia.
We understand that structural problems have not been common among Cambodia’s factories but in the wake of these distressing events we believe that it is necessary to take actions to guarantee a safe environment for workers and to protect the industry’s integrity.
BFC and GMAC understand that both international and Cambodian organisations based in Phnom Penh claim to have sufficient expertise to undertake structural review of buildings and provide guidance.
If you would like some names of construction and engineering companies that may be able to help you, please contact Mr.OukKeobuntheang at .

Please note that BFC and GMAC do not have the technical competence to vet
these individuals and organizations and we are not approving them for you.
The list is intended only to act as a starting point for factories looking for this expertise.We urge you to be mindful of our recommendation on this issue and begin the process of implementing a structural review in your factory as soon as possible.
to read.
gmac  BF

* Women deserve their rights:

Hardly a day goes by without a news story on some violation of women’s rights. In recent months, appalling incidents of violence against women and girls, across the world, have sparked public outrage and demands to tackle these horrific abuses.

In Bangladesh and Cambodia, the shocking loss of life by garment factory workers, many of them women, sparked global debate on how to secure safe and decent jobs in our globalised economy.
In Europe, the disproportionate impact on women of austerity cuts, and the use of quotas to get more women on corporate boards continue to make headlines.
Even though women have made real gains, we are constantly reminded of how far we have to go to realise equality between men and women.
read more.

* Cambodia: A rising star with a falling reputation? :

Cambodia’s reputation as a standard-bearer for apparel workers’ rights is wearing thin – and yet the country is a rising star when it comes to attracting foreign investment and increasing exports.

There are many reasons to deter brands and retailers from sourcing clothing in Cambodia.
The Kingdom has no local textile supply chain. Corporate social responsibility is more a question of paperwork than of really caring for workers’ well-being and for the environment. And general education and productivity of workers is low, with primary school drop-out rates of 45.5%.
Reports of illegal strikes and mass faintings of exhausted girls abound – more than 2,100 faintings in 29 factories in 2012, and over 500 in five factories in the first quarter of 2013. And in the last week alone there have been two partial collapses at factories that have resulted in at least two deaths.
Company turnover is high, with 62.5% of the 273 firms operating in 2009 having entered the industry after 2003, as is labour turnover (on average 20-25% per year).
read more.
just style

21:29:22 local time map of malaysia MALAYSIA

* Female Labour Force Participation Must Be Improved, Says Najib:

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said female labour force participation, which currently is at 47 percent, must be improved to ensure robust and sustainable growth in the country.

The Prime Minister said more jobs aligned to women’s needs should be offered to encourage their participation in the workforce such as through home-based, part-time or flexible working hours.
“Women are still not equally represented in the labour force. The Malaysian economy saw exceptional growth at 5.6 percent last year.
“But female labour participation must be improved if we want to continue to see robust and sustainable growth,” he said when delivering his keynote address at the 3rd Global Conference on Women Deliver 2013, here Tuesday.
read more.

19:59:22 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

* Myanmar to start garment export to US in June:

Garment factories in Myanmar are preparing to make their first shipments to US next month, according to Myanmar Garment Entrepreneurs Association.

“Now, some garment factories here will export to US in coming June. Some are ready and some are still preparing. After President [Thein Sein’s] trip to US, we have received more enquires from US buyers,” Khine Khine Nwe, Secretary of Myanmar Garment Entrepreneurs Association, said.
She said most garment orders at the factories are currently from Japan and Korea, and Japanese buyers are taking market surveys now and then.

Myanmar’s garment export hit a new record at one billion dollars last year. Myanmar Garment Entrepreneurs Association is now providing training to workers at the garment factories to build their capacity, to meet the demands of increasing garment orders and to expand their export markets.
read more.

19:14:22 local time map of nepal NEPAL

* CPN-M-affiliated union wants place in wage talks:

At a time when the government, the private sector and trade unions are doing homework to review the minimum wage of workers, a trade union affiliated to Mohan Baidya-led CPN-Maoist has demanded its inclusion in the wage review negotiation process.

All Nepal Revolution Trade Union Federation (ANRTUF) has accused the government of excluding it from the talks and has launched a protest programme which began May 15. On Friday, the ANRTUF organised a one-hour long sit-in on the premises of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI).
The tripartite Minimum Wage Determination Committee formed by the government one and half months ago has been given a two-month time to fix the minimum salary of industrial workers, except for those working in tea estates. The committee has held several rounds of talks with employers and trade unions.
read more.

19:29:22 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Higher wages for poor workers to help RMG fetch $40b a year:

The government of Bangladesh has constituted a new Wage Board to consider raising the minimum wages of garment workers, given the recent tragedies and global media attention that have shed a light on the poor safety and working conditions.

In his recent article on the subject, Professor Yunus and other civil society leaders have already lent their support to increasing the minimum wage.

The Wage Board should have representation from various stakeholders, especially workers, factory owners, and foreign buyers, and expert opinion. The group that has in the past resisted a hike in minimum wages is the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) representing the factory owners. However, after initial hesitation, they have agreed to abide by the recommendations of the Wage Board. This is indeed heartening.
read more.

* RMG workers block road in Mirpur:

20130527 BANGLA24

Several hundred workers of a garment factory have been staging rowdy demonstration since Monday morning, blocking Begum Rokeya Sarani in Mirpur of the capital.

The traffic movements on the road came to a halt following the protest that ensued around 9:30am for attendance bonus and hike in the workers’ wages.
Hundreds of vehicles were seen struck in long queues that stretched more than 2-km from Purba Shewrapara to Mirpur-10 roundabout.
The agitating workers of “Misami Bitopi Garments” took to the east side of the street in Purba Shewrapara demanding attendance bonus and hike in their wages, said Kazi Wazed Ali, officer-in-charge (OC) of Kafrul Police Station.
The demonstration was continuing when this report was filed around 11:00am.
“We are trying to persuade the workers to back off and clear the streets,” the OC said.
The production of the garment factory also suspended following the workers’ demonstration.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
& read more.
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* RMG workers blockade roads for wage hike:

Ready-made garment (RMG) workers took to the city streets of Kalabagan and Mirpur’s Shewrapara on Monday and blockaded roads for hours demanding attendance incentive and hike in their wages and in protest against relocation of a unit.

Nearly 300 workers of Basundhara Garment Limited blocked roads at Kalabagan for nearly three hours from 11am protesting the shifting of the unit to a new location.
“Several hundred agitating workers of Misami Bitopi Garments took to Begum Rokeya Sarani at Purba Shewrapara demanding attendance incentive and hike in their wages at around 9:30 am,” said Kafrul Police Station officer-in-charge Kazi Wazed Ali.

A section of workers of Misami Bitopi Garments alleged that the factory owner refused to pay attendance incentive to those who work as sewing machine helpers and iron-men.
They claimed that sewing machine operators and workers of quality and cutting sections have been enjoying Tk 500 as attendance incentive a month.
They also demanded Tk 600 as tiffin fees.
read more.

* RMG workers demand pay hike, take to streets in Dhaka:

Thousands of garment workers yesterday took to the streets in the capital and blocked the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway through Gazipur, demanding a pay hike.

Around 2,000 workers of Misami Bitopi Garments and Akik Garments staged demonstrations in Mirpur, after the factory owners refused to pay “attendance bonuses” to employees.
The workers also demanded the maternity leave be extended to six months from three, said Kazi Wazed Ali, an inspector of Kafrul Police Station.
read more.
daily star bd

* Garment Sramik TUC demonstrates in city:

Garment Sramik Trade Union Centre on Monday demonstrated in the capital despite ban on rally and processions.

The garment workers organisation held a rally in front of the Communist Party of Bangladesh central office at Purana Paltan and brought out a procession that marched different city roads protesting against police attacks on labour leader Ziaul Kabir Khokan.
Addressing the rally, the organisation general secretary KM Ruhul Amin said that that police attacked on the workers of Park Star garment factory at Board Bazar in Gazipur on Sunday where garment labour leader Ziaul Kabir Khokan and more than 20 workers were injured.
The police had attacked the workers who were on demonstration pressing for 12-point demands including an increase in wages and safety of workers at their workplaces.
to read.

* Workers withdraw city blockade:

Readymade garment workers withdrew their protest programme of road blockade on Monday after five-hour as they were given assurance to meet their demands.

Workers of Bashundhara garment and Miss Emmy BIPOPI Group removed road blockades in the afternoon.
The vehicular movements through Shewrapara and Kalabagan became normal after five-hour.
read more.
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* Defending pay hike for RMG workers:

20130528 DAILYSTAR
Workers of Rana Plaza factories queue up to receive their salaries in Savar on May 7. Photo:Anisur Rahman

I am happy to see that the government of Bangladesh has constituted a new wage board to adjust the minimum wages in the garment export industry.

This is a good move for a number of reasons; including the negative publicity the industry has received in the global media after the recent factory accidents in Savar and before that at Tazreen. This media attention has shed light on the poor safety and working conditions of these hard working workers, a majority of whom are women.

The questions faced by the board include: What should be the amount of increase in the minimum wage (at the operator or unskilled labour level)? Should this increase be applied with immediate effect form May 1 retroactive according to the government? How much of the cost increase will negatively impact on profits of local factory owners? What will be the impact on the profit of the foreign buyers? What will be the end result for the retail shoppers? Unfortunately, firm estimates are elusive in this business given many different variables at work.

Other relevant questions are: How will the raise in the minimum wage impact on the overall economy of Bangladesh? How will it impact on the welfare of the garment factory workers?  What will be the expected short- and long-term impact on the garment sector and its growth and position in the global market?
It is difficult to answer these questions conclusively as many factors and many unknowns are involved. It is impossible to accurately predict the impact of exogenous factors, such as future accidents and the current very hostile coverage in the global media. So the analysis here should be taken as guess estimates, hopefully, informed estimates.
read more.
daily star bd

* Bangladesh urged to improve workers’ rights:

Bangladesh’s garment industry under pressure from US and EU to improve safety conditions.

A senior US delegation is in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka for talks on garment workers’ rights and the issue will be discussed by EU leaders meeting in Brussels this week. Al Jazeera’s Jonah Hull went inside one factory in Dhaka, to take a look at conditions. see more.

* WORKPLACE SAFETY AT RMG SECTOR-Don’t turn your back on Bangladesh:

The United States has said it is encouraging international investors not to turn their back on Bangladesh considering the workplace safety condition, exposed recently again through the deadly collapse of Rana Plaza that used to house five garment factories.

Pointing out that haunting images from the tragedy — a motherless child in his aunt’s arms, the wife collapsing at the sight of her husband’s body, the couple buried alive, embracing in death — are seared in their minds, US Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy R Sherman said, “We need to do all that we can to make sure this (building collapse) doesn’t happen again.”

The US is working together with Bangladesh government, the Bangladeshi and American private sectors, labour and civil society groups, partners in the international community, and members of the Bangladeshi diaspora in this regard, she said in her remarks at the second annual US-Bangladesh Partnership Dialogue.
read more. & read more.
daily star bd

 * Make workplace safer:

US congressman visits injured from Rana Plaza collapse

The world must learn lessons from the deadly Rana Plaza collapse in Savar and ensure the safety of garment workers in Bangladesh and around the globe, said a visiting US Congressman yesterday.

“We can just no longer accept the status quo that continues to put workers’ lives in jeopardy. This is the message I will take back to the US Congress and the Obama administration,” George Miller told reporters while visiting Savar’s Enam Medical College and Hospital, where many injured victims have been taking treatment since their rescue from the wreckage of the nine-storey building.
Rana Plaza, which housed five garment factories, caved in on April 24, drawing global attention once again to workers’ safety issues at industrial units in Bangladesh five months after the Tazreen fire killed 112 people.
Miller said he was now in Bangladesh to conduct an investigation to make sure that the latest tragedy that killed at least 1,130 people and injured over 2,500 did not repeat itself.
He called for changes in the laws and practices to make factories safer for workers.
read more.
daily star bd

* Polish firm admits collapsed Bangladesh factory link:

A leading Polish fashion firm has admitted clothes for one of its labels were made in Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza factory complex, which collapsed on 24 April killing over 1000.

The complex, which was located outside of Bangladesh’s capital of Dakla, manufactured garments for a number of major international brands, including Benetton and Monsoon. Labels of the Cropp brand, owned by leading Polish fashion company LPP, were found in the rubble adjoining the site.
“It’s difficult to deny the facts,” a spokesperson for LPP told Clean Clothes Polska (CCP), a humanitarian foundation, as quoted by Polish Radio.
“We cannot deny that one of the agents we were cooperating with found sub-contractors there,” the spokesperson added.
Meanwhile, Maria Huma, coordinator of CCP, has argued that the Bangladesh tragedy should be an alarm call for action.
“This terrible catastrophe should be the final impulse for LPP to finally take responsibility for the health and lives of workers in countries such as Bangladesh,” she said in a press release obtained by Polish Radio.
read more.

* Australian retailers feel heat of Bangladesh tragedy:

Australia’s largest textile workers’ union and activist groups are up in arms that the country’s leading retail chains, who source most of their fashion labels from Bangladesh, are refusing to sign a legally binding accord that will help to improve labor and safety standards in Bangladeshi garment factories.

Local Bangladeshi unions and international human-rights groups have approached international clothing manufacturers to join the global initiative for improved building and safety conditions following the collapse of the eight-story Rana Plaza on April 24 that killed almost 1,200 factory workers.

As rescue teams pulled corpses and survivors from the debris in the town of Savar, about 25 kilometers from Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka, they also found the charred remains of clothing labels bearing the names of major Western retailers like Walmart, H&M, Gap, Primark and many others who outsource their production to Bangladesh to avail themselves of cheap labor in the impoverished country of 150 million.
read more.

* Buyers less interested in placing orders in Ashulia-based RMG factories:

Buyers have started showing less interest in placing orders in apparel factories located in Ashulia industrial belt fearing uncertainty over timely shipment due to ongoing labour unrest, manufacturers say.

“Before placing orders the buyers now want to know where the factories are located and where the work will be done. If they find that the factories are located in Ashulia, they show less interest citing various reasons mainly labour unrest,” president of Exporters Association of Bangladesh (EAB) Abdus Salam Murshedy told the FE.
He said whenever there is any issue — no matter whether a big dispute or a small one — the Ashulia industrial area turns into a battle ground.
“So, the production in the factories of that area is frequently hampered which has become a matter of big concern for the buyers who want to get goods shipped timely,” Mr Murshedy said.
read more.

* FBCCI urges USA to increase GSP:

Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) has urged the authorities concerned to enlist all export-oriented products to USA under generalize system of preference (GSP) privilege.

FBCCI President Kazi Akram Uddin came up with the plea in a discussion meeting with 30-member US delegation at FBCCI Bhaban in the city on Monday.
The FBCCI president also urged the delegation to give preferential market access for all exportable Bangladeshi products, including readymade garments, pharmaceuticals and green technologies.
Kazi Akram urged US business delegation to invest in the tourism, ICT, backward linkage, fishery and agricultural sectors, light engineering, enjoyable commodities, ship building and telecom sectors of Bangladesh.
read more. & read more.
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* Lobby for GSP:

Bangladesh should seek help from lobbyists and its Diaspora in trying to convince the US Congress that the nation deserves preferential trade access to American markets, a visiting US business delegate said yesterday.

“The US president cannot give or retain GSP to any country. It is a political decision. The Congress is the lone agency for it,” said Shabbir Ahmed Chowdhury, chairperson of the US Bangladesh Advisory Council.
The African community has a strong influence on the US Congress and is the most critical of any preferential treatment to Bangladesh, he said.
read more.
daily star bd

* Dhaka agrees in principle to sign TICFA: FBCCI chief:

The president of the Bangladesh apex trade body FBCCI, Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed said on Monday that Dhaka agreed in principle to sign the TICFA with Washington.

“But TICFA (Trade and Investment Co-operation Framework Agreement) would not be implemented at a time. Rather, it would be implemented step by step because of some internal problems,” he said while addressing a view exchange meeting between the business leaders and visiting trade delegation from the US.
Akram Uddin Ahmed said the TICFA implementation would take time because it would be difficult for workers and owners to cope up with all the clauses of the agreement. “There should be labour unions in the factories but the workers should also know how far they can go,” he pointed out.
The FBCCI chief said the ready made garments sector is not getting facilities under GSP (generalized system of preference) provided by US government. He requested Washington to allow GSP facilities to the garments sector.
At the meeting, the US Chamber of Commerce proposed launching of a US Bangladesh private sector forum for holding regular meetings of the business people of both the countries to identify problems that can be solved by the government reform.
read more.

* RMG sector in grave crisis : No room for complacency:

The New York Times carried a story recently on Bangladesh’s beleaguered RMG sector that the Prime Minister must read if she has not done so already. If she did, she would know that the complacency she showed in her interview with Christiana Amanpur of CNN was misplaced.

In that interview, the Prime Minister had emphatically said that she was not worried for the future of the RMG sector in the world-wide uproar against labour conditions in the RMG sector following the Rana Plaza tragedy because the RMG buyers in the developed world have no alternative to Bangladesh for its competitive price to which they have become accustomed. Economics, she was confident, would keep these buyers hooked to Bangladesh.

The headline of the NYT story “After Bangladesh, seeking new sources” had a ring of despair.   The story hinted clearly that the sunshine years of the Bangladesh RMG industry that had seen the country rise to the number two position in the world as a RMG producer after China is under serious threat as major buyers of Bangladesh’s RMG products are now looking at Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia and other competitors of Bangladesh to buy their RMG products.
The NYT story has described the western buyers’ search for new location as a “relentless” one that “ has taken on more urgency after the deadliest industrial accident in the global garment industry’s history, a multistory factory collapse in Bangladesh that left 1,127 people dead. “  The tragedy received unimaginably adverse international publicity. The Pope was so deeply moved by the tragedy that he  went to the insensitive extent of accusing the RMG owners of exploiting the labourers in a new form of ”slavery.”
read more.

* After the Bangladesh apocalypse, will it be business as usual? :

In a suburb of Dhaka we stood on the edge of an awful monument to man’s greed and his folly: the site of five clothing factories, piled one on top of the other.

Now it’s a vast burial ground of rubble and twisted metal. Hundreds of people were so entombed here that their bodies were never recovered. The labels of clothes made for several foreign brands, including Primark, were among the wreckage and still fluttering in the breeze.
Peering in through a barbed wire fence were some of the relatives of the more than 1,100 dead, singing and weeping, calling out to their missing loved ones to come home.

These women are living the nightmare of one of the world’s worst industrial disasters.
“It was like the apocalypse,” said Ajiron, a clothing worker, recalling how the building shook and she was trampled underfoot in the stampede to escape.
“Have any of you received compensation?” I asked a group of women who had crowded around to share their grief.
One had received an advance of her salary, but the others shook their heads: no reliable lists were retrieved of those who worked in the factory complex, and for the hundreds whose relatives were never found, no proof that they ever did.
read more.


* HC asks BB to submit bank statements of Sohel Rana, 5 factory owners:

The High Court on Monday directed Bangladesh Bank to submit to it in two weeks the bank statements of Rana Plaza owner Sohel Rana and the owners of five clothing factories that were housed  in the collapsed building.

The court asked the central bank to submit their bank statements of three months beginning March.
A bench of Justice Mirza Hussain Haider and Justice Muhammad Khurshid Alam Sarkar gave the order after examining the balance in the bank accounts of Sohel Rana and the five factory owners shown in the bank statements the central bank submitted earlier.
Sara Hossain, counsel for public interest writ petitioners Ain o Shalish Kendra and BLAST, drew the court’s attention to the balance shown in the bank statements  Bangladesh Bank had submitted.
ASK and BLAST filed the writ petitions seeking the court’s order to stop the recurrence of another Rana Plaza disaster.
read more.

18:59:22 local time map of india INDIA

* India to export textiles in exchange for Iranian oil:

The Governments of India and Iran have reached a basic barter deal, wherein India will be able to buy Iranian oil in exchange for its textiles.

Initially, a preliminary agreement would be signed between the private sectors of the two countries for Iranian imports of textile machinery and raw materials from India, which would be followed by general agreements between the two Governments on exchange of oil for goods, Iranian Labour News Agency said quoting Reza Tofiqi, vice president for marketing and relations adjustment at Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization.
read more.

* Protesters march against Monsanto across the globe:

Marches and rallies against seed giant Monsanto were held across the U.S. and in dozens of other countries Saturday.

“March Against Monsanto” protesters say they want to call attention to the dangers posed by genetically modified food and the food giants that produce it. Marches were planned for more than 250 cities around the globe, according to organisers.

Genetically modified plants are grown from seeds that are engineered to resist insecticides and herbicides, add nutritional benefits or otherwise improve crop yields and increase the global food supply. Most corn, soybean and cotton crops grown in the United States today have been genetically modified. But some say genetically modified organisms can lead to serious health conditions and harm the environment.
read more.
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18:29:22 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Walmart refuses to place fresh orders with Pakistan:

Walmart, one of the world’s biggest retail chains, has rejected the offer of Pakistani readymade garments manufacturers to meet fresh orders due to the law and order situation and other economic problems in the country, said Bilal Mulla, leading ready-made garments manufacturer in Pakistan. He was speaking at a meeting of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Saturday about the difficulties faced by export-oriented sectors.

Earlier this week, Walmart banned 250 Bangladeshi garment factories from producing for it. “Taking advantage of the opportunity, we contacted Walmart to divert the orders to Pakistani producers,” said Mulla, who is also Chairman of FPCCI Standing Committee on Export Trade. “But the retail chain refused, citing security issues and the energy crisis in Pakistan,” he added.

On the request of exporters, the FPCCI, which is the apex trade body of the country, arranged the meeting. Only four exporters representing three sectors attended the meeting.
Exporters unanimously agreed that exports had suffered due to the energy crisis and security conditions in the country. FPCCI office bearers believe it would be difficult to achieve this year’s export target of $29 billion as only two-thirds or exports worth $19 billion were realised during the first 10 months of the current fiscal year. read more.

* Textile industry starts looking at alternative energy sources:

Textile industry has started looking for alternate energy source to deal with unprecedented loadshedding, leaving many units unproductive due to restricted supply of gas to the Captive Power Plants (CPPs) of the industry.

According to the industry, the millers are looking for the option of solar energy and feasibilities are under their consideration right now. In addition, a few of them are also vying for coal generation.
It is also worth noting that the APTMA has offered a facility of energy audit at the mills in collaboration of GTZ, a German consultancy firm. As a result, some 25 mills have so far saved good amount of energy after electricity audit of their respective mills and more are thinking seriously of adopting the procedure.
read more.

* Textile and commerce ministries: PHMEA concerned over proposed merger:

The apparel textile sector has raised concerns over the proposed merger of textile ministry with commerce ministry, saying the move is “alarming” for the ailing industry.

Last week, Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PHMEA) Central Chairman Javed Bilwani highlighted the industry’s concerns in a letter to PML-N chief and prime minister in waiting Nawaz Sharif.
In his letter, citing information about merger of the two key ministries, Bilwani termed the proposed merger “alarming”. He said that the textile ministry was established on the demand of value-added textile sector, which helped the country’s textile exports flourish.
read more.


map of Asia


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


* Strung out
* Migrant workers see slower wage rise
* Chinese sportswear makers see drop in orders
* China to tighten work safety supervision

* Russia police arrest over 300 Vietnamese illegals in shady factory

* Workers ‘injured by electric batons’
* 4,000 Workers Demand Living Wage
* Cambodian police clash with thousands of garment workers, 23 hurt
* United call for factory safety
* GMAC and BFC’s letter to factories on building safety review
* Women deserve their rights
* Cambodia: A rising star with a falling reputation?

* Female Labour Force Participation Must Be Improved, Says Najib

* Myanmar to start garment export to US in June

* CPN-M-affiliated union wants place in wage talks

* Higher wages for poor workers to help RMG fetch $40b a year
* RMG workers block road in Mirpur
* RMG workers blockade roads for wage hike
* RMG workers demand pay hike, take to streets in Dhaka
* Garment Sramik TUC demonstrates in city
* Workers withdraw city blockade
* Defending pay hike for RMG workers
* Bangladesh urged to improve workers’ rights
* WORKPLACE SAFETY AT RMG SECTOR-Don’t turn your back on Bangladesh
* Make workplace safer
* Polish firm admits collapsed Bangladesh factory link
* Australian retailers feel heat of Bangladesh tragedy
* Buyers less interested in placing orders in Ashulia-based RMG factories
* FBCCI urges USA to increase GSP
* Lobby for GSP
* Dhaka agrees in principle to sign TICFA: FBCCI chief
* RMG sector in grave crisis : No room for complacency
* After the Bangladesh apocalypse, will it be business as usual?
* HC asks BB to submit bank statements of Sohel Rana, 5 factory owners

* India to export textiles in exchange for Iranian oil
* Protesters march against Monsanto across the globe

* Walmart refuses to place fresh orders with Pakistan
* Textile industry starts looking at alternative energy sources
* Textile and commerce ministries: PHMEA concerned over proposed merger

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