16:26:34 local time THAILAND
* Low Wages in Burma Threaten Thailand’s Hold on Japanese Investors:
Japan’s industrial investors stayed with Thailand through the army coups, the Bangkok-paralyzing massed Red-Shirt protests, and the mismanaged floods of 2011 that swamped so many Japanese-owned factories.
But a huge labor force in Burma ready to work for one-sixth of a Thai wage could be a turning point.
The visit to Burma earlier this week by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s has certainly got the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in Bangkok worried. It helps explain why last week during a trade promotion visit to Tokyo she apologized to Japanese business leaders for “any inconvenience caused” to them and their businesses in Thailand in recent years and promised to do better.
16:26:34 local time CAMBODIA
* Cambodia advised to mend its textile industry:
Cambodian garment factories have been advised to check the structural soundness of all of their buildings after sections of buildings at separate factories collapsed this month killing two workers and injuring dozens.
The advice came in a letter from the UN’s International Labour Organization (ILO), whose Better Factories Cambodia program monitors more than 400 exporting factories, and the Garment Manufacturers’ Association in Cambodia (GMAC), a trade group that represents factory owners.
The letter said this month’s “devastating and unprecedented” accidents had put the integrity of Cambodia’s garment industry at stake.
“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,” the two organizations wrote.
Some factories have already said they will comply, but the ILO stresses it has no power to compel factories to act.
* Nike Concerned by Police- Garment Worker Clash:
U.S. sports giant Nike has said it is “concerned” by allegations that Cambodian police used force while trying to quash a protest by workers at one of its supplier factories in Kompong Speu on Monday.
“As outlined in Nike’s Code of Conduct, Nike requires its contract manufacturers to respect their employees’ rights to freedom of association,” said Ryan Greenwood, head of communications for Nike U.K. and Ireland, in an email.
17:26:34 local time MALAYSIA
* Sarawak Government Optimistic Minimum Wage Will Lure Sarawakians Back:
The Sarawak Government is optimistic that the implementation of the minimum wage will attract Sarawakians working in Johor Baharu and the Klang Valley to return home to work, especially with the availability of jobs arising from its development efforts.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu said the Minimum Wages order 2012, which was applicable nationwide, including the oil palm plantation sector, was aimed at luring more local workers into employment and thus, reduce the number of unskilled workers.
“However, the decision to choose the place of employment remains the absolute right of the local worker,” he said.
17:26:34 local time INDONESIA
* Textile and footwear industries main contributors:
Textile and textile product (TPT) industry and footwear industry are major contributors to sustaining the country`s manufacturing sector.
The TPT and footwear exports were valued at US$12.46 billion last year, director general of manufacture industry Panggah Susanto said here Thursday.
Apart from major contributor in export earning the two industries are labor intensive providing large jobs, Panggah said.
He said the country`s footwear industry provide 1.8 percent of the world`s footwear requirement.
He said 1.5 million jobs are provided for Indonesian workers by TPT industry and 700,000 jobs by footwear industry.
Exports of footwear and other leather goods valued at US$3.5 billion giving the country a surplus of US$2 billion on the average annually in the trade of the two leather-based commodities in the past five years, he said.
* Commentary: Minimum Wage Boost Aids Consumers and Retailers:
At the start of this year, following large demonstrations, the Jakarta provincial government increased the minimum wage by 44 percent — to Rp 2.2 million ($224) a month, from Rp 1.5 million.
Even as other provinces raised their rates, Jakarta continued to offer the most generous minimum wage in the country. The increases prompted the question: how does the minimum wage affect the spending patterns of Indonesian consumers across different social classes?
It appears a wage increase does indeed boost consumption. This sounds like good news for manufacturers as they can harvest more sales from consumers, who may purchase more premium products, or others more focused on needs.
* Cost of living rise halts Ramayana’s sales growth:
Fashion retailer PT Ramayana Lestari Sentosa (RALS) says that increased cost of living has dampened the positive effects of the minimum wage hikes among customers, affecting last quarter’s company earnings.
Ramayana, a low-middle segment retailer, saw sales revenues rise 0.37 percent year-on-year to Rp 1.08 trillion (US$112.50 million) in the first quarter of 2013, while total profits rose 5.5 percent to Rp 41.8 billion.
Setyadi Surya, spokesman for the retailer, said that revenues rose slightly in the first quarter because the cost of living rise undid the benefits of the rise in minimum wage.
Indonesia saw a cross-region minimum wage increase of 30 percent on average at the start of the year.
15:56:34 local time BURMA/MYANMAR
* Yesterday once more for EU-Myanmar trade ties? :
Aung Win, a garment export businessman, says he’s a bit north of 50 in terms of years but doesn’t feel it at all. An old flame has returned to his side and it’s like the years have been peeled away. The only reason to note this highly personal detail is that that, metaphorically, it’s happening in his business life as well. The Europeans are back.
He’s reached an agreement (discussions began last year) with a Dutch buyer recently and now his factory is geared up to output a 10,000-item order for that partner, in time for the winter season.
The entrepreneur has been in the garment export business since 1996. His factory in Mingaladon was fully owned and Aung Win gained significant experience in the export market by shipping garment/textile items to European countries, especially to Spain between 2000 and 2008.
The garment trade in Myanmar grew steadily after 1990, encouraging businesspeople to set up shop. However, in 2004 the emerging manufacturing sector was dealt a big blow when the U.S. – the market for some 25 percent Myanmar’s garment exports – put sanctions in place. The EU had in place a 12 percent duty on garments made in Myanmar. The U.S. has removed or suspended most of its sanctions regime and the EU has gone further in dropping the whole lot – arms excepted – and the 12 percent duty has been removed.
15:26:34 local time BANGLADESH
* Ten cents more for a T-shirt can save hundreds of lives:
The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City in 1911 forever made workplaces safer in the United States. The Rana Plaza factory tragedy in Dhaka, Bangladesh, must be this generation`s equivalent.
When the eight-story building that housed at least five garment factories collapsed last month, information revealed in the aftermath about the slave-labor working conditions was appalling.
The building`s owner, described in the Bangladeshi news media as a 35-year-old thug involved in illegal drugs and guns, had ordered the garment workers back into the building the day after an engineer found cracks in the building, declared the structure unsafe and ordered that it be closed immediately.
Such is the garment industry in Bangladesh, where workers earn as little as $40 a month to make clothes for retailers like J.C. Penney, Walmart, H&M and Benetton. They trooped back into the building the following morning.
* 10 hurt in Ansar-workers clash at DEPZ:
A garment factory at DEPZ was closed for an indefinite period following a clash between its workers and Ansar members, leaving about 10 people injured on Thursday.
Workers of the factory ‘A One’ alleged that operator of factory Shah Alam was beaten up by jhut businessman of the factory and local Jubo League leader Almas at Bypile at 9pm on Wednesday.
As the workers on Thursday refrained from their duties and agitated inside the factory demanding the punishment of the attacker, the authorities closed the factory for an indefinite period and hung a closure notice at the main gate of the factory at noon.
* Garment wage review board finalised:
The ministry of labour and employment has finalised the names of six members of a board to review the minimum wages of readymade garment workers.
The chairman of the Minimum Wage Commission and Judge of Dhaka’s Special Judge’s Court, Amulya Kumar Roy, has been made board chief.
An official of the ministry, seeking anonymity, told the news agency that a gazette notification would be issued soon after the ministry of law completed the necessary scrutiny. The board would then formally start functioning.
The official said that the proposal containing the
names of the six officials was sent to the Ministry of Law on Thursday.
He said that the ministry proposed the name of Minimum Wage Commission members Professor Kamal Uddin Ahmed as the neutral member of the board, M Saifuddin to represent the garment factory owners and AK fazlul Haque to stand for the workers.
Besides, the names of BGMEA director Arshad Jamal Dipu and labour leader Lima Ferdousi were proposed as the board’s temporary members.
As per law, the board has to submit its report by re-fixing the new wage structure within six months since the issuance of the gazette notification.
* Pressure mounts for trade union in RMG factories:
No more blame game, says BGMEA chief; analyst rolls out 10-point reform plan
The head of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) yesterday said the industry lobby group is ready to allow trade union in factories to improve labour conditions.
“BGMEA will welcome trade union in the garment sector if it is constructive,” said Atiqul Islam, president of the association.
His comment comes at a time when pressure is mounting on Bangladesh from the international community to allow the country’s four million garment workers to form trade union in factories to make workplaces safer.
The BGMEA chief said this is not the time to play the blame game. “We should work together on how to grow.”
Islam, however, was critical of the disparate codes of conducts imposed by the buyers. “GAP has issued one set of code of conduct and H&M another — we need a uniform code of conduct.”
He said the BGMEA would suspend membership of the members who had installed generators on the roofs of their factory buildings. “In May, we instructed our members to bring down their generators from the top floors.”
* 10 pc RMG growth despite problems: GM Quader:
Commerce Minister GM Quader today said that the export growth of the country’s garments sector is still 10 percent despite various problems.
“Despite various crises facing by the garment sector, the overall export earning by the Readymade Garment (RMG) stood at US$ 19 billion in 2011-12 fiscal and it was US$ 18 billion in 2010-11 and so far the growth remains at the same level,” said the minister as the chief guest while he was speaking at a workshop on “Post-Rana RMG Roadmap” at a city hotel.
Meanwhile, the government has formed a ‘Social Compliance Committee’ under the Ministry of Commerce to conduct physical verification of the garments factories across the country and the committee sits in a meeting after every three months, said the minister.
read more. & read more.
* PRI dialogue sets 10-pt agenda for smooth growth of RMG industry:
The country’s ready-made garments (RMG) industry will require 10-point reform agenda for implementation in order to ensure the next phase of growth of the industry after the deadliest industrial tragedy of Rana Plaza that left over 1,100 people killed, mostly garment workers.
The suggestion came from a dialogue on post-Rana Plaza RMG roadmap organised by the Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh (PRI) in collaboration with the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), Dhaka and the Bangladesh Employers’ Federation held at a city hotel Thursday.
read more. & read more.
* All committed to ensuring safety in RMG sector: Dipu:
Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni has said all the stakeholders are committed to taking actions to ensure workers’ safety and rights in the country’s readymade garment industry and the EU will remain a partner of Bangladesh in this regard.
After the Savar accident, she said, the government, the industry and the workers have reached an ILO-facilitated tripartite agreement on safety issues in the RMG industry.
The Foreign Minister said this at a seminar on ‘Current Situation in Bangladesh: Potential and Challenges’ at the European Institute of Asian Studies (EIAS) on Wednesday morning, said a Foreign Ministry release on Thursday.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* US urges companies to join BD safety pact:
Even with global apparel companies recently joining a pact pledging to improve worker safety in Bangladesh following a deadly factory collapse, The Gap (GPS) and Wal-Mart (WMT) remain high-profile holdouts despite prodding by the U.S. government.
Speaking in Bangladesh on Monday, Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman said the U.S. would continue its efforts to get all companies that purchase goods from Bangladesh to agree to common worker safety guidelines. “The buyers have a critical role. We will continue to work in every way to get the buyers to come to the table and every appropriate way to play the part that they must play for a sustainable solution,” she said. Sherman said efforts by outside companies were essential if there was to be any improvement in the safety of people who must work in “sweatshop” conditions and are paid less than $40 a month.
* US, European firms take different paths:
The wear-and-toss “fast fashion” craze has swept Europe and the United States in equal measure, but concern about its underpinnings has not.
In the fashion world, the latest styles were once reserved for the haute couture houses of Paris and the collections introduced here or in London; Milan, Italy; and New York. This century has seen democratization in the form of big retailers selling cheap and trendy clothes that turn over at dizzying speed – thanks to cheap labor in places like Bangladesh – anywhere from Paris to Pittsburgh.
But when more than a thousand of these laborers sewing clothes for US and European consumers were buried alive April 24 in a Bangladesh building collapse, the transatlantic responses differed dramatically.
Clothing firms quickly came under activist and union pressure to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh: a five-year, legally binding commitment from retailers, whose suppliers will be subject to independent inspections and public reports. A finance mechanism also requires each firm to contribute to safety upgrades, at a maximum of $2.5 million each over the five-year commitment.
* CCC welcomes European Parliament support for compensation demand and for binding Bangladesh Safety Accord:
With near unanimous votes, this is another strong signal to brands to take their responsability.
The Clean Clothes Campaign welcomes the on health and safety in the Bangladesh garment industry, which sets out the Parliament’s expectations of multinational textile retailers to establish a financial compensation plan for fire and building victims and support the .
The Resolution also calls on brands to fully adhere to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which sets out brands responsibilities for due diligence and remediation.
The resolution was passed in the aftermath of thekilling at least 112 workers in November 2012 and the killing at least 1129 on 24 April 2013
The Parliament’s expectation of multinational brands that were producing at these factories to establish a compensation plan supports CCC demands to all brands that placed orders at Tazreen and Rana Plaza to take responsibility for making sure that full and fair compensation is paid.
* Boycott of Bangladeshi apparels not the solution:
During the last Memorial Day weekend at JCPenney departmental store of Manhattan mall, Six Avenue, Manhattan, New York, this writer noticed that around ten people had bought 100 per cent cotton summer shorts, made in Bangladesh within half an hour.
“Bangladeshi garments have unique lustre and captivating look,” his friend Anthony Giangos said delightfully. He further added: “How come this big giant like Disney forget its corporate social responsibilities!”
The Walt Disney Company is the first brand, which has declared to stop production of its branded merchandise in Bangladesh in response to the devastating collapse of a factory building in last April that left more than 1,130 people dead and thousands others critically injured.
Disney added that the decision was made before last April’s collapse of the factory building and was based on a report from the World Bank that assesses how countries are governed using metrics like accountability, and corruption and violence etc.
The company also have decided to halt production in four other countries Ecuador, Venezuela, Belarus and Pakistan, by April 2014.
* U.S. retailers gather to discuss BD safety:
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. WMT +0.79% and Gap Inc. were among U.S. retailers gathered Wednesday in New York to develop a plan to improve worker safety in Bangladesh.
The meeting, organized by the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) and co-chaired by former U.S. Senate Majority Leader and BPC Co-Founder George Mitchell and former U.S. Senator and BPC Senior Fellow Olympia Snowe, marked the first of several to come over the next month in New York and Washington, BPC said in a statement.
“The alliance is driving to develop a single, unified action plan and schedule for implementation that will achieve effective and long-lasting change for the garment industry and its workers in Bangladesh,” BPC said, adding a plan is expected to be released by early July.
Trade groups American Apparel & Footwear Association, National Retail Federation, Retail Industry Leaders Association, and the Retail Council of Canada also participated in the meeting.
Most U.S. retailers, including Wal-Mart, Gap Inc. and J.C. Penney Co. JCP +0.06% have declined to sign a European-led and legally binding initiative drafted following the death of at least 1,100 workers in Bangladesh when a garment factory collapsed there last month.
* Gap, Wal-Mart working on another BD safety plan:
Further splintering the global fashion industry’s response to the tragedies in Bangladesh’s apparel industry, Wal-Mart, Gap announced they’ll be pursuing their own, independent safety reform plan.
If you can’t join them…beat them?
That seems to be Wal-Mart and Gap’s ethos when it comes to safety reform in Bangladesh. The two retailers declined to sign the Bangladesh Safety Accord, which 40 other retailers have already joined, last week–and May 30, they announced they’ll be pursuing their own, independent safety reform plan, WWD is reporting.
The two retailers are working together to develop a new fire and safety action plan over the next 30 days, which they hope other retailers will sign onto. They met with a coalition of companies yesterday and will be in Washington today to discuss the best way of addressing the safety issues in Bangladesh.
* 1700 RMG makers submit designs of their factories:
Some 1700 apparel manufacturers submitted structural designs of their respective factory buildings until Thursday, the last day set in this regard.
Of the total designs, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) received about 1200 while Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) got around 550.
Many of the garment makers have appealed to the BGMEA and BKMEA for extension of the timeframe, sources said.
* Most factories miss deadline:
More than a half of 4,500 apparel factories now in operation across the country have not yet submitted their structural designs and soil test reports to the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association as the deadline expired on Thursday.
After the collapse of Rana Plaza on April 24 which left at least 1,127 people, mostly apparel workers, dead, the BGMEA and the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association asked their members to submit structural designs, layouts and soil test reports of the factories by May 30.
The BGMEA has till Thursday evening received more than 1,200 structural designs and soil test reports.
The BGMEA could extend the deadline as the majority of factory owners had sought extension to the deadline, BGMEA vice-president Shahidullah Azim told New Age on Thursday evening.
THE SAVAR BUILDING COLLAPSE
* PM gives financial assistance to families of 125 Savar victims- Govt takes step for better treatment:
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Thursday said her government made arrangements for improved treatment of the garment workers injured in the Savar building collapse, apart from providing financial assistance to the family members of the deceased and wounded.
She stated this after distributing cheques of financial assistance at her office, in the third phase, from the Prime Minister’s Relief and Welfare Fund among the family members of 125 victims who were killed in the tragic building collapse.
Hasina said that as per the suggestions of the physicians some of the wounded workers would be sent abroad including Bangkok and Singapore for better treatment.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* Engineer Rakibul on 5-day remand:
A Dhaka court sent Savar municipality assistant engineer Rakibul Hasan on five-day remand in a case over Rana Plaza collapse.
Dhaka senior judicial magistrate Toiyabul Hasan passed the order after hearing Thursday.
Additional Public Prosecutor Anwarul Kabir Babul confirmed the matter to banglanews.
Earlier, assistant police super of Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Bijoy Krishno Kar produced Rakibul before the court and sought 10-day remand plea.
read more. & read more.
* Dhaka- One Time Order:
Buildings fall in other places
Visible but out of sight
Look away from dusted faces
Fingers gray with rubble’s graces
Fill your bags with cheap delight.
Primark Earrings up a Quater:
Queue for t-shirts – two pounds each
Never mind that that rutured mortar
Families the lost a daughter
Listen to that profit preach.
“love a bargain”, “Special Prices”,
“Summer bags are Hot! Hot! Hot!”
in Tazree people burnt; such crisis
Commonplace where need entices,
Those with names are fast forgot.
We are cracked who do not care
to hear the price of what we wear.
“One time order” “random audit”
These the words of Western gain,
Broken lives? They can afford it,
Mending where they once ignored it,
Aid to bind that splintered pain.
Our flagship stores should stand half mast
Commemorate the hands that sewed
The Lives now crushed, left in the past
A thousand lost to sate the fast
Tempo Fashion thinks it’s owed.
We are cracked who do not care
to hear the price of what we wear.
This song started as a poem written by Rosalind Jana, a young and talented Fashion Blogger – http://clothescamerasandcoffee.blogsp… – from the U.K.
Yaron Millo, founding partner of http://www.TheMacrameProject.com and part time musician stumbled across Rosalind’s poem and decided to write some music to it.
Modern day slavery needs to stop. Please share so as to continue putting pressure on the fashion companies manufacturing in Bangladesh. These people deserve a fair wage, insurance and safety regulation put in place. Just because their governments are corrupted doesn’t mean we can go in there and do as we please. I think all people have the right to decency.
Please Donate Now to Help Victims of Bangladesh Factory Collapse, Please go here.
ASHULIA TAZREEN GARMENT FACTORY FIRE:
* HC asks to submit report on June 9:
The High Court on Thursday asked the authorities concerned to submit the probe report in Tazreen Fashion Fire.
The court also asked Tazreen Fashions Ltd owner Delwar Hossain to appear before the court on the same day.
An HC bench comprising Kazi Rezaul Haque and Justice ABM Latif passed the order when Delwar Hossain appeared before the court.
On May 19, High Court directed the government to take necessary steps to bar Delwar Hossain, owner of the Tazreen Fashion, from leaving the country for abroad.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* HC asks for govt probe report on June 9:
The High Court on Thursday expressed dissatisfaction with the home ministry’s failure to submit the government’s probe report on the deadly fire at Tazreen Fashions Limited in Ashulia on November 24 last year that had left 112 workers dead.
Expressing its dismay, the bench of Justice Quazi Rezaul Hoque and Justice ABM Altaf Hossain again asked home secretary CQK Mustaq Ahmed to submit the investigation report on June 9.
The bench also asked Tazreen Fashions owner and managing director Md Delwar Hossain, who appeared before the court on Thursday to comply with its May 19 order, to be present at the hearing on June 9.
Tazreen victim Rehana’s brother Abdul Matin on Wednesday filed a complaint with the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate accusing Delwar Hossain and unnamed 20 men of killing workers in the fire.
read more. & read more.
14:56:34 local time INDIA
* Pacific threat looms for textiles:
With all the brouhaha over China-India border issues and election in Pakistan, one issue that has received little attention in the Indian media is the proposed US-led Trans-Pacific Trade Pact (TPP).
This is understandable, as India is not party to the proposed trade pact involving Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, and the US. However, it has serious implications for India’s textile and clothing sector.
Textile and clothing accounts for roughly five per cent of India’s GDP, 15 per cent of its industrial output and export earnings and provides livelihood support to 55 -60 million people directly or indirectly.
* Minimum need:
Aruna Roy’s decision to terminate her relationship with the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council has returned the spotlight to the ideological divide within the ruling establishment on welfare spending.
As the civil rights activist noted in her letter to the Congress president, the rupture came over the Manmohan Singh government’s refusal to pay statutory minimum wages to workers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act — admittedly the largest rights-based safety net programme anywhere in the world.
One of the first things the UPA government did upon earning a second term in 2009 was to acknowledge its debt to the aam aadmi by renaming the NREGA after Mahatma Gandhi.
Yet in a monumental affront to the father of the nation, it declined to pay minimum wages to MGNREGA workers, arguing that the scheme was designed more as social security for the desperately poor than as regular employment requiring payment of floor-level wages. The government’s intransigence expectedly placed it in direct conflict with its own advisory body, with the battle being led by none other than Ms Gandhi.
* Health schemes, credit cards for handloom weavers soon:
To facilitate handloom weavers, a camp was organised by the district administration and handloom department in weaver dominated Lohta area on Thursday.
Weavers along with their family assembled in a large number at the camp to get benefit of the schemes like handloom weaver credit card, weaver identity card and health insurance scheme. The workers of some social organisation were also present on the occasion to help illiterate weavers in filling forms for various welfare schemes. “It would be a great help for us if we get Handloom weaver credit cards,” said Shamsuddin, a weaver, who was present there along with his family members at the camp.
14:56:34 local time SRI LANKA
* Weaving new hope for Sri Lankan Handloom industry:
In another progressive step towards reviving and developing the handloom industry, NDB recently conducted an entrepreneurship training programme for the students of the Textile Training Institute (TTI) in Moratuwa.
The TTI, operating under the purview of the Textile Department of Sri Lanka conducts a handloom textile training course, which aims to provide the technical skills development required to the future successors of the industry. However, it has been revealed that 95% of the students who complete this course do not pursue careers within the handloom industry but resort to other means of livelihoods. This is viewed as one of the main reasons for the waning of the handloom industry in Sri Lanka.
14:26:34 local time PAKISTAN
* AJK cabinet meeting: Workers’ wages raised to Rs9,000:
The Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) government has raised the minimum wages of unskilled workers from Rs7,000 to Rs9,000 per month. The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting which was presided over by Prime Minister Chaudhry Abdul Majeed here on Thursday.
Minister of Education for Colleges Matloob Inqilabi and the Minister for Food Javed Bhudanvi briefed the media about the cabinet meeting decisions.
* The supply chain:
The search for bodies ended on May 14 at the Rana Plaza site, three weeks after the Bangladesh factory collapse. A poignant prayer service was offered on the wreckage where the Bangladesh army soldiers gave a silent farewell after finally ending an exhaustive search and rescue operation.
It has been a month of mourning for the families who lost their bread-earners in the tragedy, where more than 1,100 people died with several survivors losing their limbs to amputation during rescue.
In Canada, the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory building in a Dhaka suburb on April 24, has brought on an intense scrutiny on workplace safety issues for retailers outsourcing their labour from offshore workers in countries like Bangladesh. Viewers watched the news in horror when labels of Joe Fresh — a Canadian clothing brand — were pictured on tattered garments, along with heartrending scenes of bodies being recovered from the Rana Plaza rubble.
Last year, when the Ali Enterprises garment factory in Baldia Town, Karachi caught fire, killing about 300 people, unsafe and prison-like conditions of workers locked within workplaces were exposed but little besides condolence messages and some monetary compensation was offered by the government of Pakistan and international businesses. But tragedies from Pakistan have usually elicited less attention than from elsewhere.
In the case of Ali Enterprises, the factory was manufacturing products to be sold in Europe and the US and the business is said to have had a capital of between $10 million and $50 million but the workers were reportedly paid Rs5,000 to Rs10,000 a month. In the fire, almost all deaths were from suffocation as officials on the scene reported that all exit doors in the factory were locked and many of the windows of the factory were covered with iron bars when the fire broke out.
* FPCCI formulates recommendations to boost textile exports:
Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) has formulated recommendations to increase textile exports for the new government to make part of policy decisions in the early days of its tenure.At a meeting of FPCCI office bearers and textile experts held on Thursday, issues such as access to US markets and those pertaining to US GSP plus, restoration of zero-rate tax for export-oriented sectors and continuation of textile ministry were discussed.
Gulzar Feroz, vice president of FPCCI, said that security and energy issues were being faced by all the industrial sectors in Pakistan and the new government should resolve these issues on a priority basis for economic growth.
He said that the textile sector was the largest employment generation sector in Pakistan and the sector needs to be saved.
* ‘Textile sector has diametrically opposite points of view on issues’:
One of the woes of value-added textile sector is that it holdsdiametrically opposite views on issues that afflict them. The case in point is the stand of Pakistan Bedwear Exporters Association (PBEA) and Towel Manufacturers’ Association of Pakistan (TMA) on the efficacy of Ministry of Textile Industry.
While PBEA former chairman, Shabir Ahmed considers that the ministry has failed to deliver and that it should be merged with the Ministry of Commerce, TMA Chairman, Mehtabuddin Chawla has come out strongly in favour of Ministry of Textile Industry describing its reported merger decision with other ministry taken by the caretaker government as “impracticable.”
* Energy crisis: Textile mills delay investment plans:
Central chairman of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Ahsan Bashir has sought uninterrupted gas supply to the Punjab-based textile industry on the SNGPL network, which is yet being subjected to four days a week supply suspension and eventually limiting industry’s export potential, growth, investment and job creation.
The supply chain of textile industry is inter-dependent to manufacture textile products, predominantly meant for exports. The gas supply constraints have impaired 35pc of the production capacity of the industry and, if enabled to operate uninterrupted, it has potential to add another $3 billion export of the country. It is an irony that the Punjab-based textile industry is being hit hard by the gas supply constraints, which is in actual 75% of total textile industry of Pakistan.
* APTMA urges uninterrupted gas supply to Punjab-based industry:
Central Chairman All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Ahsan Bashir has sought uninterrupted gas supply to the Punjab-based textile industry on the SNGPL network, which is yet being subjected to four days a week supply suspension and eventually limiting industry’s export potential, growth, investment and job creation.
He said the supply chain of Textile Industry is inter-dependent to manufacture textile products, predominantly meant for exports. The gas supply constraints have impaired 35 per cent of the production capacity of the industry and, if enabled to operate uninterrupted, it has potential to add another $3 billion export of the country, he added.
14:26:34 local time UZBEKISTAN
* Nike: Cut ties with companies that profit from slavery:
Last year an 18-year-old named Navruz Muyzinov was beaten to death by police in Uzbekistan. His only crime: getting sick and leaving the cotton-field where he was working before he met his cotton-picking quota.
Sadly, Navruz’s story is not unique. Every year, more than a million men, women, and children in Uzbekistan are forced by their government to work in the state-run cotton harvest. Those who speak out or resist are routinely harassed, detained, and tortured.
The Uzbek regime can only get away with these crimes because a South Korean conglomerate called Daewoo International continues to buy slave-grown Uzbek cotton. Uzbek dissidents and human rights activists around the world have called on apparel companies to boycott Daewoo as long as it profits from slavery. Many retailers have agreed — but Nike has refused.
Tell Nike: Stop doing business with companies that profit from slavery