17:00:45 local time CHINA
* ‘China’s textile sector needs quick transformation’:
16:00:45 local time VIET NAM
* Sun shining on Vietnam’s garment industry :
The garment industry is feeling good.
It has not only being receiving more orders this year from major customer US, it is also benefiting as international companies move away from China and Bangladesh.
Better still, it is expecting a windfall from the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement slated to take effect in 2015.
Nguyen An, general director of Saigon Garment Manufacturing Trading JSC, told the Thoi Bao Kinh Te Saigon that “Vietnam’s garment industry is having its best time.”
An said Vietnamese companies are receiving plenty of orders. His own company, for instance, has received enough orders to meet its full capacity, mostly from the US, he said.
* TPP challenges to garment sector:
Domestic garment makers will have to meet the “Yarn Forward” Rule of Origin of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement if they want to enjoy tax preferences.
The rule requires the TPP nation to use a TPP member-produced yarn in textiles in order to receive duty-free access.
This rule will exert a big impact on Vietnam’s garment sector as 90% of garment accessories are imported, mostly from non-TPP countries, experts said at a workshop in Tien Giang province on June 7.
To achieve future steady growth, they said the garment sector needs to develop the support industry to produce materials to replace imports.
It needs to upgrade the design industry and narrow down outsourcing to increase the localization rate, and reduce imports, production costs, and dependence on overseas partners.
Experts suggested that the government renew the national garment development strategy by introducing new policies for garments and re-planning industrial parks designed for the garment sector, especially textile and dyeing.
* Apparel industry needs redesign:
Cotton yarns are proccessed at Son Nam Textile and Garment JSC in Hoa Xa Industrial Park, Nam Dinh Province. The Viet Nam textile and garment sector must make fundamental changes to develop sustainably as part of the global textile and garment chain. — VNA/VNS Photo Danh Lam
The Viet Nam textile and garment sector must make fundamental changes to develop sustainably as part of the global textile and garment chain, agreed participants in a conference in the southern province of Tien Giang yesterday.
First, the sector needed to develop a support industry that would produce raw materials domestically, reducing reliance on imported materials.
Additionally, it should develop the design industry, reduce processing, increase the localisation rate and reduce imports, which would in turn decrease manufacturing costs and dependence on foreign partners.
Enterprise representatives said the government should review and update the existing textile and garment strategy and build exclusive industrial zones for the sector.
read more. & read more.
* Seminar discuses TPP impacts on garments, textiles:
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement is expected to have a significant impact on Vietnamese businesses operating in the garment and textile industry.
The post-TPP landscape was revealed by the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS) at a seminar in Tien Giang province on June 7 which brought together 40 local enterprises and others from the Mekong Delta provinces of Long An, Vinh Long, Ben Tre, An Giang and Dong Thap.
The seminar aimed to create a foundation for state management agencies at the grassroots level to roll out long-term strategies while helping enterprises make the best use of the multilateral free trade agreement.
* Australia assists Vietnam’s wool production:
Woolmark, Australia’s leading wool company, will help Vietnam’s garment sector produce wool products to increase its profit and competitiveness.
- Australian wool producers eye Vietnamese market
- Vietnam to be major wool manufacturing hub
- World’s largest woolen blanket completed
Jimmy Jackson, General Manager at Australian Wool Innovation, made the commitment at a press briefing in Hanoi on June 8, announcing its plan to support the Vietnamese garment sector in developing wool production and supply chains in the world market.
Jackson explained that Vietnam has a well-established textile manufacturing industry and infrastructure, as well as skilled human resources. The country is also the world’s second largest garment exporter to the US and the third to Japan. It is also the top destination for Republic of Korean companies to invest in.
16:00:45 local time THAILAND
* Textile, garment exports rise 2.6%:
The Thailand Textile Institute says the export of textiles and garments in the first four months of the year rose 2.6 per cent to US$3.242 billion (Bt99.36 billion), of which $898 million was the value of garment exports, which dropped 5.4 per cent year on year. Yarn-export value rose 8.6 per cent to $306 million.
The decline of garment exports is due to low demand in euro-zone countries, while demand for many types of textile did well, as the major markets are in Asia.
16:00:45 local time CAMBODIA
* The Summary of the Violent Strike at SL Garment Processing:
On 12 May 2012, a strike broke out at SL Garment Processing located in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The strike was led by CCAWDU and failed to comply with the procedures set out under the Labor law. In addition, CCAWDU is not a registered union in SL Garment Processing.
CCAWDU had incited the workers of SL Garment to strike illegally demanding for various allowances and incentives far above and beyond the legally required levels.
On 14 May, after negotiations with the Free Trade Union ( FTU ) and the Cambodia Workers Union, the 2 legally registered unions in the factory, SL announced various increments in allowances amongst which included a USD 7 housing and transport allowance as well as increasing the attendance bonus from USD 7 to USD 8.
These increase were accepted by most of the workers of SL but CCAWDU continued to insist on further increase amounting to an additional USD 10. When the factory refused, they started to block the gates of the factory as well as the roads leading up to the factory resulting in massive traffic congestions causing problems for people living and working near the factory. As the days went by, CCAWDU was seen threatening workers who wanted to go to work and physically preventing workers from entering the factory.
read & see more.
* Bail requests denied for all eight unionists:
Workers sit beside police officers during a protest in front of the Sabrina Garment factory in Kampong Speu earlier this month. Photo by Reuters
The Kampong Speu Provincial Court has denied bail for eight unionists accused of instigating violence at the Sabrina Garment factory last Monday.
Kao Ty, the defence lawyer for the five Free Trade Union officials and three other FTU members, said yesterday that judge Cheum Rithy had denied the bail request he submitted last Thursday, explaining that the case was still under investigation.
“The judge said they need time to complete some legislative procedures for calling the plaintiffs,” he said.
The court had told him he could appeal the decision, Ty added.
Kampong Speu Provincial Court judge Cheum Rithy said yesterday that he had not approved the bail request because significant work remained in questioning plaintiffs.
“It is difficult because there are more than 4,000 plaintiffs on this case,” he said, asserting that almost all the other workers at the factory opposed releasing the unionists.
Rithy said he had just begun questioning witnesses who were present for last Monday’s demonstration, during which participants in a 4,000-person strike for better benefits and wages entered the factory and clashed with workers who had not joined the strike, prompting police and military officials to intervene.
* National Silk Board to take shape after election:
The Ministry of Commerce is planning to form a National Silk Board (NSB) to build a framework for the country’s silk industry which is in disarray.
Minister of Commerce, Cham Prasidh, is expecting the Board to come up with a set of regulations soon after July’s general elections to tackle the various aspects of the silk industry within the country.
Mr. Prasidh said the planned framework will help to create a certified process to boost the quality of silk produced in the country, coordinate public-private sector partnerships and start up a procedure to record all the necessary information related to the Cambodian silk industry, according to Fibre2Fabric.com.
read more. & read more.
17:00:45 local time INDONESIA
* BetterWork Indonesia Media Updates:
1. A robust wage campaign in 2013. Read the full article here.2. Indonesian govt will support textile units with incentives.
Read the full article here.
3. 2,280 child workers in W.Java sent back to schools. Read the full article here.
4. Fuel-price hike won’t affect industrial growth. Read the full article here.
5. ILO Decries Growing Inequality in Rich Countries. Read the full article here.
6. Indonesian govt pledges maximum efforts to meet 6.2 pct growth target.
Read the full article here.
7. Indonesia prioritizing nine industries in ASEAN market. Read the full article here.
14:45:45 local time NEPAL
* FNCCI says ‘no work‚ no pay’ during strike:
Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) on Friday condemned the latest attacks on entrepreneurs and businesses.
Organising a press conference in the Capital today, the FNCCI said Thursday’s attack on Lomus Herbal Research Centre in Gongabu and Chaudhary Group’s office in Sanepa are a part of the series of attack on the private sector.
Saying anarchy is rising day by day, the FNCCI expressed concern over the trade unions’ demands regarding the minimum wage determination.
According to the FNCCI, minimum wage (determination) is the matter of government’s right, and the FNCCI represented in the advisory committee set up by the government.
It further clarified that the FNCCI did not choose other members in the committee, and the FNCCI representatives were among the committee members who recommended the minium wage.
* Trade unions to start collective bargaining:
Eleven trade unions united under the Joint Trade Union Coordination Committee (JTUCC) will launch a collective bargaining campaign in the industrial sector from June 14. Trade unions have the right to collective bargaining every two years according to Clause 74 of the Labour Act.
JTUCC will start a campaign for a hike in the salary of experienced workers according to the law, said president of General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions Bishnu Rimal. “This time the campaign will start on June 14 across the country,” he said, adding that it will set an organised trend for collective bargaining.
According to Rimal, trade unions will put forth their demands to employers and the hike will be set in mutual understanding. “JTUCC will lead the campaign, so there will be no chances of any confrontation and labour dispute,” he said. “But the employers also have to support the move.”
15:00:45 local time BANGLADESH
* Disasters inject fear into factory life:
The first sewing machine owned by Rabeya Begum Laisu, a garment worker from Tekani village in Rangpur. Her older brother bought her the machine when she showed a talent for needlework. Laisu later left to work in the factories of Dhaka, eventually getting a job at Rana Plaza, where the 28-year-old was killed when the building collapsed. Her family still uses the machine, but they are adamant that no relative will ever work in a garment factory again. Photo: AP
Twice a year, buses filled with garment workers come rumbling into Tekani, shaking the houses made of mud and tin, and alerting villagers that their loved ones are home for the holidays.
Wearing new outfits bought specially for the Muslim Eid festival, and boasting of a regular income, they cut a striking image of success in a village where most own no land, have no steady jobs and are among the poorest people in one of the poorest regions of one of the world’s poorest countries.
Three days later, the buses begin the nine-hour ride back to suburban Dhaka, creeping along the same narrow road covered with drying rice husks and jutted with potholes. The workers are invariably joined by hundreds of fresh recruits from Tekani and its sister villages who will work alongside them in factories making clothing worn around the globe. They are the fuel that powers a $20 billion garment industry that is the world’s third-largest.
Almuna Begum once dreamed of sending her 21-year-old daughter on one of those buses. No longer.
“It’s better to stay hungry here,” she said. “There is no safety there.”
* RMG workers’ protest in the capital:
Garment workers of Envoy Group staged protest in capital’s Eskaton area on Monday morning for the second day to press their various demands.
Stopping works, they took position in BIAM Foundation lane at 9:00am demanding pay rise, dues payment, increasing tiffin allowance.
Protesting workers alleged that the other factories of the same group were getting the facilities, but they were being deprived.
Additional law enforcers were deployed in the area to avert any untoward situation.
* Can trade unions really improve RMG workers’ lot? :
In its long journey, readymade garment (RMG) sector in Bangladesh has been making a headway quietly but steadily.
The industry has always enjoyed a silent support from all the sections of the society as the sector has ensured the highest job opportunities, specially for the least privileged women in this country. As a foreign currency-earner, the industry ranks number one and has been maintaining this status for years.
The RMG sector nowadays has become the focal point of economists, intellectuals, journalists and bureaucrats for discussing its current affairs and future prospects. Obviously the recent incidents and anarchy in the industry have triggered this interest among these quarters. Expert opinions are filling the columns of almost all daily newspapers and late- night TV talk shows galore on various channels. We guess many of these commentators have not ever stepped into a garment factory themselves
Here this writer would like to refer to a fairly recent comment of a cabinet minister who said that labour unions would be allowed to operate in the garment factories in order to get the industry out of labour unrest.
* ‘No RMG worker should work in locked factories’:
Advocate Jahangir Kabir Nanak, state minister for Local Government and Rural Development (LGRD), on Saturday said that no garment worker should work in the locked factories.
“It is inhuman that the garment workers are forced to work in the locked garments factories,” Nanak observed this while speaking at a function distributing humanitarian aid to the victims of the smart garments factory, organised by The Industry of All Bangladesh at Mohammadpur Suchana Community Centre.
Nanak said all the garment factories should have employees welfare funds so that they could face any eventualities to survive.
He noted that to save the garment industry we must prevent all kinds of conspiracy against the factories.
Family members of eight deceased workers received Tk ten lakhs and 49 thousands each and 14 injured victims received Tk five lakh each, Roy Romesh Chandra, the general secretary of The Industry of All Bangladesh Council informed the reporter.
He also said rest 250 survivors would get Tk 15,000 each, equivalent to their three months salary, as compensation.
The Smart Garments factory was gutted in a fire incident early this year in which at least eight workers were killed due to the fire.
The victims of the Smart Fashion received compensation from a European Buyer Inditex, a Spanish company.
The family member of the victims received this monetary help from the buyers.
* Building & Fire Safety in RMG: Tripartite partners’ commitments merged into one document:
The first meeting of the National Tripartite Committee here has agreed to merge into one document the commitments made by the tripartite partners in the NAP and those they made in the Joint Statement signed May 4 at the end of the recent ILO high level mission.
The committee members in the meeting held Thursday also agreed to finalise the document in a week’s time, said an ILO release on Friday.
Labour and Employment Secretary Mikail Shipar presided over the meeting held at the Minisry of Labour.
The National Tripartite Committee was formed to implement the National Tripartite Plan of Action on Building and Fire Safety in the RMG sector in Bangladesh (NAP).
* NTC to form techical sub-committee for assessing RMG factory safety measures:
The National Tripartite Committee (NTC) formed to implement the National Tripartite Plan of Action on building and fire safety in the ready-made garment sector in Bangladesh’ has decided to form a technical sub committee for assessing the factory safety measures.
The NTC held its first meeting on Thursday since the National tripartite plan of action was finalised. Labour Secretary Mikail Shipar chaired the meeting where representatives of government, workers’ and employers’ organisations were present.
ILO Country Office Director Srinivas Reddy and a team of international ILO specialists who will support the committee to develop its work attended the meeting.
read more. & read more. & read more.
* US nears decision on Bangladesh labour rights:
The United States said Thursday it will soon decide whether to suspend Bangladesh from a duty-free accord as it urged action by Dhaka to improve labour rights following a massive factory collapse.
After a call by US unions, President Barack Obama’s administration in January launched a review on whether to keep Bangladesh in the Generalized System of Preferences, or GSP, which provides duty-free access for thousands of goods.
The review was under way when Rana Plaza, a nine-story garment factory on the outskirts of Dhaka, crumbled on April 24 and killed 1,129 people despite concerns expressed previously by workers over the building’s integrity.
read more. & read more.
* US decision on GSP by June:
The United States will take a final call in June on the Generalised System of Preference (GSP) facilities to Bangladesh.
“All options including possible sanction, limiting the facility or complete withdrawal are being considered,” Assistant US Trade Representative for Labour Lawis Karesh told the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on Thursday (local time). “A decision on GSP review will be taken by the end of June,” he said.
Chairman of the committee Senator Robert Mendez advocated a suspension saying “only a small fraction of exports (Bangladeshi) will be affected” as Bangladesh’s main export item, ready-made garment, did not enjoy a duty-free access in US market.
He said in the wake of the recent workers’ rights violation, the sanction would send a strong signal about US’s seriousness in protecting workers rights and improving workplace safety.
read more. & read more. & read more.
* Kmart, Target sign key BD safety agreement:
KMART and Target have become the first Australian retailers to sign onto an accord to improve safety at Bangladesh factories, following a building collapse that killed more than 1100 workers in April.
Oxfam labour rights coordinator Daisy Gardener said Kmart and Target were to be congratulated for signing, adding the pressure was now on Cotton On and Big W to follow suit.”In terms of fire and building safety this is a very important step to ensure workers have safe factory conditions,” Ms Gardener said.
* Wal-Mart faces more criticism:
Wal-Mart faced renewed criticism over factory safety in Bangladesh and alleged corruption in Mexico at its shareholder meeting on Friday as it said it would buy back another $ 15 billion of its own shares.
Investor representatives demanded better governance, citing Wal-Mart’s unwillingness to join a sector accord on factory safety and unresolved Mexican bribery allegations, but their reform proposals did not win enough votes to succeed.
The meeting is also a rally-cum-concert for Wal-Mart employees and was hosted by actor Hugh Jackman. Tom Cruise appeared too, repeating Wal-Mart’s messages on corporate responsibility, and music was provided by Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson.
Wal-Mart’s $ 15 billion buyback plan, which followed the near completion of a previous $ 15 billion buyback programme authorised in 2011, helped to lift its share price by 1 per cent to $ 76.39 on Friday morning.
Presenting a proposal to let investors call special meetings on important issues, Kalpona Akter, a former garment worker who is executive director of the Bangladesh Centre for Worker Solidarity, said factory safety warranted such a meeting given Wal-Mart’s influence as a buyer from the country.
read more. & read more.
* Striking Worker and Bangladesh Activist Address Thousands at Walmart Shareholder Meeting:
A striking retail worker and a Bangladesh labor activist today made their case from the floor of Walmart’s shareholder meeting, addressing thousands of workers and stock-owners and countering what was otherwise a highly scripted celebration of the largest private company in the world.
Thousands of Walmart shareholders and employees settled into their seats before 7 CST this morning, nearly filling the University of Arkansas’ Bud Walton arena as a band on stage played “We Are Family” and “I Will Survive.” An LCD display above the balcony displayed chosen tweets, like “Celebrating my birthday today with 14,000 of my friends”—a reference to the Walmart employees from around the world flown to Arkansas by management to attend the meeting.
Also present: some of the hundred striking members of the union-backed group OUR Walmart, granted admission because they owned shares or had been designated to attend by others who did (other strikers were in neighboring Missouri, holding actions inside and outside stores to protest alleged retaliation against an activist).
What followed was something like a cross between a Hollywood awards ceremony and a political convention: surprise celebrity appearances, storytelling from the stage about individuals seated in the crowd and ample references to opportunity, service and the American dream.
* Supplier threatens to sue Wal-Mart:
A Bangladeshi garment maker, Simco Dresses Ltd, has threatened to take legal action against US retail giant Wal-Mart for blacklisting the company.
Wal-Mart used to buy clothes from Simco, but after the Rana Plaza collapse that killed 1,131 people in April, the retailer declared 245 Bangladeshi factories unauthorised. Simco was one of them.
The retailer also posted the names and addresses of the apparel units on its website and said these factories failed to meet its “standards for suppliers”.
Simco in a letter to Andy Barron, an executive vice president of Wal-Mart, said putting the name of Simco on the list was unfortunate.
“You do not give any specific information but are tarring and feathering the good repute of our company which has been built over 29 years,” Khurrum Siddique, deputy managing director of Simco Group, said in the letter sent on May 17.
The other factories under the Simco Group that Wal-Mart has declared unauthorised are Simco Bangladesh, Kins Collections and Nimmi Apparels.
“We do not want to work for Wal-Mart in future,” the letter read.
* Budget political with no incentive for RMG: BGMEA leader Nasir:
Terming the proposed FY2013-14 budget as highly ambitious BGMEA first vice president Nasiruddin Ahmed Chowdhury said implementation of the budget will face challenges as the country will be going through political turmoil ahead of the national election.
He said that the government did not propose any direct incentive for the readymade garment, the country’s biggest foreign exchange earner, while the sector is undergoing tremendous strains including cut in export orders.
More than 100 garment industries in Chittagong out of around 650 have suspended production due to multiple problems including lack of adequate utility services like gas, electricity. There is no proposal in the budget to save such sick factories in Dhaka, Chittagong and other parts of the country, the BGMEA leader said.
* BTMA, BKMEA want lifting of duty on pet chips:
The apex bodies of textile and apparel sectors – Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) – have given mixed reactions to the proposed budget for the fiscal year 2013-14.
In its budget reaction, BTMA urged the government to review some of the measures proposed in the budget, including withdrawal of tax and duty on imported chips and pet-chips used for synthetic filament yarn and increasing cash incentive to 15 per cent from the existing 5.0 per cent.
“We are very frustrated that the proposed budget did not withdraw the tax and duty on imported chips and pet-chips which are not produced in the country,” the BTMA statement said. Prices of these raw materials have been increasing during the last two-three years, and textile and garment produced by synthetic filament yarn are used for both local and export purposes, it said.
* Country’s RMG sector under US, EU watch:
The readymade garment (RMG) sector in Bangladesh is now under constant watch of the United States and the European Union as the government and the stakeholders in the country are trying to address the labour issues to retain its growing stake in the world apparel market, industry sources said.
The sector has come under watch following the deadly collapse of Rana Plaza at Savar in April last that killed some 1,129 workers and maimed scores others, hardly five months after a devastating fire at Tazreen Fashion at Ashulia which killed some 130 others in November, 2012.
In course of addressing the labour issues the government has proposed amendment to existing labour laws and improvement of safety standards in industrial units, mainly in the garment sector, officials said.
* ‘Growth, investment-friendly’:
Export-focused apparel business owners have hailed budget for FY 2013-14 ‘growth-oriented and investment-friendly’.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Thursday proposed a Tk 2.22 trillion budget in what is the last one of the Awami League-led government.
The Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) and Bangladesh Textile Mills association (BTMA) welcomed the budget in statements.
BKMEA President AKM Selim Osman said, “The government’s positive attitude towards ensuring social security net and good governance reflects on the budget proposal. The government’s sincere attitude has also been manifested in the social and public infrastructure and industrial development sectors.”
* Raising productivity in RMG industry:
This writer has been working in a readymade garment (RMG) factory enjoying much better facilities than some other factories could offer in Bangladesh.
The industry still lacks many factors that could make our garments sector more efficient. Both the RMG factory owners and workers should think collectively for greater good of the industry. If one factory makes a good performance, goodwill will go not only to the individual company but to the country too. In the same way, if any factory earns bad name, it affects both the owners and the workers as well as the country.
If the European Union or the US imposes any ban on export of Bangladeshi garment products, such an action will spell out a disaster for both the industry as well as the country. That is why it is high time to think collectively and produce a manual that can help us ensure smooth progress in the RMG industry and guide it to move forward for the better.
* Garment sales soar despite deadly incidents:
The exports rose 15.43 percent in May to $2.54 billion from a year earlier thanks to stronger clothing sales, the Export Promotion Bureau said on Sunday, even as the country reviews safety standards at factories after two deadly incidents.
Garment exports totaled $19.3 billion for the 11 months that ended in May, nearly 12 percent more than a year earlier.
The sharp increase comes as the government weighs industry reform after the collapse in April of the Rana Plaza factory complex killed 1,129 people. A fire at another factory last year killed 112.
The incidents have put the government, industrialists and the global brands that use the factories under pressure to reform an industry that employs four million and generates 80 percent of Bangladesh`s export earnings.
Total exports in the first 11 months of Bangladesh`s July-June financial year were $24.32 billion, compared with $21.97 billion over the same period the previous year.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* Local cotton use may go up on export growth:
Cotton consumption in Bangladesh will increase 7 percent to 7.28 lakh tonnes this fiscal year for continued export growth of garment and yarn, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
The country currently consumes 6.8 lakh tonnes of cotton a year, according to data by Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA), the platform for cotton importers and spinners.
“In Bangladesh, cheap labour costs, relocation by Indian and Chinese companies, and investment in the textiles sector suggest that consumption growth will be strong,” EIU said in a report.
Trade data published by the state-owned Export Promotion Bureau show cotton yarn exports performing well in the first eight months of fiscal 2012-13.
* Local RMG co to invest $10.12m in Uttara EPZ:
M/s Interfab Casual Wear Ltd., a fully Bangladeshi-owned readymade garments (RMG) industry, will set up a RMG factory in Uttara Export Processing Zone (EPZ) involving US$10.12 million.
In this connection, an agreement was signed between Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA) and M/s Interfab Casual Wear in the city Sunday, said a press release.
* Indian garments industry to invest $7.53 m in Comilla EPZ:
Indian Garments Manufacturing Industry Copper Co. Ltd is going to set up a
garments industry in Comilla Export Processing Zone (CEPZ), said a press
This fully foreign owned company will invest 7.53 million us dollar forsetting up their plant with annual production capacity of 8,100,000 pieces of various garments item. Copper Company Limited will create employment opportunity for 2220 Bangladeshi nationals.
An agreement to this effect has signed between Bangladesh Export Processing Zones (BEPZA) Authority and Copper Company Limited in its Complex here yesterday Sayed Nurul Islam, Member (Investment Promotion) of BEPZA and Niraj Sureka, Managing Director of M/s Copper Company Limited signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organizations, the release added.
read more. & read more.
* BGMEA admits failure in implementation:
SPECTRUM INQUIRY COMMITTEE ADVICE
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association has admitted that it failed to implement the recommendations proposed by its own inquiry committee following the collapse of the Spectrum Sweater Industries factory in 2005, New Age can reveal.
‘The BGMEA should have done what was said in the report earlier,’ admitted Md Shahidullah Azim, a BGMEA vice-president. ‘Rana Plaza was the second time in our history that [a factory collapse] had happened. Spectrum was the first. We are acting now.’
The collapse of the Spectrum factory on April 10, 2005 led to the deaths of 64 workers and the BGMEA committee’s recommendations, published in June 2005, had sought to prevent any future collapses of apparel factories by requiring the association to undertake close monitoring of the structural integrity of buildings in which its members operated.
Building experts have differing views about whether the collapse of Rana Plaza — which took place on April 24, 2013, seven years after the collapse of Spectrum, causing the death of more than 1100 workers — could have been prevented if the BGMEA had implemented the recommendations.
‘If the BGMEA had put into action these recommendations, there might have been no Rana Plaza tragedy,’ architect Mubasshar Hussain, the president of the
Institute of Architects, Bangladesh, told New Age.
THE SAVAR BUILDING COLLAPSE
* Bangladesh survivors fear for work prospects:
Factory workers left with lifelong injuries after April’s deadly collapse fear they will never work again.
Shareholders of the world’s largest retailer Walmart are converging in the US state of Arkansas for the company’s annual meeting.
Any decisions made will be closely followed in Bangladesh, where more than 1,100 people died after a garment factory collapsed in April.
Some survivors lost limbs and fear they will never work again.
read & see more. (video report).
* Injured workers need follow-up treatment:
The workers who became injured in the Rana Plaza collapse and were immediately treated in hospitals have been forced to return to their houses, with serious physical problems while physicians said that the needed follow-up treatment.
Many of the injured workers told New Age in the Adharchandra High School ground, where Japan Bangladesh Friendship Hospital and the Association of Medical Doctors of Asia organized a free medical campaign, on Friday that they were suffering from various physical complications. They said that they were also faced with financial problems.
* JBFH and AMDA conduct follow-up treatment to Savar Rana Plaza victims:
Japan Bangladesh Friendship Hospital (JBFH) and Association of Medical Doctors of Asia (AMDA) today jointly organized a follow-up medical treatment for the victims of the Rana Plaza Savar tragedy.
The medical team comprising thirty specialist doctors, nurses, paramedics and hospital personnel were present at Savar Adhar Chandra Model High School providing complimentary medical treatment, group psychotherapy, free medicine supplies and distributed 800 kilograms of rice and 200 kilograms of pulse to
ensure food security of these victims.
The team led by JBFH Chairman Prof Dr Md Jonaid Shafiq, Pain Specialist and JBFH Managing Director Prof Dr Sarder A Nayeem.
The JBFH and AMDA Bangladesh were present immediately after the the Rana Plaza collapse with their Emergency Medical Response Team (EMRT) on April 25 assisting with other organizations to provide immediate relief for the victims of the tragedy.
* Primark begins paying compensation over Bangladesh factory disaster:
Primark has begun the process of paying compensation to thousands of workers and their families who were involved in the Rana Plaza factory disaster, as campaigners said retailers must do more to protect workers’ rights.
The high-street clothes chain, whose supplier Simple Approach occupied the second floor of the eight-storey Rana Plaza building that collapsed in April, has promised money will start flowing into the bank accounts of almost 4,000 workers or their dependents next week.
Primark, whose owner Associated British Foods reported bumper half-year pre-tax profits of £415m in April, said it was spending $1m (£640,000) on short-term aid for victims. “It is the right thing to do,” said Paul Lister, head of governance at AB Foods. “There is obviously real hardship, short-term hardship, which we initially dealt with with food aid.”
The company had decided to provide short-term aid, equivalent to three months’ wages, because long-term compensation “will take a period of time to deal with and in the meantime some of these people are suffering real hardship”.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* Bangladesh suspends factory inspectors over disaster:
Bangladesh on Sunday suspended seven safety inspectors after they rubber-stamped operating licences for factories that later collapsed in the nation’s worst industrial disaster, the labour secretary said.
An investigation found the inspectors had renewed licences sometimes without even visiting the factories to check safety conditions in the Rana Plaza building that collapsed on April 24, Labour Secretary Mikail Shipar said.
“The probe has found that the eight inspectors approved and renewed the licences of five factories at Rana Plaza without proper inquiry and supervision,” Shipar, the labour ministry’s top official, told AFP.
Seven were suspended on Sunday while one has already retired, following the ministry probe into its inspectors who are supposed to check conditions and facilities at the nation’s 4,500 garment plants, he said.
* Another arrested in Rana Plaza case:
A judicial magistrate in Dhaka on Sunday allowed an engineer to be remanded in police custody for three days in a case filed with the collapse of the Rana Plaza that took place on April 24.
The police arrested the site engineer, Md Sarowar Kamal, 55, at Fultala in Khulna on Saturday.
After the arrest, the Criminal Investigation Department produced the accused in court seeking him to be remanded in custody for seven days. Senior judicial magistrate Tajul Islam granted the remand.
CID officials, however, said that Sarowar was not named in the first information report but he had supervised the construction of the building that collapsed because of faulty structure.
As there was no counsel for the accused in the hearing, the court asked him whether he wanted to defend himself.
* ASHULIA TAZREEN GARMENT FACTORY FIRE:
* Collect DNA of 37 families: HC:
The High Court on Sunday directed the authority concerned to carry out the DNA tests of families of 37 missing victims’ of Tazreen Fashion fire.
An HC bench comprising Justice Kazi Reza-Ul Haque and Justice ABM Altaf Hossain passed the order in presence of Tazreen Fashion owner Delwar Hossain.
Inspector General of Police was asked to submit progress report within June 19 and Delwar Hossain was also asked to appear before the court on the same day.
Delwar Hossain said before the court, “In two phases, 98 families of the victims were compensated, but due to unidentified DNA, rest others were not given compensation.”
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* 37 Tazreen workers still missing:
HC asks for police report on June 19
A writ petition submitted to the High Court has claimed that 37 garment workers are still missing since the deadly Tazreen fire on November 24 last year.
After the hearing on the petition yesterday, the High Court directed the inspector general of police to get DNA tests of the relatives of the missing people done and to submit a report to it on June 19.
The home ministry and Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) in December last year said the inferno at Tazreen Fashions Ltd in Ashulia had killed at least 112 people and injured many others.
Anthropologists Naznin Akter Banu, Saydia Gulrukh Kamal and Mahmudul Hasan Sumon on April 28 filed the petition with the HC along with a list of the names and addresses of the 37 missing people. They sought directives on the government to arrest the owner of the Tazreen garment, Delwar Hossain, and punish him.
Jyotirmoy Barua, a lawyer for the petitioners, said his clients had collected the names of the missing people from their relatives.
14:30:45 local time INDIA
* ‘Adopt pro-worker textile policy’:
‘Authorities silent on labour law violations by managements’
Garment Labourers’ Union has urged the government to safeguard the interests of lakhs of garment workers while adopting the new textile policy. The union alleged that the existing textile policies favour the employers and have failed to check the exploitation of garment workers.
Union president Rukmini D.L. told presspersons here on Friday that over five lakh garment workers, a majority of them women, are working in over 1,200 small, medium and large garments factories in Bangalore. They are subjected to exploitation, paid poorly and are not given statutory benefits. The union urged Labour Minister P.T. Parameshwara Naik to intervene and safeguard the interests of garment workers.
“We understand that a draft Textile Policy is ready and is all set to be tabled in the Cabinet. The new policy should be pro-worker and the Labour Department should monitor the functioning of garment factories, and action should be taken against the managements exploiting workers.”
The other demands of the union include fixation of minimum monthly wage at Rs. 12,000.
* India’s textile hub Tirupur less likely to witness a garment factory collapse like Bangladesh:
Tirupur, India’s foremost textile hub located close to Coimbatore, has been nervously following Bangladesh in recent years. That started when India’s eastern neighbour, what with its duty-free access to Western markets and cheap labour, started snatching prime business away from Tirupur.
The textile town has had its own set of problems to worry about over the years – a serious power deficit, iffy demand and allegations by NGOs of bonded labour. So, was the recent garment factory collapse in Bangladesh that claimed over 1,000 lives was one more reason to worry, this time about the safety of Tirupur’s factories? Hardly. Owners, workers and even the otherwise constantly critical NGOs seem to agree on this one.
“Though there are other concerns like wages, extra working hours and sanitation for women, Tirupur isn’t that vulnerable to an issue like what happened in Bangladesh,” says A Aloysius, who heads the NGO SAVE in Tirupur. Coming from Aloysius, whose organisation helped two Netherlands-based organisations ICN and SOMO come out with damning reports on the exploitation of young Dalit girls in Tamil Nadu’s textile belt, that’s something.
* The risks to worker safety in India are serious: Scott Nova, WRC:
The Rana Plaza factory complex in Bangladesh collapsed on April 24, killing 1,100 garment workers who produced cheap clothes for global retail powerhouses.
That very day, Worker Rights Consortium (WRC), a group that investigates working conditions in factories around the globe, named the retailers that produced garments in the collapsed factory. The list read like a who’s who of the retail industry such as Walmart, Dress Barn and Benetton, among others. Soon after, an alliance of NGOs, trade groups and former factory workers demanded that businesses join a binding accord on fire and building safety, even setting a deadline.
Forty-one retailers that collect supplies from factories in Bangladesh gave in. The exceptions: Walmart and Gap. The WRC has also done extensive investigations in India, applying the economics of naming and shaming on Indian garment suppliers, to improve the lot of workers. Scott Nova, executive director, WRC, talks about the working conditions in garment clusters in India and how they compare with Bangladesh. Excerpts:
What are your impressions of the working conditions, wages as well as the rights of workers at garment clusters in India?
Wages are 23% of what the ‘living’ wage should be. In fact, unions have come out with a minimum wage figure using the method set out in the 15th International Law Commission and also by incorporating the different Supreme Court rulings on minimum wages, including the Reptakos Bret judgment. The proposed wage figure is almost double the existing figures in all the garment clusters. The government is yet to constitute a minimum wage committee and the last minimum wage revision happened in 1994.
* Moily assures textiles sector of Centre’s help:
Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister M. Veerappa Moily on Sunday said that weavers had the potential of transforming the rural economy of the country and advised the State government to formulate a programme to develop the textile sector with Central assistance.
Inaugurating the Textile Textiles Cooperative Bank Limited’s golden jubilee celebrations, Mr. Moily promised the weavers that he would get Central funds for the development of the industry and the welfare of the weavers.
Echoing Mr. Moily’s views on the textiles sector, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister H.K. Patil said the bank had done yeomen service to the weavers/industry and they should make use of Mr. Moily’s offer of Central help for its growth. Textiles was the second largest sector in the country after agriculture.
* FDI in retail: Walmart, Tesco will not be able to acquire existing retailers:
Multi-brand retailers such as Walmart and Tesco will not be able to acquire an existing retailer to make an easy entry into the Indian market, the government clarified on Thursday through a tighter set of norms that seeks to ensure they build chains right from scratch.
The rules are a big setback for Indian retail groups such as Bharti Retail, Future Retail and Spencer’s that were hoping to cash out by selling at least part of the stake in front-end retail stores to foreign companies. “What to do? This is India,” the shocked CEO of an Indian retail group said, asking not to be named.
* Rupee’s fall, improving US market bring smiles to apparel exporters:
The recent fall of the rupee against the dollar has brought more smiles to the faces of India’s apparel exporters who have been upbeat over rising consumer confidence in the US, one of the major export destinations.
India’s apparel exports fell 5.76 percent to $12.92 billion in 2012-13 due to the slowdown in Europe and the US, which together account for more than 65 percent of India’s garment exports.
“I am positive about the US. It seems that they are out of recession,” Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) senior vice chairman H.K.L. Magu told reporters.
“I believe this will positively impact our apparel export to this country,” Magu said.
14:00:45 local time PAKISTAN
* US expert urges easing Pakistani textile exports:
An American expert on South Asia has urged Washington to remove trade barriers for Pakistani textile products to help Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s economic stabilization agenda as well as improve prospects in wide-ranging US-Pakistan bilateral cooperation.
Daniel Markey, a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations proposes that a trade concession legislation on the Capitol Hill should include same trade incentives for Indian exporters and that such a move be linked to improvement in trade between the two South Asian neighbors.
In an opinion piece in the Washington Post, Markey says “there is an overriding sense that it is in the United States’ interest for Sharif to succeed” and that the next six months would be a good time for a thorough reassessment of the US.-Pakistan relationship, ranging from counter terrorism cooperation to regional diplomacy.
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* Ginners reject future contracts:
The Central Executive Committee of Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) chaired by Mahesh Kumar, its president out rightly rejected the future trade contract of cotton being initiated by Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) describing it un-Islamic and repugnant to the Shariah.
It declared that Hedge trading is a gamble which cannot be allowed in any Islamic state. Islamic Ideology Council and Federal Shariat Court also opposed it. The Executive Committee unanimously decided to challenge the act of SECP in the apex court of the country.
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* Equal distribution of loadshedding: textile industry waiting for Ministry’s reply:
Textile industry is waiting anxiously for 10th of June when the Ministry of Water & Power would turn up with reply to the APTMA petition against 12 hours a day loadshedding after apex court order of equal distribution of loadshedding among consumers.
It may be noted that the textile industry in Punjab has been exposed to 12 hours a day load shedding in pursuance of the apex court order. The petition in the court has pointed out that the electricity officials have misconstrued the court order and made Punjab based textile industry subject to heavy load shedding.
* SRO.1487(I)/2012 from July 1st: Implementation likely to hinder smooth running of business: APTPMA:
Activation of SRO.1487(I)/2012 will entangle the manufacturers in useless activities. This SRO was kept in abeyance up to 30.06.2013 considering very useless activities by the manufacturers.
Rizwan Ashraf, Chairman All Pakistan Textile Processing Mills Association (APTPMA) Faisalabad Region, while criticising he said government without realising about the difficulties of the manufacturers is implementing the SRO.1487(I)/2012 from 1st July 2013.
The practice on such SRO wherein the manufacturers will collect income tax @ 0.5 percent of sales tax from distributors, dealers and wholesalers, will create great hindrance in smooth running of business activities of the manufacturers. Rizwan said manufacturers are already withholding advance income tax and 20 percent sales tax from dealers, wholesalers and distributors etc that is actual duty of the business concerned to pay/deposit the taxes to the department directly.
* Textile industry weary of Lesco:
The textile industry is yet exposed to Lesco fiasco after the Supreme Court order of equal distribution of loadshedding amongst domestic and industrial consumers since June 1. The industry sources said power supply cuts to textile mills were yet up to 12 hours a day against six hours a day earlier.
It is worth noting that All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) has also approached to the Supreme Court to mention about the discriminatory act of the Discos in Punjab where the industry has been exposed to unprecedented loadshedding without considering its importance in national economy.
The next date of hearing has been set as 10th of June when the court has order the Ministry of Water & Power to respond to the APTMA petition.
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