15:44:14 local time CHINA
* Mexico hopes to resolve textile trade dispute with China:
* China to hold nationwide safety overhaul:
China will carry out a three-month nationwide safety overhaul with a focus on high-risk sectors and labor-intensive factories, according to a circular released by the State Council.
The overhaul comes after a string of deadly accidents, including a fire in a poultry plant in northeast China’s Jilin Province killing 121, and a bus fire in the eastern Chinese city of Xiamen leaving 47 dead.
Safety checks, running until late September, will cover all the sectors while focusing on coal mining, chemical industries, public transport, construction sites and machinery manufacturing, according to the circular published by the Chinese government on Monday.
Labor-intensive factories and areas with dense populations like schools, hospitals, entertainment venues and airports will be the focus of the overhaul, said the circular.
Through the safety checks, the country will look to eliminate potential hazards, close down illegal production and enhance safety awareness, said the circular.
14:44:14 local time VIET NAM
* Exports to the EU get a much needed shot in the arm benefit from EU move:
The European Union last week announced made-in-Vietnam products imported into the EU would continue enjoying low tariffs.
The preferences are applied to Vietnam and other developing countries during 2014-2016 under the generalised system of preferences (GSP).
“That’s very good news amid Vietnam’s economic and consumption market difficulties,” said former Deputy Prime Minister Vu Khoan.
“This will help Vietnam create more employment and further ensure social security,” he said.
Hanoi-based Garment Company X26 director Nguyen Viet Thang said the news would help this company earn nearly $1 million per year.
Quach Thi Nhung from South Korean-backed garment maker KJ Vina in Binh Duong province said there needed be more accurate calculations of how much her company would benefit from the new move, “but our export turnover from the EU will increase”.
Last year, the EU was Vietnam’s largest importer with $20.3 billion in revenue. Vietnam’s major exports to the EU market included mobile phones, which accounted for 43 per cent of Vietnam’s total mobile phone export turnover, footwear (36 per cent), computer (19 per cent) and garment and textile (16 per cent).
14:44:14 local time CAMBODIA
* Hundreds are given sack for Sabrina clash:
Hundreds of workers were sacked at the Sabrina Garment factory on Saturday following several violent protests at the Kampong Speu province premises and the arrest of unionists involved.
Workers and union officials could not give a precise figure on the number of workers who had been sacked following violent clashes between rival unions and police.
The firings came after workers continued to protest outside the provincial court on Friday and Saturday demanding the release on bail of three Free Trade Union leaders and five of their rank and file, who were arrested after a bruising demonstration on Monday.
Phal Nat, 23, who has worked at Sabrina Garment factory for three years and is a member of The Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers said on Saturday that management called her into the administrative office and told her to thumbprint a termination letter.
“They told me that I was sacked. I asked them why and they said I had made a big mistake in the company,” she said.
* BetterFactories – Media updates 1-11 June 2013, Strike at Sabrina:
To read in printed edition The Phnom Penh Post:
2013-06-03 ACU arrests Interior, Justice Ministry staff
2013-06-03 Duty free agreements worry minister
2013-06-04 Strike arrests, injuries
2013-06-05 Garment factories rated unsafe
2013-06-05 Unions divided over clash
2013-06-06 Strikers rally for jailed leaders
2013-06-07 Cambodia’s garment industry still growing
2013-06-07 Garment worker fronts courts on pimping charge
2013-06-10 Bangladesh exports rise 15 per cent
2013-06-11 Hundreds are given sack for Sabrina clash
To read in printed edition The Cambodia Daily:
2013-06-04 Eight arrested as garment workers, police clash
2013-06-05 Relatives, police scuffle after China fire kills 120
2013-06-05 Union warns of mass demonstration if protests are not freed
2013-06-05 Worker dies after being electrocuted at garment factory
2013-06-06 Factory workers demand release of eight held after protest
2013-06-07 Police open fire at collapsed factory protest in Bangladesh
2013-06-07 Unions trade barbs over violent factory strike
2013-06-08-09 Bangladesh factory collapse survivor begins new job in hotel
2013-06-10 Bangladesh garment workers model clothing consumption
* UK minister talks investment:
As Cambodia’s economy, driven by the garment industry, develops, more diversified investment opportunities in infrastructure and sectors such as financial services will emerge, Britain’s minister for trade and Investment said in Phnom Penh yesterday.
Visiting Cambodia for the first time on his two-week trip through Southeast Asia, where he is drumming up support for British companies, Minister Stephen Green said the garment industry is an important source of supply for markets in England, but that “as time goes by, I would assume that the Cambodian economy will get more diversified, will move up the value chain, and as that happens, that will open up other opportunities”.
15:44:14 local time INDONESIA
* Sritex Set to Raise Rp 1.34t in IPO:
Sri Rejeki Isman, an integrated textile company, is set to raise Rp 1.34 trillion ($136.6 million) from selling shares in its initial public offering later this week.
The company, known as Sritex, set its IPO price at Rp 240 per share, at the lower end of its earlier indicative price of between Rp 230 and Rp 385 a share, according to a brief prospectus published in Investor Daily on Monday.
Sritex plans to sell 5.6 billion new shares, or about 30 percent of its enlarged capital.
Eko Yuliantoro, president director of Bahana Securities, which acts as the underwriter, did not respond to a Jakarta Globe enquiry about the pricing.
The company operates nine spinning facilities, three weaving plants and three dyeing units, seven garment production facilities and a printing and finishing facility.
Sritex supplies products including threads and fabrics, military combat uniforms and ready-to-wear clothing. Buyers include global fashion and apparel brands JCPenny, Sears, Timberland, Guess, Quicksilver and Zara.
14:14:14 local time BURMA/MYANMAR
* India to revive 300 apparel factories in Myanmar:
India has offered to help in revival of 300 apparel factories in Myanmar. During his meeting with the Myanmar President U Thein Sein last Friday, in Nay Pyi Taw, The Union Minister of Commerce Industry and Textiles, Shri Anand Sharma also offered US$ 5 million Line of Credit for revival of these factories.
The South India Textile Research Association (SITRA) will provide technical assistance in formulation of revival plans for these factories. Private Sector companies will play a big role in revival and building joint ventures with these closed apparel factories. “A delegation comprising the experts, officials and businessmen will visit Myanmar within two weeks”, Shri Sharma informed the mediapersons after the meeting.
India will also cooperate with Myanmar in formulating a common compliance code for standards and also the best practices in the factories, said Shri Sharma. The Minister proposed to the Myanmar President a Common Compliance Code – Disha Myanmar with technical assistance from AEPC – to enhance compliance standards in Myanmar for exports to developed countries.
13:29:14 local time NEPAL
* Workers shut down industries:
The agitating workers have closed down almost all industries in Nawalparasi, reasoning the minimum salary recommended by a government committee was unacceptable to them.
All Nepal Revolutionary Trade Union Federation affiliated to the CPN-Maoist said Rs 8,000 as the monthly salary recommended by the government committee could not be accepted, as it was very low.
District coordinator of the Federation Indra Bahadur Khatri said the Federation has put forth 25-point demand, including the monthly salary be fixed minimum at Rs 15,000. Due to the agitation, industries in Diyapuri, Gaidakot and Mukundapur have been shut down.
13:44:14 local time BANGLADESH
* Govt announces Tk 1 lakh bounty for Aminul’s killer:
The government on Monday announced a Tk 1-lakh bounty for giving information leading to the arrest of absconding Mustafizur Rahman, the suspected killer of trade union leader Aminul Islam.
Aminul Islam, 41, president of Savar and Ashulia units of Bangladesh Garment & Industrial Workers Federation, went missing on April 4 last year from Ashulia.
His body was found at a place near Tangail-Mymensingh Highway under Ghatail Police Station the following day. He had been working at Bangladesh Centre for Workers’ Solidarity, a non-government organisation for workers rights, in Ashulia, as an organiser since 2006.
The Home Ministry urged all to give information to the nearest police station about the suspected killer Mustafizur Rahman, son of Md Shamsher Biswas of village Kadirpara, Sreepur in Magura district. “The information provider will be given Tk one lakh and his or her identity will be kept secret,” said a Home Ministry official.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* Spinning mill catches fire in Gazipur:
A fire gutted raw materials of a spinning mill in Kewa area in Sripur upazila on Monday morning.
Fire service sources said the fire originated from an electric short circuit at Nakib Spinning Mill around 10am and gutted cottons, threads and other raw materials of the factory.
On information, firefighters from Gazipur fire service rushed to the spot and doused the flames after half an hour.
The extent of loss caused by the fire could not be known immediately.
to read. & to read. & to read. & to read.
* RMG workers’ unrest continues:
Workers of Nadia Garments Ltd staged a sit-in Monday in front of the apparel unit at Eskaton in the city in pursuance of their various demands. FE Photo by Shafiqul Alam
At least 30 people, including a policeman, were injured in a clash between garment workers and law enforcers at Ashulia, on the outskirts of the capital Monday, police said.
Policemen, deployed to maintain order there baton-charged the protesters and fired tear gas shells and rubber bullets to disperse them.
Witnesses said the trouble erupted at about 1:30 pm after an altercation between the officials and workers of Fountain Garments Manufacturing Limited over the wage hike, payment of bonus and tiffin money to the workers.
The workers ransacked the garment factory and then took to the street demanding the benefits.
Inspector of Ashulia Industrial Police Abdus Sattar said the workers at one stage of the protest blockaded Gazipur-Kaliakoir Highway at about 2:00 pm.
“Police fired teargas shells and rubber bullets to disperse the unruly workers only to bring normalcy in the industrial area,” he added.
As police intervened, the workers got angry and pelted brickbats and stones at the law enforcers, leading to chase and counter-chase that left at least 29 workers and an assistant sub-inspector of police, Monir injured.
* Ashulia workers-cops clash injures 25-30:
30 garment workers were injured in a clash with the police in front of the Fountain Garments in Ashulia under Savar upazila of the district on Monday noon.
Factory and workers sources said the workers were observing work abstention demanding travel allowance, tiffin allowance inside the factory from the morning.
But the workers did not join the work till noon though the garments authority raised tiffin allowance to Tk 700 (around $8.50) monthly. Authority then declared one day leave in the factory.
read more. & read more. & read more.
* Labour rights, GSP to dominate talks during Kerry visit:
The issues relating to labour rights, workplace safety, next national election and generalized system of preferences (GSP) facilities for Bangladeshi products are expected to dominate the bilateral talks between US secretary of state John Kerry and Bangladesh foreign minister Dr Dipu Moni, according to sources.
The meeting is scheduled to take place on June 25. Though not officially announced, The Independent has come to know from the sources that the US secretary of state will pay a short visit to Bangladesh on June 25. He will come to Dhaka from India and is scheduled to fly to Pakistan from Bangladesh after a few hours.
The US diplomat is also due to meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Opposition leader Khaleda Zia during his brief visit. He may also meet some representatives of civil society and different NGOs. The proposed Trade and Investment Cooperation Framework Agreement (TICFA) as well as
two memorandums of understanding on counterterrorism, and science and technology, are likely to be inked during the brief visit.
Against the backdrop of the recent collapse of Rana Plaza in Savar, Kerry is likely to spend more time on the issues relating to labour rights in Bangladesh. He has already raised the issues during his last meeting with Dipu Moni in Washington last month. The US secretary of state is likely to urge Bangladesh to improve its fire and building safety inspections. He is also likely to ask for quick passage of labour law amendments.
* Bangladeshi Garments Company to invest US$10.12m in Uttara EPZ :
Bangladeshi Garments Manufacturing Company M/s. Viyellatex Apparels Ltd is going to set up a garments industry in Uttara Export Processing Zone, a BEPZA release said here today.
This locally owned company will invest 10.12 million US Dollar for setting up their plant with annual production capacity of 4,590,000 pcs, of various garments item. Viyellatex Apparels will create employment opportunity for 2000 Bangladeshi nationals.
An agreement to this effect has signed between Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority and M/s. Viyellatex Apparels Limited in BEPZA Complex, Dhaka yesterday.
* Move to set up ‘cotton hub’ in Bangladesh:
A move is afoot to establish a ‘cotton hub’ in Bangladesh so that millers can get this basic raw material at a short notice, sources said.
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) is scrutinising a proposal, placed by local company Golden Harvest Group which is agent of Louis Dreyfus, a giant global trader of bulk agricultural commodities.
Under the proposal, the Sena Kalyan Sangstha will set up warehouses on its lands where several global raw cotton traders will stockpile their goods. The warehouses will be considered as ‘special zones’ from where buyers will be able to get cotton through opening letters of credit (LC) or cash against documents (CAD).
* Two factories fined for polluting environment:
The Department of Environment (DoE) on Sunday reaalised Tk28 lakh as fine from two factories in Narayanganj district on charge of polluting environment, reports UNB.
The factories are Nipun Synthetic Leather Industries Ltd at Dighi Borabo in Rupganj upazila of the district and Poly Fabrics Ltd in Kanchpur of Sonargaon upazila.
DoE director (monitoring and enforcement) M Alamgir said Nipun Synthetic was fined Tk one lakh on charge of continuing factory activities violating the environmental clearance rules.
Besides, Poly Fabrics was fined Tk26.96 lakh as it was causing damage to the environment through running production activities without obtaining DoE’s clearance certificate and without keeping ETP (Effluent Treatment Plant) operational.
* What our garment workers wear:
According to writer Elizabeth Cline, author of the 2012 book, “Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion,” the average American buys 68 pieces of clothing a year – not counting shoes.
In her book, Cline suggests this scale of consumption is unsustainable. She describes how she now tries to be thriftier. She has bought a sewing machine to tailor purchases to suit her better, and purchases more expensive but longer lasting clothes from local designers.
While some consumers are reconsidering the clothes they buy for environmental reasons, for others recent industrial disasters in the garment industry may provide the impetus to think about what and how much they buy. In April, the collapse of Rana Plaza, a complex in Dhaka that housed several factories, killed more than 1,100 workers. It was the latest in a string of deadly incidents at factories in the country.
Much of the world, outside of the US and Europe, already consumes “slow fashion,” as the alternative to mass-produced chain-store clothing is sometimes called.
Many residents in India and other parts of the world, across income brackets, personally know the people who make their clothes and are involved in everything from the fabric selection to the design.
But perhaps no one is as well versed in frugal fashion as some of the people who make fast fashion: Bangladesh’s garment workers, most of whom are women.
* BGMEA admission shocking but not quite surprising:
The admission by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association that it failed to implement the recommendations of its own inquiry committee following the collapse of the Spectrum Sweater Industries factory in 2005, as reported by New Age on Monday, is sad and shocking, but not quite surprising.
It is sad because, as the president of the Institute of Architects, Bangladesh pointed out, if the association had followed up on the recommendations ‘there might have been no Rana Plaza tragedy.’
It is shocking because it ultimately betrays the association’s general disregard for workers’ safety and security. It is not surprising because such blatant disregard and criminal negligence have generally characterised the association’s modus operandi and mindset since the apparel industry came to be a money-spinner and mainstay for the national economy.
The BGMEA inquiry committee, which was commissioned two days after the collapse of the Spectrum factory and whose report was published two months later, identified three major causes of the collapse — the overall poor quality of materials and construction, deviation from the original design and specifications, and lack of proper supervision.
THE SAVAR BUILDING COLLAPSE
* Rana Plaza Tragedy: 4 accused on fresh remand:
A Dhaka court on Monday placed four garment owners on a two-day fresh remand in a case over much-talked-about Rana Plaza collapse.
The accused are Anisur Rahman, Bazlus Samad Adnan, Aminul Islam and Mahmudur Rahman Tapash.
Senior Judicial Magistrate of Dhaka Toybul Hasan Uzzal passed the remand order following a plea of police.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* Chief factory inspector changed:
Health ministry deputy secretary Md Moshiur Rahman has replaced Md Habibul Islam as chief inspector of factories under the labour ministry replacing.
The public administration ministry notified the change in the official gazette on Monday, a day after the labour and employment ministry suspended seven factory inspection officials following an investigation into the devastating Rana Plaza disaster.
The labour ministry investigation reportedly found the suspended officials guilty of negligence of duties.
The multi-storied Rana Plaza, which housed five clothing factories, a shopping mall and a bank, collapsed on April 24, killing at least 1,130 people mostly women apparel workers and leaving 2,000 others limbless and injured.
* 7 inspectors of Rana Plaza factories suspended:
They issued licenses without visiting
Bangladesh has suspended seven inspectors it accuses of negligence for renewing the licenses of garment factories in a building that collapsed in April, killing more than 1,100 people, a top Labor Ministry official said Monday.
The official, Mikail Shipar, said a ministry investigation found that the inspectors never even visited the five factories housed in the shabbily built eight-story Rana Plaza building. He said one of the factories, EtherTex, had been operating without any license from the factory inspection department since 2008, while the others were licensed through 2013.
At least 1,129 people died when the building in the Dhaka suburb of Savar collapsed April 24, a day after cracks in the building prompted authorities to issue an evacuation order.
Shipar said the ministry’s report was
preliminary, and that if the accusations are proven the inspectors, all mid-level officials, will lose their jobs.
13:14:14 local time INDIA
* Ban on ‘camp labour scheme’ sought:
‘Workers under camp labour scheme should get at least Rs. 300 a day’
The Tirupur People’s Forum has urged the Union and State governments to immediately ban the “camp labour scheme” being implemented unauthorisedly by private sector textile mills in Coimbatore, Tirupur, and Erode districts.
A resolution adopted to this effect at its district conference on “Challenges and problems faced by young women working in textiles and garment industry” here recently alleged that the poor people in rural areas were exploited by the mills. The resolution said that different mills adopted various names such as “Sumangali scheme”, “Mangalya thittam”, and “Tirunangai scheme”’ to attract women belonging from poor families to join them.
* After 10 years, decks cleared for Apparel Park:
The Apparel Park at Jagatpura will become a reality now after 10 years of wait and several hiccups. RIICO, in an office order last week, has finally cleared the decks for allotment of land to the 133 applicants of the textile park whose process had begun in 2003.
The main contentious issue of land rates that held up the project in recent years was resolved and the applicants now have to shell out the prevailing market price of Rs 4,700 per sq metre instead of the Rs 500 per sq metre fixed by RIICO when it invited expression of interest in December 2003 to set up the apparel park.
“As part of the state government’s strategy to promote textile industry, RIICO has resolved all the issues related to Apparel Park at Jagatpura, including the contentious land rates. The issue had been hanging fire for nearly a decade.Now, everything has been cleared, and we expect the apparel sector in the state to get a boost when this new park comes up,” said Naveen Mahajan, managing director, RIICO.
* Nahar Group, SEL have big expansion plans:
At a when the industry is feeling the heat and is even thinking to move out of Punjab, big industrial units in the city like Nahar Group and SEL Manufacturing Limited have gone for major investments in the state.
The Nahar Group has announced its investment plans of over Rs 1,500 crore at Lalru in Mohali and at Jodhan and Malerkotla in Ludhiana. With the investments, the company aims to strengthen and expand its denim and spinning capacities in the state.
According to the company, it will double its denim manufacturing capacity from 20 million meters per annum to 40 million meters per annum in Ludhiana units alone.
* CAI estimates cotton crop at 35.2 million bales:
This year cotton surplus estimated to be at 14.7 million bales, while arrivals as on May 31 stood at 33.9 million bales
Association of India has estimated cotton crop for the current cotton year at (October- September) at 35.2 million bales as on May 31 lower. In 2011-12 cotton crop was 37.3 million bales a fall of 6%.
The body has estimated the projected cotton balance sheet for 2012-13 at 42.5 million bales and pegged domestic consumption at 27.8 million bales. This year cotton surplus is estimated to be at 14.7 million bales, while arrivals as on May 31 stood at 33.9 million bales.
Mill consumption is estimated to go up to 24 million bales from 21.7 million bales in 2011-12, while total demand is reported to be lower at 27.8 million bales compared to 38.2 million bales in the corresponding period last year.
13:14:14 local time SRI LANKA
* Apparel industry to benefit from JASTECA- JUKI Production Management Programme:
JASTECA Institute of Management has teamed up with J.K.Agencies (Pvt) Ltd., to organize a JUKI Production Management Programme to bolster productivity and production management techniques of the local garment industry.
This specially designed programme, which was initially conducted two decades ago is organized in coordination with JUKI Corp., Japan and is suited for the executives, middle and senior level managers of the garment industries in Sri Lanka.
The programme will cover a wide range of topics such as Process Analysis, Operational Analysis, Time Study, Motion Study and Introduction to Lean Management, which would be beneficial to those organizations that have not yet employed these new management techniques.
12:44:14 local time PAKISTAN
* Workplace equality: Exploitation of women workers noticed:
The Labour Department has decided to initiate proceedings against all industrial units accused of making female employees work more than 12 hours a day.
The decision follows complaints by various workers’ representatives and Labour Qaumi Movement (LQM). It has been alleged that a majority of export-oriented units in garments and cotton fabric sectors deprive female workers of their legitimate rights as outlined in labour laws.
According to the labour laws, duty hours for a female worker were limited to 42 hours a week. However, it was revealed that most female workers were being forced to work over 90 hours a week. At the same time, these workers were not provided social security facilities, old age benefits and other facilities.
* Death of Swat’s silk industry leaves thousands desperate, hopeless:
Fifty-five year-old Raheemullah Khan waits at Mingora’s Green Chowk early in the morning, with his work tools dangling from his shoulders.
Employers usually pick up daily wage labourers like Raheemullah for construction work, but today, no one has taken notice of the man who’s been waiting for almost two hours. After 9 am, he gives up.
Raheemullah is used to coming home without a daily wage now – it became routine after he lost his job at a silk factory, which was destroyed by militants in 2008. After the factory, located in Tehsil Kabal, was damaged, around 90 employees who were earning Rs 15-20,000 a month lost their jobs.
“I worked in silk factories for almost 30 years and I was running ten machines at a time – I was set to finally start earning more because of my work experience, but now I’m forced to search for work on a daily basis. No one is ready to employ me because I’m too old,” Raheemullah explains.
Forty-nine-year-old Aleem Khan had also worked at the same factory for 25 years. “The owner of my factory sold the machinery at a low cost after the terrorist attack,” he says.
There are many more stories similar to Aleem’s and Raheemullah’s. Jalandhar Khan, a 57-year-old, was working at the Khyber Silk Mill in 2007, and after the closure of his factory, he now works as a security guard on a monthly salary of Rs 5,000. President of the Muttahida Itifaq Labour Union Cosmetics and Silk Industries Swat, Haji Abdul Wadood says that Swat was once known as the hub of Pakistan’s silk industry. Workers from across the country would come here to earn a livelihood for their families.
* Powerloom workers stage sit-in against outages:
Powerloom factory owners and workers on Monday staged a sit-in outside the Fesco headquarters against hours-long electricity loadshedding.
The protesters gathered in front of the Fesco offices where they set up a camp which was joined by workers and factory owners belonging to different areas. They kept besieging the Fesco offices for more than five hours and demanded smooth electricity supply.
Addressing the gathering, a factory owner, Mirza Shafiq, said they had been bearing the brunt of ill-conceived policies of the outgoing government and finding it difficult to run their businesses. He said the power outages had rendered a large number of workers jobless. He urged the government to exempt powerloom sector from outages.
THE KARACHI-BALDIA FIRE
* Legal eagles from Europe to fight for victims’ heirs:
A group of Italian, Spanish, and French lawyers has arrived in Karachi to investigate the facts and liabilities of the foreign and local companies implicated in the Baldia factory fire disaster of last September.
The lawyers will, in association with Advocate Faisal Siddiqui, represent the next-of-kin of the victims in a group proceeding before courts in the European jurisdiction in case the liabilities are confirmed.
The group of legal eagles – Stefano Bertone, Marco Bona, Carlos Villacorta and Jean-Pierre Bellacave – are taking up the Baldia factory fire case on a totally voluntary basis free of charge. The case will be contested in a court in Torino, Italy.
The aim of the litigation is to get compensation for the heirs of the victims under the same standards as applicable to European victims of industrial tragedies; to obtain punishments for the negligent authorities; to prevent such disasters in the future; and to promote safety at the workplace.
The case will be undertaken in collaboration with trade unions, not-for-profit organisations like the National Trades Union Federation (NTUF), Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler) as well as some European agencies.