18:07:03 local time VIET NAM
* Forced child labor: Vietnam’s garments shunned by US federal departments:
The US Department of Labor has listed Vietnam’s garment industry as using forced child labor. This means suppliers to US federal government bodies must not supply made-in-Vietnam garment unless they prove that such garment do not use forced child labor.
In its Final Determination dated 15th July, in a process lasting nearly a year since the initial public notice in September 2012, the US DoL report wrote:
“[T]here are more than isolated cases of forced child labor in garment production. These cases predominately occur in small, unregistered workplaces..ILAB [Bureau of International Labor Affairs] research in 2008 and 2009 revealed a trend of forced child labor in the sector. Further ILAB research in 2011 and 2012 revealed additional recent and ongoing cases of forced child labor in the garment industry, confirming earlier research.”
Vietnam’s labor ministry and the state-run industry association VTAS made 3 submissions, variously denouncing that the report was based on “unofficial” sources, giving implied threats that the ban would “negatively affect ties”, and claiming that cases cited by the US are scattered among small enterprises.
* World Bank, please be responsible: Human Rights Watch:
In a report released 22nd July 2013, “Abuse-Free Development – How the World Bank Should Safeguard Against Human Rights Violations”, Human Rights Watch cited Vietnam’s so-called drug rehabilitation centres among its case studies.
These are state-owned profit centres. Up to 2011, a total of some 309,000 inmates – including at least 11,000 children (estimates by authorities for inmates held in and around Saigon) – have passed and worked as forced laborers to create profits for state-owned enterprises.
WORLD BANK GAVE 35 MILLION DOLLARS FOR FORCED LABOR CENTRES
The World Bank gave $35 million dollars from 2005 to 2012 to assist the Hanoi authorities in running their forced-labor centres. When questioned by HRW, World Bank replied that it wasn’t aware of forced labor and forced child labor.
18:07:03 local time THAILAND
* BoI expects to hit investment incentive goal of Bt1 trillion:
The Board of Investment remains confident that the total value of applications for investment privileges this year will meet the target of Bt1 trillion, though the number in the second half might not be as high as in the first, said Udom Wongwiwatchai, secretary-general of the BoI.
He noted that the latter half of the year would face five main risks that could discourage investment.
These are slowing economies across the globe, especially China’s; the shortage of local labour and rising wages; rising interest rates overseas prompting capital outflows; declining consumption in Thailand; and the declining demand for some products in global markets, such as computer components, for which Thailand is a major production base.
But he said the agricultural, automobile and auto-parts sectors in Thailand would continue to grow in the second half, driven by factory expansion. While domestic car demand may slow, the auto business has adjusted to focus on the export market.
The sectors that are forecast to slow their investment include labour-intensive industries such as garments and shoes, mainly affected by the labour shortage.
18:07:03 local time CAMBODIA
* Workers paid out on doorstop of election:
Garment workers demonstrate against Pine Great factory owner and appeal to Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife, Bun Rany, in front of Phnom Penh’s Social Affairs Ministry earlier this month. VIREAK MAI
A month-long battle to secure back pay waged by 750 garment workers has ended only days before the national election – with the government footing the bill.
The $450,000 payout to the Pine Great (Cambodia) factory workers – whose factory owner skipped town in April – is being financed through a loan from the national budget, with payment to be made today.
Workers previously expressed concern that they would be unable to pay transportation costs so they could cast ballots if they did not receive their pay by Friday. They further vowed to protest in front of the Ministry of Social Affairs on Election Day if the wages remained unpaid.
Upon hearing the news, the out-of-pocket employees “laughed and thanked Prime Minister Hun Sen for helping them receive their wages after spending more than three months demanding” them Keo Sokhom, a worker representative, said yesterday.
* Cambodian garment export up nearly 20 pct in 1st half:
The garment industry, Cambodia’s largest income earner, reported 2.51 billion US dollars in export value in the first six months of this year, a 19.5 percent rise from $2.1 billion over the same period last year, the figures of the Commerce Ministry showed Wednesday.
Cambodian apparels are mostly sold to the United States and European countries, with some to Canada, Japan, South Korea and China.
The figures said that from January to June this year, the garment exports to the United States were valued at $1.02 billion, up 10 percent year-on-year. The exports to the European nations were 862 million dollars worth, up 27 percent, and the exports to other countries were $629 million, up 27 percent.
“Our garment products are mainly reliant on the US and European markets, so our export growth demonstrates better economic situations in those countries,” Khuon Savuth, an official at the Commerce Ministry’s Import-Export Inspection and Fraud Repression Department, said Wednesday.
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17:37:03 local time BURMA/MYANMAR
* On Labour Organisations in Myanmar:
When Myanmar’s new Labour Organisation Law was promulgated in October 2011 it brought to an end a period of nearly 50 years during which independent workers’ organisations had been effectively prohibited.
Amidst the more open political climate of reform-era Myanmar, labour-related organisations and workers’ unions have proliferated. The result is that some 500 organisations took part in the recent ILO-organised Labour Organisations Conference held in Yangon from 30 April to 1 May 2013.
Some rather chaotic events at the conference highlight a new set of challenges to workers in Myanmar as the liberalisation process has opened space for various actors seeking to shape the direction of the country’s labour movement.
On the first day of the conference, The Myanmar Times reported that some of the organisations in attendance raised concerns over what appeared to be a large number of unfamiliar faces in the room. Notably, these concerns were raised by members of the influential 88 Generation Students, a prominent group of Myanmar activists and ex-political prisoners. According to an article in the Myanmar Times:
17:07:03 local time BANGLADESH
* Govt withdrawing cases against labour leaders to regain US GSP:
The government has initiated the process for withdrawing cases against labour leaders in line with suggestions from the US authorities that scrapped trade preferences Bangladesh products enjoyed while entering into the American market, officials said on Wednesday.
Officials told New Age that the government initiated the process of withdrawing nine cases against labour leaders Kalpana Akhter and Babul Akhter.
They were framed on charges of arson, vandalism and obstructing law and order by the police.
Foreign secretary Shahidul Haq told reporters on Wednesday that he informed US Ambassador Dan Mozena about the development at a meeting at his office.
He said that in December the US would review its decision of withdrawal of Bangladesh’s GSP facility.
* Workers hold demo demanding hike in allowances:
Workers of Perl Price Apparels Limited staged demonstration pressing various demands on Wednesday.
Sources said though the factory administration gave words to meet the workers’ demand, they kept on protesting.
The factory authorities at 2:00pm announced holiday for the day to avoid any untoward situation.
The workers’ demands include increase in festival allowance, attendance bonus and annual leave allowance.
The workers had been discussing the issues with the authorities for the last four days and failed to find any positive response, said some of the workers.
Workers also alleged that some of the female workers were assaulted by the hired miscreants during a discussion with factory owner Md Taslim Uddin.
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* Gana Shasthya Grameen Textile Mills employees stage demonstrations:
The workers and employees of Gana Shasthya Grameen Textile Mills in Bhadraghat area under Kamarkhanda upazila of Sirajganj district on Wednesday staged demonstrations on demand of their four months salaries and bonus ahead of Eid festival.
They also laid siege to the Sirajganj-Nalka road nearby Mill gate area that snapped road communication for about two hours, causing immense suffering to the commuters.
Earlier, they submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner, Md Bellel Hossain demanding immediate payment of their wages and bonus.
The workers and employees of the mills brought out a procession in Bhadraghat Baza’ar area and marched towards the Sirajganj-Nalka road. Later, they held a rally on the mills premises demanding their arrears and bonus.
Sources said that, Gana Shasthya Grameen Textile was set up in Bhadraghat area in Kamarkhanda upazila of the district in 1998.
At least 300 workers are now working in the mills. But, there have been several irregularities including the salaries of the workers since the beginning.
In the rally, the workers leaders said that they had been deprived of their salaries for the last four months. As a result, they are leading miserable life with their families.
* Buyers up orders with compliant RMG units:
Shy away from non-compliant ones
A file photo shows employees in uniform are working in a garment factory in Dhaka. International buyers of Bangladesh garment products have increased their orders with compliant factories but reduced placing orders with many factories with faulty infrastructures after the Rana Plaza disaster, said exporters. — New Age photo
International buyers of Bangladesh garment products have increased their orders with compliant factories but reduced placing orders with many factories with faulty infrastructures after the Rana Plaza disaster, said exporters.
‘Buyers have become choosier in selecting the RMG units while placing their orders because of the pressure they are facing in their countries after Rana Plaza collapse,’ said a BGMEA leader.
The international brands and buyers are now considering the fire and structural safety as well as the labour condition of garment factories before placing orders to avoid facing protest in their respective countries, the exporters said.
Due to tightened policy of the buyers the growth of export order will be affected a bit but the overall orders will not drop, former Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association president Fazlul Hoque told New Age on Monday.
* Bangladesh not to immediately bring EPZs under labour law:
* Mauritius-Bangla garments unit to invest 20.95 M US dollars in Adamjee EPZ:
Maurituus-Bangladesh owned company ‘Ananta Apparels Limited’ is going to set up a garments industry in Adamjee Export Processing Zone (AEPZ), a press release of Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA) said here today.
This joint venture company will invest 20.95 million US dollars for setting up its unit with annual production capacity of 18 million pieces of various readymade woven garments such as Denim, Twill, Canvas and Poplin. Ananta Apparels will create employment opportunity for 9304 Bangladeshi nationals, the release added.
An agreement to this effect was signed between Bangladesh Export Procession Zones Authority and Ananta Apparels Ltd in BEPZA Complex here today.
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* US to review GSP in December:
The US will review the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) facilities for Bangladesh in December, Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque said Wednesday.
The foreign secretary was talking to newsmen after a meeting with US Ambassador in Dhaka Dan W Mozena at his office.
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* Government starts to execute US recommendations to regain GSP:
Commerce ministry coordinates implementation of US, EU and private sector action plans
The government has started to execute five actions out of the fourteen outlined by the United States in a bid to regain GSP (generalised system of preferences) facilities, including establishing of a directorate for labour, withdrawal of cases against Babul Aktar and Kalpona Aktar and ensuring transparent investigation of the Aminul Islam murder.
US President Barack Obama suspended GSP facilities on July 22 in the wake of the Rana Plaza collapse that killed 1,129 workers.
“We are executing some points of the US action plan which have been incorporated in the recently passed labour law bill in parliament,” Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday.
He added that the commerce ministry is now coordinating the implementation of US, EU and private sector action plans to improve safety standards for workers.
* British tycoon blasted for refusal to sign Bangladesh safety deal:
Philip Green’s clothing empire has been criticised for shunning a new initiative aimed at improving safety standards at Bangladeshi clothing manufacturers in the wake of the Rana Plaza disaster in April, reports Guardian.
The tycoon’s brands, which include TopShop, BHS and Miss Selfridge, are notable absentees from a list of supporters of the Bangladesh Safety
Accord, which is backed by 80 top high street brands ranging from Marks & Spencer and Next to Primark and H&M.
The scheme, which was unveiled in May and is co-ordinated by the UN’s International Labour Organisation, has seen retailers agree to a range of measures including inspections of suppliers to identify ‘grave hazards and the need for urgent repairs’, as well as companies committing to hiring chief safety inspectors to inspect standards at all factories producing garments for the participating brands.
Murray Worthy, of the anti-poverty campaign group War on Want, said, ‘TopShop’s bosses have got no excuse for not signing this agreement. With their bumper profits, they can easily afford a tiny fraction of that to make their supplier factories safe.
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* Topshop attacked over Bangladesh workers safety:
Topshop, faces controversy today over rejecting moves to prevent further disasters in garment factories in Bangladesh.
The anti-poverty charity War on Want urged the public to press Topshop’s parent company, Arcadia Group, to join other leading fashion retailers that have signed the Bangladesh Safety Accord.
This appeal came three months on since the Rana Plaza building in Savar collapsed, killing more than 1,100 people and injuring over 2,500 others, with many of the victims garment workers producing clothes for UK brands.
“With their bumper profits, they can easily afford a tiny fraction of that to make their supplier factories safe.
“Their failure to act and to work with other UK high street retailers to make these factories safe leaves thousands of workers’ lives at risk.
“Nearly two thousand workers have died in garment factories in Bangladesh in the last few years and more will die if companies like Topshop refuse to act.
* Compensation not charity for fire and collapse victims:
Exactly eight months after a fire at the Tazreen Fashions factory and three months after the Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh, the Clean Clothes Campaign calls on companies involved in the disasters to attend meetings aimed at providing compensation to survivors and the families of those killed.
The meetings, organised by IndustriALL Global Union, IndustriALL Bangladesh Council and global allies, are due to take place on the 11th and 12th of August in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
* CCC calls meeting of brands in BD to fix compensation for victims:
Clean Clothes Campaign, the largest global alliance of labour unions in the ready-made garment (RMG) sector, brings all the brands, which have had orders in place with Tazreen Fashions and the garment factories at Rana Plaza, to Dhaka next month.
At a meeting, they will take decision on compensation for the survivors, and families of those killed in the two recent disasters.
Basing on the statement ‘compensation is not charity’, the campaign has observed that exactly eight months after the Tazreen fire incident and three months after the Rana Plaza building collapse, no compensation package was announced by any of the brands except one. Only Primark has publicly stated it will pay long-term compensation to the victims of Rana Plaza in line with the existing compensation framework. Other international brands have failed to announce any such concrete steps, choosing instead to announce charitable programmes.
Liz Parker from the Clean Clothes Campaign hoped that all brands ‘linked’ to these disasters would make attendance at this meeting a priority.
“Charity projects such as training or psychological support are totally insufficient. These families need full and fair compensation so they can start to rebuild their lives in a manner of their own choosing.
They have paid a heavy price for the failure of brands and retailers, the industry and the government to guarantee a safe workplace.
They will never get their loved ones back, but decent compensation will help relieve some of their suffering,” Liz added.
THE SAVAR BUILDING COLLAPSE
* PM gives financial assistance to 175 family members of Savar victims:
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday gave cheques of financial assistance to 175 members of the families of 123 people who were killed in the Savar building collapse on April 24.
She handed over the cheques of Tk 2.26 crore to the recipients at her office. This was the seventh phase of handing over financial assistance to the victims and their family members.
So far, a total of Tk 11.97 crore has been provided to 1.016 persons belonging to the families of 777 victims of the Savar Rana Plaza tragedy from the Prime Minister’s Relief and Welfare Fund.
Besides, savings certificates worth Tk 3.30 crore have been given to 30 injured persons from the same fund.
Official sources said the Prime Minister in seven phases so far disbursed Tk 17.54 crore from her relief and welfare fund for the treatment of the Rana Plaza victims and as financial support to the families of the deceased and injured workers.
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* Three Months Since Rana Plaza, 200 Orphans Call for Compensation and Safe Jobs:
Today, three months after the Rana building collapse of April 24 and eight months after the Tazreen fire of November 24, two hundred orphans participated in a demonstration organized by the National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF).
The demonstration called on all apparel brands and retailers that sourced from Tazreen and Rana to pay full and fair compensation to the injured workers and families who lost loved-ones, as well as urged all clothing companies that have not yet signed on to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh to do so immediately.
At the action in Dhaka, Amirul Haque Amin, president of NGWF presided over the meeting and NGWF leaders Safia Pervin, Faruk Khan, Sultana Akter, Nurun Nahar, and Kabir hossain spoke, along with three members of victims’ families. Special guest Fazle Hossain Badsha M. P expressed his solidarity and SalaUddin Swapon, secretary general of the Bangladesh Garment Workers Unity Council and Sabbah Ali Khan Koling, general secretary of the Bangladesh Youth Unity, shared their support for the demands.
* Three months after Rana Plaza tragedy: Photo exhibition opened at crash site:
Drik Gallery on Wednesday opened a day-long group photo exhibition on ‘Rana Plaza Collapse: Death of Thousands Dreams’ in front of the demolished Rana Plaza building in Savar.
The exhibition was inaugurated in the morning by Anjuara Begum, mother of an ill-fated worker who went missing in the deadly Rana plaza collapse exactly three months ago.
Four photographers, who took part in the exhibition with their photos taken during the worst garment factory tragedy in country’s history, are–Abir Abdullah, Ayon Rehal, Shuvo Das and Taslima Akhter.
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* Photo show near Rana Plaza today:
Photographs featuring the victims of the recent Rana Plaza tragedy will be displayed today at a group exhibition in front of the depressed land on which Rana Plaza building stood once in Savar.
Four photo artistes have jointly organised the show to remind the people about the tragic building collapse on April 24 this year resulting in the loss of lives of over 1100 apparel workers, who used to work in different factories housed in the building.
About 400 workers are still missing and the thousands of survivors of one of the worst industrial disasters in the world are leading miserable lives.
The show titled ‘Rana Plaza Collapse: Death of Thousands Dreams’ will continue from 10:00 am to 5:00pm.
Mother of a missing apparel worker Shantona will inaugurate this exhibition. Abdul Aziz, father of a dead worker Shawon and Khadija, wife of a dead worker Khokon and many other workers will be present in the exhibition.
The show will display 10 enormous photographs in front of the barb wire, which the district administration has placed to demarcate the land on which Rana Plaza stood once near the Dhaka Aricha highway at Savar.
* Exhibition, rally marks three months of Rana Plaza tragedy:
Surviving workers, families of missing workers, labour organisations alongside several thousand people from different walks of life mournfully observed the passage of three months of the Rana Plaza tragedy amidst tears and protests on Wednesday.
A photo exhibition, a human chain, a rally was organised to commemorate the occasion while people placed wreaths at the site of the tragedy to remember the workers who were killed on 24 April.
The photo exhibition was jointly organised by four photographers under the title ‘Rana Plaza Collpase: Death of thousand dreams’ at the site of the collapsed building in the morning which was inaugurated by the mother of Shanta, a garment worker who is still missing. The exhibition will continue till 5:00pm today, organisers said.
About 10 large pictures of the collapsed Rana Plaza and mourning relatives have been put up in the exhibition.
The organizers Abir Abdullah, Ayan Rehal, Shuva Das and Taslima Akter said in a statement that they will continue the exhibition in different important places, including the BGMEA building and different industrial belts of the country, to raise awareness among factory owners about the safety of their workers.
* Savar municipality mayor arrested:
Police today arrested suspended Savar municipality mayor and BNP leader Refat Ullah in connection with a case on charges of giving illegal approval to construction of the collapsed nine-storey Rana Plaza building.
“Criminal Investigation Department (CID) personnel arrested Refat this noon when he came to its headquarters at Malibagh following a notice asking him to appear before them for interrogation,” Savar circle assistant police super Moshuddoula Reza told BSS.
Refat, who is also president of Savar municipality unit of BNP, was suspended immediately after the Rana Plaza collapsed on April 24 in which over 1,100 people, mostly garment workers, were killed and many others crippled.
Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (RAJUK) filed the case with Savar Police Station on April 26.
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* Rana Plaza compensation: a botched disbursement:
Every month, Firoz Hossain, a worker at New Wave Bottoms Ltd, a garment factory that was housed at ill-fated Rana Plaza, would send a good portion of his monthly salary of Tk 11,000 back home in Rajbari.
Now jobless, after the collapse of Rana Plaza on April 24, Hossain is left wondering how he would be able to support his wife and two children through Eid-ul-Fitr, the country’s biggest religious festival.
“I’m desperately looking for a job. Had I received something from the government, I might have gotten by. A miserable Eid now awaits us,” he told The Daily Star yesterday.
So far, he received Tk 42,000 from the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) as salary, Tk 16,000 from British retailer Primark and Tk 3,000 as individual donations, most of which have already been exhausted. “I am the lone bread earner of my family.”
Hossain’s is not an isolated story. Like him, many of the victims of Rana Plaza collapse are yet to receive their due compensation, three months after the tragic incident.
“I did not get any money from the Prime Minister’s Office yet,” said Emdadul Islam, who used to iron clothes at Phantom Apparels Ltd that was located on the fourth floor of the complex. As of yesterday, Islam only received Tk 10,000 as salary from the BGMEA.
* Many families still wait for compensation:
Alif is only two and a half years old and he has already lost the dearest person of his life — his mother — who would, otherwise, have been by his side teaching him all the childhood lessons.
He was holding a photo of his mother Morzina Akter, at a rally organised yesterday by the National Garment Workers Federation to mark three months of the Rana Plaza collapse. The tragedy cut short Morzina’s life at 21.
The boy accompanied his grandmother to the Central Shaheed Minar in the capital where many other family members of the dead victims gathered to demand their compensations.
“A building collapsed and my mother died,” was all he could come up with when asked where his mother is. And then he looked at the picture and kissed it.
Morzina had worked as a sewing operator of Phantom Apparels in the building for around six months. But the family did not receive any compensation except for Tk 20,000 that was given during the handing over of the body, said Mariam Begum who lives in Savar on the outskirts of the capital with her grandson Arif and his father.
She does not have enough money to look after the child because his father has been in distress ever since the death of his wife and is doing nothing.
16:37:03 local time INDIA
* Ministerial group mulls help for garment exporters:
Proposals include flexibility in greater labour laws
An inter-ministerial group is working to extend flexibility in existing laws to boost exports in the garments sector. Sources said reforms in crucial labour laws, as well as short-term stimuli, were high on the group’s agenda.
The group might consider tweaking labour laws to make the sector competitive and providing interest subvention (as the working capital requirement of garment manufacturers is much more than the fixed capital requirement).
The Centre had set up the group to propose measures to raise textile and garment exports 30 per cent, compared to last year. The group would give its report by mid-August.
As India lost a vital edge over Bangladesh and Vietnam in garment exports due to the availability of low cost labour in those countries, labour reforms are on the group’s radar. Engaging women workers in night shifts is also on the cards.
* Interest rates in textile sector should be reduced: Minister:
* Three more farmer suicides in Vidarbha:
Three more cotton farmers in Vidarbha have committed suicide in the region over the last two days.
According to reports, all three victims ended their lives when their newly sown seeds were washed away by heavy rains.
The victims were identified as Santosh Ramkrishna Sidam, 34, of Mangi village, Anil Marape, 38, of Thanegaon while 60-year- old Charan Singh Rathod was from Parsode in Amravati district, the reports said.
Kishore Tiwari, president of Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti said that all three farmers killed themselves by consuming pesticides when they realised that they would not be able to regenerate their funds following the destruction of their crops.
He said the fact that farmers have to buy new seeds every year, the costly use of genetic manufactured (GM) seeds, the use of pesticides and a reduction in crop value have often left farmers bankrupt.
* Maharashtra: Rs 25,000 per hectare for rain affected Vidarbha farmers:
The Maharashtra government on Monday announced a financial assistance of Rs 25,000 per hectare for affected farmers in Vidarbha after heavy rains damaged crops in the region.
The announcement was made by Relief and Rehabilitation minister Patangrao Kadam in the Legislative Assembly, after MLAs from Vidarbha region vociferously demanded that the state government declare a “wet” drought in flood-ravaged areas of the region.
The maximum damage has been to cotton and soyabean crops.Paddy crop, which requires lot of water, has also been damaged. The worst affected is Yavatmal district. Heavy rainfall and thunderstorm have wrecked havoc in Chandrapur, Wardha and Gadchiroli districts.
A committee comprising three officials would take stock of the crop damage, Kadam said. Dissatisfied with the minister’s reply, legislators from opposition and ruling parties, hailing from Vidarbha, said the government should declare a wet drought in the region.
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan informed the House that he would visit Vidarbha and assess the crop damage. Still not satisfied, the legislators shouted slogans, demanding adequate relief for Vidarbha.
* Put genetically-modified crop trials on hold for now: Supreme Court Panel:
A technical committee appointed by the Supreme Court (SC) has recommended an indefinite moratorium on open field trials of genetically-modified (GM) crops till the deficiencies in the regulatory and safety systems are effectively addressed.
The recommendations, if accepted by the court, would have a serious impact on the commercialisation of GM crops. In its final report, which was submitted to the court last week, the six-member committee reiterated the recommendations made in its interim report last October.
16:37:03 local time SRI LANKA
* Morocco looking for more trade – Reffouch:
Morocco, the emerging North African aeronautics supplier and the second biggest apparel maker in North African region, is highly taken up by the ‘Made in Sri Lanka’ apparel brand.
“Your apparels are so good! I always remember to pick up a Sri Lankan made high quality coat or clothes in Bloomingdale whenever I shop (there)” said an excited Larbi Reffouch, the Moroccan Ambassador to Sri Lanka.
Reffouch also revealed that Morocco is eager for closer trade and industrial cooperation with Sri Lanka.
“We are the second biggest apparel supplier in the North African region, helped by no less than our bilateral FTA with USA. And we are also located very close to EU markets, only eight miles away from Spain and just one hour by ferry to Southern Spain” said Reffouch.
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16:07:03 local time PAKISTAN
* APTMA presents energy solutions to Punjab govt:
All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) has presented the short, medium and long term solutions of energy crisis to the Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif in a meeting on Wednesday.
A 24-member delegation represented by acting Chairman APTMA Wisal Monnoo including Gohar Ejaz, Shahzad Ali Khan, Amir Fayyaz, S M Tanveer and others said the Chief Minister praised their solution-oriented approach, appreciating the proposal of hourly-based gas supply to the Captive Power Plants (CPPs) besides giving commitment on exemption to prime users of electricity at the earliest and gas to the CPPs from January onward.
The Chief Minister Punjab was very receptive, positive and ready to resolve the energy relating issues of textile industry without any further delay, they said.
Gohar Ejaz made a detailed presentation on the short, medium and long term APTMA strategy to nail down energy crisis and bring the closed capacities back to operations, providing jobs to 15 million-workforce, lifting 13 million bales of cotton from farmers and keeping exports intact in a highly competitive environment.
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* Shahbaz to ensure electricity, gas supply for textile industry:
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that the supply of electricity and gas to the province’s textile industry will be ensured.
During a meeting with a delegation of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) on Wednesday, the CM said that there will be no discriminatory treatment amongst sectors regarding the supply of electricity and gas. He added that work is in progress to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Qatar.
During the meeting‚ the delegation gave a briefing about APTMA’s proposal for a 3,000 megawatts coal-run power plant.
* Garments industry decline reviewed:
Punjab Chairman Planning and Development Board Irfan Elahi has said all possible steps would be taken for revival of garments industry in province and maximum cooperation would also be provided for facilitating revival of the garments industry by the Punjab and federal government.
Presiding over a high level progress review meeting of sub-committees constituted by the Punjab Chief Minister for promotion of garments industry, he emphasised upon the need to investigate and study the specific causes of decline of the garments industry before embarking upon revival of the industry to ensure that the previous mistakes are not repeated again.
* Steps to be taken towards reviving garment sector: PDBP chief:
Chairman Planning & Development Board Punjab (PDBP) Irfan Elahi has assured that Punjab and federal governments would take all possible steps and extend maximum co-operation for revival of the Garments Industry in the country.
Chairman P&D chaired a high level progress review meeting of sub-committees constituted by the Punjab Chief Minister for promotion of Garments Industry, held at P&D Complex on Wednesday.
Member Public Sector Development, P&D Dr Naveed Ahmad Chaudhry, Heads of the Sub-Committees and Members, Sajid Minhas, President Pakistan Ready-made Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (Prgmea) and Sr. Representatives of the concerned departments also attended the meeting. Irfan Elahi, emphasised that there is a need to investigate and study the specific causes of decline of the Garments Industry before embarking upon revival of the garments to ensure that the previous mistakes are not repeated again.
He told the participants that recommendations of the sub-committees shall be furnished to Chief Minister Punjab who is keen for revival of the Garments Industry in the shortest possible time.
* Workplace safety: Factory workers protest colleague’s death:
Colleagues of a powerloom factory worker who died from an electric shock earlier on Tuesday staged a demonstration against the factory owner on Tuesday by blocking Faisalabad-Jaranwala road with the body.
Police say Muhammad Irfan of Layyah had worked in a powerloom factory on Jaranwala Road where he received an electric shock from a defective fan. Irfan fainted and died without receiving any medical attention.
Factory workers, angered by the lack of safety, protested against the family owner holding him responsible for the electrocution.
They demanded his immediate arrest.
* KP raises minimum wage to Rs10,000 per month:
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Labour and Industries, Bakht Baidar has said that for the purpose of giving relief to workers the provincial government has increased minimum wage from Rs.8000/- to Rs.10000/- per month.
Addressing a press conference here in Peshawar Press Club on Wednesday, he said that the increase had implemented from July 2013. Those present on the occasion were included Secretary Labour, Jamaluddin Khan, Coordinator, Watan Pal Labour Union, Faqir Hussein.
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* Eight hours and more: What does the International Labour Organization
say about working time? :
The International Labour Organization (ILO) Constitution, adopted in 1919, considers the improvements in working conditions, especially regulation of the working hours including the establishment of maximum time in a working day and week to maintain peace and harmony in the world. It is of the view that lasting peace can only be built through social justice and once the perilous working conditions are improved.
According to an ILO report, working time became a central workforce issue at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and it emerged as the fundamental labour policy issue since the adoption of the Factories Act of 1844 by the United Kingdom. Ultimately, the Factories Act 1844 limited working hours for women and children.
Regulating working time is a major and the oldest concerns of labour legislation. Recognizing its importance, the ILO adopted its very first Convention in 1919, which limited hours of work (8 hours a day, 48 hours a week). The said convention also provides for adequate (daily and weekly) rest periods.
According to ILO Conventions 01 and 30, the standard or normal working hours should not exceed forty-eight hours in a week and eight hours in a day. Convention 01 is applicable to the industrial undertakings, which include among others, mines, quarries and other processes for extractions of minerals, construction, maintenance and repair of buildings, railways, telephone installations, gas works, transport services, and so on. On the other hand, Convention 30 covers those employees who are engaged in the commerce sector and administrative activities/office work.