16:56:17 local time CHINA
* Cotton textile companies struggle to boost sales:
China’s cotton textile industry is facing difficult challenges, as sales have been poor amid the weak recovery of the international market, as well as domestic factors.
The Fujian Hongyuan Group, located in southeast China’s Fujian Province, is the largest cotton textile enterprise in the province, with an annual output value of 1 billion yuan (163 million U.S. dollars).
“Cotton textile sales have not been desirable so far this year, especially those of foreign trade enterprises,” said Chen Cangsong, vice president of Hongyuan.
Statistics released by the National Bureau of Statistics showed that the added value of the textile industry from January to June was greater than that of the same period last year. However, exports to Europe, Japan and other major overseas markets have plunged.
“Although a rebound in textile product exports has been seen in the past six months, things do not look optimistic for the second half. It may be worse than the first half and could plunge even further in the future,” Chen said.
16:56:17 local time PHILIPPINES
* BOI still confident on garment exports:
The Board of Investments (BOI) still believes that the country’s garment exports can recover despite a decrease in shipments during the first four months of the year.
The agency has released P13.64 million for two local garment factories that export to the United States, Australia and South America. In a statement, the BOI said that the move is to “increase export sales of the garments sector,” as the industry’s export revenues for January to April this year declined by 12 percent to $546.90 million, compared to the $621.70 million during the same period last year.
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* 2 garment exports expand:
Two garments manufacturers are expanding operations to accommodate rising demand for their products.
The Board of Investments (BOI) yesterday said it has approved the P13.64 million projects of H&S Inc., and I2 Industries Manufacturing Inc.
H&S Inc is an expanding export producer of children’s dresses while I2 Industries Manufacturing Inc. is a new export producer of children’s dresses, boy’s polo shirts and shorts.
H&S is investing P9.64 million to expand its existing facility in Binangonan, Rizal to produce an additional 150,000 dozens of dresses annually to accommodate the increasing demand for its products.
read more. & read more.
15:56:17 local time VIET NAM
* TPP and the Vietnamese textile & garment story:
If negotiating is successful, 95 percent of Vietnam’s textile and garment categories of exports to the US would enjoy the zero tariff. Meanwhile, 55 percent of the Vietnam’s total products go to the market.
In the 18th round of negotiations within the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, taking place in Malaysia on July 15-25, the negotiations with the US on the textile and garment tariffs would be the toughest.
China pleased, the US worried
The Vietnam Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex) has asserted that Chinese would rush to Vietnam to set up textile and garment factories, once Vietnam’s garment exports enjoy the zero percent tariff within TPP.
The businessman said if Vietnam’s fiber exports to the US also can enjoy the zero percent tariff within TPP, its current production capacity would be not big enough.
South China Morning Post quoted Hong Tianzhu, President of Texhong Textile as saying that the group is considering expanding its investment in Vietnam. Chinese Pacific Textiles also plans to set up a joint venture with Hong Kong’s Crystal Group in Vietnam, capitalized at $180 million.
* For Vietnam, trade with US top priority:
Progress on an ambitious regional free-trade pact topped the agenda as Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang Wednesday began a three-day visit to the US, an indication of Vietnam’s keenness to boost trade with its former foe.
Sang was the second Vietnamese president to visit the White House since the normalization of bilateral ties in 1995 when he is meeting Barack Obama Thursday morning. The previous visit was by Nguyen Minh Triet in 2007.
At a luncheon hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry Wednesday, Sang voiced hope the 12 nations in talks for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would strike an agreement “soon” on the potentially landmark pact, AFP reported.
Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, in a separate meeting with Sang, called the pact “a top priority” for President Barack Obama and hoped the negotiations would conclude this year, it said.
The TPP is seen as key to ensuring the US helps to write the rules for trade in the Asia-Pacific region and is not left on the outside as countries organize manufacturing, agriculture and service sectors around China.
* U.S., Vietnam to intensify talks despite protests:
The United States and Vietnam have agreed to intensify talks on a regional free-trade agreement in hopes of finishing by the end of the year, the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office said on Wednesday, following a call by labor and human rights groups for negotiations with Hanoi to be suspended.
“Vietnam has come a long way in addressing its own challenges to meet the high standards of the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership), but we still have work to do together,” USTR Michael Froman said in a statement after a meeting with Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang.
15:56:17 local time CAMBODIA
* Union wins benefits for garment workers:
Most demands made by workers at a Takeo province garment factory were met following a large protest and five hours of negotiation.
Asia Dragon (Garment) Co Ltd mediated with the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU), making concessions on most of the workers’ 16 appeals, said Um Visal, C.CAWDU’s legal officer.
“They will go back to work tomorrow because most of the points which they demanded were accepted,” Visal said.
As a result of the negotiations — which took place as about 2,500 workers protested outside the Bati district factory — workers will not be forced to work overtime, will receive $9 per month for transportation and are eligible for a $10 bonus each month for perfect attendance, Visal said. Issues not resolved yesterday, including a lunch allowance, will go before the Arbitration Council, Visal added.
16:56:17 local time INDONESIA
* Indonesia’s Working Women Struggle to Succeed:
Ask the chief executive of one of the country’s largest banks what it takes for a woman to excel in the workplace and the answer is clear.
“You have to manage everything well,” says Parwati Surjaudaja, the president director of Bank OCBC NISP.
While countries in the West continue to aim for reductions in yawning pay gaps and a gradual dismantling of the glass ceiling, the developing world is, for the most part, a long way behind in building the foundations for greater female participation in the workforce.
Not so in Indonesia.
According to World Bank data, 51 percent of women are employed in the workforce, compared with 78 percent of men, which compares favorably with the numbers of women in Malaysia and India’s workforces, at 44 percent and 29 percent respectively, in comparison to the 77 percent and 81 percent of males employed in those countries, respectively.
* Majalengka to Become Textile Industrial Area:
The Indonesian Textile Industry Association Chairman Ade Sudrajat said that Majalengka area has been projected to become a model for textile and garment industrial area.
“The aim is to maintain productivity and to improve competitiveness,” said Ade in Bandung yesterday, July 23.
Ade said there are already 22 textile and garment industries relocating their operations to Majalengka. The chairman expects the relocation process would pioneer the establishment of industrial area for textile and garment in Majalengka.
15:26:17 local time BURMA/MYANMAR
* Hong Kong and China to invest in Myanmar’s garment industry:
Hong Kong and China will operate garment enterprises under Cutting, Making and Packing –CMP system at industrial zones in Yangon, the commercial hub of Myanmar, according to the Directorate of Investment and Companies Administration-DICA.
China-based Shanghai Donglong Feather Manufacture Company has cooperated with Dong Long (Myanmar) Garment company to carry out garment enterprises at Hlaingthayar Industrial Zone-4, Jiangsu Solamoda Garments Group at Shwe Than Lwin Industrial Zone in Hlaingthayar Township, and Hong Kong-based Kamtex Limited forming a joint venture with Myanamr Sein Pann Garment Manufacturing Company at Industrial Zone-1 in Dagon Myothit (South) respectively.
14:56:17 local time BANGLADESH
* Garment workers stage protests:
Different garment labour organisations on Thursday staged protests in the capital pressing for their demands and including an increase in the wages of garment workers and their safety at workplaces.
Two combines of garment labour organisations staged the protests.
Bangladesh Garment Workers Unity Council handed over a memorandum to the Minimum Wage Board chairman at his office at Segunbagicha in the capital.
The memorandum demanded that the minimum wage for the garment workers be fixed at Tk 8,200 a month instead of existing Tk 3,000.
At a rally on the Minimum Wage Board office premises, the combine leaders said that it was impossible for the garment workers to run their families with Tk.3,000 minimum monthly wage.
* Govt, employers, workers sign NTPA on fire safety:
It’ll be key document for improving working conditions in RMG sector: ILO
The government and representatives of Bangladesh employers’ and workers’ organisations on Thursday signed an integrated National Tripartite Plan of Action on Fire Safety and Structural Integrity (NTPA) in the country’s garment sector.
The integrated NTPA was signed at a tripartite meeting at the Ministry of Labour and Employment by Labour and Employment Secretary Mikail Shipar, Bangladesh Employers’ Federation (BEF) President M Fazlul Hoque, BGMEA Vice President (Finance), Reaz-Bin-Mahmood, BKMEA first vice president Mohammad Hatem, NCCWE (National Coordination Committee for Workers’ Education) Chairman Sukkur Mahmud and IBC (Industrial Bangladesh Council) Secretary-General Roy Ramesh Chandra.
The plan brings together the National Tripartite Plan of Action on Fire Safety in the RMG sector signed on March 24 in response to the Tazreen factory fire and the Joint Tripartite Statement adopted on May 4 in the wake of the Rana Plaza tragedy.
Mikail Shipar said, “It’s vital that we address fire safety and structural integrity in a coordinated manner. This plan of action brings together two sets of important commitments by the Government and employers and workers organisations, which will consolidate the momentum for improvements in RMG factory safety in Bangladesh.”
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* Labour minister lambasts ILO:
Labour and Employment Minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju yesterday slammed the International Labour Organisation (ILO) for its statement that Bangladesh’s recently amended labour law falls short of international standards.
“Being a neutral body, the ILO cannot give such statement without holding discussions with the government, the ILO’s local office or other labour organisations,” Raju said at a press conference at his secretariat office in the capital.
The minister wondered how the ILO could give such statement while the amended law awaits the president’s approval.
“If necessary, we will write to the ILO to protest the statement,” he said.
The requirement of at least 30 percent workers’ representation for setting up a trade union has been kept to ensure discipline in trade unions in the ready-made garment sector.
read more. & read more.
* Govt to protest ILO’s negative report: Razu:
Coming down heavily on the negative report of the International Labour Organization’s (ILO), Labour and Employment Minister Raziuddin Ahmed Razu today said the government will soon protest against it.
He said the President did not sign the bill yet on the amendment to the Labour Law and even its gazette yet to be published and thus the bill yet to be transformed into a law.
“Nonetheless a section of international media and associations made unexpected comments on the amendment to the labour law,” he added.
read more. & read more. & read more.
* Govt terms ILO, int’l media criticisms misleading:
The government has rejected criticisms of international media and organisations including International Labour Organisation (ILO) regarding the amendments to Bangaldesh labour law saying those are ‘misleading’.
At a press briefing Labour and Employment Minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju said since neither the gazette notification of the bill is yet to be published nor the English version of the law is available, such comments are unexpected.
Before getting any official documents and without discussion with concerned authorities, none should make comments, he added.
Amendments to the laobur law are matter of both multi-stakeholder and continuous process, he said adding there is still scope to incorporate or eliminate many issues in the law in future.
The parliament passed the bill of amended labour law 2013 aiming at increasing workers’ benefits, simplifying trade union formation, ensuring workers’ personal and workplace safety, bringing the workers who are contractually employed under labour law and launching better work programme and executing recommendations of the ILO, he explained.
When asked regarding the further review of the amended labour law, the minister said, “There is no scope for further review of it and the law amendment has no connection with the GSP pre-conditions.”
Replying to another question, the minister said he is hopeful that all including the EU and US will feel comfort with the amended labour law after the English version is available.
* Govt for RMG workers’ salary by 7 Aug:
The government has pressurized garment factory owners to pay salary and allowances within August 7 ahead of holy Eid-ul-Fitr.
Labour Minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju made the disclosure after a meeting with garments owners on Thursday.
The minister said, “I will discuss with finance secretary and Bangladesh Bank governor to give direction all banks to provide cash to garment owners if necessary.”
* Jute growers fear huge losses:
Jute growers are apprehending huge losses in the current fiscal year as they have been facing severe problems in rotting green jute due to shortage of water in many districts.
Farmers and officials concerned said less rainfall, drying up of water bodies and shortage of upstream water in the north-eastern zones escalated the problems.
Although jute plants had been being cut off for the last couple of weeks, they were still kept on lands and getting dried because they could not be moved to a place for decomposition for shortage of water, according to farmers in Bajitpur and Karimganj upazilas of Kishoreganj district.
Talking to New Age, jute growers in Kishoreganj, Jheniadah and some parts of Kurigram district expressed their fear of incurring big losses.
* Obama’s blunder with Bangladesh:
President Barack Obama recently announced that he was suspending Bangladesh’s trade benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) because the country failed to give its workers proper rights.
Not for the first time, I have to wonder at the clumsiness and the lack of sensible, let alone sensitive, policies by the administration of President Barack Obama.
No doubt he was inspired by horror and outrage after the deaths of almost 1,500 workers in a series of criminal accidents in Bangladesh’s factories making garments for the biggest multinational companies in the world such as Wal-Mart, Primark, H&M, Marks and Spencer, Topshop.
The punishment that Obama has imposed is like an old-fashioned sledgehammer to crack the proverbial nut — but the sledgehammer has missed its target. That’s a good thing because if Obama had succeeded in hurting Bangladesh, those he would have hurt most would have been the women who work sometimes in unsafe conditions of semi-slavery to produce garments for the world.
As Kimberley Elliott of the Center for Global Development noted, the U.S. action is in most ways a symbolic measure because GSP does not cover clothing, which accounts for 90 percent of Bangladesh’s exports to the United States.
The punishment affects about 1 percent of exports, or a trifling $35 million in goods, so it seems a clumsy way of making a point. It may be that Obama understood that what he was doing would have very little impact on the economy but nevertheless wanted to send a warning shot. But the way he did it smacks of bullying.
* Mozena discusses GSP action plan with BGMEA leaders:
US ambassador Dan W Mozena on Thursday discussed with the leaders of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association global sustainability compact, accord on fire and building safety in Bangladesh and the up coming GSP review hearing.
‘We have discussed the follow-up of the GSP action plan set by the USTR for Bangladesh for reinstatement of the GSP facility and also the sustainability compact that was launched on July 8 in Geneva and the US allied on July 19,’ Dan W Mozena told reporters after the meeting at the BGMEA office in the capital.
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* BD may regain GSP by engaging with US action plan, compact : Mozena:
US Ambassador in Dhaka Dan W Mozena reiterated Thursday that Bangladesh could regain the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) by engaging with the US GSP Action Plan and the compact involving the EU, the US, ILO and Bangladesh.
“I am already engaging with the government of Bangladesh on how best to proceed in addressing the points raised in the GSP Action Plan so Bangladesh can again qualify for GSP privileges,” he said while speaking at a discussion meeting.
The Policy Research Institute (PRI) and the Bangladesh Development Initiative (BDI) jointly organised the discussion on ‘A Get-together to Follow-up on the Harvard-Berkeley Conferences of 2008, 2009 and 2013’.
The follow-up discussion on the three BDI conferences-two on the Harvard University campus and one on the UC Barkeley campus-was intended to strengthen the bonding between the Bangladeshi diaspora in the USA and the development practitioners, business leaders and policymakers in Bangladesh.
* Garment trade wields power:
In the honking, congested heart of this overcrowded capital, one glass office tower stands uniquely alone, surrounded by water, accessible by a small bridge.
It is a symbol of the power of Bangladesh’s garment industry, the headquarters of the country’s most powerful association of factory owners. It is also illegal.
So said the Bangladesh High Court, concluding that the land had been illegally obtained, the building had been erected without proper approvals and the location threatened a network of lakes that form the natural drainage system of the capital. The High Court called the building “a scam of abysmal proportions” and ordered it demolished within 90 days.
That was two years ago. The building still stands. The case is now in a legal limbo — more proof, according to critics, of the power of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association. Members control the engine of the national economy — garment exports to the United States and Europe. Many serve in Parliament or own television stations and newspapers.
For two decades, as Bangladesh became a garment power, now trailing only China in global clothing exports, the trade group has often seemed more like a government ministry. Known as BGMEA, the organisation helps regulate and administer exports and its leaders sit on high-level government committees on labour and security issues. Industry trade groups in the United States could only imagine such a role.
* Time for brands to pay compensation to Bangladesh victims:
IndustriALL Global Union is organising meetings in Dhaka on 11 and 12 August to ensure the correct compensation payments are made to victims and survivors of the Tazreen factory fire and the Rana Plaza building collapse.
It is time for those responsible to dig deep and pay the families who are suffering from these avoidable tragedies. Responsibility is shared between the brands and retailers sourcing from Tazreen and Rana Plaza, the factory owners, the BGMEA employers association, and the Bangladeshi government.
The aim is to employ the industry’s best practice compensation mechanism that was developed after the Spectrum factory collapse in Bangladesh in 2005. That formula is in line with ILO Convention 121 on employment injury benefits.
* Rana Plaza collapse: Three months on:
Strange things have been happening at some clothing factories in Bangladesh.
Since the Rana Plaza factory building collapsed three months ago killing more than 1,100 people, hundreds of textile workers have been falling ill en masse, blaming drinking water or bad food.
But tests have revealed nothing unusual.
In another instance, production at a factory was halted after workers reported sightings of a ghost. Work could only resume after special prayers.
Public health officials suspect the phenomenon is “mass hysteria” – a panicked reaction to the recent deaths of so many fellow workers.
Painful memories aside, realities on the ground are not helping either.
There are regular reports of cracks in buildings and fires at factories in Bangladesh’s ready-made clothing industry, which, with an annual turnover of $21bn (£14bn), is now second in size only to China’s.
In the immediate aftermath of the Rana Plaza collapse, there was a chaotic rush to inspect factories at apparent risk.
Multiple government departments, Western retailers and an influential trade body, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), have been carrying out their own investigations.
An initial visual inspection of 102 buildings, including 60 garment factories, by experts at the country’s leading engineering university found that most had some structural problems.
In the weeks following the April disaster, more than a dozen clothing factories were shut down amid safety concerns.
* Pacts, plans and reality:
One just routinely wakes up to “90% structurally unsound factory buildings in Bangladesh” headliners.
Out of the recent survey of 70 factories, six were found faulty, the rest 64 were found to have minor deviations, out of which again six were completely sound, and the rest 58 (82.85% over 70 factories) were not structurally 100% compliant. This made news.
One media reported that only six factories were found safe; some reported only six were non compliant; some reported majority of factories in Bangladesh being structurally compromised. It all ultimately boils down to a question of phrasing in the media.
Labour Law 2013 has been passed with significant amendments that add flesh to the one passed in 2006. While 30% of workers are needed to form the unions with leaders from their own establishments, while Export Processing Zone (EPZ) still stays off trade unions, while the government is able to obstruct foreign funds from coming into trade unions, and while strikes become difficult to implement, we might as well accept the fact that in spite of all the hiccups, we have actually been able to move forward in acknowledging the collective bargaining voice of labour and that Labour Law 2013, is in no way, a step backward.
While all eyes have been on Bangladesh, many including the retailers, brands, international organisations have come up with multiple initiatives. International brands and retailers have stepped in.
Accords and Alliances have been announced; international organisations have come forward to pen agreements to ensure safety of factories and workers in Bangladesh. Simultaneously, the number of surprise inspections and unannounced audits has increased and factories have been continuously submitting structural designs and soil test reports to Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BGMEA). The whole manufacturing sector has been buzzing with corrective action plans.
Question is, are these initiatives merely a ‘feel good’ factor for most of us? How many of us need to be sincerely engaged in these multiple initiatives? And of course, how many of us know what we have in our hands and what our issues are
THE SAVAR BUILDING COLLAPSE
* Savar mayor arrested in Rana Plaza case:
With the mayor, the number of arrestees in connection with the Rana Plaza collapse stood at 21
The Criminal Investigation Department Wednesday arrested Savar Municipality Mayor Refayet Ullah, also the president of Savar Municipality unit of the BNP, for his alleged negligence in monitoring the construction of Rana Plaza.
The deadly collapse of the multi-storey building on May 24 claimed so far 1,131 lives, mostly workers of five garment factories housed in that building, and left around 2,500 others injured.
“The Savar municipality mayor was arrested in the afternoon after he was found guilty during an interrogation at the CID office,” said CID Inspector Mrinal Kanti Saha.
The CID investigation team led by Assistant Superintendent of Police Bijoy Kumar Kar conducted the interrogation.
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* Grim picture of Rana Plaza victims’ compensation:
BGMEA’s ‘symbolic compensation’ for Rana Plaza victims heads for abrupt halt alleging false ID making; BGMEA disbursed only Tk 6 crore for outstanding salary of Rana Plaza workers of 5 factories, PM doles out Tk 11.97cr for families of 777 victims
Dhaka: Rozina Akhter and her daughter Bristi came to Dhaka few months back from Naogaon for changing their fate.
In March both the mother and daughter joined Ether Tech garments located at Rana Plaza in Savar. But just after a month, their dream of changing their lot turned into a nightmare as her daughter remained missing in the Rana Plaza rubbles that collapsed on April 24.
Now the hapless mother is still visiting door-to-door for the final resting location or grave of her dear one who might have been buries or remained missing like hundreds of others as an unidentified body or flattened under Rana Plaza rubbles for good as the final resting place.
Relatives of such hundreds of hapless victims of Rana Plaza are still grieving and knocking the doors of influential of the RMG sectors for the final news of their missing dear ones. But nobody is there in the big modern-day slavery industry to give them a consolation or give them a sympathetic answer.
But ironically and abruptly, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association (BGMEA) is putting an end to its symbolic compensation for the Rana Plaza victims when hundreds of people still remained missing and is depriving victims’ relatives even with such ‘symbolic compensation’.
* Relatives of 123 Rana Plaza victims get PM’s aid:
More than 175 family members of 123 garment workers who died in Savar building collapse on April 24, 2013 today received financial assistance from Prime Minister’s relief and welfare fund.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina distributed the cheques of financial assistance among them at a function at her Tejgaon office here.
Official sources said,
the Prime Minister in seven phases so far disbursed Taka 17,54,64,000 from her relief and welfare fund for treatment of the Rana Plaza victims and providing financial support to the families of the deceased and injured workers.
The Prime Minister distributed 1,016 cheques of total amount of Taka 11,97,50,000 for families of 777 victims. Besides, thirty injured garment workers received Taka 3.30 crore in the form of family saving certificates from the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister made financial support of Taka 1,42,14,000 for treatment of the injured workers in 22 hospitals and Taka 35 lakh for sending critically injured rescue workers Kaikobad to Singapore for better treatment.
She also provide assistance of Taka 50 lakh to National Forensic DNA Profiling Laboratory for DNA profiling of the dead garment workers.
14:26:17 local time INDIA
* Women stage protest:
Women residents of Pozhichalur staged a protest on Thursday afternoon, alleging they were deprived of stipulated wages under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. The women alleged they were promised Rs. 148 per day for work but received only Rs. 60.
Officials from the district rural development agency pacified the crowd and said their grievances would be addressed soon.
* Women take out rally:
Around 100 women members of the All India Central Council of Trade Unions took out a rally and staged a demonstration here on Thursday demanding enactment of powerful laws to prevent sexual harassment against women.
Union vice president S. Vellaiyammal charged that crimes against women, especially sexual harassment, were on the increase in the country. The Centre should frame powerful Acts to protect women. Adequate protection should be provided to women at work place, during travel and at their homes. She also insisted on equal work and equal wages to women on par with men.
Earlier, they took out a rally which started from Kumaran Park and ended at Dindigul Municipality, venue of the demonstration.
* Weavers rebuff Nagpur MP’s ‘sudden’ interest:
A section of city weavers, under the leadership of activist MannuDatta,has rebuffed MP VilasMuttemwar’s interest in their cause. They believe that the efforts being done by Muttemwar, including bringing the central as well as state textile ministers to the city, are politically motivated and a mere eyewash.
When Muttemwar was a Lok Sabha representative from Chimur constituency, in all 50,000 registered weavers and labourers were working in Nagpur, Bhandara, Gondia, and Wardha, supporting 1.5 lakh families.
“Now there are hardly any weavers in the area, and the once flourishing handloom industry is almost dead. Nobody took up our cause when the industry could have been saved. What would they do now that there are no weavers around,” asked Datta, convener of Handloom Workers’ Action Committee.
* Textile Ministry to take up plan to link MNREGA with textiles with PM:
The Textiles Ministry will soon take up with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh a proposal to link NREGA with the sector to train about 15 lakh workers in the sector in the next three years.
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA), guarantees 100-day employment for rural poor people and was launched in 2006.
Textiles Minister K Sambasiva Rao said the proposal is for a MNREGA type of employment in the textile sectors to minimise the problems of skilled labourers. “I will be talking to the Prime Minister about the proposal,” he said after releasing a report.
* Child labour problem still cause for worry in Tirupur district:
Instances of child labour continue to be cause for concern in industrial sectors in Tirupur district, predominantly in the ‘textile production chain’, even as the hub remains a preferred job destination for juveniles/children.
The authorities have made repeated claims of execution of stringent measures to abolish child labour in industrial units over the past several years.
But these efforts have not yielded high results at the field level if one goes by the available data.
With the setting up of the office of Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), a national-level movement fighting for the rights of the child, in Tirupur last year, more and more cases of child labour has come to the open. Since June 2012, the BBA volunteers, along with police officials and in some case revenue officials, had rescued 102 children from various industrial units.
Of them, 42 were child labourers (i.e. below 14 years) and the remaining were juveniles (between 14 and 18 years) and bonded youth labourers.
13:56:17 local time PAKISTAN
* Textile mills to get hourly-based gas supply from today:
Textile mills in Lahore region will get hourly-based gas supply from Friday onward to continue with 24/7 operations of production capacities.
As per the policy mutually devised by the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) and the SNGPL, the mills will utilise gas supply during 10-hours per day load shedding of electricity instead of utilising it for three continuous days a week (ie 72 hours) under the previous gas load management plan.
It is a win-win situation under the prevailing energy crisis in country, said one miller and added that the mills are not looking at the cost but continuity of operations right now. It may be noted that the APTMA leadership had presented the short-term plan of overcoming energy problem to the Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif a day earlier. The Chief Minister had directed the MD SNGPL to change the load management plan as per the new formula, already discussed and agreed by the two sides.
* 24-member team meets Shahbaz: APTMA presents solutions to overcome energy risis:
All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) has presented the short, medium and long term solutions of energy crisis to Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif in a meeting on Wednesday.
A 24-member delegation represented by Acting Chairman APTMA Wisal A Monnoo, Group Leader APTMA Gohar Ejaz, Punjab Chairman APTMA Shahzad Ali Khan, Convener International Trade Committee APTMA and member Energy Task Force Punjab government Amir Fayyaz, S M Tanveer and others.
Chief Minister Punjab praised the solution-oriented approach of the APTMA leadership, appreciating the proposal of hourly-based gas supply to the Captive Power Plants besides giving commitment on exemption to prime users of electricity at the earliest and gas to the Captive Power Plants 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. Earlier, the Acting Chairman APTMA Wisal A Monnoo appreciated the Chief Minister for his keen interest in industry problems and sparing time to understand the APTMA vision on energy crisis.
* Govt asked to permit power plants without sovereign guarantee:
The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) has proposed the Punjab government to permit setting up of 1,500 megawatts (MW) power plants without sovereign guarantee and bank loans to solve the power crisis facing the textile industry.
In this regard, a delegation led by Aptma group leader Gohar Ejaz and leading spinner SM Tanveer met with Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and presented him short- and long-term solutions to power crisis.
Both the solutions need no funding or extra power supply from the government side, they observed.
* Workers observe safety day:
The working class observed the safety day by holding meetings all over the country on Thursday.
In Lahore, a meeting was arranged at the Labour Hall under the aegis of the Pakistan Wapda Hydro Electric Workers Union (CBA), which was attended by trade union representatives and workers of the electricity department.
Lesco Chief Executive Officer Arshad Rafiq said it was the fundamental right of workers to refuse to work in case of non-observance of safety regulations at workplace. He said the Lesco management had been trying to improve quality of safety equipment and training facilities.
* Govt urged to facilitate labour-intensive industries:
The government should adopt policies to facilitate labour-intensive industries instead of forcing minimum wages on the industries – which results in workforce shortage compelling the entrepreneurs to raise wages.
Entrepreneurs pointed out that those industries – where there is a shortage of competent labor force – are already paying much above the minimum wage fixed by the state.
They said industries – where available labor force is larger than the demand – the workers do not get the minimum wage.
The government lacks institutional capacity to apprehend more than 1.8 million shopkeepers to pay their employees the minimum wage, he added. He said the government should take measures to boost economy and facilitate labor-intensive industries like garments and construction.