in the news on-line, 2 August 2013

20:02:57 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* Group reports rampant violation of union, workers’ right under Aquino:

The first three years of the Aquino administration is characterized by rampant violation of workers’ rights, a study conducted by the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) revealed.

According to the CTUHR, which documented cases of workers’ right violations, 132 cases of violations of workers’ right to freely organize victimizing over 20,000 workers were recorded from June 2010 to June 2013.

Violations of workers’ freedom to organize, also known as freedom of association or FOA, documented by CTUHR include non-recognition of unions, union busting, harassment of unionists inside the workplace, intervention on trade union affairs, anti-union discrimination and prohibition of the right to strike.
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businessmirrorPH

* DTI confident on US-GSP renewal:

Philippine exporters are urged to continue exporting to the US despite the expiry of the US-Generalized System of Preferences as the government expects a strong likelihood for the renewal of this system which grants duty-free privilege to $1 billion worth of Philippine exports annually.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Adrian S. Cristobal Jr. said that he advised Philippine exporters to continue their operations and continue exporting because the US Congress has always renewed the US-GSP program. The US-GSP expired last Wednesday, July 31
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MB2

19:02:57 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Court rejects Somyot’s 15th request for bail:

The Appeals Court on Thursday rejected Somyot Preuksakasemsuk’s 15th request for release on bail, citing the same reasons as before – the possibility the convicted lese majeste prisoner would flee the country.

The Appeals Court said this case involved a serious offence that hurt people’s feelings and undermined peace and stability in the society, and since he had already been sentenced to 10 years in prison, there was a clear possibility that the defendant would try to escape.
The  court has therefore rejected Somyot’s request for temporary release.
Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, the former Voice of Taksin editor, was sentenced in January to 10 years imprisonment for lese majeste and ordered to also serve a previous one-year suspended sentence handed down in 2009 for a separate offence – a total of 11 years.
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18:02:57 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

 * Garment makers see disconnect in factory inspection:

The three separate accords signed for the garment industry may ruin coherence in factory inspection due to conflicting rules, sector leaders said.

After the Rana Plaza tragedy, the accords—National Action Plan, Fire and Building Safety Accord, and North American Alliance—have been signed to improve safety standards in garment factories.
A single factory can be inspected three times, as the three accords follow separate inspection rules, which may result in suspension of production for a long time and loss of business, they said.

Moreover, the signatories of the fire and building safety accord initiated by IndustriALL, a global union federation, inspect only 1,500 factories and North American Alliance will inspect nearly 500 factories, said Atiqul Islam, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
“I wonder the fates of the rest of the factories as there are nearly 4,500 active garment factories across the country,” he said.

For an example, the BGMEA chief cited the case of Liberty Fashions, a Savar-based factory, which was asked to stop production a few weeks ago by Tesco, as the retailer’s engineer found some structural flaws in the factory building.
At the same time, other retailers urged the factory owner to continue production, he said.
The similar incident may take place in almost every factory, as a single factory can work for American and European retailers and brands at a time, he said.
“If the retailers and brands follow the National Action Plan, 90 percent problems will be resolved. So, we want a unified code of conduct for inspection under the plan.”
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daily star bd

* Leftists oppose Ticfa:

We have clearly warned the government that the Ticfa deal goes against the country’s interest: CPB

Communist party of Bangladesh (CPB), and Bangladesh Samajtantrik Dal (BSD) led by Khalequzzaman on Wednesday voiced their strong opposition against the Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (Ticfa) deal with USA, saying, “The government is penning the Ticfa deal with USA, discarding national interests and without securing public opinion.”

The concerns were raised at a seminar on “Ticfa deal and National Interest”, jointly organised by CPB and BSD held at CPB central office auditorium in the capital on Wednesday. CPB president Mujahidul Islam Selim presided over the programme.

Addressing the seminar, Mujahidul Islam Selim said: “We have clearly warned the government that the Ticfa deal goes against the country’s interest.  It not only threatens the country’s economy, but is also a military threat. Not only have the left-leaning people, but also all patriots have raised strong protests against the Ticfa deal.”
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DHAKATRIBUNE

* Global apparel industry sees higher costs in wake of Savar tragedy:

The aftermath of the April garment factory collapse in Bangladesh that killed more than 1,100 has apparel executives eying higher clothing costs next year.

Apparel unit costs look to increase at a low-single-digit rate next year, after a decline since 2012, according to a Cowen & Co. survey of 15 executives and agents that handle apparel sourcing for retailers and brand manufacturers. More than two-thirds of the survey respondents see higher apparel costs next year, with 20% of them expecting costs to even increase at a high-single-digit rate.

Rising labor costs, led by China’s 61% compounded increase the past three years, was cited by 56% of respondents as the biggest headwind for apparel sourcing. However, 33% of the executives surveyed cited compliance costs, which involve the need to reduce subcontractors that are playing an increasingly important role in the increasingly “fast-fashion” driven apparel export market, particularly in Bangladesh, John Kernan, a Cowen analyst, said, adding this is the first time he asked about compliance in the survey.  (The rest of respondents cited energy costs as the main concern.)

“Manufacturers are increasingly subcontracting unit orders to factories that are not
approved by American and European retailers to manufacture goods,” he said. “Changing compliance is likely to raise the pricing matrix in those regions, where unit costs can be 20% to 30% cheaper than China. As manufacturers are forced to reduce subcontracting there could be order delays and higher costs surrounding the need to airfreight goods.”

In the wake of tragedies including the Rana Plaza factory collapse, global retailers including Wal-Mart WMT , Gap GPS and Abercrombie & Fitch ANF have pledged various moves to improve Bangladesh’s worker safety. After a factory fire last year, Wal-Mart has adopted a zero-tolerance rule for unauthorized and undisclosed subtracting.
Bangladesh is the world’s NO. 2 apparel exporter, controlling about 20% of total U.S. apparel imports with a dramatic share increase in recent years, Kernan said, adding China represents 42% of U.S. apparel imports.
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NewNation

     THE SAVAR BUILDING COLLAPSE

* 100 days of Rana Plaza collapse observed:

Apparel manufacturers and workers Thursday observed the 100 days of Rana Plaza collapse remembering those who were killed in the tragic incident, urging authorities to take measures to check recurrence of such incidents. Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) organised noontime ceremony at its  conference hall and observed one minute silence to honour the victims who were killed in the building collapse on April 24, 2013.

The meeting honoured eight persons and four organisations and handed over Tk 10 lakh reward to each of the organisations for their outstanding contributions in the rescue operations, treatment and rehabilitation of the victims.
The organisations included the 9th Infantry Division of Bangladesh Army, Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil Defense, Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRF) and Anjuman-e-Mufidul Islam.

The apex body of apparel manufacturers also handed over seven children of victims, who lost their parents in the tragic incidents, to the representative of Old Rajshahi Cadet Association who will look after the children, bear all their educational expenses Besides until completion of their education.
The BGMEA took responsibilities of 300 children, who lost their parents in Rana Plaza incident, and bear all their  expenses until completion of their education and are provided with jobs.
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* Families of unidentified Rana Plaza victims yet to get help:

BGMEA to take care of 300 affected children

Families of the unidentified Rana Plaza victims are yet to get any financial support from any quarters even 100 days after the building collapse tragedy which left over 1,100 people killed and thousands injured.

This was stated Thursday at a discussion organised by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) to mark the 100 days of the incident at its headquarters in the city.
Jahangir Kabir Nanok, State Minister of Local Government and Rural Development (LGRD) was present as chief guest while BGMEA President Atiqul Islam and its office bearers, Valerie Taylor, founder and coordinator of Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP), Dr Enamur Rahman of Enam Hospital, among others, were present.

“No initiative has yet been taken for the families of the unidentified Rana Plaza victims,” Nazma Akhter, President of Sammilito Garment Sramik Federation said.
She said, we don’t want any recurrence of such incident. All including the garment owners should change their mind set about cheap labour and tendency of profit maximizing, she opined.
read more. & read more.
daily star bd

* Rana Plaza site can’t be returned to owner: Nanak:

State Minister for LGRD and Cooperatives adv Jahangir Kabir Nanak on Thursday said the land on which Rana Plaza had been built cannot be returned to Rana as the garment workers bloodspots are there in the tragic site, reports UNB.

Indicating that the land will be confiscated, he said the government is planning to build a monument at the site in honour of the workers who lost their lives following the biggest tragedy in the RMG sector.
read more. & read more.
newstodayBD UNB

* Workers’ memorial at Rana Plaza collapse site: Nanak:

The state minister for LGRD and cooperatives, Jahangir Kabir Nanak, on Thursday said the land on which Rana Plaza had been built cannot be returned to Rana as the tragic site was stained with blood of several hundred garment workers.

Indicating that the land will be confiscated, he said the government is planning to build a monument at the site in honour of the workers who lost their lives following the biggest tragedy in the RMG sector.
Nanak was addressing a reminiscence programme at the BGMEA auditorium in the city remembering the 100-day of the tragedy.
read more.

* Rana Plaza victims left ignored to suffer:

BGMEA cannot even reach all victims in NITOR

Even though the owners of Bangladeshi garment factories vowed not to forget the victims of the Rana Plaza disaster _ as written on a banner at their association’s headquarters yesterday to mark 100 days of the tragic incident _ it meant nothing to injured survivor Ashraful Sujon, now under treatment at a Dhaka hospital.

Sujon, who used to work in a garment factory on the fifth floor of Rana Plaza, was admitted at the National Institute of Traumatolgy and Orthopaedic Rehabilitation (Nitor) as one of his legs was badly damaged in the building collapse on April 24.

He has neither received his due salary, nor did he get any sort of government aid, including donations made by the prime minister from the Bangabandhu Memorial Trust.

“I have not received a single penny of my salary. I asked my factory’s senior officials about my salary. Their response was: ‘You are too late in claiming.’ Getting my salary now seems an unattainable fact, although I am in Dhaka, close to the owners’ organisation,” said the 35-year-old worker, who has undergone three surgeries to repair the damaged muscle tissue in his crushed left leg.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Benetton and Mango: Rana Plaza survivors risk losing their homes:

Thousands of you joined us last May by sending a message to the brands linked to the Tazreen fire and Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh, demanding that they take responsibility by paying compensation.

We need your help again. Without adequate compensation, workers now risk losing their homes. Tell Benetton and Mango that the right for compensation unites all people.

In May, one month after the collapse of the Rana Plaza building and six months after the Tazreen fire, thousands of you joined us in sending a message to the brands linked to the two factories, demanding that they take  responsibility by paying compensation to the survivors of these disasters and the families of those who were killed.
Together, we flooded the inboxes and Facebook pages of Walmart, Benetton, Mango, Disney and other brands that were at the factories. Thank you for joining the fight!

We need your help again. Without adequate compensation, workers now risk losing their homes. Shurima (30) lost her foot during the collapse. She has no income anymore. The room she lives in with two others costs 1500 Taka, a third of her monthly wage, which included her overtime payment. She says: “We haven’t been able to pay our rent for two months. If we do not pay this month, the landlord will end the contract. Already some people have lost their room.“
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      ASHULIA TAZREEN GARMENT FACTORY FIRE

* RMG disaster victims’ lives a ‘nightmare’:

Sumaya, a worker of Tazreen Fashions, received a blunt head trauma on the night the factory burnt down. Afterwards for several days, she was bleeding through the nose.

On July 4, eight months after the incident, doctors at Dhaka Medical College Hospital diagnosed her with exophthalmos, a swelling of the eye which is common among patients suffering from blunt head traumas. On July 14, she had a surgery. Further diagnosis suggested that she had developed a tumour which was cancerous.

Three months after the collapse of Rana Plaza in Savar on April 24, in which over 1,100 workers died and 2,500 others were injured, many survivors and even the rescue workers are facing post-traumatic problems.

Rubina Begum, who worked at one of the factories in Rana Plaza for two years, is suffering from a serious pelvic fracture. She has been unable to work and has been told by doctors that she may never engage in strenuous activities, such as intercourse. Speaking to our correspondent, Rubina expressed her fear that she would be “neither valued as a worker nor as a wife.”
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Cancer diagnosis worsens plight of Tazreen worker:

The tragedy that befell Sumaya, one of the workers who managed to escape alive from the inferno that engulfed the Tazreen Fashions factory in Ashulia last November, has taken another turn for the worse, with a diagnosis of cancer that may be linked to the toxic fumes she inhaled during the fire, reports UNB.

When you meet her, the first impression you get of the young girl barely out of her teens is possibly not unlike that of millions of others like her who form the backbone of the country’s garment industry.

Having entered the workforce at the age of 11, she already exudes the world-weariness of one whose experiences belie her age. She can also be quite chatty when in the mood, and is touchingly hospitable to those who visit her hard-won bed at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital, offering mangoes from her village in Mymensingh.
read more. & read more.
UNB

17:32:57 local time map of india INDIA

* Inflation for factory workers rises to 11.06% in June:

Retail inflation for industrial workers rose to 11.06 per cent in June compared 10.68 per cent in May due to rise in prices of food items, cigarette, electricity charges, doctor’s fee, medicines and petrol.

“The year-on-year inflation measured by monthly Consumer Price Index—Industrial Workers (CPI—IW) stood at 11.06 per cent for June 2013 as compared to 10.68 per cent for the previous month and 10.05 per cent during the corresponding month of the previous year,” a Labour Ministry statement said.
Similarly, the food inflation stood at 14.86 per cent against 13.24 per cent of the previous month and 10.45 per cent during the corresponding month of the previous year, it added.
read more.
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* AEPC demands lower interest rates for apparel sector:

Apex body of apparel exporters has asked Finance Minister to reintroduce the system under which exporters can avail loans at a lower of 7.5%.

At present, exporters get loans at a interest rate of over 12%.
Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) Chairman A Sakthivel said he has written a letter to the Finance Minister in this regard.
In the letter Sakthivel said, “RBI has announced credit policy. However, the garment exporters were expecting lowering of rate, which have not been announced. The pre and post shipment credit rates are hovering around 10% which are high when compared to interest rates available to our competitors.”

read more.
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* Hike in interest subvention to boost textile export – SIMA:

The government has announced increase in the rate of interest subvention from 2% to 3% to the exporters belonging to various sectors. It has been mentioned that all pending claims would also be cleared immediately.

Welcoming the decision, Mr S Dinakaran, Chairman, The Southern India Mills’ said that the decision to increase the interest subvention from 2% to 3% is timely for all the sectors in the backdrop of balance of payment issues.
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fibre2fashion

* Centre keen to set up textile park in Nagpur: Rao:

The Centre is keen to set up an integrated here and has directed authorities to expedite acquisition of land for the purpose, Union Textiles Minister has said.

The district administration has been asked to speed up the process to take over 50 acres of land of now defunct Sahakari Soot Girni (Co-Operative Spinning Mills) situated at Umrer Road here.”Central government will give subsidy to the tune of 40 per cent on investment upto Rs 100 crore,” Rao told reporters yesterday.
Earlier, he interacted with weavers and local industrialists. Rao said textile parks in Haryana and Puducherry are doing well.
read more.
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17:32:57 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* Discussion on expanding Sri Lanka’s exports under Norway GSP+  :

Since January 1st this year Sri Lanka has become eligible to the new Generalized System of Preference plus (GSP+) facility introduced by the Government of Norway and the country’s leading business chamber has invited members to learn more about the facility.

The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) will hold a seminar on expanding Sri Lanka’s exports under the Norway GSP+ on August 8 from 2.30 pm to 5.00 pm at the Chamber’s auditorium at Navam Mawatha in Colombo.
According to the CCC, the new facility has deepened the product coverage and widened the concessions and provides an opening for lower middle income countries to diversify their exports.

With the introduction of Norway GSP+ facility, Sri Lanka is entitled to enjoy duty free access for all industrial products, including all textile items.
Sri Lanka’s exported Rs. 2.5 billion worth products last year to Norway and nearly 40% of the exports were textiles and Apparel.
read more. & read more.
colombo SL mirror

* Apparel exporters log on live to global Asycuda network:

Sri Lanka’s non-BOI apparel exporters have been now integrated to the crucial global network called Asycuda World (of UNCTAD).

And having overcome the global recession, our apparel exports are now back on track-with good news.
“Today, Sri Lanka’s apparel sector is entering into a new phase. As a result of Sri Lanka’s non-BOI apparel manufacturers directly integrating into the online ‘Asycuda World’ system, we have now cleared a major bottleneck in our apparel exports” Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen said.
Minister Bathiudeen was addressing the implementation event of the Asycuda World export documentation system for non-BoI apparel exporters held at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.

“Our apparel exporters are joining a global network by UNCTAD in which 85 other countries are already part of” said Minister Bathiudeen.
“With our apparel’s entry to Asycuda World, we have now cleared a major bottleneck in our apparel exports. In that, with this integration, our non-BoI apparel manufacturers can successfully eliminate the present manual submission of custom documents (custdocs) and can directly submit custom declarations, to the customs and has become partially paperless.
read more.
dailynewsSL

17:02:57 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Aptma resents power tariff increase:

Muhammad Yasin Siddik, chairman of APTMA  – Sindh Balochistan Region, has strongly criticised announcement of increase in electricity prices up to 70pc by the govt  and urged to withdraw the rise in tariff.

He said that the recent hike in electricity tariff would make textile export costlier and render Pakistani textile exports uncompetitive in the international market. Subsequently, India, China and Bangladesh would capture markets presently dominated by Pakistani exporters.
He suggested the government that before making any dramatic changes in the electricity prices, the stakeholders of the industry should have been taken into confidence and engaged to workout the electricity tariff.
He stated that the government is not in a position to provide uninterrupted power and gas supply to the industry due to which industry is facing increase in cost as a result of less than capacity output and now such a hefty tariff increase can not be justified.
read more. & read more.
thenation pakTODAY

 

 

map of Asia

INFO:

The next newsletter and news bulletin will be published 5 August 2013,
Unless events require an extra edition.

In the menu under Special Reports you can find Updated overviews of articles about:

* THE SAVAR BUILDING COLLAPSE Part 2 20130524 – now
* The Ashulia-TAZREEN FIRE – 24 Nov 2012- now

HEADLINES TODAY:

PHILIPPINES
* Group reports rampant violation of union, workers’ right under Aquino
* DTI confident on US-GSP renewal

THAILAND
* Court rejects Somyot’s 15th request for bail

BANGLADESH
* Garment makers see disconnect in factory inspection
* Leftists oppose Ticfa
* Global apparel industry sees higher costs in wake of Savar tragedy
THE SAVAR BUILDING COLLAPSE:
* 100 days of Rana Plaza collapse observed
* Families of unidentified Rana Plaza victims yet to get help
* Rana Plaza site can’t be returned to owner: Nanak
* Workers’ memorial at Rana Plaza collapse site: Nanak
* Rana Plaza victims left ignored to suffer
* Benetton and Mango: Rana Plaza survivors risk losing their homes
ASHULIA TAZREEN GARMENT FACTORY FIRE:
* RMG disaster victims’ lives a ‘nightmare
* Cancer diagnosis worsens plight of Tazreen worker

INDIA
* Inflation for factory workers rises to 11.06% in June
* AEPC demands lower interest rates for apparel sector
* Hike in interest subvention to boost textile export – SIMA
* Centre keen to set up textile park in Nagpur: Rao

SRI LANKA
* Discussion on expanding Sri Lanka’s exports under Norway GSP+
* Apparel exporters log on live to global Asycuda network

PAKISTAN
* Aptma resents power tariff increase

latest tweets (& news)

Convention on the Rights of the Child
Universal Declaration of Human Rights

I wonder who they are
The men who really run this land
And I wonder why they run it
With such a thoughtless hand

What are their names
And on what streets do they live
I'd like to ride right over
This afternoon and give
Them a piece of my mind
About peace for mankind
Peace is not an awful lot to ask
    David Crosby

I wonder who they are
The people who are buying these clothes
I'd like to know what they've paid for it
How much the makers have paid for this
Fairer income is not an awful lot to ask
Better working conditions is not an awful lot to ask
    A. Searcher

For more and other (labour) news you can follow on twitter: @asearcher2