11:44:16 local time CHINA
* China’s industrial textiles sector grows 14.4% in H1 2013:
* China’s Anqing city recognizes textiles as key industry:
Textiles and garments sector has been recognized as one of the key industries by the Anqing Municipal government for attracting industrial investment, Anhui Ministry of Commerce said.
10:44:16 local time VIET NAM
* TPP agreement to benefit Vietnamese garments, textiles:
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, once realised, will help Vietnam’s businesses, including those in the garment and textiles industry, boost their exports and remove the current heavy taxation barrier.
The opinion was shared by participants at a seminar highlighting the TPP agreement and its impacts on Vietnam ’s garment businesses, organised by the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association ( VITA S) and the People’s Committee of the southern province of Dong Nai on August 2.
Businesses said that joining the TPP agreement is essential in the context that the majority of materials used in the sector are imported from foreign countries, while the tax rate in Vietnam ’s major export markets is too high, specifically 17.5 percent in the US and 9.6 percent in Europe .
Through the TPP agreement, Vietnam will have a chance to negotiate with the US and other member countries to open up markets for Vietnam ’s products, thus contributing to boosting exports to these markets as well as attracting more investment in Vietnam .
read more. & read more. & read more.
* Garment, textile industry hopeful about Pacific trade:
A production line of the SMA Vina Viet-Han Garment Import Export Co in the northern province of Hoa Binh. Garment and textile exports are expected to increase when the country becomes a member of Trans-Pacific Strategic Partnership. — VNA/VNS Photo Trong Dat
Domestic garment and textile companies will have many opportunities to increase exports as well as dismantle current trade barriers when the country becomes a member of Trans-Pacific Strategic Partnership (TPP).
The assessment was voiced at a conference held yesterday in the southern province of Dong Nai by the province’s People’s Committee and the Viet Nam Textile and Apparel Association (Vinatas).
It was reported that as of 2012, the industry has had 6,000 companies and 2.5 million workers in the industry.
Speaking at the conference, Nguyen Van Tuan, deputy general secretary of Vinatas, said the garment and textile sector’s export turnover was the second-highest among all export products.
read more. & read more. & read more.
10:44:16 local time CAMBODIA
* CNRP Denounces Online Garment Wage Letters as Fraudulent:
The opposition CNRP on Thursday denounced the online dissemination of two bogus letters bearing their party’s logo that called for garment workers to go to its offices to receive cash payouts.
The first of the two letters, dated July 30, bears the signature of CNRP president Sam Rainsy and says the opposition party wants to honor a pre-election promise that “the Cambodia National Rescue Party will give wages to each worker amounting to $160.”
* Garment workers see lives reflected on the big screen:
Garment worker Khieu Mok put in a 24-hour shift so she could take time off to vote in last month’s elections.
On July 28, at her hometown pagoda in Svay Rieng province, she held her ink-stained finger to the camera lens of film director Kalyanee Mam, who has followed her story for the past five years.
“The current wages [$80 a month] aren’t enough to live off. For now I only ask for $150,” she said.
Then, minutes after voting, she was on the back of a motorbike bound for Phnom Penh and the factory.
The three-minute footage captured last week by Mam, will be released as a short follow-up to her acclaimed documentary A River Changes Course. The feature-length film, which won this year’s World Cinema Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival, records Mok’s struggle as she leaves the rice fields for the factories of Phnom Penh.
09:29:16 local time NEPAL
* FM pledges support to garment industry:
Finance minister Shankar Koirala has said that the successive governments in the past are responsible for decline of garment sector.
The government is equally responsible for the miserable condition of the garment sector, he said while inaugurating the 22nd anniversary of the Garment Association – Nepal.
Two decades back, garments were one of the largest exportable items of the country. After hand-knotted carpets, garments were the second largest export items in between 1990-2000. Garment export was at around Rs 5.13 billion in fiscal year 1994-95 and it gained its peak that fiscal year with exports worth Rs 13.12 billion.
However, garment export started to fall from fiscal year 2003-04 (Rs 11.89 billion) and dropped to Rs 4.6 billion in fiscal year 2011-12. Political instability at the time and the negligence of the successive governments in boosting the industrial sector in the last one decade affected the export sector.
Our exports have been decreasing and the country has been facing trade deficit. Therefore, the government must give priority to export industries, said Koirala. “The budget for 2013-14 has programmes to boost export oriented industries. Support programmes for garment will be launched soon,” he informed.
09:44:16 local time BANGLADESH
20130802 * Protestors demand workers wage and bonus by Aug 5:
Different left leaning political parties and apparel workers’ rights bodies on Friday at separate programmes demanded payment of the wage of July and festival allowance for garment workers within August 5.
The apparel workers would not be able to go to their homes if the wage and festival allowance, equal to the wage of one month, was not paid within the mentioned date, the garment labour leaders said.
National Garment Workers Federation – a garment workers’ right body – leaders, at a rally in front of the National Press Club, called on the government to take steps to pay the wage and festival allowances of garment workers within August 5.
20130802 * RMG workers’ protest in capital & Goons attack RMG workers in capital:
(1) Hundreds of workers of Saj Fashions staged protest in capital’s Karwanbazar area demanding dues and allowances.
Sources said Saj Fashions garment factory, owned by Ekushey Television chairman Abdus Salam’s younger brother Tutul, had been closed last four months.
Friday was the date for paying due salary and allowance to the workers. But factory authority did not pay did so.
As a result, workers started staging protest in front of Ekushey Television to press their demands. read more.
(2)Hired goons of the owner of Saj Fashions Wear Ltd attacked protesting workers who gathered in front of ‘Ekushey TV’ demanding payment of due salaries and allowances on Friday afternoon.
Two RMG workers were injured in the attack.
Police charged batons when the workers again tried to gather on the road in the area as the owner of Saj Fashions is younger brother of the chairman of Ekushey TV.
read more. & read more
20130802 * EU buyers agree on unified code:
The buyers from the European countries have agreed to work under a ‘unified code of conduct’ for ensuring workplace safety at readymade garment (RMG) factories in Bangladesh.
A four-member team comprising of Monika Kemperle of IndustriALL, Aleix Gonzalez of Inditex, Philip Chamberlain of C&A, and Christy Hoffman of UNI, currently on a three-day visit to Dhaka, held discussions with the representatives of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) and the Bangladesh Employers Federation.
Addressing media persons after the meeting, BGMEA president Md Atiqul Islam said the representatives of the buyers of ‘European Accord’ reached consensus on ‘unified code of conduct’, and the participants gave their consent in establishing the unified code to monitor the workplace safety at garment manufacturing units across the country.
Mr. Islam said seven issues were discussed at the meeting, including nomination of a BGMEA member to the steering committee of the ‘European Accord’, setting up a fund for relocation of garment units and inspection of the existing buildings.
20130803 * Social dialogue expected to enhance workers’ rights:
Social dialogue through tripartite plan of action is expected to enhance workers’ rights, including freedom of association and collective bargaining for all workers in Bangladesh, said International Labour Organisation (ILO) officials Friday.
“I believe that social dialogue through tripartism can greatly enhance industrial relations with respect to workers’ rights, including freedom of association and collective bargaining for all workers in Bangladesh,” said ILO assistant director-general and regional director for Asia and the Pacific, Yoshiteru Uramoto.
Mr Uramoto made the remarks after concluding a series of meetings with the Bangladesh government and employers’ and workers’ organisations in Dhaka, as part of his mission to ILO member states in the region.
20130803 * Labour leaders urge govt to make workers’ friendly law:
Politicians and labour leaders on Saturday urged the Awami League led government to amend what they said ‘the undemocratic sections of the Labour law’ to make it workers’ friendly.
They made the call at a seminar on ‘Proposed Bangladesh Labour Law-2013 and the democratic rights of the workers,’ jointly organised by the Communist Party of Bangladesh and Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal at the CPB’s central office.
Bangladesh Labour (Amendment), Bill-2013, which was passed in the parliament recently did not ensure the rights of the workers’ but satisfied the interests of the mills and factory owners, they said.
Razequzzaman Ratan, the general secretary of Samajtantrik Sramik Front, readout a keynote paper at the seminar, where he said, they had expected that the Awami League led government would enact a democratic labour law by reforming Labour Law-2006, formulated by the BNP led government.
‘The Labour Law-2013 has not ensured the rights of the workers but it will serve the purposes of the owners,’ Razequzzaman said.
read more. & read more.
20130804 * Slow progress in improving labour rights:
The government is walking on a thin rope as implementation of the commitments it made to the global community to improve labour rights situation in the country has lost momentum.
As many as 100 days have elapsed since the Rana Plaza caved in and the government has five months left to fulfil certain commitments.
The stakes are too high as it will not only harm over $20bn readymade garment industry and four million jobs but also tarnish the image of Bangladesh.
The government on May 4 gave a commitment to recruit additional 200 inspectors by December but till Aug 2 only four had been appointed. The deadline of April 30 for adopting a national occupational safety and health plan too has passed with no visible headway.
20130804 * BGMEA, BMET, Edu Ministry sign MoU to train up RMG workers:
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed on Sunday by Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET) and Skill Development Project (SDP) of the Education Ministry in an effort to meet the shortage of skilled workers in the RMG sector.
Under the MoU, training facilities will be provided for young workers, both male and female, to work in the RMG factories. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will finance the project.
BGMEA Vice President Reaz-Bin-Mahmood Sumon, BMET Director General Begum Shamsun Nahar and SDP Director Chowdhury Mufad Ahmed signed the MoU on behalf of their respective sides.
BGMEA President M Atiqul Islam, Education Secretary Dr Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury and ADB officials were present.
to read. & read more.
20130804 * RMG workers put up barricade on Hatirpool area, clash with cops:
Hundreds of workers of a readymade garment factory blocked a road in the capital city’s Hatirpool area on Sunday afternoon.
The protesters also engaged in clashes with policemen, demanding their wage for August in full, festival bonus and other dues.
As the workers took to the Hatirpool road halting the traffic movement, sporadic clashes broke out as policemen tried to disperse the agitated workers.
20130804 * 15 RMG workers injured in clashes with police in city:
The workers took to the streets in Hatirpul and put blockades on the road around 6pm, as the workers had not been paid within the scheduled time after 5pm
At least 15 workers from a garments factory were injured when police charged batons on the workers, who were staging a demonstration demanding their dues and salaries, in the capital’s Hatirpul area on Sunday afternoon.
Several hundred workers of TS Fashions in Hatirpul took to the streets and put blockades on the road around 6pm, as the workers had not been paid within the scheduled time after 5pm. The agitated workers put blockades on the busy road for an hour, causing a severe traffic gridlock in the area.
Police then dispersed the workers by charging batons on them.
“Although we were told earlier that the authorities would pay us by 5pm, they failed to do so,” said Nazma Ahkter, a worker of TS Fashions.
She said when they asked the authorities, they were told that the money, which was drawn from a bank, was snatched away by a gang of muggers in the capital’s Paribagh.
“As the news of the money being snatched was spread among the workers, we came down to the road,” she said.
20130804 * RMG factory workers reportedly robbed of Tk 30 lakh:
Muggers reportedly snatched Tk 30 lakh from two officials of a garment factory in the city’s Paribagh area on Sunday afternoon.
Quoting the victims, police said Moazzem, 50, director of TH Fashion located in Hatirpul drew Tk 30 lakh from Motijheel branch of Exim Bank to pay the salaries of the factory workers in the afternoon.
Moazzem, along with Uttam Chandra, 25, accountant of the factory, were returning to their factory in a microbus.
When they came close to Priyangan apartment complex in Paribagh around 4:30 pm, a gang of five to seven muggers swooped on the microbus and took away Tk 30 lakh from them at gunpoint.
On information, police rushed to the spot and detained Moazzem, Uttam and the driver of the microbus Azizur for interrogation in connection with the incident.
20130804 * 7 RMG workers hurt in clashes with police:
Apparel workers blocked roads, vandalised factories and clashed with the police in Dhaka and Gazipur on Sunday demanding the payment of their wages and festival allowances before Eid.
At least seven workers were injured as the police and miscreants had attacked the workers going on demonstrations for their payment.
At least six workers of TH Fashions were injured as the police and miscreants had attacked the workers rallying at Hatirpool in the capital for payment.
The factory management said an official carrying Tk 30 lakh after withdrawing the amount from the Motijheel branch of Exim Bank, had been mugged at Paribagh. The money was meant for distribution to workers in wages.
The management said that director Md Mozammal Haque who was carrying the money. As his car reached Paribagh, a group of miscreants stopped the car and snatched the bag containing the money.
The workers blocked the road passing by Motaleb Plaza about 4:15pm demanding their wages.
Billal Hossain, a worker, said, ‘The authorities usually
carry money in police escort. In this case, they did not take police protection. The authorities staged the drama so that it did not need to pay us our wages before Eid,’ Billal said.
As the workers blocked the road, the police and a few miscreants attacked them, in which at least half a dozen workers were injured. The workers alleged that the police had fired rubber bullets to disperse them.
read more. & read more.
20130805 * RMG workers block road in capital:
Workers of six readymade garments blocked Darus Salam road of Mirpur in the city on Monday morning demanding payment of dues and Eid bonus.
Protesting workers said that they were staging movement as they were not being paid salaries and festival allowances on Sunday as previously promised.
On the other hand, workers’ protest created a severe traffic jam from Darus Salam to Shyamoli area.
Officer-in-Charge of Mirpur Thana Salauddin Ahmed said, “We are trying to persuade the labourers to lift the blockade.”
He also urged the owners to sit for a discussion with the workers to solve the issue.
20130803 * Rana Plaza collapse to raise clothing cost : US survey:
Executives in apparel sector and agents in RMG trade believe that the cost of clothing will rise in the coming months as a sequel to the Rana Plaza collapse, according to a leading business monitor in the United States.
After the Rana Plaza incident, operational cost of the garment factories in most exporting countries, mainly in Bangladesh, is increasing. Its reasons include spending extra money in improving safety standards and meeting various demands of workers, like higher wages.
The overall rise in clothing cost will equally hurt the manufacturers and the consumers. It is likely to curtail profit margin of the garment companies, as they may not be able to raise retail prices, fearing the shoppers’ backlash, added the business monitor.
“Apparel unit cost looks to increase at a low-single-digit rate next year, after a decline since 2012,” said a survey, conducted by the Cowen and Company among 15 leading executives and agents that handle apparel sourcing for retailers and brand manufacturers.
20130803 * Big brands cash in on rejected but export-quality RMG:
Faulty garments, stock-lots and the surplus wear that remains after export are now finding their way into reputed clothing outlets at big shopping malls and in other showrooms in the city and the prices are also five to six times higher than what should be, sources said.
Leading domestic brands like Easy, Cats Eye, Ecstasy and other reputed clothing outlets are purchasing the stocklots of rejected readymade garments (RMG) and selling those at higher prices at their outlets, the sources said.
Such garments earlier were available at very cheap rates at makeshift shops on the city footpaths and the low and middle income classes of people were the main customers, according to the sources.
20130803 * Regaining lost glory of the ‘golden fibre’:
Once called the ‘golden fibre’, jute has of late shown great potential to regain its lost glory.
Export of jute and jute goods last year was a pointer to that fact. Bangladesh earned over US$1.0 billion from jute exports in the last fiscal year (FY), 2012-13. This was for the second time in recent years the earning from export of raw jute and jute goods reached the billion dollar mark, the fiscal 2010-11 being the first occasion to achieve the feat.
The reasons behind an increased demand for jute and jute goods in foreign markets are not far to seek. Users in importing countries are gradually abandoning the use of synthetic bags and other materials in view of health hazards associated with those.
20130804 * Unauthorised cotton factory in Khulna faces music:
Authorities have directed the owner of an unauthorised cotton factory that has been a nuisance for some 5,000 people in Phultala upazila either to relocate it or close it down.
The factory, located at Poygram Hafrasta along Phultala-Sikirhat road, has virtually remained closed following the directive, much to the pleasure of the local people.
According to the locals, the cotton refining mill, Keya Cotton Mill, has been in operation without having any clearance certificate from the Department of Environment (DoE), causing sound pollution and respiratory diseases among villagers.
read more. & read more. & read more.
20130804 * Tannery relocation remains a remote possibility:
More than 100 tonnes of solid waste are dumped into the Buriganga
Ten years have passed since the government decided to relocate tannery industries from the capital’s Hazaribagh area to a separate leather zone at Savar.
But by the time the tannery industries have wrecked a havoc on the environment of the area and the ecology of the Buriganga River, which is considered to be the lifeline of the Dhaka city.
The Department of Environment reported 22,000 cubic meters of raw and liquid waste from tannery units in Hazaribagh flow into the Buriganga, where the oxygen level is zero instead of the minimum 6% required for aquatic species.
20130804 * BoI registers FDI proposals worth $ 575.833m in six months:
The Board of Investment (BoI) has registered foreign direct investment (FDI) proposals worth US$ 575.833 million in six months (January-June) of the current calendar year in different sectors, an amount which is 16 per cent higher than that of the same period of last year.
According to BoI data, the board registered 123 business entities or companies involving the amount. The number of entities was 106 involving $344.193 million during the same period in 2012.
He said: “Foreign investors proposed to invest in agro based industries, food and allied sectors, textiles, printing, publishing and packaging sectors, tannery, rubber products, chemical, glass and ceramics, engineering and service sectors. Of them, the textile sector occupies the top position while the service sector second.”
“The investors are very much interested in the textile and service sectors, because these two areas are very profitable,” he said.
He said cheap labour cost and an ‘ideal environment’ in the country attract foreign investors.
20130805 * Ministry reviews GSP effort today:
Bangladesh started reviewing the progress of an action plan for regaining the GSP from the United States, as the Obama administration suspended the trade privileges due to poor labour rights and working environment on June 27.
The commerce ministry, the lead ministry for implementing the action plan, will review the progresses at a meeting today, Commerce Minister GM Quader told The Daily Star.
“We will mainly discuss the major steps made by different ministries and departments as we have a target to implement the action plan to regain the trade privileges.”
A matrix will be created from the discussion of the stakeholders and will be reviewed periodically, he said.
20130804 * Netherlands for improving working atmosphere in RMG sector:
The Netherlands today assured Bangladesh of its continued support to improve existing working atmosphere and strengthen measures for workers’ safety and putting out fire in the readymade garment sector (RMG).
The assurance came when the Netherlands Ambassador to Bangladesh Gerben Sjoerd de Jong called on parliament Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury at the latter’s office here.
She said the government has taken special measurers for the development of the garment sector especially for earning confidence of buyers.
read more. & read more.
20130804 * Weak governance is the root of all RMG troubles:
Weak governance is the root of all troubles in the country’s garment industry, a noted economist and politicians said yesterday.
The problems like the building construction flaws or unsafe working conditions represent the current social system, Prof Rehman Sobhan, chairman of the Centre for Policy Dialogue, said.
They spoke at the launch of a civil society initiative to monitor commitments and implementation of the promises made by the local and international organisations following the Rana Plaza collapse, at Cirdap auditorium in the city.
The CPD chairman said, this was also part of the global problem, as retailers would still continue to search for cheapest sources and the customers would prefer the lowest prices.
Sobhan said part of the problem lies with the dysfunctional regulatory regime. “How do we regulate when nobody could be held accountable?” he questioned.
He also blamed the current trends in politics for the misfortune in the garment sector.
THE SAVAR BUILDING COLLAPSE
20130803 * Mourners, rights activists throng Savar:
Injured workers inaugurate a memorial monument at the Rana Plaza site marking 100 days of the disaster
A workers’ rights committee on Friday established a memorial monument for the workers who died in the Rana Plaza collapse at the building’s site.
Injured workers of the factories of Rana Plaza inaugurated the monument.
The committee, made up of representatives from several leftist groups, also held a meeting, a rally and a cultural programme at the site. Several victims of the collapse and relatives of missing workers spoke at the meeting.
The coordinator of monument organising committee Ashish Corraya told the Dhaka tribune: “Police blocked us from erecting the monument several times. They told us that there was no permission from the authorities to build a monument here.”
“But as so many lives have been lost here we did not care about any permission. The workers also supported this and they donated money to build the monument,” he added.
20130803 * Rana Plaza – In Protests and Resistance:
Family members of deceased victims and living victims Rana Plaza along with youths of the city have staged protest sitting in front of the Rana Plaza collapse site on 2 August 2013.
The poor distribution of humanitarian support and compensation among the relatives of the dead, injured and the hundreds of orphans created by this tragedy brought these grieved people on the streets, said a protestor.
The protest started 10 AM in the morning and lasted the whole day,
Later the group of youths built a monument at the site of Rana Plaza in Savar yesterday in memory of the victims of the worst industrial disaster of the country.
The youths, mostly students under several banners, called the monument “Protibade-Protirodhe” (in protest and in resistance). The simplistic monument is just two muscular hands, one holding a scythe and the other one holding a hammer. They are about 10 feet high.
20130804 * Pledges not fulfilled:
Finds civil society initive; suggests ways to avoid tragedies
A group of civil society organisations yesterday launched an initiative to follow through on the commitments made in the aftermath of the Rana Plaza tragedy over the course of next one year.
Following the building collapse on April 24, the government, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and many development partners, international organisations and retailers made a host of pledges to the victims and to improve the way the country’s garment factories function.
The forum, founded by the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) in partnership with 14 other organisations, intends to make sure that the promises get delivered.
“We want to make a difference this time. If this initiative can establish transparency and accountability, we will be able to redeem ourselves to some extent to those who died or were injured,” Mustafizur Rahman, executive director of CPD, said.
Rehman Sobhan, chairman of CPD, said the forum would put pressure on the government and other stakeholders so that “they discharge their responsibilities properly”.
“We, as a community, can at least try to ensure that incidents like this do not repeat.”
The think tank yesterday presented a report titled “100 Days of Rana Plaza Tragedy: A Report on Commitments and Delivery” at the CIRDAP auditorium in the city.
Following the tragedy that killed at least 1,132 workers and injured thousands, the government pledged to provide Tk 1 lakh to each of the deceased’s families and physiological treatment of two years for the injured workers and to rehabilitate the family members of the injured.
The BGMEA, separately, committed to raise Tk 25,000 from each of its member factories for the affected workers and provide employment of the disabled workers’ able-bodied family members.
20130804 * ORCA Homes takes charge of 10 kids of Rana Plaza victims:
BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association) handed over 10 orphans to ORCA (Old Rajshahi Cadets Association) Homes recently, who lost their parents in the Rana Plaza collapse on April 24.
The handing over was arranged in presence of the LGRD State Minister Jahangir Kabir Nanak as the chief guest at a small function in Dhaka BGMEA Bhaban to mark 100 days of the deadliest accident.
The children were received by president of ORCA Chittagong chapter Shakhawat Hossain. BGMEA has taken charge of 300 such orphans, from which ORCA has taken the responsibility of 10 children. ORCA Homes, a Chittagong-based orphanage home, is an initiative of the Old Rajshahi Cadets’ Association.
20130804 * Absence of good governance held responsible for Rana Plaza tragedy:
Speakers at a dialogue on Saturday held absence of good governance and dearth of efficient regulatory bodies responsible for the Rana Plaza tragedy that killed more than 1,100 people and injured several thousand others.
They recommended speedy implementation of the commitments made after the tragedy and formation of a central monitoring cell to oversee it.
They also suggested inclusion of professional expertise in the structural safety programme and implementation of existing laws to stop recurrence of incidents like the Rana Plaza collapse.
The observations came at the dialogue organised by the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) titled “100 Days of Rana Plaza Tragedy: A Report on Commitments and Delivery” held in the city.
The CPD along with its 14 partners prepared the independent monitoring report on the commitments and delivery by involved stakeholders to keep the issues alive and to bring transparency and social and collective accountability in the process of implementing the commitments.
20130804 * Rana workers must be helped without delay:
The world is watching the RMG industry not just to ensure it gets its house in order to prevent future tragedies
A hundred days on from the Rana plaza tragedy, a large number of workers remain without help.
Over a thousand employees from the collapsed factories gathered at the site this week for the unveiling of a memorial. Interviews with workers who have been left without livelihoods suggest that promises of help and rehabilitation made by the BGMEA and government have in many cases failed to materialise.
To some extent, notably in relation to bereaved families of workers killed at the site, compensation promised by the government is contingent on DNA reports and these cases will presumably be dealt with once reports are duly processed.
More generally however, whilst medical treatment appears to have been provided to the surviving injured, on leaving hospital a large number of victims have not received any compensation or outstanding salaries.
20130804 * Rana Plaza survivors block Dhaka-Aricha highway:
At least 15 people were injured as police charged batons on the survivors of Rana Plaza collapse, who blocked Dhaka-Aricha highway in Savar on Sunday demanding Eid bonus and salaries from the month of May.
Transport movement on the highway came to a halt on 10 kilometres area for 45 minutes since noon following the blockade, reports our Savar correspondent.
At least 1,132 people were killed and 2,438 people were rescued from the debris of the nine-storey building that collapsed in Savar on April 24.
Witnesses said over 300 survivors and their relatives blocked the highway at noon to press home their demands.
But police charged batons on them, leaving 15 people injured, they said.
Contacted, Mostafa Kamal, officer-in-charge of Savar Model Police Station, said they charged batons on the demonstrators only to free the busy highway.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) paid the salary for April to the workers after the deadly collapse.
But according to the rules, the authorities must pay salary of three months before terminating a worker, said Md Jalal, an injured worker of the collapsed building.
read more. & read more. & read more.
20130805 * Rescuers slip into abyss:
More than three months into the country’s worst industrial tragedy in Savar, around 150 rescuers are still haunted by the trauma they suffered from the heartbreaking sights of people crying for help from under the Rana Plaza rubble.
Al least 500 civilian and government rescuers have developed post-traumatic disorder, with 150 of them facing it to an extent so extreme that it would hamper their professional and family lives, said Dr Abul Kashem, assistant registrar of the National Institute of Mental Health.
Take, for example, Swapan Hossain, 32, who often screams in his sleep at night.
“Right under the pillar there lies a woman. Time is running out. Let us save her,” Swapan is quoted as saying on some nights by his brother, Ripon.
He still lives under an illusion that had been a reality three months ago, when he, along with many other brave hearts, raced against time to save those trapped under the wreckage of Rana Plaza following its collapse on April 24.
20130805 * ‘It was an act of God’:
BGMEA boss says about Rana Plaza disaster, tries to save factory owners
The Rana Plaza victims were cheated out of their rightful dues by the BGMEA, which worked out the compensation package by profiling the industrial accident as a natural disaster.
“The building collapse was out of control of the owner. It was an act of God,” said Atiqul Islam, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), the garment sector’s apex trade body.
Consequently, the association employed sections 12, 16 and 20 of Bangladesh Labour Law 2006 to formulate the compensation package, which under-paid the victims significantly.
Section 12 of the law stipulates that owners can shut down their factories anytime in case of events beyond their control. Incidents of fire, malfunction, blackouts, epidemic and violence constitute such events.
Once it is established that the event activating section 12 has taken place, the factory owner is within his rights to lay off workers, as per section 16.
Section 20 stipulates that workers laid-off under section 16 are entitled to 30 days’ gratuity for every year of service.
“We paid the workers following this formula,” said Islam, adding that the BGMEA paid a month’s salary and overtime to each of the living workers.
The trade body has paid some 2,785 workers of the complex from the Tk 7 crore it pooled from its 2,500-odd members, who contributed Tk 25,000 each.
As for the families of dead or missing workers, Reaz-bin-Mahmood, vice-president of BGMEA, said they did not receive anything as their nominees could not be established at the time of disbursement of salaries.
09:14:16 local time INDIA
20130803 * Trade union for women working in textile units formed:
An exclusive trade union, Tamil Nadu Textile and Common Labourers Union, for women workers who were allegedly abused in the name of camp labour schemes in textile mills was formed in Madurai on Wednesday.
The union will be the first of its kind for women toiling in textile mills, according to women workers. They congregated under campaign against ‘camp coolie system’ in the city. They held a demonstration in the morning and also conducted a state-level conference in the afternoon.
The trade union is registered to work across the state, and over 250 members have enrolled for it. The union will be based in Dindigul known for being a hub of textile mills in the district, where there are over 96,000 workers of which 82% of them are women, said James Victor, advisor of the union.
Among the workers, 9,500 are from other states and majority of them are women. The office bearers and board members of the trade union will be women from the textile mills. They are also planning to expand to other districts with special thrust on southern districts, where sizeable workforce is employed, said S Kavitha, president of the trade union.
20130802 * Powerloom owners shut units:
An estimated two lakh powerlooms in Coimbatore and Tirupur Districts fell silent today following the one day token strike protesting digital meters for the units.
The powerlooms in Somanur and nearby areas in Coimbatore and Palladam, Thekkalur, Mangalam and four others places in Tirupur districts numbering over two lakh participated in the strike, Powerloom Job Workers Association sources said.
Claiming that the new meters were showing more units than the conventional ones, they said this would affect them casting additional burden.
They were also seeking to exempt the powerloom units from KV system for calculating the tariff, the sources said.
Nearly 800 workers staged a demonstration in Tirupur.
There would be a production loss of Rs 50 crore due to the one day strike, the sources claimed.
* ‘Negligence has caused textile slump’:
Reluctance of both government and industry to invest in research and development in textile sector has led to its current state of affairs in which domestic industry is losing out on competitiveness to its competitors and counterparts, the newly appointed UPA minister, K Sambasiva Rao said.
Despite several government schemes launched by successive governments, the sector is yet to gain economy of scale, Rao said.
“Due to negligence of the government and industry, textile industry has witnessed passive growth which needs to be reversed,” he said on Friday.
* Jairam Ramesh sympathises with Nitish Kumar on rural wages scheme:
Not wanting to lose any opportunity to reach out to Janata Dal (United), the government expressed its willingness to consider Bihar’s demand to ensure parity between wages under the rural employment scheme and minimum wage rates in the states.
“I can perfectly understand Nitish Kumar’s sentiments and concerns. I sympathise with Nitish Kumar, because under the Minimum Wage Act in Bihar, the minimum wage is Rs 162 and the MNREGA wage is Rs 138,” Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said.
Bihar Chief minister Nitish Kumar has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh informing him that the state government plans to pay the workers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme at the same rate as the minimum wage for agricultural labour as “no state can undermine its own statute”.
* Apparel retail industry clocks 12% like-to-like sales growth:
Almost all major apparel retailers added number of stores during the first quarter of the current fiscal
Despite inflationary atmosphere and economic meltdown, major apparel retailers like Shoppers Stop, Arvind Ltd and Promart have pegged a healthy like-to-like growth in the range of 12-15 per cent for the first quarter ended June 30, 2013. Like-to-like growth is the increase in sales from same store in comparative quarters.
According to industry experts, reasons for the considerable growth amidst slowdown include a stable maximum retail price (MRP) to increase in promotional schemes by apparel retailers.
* CM nod on trial of Gujarat’s cotton pickers in 10 districts:
In a leap forward towards promoting cotton cultivation in the state and to check effect of rising labour costs, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Thursday gave nod for introducing highly mechanised cotton pickers in 53 blocks falling in 10 districts of the state’s cotton belt on trial basis.
A decision to this effect was taken after a high level team from Gujarat gave demonstration regarding use of these cotton picking machines to Badal here.
“During a recent visit of Gujarat CM Narendra Modi to Punjab, I had discussed the problems being faced by the cotton cultivators in harvesting the cotton crop. Modi gave idea of replicating Gujarat experiment on using mechanised cotton pickers. We have decided to use such pickers on trail basis. We will examine the results before putting such mechanised pickers to extensive use throughout the state,” Badal said. These districts include Mansa, Fazlika, ferozepur, Faridkot, Bathinda, Sangrur, Moga, Barnala and Mukatsar.
* Cotton Corp allowed to export:
For this cotton season (October-September) of 2012-13, the Centre has allowed exports by the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI). Typically, the corporation’s role is limited to buying cotton from the market if prices fall below the minimum support price and stabilising the market by intervening when required.
Friday’s announcement would make CCI cash-ready to procure new crop. Also, it would help secure foreign exchange at a time when the rupee is on a decline. And, farmers would get better prices, as exports would lead to a fall in carry-forward stocks.
09:14:16 local time SRI LANKA
* Lanka’s apparel exports back on track:
Sri Lanka’s non-BOI apparel exporters have been integrated into the global network, Asycuda World (of UNCTAD). Apparel exports are now back on track having overcome global recession, a Ministry of Industry and Commerce spokesman said.
He said that Sri Lanka’s apparel sector has entered a new phase. As a result of Sri Lanka’s non-BOI apparel manufacturers directly integrating into the online ‘Asycuda World’ system, the country has cleared a major bottleneck in apparel exports. “Our apparel exporters are joining the global network set up by UNCTAD in which 85 countries are members,” said Minister of Industry and Commerce, Rishad Bathiudeen.
“With this integration, non-BOI apparel manufacturers can directly submit declarations to the Customs and the process has become partially paperless,” he said. “The result is that travel time is reduced, less bureaucracy and less document processing by the non-BoI apparel exporters for every shipment. In fact, they can now submit Customs declarations directly from their factories thereby paying more attention to their manufacturing process, the Minister said.
08:44:16 local time PAKISTAN
* ‘Only 1.56 million workers have access to social security’ :
Only 1.56 million workers of a labour force of 59 million enjoy social security benefits, suggests official data.
The formal sector, which accounts for 25.7 percent of the employed workforce has partially registered its workers.
According to labour laws in Pakistan, employers are bound to contribute in relevant provincial social security department an amount equivalent to six percent of the monthly salary of each of their employee drawing up to Rs15,000. For contract workers, those drawing up to Rs600 per day are entitled to social security benefits.
According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the labour participation rate is 32.1 percent. This means that out of 185 million Pakistanis, almost 59.3 million are active in the job market. The PBS statistics further reveal that 25.7 percent of the labour force is in the formal sector and 74.3 are employed by the informal sector. This means that out of 59.3 million workforce 15.163 million are in the formal sector.
* Textile sector set to report robust profitability:
As financial results reporting season gains momentum, investors in textile sector are looking forward to splendid growth in profitability, which would probably match the financial year 2013 performance.
The profitability of textile (sample firms) scaled four-fold to Rs22.8 billion in three-quarters of financial year 2013 (9MFY13) as against Rs4.4bn in the same period last year.
The upcoming results for the fourth-quarter (April-June) are thought to extend that happy trend.
When the stock prices of dead and dying textile companies started to stir to life last year, leading the KSE-100 index upwards from the 12,000 level, many thought that to be an attempt by the equity dealers to trap small investors as much of the activity took place in second and third tier or ‘penny’ stocks.
* Draft of textile law moved to Cabinet:
Textile division has moved summary of the first-ever proposed textile “textile industry development, promotion and standard Act” to the cabinet which will empower the division to form regulations and standards for achieving sustainable growth, increase productivity and value addition throughout the textile chain, it is learnt.
Sources revealed to Business Recorder that the draft of the proposed textile law, which remained pending for last three years, had also been sent to the stakeholders including Ministry of Commerce and Industry. They were bound to submit their input within two weeks, said sources, after which the bill would be presented in the parliament for approval. The bill would require simple majority in both the houses to make it law, official added.
* Power tariff hike to hit textile sector badly: PHMA:
Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers & Exporters Association (PHMA) on Friday feared the hike in electricity tariff will leave the textile sector “uncompetitive” in global market.
“Another increase in electricity prices from August 1, would render this vital sector’s exports to become most uncompetitive in global market,” feared Central Chairman PHMA, Javed Bilwani.
He termed the government’s move to increase electricity prices unjustified after paying Rs 480 billion to clear circular debt, and said the government should have not increased the tariff too immediately. He urged the government to step up against the electricity theft and overcome power shortage problem to provide the people with uninterrupted power supply at affordable rates. “The government seems to be powerless to stop this theft,” he criticised.
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* Textile exporters reject hike in power tariff, POL prices:
Textile exporters have rejected the recent hike in power and petroleum product prices as it would trigger inflationary impact and would ultimately affect the overall trade and business environment.
Criticising the tariff hike, Asghar Ali, Chairman and Muhammad Asif, Vice Chairman Pakistan Textile Exporters Association, said businesses are already facing tough challenges and further increase in Petroleum prices and power tariff will create enormous inflation and great pressure on the business activities.
Power tariffs in Pakistan are already one of the highest in the region due to which Pakistani products are losing competitiveness in export markets. In China, India, Bangladesh and other countries electricity is available to industrial sector at lower rates than commercial users while in Pakistan, power rates for industries are higher than commercial consumers. The decision to increase oil and power prices, particularly at a time when the economy is struggling for revival, is not in favour of business growth.
* PSF import from China: APTMA says absence of anti-dumping duty to have positive impact:
Acting Chairman All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Wisal A Monnoo has said the successful representation by APTMA of its case has led the National Tariff Commission (NTC) not to impose anti-dumping duty on import of Polyester Staple Fibre (PSF) from China.
He has expressed the hope that the non-imposition of anti-dumping duty will have a positive impact on textile imports and will provide a long-term advantage to the textile industry, as polyester use is bound to increase. It may be noted that the NTC initiated anti-dumping investigation in June 2012 against the PSF import from China on application of the domestic PSF industry. Acting Chairman APTMA said the PSF was an important industrial material. After value-addition on the imported fibre, he said, the textile products were exported.