19:15:32 local time CHINA
* Garment sellers discover desert provides wealth:
The Middle East sees new riches for makers of clothes
Just as sightings of the crescent moon indicate the arrival of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, rising sales to the Middle East are pointing to more prosperous times for some of the garment makers of Yinchuan.
One such company is Yingchuan Wantini Clothing Co Ltd, which employs 230 people. Yang Faxiang, the company chairman, says: “Even though our exports to Europe and domestic sales have not been that rosy in the past few years because of the uncertain market conditions, demand for our clothes has grown considerably in the Middle East.”
Yang, 64, says rising costs of imported materials, logistics and labor have forced a number of Arabic countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Jordan to turn their attention to garment factories in Yinchuan, the buyers and the sellers having a common culture.
18:15:32 local time VIET NAM
* Vietnam’s lost children in labyrinth of slave labour:
Last year, three teenage boys jumped out of a third-floor window in Ho Chi Minh City and ran as fast as they could until they found help. It was one in the morning and they did not know where they were going.
“I was really scared someone would catch us,” recalled Hieu, 18.
Hieu, who did not want to give his real name, is from the Khmu ethnic minority. He grew up in a small village in Dien Bien, a mountainous area in north-western Vietnam, one of the country’s poorest provinces and bordering China.
He and 11 other children from his village were taken by bus on a 2,100km (1,300 miles) journey and put to work in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), south Vietnam.
They spent the next two years locked in a cramped room making clothes for a small garment factory with no wages.
“We started at 6am and finished work at midnight,” he said. “If we made a mistake making the clothes they would beat us with a stick.”
18:15:32 local time CAMBODIA
* SL Garment workers to protest at City Hall:
Following further unsuccessful negotiations with company management, garment workers and union representatives said yesterday that they intend to hold a 6,000-person demonstration in front of the Ministry of Social Affairs and City Hall in Phnom Penh.
Demonstrations supporting employees at the two SL Garment factories in the capital’s Meanchey district will be held either today or tomorrow, said Lach Sythorn, an SL worker and member of the Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union (C.CAWDU).
“[Workers] plan to rally and ask for intervention from City Hall, and continue to call for the Ministry of Social Affairs to push SL officials to negotiate,” Sythorn said.
Friday marked the second fruitless negotiation session the ministry has held between workers and management. Company officials did not seem to take any of the employees’ demands into serious consideration on Friday, sending only a translator with no authority to make a deal, Sythorn said.
* Meanwhile A That Same Factory…:
While no progress was made between the ruling CPP and the opposition CNRP on the issue of putting together an independent investigation system to check on the alleged fraud issues during the 2013 Cambodian parliamentary elections of July 28th, the strike at SL Garment Processing (Cambodia) Ltd. goes on (see also HERE).
Negociations didn’t lead anywhere either. The factory is specialized in various wet & dry processes for denim jeans and the dyeing treatment for woven items for Zara, Yves Saint Laurent, Levi’s, Wrangler etc…
* Union leader: Salary negotiation scheduled for this month:
Government representatives and union leaders will soon hold meetings to discuss garment worker’s salary increase for 2014, according to a union leader Friday.
“Negotiations with factory employers to increase the salary for workers in the garment sector is scheduled to take place some time this August,” said Som Oun, president of National Union Alliance Chamber of Cambodia.
He said that the discussion will be held under chairmanship of Ith Sam Heng, Social Affairs Minister, and with all union representatives in attendance.
“The increase will be made in accordance to the nation’s economic growth,” he said, adding that salary discussions will continue every year.
“In this fifth mandate, worker’s salaries are expected to increase to $200 per month,” he added.
* Further wage increases eyed:
As the opposition continues to contest election results, the government has issued its second post-election announcement on salaries, saying yesterday that it has formed a committee aimed at boosting minimum wages for garment and footwear workers next year.
Following the government announcing a pay increase for civil servants days after last month’s ballot, Vong Sovann, secretary-general of the Ministry of Social Affairs’ strikes and demonstrations settlement committee, said the committee would raise wages after examining living costs for workers.
“We can’t tell you how much the workers will receive until after we’ve done the research, but there will be an increase,” he said.
The committee, he added, will involve the government, unions and the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia. “It might take three or four months to complete it, because we’re aiming at increasing wages in 2014,” he said.
* Request for Proposal (RFP) N° 01/2013 Cambodia Study on the implications of Food provision on Garment Worker’s Health and Productivity:
The ILO-Better Factories Cambodia program is seeking proposals to conduct a research study evaluating the impact of food interventions on workers’ health and productivity in Cambodia’s garment industry.
L’Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the United States Department of Labor will provide funding support for this project.
19:15:32 local time INDONESIA
* Govt to Issue Presidential Instruction on Labor Wage:
Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Hatta Radjasa, said that the government is set to issue a Presidential Instruction regulating labor wage. Hatta said that the instruction would serve as a guideline to decide the amount of wage for labors.
“The government will issue an instruction for labor wage,” Hatta said during a press conference at Mulia Hotel, Friday, August 23, 2013, adding that it serves as a guideline for regents, mayors, or governors in determining the labors’ minimum wage.
Hatta explained that the minimum wage must be determined based on the standard cost of living (KHL) as well as other factors such as inflation and economic growth.
* Government’s Stimulus Plans Receive Mixed Responses:
Government plans to deal with a weakening economy, rising inflation and a falling currency have received mixed reviews, with business leaders, union representatives and business analysts reacting coolly to the proposed measures on Friday.
Ade Sudrajat, the chairman of the Indonesia Textile Association, said the industry was taking a wait-and-see approach regarding the proposals put forward by ministers at the State Palace.
“The measure is just a statement. It is lacking in details, and for now we cannot say how will it impact on our business,” Ade said, referring to the potential benefit of the plan to give labor-intensive industries, including textiles, tax deductions for sectors that export at least 30 percent of their output.
* Bali moves to protect its traditional textiles:
The Bali provincial administration will draft a bylaw on the preservation of Balinese traditional textiles, an official says.
Ni Wayan Kusumawathi, head of the Bali Industry and Trade Agency, said that the bylaw was needed to ensure the protection, preservation and development of the local textile industry.
“The bylaw is not merely for trade, but also part of our efforts to preserve local cultures. Traditional Balinese textiles like endek woven cloth, songket and sekordi are unique pieces of art,” she said in a discussion on Balinese textiles recently.
“As Balinese traditional textiles are in the global arena, we need to ensure that our effort to improve their competitiveness does not contradict the preservation efforts,” she said.
Traditional textile products from Bali have been marketed to Europe, the US, South Africa and Southeast Asian countries.
However, exports to Europe and the US decreased due to the global financial crisis, Kusumawathi said, adding that export would focus on South Africa and Southeast Asian countries as new potential markets.
Last year, the total export value of traditional textile products from 50 Balinese enterprises reached US$108.8 million, a decline of 21.32 percent from the previous year. This year, Bali is targeting an increase in export value of 2.5 percent.
* BetterWork Indonesia Media Updates:
1. Govt to Issue Presidential Instruction on Labor Wage. Read the full article here.
2. Workers says no to Cheap Wage plan.
Read the full article here
Read the Google Translate English Version here
3. City workers seek 68 percent increase in minimum wage. Read the full article here
4. Indonesia still at top for investment. Read the full article here
5. Firms lay off thousands, blame new minimum wage. Read the full article here
6. Businesses to recommend ‘proper’ incentives to stay alive. Read the full article here
7. BI introduces new measures to boost declining rupiah. Read the full article here
17:45:32 local time BURMA/MYANMAR
* MIC allows more foreign companies to invest in garment sector in Myanmar:
Myanmar Investment Commission has granted permission to companies from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan to do business in local CMP garment industry with 100% foreign investments, according to official data.
A Hong Kong-based company and local B&N Garment Myanmar Company have been permitted to do their garment businesses in Hlaing Tharyar Industrial Zone (2) in Yangon Region. Taiwan-based companies such as Melody Global and Sunny Shoes Inc are allowed to do manufacturing of footwear and outdoor sports products in Bago Industrial Zone in Bago Region. And China-based SDI Manufacturing was allowed to do its garment business in Ngwe Pinlel Industrial Zone in Yangon.
17:15:32 local time BANGLADESH
20130824 * Labour leaders reject workers’ representative’s proposal:
RMG MINIMUM WAGE
Worker’s representative to the minimum wage board for the readymade garment workers proposed minimum gross wage of Tk 8,114 for a month, almost half of many labour organisations’ demand.
Labour leaders rejected the workers representative’s proposal to the wage board and demanded that the minimum basic pay for a worker should be Tk 8000 and the minimum gross wage should be around Tk 13,000 a month, citing manifold rises in the prices of essentials over the years.
The government on June 6 formed the six-member minimum wage board with retired district judge AK Roy as its chairman and Dhaka University professor Kamaluddin Ahmed, Bangladesh Employers Federation labour adviser M Saifuddin, Jatiya Sramik League executive president Fazlul Haque Montu, Bangladsh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association director Arshad Jamal Dipu and gamrnet worker leader Sirajul Islam Rony as members.
Sirajul, also ruling Awami League-backed Bangladesh National Garments Workers-Employees League president, placed the proposals in the third meeting of the wage board on August 18, proposing Tk 8,114 as the minimum gross monthly wage for a worker.
According to the proposal, a worker needs Tk 300 for clothing, Tk 500 for treatment, Tk 300 for transportation, Tk 200 for recreation, Tk 375 for toiletries, Tk 500 for festivals and Tk 500 for family help in a month to lead a standard life.
20130824 * BGMEA directors’ meeting underway:
The directorial body of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) is holding a meeting on Saturday afternoon over apparel workers’ minimum wage fixation.
The meeting started at BGMEA conference room at around 1:00pm.
With its president Md. Atiqul Islam in the chair, all directors including its vice-president are attending the meeting.
Sources said various issues including minimum wage of workers may be discussed in the meeting.
20130825 * BGMEA may propose Tk 4,500 minimum wage for workers:
Wants 50% wage hike for all categories of workers
Leaders of the country’s garment manufacturers are likely to propose up to 50 per cent wage hike in different categories of jobs to the newly-formed Wage Board, industry insiders said.
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) in this connection held a meeting with all the former presidents and other business leaders to take their opinion regarding the wage hike Saturday at its headquarters in the city.
All are of the opinion to propose a minimum Tk 4,500 in monthly wages for a garment worker in the new Wage Board, according to sector leaders.
The BGMEA called the meet following the second meeting of the Wage Board held on August 18 that asked the owners’ leaders to submit their proposals in the next meeting. The meeting was attended by its office bearers including its president Atiqul Islam while former presidents Annisul haq, Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin and Abdus Salam Murshedy, among others.
read more. & read more.
20130825 * Garment owners mulls 50pc rise in minimum wage:
Garment factory owners are not interested in increasing the minimum wage of the workers more than Tk 4,500 from the existing Tk 3,000.
The garment leaders on Saturday at a meeting gave the opinion that 50 per cent hike in the wage may be proposed to the minimum wage board.
In the third meeting of ‘the expert committee on minimum wage board for RMG sector’ at Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association office, the owners said the proposal of workers for Tk 8,114 as minimum gross monthly wage was not realistic.
The meeting has decided to form a core-committee to finalise the proposal for the wage board in the light of the discussion of the expert committee.
‘We have discussed among ourselves to fix the proposal of owners for the minimum wage board and most of the participants of the meeting gave opinion that it would not be possible to afford more than 50 per cent rise on the existing wages,’ BGMEA vice-president Shahidullah Azim told New Age.
20130825 * RMG workers block highway in capital:
The workers demand a raise of salary, bonus and other allowances
Workers of four garments factories blocked highway in Kuril Bishwa Road area of the capital disrupting traffic movement for two hours Sunday morning.
Hundreds of workers of Mohammadia, Platik, ATN and Nasa garment factories blocked the highway at 9am demanding a raise of salary, bonus and other allowances.
20130825 * RMG workers block Airport road:
Apparel workers blocked New Airport Road in Joar Sahara area of the capital Sunday morning demanding a hike in their salaries and other benefits including attendance bonus and lunch allowances.
The demonstration that started around 8:00am caused huge traffic congestion on the road in the morning rush hours.
The vehicular movements on the busy road came to a halt for nearly one and a half hours as around 1,000 workers of several garments factories started demonstration blocking the road, said Mohammad Ali, officer-in-charge of Bhatara Police Station.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
20130825 * Police disperse agitating RMG workers in capital:
The police dispersed the workers of readymade garment factories who took to streets in the city’s airport area on Sunday morning over the issue of pay hike and other demands.
The police fired teargas shells and rubber bullets to disperse them, eyewitnesses said. But the blockade that lasted several hours left a long tailback on the Kuril-Biswa Road.
Witnesses also said a thousand workers of four garment factories near the Shewra Rail Gate blockaded the airport road creating a long tailback on the busy road. The blocakde started at 8:pm.The workers alleged that irregular payment of salary and other benefits compelled them to take to streets, as there was no other way left to draw attention of the authorities.
Assistant Commissioner Lutfur Kabir of Gulshan zone said they already talked to the garment factory owners over resolving the problems.
20130826 * Apparel workers block road for wages, allowance:
Apparel workers on Sunday blocked on Kuril-Bishwa Road in the city and clashed with the police demanding wages, festival allowance and lunch allowance.
Several hundred apparel workers from five factories blockade the road near Army Golf Club at about 8:30am. Traffic on the road remained suspended for a few hours.
At one stage, the police charged batons and fired rubber bullets on the protesting workers to disperse them. The workers retaliated with brickbats, triggering the clash that continued for half an hour, witnesses said.
Gulshan zone police deputy commissioner Khandokar Lutful Kabir said that the police charged batons and fired rubber bullets to disperse the workers as they rejected the police’s request to withdraw the blockade that caused huge tailbacks.
20130826 * Labour law serves owners’ interests:
Instead of being protective of workers’ rights, the newly passed Labour Law 2006 serves the profiteering owners’ interests, said garment workers’ leaders yesterday.
Yielding to the unethical influences of the owners, the government has forgotten that the role of the law is to protect workers’ rights, they claimed.
They were speaking at a press conference of Bangladesh Garment Workers Unity Council (BGWUC) held at Dhaka Reporters Unity.
According to a section of the law, a worker will not be given any compensation if he/she is accused of vandalism, arson, riot or unruly behaviour in the factory, said Salauddin Shapon, secretary general of the organisation.
“We fear that the owners will abuse the section of the law to deprive workers of their dues and harass them with criminal cases,” he said.
He went on to criticise other sections of the law that afford owners the leverage to dismiss workers from factories.
He added that there is a “dark section in the law that allows termination of workers without any specific reason or fault.”
BGWUC urged the government to immediately scrap the anti-worker sections and sub-sections from the law and amend it at the next parliamentary session.
An amendment of the law will not only protect workers’ interests but also ensure future development of the industry, they said.
20130826 * Amendment of Labour Act demanded:
Garment worker organisations on Sunday demanded further amendment to the Bangladesh Labour Act, which was amended recently, to protect their rights.
Bangladesh Garment Workers Unity Council, a combine of the 11 garment worker organisations, made the demand at a press conference at Dhaka Reporters Unity.
The unity council secretary general Salauddin Shawpan accused the Awami League-led alliance government of betraying the workers.
He said that the Awami League had pledged in its election manifesto to amend the labour law to make it worker friendly, while it amended the law making provisions against the interests and rights of the workers.
The amended labour law would protect the interests of the owners of mills and factories instead of the workers, Salauddin said.
20130826 * Little progress in creating RMG workers’ database:
Only 132 out of 3,500 units enlisted so far
A move of the apex body of the country’s apparel sector to create a biometric database of workers of all its member-factories has made little progress following a poor response from the owners, industry insiders said.
According to them, only 132 out of total 3,500 apparel units have so far got enlisted with the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) for workers’ database.
On the other hand, some 80 out of around 300 garment factories at Ashulia belt have responded to the BGMEA database establishment move, they said.
* Garment factories must create lives, not just livelihoods:
In April this year the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh collapsed killing 1,132 garment workers and injuring more than 2,500.
This tragedy shone a much needed light on the shocking realities of fast-fashion and the murky supply chain of multi-billion pound brands. However, as the shock and publicity dies down, the under-paid and badly treated workers go back to their jobs behind closed doors and the world’s media moves on.
It is evident that while an economic crisis continues we will not change consumer behaviour and there will still be a demand for cheap clothing no matter what the human cost may be. Pressure needs to be placed on the brands that build their empires upon sub-standard working conditions for the people that make their products, whether knowingly or otherwise.
The Bangladeshi government has recently approved a labour law that will improve worker rights. This includes the freedom to form trade unions, which was not previously in place. This is certainly a step in the right direction, but the test will be whether this has any real impact on workers rights and conditions, or if it is just lip-service following the international outcry. After all there is plenty of risk for Bangladesh, the garment industry is its largest employer and is estimated to be worth $21 billion.
* RMG stakeholders meet Sept 7:
To devise unified safety standards
Stakeholders of the country’s ready-made garment (RMG) industry will sit on September 7 next to work out unified standards for making the safety inspection programme initiatives by the EU Accord, the North American Alliance and the Bangladesh government well-coordinated and fruitful, sources said.
The meeting is expected to be attended by the government officials concerned, representatives of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), Fire Service, RAJUK, Bangladesh National Building Code, BUET, International Labour Organisation (ILO), the EU Accord, the US Alliance and IndustryAll.
“We will sit with all, including the ILO, to prepare a unified checklist and guideline for the safety inspection of the garment industry,” Labour Secretary Mikail Shipar told the FE Friday.
* Recommendation for appointing 200 labour supervisors:
The Parliamentary Standing Committee for affairs related to Labour and Employment has recommended Ministry to make sure that tragedies of the like of Rana Plaza and Tazrin Garments does not take place again.
The Ministry has been recommended to appoint at least 200 labour supervisors by the coming month of December.
This was mentioned in a meeting of the Standing Committee held at the Parliament Building on Sunday led by Md. Irsafil Alam.
The Parliamentary Secretariat informed that the meeting discussed the workings of the previous meeting, the amended ‘Bangladesh Labour Bill 2013′ and different issues of labour interest. The Committee has made recommendations to the Ministry so that the benefits of the amended Bangladesh Labour Law 2013 are enjoyed by workers from all over Bangladesh.
* Appointing inspectors for RMG sector by Dec suggested:
A parliamentary committee suggested Sunday to appoint at least 200 inspectors for the apparel sector by December this year to ensure safe working environment and workers’ interests and reinstate the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) in the US market.
The JS body also made the recommendation so that tragic incidents like Rana Plaza collapse and Tazrin fire can be avoided.
It also suggested fixing the wages for garment workers taking the present market situation into consideration. It, however, suggested immediate fixation of compensation for the family members of the Rana Plaza victims and payment of arrears to the workers of the collapsed building.
* GSP: The issues of productivity and innovation:
Suspension of the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) by the US government has caused a stir in the business community. A section of civil society members has also criticised it. Both the major political parties, as usual, engaged themselves in the blame game.
The suspension of the GSP facility by the US government has come as a big setback but not as a surprise to the nation. The US government was giving warnings, but the government and the industry owners were not apparently to mend their conduct.
It should be stated in all fairness that the RMG (ready-made garment) owners were never eager to take any step required to maintain the GSP facility and improve working conditions in RMG factories. After the Tazreen Fashions fire killing well over 120 people, US ambassador Dan W Mozena called for safety measures at workplaces, saying a ‘perfect storm’ may hit the country’s trade interest if there is no significant action. The government and the industry owners, however, remained indifferent. Then came the Rana Plaza collapse leaving about 1,127 workers dead to further aggravate the outcry for actions against Bangladesh.
* Behind target on jute:
Department of Agricultural Expansion has said this season’s jute output target cannot be met because of low prices.
Farmers are losing interest in planting jute after failing to get a good price, with both money and labour gone waste.
“The target for this year was to plant jute in 757,000 hectares of land. But it could be done only in 737,000 hectares,” the department’s Deputy Director (Monitoring) Rafiqul Islam told bdnews24.com.
He claimed, despite the fall in planting targets, the production was ‘good’ this year.
“I hope the overall production will increase over last year’s,” he said.
The department was hopeful of producing more than 77000 bales of jute from 757,000 hectares.
read more. & read more. & read more.
* Jute farmers to adopt new method:
Due to inadequate rainfall, pollution of rivers and other water bodies fishes and other water creatures are in danger
The farmers of Lalmonirhat have been dipping jute plants in the rivers and other water bodies, causing the environment pollution in the district. Due to inadequate rainfall, pollution of rivers and other water bodies fishes and other water creatures are in danger.
“Ribbon retting,” a new method for rotting plants with less water was supposed to gain popularity in Lalmonirhat. The method was introduced among local farmers in a very limited scale some years ago, but became ineffective due to lack promotion.
* Bangladesh to increase cotton imports from Uzbekistan:
Bangladesh is planning to import 200,000 tonnes of cotton annually from Uzbekistan in a new multi-annual deal to be finalised shortly.
Negotiations are underway to set its terms in a Memorandum of Unders-tanding between the two governments, the Bangla-desh Garment Manufa-cturers and Exporters Asso-ciation (BGMEA) President Atiqul Islam told just-style.
Once signed, there are expected to be many benefits to the Bangladesh industry, which is heavily dependent on imported cotton yarn and fabric.
“First the garment industry can use fabrics and yarn produced in the local textile mills. Second, local supply of fabrics and yarn will significantly reduce lead time in the export of apparel products,” Islam said, adding “garment makers will earn more foreign exchange by exporting locally value added products.”
THE SAVAR BUILDING COLLAPSE
20130823 * Four months of Rana Plaza tragedy tomorrow:
On Saturday, different organisations will mark four months of the Rana Plaza tragedy.
On April 24, the eight-storey Rana Plaza at the Savar bus stand collapsed and killed 1123 people, most of whom were garment workers.
Different garment labour rights bodies have chalked out programmes to observe the day, both at Savar and in the capital.
Bangladesh Garment Sramik Sanghati will hold a protest rally in front of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association Bhaban at 10:00am at Kawranbazar demanding compensation for the affected people in the collapse.
National Garment Workers Federation will hold a protest rally in front of the National Press Club at 11:00am.
Different garment labour rights bodies will hold rallies and processions on ground zero of the Rana Plaza at Savar.
20130824 * Apparel workers demonstrate before BGMEA building:
Survivors of the Rana Plaza collapse staged a demonstration in front of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) building at Karwan Bazar in the city on Saturday, marking the four months into the devastation.
Bangladesh Garments Sramik Sanghati, a platform of garment workers, organised the protest.
The workers body demanded immediate payment of their arrears and compensations and make a final list of dead and injured workers.
They also pressed for implementation of the workers’ rights to associate at all garment factories and fix Tk 8,000 as the minimum monthly wage for a seamstress.
During the demonstration, many survivors burst into tears as they described their harsh struggle to live since the collapse of Rana Plaza.
More than 1,100 workers died and scores of workers were wounded in the worst factory devastation on April 24 this year.
They also called for help to trace out their missing loved ones.
They also demanded that the authorities give death penalties to the owners of the Rana Plaza and the several apparel factories housed there.
20130825 * Apparel workers rally outside BGMEA building:
Survivors of the Rana Plaza collapse went on demonstrations in front the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association building in the capital on Saturday marking four months of of the disaster.
Apparel workers’ platform Bangladesh Garments Sramik Sanghati organised the protests where they demanded an immediate payment of their dues and compensations. They also demanded that the association should publish a list of the people who were killed and wounded in the building collapse that took place on April 24.
The building collapse left 1,132 people, mostly apparel workers, dead and about 2,500 wounded.
According to a group working with apparel workers, the search for the deceased in the Rana Plaza rubble was called off on May 13 when 374 workers were still missing.
The National Garment Workers Federation, meanwhile on the day, formed a human chain in the capital demanding compensation for the survivors and the deceased in the building collapse. They also demanded workplace safety.
Demonstrators in front of the BGMEA building rallied for trade union rights of all apparel workers and Tk 8,000 in the minimum monthly wage.
The Sramik Sanghati coordinator, Taslima Akthter Lima, at the gathering said that four months had passed after the building collapse but the authorities were still indifferent about keeping their words.
20130825 * Human chain demands compensation for victims, families:
National Garment Workers Federation, survivors of Rana Plaza collapse and families of those who died during the disaster formed a human chain yesterday demanding proper compensation for the victims and that the authorities disclose the list of dead and missing workers.
They formed the human chain in front of Jatiya Press Club in the capital after four months of the building collapse which killed at least 1,132 people.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Garments Workers Samity also formed a human chain before the BGMEA building with the same demands.
Participants at the human chain said although four months have passed since the disaster, the victims have not received anything.
They urged the government to pay compensation on “the loss of earning” basis. In that case, the compensation should be Tk 28 lakh for dead victims’ families and Tk 5 lakh for the injured workers.
16:45:32 local time INDIA
* Labour shortage hurts garment industry:
At a time when the Rajasthan government is encouraging the garment industry, in the city, the industry, which employs more than 3 lakh people, is facing a possible exit, chiefly owing to lack of infrastructure.
Garment manufacturing and export units flourished in Haryana, especially in Gurgaon-Faridabad belt in the last three decades. It is a labour-intensive industry, where workers have to develop certain skills and engage in profitable manner. With that skill, they can earn Rs 10,000-12,000 per month.
However, due to the increase in realty prices in the recent years, coupled with high cost of living in the city, the industry has been witnessing a labour crunch.
“Despite our promise to train and employ them, we are not getting labourers. Workers are not willing to relocate to Gurgaon due to high cost of living. The city at Tapukara in Haryana-Rajasthan border will have full-fledged facilities for labour, with active support of Rajasthan government. So, in near future, industries from Gurgaon and Haryana may move to Rajasthan. If this happens, state will lose a huge share of revenue,” said Gautam Nair, MD, Matrix Clothing, Udyog Vihar VI.
* Increase in cotton price hits textile sector:
With the landing price of cotton in Coimbatore shooting up to more than Rs. 50,000 a candy, cotton yarn prices have also gone up. This has resulted in slow demand of yarn from weavers and garment manufacturers.
According to industry sources, prices of hank yarn has increased by Rs. 4 a kg, warp yarn by Rs. 10 a kg and hosiery yarn by Rs. 7 a kg during the last one month.
M. Kumarasamy, a job working power loom weaver at Somanur, says that yarn supply to the job working power loom units has reduced during the last two months because of the yarn price.
The master weavers supply yarn to the job working units once a week. They have reduced the quantity supplied every week because of the price.
16:15:32 local time PAKISTAN
* Workers to protest against price hike, poverty:
Representatives of the trade union and workers, under the aegis of the Pakistan Workers’ Confederation (PWC), have decided to observe a protest on September 4, 2013 against the price hike, rising unemployment and poverty in the country.
This was decided at a conference organised by the PWC at the Press Club here on Aug 22. Ms Rubina Jameel, the PWC president, chaired the meeting. On the occasion, workers also demanded a minimum wage of Rs18,000 per month.
Workers said the government should review the labour legislation and remove all restrictions on the formation of trade unions. Furthermore, they said labour laws should be brought in conformity with the ILO (International Labour Organisation) and should be enforced so that safe working conditions for workers were ensured.
read more. & read more.
* Pakistan Workers Confederation to hold protest:
Workers of government institutions and private departments under the aegis of Pakistan Workers Confederation (PFC) have announced to observe protest day on September 4 against price hike, unemployment and rising poverty.
The decision to this effect was announced in the National Delegates Conference of the Pakistan Workers Confederation, which was presided over by Robina Jameel, president of the confederation, and attended by hundreds of union workers of different departments.
Khurshid Ahmad, general secretary of the confederation, presented a detailed report about the activities of the confederation pertaining to economic and social problems faced by the working class in particular and the poor masses in general. He appealed to patriotic forces to join hands with the working class to establish an egalitarian society through concerted struggle and defeat the ethnic, parochial and religious, sectarian and terrorist forces and ensuring dignity of working men and women and equal opportunity for each child to have access to meaningful education and every young to gain employment, abolish the abuse of child and bonded labour and discrimination against women in society.
* Textile mills to focus on welfare of workers:
The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) has decided to adopt the ‘Triple Bottom Line’ concept relating to the welfare of workers, environment and profits as a part of its social corporate responsibility to launch a soft image of Pakistan internationally.
The Aptma Chairman Ahsan Bashir said that for the first time in last three years the textile millers had seen their concerns about energy supply addressed, adding 90 percent of the textile mills are operating at full capacities. He thanked the new government for accepting the proposal of the industry on staggering gas supplies over seven days that would go a long way in achieving the real export potential of the country in textiles.
He said only fully operating industries could not increase exports, adding that to achieve real potential we need to be socially-compliant and have an adequate market access. He said the country is expecting a big market access in January 2014 after getting the GSP plus from the European Union. He said the social compliance issues would play an important role in accelerating exports.
read more. & read more.
* APTMA delegation calls on Governor Punjab:
APTMA delegation, led by its Chairman Ahsan Bashir called on Governor Punjab Ch Muhammad Sarwar on Friday and apprised him about initiatives taken to promote positive image of Pakistan in world to increase textile trade ahead.
Group Leader APTMA Gohar Ejaz also introduced Raza Jaffer, a renowned Dubai-based Pakistani businessman and philanthropist, helping out APTMA in adopting Triple Bottom Line, i.e., People, Plant and Profit in order to ensure social and environmental responsibility measures in textile industry.
* Textile industry looks inward:
“Aptma is engaging all its members to ensure the welfare of their workers including health, safety and education of their children as a part of the Triple bottom Line strategy”, said Asim Fayyaz, who heads the Aptma committee on improving the image of the country.
“Aptma is engaging all its members in ensuring welfare of their workers including health, safety and education of their children as a part of the Triple bottom Line strategy”, Fayyaz said.
Aptma has already established a Sustainability Cell that ensures efficient use of energy and conservation of water. He said that mills are being asked to ensure that they treat they conserve and treat water to protect the environment.
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* Aptma initiative to double exports:
All-Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) would launch a new initiative from Jan 1, 2014 to improve the image of Pakistani textiles around the world to double the industry’s exports to $26 billion over the next three to four years in the wake of free market access from the European Union.
The initiative — Triple Bottom Line (TBL) — is meant to make and project the entire textile supply chain environment-friendly and socially responsible industry towards the people. Aptma has already hired a Dubai-based Pakistani businessman and lobbyist, Raza Jaffar, for implementing the TBL (Planet, People and Profit) initiative and improving the image of the industry.
It also plans to organise textile shows in the US and European countries to create contacts with major buyers in those markets.
Aptma chairman Ahsan Bashir said a comprehensive strategy was being evolved to take full advantage of the free market access under the EU’s GSP+ system.
* Textile, clothing exports rise:
Pakistan’s export of textile and clothing products witnessed a double digit growth in the first month of the current fiscal year from a year ago.
The export proceeds from these sectors rebounded following substantial increase in exports of raw cotton, showed data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics here on Thursday.
Export of textile and clothing surged to $1.136 billion in July 2013 from $1.090bn during the corresponding month of last year.
Textile and clothing products, which witnessed a negative growth are cotton carded and yarn other than cotton yarn in July 2013 over the same month last year.
* Power tariff hike to render textile sector uncompetitive:
The Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers & Exporters Association (PRGMEA) has strongly criticized the abrupt increase of 74 per cent in electricity rates by the new government and urged the authorities to withdraw the jump as it would render local value-added textile industry uncompetitive in the international market.
PRGMEA Central President Sajid Saleem Minhas said that it is understandable if the tariff is raised by 5 or 10% but the drastic jump of 74% is totally illogical.
He said that the hike in electricity tariff would make garment export costlier and render Pakistani 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.
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* Textile sector slams gas tariff hike:
The gas tariff hike for captive power plants (CPPs) by Rs85 per MMBtu and the recent increase of electricity tariff would render the value-added textile sector’s exports uncompetitive in the international market.
One crisis after another is seriously mauling the ailing and dying value-added textile export sector, increasing the cost of doing business. This sudden announcement of gas price increase has sent a wave of mourning for the value added sector, lamented Jawed Bilwani, central chairman of the Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PHMA).
“It is indeed most surprising and really unethical that a democratic government without OGRA and NEPRA hearing and without consultations with the stakeholders has suddenly pushed up gas tariff for CPPs, which is unprecedented,” he said.
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* Power breakdowns put leather sector growth in minus:
The leather sector is facing stagnation and its exports have declined by more than 14 per cent during the last five years from $1.22 billion in fiscal year 2007-08 to $1 billion in 2012-13, mainly due to energy crisis and frequent loadshedding of electricity and gas.
Requesting for uninterrupted electricity supply to continuous process industry of leather tanning to Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Federal Minister Water & Power, the PTA central chairman Agha Saiddain in a letter, has observed that growth rate of leather sector exports was in minus and exports reduced to 14 per cent as against positive growth in the region with 47 per cent, 40 per cent, and 102 per cent in China, India and Bangladesh, respectively during last five years.
* PHMA resents raise in gas tariffs:
The value-added textile sector fears that the government’s announcement to raise gas tariffs will make it lose competitiveness on global markets in the wake of mounting cost of production.
“The government’s announcement to increase gas tariffs by Rs 85 per mmbtu for captive power plants [CPPs] will pull down the already stagnant output of value-added textile sector,” said central chairman
of Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PHMA), Javed Bilwani. The recent increase in power rates would turn the value-added textiles costlier on the world market, he warned, saying “the cost of business has touched new heights to fail exporters to strike annual basis deals with global buyers”.
* APTPMA flays 17.5pc gas price hike:
All Pakistan Textile Processing Mills Association (APTPMA) has strongly opposed the recent gas price hike of 17.5pc for captive power plants by the Govt which is against growth and development of textile processing industry already facing energy crisis since last many years.
These grave apprehensions were expressed by Central Chairman, All Pakistan Textile Processing Mills Association (APTPMA), through a press release issued by the APTPMA Headquarters, Faisalabad.
Giving detail of his contention, Chairman APTPMA said that textile processing industry is generating electricity from gas generators to cope the energy crisis faced by the textile processing industry since last many years and trying to run their factory during severe electricity load-shedding of about 10-12 hours daily.
* Bill for GSP plus status for Pak exporters in January: Governor:
A bill to grant GSP plus status to textile exports from Pakistan will be tabled in European Parliament in the first week of January 2014.
This was stated by Punjab Governor Muhammad Sarwar while addressing members of the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) during his maiden visit to the FCCI here on Sunday.
He said that textile was the major industry that was earning precious foreign exchange for the country, but unfortunately it was facing complicated and ticklish issues due to domestic as well as international crisis.
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* Economic growth: GSP Plus status will create 1 million jobs, says governor:
“The bill to grant GSP Plus status to Pakistani textile exports will be tabled in European Parliament in January 2014…I will make efforts to get it passed,” Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar said on Sunday.
He was addressing the members of the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Sarwar said eight Pakistani members of the United Kingdom Parliament were also lobbying for GSP Plus status for Pakistan.
“The country’s foreign exchange reserves will go up and the textile producers… would be able to enhance their exports,” he said.
He said textile was a major industry.
16:15:32 local time UZBEKISTAN
* Uzbekistan’s 2013 cotton output to remain at 2012 level :