in the news on-line, 4 Sept. 2013

map of asia ASIA

* Harassment and Violence:

Throughout the garment industry, unacceptable working conditions make an already difficult working day significantly worse.

In many garment factories, harassment and violence are not uncommon. Violence is frequently threatened or used against workers, by supervisors, employers, the police, state security forces, strike breakers and others. Workers are often beaten and sometimes killed for organising into unions and demanding better working conditions.

The majority of workers within the garment industry are women, who are particularly vulnerable to abuse. They are frequently subjected to humiliating searches, verbal and physical abuse, and sexual harassment in the workplace, as well as fearing assault and rape on the way home from the factory late at night.

Elina, a garment worker in an Indonesian factory PT Busana Prima Global, reports: “There is a lot of verbal abuse. Management calls us names throughout the time we are working. They call us ‘stupid’, ‘lazy’, ‘useless’, ‘bastard’s child’. They say, ‘you don’t deserve any better’. There is physical abuse as well. Our ears are often pulled, and managers yell directly into our ears.”

At a factory visited by the Clean Clothes Campaign in Lesotho, women workers reported being searched (by women supervisors) every day when leaving the factory. Some women were forced to take off their clothes to show that they were not stealing anything. Workers from this factory have reported rape as they walk home from late overtime work, but management still refused to provide late night transport. Indonesian women workers report that  “pretty girls in the factory are harassed by male managers. They come on to the girls, call them into their offices, whisper into their ears, touch them (…) bribe them with money and threaten them with losing their jobs if they don’t have sex with them.”

Pregnant Workers
Women are also discriminated against if they plan to start, or already have, a family. In some garment factories, women applying for work are asked if they are married, going out with men, planning to have children, and using birth control. Some employers will only hire unmarried women with no children and some make each woman sign an agreement not to get pregnant as long as she works at the factory. Compulsory tests at the time of recruiting are common – women who are pregnant or
refuse the test are not hired.
read more.
labour behind the label

* Asian industry needs to move to next level:

More productive services sector also important as region strives to reduce dependence on agriculture.

To transform themselves into high-income economies, more Asian countries have to continue with industrialisation, although the process of change will not be as rapid as what happened with economies such as Japan and South Korea, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

However, the transformation may not be as the region still relies heavily on agricultural activities, even in countries such as Thailand and Malaysia where industry is relatively well developed, said Dr Jesus Felipe, an adviser to ADB’s Economics and Research Department.

More than 700 million people in Asia work in the agricultural sector, accounting for 42.8% of total employment in the combined agricultural, industrial and service sectors, he said recently in Bangkok. The share is huge if compared with developed economies.

The percentage of workers in agriculture in Asia is similar to that of the developed world nearly two centuries ago. In the United Kingdom, for example, 60% of workers were in agriculture in 1700 and the number fell to 40% in 1820. By 1890, with Britain established as one of the world’s biggest industrial powers, the share of agricultural labour had fallen to 16% and in 1980 it was just 2.5%.
read more.

* Foreign investors in Vietnam consider Cambodia, Myanmar as alternatives:

Foreign investors disenchanted with Vietnam are considering moving to neighboring countries such as Cambodia and Myanmar, VietnamNet Bridge reported Tuesday.

“A lot of foreign invested associations have warned they are considering leaving Vietnam for the more attractive markets, like Cambodia or Myanmar,” the report said.
It added that a recent survey by the European Chamber of Commerce (Eurocham) in Vietnam found that 20 percent of its members were considering plans to head for other markets.
read more.

* US firms scope TPP benefits:

Vietnam’s involvement in high-profile Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations is drawing attention from international investors.

VIR’s Hien Hanh spoke with Richard Vuylsteke, president of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Hong Kong, who headed a business delegation to Hanoi last week, regarding opportunities AmCham members are eyeing in Vietnam in anticipation of the TPP accord.

TPP is a regional free trade agreement that includes the US, Japan and Vietnam among the 12 negotiators. The 19th round of TPP negotiations started last week in Brunei after reportedly a “successful” round in Malaysia last month. Is the aim of your delegation’s visit to lobby the Vietnamese government to expedite the negotiations, so the deal could be signed by the end of the year as many expect?

There are two major reasons behind our trip. Over the last couple of years we have witnessed changes in China’s policy. China’s policy has shifted to encouraging investments in high-tech sectors, and away from labour-intensive fields or sectors which are big consumers of natural resources. Also, the Chinese government has now encouraged products earmarked for domestic consumption, instead of exports. For this reason we are looking for other more suitable investment venues.

Most of our delegation members are textile and footwear companies which account for $3 billion in Vietnam exports. Before coming to Vietnam, we made field trips to Bangladesh, Myanmar and Cambodia. From my perspective as president of AmCham in Hong Kong, Bangladesh may not be a good place for investment due to safety concerns, while Vietnam is high on our radar screen. Vietnam has political stability, which makes it an attractive place to expand investment.
read more

* US’s controversial TPP proposal is smoking gun for corporate agenda :

Vietnam and other countries involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations face aggressive interference from Big Tobacco in the passage and implementation of public health policies, critics warn

The US government has sought to include tobacco in a regional free-trade pact, which would enable tobacco companies to use trade rules to compromise government anti-smoking regulations.

In talks that began August 23 in Brunei for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), if the US proposal is accepted, Big Tobacco could sue countries that enact anti-smoking laws deemed to be in breach of the TPP, health groups say.
In May 2012 the early drafts of the agreement envisaged creating “safe harbor” provisions protecting national tobacco control measures – like package warnings and advertising and marketing restrictions – from being challenged under the agreement.
read more.

09:17:25 local time map of mongolia MONGOLIA

* Minimum monthly wage now 192,000 MNT:

In April 2013, an increase to the minimum monthly wage was agreed upon by the Confederation of Mongolian Trade Unions and the Trilateral National Committee on Labor and Social Consensus (TNCLSC).

It was decided that the increased would be effective on September 1, 2013. Thus the national minimum monthly wage hereby increases by 36.7 percent from 140,400 MNT to 192,000 MNT, in accordance with Decree 7 issued by the TNCLSC on April 11, 2013.
The minimum monthly wage is the lowest possible monthly salary, applicable primarily to citizens that are employed in service positions that don’t require a certain level of education or skill specialization.

As reported by the Ministry of Labor, an official study showed that there are around one million citizens actively employed in Mongolia and 8.4 percent of them earn the minimum monthly wage. In other words, eight to ten percent of all employed citizens were receiving 140,000 MNT per month.
Thanks to the increase, the minimum hourly wage now increases to 1,142 MNT.
to read.

09:17:25 local time map of china CHINA

* 2 bosses held for nonpayment:

The owners of two companies have been arrested for refusing to pay a total of 880,000 yuan (US$143,793) as wages to their employees, the Fengxian District People’s Procuratorate said yesterday.

Prosecutors said one suspect, surnamed Huang, was the owner of a garment factory in Fengxian.
He never paid his staff, only handing out 500 yuan and 1,000 yuan every month as living expenses.
There are 39 female workers in his factory and the unpaid wages exceeded 440,000 yuan, prosecutors said.
read more.

* China’s apparel market to reach RMB 1.1 trillion in 2016:

According to China Apparel Industry Report, 2013-2016, China’s apparel market size will reach RMB 1.1 trillion in 2016.

In 2012-2013, China’s apparel industry continues the status of adjustment, enterprises focus on destocking, and the production grows at a low speed. In 2012, China’s apparel output was 26.728 billion pcs, up 6.2% year on year, the growth rate declined by 1.94 percentage points. In the first quarter of 2013, China’s apparel output was 5.754 billion pcs, up 1.06% year on year; the growth rate fell by 6.89 percentage points year on year.

Men’s wear is the fastest growing sector of China’s apparel market, and its share in the overall apparel market capacity increased from 36.6% in 2003 to 47.0% in 2012. In the future, with the rise of the middle class, Chinese men are paying more and more attention to appearance and fashion, and show stronger preference for apparel. The domestic men’s wear market sales are expected to reach RMB408.4 billion in 2016.
read more.

09:17:25 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* PHL harmonizing labor standards with rest of Asean:

The government is crafting the country’s skills and professional qualification standards for the Filipino work force in preparation for the integration of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) into a single market at the end of 2015.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said the goal is to harmonize the Philippine Qualifications Framework (PQF) with that of Asean’s own PQF to make the Filipino work force “employable” in time for the region’s integration.

The Asean single market allows movement of skilled workers and professionals in all of the 10 member-countries. They will get equal job opportunities and fair wages in any of the Asean economies.
read more.

08:17:25 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Migrant workers struggle to survive:

20130903 VNNewslao-dong
Workers at a shoe factory in Da Nang’s An Don Industrial Zone. Migrant workers who move from rural areas to cities face many difficulties, especially housing and public service access. — VNA/VNS Photo Tran Le Lam

Poor living and working conditions, limited access to public services and high risks of becoming involved in social evils face workers who leave rural areas to work in cities and industrial zones.

This was shown in a survey of labour migration during the past five years since Viet Nam joined the World Trade Organisation.
The survey was conducted by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and Beyond WTO Programme in 15 provinces and cities nationwide from April, 2012. A total of 7,800 migrant workers responded.

Survey findings showed that 80 per cent left their home towns because of job shortages and low incomes. However, when living in urban areas without residential registration, 18.6 per cent found difficulty in getting jobs, getting their children into school, accessing healthcare services, getting bank loans or business licences as well as benefiting from local support policies.
read more. & read more.
VNNews new VNNet

* Garment, textile industry hopeful about Pacific trade:

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.

08:17:25 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Costs may force SME relocation:

4 sectors expected to move output bases to neighbouring states

Companies in four sectors are expected to gradually relocate their manufacturing bases to neighbouring countries due to rising labour costs at home, according to the Thailand Development Research Institute.

The TDRI is urging the government to speed up the establishment of a one-stop service to facilitate businesses – especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – in making their investment decisions.

Speaking during the “Direction for Relocation of Labour-intensive Industries into Neighbouring Countries” seminar yesterday, TDRI president Somkiat Tangkitvanich said a number of labour-intensive industries would likely relocate to Myanmar, Vietnam and Cambodia, given the recent hike in the Thai minimum daily wage to Bt300.
Both Thai and foreign investors – particularly in the garment, shoes, leather products, jewellery and accessories industries – may relocate their manufacturing bases to neighbouring countries, and especially to Myanmar and Vietnam, which have quality human resources and low raw-material costs, Somkiat said.

Myanmar could become an export base for third-country manufacturers as the United States is considering lifting its economic sanctions against the nation and allowing it to benefit from Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) benefits. The European Union is also considering granting GSP privileges to Myanmar, he said.

Despite its higher land and electricity costs, Myanmar has much lower wages than its neighbours, he said. This means its total production costs are some 10-15 per cent lower than in neighbouring countries.
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08:17:25 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Asics pays union-agreed compensation after collapse:

The families of two workers killed when the roof of the Wing Star factory collapsed in May received compensation from the factory owner and the sole buyer, sportswear brand ASICS.
It is the first time this calculation, set up by Bangladeshi unions, is used outside Bangladesh.

Twelve other workers injured in the collapse have also received payouts. The agreement, witnessed by the ILO, follows negotiations between the brand and the Solidarity Center, supported by CLEC and WRC.

The compensation sought for loss of earnings and pain and suffering for the families of the deceased was based on the “Bangladesh formula”, developed following the Spectrum collapse and Hameem fire in Bangladesh, using modified inflation figures. Injured workers also received compensation and their medical costs have been paid. In addition, re-employment for the injured workers in Wingstar has been secured.  Once all legally-due payments from the National Social Security Fund have been received, injured workers and the families of the deceased will have received the full compensation amount according to the formula.

As these are the first deaths in Cambodian garment factories to be officially recorded, the use of the formula sets a clear precedent for other brands to follow in the future, should there be further fatalities.
read more.

* Gov’t warns unions on demo:

At least one union leader is butting heads with the Ministry of Labour as he encourages workers to join the planned opposition party demonstration on Saturday.

A letter from the ministry sent to factories on Monday called on workers and unions to avoid participation in the planned Cambodia National Rescue Party demonstration, asserting that the “propagandising of some politicians could affect [workers’] living standards and create disorder in society”.
Going directly against that advice, Rong Chhun, president of the more than 100,000 member Cambodia Confederation of Unions – which has historically been linked to the opposition – has encouraged workers to actively participate in the demonstration.
read more.
PPP new

09:17:25 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Basuki Supports Raising the Minimum Wage as Living Costs Increase:

Thousands of workers staged a demonstration in front of City Hall to demand a monthly minimum wage increase of 68 percent in the Jakarta area and 5 percent nationwide.

Protestors said the minimum wage hike to Rp 3.7 million ($337) from Rp 2.2 million per month was in accordance with the real wage needs based on the latest government survey.
Muhamad Rusdi, secretary general of the Confederation of Indonesian Workers Unions (KSPI), said a meeting by the Jakarta Wage Council in Ancol, North Jakarta, did not accommodate workers’ interests.
“We, from the workers’ forum, reject the result of the meeting held in Ancol by the wage council. The meeting didn’t represent the workers’ interests,” Rusdi said on Tuesday.
read more.

07:17:25 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Wages: Concerns and opportunities:

On the evening of the second of November, almost all the channels were broadcasting a clip of Dan Mozena, the US Ambassador to Bangladesh announcing that America will not buy from Bangladesh.

That was one clip and what he had meant was that the US buyers would shy away from buying products made in Bangladesh if pending labour issues are not addressed and if labour situation does not improve in the country. Apart from that, he had also expressed the hope that Bangladesh would excel in garments and beat China in no time. Yet the clip that was focused on, was the single statement of the US not wanting to buy from Bangladesh.

Very often, we pick clips or short flashes of media, which have a bigger story to tell. But thanks to Tazreen and Rana Plaza, the manufacturing community has been dominating all media: electronic and social both. Similarly, most of us also have the habit of choosing popular issues and concentrating on them.
For instance, when Rana collapsed, the points that were raised had everything to do with the safety and security of the workers.
But since, the safety and the security of the workers was a more complicated and time-consuming job, the first thing that the authorities did, was announce the formation of the minimum wage board. I guess, that was the most addressable bet on the table.

As a result, today, right before the next Eid, we are reading many reports of workers occupying the streets, vandalizing manufacturing units, asking for extra allowances which were not given earlier and the like.
The extra demands consist of transportation allowance: (varying from Taka (Tk) 200 to Tk 400), lunch allowance (varying from Tk 650 to Tk 700/-), attendance bonus (varying from Tk 300 to Tk 500/-). And of course, they are all waiting for the minimum wage to be revised.
Let’s take a quick look at the wage structure and assess the impacts of the revision. At present, we have seven grades of workers.
Let us examine 2/3 grades of wage structure to comprehend the situation better. For grade 7, the current wage of Tk 3000.00 comprises of a basic pay of Tk 2000.00, house rent of Tk 800.00 (40% of basic)and Tk 200.00 for medical allowance, along with a two hours’ general overtime of Tk 1000/-.
If the minimum wage is raised to Tk 4000.00, the workers in this grade would receive Tk 1285.71 for the extra two hours of overtime (OT). Their total pay would be Tk 5285.71 per worker.
If it’s raised to Tk 4500.00, then the workers take-home including general OT would be Tk 6257.14 per worker. If the ceiling were to be raised to Tk 5000.00, then the take-home would be Tk 6971.43. In a factory of 1000 workers, approximately 10% belongs to grade 7.
That would mean, a factory that pays grade 7 workers Tk 400,000.00 as a total amount of wages (100x 4000/-) with an increase to Tk 4500.00 per worker, total wage in that factory of 1000 workers would go up to Tk 625714.3, causing an increase of Tk 225714.3.
For grade 3, which generally has the highest number of workers, in the same factory of 1000, where 500 belong to this grade, an increase of minimum wage to Taka 4500.00 per worker would mean an aggregate increase of Tk 1167571.42, resulting in an increase of 41%.
read more.

* Much lower wage for highest export earners:

Workers in the apparel sector, which is the highest export earner, rank the 20th among 29 sectors having legal monthly minimum wages effected or revised since 2007.

Of the 38 sectors having set minimum pay, wages in five were effected between 1983 and 1994. Wages in four of the sectors are calculated on a daily work basis. There are four other sectors were minimum wages have been proposed.

Officials at the labour and employment ministry and in the wage board said that the highest minimum wage, Tk 9,882, is three times the minimum wage of Tk 3,000 in the apparel sector, which not earns the highest foreign exchange from export but is also the largest of the 38 sectors in employing workers, mostly female.

The minimum wage in the tannery sector is Tk 8,750 across country and Tk 9,300 in divisional headquarters. Such wage for workers in the oil mills and vegetable products sector is Tk 7,420.
The minimum wage in the private transport sector is Tk 6,300, in automatic re-rolling mills Tk 6,100 , in semi-automatic re-rolling mills Tk 5,200, and in manual re-rolling mills Tk 4,600. The wage in the cold storage sector is Tk  6,050, almost double that in the apparel sector.
read more.
BD new age

* Raise CM charges to help RMG sector implement new wages for workers:

The country’s ready-made garment (RMG) exporters are going to place a proposal to the international buyers for increasing ‘the cutting and making (CM)’ charges to help them implement the upcoming wage board awards for workers.

Industry insiders said the production cost of RMG items in the country had been increasing by more than 20 to 25 per cent annually, but the prices were not increasing commensurate with it.
They also said their production cost was increasing, but the international buyers were offering a price that was 15 to 20 per cent lower, for which they could hardly make any profit.
Atiqul Islam, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) said, “We are set to place a proposal to the buyers for negotiating increase in CM charges.”
read more.

* 20 injured as RMG workers clash with police:

20130902 NEWSTODAY
Police club workers of Fuji Knit Wears Ltd as the garment workers stage demonstration on Tuesday demanding arrear wages and reopening of the factory. Photo: Banglar Chokh- NewsToday.

At least 20 people, including four labour leaders, were injured as garment workers and the police clashed at Chashara in Narayanganj on Tuesday afternoon.

The clash took place as the police charged batons and fired rubber bullets on the agitated workers of Fuji Knitwear to disperse them from the street. The workers were staging demonstration  following lay-off of the factory and demanding immediate reopening of their factory, said witnesses and victims.
Sources said the workers of the export-oriented sweater factory, which was closed sine die on August 27, staged rowdy demonstration for resumption of production under the banner of Ganasanghati Shramik Andalon in the morning.

After the demonstration, the workers being infuriated by the sudden decision of shutdown by the factory management, blockaded Chashara link road and disrupted traffic movement on the road for nearly an hour.
Police rushed in and charged with batons and fired rubber bullets on the workers to disperse them from the road.

At one stage, the workers engaged in a chase and counter-chase with the law enforcers leaving at least 20 workers injured, including Advocate Montu Ghosh, chairman of Bangladesh Trade Union’s central committee, Narayanganj CPB president Hafizul Islam, as well as labour leaders Anjan Das and Amal Akash.
Managing Director of Fuji Knitwear Delwar Hossain told, “We had to shut down the 100 percent export-oriented factory over an unethical labour movement on August 27, leaving around 900 workers unemployed.”
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
primenews   UNB newstodayBD BD new age NewNation BSS

* RMG workers besiege BGMEA Bhaban:

Several hundred workers of Masihata Sweaters Limited in Gazipur on Tuesday besieged BGMEA Bhaban in the city’s Karwanbazar calling for a halt to physical torture by law enforcement agencies and local goons engaged by the factory owner.

The protesting workers came to the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association headquarters and staged demonstration at around 2:30pm demanding punishment for factory owner accusing him of hiring local goons to beat up their fellows for demanding fare wages.
During the protests, the workers also demanded that Tk 8,000 be fixed as the minimum wage for garment workers by the wage board.
They also demanded the establishment of their rights to trade union.
read more.
BD new age

* Differences between European, N American safety plans:

Stakeholders, workers’ unions and think tanks are weighing safety plans taken by North American and European-led groups of global brands and retailers for Bangladesh’s garment factories, according to different western newspapers.

North American and European-led retailers and apparel brands have recently adopted two separate plans to improve safety standards in garment factories through regular inspections.

Global retailers in Europe and North America, including the United States, have taken the initiatives to improve workplace safety following the Rana Plaza collapse that killed 1,129 RMG workers and maimed many in April.

However, there are some significant differences in the safety plans, which have the ultimate goal of ensuring workplace safety for garment workers in Bangladesh, the world’s second biggest exporter of ready-made garments after China.
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* Owners ready to sign deal to relocate tanneries:

Tannery owners are set to sign a deal with the government for relocating the hazardous tanneries from the capital’s Hazaribagh to Savar in two weeks.

The deal will be signed with Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC), according to a decision taken at a meeting hosted by the shipping ministry yesterday.
“We are ready to sign the deal whenever BSCIC wants,” Md Abdul Hai, general secretary of Bangladesh Tanners Association, told The Daily Star.
Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan also asked the tannery owners to submit the layouts of their factories to be built in Savar to BSCIC in two months.
read more.
daily star bd

* BD’s booming leather industry costs lives, environment dearly:

Inside the factory, shirtless workers stretch freshly dyed sheets of goat leather across industrial drying racks.

Sleek and durable, the leather is in great demand at fashion houses from Italy to Hong Kong, feeding a global appetite for Bangladesh-made clothing that has boosted the country’s export earnings more than 20 per cent in the past year. But outside, under the glaring sun, it’s clear who’s paying the price.

Toxic runoff, the color of crude oil, is discharged into open gutters that course their way through jam-packed streets and makeshift housing, en route to city waterways. Seated by one of the gutters on his tea break is a gaunt Saddam Hossein – he is 23, but looking 10 years older and his hands are scarred from processing chemicals. “It’s hard labor,” he says. “But what else can I do?”, according to a report of Time World.

Bangladesh has become synonymous with cheap, ready-made garments and – in the wake of April’s Rana Plaza disaster – the appalling cost of fast fashion. Less notorious but no less grim is its booming leather industry, where workers and environment are degraded to sustain a billion-dollar business. Nearly all the country’s 206 tanneries are concentrated in one area – Hazaribagh, a cramped, filthy neighborhood in southwestern Dhaka, the sprawling capital.
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                           THE SAVAR BUILDING COLLAPSE

* BASIS makes donations to 40 Rana Plaza victims:

Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) yesterday distributed Tk 8 lakh among 40 victims of the Rana Plaza tragedy in an effort to improve their lives.

“Although it is a small contribution, it will encourage other corporate firms to come forward to assist the victims and their families,” said AKM Fahim Mashroor, president of BASIS, who handed over the cheques of Tk 20,000 each to the victims.
Two rescuers were also awarded at the event for their contribution to saving the victims of the building collapse. The association is set to remunerate 10 more victims of Rana Plaza.
to read.
daily star bd

06:47:25 local time map of india INDIA

* Upset workers threaten to commit suicide:

Six employees of a textile manufacturing company, near Nanjangud, in Mysore district threatened to commit suicide on Tuesday as they were upset about not receiving their wages for the last couple of months.

According to information reaching here, they reportedly climbed a chimney on the company premises and threatened to jump from it for “delaying the release of their salaries”.
However, after reportedly receiving an assurance from the company authorities, the employees climbed down from the chimney. It is learnt that a meeting has been convened to discuss the issue.
The police did not receive a complaint in this connection.
to read.
Return to frontpage

* ‘Garment village’ in mute mode:

20130904 THEHINDU
Activities at a manufacturing unit at Puthanatham in Tiruchi district have come to a standstill due to acute power shortage. Photo: A. Muralitharan

Unscheduled power shutdown wreaking havoc on the garment industry

The buzz of hundreds of sewing machines is paused for hours together. In between, power generators enjoy a few hours of life. Close to Deepavali, the order books have not been filled and mobile phones do not ring continuously. The readymade garment units stacked along the Dindigul Road at Puthanatham village near Manaparai have a long lunch break and longer tea breaks.

The return of unannounced power shutdown in the last few days has hit the tiny and cottage units, which are yet to recover from the shock of last year’s 16-hour power shutdown. The power shutdown is experienced in two spells of three hours each during day and a nocturnal spell of an hour.

These units produce a variety of garments for both men and women for supply throughout the State and Kerala.

“The Ramzan season has been very bad for us. The return of long hours of power cut does not augur well for Deepavali,” says T.A.K. Hidayathullah, who has been in the business for 27 years. When profit margins have tumbled on the impact of economic crisis, the slowdown caused by power shutdown has aggravated the woes of this “garment village”.
read more. & read more.
Return to frontpage

* India’s Madhya Pradesh to get new textile park:

A new textile park would be coming up in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, Union Textile Minister K Sambasiva Rao has said.
Speaking at the National Textile Summit 2013 held in Indore, the Minister said a textile park would be set up in the city of Indore. This would be the second textile park in the state, as an integrated textile park is already coming up in Chhindwara district.
Minister Rao also announced that the Central Government would be sanctioning Rs. 400 million for the textile park and would also establish a three-member committee for the upcoming project.
read more.

06:47:25 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* Renaissance of the handloom :

It is done with passion, love, strength and a beat. Watching an artisan weaving a handloom fabric is like watching an artist creating a masterpiece. Hand looming is often considered decorating a textile with passion.

The loom weaves sensational fabrics with the artisan’s strength and the pattern is given in a mathematical order for weaving. Interlacing two sets of yarns at right angles to each other, the one that is called the wrap runs lengthwise in the loom.
The other, which is the filling, weft or woof, runs crosswise.
The raising and lowering series of warp threads in various sequences gives many possible weave structures. Handloom is a traditional industry which dates back to many centuries. Today, the industry is still kept alive, with a handful of artisans weaving with passion.

Early traditions
The handloom industry in Sri Lanka dates back to the very beginning of the island’s history. The story of the textile industry starts with Vijaya, the first king of Sri Lanka. In the legendary story of Vijaya and Kuveni, it is said that Princess Kuveni was found spinning cotton when Prince Vijaya first arrived in our land.
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06:17:25 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Punjab government urged to formulate policy for working women:

Secretary General Woman Workers Union Shaheena Kausar has called upon the Punjab Government to accelerate the process to formulate a comprehensive policy for the betterment and uplift of working women in the province.

Addressing a meeting of the Woman Working Union on Sep 2 Shaheena Kausar said that according to the 18th amendment Labour is now a provincial subject and formulation of all policies and legislations related to the Labour and workers is the responsibility of the provinces so its a prime time for the Punjab government to finalize the policy for the working woman.

Shaheena said that WWU submitted recommendations for the proposed policy. She called upon the government to accelerate the pace of work to give a final shape to the policy and also ensure its effective implementation in the province. She demanded that provincial government to ensure that appointment letters should be issued to women workers which is essential under the labour laws and all working women’s should have issued the Social Security cards and provided with the medical facilities.

The General Secretary of WWU also demanded that all working women’s must provide with the Employee’s Old Age Benefit Institution (EOBI) cards. She said government should implement on the minimum wages law according to which minimum wage is 10,000 and salaries should be transferred in their bank accounts and government has to ensure that women workers are not supposed to work after 7:00pm and it should be strictly implemented.
read more.  & read more.

* Trade: EU to strengthen relationship with Pakistan:

On Tuesday a British Member of European Parliament (MEP) and Chair of the European Parliament Friends of Pakistan, said that there was a clear and long term strategy for the European Union (EU) and Pakistan to build strong links on a wide range of issues including trade, security and policy.

The GSP Plus scheme with Pakistan has been progressing steadily through the European Parliament and has received strong support from a wide range of MEPs. He said “The EU has also launched other successful initiatives with Pakistan such as the EU-Pakistan Five Year Engagement Plan and the first Strategic Dialogue in Islamabad last year with Baroness Ashton.”

The EU recognises that trade is a powerful engine for economic prosperity and democratic strength. EU is keen to continue its growing relationship with Pakistan and support the country through this vital time,” he added.
to read.

06:17:25 local time map of uzbekistan UZBEKISTAN

* The EU must act to end cotton slave labour in Uzbekistan:

A Uzbek boy pulls a bag with cotton collected on the field some 50 km south from Tashkent. The forme..
An Uzbek boy dumps harvested cotton onto a truck in Tashkent Oblast (Photo/Reuters/Shamil Zhumatov)

It would be nice to be able to report that this revenue contributes to social and economic development for the ordinary Uzbeks.

But it doesn’t, unless you regard paying Sting over one million US dollars to sing for President Islam Karimov’s daughter as vital for the well-being of its 30 million citizens.
The story of Uzbek cotton is not just one of domestic corruption and the venality of a once idealistic pop star.
Cotton is a “bitter crop”, as Sting once sang, for ordinary Uzbeks who are enslaved to harvest it.
Approximately half of all Uzbekistan’s cotton is picked by state-sponsored forced labour.
Human rights groups estimate that hundreds of thousands of children and adults are involved each year.

Each citizen is given a daily quota; even for children this can reach up to 60 kg of cotton a day. Those who fail to meet their targets, or who pick a low quality crop, are reportedly punished by beatings, detention or told that their grades, work, or benefits will suffer.
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map of Asia


* Harassment and Violence
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* Foreign investors in Vietnam consider Cambodia, Myanmar as alternatives
* US firms scope TPP benefits
* US’s controversial TPP proposal is smoking gun for corporate agenda

* Minimum monthly wage now 192,000 MNT

* 2 bosses held for nonpayment
* China’s apparel market to reach RMB 1.1 trillion in 2016

* PHL harmonizing labor standards with rest of Asean

* Migrant workers struggle to survive
* Garment, textile industry hopeful about Pacific trade

* Costs may force SME relocation

* Asics pays union-agreed compensation after collapse
* Gov’t warns unions on demo

* Basuki Supports Raising the Minimum Wage as Living Costs Increase

* Wages: Concerns and opportunities
* Much lower wage for highest export earners
* Raise CM charges to help RMG sector implement new wages for workers
* 20 injured as RMG workers clash with police
* RMG workers besiege BGMEA Bhaban
* Differences between European, N American safety plans
* Owners ready to sign deal to relocate tanneries
* BD’s booming leather industry costs lives, environment dearly
* BASIS makes donations to 40 Rana Plaza victims

* Upset workers threaten to commit suicide
* ‘Garment village’ in mute mode
* India’s Madhya Pradesh to get new textile park

* Renaissance of the handloom

* Punjab government urged to formulate policy for working women
* Trade: EU to strengthen relationship with Pakistan

* The EU must act to end cotton slave labour in Uzbekistan

latest tweets (& news)

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

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

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

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

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