in the news on-line, 5 Sept. 2013

map of asia ASIA

* Working Hours:

Unacceptable working conditions are often accompanied by long and unrealistic working hours. 

Factory managers often force overtime, particularly when deadlines are imminent.  In many cases, overtime is demanded at the last minute and workers are given no choice; any protest on their part could lead to dismissal.
Long working hours without sufficient breaks can then lead to health problems.  Women in particular, have been reported to struggle with the demands of a stressful factory environment combined with pressures from home; many women working in the garment industry are solely responsible for their families.
Whilst garment workers are attempting to support themselves and their families, stressful conditions are making this task even tougher.

Long working hours and forced overtime are a major concern among garment workers.  Factory managers typically push employees to work between 10 and 12 hours, sometimes 16 to 18 hours a day.
When order deadlines loom, working hours get longer.  A seven-day working week is becoming the norm during the peak season, particularly in China, despite limits placed by the law.

Phan, a 22-year-old machinist in a Thai garment factory, gives this account of life at her factory:

“We work from 8 am till noon, then have our lunch break. After lunch we work from 1 to 5 pm. We do overtime every day, from 5.30 pm. During the peak season, we work until 2 or 3 am. Although exhausted, we have no choice. We cannot refuse overtime: our basic wage is too low. If we want to rest, our employer forces us to keep working”.

Overtime is usually compulsory. Workers are mostly informed at the last minute that they are expected to work extra hours.  In many instances, workers report being threatened with dismissal and subjected to penalties as well as verbal abuse if they cannot work the additional hours.
One report tells how a Bulgarian factory which supplies European brands imposes fines on those who do not work the overtime required; how Chinese workers were fined RMB 30 (US$ 3.60) for refusing to work overtime; and how workers from three other Chinese factories were prevented from resigning during peak production periods by having several weeks’ wages withheld by management.
Often, workers are not paid the overtime rate stipulated by law.
read more.
labour behind the label

* Women, Garment Work and Safety: Clothes to Die For?:

A rickety garment factory in Bangladesh collapses. Scores of garment workers, most of them women, are killed. Companies selling clothes manufactured at this and other contract garment factories demand action to improve worker safety. Under pressure, the Bangladeshi government agrees to take steps to improve safety, including an inspection program and multi-stakeholder oversight. It’s 2004.
The factory is called Spectrum.

Fast forward to April 2013. Despite warnings surrounding its structural safety, the Rana Plaza factory collapses, killing over 1,100 people in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Déjà vu, anyone?
There are thousands of unsafe garment factories globally. Their owners employ mostly young women, paying them appallingly low wages. For the women, these jobs are probably their best option to support themselves and their families.
The factories are in Bangladesh, Thailand, Pakistan, Myanmar, China, Indonesia, Cambodia, India and other emerging and developing countries. Documented cases of work-related illness and deaths occur routinely every year at these factories.

Garment manufacture is one of the things that can be done in poor countries with few resources as a bootstrap to a more prosperous economy and a toehold on industrialization. It requires what one observer calls “little technology, cheap labour and little capital.”
It is also, like any enterprise that relies primarily on cost-cutting for competitiveness, vulnerable to corner-cutting to keep costs low. It is no surprise that tragedies like the Spectrum and Rana Plaza collapses happen in Bangladesh, just as they did during the early industrialization phases in scores of other countries, including the United States. Recall the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in New York in 1911, and how this tragedy led to public recognition of the poor safety standards in garment manufacture and legislation aimed at improving those standards.
read more.

* Norway to improve apparel factory safety:

The Norwegian government has committed up to NOK14.3m (US$2.3m) in funding to improve conditions for textile workers in China, Vietnam, India and Bangladesh.

The money will go to the Ethical Trading Initiative Norway (ETI) and will fund courses for manufacturers on decent work. It will see employers and employees come together to practise how to have a constructive dialogue.
Courses have been developed for manufacturers in China, India and Vietnam, with the programme now being expanded to include Bangladesh as well.

The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the goal is to have 700 manufacturers attend courses held by the ETI between 2013-2015.
“We must do whatever we can to ensure that the textile industry has safe workplaces with decent pay and good working conditions – for both men and women,” said minister of international development Heikki Eidsvoll Holmås.
read more.

07:55:49 local time map of china CHINA

* Chinese textile body promotes energy saving:

In order to implement the State Council’s second comprehensive energy saving program, the China Textile Industry Association is promoting 35 technology projects for achieving sustainable development of the textile industry.
These technology projects broadly fall into three main categories—low-carbon energy, environmental protection, and resource recycling, according to China Textile Economic Information (CTEI).
read more. 

06:55:49 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Local investors leaving Thailand:

Local investors are streaming out of Thailand to take advantage of preferential trade arrangements in neighbouring countries, the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) reported.

TDRI president Somkiat Tangkitvanich said local businesses are moving to Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam where they can enjoy export incentives for goods sold to the United States and Europe.
Mr Somkiat was commenting at a seminar organised by the TDRI and the Office of Industrial Economics on Wednesday. The TDRI president said the implementation of the 300-baht daily minimum wage nationwide has also pushed some manufacturers across the border.
read more.

06:55:49 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Hundreds fired after garment strike ends:

Management at one of Asia’s largest garment producers yesterday fired at least 600 employees, days after thousands returned to work following a two-week strike.

Most of the workers fired by SL Garment Processing (Cambodia) Ltd – which supplies Gap, Levi’s and H&M – were members of the Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union (C.CAWDU), said Chhin Sao, SL’s administrative manager.
The 600 to 700 terminations came after the employees refused to return to work, he said.
But Kong Athit, C.CAWDU’s vice president, said the company is targeting union members.“They want to have their own administrative power without consulting with a real union,” Athit said.

SL’s short notice for the firings and intended severance pay, which a C.CAWDU member said only includes last wages and annual bonuses, appear to violate the Kingdom’s labour law, said Moen Tola, head of the labour program at the Community Legal Education Center.
C.CAWDU is currently attempting to negotiate with SL, Athit said. If efforts are unsuccessful today, SL workers will begin demonstrating again.
to read.
PPP new

* Dozens collapse at factory:

Nearly 50 workers, including a woman who is seven months pregnant, fainted at a clothing factory in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district yesterday due to poor ventilation, union officials and labour-rights groups said.

The 47 employees at Wanshen Clothing (Cambodia) Co collapsed at about 3pm, said Thol Norn, president of Cambodia Federation Labor Movement. They were treated at three local private hospitals.
“The collapses occurred when fans stopped working,” Norn said.
Company officials were aware of the ventilation problem when two women initially fainted, but took no steps to protect workers, said Chhorn Sokha, a workers’ rights program officer at Community Legal Education Center.
read more.
PPP new

* Workers urged to boycott overtime work on Saturday:

The Free Trade Union of Workers of Cambodia on Thursday appealed to their 100,000 members and other workers to boycott their overtime work on Saturday.

The prominent FTUWC leader Chea Mony’s appeal coincides with the opposition the Cambodian National Rescue Party’s (CNRP) mass prayer demonstration to be held this upcoming Saturday.
The FTUWC will also take this opportunity to demand for the release of eight union members arrested in June in the Sabrina Garment Factory in Kampong Spue province, the statement added.
read more.

* Mum’s the word at yearly brand forum:

Cambodia’s biggest international garment brands met yesterday to discuss wage issues, strikes and worker conditions, among other of the industry’s most pressing topics.

But in a year marked by a fatal building collapse at the Wing Star Shoes factory in Kampong Speu, mass demonstrations, and bankruptcies that have seen brands’ names dragged through the headlines, participants were unusually tight-lipped, while the International Labour Organization’s Better Factories Cambodia – which organised the forum – repeatedly shooed away reporters attempting to speak with brand representatives.

The forum, which rotates between Cambodia and Vietnam each year, began in 2011. Brand representatives along with government officials and workers’ rights advocates attend two days of closed-door sessions where they discuss the pressing issues of the day.
Though members of the media have never been allowed inside the meetings, they have, at past conferences, been allowed to stand outside the meeting rooms and speak with attendees. At yesterday’s meeting, a BFC representative repeatedly asked reporters to leave Raffles Hotel Le Royal, where the event was held, telling them they should go through “the proper channels” rather than speaking to attendees.
read more.
PPP new

07:55:49 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* High Minimum Wage Kills Jobs:

Around 3,000 workers in Jakarta rallied in front of the City’s Governor Office demanding for an increase in the 2014 minimum wage to IDR3.7 million per month from IDR2.2 million.

According to Chairman of the Confederation of Indonesian Workers Union (KSPI) Said Iqbal, the rally was initiated by Jakarta Labor Forum, KSPI, Social Security Action Committee (KAJS) as part of the struggle from Indonesian workers to gain prosperity and decent life.

“There are 3 important points to strive for,” he told Indonesia Business Daily, Tuesday (9/3/2013).
First, the labor union demanded the wage to increase to IDR3.7 million using the calculation toward 84 components of decent living standard (KHL) and rejected government’s reference that uses 60 KHL as well as wage hike calculation worth of inflation plus 5% or 10%.
read more.

05:55:49 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Will Walmart, Benetton and Mango show they care?:

All brands, including Walmart, who are linked to the Tazreen and Rana Plaza disasters are being called on to attend meetings on compensation in Geneva on September 11 (Tazreen) and 12 (Rana Plaza) convened by IndustriALL Global Union.

The ILO has agreed to facilitate the meetings as a neutral and independent chair. Representatives of the Bangladesh government and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exports Association (BGMEA) have also been invited.

The Clean Clothes Campaign is increasing its pressure on Benetton, Mango and other fashion brands to pay full and fair compensation to victims of the Tazreen fire and Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh.
Consumers from all over Europe are using social media to call on on Mango & Benetton to come to the compensation meeting and pay Rana Plaza survivors.

The Clean Clothes Campaign expects the brands to make commitments to paying compensation and to collectively develop a mechanism with other stakeholders that will ensure the money is transparently distributed, so as to ensure the people affected can restart their lives.
Brands have been asked to confirm their attendance by the 6th September.
Ineke Zeldenrust from the Clean Clothes Campaign says: “Victims of the Tazreen fire have been waiting for over eight months to receive full compensation.
Rana Plaza victims have been struggling to survive for since the building collapsed in April. Benetton refuses to come to the meeting and Mango still dodges responsibility.
Walmart, the biggest company in the world, whines that it can’t keep control of its supply supply chain. Hundreds of families have lost breadwinners, while the workers who survived have been horrifically injured and lost their jobs, not to mention the psychological impact of these disasters.
They deserve better.”

Fatima, a sewing operator at Tazreen for nearly two years before the fire broke out last November, has been forced to move back to her village. She says:
“My husband died three years ago. Since then, I have lived with my son, who is now five years old. I can’t send him to school because there’s not enough money. Just when I wanted to enrol him in school, I was injured in the fire. After months of medication I can just manage to walk, but if I work too long at a machine and use my foot for pedalling, my foot bloats.
The BGMEA (Bangladesh exporters’ association) did not pay me anything and I did not receive anything from the government. If I could somehow manage to buy a sewing machine to use at home, I could live off this income and take care of my son.”

read more

* Bangladesh compensation meetings next week:

IndustriALL Global Union is working hard to get brands and retailers that sourced from Tazreen and Rana Plaza to participate in talks in Geneva on 11 and 12 September. The meetings will seek to achieve proper compensation payments to the victims and survivors of the two industrial accidents.

The meetings will be hosted and neutrally chaired by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the message to brands from IndustriALL will be clear, IndustriALL Assistant General Secretary Monika Kemperle stated:

The families and the injured have already waited far too long. Companies who are serious about conditions in their Bangladeshi production chain can send a clear sign of their sincerity at these meetings.

read more.

* Left parties protest at attack on RMG workers:

The Ganasanghati Andolan and Garment Sramik Trade Union Centre on Wednesday protested against police attacks on a rally of workers of the Fuji Knitwear Garment Factory in Narayanganj.

The left leaning political party and the garment worker organisation Ganasanghati Andolan, made the protests at rallies in teh capital.
The Ganasanghati Andolan held the rally at noon and Garment Sramik Trade Union Centre in the morning in front of the National Press Club pressing for punishments for the attackers.
The Fuji Garment authority on Tuesday closed the factory and terminated all the 8,000 workers of the factory allegedly without giving any benefits of the workers.
The workers of the factory staged a rally outside the factory protesting agaist the closure of the factory without paying their benefits and the police attacked the rally to disperse the agitated workers, the worker leaders said at the rally on Wednesday.
read more.
BD new age

* Yunus calls for change in garment industry:

Banker and economist Muhammad Yunus has long been acknowledged as a man of ideas, having won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his grassroots Grameen Bank and the US Congressional Gold Medal in 2010.

His latest award came on August 27 when he received the 2013 National Human Rights Award from the Bangladesh Human Rights Commission.
As the apparel industry in Bangladesh has gone through a period of trauma over the last nine months with the deaths of more than 1,200 workers, Yunus has spoken about some of the key issues at hand, using his business acumen and perspective to shed light on a situation that sometimes seemed impossible to resolve as workers blamed employers who blamed international retailers and so on.

Here, Yunus talks with WWD about some of his recent initiatives and concerns.
WWD: Do you feel that the Garment Industry Transparency Initiative has potential to change things for the garment industry?
Muhammad Yunus: Well, we’re working to create a Garment Industry Transparency Initiative following the example of the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative. EITI is an international standard that ensures transparency around countries’ oil, gas and mineral resources.
In this, we hope that government and industry representatives, workers, international organisations such as the International Labour Organisation and other international agencies will join us. We’re saying this has worked for extractive industries so it could certainly work for the garment industry.
This index would evaluate companies that are doing a good job, particularly in terms of fire safety, work safety overall and treatment of women, and also focus on setting principles, standards, requirements, memberships, penalties, oversight, monitoring, validation, etc. On the basis of this index, we will rank the companies. One GITI issue will be that of exploitation. Germany is taking the lead in this initiative. I proposed it to them, and they picked it up enthusiastically.
The government, the buyers all know about the garment industry only in bits and pieces, the complete picture remains unknown to them. We want to put everything on the table to ensure clarity. This initiative is already moving, it is in action and it would be made very clear that no-one is imposing anything.

WWD: You have pioneered the idea of using business principles to solve social problems. Can you think of some ways to apply that way of thinking to the apparel manufacturing industry in Bangladesh to solve some of the issues there?
read more. & read more.
daily star bd WWD

* All parties agree on common action plan:

Three separate platforms, formed to inspect Bangladesh’s garment factories and ensure fire and building safety, have agreed to follow a common action plan drawn by the government, officials said yesterday.

Of the three, two are global initiatives — one led by IndustriALL, an international trade union, and the other is North American Alliance, a platform of 20 US-based retailers and brands.
The third one, initiated by the government, will be led by Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology.
Initially the platforms that emerged after the deadly Rana Plaza collapse had a plan to inspect the factories under their own guideline.
“But a factory can be inspected thrice if we go for the previous plan, as the three platforms will follow separate inspection rules,” Labour and Employment Secretary Mikail Shipar said.
This will lead to production suspension in factories for a long time, the official said.
Reaz-Bin-Mahmood, vice-president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, said IndustriALL in a recent meeting has agreed to follow the common guideline for factory inspection.
“Yes, we have agreed to the National Action Plan for factory inspection. A circular will be published soon in this regard,” said ZM Kamrul Anam, a coordinator of the IndustriALL Bangladesh Council.
read more.
daily star bd

* Foreign buyers to join move for RMG factory compliance:

Tripartite meeting on September 7

Dhaka is set to host a tripartite meeting on September 7 that is expected to decide on certain standards for the country’s readymade garment sector.

Labour ministry officials said the three parties would be the Bangladesh government, international buyers and labour organisations, and the factory owners.
The agenda of the meeting is likely to include the finalisation of factory inspection plans, fixing of minimum standards for garments factories and investment plans for improving standards.
The meeting, likely to be chaired by labour minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Ruju, is also expected to finalise the list of factories that foreign buyer groups are interested to assess. The buyer groups will put forward their detailed plans at the meeting.
read more.

* Interim Executive Director appointed, Bangladesh Safety Accord:

To enable the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh to move forward, the Steering Committee today announced the appointment of Sean Ansett as Interim Executive Director.

He will help to drive the immediate actions resulting from the plan established by the Accord design and implementation team. He will report directly to the Accord Steering Committee, a body having equal representation of the signatory companies and trade unions. Ansett assumes these duties until a permanent Executive Director is recruited in the coming months.
read more.

* Govt to formulate guideline on sub-contracting in RMG sector:

The government will finally formulate a guideline for ensuring a transparent and accountable sub-contracting system in the country’s readymade garment sector, officials said Wednesday.

The move came following the tragic industrial blaze at Tazreen Fashions that claimed 112 lives and injured several others last November.
“We received recommendations from the BGMEA and BKMEA a few months ago while EPB’s proposals came recently,” a commerce ministry official told the FE.

“We will sit within a couple of weeks and decide the next course of action,” he said.

There are allegations that big garment manufacturing units are engaged in sub-contracting with non-compliant factories and Tazreen and Smart were among such non-compliant units.
The main buyers usually overlook third-party manufacturers but the issue of sub-contracting has now become a serious concern following devastating incidents like Rana Plaza building collapse and Tazreen fire incident, industry insiders said.
read more.

* GIZ promotes better environ in RMG:

Sector Promotion of Social and Environmental Standards in the Industry (PSES), a joint project of the governments of Bangladesh and Germany, implemented by Deutsche GesellschaftfürinternationaleZusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, facilitated a half-day workshop on “Assessing Feasibility of a National Dispute Settlement Center for the Ready Made Garments (RMG) Sector” at a city hotel on Monday.

The main objectives of this proposed medium were to act as a pilot concept, on a national level, to serve as an intervention to resolve labour disputes, provide pro-active legal advisory services and support the workers and management in resolving industrial conflicts.
The workshop was organized by Integrated Community & Industrial Development Initiative (INCIDIN) Bangladesh, who has also developed a feasibility study on the establishment of this center, with support from GIZ.
Olaf Handloegten, country director of GIZ remarked, “This is a proposal. We at GIZ believe that sustainable development of the RMG sector requires the involvement and cooperation of all relevant stakeholders. Thus, we follow a multi-level approach. We as GIZ advisors, would like to stimulate a discussion on this issue and hope that in the end we can come up with a fruitful result.”
read more.

* Bangladesh labour NGO wins fight for registration:

The Bangladesh Center for Workers Solidarity (BCWS) have their official NGO registration reinstated following a three year battle against repression and harassment.

The government stripped BCWS of their NGO registration at the beginning of June 2010, accusing them of inciting unrest in garment factories. BCWS are an internationally renowned labour organisation carrying out legitimate organising work. There is no evidence linking them to the unrest.

Since then BCWS and its employees have faced ongoing harassment and repression from the Bangladesh authorities. Kalpona Akter, Babul Akhter and Aminul Islam spent 30 days in custody in 2010 and had been fighting false legal charges since then. In July 2013 the Bangladesh press reported that all the charges against both Kalpona and Babul have been withdrawn.
Although these reports have been confirmed through unofficial sources and despite a letter asking for the withdrawal of all cases sent by the home minister both Babul and Kalpona are still listed in three legal cases. We hope this will be resolved over the coming weeks.
read more.

* TICFA signing any day: MoFA:

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) has started final process of signing the Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (TICFA) with the United States, official sources said on Wednesday.

Earlier, the Ministry of Commerce in a letter requested the MoFA to take necessary steps for signing the deal as early as possible.
“We are ready to ink the deal and we have informed it to the US government directly and through our mission in Washington,” Foreign Secretary Md. Shahidul Haque told The New Nation yesterday.
read more.

* Huntsman works on BD textile sustainability:

Huntsman Textile Effects is leading the way by proactively engaging textile mills and brands in Bangladesh to reduce environmental footprint and to drive sustainable excellence to compete in the global market.

Raking in $20 billion annually, the Bangladesh’s textile industry is the world`s second-largest apparel exporter after China. The industry also accounts for 17% of Bangladesh’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), with more than three-quarters of its total exports heading to Europe and the US.1

Like many textile mills and brands around the world, the Bangladesh textile industry is grappling to meet the pressing demands from environmental laws and increasing pressures from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), particularly in the areas of water pollution and the discharge of hazardous chemicals.
read more. & read more.

                     THE SAVAR BUILDING COLLAPSE

* StanChart donates to Tk 29 lakh for Rana Plaza victims:

Standard Chartered Bank, Bangladesh has recently handed over a cheque of Tk 2,900,000 to Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP) for the victims of Savar Rana Plaza building collapse tragedy.

Abrar A Anwar, acting CEO of Standard Chartered Bangladesh along with Bitopi Das Chowdhury, Head of Corporate Affairs, handed over the cheque to M Shafiq –ul Islam, Executive Director of CRP, said a media release on Wednesday.
Standard Chartered Bangladesh previously also donated through Association of Bankers Bangladesh (ABB) to support these victims.
read more.

05:25:49 local time map of india INDIA

* Safe workplace must, say industry experts:

Major industries should boost employees’ morale by promoting safe workplace and good working condition, V K Shanmugam, vice president (works) at TVS Motor, said on Tuesday.

He said that industries need to demonstrate commitment to safety and health with as much energy as they focus on business.
Shanmugam, who is the convener of the manufacturing technology panel of the Confederation of Indian Industry, Mysore, and speaking at a meet on industry safety, pointed out that one of the key goals for any organization was to educate employees on safety methods and safety procedures.
read more.

* Factory fire victim dies, workers seek probe:

One worker, who had received burns in a factory fire on the night of August 31 in Maharani of India’s firm, Yudhistra Export, in Udyog Vihar Phase-II, died on Wednesday in Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital.

The victim’s coworkers and family members, with his body beside them, held a protest in front of the company gate.

Two workers of the garment company had suffered 90% and 70% burns in the fire in the factory which followed the bursting of a boiler, according to Anannya Bhattacharjee, president of the Garment and Allied Workers Union (GAWU). The man, Dilip, 41, received 90% burns, while Jitendra Kumar, who had suffered 70% burns, is in a critical condition in the same hospital.
read more.

* Garment exports up 19% to $1.27 billion in July: AEPC:

India’s garment exports grew by 19 per cent year-on-year to USD 1.27 billion in July on the back of increasing demand in developed economies such as the US.

Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) chairman A Sakthivel said garment exports to the US has witnessed a growth of 3.7 per cent during the first five months of 2013.
During April-July 2013-14, garments exports grew by 13 per cent to USD 4.84 billion, AEPC said in a statement.
However, Sakthivel said European market is still not recovering. The US and Europe together account for about 60 per cent of the country’s total apparel shipments.
“Demand for Indian products are still not increasing in the EU markets. Apparel exports are declining in Europe,” he said.
read more. & read more.

* Cotton textile sector to attract Rs 4,000-cr capex in 6 months:

The cotton textile industry is set to attract Rs 4,000 crore investment in the next six months, with the sector set to receive the so-called margin money from the finance ministry under the Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme ().  

The government had recently decided to extend Tufs, which aims to make funds available to the textile industry for technology upgrade of existing units as well as to set up new units, to the 12th five-year Plan.

The most labour-intensive sector–spinning–is likely to get the highest benefit of the extension in Tufs. The sectors benefited are spinning, weaving, processing, technical textiles, jute, silk, garmenting, cotton ginning, wool and powerlooms.
read more.

* At least 15% dip in cotton crop estimated:

Even as a BJP delegation led by Devendra Fadnavis and leader of opposition in state legislative council Vindod Tawade on Monday met chief minister Prithviraj Chavan to apprise him of delay in relief reaching farmers in Vidarbha region, there are indications that the main cash crop of cotton may suffer a loss of at least 15%.

State cotton growers cooperative marketing federation chairman N P Hirani told TOI this was initial estimate. “A clear picture may emerge after a fortnight. Excessive rains in most of Vidarbha have damaged cotton crop and many farmers have this year shifted to soyabean. As a combined effect, I will not be surprised if the cotton yield this kharif season is around 23-25 lakh bales. Normally, out of the total 75 lakh bales produced in state, little over 30 lakh come from Vidarbha,” said Hirani.
read more.

04:55:49 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Workers’ rights: Protest against privatisation, price hike:

Workers belonging to government and private institutions on Wednesday held a demonstration at Benazir Bhutto Road and blocked the bustling nerve centre for an hour.

Hundreds of protesters assembled under the banner of Pakistan Workers Confederation (PWC) and observed a ‘protest day’ against rising poverty, unemployment and the continuous increase of petroleum prices. They urged the government to take practical steps to resolve the miseries of the common man.
The protesters said workers form the backbone of any country and thus their grievances should be addressed immediately. They also demanded that the government regularise contractual employees working in different departments and to increase their salaries. They urged the government to fix minimum wages of government employees at Rs18,000 — a promise made by PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif during his election campaign.  Later the protesters marched towards Rawalpindi Press Club to record their protest.
read more.

* Workplace woes: Not everyone loves a pregnant woman:

You and your husband may be overjoyed after finding out that you are expecting. Your boss?

Slighlty less so. Sharing news of your pregnancy can open the floodgates of workplace discrimination from management and co-workers. From hostile looks and unfair treatment to a simple lack of support, employers often penalise female workers for their pregnancy. If you are lucky, your boss will be empathetic to your situation, offering you flexibility as long as you’re able to perform your duties adequately.

At the other end of the spectrum are supervisors who will become increasingly rigid as your pregnancy progresses, leaving you with just two options: an unpaid leave of absence or forced resignation. At work, you may have to hear how your productivity has dropped or that you need to become more efficient. In some instances, women are told that the entire department is suffering because of them!

Do work and pregnancy go together?
read more.

* Minimum wage raised to Rs10,000 a month:

The Sindh government has announced increasing the rate of minimum wage to Rs10,000 a month for young and unskilled adult labourers and workers associated with the industrial and commercial sectors – a government move that is feared to be largely ignored by the public and private sectors.

The Sindh Minimum Wages Board secretary said the board had proposed increasing the minimum wage rate from Rs8,000 to Rs10,000 a month, with effect from July 1, in favour of juvenile and unskilled adult workers.
read more.

* Crop target missed: textile industry may face cotton, yarn shortages:

Textile industry is likely to face cotton and yarn shortage, as the crop production target set for the current season has been missed, it is learnt.

The expected shortage of both the commodities will result in low value added textile exports and the prices will also go up making it difficult for the value added export sector to compete in the foreign market, sources in the textile industry told Business Recorder.

The industry is likely to import about 1.5 million bales to meet the domestic requirement for the current year, sources said, adding that currently cotton is selling at Rs 6,700 per 40-kg, which is likely to cross Rs 7,000 per 40-kg soon. The Cotton Crop Assessment Committee (CCAC) has revised the cotton production target downward to 12.65 million bales against the initial estimates of 13.22 million bales for the current season 2013-14.
read more.

* Increase in gas tariff: call to rescue export-oriented industry:

The export-oriented industry should be rescued from collapse by withdrawing massive increase in gas tariff, this was stated by the Zonal Chairman, All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA), Yasin Siddik.

He said that Captive Power Plants (CPPs) are more efficient than IPPs (Independent Power Plants) and contributing to the national economy and fetching precious foreign exchange to the country, In a statement, the APTMA chief has quoted the new Energy Policy issued by the National Electricity and Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) under which the thermal efficiency of IPPs stands at 52 per cent and their line losses are 22 percent and another 6 per cent is theft and pilferage.
read more.

* Pakistani textiles get preferential access to Indonesia:

Textiles, including cotton yarn, cotton fabric and readymade garments, from Pakistan will get preferential access to Indonesian market, with the coming into force of Indonesia-Pakistan Preferential Trade Agreement (IP-PTA) from September 1, 2013.
The IP-PTA was signed in February 2012, and it ensures greater market access to Pakistani products in the Indonesian market, Pakistan’s Ministry of Commerce said in a statement.
read more.

04:55:49 local time map of uzbekistan UZBEKISTAN

* Jizzakh students being prepared for the cotton season:

Meetings with the regional educators have been taking place in the Jizzakh region in preparation for the cotton picking season.

The school year has just started and the college and high school students, as well as recent graduates, are being prepared for yearly cotton duty.
At one such meeting on September 4, details and expectations for this year’s harvest were discussed between the region’s administrators and educators .
“We need to harvest the cotton as quickly as possible, before the rains begin,” was the main message from the meeting.
read more.

* Uzbek-German textile JV phase 1 becomes operational:

The phase one of Uzbek-German textile joint venture (JV) ‘Djizak Plasteks’ in the city of Djizak in Uzbekistan has been completed and operations have begun at the enterprise.
With the completion of first stage, the textile enterprise now has the capacity to process 12,000 tons of cotton fiber and produce 8.5 million tons of yarn as well as 4,000 tons of knitted fabrics per year, reports Uzbekistan national news agency UZA.
read more.


* Leather workers stage protests in Iraq:

In Iraq the State Company of the Leather Industries dismissed 200 workers. In opposition the Federation of Workers Councils & Unions of Iraq (FWCUI) organized a number of protests across the country.

According to the reports from FWCUI and the union of leather workers around 200 employees, including both daily- waged and contracted workers, have been dismissed without due notice by the administration of the State Company of the Leather Industries. Many of the workers have had at least six years long service by the time of dismissal.
Workers and their union are mobilizing to pressure the administration to rescind this decision.
read more.


* Major Strike Averted In South Africa – 50,000 Garment Workers Accept Pay Rise:

A major national strike of over 50,000 garment workers was averted at the last minute on Monday, unionists announced.

The Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers Union (SACTWU) said it has reached agreement with employers on settling a wage dispute.
“A majority of employer associations with whom we negotiate have conceded to all of the union’s final demands,” said the union, which is affiliated with the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU).
The agreement was ratified and signed at a meeting of the clothing industry bargaining council Monday morning. Five out of the six employer associations endorsed the agreement.
read more.


map of Asia


* Working Hours
* Women, Garment Work and Safety: Clothes to Die For?
* Norway to improve apparel factory safety

* Chinese textile body promotes energy saving

* Local investors leaving Thailand

* Hundreds fired after garment strike ends
* Dozens collapse at factory
* Workers urged to boycott overtime work on Saturday
* Mum’s the word at yearly brand forum

* High Minimum Wage Kills Jobs

* Will Walmart, Benetton and Mango show they care?
* Bangladesh compensation meetings next week
* Left parties protest at attack on RMG workers
* Yunus calls for change in garment industry
* All parties agree on common action plan
* Foreign buyers to join move for RMG factory compliance
* Interim Executive Director appointed, Bangladesh Safety Accord
* Govt to formulate guideline on sub-contracting in RMG sector
* GIZ promotes better environ in RMG
* Bangladesh labour NGO wins fight for registration
* TICFA signing any day: MoFA
* Huntsman works on BD textile sustainability
* StanChart donates to Tk 29 lakh for Rana Plaza victims

* Safe workplace must, say industry experts
* Factory fire victim dies, workers seek probe
* Garment exports up 19% to $1.27 billion in July: AEPC
* Cotton textile sector to attract Rs 4,000-cr capex in 6 months
* At least 15% dip in cotton crop estimated

* Workers’ rights: Protest against privatisation, price hike
* Workplace woes: Not everyone loves a pregnant woman
* Minimum wage raised to Rs10,000 a month
* Crop target missed: textile industry may face cotton, yarn shortages
* Increase in gas tariff: call to rescue export-oriented industry:
* Pakistani textiles get preferential access to Indonesia

* Jizzakh students being prepared for the cotton season
* Uzbek-German textile JV phase 1 becomes operational

* Leather workers stage protests in Iraq

* Major Strike Averted In South Africa – 50,000 Garment Workers Accept Pay Rise

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