in the news on-line, 7-9 Sept. 2013

08:01:39 local time map of mongolia MONGOLIA

* Minimum monthly wage now varies in different sectors:

Below is a short interview with M.Bayarmaa, official of the Labor and Social Policy Authority of the Confederation of Mongolian Trade Unions, regarding the newly set minimum monthly wage.

How many citizens earn the minimum monthly wage in Mongolia?
-The number of citizens earning the minimum monthly wage in our country has been determined as a result of several inspections carried out by the National Statistical Office and the State Specialized Inspection Agency. Out of the total number of workers in Mongolia, eight to ten percent earn the minimum monthly wage, while 14 percent take a bit more than the minimum. With the increase across the main sectors of our country, the minimum monthly wage for the auto transportation sector is now 224,640 MNT, the energy sector is 307,200 MNT, the health sector is 249,600 MNT, while the construction sector is 358,848 MNT from now on.

What is the average wage of all workers in Mongolia? The average wage amount will increase according to the increase in the minimum monthly wage, correct?
-Today, the average monthly wage of workers in Mongolia is 598,500 MNT. The percentage of individuals earning the average monthly wage was 23 percent, but it has increased to 32 percent now. Generally, the percentage must be at least 40 percent for developing or poor countries. It reaches even 60 percent in some countries.

-How will the new ordinance on wages affect private sector companies?
-The minimum monthly wage applies to all companies and workers in both the public and private sector. In other words, there must be no worker with a monthly wage under 192,000 MNT now.
to read.

08:01:39 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* Measly P10 wage increase cruel joke to workers – labor groups:

In the eyes of labor groups, the P10-wage hike is a measly pay increase considering the rising cost of living.

This as next year’s salary adjustment to P466 in Metro Manila drew more displeasure than contentment among the labor groups.
Their reactions were swift as they collectively expressed disgust over the small wage increase, which they say are not enough to cover basic needs.
“This wage adjustment is an insult to Filipino workers who are already suffering from worsening hunger and poverty,” said Elmer Labog, chairperson of the Kilusang Mayo Uno.

For the Partido ng Manggagawa, the group described it as a “cruel joke” and is a “dagdag-bawi” scam because it can’t compensate the needs of workers.
“Government decides to give workers a P10 hike in wages but it will take it back with the proposed P10 increase in fares for the MRT and LRT. Further, prices of basic goods like rice have inflated so that in the end, workers are worse off than before,” said PM spokesperson Wilson Fortaleza.
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 * Wage increase insult to workers–KMU:

“Demeaning, cruel and insulting to Filipino workers.”

This was how workers described the wage increase recently announced by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), which increased the basic pay for Metro Manila workers from the previous P436 to P451 a day.

Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) said the Metro Manila wage board merely integrated P15 of the P20 cost-of-living allowance (Cola) into the P436 basic pay and increased the remaining P5 Cola by P10.

“The resulting basic pay of P451 and the P15 Cola do not even amount to half of the NCR [National Capital Region] Family Living Wage, which, according to independent think tank Ibon Foundation in its May 2013 study, is already at P1,034,” KMU Chairman Elmer Labog said in a statement.
Labog said: “This wage adjustment is an insult to Filipino workers who are already suffering from worsening hunger and poverty.”
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07:01:39 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Vietnam labor union calls for minimum-wage hike in 2014:

The Vietnam General Federation of Labor wants the minimum wage hiked by a third next year to cover 75-84 percent of workers’ basic living needs.

The minimum wage is now VND1.65-2.35 million (US$78-111.13) a month, depending on the location.
But the average cost of living is estimated to be VND1.928 million for individuals and VND3.278 million for those with children, according to data compiled by the federation.
The federation expects that to increase next year to VND2.435-4.113 million, and has put two alternative proposals to the National Wage Council – hike the minimum wage by either 24-36 percent or by 21-32 percent.
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* Minimum wage increase proposed:

The Vietnam General Confederation of Labour has just proposed to raise the minimum wage by 21-36% next year.

The country has different wage brackets covering four regional zones. Zone o­ne covers urban Hanoi and HCM City. Zone Two covers rural Hanoi and HCM City along with urban Can Tho, Da Nang and Hai Phong. Zone Three covers provincial cities and the districts of Bac Ninh, Bac Giang, Hai Duong, and Vinh Phuc. Zone Four covers the remaining localities.

According to the most recent survey conducted by the Institute for Workers and Trade Unions at 68 firms across the country, wages in three out of four zones are lower than VND4 million (USD192) per month. 5.2% of monthly wages are even lower than VND2 million.
Meanwhile, minimum daily expenses are around VND3.3 million per month for a family and VND2 million for a single person. Some workers cannot make savings while others simply live in poverty.
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* State firms pay highest wages:

The average incomes of company employees, especially those working for private-owned enterprises, remain low.

This was indicated by a recent survey into the minimum living standards of workers earlier in 2013 conducted by the Institute for Workers and Trade Unions.

The average salary offered by State-owned companies is recorded as the highest; it is lower in joint stock companies and lowest in private-owned companies.
The survey, which collected opinions from nearly 2,000 workers, trade union officers and company managers in 68 enterprises, revealed that a large number, 62 per cent, of company employees earned less than VND4 million (US$190) per month on average. Among which, 5 per cent received less than VND2 million ($96) a month.

Low incomes are particular to the textile, footwear industries and are even lower in construction and transportation, while enterprises in trading and tourism industries reportedly earn higher salaries.
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* VN textile, garment industry to join TPP:

20130909 VNNews 14-detmay
T-shirts are made for export in Ha Noi. Joining the TPP agreement will help Viet Nam’s lucrative textile and garment sector become the third key national industry. — VNA/VNS Photo Tran Viet

Participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) would create favourable conditions to boost Viet Nam’s textile and garment sector as the third key industry of the country.

Deputy general secretary of the Viet Nam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS) Nguyen Van Tuan said at a workshop on the TPP and impacts on Viet Nam’s textile and garment enterprise.
He warned that it’s also a challenge for Vietnamese textile and garment businesses when the industry still faces a big deficiency in materials including cotton and cloth as well as technology.

“The industry uses 820,000 tonnes materials every year, which include 420,000 tonnes of cotton and 400,000 tonnes of fiber. However, we had to import 415,000 tonnes of cotton, 99 per cent of the total demand of the industry’s production last year,” Tuan said.
read more.
VNNews new

* ILO specialist honoured with trade union insignia :

The Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL) has awarded Yoon Youngmo, a specialist from the Office of International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Vietnam an insignia for the cause of building trade union organizations.

As Chief Technical Advisor for the Vietnam-ILO industrial relations project, Youngmo helped the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, VGCL and employer organisations to achieve better industrial relations. 

Besides forging an effective partnership between ILO and its Vietnamese partners, he also dedicated his efforts to policy and wage reforms in Vietnam, notably the Labour Code and Trade Union Law.
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07:01:39 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

20130906 * Sacked Cambodian garment workers reinstated after protest:

Hundreds of Cambodian garment workers sacked from a factory supplying brands including Gap and H&M were reinstated Friday, a union leader said, after a protest forced an apparent climbdown by their employer.

Around 4,000 workers marched through Phnom Penh on Thursday in protest at the dismissal of 720 workers for going on strike over claims of intimidation by the factory owner.
They were reinstated while an apparent suspension of 5,000 other staff was lifted by the Singapore-owned SL Garment Processing factory on Friday, union leader Ath Thorn told AFP.

“After a long negotiation, the company agreed to withdraw the dismissal and allow all workers to resume their work today (Friday), Ath Thorn, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union, said.
Workers had walked out claiming intimidation over regular factory inspections carried out by an official flanked by military police.

The factory denied the allegations and said the workers were fired because their strike was illegal.
Chin Sao, a manager at the factory, confirmed the workers had returned to their posts.
“I’m happy that we are partners again,” he said.
read more.

 20130906 * Activists Blame Short Contracts for Strikes:

Labor activists at the bi-annual Buyers Forum in Phnom Penh on Thursday said that short-term contracts in Cambodia’s garment industry were fueling the high number of strikes affecting the industry.

“Most of [the disputes] are over dismissals or dismissals of union leaders and the reason why they’re [annoyed] is because they are kept on fixed duration contracts, which are maintained against the Labor Law,” said Dave Welsh, country director of the American Center for Inter­national Labor Solidarity, who attended the forum, which brings together international clothing brands, unions and manufacturers to discuss issues facing the region’s garment sector.
read more.

05:46:39 local time map of nepal NEPAL

* Govt plans to privatise Butwal Spinning Mills:

The Finance Ministry has laid out at least three privatisation modalities to resume operation of state-owned Butwal Spinning Mills Ltd which shut down its operation over five years back.

Some of these options are long-term leasing of the building and machinery to the private sector, public-private partnership, and handing over of the management to a cooperative, according to under secretary at the finance ministry Basudev Sharma.
“If these options do not work, the government must liquidate the company and clear the liabilities of different stakeholders,” Sharma said.
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 06:01:39 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

20130906 * RMG workers demo in capital:

Workers stage demonstration demanding basic wages hike to Tk8,000 per month

Some thousand ready-made garment (RMG) workers staged a demonstration in front of the capital’s press club area on Friday morning, demanding a wage hike.

Sub-Inspector (SI) Mohammad Mosharraf Hossain, on-duty at press club, told Dhaka Tribune they were demanding their monthly wages be raised to Tk8,000.
He said: “About a thousand workers gathered and demonstrated in front of the press club around 10am.”
The protesting workers took position near the Engineering Institute in the afternoon, the SI said.
However, it was unclear if they were driven away from press club.
Earlier in the day, more than a thousand garment workers took to the streets in Malibagh rail-gate area around 8:30am.
read more.

20130906 * Bangladeshi union leader warns UK retailers that Rana Plaza tragedy could happen again:

The President of the Bangledeshi National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF) has today (Saturday) warned eight leading UK retailers that there could be a repeat of this year’s Rana Plaza tragedy if they refuse to sign up to an international accord designed to protect Bangladeshi factory workers.

Amirul Haque Amin, who is in the UK to speak at the TUC’s annual conference this weekend, says several high street names are still refusing to commit to the agreement that will make building inspections compulsory at Bangladeshi factories that supply fashion goods to UK stores.
These brands include Matalan, River Island, Sports Direct/Republic, Jane Norman, Peacocks, Bench, Mexx and Bank Fashion.

The TUC is asking consumers touched by the Dhaka tragedy to use social media to build pressure on the UK clothing brands that are refusing to sign up.

The e-action at allows consumers to write directly to the companies and tell them to support strengthening health and safety protection for Bangladeshi textile workers.

The IndustriALL agreement – which has been signed by over 80 international companies including Zara, H&M and Next – commits firms to meeting the cost of making buildings safe, and to working with a monitoring group made up of companies and unions, and chaired by the International Labour Organisation.
read more.

* Pressure rising on brands to sign BD safety accord:

Trade union and human rights activists have intensified their protest campaigns in the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK) to create pressure on leading brands who are yet to sign a legally binding accord for improving safety standards in Bangladesh garment factories.

Activists of several US labour rights organisations and scores of fashion models joined a protest organised by the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity (BCWS) Executive Director Kalpona Akter in New York City (NYC) on Saturday, said an executive at the BCWS.

The protest was held near Lincoln Centre ahead of Nautica’s spring 2014 runway show, to create pressure on brands for failing to sign the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety (BAFBS).

So far nearly 80 European buyers including Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein parent company PVH signed the legally binding BAFBS accord initiated in May following the Rana Plaza collapse, said the Copenhagen-based IndustriAll Global Union,

The signatories to BAFBS include retailers and brands from 15 countries, including Britain, France, Italy and Japan. The brands also include Abercrombie & Fitch, Benetton, H&M, Inditex and Marks & Spencer. Labour federations and non-governmental organisations have joined the initiative.
read more.

20130909 * American buyers’ team arrives on Sept 15:

A team of North American buyers who formed Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety Initiative is likely to visit Bangladesh on September 15-16 to prepare the detailed framework of safety programme in the RMG factories under a five-year plan.

A delegation of the Alliance led by its board chairman Ellen O’Kane Tauscher will come to Bangladesh and meet with leaders of readymade garment sector and government high officials to set a parameter for safety inspection in the garment sector, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association vice-president Shahidullah Azim told New Age on Sunday.
The labour secretary Mikail Shipar, however, said that he heard that a delegation of North American buyers would visit Bangladesh in mid-September, but he was yet not informed about the visit officially.

‘I do not know whether the Alliance representatives will meet with the labour ministry officials, but I have heard that they are coming next week,’ he said.
The BGMEA vice-president said that the delegation of the Alliance would discuss details with the BGMEA and BKMEA to work out the implementation of their action plan.
‘This is the preliminary meeting on the way of the implementation of the action of plan and I hope the initiatives of the Alliance will be very much effective as they have already included the BGMEA in their board,’ Azim said.
read more.
BD new age

20130909  * MINIMUM WAGE FOR WORKERS- BGMEA consults with members in Dhaka, Ctg this week:

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association will hold two separate views exchange meetings of the members in Dhaka and Chittagong and an extraordinary general meeting this week to set proposals for minimum wage for the garment workers.

The BGMEA will place its proposal on wage to the chairman of the wage board on September 17.
The BGMEA will hold its first meeting in Chittagong on Tuesday.
The second meeting will be held in Dhaka on Thursday at BGMEA auditorium followed by the EGM at the same venue.
The meetings will discuss the issues related to minimum wage, factory inspection and safety issues
Though the various issues are included in the agenda, fixing wage board proposals would be the main issue, a garment owner said.
Representatives of the apparel factory owners to the wage board did not submit their proposals for minimum wages for workers at the fourth meeting of the wage board on September 2.

A leader of the BGMEA said that sector leaders held several meetings to finalise the proposals to the wage board but failed to reach a consensus.
Owners of the big factories gave their opinions and proposed a reasonable increase in the minimum wages considering price spiral, inflation, nutrition, transport and house rent.
But owners of small and medium-sized factories did not agree to include lunch, transport and other non-wage allowances in the wage, he said.
read more.
BD new age

20130908 * RMG workers grand rally on Sep 21:

The leaders of Garments Workers’ Samanay Parishad will hold a grand rally on September 21 demanding reasonable wage, to shut vandalism in factories, ensuring security of female workers and to get back GSP facilities.

The grand rally will likely to hold at city’s Suhrawardy Udyan.
The announcement came from a press briefing organized by leaders of the parishad’ at city’s press club on Saturday.
Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan, also convener of the RMG workers alliance said, “Sacking, filing fake cases, lower wage and irrational hike of house rent brought huge sufferings to the RMG workers’. But, the garment owners are earning huge amount of forex.”
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20130906 * Buyers, stakeholders meet tomorrow to find common standard:

Stakeholders of the country’s apparel industry — the government, manufacturers, buyers, workers and International Labour Organisation — are going to meet tomorrow to work out a common standard for inspection of structural integrity and fire safety of the garment factories.

To finalise a comprehensive standard for the inspection, the decent work programme of the ILO is organising the meeting ‘technical workshop on common standards for assessment of building, fire and electrical safety of RMG factories in Bangladesh’ at the Sonargaon Hotel in the capital.
‘The programme is aimed at setting a unified code of conduct in the light of National Action Plan to ensure effective inspection system for all parties concerned,’ labour secretary Mikail Shiper told New Age on Thursday.
read more.
BD new age

20130908 * Parties agree in principle to set common standards for all:

Stakeholders of the country’s ready-made garment (RMG) sector, including the government, manufacturers, buyers, workers and the International Labour Organisation (ILO), agreed in principle Saturday on setting common building, fire safety and other standards for apparel factories.

They were exchanging views at the technical workshop on “Standards for Assessment of Building, Fire and Electrical Safety of RMG Factories in Bangladesh” jointly organised by the Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE) and the ILO in the city.

The day-long workshop was attended by representatives of the stakeholders.
“In principle, all the stakeholders including the government, the European Union-based Accord, the North America-based Alliance, garment owners, labour rights groups and the ILO have agreed to set common safety standards before factory inspection,” Labour Secretary Mikail Shipar said at a press briefing after the workshop.

In order to avoid overlapping and the difference in approaches, the Tripartite Committee comprising the government, the factory owners and the workers would continue to work with the Accord and the Alliance to explore ways and means to set the standards, he said.
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 INDEPENDENT BD new age  daily star bd

* Capacity to tap a fraction of RMG orders out of China to help reduce the spillover effects:

Bangladesh’s capacity to tap a fraction of the apparel orders out of China will help the country to offset any ‘cannibalization impact’ rising out of the weak Indian currency.

The Indian Rupee (INR) has depreciated by more than 23 per cent since May 2013 and sank to a record low of 68.8 against the greenback in late August.

“If Bangladesh can tap a fraction of the apparel orders out of China, it will help Bangladesh to offset any cannibalization impact rising out of the weak Indian currency”, an analysis of Standard Chartered Bank-Bangladesh said Sunday.
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* London Fashion Week to hear BD TU leader:

The London Fashion Week scheduled to be held from September 13 is likely to persuade British fashion retailers and clothing brands for higher wages for Bangladesh garment workers, said British newspaper The Guardian.

Trade union leaders from Bangladesh and Britain are likely to urge clothing retailers to back anti-poverty drive and support fresh demands for all employees to be paid “a living wage,” which is more than three times higher than the legal minimum wage.
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* RMG export to Scandinavia rising by 30pc in 5 years  :

Export of Bangladeshi readymade garments (RMG) to the Scandinavian countries has annually been increasing at a rate of 30 per cent for the last five years.

Export to the Nordic region, including Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland, rose to US$980 million in the last financial year (FY), 2012-13, which was $391 million in the FY09, thanks to increasing shipment of high-value products (HVPs), insiders said.
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20130907 * Jute mill catches fire in Ashulia:

A fire broke out at a jute mill at the outskirts of the capital in Bolibhadra, Ashulia, on Saturday afternoon.

Mobilising Officer Farid Uddin from the Fire Service and Civil Defence (FSCD) said Supreme Jute Mills caught fire around 5:30pm.
“Six units of the firefighters from DEPZ in Savar and Kaliakoire in Gazipur have been fighting to douse the fire,” said Farid Uddin.
But the FSCD official could not ascertain the cause of the fire or if there were any casualties.
Assistant Superintendent of Police Zahirul Islam, also a deputy director of Industrial Police, said the fire originated from the storehouse of the one-storey factory.

The Industrial Police official said although there were not many workers inside the factory, they too could not confirm whether there were any casualties.
“Because of heavy smoke and heat, it was not possible to enter the factory building to search for workers,” he said.
read more.

20130907 * Jute mills workers stage demo in Chittagong:

The agitated workers besiege the jute mills for an hour

The workers of 10 jute mills in Chittagong staged demonstration in Chittagong on Saturday morning demanding their 11-point demand including payment of their due salary.

The agitated workers besieged the jute mills for an hour and brought out protest procession after a rally in front of the factories.

Sources said tens of thousands workers from – Gulfra Habib Jute Mill, MM Jute Mill, RR Jute Mill, Gul Ahmmad Jute Mill, Hafiz Jute Mill, Bagdad-Dhaka Carpet Mill, Mill Furnishing at Sitakunda upazila in Chittagong, Karnaphuli Jute Mill, Forat Carpet Mill at Rangunia of the district and the port city’s Amin Jute Mill – took position in front of their respective factories at around 9am and blocked the main gates of the factories to press home their demands.
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DHAKATRIBUNE daily star bd

20130909 * Jute mill workers block highways for arrears:

Jute mill workers on Sunday blocked highways in Chittagong, Khulna and Rajshahi pressing for 11-point demands including immediate payment of their arrears.

New Age correspondent in Chittagong reported that blockade enforced by transport workers and jute mill workers respectively on Chittagong-Cox’s Bazar highway and Dhaka-Chittagong highway caused enormous suffering to commuters.
Workers of eight jute mills including Habib Jute Mills, M M Jute Mills, RR Jjute Mills, Gul Ahamed Jute Mills, Hafiz Jute Mills and Baghdad-Dhaka Carpet Mill blocked the Dhaka-Chittagong highway in Baro Awlia area of Sitakunda upazila, at about 10:00am.
Sitakunda police inspector (investigation) Md Elias said that the workers of various jute mills demonstrated on the highway suspending traffic for about an hour.
read more.
BD new age

* Jute farmers not getting fair prices in Kurigram:

20130908 DHAKATRIBUNE Jute_8
Jute growers in the northern district of Gaibandha are finding it hard to sell their produces at satisfactory prices although it is the peak season. Many growers are forced to sell jute at prices even lower than the cost of production. 
Photo by DhakaTribune.

Jute farmers in Kurigram are not getting fair prices for their produce in the local markets in absence of sufficient buyers, reports UNB.

Tosha variety jute is now selling for average Tk 1000 per maund.
As a result, the growers are left to suffer a loss of Tk300-Tk400 per maund.
Though seven government purchase centers are supposed to run in the district, they cannot buy jute in full swing due to lack of fund.
Sources at the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), Kurgram said jute was cultivated on 24 thousand hectares of land in nine upazilas of the district during the current season.
Production target was fixed at 2.5 lakh bales.
Due to favourable weather, production of the golden fibre was good this year, and the supply was also huge in the markets consequently.
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20130907 * CCC, brands sit in Geneva Sept 11-12 to set compensation:

Clean Clothes Campaign and IndustriALL Global Union, the two largest global alliances of labour unions in the clothing sector, are going to sit with all the brands that were linked to the Tazreen and Rana Plaza factories on September 11 and 12 to fix the compensation package for the  victims.

Representatives of the Bangladesh government and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exports Association have also been invited to attend the meeting to be facilitated by International Labour Organisation as a neutral and independent chair, the CCC said in a statement.
The Tazreen fire killed at least 112 RMG workers on November 24 last year and the Rana Plaza building collapse killed at least 1,133 workers on April 24.
‘A small amount of compensation has been paid to the victims in both cases which is insufficient and the information on who has received what is uncoordinated and lacking in transparency,’ the CCC said on its website.
The CCC 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, the statement said.
read more.
BD new age

20130907 * Global retailers urged to compensate Tazreen, Rana Plaza victims fairly:

All brands, including Walmart, who are linked to the Tazreen and Rana Plaza disasters are being called on to attend the meetings on compensation in Geneva

The Clean Clothes Campaign is increasing its pressure on Benetton, Mango and other fashion brands to pay full and fair compensation to victims of Tazreen fire and the collapse of Rana Plaza that housed five garments.

All brands, including Walmart, who are linked to the Tazreen and Rana Plaza disasters are being called on to attend the meetings on compensation in Geneva on September 11 (Tazreen) and 12 (Rana Plaza) convened by IndustriALL Global Union.
Consumers from all over Europe are using social media to call on Mango and Benetton to come to the compensation meeting and pay Rana Plaza survivors, according to a Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) press release.
However, BGMEA Vice-President Reaz Bin Mahmood said they would not join the meeting, which he said was “meant for the retailers and the buyers.”
Moreover, the BGMEA was not invited to the meeting, he claimed.
read more.

20130908 * Leading brands may announce compensation package for Rana Plaza victims:

An international trade union in its efforts to create a US$76.7 million compensation package for the victims of recent industrial disasters in Bangladesh has convened a meeting of leading brands and retailers in Geneva this week.

The meeting, to be held on Wednesday and Thursday, is likely to be attended specially by those reputed firms that procure their merchandise from Bangladesh garment factories, said the Copenhagen-based IndustriAll Global Union, an organisation dedicated to protect rights of workers.

To be presided over by a senior official of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) as a neutral and independent participant, the meeting besides realising commitment from the individual brands and retailers will also try to develop a mechanism to ensure quick and transparent distribution of the compensation amount to the real victims of the two recent most deadly industrial disasters, said the Union in a statement on its website.
read more.

* Survivors of Bangladesh garment factory collapse still suffering, 5 months later:

Rafiqul Islam can’t recall how many people he pulled from the rubble of Rana Plaza, the eight-story factory complex that collapsed in April, killing more than 1,100 people. But he knows how many he cut out with a hacksaw blade — eight. He did so in spaces so cramped that at one point he became trapped himself.

Those 18 days as a volunteer rescue worker left their scars. Islam has suffered memory lapses and had a series of violent outbursts, and wound up losing his job. Now he wanders alone most days, not sure where to go — until the voices bring him back to the place where he saved so many people and lost himself.

I hear them still, calling for me,” he says, staring into a mound of broken concrete, torn fabric and twisted iron.

Nearly five months after the deadliest incident in garment manufacturing history, the suffering is far from over for the victims, their relatives and the rescue workers. Many families have received only part of their promised financial compensation. And activists and health-care professionals decry a lack of psychological and financial support for scores of survivors and rescue workers stricken with invisible handicaps.

“After the Rana Plaza tragedy, people are so concerned with the physical impact, but they are completely ignoring the psychological,” said Abdus Sabur, an adviser to the Sajida Foundation, a leading Bangladeshi social development organization. “Mental health is not taken seriously at all in this country.”
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WAshinton post black Ittefaq daily star bd NewNation

05:31:39 local time map of india INDIA

* TN powerlooms to stop night-shift production:

Powerlooms in Tamil Nadu numbering over seven lakh will stop production during the 12-hour night shift from September 10 to protest against the increasing cotton and yarn prices.

They are also demanding a ban on cotton export, a senior representative of the Federation of Powerloom Associations of India has said.
The textile industry is in doldrums due to the escalation of raw cotton and cotton yarn prices in the last two months, M.S. Mathivanan, federation President, told reporters here yesterday.
read more.
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* ‘Renewal of GSP scheme by US key to boosting engg exports’:

A pick up in engineering exports to the US hinges on renewal of the US Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) programme, said Aman Chadha, Chairman of EEPC India.

India’s engineering exports to the US fell 14 per cent to $1.89 billion during April-July 2013 from $2.18 billion in same period last year.
“Our competitiveness will be further eroded if GSP is not extended. The Indian Government must request the US Government to extend the validity of the scheme,” Chadha told Business Line here.
He said exporters were not gaining much from the rupee’s sharp slide. The rupee posted the biggest monthly loss in 20 years in August on concerns of deepening economic slowdown.
read more.
Return to frontpage

05:01:39 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Chinese keen to relocate textile plants for exports:

Massive opportunities are about to open up for Pakistan to at least double its share in the global textile and clothing trade of $800 billion, from slightly above 1.5 per cent to three per cent over the next two to three years.

But, unfortunately, the country is not fully geared up to grab the upcoming opportunities.
China’s dwindling share in the global textile and clothing business, because of surging cost of production there, and Pakistan’s expected duty-free access to the European Union (EU) from next year, are being viewed by the textile industry as a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ kind of opportunity for the country.

“Pakistan is in a unique position today to double its present share of just over $13 billion in the international textile and clothing trade in the short to medium-term,” Amir Fayyaz, a leading Lahore-based producer of processed fabric for the world’s major brands, told Dawn.
“China’s textile industry is losing its share in the world market and it is very much interested in relocating production facilities to Pakistan to export from here,” he said.
read more.

* Power loom owners meet Multan DCO:

District Co-ordination Officer (DCO) Syed Gulzar Hussain Shah has assured his full support to the power loom owners to establish a separate estate in the city.

He eulogised the skills of the workers who were engaged in the manufacturing of exportable garments for European countries. Talking to a delegation of power loom association on Sunday, the DCO asked the power loom owners to submit a proposal regarding establishment of the estate.

“The Multan Development Authority and the district administration will consider the proposal and execute the plan,” he assured the delegation. Over 60,000 power looms were playing a key role in strengthening the country’s economy, he said and assured the power loom owners that all out steps would be taken to eliminate problems being faced by them.
Regarding power outages, he said that the government was fully aware of the problem and steps were being taken on war footing basis to resolve the major issue.
to read.

                     THE KARACHI-BALDIA FIRE

20130907 * Call to make public findings of Baldia fire probe:

A panel of speakers representing the Pakistan Institute of Labour Union and Research and the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has demanded that the inquiry report of the Baldia factory fire be made public.

Speaking at the Karachi Press Club on Friday, Asad Iqbal Butt of the HRCP said that the people held responsible in the inquiry report compiled by retired Justice Zahid Kurban Alavi be prosecuted and punished.
“The report was handed over to the chief minister of Sindh a long time ago. We demand and urge the government of Sindh to stop appeasing those responsible for the disaster,” said Mr Butt while reading out from a paper.

The Baldia factory fire is a worst such incident in the history of Pakistan that killed more than 250 people. For months after the incident families kept standing outside the Edhi morgue in Sohrab Goth to identify their family members.
Speaking at the press conference, deputy general secretary of National Trade Union Federation Nasir Mansoor said that even a year after the incident factories in and around SITE still operated unchecked.
There has been no investigation or even talks about ensuring the safety of workers, caught in a similar scenario,” added Mr Butt.

A number of families have not been compensated yet, which Mr Mansoor attributed to the fact that some of the bodies were completely “unidentifiable”. Secondly, he said, in compliance of an order by a commission set up by the Sindh High Court in April this year, the relevant Shariah law is being followed to compensate the families.
And there is a reason behind it, he adds: “When the wife and kids of a victim were compensated, it left the parents behind and vice versa. So, we are following the Shariah laws to ensure an equal distribution of compensation money among the close family of a victim.”
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20130907 * Unionists demands: ‘Govt should reveal report on Baldia factory fire’:

The government should reveal the report of Justice (retd) Zahid Qurban Alavi’s commission on the Baldia factory fire, demanded trade unionists and members of the civil society on Friday.

Speaking at a press conference at Karachi Press Club, the speakers stressed the need provide justice to the factory workers by ensuring their health and safety at industrial and commercial establishments. They demanded penal action against  of those who were held responsible for the incident by the judicial commission in its report.

Pakistan Workers Confederation general secretary Noor Muhammad said that the labour movement of Karachi has chalked out a number of programmes to observe the first anniversary of the fire incident that occurred last year, when nearly 256 workers had lost lives and 55 were injured.

“To mark the anniversary, on the evening of September 10, a memorial vigil would be held, where the trade unionists and civil society activists, members of the victims’ families would gather at the site of the factory and observe one-minute silence,” he said.
to read.

20130908 * Call for making Justice Alavi’s report public:

Trade union leaders and civil society activists on Friday demanded of the government to make public the report of a judicial commission on a Baldia garments factory fire that killed over 250 people on September 11 last year.

The also urged the government to provide justice to the victims of the deadly blaze that destroyed the factory, Ali Enterprises, Baldia Town, and take those responsible to task.

Speaking at a joint press conference at the Karachi Press Club, the leaders of trade unions and human rights organisations deplored that even after the passage of one year, the accused, including the factory owners and officials of the labour department and other relevant government departments, were free.
read more.



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* The Karachi-BALDIA Fire – 11 Sep 2012- NOW


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