in the news on-line, 11 Sept. 2013

15:38:56 local time map of china CHINA

* Products of top fashion brands fail quality tests:

Some batches of clothing from world’s leading fashion and luxury brands including H&M, FOREVER 21, American Apparel, Diesel and Lacoste were found to have quality problems, Shanghai’s market watchdog said yesterday.

The quality problems ranged from poor color fastness and fiber content to a high pH index and slippage, officials said.
Other big brands hauled up for substandard apparel included Moussy, Trussardi, Tommy Hilfiger, Desigual, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Teenie Weenie, Jack & Jones and Lanvin, according to the Shanghai Industrial and Commercial Administrative Bureau.
Some of the products failed in just one batch of clothing, others for several batches.

A batch of long skirts of American Apparel failed tests for poor wet rubbing color fastness, a high pH index and slippage, while another two batches of its trousers were found short in fiber content.
Dye in clothing with poor color fastness bleeds onto skin, which can be harmful, while a high pH indexh can cause skin allergies and make people vulnerable to bacteria.
read more. & read more.

* Hong Kong sailing its way into ‘SEA’, sees much rooms for growth in region:

If the Asean Economic Community is a party, Hong Kong – getting dressed and ready – wants to be a key guest to take part in the regional integration, says Carrie Lam, that city’s chief secretary for administration.

During a visit to Bangkok last week, Lam – commonly known as the second-most-influential official of Hong Kong – said her government saw potential to diversify its economy by venturing into the largely untapped market and cheaper labour costs of the 10-nation ASEAN group. As the wind shifts to the Eastern Hemisphere, it sees much room to grow in every way.
Some Hong Kong firms have relocated their manufacturing bases from the motherland to Cambodia. Phnom Penh alone already has some 60 garment and shoe factories and 24,000 workers, Fong Ngai, director of the Hong Kong Economics and Trade Office overseeing Asean, said in July.
read more.

* Labour rights groups and workers call for action on China’s employment agencies:

Dozens of labour rights groups, workers and activists across China have signed a submission to the central government calling for action to end the widespread abuse of the employment agency system in China that affects more than 60 million workers.

Spearheaded by the Panyu Workers’ Service Centre in Guangzhou, a total of 24 organizations and 103 individuals signed a submission entitled “promote collective bargaining, phase-out agency labour and straighten-out labour relations” (推行集体谈判、淡出劳务派遣、理顺劳资关系).

The submission was made on 6 September in response to the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security’s (MOHRSS) call for comment on its proposed Regulations on Agency Labour, issued last month.
read more.

15:38:56 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* Workers picket DOLE, slam P10 NCR wage hike:

Workers and urban poor led by labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno picketed the main office of the Labor Department in Intramuros, Manila this morning to condemn the P10 wage hike approved last Friday by the Metro Manila wage board.

The labor center said workers and the poor are revolted by the fact that while politicians enjoy millions of pork barrel under the government of Pres. Noynoy Aquino, workers are given mere “pig feed” or “kaning baboy” in the vernacular.
The country’s wage boards are under the National Wages and Productivity Commission, which is an attached agency of the DOLE. The Metro Manila wage board is set to forward its decision to the DOLE.
read more.

* Labor decry ‘kaning baboy’ wage hike:

KMU and Ibon research group said the P10 ($0.22) wage hike approved in Metro Manila is puny compared to what the workers’ families need to cope with price hikes; to what the wage needs to regain after decades-long erosion; and compared to the growth in labor productivity.

The labor center Kilusang mayo Uno (KMU) had predicted the government wage board would grant a paltry wage hike. But when the Metro Manila wage board finally approved a P10 ($0.22) hike last Friday, the progressive labor group was still “revolted” by its paltriness.

“While politicians are enjoying millions of pork barrel under the government of Pres. Benigno Aquino III, workers are being forced to make do with mere “pig feed” or “kaning baboy” in the vernacular,” the KMU said in a statement. The labor center used to compare wage board-granted hike to “crumbs on the table,” which are still human food. This Tuesday Sept 10, they picketed the main office of the Labor Department in Intramuros, Manila to protest the insufficient wage hike.
read more.

14:38:56 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Wife of convicted Thai lèse-majesté activist Somyot in Geneva:

Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC), together with the Free Somyot Campaign and the Thai Labour Campaign, urges the Thai authorities to hear Joop Prueksakasemsuk, Somyot’s wife, who calls to free her husband, labour and human rights defender and magazine editor. Joop Prueksakasemsuk will be in Geneva between 9-13 September, meeting key decision makers.

Somyot is a prisoner of conscience. He was convicted solely for the exercise of his right to freedom of expression and opinion and the right to participate in public life. He has been in detention since April 30, 2011 for the publication of two articles deemed insulting to the monarch. On January 23 2012, the Bangkok Criminal Court found him guilty on 2 counts of Article 112 of the Criminal Code (the lèse-majesté law*) and sentenced him to 11 years of imprisonment.
read more.

15:38:56 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* 60 textile firms shift from Jakarta over wage rise: API:

The more than 40 percent rise in provincial minimum wage (UMP) this year has forced around 60 textile and clothing firms from Jakarta to shift to Central Java region, Ade Sudrajat, chairman of the Indonesian Textile Association (API) has said.
Following the rise in UMP, labor-intensive textile and apparel enterprises in Greater Jakarta region were left with option to either relocate or terminate their business activity, Mr. Sudrajat said, Indonesian newspaper Kompas reported.
About 60 textile and garment enterprises from Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang, and Bekasi (Jabodetabek) have shifted their factories to Central Java following the implementation of UMP 2013, while around 60,000 people have been laid off by companies, he added.
read more.

* The Boomerang Effect of Minimum Wage Hike:

A city must furnish its residents with decent wages. Yet demanding the minimum wage rate of Jakarta be increased to Rp3.79 million is just logically unacceptable. Amid the nation’s economic slowdown, this demand may have a boomerang effect on the city: dying industries and fleeing investors.

The minimum wage in Jakarta this year has reached Rp2.2 million, up by over 40 percent than last year’s. If the workers’ demands are met, it means their minimum wage will soar by 72 percent—too much for a nation whose economic growth had been forecast to decline.

The minimum wage for laborers has always been set based on the standard cost of living (KHL). The workers currently receive a salary above the KHL at Rp1.98 million, which was pegged based on the results of a survey last year. This year, according to the results of another survey in July, the capital’s KHL has slipped to Rp1.92 million. However, this figure is predicted to rise following increased prices of subsidized oil fuel.
read more.

* BetterWork Indonesia Media Updates:

1. Indonesia in catch-22 situation over wages. Read the full article here.
2. Fast and Flawed Inspections of Factories Abroad. Read the full article here.
3. Government issues a circular as guideline of implementation of Minister Regulation on Outsourcing.
Read the full article here (Article is in Bahasa Indonesia)
Read the Google Translate English Version here.

4. Indonesia lowers economic growth expectation to 5.9%. Read the full article here.
5. Infrastructure boosts Indonesia competitiveness. Read the full article here.
6. Firms maneuver to survive. Read the full article here.
7. Basuki Supports Raising the Minimum Wage as Living Costs Increase.
Read the full article here

BetterWork Indonesia Media Updates Overview here.
BW indonesia

13:38:56 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Workers’ Wage – RMG makers’ no to big hike:

Garment owners in the Chittagong region did not agree to a big wage hike for garment workers because of the financial “constraints” of small and medium factory owners.

Factory owners in the region expressed their concerns over the issue at the first Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) in the port city yesterday.
In a recent meeting, the workers’ representative in the wage board recommended a minimum of Tk 8,114 in monthly salary, excluding other benefits. At present, the minimum wage is Tk 3,000 a month.
“The owners want to increase the salary for the workers, but only the adjustment of inflationary pressure in the economy,” said Arshad Jamal Dipu, the owners’ representative on the board.
read more.
daily star bd

* RMG fire injures 5 in Ashulia:

At least five readymade garment workers of a factory of Dhaka Export Procession Zone (DEPZ) Old Zone were injured as fire broke out at the factory.

Sources said fire broke out at a Korean factory and engulfed the factory around 5:30pm on Tuesday.
On information, three fire fighting units from DEPZ rushed to spot and doused the fire after half and hour efforts.
At least five workers were injured as they tried to douse the fire.
However, the reason behind the fire incident and damage could not be known immediately.
to read. & read more.

* RMG workers demo in CEPZ:

Thousands of readymade garment workers staged a demonstration inside the premises of Chittagong Export Processing zone (CEPZ) on Tuesday morning.

Workers locked the gates of two garment units, confining factory officials inside for about five hours.
Chittagong Metropolitan Police additional deputy commissioner Manzur Morshed confirmed the incident to the Dhaka Tribune.
He said: “Workers of Millennium Sweaters Limited and Super Fine Knitting Limited locked the main gates of these two factories around 9am.”
“They were unhappy with the price rates per sweater. They continued the demonstration until 1:30pm,” he said.
read more. & read more.

* Workers protest in front of BGMEA:

Agitated workers are demonstrating to protest the sudden closure of a garments factory in the capital’s Banani.

The workers, who belong to Ananya Fashions Ltd., started demonstrating around 9:00 am. Later they took a bus to BGMEA office at Kawran Bazar to stage a sit-in. Around 300 workers had gathered in the area by 12:00 pm.
The workers said the factory was shut-down on Monday night without prior notice. They are demanding payment of their arrears.
to read.

* Post Rana Plaza: Can Gap and others pin down worker safety? :

Fashion retailers are taking different approaches to try to improve worker health and safety. Will it be enough to avoid another Rana Plaza incident?

Nearly five months after the collapse of the eight-story Rana Plaza building that killed more than 1,100 garment workers and injured 2,500 in Bangladesh, the reverberations continue to impact the apparel industry.

The incident – and it lessons about supply-chain vulnerabilities – has boosted efforts to improve worker and building safety.
“[Bangladesh] is an inflection point for monitoring and auditing supply chains,” said Kindley Walsh Lawlor, vice president for corporate social responsibility at Gap, speaking at the Social Capital Markets conference in San Francisco last week
But companies remain divided on how best to do this in a country that’s one of the industry’s top suppliers.

Different approaches
Gap is part of an alliance of more than 15 companies – including Walmart, Kohl’s, Target and Macy’s – which has agreed to require factory inspections (and publicly release the results) in Bangladesh, develop common safety standards, provide loans to factory owners to improve safety, establish a worker hotline before the end of the year and establish “worker participation committees” selected by their peers. The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety has set a five-year timeline for the project.
read more.

* Garment makers to discuss Bangladesh compensation:

Some of the world’s major garment makers are to meet to discuss compensation for workers injured and killed in accidents in Bangladesh, reported BBC.

They are to work out details of damages for those affected by accidents including the collapse in April of the Rana Plaza building.
More than 1,200 people died and 2,500 were injured in the disaster.
BBC also reported trades unions say many families of those killed in the Rana Plaza collapse are now struggling to survive.
The meeting will also discuss compensation for victims of other accidents, including the fire at Tazreen Fashions in the capital Dhaka last November, in which over 100 people died.
The two-day meeting in Geneva has been called by the global trade union IndustriALL.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.

* Garment exports go from strength to strength:

Garment exports from Bangladesh continued to increase despite bad publicity garnered over the recent tragedies of Tazreen fire and Rana Plaza collapse.

Between July and August, knitwear exports raked in $2.1 billion, up 17.19 percent from a year ago, according to data from Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).
At the same time, woven garments fetched $2.05 billion, a 16.98 percent year-on-year rise.
The reason for the rise is the emergence of solid export destinations like Japan, Russia and South Africa, all the while cushioned by steady exports to the European Union, said Shubhashish Bose, vice-chairman of EPB.
read more.
daily star bd

* Export earnings in Aug post lowest in 12 months:

20130911 NEWAGE
A file photo shows employees working in a garment factory in Dhaka. The country’s export earning growth in August, the second month of the current financial year, hit the lowest in twelve months to 3.18 per cent. — New Age photo

Export earning growth in August, the second month of the current financial year, hit the lowest in twelve months to 3.18 per cent due to negative impact of two worst factory incidents in the garment sector, exporters said.

The export earnings in the first two months of the current financial year fell by 3.86 per cent to $5.03 billion from $5.23 billion target set by the government, as per the Export Promotion Bureau data released on Tuesday.
read more.
BD new age

* Export growth drops as apparel shipments fall:

The growth of the country’s merchandise export declined significantly in August 2013 following a fall in the shipment of major apparel products.

Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data revealed that the export earnings stood at $2.01 billion in August this year marking a growth of 3.18 per cent compared to that of the same month in 2012.
read more.


* Compensation to BD RMG disaster victims- 12 brands agree to meet in Geneva, 20 others refuse:

Twelve brands have agreed to attend meetings in Geneva to discuss the provision for offering long-term compensation to the victims of Rana Plaza and Tazreen factory disasters in Bangladesh. Over twenty others have refused to take responsibility.

The meetings to be held on Wednesday and Thursday, called by the global union IndustriALL, will be hosted by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which will also act as a neutral chair.

The first meeting will discuss compensation for the Tazreen Fashions victims, while the second one will have focus on the Rana Plaza, a statement issued by Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) — the largest global alliance of labour unions in the ready-made garment (RMG) sector, said Monday.

The brands which agreed to attend the meetings are C&A(NL), El Corte Ingles (ES) and Karl Rieker (DE) to talk on Tazreen, and Bonmarché (UK), Camaieu (FR), El Corte Ingles (ES), Inditex (ES), Loblaw (CA), Mascot (DK), Matalan (UK), Primark (UK) and Store Twenty One (UK) will discuss the case of Rana Plaza.

The CCC called on the remaining brands, including Walmart, Benetton and Mango, to reconsider their stance and take part in the negotiations.
read more.

* Most brands staying away as meeting begins in Geneva today:

More than twenty clothing brands have refused to discuss with Clean Clothes Campaign and IndustriALL Global Union, two largest global alliances of labour unions in the clothing sector, over setting compensation package for the victims of Tazreen Fashions fire and Rana Plaza collapse in a meeting that begins today in Geneva.

The CCC and the IndustriALL Global Union are organising the two-day meeting with the global brands which had business link with Tazreen Fashions and factories housed in Rana Plaza.
Only 12 brands have pledged to attend the meeting, the CCC said in a statement posted on its web site on Monday.
The statement said the meeting was called mainly by the global union IndustriALL and would be hosted by the International Labour Organisation, which would also act as a neutral chair.
read more.
BD new age

* PM to give financial assistance to Savar building collapse victims Thursday:

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday will give financial assistance to the Savar building collapse victims.

She will handover the cheques of financial assistance at her office at 10:30 am, said PM’s press secretary Abul Kalam Azad.
This will be the eighth phase of handing over of financial assistance to the victims and their family members.
So far, a total of Tk 11.97 crore has been provided from the Prime Minister’s Relief and Welfare 1,016 persons belonging to the families of 777 victims of the Savar Rana Plaza tragedy.
Besides, savings certificates worth Tk 3.30 crore have been given to 30 injured persons from the same fund.
read more. & read more.

13:08:56 local time map of india INDIA

* Minimum Wages Act to be amended, says Minister:

The Minimum Wages Act will be amended to ensure a uniform wage for labour across the country, Minister of State for Labour and Employment Kodikunnil Suresh said. An amendment bill will be introduced in Parliament at the earliest.

The minister was inaugurating the Employees State Insurance Hospital and the ESIC Sub-Regional Office here on Tuesday. Mr. Suresh pointed to the wage disparity suffered by labourers nationwide, which has prompted the Union government to table the amendment bill shortly.

He also announced that the Provident Fund ceiling would be raised to Rs. 15,000 after obtaining employer consent.
read more.
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* Knitwear sector seeks cut in yarn prices:

The garment exporting community has sought a roll-back in the price of the cotton yarn to last month’s price.

Voicing concern over the rising price of the yarn, garment exporters have appealed to the mill sector to consider a reduction of Rs 8 a kg.
Besides appealing to the mill sector, various stakeholders of the garment industry sought to represent their plight to the powers-that-be as well, seeking immediate intervention.
read more.
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* Textile associations plea to Union Government:

Prominent textile associations in Tirupur knitwear cluster has appealed to the Union Government seeking suspension of cotton and yarn exports for three months and also for issue of directions to Cotton Corporation of India to sell cotton directly to the end-users.

The appeal came at a meeting convened here on Tuesday to take stock of the situation arisen following the abnormal increase in yarn prices in the recent months.
read more.
Return to frontpage

12:38:56 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN


* One year after Baldia fire:

20130910 TRIBUNE BaldiafactoryfirePHOTOFILE

Over the last year, accidents in garment factories in Pakistan and Bangladesh have exposed not only the hazardous conditions in which garment industry workers toil, but also the human price of cheap clothes sold in Western capitals.

The list begins with the fatal accident at Ali Enterprises, situated in Karachi’s Baldia Town. On Sept 11 last year, a fire swept through the factory, killing over 250 workers. In November 2012 in Bangladesh, a fire at Tazreen Fashion killed over 100 people.
In April this year, also in Bangladesh, more than 1,000 workers perished when Rana Plaza, housing several garment factories, collapsed. This is reckoned as the worst industrial accident since 1984’s Bhopal tragedy in India.
Together, these headline-grabbing tragedies highlight the wretched, slave-like conditions in which employees are forced to work to feed the insatiable demand for global clothing brands.

From the rubble of the Baldia factory were found, among others, labels of German clothes retailer KiK, which has admitted it was a major bulk buyer of Ali Enterprises’ products since 2007. In Bangladesh, given its large garment industry, labels of various major high street retailers were found.
These tragedies also highlight a number of emerging trends in the growing global garments industry in relation to working conditions, workplace safety, labour rights and transparency of supply chains.

The Pakistani government should immediately ratify International Labour Organisation conventions relevant to freedom of association, the right to a safe and healthy work environment and the right to employment injury benefits.
This would pave the way for worker unionisation and better working conditions and structured compensation packages in case of industrial accidents.

The government should also put in place stringent labour inspection regimes. Discontinued labour inspections should be reinstituted in order to prevent tragedies resulting from structural flaws, blocked exits and overcrowded workplaces as seen in the aforementioned industrial tragedy.
There is a need to implement the minimum wage in all industries.
In this regard, the PML-N’s electoral pledge to increase minimum wage to Rs15,000 should be immediately translated into reality.
Workers were reportedly paid as little as Rs7,000 per month at the Baldia factory for longer than stipulated hours.
read more.

* Baldia factory fire tragedy: NTUF demands compensation for affected workers as per international standards:

20130909 DAILYMESSENGER5.Baldia-factory-fire-tragedy

National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) here Monday issued a report on tragic Ali Enterprises garment factory fire in Karachi.

The report titled Death Chamber: A tragedy on 9/11, 2012 in Pakistan written by Zehra Khan was launched at the Karachi Press Club (KCP).
The report says September 11, 2012 was one of the darkest days in the history of labor movement in Pakistan and it was also the deadliest disaster not only in textile sector but all industrial sector of the world.
On the day fire was broke out in Ali Enterprises, a garment factory in SITE area, Karachi in which 257 workers died within small spine of time. The main cause of these deaths was unprotected working environment. Many of the stranded workers died of suffocation as they were trapped in a factory with no emergency exits available.

The report said it was not the first incident of its kind but every day such workplace mishaps are reported albeit on smaller scale, which mostly go unnoticed. There are factories and commercial establishments, spread all over the country, having same horrible working conditions, posing potential threats to the lives of about 60million Pakistani workers.
read more.

* Victim families’ hope for justice fading away:

“I stopped inquiring about the investigation into the Baldia factory fire the day the owners were given bail on court orders,” says Sharifa Memon who lost her 23-year-old son, Shahbaz Memon, in the blaze exactly a year ago.

Many people say that if the authorities had shown a bit of “persistence” in saving the lives of people trapped inside, it would have made a huge difference.
“At least I would have been satisfied today to know that someone was as concerned as I was to save my family,” adds Ms Memon.

Baldia factory fire, considered to be the country’s worst industrial incident, killed more than 250 people and injured many others on Sept 11, 2012.

Families were understandably distraught to find their loved ones trapped inside the blazing factory for hours on end, while firefighters wrestled with hosepipes to douse the blaze. Ali Enterprise, the garment factory in Baldia Town, SITE, stands as a stark reminder of the nightmarish incident. For many it is a bitter reminder of how inadequacy is considered a norm, worth more than saving a life.
read more.

* Minor heirs to receive compensation with added profit:

20130911 TRIBUNE Baldia
The sewing floor of the garment factory was charred in the fire that took the lives of over 250 workers. Even though there is a fire extinguisher, the factory lacked proper fire exits. PHOTO: FILE

Several of the heirs of the Baldia fire victims are minors so the compensation they deserve will lie with the high court until they turn 18 years old.

An official of Sindh High Court will invest the money in profit schemes so when the children turn 18, they will receive their original compensation plus the profits it would have earned by then, according to an official of the commission formed by the high court in January this year. This commission worked under the supervision of Justice (retd) Rehmat Hussain Jaffery to disburse the money donated by the owners of Ali Enterprises, its German-based buyer KIK-Textilien and a local philanthropist.

“Many cheques have been deposited with the SHC Nazir because the legal heirs of many victims are minor,” the official told The Express Tribune, adding that the money will be disbursed when they come of age. “Till then the court’s Nazir would invest this money in profit schemes, and would return the increased amount with profit.”
read more.

* Families of the Baldia fire victims move on with their lives but with a heavy heart:

Abdul Ghani aka Babar felt very alone in the world after his wife was burnt to death in the Baldia factory fire on September 11 last year, where more than 250 factory workers died.

Nasreen, his wife, left behind their daughters – six-month-old Zainab and a four-year-old Muqaddas – and they are the reason why the 33-year-old single parent let go of his depression and decided to live for them.

“For three months I did not sleep,” Babar admitted. “Every day I prayed to God and wished for death. I wanted to die.” One day, he realised, however, that there was no one else to take care of his daughters. “I realised that I could not leave them to die.” For the little ones, Babar became a mother, fought for his wife’s compensation money and battled with those who were greedily eyeing the money.
read more.

* Candlelight vigil marks first anniversary of factory fire:

Emotions ran high as a large number of people held a candlelight vigil outside the gutted Ali Enterprises garment factory in Baldia Town to mark the first anniversary of the deadly blaze.

Labour leaders, families of the deceased workers, trade union members and civil society activists took part in a candlelight vigil on Tuesday to commemorate the victims of the worst-ever industrial disaster of the country.
Touching scenes were witnessed as the victims’ families, including women, children and relatives, remembered their loved ones.

Carrying banners and placards, the people shouted slogans demanding bringing the culprits to justice. They also called for providing health and safety facilities at all workplaces and initiation of factory inspections of all the factories in Pakistan.
A large number of workers of the nearby factories also took part in the candlelight vigil and paid tribute to the victims.
A one-minute moment of silence was also observed on the occasion.

CCC expresses solidarity
An international labour rights organisation has expressed solidarity with the families of the victims of the tragic Baldia factory fire on the first anniversary of the deadly blaze, which left at least 257 people dead.
Since 1989, the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) has been dedicated to improving working conditions and supporting the empowerment of workers in the global garment and sportswear industries.
read more.

* A year on, no consolation for families of the missing dead :

A year on, Shahida Akmal, 33, has still not been able to find her husband. Not only did she lose her beloved spouse, she cannot claim the promised compensation also as she cannot identify his body. Muhammad Akmal, 30, died on September 11 last year in the worst industrial fire of the country, which destroyed the Ali Enterprise garment factory in Baldia Town. Among the dead were 256 others.Akmal’s body was burnt beyond recognition, says Shahida. The government asked for a DNA identification test of which she never got the results.
Be it the lack of diagnostic facilities of the government’s mismanagement, the DNA reports of 25 aggrieved families are still pending. Without the results, they cannot obtain a death certificate, and hence the compensation promised by government and social welfare organisations.
read more.

* Safety rules on paper still pending in action:

The fire at Ali Enterprises in SITE, which caused deaths of more than 250 workers, was a wake-up call for all the departments tasked with looking after the implementation of labour and fire safety laws in factories. It appears, however, that the impact was not enough as factories in the area are still operating in violation of the parameters laid down by the law, The Express Tribune has learnt.

According to an official of the fire department, hundreds of factories in SITE were still operating in worse conditions that Ali Enterprises in terms of fire safety and other emergency measures. “Different types of highly inflammable chemicals are kept together while no visible measures for fire safety are taken in these factories, which could lead to more casualties in case a fire breaks out,” said the official on the condition of anonymity.
He added that experts of the fire department are not authorised to enter the factories without cause. “Most of the factories have no fire exits, ventilation, fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, fire alarms, and no concept of training their workers for emergencies. There aren’t even water storages for the fire tenders of the fire brigade to douse fire.”

In his opinion, there should be fire drills every month similar to those conducted by reputed textile companies. “If you can install a factory worth Rs500 million then why can’t you spend Rs500,000 on a good fire safety system which can save the whole structure as well as lives of the employees?”
read more.

12:38:56 local time map of uzbekistan UZBEKISTAN

* Human rights activists appeal to ILO monitors visiting Uzbekistan:

A group of human rights organizations issued an appeal to monitors from the International Labour Organization (ILO) preparing to visit Uzbekistan to observe the cotton-picking season.

Human Rights Watch, and a number of other major human rights organizations, have started a Cotton Campaign and issued a statement as cotton-picking work is about start in Uzbekistan.
This year the government of Uzbekistan is allowing ILO monitors to visit the country during the cotton-picking season.

The monitors are needed because of the widespread practice in Uzbekistan of forcing millions of adults and children to pick cotton.
Human rights workers are concerned that Uzbek government officials will accompany ILO monitors.
From the statement issued by the Cotton Campaign participants: “their [government officials] presence will stifle the dialogue between the citizens of Uzbekistan and ILO monitors.”
read more.

* Statement from the Cotton Campaign on the Start of the Cotton Harvest in Uzbekistan:

The 2013 cotton harvest is underway in Uzbekistan. The Uzbek Cotton Industry Association “Uzkhlopkoprom” estimates a total harvest of 3.35 million tons, making Uzbekistan the 6th largest cotton producer and 2nd largest cotton exporter in the world. Yet Uzbek citizens continue to suffer human rights abuses under the state-controlled cotton industry.

We are pleased that this year the International Labour Organization (ILO) expects to deploy teams to Uzbekistan to monitor during the harvest.
We remain concerned that the ILO monitors will be accompanied by representatives of the Government of Uzbekistan and the official state union and employers’ organizations,  whose presence will have a chilling effect on Uzbek citizens’ willingness to speak openly with the ILO monitors.
Therefore, we encourage the ILO to make every effort possible to obtain independent information, publicly report all findings and any interference by Uzbek Government, and validate the findings and monitoring process with the International Trade Union Confederation and International Organisation of Employers.

Since 2010 the tripartite ILO Committee on the Application of Standards has recommended a high-level, tripartite ILO monitoring mission. Such a mission would include tripartite oversight, independent civil-society participation, a mandate to address forced labour and child labour and public reporting.
While the ILO monitors will not have unfettered access this year, we will support the ILO in their effort.
read more. & read more.

Non-participation payoff in Jizzakh:

Adults and children of Gallyaaralskiy district in Jizzakh province are required to either participate in picking cotton or pay a non-participation fee.

Parents with young children have not been paid child benefits for August in Gallyaaralskiy district in Jizzakh province. Local government representatives Jasur Yuldashev and Dilnoza informed the local residents that the benefits would be paid only if they show up to work the cotton fields.

They did propose an alternative to working in the fields – pay 150,000 soms (about 55 USD) for each adult member of the household.
read more.


map of Asia


In the menu under Special Reports you can find Updated overviews of articles about:


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


* Products of top fashion brands fail quality tests
* Hong Kong sailing its way into ‘SEA’, sees much rooms for growth in region
* Labour rights groups and workers call for action on China’s employment agencies

* Workers picket DOLE, slam P10 NCR wage hike
* Labor decry ‘kaning baboy’ wage hike

* Wife of convicted Thai lèse-majesté activist Somyot in Geneva

* 60 textile firms shift from Jakarta over wage rise: API
* The Boomerang Effect of Minimum Wage Hike
* BetterWork Indonesia Media Updates

* Workers’ Wage – RMG makers’ no to big hike
* RMG fire injures 5 in Ashulia
* RMG workers demo in CEPZ
* Workers protest in front of BGMEA
* Post Rana Plaza: Can Gap and others pin down worker safety?
* Garment makers to discuss Bangladesh compensation
* Garment exports go from strength to strength
* Export earnings in Aug post lowest in 12 months
* Export growth drops as apparel shipments fall
* Compensation to BD RMG disaster victims- 12 brands agree to meet in Geneva, 20 others refuse
* Most brands staying away as meeting begins in Geneva today
* PM to give financial assistance to Savar building collapse victims Thursday

* Minimum Wages Act to be amended, says Minister
* Knitwear sector seeks cut in yarn prices
* Textile associations plea to Union Government

* One year after Baldia fire
* NTUF demands compensation for affected workers as per international standards
* Victim families’ hope for justice fading away
* Minor heirs to receive compensation with added profit
* Families of the Baldia fire victims move on with their lives but with a heavy heart
* Candlelight vigil marks first anniversary of factory fire
* A year on, no consolation for families of the missing dead
* Safety rules on paper still pending in action

* Human rights activists appeal to ILO monitors visiting Uzbekistan
* Statement from the Cotton Campaign on the Start of the Cotton Harvest in Uzbekistan
* Non-participation payoff in Jizzakh

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