in the news on-line, 12 Sept. 2013

07:48:30 local time map of china CHINA

* China’s workers turn up the heat in summer of protest:

China’s long hot summer saw workers across the country stage strikes and protests against low pay, wage arrears and poor working conditions.

In the three months from June to August 2013, CLB recorded a total of 183 incidents on our Strike Map, up seven percent from the previous three months, and more than double the 89 incidents recorded from June to August in 2012.* In July alone, we recorded 78 incidents, with another 67 in August.

Undeterred by record high temperatures, workers regularly took to the streets in protest. While most protests occurred in or close to the workplace, on at least 11 occasions workers deliberately blocked roads and bridges in order to further their demands. On one occasion, in temperatures of 39 degrees Celsius, workers at a textile factory in Nanjing blocked the roads in Luhe district demanding the payment of wage arrears after the boss ran off.
read more.

07:48:30 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* DOLE told: Ensure workers get modest increase:

Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada yesterday urged the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to ensure that the workers in the private sector will receive the stipulated additional P10 minimum wage.

Estrada said that this is the only consolation the Aquino government could provide the workers with the measly minimum wage adjustment announced and approved by the Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Board last Friday.
“Many workers complain that they are not receiving the prescribed minimum wage rates in Metro Manila, even before this wage increase,” said Estrada, who chairs the Senate committee on labor, employment and human resources development.

“Our government must guarantee that this benefit, however modest, will reach the labor sector and our laws and standards regarding compensation are fully complied with and strictly enforced,” he said.
The National Capital Region (NCR) has among the lowest compliance rate on minimum wage upon inspection according to the Current Labor Statistics published by the DOLE, Estrada said.
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06:48:30 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Nike shoe manufacturer expands operation in Vietnam:

Chang Shin Vietnam Co. Ltd, which manufactures Nike shoes for export, has announced it will expand its Long Thanh district factory in Dong Nai province to cash in on bulk orders next year.

Chang Shin Vietnam General Director Woo Bang said the US$12 million expansion project is expected to generate an additional 1,800 jobs for local people.
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06:48:30 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Minimum wage panel sets a meet:

A joint committee designed to bring about wage increases in the garment sector will meet for the first time on Friday, a Ministry of Social Affairs letter obtained yesterday states.

Those on the committee tasked with reviewing the $75 monthly minimum wage include government, factories representatives and unions.
But one of those unions – the Free Trade Union (FTU) – plans to boycott the meeting. Chea Mony, FTU president, yesterday said he had been invited but would not attend.
“I won’t accept their invitation because I think this work should be left to the Labour Advisory Committee at the Ministry of Labour,” he said.
read more.
PPP new

07:48:30 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Minimum wage must increase but not too much: Hatta:

Coordinating Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa said there was a need to increase workers’ minimum wage, however, the rate of the increase must be realistic and benefitted all stakeholders.

“We need to raise the minimum wage but it should not be too drastic,” Hatta said as quoted by Antara on Tuesday.
The minister said most labor unions had demanded around a 50 percent increase and according to him, this was unrealistic.
“Raising the minimum wage by 50 percent would shake companies and eventually lead to redundancies. This will not benefit anyone,” Hatta said.
to read.

05:48:30 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Talks start in Geneva:

A meeting of retailers, labor unions and non-governmental organizations starts Wednesday in Geneva to discuss compensation for those killed and injured in two factory disasters in Bangladesh.

Today’s talks are focused on the Tazreen factory blaze that took place in November, said Jenny Holdcroft, policy director at IndustriALL, a Geneva-based union federation representing workers in 140 countries. The meeting tomorrow will focus on the Rana Plaza factory collapse, the nation’s worst industrial accident, which killed more than 1,000 people.

“This is a specific discussion of the actual money that the companies will provide,” Holdcroft said. “We hope that the outcome of the meetings will be specific commitments of dollar amounts by the brands of what they will contribute to the compensation.”

C&A Group and Spain’s El Corte Ingles SA are among five retailers who have confirmed they’re attending the meeting today, while the meeting tomorrow will be attended by at least 11 retailers, including Inditex SA (ITX) and Primark, according to IndustriALL.

IndustriALL has previously estimated long-term compensation for Rana Plaza will be more than $71 million while its estimate for Tazreen was $5.7 million.
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BANGLA NEWS24 daily star bd BDCHRONICLE primenews Ittefaq NewNation

* Garment retailers to consider compensation:

Campaigners say the families of those killed have already waited too long for compensation

Some of the world’s biggest garment makers are to meet to discuss compensation for workers injured and killed in accidents at garment factories in Bangladesh.

They are planning to work out details of damages for those affected by accidents including the collapse in April of the Rana Plaza building, according to a BBC report.
More than 1200 people died and 2500 were injured in the collapse.
Trade 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.
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DHAKATRIBUNE daily star bd

* US Brands Fail Victims of Bangladesh Disasters:

20130911 ILFR

The horrific catastrophes at Tazreen Fashions and Rana Plaza exposed the callous indifference of the US brands and retailers that sourced from these factories and the systemic failure of the garment industry to ensure worker safety in Bangladesh.

It’s been more than four months since the Rana building collapse of April 24th, 2013 and nine months since the Tazreen fire of November 24th, 2012, but injured workers and the surviving families of the deceased have yet to receive even a cent of compensation from the US brands and retailers whose clothing they and their loved ones risked their lives to make.

Today and tomorrow, September 11th and 12th, IndustriALL Global Union is hosting negotiations in Geneva between clothing companies and Bangladeshi unions to ensure that full and proper redress reaches injured workers and the families of the deceased. These meetings follow earlier negotiations in April that were called in response to the Tazreen fire.

There, major European retailers agreed to contribute towards a $5.7 million compensation plan for the fire’s victims.
None of the US retailers whose clothing was produced at Tazreen or Rana Plaza have paid any sort compensation to victims or participated in compensation negotiations.
This includes Walmart, whose products accounted for 40% of the clothing being produced at Tazreen at the time of the fire and Children’s Place, whose failure to ensure safe working conditions at Rana Plaza has left hundreds of children without their mothers or fathers.
For the sake of the workers and families who are struggling in the wake of injuries and untimely deaths, we hold onto the hope that these companies will develop a conscience and adopt the industry standard compensation plan put forth by IndustriALL.
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* “Sign up and stay the course” UNI chief urges TUC on Bangladesh Accord:

General Secretary Philip Jennings backs calls for eight UK brands to sign building safety accord for Bangladeshi garment sector

UNI General Secretary Philip Jennings urged union leaders gathered at the TUC Congress to back calls for eight UK brands to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh.

The Accord was initiated by UNI Global Union and IndustriAll earlier this year following the Rana Plaza tragedy in which 1,133 Bangladeshi workers died. 86 multinational companies have already signed up but eight more based in the UK, including Matalan, River Island, and Republic, are yet to commit.

“The shoppers at Matalan, River Island and these other brands will not easily forget if they fail to act responsibly. The lives and livelihoods of Bangladeshi garment workers are at risk. We, the labour movement, will not desert them. Sign up stay the course with us.”
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* Protect RMG sector: PM to owners, workers:

Emphasising the importance of maintaining a congenial environment in the garment sector, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday urged all stakeholders concerned, including the factory owners and workers, to stay alert so that this important sector can withstand the tough global competition.

“Efforts should be there so that this important sector could survive facing the tough global competition. You’ll have to maintain a congenial atmosphere to keep up the buyers’ spirit,” she told a steering committee meeting of the Garment Workers’ Coordination Council at her office.

Hasina further said, “It’s my request to protect this garment industry because this sector ensures the livelihoods of many of you…I think its’ very important to see the interests of the workers involved in the production of garment products with their sweat and labour.”
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UNB INDEPENDENT BSS primenews  Ittefaq newstodayBD

* Worker Safety Alliance picks Jeffrey Krilla as President:

The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety announced that human rights expert and attorney Jeffrey Krilla has been named President of the coalition representing 20 North American apparel companies, retailers and brands.

Krilla brings extensive foreign policy experience to the position, having spent most of his career working around the globe on trade, development and human rights issues.
While a lawyer at Dentons US LLP, Krilla co-chaired the firm’s Africa Committee and was the member of its Public Policy and Regulation practice. Prior, Krilla served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.
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* Minimum wage must be within limit of inflation:

The Chittagong garment owners demanded the hike in minimum wage for workers must be in conformity with inflation rate and not more than that.

They placed the demand at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) on Tuesday in Chittagong.
According to the sources, the meeting discussed setting of minimum wage, preparation of biometric database of workers, amended labour law 2013 and role of owners in implementing the steps taken by the Accord and Alliance.

“Most of the garment owners in Chittagong stressed the need to adjust minimum wage hike with the inflationary rate and to consider the increase in production cost,” said Arshad Jamil Dipu who is owners’ representative in the wage board.
According to him, there may be 25-30% increase from the existing minimum wage if adjusted with inflation.
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* Protectionist undercurrents cast shadow on BD’s GSP debacle:

On 27th June, 2013, Bangladesh lost its generalised system of preferences (GSP) facility in the US market.

Though much lamented and profusely scrutinized, it is now water under the bridge. The trigger for this event was the Rana Plaza building collapse that took the lives of more than 1100 innocent and hard-working readymade garment (RMG) workers, an event that was preceded a few months earlier by a fire at Tazreen Fashions that also took many innocent lives. At bottom, analysts believe, these incidents were symptomatic of colossal failure of governance at every critical step.

The question now, among other ones, is how soon can we get back this facility and restore Bangladesh’s preferential access to the world’s largest single country market. It is only logical to assume that if there was a proximate cause for this unfavourable decision by the US President, the resumption of GSP facility would hinge on the satisfactory mitigation of the causal factors.
That, as we can see, could take months if not years to address, though there is increasing evidence of coordinated actions by all the concerned parties. There was also swift action on the part of the Government to amend labour laws, help improve working conditions, and initiate steps to prevent the recurrence of another tragedy stemming from a factory building collapse.
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* BD on way to becoming world’s No 1 denim goods exporter:

Bangladesh is moving fast to become the number one denim jeans and cotton trousers exporter in the globe as retailers of such items are coming here with growing orders bypassing China, garment manufacturers said.

They said export orders for denim goods have surged by 25 per cent over eight months of the calendar year, indicating that the country, whose economy highly depends on readymade garment (RMG) products, is about to cross number one China in export of such goods.

“Denim goods are eyeing lucrative markets due to their better quality,” Managing Director of Argon Denims Anwar-ul-Alam Chowdhury Parvez told the FE, adding that overseas buyers including those from the EU and US are now showing interest to source such goods from Bangladesh bypassing China.
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05:18:30 local time map of india INDIA

* Union textiles minister calls for roadmap for doubling cotton production:

The Union Minister for Textiles Dr Kavuru Sambasiva Rao, has said that a road map should be drawn up by the cotton industry to support the farm sector to double India’s cotton production in the short term.

He urged the industry to work with Central Institute of Cotton Research and to come up with a viable proposal to develop improved variety of traditional seeds and other farm practices which have been successfully tried in some countries with spectacular results in areas of productivity and disease resistance.

He expressed his views recently in an interactive session with stake holders of the cotton value chain which comprised of Confederation of Indian Textile Industry ( CITI) and South India Mills Association (SIMA).During the session , stake holders of the cotton value chain emphasised the need for a stable and transparent policy in the cotton distribution.
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* Garment industry cries foul over yarn price hike, seeks Centre’s intervention:

An abnormal increase in cotton yarn prices recently has significantly affected the knitwear garment sector of Tirupur, and has increasingly

An abnormal increase in cotton yarn prices recently has significantly affected the knitwear garment sector of Tirupur, and has increasingly become a big concern for the sustainance of all stakeholders’ units of the garment sector.

Heads of the various garment associations held a meeting on Tuesday to thrash out modalities to arrest rising cotton prices, said A Sakthivel, president, Tirupur Exporters’ Association (TEA).
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* AEPC hails double-digit growth in overall Aug exports:

Dr. A Sakthivel Chairman AEPC, has congratulated Minister of Commerce & Industry, Shri Anand Sharma for the double digit growth in exports which was 12.97 billion US $.

Dr. Sakthivel also congratulated the Minister for efforts that led to the reduction in trade deficit which stood at 10.9 billion US $ for the month of August 2013.
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* Rupee recovery brings relief to knitwear exporters:

Consistent recovery of the rupee in the last few days, with the currency hitting a three-week best of 63.38 against the dollar on Wednesday, has finally brought some relief and hope to the knitwear exporters in Tirupur cluster.

Though the initial depreciation of the rupee gave a measure of short-term benefits to the knitwear exporters in the region, in the form of better returns on the sale value, the deep slide of rupee against major foreign currencies in the last few months started creating problems for the businessmen since the production of apparel for export also warrants a lot of raw material imports.
read more.
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* Levying 10% export duty on surplus cotton likely to be discussed:

The government might on Thursday discuss a proposal to impose 10 per cent tax on exports above the declared surplus, to streamline exports and ensure a stable price regime.

Officials said the proposal, floated by the textiles ministry, had recommended imposing the duty on the freight on board value or a maximum of Rs 10,000 a tonne, whichever is less, for all cotton exports over the declared exportable surplus. Other proposals included declaring exportable surplus in September every year, based on the estimates of the Cotton Advisory Board.
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BUSINESSSTANDARD 2 Return to frontpage

05:18:30 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* Handloom, powerloom, textile sectors to benefit from textile agreement:

The first ever textile agreement between India and Sri Lanka was inked last Monday by Anura Siriwardena Secretary, Ministry of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka and Zohra Chaterji Secretary of Indian Ministry of Textiles.

“The objective of this historic MoU being the expansion of the business and co-operation in the development of SME in handloom, powerloom and textile sectors. The period of Memorandum of Understanding will remain in force for five years from the date of signing the MoU and it can be renewed thereafter.
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* Apparel sector gets a boost:

“This exhibition creates an ideal platform for small and medium Indian textile manufacturers to showcase their textiles, handloom and power loom. India is having bilateral trade with Sri Lanka for past 20 years.

Today we are happy to reach this stage and signing this Memorandum of Understanding MoU between two countries will strengthen our relationship. India has been Sri Lanka’s largest trade partner in South East Asia. This is a great opportunity to both countries to put our strength together to capture international marketplace. We are ready to provide fabric and requirement to Sri Lanka and there will be an opportunity for the join investments of both Sri Lankan and Indian investors,” stated Secretary Ministry of Textiles India Zohra Chattterji.
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* Trade unions jittery over Investment Promotion minister’s statement:

Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees Union (FTZ & GSEU) questions the statement made by Investment Promotion Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene at the Ministerial Parliamentary Consultative Committee (PCC) on September 4, that the government will not intervene to lay down conditions as to how workers should be employed in foreign collaborated factories as it would hinder foreign investment from coming into Sri Lanka.

Secretary of the FTZ & GSEU Anton Marcus told The Island Financial Review that Minister Abeywardene was responding to Kalutara District Parliamentarian Vidura Wickremanayake who raised the issue of a private factory employing labour through a manpower agency and who are heavily exploited as daily paid wage labour.

Marcs said that this was not a single isolated case as there are companies within the Katunayake and Biyagama Export Promotion Zones where such contract labour had been employed for core production and where no permanent labour had been employed. He says that this is a growing cancer within the labour employment.
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04:48:30 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN


* Still awaiting compensation in Pakistan: one year after Ali Enterprises burnt down:

Tomorrow German cost-cutter KiK discusses compensation for the victims of the collapse at Rana Plaza during the meeting in Geneva.

Meanwhile, survivors of the fire at the Ali Enterprises garment factory in Karachi, Pakistan, still await full, long-term and fair compensation. German retailer KiK remains the only known buyer of Ali Enterprises garments.

  • Families of  more then 250 workers killed during fire still awaiting full and long-term compensation
  • Brands and auditing organisations called on to take responsibility for garment factory fire.

Today one year ago, when the fire broke out during the late shift, the workers were sewing jeans for KiK, which were left strewn around the debris. The fire killed more then 250 people and left many injured.

Investigations into the fire found that workers were trapped inside the overcrowded factory by blocked exits and barred windows. Yet, just weeks before auditors from RINA, an Italian audit company contracted by the Social Accountability Acreditation Services SAAS, visited that factory and awarded it an SA8000 certificate.
The SA8000 system, run by Social Accountability International (SAI) is supposed to ascertain that workplaces meet international labour standards and local laws, including on fire and building safety.

An investigation carried out into the audit failings showed that fire safety certificates collected by auditors had been issued by an entirely fictitious company. Auditors failed to notice an entire mezzanine floor where many contract workers were employed. Another auditing company UL Responsible Sourcing also audited the factory in 2011 and 2007.

In December 2012, following sustained public pressure, Kik signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Pakistani workers’ rights organization Pakistan Institute of Labour Education & Research (PILER), in which they agreed to pay one million US dollars in emergency relief. Most of this has now been distributed to families through a commission established by the Sindh High Court. According to the December MoU the amount paid by Kik is not payment in full, and will be subtracted from the final compensation agreed upon.
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* One Year Later, Remembering Ali Enterprises:

Today, September 11th, we commemorate multiple tragedies. It is not only the anniversary of the fall of the Twin Towers but also the one year anniversary of the Ali Enterprises fire in Karachi, Pakistan.

The fire, which claimed the lives of 262 workers, was the deadliest factory fire in world history. The subsequent garment sector disasters that have occurred over the past year have continued to highlight the results of greed and criminal negligence that endanger workers in South Asia’s garment industry.

In addition to making jeans for KIK, workers interviewed by the National Trade Union Federation of Pakistan documented that Ali Enterprises factory also contracted with brands like Diesel and Go Blue. Sales revenues prior to the fire were estimated to be between 50 to 100 million USD a year but that money was hardly reflected in workers’ paychecks or in investments in preventative safety measures.

Ali Enterprises was an unregistered, illegally functioning factory with an unapproved building design and missing onsite fire-fighting equipment and an emergency alarm system.
Workers reported that the factory employed children and that all workers were employed under an illegal third-party contract system. Workers were not unionized and thus had no collective bargaining power to push for better working conditions.

What relief victims and their families have received has been won by local and international activists. For the anniversary of the fire, NTUF has organized demonstrations in Karachi, Hyderabad, Islamabad, Lahore and Multan with the hopes of revitalizing the issue of working conditions in Pakistan. This tragedy, says NTUF, “has now changed into a new symbol of a workers’ resistance movement which would help the factory workers to secure the right of having a decent working environment and to get rid of social injustice and the prevailing norm of low wage slavery which characterizes crony capitalism.”

Looking ahead, NTUF recommends that:

  1. Appointment letters be given to workers at the time of their appointment.
  2. Safety and protection measures according to international and national labour law must be observed in the workplace and the government should ratify ILO convention of occupational safety and health (OSH).
  3. Electric gates in factories be banned.
  4. Factory buildings be certified by the building authorities.
  5. Training be required for workers regarding labour lawsa and health and safety at workplace.
  6. Serious strategies be developed to initiate the process of forming workers’ representative unions in factories.
  7. Efficient labour inspection mechanisms be developed.
  8. Workers be registered with social security institutions, Employees Old Age Benefits Institution and Workers Welfare Board at the time of their employment.
  9. Laws to register the factories under Factories Act 1934 be observed.
  10. Minimum wages be increased according to the inflation rate

read more.

* First anniversary of Baldia factory fire incident observed:

The first anniversary of Baldia factory fire incident, which caused death of over 250 workers of Ali Enterprises in SITE Karachi was observed here in a modest way amid the law and order situation on a strike in the city on Wednesday.

International solidarity from European trade unions and academicians has been expressed with Pakistan workers on the anniversary.

The trade union leaders and civil society activists led by Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research had planned a number of programmes including a major anniversary reference at Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi where families of the victims were to attend a memorial reference/seminar.
Trade union leaders, human rights activists and civil society members were invited to attend the seminar to pay homage to the workers. A theatre by young artists of Karachi was also part of the reference. Noted singer Jawad Ahmed had also arrived in the city to take part in the function and present his songs in solidarity with the deceased workers.

On Tuesday evening, a vigil was held outside the burnt building of Ali Enterprises in Baldia town, where besides worker’s families members a large number of civil society activists had participated.

Besides in Pakistan the victim workers also received international solidarity. The international organisation Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC), which has taken up the issue of workers & health and safety conditions at Pakistani workplaces at Europe Union level has sent a solidarity message to Pakistan’s trade union movement.

“Our hearts and minds are with you at this time of remembrance,” the CCC statement said. It is one year since the terrible fire killed and injured so many workers. They were sewing jeans for the German retailer KIK. This fire wasn´t just an accident; It was preventable and caused by terrible negligence of the owner of the factory, as well as the government, the buyer KIK and the auditing companies who declared the factory was safe. As we know, the factory was fatally unsafe and too many people had their lives torn apart for the sake of producing as cheap as possible.
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* One year after the Baldia inferno:

It has been a year since that terrible fire at the Ali Enterprises garment factory in Karachi’s Baldia Town, which killed at least 289 people, almost all of them labourers, at the factory unit.

Smoke inhalation and the stampede that broke out in the building were the main causes of the deaths, with not enough fire exits present at the premises. Families of victims continue to suffer. Compensation given out cannot make up for the permanent loss of a wage-earner, or the grief death inflicts, especially when it comes in such terrible form.

It is also shocking that, even so long after the event, charges have still to be framed against the owner of the factory.
This act of negligence is simply inexcusable.
What is also unacceptable is the fact that we seem to have learned no lessons from that blaze and the aftermath of charred bodies it left behind.
Even today, factories across the country remain as dangerous as ever, with no safety measures in place at many of them to guard either against fire or other hazards.
Pakistan, as a country with one of the largest labour forces in the world, given the size of its population, needs to work urgently to remedy the situation.
For this purpose, it must ratify the International Labour Organisation conventions that it has still to put its signatures to, and perhaps, still more importantly, ensure that existing labour rules are enforced.
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* Baldia factory fire: ‘A year gone by, govt yet to take measures’:

20130912 TRIBUNE
Trade unionists and members of the NTUF convened a rally outside the Karachi Press Club to express their solidarity with the victims of the Baldia factory fire incident on Wednesday. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/ EXPRESS

Trade unionists and labour leaders have demanded that the premises of Ali Enterprises be converted into a memorial site for the labourers who lost their lives in the fire incident on September 11, last year. Moreover, they appealed to the government to immediately register all operational factories to avoid such incidents in the future.

Holding placards and banners, the labourers and trade union leaders, under the umbrella of the National Trade Union Federation (NTUF), convened a rally outside the Karachi Press Club to express their solidarity with the families of the Baldia factory fire victims and to mark the first anniversary of the worst industrial accident of the country.

“The factories are like a live bomb and no one cares about the consequences. I am afraid that the products produced by these factories will cease to be accepted in the international market because of the violation of labour laws,” lamented the NTUF Deputy Secretary Nasir Mansoor. He said that the factories’ owners should step forward for their factories and take positive steps for the safety for the workers

Pakistan Workers Confederation Sindh president Jaleel Shah told The Express Tribune that the federal and provincial governments had not yet implemented the order of Rs10,000 as minimum wage and the factories had not received the notification in this regard though the minimum wages were raised in the budget.
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* Godown fire sets off alarm bells:

On the first anniversary of the Baldia factory fire which claimed more that 250 lives, a massive blaze broke out in a cotton godown in the SITE area here on Wednesday evening.

A fire brigade official said that around 40 fire engines from different parts of the city were engaged in extinguishing the fire. Around 15 persons were rescued from the godown. The cause of the fire could not be ascertained immediately.
SP Fida Hussain Janwari later in the night told Dawn from the site that the blaze had been contained. The fire had broken out in a ‘warehouse’ with a boundary wall where cotton had been kept under the open sky, he said.

Because of shortage of equipment, he said, fire tenders were finding it hard to extinguish the fire as only one snorkel was engaged in the effort while tankers fetched water from nearby areas to control the blaze.
SP Janwari said thick smoke emanating from the burning cotton was causing breathing problems but “we salute the fire fighters who, despite odds, are making concerted efforts to prevent the situation from deteriorating further”.
to read.

* Minimum wage rates announced:

On the recommendations of the Minimum Wages Board Punjab, the Punjab government has notified minimum wage rates for all categories of workers except supervisory staff employed in 51 different industrial and commercial sectors.

According to a handout issued on Tuesday, the rates will be applicable from July 1.
An overall increase of 11.11 per cent had been made in minimum wages of all kinds of workers after which the minimum wage range had increased for ministerial, highly skilled, skilled, semi-skilled, miscellaneous and unskilled categories from Rs10,867 to Rs12,037, Rs11,535 to Rs12,037, Rs11,033 to Rs11,301, Rs10,365 to Rs10,565, Rs10,365 to Rs11,870 and Rs10,000, respectively.

Earlier, the last minimum wage range for these categories was Rs9,780 to Rs10,833, Rs10,382 to Rs10,833, Rs9,930 to Rs10,171, Rs9,329 to Rs9,509, Rs9,329 to Rs10,683 and Rs9,000. Wages for supervisory staff had been left for mutual bargaining between employers and workers.

The existing wages now fixed shall not be reduced. The employers shall, however, be free to pay higher wages either unilaterally or by collective agreement in view of any special consideration, including higher grade of skill or experience or higher cost of living in a particular locality or other reasons.
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* Textile industry can generate $13b by value-addition after GSP Plus:

The textile industry can generate $13 billion by value addition of its yarn as well as grey fabric, which is presently being exported to Bangladesh, China and other countries, which are benefiting from raw material of Pakistan.

“The textile exports globally stand at $800 billion in which Pakistan’s share is only 1.5pc. After getting duty free access to EU following GSP plus status, the country will also be able to fetch the share of Bangladesh as well as China. China’s share in global trade is $300b from which they lost $30b due to increased cost of production,” observed the newly-appointed president of APTMA Punjab SM Tanvir.
He said that we are in talks with China to set up their units in Pakistan and they too are willing to help Pakistan in this regard.  He believed that during this period as many as 10 million new jobs will be created in textile sector which would help in reducing poverty and redundancy and help in boosting economic activates in country.
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* ‘Textile industry to double exports in four years’:

akistan is the most efficient value-added textile chain supplier in the world after China, said Amir Fayyaz, who heads the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) committee on international trade.

Addressing an APTMA luncheon, Fayyaz said the Pakistani textile industry has shown its resilience through 30 percent export growth during an economic and energy crisis. “We now see new opportunities knocking at our doors including the expected GSP-Plus status from the European Union and a receptive government,” he said.

Fayyaz went on to add that the rising cost of production in China is making it no longer feasible for the Chinese to produce some textile products. “A Chinese delegation that recently visited Pakistan told APTMA members that Chinese textile exports declined by $30 billion last year from $300 billion to $270 billion,” he said, adding that most of the lost share was captured by Bangladesh, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Cambodia. The major reason for this transfer of market was that these countries enjoy zero-rated facility on their exports.
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* Textile industry: Industrialists seek fair distribution of gas:

20130911 TRIBUNE
Industrialists argue that Punjab is a major consumer of gas as most of the value added textile processing industry is located in the province.

While welcoming an additional supply of 40 million cubic feet of gas per day from the newly discovered Latif field, industrialists of the city have sought judicious distribution of the energy source among industries across the country.

All Pakistan Textile Processing Mills Association Regional Chairman Rizwan Ashraf, in a statement, said Pakistan had been struggling to cope with energy crisis for the last many years and conditions had worsened with a widening gap between demand and supply of electricity and gas.
He expressed satisfaction over the discovery of the new gas field, which was scheduled to start supplying 40mmcfd from Tuesday, and hoped it would help the country tackle the energy crisis.
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* USAID helps knitted garments sector to make $3.3 million exports to US:

United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is promoting the knitted garment sector in Pakistan by supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) for making exports to the International markets. Recently two among the group of 20 SMEs have made exports worth $3.3 million to the US markets by exporting their products to the world famous US retail outfits.

The export products which were selected on the basis of their compliance to international quality and environmental standards include knitted tops and bottoms, T-shirts, pullovers and polo shirts. USAID through its firms project is supporting these SMEs to build up their production base and cater to the demands of mid-tier international buyers in the knitted garment sector.
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* APTMA to hold road shows in EU states, US: Gohar:

Group leader, All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA), Gohar Ejaz has said the Businessmen Group, during last four years, has achieved an increase of $3.5 billion in textile exports despite the odd circumstances, including energy crisis and high interest rates.

He was talking to the members of a delegation of Lahore Economic Journalists Association (LEJA), who called on him. Vice Chairman APTMA Wisal Monnoo, newly-elected Chairman APTMA Punjab S M Tanveer, newly-elected Senior Vice Chairman APTMA Punjab Ali Ahsan and Convenor of APTMA Committee on International Trade Amir Fayyaz were also present on the occasion.
read more.

04:48:30 local time map of uzbekistan UZBEKISTAN

* A Chronicle of Forced Labour Of Children and Adults:

UGF Monitoring Team Observations:
– According to a college director who participated in local governors meeting, school children and students of colleges and lyceums will not be involved in cotton harvesting. They will continue their studies. Instead, all the university students and workers of companies and organisations will go to pick cotton. Whether this new practice is followed through the end of the harvest remains to be seen; in previous years, most young children were sent to pick cotton at the end of the harvest.
– Authorities ordered that no one will have weddings during the cotton harvest, September 10 until early November. The public was informed that anyone who fails to comply with the order will be penalized. The order includes all entertainment events and ceremonies; they should be postponed until the end of the season.
– It is obligatory for salesmen in markets and unemployed layers of the society to participate in the cotton harvesting.
You can download the report here. & 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


* China’s workers turn up the heat in summer of protest

* DOLE told: Ensure workers get modest increase

* Nike shoe manufacturer expands operation in Vietnam

* Minimum wage panel sets a meet

* Minimum wage must increase but not too much: Hatta

* Talks start in Geneva
* Garment retailers to consider compensation
* US Brands Fail Victims of Bangladesh Disasters
* “Sign up and stay the course” UNI chief urges TUC on Bangladesh Accord
* Protect RMG sector: PM to owners, workers
* Worker Safety Alliance picks Jeffrey Krilla as President
* Minimum wage must be within limit of inflation
* Protectionist undercurrents cast shadow on BD’s GSP debacle
* BD on way to becoming world’s No 1 denim goods exporter

* Union textiles minister calls for roadmap for doubling cotton production
* Garment industry cries foul over yarn price hike, seeks Centre’s intervention
* AEPC hails double-digit growth in overall Aug exports
* Rupee recovery brings relief to knitwear exporters
* Levying 10% export duty on surplus cotton likely to be discussed

* Handloom, powerloom, textile sectors to benefit from textile agreement
* Apparel sector gets a boost
* Trade unions jittery over Investment Promotion minister’s statement

* Still awaiting compensation in Pakistan: one year after Ali Enterprises burnt down
* One Year Later, Remembering Ali Enterprises
* First anniversary of Baldia factory fire incident observed
* One year after the Baldia inferno
* Baldia factory fire: ‘A year gone by, govt yet to take measures’
* Godown fire sets off alarm bells
* Minimum wage rates announced
* Textile industry can generate $13b by value-addition after GSP Plus
* ‘Textile industry to double exports in four years’
* Textile industry: Industrialists seek fair distribution of gas
* USAID helps knitted garments sector to make $3.3 million exports to US
* APTMA to hold road shows in EU states, US: Gohar

* A Chronicle of Forced Labour Of Children and Adults

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