in the news on-line, 13 Sept. 2013

04:44:39 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* US businesses seek to increase cotton export to Vietnam:

US cotton exporters met with their Vietnamese customers in Ho Chi Minh City on September 11 to seek ways to step up cooperation.

The participants come from the Vietnam Cotton and Spinning Association (VCOSA), the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association and the US Staple Cotton Cooperative Association.
With garment and textile being a key export staple, the demand for cotton in Vietnam is increasing fast. The country imported 420,000 tonnes of cotton last year, putting it in the top ten cotton users and top five cotton importers in the world. Between 40 and 50 percent of Vietnam’s cotton import is from the US .
read more. & read more.
VIETNAMplus COMMUNISTpartyVN

* Chinese investors flock to Vietnam to wait for TPP:

Vietnam’s TPP membership would bring benefits to China

The 19th negotiation for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement ended in Brunei with no further progress made. However, economists all are certain about Vietnam joining the agreement.

While Vietnamese enterprises still have not got ready for TPP, the neighbor China has drawn up its plan to make money from the Vietnam’s TPP membership.
Bloomberg has reported that Chinese businesses have prepared well for this, which has turned many of them into the new dollar billionaires in China.

One of them is Hong Tianzhu, President of Chinese Texhong Textile. The newswire reported that Texhong Textile’s share prices have increased by 445 percent over the last 12 months, while the asset value of the founder and the biggest shareholder Hong Tianzhu has reached $1 billion.

Chinese textile companies have suffered from the Chinese government’s high cotton price policy which aims to protect cotton growers. The policy has made the cotton price in China higher by 75 percent than in Vietnam.
Texhong Textile has been taking full advantage of the price gap to make money. It buys cotton in Vietnam and sells products in China.
read more.
VNNet

04:44:39 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Thai unions make a big step towards unity:

Since the formation of IndustriALL Global Union, IndustriALL affiliates in Thailand have jointly started a series of discussions to strengthen the Thai union movement, in an effort to unite the Thai labour movement and fight precarious work in all its forms.

At the Unity Meeting held on 7-8 September in Bangkok, union representatives from the Confederation of Thai Electronic, Electrical Appliances, Auto and MetalWorkers (TEAM), the Textile, Garment and Leather Workers Federation of Thailand (TWFT), the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand Labour Union (EGAT LU), PTT Labour Union (PTT LU), the Chemical Workers Union Alliance (CWUA), the Paper and Printing Unions Federation of Thailand (PPFT) and the Petroleum and Chemical Unions Federation of Thailand (PCFT) expressed their commitment to work together.
(…)

CILT will represent at least 153,000 workers in the electronic and electrical appliances, auto, steel, chemical, rubber, materials, paper, textile, garment, leather, oil, gas and electricity in Thailand. These industries employ millions of Thai and migrant workers from, among other, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos.

Thailand is the second largest economy in Southeast Asia, with a workforce of 40 million. It receives a lot of foreign investment, including from major multinational companies from OECD countries. At the same time, Thailand has a very poor record on trade union rights and, often as a result of that, very few workers belong to trade unions.
read more.
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04:44:39 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Workers split on call to rally:

Union workers and leaders appeared divided yesterday on the question of whether to support the opposition party’s planned three-day demonstration at Freedom Park.

Campaign promises from the Cambodia National Rescue Party to raise minimum monthly salaries to $150 seemed to have struck a chord with garment workers in the capital’s Meanchey district yesterday. But if support for the party among those workers is solid, their individual commitment to attend the Sunday-to-Tuesday protest seemed fractured.

Lim Ly, 37, one of about 1,000 employees in their third week on strike from the Nex-t Apparel (Cambodia) Co Ltd garment factory, said she will likely join Sunday’s CNRP demonstration.
“We want the CNRP to rule,” Ly said. “Their policy is to increase salaries for all workers.”

Employees at SL Garment Processing (Cambodia) Ltd gathering near a fruit stand on the dusty, unpaved road in front of the factory’s gate during their lunch break yesterday afternoon, meanwhile, seemed more concerned with problems within the factory than the opposition’s protest.

In the span of one week, workers at SL returned to work from striking, began striking again and then came back once more last Friday. Tension between workers and management remains as representatives from their union, the Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union (C.CAWDU), carry on negotiations with management.
read more.
PPP new

* FTU Requests Week Off for Workers to Join Rally:

The Free Trade Union (FTU) requested that the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) permit workers nationwide to take a weeklong holiday in order to participate in the opposition’s planned demonstrations, according to a letter sent by the FTU this week.

Signed by union president Chea Mony, the letter sent to GMAC on Tuesday implored garment manufacturers to suspend production from September 15 to September 21. The CNRP three-day sit-in is scheduled for September 15, 16 and 17.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

03:29:39 local time map of nepal NEPAL

* GSP could help triple garment‚ pashmina exports:

Inclusion of Nepali garments and pashmina in the United States Generalised System of Preference (GSP) facility could help triple the total export figure of these products within three years, say exporters.

On an average, annual export of garments and pashmina products to third countries is worth Rs six billion but exporters believe that the export of these products will jump to Rs 18 billion within three years once the US approves the GSP facility for these two products.

During its heydays, garments and pashmina products used to have around 80 per cent share in the total export to the United States but the share started to drop after the end of the Multi Fibre Agreement (MFA) in 2005, and the quota phase out. The MFA governed world trade in textiles and garments from 1974 till 2004, and expired on January 1, 2005.

“The US used to be the largest buyer of Nepali garments and pashmina but after the quota phase out, export of both the products has dropped by more than half,” said president of Garment Association – Nepal Uday Raj Pandey.
read more.
HIMALAYAN

03:44:39 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

MUST WAIT

A disappointing outcome, as many brands fail to live up to their responsability and leave Bangladeshi victims and their relatives in the cold.

  • Eleven brands join discussions on compensation to victims of Bangladesh factory disasters.
  • Other key brands turn their back on workers’ plight.
  • Some advance payments agreed

Eleven of the brands and retailers sourcing from the factories involved in the Tazreen and Rana Plaza disasters joined high-level compensation meetings, facilitated by the ILO as a neutral chair, on 11-12 September in Geneva.

Many other major companies failed to attend, showing total contempt for the 1,900 workers who were injured and the families of over 1,200 workers who were killed making their products.

IndustriALL Global Union Assistant General Secretary Monika Kemperle stated: “Consumers will be shocked that almost a half-year has passed since the Rana Plaza disaster with only one brand so far providing any compensation to the disaster’s victims. I respect those brands that came to these meetings. But I cannot understand brands that are not around the table.” 

Regarding Rana Plaza out of a total of 29 brands that were invited the following 9 brands showed good faith by attending the meeting: Bon Marché, Camaieu, El Corte Ingles, Kik, Loblaw, Mascot, Matalan, Primark, Store Twenty One.

20 other companies, all of whom were invited, failed to show up: Adler, Auchan, Benetton, C&A, Carrefour, Cato Corp, The Children’s Place, Dressbarn, Essenza, FTA International, Gueldenpfennig, Iconix Brand, Inditex, JC Penney, Kids Fashion Group, LPP, Mango, Manifattura Corona, NKD, Premier Clothing, PWT Group, Texman and Walmart.

IndustriALL, the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) and the Workers Rights Consortium (WRC) presented a proposed model for compensation, which has been used by brands and retailers in previous factory disasters in Bangladesh. The model includes payment for pain and suffering and loss of income. For Rana Plaza US$74,571,101 would be needed to provide full compensation to all workers, of which the brands are being asked to contribute US$ 33,556,996. For Tazreen US$6,442,000 is required, with US$2,899,000 being asked from the brands.
(…)

Bangladeshi workers and victim’s families hoping for immediate aid will be disappointed. Brands’ commitments after two days were limited to:

  1. Meeting again within the next two weeks to share information and tools, exchange views, and consider next steps.
  2. To contribute financially to a fund to assist injured workers and victims’ families, and commit to move the process of establishing the fund forward quickly.  A coordination committee was created to take the process forward through a multi-stakeholder forum which would be open to the Bangladesh government and employers, together with the brands and retailers, unions and NGOs.
  3. Commitment to coordinated work going forward, building on initial assistance U.K. retailer Primark has already provided to victims. Primark made available their local banking infrastructure in Bangladesh to deliver any funds that are made available on an emergency basis.

Immediately after the meeting Primark committed to providing a further three months salary to all affected families as emergency relief. Unfortunately, none of the other brands or retailers present at the meeting committed to provide such emergency relief.

ZM Kamrul Anam of the IndustriALL Bangladesh Council called on brands to act swiftly:
“We appreciate Primark having already made a three month salary payment to the injured and victims’ families. But when I go back to Bangladesh they will ask me what more was decided here.
Those families need food, medicene and housing.
Please, all brands and retailers, match that three months salary for these people in urgent need. Some time can be expected to establish a sustainable solution, but an immediate payment to help these families must be made now.”

At the Tazreen compensation meeting on the previous day, C&A tabled its substantial compensation initiative for the victims and demonstrated its continued commitment to finding a definitive solution. Karl Rieker, which was also in attendance also signaled a readiness to contribute and was commended for positive participation in the Tazreen discussion.

Of the brands and retailers invited to the Tazreen process the following companies failed to participate in the 11 September meeting:
Delta Apparel, Dickies, Disney, El Corte Inglés, Edinburgh Woolen Mill, Kik, Li & Fung, Piazza Italia, Sean John, Sears, Teddy Smith, and Walmart.

IndustriALL Assistant General Secretary Monika Kemperle stated:
“The disregard of the absent brands for the plight of workers in Bangladesh whose lives have been destroyed by the avoidable accidents at Tazreen and Rana Plaza is shocking in the extreme. Empty promises and direct untruths since the Tazreen fire and the Rana Plaza collapse all so that these Western multinationals can avoid making payments that amount to a minute percentage of turnover.”

UNI Global Union General Secretary Philip Jennings stated:
“Walmart is the world’s largest retailer and one of the largest buyers from Bangladesh. They should be a leader in taking responsibility for their global supply chain. Once again Walmart had failed to make a commitment to the workers in Bangladesh who produce the millions of garments sold around the world at large profit.”

Clean Clothes Campaign’s Ineke Zeldenrust stated:
“CCC will continue to put pressure on those brands who have not yet committed to immediately and actively engage in the negotiation process and commit to providing sufficient funds to meet the amounts needed to provide the workers and their families with the compensation they are entitled to under international standards.”

Worker Rights Consortium Executive Director Scott Nova added,
“It is past time that the victims of the worst industrial disaster in history and their families receive assistance from the international brands and retailers that profited from these workers’ labor. It is shocking that not only have hardly any brands committed to any concrete level of assistance, but even more so that most of the companies implicated in the disaster did not even bother to show up to discuss helping the victims.”
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SEE MORE BELOW: THE SAVAR BUILDING COLLAPSE

* Amirul Haque Amin speech to TUC Congress 2013:

Amirul Haque Amin, President of the National Garment Workers’ Federation, Bangladesh, addressed at the 2013 Trades Union Congress.

A written version of the speech is available here.
Amirul Haque Amin speech on YouTube.
tuc

 * RMG union leaders ask retailers to ink safety accord:

20130912 PRIMENEWSGarments_Factory

Warning against a repeat of the Rana Plaza tragedy, in which about 1133 workers were killed in a fire at a garment factory on the outskirts of Dhaka, Amirul Haque Amin, president of the Bangladeshi National Garment Workers Federation, has called upon eight leading high street clothing brands in the UK to sign up to an accord on workplace safety and fair labour practices in the garment industry in Bangladesh, where 3.6 million people are employed.

These brands are Matalan River Island, Sports Direct/Republic, Jane Norman, Peacocks, Bench, Mexx and Bank Fashion.

Amin is in the UK to speak at the annual conference of the Trade Union Congress (TUC, an umbrella organisation of British trade unions comprising 54 unions and 6.2 million members) to be held in Bournemouth from September 8th to 11th.

The Bangladesh Building and Fire Safety Accord, crafted by the global unions IndustrialALL and UNI, has already been signed by 86 clothes brands including names such as Abercrombie & Fitch (U.S.); Benetton (Italy); Carrefour (France); Casino Global (Hong Kong); Next; Primark; and Marks and Spencer (all three U.K.); H&M (Sweden); Mango (Spain). It also has labour NGOs such as Clean Clothes, plus representatives of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Government of Bangladesh on board.

“Our demands are to ensure a safe workplace for garment workers through compulsory inspections, a living wage, and the right to organise,” Mr. Amin told
The Hindu.
“The conditions that garment workers are in is totally unacceptable, with the minimum wage just 3000 taka [around $39] a month. Workers must work 12 hour days, and sometimes seven days a week.
But I am hopeful of the impact of the accord,” Mr. Amin said. Garment manufacture constitutes the biggest industrial sector in Bangladesh, he said, and over 79 per cent of its exports in 2011-2012.
read more.
primenews

* PM urges int’l buyers to hike RMG product prices:

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday called upon the international buyers to play their due role in helping Bangladesh garment industries to follow compliance in the sector by raising product prices, reports UNB.

“The international buyers could help Bangladesh garment industries follow compliance in the sector through increasing product prices,” she said.
She came up with the view when British MPs Rushanara Ali and Shabana Mahmood met her at her official residence Ganobhaban in the evening.
After the meeting, PM’s Deputy Press Secretary Nazrul Islam briefed reporters.
Highlighting various steps taken by her government for the welfare of the garment workers, Hasina said that the present government has increased the minimum wages and allowances of the workers by over 80 percent to Tk 3,000 from Tk 1,600. Besides, she said dormitories are being constructed for female workers to ensure their housing facilities.
read more. & read more.
newstodayBD BSS

* N American Alliance unveils draft safety standards for BD:

The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety — a coalition representing 20 North American apparel companies, retailers and brands — has unveiled its draft standards, focusing on key areas of concern including fire and building safety for the apparel industry.

The Alliance published the draft fire and building safety standards last week as part of a collective effort by the stakeholders to ensure a common set of safety measures for Bangladesh’s ready-made garment (RMG) sector.

“These draft standards are exclusively focused on the technical aspects of fire and building safety. The Alliance continues to advance its mission to improve safety for Bangladesh garment workers through separate, but closely related, work streams focused on worker empowerment and worker training,” Rosanna Maietta of the Alliance told the FE in an email.
read more.

* Worker safety alliance names president, hints at collaboration:

The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety has named Jeffrey Krilla as president, and hinted at collaboration with other groups working to improve standards in the country.

The Alliance, which represents 20 North American apparel companies, said it has achieved a set of key milestones, including developing a draft set of common fire and building safety standards, Just-style, a web portal, reported Wednesday. These were shared with other groups working to improve fire and building safety standards in Bangladesh ahead of a meeting organised by the International Labour Organization (ILO) on 7 September.
read more.
INDEPENDENT

* In the wake of Rana Plaza tragedy, factory inspections floundering:

Just a short drive from Rana Plaza’s ruins, the garment factory under inspection looked a world apart: spacious, well lit and full of workers paid above the minimum wage.

As they toured the sprawling work floor, state inspectors noted minor infractions on their clipboards—“clutter in the passageways,” “too many boxes blocking the fire extinguisher”—drawing nods of concern from the managers trailing behind. Then a big one: not enough emergency exits. After a series of high-profile fire disasters, this was the kind of violation that should shut down a factory until fixed. But in Bangladesh today, inspectors have no actual enforcement authority; they merely make recommendations. “[The inspections] are nothing to us—the teams come for an hour, they take some free shirts, and then they go away,” quipped a factory manager, who did not want to be named.

In the months since the deadliest incident in garment-industry history, a host of government agencies and third-party auditors are being deployed to ensure that Bangladeshi suppliers and Western buyers that have signed on to separate safety initiatives follow through on their commitments.
This month, inspections have also begun to assess at least 2,000 factories that are not part of these accords. Yet for all the public promises, leading garmentmakers privately say scant resources mean scrutiny remains superficial at best, paid off at worst. Coupled with the vast underworld of illegal subcontractors that backstop the bigger factories and operate unchecked, they insist that efforts to clean up the $20 billion-a-year industry will take far longer than anyone dares to admit.
read more.
daily star bd

* BD has few fire, safety inspectors:

Bangladesh, even after nearly five months of the deadliest disaster in garment industry’s history, has small numbers of fire and safety inspectors, who have no actual enforcement authority, but can merely make recommendations, said the TIME magazine of the United States in its latest issue published Thursday.

On the other hand the vast underworld of illegal subcontractors operating unchecked in the garment sector of the country, is also posing a big obstacle to the efforts to update the US$ 20 billion-a-year industry, according to TIME, one of the most credible journals of the world.

The inspectors do visit some garment factories for inspection and complete their task within an hour after taking some products from the factory, said the prestigious US weekly attributing to an unnamed garment factory manager in Dhaka.

“[The inspections] are nothing to us – the teams come for an hour, they take some free shirts, and then they go away,” the US periodical quoted the garment factory manager as quipping.

“Many of them, they don’t really check things, they don’t even have the knowledge to check,” says one owner, who, like every manufacturer interviewed by TIME, did not want to be named.
read more.

* Bangladesh Workers Face Fight to Form Unions:

Months After Deadly Building Collapse, Organizing Garment Employees Report Threats, Violence

When workers in the Sadia Garments Ltd. factory tried to start a union here recently, they learned some things haven’t changed in Bangladesh’s rough-and-tumble garment trade several months after the deadly Rana Plaza collapse.

Despite international pressure to improve factory conditions and workers’ rights since the disaster, Sadia is one of several garment factories where union organizing efforts have run into fierce opposition, workers say.

According to more than half a dozen workers interviewed by The Wall Street Journal, managers or pro-management staff pressured workers not to join the new union, sometimes violently, and offered cash and other treats to employees to oppose it.

In one episode in late June, pro-management staff attacked one of the unionizing workers with cutting shears, according to several women, including the one who was attacked, Maksuda Begum. Ms. Begum, the 35-year-old general secretary of the new union, says she was rushed to the hospital, bleeding and barely conscious. Photos of the incident viewed by the Journal showed Ms. Begum with crisscrossing cuts across her back and chest.
read more.
WSJ

* Owners for 20pc wage hike for RMG workers:

Owners of garment factories gave on Thursday their opinion in favour of a 20 per cent wage hike for their workers, taking the two-year rate of inflation into consideration.

The opinion came at a views-exchange meeting held at the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) headquarters in the city.

The BGMEA called the meeting to take its members’ opinion regarding hike in wages of the readymade garment (RMG) workers while its President Atiqul Islam, former Presidents Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, Abdus Salam Murshedy and Annisul Huq, among others, were present.
read more. & read more.
BD new age

* CPD unveils wage proposals for RMG workers Sept 24:

The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) will make public its wage proposals for the country’s clothing sector workers on September 24 next.

The Minimum Wage Board (MWB), formed in June last, is currently working on fixation of minimum wages for more than 3.3 million ready-made garment (RMG) workers, working mainly in Dhaka, Savar, Gazipur, Chittagong and Narayanganj.

“We’ve already made our calculation to be announced at the national dialogue,” CPD’s additional director Khandker Golam Moazzem told the FE.
read more.

* GSP certificates for EU to be automated soon:

The Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) will start issuing automated certificates for generalised system of preferences (GSP) in the European Union (EU) market by this month, official sources said.

The decision was taken at the monthly coordination meeting of the Ministry of Commerce late last month, the meeting sources said.
Related software, in this connection, has been prepared according to the EU specification by a private company.
read more.

* Retailers discuss compensation for BD factory disaster victims:

A dozen retailers and clothing brands are meeting in Geneva to discuss providing compensation to the victims of the Rana Plaza and Tazreen factory disasters in Bangladesh, although several companies were noticeable by their absence.
The talks, chaired by the International Labour Organisation in Geneva, are aimed at setting up funds to compensate the victims of both the Rana Plaza disaster in April, when an eight-storey building collapsed, killing 1,129 people, and the fire at the Tazreen Fashion factory in November, 2012 that killed 112 workers.
(…)
“The families and the injured have already waited far too long,” said Monika Kemperle, assistant general secretary of the IndustriALL international trade union federation that is coordinating the talks.
“Companies who are serious about conditions in their Bangladeshi production chain can send a clear sign of their sincerity at these meetings,” she said in a statement.
read more.

           THE SAVAR BUILDING COLLAPSE

* Savar Building Collapse: PM gives financial assistance to more injured:

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave financial assistance from her Relief and Welfare Fund on Thursday to more garment workers injured critically in the tragic ‘Rana Plaza’ building collapse in Savar on April 24 this year.

She handed over savings certificates worth Tk 1.05 crore among 10 garment workers, who lost their physical ability to work, at a function at her Tejgaon office.
This was the eighth phase of financial assistance given to the victims and their family members.
The Prime Minister also provided financial assistance totaling Tk 1,42,14,000 to 22 hospitals and clinics in recognition of their services for the cause of humanity after the traumatic incident.
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UNB BSS DHAKATRIBUNE Ittefaq primenews bdnews24

* Rana’s father gets bail:

The High Court on Thursday granted interim bail to Abdul Khaleque, father of collapsed Rana Plaza’s owner Sohel Rana, in one of two cases lodged against them over Rana Plaza collapse on April 24.

A vacation bench of Justice Md Nizamul Huq and Justice Kashifa Hossain granted his bail, in the case filed by Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha, on charge of constructing the nine-story Rana Plaza violating the Building Code.
The bench, however, returned to the counsel Khaleque’s petition seeking bail in the other case filed by police with Savar police station for causing death of 1,127 workers, scrores seriously injured,  with many losing their limbs in the collapse of Rana Plaza, that housed five clothing factories.
Additional attorney general MK Rahman opposed the bail petitions while Supreme Court lawyer Nazmul Huda represented the petitioner.
to read. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
BD new age UNB  Ittefaq newstodayBD BD new age

* Pay more to ensure compliance: PM to int’l buyers:

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday called upon the international buyers to play their due role in helping Bangladesh garment industries to follow compliance in the sector by raising product prices.

“The international buyers could help Bangladesh garment industries follow compliance in the sector through increasing product prices,” she said.
She came up with the view when British MPs Rushanara Ali and Shabana Mahmood met her at her official residence Ganobhaban in the evening.
read more.
UNB

* Retailers’ meet begins in Geneva to negotiate $77mn compensation:

A dozen global retailers began two days of meetings in Geneva has begun to negotiate a $77 million compensation package for the victims of two Bangladesh garment factory accidents, as labor unions pressed the companies for payments that would acknowledge their responsibility for the country’s worst facilities.

Companies including Primark, part of Associated British Foods PLC and German discounter KiK Textilien und Non-Food GmbH—all of which had clothes that were made at one of the stricken plants—are attending the meetings at the International Labour Organization, said the companies and organizers, reports The Wall Street Journal.
Many other major retailers with manufacturing links to the factories aren’t participating, including Benetton SpA and Mango MNG Holding SL, organizers said. The most notable absentee was Wal-Mart Stores Inc., one of the biggest buyers of clothes made in Bangladesh.

The meeting escalates the debate over who should bear responsibility for accidents that result from flawed manufacturing standards.

Some companies are reluctant to make payments to victims of those accidents that could acknowledge their responsibility—and open themselves to lawsuits—for events they believe they couldn’t control. Some labor groups counter that apparel companies are broadly responsible even if they weren’t producing in the factories at the time of the disasters.
(…)

Wal-Mart acknowledges some of its clothes were at the Tazreen factory, at the time of the November fire. It also said its clothes had previously been made in the Rana Plaza building but that it didn’t have production at the time of the disaster. In both cases, Wal-Mart said, its clothes were at the factories without its knowledge via unauthorized subcontracting.

The retailer wouldn’t say whether it will pay compensation to the families of the workers who died at Tazreen and declined to make its sourcing executives available for comment. “We are focused on investing our resources in proactive programs that will address fire safety in the garment and textile industry in Bangladesh and prevent fires before they happen,” said Wal-Mart spokesman Kevin Gardner.

Paying compensation implies greater responsibility than underwriting building repairs, labor activists say.

“A lot of brands want to be associated with prevention, but not with reparation,” says Ineke Zeldenrust, the lead coordinator at the Clean Clothes Campaign, a garment workers’ rights group.
read more.
UNB

* Primark pledges more compensation:

Primark has pledged to pay three months more emergency aid to the victims of the Rana Plaza building collapse which killed over 1,100 people.

More than 1,100 people were killed and more than 2,500 injured after the eight-storey Rana Plaza factory building near Dhaka, Bangladesh collapsed on April 24.
The retailer revealed that only nine out of the 28 brands who used the factory attended a meeting on long term recovery in Geneva on September 12.
to read.
BANGLA NEWS24

* Bangladesh factory compensation talks fail: organisers:

A two-day meeting of high street clothing brands and pressure groups aimed at reaching a compensation deal for victims of two Bangladesh factory disasters ended Thursday in failure, organisers said.

The Geneva talks came after a building housing garment factories collapsed in Bangladesh in April, killing more than 1,100 people. They were aimed at agreeing compensation for the families of those victims and those of other factory disasters.
The disaster placed the international spotlight on the often appalling conditions and the lack of rights for workers at the country’s 4,500 garment factories, and retailers responded with a pledge to improve safety.

But the campaign groups that organised the meeting said only around a third of the firms invited had even turned up, with key names including Walmart, Benetton and Mango staying away.
Primark was the only clothing retailer to make a concrete commitment at the meeting, vowing to provide a further three months salary to families affected by the Rana Plaza factory collapse.
The 11 brands that made an appearance were mainly European and also included Bon Marche, Camaieu and Store Twenty One.

“We are disappointed that they didn’t commit to an amount,” said Ineke Zeldenrust, international coordinator at the Clean Clothes Campaign. “We had hoped to achieve much more.”
read more.
INDEPENDENT

* No deal on Bangladesh garment disaster damages:

International clothing makers have failed to reach a deal on the creation of a compensation fund for victims of two Bangladeshi factory disasters.

Only a third of the retailers who used the factories turned up for a two-day meeting on the issue in Geneva.
Only Primark was reported as making a firm commitment on funding.
More than 1,200 Bangladeshis died in the two garment factory accidents. Trade unions say many of their families are now struggling to survive.

The talks in Geneva were called by the global trade union IndustriALL and chaired by the International Labour Organisation.
The aim was to provide compensation to families of those who died in the Rana Plaza disaster in April, when the collapse of a factory building killed more than 1,100 people, and in the Tazreen factory fire in November 2012, which killed 112 workers.
Only nine of the brands being produced at the Rana Plaza were represented at the meeting, IndustriALL said in a statement.

Key absentees included Wal-Mart and Benetton, whose chief executive said many companies had stayed away because of a “lack of clarity” around the talks. Benetton would focus on “working directly with those affected by the Rana Plaza disaster”, a statement said.
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daily star bd BD new age BANGLA NEWS24 bbc UNB primenews

* Geneva: no compo secured for RMG victims:

A third of all retailers who used the factories met for a two-day meeting on the issue in Geneva

International garment makers have failed to sign a deal to create a compensation fund for victims of the Rana Plaza disaster and Tazreen factory fire.

The BBC reports that a third of all retailers who used the factories met for a two-day meeting on the issue in Geneva.
Sources said Primark was the only retailer that made a firm commitment on funding.
At least 1129 people died and around 2500 were injured in the Rana Plaza collapse in April of this year, while 117 people died and at least 200 were injured when fire engulfed the Tazreen factory in November of last year.
Trade unions say many of the victim’s families are now struggling to survive.
(…)
The fact that only a handful of the companies invited turned up for the meeting reflects deep differences within the industry on how to compensate victims of garment factory disasters in countries like Bangladesh, said the BBC’s Anbarasan Ethirajan.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Retailers divided over Bangladesh factory victims compensation:

A group of retailers and clothing brands failed on Thursday to establish compensation funds for the victims of two Bangladesh factory disasters, as many companies that sourced clothes from the buildings decided not to take part in the process.

(…)
But only nine out of the 28 brands being supplied from Rana Plaza came to the Geneva meeting, with some of the absentees saying they preferred to pursue their own compensation plans or citing issues with the approach adopted at the talks.
The IndustriALL trade union, which coordinated the talks, said the group that met on Thursday agreed to contribute to a fund, but would meet again in the next two weeks to establish such a fund, coordinating the process with parties including the Bangladesh government and employers.

“It is difficult to understand why some brands are using any excuse to try to avoid responsibility. The workers are waiting for money and medical assistance,” Monika Kemperle, assistant general secretary of IndustriALL, told Reuters.
(…)
LACK OF CLARITY?
Several retailers were criticized for staying away from the talks, including U.S. group Wal-Mart (WMT.N), which sourced garments from the factory hit by the fire, as well as Italian clothing retailer Benetton and Spanish fashion chain Mango.
Benetton’s chief executive Baigio Chiarolanza said many companies had not joined the Geneva talks due to a “lack of clarity” around objectives and a lack of involvement by several key stakeholders.
“We decided to focus our efforts and resources in working directly with those affected by the Rana Plaza disaster and their families so that we can provide them with concrete help while they need it the most,” he said in a statement.
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reuters BDCHRONICLE bdnews24 BD new age

(update 0030h loc.time)

* Global buyers fail to reach consensus:

Global buyers, after holding meetings in Geneva, failed to reach any consensus on creation of a fund for providing long-term compensation for the Tazreen and Rana Plaza victims, as majority of the buyers did not join the initiative.

The meetings, convened by IndustriALL Global Union on September 11 and 12, were facilitated by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) as a neutral and independent chair.
However, the stakeholders concerned decided to sit again within next two weeks to discuss the issue, according to a statement issued by IndustriAll Thursday.

It said: international experts outlined best practices for the establishment of a compensation fund, overseen by a multi stakeholder committee, which could be created through an agreement by all the parties involved. No such agreement was reached at these meetings, although the brands present committed to continue discussions on this issue.

Immediately after the meeting Primark committed to provide a further three months salary to all affected families as emergency relief, while no other brand or retailer committed such relief, it added.
A total of 29 brands were invited to join the meeting on Rana Plaza victims. Among them, Bon Marché, Camaieu, El Corte Ingles, Kik, Loblaw, Mascot, Matalan, Primark and Store Twenty One attended it.

However, Adler, Auchan, Benetton, C&A, Carrefour, Cato Corp, The Children’s Place, Dressbarn, Essenza, FTA International, Gueldenpfennig, Iconix Brand, Inditex, JC Penney, Kids Fashion Group, LPP, Mango, Manifattura Corona, NKD, Premier Clothing, PWT Group, Texman and Walmart failed to show up.

In the meetings Z M Kamrul Anam of the IndustriALL Bangladesh Council called on brands to act swiftly.
read more.

* Failure in Geneva meet draws flak:

International trade unions and rights campaigners yesterday heavily criticised fashion brands for their complete disregard to the victims of recent garment factory tragedies in Bangladesh after major players even failed to show up at Geneva to talk on compensation package.

“It is shocking that not only have hardly any brands committed to any concrete level of assistance, but even more so that most of the companies implicated in the disaster did not even bother to show up to discuss helping the victims,” said Worker Rights Consortium Executive Director Scott Nova.
His comments came as a two-day meeting in the Swiss city wrapped up on Thursday without firm commitments on a compensation package for the families of those who died in the Rana Plaza disaster and Tazreen factory fire.
read more.
daily star bd

* Bangladesh RMG factory compensation talks fail:

A two-day meeting of high street clothing brands and pressure groups aimed at reaching a compensation deal for victims of two Bangladesh factory disasters ended Thursday in failure, organisers said.

The Geneva talks came after a building housing garment factories collapsed in Bangladesh in April, killing more than 1,100 people.
They were aimed at agreeing compensation for the families of those victims and those of other factory disasters.
The disaster placed the international spotlight on the often appalling conditions and the lack of  rights for workers at the country’s 4,500 garment factories, and retailers responded with a pledge to improve safety. But the campaign groups that organised the meeting said only around a third of the firms invited had even turned up, with key names including Walmart, Benetton and Mango staying away.

Primark was the only clothing retailer to make a concrete commitment at the meeting, vowing to provide a further three months salary to families affected by the Rana Plaza factory collapse.
The 11 brands that made an appearance were mainly European and also included Bon Marche, Camaieu and Store Twenty One.
“We are disappointed that they didn’t commit to an amount,” said Ineke Zeldenrust, international coordinator at the Clean Clothes Campaign. “We had hoped to achieve much more.”
read more.
INDEPENDENT

* Walmart, 19 others fail to show up:

It was a display of ‘utter contempt’ for the over 3,700 workers affected by the two disasters

Talks to discuss compensation for the survivors and the families of victims of the Rana Plaza collapse and Tazreen Fashion fire was stalled when a number of global fashion brands linked to the sites failed to show up.

The September 11 and 12 roundtable in Geneva was initiated by global unions, IndustriALL and Union Network International, and facilitated by the ILO.

International rights activists said it was a display of “utter contempt” for the over 3,700 workers affected by the two disasters.

IndustriALL Assistant General Secretary Monika Kemperle said: “Almost a half-year has passed since Rana Plaza collapsed. Only one brand has so far provided compensation.”
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* JUVA gives financial assistance to Rana Plaza victims:

The Jahangirnagar University Volunteers’ Association (JUVA) gave financial assistance to 55 victims’ families of Savar Rana Plaza collapse.

The JUVA distributed Tk 6,000.00 to each family of 55 victims amounting to a total of Tk 0.330 million at a function at the Zahir Rihan auditorium on JU campus Friday.
read more.

* Hope never fades for survivors of Rana Plaza disaster:

20130914 FE news_image

That a picture expresses what thousands of words cannot was amply highlighted by the front-page picture captioned: HOPE NEVER FADES carried in The Financial Express’s Saturday issue.

The picture concerned two female garments workers beaming with smile no words can possibly capture. Undergoing treatment and rehabilitation at the Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP), Savar, the two girls are trying to come to terms with realities of life. Losing both her legs, one of the girls is practising walking and the other in her wheel-chair looks on.

Who says life does not triumph over death? If one has any doubt, one should see the beatic smile on the two girls’ faces. The glow that emanates tells it all. They have seen death from close quarters amidst the ruins of the ill-famed Rana Plaza.
They even carry with them the legacy of the consequence of endless avarice and degenerative values of a spoiled segment of society for no fault of their own. But still the lust for life lingers in them forever.

The first impression people are most likely to have to see the two girls in the picture is that they have made tremendous recovery. This is how life does not bow out in the face of struggle. Human life is precious and man has invented how to drink the last dreg with relish. These are simple girls who did not receive enough education for making it to the desk jobs.
They however knew how to earn a livelihood honestly. Although they are the wheel of progress the garments industry in this country has made, they are grossly neglected and at times abused or maltreated.
They are denied the minimum wages enough for survival of a human being let alone other members of their families for 10 to 12 hours of labour. Survival here means the least possible living standard by human beings in this particular society.
read more.

03:14:39 local time map of india INDIA

* Rally held to boost morale of powerloom weavers:

Weavers’ family members given free consultation and medicine at medical camp

With many powerloom weavers committing suicide under the burden of mounting debt and hefty electricity bills in the textile town of Sircilla, Karimnagar district administration organised a massive awareness rally here on Thursday to discourage the distressed weavers to take such extreme steps, by instilling confidence among them. .

Collector M. Veerabrahmaiah flagged off the ‘Mano Chaitanya’ rally and many dignitaries including Karimnagar MP Ponnam Prabhakar, KDCCB Chairman K. Ravinder Rao, Sircilla RDO Srinivas and others participated in the programme. Carrying placards, they appealed the weavers not to commit suicide, leaving their family members in dire straights, as the rally passed through all important streets in the town.

Speaking on the occasion, MP Ponnam Prabhakar said that he was striving for the upgrade of existing powerlooms into the modern ones so that they would produce value-added fabric to compete in global markets. He also said that he had brought the powerloom weavers’ issue to the notice of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and AICC President Sonia Gandhi. He appealed to the weavers to face the situation with courage and not to take extreme steps.
read more.
Return to frontpage

* Trade unions fast for their nine-point demand:

Members of various trade unions and workers associations went on a day’s fast here on Thursday in support of their nine-point charter of demands.

Their demands, among other things, included immediate appointment of Labour Officer for the implementation of the Social Security Scheme of various labour welfare boards. They wanted immediate clearing of applications for pension.
The Labour Officer for Social Security Scheme should take up the responsibility of issuing a clearance certificate for the applicants seeking Old Age Pension or Marriage Assistance.
read more.
Return to frontpage

* Why yarn price is increased, exporters ask spinning mills:

Slamming the spinning mills for the frequent increase in the yarn prices in the last two months, the Tirupur Exporters and Manufacturers Association has asked the mills to keep the prices steady at least for a period of three months in a stretch.

“Periodic increases in yarn prices are not good for the welfare and existence of apparel industry as a whole. It should be remembered by all that every segment in the apparel production chain is interlinked,” said association president M.P. Muthurathinam.

Why the spinning mills increased the yarn prices four times in the last two months when the statements from the mills’ sector itself had indicated that there were adequate stocks of cotton, the main raw material for yarn production, in the country for the domestic consumption, was surprising, he said.

The association was of the view that the unexpected increases in yarn prices had been upsetting the fixation of costs for the apparel products. “In the case of the knitwear exporters, it is difficult to raise the prices of end products proportionally to the increases in the costs of raw materials because the export market is primarily price-driven,” said association sources.
to read.
Return to frontpage

* Textile mills push for level playing field in cotton buying:

In a bid to gain level playing field with traders for purchase of , have sought several benefits from the Textile Ministry.

Apart from a 5% interest subvention, mills have demanded extension of credit limit from current 3 months to 9 months in order enhance their cotton inventory holding capacity.

Mills are of the view that except for a few large players, almost the entire industry ends up buying a very small portion of cotton during the peak season of November to March, while rest is bought by wealthy traders or exported to competing countries like China and Pakistan, among others.
read more.
BUSINESSSTANDARD 2

* Decision on export tax on cotton deferred:

Owing to strong opposition from the agriculture department, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs () deferred a decision on the , which proposes to impose a 10 per cent duty on shipments of the commodity beyond a declared exportable surplus.

Officials said the matter had been referred to a group of ministers.
The CCEA also approved additional allocation of five million tonnes of for families during the current financial year, which will cost the exchequer an extra Rs 9,471 crore.
read more.
BUSINESSSTANDARD 2

03:14:39 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* JAAF lauds Govt’s Hub Regulation:

The Joint Apparel Association Forum(JAAF), the apex body of the textile and apparel industry that facilitates and provides guidance and advisory services among others to the USD4 billion worth industry has taken the first step to extol the virtues of the government’s recently enacted Commercial Hub Regulation among key industry stake holders.

“The government has open the doors of new opportunity to those willing to embark on any progressive business that will help both the entrepreneur as well as the nation, we (the apparel sector) are glad to explore the new platform that will bring in additional revenue and improve our economy,” Tuli Cooray, Secretary, General of the JAAF said while making preparations for the hi-profile meeting of his industry colleagues scheduled tomorrow at Galadari Hotel commencing at 4 pm.
read more.
dailynewsSL

* ‘Let’s go for China!’– India’s Zohra:

As the first ever textile agreement between India and Sri Lanka became a reality, both neighbours mulled joining to enter a coveted global textile foothold-China, the world’s largest textile market.

“China’s textiles are gradually moving from production to consumption. Using our strengths together-Sri Lanka’s first class garment manufacturing infrastructure and India’s quality fabric outputs-let us jointly compete for China’s textile market” said a determined Ms Zohra Chaterji (Secretary of Indian Ministry of Textiles) on 09 September in Colombo, a press communiqué issued by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce said.

Ms Chaterji was addressing Anura Siriwardena (Secretary, Ministry of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka) on 09 September at Cinnamon Grand during her delegation’s official meeting with Sri Lanka’s delegation after the signing the first ever MoU between India and Sri Lanka on the same day at Galadari Hotel, Colombo earlier.
During the successful Cinnamon Grand meeting, officials from both sides discussed in depth, of the modalities of the morning MoU and how to move forward and implement it in the coming months and agreed on the immediate next steps.
read more.
island

02:44:39 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

        THE KARACHI-BALDIA FIRE

* Labour leaders seek measures for safety of workers at factories:

The National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) held a protest demonstration at the Karachi Press Club (KPC) on Wednesday in connection with the first anniversary of the fire tragedy at the garment factory, Ali Enterprises, demanding from the authorities to declare the site of the burnt factory as the monument of hundreds of martyred workers.

Despite worsening law and order situation in the metropolis hundreds of workers, including women, participated in the demonstration.

September 11, 2012 was one of the darkest days in the history of labour movement in Pakistan when a deadly fire broke out at Ali Enterprises, a garment factory in SITE area, killing 257 workers within a short span of time.

The workers’ representatives paid glowing tributes to the martyred workers and expressed commitment not to let their sacrifices go unnoticed.
They asked the government to ensure holding effective labour inspections under the Factory Act so as to avoid such incidents in future.
read more.
thenewspk

* Baldia factory fire: 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 & see video report.
DAWNnew

02:44:39 local time map of uzbekistan UZBEKISTAN

Cotton work starts in Qarshi:

Medical workers from a Qashqadaryo regional hospital have been sent to the cotton fields in Mubareksiy region. The markets in the city of Qarshi have switched to evening business hours and are closed during the day.

The regional staff at the hospital has shrunk significantly. Doctors, nurses and other medical staff left for the cotton farms in Mubareksiy region on September 10.
In addition to medical workers, the local university and high school students are preparing for cotton work as well.
A student from a pedagogical institute reports that the students expect to be taken to the fields on September 12 or 13.
read more.
UZnews

 

map of Asia

INFO:

The next newsletter and news bulletin will be published 16 September 2013,
Unless events require an extra edition, or there are Updates.

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

* The SAVAR BUILDING COLLAPSE Part 2 20130524 – NOW

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

HEADLINES TODAY:

VIET NAM
* US businesses seek to increase cotton export to Vietnam
* Chinese investors flock to Vietnam to wait for TPP

THAILAND
* Thai unions make a big step towards unity

CAMBODIA
* Workers split on call to rally
* FTU Requests Week Off for Workers to Join Rally

NEPAL
* GSP could help triple garment‚ pashmina exports

BANGLADESH
* Bangladesh workers must continue to wait for full compensation
* Amirul Haque Amin speech to TUC Congress 2013
* RMG union leaders ask retailers to ink safety accord
* PM urges int’l buyers to hike RMG product prices
* N American Alliance unveils draft safety standards for BD
* Worker safety alliance names president, hints at collaboration
* In the wake of Rana Plaza tragedy, factory inspections floundering
* BD has few fire, safety inspectors
* Bangladesh Workers Face Fight to Form Unions
* Owners for 20pc wage hike for RMG workers
* CPD unveils wage proposals for RMG workers Sept 24
* GSP certificates for EU to be automated soon:
* Retailers discuss compensation for BD factory disaster victims
THE SAVAR BUILDING COLLAPSE:
* Savar Building Collapse: PM gives financial assistance to more injured
* Rana’s father gets bail
* Pay more to ensure compliance: PM to int’l buyers
* Retailers’ meet begins in Geneva to negotiate $77mn compensation
* Primark pledges more compensation
* Bangladesh factory compensation talks fail: organisers
* No deal on Bangladesh garment disaster damages
* Geneva: no compo secured for RMG victims
* Retailers divided over Bangladesh factory victims compensation

* Global buyers fail to reach consensus
* Failure in Geneva meet draws flak
* Bangladesh RMG factory compensation talks fail
* Walmart, 19 others fail to show up
* JUVA gives financial assistance to Rana Plaza victims
* Hope never fades for survivors of Rana Plaza disaster

INDIA
* Rally held to boost morale of powerloom weavers
* Trade unions fast for their nine-point demand
* Why yarn price is increased, exporters ask spinning mills
* Textile mills push for level playing field in cotton buying
* Decision on export tax on cotton deferred

SRI LANKA
* JAAF lauds Govt’s Hub Regulation
* ‘Let’s go for China!’– India’s Zohra

PAKISTAN
THE KARACHI-BALDIA FIRE:
* Labour leaders seek measures for safety of workers at factories
* Baldia factory fire: Victim families’ hope for justice fading away

UZBEKISTAN
* Cotton work starts in Qarshi

latest tweets (& news)

Convention on the Rights of the Child
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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

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