in the news on-line, 19 Sept.2013

06:36:47 local time map of china CHINA

* China Keqiao textile index:

A national public service model platform for small and medium enterprises in the textile industry.

Recently, the 10th annual meeting of national textile industry cluster pilots was held in Beijing. China textile index information limited company in Keqiao of Shaoxing won the honor of public service demonstration platform for small and medium enterprises in the textile industry.

5 years ago, textile prices changed rapidly, the market was crying out for a fair, timely, accurate information platform. China Textile City as the nation’s largest textile industry cluster, has a large amount of information and has enough influence in the world. Under such a background, China Keqiao textile index was born. It provides authoritative, accurate and timely reference textile data for China and even for the global.
read more.
CTEI

05:36:47 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Questions over strike violence:

A Kampong Speu judge released the vice-president and a member of the Free Trade Union on bail yesterday after the court questioned the two about their alleged roles in a violent demonstration at Sabrina Garment factory.

FTU vice-president Chi Sakla, 33, and union member Say Sambo, 27, were both released from court under the conditions that they do not change their current residences and appear at all future court dates, Sakla said.
Both were summonsed without being taken into custody.

“I feel disappointed at the court decision, because it feels like I am detained,” Sakla said. “I want the court to finish the case as soon as possible and vindicate me and the other suspects.”
Sakla and Sambo are the latest to be questioned in connection with a June 3 strike demonstration at the Nike supplier that turned violent, with strikers and employees still working throwing rocks and sticks at each other.
At least 23 people were injured. Eight FTU members arrested at the demonstration remain in custody.
to read.
PPP new

04:36:47 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* RMG workers reject owners’ proposal:

Apparel worker rights groups on Wednesday rejected a proposal of owners’ representative to the minimum wage board for Tk 3,600 a month, a 20 per cent increase on the existing wage of Tk 3,000, at the fifth meeting of the board.

Labour leaders termed the proposal ‘illogical,’ ‘unacceptable’ and ‘inhuman.’ They said that owners ‘in a manner typical of their class character’ had shown their ‘greedy attitude.’
They said that they would by no means agree the proposal as it is nothing but a joke with apparel workers.
Owners’ representative to the board Arshad Jamal Dipu on Tuesday said that they had prepared the proposal considering the profitability of the industry, goods prices and inflation.
According to the proposal, the minimum monthly basic wage is Tk 2,400, the house rent is Tk 960 and a medical allowance of Tk 240.

A permanent labour member on the wage board, Fazlul Haque Montu, also the Jatiya Sramik League’s executive president, said that the owner’s proposal ‘is unexpected and surprising in view of the current market prices.’
‘We have strongly opposed the proposal at the board meeting as it is a joke with apparel workers,’ he said.
‘The proposal is completely illogical and also inhuman,’ the workers’ representative to the board, Shirajul Islam Rony, said.
Shirajul at the third meeting of the board on August 18 proposed Tk 8,114 in the minimum gross monthly wage for a worker.
Labour leaders even rejected the proposal of the workers’ representative and demanded Tk 8000 in the minimum basic wage, with the gross amount reaching about Tk 13,000 citing goods price spiral that have taken place over the years.
read more.
BD new age

* 3 Gazipur RMG units shut on labour unrest:

The authorities were forced to close three readymade garment (RMG) factories in Hotapara area of Sadar upazila for a day on Wednesday following a labour unrest over minimum wage.

Police said workers of the three RMG units–- Givency, Jahin Textile and KCO Pyia Apparels –in the area went on work abstention in the morning and staged demonstrations demanding a minimum wage of Tk8,000.
When the workers tried to block the Dhaka-Mymensingh Highway, police prevented them, triggering chase and counter-chase.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
UNB INDEPENDENT primenews newstodayBD

* 50 apparels workers hurt in clash with cops:

At least 50 apparel workers were injured in an hour long clash with police at Monipur area under sadar upazila of Gazipur district Wednesday morning.

Local people said several thousand workers of KCO Pyia apparels, a concern of Elegance Industrial Group, stopped working in their respective production lines and started demanding Tk 8,000 as minimum wage at 10:30am. Later, the authority told them to vacate building.
Fearing serious repercussion, the authorities of three RMG factories in the area shut their facilities for Wednesday.
Following the instruction, the workers at one stage began demonstrations and tried to block the busy Dhaka-Mymensingh highway.
A chase and counter-chase started promptly in the area as police tried to intercept. The workers pelted bricks bats to police, locals said.
Police charged batons and lobbed tear gas canisters to disperse the agitating workers, leaving around 50 of them injured.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
BD new age DHAKATRIBUNE BANGLA NEWS24 daily star bd

* BD envoy defends factory working practices:

Giving evidence to the International Trade Committee on September 17 of 2013, Ismat Jahan said, “Urgent corrective measures needed to be introduced following a series of devastating fires and building collapses.”

The collapse of a Bangladeshi garment factory in April killed more than 1,100 people and led to global condemnation of the country’s labour conditions.

Ms Jahan denied there was “laxity” on behalf of her government, and said that families affected by the disaster had received compensation, “even if it is perhaps not the figure we would aspire to”.
read more. & read more.
BANGLA NEWS24  Ittefaq

* Safe factories would cost “US$0.10 per garment”:

Making Bangladeshi garment factories safe would add US$0.10 to the cost of each garment shipped over the next five years, the country’s ambassador to the European Union (EU) said yesterday (17 September).

Speaking to a European Parliament international trade committe assessing progress in Bangladesh following the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory building in April, Ismat Jahan said the bill for factories becoming fully compliant with structural and fire safety rules would be about US$3bn (EUR2.24bn).
“I believe consumers in the West are ready to pay a small increase in prices for the millions of women who stitch for them in a faraway land,” she said.

Jahan noted, too, that a revision of the minimum wage for garment workers was under way. However, she warned that Bangladesh would not want to shoot itself in the foot by increasing the price of garments produced for Western retailers.
“Realistically speaking, unless we can ensure fair pricing of the products, any significant increase of the salaries will not be practical in this highly competitive industry,” she said.
read more.
Ittefaq

* Making RMG units fully compliant needs more $3b:

Bangladesh Ambassador to the EU yesterday said that making local garment factories safe would cost additional $0.10 to each garment shipped over the next five years.

Speaking to a European Parliament international trade committee, Ismat Jahan said the cost of factories for becoming fully compliant with structural and fire safety rules would be about $3.billion.
“I believe consumers in the West are ready to pay a small increase in prices for the millions of women who stitch for them in a faraway land,” she said.
Jahan noted that a revision of the minimum wage for garment workers was under- way.
However, she warned that Bangladesh would not want to shoot itself in the foot by increasing the price  of garments produced for Western retailers.
“Realistically speaking, unless we can ensure fair pricing of the products, any significant increase of the salaries will not be practical in this highly competitive industry,” she said.
European Commission data shows the EU last year imported garments worth EUR 9.2billion from Bangladesh, which represents 10 per cent of the country’s GDP. Bangladesh exports 60% of its garments to the EU.
read more.
NewNation

* Public admin approves 626 posts of factory inspectors:

The public administration ministry has approved in principle a labour ministry proposal to raise at 626 the number of posts of inspectors of factories and establishments and to transform the inspection department into directorate.

Labour and employment ministry officials said that they received the approval from the public administration ministry on Tuesday.
The labour ministry will now send the proposal to the finance division and a secretary-level committee for their approval, the officials said.
Now, the Department of Inspection of Factories and Establishments has only 90 factory inspectors against 183 approved posts to monitor the working conditions at workplaces.

The labour ministry has also launched a project named Improving Working Condition in the RMG Sector under which International Labour Organisation will assess the security and other standards at 1,500 apparel factories out of 2,000, which are out of two major umbrella contracts with the readymade garment buyers of European Union and North America.
The ministry sent a proposal in this regard to the Economic Relations Division on Monday for its approval, according to a labour ministry report prepared for an inter-ministry meeting scheduled for today.
read more.
BD new age

* EU retailers’ factory inspection guideline on September 23:

In the meeting the accord will give guideline on common standard for fire and building safety measures

The Accord, a European Union retailer’s platform on Fire and Building Safety for Bangladesh garments factories, will hold a meeting with BGMEA on September 23 to give a guideline on common standard to be used to inspect the factories.

The meeting is aimed at having discussion on common standard for factory inspection regarding fire and building safety, funding to improve garment sector and to set next course of action.

A three member team lead by Sean Ansett, executive director of the Accord will arrive in Bangladesh on September 23, 2013. The other members of the team are Jenny Fagerlin, representative of Hand M and Philip Jacques, Head of Technical Co-operation of the EU to Bangladesh.

“In the meeting the accord will give guideline on common standard for fire and building safety measures, through which they would inspect the factories of their vendors,” said Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Vice President Shahidullah Azim.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* DoE fines Gazipur factory Tk 26 lakh for pollution:

The Department of Environment (DoE) yesterday fined a garment factory in Gazipur Tk 26 lakh for polluting the environment.

DoE Director M Alamgir (monitoring and enforcement) fined Ayman Textile and Hosiery Ltd in Chandra area of Kaliakair upazila for discharging untreated waste into the Turag river. The factory authorities were also ordered to install an effluent treatment plant (ETP).
Representative of the factory owner at the DoE headquarters promised to take necessary steps in this regard.
to read.
daily star bd

* Bangladesh still a magnet for clothing brands: McKinsey:

Global retailers are banking on Bangladeshi garment items more than any other country’s despite recurrence of deadly industrial disasters, a new research by an American consulting firm found.

Bangladesh’s $20 billion garment business came ahead of smaller rivals like Vietnam and Cambodia in McKinsey & Co’s ranking of countries with the highest potential for future sourcing.
The country now claims 4.8 percent of the global RMG trade of $412 billion, but McKinsey predicts Bangladesh’s share of the pie to reach $36 billion by 2020.
“Bangladesh is still number 1,” says Achim Berg, a partner in McKinsey’s German office and the author of the study. “Recent events present a challenge for everyone, but there’s no alternative to Bangladesh for doing big production volumes.”

The new research shows that production capacity and price appear to trump safety and labour when it comes to choosing where to source clothes.
read more.
daily star bd

* RMG industry shows no sign of nervousness:

If the export volume of the readymade garments (RMG) from Bangladesh destined for the market in the United States of America (USA) is any guide, there is hardly any reason at this stage to be pessimistic about the industry’s near-term future.

Belying the fear that the RMG industry will suffer an incalculable reversal, its export earnings have recorded a 9.0 per cent growth in the first seven months of this calendar year over the level of the same period of the previous one.
The negative publicity caused by factory fires and the worst-ever industrial disaster in this country at Rana Plaza, Savar, together with the suspension of the generalised system of preferences (GSP) by the US government, was supposed to have an adverse impact on RMG export from Bangladesh.
However, the Bangladesh RMG exports have remained outside the GSP facility since long. Yet then, the industry has been able to face all the odds in the international market. In terms of export earnings, it has now rather sustained its earlier growth trends.
One should also take here into reckoning the turbulent political environment during most of the period under review. Despite this, the performance by the industry has remained impressive.

Some may, however, advance the argument that the orders for RMG goods were from the month, prior to the tragic Rana Plaza incident. Obligatory as they were, the orders were immune from factory fires and Rana Plaza disaster at the time.
Then the GSP facility is more or less a misnomer for Bangladesh as far as its single largest export item – apparel goods — is concerned.
The country had never reaped much benefit from it because the items that are of some relevance to Bangladesh’s exports to the USA are mostly excluded from the GSP facility there.
These two facts largely explain why RMG export from Bangladesh did not suddenly suffer a setback during the seven months under review.
The crunch time, if any, may be ahead. One way of gauging this would be to see how strong and extensive the orders for the RMG items from Bangladesh are prior to the Christmas. Deals struck in August and September will give a clue to the range of export to the US and the European markets. Hopefully, it will not record an abnormal decline.
read more.

   THE SAVAR BUILDING COLLAPSE

* Concert in Dhaka tomorrow for Savar victims:

Maya Foundation, a Canadian charity, will organise a concert in Dhaka tomorrow to raise funds for the survivors and the families of the victims of Rana Plaza building collapse.

“We want to help the survivors of Rana Plaza tragedy get back on their feet,” said Tanvir Siddiqui, executive director of the charity.
The funds will be used for income generating activities so that the survivors and the families of the deceased become financially independent on their own source of incomes, he said.
The nine-storey building that had housed five garment factories and many shops caved in on April 24, killing at least 1,132 people, mostly garment workers.
The army with the help of local people and fire brigade rescued 2,438 people alive from the rubble, according to official data.
Maya Foundation, an initiative of the Bangladeshis living in Toronto, also arranged a concert — Made in Bangladesh — in Canada on July 6.
“I have tried my best to raise funds for these people who are really in need than anyone else,” said Siddiqui, who is involved in garment business in Canada and has buying house in Bangladesh.
The charity has so far provided between Tk 10,000 and Tk 30,000 to 52 survivors each.
Siddiqui said the survivors of the worst-ever industrial tragedy in the country are still recovering from the physical injuries and psychological trauma.
“Still, most of these people have not received the help they need,” he said.
read more.
daily star bd

04:06:47 local time map of india INDIA

* West Bengal govt plans to generate jobs in textile sector:

The Government of the Indian state of West Bengal is planning to generate about 10 million jobs in the state’s textile sector in future, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said at ‘Synergy MSME 2013’ business conclave.
Inaugurating the six-day business conclave in Kolkata, organized by the Department of Micro & Small Scale Enterprises and Textiles, Government of West Bengal, the Chief Minister said the government has generated over 200,000 employment opportunities through the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) sector in the last two years.
read more.
fibre2fashion

* Textile trader defaults on Rs 5cr payment:

After the diamond industry, there are now reports of payment defaults in the country’s biggest man-made fabric (MMF) industry in the city.

A textile trader operating at the Annapurna textile market on Ring Road disappeared two days ago after defaulting on an outstanding payment of Rs 5 crore.
Market sources said that the textile trader has defaulted on the payments to around 78 parties including weavers and other traders.
Meanwhile, the weavers and the textile traders met the city police commissioner urging him to take stern action against the defaulters of the textile firm at Annapurna market on Tuesday.
The defaulters have been identified as Manoj Balar and Vijay Lathia, owners of Lucky Textile at Annapurna market at Ring Road.
to read.
TOInew

03:36:47 local time map of uzbekistan UZBEKISTAN

* Residents in Zaaminskiy forced to pick cotton for free:

The residents – including the elderly and the sick – of the Zaaminskiy district in Jizzakh province are being forced to pick cotton without compensation.

The residents of Arzha, Shurcha, and the Gulba villages in the Zaaminskiy district, have been told what is expected of them from this year’s harvest at a recent meeting.
They were informed by local administrators that all the residents – without exception – were required to work in the fields. According to the local administration, sickness, old age, pregnancy, or even a newborn baby cannot exempt one from working in the cotton harvest.
When a few elderly villagers protested that they were not physically fit to pick cotton they were told that they should hire a cotton picker to act as a replacement, paying for the work out of their own pockets.
read more.
UZnews

 

map of Asia

HEADLINES TODAY:

CHINA
* China Keqiao textile index

CAMBODIA
* Questions over strike violence

BANGLADESH
* RMG workers reject owners’ proposal
* 3 Gazipur RMG units shut on labour unrest
* 50 apparels workers hurt in clash with cops
* BD envoy defends factory working practices
* Safe factories would cost “US$0.10 per garment”
* Making RMG units fully compliant needs more $3b
* Public admin approves 626 posts of factory inspectors
* EU retailers’ factory inspection guideline on September 23
* DoE fines Gazipur factory Tk 26 lakh for pollution
* Bangladesh still a magnet for clothing brands: McKinsey
* RMG industry shows no sign of nervousness
THE SAVAR BUILDING COLLAPSE:
* Concert in Dhaka tomorrow for Savar victims

INDIA
* West Bengal govt plans to generate jobs in textile sector
* Textile trader defaults on Rs 5cr payment

UZBEKISTAN
* Residents in Zaaminskiy forced to pick cotton for free

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