20:19:40 local time PHILIPPINES
* Senate bill filed mandating employees’ 14th month pay:
A bill mandating the 14th month pay for all government and non-government employees every year has been filed at the Senate.
Senate Bill 1645 filed by Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III provides that all government and non-government rank and file employees should be entitled to 14th month pay every year.
“The 13th month pay shall be paid not later than June 14th and the 14th month pay shall be paid not later than December 24th of every year provided however that the frequency of payment of this monetary benefits may be the subject of agreement between employer and employee or any recognized/ collective bargaining agent of employees, “ the bill said.|
* Labor, employers react to 14th Month Pay:
It will either be a “delicate balance” that employers have to contend with or more of a bane than a boon for workers.
These were the parallel reactions issued by Malacañang and the labor department on the Senate bill mandating a 14th month pay for workers.
Through Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte, the Palace expressed apprehension that while the proposed law on workers’ benefit has its good intentions, it would also need to take into consideration the employers’ capacity to provide the proposed additional benefits to its employees.
Further consultations, particularly with employers, are needed, said Valte.
19:19:40 local time VIET NAM
* Minimum wage increase decision makes businesses dumbstruck:
The National Wage Council has agreed to the plan on raising the regional minimum wage from 2014 by VND250,000-400,000, or 15-17 percent. This has caused a big headache to both businesses and workers.
Chu Minh Tuan, President of Simco Song Da, complained that the minimum wage increase would force the company to pay higher for insurance premiums for workers, and other expenses, estimated at hundreds of millions of dong additionally.
In the context of the current big difficulties, Tuan said, hundreds of millions of dong would be big enough to make the burden on businesses heavier.
Tuan fears that he may have to cut down the workforce once the expenses become unbearable. Getting jobless is the biggest fear of workers nowadays. A lot of businesses, which cannot survive the current difficulties, have to shut down their businesses, thus leading to the rapid increase in the number of redundant workers.
One of the aims of the decision to speed up the minimum wage adjustment is to encourage the productivity improvement. However, Dr. Bui Sy Loi, Deputy Chair of the National Assembly’s Committee for Social Affairs, noted that the wave adjustment needs to ensure the harmonization of the benefits of workers and the businesses’ production.
19:19:40 local time LAOS
* Minimum wage cheats to be punished:
Employers who continue to defy the government’s policy on minimum wages will be dealt with under the law, according to the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare.
Ms Onchanh Thammavong spoke to media about current issues with minimum wage laws yesterday at the annual government meeting with provincial governors in Vientiane.
“Employers who have not followed the Law on Labour and other regulations formulated by the government must be subject to the law for their violations,” Ms Onchanh said.
The government’s decision to raise the monthly minimum wage from 348,000 kip to 626,000 kip came into force on January 1, 2012, but many businesses have ignored the change.
Ms Onchanh said an assessment conducted one year after the new rules were introduced found some employers were still not paying their workers enough.
She said the ministry would keep pressuring businesses to follow the payment rates set by the government.
19:19:40 local time CAMBODIA
* Faintings, food linked: report:
Garment factory workers fold clothing at a factory in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district last week. On Friday, CLEC, in cooperation with UK labour advocates, released a report saying that garment factory workers should earn at least $150 per month. HONG MENEA
A report on mass worker faintings in Cambodia’s garment industry points to malnutrition and low wages as key driving factors behind the common phenomenon.
Shop ’til they drop, a study released last week by NGOs Community Legal Education Center and Labour Behind the Label, found that 33 per cent of 95 workers they sampled were malnourished by medical standards, and 25 per cent were dangerously emaciated.
“The [body mass index] data was really concerning,” Joel Preston, a CLEC consultant who conducted BMI research for the study, said yesterday.
On average, garment workers consume 1,598 calories, the report says, but the minimum daily caloric intake for a person who works in an industrial setting and performs moderate to heavy physical work is 3,000 – the report says, citing standards laid out by the Indonesian government as their source.
Buying enough quality food for proper nutrition costs workers just over $75 per month, the report says, a prohibitively high price for those earning Cambodia’s minimum monthly wage of $80 per month. Other factors contributing to garment workers fainting include overwork, poor ventilation and lack of access to water, the report says.
read more. & read more.
* Shots fired at SL Garment factory rally:
A weeks-long strike took a violent turn on Saturday evening as military police hired to guard a garment factory fired rounds inside the building and severely beat one man, union leaders said.
As some 2,000 workers were striking at SL Garment Processing (Cambodia) on Saturday afternoon – some blocking the road outside and others demonstrating inside the factory – guards inside fired their guns above the heads of workers and demonstrators, said Kong Athit, vice president of Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union.
Then when Sun Seng, 50, tried to break up an argument between a striking worker and someone who returned to work, guards dragged him away and mercilessly beat him, Seng said in a video posted on the Cambodian Labour Confederation’s website. Seng was taken to Calmette Hospital, where he remained yesterday evening, an SL worker representative said.
SL official Sao Chhin said workers caused all of the violence, and added that at least 10 current workers were injured.
to read. & read more.
* Cambodian Garment Factories Come Under Scrutiny:
A monitoring group backed by the United Nations said it would begin to publicize garment factories’ compliance with worker rights and safety standards in Cambodia, a controversial program that its organizers say will be the world’s most extensive initiative to improve working conditions at plants.
The program, which Better Factories Cambodia began rolling out on Friday, comes as the global garment industry faces increasing pressure to improve conditions after the collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh killed more than 1,100 people in April.
Accidents also have occurred in Cambodia recently, including two at factories in May, one of which …
* Cambodia sees 21 pct rise in garment exports in first 8 months:
Cambodia’s garment industry, the kingdom’s largest income maker, recorded 3.65 billion U.S. dollars in export value in the first eight months of the year, up 21 percent from 3.01 billion U.S. dollars over the same period last year, the Ministry of Commerce said Friday.
Cambodian apparels are mostly sold to the United States and European countries, with some to Canada, Japan, South Korea and China, said the ministry’s report.
The garment industry accounted for about 80 percent of the country’s total exports.
Currently, the sector is comprised of about 500 factories with some 510,600 workers, with a worker’s monthly minimum wage being 80 U.S. dollars.
In 2012, the impoverished Southeast Asian nation generated 4.6 billion U.S. dollars from garment exports.
20:19:40 local time MALAYSIA
* MTUC Claims Employers Short Charging Workers:
Some errant employers are short charging their workers by including allowances, commissions and other perks to inflate the basic monthly salary to RM900 to comply with the new minimum wages regulation introduced by the government.
Malaysian Trades Union Congress Vice President, A. Balasubramaniam claimed that these employers were doing so despite warnings issued by the government that they would be hauled up for such practice.
He called on the Human Resources Ministry to step up enforcement to ensure that workers were not shortchanged in anyway.
Effective January this year, the government has set the basic minimum wage for workers in Peninsular Malaysia, as RM900.
Balasubramaniam pointed out that basic wages should not include commissions or their allowance as per their contract.
18:19:40 local time BANGLADESH
20130922 * 50,000 Bangladeshi garment workers strike over ‘inhuman’ wages:
Tens of thousands of garment workers have downed tools and taken to the streets to urge the government for an increase in the minimum salary.
4 million employees work in the country’s $20-billion garment export industry – 60 percent goes to Europe – and earn about $38 a month. They are demanding a raise to $103 a month.
Earlier, the Bangladeshi government agreed to a 20 percent increase, but the workers called the raise “inhuman and humiliating.”
“Our backs are against the wall, so we don’t have any alternative unless we raise our voice strongly,” Nazma Akter, president of the United Garments Workers’ Federation told protesters.
20130922 * RMG units close again in Gazipur:
Workers agitate over salary hikes, demand Tk8,000 minimum wage
Authorities suspended production in a number of readymade garment (RMG) factories in Kaliakoir and sadar upazilas of Gazipur on Sunday following labour unrest over salary hikes.
Workers from several garment factories took to the Dhaka-Tangail Highway in a demonstration, barricading the highway and demanding a minimum wage of Tk8,000.
Meanwhile, garment workers also blocked a road in the Tinsarak area of sadar upazila this morning with the same demand.
The agitating workers also vandalised vehicles and factories in Kaliakoir and Shreepur areas.
On Saturday, production in all the readymade garment (RMG) factories were suspended in Gazipur following the labour unrest.
to read. & read more.
20130922 * DEMO DEMANDING SALARY HIKE – RMG workers go berserk in Gazipur:
The readymade garment workers burst into protest in Kaliakoir upazila of Gazipur Sunday demanding fixing their minimum monthly salary to Tk 8,000 that forced to suspend production of around 12 units for today.
More than 15,000 workers of different readymade factories in the upazila took to the Dhaka-Tangail highway around 9:30am and vandalised 20 vehicles including buses and pick-up vans, reported our Gazipur correspondent quoting witnesses.
The marauding workers also damaged six garment units in Chandra area.
The road communications on the highway however resumed nearly two hours after when law enforcers managed to disperse the agitating workers from the road.
20130922 * Unrest forces production suspension at 100 Gazipur RMG units:
Production at over 100 garment factories in several parts of the district was suspended for a day on Sunday following labour unrest.
Police said at least people were injured in sporadic clashes between garment workers and cops in several places in Sadar, Kaliakoir and Sreepur upazilas over a pay hike.
Quoting witnesses, police said the workers of the garment factories went on the work abstention in the morning and took to the street demanding that their minimum wage be fixed at Tk 8,000.
read more. & read more. & read more.
20130922 * Police fire rubber bullets at protesting garment workers:
Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at thousands of Bangladesh garment workers on Sunday during a second day of protests to demand a US$100 (S$125) minimum monthly wage, police said.
Protesters threw stones and bricks at factories just outside the capital in Kaliakoir that make clothes for some of the world’s top retailers. Others marched along a key highway and blocked traffic, police said.
“We were forced to fire rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the workers who attacked about half a dozen factories,” Kaliakoir police chief Omar Faruq told AFP, adding that some 6,000 workers took part in the protests.
20130922 * RMG workers-cops clash hurt 15:
At least 15 RMG workers were injured in a clash with police in Uttarkhan and Dokkhinkhan area of capital’s Uttara on Sunday noon.
Sources said that agitated workers brought out a procession at around 12:30pm demanding minimum Tk8000 salary per month.
20130922 * FBCCI wants ‘fair’ RMG pay:
The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry has called for formulating a ‘fair’ salary structure for the garment industry to ensure a sustainable growth in the main export-earning sector.
The apex business body issued a statement on Sunday making the call.
“The FBCCI supports a reasonable salary structure for the welfare of the workers and for the garment industry as well. Because the workers are the craftsmen,” said the statement.
The minimum wage for a worker was raised to Tk 3,000 from Tk 1,650 in 2010. It has remained the same since then, triggering violent protests from workers often and criticism by national and international rights bodies for the pay which they call ‘unliveable.’
The protests and criticism led to constitution of a wage board by the government in May. The owners’ paltorm, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, proposed only a Tk 600 salary hike against the workers demand of fixing a minimum wage of Tk 8000 in the new wage board.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
20130922 * RMG sector turns hot- Workers take to streets demanding pay hike:
Most garment factories at Savar, Ashulia, Gazipur and Narayanganj faced an unannounced shutdown yesterday after thousands of apparel workers came out from their respective factories to take part at a rally in the capital, industry insiders said.
The undeclared closure of the factories forced the apparel manufacturers to sustain production losses to the tune of 60-70 per cent and their factories abandoned shipments scheduled for the day.
“Workers of Savar, Ashulia and Gazipur industrial belts started coming out from their factories at noon forcing us to suspend production for the day,” an office bearer of BGMEA told the New Nation yesterday, preferring anonymity.
According to him, nearly 850 high rated RMG factories are operating in these areas.
When asked, he said the RMG owners did not create any obstacle to the workers to join the rally but the labour leaders forced the workers to join it.
Garments Sramik Samannoy Parishad, an association of RMG workers, organised the rally in the capital’s Suhrawardy Udyan.
The BGMEA office bearer also alleged that the unruly workers attacked several factories provoked by the labour leaders.
Industrial police sources said, hundreds of workers staged rowdy protests at the key garment industrial belts as the garment owners tried to stop them from joining the rally.
They protested for hours on highways in the major industrial areas of Gazipur, Mouchak and Ashulia and also raised the demand for a rational wage hike.
read more. & read more.
* RMG unrest continues:
Workers set fire to factories in Gazipur, 200 injured, factory owners seek security
Apparel workers rampaged through the industrial belts in Gazipur setting factories on fire, vandalising vehicles, blocking highways and fighting pitched battles with the police for the second straight day on Sunday to press their demand for wage increase.
About 200 people, including workers and police men, were injured in the clashes as the unrest also spread to Uttara in the capital.
The protesters set fire to two factories in Gazipur and blocked Dhaka-Gazipur, Dhaka-Tangail, Dhaka-Mymensingh highways at several points in Gazipur for hours together causing serious disruption of traffic, according to witnesses and police.
The workers’ unrest forced suspension of production in dozens of factories in the troubled areas.
The cabinet committee on law and order at a meeting observed that the workers’ unrest in the readymade garment sector might take a serious turn if steps were not taken immediately to contain the situation.
* RMG owners, workers at loggerheads over wage issue:
Workers and owners are at loggerheads over the issue of implementation of minimum wage in the country’s readymade garment (RMG) sector.
Garment workers are staging demonstrations, holding rallies and shutting down several hundred RMG factories at Ashulia and Savar to press home their demand for a minimum wage of Tk. 8,114 a month.
They also sought the intervention of the Prime Minister to implement the wages in time. Last week, the apex body of the country’s apparel manufacturers BGMEA, at a meeting of the wage board, submitted its proposal for a wage hike for the RMG workers by 20 per cent.
As per their proposal, a worker (apprentice level) of the garment factories will enjoy a monthly wage of Tk. 3,600, as against the existing salary of Tk. 3,000.
But the RMG workers vehemently rejected the proposal, terming it “illogical” and “unacceptable,” and demanded immediate implementation of their proposal.
Expressing dissatisfaction over the BGMEA proposal, the leaders of the RMG workers threatened to render the sector dysfunctional if the recommendation of the garment owners was implemented.
At the third meeting of the wage board, the workers’ leaders recommended Tk. 8,114 as minimum monthly wage, which is about a 166-per cent hike on the existing wage.
* Violence at RMG hubs may take serious turn:
The ongoing workers violence over new wage structure for garment industry is likely to take a serious turn if the authorities delay in settling the issue, workers representatives and experts said.
They blamed the last two days’ workers violence at Gazipur, Savar and Kalikoir on owners’ proposal for a 20 per cent wage hike, which they said was way behind the proposal of the workers.
They called upon all the parties engaged in the country’s highest foreign currency earning sector to immediately come up with a solution for the wellbeing and growth of the sector.
“The owners’ proposal to raise wages by only Tk 600 is nothing but a joke. It cannot be accepted at all,” Bangladesh Textile-Garments Workers Federation president Abul Hossain told the FE.
He said the recent violence over enhanced wages at the country’s key apparel industrial hub was the reaction of this mockery.
“The owners by making such a proposal have shown their pettiness, which angered the workers,” he said.
Combined Garment Workers Federation president Nazma Akhter said the owners should withdraw the proposal and recommend a reasonable salary structure that could ensure a decent life for the workers.
“The situation might take a serious turn if the authorities fail to settle the issue quickly,” she said with a note of optimism that the owners would realise the fact and backtrack from their position considering growth of the industry.
* Businesses worried at violence:
Businesses yesterday expressed their concern over the latest spell of labour unrest in the garment sector that halts production at the factory units on a regular basis.
A section of agitated garment workers vandalised many factories in Savar, Konabari, Kashimpur, Gazipur, Shafipur, Ashulia and Uttara. They were agitating for increasing the minimum salary to Tk 8,114 from the existing Tk 3,000.
The workers also vandalised a good number of factories across the country on Saturday.
The concerned garment owners of Ashulia and Savar held a meeting at the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) yesterday to find out solutions in this regard.
“We have met Labour and Employment Minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju, and will meet other ministers concerned seeking security of the factories,” said Abdus Salam Murshedy, president of the garment factory owners of Ashulia Zone.
* BGMEA must take minimum wages seriously:
It is straightforward for employers to at least build in a commitment to raise salaries, including the minimum wage
The BGMEA is taking a hard line on minimum wages for RMG workers.
At a time when various programmes of safety inspections are seeking to take the garment export sector forward, it is short sighted for the industry body to adopt a stance that raises worker discontent.
There has been no national pay increase since the wage board last set the minimum wage at Tk3,000 in 2010. As BGMEA’s proposed 20% wage increase falls clearly short of inflation during the last three years, it inevitably adds to the workforce’s concerns.
Around 10,000 workers blocked the Dhaka-Tangail Highway on Saturday in support of demands for higher wages by unions and associations such as Garments Sramik Samannoy Parishad. This type of unrest can only increase if the BGMEA does not negotiate in a co-operative and rational manner.
Inflation hurts everyone but people on minimum wages feel it the most. It is straightforward for employers to at least build in a commitment to raise salaries, including the minimum wage, by the cost of living increase each year. BGMEA has no justification for not being pro-active in addressing this issue earlier.
20130923 * Protest for RMG pay rise in Gazipur- Workers-police clash underway:
Most of the workers of readymade garments beside Dhaka-Mymensingh and Dhaka-Tangail highways in Borobari area locked into sporadic clashes with police on Monday morning.
The clash erupted when workers of most of the garments’ including Interfact Sweater, Tongi Zaber & Zubayer, Columbia Garments, Laxma Apparels Ltd and Jamuna garments were staging protest blocking roads demanding Tk 8000 as minimum wage per month.
The movement started at around 7.50am. The clash was underway till filing the report at 9.10am.
Earlier on Sunday, RMG workers at Kaliakoir of Gazipur and Tongi staged protest demanding Tk 8000 as minimum monthly wage.
During the time they protested by blazing tires on Dhaka-Tangail highway and locked into a clash with police, leaving more than 50 workers injured.
Later more than 50 garments factories announced leave for the day.
On the other hand, workers locked into a clash with police at the Uttarkhan and Dakkhinkhan of Uttara area of the city on the same demand.
20130923 * Garments workers block Dhaka- Mymensingh, Dhaka-Aricha highway:
Readymade Garments workers of different factories in Gazipur and Savar blocked Dhaka-Mymensingh and Dhaka-Aricha highway on Monday morning to press home their several demands including raising minimum monthly salary to Tk 8,000.
Authorities suspended production in most of the garment factories in Savar and Gazipur following labour unrest.
Road communications on Dhaka-Mymensingh and Dhaka-Aricha highway remained suspended since morning due to the blockade.
The agitating workers vandalized some vehicles. Police fired tear gas and rubber bullet when workers locked into a clash with police.
to read. & read more.
* GARMENT SAFETY- EU Accord team arrives Monday for follow-up meeting:
A five-member delegation of EU Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh arrives in Dhaka on Monday to hold a follow-up meeting with the Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association regarding the platform’s action plan.
The delegation will hold the meeting to set the next course of action, including starting factory inspection and disbursement of fund, BGMEA vice-president Shahidullah Azim told New Age.
‘This is a follow-up meeting as the EU Accord had held its first meeting with the garment sector leaders on July 30,’ he added.
The delegation includes Accord executive director Sean Ansett, representative of H&M Fagerlin Jenny, representative of C&A Philip Chamberlin, representative of Devon Ham Caroleny Haycock and Rosey Hurst.
* Sub-contracting RMG units forced to ignore compliance issues:
The country’s sub-contracting ready-made garment (RMG) factories hardly get more than half of the cutting and making (CM) charges, which the main exporters receive from the buyers.
With their paltry earning these units are struggling hard for survival and thus failing to meet compliance requirements, stakeholders say.
“First of all, Bangladeshi exporters get the lowest prices from the buyers. The sub-contracting factories get only 50 to 60 per cent of the amount for manufacturing the apparel goods,” said a factory owner who works on sub-contract.
“Besides, our factories remain shut for nearly six months of a year. So, we can’t make much profit to maintain compliance,” he said.
Failing to get adequate work orders, at least 10 sub-contracting factories were declared laid off during the last one month in the capital’s Malibag area. Of the ten closed factories, one is owned by a big group of companies which has several compliant factories.
* Power play delays Apparel Board Act:
A tug-of-war among the Board of Investment (BoI), Ministry of Jute and Textile (MoJT) and some other government agencies has been the key factor in delaying the framing of the Apparel Board Act – 2012.
As a result, the entire garment sector, which is the principal foreign exchange earner of the country, is virtually running without a guideline. Textile and Jute secretary, however, told The Independent last week that differences have mostly been sorted out and a draft of the Act is ready. It would be placed before the cabinet this week, he confirmed. At the last inter-ministerial meeting on the proposed Act, held on April 11 last year, it was said that the draft had been placed before the cabinet about six months earlier and was supposed to be distributed among different stakeholders for further discussion.
In order to frame an appropriate law to set up a board, a committee was also formed, including the participation of the Jute and Textile Ministry, Ministry of Commerce, Labour and Employment Ministry, BoI, BTMA, BGMEA and BKMEA. In due course, the committee framed a draft of the law.
At the meeting it was also discussed that in accordance with the allocation of business, the textile ministry was supposed to guide the textile sector. But since the 1980s, the Ministry of Commerce has been looking into matters of the textile and apparel sectors.
* Govt to increase punishment for violation of labour law:
A committee will submit its recommendations within 15 days
The government has decided to increase the punishment and fines for the violation of the labour law and the fire and building safety code, in a bid to regain GSP facilities of local export in the US market.
A senior commerce ministry official, seeking anonymity, said: “Commerce minister GM Quader formed a 13-member committee on Sunday, which will advise to amend existing laws and rules.”
He also said the newly formed committee, headed by commerce ministry Joint Secretary Atiqur Rahman, will submit its recommendations within 15 days.
* Dhaka rejects Washington request for TICFA signing during PM visit:
Dhaka has rejected Washington’s proposal for the signing of the Trade and Investment Cooperation Framework Agreement during the visit of the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, to the Untied States to attend the UN General Assembly.
Hasina left Dhaka for New York on Sunday to attend the 68th session of the UN General Assembly in New York beginning September 24. She is scheduled to return on September 30, foreign ministry officials said.
* Korean EPZ clears all barriers to jump on production extension:
Overriding all bureaucratic and administrative barriers only through legal interceptions the Karnaphuli Shoes Industry (KSI) has finally started expansion of production in the Korean Export Processing Zone (KEPZ) in Chittagong.
After gaining environment clearance and electricity from the concerned authorities the KEPZ set up by the country’s garment manufacturing giant Youngone Corporation is yet to get gas connection to jump on full-swing operation and mutation of the land purchased by the private EPZ management.
* Country’s textile sector attracts highest investment:
Country’s textile sector has attracted highest investment thanks to strong demand for fabrics for the readymade garment (RMG) industry.
The country’s RMG sector is a ready market for textile goods, so investors’ interest in textile industry is increasing, industry insiders said.
BOI official data showed a total of 1,457 fresh investment proposals were registered from the local investors in the last fiscal year (FY) 2012-13 and most of them had shown their interest in textile sector.
THE SAVAR BUILDING COLLAPSE
* Committee proposes Tk2.2m for each victim:
It proposed more than Tk500,000 as compensation for the loss of each additional limb more than two
The sub-committee on compensation for the Rana Plaza victims has proposed at least Tk2.2m against each of the victims of Rana Plaza tragedy be they killed or missing.
It also proposed job facility for at least one member from each of the families.
The committee, formed to prepare compensation limit, submitted a set of proposals, including Tk1m as compensation for a worker who lost one limb in the building collapse and Tk2m for a person who lost two limbs.
It proposed more than Tk500,000 as compensation for the loss of each additional limb more than two.
MM Akash, who teaches economics at Dhaka University and the head of the committee, on Friday submitted its report to a high-powered committee, headed by the ninth infantry division general officer commanding Major General Chowdhury Hasan Suhrawardy.
* Identities of Rana Plaza victims: DNA test results expected in 3 weeks:
Experts from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the USA on Sunday finished setting up a software called the Combined DNA Index System (Codis) in the DMCH DNA Laboratory
The relatives of those who went missing after the Savar Rana Plaza tragedy have been waiting for nearly six months to know what has actually happened to their loved ones.
Out of the 1,115 bodies pulled from under the rubble of the collapse, 234 that could not be immediately unidentified mainly because they had decomposed beyond recognition, were buried to the Jurain Graveyard in the capital.
The authorities, before burying the bodies, kept DNA samples from each of the bodies so that they could be later identified; but did not have the necessary apparatus to do the tests.
Apart from these 234, the rescuers could not find any trace of 87 other people who were reportedly inside the building when it collapsed.
* Governance failure, not engineering:
The April 24 Rana Plaza collapse, claiming around 1,132 lives, was more of a governance failure than of engineering, said Prof Jamilur Reza Choudhury yesterday.
The collapse resulted from the vibrations of nearly six generators which were turned on simultaneously on the building’s rooftop, coupled with the cracks it already had, he said.
Initially constructed for commercial purpose, the building was later used for industrial purpose, a major reason behind the collapse, said the eminent civil engineer.
Moreover, steel used for the construction was mostly obtained from ship breaking yard scraps and was of poor quality, he told the formal launching of “Beyond Building”, a monthly magazine on construction engineering, in the capital’s The Daily Star Centre.
ASHULIA TAZREEN GARMENT FACTORY FIRE
* 25 more Tazreen fire deceased named to High Court:
Names of 25 workers, not included in the official confirmed list of 99 workers who died in the Tazreen Fashions fire in November 2012, have been filed in the High Court by the anthropologists who had earlier petitioned the court to take action against government authorities for their failure to prosecute Tazreen Fashions owner Delwar Hossain.
This could question the accuracy of the government’s official figure of 112 – 99 identified workers and 13 unidentified — as the number of the people who died in the fire.
The petitioners in their petition filed on September 16 also claim that the number of the people who died could be much higher.
‘The petitioners have reasonable belief that the number [of deaths] would be higher if they could access all the information and also could physically visit the places where the workers mainly come from,’ the petition states.
None of these families have received any compensation.
The Bangladesh Garments and Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association at an earlier hearing told the High Court that it had paid Tk 7 lakh in compensation to successors of each of the 99 identified dead workers.
The High Court bench of Justice Quazi Reza-Ul Hoque and Justice ABM Altaf Hossain is likely to consider the list of workers today when the matter is due to come up for hearing.
The anthropologists also filed with the court the details of 10 injured workers who received no compensation and 10 more workers who received Tk 1 lakh to show the inadequate level of compensation in the context of their medical costs and other financial requirements.
* Owner arrest plea hearing today:
The High Court on Sunday re-posted for today the hearing of the writ petition filed in public interest seeking a directive on the government to arrest and prosecute Tazreen Fashions owner Delwar Hossain.
The hearing scheduled for Sunday was not held as the matter did not come up in the list of hearing by the bench of Justice Quazi Reza-Ul Hoque and Justice ABM Altaf Hossain.
The filing of reports of DNA test on 23 unidentified bodies of Tazreen Fashions workers, who died in the factory fire on November 24, 2012, by the Criminal Investigation Department was earlier posted for Sunday.
The bench told writ petitioners’ lawyer Jyotirmoy Barua that the matter by mistake had not come up in the list of hearing.
Neither Tazreen’s owner Delwar Hossain, who was earlier asked to be present, nor his lawyer appeared in court on Sunday.
Deputy attorney general Biswojit Roy, who represented the Criminal Investigation Department, was earlier asked to submit the DNA test reports today.
17:49:40 local time INDIA
* CITU demands amendment to Minimum Wages Act:
The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) on Saturday demanded an amendment to the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, to increase minimum wages to at least Rs. 10,000 per month.
The organisation criticised the State government for stopping distribution of foodgrains to APL cardholders after implementation of the Anna Bhagya scheme.
Anganwadi workers and contract workers serving in various government departments took out a procession under the banner of CITU from Sardar High School ground to the Deputy Commissioner’s office, where they staged a dharna. They submitted a memorandum addressed to the Chief Minister.
* Mangalore trade union demands minimum wage:
Despite the heavy downpour, hundreds of workers gathered on Friday to demand that the minimum wage for the unorganised sector be fixed at Rs. 10,000 per month, and implementation of welfare schemes for workers.
In front of the Deputy Commissioners’ Office, a sea of umbrellas stood defiant to the incessant rains, as workers from unorganised sectors, government health and midday meal workers, among others, assembled under the banner of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) as a part of the State-wide protest, demanded the implementation of their 22-point programme.
* Goa labour unions demand Rs 12,000 monthly wage for workers:
Labour unions in Goa cutting across their affiliations have joined hands to demand a minimum monthly wage of Rs 12,000 for workers against Rs 10,000 being sought nationally.
“Everything is expensive in Goa compared to rest part of the country. This is the reason why we are demanding Rs 12,000 as a minimum wage for workers although nationally the demand is Rs 10,000,” Raju Mangueshkar, Deputy General Secretary, All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), told reporters here today.
* ‘Fix minimum wage for unorganised workers at `10,000, implement schemes’:
Hundreds of unorganised workers, beedi workers, anganawadi workers, health workers gathered in front of the deputy commissioner’s office, daring the heavy rains on Friday, and staged a protest demanding the government to fix minimum wage for unorganised sector workers at Rs 10,000 and implement welfare schemes for the workers.
The protest was organised by Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) as a part of the state-wide protest, demanding the government to implement the 22-point programme.
* Wage united struggle, women told:
The Sramika Mahila Coordination Committee (SMCC), affiliated to CITU, has called upon the women employees to wage a united struggle to solve the problems faced at the work place.
The SMCC organised its city meeting here on Sunday. On the occasion, SMCC State convener K. Dhanalakshmi said women were facing umpteen problems at the workplace.
The managements were not providing minimum facilities to them.
More so, women employees and workers were underpaid.
The Acts to protect the women were not being implemented properly despite tall claims made by the governments.
Consequently, the women, who fought for their rights, were being harassed, she said.
* Cabinet approves cluster development scheme for power loom sector:
The Cabinet on Friday approved the continuation of a cluster development scheme for the power loom sector aimed at assisting entrepreneurs to set up world-class units.
“The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has given its approval for continuation of Comprehensive Power loom Cluster Development Scheme (CPCDS) during the 12th Plan (2012-17),’’ Information and Broadcasting Minister, Manish Tewari told reporters in New Delhi after the meeting.
The Cabinet also cleared the plan for modification of norms of the scheme for development of Power loom Mega Clusters at Ichalkaranji, Bhiwandi (Maharashtra) and future projects. The modified scheme with an outlay of Rs. 110 crore for the 12th Plan will be implemented through a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) model, an official statement said.
* Minister to launch mill modernisation project:
The second phase modernization project of the Cannanore Spinning and Weaving Mills will be inaugurated by Union Minister for Textiles Kavaru Sambashiva Rao on September 24.
Announcing this at a press meet here on Friday, K. G. Manoj Kumar, general manager, CSWM, said that with the completion of the second phase modernization, the public sector undertaking under the Ministry of Textiles and National Textiles Corporation proposed to produce 100 per cent cotton yarn.
The modernization of CSWM has been done in two phases. In the first phase, a unit with 25,920 spindles was commissioned in 2010 which produced 100 per cent synthetic yarn. This unit currently has 260 permanent employees and 200 daily wage employees. The production capacity was 7.5 tonne and the unit was running profitably, Mr. Kumar said at the meet.
* Knitwear sector surprised by RBI decision:
It is sad that RBI acted contrary to the expectations of the industry
Capital intensive knitwear manufacturing cluster in Tirupur reacted with surprise and disappointment to the Reserve Bank of India’s decision on Friday to raise the policy repo rate under liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) by 25 basis points.
In the mid-quarter monetary policy review, RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan announced that the repo rate under LAF was increased from 7.25 per cent to 7.5 per cent while keeping the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) unchanged at 4 per cent.
The apex bank was of the view that the rate was increased to bring down the inflation to “more tolerable levels”.
“It is sad that the RBI acted contrary to the expectations of the industry which has been in need of loans at cheaper rate to generate demand. How can industrial growth be achieved if the cost of funds remain high?,” P. Moghan, a prominent apparel exporter and treasurer of Tirupur Exporters Association, quipped.
* Cotton growers protest at Krishi mela:
Cotton growers from Vakkund, Nayanagar of Bailhongal and Gadag, Ramdurg and other places, who came in a procession to the venue of Krishi mela demanded compensation for the loss they suffered.
Farmers said they had grown cotton by sowing MRC 7351 cotton seeds, but the crop failed due to low quality seeds provided by a seed company and they demanded that they be allowed to meet the CM.
Dymangowda Sheelvant, farmer, said many farmers suffered huge loss and action should be taken against the pesticide company which supplied these seeds. Cotton has been sown in 1,000 acres of land in Vakkund village, but farmers failed to get good yield, he Satteppa Dambal, of Shirhatti of Gadag, said, “I have managed to grow cotton on my 10 acres of land by borrowing money from banks, but the crop failed due to low quality seeds. I am now finding it difficult to pay back the loan, government should intervene to solve our problems,” he said.
* Weavers lose faith in inherited art:
Sitting on an old handloom machine, fitted in a corner of veranda, Panna Lal, a weaver from Julaha community, weaves a colourful shawl with beautiful patterns on it, and memorizes old days when his father used to weave shawls and Kulluvi pattu on the same handloom. A deep thought suddenly moistens his eyes — that he is the last man of his family, who is still practicing the inherited art on handloom.
The beautiful and original patterns on Himachali shawls, mufflers, caps and pattu are slowly vanishing as weavers of Julaha community have started distancing from weaving industry, which is running in losses. Besides being unable to look after the needs of a family with the low income from weaving clothes, job reservations have weaned away the new generation of this community to government jobs, serving a big blow to the weaving industry of Himachal. Though matching patterns are being produced by some weavers from other communities and by modern machineries, but the unmatched patterns and designs of Julaha community cannot be copied successfully by anybody, sources said.
17:49:40 local time SRI LANKA
* Apparel Sourcing Association Awareness and Training Programme 2013:
The Sri Lanka apparel Sourcing Association has organized a seminar for the benefit of the members of the apparel sector on Friday, 27th September 2013 at the BMICH, BCJS Auditorium from 8.00 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.
The target group for the Awareness and Training Programme are for Merchandisers, QA Staff, QC Managers and Managers.
It is seen that the world appetite for Sri Lanka apparels and textiles (“Garments without Guilt”) has grown steadily. This programme is a long term strategic move with the objective of making the personnel of the Sri Lanka’s apparel sector and the SME’s more knowledgeable.
This Awareness and Training Programme has been organized because we see the tremendous potential for the industry and because of the high demand from our members for a training programme of this nature.
17:19:40 local time PAKISTAN
* Need to end workplace harassment stressed:
Lack of education and illiteracy are the main factors which contribute to sexual harassment at workplace, said speakers participating in a seminar held on Thursday at the Shah Abdul Latif University (SALU), Khairpur.
The seminar, titled ‘Harassment of women at the work place: suggestions and remedies’, was organised by the varsity’s sociologydepartment and was attended by lawyers, women rights workers and also lawmakers.
A former MPA of the Pakistan People’s Party, Syed Bachal Shah Jillani, said that in western countries a balance was maintained between men and women. He said that women faced harassment even in the national flag carrier and also those who worked in the banking sector.
* Faisalabad beats other cities in terms of corporate social responsibility:
The industrialists of the textile hub have spent millions of rupees on development and welfare projects for the betterment of the people and seem keen fulfilling their corporate social responsibility.
Gigantic sums were invested in various projects to renovate the city including Amtex Square by Amtex Textile Mills, Chenab Square by the Chenab Group of Industries and MSC Square by the MSC Textile Mills, in addition to promoting plantation.
* Pakistan’s textile exports grow 3.42% in August 2013:
In August 2013 Pakistan exported textiles and apparel worth $1.095 billion, registering a rise of 3.42 percent over exports of $1.059 billion made during the corresponding month of last year, figures released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics showed.
During the month, raw cotton exports grew substantially by 504.25 percent year-on-year. The other items that showed positive growth in exports during the month were cotton yarn, which rose by 18.12 percent year-on-year to $188.21 million, yarn other than cotton yarn increased by 8.92 percent y-o-y to $4.799 million, made-up articles, excluding towels and bed wear, grew 7.29 percent y-o-y to $47.021 million and other textile materials increased 13.66 percent to $33.255 million.
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THE KARACHI-BALDIA FIRE
* Factory fire: Baldia families remind PM of his promise to pay Rs300,000:
The families of the Baldia fire victims want to remind Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of his promise to pay Rs300,000 as compensation to each of them.
Sharif made this promise, as the chief of the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz, when he visited the Baldia factory soon after the tragic industrial disaster on September 11, last year, when at least 250 people died.
At a seminar on Saturday, the families asked the prime minister to fulfil his promise. They were speaking at a seminar on Saturday, organised by the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler) and trade union committee to mark the first anniversary of the incident at Piler’s office.
The speakers discussed the progress in the compensation process for the victims as the families shared the problems they face in getting their Employees Oldage Benefit Institution (EOBI) pensions, death certificates, death grants from the workers welfare fund and jobs promised by the SITE Association of Industry and Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association to those who lost their jobs in Ali Enterprises.
* Baldia factory fire victims still yearning for compensation:
In connection with the first anniversary of the worst-ever factory fire incident of the country in Baldia, SITE, the members of victims’ families, and representatives of trade unions and civil society reminded Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday to fulfill his commitment of providing compensation to the victims’ families. The PML-N chief had made this commitment at the time of his visit to the ill-fated factory last year.
They were speaking at a seminar held in connection with the first anniversary of the inferno at Ali Enterprises in Baldia Town on September 11, 2012, which was jointly organised by the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) and Trade Unions Committee at PILER Centre.
During his visit to Karachi on September 14, 2012, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif had announced Rs 300,000 donation for each victim’s family but no money has so far been provided in this regard.
Senior lawyer Faisal Siddiqi, veteran trade unionist Noor Mohammad, Joint Director PILER Zulfiqar Shah, a representative of Indus Valley of School of Art Ammad Tahir, representatives of victims families Nazia and Israr addressed the participants. A catalogue of the products displayed at the exhibition held at Arts Council was also launched on the occasion.
The members of victims’ families and civil society also complained about the non-payment of death grant, which was supposed to be paid by the Workers Welfare Fund (WWF) of the federal government to each affected family.
They said that the Employees Old-age Benefit Institution (EOBI), which has to provide pension to all workers, was providing pension to the victims’ families for only five-year period, whereas pensions should be paid for the life time.
Many families complained about non-provision of EOBI pension to them. Similarly, the meagre amount by Social Security Institution of the Sindh government was also not available for all the families, they said.
17:19:40 local time UZBEKISTAN
* Young Boy Dies During Uzbek Cotton Harvest:
A 6-year-old boy has died during cotton picking in Uzbekistan’s southwestern province of Bukhara.
Provincial law enforcement officials told RFE/RL on September 19 that Amirbek Rakhmatov, who was sleeping in a trailer, was suffocated under a cotton load.
The incident occurred on September 15, one day before a university student stabbed four fellow students, killing one and injuring the other three, at a mandatory cotton-picking site in the province of Qashqadaryo.
* College students in “barracks” to pick cotton, traffic violators engaged in cotton harvest:
The cotton-picking campaign in Uzbekistan is always held under the authorities’ total control in a militarized regime. Millions of citizens are taken to the fields to harvest cotton: students, state employees, and even private entrepreneurs.
On 20 Sep 2013, two human rights advocates, Yelena Urlayeva and Ivan Chochovskiy, monitored cotton picking in several districts in Tashkent Region. Ms. Urlayeva told Fergana, that no schoolchildren were observed in the monitored areas and they are at school. However, 16 to 18-year-old college students were forced to collect cotton. They are in “barracks mode” where they live nearby the assigned field for the harvest season since 17 Sep 2013.