20:08:00 local time CHINA
* Cutting your cloth to suit your style:
Textile company boss defies declining trend with unique approach to business
Regarding one of China’s most traditional industries – textiles and apparel – Marjorie Yang Mun-tak holds quite different a view in comparison with mainstream opinion that it is a declining industry with no future.
“There are no sunrise industries or sunset industries. The point lies in how people run these industries,” said Yang, chairwoman of Hong Kong-based Esquel Group, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of premium cotton shirts, boasting well-known customers including Tommy Hilfiger, Hugo Boss AG, Nike Inc and Ralph Lauren Corp.
20:08:00 local time PHILIPPINES
* KMU hits Aquino’s go for SSS premium hike:
National labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno condemned Pres. Noynoy Aquino today for approving a 0.6 per cent increase in members’ contributions to the Social Security System, claiming the increase is an added burden for workers suffering from low wages and is not necessary to increase members’ benefits.
The labor center also said that the increase will go to the pockets of capitalists in the form of funds for the government’s Public-Private Partnership program, citing the agency’s P23.4 Billion share in Philex Mining Corporation as an example.
* Labor supports Sen. Sotto’s 14th month pay bill:
It is not wages that make doing business difficult for small businessmen, but high power and water rates, trade liberalization and smuggling, and taxes to the government and kickbacks by government officials.” – KMU
Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III came from show business, music and entertainment before using the popularity he derived from it into becoming a senator.
Recently, he earned public scorn for having committed plagiarism and worse, using it to defeat the purpose of the original statement. Late last week though, Sotto did something that earned the support of workers’ group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU).
“We consider the 14th Month Pay Bill or Senate Bill 1645 filed by Sen. Vicente “Tito” Sotto III as salutary. This move aimed at granting workers not less than 1 ½ of the total basic salary earned by private- and public-sector employees within the calendar year is positive,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, chairman of KMU.
19:08:00 local time VIET NAM
* Boosting int’l cooperation in labor safety:
Compared with other countries in the region, Vietnam still has a lot of work to do toward ensuring occupational safety and health.
Work accidents and occupational injuries are still a major threat to workers’ lives and health. Therefore, boosting international cooperation in this field is very important, to help Vietnam improve occupational safety and health policies during a time of fast expanding heavy industry.
Vietnam has been highly appreciated for efforts to boost international cooperation in the field of occupational safety and health. It has promoted bilateral, multilateral cooperation and cooperation with non-governmental organizations in this field.
Vietnam has promoted multilateral cooperation with the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
19:08:00 local time LAOS
* New industrial park in Savannakhet Laos:
After 2011 floods & 2012 minimum wage hike, more foreign companies build factories in nearby countries. Savannakhet, Laos on border attracting many of them.
Before Thailand experienced its crippling floods in 2011 and the minimum wage hike in 2012, the Savan-Seno Special Economic Zone (SEZ), the first of its kind in Laos, was struggling to attract foreign companies. But now the location is gaining notice as a new choice for businesses looking for a low-cost, low-risk location
There are many foreign companies, which have existing plants in Thailand, that want to set up new operations in other countries. Laos will be the location for their satellite manufacturing sites. Parts will be made in Laos and sent back to Thailand for making finished products.
19:08:00 local time CAMBODIA
* Cambodia’s Supreme Court Declares Two scapegoats of Union Leader’s Murder Not Guilty:
We, the undersigned organisations, welcome the long overdue decision made by the Supreme Court this afternoon to free Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun and drop all charges against them .
Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun were framed as scapegoats for the 2004 killing of unionist Chea Vichea. Despite the absence of any credible evidence, the two were sentenced to 20 years for his murder in a show trial at the lower court in2005. They were bailed in December 2008 by the Supreme Court, in a decision which ordered a re-investigation into the killing amid extensive evidence of their innocence.
* Scapegoat ‘killers’ acquitted:
The courtroom erupted in applause yesterday as the Supreme Court acquitted two men falsely charged with the murder of unionist Chea Vichea nearly a decade ago.
Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun are set to leave Prey Sar prison free men this morning after spending a total of five years, eight months and one day in jail.
The pair had been sentenced in 2005 to 20 years in prison for the slaying of the outspoken activist, in spite of a staggering lack of evidence.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court agreed, saying there was in fact ample proof that the pair weren’t even in Phnom Penh when the murder took place.
“Having no inculpatory evidence against Sok Sam Oeun and Born Samnang, and given that these two could not have been at the scene of the crime, we drop the charges,” Supreme Court deputy president and presiding judge Khim Ponn said.
The verdict came after a four-hour trial at which judges repeatedly sought to establish a connection between the two men prior to the January 22 murder.
* ILO-OHCHR Joint Statement welcoming the Supreme Court decision in the case of the murder of Cambodian trade union leader Chea Vichea:
* Court releases two men in slain union leader case:
The Supreme Court of Cambodia released Born Samnang and Sok Sam Eoun on Wednesday, believed to have been wrongfully convicted of murdering prominent union leader, Chea Vichea in 2004.
Born Samnang and Sok Sam Eoun were arrested a second time in December of last year following an order by the Court of Appeals after they had spent around four years out of prison on temporary release.
* Jubilation as Pair Acquitted of Union Leader’s Assassination:
Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun, the men wrongfully sentenced to 20 years in prison for the 2004 murder of Free Trade Union (FTU) leader Chea Vichea, were exonerated Wednesday by the Supreme Court of the crime.
Responding to the acquittal, Chea Vichea’s brother, Chea Mony, said the government was responsible for having orchestrated the killing of his sibling and the ensuing cover up.
* Cambodia frees men seen as scapegoats in murder of union leader:
A Cambodian court on Wednesday acquitted, and ordered the release of, two men said by rights groups to have been wrongfully convicted and jailed for the 2004 murder of a prominent opposition activist.
Cambodia’s Supreme Court dropped all charges against Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun, saying there was not enough evidence to prove their guilt. The court decision ends a 20-year prison term handed down for the killing.
Cambodia is considered one of the better locations in the world for low-cost garment manufacturing, with the International Labour Organisation monitoring pay and working conditions at many factories.
But strikes and sometimes violent protests have been on the rise, as unions emboldened by a shortage of skilled workers demand better wages and working conditions.
Chea Mony, Vichea’s brother and current leader of the FTU, urged authorities to find the real culprits.
“Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun are not the killers,” Chea Mony told Reuters.
“Who is the killer? The government needs to continue to find out.”
* Opposition Party Threatens Nationwide Labor Strikes:
Opposition leader Sam Rainsy on Wednesday announced that his party could stage nationwide labor strikes in protest of disputed election results, and said the CNRP would begin an international campaign to make the CPP government a pariah state.
Mr. Rainsy’s comments came just a day after lawmakers from the ruling CPP voted in the National Assembly to give another five-year term to Prime Minister Hun Sen and approve a sizeable reshuffle of his Cabinet.
20:08:00 local time INDONESIA
* Textile Factories Relocation Hampered:
* Indonesian IndustriALL Council Creates Women’s Committee:
On 22 September 2013 the IndustriALL Council created a women’s committee in Jakarta.
The women took the opportunity to plan their activity on 7 October where they intend to go to the Ministry of Manpower with a delegation of 100 women to demand decent work and to demand that more attention be paid to women’s issues.
When opening the meeting, Brother Sjaiful, the convenor of the Indonesian Council, explained that according to the IndustriAll guidelines, a national committee was created, in which all 11 affiliates were asked to nominate one representative. It will be chaired by Lilis Mahmudah from SPN. The committee was accompanied by the two IndustriAll ExCo members, Wati Anwar and Nikasi Grinting.
18:38:00 local time BURMA/MYANMAR
* Myanmar approves new foreign investments in manufacturing sector:
The Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) approved new investments from six countries in the manufacturing sector between September 1 and 20, according to MIC reports.
Businesses from Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and the United Kingdom won the MIC’s approval to set up garment factories, automobile assembly plants, and manufacturing for construction materials.
The MIC allowed garment businesses from Thailand, Hong Kong and the UK to operate factories under the cutting, making, and packing (CMP) system at the Hlaing Thayar Industrial Zone in Yangon.
* The New Union Movement in Myanmar:
The past year has seen the birth of a new union movement in Myanmar, after 50 years of brutal suppression of labour rights.
More than 670 labour organisations have now been registered under the Labour Organisation Law, mostly small unions at enterprise level and concentrated in the agricultural, manufacturing and transport sectors, and with an estimated total membership of close to 200,000 workers.
Many of them are young factory workers struggling to improve their wages and conditions of employment which, for many, are at exploitative levels.
18:08:00 local time BANGLADESH
* Apparel workers’ demo enters fifth day:
Readymade garment (RMG) workers continued demonstration to press home their demand for a minimum monthly wage of Tk 8,100, for the fifth straight day in capital and its suburban areas, Wednesday.
Though most of the workers of the factories in the area joined their work, some of the factory authorities declared a holiday for the day to avert violence.
Traffic on the Dhaka-Tangail Highway came to a standstill for nearly half an hour as workers blocked the road at Konabari and Kaliakoir–Nabinagar highway at Chandra area.
More than 100 factories were shut in the face of demonstration.
The workers of several apparels units in Konabari area came out and began demonstration to realise their demand.
They pelted brick bats at the factories that remained opened from the morning.
Later, they took position on Dhaka-Tangail highway and blocked the road.
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* RMG Unrest over Salary Hike- 144 units shut amid unrest:
The authorities of over 144 garment factories suspended production of their units in Gazipur for Wednesday when the apparel workers’ unrest over salary hike stepped into fifth consecutive day.
At least 25 workers were injured when police charged batons on them as they were demonstrating for more than one hour blocking the Dhaka-Tangail highway and Dhaka-Narayanganj link road.
The marauding workers also vandalised at least 10 vehicles and eight factories in Savar and Gazipur.
The workers’ unrest stemmed Saturday from their demand for a minimum wage of Tk 8,114.
The managements of more than 144 RMG units in Gazipur were forced to shut the production of their factories fearing further vandalism, reported our correspondent quoting Mosharraf Hossain, assistant superintendent of Industrial Police.
Today’s demonstration started around 8:30am when the workers blocked the Dhaka-Tangail highway, halting transport movement for two hours.
At least 20 RMG workers were injured during a 30-minute clash with law enforcers in Jirani area of Gazipur around 9:30am, reports our Savar correspondent.
The clash ensured around 9:30am when several thousand workers of Machihata Group, Pall-Mall Group and Jeans Plus blocked Dhaka-Tangail highway which is the divider point between Gazipur and Savar.
Around 5,000 workers of at least seven RMG units gathered in front of Shibu Market and tried to block the Dhaka-Narayanganj link road around 9:30am.
On information, police rushed to the spot and managed to disperse the workers after 15 minutes, reports our Narayanganj correspondent.
Around 10:30am, the workers returned to the street and blocked the link road, halting transport movement.
* Losses pile on RMG factories:
Garment makers count millions of dollars in losses every day due to a halt in production amid the ongoing labour unrest that stemmed mainly from a rally called by a key minister early this week.
More than 160 garment factories remained closed in Gazipur, Savar and Narayanganj yesterday as workers continued violent protests for a fifth day demanding a near-tripling of wages.
Like many exporters, DBL Group loses around Tk 50 crore a day, its Managing Director MA Jabbar said yesterday.
Jabbar has kept all his four factories in Gazipur shut since the Saturday rally in the capital.
* 150 more RMG units shut: 60 hurt in clashes :
Nearly 60 garment workers and policemen were injured Wednesday in the latest spell of violence in the country’s key apparel manufacturing hubs leading to suspension of production at around 150 more ready-made garment (RMG) factories.
* Workers’ unrest in Savar, Gazipur & 2nd :N’ganj:
Readymade garments workers of Ashulia and Gazipur on Tuesday staged protest by blocking Nabinagar-Kaliakoir highway demanding Tk 8,000 as minimum salary.
At that time, more than 100 workers were injured as the protesters locked into a chase-counter chase with police.
Sources from the police and workers said that the workers started demonstration inside the Machihata factory of Panishail area in Gazipur at around 8.30am Tuesday.
At one stage, labourers took position on the Nabinagar-Kaliakoir highway as the owners failed to come up with any decision.
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* Over 300 RMG factories closed in Gazipur over violence:
Over 300 garment factories were closed in Gazipur as the ready-made garment (RMG) workers continued their rowdy protests for the fifth consecutive day on Wednesday in different areas demanding fixation of the minimum wage at Tk 8,000.
* RMG workers stage demo in Chittagong + RMG workers stage demo in city, 4 districts:
They staged the demonstration demanding the clearance of their due salary and an end to the oppression of the high officials
The workers of a readymade garment (RMG) factory staged a demonstration in their factory in Kadamrasul area in Sitakunda upazila, Chittagong on Wednesday.
Thousands of workers of Sunman Textiles staged the demonstration demanding the clearance of their due salary and an end to the oppression of the high officials.
Police sources said four workers were injured during a scuffle between factory officials and workers in the factory.
Two officials were allegedly assaulted during the incident.
Locals said the RMG workers closed the main gates of their factory at 10am and staged their demonstration.
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* Police fight on with apparel workers:
The police on Wednesday fought with apparel workers in Gazipur, at Savar in Dhaka and in Narayanganj for the fifth consecutive day as the workers continued with violent demonstrations for Tk 8,100 in their minimum monthly wage.
The workers continued to ignore the government’s call for joining work and the factory owners also kept their units closed in the areas to avoid damage being done to factories.
The minister for home affairs, Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir, on the day said that there was no unrest in the apparel sector and only a few incidents had taken place. The minister at his office in the morning said that there was no violence but a problem in Gazipur on the day.
Reports from Gazipur said at least 50 workers had been injured as the police charged at them with truncheons.
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* No unrest in apparel sector, claims Home Minister:
Home Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir on Wednesday claimed that there was no unrest in the readymade garment sector.
After a meeting on law and order situation in the country ahead of Eid and Durga Puja, he told reporters at the secretariat that there were some stray incidents in the export oriented apparel industry.
‘It is nothing big’, he said about the ongoing agitation by the garment workers who are insisting to increase their wages.
‘Today (Wednesday) almost all factories excepting a few in Gazipur are in operations’, he added.
The apparel workers are continuing demonstration to realise their demand for a minimum monthly wage of Tk 8,100, for the fifth straight day in capital and its suburban areas, Wednesday.
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* MKA talks tough against those trying to destabilise RMG sector:
‘Both govt, owners responsible for unrest’
Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir on Wednesday warned that any attempt to create crisis in the readymade garment (RMG) sector will be dealt with a strong hand saying that any attack on the sector is tantamount to attack on the national interest.
“The ill-attempt by outsiders to destablise the RMG sector will be curbed with all the strength,” he said while talking to reporters after a tripartite meeting among the Home Ministry, and the representatives of the owners and the workers.
The emergency meeting was held at the Secretariat against the backdrop of the ongoing violent protests by RMG workers across the country demanding an increase in their minimum wages.
“Those taking stands against the garment industry are going against the national interest. I call on the workers to make sure that there is no disturbance until the minimum wages are declared,” said MK Alamgir.
It can be assured that the new minimum wages award will come at the end of November through the minimum wage board already constituted by the government, he added.
Bangladesh Textile Garment Workers’ Federation president Mahbubur Rahman Ismail said both the government and the owners are responsible for the recent unrest in the sector.
“About four and a half months have passed by since the minimum wage board has been formed. It’s now very uncertain whether the wages can be declared within the one and a half months’ time left for this government,” he said.
* RMG owners threaten no pay, bonus:
The owners have threatened not to pay readymade garment workers salary and bonuses before the Eid if they continue disruptive agitation for minimum monthly wage.
The Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) sounded the warning at a joint press conference on Tuesday.
“The key export sector of the country is facing severe unrest for the last few days. Stability is needed for the sake of owners and workers,” acting BGMEA President SA Mannan Kochi said.
He added that the owners were not short of intentions to raise the monthly wage, but if the unrest lingered on, they would not be able to pay the workers before the Eid-ul-Azha.
BKMEA President Selim Osman said that they were concerned over the unrest.
“If this continues we will not be able to pay salary, bonus before the Eid,” he said.
* Treachery by factory owners to make matters worse:
As the latest round of labour unrest in the apparel sector over wages continue, the factory owners, grouped under the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association, the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association, and the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association, have appeared increasingly inclined to treachery.
As if their proposal for a Tk 600 increase in the minimum wage for apparel workers from Tk 3,000, based on the argument that any further hike would translate into more losses for factory owners and could even lead to closure of a few factories and thus leave a number of people unemployed, was not treacherous enough, they now say that they would not be able to pay wages and festival allowances to the workers if the unrest in the sector continues.
As reported in New Age on Wednesday, during a press conference at the BGMEA Bhaban, the factory owners predictably blamed the ongoing workers’ agitation, marked by violence and vandalism, on instigation by vested interest groups, to create a chaos that ultimately hinders the export business, and said that if they failed ‘to make shipment in time, workers will not get wages and festival allowances.’ Such a statement, reasoned it may appear though, amounts to a veiled threat and even blackmail, and could only deepen the workers’ discontent and intensify their agitation.
* Onus on owners:
The recent troubles in the readymade garment sector had been coming for a long time. Not that they had ever gone away – they were just festering following previous bouts of flashes and gathering strength.
The crux of the troubles in fact dates back to the birth of our garment industry in the 1980s. Growing in the shadow of the Sri Lankan civil war, our industry was based on a few fragile factors.
For one, it was heavily dependent on an abundance of cheap labour, mostly illiterate. The industry looked towards government support, direct and indirect, such as currency devaluation, tax benefits and cash incentives.
For another, as the industry grew exponentially, its dependence on cheap labour remained unchanged. Its management, labour standards and technology either did not improve or improved little.
The industry grew in a roguish manner as its owners became powerful in society, enough to control politics and bend rules. Finally, it became a rogue industry itself defying rules and regulations, an industry that little values human rights and dignity and gives a damn to the environment.
This is exactly why we find our Mercedes-riding garment owners offering to raise wages of workers only by Tk 600 — to Tk 3,600! When the last wages were set at Tk 3,000, that was a low base. Since then we have seen runaway inflation and yet the owners could not feel the heat of it. Probably they live above the leaping price flames. It also reflected on how little they sympathise with their workers.
* RMG Unrest: BGB deployment from Thursday:
Amid unrest in apparel factories, the government has decided to deploy Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) apart from Rab and police around garment factories in the trouble-hit areas to ensure foolproof security and smooth production from Thursday.
“Yes, BGB will be there along with Rab, police and industrial police. The Home Minister has told us,” former President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Abdus Salam Murshedy told UNB over phone on Wednesday night.
He said the decision came from a meeting between Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir and a delegation of garment factory owners held at the secretariat. BGMEA president M Atiqul Islam is now in New York.
Earlier in the day, the Home Minister warned that any attempt to create crisis in the readymade garment (RMG) sector will be dealt with a strong hand saying that any attack on the sector is tantamount to attack on the national interest.
The emergency meeting was held at the Secretariat against the backdrop of the ongoing violent protests by RMG workers across the country demanding an increase in their minimum wages.
* RMG owners decide to resume operation from today:
The government on Wednesday asked the law enforcement agencies to go all out against ‘outsiders creating disorder’ in the apparel sector.
Hours after saying that there was no unrest in the apparel sector, the home
minister, Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir, gave the directive to the agencies at an emergency meeting at the secretariat with owners and trade union leaders in the sector.
‘There are some stray incidents of disorder in some places… We will go all out to contain outsiders creating disorder in apparel factories,’ the home minister told reporters after the tripartite meeting held to resolve the current crisis.
He assured the owners of heightening security and asked them to resume operation in all factories today.
The Bangladesh Exporters’ Association president, Abdus Salam Murshedi, also a former president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association, said that the owners had decided to resume operation today on the assurance of security from the government.
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* Garments sector in turmoil, again:
The country’s garments sector is once again in turmoil. Workers have gone berserk in many industrial belts, attacking garments factories, vehicles on roads and highways and even a camp of the law-enforcement agency.
For the fifth consecutive day on Wednesday, violence spread from one industrial zone to another, forcing closure of apparel factories.
This is a cause for serious concern, particularly at a time when two of the greatest religious festivals of two major communities of the country are only days away.
Clearly, it was an unwise move on the part of the Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) leaders to offer a wage raise of a paltry sum in public.
Business acumen dictates that the apparel leaders opened up a behind-the-door channel of discussion with various trade union leaders representing the garments workers.
They could even be in touch with the ministries concerned. One might assume that even the BGMEA leaders do not subscribe to the belief that the offer would be enough. They offered it as a bargaining chip without a proper thought to its consequences.
* Buyers worried, factory owners slow to respond:
H&M joins IndustriALL Global Union to support demands for increased wages
Readymade garment factory owners have been slow to respond to workers’ demands for increasing minimum wage.
Despite the risks of continued protests, given that global retailers are watching the industry to see how the situation is handled, the owners’ associations have not responded with due urgency as workers’ agitations have spread.
In Gazipur, Savar, Ashulia and Narayanganj another volatile day passed with workers vandalising vehicles and factories, prompting owners to shut units and police to swing into action.
On Monday night, industry leaders assured Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan, one of the labour leaders negotiating between workers and factory owners, of an amicable solution.
“Buyers are very, very scared,” said Rubana Haq, managing director of Mohammadi Group, who supplies leading brands such as H&M, Zara, Esprit as well as Wal-Mart.
Europe’s second-biggest retailer H&M joined IndustriALL Global Union, which supports increased wages. According to a Bloomberg report, H&M’s spokesperson Andrea Roos said: “We strongly support the workers’ demand (for increased minimum wage).”
20130926 * BGB deployed in Gazipur Industrial Zone:
Paramilitary Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) troops have been deployed in the Gazipur Industrial Zone in order to bring the situation under control on Thursday; the sixth day of the ongoing labour unrest.
According to the district administration, BGB members, along with industrial police and district police, will be patrolling in the industrial zone to keep the law and order situation in the area under control.
Assistant Superintendent of Gazipur Industrial Police Md Mosharaf Hossain said: “To keep the law and order situation normal in the area, the administration has decided to deploy the BGB troops in Gazipur.”
The BGB members had already started patrolling the area since Thursday morning, he added.
* The economics of minimum wages:
The Rana Plaza tragedy, although devastating and sad as an event, has contributed to one positive result.
This has raised sufficient international and national voice to support the need for better employment standards and practices in the organised private sector.
One aspect of this re-examination of what constitutes globally acceptable employment practices is the need for a realistic minimum wage. There is an ongoing heated political and social debate on this subject.
This is welcome but it needs to be tempered with good economics to make sure that the end result is a positive outcome for the labour market, the readymade garments (RMG) sector, and Bangladesh development as a whole.
The importance of looking at the economic aspects of this debate cannot be over-emphasised in a labour surplus economy like Bangladesh.
For the economy as a whole there is a major employment challenge defined as the need to create good jobs that is characterised by higher productivity and higher incomes.
The most recent Labour Force Survey of 2010 showed that some 88 percent of Bangladesh’s 54 million labour force was engaged in economic activities that are informal in nature. Some 45 percent of total employment was in agriculture, where real wages and average labour productivity tend to be the lowest in the economy.
* Need to identify issues that constrain RMG industry:
The country’s readymade garment (RMG) sector is otherwise giving a disconcerting signal. Troubled by labour unrest for the last few consecutive days, the sector is apparently heading towards an uncertain future.
Moreover, global clothing retailers have warned of grave impacts if the unrest continues and production remains halted for long.
Bangladesh is already passing through a restive political phase for the last one year. Now, the analysts say, if the labour unrest flares up throughout the country and continues for long, the international buyers will not come up with new orders. On the contrary, orders will go to other countries if the unrest prolongs.
And there are a good number of countries waiting in the wings, looking for opportunities to take over the Bangladesh’s RMG markets in the overseas.
* Garment industry to improve working conditions in partnership with UN:
Nearly 3.5 million garment workers in Bangladesh, recently beset by industrial accidents and a staggering loss of life, will get essential support to improve working conditions, strengthen labour inspection and upgrade building and fire safety at their workplaces, thanks to a new programme in partnership with the United Nations.
“The rapid growth in Bangladesh’s garment industry has provided vital jobs to women and men and is helping to pull them and their families out of poverty. However, there is an urgent need for decisive and collaborative action to make decent work a reality,” stated Guy Ryder, the Director-General of the UN International Labour Organization (ILO).
* BBC’s Panorama highlights importance of Bangladesh Safety Accord:
On Monday night, the BBC television programme Panorama investigated how our clothes – including those of some of the big high street brands – are really made by visiting Bangladesh’s garment factories.
The report says it found evidence of shocking working conditions and an industry that, it says, “puts profit before safety.”
UNI General Secretary Philip Jennings said, “Panorama should be applauded for this important piece of investigative reporting. It draws further attention to the terrible, often life-threatening, conditions faced by workers in Bangladesh’s garment sector.
“Unfortunately, as Panorama saw first hand, the abuse of human rights is rife in the garment industry and this is something we’ve been telling the world for not only the last six months but years.”
* Garment at Kashimpur jail opens:
The government has set up a garment factory inside the jail to rehabilitate the prisoners.
Inspector General of Prisons Brigadier General (Retd) Ashraful Islam Khan inaugurated the factory at Kashimpur central jail at 12:00 noon Wednesday.
Primarily, the factory started its operation with 40 machines.
Replying to a question, Ashraful Islam said after fulfilling demands of jail insiders, the product will be sold outside. Then the prisoners who would work in the factory would be provided with an amount of salary during their release from jail.
Deputy Inspector General of Prisons (IG-Prisons) Brig Gen Golam Haider, senior jail super Jahangir Kabir Jailer Subhash Kumar Ghos and jail supers of four units of the jail were also present.
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THE SAVAR BUILDING COLLAPSE
* German ambassador visits victims of Rana Plaza collapse:
Underlining the support of the German government for the victims of the Rana Plaza building collapse, German Ambassador Albrecht Conze and Madam Véronique Conze visited the Centre for Rehabilitation of the Paralysed in Savar on Wednesday.
Right after the disaster, the German government had released an amount of 50,000 Euro (approx. Tk 50 lakh) to support those victims of the building collapse who lost limbs or were seriously injured, a release of the German embassy said.
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17:38:00 local time INDIA
* No relief for the flood-affected weavers’ community in region:
Thousands of weavers, affected by the flood are struggling to meet the basic needs like food and medicines but the Centre and the state have failed to bring their lives on track.
A dialogue between the members of the weavers community and the representatives of the government including the UP minister for state Manoj Rai Dhup Chandi was organised by the State Alliances for Rights, Empowerment and Livelihood (SAREL) Network on Tuesday.
Hundreds of weavers including women used the platform provided by the SAREL network for sharing their problems with the minister and the officials. All of them without exception voiced their concerns for their future as the flood has caused grave damage to their looms both hand and power.
It was apparent during the dialogue that despite strict orders of the state government no surveys have been done in any of the areas where these weavers live to assess the extent of loss they have incurred and where flood-fury has disrupted the normal course of their lives.
* Law soon to make workers shareholders: Minister:
The government was contemplating legislation towards making the workers of a firm its future shareholders, Union Minister for Textiles K. Sambasiva Rao has said.
Inaugurating National Textile Corporation’s modernised mill at Cannanore Spinning and Weaving Mill here on Tuesday, Mr. Rao said that employees were an integral part of the management and a certain per cent of equity should rest with them.
Over a period of time, they should be permitted to hold shares and a portion of their salary could be deducted for the purpose, he said.
Touching upon the difficulties faced by handloom weavers, Mr. Rao said that a yarn depot would soon be established in the district to aid them. The Revival, Reform, and Restructuring (RRR) scheme initiated by the government would waive the overdue loans and interest of weavers.
* Bank for weavers likely:
Minister for Textiles and Handlooms G. Prasad Kumar on Wednesday said that the government was contemplating setting up a bank for the benefit of the weavers’ in the State.
Speaking to media persons, Mr. Kumar said that the National Textiles Corporation has already expressed its willingness to invest Rs.464 crore for setting up a spinning and weaving project in the State. In reply to a question, he said that the initiatives being taken up by the State government had drastically contained the suicide rate among the weaver community.
As a further incentive, the government has also implemented individual loan waiver scheme benefiting several thousands of weavers in the State, besides waiving working capital and government loans pertaining to several hundreds of weavers’ cooperative societies.
* Indian govt regulates import of used clothing by SEZs:
The Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Division, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India, has prescribed a new policy to be followed by the units in SEZs carrying on reprocessing/recycling of used clothing.
17:08:00 local time UZBEKISTAN
* Cotton revolt – ruin Karimov’s cotton! :
Revolution in Uzbekistan should start in a cotton field. Every person who stands up and says: “I am not a slave! We are not slaves!” can become a revolutionary.
Uzbekistan has been plunged into cotton slavery. This situation not only has no equivalent in other post-Soviet countries nor in the least economically developed countries of Asia or Africa.
Even in Bangladesh and Somalia slavery is a thing of the past. It is not possible to force even the poorest Bangladeshis to work for free. Militant extremists in Somalia, who shoot first and ask questions later, are also not able to force their fellow citizens to work for free.
Today’s Uzbekistan is a feudal society with systemic slavery – with the surface veneer of a modern and successful country progressing at high speed towards the “Great Future”. Islam Karimov, former communist President, dictator, tyrant, feudalist and slaveholder, only needed 24 years to achieve such a state of affairs.
* Global apparel brands to hike intake of organic cotton:
71% of Companies Surveyed Will Increase Organic Cotton Use, according to Textile Exchange’s 2012 Market Report, says Textile Exchange in a 2012 market report.
Key findings include the fact that 71% of respondents are planning to increased organic cotton for 2013 and that additional sustainable fibers are also slated for growth.