in the news on-line, 27 Sept.2013

08:30:56 local time map of mongolia MONGOLIA

* Domestic sheep wool being used for building insulation:

20130926 UNB emeelt-hartrsagaMongolia is now able to not only produce cotton fleece from sheep wool but also building insulation material.

Below is a brief interview about this latest development with B.Ganbat, head of the Mongolian Wool Products Manufacturers Association.

How are you planning to process sheep wool for preparing insulation material?
-We have set an objective to use sheep wool for two purposes. First, to fully provide uniforms made with domestic cotton to all General Education School students. Further, we aim to accelerate this work and manufacture the cotton in Mongolia, as the cotton is now produced in Korea with Mongolian sheep wool. Second, we’ll manufacture building insulation material with domestic sheep wool. We have already signed a contract with a Japanese company in the same sector. A team of five Japanese experts in manufacturing will land in Mongolia today. They will decide what equipment is required to start insulation manufacturing here, after studying our domestic sheep wool and equipment in Mongolia.

Where will the insulation material made with Mongolian sheep wool be used?
read more.

08:30:56 local time map of china CHINA

* Cotton production to fall due to weather, less land:

China’s cotton production will decline in 2013 compared with one year ago due to a combination of a reduction in land used to grow cotton and bad weather in cotton-planting provinces, an official with the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) said Thursday.

China is expected to produce 6.32 million tons of cotton in 2013, down 337,000 tons from the previous year, Xiang Yu, an official with the Department of Crop Production of MOA, told an industrial conference held by the China Cotton Association (CCA) Thursday.
The reasons for the decline include a sluggish cotton market since 2012 which has caused some farmers to stop planting cotton and unfavorable weather conditions, according to Xiang.

It is expected that the total planting area for cotton will have decreased by around 4 million mu (0.27 million hectares) to 65.85 million mu in 2013, he said, noting that low temperatures during the cotton seeding phrase, together with rainstorms and drought in some provinces during the summer have also adversely affected cotton production.
read more. & see below under Uzbekistan.

* Sewing up China’s huge apparel market:

Global textile machinery makers plan to increase investment in China as the country is set to become the world’s largest apparel market.

France-based Lectra, which provides software and cutting systems for the garment industry, expects to see sales in China post a record high this year, Andreas Kim, China chief of the company, said yesterday in an interview during the China International Sewing Machinery and Accessories Show.
He said the Asia-Pacific region accounts for about 20 percent of Lectra’s sales. He added that China holds great potential as the country is set to become the world’s largest apparel market by 2025.
US-based Gerber Technology, a provider of hardware and software which help automate and manage product design and manufacturing process, also plans to boost investments in China amid rising demand, officials said at the fair.
to read.

* Li & Fung shares drop nearly 5 per cent on report about Wal-Mart cutting orders:

Global exporter Li & Fung said business with its major customer Wal-Mart Stores is normal, but its shares still slid as much as 4.9 per cent on a report that the US retailer is cutting orders to suppliers.

“There has been no cancellation of orders from Wal-Mart, and we continue to do business with them as usual. Also, Wal-Mart is continuing to place orders for next year as normal,” a spokeswoman from Hong Kong-based Li & Fung said in an e-mail reply to Reuters.
Wal-Mart’s shares fell 1.5 per cent on Wednesday after a report by Bloomberg said the retailer is cutting orders with suppliers this quarter and next quarter to address rising inventories.
read more.

08:30:56 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* EU-GSP+ program seen boosting exports 12%, creating 270,000 jobs:

The Philippines expects 12 percent increase in exports to EU and creation of 270,000 jobs under the EU-GSP+ program, which could grant a zero duty and deep duty cuts on over 6,000 tariff lines including the country’s big ticket exports such as tuna (fish and fish products), garments, leather and footwear, among others.

“The zero tariff granted on Philippine products under EU-GSP+ will translate to 12 percent increase in exports and generate additional 270,000 jobs in both the agriculture and manufacturing sectors,” Trade and Industry Undersecretary Adrian S. Cristobal Jr. told reporters.

Based on an initial study made by the DTI, the projected increase in Philippine exports under GSP+ will reach 611.8 million euros. Product sectors with the highest projected increases are animal or vegetable fats and oils (231.2 million euros), prepared foodstuffs (151.2 million euros), textiles and garments (79.7 million euros), footwear, headwear, umbrellas (28.5 million euros), and chemical products (17.1 million euros).
read more.

* Aquino approves SSS premium hike, opposition mounts:

“This move by the SSS leadership is not motivated by a concern for members of the SSS who are suffering from meager wages and contractual employment.” – KMU

Amid an armed siege in Southern Philippines, a spate of arrests of peasant leaders demanding land redistribution in Cojuangco-controlled Hacienda Luisita, and while battling accusations of fund misuse via the pork barrel system, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III found the time to approve this week the complained about 0.6 per cent increase in members’ contributions to the Social Security System (SSS).

The national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) which had been campaigning against the hike in contribution, as well as against the other hikes in fees being proposed by the Aquino administration, described the 0.6 per cent increase in members’ contributions to the SSS as “an added burden for workers suffering from low wages.”
In a statement, Jerome Adonis, KMU campaigns officer, said the hike is not necessary to increase the members’ benefits.
read more.

07:30:56 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Garment sector lacking in material input:

The local garment industry enjoys high export revenue but depends largely on imported materials.

According to Vietnam customs, its exports from January to September earned US$12.237 billion, up 16.9% compared to the same period last year.
Le Quang Hung, Head of the Saigon garment and textile joint stock company (Gamex Saigon), says local producers are facing fierce competition from foreign rivals for imported materials.
He is ray concerned about the current shipmembers of input materials to Vietnam from foreign trade partners which come three weeks later than scheduled.
read more.

* Bettering Healthcare for Workers in Enterprises:

For labourers, health is a very important factor, but healthcare for workers is now not given proper attention.Many businesses remain indifferent to building medical networks and organising medical checkups for their employees, while this is an essential and legitimate demand to ensure the life of their employees and sustain their development.
In many companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, where machinery, equipment and technologies are outdated, workers are prone to high workplace risks.
Over 80 percent of workers are working in hazardous and toxic environments like exposure to toxic chemicals, air pollution, noise, poor lighting, toxic fumes and serious pollution. The health of a majority of workers is not guaranteed. In dangerous working places like coalmine, construction sites, casting and forging factories, this situation is also at an alarming level.
read more.

* Local firms lack knowledge of TPP trade agreement :

Business experts have warned that local Vietnamese enterprises still do not have a clear understanding of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), while foreign firms are preparing to take advantage of the trade agreement through strategic investments in Viet Nam.

Meanwhile, foreign companies already started investing in Viet Nam in anticipation of the tax advantages that will arrive with the TPP.
TAL, a textile and garment company from Hong Kong, has twice sent representatives to provinces in the north of Viet Nam with a view to opening a factory in the country.
C.K Sun, TAL strategic director, said Hong Kong enterprises have paid attentions to investment opportunities in the textile and garment industry because the industry would be given many advantages to export to the US once the TPP is signed among member countries.
Viet Nam Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex) said more than 10 firms from Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan planned to co-operate with them in building factories producing fibre, dyes, textiles and garments.
read more.
VNNews new

 07:30:56 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Suspects Freed; No Hope of Justice for Slain Union Leader:

Sok Sam Oeun and Born Samnang left Prey Sar prison’s Correctional Center 1 on Thursday for the last time, putting behind them an ordeal that has lasted nearly a decade during which they were wrongfully imprisoned for a total of five years each for the murder of popular Free Trade Union (FTU) leader Chea Vichea.

A day after the Supreme Court acquitted both men due to a lack of evidence, they were driven out of Prey Sar’s main precinct as free men around 11 a.m.
“The brutal killing of Chea Vichea cannot come to a close until the real killers are put on trial.”
But legal and labor experts said they were pessimistic that an investigation would ever be launched or yield any significant results.
read more.

* Compensation for Falsely Jailed Men Unlikely in Cambodia:

After spending 2,073 days in prison, Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun were exonerated on Wednesday by the Supreme Court of having killed popular union leader Chea Vichea in 2004.

Since their arrest on January 28 of that year, their case had gone back and forth between the various courts. They were released on bail in December 2008 then resentenced in 2012.
read more.

* Over 450 Factories Registered in Better Factories Cambodia Project:

The International Labor Organization (ILO) made known that over 450 garment factories in Cambodia have been registered in the Better Factories Cambodia Project, according to an ILO’s news release issued on Sept. 23.

The main objective of the project was to publicize information of the individual factory including Cambodia’s labor work obligation and inter-labor norms which have been received in its survey reports, added the news release.
The project also provided updated information of workers’ strikes and demonstrations in detail as well as the information of relevant unions which tasked with enhancing labor conditions in Cambodia and its demand as well.
Cambodia has over 500 garment factories in the country so far, which absorbed more than 510,000 labor forces.
to read.
CA akp

08:30:56 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Energy crisis may force textile firms to relocate: API :

Textile and apparel manufacturing firms may be forced to relocate to other countries if the state electricity company PLN cannot guarantee the availability of supply of electrical energy for 24 hours a day, Indonesian Textile Association (API) chairman Ade Sudrajat Usman has said.
Addressing a press conference in Semarang city, Mr. Sudrajat said electrical energy is needed for smooth functioning of the textile industry.
Textile industry is a polymer-based industry, and there should not be any electricity supply gap in a polymer textile production process, he said.
The programme to accelerate electricity production has not been of much help to the textile industry, and only 70 percent of the target has been realized so far, although the programme was scheduled to be completed in 2009, he added.
Mr. Sudrajat said the nearest country which would be conduce for relocation of Indonesian textile and apparel industry would be Vietnam, where electricity supply is adequate and cheaper than in Indonesia.
Moreover, Vietnam is investing in developing its energy resources and is building a nuclear power plant, he informed.
to read.

06:30:56 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

20130923 DUCStekst rd

* BGB deployed in Gazipur:

12 RMG units shut in Gazipur, 20-70 hurt as workers clash with cops in Savar

District administration has deployed Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) in Gazipur as the garment workers continued their demonstrations for the sixth straight day Thursday demanding a minimum monthly salary of Tk 8000.

The authorities were forced to suspend production of at least 12 units at Jirani of Gazipur in the face of workers’ agitation.
Besides, at least 20 workers were injured when they clashed with police in Jirabo area of Ashulia, on the outskirts of the capital.
Police charged batons and fired several rounds of rubber bullets to disperse the agitating workers.
Production at hundreds of garment factories in Dhaka and on its outskirts had remained suspended since Saturday due to the unrest.

The paramilitary forces have been deployed to maintain the law and order situation in the industrial area, said Nurul Islam, deputy commissioner of Gazipur.
The clash ensued at Jirabo when over 1,200 workers of T Design and Mascot Garment tried to block Dhaka-Tangail highway around 10:30am to press home their demand.
read more. & read more.
daily star bd BDCHRONICLE

* RMG Unrest: BGB deployed in Gazipur:

In the wake of labour unrest in apparel factories for the last five days, members of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) were deployed here on Thursday to maintain law and order.

The BGB troops were patrolling the industrial belt alongside police and Rab members to ensure smooth production in the garment factories.
According to garment factory officials, almost all the garment factories went back into production in the morning.
Additional police have been deployed at the main gates of the factories and the surrounding areas to ensure foolproof security.
Meanwhile, a group of workers staged demonstrations and put barricades on Kaliakoir-Nabinagar road in Jirani area for half an hour in the morning.
Besides, some factories at Chandra Trimor in Kaliakor upazila, which were declared closed on Wednesday following the labour unrest, kept their production suspended today as well.
According to union leaders, the workers of two garment factories in Naojor area of the city did not join their respective workplace as they did not get any assurance about wage hike from the owners.
to read. & read more. & read more. & read more.

* Police in open fire as textile workers protest over pay:


Bangladeshi security forces have opened fire on textile workers protesting in pursuit of a higher minimum wage.

Police used batons, rubber bullets and tear gas on day five of demonstrations near the capital Dhaka.
Workers on a minimum wage equivalent to 28 euros a month, want their monthly income to rise to 74 euros.
The huge Bangladeshi garment trade has been under the spotlight amid deadly incidents including the collapse of a building housing factories in April that killed more than 1,130 people.
In the latest protests, workers are said to have dispersed after security forces moved in. Police did not provide details of the injuries sustained.
to read.

* RMG unrest hits N’ganj for 6th day:

The workers of readymade garment (RMG) factories in Narayanganj continued their agitation for minimum wage of Tk8,000 for the 6th straight day on Thursday.

Police said workers from 10-12 garment factories tried to block the Dhaka-Narayanganj Link Road near Shibu Market under Fatullah thana around 9:30am, while they were demonstrating to press home their demand and they were also later joined by workers from some other factories in the area.
read more. & read more. & read more.

* RMG workers’ demo in Ashulia:  20  injured in police action:

At least 20 people were injured when police tried to disperse the workers from Dhaka-Tangail highway where they took position urging garment owners to reopen their factories.

Witnesses said workers from 10 factories of Panishail area in Gazipur gathered in front of their respective factories and at one stage they took position on highway at around 8:15am.
Later, police fired tear shell and rubber bullets to bring the situation under control, leaving 20 people injured.
Following the matter Industrial police director Mostafijur Rahman told banglanews, “Some workers took position on the road in the area and we dispersed them.”
The situation is under control now and the vehicle movement is as usual, he added.
read more.

* Over 100 hurt in RMG workers-cops clash in N’ganj:

Over 100 people, including 15 policemen, were injured as garment workers clashed with police at Fatullah while staging demonstration for minimum wage of Tk8,000 for the 6th straight day on Thursday.

Witnesses said several thousand of workers from 10-12 garment factories took to the streets and blocked the Dhaka-Narayanganj Link Road near Shibu Market and Lama para around 10 am, disrupting traffic for three and a half hours.
When police fired rubber bullets and tear shells to disperse the unruly workers they attacked police, triggering a fierce clash.
read more. & read more.

* 80% factories resume production in Gazipur: BGMEA:

Most of the apparel factories in Gazipur and Savar zone have resumed operation amid scattered protests by the workers demanding for a minimum monthly wage of Tk 8,100.

To contain agitation that may lead to any vandalism, the government has deployed forces of Border Guard Bangladesh in the industrial zone of Gazipur and neighbouring areas.
Former BGMEA president Abdus Salam Murshedy has welcomed the BGB deployment. He said factories busy with Christmas production should be allowed to carry on their operations. ‘Presence of BGB personnel will work as a detrimental factor to any vandalism.’
He said most of the factories in Konabari and Gazipur areas have resumed operation. ‘I guess some 80 to 90 per cent factories have opened.’
read more. & read more.
BD new age primenews

* Security boosted at RMG factories after unrest:

20130926 PRIMENEWS Security_boosted_1

Paramilitary forces were deployed to guard garment factories outside the Bangladeshi capital on Thursday, after workers vandalised them and clashed with police as they protested to demand higher wages.

Forces drawn from the paramilitary Border Guard Bangladesh and the police’s Rapid Action Battalion were deployed in Gazipur industrial district, 40 kilometres north of Dhaka, as workers demonstrated for a sixth day, police officer Mosharraf Hossain said.
The owners of at least 20 garment factories announced unscheduled holidays, fearing violence after the workers took to the streets and blockaded a major highway, Hossain said.
read more. & read more.
primenews NewNation

* Textile workers fed up with conditions:

Over 200,000 textile workers in Bangladesh have taken to the streets, some clashing with police, rioting and setting factories alight, to demand a higher minimum wage.

Bangladesh’s textile workers are among the poorest paid in the world. Most of the people employed in the sector receive a minimum wage, which in the year 2010 was raised to around US$ 38 per month (3,000 taka) after mass protests.
But workers in the industry are now demanding that a further increase to US$ 100 per month.
Economist Shapan Adnan from Dhaka says the demands are modest, considering the high cost of living. “According to a recent study, a family of four would need at least 182 euros per month just to make ends meet.”
read more.

* RMG protests over wages on:

Ignoring the government’s call for returning to work, garment workers in Narayanganj, Ashulia and Kaliakoir staged violent demonstrations for the sixth consecutive day on Thursday to push their demand for Tk 8,100 in minimum monthly wage.

Workers went on the rampage in Narayanganj even after the government asked the law enforcement agencies to take stern action against ‘outsider creating disorder’ in the apparel sector.
Gazipur was relatively calm on the day after deployment of Border Guard Bangladesh in the industrial zone. But a section of garment workers took to the streets in Kaliakoir in the district for wage hike.
Factory owners kept their units closed in many areas to avoid damage to factories.
New Age Narayanganj correspondent reported that at least 50 workers were injured as the police charged batons and fires rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse violent demonstrators in the port city.
read more.
BD new age

* Garment workers stay rowdy:

Production remained suspended for the sixth straight day yesterday in at least 30 garment factories due to vandalism by workers in spite of patrolling by paramilitary personnel.

The government deployed Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) personnel in Gazipur to bring the situation under control, but the agitated workers continued to wreck workstations and front faces of factories at Ashulia, Savar, Zirani, Narayanganj and Gazipur with vengeance, rendering the area unsafe.
The vandalism, which started on September 21 over the garment owners’ resistance to a 170.5 percent pay rise for the workers, also left 70 people including police and passersby injured yesterday.
“Security is the main problem,” said Reaz-Bin-Mahmood, vice-president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, the garment makers’ platform.
Some factories at Kashimpur, one of the worst-hit areas, however, were reopened yesterday, but the presence of workers was very thin.
“The environment was better yesterday as a good number of members from the law enforcement patrolled the areas,” Abdus Salam Murshedy, president of Savar and Ashulia Zone Garment Owners’ Association, said.
read more.
daily star bd

* Owners mull keeping RMG units shut until after Eid:

Ready-made garment (RMG) manufacturers now find themselves in a difficult situation in keeping production going at factories.

Industry insiders said meetings between them and top government authorities had failed to make any headway in cooling down the ongoing labour unrest.

According to them, most of the factory owners were feeling deeply concerned over the last five days about the workers’ agitation over wage hike in different industrial belts. Given the adverse condition, the RMG unit owners are planning to keep their factories shut until after the Eid-ul-Azha as per the provision of 13(1) of Labour Law apprehending a deteriorating situation.
read more.

* RMG unrest, conspiracy and the enfant terrible! :

Every so often our RMG sector comes under battering, most of which are self-inflicted. Some are delivered by the owners and result from violation of rules and norms that wreak losses in terms of lives of workers and destruction of the factory.

And sometimes the damage is inflicted by the workers themselves who, allegedly, always are either outsiders, whatever that means, or belong to factories other than the ones that are made the target of vandalism. The assault is sometimes from inobtrusive vicious forces whose identity one finds difficult to establish.
It is not for the first time that we are seeing the RMG sector come under severe strain.
The question is whose, if any, and why, is our RMG industry the target?

The conspiracy theory is being bandied again, and perhaps, there are reasons to believe that the RMG sector is once gain being used for political profiteering. And, given the inexplicable involvement of the shipping minister, who having arrogated, if not appropriated, the responsibilities of the labour as well as the industries ministers to himself, has compounded the matter by his indiscrete and irresponsible remarks. He has willy-nilly become the enfant terrible of the establishment.
read more.
daily star bd

* Govt, owners liable for RMG unrest:

Tens of thousands of workers in Bangladesh’s garment factories have been protesting in recent days to demand an increase in the minimum wage for their industry, which the government last increased three years ago.

The government has answered by ordering police to shoot tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters rather than addressing the real grievances of the workers.
This astonishing response is the latest example of the blindness of Bangladesh’s leaders, including the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, to injustices the rest of the world can see but they refuse to acknowledge, let alone address.
read more. & read more.

* Exercise restraint, NYT urges BD police, RMG workers:

The New York Times (NYT) in an editorial published on Wednesday urged police and garment workers in Bangladesh to show restraint in the wake of escalation of violence over the demands for wage hike in the garment industry.

The editorial also suggested that all the stakeholders including the western retailers have a responsibility for restoration of industrial peace, which Bangladesh is unlikely to achieve without higher wages.

However, it advised the government to take step first by stopping the use of tear gas and rubber bullets on mostly unarmed protesters. It has also said the relevant authorities should raise the minimum wage and make it easier for workers to form unions.
read more. & read more. & read more.

* Fix it quick or lose business:

Say top apparel exporters

20130927 DAILYSTAR
Police retreat during a clash with garment workers demanding an increase in minimum monthly salaries. The photo was taken yesterday in Shibu Market area of Fatullah, Narayanganj. Photo: Palash Khan

When it comes to paying employees, the best policy is to settle the matter as quickly as possible, because it reduces a businessman’s liability down the line, say country’s top exporters.

The Daily Star has talked to four top apparel exporters on the recent tension between labour leaders and factory owners over the minimum wage.
The exporters want an amicable solution to the crisis, or else they fear western buyers might turn away from Bangladesh as they did in the case of Sri Lanka in the 1980s. At that time, western buyers switched to Bangladesh from the island nation as an alternative sourcing country for apparel products.
The exporters said a wage hike by Tk 600 would be too little for workers, while the demand for a minimum wage of Tk 8,000 is unrealistic. They said the issue has to be settled in a way that creates a win-win situation for both workers and owners.
read more.
daily star bd

* Right of Pay for Labor … Bangladesh Minimum Wage Movement Continues …:

As the minimum wage demand enters its 6th day, workers have taken over to the streets in the industrial area of Ashulia, Savar, Narayanganj, Gazipur, Abdullahpur, Uttara, Tejgaon, Tongi and Badda. The BGMEA claims of more than 2000 factories being shut down due to worker absenteeism to support the movement and also due to worker agitation.

At least 3000 factories have been shut down while the garment factory owners report that the losses in business that they may have to suffer due to such unrest may be huge.
Although the BGMEA has not given any clear indication, the factory owners claim that due to the unrest they are forced to shut their factories down till the Muslim Eid Holidays (the second biggest festival in Bangladesh); thus, with such a move, opening up a huge scope of denying festival bonuses for workers who would otherwise have planned few rare moments of happiness with their family during these holidays.
It must be noted that a Garment Workers in Bangladesh often is found to be working 7 days a week for long hours which may even cross the legal 8 hours of work with 2 hours of overtime (10 hours maximum/daily).
read more.

* ILO launches new programme for RMG workers:

The International Labour Organization (ILO) in partnership with the governments of the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Canada has launched a new programme to provide essential support to garment workers of Bangladesh.

Under the programme, nearly three and half a million Bangladeshi garment workers, recently beset by industrial accidents and staggering loss of life, will get support in the forms of improved working conditions, strengthened labour inspection, and upgraded building and fire safety at their workplaces, according to a press release of the ILO.
read more. & read more.
daily star bd

* RMG worker representation must improve:

The industry needs a better system for dialogue between factory owners and workers

The German Ambassador Albrecht Conze has remarked upon the ongoing unrest in the readymade garment industry, saying that “widespread violence, unrest and turmoil are in nobody’s interest.”

Outbreaks of vandalism rightly need to be condemned as they are not representative of the vast majority of RMG workers and achieve nothing to further their legitimate concerns.
It is clear though that the industry needs a better system for dialogue between factory owners and workers. At factory level, this would facilitate improved safety and compliance as is already accomplished in better factories and nationally it would make pay disputes simpler to negotiate and help to prevent spontaneous “wildcat” incidents.
read more.

* US Senator calls on American retailers to empower BD workers:

US Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), also the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has urged American retailers to help make a lasting contribution to the safety of Bangladeshi garment workers and the sustainability of Bangladesh’s garment industry.

In a letter to former US Representative Ellen O’Kane Tauscher (D-CA), Chair of the Board of Directors of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, has called on the Alliance to take an active role in increasing awareness and understanding of workers’ rights in Bangladesh’s garment factories.
read more. & read More. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.

* RMG unrest costs Tk 300 cr in 5 days: BGMEA:

Stray incidents of violence and agitation by apparel workers demanding salary hike for the last five days in different areas of Gazipur, Savar and Narayanganj caused an estimated loss of Taka 300 crore, BGMEA sources said today.

Closure of nearly 3,000 apparel factories due to work abstention by the workers from September 21 to 25, arson attacks on 25 apparel factories and damage of at least 70 vehicles of 65 factories by outraged workers caused such a huge financial loss to the industry, they said.Talking to BSS, Abdul Mannan Kachi, senior vice-president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association
(BGMEA), said the estimated financial loss was to the tune of  Taka 300 crore due to the mayhem by the apparel workers for the last several days.

Due to the violence, Kachi said owners were compelled to shut some 2,940 garment factories at different locations including Kahimpur, Konabari, Jirani, Chanda, Mouchak, Kaliakoir,  Baghabari, Sripur, Abdullahpur, Uttara, Tejgaon and Badda during this period.
“Work was suspended at 2,000 factories on September 21, at 140 factories on September 22, at 550 factories on September 23, around 90 factories on September 24, and 160 factories were closed on September 25,” he said.
read more. & to read. & to read. & to read.  & read more.

* EU retailers to inspect garment units’ from Nov:

Around 87 EU retailers, who are signatories to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, would start inspecting the garment units from November this year.

A delegation of the EU Accord visited Dhaka this week and shared its initial action plan with the representatives of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association (BGMEA).
The joint action plan proposes inspection of 1800 garment units in Bangladesh to ensure that these are complying with safety standards, over a one-year period.
read more.

* GSP suspension to harm workers’ interest, PM tells US chamber leaders:

Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged the US business leaders to pursue the US government to withdraw the decision of suspension of Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) for Bangladeshi goods.

The GSP suspension, instead of ensuring GSP compliance and workers welfare, will affect the interests of the workers, she said in a meeting with a delegation of US-Bangladesh Working Group of US Chamber of Commerce at her hotel suite here on Thursday.
read more. & read more. & read more.

* Microentrepreneurs, RMG workers keep economy vibrant braving political barriers:

Former caretaker government advisor and economist Wahiduddin Mahmud on Thursday said the country’s micro-entrepreneurs, garment workers and farmers were keeping the economy vibrant despite barriers put up by politicians.

He said that the politicians should take lessons from these hard working people who were bringing forward the economy.
‘Despite political chaos, hiccups of democracy and good governance, the micro-entrepreneurs, garment workers and rural farmers are leading the economy ahead,’ Wahiduddin said at the launching ceremony of Citi Micro-Entrepreneurship Awards at a city hotel on Thursday morning.
read more.
BD new age

* Bangladesh may get 95% duty-free access to China:

China will increase the duty-free access of Bangladeshi products to its market up to 95% to boost the trade relations between the two countries and to support Bangladesh in bringing down its trade deficit with the trading partner.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said this when he met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the Conference Building of the UN Headquarters in New York on Tuesday, says a UNB report Wednesday.
read more.

* India withdraws export incentives for cotton, yarn:

India has withdrawn incentives for exports of cotton and yarn, a value-added product used by textile mills, an official order said, a move that could cut exporters’ margins in the world’s second-biggest exporter of the fibre.

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), a unit of the trade ministry, did not give any reason for withdrawing the incentives.
Together the benefit of the government’s Focus Market Scheme and Incremental Export Incentivisation Scheme on cotton yarn comes to around 4 per cent of the free-on-board value of exports, according to Industry body the Confederation of Indian Textile Industry (CITI).
read more.

* Bangladesh is dependent on India for 1.5mn bales of cotton:

Bangladesh is dependent on India for about 1.5 million bales (1 bale = 170 kg) of cotton, of its total annual cotton requirement of around 4 million bales, Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Tariq A Karim said while interacting with the representatives of the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Coimbatore chapter.
He said India has promised to supply cotton to Bangladesh this year, but it is yet to be officially inked on paper, according to a Times of India report.
read more.

06:00:56 local time map of india INDIA

* Trade unions accuse government of siding with capitalists:

Lashing out at the union government over its failure in safeguarding the interests of labour class and checking inflation, the leaders of different trade unions, including All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) on Wednesday, urged the government to formulate a specific policy to eliminate the prevailing practice of contract labour system in the industrial sector.

The party also demanded enhancement of daily wages from the present Rs. 130 to Rs. 350 per day and ensuring of at least 80% reservation to Himachali domiciles in private sector.

Addressing workers leaders, including president of state unit of AITUC Jagdish Bhardwaj and Shashi Pandit, criticised the union government and the state government for not implementing labour laws due to which the capitalists were exploiting the working class. Earlier, hundreds of workers of AITUC, CITU, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh and Himachal Mazdoor Sangh took out a procession form Saproon to the old bus stand that was also attended by Shashi Pandit, Rajender Mohan, Anoop Parashar, ND Ranot, Satish Kumar and others.
read more.

* 1L weavers displaced as UP backs out from job promise:

Giving a major blow to the hopes of more than one lakh handloom weavers whose employment opportunities perished in the flood, the development commissioner (handloom) Balvinder Kumar, today, backtracked on the promise made by the union textile minister of providing 100 days of work to the weavers in the area of their traditional working under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act.

Speaking to TOI, Kumar said that the promise could not be kept on the grounds of traditional weaving not being considered as an asset creation, which is a basic condition required to be included under MNREGA.

Earlier, the union minister during his last visit had assured the weavers community is no better than those living below the poverty line and he had assured them, especially those working on contractual basis, that they will be covered under the MNREGA scheme.
read more.

* Textile traders facing over Rs 1,500cr losses:

The country’s biggest man-made fabric (MMF) wholesale market in the city is staring at losses over Rs 1,500 crore following flash floods in the creeks (khadis) that caused waterlogging in the textile markets on Ring Road on Wednesday.

Industry sources said around 30 per cent of the textile markets including Anmol, Millineum, Saidarshan and Someshwara are under water for the second consecutive day on Thursday.
There are over 150 textile markets on Ring Road, Sahara Darwaja and Salabatpura that house more than 55,000 textile shops. Their daily turnover of textile fabrics, including saris and dress materials, is pegged at Rs 100 crore.
Massive quantity of fabrics has been damaged by the flood waters that gushed into the shops located in the basement of the textile markets.
read more.

* Textiles ministry to offer Rs10k per head for skill development:

The textiles ministry is ready to provide Rs10,000 towards making an individual a skilled labourer.

Stating this during his visit to Tirupur to assess the situation in the garment industry on Wednesday, union textiles minister Kavuru Samba Siva Rao said the ministry has allocated Rs1900cr for skill development over the next three-and-half years.

Though there were apprehensions about imparting training and grooming individuals as they often move out in search of greener pastures, he said that if the number of skilled workers is more than the market requirement, attrition will come down. “It is imperative for the industry to give training as the economy is suffering because of lack of trained people,” he said.
read more.

* Invest in R&D, Textile Minister tells industry:

After a whirlwind tour of the powerloom hubs and textile dyeing clusters in Tirupur region, Union Textile Minister Kavuru Samba Siva Rao stopped for a brief chat with industrialists here.

Around 100 exporters, including industry stakeholders and representatives of various industry bodies, met the Minister.
The Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) and Tirupur Exporters’ Association had arranged this meet, jointly with several knitwear associated unions. Rao told the stakeholders that his one-point agenda was to improve the fortunes of the textile industry.
Responding to the industry’s plea for a temporary ban on cotton and cotton yarn exports, he urged the participants to form an association and invest in research and development of cotton, such that the yield levels could be improved significantly. “The Textile Ministry is ready to fund such R&D initiatives,” he said.
read more.
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* Textile industry appeal for incentives:

The textile industry, especially the spinning mills, has appealed to the Union Government to restore the benefits given for cotton yarn exports under the Focus Market Scheme and the Incremental Export Incentivisation Scheme.

The Office of the Director General of Foreign Trade said in a notification dated September 25 that categories such as cotton and cotton yarn will not be eligible for export benefits under these schemes. Southern India Mills’ Association chairman T. Rajkumar has said in a press release that textile mills have been exporting to countries such as Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, Chile, Argentina, Morocco and Tunisia.
Though over 65 per cent of exports were to China and Bangladesh, these were new markets that were attractive to the exporters because of the support from the Government under the Focus Market Scheme.The mills received three per cent incentive for some countries and four per cent for some others.
read more. & read more.
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06:00:56 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* IFC partners Brandix to launch South Asia’s first supplier trade finance facility:

FC, a member of the World Bank Group, launched a trade supplier finance facility with leading apparel exporting company Brandix. The first such facility in South Asia, the IFC Global Trade Supplier Finance programme will help Brandix boost international trade opportunities.

IFC, through the facility, will provide a supplier finance credit line to Brandix Lanka Limited. Brandix will receive funding from IFC against receivables of selected international buyers. This provides working capital directly to the company.
“We are delighted to work with IFC in their very first trade supplier finance facility in South Asia,” said Brandix Finance Director Trevine Jayasekara.
read more.
daily mirror

05:30:56 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Protest: Power loom workers demand raises:

Hundreds of power loom workers on Tuesday staged a protest demonstration in front of the DCO’s office demanding wage raises.

The protestors also staged a sit-in outside the city district government secretariat and blocked the University Road. Speaking on the occasion, Power Loom Workers’ Union District President Mian Nadeem Ahmad Bawa said labour laws were not being properly enforced in the country.
“Many labourers do not get social security and EOBI cards despite government orders to provide all facilities to workers from all sectors.”
He said the factory owners, in connivance with Labour Department officials, deprived workers of their rights.
“They have forced us to take to the streets,” Bawa said.
The protest ended when the DCO sent a representative to assure the protestors that their demands had been noted and workers would get their rights.
to read.

* Collaborated efforts stressed to revive textile sector:

The value-added textile sector is in deep crisis and collaborated efforts are imperative for its revival, besides safeguarding the livelihood of wage earners, said Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers and Exporters Association (North Zone) newly-elected chairman Muhammad Amjad Khawaja.

Addressing the annual general body meeting of the PHMEA here, he said that energy crisis and deteriorating law and order situation coupled with increase in gas and electricity tariffs had badly affected the sector. He said that all stakeholders should pool their energies so that their problems could be solved on priority basis.
read more.

05:30:56 local time map of uzbekistan UZBEKISTAN

* Uzbekistan plans to supply China with 300 thousand tons of cotton annually:

Uzbekistan plans to supply China with 300 tons of cotton fiber annually from 2013, reported KyrTAG kyrgyz telegraph agency.

An agreement on delivery of not less than 300 tons of cotton to China was reached in September, the contracts may be signed in October at the annual cotton fair in Tashkent.
Uzbekistan planned to reduce exports of cotton fiber in 2012/2013 to 600 thousand tons against 620 thousand tons in 2011/2012 due to increase in domestic processing.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations, Investments and Trade of Uzbekistan, main buyers of Uzbek cotton until now were Bangladesh (40 % of total exports, China (15%) and South Korea (8%).
read more.



map of Asia

The next newsletter and news bulletin will be published 30 September 2013,
Unless events require an extra edition.


* Domestic sheep wool being used for building insulation

* Cotton production to fall due to weather, less land
* Sewing up China’s huge apparel market
* Li & Fung shares drop nearly 5 per cent on report about Wal-Mart cutting orders

* EU-GSP+ program seen boosting exports 12%, creating 270,000 jobs
* Aquino approves SSS premium hike, opposition mounts

* Garment sector lacking in material input
* Bettering Healthcare for Workers in Enterprises
* Local firms lack knowledge of TPP trade agreement

* Suspects Freed; No Hope of Justice for Slain Union Leader
* Compensation for Falsely Jailed Men Unlikely in Cambodia
* Over 450 Factories Registered in Better Factories Cambodia Project

* Energy crisis may force textile firms to relocate: API

* BGB deployed in Gazipur
* RMG Unrest: BGB deployed in Gazipur
* Police in open fire as textile workers protest over pay
* RMG unrest hits N’ganj for 6th day
* RMG workers’ demo in Ashulia: 20 injured in police action
* Over 100 hurt in RMG workers-cops clash in N’ganj
* 80% factories resume production in Gazipur: BGMEA
* Security boosted at RMG factories after unrest
* Textile workers fed up with conditions
* RMG protests over wages on
* Garment workers stay rowdy
* Owners mull keeping RMG units shut until after Eid
* RMG unrest, conspiracy and the enfant terrible!
* Govt, owners liable for RMG unrest
* Exercise restraint, NYT urges BD police, RMG workers
* Fix it quick or lose business
* Right of Pay for Labor … Bangladesh Minimum Wage Movement Continues
* ILO launches new programme for RMG workers
* RMG worker representation must improve
* US Senator calls on American retailers to empower BD workers
* RMG unrest costs Tk 300 cr in 5 days: BGMEA
* EU retailers to inspect garment units’ from Nov
* GSP suspension to harm workers’ interest, PM tells US chamber leaders
* Microentrepreneurs, RMG workers keep economy vibrant braving political barriers
* Bangladesh may get 95% duty-free access to China
* India withdraws export incentives for cotton, yarn
* Bangladesh is dependent on India for 1.5mn bales of cotton

* Trade unions accuse government of siding with capitalists
* 1L weavers displaced as UP backs out from job promise
* Textile traders facing over Rs 1,500cr losses
* Textiles ministry to offer Rs10k per head for skill development
* Invest in R&D, Textile Minister tells industry
* Textile industry appeal for incentives

* IFC partners Brandix to launch South Asia’s first supplier trade finance facility

* Protest: Power loom workers demand raises
* Collaborated efforts stressed to revive textile sector

* Uzbekistan plans to supply China with 300 thousand tons of cotton annually

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

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