17:19:07 local time VIET NAM
* TPP drives textile, garment firms to step up production:
Textile and garment enterprises in southern Dong Nai Province have, according to the regulations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), made great efforts to improve production
The move aims to help them take the advantages of the agreement in export activities after the expected signing of the agreement at year’s end.
Nguyen Dinh Truong, deputy chairman of the Viet Nam Textile and Apparel Association (Vitas), said after the TPP is signed, Viet Nam’s textile and garment industry will have more advantages to develop further.
Localities such as HCM City, Dong Nai and Binh Duong provinces are expected to attract more foreign investors in the textile and garment industry in the future.
The Dong Nai Industrial Garment Company based in Bien Hoa City, Dong Nai Province, has paid attention to the TPP and received many Japanese partners coming to conduct discussions about co-operation after signing of the TPP, said Nguyen Thi Bich Lien, the company director.
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* Textile material supply hangs by a thread:
Viet Nam’s textile and garment industry is teetering on the threshold of recovery but is now falling short of material supply due to a temporary lack of imports and the incompetence of local material manufacturers.
On 15 September, total textile and garment exports reached US$12.237 billion, up 16.9 per cent year on year. This figure is estimated to grow in the coming months with Viet Nam set to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP).
However, that move is also expected to create a bigger deficiency in materials available for domestic producers.
The Vietnamese industry imported 99 per cent of the material demanded by manufacturers last year, according to the Viet Nam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS) statistics, but the process is getting slower, with damaging effects.
read more in BUSINESS IN BRIEF 28/9 (2nd item).
* Deluge of capital flows into garment projects:
Domestic garment enterprises are accelerating investment expansion to take advantage of the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows in weaving, dyeing phases and grasp good opportunities when the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiation ends.
Statistics from the Ministry of Trade and Industry showed that in the first eight months of this year, textile industry continued to maintain a high growth with production of dresses up by 11.7 percent and that of ready-made garments increasing by 45.8 percent year on year.
Secretary General of Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association Dang Phuong Dung said, apart from the increased number of orders, operations of a series of textile plant projects from early this year is an important factor that created a new momentum for the industry.
Dang Phuong Dung also said to take advantage of FDI flows into weaving, dyeing and fiber, and also a preparation step for benefits when the TPP is signed, the domestic garment and textile enterprises have been investing a lot in the textile projects.
* AmCham Hong Kong to invest $1bn in Vietnam apparel sector:
17:19:07 local time THAILAND
* Footwear, garments exporters struggling:
As SUNSET INDUSTRIES, footwear and garments are struggling to survive multiple challenges ranging from baht volatility to higher wages.
Many footwear manufacturers, particularly SMEs, have had to suspend their shows shoe production and focus on providing raw materials to other countries.
The slowdown in demand for imported footwear in many countries, as well as fierce competition from China, Vietnam and other countries, has caused shipments of Thai footwear, especially athletic footwear, to slip.
Chanin Jitkomut, president of the Thai Footwear Association, said last week that high labour costs and sluggishness in domestic and global consumption has hurt sales of footwear this year. Makers need to focus on supplying leather and footwear parts instead.
Countries that buy materials and parts from Thailand include Vietnam, Myanmar, China and Indonesia. These countries are also considered as major competitors.
17:19:07 local time CAMBODIA
20130927 * Armed forces block protesting workers from going to Hun Sen’s home:
Around 3,000 workers from the Singapore-owned SL Garment Processing (Cambodia) Ltd marched Friday targeting Prime Minister Hun Sen’s house to present a petition regarding their unsolved demands.
While the workers were on their way from the Meanchey district, hundreds of armed forces, armed with shields and batons, blocked them on street 371, letting only 30 representatives present the petition to the Prime Minister’s office.
The garment workers have been striking for a month over various disagreements with factory employers.
Ath Thon, president of Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU), said that violence almost broke out after military forces had blocked them from marching.
20130928 * Striking Garment Workers Stopped by Military Police:
Hundreds of military police officers carrying riot shields and four fire trucks blocked a road to prevent about 2,000 striking garment workers from marching to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s house near Independence Monument on Friday morning.
The workers—from Singaporean-owned SL Garment Factory, which supplies the Gap—have been striking for more than a month to demand food stipends, the reinstatement of fired union leaders and that one of the factory’s managers be fired.
The workers marched for about one hour from the factory in Meanchey district’s Stung Meanchey commune until they were stopped by police on Street 371.
“I regret that they used a huge amount of armed forces to prevent us from marching to Hun Sen’s house to ask for help,” Chhem Sophal, a 24-year-old worker, said. “City Hall and the Ministry of Social Affairs failed to resolve our dispute, so we want to march to [Hun Sen’s house],” he said.
* Union wary of possible crackdown:
Preparing for a demonstration expected to draw thousands of garment workers this morning, Ath Thorn, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union (C.CAWDU), said yesterday that he feared the possibility of a heavy-handed military police response.
“We are afraid the police will crack down on workers,” Thorn said.
Since employees at SL Garment Processing (Cambodia) Ltd – represented by C.CAWDU – first began walking off the job about a month ago, worker demonstrations have remained largely peaceful and free of interference from authorities.
But a massive military police show of force that stopped a march to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s home on Friday and a recent violent turn taken at an SL protest have some observers concerned that authorities are taking a new approach towards the approximately 6,000 striking workers.
About 4,000 workers gathered at SL on Friday morning, C.CAWDU vice president Kong Athit said. With a petition detailing the workers’ 11 demands in hand, the large assemblage made its way towards the prime minister’s house on Sihanouk Boulevard, only to be stopped by about 1,000 military police and seven fire trucks.
* Cambodia may benefit as Thai footwear, garments exporters struggles:
As SUNSET INDUSTRIES, footwear and garments are struggling to survive multiple challenges ranging from baht volatility to higher wages.
Many footwear manufacturers, particularly SMEs, have had to suspend their shows shoe production and focus on providing raw materials to other countries.
18:19:07 local time INDONESIA
* ‘Indonesia needs more manpower in textiles sector’:
16:19:07 local time BANGLADESH
20130927 * Backward looking owners of a forward looking industry:
Why can’t BGMEA see the future that we all seem to see?
We cannot support the vandalism that the workers of some garment factories of Bangladesh have indulged in, in the last few days. For several days now important highways have been blocked and hundreds of cars, buses and trucks have been set on fire by wayward garment workers.
However, BGMEA and others cannot avert the blame that the present spate of violence has been triggered by their offer of Tk.600 pay raise to the Wage Board which is trying to fix new wages for the RMG sector workers.
While the owners are right in saying that vandalism will not get the workers their pay rise and only negotiations will, yet it must be said that the mindset revealed by the owners in the Tk.600 offer forced the workers to conclude that without some bigger action their demands will not be realised.
It boggles the mind, and we have carried several pieces on it already, is how such a pittance could have been offered in the first place. To make it sound respectable BGMEA said they were offering a 20% raise. Given an already low level of Tk.3,000, the 20% amounts to only Tk.600, making for a total of Tk. 3,600. How can this be living wage for anybody who has to pay for lodging, food, transport, medical and necessary family expenses?
We fully endorse the CPD recommendation that the starting wage for a RMG sector worker should be Tk.6,560 to be increased to Tk. 8,200 on completion of one year satisfactory service, which in dollar terms amount to just about $ 100, making for a daily wage of around $3.
We consider such a minimum wage to be feasible, and a win-win proposition for both sides.
20130927 * Rally around garment workers, Prof Yunus urges fashion world:
Highlighting the pitiable condition of garment workers, Nobel Laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus has urged the fashion leaders and designers to stand up in solidarity with them all over the world. He made the appeal while presenting the keynote speech at a UN event for first ladies in the USA, said a release of Yunus Centre on Friday.
Fashion for Development, an NGO devoted to promoting and supporting fashion industry to support development issues, honoured famous founder and editor of ‘The Beast’ Tina Brown on this occasion for her life-long devotion to standing up for women causes.
Prof Yunus handed over the Award on behalf of the ‘Fashion for Development’. read more.& read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
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20130927 * PM calls for GSP revival:
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged the US business community to persuade the Obama administration to revive preferential trade status Bangladesh was enjoying.
She made the urge when a delegation of the US Chamber of Commerce’s US-Bangladesh Working Group called on her on Thursday in New York.
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20130928 * Shoe factory gutted in capital:
A tin-shed shoe factory was gutted in a fire in the capital’s Lalbagh yesterday morning.
The fire broke out at Babar Shoes in Shaheednagar area around 6:30am, said fire service officials.
The fire, originated from an electric short-circuit, was brought under control around 8:00am, said Enayet Hossain, senior station officer at Lalbagh Fire Service and Civil Defence.
Nobody was inside the factory during the fire, he added.
20130928 * BKMEA, RMG union leaders visit factories at N’ganj:
Leaders of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) and trade union and members of law-enforcing agencies today visited different knit garment industries in the district.
The main objective of the visit was to see the situation at industrial units that saw violation and agitation of garment workers for the last few days over salary hike.
The visit was a follow-up resolution adopted in a tripartite meeting of BKMEA, Narayanganj Trade Union leaders and police administration held at the conference hall of police super on the night of September 26.
BKMEA vice president Shamim Ahmed, Director and Chairman Standing Committee on Labour Affairs BKMEA, deputy director Ranjon Roy and central president Trade Union Kendra Advocate Montu Ghosh and president of Bangladesh Garment Textile Sramik Federation Advocate Mahbubur Rahman Ismail, industrial police, district police and members of RAB-11 were present on the occasion.
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20130928 * China, India, Pakistan now eyeing Bangladesh’s RMG destinations:
China, India and Pakistan are set to lure away buyers of readymade garments (RMG) from Bangladesh by offering rock-bottom prices.
These countries have also assured timely shipment.
The move has sent Bangladesh’s RMG exports into a tailspin, industry insiders said.
Garment manufacturers said their exports had been growing steadily for the last couple of years despite global recession. Orders meant for China were redirected to Bangladesh for its low-cost apparels.
But the growth has slowed down sharply since July last. It is heading towards negative trajectory as China, India and Pakistan have made moves to woo many foreign buyers by launching a price war, sources said.
They said the price gap especially of high-end products between Bangladeshi exporters and China, India and other competing countries is not high. Now the competing countries have adopted different higher production capacity-based technology like lean system and have brought production cost down. This has led them to offer rock-bottom prices, they said.
20130928 * Tesco, Debenhams, Primark pull out:
Factory owner refuses to carry out repairs
The owner of a Bangladeshi clothing factory forced to shut down after it was declared unsafe by inspectors has denied there is any risk to the building’s 5,000 workers.
Western retailers including Tesco, Debenhams and Primark permanently pulled out of being supplied from the factory after its owner refused to carry out repairs to make the building safe, according to the online edition of The Guardian.
The brands said they could not allow workers to return to the building, part of Liberty Fashion Wears in the Savar district of Dhaka, as no work had been done to improve the site since inspectors found it was in danger of collapse in July.
But managing director of Liberty Fashion and owner of the factory, Mozemmel Huq said: “This building is only eight years old. I got a report from the [Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association], the [Bangladesh university of engineering] and a professional engineering firm stating that the building is absolutely all right. They checked the quality of our materials. The building is absolutely safe for work.”
“My garment factory has been supported by Tesco for 14 years,” he told The Guardian.
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20130930 * Local RMG factory demands Tk 3b compensation from Tesco:
Liberty Fashion Wears Limited criticised the British retailer Tesco on Sunday for not working with the manufacturer over a misleading audit report and demanded Tk 3 billion compensation from the UK retailer.
UK retail giant Tesco stopped taking clothes from the factory since last June after a structural survey of the site revealed serious safety issues.
The owners of the factory, however, disagreed with the report of the consulting firm terming it baseless and a part of international conspiracy to destabilize the industry.
The UK consultancy firm Medway Consultancy Services visited the factory of liberty in May, 2013 to check the structural design and marked it with red sign and convinced all concerned to close all activities at the building 2 which, the authorities said, caused serious damage as well as financial loss to the company.
“We also invited national and international engineering firms including the engineering cell of BGMEA and BUET, which certified for continuation of production in building 2,” said Mozammel Haque, owner of the factory.
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* Liberty Fashion blasts factory closing:
The buyers forcibly closed the production of the factory violating all ethics
The owner of Liberty Fashion Wears Ltd alleged that the buyers had “unethically and irrationally” closed production on the ground of having inadequate fire safety arrangements.
“They (the buyers) forcibly closed the production of the factory violating all ethics,” alleged Mozammel Huq, chairman and managing director of Liberty Fashion at a press conference in Dhaka on Sunday.
He said: “The MCS report said the building would collapse within 60 hours, but it still stands on its foundation.”
According to him, the buyer even did not follow the existing rules of Bangladesh government and the guidelines of safety accord.
Liberty Fashion owner said the report of the Midway Consultancy Services (MCS) is “unfounded and fabricated”, which the company has prepared to be “benefited financially.”
20130930 * Half of RMG factories risky for non-compliance: BIDS:
More than a half of about 6,300 factories in the apparel sector are risky because of non-compliance being outside the purview of international buyers that do not import directly from them, according to a study.
The Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies on Sunday shared its primary findings of the report, Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations in the Export Oriented Readymade Garments Industries in Bangladesh, with the labour ministry and leaders of the garment and knitwear exporters’ associations.
BIDS says that owners of 2,376 factories out of 4,400 under the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association and of 1,124 factories out of 1,904 under the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters’ Associations run their business as sub-contractors which has ‘put the factory compliance issues at a significant risk.’
BIDS derived the findings from a survey carried out through the exporters’ associations on all enterprises enlisted with the associations.
20130929 * Fear of losing EU GSP facility not yet over:
German Ambassador to Bangladesh Albrecht Conze cautioned Bangladesh Saturday that the fear of losing Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) privilege in the EU countries has not yet been over as it does not depend on the decision of a national government.
He also said Bangladesh would have to face more severe effect out of cancellation of the GSP advantages than the US decision to cancel it.
“Would Europe consider suspending GSP privileges for Bangladesh, it would have much more tangible effect than the American decision because US decision effect was for many things but not for garment,” Mr Conze said.
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20130930 * Revised EU GSP scheme may help B’desh in export race: study:
The revised GSP scheme of the European Union which will come into force on January 1, 2014 may create a favourable competitive environment for Bangladeshi exports to the region due to reduction of the number of beneficiary countries and product coverage, a government study revealed.
‘The revised generalised system of preferences scheme may not be a cause of serious threat to exports from Bangladesh to EU markets, rather, it may create a lesser competitive environment for the country,’ the report conducted by Bangladesh Tariff Commission said.
The BTC submitted the report to the commerce ministry last week.
Earlier in January, Bangladesh embassy in Brussels, Belgium had said that tariff preferences Bangladesh are enjoying in the European markets under GSP facility might be eroded in future if Pakistan, Philippines and Sri Lanka get GSP plus facility under the revised scheme.
It had said Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Philippines might be strong competitors of Bangladesh by getting duty-free export facility to the markets of European countries under the GSP plus scheme.
20130930 * Germany seeks reforms in RMG sector:
The European Union trade commissioner was monitoring the situation of RMG sector closely
Reforms in the readymade garments (RMG) sector are necessary to improve the image and perception of Bangladesh internationally, according to German Ambassador Albrecht Conze.
Conze made the observation on Saturday at a discussion meeting, organised by the Bangladesh Institute for Labour Studies (BILS) and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), a German foundation.
The envoy reminded the participants that suspension of GSP (generalised system of preferences) privileges in Europe was still a real threat to the country’s RMG sector, and the European Union trade commissioner was monitoring the situation closely.
* RMG exports to EU and US stable:
International RMG experts noted that apparel export of Bangladesh to the United States and the European Union is stable.
They were addressing the “8th Global Marketing Forum” at the Westin Hotel in the city on Saturday. YKK Bangladesh Pte Ltd, a Japan based largest zipper manufacturing company in Bangladesh, organised the event to share the company’s vision with nearly 500 personnel from the readymade garment sector who are pioneers in this industry and explored how to success in this global competitive markets.
* B’desh can significantly raise RMG export to China: BGMEA:
Bangladesh can significantly raise export of apparel product to China because of its price competitiveness, industry insiders said.
China is the largest exporter of RMG. But it also imports a substantial volume of apparel items from other countries to meet its local demand.
China is switching over to high-valued fashion design items from basic products. So Bangladesh can seize the opportunity to export its apparel items to China, they said.
“It is a good opportunity for us as more and more Chinese buyers prefer to buy Bangladeshi apparel considering its price competitiveness and quality,” Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) President Atiqul Islam told the FE Sunday.
* Despite setbacks, garment to rule:
Bangladesh will continue to be among the top three apparel sourcing destinations over the next five years, despite the recent industrial accidents, a new survey by American consulting firm McKinsey & Co found.
The country’s $20 billion garment sector came ahead of smaller rivals Vietnam and Cambodia in the ranking of countries with the highest potential for future sourcing.
But the twin disasters of Rana Plaza collapse and Tazreen fire did have an impact on the international buyers’ minds: some 52 percent of the respondents ranked Bangladesh among the top three country hotspots as opposed to more than 80 percent in the previous edition of the survey conducted in 2011.
* Tanners demand relaxed land rules:
Tannery owners yesterday urged the government to relax land use rules for setting up factories in the Savar leather estate.
“A significant portion of land will be left unutilised if the DAP [Detailed Area Plan] rules have to be complied with,” said Md Abdul Hai, general secretary of Bangladesh Tanners Association. “We want the land use rule relaxed.”
According to DAP, owners will have to leave at least 35 percent of total land area as free space to set up a factory.
“The proportion of free space per plot leaves too little for the factory structure as leather factories need more space to set up the heavy machinery,” said Mohammad Abu Taher, chairman-elect of Bangladesh Finished Leather, Leathergoods and Footwear Exporters’ Association.
Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) has already developed the leather estate with spacious roads and adequate fire fighting capacities and equipment, he added.
* Anti-globalisation firebrands scuttle efforts to further open up economy:
Mohammed Abdul Jabbar, a computer science graduate from Texas University-Dallas, was supposed to seek a future in Silicon Valley or in the tech world. Instead, he spied a promising niche in international textiles trade. He was convinced that he wielded the wherewithal to garner benefits from trade globalisation.
Mr. Jabbar, then 28, returned home in the late 1980s to pick up the baton of the family-run enterprise. His enlightened gamble paid off: In more than two decades, he helped DBL Group flower into a company that rang up US$243 million in sales last year. The sprawling conglomerate with 19 concerns generated employment for 15,700 people.
“I’ve got the hang of export trade. And I’m the winner of globalisation,” said Mr. Jabbar, the group managing director, in an interview on the 12th floor of his office, nestled inside the BGMEA Bhaban.
Mr. Jabbar is among the nation’s new breed of textile barons who make up more than 60 per cent of garment entrepreneurs seeking to alter the nation’s mass-market manufacturing landscape, aided by cutting-edge technology and sophisticated management.
Bangladesh, now the world’s second biggest garment producer after China, rode out the twin tempests-the quota withdrawal at the end of 2004 and the global financial crisis in 2008-09, thereby emerge as one of the few winners by throttling up market shares in both United States and European Union-15 markets.
“Apparel makers are the biggest winners of global trade openness. Our garment industry has blossomed, relying not on domestic demand alone,” said Dr. Zaidi Sattar, chairman of Policy Research Institute, a think tank.
Also, the textile industry has proved remarkably resilient. The World Bank said Bangladesh was unscathed by the global crisis, thanks to the “Wal-Mart effect” and the “China effect”.
20130927 * No violence at RMG hubs Friday:
After six days of workers’ violent protests, the country’s apparel industrial hubs finally passed a day without any violence on Friday. Most of the factories remained closed because of weekly holiday.
Workers’ violence for minimum monthly wage of Tk 8,000 rocked the country’s largest foreign currency earning sector for the last six days until Thursday. This caused frequent production suspension.
However, the law enforcement agencies continued to put in place precautionary measures at Gazipur, Savar, Ashulia and Narayanganj apparel industrial zones to avert any trouble there.
“At last, we passed a day without any violence. Most of the units were closed as Friday is a public holiday,” Assistant Director (Intelligence) of Industrial Police-1 Md. Moniruzzaman told the FE.
20130927 * MKA blames Jamaat for RMG sector trouble:
Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir on Friday alleged that Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami and some other reactionary parties are behind the recent unrest in the country’s readymade garment (RMG) sector.
“Some hired people and activists of Jamaat and some other reactionary parties are trying to create a chaos in the RMG sector,” he said.
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20130928 * Politics blamed for unrest in RMG sector:
Apart from Gazipur, the violence has spread to Ashulia, Savar and Narayanganj around the capital. It is also reported in the port city of Chittagong as the workers are putting a united front to realize the minimum wage package. Owners have so far offered a 20 per cent wage hike from existing Tk 3000 minimum wage only to cause serious reaction from the workers’ side.
20130928 * RMG UNREST OVER SALARY HIKE- Workers block road, clash with cops:
Apparel workers clashed with law enforcers in Gazipur Saturday morning blocking the Dhaka-Tangail highway for nearly 30 minutes to press home their demand for fixing minimum monthly salary to Tk 8,114.
The workers claimed that at least 20 of their fellows were injured in the clash that reported from Chandona intersection of Sadar upazila.
When contacted, Mosharraf Hossain, assistant superintendent of Gazipur Industrial Police, said they had not information about the injuries, reported our correspondent.
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20130928 * RMG workers protest in Ashulia- Factories shut; 20 injured:
Authorities of five readymade garments in Ashulia shut their factories for Saturday following unwanted workers’ agitation.
Locals said the agitated workers of Noble Comfort Composite Limited along with workers of four other factories started protest at the factory premises at around 8:00am.
The agitated workers hurled brick chips aiming the factories and police dispersed them firing rubber bullets and tear shells.
Later workers locked into clash with police, leaving at least 20 people were injured in Ashulia’s Bishmail-Zirabo road at around 9:00 am.
20130928 * Bangladesh garment workers protest low wages:
Clashes with police break out near Dhaka, in some of the biggest demonstrations the country has seen in months.
Garment workers in Bangladesh have been clashing with police in some of the biggest demonstrations over low wages that the country has seen in months.
The unrest broke out as the police tried to disperse protesters who had blocked a main highway in Narayanganj, which is near Dhaka, the capital.
read & see more.
20130929 * RMG workers resume protests:
After a lull for the weekend, apparel workers resumed demonstrations in Gazipur and Savar on Saturday stoning factories and battling with the police to push their demand for Tk 8,100 in their minimum monthly wage.
At least eight apparel units were shut for the day at Kathgara and Jirabo in Savar on the outskirts of Dhaka following fresh tension.
Workers of Comfort Garments at Kathgara started demonstrations at around 8:00am when they found a notice of the factory closure and moved to other factories asking fellows to join their protests.
The angry workers threw stones at the units of Comfort Composite Limited, Azmat Group, Deco Group, Cross Wear Limited and some other factories during the demonstrations.
At about 9:00am, the workers gathered on Bishmile-Jirabo road blocking traffic.
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20130928 * Minimum wage soon after announcement: BGMEA:
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) on Saturday promised that apparel makers would implement the recommendations of the wage board immediately after its announcement.
BGMEA President M Atiqul Islam said this after a marathon meeting with workers leaders at city’s BGMEA Bhaban.
The garment makers and the labour leaders in the meeting agreed to work together to stop the unrest ensuring smooth production in the greater interest of the sector.
Both the garment makers and leaders of more than 40 trade unions in garment sector also agreed to stop disseminating rumours and spreading vandalism in the export-oriented sector.
Atiqul Islam also urged all the garment makers to pay salaries and bonus to the workers ahead of Eid-ul-Azha.
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20130929 * BGB patrolling violent-hit RMG areas:
The number of Border Guard of Bangladesh (BGB) troops has been increased in Gazipur areas on Saturday.
A total of 6 platoons of the BGB is now patrolling there to avert unrest or violence, Gazipur DC Md Nurul Islam told reporters. On Thursday, 3 BGB platoons had been deployed.
Apparel workers clashed with law enforcers in the capital’s outskirts Savar and Gazipur Saturday morning to press home their demand for fixing minimum monthly salary to Tk 8,114.
The workers claimed that at least 25 of their fellows were injured during the clashes at Chandona intersection of Gazipur Sadar upazila and Kathgora area in Ashulia of Savar.
During the demonstration, which stemmed from the salary hike demand on September 21, the workers also blocked the Dhaka-Tangail highway for nearly 30 minutes from 10:40am.
In the meantime, the authorities of six garment units had to suspend the production at their factories for Saturday in the wake of the demonstration in Ashulia area of Savar. At Gazipur, the clash ensued in Chandona intersection around 10:40am as police tried to disperse over 5,000 workers charging truncheons when they blocked the Dhaka-Tangail highway, reports our Gazipur correspondent.
The BGMEA , which represent garment factory owners, called for calm. “We are waiting for the decision of the wage board. I ask the workers to be patient,” BGMEA president Atikul Islam told reporters. He claimed that the workers were being provoked to turn violent — but did not say by whom.
Meanwhile, labour leaders vowed to go on with their movement until the workers’ demand is met.
“The movement will continue till the demand of a minimum wage of Tk8,000 is met,” Kahirul Mamun Mintu, general secretary of the Savar-Ashulia chapter of Garment Workers’ Trade Union told reporters.
21030929 * Behind-the-scene players of RMG unrest identified:
Intelligence to submit report to Govt: Vested quarters ignited workers: BGMEA, BKMEA seek probe
Intelligent agencies have identified some under cover players who are involved in the latest spell of workers’ violence in the garment industry, sources said on Saturday.
They said the last five days workers unrest that rocked the country’s major industry, was an act of destruction patronized by some persons of some political parties.
“A vested quarter working with some political parties has created the trouble in the country’s key garment industry with an intention to push the government to the back foot,” a senior NSI official told The New Nation yesterday asking not to be named.
He added: “When an uneasy political situation is prevailing in the country and the government is facing the end of its tenure, the quarter ignited flame of the unrest in the industry in a pre-planned manner to catch fish in the troubled water.”
The NSI official further added that they have identified the patrons of the unrest who are actively involved in the local politics.
When asked, he said, this was not a labour unrest because most of the protestors who took part in the violence were outsiders hired by the vested group.
“They wanted to create a chaotic situation in the sector with an ill motive to defame the government.”
“We have identified the behind-the-scene players, who provoked the unrest,” said the NSI official, adding, “We have prepared a report on the issue and it will be sent to the ministry concerned for their appraisal.”
Expressing their grave concern over the unrest in the sector, the apparel industry leaders yesterday demanded immediate punitive actions against the persons responsible for the violence.
20130929 * RMG owners, labour leaders reach consensus on 5 points:
Readymade garment (RMG) factory owners and labour leaders Saturday pledged to work together against any kind of volatility in and conspiracy against the garment sector.
At a joint press briefing in the city Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers’ and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and labour leaders said they have reached a consensus on five points.
According to the consensus, both the parties would work together to calm down the worker unrest which recently created a volatile situation in the sector.
They also agreed to thwart any kind of domestic or international conspiracy against the industry.
In the press briefing, the leaders said some opportunists were spreading rumours for their personal gains which the owners and the labour leaders would foil jointly.
The leaders also urged the government to find out the culprits and bring them to book.
At the briefing the owners promised to clear payment of salaries and festival bonus before Eid-ul Azha.
The labour leaders urged the wage board authorities to declare new wages for the workers. They were assured that all the owners would also implement new wages in their respective factories immediately after they are declared.
20130929 * Labour leaders scuffle over Shajahan’s role:
Supporters of the shipping minister, Shajahan Khan, scuffled with their rival group members during a meeting between leaders in the apparel sector and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association on Saturday.
The apparel exporters’ association organised the meeting with the labour leaders on the current situation of the apparel sector.
The association’s president Atiqul Islam presided over the meeting held in the BGMEA conference room.
Labour leaders became divided into two groups at the meeting. The group opposed to Shajahan Khan blamed him for instigating the unrest in the sector. The leaders said that the unrest had broken out as the minister had instigated the workers by holding a rally in Dhaka on September 21.
The group loyal to Shajahan protested at the remarks and picked up a quarrel which resulted in a scuffle.
Witnesses said that labour leaders had clashed and BGMEA leaders had contained the situation.
Association and labour leaders then agreed on some issues, Atiqul Islam told reporters after the meeting.
20130929 * Responsibility for latest RMG industry turmoil:
The owners dare to make such a degrading and utterly insensitive offer because they are well organised under the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association with the shining but illegal eyesore of a head office located in the middle of a lake. They receive hefty government largesse and subsidy and other favours. They have an unholy nexus with the government and law enforcers to suppress legitimate workers’ demands and rebuff their need for better working conditions, writes Omar Khasru
After six days of unrest, agitation and demonstration by garment workers, it was relatively calm on Friday, September 27. All concerned were apprehensive as to how long would this welcome respite last.
It was not clear if the garment workers in their resolve for higher wages were just taking a short break.
Or they will take a bit more time to see what tangible and constructive steps factory owners and government take to meet their legitimate demands. On Saturday, September 28, the workers in Gazipur and Ashulia demonstrated for higher wages again and there were clashes with law enforcers. The turbulence, however, was on a relatively smaller magnitude.
Volumes have been discussed, dissected and divulged about the latest garment industry disturbance and disruption. This vital sector in recent years customarily maintained relative but uneasy calm interspersed by occasional outburst due to wage dispute, accidents and casualties at factory fires, mistreatment of workers, lack of timely pay and festival bonus and overall callous and deleterious attitude of the owners.
The Tk 3,000 monthly wage for garment workers in Bangladesh is the lowest in the world by a significant margin. Here is the relative wages of garment workers in various countries, according to the US-based Worker Rights Consortium and Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights:
It is obvious that the puny wage in Bangladeshi is quite a bit lower than that in any other country and less than half of the nearest competitor. This is a glaring example of the sheer exploitation, subjugation and slave labour treatment of the garment workers in Bangladesh.
20130929 * Hefazat chief instigated RMG unrest: Labour minister:
Labour minister meets RMG factory owners, requests payment of all outstanding wages by Eid
Hefazat-e-Islam Chief Shah Ahmed Shafi was one of the instigators of the recent unrest in the country’s readymade garment (RMG) sector, Labour Minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju has claimed.
The minister said the continued spate of industrial unrest was the work of quarters that wanted to destabilise the country’s law and order situation.
He made the remarks to journalists after a meeting with RMG factory owners on Sunday.
The minister said: “The government is investigating into the matter and taking appropriate actions against those who are behind the unrest.”
Raju said he had requested the owners to clear all outstanding wages and bonuses before Eid-ul-Azha, which is due to be observed in approximately a couple of weeks’ time.
to read. & read more. & read more. & read more.
20130929 * Protests ebb as Bangladesh garment factories agree wage rise:
Bangladeshi garment factory owners promised Sunday to raise wages for more than three million workers as soon as a government panel sets a figure, ending a week-long violent protest.
The manufacturers said they would raise wages by as much as the panel decides, despite earlier insisting they cannot afford more than a 20 percent increase on the existing minimum wage of $38 a month.
They made the announcement after holding talks late Saturday with the leaders of more than 40 unions representing workers in 4,500 garment factories in Bangladesh, the world’s second largest apparel maker after China.
The government has already said wages would be raised by November, a month earlier than the previous deadline, but the exact figures are still unclear. Unions have demanded a minimum wage of $100.
“We told the unions that we’ll hike wages for all workers as soon as the new minimum wages are announced by the government panel,” said Atiqul Islam, head of the influential Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
read more. & read more. & read more.
20130929 * Govt adopting ‘repressive policy against RMG workers’:
Garment Workers’ Trade Union Centre leader Montu Ghosh on Sunday accused the government of adopting a repressive policy to thwart the movement of the readymade garment (RMG) workers seeking wage hike.
Addressing a human chain in front of Jatiya Press Club, he also alleged that police and outsider miscreants have been launching brutal attacks on the protesting workers at the behest of the Home Minister.
The human chain was organised by the Garment Workers’ Trade Union Centre demanding that the minimum wages of the workers be set a Tk 8,000.
It also demanded immediate arrest of the attackers on its leaders Zainal Abedin, MA Shahin and Iqbal Hossain during the workers’ protest in Narayanganj on September 26, and also the release of Zainal Abedin whom the police arrested following the attack.
Montu Ghosh urged the government to stop harassment and arrests of workers and thus maintain a congenial atmosphere in the industry.
20130930 * 30 injured in RMG unrest at Sreepur:
At least 30 garments worker were injured as they clashed with police at Natun Bazar of Sreepur blocking Dhaka-Mymensingh highway on Sunday.
Police fired nine gun shots and 20 tear shells to disperse the workers from the highway.
The workers also vandalised machine, furniture and computers inside the Asrotex factory alleging that its owner had hired musclemen to attack the workers.
One of the directors of the factory Mirza Anisur Rahman rejected the allegation.
He said the factory was closed after the violence and he would have no other option but to announce lay off if the situation continues, reports the correspondent in Gazipur.
20130930 * RMG workers ransack factory demanding manager’s removal:
Workers of Esarotex Knitwear at Notun Bazar in Sreepur of Gazipur ransacked the factory yesterday demanding removal of its administrative manager.
They went on a rampage on the ground, fourth and sixth floors in the afternoon alleging that some people hired by Manager (Admin) Sumit Borua attacked them Thursday while they were demonstrating in the factory demanding minimum wage.
Witnesses said around 1,400 workers chanted slogans against Sumit and started vandalising machine, computers and furniture.
Later, they blocked Dhaka-Mymensingh highways near the factory.
Following the blockade, industrial police fired tear gas and shotguns to disperse them, said Gazipur Industrial Police Inspector Helal Uddin.
The workers claimed around 30 of them were injured in police action.
However, police said no one was injured.
On the removal, Sumit, denying his involvement in the attack, said he did not know about the attack and the workers’ demand was illogical.
20130930 * Worker leaders demand hike in textile wages:
Worker leaders yesterday protested against the recent police attacks on garment workers in Dhaka and Chittagong and demanded an immediate hike in the textile sector wages.
They asked for an increase in the minimum wage to Tk 8,000 at the entry level, in the backdrop of the rising prices of essentials and skyrocketing house rents. They also demanded their salaries and bonuses be paid before Eid-ul-Azha.
The government and owners should take proper steps to stop the ongoing unrest, said Sukkur Mahmud, president of Jatiya Sramik League, the workers’ wing of the ruling Awami League.
He spoke at a press conference on the causes and solutions to the labour unrest, organised by Sramik Karmachari Oikya Parishad (SKOP), a labour organisation, at its office on Topkhana Road in the city.
The owners’ proposal to hike the garment workers’ wages by only Tk 600 has fuelled the unrest, he said.
The minimum wage is Tk 10,000 in Pakistan’s garment industry, so the amount should be at least Tk 8,000 in Bangladesh, Mahmud said.
20130930 * Wage board members leave left Dhaka for three countries:
Members on the minimum wage board for apparel workers left Dhaka on Sunday to see for themselves the apparel-sector wage structure in Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand.
All the six members of the board along with a labour ministry official and an International Labour Organisation official would first visit Cambodia. They will then visit Vietnam and Thailand.
GARMENT FACTORIES DISASTERS
* Reparation after the Bangladesh garment factory disaster:
In the wake of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh this April, the corporations who use the factory expressed grave concern for the deceased workers and their families and committed to helping them.
Built on swampland outside the capital city of Dhaka and housing five factories, when the Rana Plaza building collapsed, 1,100 workers were killed and 1,900 injured. Most of the workers, and thus the victims, were women.
Although one of the world’s worst industrial disasters, to date only one retailer has given compensation to the victims of the Rana Plaza disaster.
No agreement was reached at the recent Geneva meetings to address compensation, which many called a failure. Meanwhile, trade unions report that many victims and their families are barely surviving and may lose their homes.
Ongoing but separate talks on safety, rather than compensation, have proven more fruitful. Over 80 retailers ‑- but reportedly not Wal-Mart or Gap, which insist on self-regulation ‑- have agreed to a binding, five-year accord to improve safety in Bangladeshi garment factories.
The agreement includes a binding arbitration process that can be enforced through the court system in the country where the retailer is based.
However, according to Ikeke Zelderust of Clean Clothes Campaign, many brands “want to be associated with prevention,” but they do not wish to be associated with reparation.
Indeed, only nine of 28 retailers whose garments were made by Rana Plaza workers bothered to show up at the compensation talks held in Geneva on September 11 and 12, 2013.
Called by the global trade union IndustriALL and chaired by the International Labour Organization, the meeting was intended to address compensation for the Rana Plaza disaster as well as the Tazreen factory fire, which killed 112 workers and injured over 120 in Bangladesh in November 2012.
THE SAVAR BUILDING COLLAPSE
* Thai govt provides artificial legs for Rana Plaza victims:
Thai government in collaboration with Prostheses Foundation of HRH the Princess Mother and Bangladesh government provided artificial limbs for Rana Plaza victims.
A total of 107 disabled including Rana Plaza victims and other were given these prosthetic limbs at a week-long limbs donation programme from September 22-28 at National Institute of Traumatology and Orthopaedic Rehabilitation (Nitor).
15:49:07 local time INDIA
20130928 * Weavers stage demonstration:
Handloom weavers staged a demonstration here on Friday demanding higher wages and began an indefinite dharna.
The weavers protested outside the head office of the Karnataka Handloom Development Corporation (KHDC) under the aegis of the Akhil Karnataka Kaimagga Nekar Sangha, led by sangha vice-president N.J. Malawade.
The weavers alleged that although they had put forward their demands before Textiles Minister Baburao Chinchanasur, there had been no response from him. Raising slogans against the corporation and the government, the protesters complained wages had not been revised for the last two years. They demanded an increase of 50 per cent in their wages.
The protesters alleged instead of giving work to the weavers, KHDC officials were purchasing cloth from elsewhere, and because of this the number of weavers attached to KHDC had reduced from 40,000 to 10,000.
They said senior officials of KHDC were often away in Bangalore, although the head office was in Hubli, and lower level employees were managing the office.
Although senior officials of KHDC assured them of action, the protesters said they would continue their dharna on Saturday, when Mr. Chinchanasur is scheduled to visit Hubli.
* GPCB issues closure notices to eight textile dyeing units:
Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) has slapped closure notices on eight textile dyeing and printing units in Sachin, Pandesara, Kim and Palsana near here for violating air and water pollution norms on Friday.
Official sources said around 37 textile dyeing and printing units have been issued closure notices for violating air pollution norms in the last one-and-a-half-month period. None of the mill owners has given an undertaking and explanation report to the GPCB.
Sources said most of the textile dyeing and printing units were using illegal fuel, including fine dust, petcoke, waste and hazardous materials for running heavy duty boilers. The release of hazardous chemicals in the air was leading to health problems for people living in the villages near the units.
* Link textiles sector with employment scheme: Ministry to PM:
The Textiles Ministry has written to the Prime Minister seeking the sector’s linkage to the employment guarantee scheme, saying that it will help attract workers to the industry that is facing shortage of skilled manpower.
Linking the programme under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) with the sector will help train about 15 lakh workers in the next three years, it has said.
* 3 handloom weavers commit suicide in Madurai:
Three members of a weaver family who could not repay a loan they had taken to invest in share markets committed suicide in their house in Madurai district of Tamil Nadu on Sunday morning.
The deceased were identified as Krishna Ram (51), his wife Brinda (46) and their son Upendiran (28) of Meenakshi Nagar in Sourashtra Colony near Vandiyur. Krishna Ram and Brinda were handloom weavers, and they and Upendiran ended their lives by hanging from the handlooms installed in the house, police said.
Upendiran, who completed an undergraduate degree, had invested in share markets along with a few of his friends. The losses he suffered when the markets fell forced him to borrow money from loan sharks. As the family members did not have any other source of income to repay the loan, they might have decided to commit suicide, police said, adding that the exact amount they had borrowed was yet to be ascertained.
15:49:07 local time SRI LANKA
* Free spectacles for handloom textile weavers:
The Western Province Industries Department has taken measures to upgrade all handloom textile weaving centres while all workers have been urged to use thin refine weaving thread as there is a big demand for handloom textiles weaved using this, Western Province Agriculture, Agrarian Development, Irrigation, Trade and Environment Minister Udaya Gammanpila said.
The minister made this observation participating as the Chief Guest at a ceremony to distribute free spectacles among handloom textile weavers attached to the Department of Industries, Western Province at the Chief Minister’s office, Western Provincial Council, Shrawasthi Mandiraya yesterday.
Gammanpila said handloom textile weavers contribute much to the national economy.
Gammanpila said as the first phase of the project, free spectacles were distributed to handloom craftsmen in Colombo and Kalutara districts at a cost of Rs. 450,000 with financial and technical assistance from private sector institutions.
15:19:07 local time PAKISTAN
* Visit to UK: Governor Punjab to lobby for GSP Plus status:
Governor Punjab Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar is set to leave for UK in first week of October to lobby for GSP Plus status to the textile industry of Pakistan.
The Governor Punjab had made this announcement during his recent visit to the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) where he assured the APTMA leadership of his support on market access as well as uninterrupted energy supplies.
The Governor Punjab said he would lobby for tabling of the bill relating to GSP Plus for Pakistan in the European Union (EU) Parliament during his official visit to the UK in early October. He said the GSP Plus facility to Pakistan would make a huge difference to the quality of life of textile workers in Pakistan.
* PCGA chief urges government to safeguard interest of growers:
Chairman of Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) Mukhtar Ahmed Khan Baloch has urged upon the government to safeguard the interest of the growers as well as ginners to stabilise the country’s economy.
Talking to this scribe here on Sunday he said that the government should review the expected cotton production figures and not to allow the import of cotton from different countries before the consumption of local stock.
He said that billions of dollars would be wasted on the import of cotton and foreign exchange reserves if any step was taken in haphazard. The Chairman said the government should announce a viable cotton policy for next five years with the consent of ginners and growers.
He said that he would establish new offices of PCGA in Islamabad, Lahore and Sindh respectively on top priority basis. He said that PCGA had already established its offices in Bahawalpur and Chichawatni while a rest house was developed in PCGA house Multan to facilitate the members.
* People deserve early relief from price pressures:
Prices, once gone up, do not come down. That is the axiom. In our own case, the runaway inflation has been putting a heavy burden on the common man as prices of essential items have skyrocketed over the last five years.
Growing apprehensions that inflation might climb to double digit this fiscal year comes as yet another bolt from the blue for the masses. Reeling under unrelenting price pressures, they have been subjected to additional financial burden. In the first three months of the current fiscal year, prices have been showing a heartless upward trend.
15:19:07 local time UZBEKISTAN
* UNICEF did not see children picking cotton in Uzbekistan:
UNICEF confirmed the Uzbek government’s assertion that they did not observe children working picking cotton during the 2012 harvest.
UNICEF’s press officer John Budd confirmed to Uznews.net that UN workers did indeed conduct an observation of several cotton fields in the country last year.
“UNICEF did observe that masses of high school and college students (16-17 years old) were forced to work for a week at a time,” says Mr. Budd.
School children were working in the fields
Elena Urlaeva, leader of Human Rights Alliance (PAU), did observe several cases of school children being forced to work in the cotton fields.
For instance on October 23 she observed school children from school No. 70 working alongside their teachers in the village of Besh Kalta in Yakkabagskiy district of Qashqadaryo province.
Activists in both the Jizzakh and Samarqand provinces also reported witnessing children working as cotton pickers.
These activists confirm that the authorities at first tried to avoid using children in the harvest, however as the time before the onset of cold weather grew short school children were forced to participate in harvest work.
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* Jizzakh human rights worker “hidden” from Korea child labor monitors:
Human rights worker Uktam Pardaev spent September 25 under house arrest as child labor monitors from Korea observed the cotton harvest in his native Jizzakh region.
Members of two South Korean NGOs – the Corporation for Everybody and the Association of Lawyers Defending Public Interest – Kim Min, Kim Jzong, Kim Se and Lee Il visited Jizzakh province yesterday.
They observed the working conditions in the cotton fields, especially as they relate to child labor, and attempted to meet with local activists.
As a result of their visit activist Uktam Pardaev was detained at home.