22:21:17 local time VIET NAM
* Garment firms making major expansions:
As competition between textile and garment producers and exporters heats up, several have invested into increasing their production lines to expand their potential markets.
Since early this year, Hue Textile Garment Joint Stock Company (Huegatex) has pumped $2.3 million into machinery and equipment to diversify their production, reported a source inside the company.
The company expanded from eight production lines to 50 to boost their export potential.
“Based on our current signed orders, Huegatext envisions reaching our annual export target of $66 million ahead of schedule,” said the company’s deputy general director Ho Van Dien.
In the first eight months of 2013, Saigon Garment Manufacturing Trading JSC (GMC) marked revenues of $43.3 million with profits of $2.4 million.
“If things continue to go smoothly, we will have completed our annual businesses targets of $52.3 million revenue and $2.9 million profits early this year, by mid-November,” said a company source.
* Workers empowered, protected by labor councils:
According to experts, when labor protection councils are set up, businesses are more aware of and responsible for occupational health and safety (OHS).
Labor protection councils are responsible for consultation and coordination with employers in OHS regulation development, action plans, measures, improvement of working conditions, and the prevention of OHS accidents.
They will inspect the implementation of OSH regulations at the business level every six months. If OHS risks are discovered during an inspection, it may request employers implement measures to eliminate these risks.
In fact, where there are already labor protection councils, the number of OHS accidents are significantly reduced as workers’ OSH awareness improved.
For example, in the Dung Quat Economic Zone, where 80 percent of businesses participated in the establishment of the local labor protection council, employers and employees are regularly trained in OSH skills including firefighting and use of labor protection facilities. In addition, employees are offered periodic health examinations.
* Trade union activities to be approved:
The General Department of Defence Industry opened a training course for 84 cadres from trade unions of the general department’s units on October 1st in Ba Ria-Vung Tau province, in the presence of Major General Le Khuong Me, Deputy Commissar of the department.
During the four-day course, trainees will study the Resolution on trade union work in the army, the organisation of congresses and conferences at businesses and units, labour, salary and policies for workers in businesses, as well as missions of trade union cadres in educating and managing youth and defence workers.
The participants will also attend a seminar to raise the quality of trade union activities, a fact-finding tour to trade unions of businesses, and artistic exchanges.
General Me said the training course is to improve trade union cadres’ professionalism and create an opportunity for them to exchange experiences to better trade union activities in the years to come. (Translated by Tran Hoai)
22:21:17 local time THAILAND
* Important Considerations for Employment Contracts under Thai Law:
Under Thai law, there are no requirements that employment contracts be made in writing. For some employers, this may create the perception that they can simply reach a cursory agreement with an employee on a few basic issues, such as job role and salary, and work out any other issues as they arise. In reality, this could not be further from the truth.
It is strongly advised that employers and employees have written contracts to clearly specify the terms and conditions of employment. Later, if any dispute arises, the parties can refer to a written contract to help determine the actual agreed-upon provisions.
In Thailand, employment contracts can be broadly categorised into two main types: fixed-term and open-ended. Accordingly, it is important to be aware of the type of contract being offered or entered into, as the rights and legal ramifications associated with each differ.
Fixed-term employment contracts: With provisions that specify the start and end dates of employment, this type of contract will end when the agreed period of employment expires, without the need for advance notice of termination. The contract cannot nor terminated prior to the expiration of the agreed period, unless there is termination with cause.
23:21:17 local time INDONESIA
* Struggle That Pays Off:
Struggle Trade Unions / Workers in defending their rights to fruition.
Is a State Administrative Court (PTUN) Bandung Banten and the winning of the battle SP / SB’s.
To win two PTUN is done the labor class action filings related to minimum wages delay.
President of the Confederation of Indonesian Trade Union (KSPI) Said Iqbal display, in Banten 1 penanguhan company rejected the minimum wage PT Yoshin.
“The same thing in West Java, Bandung State Administrative Court ruled in favor of workers in West Java back wins (26/9) where the Bandung State Administrative Court in favor of labor, delay that is pushing the minimum wage from 257 company, 209 penanguhan denied minimum wage and only 48 companies are granted penanguhan minimum wage,”He said in Jakarta, Wednesday (2/10/2013).
According to, minimum wage workers’ struggle has been won and the law has been proved that the minimum wage is penanguhan full engineering, no permenakertrans ineligible 231 year 200.3
“And only a few companies that really can not afford to pay the minimum wage. The majority of companies are able to pay the minimum wage which has been proved by the administrative court ruling,”He added.
* Fires raise concerns on ‘death trap’ homes:
A recent number of fires have raised home safety concerns in the capital.
Faulty wires and the use of iron trellises on doors and windows have turned houses in densely populated neighborhoods into death traps.
The Jakarta administration is currently evaluating the installment of iron trellises in houses and shophouses as they prevent residents from being able to escape in emergency situations.
Last Saturday, a fire caused by a gas leak burned down a two-story house and killed a family of four that was trapped inside the house fortified with iron trellises.
Two weeks ago, four people died and one baby went missing when a shophouse burned to the ground in North Kemang, South Jakarta, as they were unable to escape through the barred doors, the building’s only exit route.
The latest fire took place on Thursday morning at plastic factory PT Singa Berlian in Jelambar Baru, Grogol, West Jakarta.
The West Jakarta Fire Department deployed 26 fire trucks to extinguish the fire, as reported by tempo.co. According to a worker at the factory, Sutrisno, 25, a short circuit caused the fire.
21:21:17 local time BANGLADESH
* What BBC’s Panorama didn’t say about workers in Bangladesh:
Leaving women in the background overlooks the garment sector’s most pressing concerns
The BBC’s recent Panorama investigation, Dying for a Bargain, brought welcome attention to the issue of workers’ rights in the Bangladesh garment sector, where more than 1,100 people recently died in the collapse of a garment factory at Rana Plaza.
It rightly pointed out that up to a million people work in dangerous or illegal conditions at constant risk from fires, poor health and safety standards and a host of other labour rights abuses. However, there is one crucial fact that Panorama left out: the vast majority of workers they are talking about are women.
What about women?
Around 82% of all garment workers in Bangladesh are women – but you wouldn’t know it from watching Panorama. The reporter was male. The managers who were interviewed were men. The workers who were interviewed were men. Apart from some well-spoken civil society representatives, the women who represent the vast majority of the victims at Rana Plaza and are the daily victims of the poor working conditions of the garment sector were largely relegated to the background.
* Cabinet sends back draft law to regulate RMG industry:
The cabinet on Thursday sent back the draft of the Textiles and Garment Industry Board Bill, 2013 after an altercation between the finance minister and the jute minister over a proposal to regulate the country’s apparel industry.
The textiles and jute minister, Abdul Latif Siddique placed the draft law, proposing setting up of a new body to regulate the export-oriented readymade garment industry at the weekly meeting of the cabinet at the secretariat.
‘Finance minister AMA Muhith opposed the idea of introducing a new law to regulate the garment sector, saying a new administration would rather hamper the growth of the crucial industry,’ a senior minister told New Age.
Muhith, a bureaucrat-turned politician, was immediately backed by home minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir, also a retired bureaucrat, who said the apparel industry, which earns over $20 billion annually from export, was growing under a system and that should not be disturbed.
* RMG workers protest in Ctg:
Workers of a sweater factory staged protest in Kalurghat BISIC (Bangladesh Institute of Small Industry and Cottage) Industrial area in the port city on Thursday morning.
Sources said protesting of sudden announcement of closure of the factory; workers took to the roads and started throwing brick-chips at four to five factories at around 10:15am.
Chase and counter chase were occurred between police and agitated workers as police tried to stop them.
Confirming the matter, Sub-inspector of Detective branch of Industrial Police Arifur Rahman Arif told banglanews, “On Wednesday night, Azim Group instantly declared their factory shut which made workers angry. We are trying to calm the workers.”
to read. & read more. & read more.
* Garment workers fill streets in Bangladesh:
In their largest protest so far, 50,000 garment workers in Bangladesh took to the streets Sept. 21 in Dhaka, the capital, demanding a more than doubling of the minimum wage and safer workplaces.
The demonstration takes place as workers in the industry are stepping up efforts to organize unions in face of fierce resistance and harassment from the bosses.
“We are pressed with our backs against the wall, so we need to raise our voice strongly,” Nazma Akter, president of United Garment Workers Federation, said in a phone interview Sept. 23 from Dhaka. The federation of 52 garment workers groups organized the demonstration.
“The economy moves on the backs of our labor and we are not backing off,” Akter said. “We need the increase to keep up with inflation. The rent for one room is often $35 a month and workers have to share.” The minimum wage is $38 a month. The average is roughly $15 above that. Workers are demanding a raise to $103 minimum, while garment bosses offer a 20 percent increase.
* How Garment Workers Decided $104.72 a Month Was A Living Wage:
Monday, after a week of protests, Bangladesh’s garment manufacturers agreed to increase the minimum wage for workers in the industry. But they haven’t agreed on how much it will be.
The garment workers are asking for $104.72 a month, which would more than double the current minimum. To get to that number, they created a monthly budget that, they figure, is the bare minimum.
Rubana Mohammadi who runs a few garment factories, has argued that if the union gets the increase they’re asking for, the price of a Bangladeshi-made T-shirt could increase by 20 cents.
That would make it harder for Bangladesh to compete with other countries among buyers who are looking for the lowest possible price.
Vietnam, a competitor to Bangladesh’s garment industry, has a minimum wage that ranges from, depending on what part of the country the factory is in.
* Leaflets with malicious speeches on RMG sector seized in Chittagong:
An intelligence team from the Industrial Police in Chittagong on Wednesday seized hundreds of leaflets from CEPZ, KEPZ and other readymade garment (RMG) factories in Chittagong. Police alleged the leaflets contained malicious content aimed at creating unrest among the workers.
The leaflets were anonymous and urged workers to “unite and be conscious of their rights, especially salaries,” said sources at the Industrial Police.
The leaflets claimed a salary scale of Tk8,160 was “badly needed” and urged workers to push for it by undertaking movements. The leaflets urged RMG workers to gather at the CEPZ factory gate yesterday around 8am. However, no crowd was seen there in the morning, said SM Abdur Rashid, general manager of Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority (BEPZA) in Chittagong.
* Awareness crucial to ensuring workers’ safety:
Inspection under competent persons during work and rescue operations is also essential to ensure the safety of workers, speakers say
Safety measures must be followed and manpower well-trained to ensure the safety of workers, speakers told a “Creating a Safer Workplace at Heights” discussion at a city hotel yesterday.
Representatives of companies including CEAT Bangladesh Limited, Grameenphone, Airtel, Banglalink, Rahimafrooz, and Meghnaghat Power Limited attended the programme, organised by Securex (pvt) Ltd.
Inspection under competent persons during work and rescue operations is also essential to ensure the safety of workers, the speakers said.
Reading instruction manuals is also necessary before using equipment, and the equipment needs to be checked regularly.
* EU Accord publishes list of 1,600 RMG units:
The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh on Thursday made public a list of nearly 1,600 factories covered by the pact, employing more than 2 million workers, a key step toward improving safety in the garment industry by making its supply chain more transparent.
The organisation represents global brands, including Hennes & Mauritz, Zara parent Inditex, Tommy Hilfiger parent PVH and Italy’s Benetton, reports Wall Street Journal.
Key data points include factory name and address, the number of stories of each structure, whether a building includes multiple apparel factories and whether it houses other types of businesses, the number of workers at each factory, and the number of Accord signatories using each factory, said an Accord statement.
read more. & read more.
* Accord publishes RMG factory data:
The Accord will launch a new website on Monday
The Accord of European buyers on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh yesterday made public a list of nearly 1,600 factories covered by the pact, employing more than two million workers.
It also hinted at announcing in the coming days the hiring of the Chief Safety Inspector, who will oversee the initiative’s factory inspection and renovation program, said a statement of IndustriAll, a global federation. The list includes information, pertinent to assessing building safety, some of which has never previously been disclosed in the apparel industry, said a statement.
Factory name and address, the number of floors of each structure, whether a building includes multiple apparel factories and whether it houses other types of businesses, the number of workers at each factory, and the number of Accord signatories using each factory has been included in the list to be published on Monday next.
* JICA to lend Tk100cr for RMG dev:
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will provide Tk 100 crore loan for the development of garments sector of Bangladesh.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed in this regard between JICA and Bangladesh Bank (BB) at a city hotel on Thursday.
The MoU was signed by BB General Manager and project director Sukomol Sinha Chowdhury, Chief Engineer of Public Works Department Kabir Ahmed Bhuiyan, vice president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Shahidullah Azim, second vice president of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) AH Aslam Sani and JICA senior representative Hiroyuki Tomita.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
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* Safer environment in RMG factories MoU inked:
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) worth Tk 1.0 billion in loan and technical support from JICA was signed Thursday to build a safer working environment in the vulnerable readymade garment (RMG) and knitwear factories in Bangladesh.
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Ministry of Housing and Public Works, Bangladesh Bank (BB), Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) jointly signed the MoU at a city hotel.
* Tanners ready to shift Hazaribagh’s tannery industries to Savar:
Bangladesh Finished Leather,Leather Goods and Footwear Exporters Association (BFLLGFEA) plans to sign an agreement soon with the Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) as part of the shifting process of Hazaribagh’s tannery industries to Savar.
Newly elected president of the association Engineer M Abu Taher said this at a function in connection with inauguration of a three-day international fair titled ‘LEATHERTECH Bangladesh- 2013’ at the city’s Bangabandhu International Conference Centre.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* What Gap Says Is Not What Old Navy Does:
In fact, Gap and Old Navy appear to have no idea what is going on at the Next Collections Limited factory — part of the massive Ha-Meem Group in Bangladesh — where their garments are being sewn. And this despite the fact that Gap and Old Navy appear to account for 70 percent of total production at the factory!
If Gap/Old Navy have deployed “corporate monitors” to audit working conditions, hours and wages at the Next Collections factory, we urge Gap to release its audit reports. We can, however, inform Gap and Old Navy that the 3,750 workers at the Next Collections Limited factory in Ashulia are routinely forced to work over 100 hours a week, while being shortchanged of their legal wages — which are already well below subsistence levels.
Gap is in violation of its own code of conduct and these abuses have been going on for more than two and a half years.
* Bangladesh Garment Factories Often Evade Monitoring:
Next Collections Ltd., one of more than two dozen factories owned by one of Bangladesh’s largest garment producers, tells buyers its workday runs from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
On a recent Saturday night, however, bright fluorescent lights flickered well past 10 p.m. as workers inside furiously stitched children’s skinny jeans bound forInc.’s Old Navy stores.
The company regularly keeps many of its 4,500 workers late—sometimes until 5 a.m.—to meet production targets set by retailers like Gap,Corp. and Tommy Hilfiger parent Corp. The workers themselves sometimes welcome the extra pay, but the practice apparently conflicts with the retailers’ stated policies and a Bangladeshi law that prohibits more than 10 hours of work a day, including two hours of overtime.
The late hours at the Next Collections factory show the challenge retailers face in trying to police supply chains that can run to hundreds of factories in several countries. It also makes clear that recent pledges by retailers to crack down on poor working conditions in the wake of multiple deadly disasters in Bangladesh’s textile industry won’t amount to much without careful follow-up to monitor compliance.
* Bangladesh textile in murky waters:
What Bangladesh offers to global garment industry, other textile exporting nations do not: millions of skilled workers who can churn out huge amounts of good quality made-ups and apparel at seemingly lightning pace-and all for the lowest wages in the world.
But, since the twin disasters of the Tazreen fire and the Rana plaza collapse-the deadliest accidental structural failure in modern history-Bangladesh has gone from being the global textile industrys biggest darlings to one of its biggest liabilities.
With working conditions in Bangladeshs garment factories having already drawn out red flags from international buyers, many cited the collapse of the eight-storey building that housed several garment factories as the straw that would break the proverbial camels back.
As a massive global uproar ensued, the United States cut back long-time trade benefits for Bangladesh. That move was largely symbolic as it did not directly affect the countrys apparel exports, as garments are not eligible for US duty cuts.
However, as the worlds largest textile and apparel market, the United States generates a great deal of interest amongst global textiles suppliers, many of whom catch the bug every time America so much as sneezes. And for a while Dhaka had to face the frightening possibility that the EU might take a similar action, which would have essentially crippled the Bengali textile sector.
But the fears turned out to be baseless as the draw of dirt cheap labour was seemingly too hard to resist. Faced with the choice to either stay and improve working conditions or leave and face higher costs in other regional sourcing destinations (with similarly shady working standards)-Western brands have decided to stick to the latter option, at least for now.
TAZREEN GARMENT FACTORY FIRE
* Tazreen fire victims’ treatment HC unhappy over govt failure to report:
The High Court is dissatisfied over the government’s failure to report back to it about the treatment facilities provided to a Tazreen Fashions fire victim, reports bdnews24.com.
The bench of Justices Md. Rezaul Haque and ABM Altaf Hossain on Thursday ordered the Home Ministry, Labour and Employment Secretary and the Director General of the Directorate of Drug Administration to report on the matter by Oct 7.
The lawyer who moved the petition was also asked to send the copy of the order to the defendants.
The HC on Sep 23 ordered the government to look after the treatment of Sumaiya Khatun, a Tazreen factory worker who was injured in the deadly fire that left over 100 of her colleagues dead on Nov 25 last year.
The three defendants were asked to report back to court on Sumaiy’s treatment by Oct 1.
The report was not submitted until Thursday afternoon.
In his argument on Sept 23, the petitioner lawyer, Jyotirmoy Barua, had said Sumaiya developed cancer due to the lack of treatment to the injury she had suffered in the fire.
read more. & read more. & read more.
20:51:17 local time INDIA
* Delhi government increases minimum wages:
Delhi government today increased the minimum wages for skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled in the national capital.
The new rates have come into effect from today. Last time the rates were revised in April this year.
The government has increased monthly minimum wages of unskilled labour from Rs 7,722 to Rs 8,086, of semi-skilled labour from Rs 8,528 to Rs 8,918 and of skilled labour from ` Rs 9,386 to Rs 9,802.
* CCEA okays continuation of Textile Parks scheme in 12th Plan:
The government today approved continuation of the scheme for Integrated Textile Parks ( SITP) in the 12th Five Year Plan and sanction of new projects for utilising balance Rs 717 crore in the plan allocation after meeting committed liabilities of the sanctioned 61 parks.
“The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved continuation of the scheme for Integrated Textile Parks (SITP) in the 12th Five Year Plan and sanction of new projects for utilising Rs 717 crore the balance left in the 12th Five Year Plan allocation, after meeting committed liabilities of the sanctioned 61 parks,” an official statement said.
* Technical textile industry to reach $36 billion by 2016-17:
India’s technical textile industry is expected to grow at a rate of 20 per cent annually to touch $ 36 billion by 2016-17, according to experts.
“Technical textile is an important part of the overall textile sector in India. Not only has it grown at an annual rate of 11 per cent during 2006-11, but is also estimated to expand at a rate of 20 per cent to reach $ 36 billion by 2016-17,” Messe Frankfurt Trade Fairs India Managing Director Raj Manek told reporters here today.
Technical textiles are products manufactured primarily for their technical performance and functional properties rather than aesthetic and decorative characteristics.
20:21:17 local time PAKISTAN
* Windfall benefits: As rupee slides, mills look to increase market share:
While the negative consequences of the rupee’s devaluation against the dollar cannot be underestimated, export-oriented sections of the Pakistan economy seem set to reap benefits of a widening exchange rate difference.
The rupee has declined by around 8% since the beginning of 2013. In the last two months alone, the devaluation in the rupee against the greenback is around 4%.
However, with a share of over 50% in the country’s total exports, the textile industry has many reasons to be optimistic in fiscal year 2013-14.
Although the gas tariff for captive power plants increased 17.4% and electricity rates for industrial units went up 57% in recent months, analysts expect the outlook for the textile industry to remain largely positive in the current fiscal year.
According to Pearl Securities, a brokerage house based in Karachi, the textile industry has great potential for further growth in both production and export because of its inherent competitiveness in producing conventional products. “In fiscal 2014, we expect the industry to maintain strong performance due to possible Generalised System of Preferences (GSP)-Plus status with the European Union (EU),” it said in a research note issued to clients on Thursday.
GSP-Plus is a trade arrangement that allows exporters from developing countries, like Pakistan, to export goods to the EU while paying either very low or no duties at all. However, in order to get the GSP-Plus status, a country must effectively implement as many as 27 international conventions on environment issues, good governance and human and labour rights.
20:21:17 local time UZBEKISTAN
* Doctors, artists and railway workers – all are cotton pickers in Jizzakh province:
Jizzakh doctors who could not afford 250,000 soms to buy an exemption from cotton duty were sent to the Pakhtakorskiy region to pick cotton on October 2.
Doctors and other medical personnel from a hospital in Jizzakh will be picking cotton in Pakhtakorskiy region for fifteen days.
The only way to get out of cotton work is to buy an exemption for 250,000 soms (92 USD), says one staff member.
Health reasons or any other circumstances – whether they be personal or family related – were not considered.
“You either pay or work,” continues the doctor.
Patients stand to suffer as a result of not enough doctors and other medical personnel being available, and the hospital has been forced to reduce the number of patient it sees by only admitting emergency cases.