22:57:18 local time CHINA
* ‘China has become largest fur garment producer & exporter’:
21:57:18 local time VIET NAM
* Vietnam’s cotton imports rise in value & volume this year:
21:57:18 local time THAILAND
* Strike at Thai Rayon in Thailand:
For the first time in 39 years history of Thai Rayon textile factory in Ang Thong, Thailand, the workers voted and walked off the jobs following the deadlocked CBA negotiation between the trade union and local management.
The current CBA signed by the union in 2010 expired on 31 May 2013. The union’s proposal submitted to the company contained the demand to increase monthly living wage from 1,000 THB (24 Euro) up to 5,000 THB (118 Euro) topped with a 150 day bonus payment instead of the existing 136 day bonus.
As a counter proposal Thai Rayon management suggested to reduce nearly all the benefits the union had previously gained including the monthly living wage cut down to 3,000 THB (71 Euro) and reduced pay bonus down to 45 days.
The majority 849 workers out of 980 are members of the Thai Rayon labour union, an affiliate of IndustriALL through Textile, Garment and Leather Workers Federation of Thailand (TWFT). Most of Thai Rayon workers have worked at the factory between 20-30 years. In addition, the company employs around 150 agency workers for maintenance, cleaning and security work.
* Launch of Confederation of Industrial Labour of Thailand:
6 October, 200 union delegates of IndustriALL Thai affiliates joined the official launch of Confederation of Industrial Labour of Thailand (CILT) held in the Bangkok Palace Hotel.
The new Confederation has 148,540 members from 211 local unions active in the sectors of electronics, electrical appliances, auto and metal, textile and garment, paper, petroleum, materials, chemical, oil, gas and electricity.
Four national federations are founding members of CILT namely Thai Confederation of Electronic, Electrical Appliances, Auto and Metal Workers (TEAM), ICEM Thai Council, Textile and Garment Workers Federation of Thailand (TWFT) and Automobile Labour Congress of Thailand (ALCT).
CILT vows to fight precarious work and push for labour law reform for better protection of the right to organize and collective bargaining.
21:57:18 local time CAMBODIA
* Court to Hear Bundith Case Later This Month:
The Court of Appeal will hear the case of former Bavet City governor Chhouk Bundith, who was convicted for shooting and injuring three garment workers but remains at large, at the end of this month, a court official said Wednesday.
Although the Svay Rieng Provincial Court sentenced the ex-governor to 18 months in jail in June and ordered his immediate arrest, authorities have failed to arrest him and his whereabouts are currently unknown.
The provincial court found Chhouk Bundith guilty after the Appeal Court ordered a reinvestigation into the case earlier this year. After the verdict, Chhouk Bundith’s lawyers filed an appeal in July.
“We have planned to schedule the hearing of the case at the end of this month,” presiding Judge Taing Sunlay said.
Despite an arrest warrant already existing for Chhouk Bundith, Interior Minister Sar Kheng last week sent a letter to the National Police ordering the authorities to find and arrest the former governor, who was sentenced for unintentionally causing injuries when he opened fire into a crowd of workers during a protest in February 2012.
* BetterFactories Media Updates :2-11 October 2013, Huge blaze kills at least 10 at Bangladeshi factory:
* To read in the printed edition of the Phnom Penh Post:
2013-10-03, SL’s future prospects look grim
2013-10-09 Catch Bandith, top cop told
2013-10-09 Tougher laws for recruiters
2013-10-10 Bail fail: Uninists to await trial from jail cell
2013-10-10 Fire kills seven in fresh Bangladesh factory disaster
* To read in the printed edition of the Cambodia Daily:
2013-10-04 Burma plans to build garment industry to escape poverty
2013-10-09 Court hears garment heist case involving port workers
2013-10-09 Thailand in turmoil over increase in daily minimum wage
2013-10-10- Cambodia manufacturers shift to higher-value clothing
2013-10-10 Court to hear Bundith case later this month
2013-10-10 Huge blaze kills at least 10 at Bangladeshi factory
21:27:18 local time BURMA/MYANMAR
* Worker organisations still struggle for rights:
Most worker organisations formed under Myanmar’s new labour laws are still facing strong opposition from factory owners, activists and workers have told The Myanmar Times.
They say factory owners regularly fire labour leaders and even start their own organisations to divide workers. But the organisations are also denied other basic rights outlined in the Labour Organisation Law, which reintroduced the concept of organised labour in 2012, decades after unions were declared illegal by the military government.
“Though workers organisations were formed under the labour law, most of them do not have full rights,” said U Htay, a labour activist and lawyer who regularly helps workers involved in disputes. “They don’t get a chance to meet inside the factories, or make regular meetings. They also cannot meet with those on the management level.”
Both Ma Lei Lei Soe from the Sakura garment factory in Hlaing Tharyar township and Ko Myo Min Min from the World Fashion garment factory in Shwe Pyi Thar township said that workers have benefited through the formation of labour organisations.
“The situation is better than before,” said Ma Lei Lei Soe, who is secretary of the Sakura garment factory workers’ organisation. “We protested for 16 days in May and then demanded some labour rights through the organisation … At first we also faced difficulties in negotiation with the owner. We struggled for a couple of months but then later the management and owner understood us and saw that we are not demanding more than what we are entitled to.”
20:57:18 local time BANGLADESH
* 20 – 30 hurt in RMG worker-cop clash in Savar:
DEMAND FOR SALARY, FESTIVAL BONUS
At least 20 workers of a readymade garment factory were injured as they clashed with police demanding payment of their salary and festival bonus in Savar, on the outskirts of the capital, Thursday morning, police said.
The authorities of Liberty Fashions Limited, the centre point of the violence, suspended the production for today following the clash.
During the 30-minute clash, the marauding workers also vandalised the windowpanes of their factory at Jirani Bazar in Ashulia.
The clash erupted around 9:00am when the workers saw a notice at their factory saying that their salary for the month of September and festival bonus ahead of the Eid-ul-Azda, the second largest religious festival of the Muslims, will be distributed on October 13.
Earlier, the workers were told to collect their salary and bonus on Thursday.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
& read more. & read more.
* GM fired after RMG workers demo:
Authorities give in to demands of having Eid holidays extended to 10 days and the dismissal of general manager of a Gazipur RMG unit
Authorities sacked the General Manager of a garments unit in Gazipur on Thursday following a wave of agitation from workers.
Police said the workers of Viela Textile at Tongi’s Sataish area called a strike and began to demonstrate from around 8:30am.
They demanded to have the Eid holidays increased to 10 days from the usual seven and the dismissal of General Manager Razzak for his abusive behaviour.
Police rushed to the spot and managed to bring the situation under control.
Assistant Superintendent of Police in Gazipur industrial zone 2, ASM Shamsur Rahman said the authorities have decided to give in to both demands.
The factory was later announced shut down for the day and the workers left the vicinity.
Gazipur Garment factory Fire
* Bangladesh factory hit by deadly fire made Hudson’s Bay clothing:
The Bangladesh garment factory hit by a fire that killed at least nine people and injured some 50 more on Tuesday had manufactured clothing for western retailers including Hudson’s Bay Co, the department store operator confirmed.
The fire originated in the knitting section of an Aswad Composite Mills factory.
Hudson’s Bay said the last order it placed with Aswad was in October 2012 for delivery in April 2013. Spokeswoman Tiffany Bourre said the Canadian retailer decided at the time it would not place further orders with Aswad but did not elaborate.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc spokesman Kevin Gardner confirmed in an email that some of its suppliers source fabric from the mill where the fire broke out but noted that Wal-Mart does not have a direct contractual relationship with Aswad.
* UN says: Latest BD RMG fire highlights more safety:
The United Nations labour agency said it was deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life in a fire at a garment factory in Bangladesh, adding that the incident highlights the need to do more to address the safety of workers.
At least nine people have reportedly been killed in the fire that broke out at Aswad Composite Mills near the capital, Dhaka, late yesterday. Media reports add that about 50 people have also been injured. More than 1,100 people died when another factory collapsed in April.
“This latest fire to affect the ready-made garment (RMG) sector in Bangladesh reflects the sad and shocking truth that not enough is being done to address the safety and health of garment factory workers,” said a statement issued by the Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Guy Ryder.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* Western brands linked to latest fire-hit factory:
Leading Western brands including H&M and French supermarket Carrefour admitted their links Wednesday to the latest factory tragedy in Bangladesh after an overnight fire killed seven workers in a fabric mill.
Firefighters battled through the night to douse the inferno at the Aswad Knit Composite factory in Sripur on the outskirts of the capital Dhaka, which broke out when most of its 3,000 employees had gone home.
Workers said the blaze appeared to have been started by a malfunctioning knitting machine, while the country’s top inspector said safety problems had been raised last month.
Police said most of the bodies found Wednesday after the flames were extinguished were too badly burned to be identified.
read more. & read more.
* Fire dept probing factory fire:
The fire department is investigating Tuesday’s blaze at the Aswad Composite Mills Ltd in Gazipur that killed seven workers.
Gazipur Fire Service’s Deputy Assistance Director Md Aktaruzzaman Liton said they were already probing the incident.
“We have taken photographs of the site and interviewed the workers.”
A probe team formed by the district administration, however, was yet to begin work in Thursday, two days after the fire gutted the garment factory, said the probe body chief Gazipur district’s Additional Magistrate Md Mohsin.
Mohsin said they were busy handing over the bodies of charred workers.
The factory authorities had begun paying salaries and Eid bonus to its workers and employees around 3:30pm, said the factory’s Senior Manager Abdul Halim.
Earlier, on Oct 7, the workers were paid their arrear dues.
* Statement regarding the Fire at the Aswad Composite Mill:
The Steering Committee of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh (the “Accord”) Statement regarding the Fire at the Aswad Composite Mills, owned by Palmal Group in Gazipur, Bangladesh
The Steering Committee of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh (the “Accord”) is deeply saddened and would like to express its sorrow at this latest tragedy in the garment manufacturing industry in Bangladesh. The Accord sends its deepest condolences to the bereaved families. This fire, once again, underlines the urgent need for comprehensive and in-depth improvements to the working conditions and safety of garment workers in Bangladesh.
The Accord is a groundbreaking initiative through which signatory brands have agreed to inspect its covered factories and ensure that financial resources are available for repair and remediation where needed. Almost 100 global brands and retailers have signed the Accord, together with global unions UNI Global Union and IndustriALL.
The Accord recently published its list of nearly 1600 factories which are covered under its provisions. Some in the press have questioned why Aswad Composite Mills in Gazipur (as opposed to the factory with the same name located in Ashulia) does not appear on the list. This is because this factory is primarily a fabric mill.
MORE AND OTHER NEWS:
* Workers’ unrest and our economy:
The prevailing workers’ unrest in the garments sector located at Savar, Ashulia, Gazipur, Narayanganj and Chittagong indicates that the scenario may turn even grimmer.
Whenever any party announces hartal or blockade programmes, labour unrest breaks out countrywide. If any rumor spreads in business hubs that any factory worker is killed or committed suicide inside a garments unit or cracks are found on the wall of a building, all factory workers gather on the streets in no time without any permission of the garments authorities.
It has become their habit that they vandalise vehicles, torch vheciles, march and chant slogans on the streets for their demand.
It is important to notice that in this situation some culprits and hooligans join the workers and allure them for more vandalism as instigators.
The repetition of these incidents destroys our economy.
The following demands of the workers must be clear:
1. Upgrading the wages of the workers according to latest wage board.
2. Giving full security inside the factory.
3. Arranging tiffin for workers.
4. Creation of improved working environment.
5. Ensuring maternity leave as per Domestic Labour Law 2006.
6. Distributing a portion of gross profit to workers annually.
7. Evaluating them on the basis of their performance every year.
8. Arranging a health care centre for garments unit.
9. Facilities for entertainment.
10. Ensuring extra benefit to workers who are seriously injured or die in accidents or natural deaths on duty.
11. Workers should be enlisted for group insurance as per rules.
The garments owners must fulfil their demands so that they refrain from any destructive attitude and activity. BGMEA should closely monitor and prevail upon garments authorities in goading them to concede to the workers’ demands.
The government should take initiatives to pursue foreign buyer (investors) to pay higher prices for garments. If foreign buyers can increase the price of garments, garments owner pay more wages to workers. If the parties involved are conscious in this regard, all garments unit will be safe from any turmoil and subsequently stability will prevail in this sector.
Indesore Sweater Ltd.
* Work together to protect garments sector, PM urges owners, workers:
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today urged garment owners, manufacturers and workers to work together to protect the garment sector from the conspiracy.
“Garment owners and workers have to maintain good relations. You have to look into the advantage and disadvantages of each others. The government is always ready to provide you all necessary support,” she said.
Inaugurating this year’s Bangladesh Textile Exposition (Batexpo- 2013), the Prime Minister also assured the garment owners of considering their demands for reducing the Fee on Board (FOB), bank interest rate and provide tax facility for the industries in new garment village in Munshiganj.
She said, newly constituted wage board for wage hike of the garment workers is working. “We hope that the board would give its recommendation soon. Then we will take final decision about the amount of wage hike,” she said.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
& read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* Bangladesh still a top choice for garment buyers:
Participants in Batexpo say factory disasters did not impact orders
Despite frequent factory disasters, Bangladesh remains the favourite of international garment retailers mainly due to the competitive prices the country offers, participants in a textile show said yesterday.
Now Bangladesh is considered an alternative to China, the largest apparel exporter worldwide, as the prices of garment products in the Asian giant have gone up due to higher cost of production and a shortage of workers, they said.
“We have no shortage of orders,” said Mohammad Delwar Hossain, a senior marketing officer of Beximco Textiles, a leading garment maker, at a pavilion at the 24th Batexpo at Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka.
* RMG factory comes to a close:
Owner points finger at trade union
Yasser Yousuf Khan is now struggling to pay the salaries of around 550 workers in his factory, Rebecca Fashions Ltd — unit 2.
It is a tricky business as he has to sell his personal car even to clear the dues tagged with his factory at Kafrul in Dhaka.
With his total bank liability crossing Tk 16 crore, it is a pity he has to stop operations and comply with the demands of his union leaders.
“I don’t know what to do now. I am in peril. Even I don’t take any unknown phone call as some workers threaten me for withdrawing the case from the police station,” Khan told The Daily Star.
Khan is the managing director of the factory that was closed down on the 15th of September. “My family and I are totally shattered as we are in a big financial mess.”
He started the factory in September 2010, investing around Tk 2.5 crore from the savings of his father, who is a retired pilot of Biman Bangladesh Airlines.
“We had no way but to close the factory as the workers are constantly threatening us with trade unionism,” Khan said.
* Pressure grows on apparel sector for compliance:
Garment entrepreneurs should make their factories eco-friendly and compliant not only to restore the industry’s shattered image but also to ensure a working condition that respects workers’ rights and saves lives.
The call came at a seminar — Eco-friendly and compliant factory: a pre-condition for future business — at Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka yesterday.
Srinivas Reddy, country director of International Labour Organisation (ILO), said manufacturers should not see the issue of labour compliance as a cost issue.
“Rather, they should look at it as an investment that pays back later, increases productivity and saves lives.”He also reminded brands about their roles so that their sourcing practices do not lead to non-compliance in the country. “They need to promote compliance.”
Reddy said since the collapse of Rana Plaza there has been an unprecedented amount of commitments from local and global partners for improving labour standards and factory conditions in Bangladesh.
“The matter of coordination of actions then becomes a challenge,” he said, while calling for development of sustainable partnership among all stakeholders. Reddy assured that ILO stands ready to help Bangladesh solve the challenges the country is now facing.
* Better safety and transparency in the RMG sector:
Bangladesh has to remain globally competitive in the sector; otherwise our entire economy will suffer if foreign buyers distance themselves from our brand
In order for the RMG sector to prosper and grow, apparel manufacturers of Bangladesh must clean up their act by increasing transparency and improving their safety conditions.
Bangladesh has had an unfortunate track record regarding safety in the RMG industry. The appalling tragedy of the Rana Plaza factory collapse and a succession of garment factory fires have brought Bangladesh’s safety conditions under scrutiny worldwide.
While some businesses may be eager to cut corners regarding safety in order to reduce overhead costs, bad safety conditions are hurting the very brand of Bangladeshi clothing and will be detrimental to us in the long run.
Bangladesh has to remain globally competitive in the sector; otherwise our entire economy will suffer if foreign buyers distance themselves from our brand as it takes a beating from the world media.
* Crisis, RMG image push economy to volatility: WB:
Impending political transition and damaged image of apparel industry are pushing the Bangladesh economy into a volatile phase, the World Bank said in its latest report on South Asian nations on Wednesday.
It said that the ongoing political uncertainty and infrastructure deficits would put negative impact on investment in the country.
The report styled ‘South Asia Economic Focus—A Wake-Up Call’ was released at the International Monetary Fund headquarters in Washington DC.
World Bank’s South Asia external affairs senior manager Alexander Ferguson and its South Asia region chief economist Martin Rama, among others, attended the programme.
Focusing on weakness of South Asian economies, the report said, ‘Global capital rebalancing has highlighted structural weakness and vulnerability in South Asia, acting as a wake-up call for policy makers.’
* Labour leaders contest WB outlook on RMG:
Labour leaders on Thursday doubted the World Bank’s latest observation on Bangladesh’s apparel sector while trade experts and businessmen gave cautious reactions.
The World Bank in its latest report released on Wednesday in Washington DC said that impending political transition and damaged image of the apparel sector due to recurring accidents were leading Bangladesh’s economy to uncertainty.
The apparel exports accounted around 80 per cent of the country’s $27.05 billion export earnings in the last fiscal.
The sector may become a $36-$42 billion revenue earner by 2020 if it can prevent the recurrence of the horrors seen in the Tazreen Fashions and Rana Plaza disasters, said the report titled the ‘South Asia Economic Focus—A Wake-Up Call.’
The report said that safety concern might prompt the international buyers to cut their reliance on Bangladesh, or even abandon the country altogether.
* BGMEA demands cut in lending rates:
PM assures BGMEA of reducing the FOB duty
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association (BGMEA) received the prime minister’s assurance of cutting freight on board (FOB) duty on the RMG capital machinery import and banks’ lending rates.
While speaking at the inauguration of Batexpo in Dhaka On Thursday, BGMEA president demanded the government reduce the FOB duty to 0.25% from 0.80% and the lending rates to a “rational level.”
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE
* Victims’ relatives still waiting for compensation:
Ful Mala, mother of Rikta Akter who died when Rana Plaza collapsed on April 24 in Savar, is yet to get any compensation due to wrong information.
Rikta, 18, was a swing operator at Ether Tex in the nine-storey building and was the only earning member of her family.
The family members took her body two days after the disaster and gave their address to the authorities concerned.
Mala claimed that the authorities registered their district Dinajpur instead of Manikganj.
Mala told The Daily Star yesterday that she had been suffering for around six months due to the wrong information which was not her fault.
She said this while visiting the Rana Plaza site.
Mala said her village was Purba Vakum in Singair upazila in Manikganj district.
She had got only Tk 20,000 to bury her daughter’s body. She said, “I’m leading an inhuman life.”
Like her many relatives of Rana Plaza victims, including Hanufa Begum, wife of Abdul Gani; Shahida Begum, mother of Shanta Akter, are still waiting for compensation.
20:27:18 local time INDIA
* Seven children rescued from cotton fields:
Officials raided cotton fields engaging child workers on Thursday, and rescued seven children, including four girls, who were less than 14 years of age, in Thalavasal block of Salem district.
A team comprising P.V. Viswanathan, Project Officer, Integrated Child Protection Programme, P. Balamurugan, Child Protection Consultant, UNICEF and officials from Department of Labour, Education, Revenue, Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of the rural police and representatives from child protection organisations inspected cotton fields in Navakurichi, Navalur, Vengalur, Varagur and Siruvachur in Thalavasal block.
Four girls and three boys, all hailing from Karumandurai in Salem district and from Vellimalai in Villupuram district respectively were found engaged in cross-pollination works for the past 10 days.
Enquiries revealed that most of them were Class V dropouts and a few had completed only Class II. They were engaged in some work or the other for the past two to four years in various districts across the State.
The children also said their parents were paid an advance amount from Rs. 1,500 to Rs. 3,000 and they were employed for a daily wage between Rs. 160 and Rs. 200.
A doctor from the Primary Health Centre in Siruvachur conducted age tests on the seven and confirmed that they were less than 14-years of age. They were lodged at Government and NGO run homes and their parents were informed.
* 35 trafficked boys rescued:
A joint team of the Delhi Police and non-government organisation Bachpan Bachao Andolan has rescued 35 boys, who had been trafficked to the city and were being made to work at garment factories in Gandhi Nagar in North-East Delhi.
The boys, aged between seven and 14 years, had been trafficked from Bihar, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh to work at the factories for meagre wages.
“They were forced to work for 10 to 12 hours a day on weekly wage ranging from Rs.50 to Rs.100. One the told us that his father had pledged his land for his sister’s wedding. About six months ago, his uncle forced his father to send him here on the pretext that he would earn Rs.5,000 to Rs.6,000 per month,” said an NGO representative.
The team conducted raids at 11 factories and arrested nine employers.
* “Law does not give us food and shelter’’ :
It was hardly an easy mission for officials during the four-hour child labour rescue operation in various cotton fields in the Thalaivasal block as they faced a stiff opposition from farmers who had heated exchanges with them on Thursday.
When the team of 15-plus officials spotted child workers engaged in cross-pollination work in fields, the farmers claimed that they were very well aware of child protection laws and the stringent punishment for employing them.
“Non-availability of workers in local villages has forced us to bring children from other districts, who are from downtrodden families’’, they claimed.
They said that the highly labour-intensive work needed to be continuously carried out for 45 days without a break and locals were not ready for the work, even if paid well.
The children were paid well and taken care of as if they are members of their families, they observed.
“Show us labourers and we will stop employing child workers’’, said the angry farmers in one voice.
They also protested the officials’ move to take away the girl children, saying that they had assured the girls’ families of the children’s safety.
When the officials found a 13-year-old girl working in a land, her parents claimed that they were the land owners and she had the right to work in the field.
“The law does not give me food and shelter. Only if we work, we get food’’, said the farmer.
It took 20 minutes for officials to explain the importance of education, the government’s assistance and the law. Finally, the girl, who is studying in Class VIII, was seen entering the school.
* Invisibile home-based women workers:
Shagufta, 35, lives at Turkman Gate, Old Delhi. She spends over six hours a day hemming women’s salwar suits and is paid Rs 2 a piece.
She manages to hem 10-12 pieces a day, earning Rs 25-30. Durgawati, 52, a widow, lives in Sultanpuri in west Delhi. She stitches designs on leather slippers for men, and manages to do 25 a day in 10-12 hours, earning about Rs 15-20 a day.
What these women earn each day is not enough to buy them half a kg of onion, which retails at Rs 70-80 a kg in Delhi.
Thousands of home-based workers in the country operate under exploitative working conditions — here, caste, creed, religion and age are no bar. This invisible category of woman workers forms a chunk of the unorganised labour sector.
They have no fixed work hours (they vary from 5-12 hours/day), no benefits or social security.
* Pension sought for weavers:
State Handloom Minister Sarojini Hembram has demanded pension for weavers in the State.
Ms Hembram while addressing convention of Handloom Ministers at New Delhi said, “the State is known by fine works of weavers worldwide.
A pension scheme will go a long way in sustaining their economic and social development.”
* Rs.1,000-crore textile package for Karnataka:
he central government Wednesday granted Rs.1,000 crore as a special textile package to Karnataka for the revival of nine spinning mills and converting cooperative loans given to beneficiaries into equity shares.
“Of the total amount, Rs.10 crore will be paid towards dues raised from state run banks to build the integrated textile park at Doddaballapur near Bangalore and to set up textile parks and skill development centres across the state,” said state Textiles, Ports and Inland Water Transports Minister Baburao Chinchansoor in a statement from New Delhi.
The minister participated in a day-long conference of state textile ministers in the national capital Wednesday.”A part of the grant will be used to increase minimum wage for poor weavers, pay arrears of incentives and subsidies to investors,” Chinchansoor said.
* Andhra cyclone effect: Cotton prices may rise:
As crop damage is feared in AP with heavy rains expected due to cyclone ‘Phailin’
Cotton prices are likely to firm up in coming days over fears of crop damage in third largest cotton producing state of Andhra Pradesh due to affect of cyclone ‘Phailin’ that has intensified in the Bay of Bengal.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted very severe cyclonic storm to hit Odisha and Andhra Pradesh by October 12. The wind speed is likely to be 175-185 kilometers per hour.
After the political turmoil over formation of Telangana state, the cyclonic storm is feared to damage standing cotton crop in the state. Andhra Pradesh is the third largest cotton producing state in the country with a production of around 7-7.2 million bales of cotton in 2012-13 (provisional).
19:57:18 local time PAKISTAN
* Workplace security: Workers protest after colleague’s death:
Scores of power loom workers on Thursday staged a demonstration after one of their colleagues died from an electric shock at work. They later dispersed after a settlement between the factory owner and the heirs of the deceased.
The protesters, all workers of a factory in Qadirabad Chowk in Ghulam Muhammadabad, had stopped working after the incident. They gathered in front of the factory and chanted slogans against the factory owner for not maintain the machines.
The deceased, Basharat Ali, was a father of three. Protesters said he was working with a machine, when he received the shock and fainted. He died before he was taken to a hospital.
The protesters said the factory owner had not installed circuit breakers that had increased the risk of electric shocks. They demanded that the police arrest the factory owner. Qaisar Babar Cheema, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz labour wing district president, also joined the protest. The Ghulam Muhammadabad station house officer visited the scene. He assured the protesters that action would be taken if the owner was found responsible.
* Minister urges labourers’ registration:
The provincial minister for labour and manpower urged the Sahiwal industrialists on Wednesday to get registered their labourers with Social Welfare Department so that Pakistan stood as a labour-friendly country among the international community.
At a meeting with Sahiwal Chamber of Commerce and Industry officials, minister Raja Ashfaque Sarwar said only registered labourers were entitled for death grants, marriage grants and social security cards.
The minister said his department would upgrade the Sahiwal Social Security hospital into a 30-bed hospital if industrialists provided data on labourers with the Labour Department.
* Shutdown impact: US stops offering GSP scheme to exporters:
US Consul General in Karachi Michael J Dodman has said the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) scheme has been put on hold for the time being because of the federal government shutdown in Washington but it will be restored soon and Pakistan is most likely to benefit from the facility.
Speaking to businessmen at the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Thursday, Dodman said his government was working on various issues pointed out by trade associations and these needed to be addressed with a view to making Pakistan, particularly the city of Karachi, an attractive place for foreign investors.
* Uniform ST rate on fabrics criticised:
The value-added textile sector is critical of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) for imposing three per cent uniform rate of sales tax on all fabrics.
No distinction has been made between finished and raw fabric.
In a joint statement on Wednesday, the leaders of value- added textile sector said for domestic consumption they may endure three per cent sales tax.
However, sales tax should be two per cent on finished fabric meant for export of garments.
read more. & read more.
19:57:18 local time UZBEKISTAN
* Samarkand doctors ill from picking cotton:
Doctors who were sent to pick cotton from the central hospital “Bogi Usmon” of the Urgutsk area, Samarkand region, have come down with influenza.
The entire staff of the Urgutsk central hospital—about 500 people all together—are picking cotton.
They take turns going for 15 day-long trips to the farm “Khonkishlok” in the Pastargomsk area of Samarkand region.
The only way to be excused from going to pick cotton even if you are sick, according to one hospital nurse is to pay a bribe—totaling about 200 thousand sum (about 74 US dollars)—to the head doctor of the hospital Mr. Azizov.
Every day doctors must pick a minimum of 60 kilograms of cotton. The field where they work is four to five kilometers from where they are staying, which takes about two hours to walk.
According to the nurse, a group of doctors caught the flu, but their minders do not care and keep forcing them out into the fields, demanding they complete the daily quota.