in the news on-line, 12-14 Oct. 2013

 08:45:17 local time map of mongolia MONGOLIA

* Organizations failing to increase their minimum monthly wage to face legal action:

An ordinance to increase the minimum monthly wage by 36.7 percent to 192,000 MNT went into effect on September 1, 2013, as part of the Trilateral National Committee on Labor and Social Consensus (TNCLSC). However, most public and private companies haven’t increased their wages until now.

In response, Chief of the Education and Science Trade Union of the Mongolian Confederation of Trade Unions, J.Batzorig, said, “Each and every company operating in Mongolian territory is obligated to obey the ordinance. If the ordinance is not obeyed, they will face legal action from the Agency for Fair Competition and Consumer Rights, as the ordinance is applied to both public and private sector companies. It is impossible for private companies to refuse to increase the wage.”
to read.

07:45:17 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Finance ministry confirms no salary cuts next year:

Although state budget revenues for this year may be lower than the estimate, monthly minimum wage for 2014 will be maintained at VND1.15 million (USD54.43), one official said.

Deputy Minister of Finance, Vu Thi Mai, made the confirmation at the ministry’s third quarter press conference on October 10.
According to the ministry’s report, state budget revenues in September reached VND52.8 trillion (USD2.5 billion), up 5.4% from the previous month.
read more.

* Vietnam To Import 600,000 Tonnes Of Cotton In 2013:

Vietnam will import an estimated 580,000-600,000 tonnes of cotton this year, up by nearly 15 percent from last year’s figure, Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported.

In the first nine months of the year, cotton import reached nearly 430,000 tonnes, worth US$864 million, a year-on-year increase of 35 percent.
The Vietnam Cotton and Spinning Association attributed the increase in cotton import to rising demand for cotton fibers of domestic garment and textile firms.
Last year, Vietnam purchased 420,000 tonnes of cotton from abroad, compared to only 150,000 tonnes in 2005, putting the country in the world’s top five cotton importers.
The United States, India, Australia, Brazil, Ivory Coast, Pakistan, China and Indonesia are major cotton suppliers for Vietnam. Among them, the US makes up 43.5 percent of the nation’s total cotton import.
to read.

* Vietnam garment exports rise 18% in Jan-Sept’13:

The exports of garments and textiles from Vietnam increased by 18 percent year-on-year in the first nine months of the current year to US$ 13.154 billion, according to data from the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Of this, the exports of fabric were worth US$ 538 million, up 6.3 percent year-on-year.
The US continued to be the largest importer of Vietnamese apparel and it accounted for 49 percent of all Vietnamese garment and textile exports from January to September this year.
read more.

* Footwear exports forecast to increase sharply in Q4:

Vietnam’s footwear exports are expected to increase significantly from the fourth quarter of the year because of importers’ shifting orders from other markets.

According to the Ministry of Trade and Industry, importers will move their orders from countries such as China to make the most of Vietnam’s low labour costs and lower import taxes from the EU by 2014.
read more.

07:45:17 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Govt signs MoU to support landmark labour law:

The government has signed a memorandum of understanding with a network of labour groups involving two key International Labour Organisation conventions, which could lead to landmark changes in Thailand’s labour law guaranteeing workers – including migrants – certain legal rights and conditions.

It’s something authorities have long tried to avoid due to concerns about how the new status of migrant workers could affect national security.

Key concerns of ILO Conventions 87 and 98 centre on the fact that under ILO-enabled protections, migrant workers would be entitled to expect certain labour conditions of their employers – similar to Thais. Government workers, such as soldiers and police, would also be granted certain rights as employees under the conventions, which some critics believe could lead to problems of discipline and insubordination.

Marking the “World Day of Decent Work” on October 7, a group of labour reps gathered outside Government House and submitted a request to Deputy PM Pracha Promnog, asking the government to ratify ILO Conventions 87 and 98. They later met the National Security Council (NSC), the only agency still opposed to the move by labourers, to submit a further request.
read more.

07:45:17 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Labour Ministry told to keep SL talks alive:

In a letter sent to the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training last week, the Council of Ministers encourages the ministry to facilitate talks between garment factory management and the union representing thousands of workers on strike for nearly two months.

The letter, written by Council of Ministers undersecretary Khun Chinken, instructed Ministry of Labour officials not to pursue legal complaints against C.CAWDU, which represents striking workers at SL Garment Processing.
The C.CAWDU-led strike has twice been deemed illegal by Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

“Keep meeting to find a resolution between both parties,” the letter reads. “Suspend all court procedures, and strongly encourage SL management to participate in negotiations and cooperate.”
Although the government has mediated several failed talks between C.CAWDU and SL management since about 6,000 workers began walking off the job almost two months ago, Kong Athit, the union’s vice-president, is cautiously optimistic.
read more.
PPP new

* Violent aftermath of Cambodian strike:

A strike among garment workers in Cambodia following demands for a monthly pay rise of US$14 sparked mass dismissals and arrests in June. The imprisoned workers are still in jail, waiting for charges to be filed against them.

In June, one of IndustriALL Global Union’s affiliated garment worker trade unions in Cambodia, the FTUWKC, suffered a serious backlash for striking in demand of a US$14 monthly pay increase.
415 workers identified by the management as participating in the strike were sacked. The workers at the Sabrina factory in Kampong Speu province, west of the capital Phnom Penh produce for Nike, Wilson Sports Apparel and Lululemon Athletica.

Arrest warrants were subsequently issued for 16 workers, identified by management as instrumental in the trade union campaign. Eight workers went into hiding, and the other eight were imprisoned. Today, four months later, charges have still not been filed against them and they remain in the same prison cell.
read more.

 08:45:17 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Indonesia Seeks to Get Back Its Manufacturing Mojo:

Worker holds part of a pair of trousers at PT Trisula Garmindo Manufacturing in Bandung
A worker holds part of a pair of trousers at Trisula Garmindo Manufacturing in Bandung, West Java province September 17, 2013. (Reuters Photo/Beawiharta)

Bandung. In Trisula International’s hangar-sized factory outside the western Indonesian city of Bandung, hundreds of workers stitch together clothes for some of the world’s top brands.

Amid the clatter and hum of their machines are hopes for a renaissance that can restore Indonesia’s place among Asia’s big manufacturing economies, a status it lost in the mid-1990s.
As Southeast Asia’s biggest economy slows, its current-account deficit widens, and its rupiah currency tumbles, policymakers are hoping factories like this will emerge as a new export engine.

But this year, Trisula, whose clients include German luxury-clothing maker Hugo Boss AG, shelved plans to buy machinery to lift production by 25 percent, fearing a margin squeeze from higher wages.
“A lot of people aren’t expanding in a big way because they are concerned about the rising wages,” said Lalit Matai, director of marketing at Trisula
The company’s struggle to grow, as workers demand more pay, reflects a broader challenge as Indonesia tries to wean itself off the boom-to-bust cycle of commodity prices.
read more.

* Labor, policy issues loom large over Batam:

The National Economic Committee (KEN) says quick changes in government policy triggering high costs and labor issues are threatening the manufacturing industry in Batam, Riau Islands.

“I met a lot of owners of holding companies in the manufacturing industry that supply components to major companies. To them, Indonesia is important, but we have the issue of uncertainty,” said KEN member Umar Juoro.
“Batam’s weakness is more on domestic issues. Batam is far superior in several matters compared to Penang in Malaysia or Vietnam, but when it comes to regulations and labor issues, Batam can’t compete.”

He was speaking on the sidelines of a press conference with the Bank Indonesia Supervisory Agency (BSBI), Bank Indonesia (BI) and the House of Representatives’ Commission XI overseeing finance, recently.
According to Umar, to improve the situation, the government should take immediate measures and apply a new and feasible model. Regarding manpower, intense negotiations should be carried out between trade unions and employers when considering wage increases, by putting inflation and productivity under consideration.
read more.

* India raises concern over Indonesian textile import policy:

India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma raised the issue of restrictive regime on imports of textiles, during a meeting with Indonesian Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan. Mr. Sharma was accompanying Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on his two-day visit to Indonesia.
In response to Mr. Sharma’s raising the issue, “The Indonesian Minister assured a constructive review of its policy,” an official statement said.
Last year, the Indonesian Ministry of Trade issued new regulations aimed at achieving greater supervision of imports, attracting more investments and fastening industrial development in the country.
read more.

* BetterWork Indonesia Media Updates:

1. Govt Formulates Rule on Labor-Intensive Wage. Read the full article here.
2. As Signing the Inpres, The President Wanted The Minimum Wages To Be Based On KHL, Productivity And Economic Growth. Read the full article here.
3. KSPI: Government pave ways to cheap wage policy.
Read the full article here (Article is in Bahasa Indonesia)
Read the Google Translate English Version here
4. Improvement of Occupational Safety in Indonesia have to be taken seriously. Read the full article here (Article is in Bahasa Indonesia)
Read the Google Translate English Version here
5. North Jakarta Court decline to proceed on 2 Billion rupiah Law suit case against workers. Read the full article here (Article is in Bahasa Indonesia)
Read the Google Translate English Version here.
6. Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration opens Disability Job Fair in Kemayoran. Read the full article here (Article is in Bahasa Indonesia)
Read the Google Translate English Version here
7. Positive economic outlook in 2014.  Read the full article here.

BetterWork Indonesia overview Media Updates here.
BW indonesia

07:15:17 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

* Minimum wage discussions to prioritize industrial laborers:

20131012 MIZZIMA
Garment workers in Yangon. Photo:

U Myoe Aung, Director General of the Labor Department under the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security, stated on 10 October that discussions on revising the minimum wage would focus primarily on those who work in the industrial sector.

“We will first specify new minimum wage terms for those working in the manufacturing division, as this sector contains many foreign investments and these businesses employ more workers than other sectors,” he said.
The announcement was made at a meeting between delegates from the Labor Department under the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security and associated labor representatives and was held at the Pin-Lone Hall in North Dagon, Yangon.

Participants in the meeting examined the results of arecent survey conducted as part of the Yangon Division for Minimum Wage’s research scheme. This survey collected information on workers’ daily living expenses, proposed salaries and current salaries.
read more.

* Govt to collect survey for workers’ wage scale:

In order to establish the wage scale of Myanmar workers, a survey will be carried out, according to Director-General Myo Aung of Ministry of Employment, Labor and social Welfare.

“At present, the first phase for defining the lowest wage has been completed. Therefore, we have planned to do surveying as a second phase. I think it will take a lot of time so I have no idea when we are able to set the date of the lowest wage of workers,” said Director -General Myo Aung of the Ministry.

At the moment, to be able to define the lowest wage of workers, reliable facts and figure are needed. Like international standard, it is needed to think of the facts on expenditure spent by per person per year, the number of families in the entire nation, number of people working in a family, the price lists of products and services, the gross domestic products of the Country, the amount of salary given by the employers, and so on.
But in Myanmar, the facts such as the number of people working in a family, Gross Domestic Products (GDP), and the salary amount given by the employers are not collected, it is noted.
to read.

* Weaving a Future for Sone-Tu Textiles:

t’s a long way from the ethnic Chin villages of southern Rakhine State to museums and private collections around the world, but somehow, the traditional weaving of the Sone-Tu has made that journey—and it has done so almost by accident.

“It came out of frustration,” explains Mai Ni Ni Aung, the director of Sone-Tu Backstrap Weavings, a project that has won international recognition for its efforts to preserve the traditional weaving techniques and patterns of the Sone-Tu, a Chin sub-group famed for its indigenous textiles.

It all began in the summer of 2002, when Mai Ni Ni Aung, who is herself a Sone-Tu Chin, was working with a team documenting the oral history, rituals and customs of the ethnic group. They wanted to film the shamans who were their local interlocutors in their traditional dress, but found to their surprise that there wasn’t a single item of Sone-Tu clothing to be found in the entire village.

“I was shocked,” recalls Mai Ni Ni Aung. “Imagine not being able to find Chin dress in a Chin village!”
This experience led her to ask why Sone-Tu textiles appeared to be dying out among the people who made them, and what she could do to reverse this situation.
The answer to the first question was fairly obvious: Poverty had forced many local people to sell their hand-woven clothing to outsiders attracted by its high quality, durability and sophisticated weaving patterns. In its place, the Sone-Tu started wearing cheap, mass-manufactured clothing devoid of any cultural value.
read more.

06:45:17 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* I got hired at a Bangladesh sweatshop. Meet my 9-year-old boss:

Meem, 9, works 12-hour shifts at a factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh. She dreams of becoming a sewing operator, buying more hair clips and helping her family.

Some days are good for Meem, others she likes to forget as quickly as possible.
The first time I saw Meem, which was also my first day at work at a sweatshop, she was having a good day despite the wretched heat. She sat cross-legged on the concrete floor, a tiny, frail figure among piles of collars, cuffs and other parts of unstitched shirts.

She had a pair of cutters in her hands, much like eyebrow tweezers, and she was trimming threads from a navy collar. She cleared one collar after another of threads until the big pile, which had been bigger than her, was no more. It took her all morning and she didn’t look up much, did not join any conversation. When it was done, she took a few gulps of water from a scrunched bottle, walked around for a bit, her little hands rubbing her back, and went back to trimming threads — this time, from navy cuffs.
read & see more ((video). & read more.  & to read.

20131011 * Hosiery factory gutted by Gaibandha fire:

A hosiery factory was gutted by a fire that broke out at Bongram village in Gobindaganj upazila on Friday.

Locals said the fire originated at a go-down of the factory at noon and soon it engulfed the whole factory.
On information, a firefighting unit from Sonatala upazila headquarters of Bogra district rushed to the spot and doused the blaze after an hour of frantic efforts with the help of locals.
At least seven people were also injured while extinguishing the blaze.
The fire might be originated from a cigarette butt, said the sources.
Factory owner Sahadul worked out the extent of loss caused by the fire at Tk 50 lakh.
to read. & to read.
UNB BD new age

* 305 RMG factories sued for insufficient fire safety so far:

Official inspection teams have filed cases against 53 more readymade garment (RMG) units in September mainly for insufficient safety measures especially fire-related issues, sources said.

They also asked for improvement of the conditions in more than 1,500 factories. But re-inspection in those factories had hardly been done due to absence of required manpower.
They also said the cases filed against the units have yielded no positive results as non-compliant factory owners have gone scot free. At the same time, the provision of punishment is poor.The highest fine was Tk 5,000 but it has been increased to Tk 25,000 in the recently-amended labour law, they said adding the fine is still low.

Following the two recent devastating fire incidents at Tazreen Fashions Ltd and the Smart Export Garment Ltd that took about 119 workers’ lives, the Ministry of Labour and Employment formed 23 special inspection teams. There were 20 teams for Dhaka and three for Chittagong to oversee the safety-related issues especially fire and electrical ones.
read more.

* Bangladesh garment industry remains unsafe:

CBC airs ‘Made in Bangladesh’ documentary

Dangerous working conditions remain widespread in the Bangladesh garment industry, an investigation by the CBC’s fifth estate has found. The industry continues to supply major retailers in Canada such as Loblaw and Wal-Mart, despite commitments by the companies to make improvements.

Those promises were made after more than 1,100 garment workers were killed in the collapse of the Rana Plaza building last April.
Loblaw’s own shipping records reveal hundreds of thousands of garments were made at the site before the deadly collapse, and then sold in Canada after the tragedy.
“Everybody is doing this. They all squeezed me. But Joe Fresh was a very good customer. Their policy was just ship it on time,” he told the fifth estate.

‘Go in or get fired’
The program also tracked down a young survivor of the collapse of Rana Plaza, 15-year-old Aruti, who made clothes for Joe Fresh.
Aruti was trapped in the rubble for three days, pinned under two dead bodies; she eventually lost her leg. Her mother, who also worked at Rana Plaza, was killed.
Aruti recognized Joe Fresh shorts Kelley had brought from Canada, saying her job was to sew pocket seams on them.  She said she would turn out about 150 garments an hour during a 12-hour shift, seven days a week.

Loblaw responds
After Rana Plaza collapsed, Loblaw chairman Galen Weston told a media conference, “I’m troubled that despite a clear commitment to the highest standards of ethical sourcing, our company can still be a part of such unspeakable tragedy.”
Wal-Mart bans factory but still buys its clothes
The investigation also found that another major Canadian retailer, Wal-Mart, was still getting clothes from a factory that they had found did not meet their standards.
Wal-Mart publishes a list of factories in Bangladesh that have failed the company’s audits.
read more. & read more.

* Woes of Kushtia textile mills workers rise:

At least five hundred labours of Kushtia Textile Mills have been leading sub-human life in the district for the last four years. Some of the labours committed suicide due to abject poverty.

The poor labours of the Mills have been passing their days in great hardship. A total of Tk twelve crore had been out standing in the Mills for the last four years. According to sources, the Mills was constructed in 1967 at Shawtipur village under Sadar upazila in a private initiative. The area of the Mill is 142 bighas of land. The establishment incurred a huge profit as the quality of the yarn was very high. The labours were happy in the Mills.
Under the policy of the then government the Mills was nationalized for the interest of the country in 1973. The financial condition of the Mills started losing right after nationalization of the Mills due to mismanagement, nepotism, indiscipline and corruption.
In the interest of labours the government had changed the policy of the Mills.
The government returned half of the share of the total share to its owner Afiluddin. Afterwards, the management failed to restore better performance of the Mills. The management tried their best to take it into a profitable position with their sincere effort but the management was not able to run the Mills properly for fund crisis.
As a result the regular basis salaries of the labours had been irregular in the Mills.
read more.

* Steps against unregistered, illegal boilers soon:

The office of the Chief Inspector of Boilers under industries ministry will take punitive steps soon against unregistered and illegal boilers across the country, official sources said.

“We are reminding the owners of unregistered boilers through letters and e-mails to renew their boiler registrations. If anyone does not comply with our requests in this connection, the office will take harsh steps against them under the existing laws,” Deputy Secretary and Chief Inspector of Boilers Md. Zulfikar Ali Haidary told the FE Wednesday.

The number of registration, renewal and revenue earning from boilers have been increasing gradually this fiscal, he added.
Renewal of boiler licences had dropped in the country by about 6 per cent to 3668 in the last fiscal year (FY) from 3900 in the previous fiscal, according to the ministry.
read more.

* RCC backs EU, N American safety accord on BD’s RMG:

Retail Council of Canada (RCC) has accorded its recognition and expressed support to both the European accord and the North American alliance for the challenge taken by the global brands and retailers to improve safety and rights of garment workers in Bangladesh.

RCC is a non-profit association that represents more than 45,000 stores of all retail formats, including department, grocery, independent merchants, regional and national specialty chains, and online merchants across Canada.

The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh (AFBSB) and the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety (ABWS) were signed recently by European and North American retailers respectively to improve safety and rights of workers in Bangladesh garment sector.
read more.

* Towards an effective disaster management plan:

After the deadly Rana Plaza tragedy, experts are now saying that there must be a stronger and more coordinated disaster management system in case of future disasters.

Rescue volunteers must be trained and equipped to deal with such incidents in the most efficient manner possible. This is, however, not to undermine the zeal and enthusiasm of the volunteers who had extended all their support, but rather to ensure that disasters are handled efficiently.
The amount of effort that went into making the Rana Plaza rescue operation successful shows how much more effort will be needed in case of a future disaster of a bigger scale.
read more.

* PM: Wage hike to benefit RMG industry:

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina called on the readymade garment manufacturers to increase wages of the workers to benefit the whole industry.

“If owners buy one less suit or tie, nothing will happen to them. But when they give the money to the workers instead, the whole industry will benefit.”
She said the garment owners and workers have to have a good mutual relation to protect the industry from conspirators.
Prime Minister was speaking at the inauguration of the three-day 24th Bangladesh Apparel and Textile Exposition (Batexpo) 2013 at Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka on Thursday.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association (BGMEA) has organised the exposition.
“Hopefully, the minimum wage board will give us their recommendations soon,” said Prime Minister.
read more.

* BGMEA for urgent consensus among political parties:

‘We want to do business, export without any obstacle’

The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) President M Atiqul Islam on Saturday requested the opposition and ruling parties to reach a consensus that helps maintain a sound environment for trade and investment in the country..

“A consensus between ruling and opposition parties is urgently needed. We’re not involved in politics. We want to do business uninterruptedly. We want to export without any obstacles,” Islam said.
read more. & read more. & read more.
UNB newstodayBD daily star bd

* Oct 25 standoff worries RMG manufacturers :

Garment manufacturers expressed deep concern Saturday over the current confrontational politics centring the upcoming parliamentary elections, saying that the international buyers for Bangladeshi apparel products are worried over the political developments here.

They also requested leaders of both ruling and opposition parties not to hold any programme that could put the country’s highest foreign currency earning sector at risk.
read more.

* RMG workers to resume movement after Eid:

20131011 DHAKATRIBUNE RMGGarment workers gather in a meeting at Chandana Chawrasta of Gazipur on Friday afternoon

Garment workers in Gazipur announced Friday they will resume their campaign for an Tk8,000 minimum wage after the Eid holiday.

Sramik Karmachari Federation President Jahirul Islam made the pledge in a meeting held at Chandana Chawrasta to protest the recent deaths in the fire at Aswad Composite in Shreepur and Thursday’s attack on several workers’ leaders including Moshrefa Mishu.
Leaders of different workers’ organisations attended the meeting, which was presided over by Sramik Karmachari Federation President Jahirul Islam.
Jahirul Islam called upon the garments workers to make preparations for the movement.
A rally paraded the main streets of the city after the meeting.
to read.

* Vietnam: a close competitor to Bangladesh RMG:

Vietnamese garment makers are strengthening their foothold in key markets, putting new pressure on the Bangladesh apparel sector.

Competition will further intensify if the United States awards Vietnam the generalised system of preferences (GSP), a trade privilege scheme, as negotiations are currently underway for garment products.
Bangladesh exported nearly $18 billion in the nine months to September, with Vietnam trailing behind. With its robust growth, the Southeast Asian nation exported about $13.15 billion of garments, registering an 18 percent rise year-on-year in the same period.
Vietnam’s garment exports grew 9.98 percent to $14.1 billion in 2012 from $12.82 billion in 2011, according to data from Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Associaiton.
Vietnam is surely a major competitor for Bangladesh in the global readymade garments business as its performance is going strong, said Sadiq Ahmed, vice-chairman of the Policy Research Institute.

“It will be worrisome for Bangladesh if the garment items are included in the GSP scheme for Vietnam,” Ahmed told The Daily Star.
Still, Bangladesh is in an advantageous position compared to Vietnam, thanks to lower labour costs.
read more.
daily star bd

* BD to remain top destination for apparel sourcing: WSJ:

A DhakaTribune file photo of Workers, seen working in a garment factory 

Despite rising international concerns over safety and rights of workers in the country, Bangladesh is likely to remain the top destination for new apparel sourcing over the next five years, said the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) Friday.

“It’s just not easy to quickly shift large volumes (of orders from Bangladesh),” the WSJ, the largest newspaper of the United States, quoted Mr Achim Berg, a principal in the Frankfurt office of consultancy McKinsey & Co, as telling to it.
“For companies that source between half a billion dollars and US$ 1.5 billion of garments a year, there’s no other place (rather then Bangladesh) to move the large volume.”
read more. & read more.

* Many foreign buyers skip this year’s Batexpo(1) – 5.0pc fall in spot orders (2):

Spot orders also fall

A number of factors including upcoming Eid and Puja festivals, prevailing political uncertainty, and growing international concern over factory safety issues have taken a toll on this year’s Batexpo.

Change of its usual schedule was also seen responsible for the less-than-expected level of buyers’ turnover on the just-concluded mega event on Saturday.

Presence of global buyers declined by about 30 to 40 per cent during the event compared to that of last year. Most of the participants expressed their dissatisfaction over the situation. Spot orders also declined this time.
read more.(1) & read more.(2) & read more.
BD new age

* Batexpo ends with gloom:

The 24th Bangladesh Apparel and Textile Exposition-2013 ended on Saturday with spot order falling as global buyers gave the textile exposition the cold shoulder.

Organisers and participants of the three-day event said the turnout of global buyers was thin this year amid political uncertainty and ahead of Durga Puja and Eid-ul-Azha vacations.
‘The turnout of global buyers was thin as they are concerned over the political unrest in the run up to the next general elections in the country,’ Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association vice-president Shahidullah Azim told New Age.
He said they kept this year’s arrangement small, keeping in mind the tragic Rana Plaza incident.
Mohammad Delwar Hossain, a senior marketing officer of Beximco Textiles, said the turnout of visitors in this year’s exposition was low.
read more. & read more.

* Woolworths under pressure to sign accord after fatal Bangladesh factory fire:

Woolworths is again under pressure to sign a voluntary safety accord following another fatal fire at a Bangladesh clothing factory this week.

Target and Big W have confirmed they have sold goods linked to the factory in which at least nine people died, and Woolworths is currently investigating whether it has done the same.
Target has already signed a voluntary safety accord designed to prevent such incidents and Woolworths is promising to sign it.
But Woolworths is being less clear about whether it actually buys garments from Bangladesh, despite telling consumers that it does not.
read more.
ABC au

20131012 * Tazreen’s owner confined:

Angry readymade garment workers confined Managing Director of Tuba Group, Delwar Hossain, in his office demanding wage and bonuses ahead of the Eid-ul-Azha.

He had been seized since 9:00am on Saturday at Badda’s Hossain market by thousand workers.
Officer-in-Charge of Badda Thana Iqbal Hossain confirmed the matter to banglanews.
Workers said they confined Delwar as he was plotting to shut two factories in city’s Badda area in a bid to ignore due wages and bonus of over 1500 workers.
A deadly inferno in Tazreen Fashion Limited had killed over 100 workers last November and Delwar is accused for the incident.
Gulshan Zone’s Assistant Police Commissioner Nur Alam told banglanews that additional police forces were deployed to avert any untoward situation.
to read. & read more. & read more.& read more.
BANGLA NEWS24 bdnews24 BD new age NewNation

20131112 * Tazreen owner ‘confined, freed’ after paying bonus:

They kept Delwar Hossain, managing director and owner of the group, confined inside factory since morning

Several hundred workers of five factories of Tuba Group, of which “Tazreen Fashions” is a sister concern, kept its managing director confined inside a factory in the capital’s Badda on Saturday demanding due wages and Eid bonus.

Delwar Hossain, managing director and owner of the group, was confined since morning and was released around 11:30pm when the authorities started paying the workers’ Eid bonus.
Witnesses said the workers launched angry demonstrations after they had joined work in the morning. Apart from demanding dues and bonus, the workers also protested a decision of selling some machines of the factories.
Police said the workers were not given their wages for the last three months.

“None of the workers joined the workplace as they continued the agitation throughout the day on the factory premises,” said Iqbal Hossain, officer-in-charge of Badda police station.
Asked, he said as the workers staged demonstrations restricting all the entrances, the managing director of Tuba Group could not leave the factory premises.

Earlier in the day, Delwar had said he would not be able to pay the wages and bonus before Eid. But around 10pm, he agreed to pay the bonus.
At least 112 people, mostly women workers, were killed in the deadly fire at Tazreen Fashions in Ashulia on November 24 last year.
to read.

20131014 * Tazreen owner freed after 17hrs:

Garment workers of Tuba Group finally drew out their Eid bonus yesterday after holding the owner, Delwar Hossain, hostage for over 17 hours.

They released Delwar around 2:30am from his office at North Badda’s Hossain Market in the presence of policemen, said Iqbal Hossain, officer-in-charge of Badda Police Station.
Delwar, also owner of Tazreen Fashions Ltd at Ashulia, where 112 workers died in a deadly fire last November, has three garment units in Hossain Market.
He had been held by workers on the third floor and let go after the management of the factories paid off bonuses to their workers.
Law enforcers were present there at that time to prevent any untoward situation.
The authorities closed the garment units around 3:00pm on Friday, a little earlier than usual, saying there was less work for the day, said a worker of Tuba Textile, one of the three factories, wishing anonymity.
“The next morning when we came to work we saw there was no machine on the third and fourth floors.  We heard that the owner had sold the machines,” he said.
read more.
daily star bd

20131013 * Liberty Fashion Workers In Protest! :

Hundreds of workers have gathered around Liberty Fashions Wears in Savar protesting against the management for their unpaid wages.

These wages date back to the month of July 2013 (according to workers requesting anonymity) and were supposed to be paid by the 10th of August 2013; it has not been paid till date – with the festival holidays on their doorsteps, workers demand immediate payment or threaten to increase the magnitude of the protests happening right now in Savar, around Liberty Fashion Wears.

It also must be noted that the wage of the factory staff is due for 3 months beginning from July 2013, while the wage of the workers is due for two months beginning from August 2013.
Their festival bonuses are due as well. With the Bangladeshi Garment Workers being the lowest paid in the world, this denial of payment is tantamount to torture by starvation for workers of a factory which claims to be making for top European brands which constitute 75% of its production, apart from TESCO which pulled out on the 15 June 2013 claiming structural damage of the factory building, but also offering to support the factory and encouraging them to pay the workers their dues.
read more.

20131013 * More RMG unrest in Gazipur over wage:

Workers of two readymade garments factories observed a strike and protest, demanding payment of their wages and bonus, at separate places in Gazipur city on Sunday.

To avoid further deterioration of the situation, the authorities of the factory closed down the factory for the day.
S M Shamsur Rahman, assistant superintendent of Gazipur Industrial police said, at about 8:30am, the workers of Parksin garments factory at Barabari area started striking and protesting inside the factory, demanding EID bonus and threatening abstention from work.
Later, the authorities assured them of payment of bonus by Monday and announced holiday for the day.
Around the same time, the workers of Tex tech Sweater factory at Saydana Malekar Bari started protest demanding 10 days of salary for the current month.
At one state, the agitated workers ransacked glasses and furniture of the factory.
On information, police rushed to the spot and took the situation under control, promising the workers to look into the matter.
A discussion was going on till the filling this report at 2:00pm.
to read. & read more.

20131013 * RMG workers block highway for arrear, bonus:

20131013 UNB RMG-Workers-1
Photo by UNB

Traffic movement on Dhaka-Chittagong highway remained suspended for 40 minutes Sunday morning as workers of a garment factory put barricades in Siddhirganj of Narayanganj demanding arrears and Eid bonus.

Following the blockade, a three-kilometre jam was created on the both sides of the highway, causing immense sufferings to the homebound people ahead of Eid-ul-Azha, reports our correspondent from the spot.
Around 600 workers of Lithe Garment Factory took to the street around 10:30am and blocked the highway at Sanarpar point, demanding Eid bonus and salary that remains pending for two months.
The workers removed the barricades around 11:10am when police rushed to the spot and assured them of settling the issue after a negotiation with the garment authorities.
to read. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
& read more. & read more.
daily star bd BANGLA NEWS24 UNB BDCHRONICLE bdnews24 newstodayBD

* RMG workers abstain from work for salaries, Eid bonuses in Gazipur:

Garment workers of two factories at Barabari and Saydana Maleker Bari in Gazipur city abstained from work yesterday demanding their 10-day salaries of the current month and Eid bonuses.

To avoid any untoward situation, the authorities closed the factories for the day.
SM Samsur Rahman, assistant superintendent of Gazipur Industrial Police, said around 8:30am, the workers of Parksin Garments Ltd at Barabari started the strike.
Later, the authorities assured them of paying their arrears within today.
Demanding their salaries, the workers of the other factory, Tex Tech Sweater Ltd, ransacked the factory.
On information, police rushed to the spot and took the situation under control.
Following a meeting among the Tex Tech authorities, industrial police and the workers around 2:00pm, the authorities paid the workers’ bonuses.
to read. & read more. & read more.
daily star bd BD new age DHAKATRIBUNE

* The RMG industry in ferment:

The last week and a half have witnessed severe disruption in the RMG sector. Apparel workers have been agitating, seeking a minimum monthly salary of around Tk 8,000 (slightly over US$ 100 at current rate of exchange), a figure, slightly higher than our recently evaluated per capita income.

It has been claimed by some labour activists that this enhanced figure would be consistent with the millennium development goals ((MDGs).

The anger of the RMG workers has resulted in the vandalisation of nearly 200 motorised vehicles and partial destruction of more than 15 garment industrial units. They blocked roads, including the important transport corridors of Dhaka-Mymensingh and Dhaka-Aricha highways. This unrest resulted in the closing down of about 160 factories in Dhaka, Gazipur, Savar and Narayanganj.

The owners were worried about possible destruction and arson within their premises and infrastructure. The relevant law and order authorities have tried to contain the violence through the exercise of minimum force but they were not successful always. Despite all their effort, there has been considerable loss in production, which is bound to affect exports and impact on our reliability as a source of RMG product.
read more.

* Why sweatshop owners may start sweating:

20131013 the STAR Daliya_Shikdur
Daliya Shikdur, 20, organized a union earlier this year at the garment factory where she works in Dhaka. She’s since been threatened and followed by men she says were sent by her boss.
Nafeesa Binte Aziz / For the Toronto Star

By day, Daliya Shikdur manned a sewing machine in a local garment factory, her fingers a blur as she stitched the inseams of 130 pairs of jeans every hour.

By night, the elegant 20-year-old, wisps of black hair framing her high cheekbones, prowled the choked streets of Dhaka as a prostitute.
At least that was the story that was spread through the slum of Khanbari, where Shikdur lives alongside 150 other families who survive hand-to-mouth, many of them garment sector workers, rickshaw drivers and small business owners.

Truth was, Shikdur spent most evenings this spring trying to coax her 1,285 co-workers at Natural Apparels Ltd. to sign a union card.
“People said I was a prostitute because they thought there was no other reason a young woman would be out by herself after work,” Shikdur said during a recent evening in her home.
read more.
the STAR 2

* Learning about workers’ rights, through a board game:

At 28, Shahida Bagum is a garment factory veteran. She has worked for New Style Garments Ltd. in Dhaka for five years, stitching and sewing.

Yet even after so much time in the Bangladeshi capital, Bagum had no clue what a union is, or what it does.
But she and other women here are quickly learning the ins and outs of union responsibilities and labour law — through a popular board game.
With the financial support of a German non-profit, the Awaj Foundation a year ago opened a small office in a gritty Dhaka neighbourhood where female factory workers can flock after their shifts.
read more.
the STAR 2

* Clothes on your back: Inside a garment factory:

Toronto Star reporter Raveena Aulakh works undercover in a Bangladesh garment factory for a first hand look at their working conditions.
see video reports.
the STAR 2

20131012 * Govt, tanners sign MoU for tannery relocation Sunday:

The government is expected to sign a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Sunday next with tanners for funding the cost of relocation of tanneries at Savar Tannery Estate from the city’s Hazaribagh area.

The two parties have reached a consensus on the terms and conditions.
The parties are the Bangladesh Finished Leather Leathergoods and Footwear Exporters Association (BFLLFEA), the Bangladesh Tanners Association (BTA) and the government.
read more.

* Tanners expect to collect over 60-65 lakh pieces of rawhides :

Collection of rawhides is expected to be more than 60-65 lakh pieces during Eid-ul-Azha, said tanners.

“Collection of rawhides of sacrificial animals would go up  significantly because of huge supply of animals in the market,”  said Bangladesh Finished Leather, Leather Goods Manufacturers and  Exporters Association (BFLLMEA) President Haji Belal Hossain.

Besides, the tanners have fixed the price of rawhides today.
The price of one square foot of rawhides has been fixed at Tk 85  to 90 for cows for Dhaka district and Tk 75 to 80 for outside of  Dhaka while the prices for buffalo and goat have been fixed at Tk  40-45 and at Tk 50-55, said Belal Hossain.
Last year, BFLLMEA collected over 50 lakh pieces of  rawhides.
read more. & read more. & read more.
BSS BD new age daily star bd

* Leather goods export rising in non-traditional markets:

Export order for leather goods in non-traditional markets is on the rise thanks to shifting of the buyers from China and India to Bangladesh.

Industry insiders said they have been trying to expand their export market and getting good response from the new destinations.
“Demand for Bangladeshi leather goods have been increasing in new destinations”, Belal Hossain, former chairman of Bangladesh Finished Leather, Leather goods & Footwear Exporters’ Association (BFLLFEA) told the FE.
read more.

* Building the future of the leather sector:

In addition to the flight of people leaving town in flocks for their roots in village and bumper-to-bumper traffic jam in the highways, the collection of rawhides also makes headline news on the eve of Eid-ul-Azha.

Total demand for rawhides in the country is about 220 million square feet. Around 60 per cent of them are collected during the Eid-ul-Azha. Therefore, the prospect of the leather sector, which is the fifth largest export sector of the country, is perceived to be strongly linked with Eid-ul-Azha. Some efforts are taken by the government during this time to benefit the sector. However, such isolated efforts so far failed to bring any meaningful result and would continue to fail unless complemented with a number of other efforts.

Leather in Bangladesh is an export-oriented manufacturing sector based on local raw materials like hides and skins. It started in the late 1940s in Narayanganj but eventually moved to Hazaribagh in early 1950s. Today more than 90 per cent of the total tanneries of the country are haphazardly located in a congested area of only 70 acres of land in Hazaribagh.
read more.

* Traders set minimum rawhide price amid ministry threat:

20131013 NEWAGE
A file photo shows a trader processing rawhide in Dhaka. Traders on Saturday set the minimum price of rawhide of the sacrificial animals in the face of a threat from the commerce ministry of lifting the ban on export of the item. — New Age photo

Traders on Saturday set the minimum price of rawhide of the sacrificial animals in the face of a threat from the commerce ministry of lifting the ban on export of the item.

Leather sector leaders at a meeting at the Bangladesh Finished Leather, Leather Goods and Footwear Exporters Association’s office set separate rates for rawhide in Dhaka and adjoining areas and that in other areas.
As per the decision, tanners will buy rawhide of cow at Tk 85-Tk 90 a square feet in Dhaka and adjoining areas and at Tk 75-Tk 85 a square feet in other areas of the country.
‘We have set the price of rawhide considering the international market price,’ the BFLLGFEA president Belal Hossain told New Age.
read more. & read more.
BD new age daily star bd

* Tanneries to be relocated to Savar by Dec next year:

A tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed on Sunday to ensure relocation of Hazaribagh tanneries to Savar tannery estate by December next year, putting the relocation process in further delay.

Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC), Bangladesh Finished Leather, Leather-goods and Footwear Exporters Association (BFLLFEA) and Bangladesh Tanners Association (BTA) are the signatories of the MoU.
BSCIC Director Patit Pabon Baidya, BFLLFEA Chairman M Belal Hossain and BTA Chairman M Shahin Ahmed signed the MoU on behalf of their respective sides at a ceremony arranged by the Asia Foundation and South Asian Network of Economic Modeling (AFSANEM) at a city hotel.
read more. & read more. & read more.

* Bangladesh’s tanneries make the sweatshops look good:

Processing animal skins in Dhaka poisons workers, pollutes Dhaka’s river yet avoids the international spotlight

Zakir Hussain loves cricket, the way that only a child can truly love a sport. He loves it more than the glamorous Bollywood movies that transport him to a magical world so much better than his own, more than his mother’s masala shrimp that he and his siblings fight over. He loves it even more than missing school — which he used to do, often skipping because he wanted to play cricket.

He might always love it. He’ll probably never play it again. He is 15 years old and coughs as he speaks.
“I can’t run as fast between wickets as I used to. I get tired quickly now . . . and my eyes burn sometimes.
Hussain works at a leather tannery in Dhaka for 12 hours a day, seven days a week. In the five months he has been working, he has lost about 12 pounds and much of his stamina. He also lives in the tannery.

Hussain is about five-seven and gaunt but has a big smile and thick, tousled hair. He is squatting barefoot on the floor of Tippera Tannery, one of the hundreds of tanneries in this Dhaka neighbourhood where raw animal skins are processed using a cocktail of toxic chemicals.

He is deftly nailing small leftover pieces of leather to the floor to straighten them. A few metres away, hundreds of raw hides stew in a deep, long pit as chemicals such as chromium and sodium are poured over. Remnants of the chemicals spill onto the floor before draining into open gutters and then into the nearby Buriganga River.
These chemicals are slowly killing Hussain, and the thousands of others who work here.
read more.
the STAR 2

* RMG and hard truth:

Belying speculations about adverse response following the Tazreen Fashions fire and Rana Plaza collapse, Bangladesh continues to be one of the top choices for garments buyers from the developed markets.

The Bangladeshi apparel exporters at the opening of their annual event – Batexpo, an apparel and textile exposition, held on Thursday last – mentioned the development apparently with a sense of great relief. They also referred to an uninterrupted flow of orders from the global retailers to Bangladesh despite, growing international concerns over safety and workers’ rights in a good number of readymade garments (RMG) factories here.
That the apparel owners have not made any false claim about the buyers’ response was proved by an article published next day in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) of the USA. The daily said apparel exports from Bangladesh increased by 24 per cent in the first quarter of the current fiscal year (FY).

The WSJ, quoting the finding of the survey, conducted by a principal in the Frankfurt office of consultancy Mckinsey & Co, said Bangladesh is likely to remain one of the top destinations for new apparel sourcing over the ‘next five years’.
It said some top retailers have started to place production in emerging countries including Ethiopia and Myanmar, but it would take another decade to build up factories and other infrastructure needed to absorb large-scale orders.
read more.

                                    Gazipur Garment factory Fire

* Attack on rally against factory owners condemned:

A group of right activists, academicians and politicians in a joint statement on Saturday condemned the attack on a rally of apparel workers against the negligence of owners Aswad Composite Mills in Gazipur and demanded punishment of the attackers and people responsible for the factory fire.

‘We condemn the attack and demand punishment of the attackers and people responsible for the fire at Aswad Composite Mills.
We also demand trial of the attackers and people responsible for the fire to change the anti-workers image of factory owners and the ruling class of Bangladesh that had developed across the world after the incidents of fire at Tazreen and Smart garment factories and the collapse of the Rana Plaza building,’ the statement said.
The signatories to the statement said the the fire in the Pall Mall Group concern Aswad Composite Mills left seven workers, including two organisers of Garments Sramik Oikya Forum — Rube and Khalil — and officials dead on October 8.
As the media reported, the fire was severe because of the storage of a huge amount of flammable objects inside the factory ignoring the safety of the workers in violation of the factory act.
The Garments Sramik Oikya Forum and the Garments Sramik Sangram Parishad organised a rally at Sripur in Gazipur on October 10 denouncing the owners’ negligence and goons hired by the owners attacked the rally, they said.
read more.
BD new age

* Govt to sue Aswad mill for lack of fire safety measures :

The government is going to sue Aswad Composite Mills authorities on charge of non-compliance with the recommendations made by the official inspection team in order to ensure fire safety measures.

“We will file a case against the authorities of the unit that was gutted by a massive fire, leaving at least seven workers dead and several others insured,” labour secretary Mikail Shipar told the FE Sunday, adding the process to file case had already started.

The official inspection team visited the factory on September 25 and it found that the unit lacked safety measures, he said adding the labour inspection department had also issued a notice to the factory instructing it to put in place some measures.
read more. & read more.
BD new age


* Rana Plaza sweatshop disaster survivors: “We need compensation”:

Survivors and relatives of garment workers that died in the Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh talk about their experiences and the failure of brands and retailers to provide compensation.
see video.

* Demand justice for victims of Bangladesh building collapse:

On 24 April 2013, over 1,100 people were killed and thousands more injured in the collapse of a building in Bangladesh which housed factories making clothes for Benetton, Primark, Matalan, Mango and other major brands. The majority of the victims were female garment workers. The disaster was entirely preventable.

This was the worst accident in a manufacturing facility in recorded history, graphically exposing the failure of the fashion industry to ensure workers’ rights are respected. Yet in its wake huge public pressure has forced the industry to unprecedented change. Now we need to ensure the brands responsible compensate the victims and all companies act to ensure these disasters never happen again.

The Rana Plaza – an avoidable disaster
This tragedy was a disaster, but it was not an accident. Before the day of the disaster, building inspectors had spotted massive cracks in the building and ordered the evacuation of all the businesses inside. However workers in the garment factories were forced to return to work the following day under threat of punishment from their bosses, where over a thousand of them would later die. Despite the building being audited twice by western brands, the risks were never spotted and nothing was done to prevent it.

The workers injured and the families of those who died now face a bleak future, without work and without an income. The companies that sourced from these factories failed to ensure that the safety of their workers, now they must compensate the victims of this wholly avoidable tragedy.
Take action now and demand UK high street brands compensate the victims
read more.

* Bangladesh factory collapse: Sheuly Begum, the survivor:

20131011 the STAR Sheuly_Begum“The factory owners … promise change, promise safer buildings, promise compensation for us who were hurt. But they don’t actually do anything,” says Sheuly Begum, who worked at the doomed Rana Plaza.
Rick Westhead / Toronto Star

Sheuly Begum spent four hours trapped in the rubble after the Rana Plaza collapse. She has received $100 from the Bangladeshi government.

The Survivor: Sheuly Begum, 34, was rescued after two hours from the Rana Plaza rubble. She received $100 from the government on May 1 to cover immediate medical bills but has received nothing since.

Sheuly Begum is not overly concerned about why the Rana Plaza collapsed. “It happened and that is all,” she says. “I was not killed. But I have been ruined.”
She had been at work at the New Wave Style factory on the seventh floor for only about an hour on the morning of the collapse.
“The electricity was cut, the generators all started and the building shook,” she says. “I rushed for the stairwell and then was just falling.”

She was rescued — one of the lucky ones — but was hospitalized for a week with head and spinal cord injuries.
Now the single mother can’t work and the future is bleak. She can’t afford the $10 monthly school fees for her daughters, Ishrat, 14, and Shonali, 11. She believes she will have to marry them off soon.
“I am doing nothing now. I can’t even lift a kilogram,” says Begum. “The factory owners speak to our face and promise change, promise safer buildings, promise compensation for us who were hurt. But they don’t actually do anything.”
read more.
the STAR 2

* Bangladesh factory collapse: Shahera Akter, a survivor:

20131011 theSTAR Shahera
 I just stayed at my (work) station. Then the floor disappeared, I was falling, and it was black,” says Shahera Akter, who spent hours under the rubble.
Rick Westhead / Toronto Star

Shahera Akter, 30, who worked on the eighth floor of the Rana Plaza at New Wave Style, was rescued from the rubble after several hours. Akter has received no compensation.

Shahera Akter’s job cutting and measuring, stitching and folding clothes at a factory meant she could afford a few simple pleasures.
It pleased her that she made enough to give her family of five a Friday night feast — beef stewed in a rich curry of tamarind, chilies, garlic and potatoes.

Those meals had been hard to imagine for a family that had arrived in Dhaka from the countryside five years ago, a journey that saw them climb out of a hand-to-mouth existence and mounting debt.
“My husband worked as a farmer during the dry season and a fisherman in the rainy times,” Akter says. “We never had enough to eat. We never could afford real meat, only fish, and our expenses were always more than he was able to make. I said one day that we don’t know anyone in Dhaka, really, but we have to go there because that’s where the good jobs are.”

Akter’s husband, Mohammad Chandan Mir, soon started driving a cycle rickshaw, pocketing about $2.50 a day after paying the bike’s six-cent daily rental fee.
Akter spent a year working as a housemaid, then found a job as a finisher, fixing labels, buttons and hanging tags on shirts, then tucking them into packaging in the Rana Plaza factory.
read more.
the STAR 2

* Bangladesh factory collapse: Morium Bibi, the widow:

Bangladeshi wife found husband job in doomed Rana Plaza factory. When cracks developed, she told him he was worried. His body was never found
21031013 the STAR Bibi
Morium Bibi, 20, now lives with her in-laws and young daughter, Rani. She hopes to never again have to work in a garment factory.

Rick Westhead / Toronto Star

Morium Bibi, 20, lost her husband, Raja Mir, 25, a material cutter for Phantom Apparel on the fourth floor of the Rana Plaza. Bibi has received no compensation.

Morium Bibi didn’t mind her arranged marriage.
She was only 16 when her father announced she would wed 21-year-old Raja Mir, but Bibi thought her fiancé was more handsome than most and that he seemed kind.
“He really liked me,” Bibi says.
It didn’t hurt that she had a well-paying job at the Rana Plaza.
At the age of 13, after leaving school, Bibi found a job at the Blue Star Factory in Savar, working as a dyeing helper. She was making about $16 a month.

Four years later, in 2010, she found a better job as a finisher for Phantom Apparel, a factory on Rana Plaza’s fourth floor, making as much as $90 with overtime each month.
Bibi soon helped her husband find work as a material cutter in the same factory.
“He didn’t try talking very much during work,” Bibi says. “He was by my work station, but was respectful of our managing director. He thought when we were working, we should not talk.”

A day before the Rana Plaza collapse, word spread that cracks had been discovered in its load-bearing walls. That evening, as she fed their 9-month-old daughter Rani, Bibi told Mir she was worried about going to work
“He never really said anything,” Bibi says. “He never said whether he would go to work the next day or not.”
read more.
the STAR 2

06:15:17 local time map of india INDIA

* After rescue, rehabilitation of child workers in focus:

After rescuing 17 child workers from agricultural fields in Thalaivasal block of Salem district, officials are now focusing on reintegrating them with their families.

Over the last one week, 11 children (all aged under 14) were rescued from cotton fields when they were carrying out cross pollination works. Six others were rescued from various other agricultural farms.
Since a case has been registered against three farmers under Section 367 (slavery) of the Indian Penal Code, officials of the UNICEF-supported Integrated Child Protection Project are exploring the possibility of claiming Rs. 20,000 as compensation from the Department of Labour for the family of each of the seven children who were rescued from the farmers.
Child Welfare Committee (CWC) chairperson A. Xavier said that a complaint would be lodged against a few more farmers who had engaged eight girls and two boys on their farms.
read more.
Return to frontpage

* Textile employees told to develop skills:

K. Sambasiva Rao, Union Minister for Textiles, has called upon employees of a textile mill owned by the National Textiles Corporation (NTC) here to develop skills for higher salaries and better job opportunities.

The Minister was here on Saturday to inaugurate New Minerva Mill in the special economic zone.
“I will provide funds to train labourers. Once you develop skills, you need not have to struggle to get your jobs regularised. The company will regularise your services if you exhibit your skills. No industry will opt to lose its skilled labourers,” Mr. Rao said while responding to the employees’ demand for higher salaries and regularisation of services.

He also appealed to the labourers to work towards increasing profit. “If the industry makes profit, I will ask them to share it with the employees. Your salaries and emoluments will grow as long as the industry earns profit,” he said.
read more. & read more.
Return to frontpage decanherald

* Textiles Ministry to seek restoration of cotton yarn export benefits:

The Ministry of is writing to the Ministry of and Finance to restore under focus market scheme (FMS) for cotton and .

“We are weighing this and will write to the ministry of finance and commerce to withdraw the decision to remove export benefits under focused markets scheme,” KS Rao, union textile minister said on the sidelines of a Ficci conference.
and Africa came under focused markets for cotton yarn exports scheme. The scheme was withdrawn three weeks ago. The withdrawal was expected to impact cotton yarn exports in a big way.
The scheme was initially started to increase India’s competitiveness and allowed a duty credit of 2.5% of free-on-board value of exports to that came under FMS.
read more.

* Textiles sector may generate additional 5 mn jobs by 2017:

The textiles sector is expected to generate additional 5 million jobs by 2017, taking the total employment in this field to about 50 million.

The new jobs will be created because of growing demand for apparel and textiles in domestic as well as international markets.
“We expect that textiles sector would create additional 5 million jobs during the 12th Plan period (2012-17) as it has been expanding to cater to the needs of both local and overseas customers,” Textiles Minister Kavuru Sambasiva Rao told PTI.
He said that as there is a huge manpower requirement in the industry, about 1.5 million people would be trained by the end of 2017 to join the industry.
read more. & read more.

* Bt cotton in Bellary under siege from pest:

Bt cotton cultivated on around 8,000 hactares of agricultural land across the district has found a new threat —the mirid bug which eats only a particular variety of Bt cotton flowers. 

Farmers, who invested thousands of rupees in the purchase of the Bt cotton seeds, are at their wit’s end as well-grown plants have not yielded cotton fruits due to infection.Mirid bugs lay eggs in cotton buds and eat flowers when they blossom which, in turn, prevents flowers from ripening. Especially in the Kudligi and the Hoovina Hadagali taluks, bugs have attacked only Kanaka variety developed by Mahyco, a private firm.
read more.

* 200 new ginning units expected to come up this cotton season:

Due to good monsoon and higher output estimated in , cotton ginning industry in the state is expecting 200 new units during this (October to September).

“We expect about 200 new to start operations in this cotton year. Higher production of cotton attracts investors to cotton ginning units. All these players belong to Gujarat,” said Dilip Patel, president of All Gujarat Cotton Ginners Association (AGCGA).
Talking about pressing capacity of ginning industry of Gujarat Patel said that we are already having three times higher pressing capacity than cotton production of Gujarat.
read more.

* Textiles minister asks clothing industry to set up power plants for uninterrupted energy supply:

Union textiles minister KS Rao’s address at an industry seminar in Mumbai left a few doubts in its wake. He was speaking after having inaugurated the fifth edition of the FICCI-TAG 2013 summit last week. Rao described this as the “golden period” for the Indian textiles industry.

However, the minister went on to list the multiple challenges facing the trade. He acknowledged that there was a lack of skilled manpower, uninterrupted power supply and fluctuation in prices of cotton and yarn.

Rao advised the industry representatives to “take initiatives on their own”, such as setting up captive power plants, training facilities and R&D centres to solve these problems. He said they could seek help from the central and state governments in this task. Rao said that labour laws need to be revised and a 24-hour work shift as well as night shift for women should be permitted in the textiles industry.
to read.

* Hosiery units upbeat, cracker shops upset:

While the hosiery market in the city is celebrating the unusual rain this season, cracker wholesalers are ruing it, as they have suffered heavy losses.

The hosiery industry that used to produce clothes for winters in November, is now busy doing it in October, due to the early onset of winter. It has hired extra labour to work round the clock, so that more goods can be manufactured at the earliest. On the other hand, the cracker industry has suffered a loss of at least Rs2.5 lakh due to the unseasonal rain.

Several hosiery units are working overtime to fulfil the requirement. Vinod Thapar, chairman of Knitwear Club, said there has been an increase in production by 15 % to 20%. “Due to unusual weather, hosiery units are getting orders in October which were earlier expected in November,” he said. Hosiery unit owner, Vipin Vinayak, said if the western disturbances continued, there could be a rise of 20% to 30 %in production.
read more.

06:15:17 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* Weliweriya Factory to be Reopened:

The management of Dipped Products PLC has decided to reopen the Glove factory in Weliweriya, which was temporarily closed following the water pollution controversy which consequently caused much social unrest among the residents of the area.

The management had taken a decision to reopen the factory following a discussion held yesterday (10) with residents and religious leaders in the area at the office of Gampaha Superintendent of Police (SP), Vijitha Komasaru, an Ada Derana reporter said.
read more.

05:45:17 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* ‘Pakistan can’t utilise GSP Plus without easing import policy’:

PRGMEA says only 3 categories out of 73 utilised in 2013 for duty-free access to EU

With strict import policies in Pakistan, the local garment industry is not fully prepared to take advantage of duty-free access to the EU market under GSP Plus status mainly due to shortage of raw material, said newly-elected Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) Senior Vice Chairman Jawwad A Chaudhry after assuming the charge at PRGMEA Zonal Office.

The meeting was largely attended by the members from Lahore, Sialkot and Faisalabad. Those elected as members of the zonal managing committee for north are Ijaz Khokhar, Nasir Iqbal, Luqman Amin, Mubashar Naseer Butt, Javed Iqbal Bhatti and Muhammad Bashir.
read more. & read more. & read more.
daily times PK PAKOBSERVER tribune

* Pak textilers needs to understand global market: Minister:

In order to boost exports, Pakistani textile sector needs to focus on production of need-based products catering to international market and global standards, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal said.
Speaking at the curtain raising ceremony of Macron-2014, an Interational Marketing Congress, the Minister said the textile industry contributes about 65 percent to the country’s overall exports, but it still lags behind in understanding global standards and needs of the international market, particularly the Middle East market.
The Minister said while in the Middle East one can everywhere see ‘Made in India’ products, but no ‘Made in Pakistan’ products.
Many textile entrepreneurs offer the same products in international market that they produce for home market. Such lack of awareness and understanding prevents the sector from realizing its full potential.
read more.

* APTMA Punjab forms committees to resolve issues:

The Regional Managing Committee (RMC) of APTMA Punjab, with S M Tanveer in the chair, has constituted working committees to resolve Punjab-based textile industry issues.

The RMC approved the Sub-Committees in its very first regional meeting held the other day. Highly experienced members of APTMA will head these committees to deliberate and make workable recommendations on issues confronting smooth functioning of textile industry in Punjab.

These working committees will focus on textile industry issues including availability of raw materials, resolution of energy-related matters as well as sales tax refunds to ensure 24/7 operations of textile industry in Punjab. A total of nine sub-committees have been constituted including raw materials, cotton & polyester, gas & electricity, public relations and law & order, APTMA Welfare Foundation, sales tax/customs regional sub-office, Faisalabad & Multan, Administration and new membership.
read more.

* PTEA demands release of refunds:

Textile exporters demanded the government speed up the process of paying out billions of rupees outstanding tax refunds for maximum industrial growth and to increase exports significantly. Raising the demand here on Saturday, Sheikh Ilyas Mehmood, chairman Pakistan

Textile Exporters Association, said that huge amounts of value added textile exporters were stuck up in sales tax, local taxes drawbacks, customs rebate and federal excise duty refund regimes. “If the amounts are released, exporters can use it to expand their businesses, which in turn will help Pakistan’s export earnings grow. Pakistan holds only 1.5% of the global market share in textiles, which means that this industry has strong prospects to grow,” he added.
to read. & read more. & read more.

* Textile scrips fetch 150pc more profit in FY13:

Textile being the country’s largest industry remained a shining star in terms of profitability at local bourse due to strong regional demand and better margins in FY13, said the market analysts.

Further boost to the profits of textile firms was provided by depreciating Pak rupee and cheaper financing, they said.
“Due to these factor, profits of our sample listed textile firms increased by 150% to Rs30.6bn in FY13,” said Muhammad Tahir Saeed of Topline Research. He said the same glory was also reflected at KSE as the shares of these listed textile firms showed abnormal price performance of 94% vs. benchmark KSE 100 index return of 49% in FY13. Favoring fortunes resulted into improved overall textile output in FY13 which can be gauged from 5.9% (14.7%) growth in textiles exports to $13.1bn (Rs1.3trn). The same is reflected from listed textile companies’ profits which increased by Rs18.3bn (150%) to Rs30.6bn in FY13 compared to Rs12.3bn last year.
read more.

* Leather garments export up by 14 percent in July-August:

The country”s export of leather garments increased by 14 percent to $76.579 million during July-August 2013 period, official statistics say.

The country exported $76.579 million of leather garments to the world markets which are higher by 14 percent during July-August period of this fiscal year as compared to the commodity”s export of $67.281 million made during the same period last fiscal year, indicating a rise of $9.298 million, official figures say.

In terms of volume, the country”s leather export went up by over 5 percent to 180 metric tons during July-August period of this fiscal year as compared to the products export of 171 metric tons during the same period last year, rising by 9 metric tons, the statistics show.
to read.

* Weakening rupee lifts textile profitability by 150pc to RS30.6b:

The depreciating rupee value against greenback has boosted the profits of largest textile industry of the country, as the listed textile firms profit have jumped by 150 per cent to Rs30.6 billion in fiscal year 2013.

Industry sources said that the fall of rupee has been seen as a positive sign for exports of Pakistan, as the local currency has fallen 8 per cent since the beginning of 2013. Moreover, it depreciated faster in the last two months, as it went down by a sharp 4pc against the greenback.
With a share of over 50pc in the country’s total exports, the textile industry has emerged stronger in fiscal 2013-14.
read more.


map of Asia


* Organizations failing to increase their minimum monthly wage to face legal action

* Finance ministry confirms no salary cuts next year
* Vietnam To Import 600,000 Tonnes Of Cotton In 2013
* Vietnam garment exports rise 18% in Jan-Sept’13
* Footwear exports forecast to increase sharply in Q4

* Govt signs MoU to support landmark labour law

* Labour Ministry told to keep SL talks alive
* Violent aftermath of Cambodian strike

* Indonesia Seeks to Get Back Its Manufacturing Mojo
* Labor, policy issues loom large over Batam
* India raises concern over Indonesian textile import policy
* BetterWork Indonesia Media Updates

* Minimum wage discussions to prioritize industrial laborers
* Govt to collect survey for workers’ wage scale
* Weaving a Future for Sone-Tu Textiles

* I got hired at a Bangladesh sweatshop. Meet my 9-year-old boss
* Hosiery factory gutted by Gaibandha fire
* 305 RMG factories sued for insufficient fire safety so far
* Bangladesh garment industry remains unsafe
* Woes of Kushtia textile mills workers rise
* Steps against unregistered, illegal boilers soon
* RCC backs EU, N American safety accord on BD’s RMG
* Towards an effective disaster management plan
* PM: Wage hike to benefit RMG industry
* BGMEA for urgent consensus among political parties
* Oct 25 standoff worries RMG manufacturers
* RMG workers to resume movement after Eid
* Vietnam: a close competitor to Bangladesh RMG
* BD to remain top destination for apparel sourcing: WSJ
* Many foreign buyers skip this year’s Batexpo(1) – 5.0pc fall in spot orders (2)
* Batexpo ends with gloom
* Woolworths under pressure to sign accord after fatal Bangladesh factory fire
* Tazreen’s owner confined
* Tazreen owner ‘confined, freed’ after paying bonus
* Tazreen owner freed after 17hrs
* Liberty Fashion Workers In Protest!
* More RMG unrest in Gazipur over wage
* RMG workers block highway for arrear, bonus
* RMG workers abstain from work for salaries, Eid bonuses in Gazipur
* The RMG industry in ferment
* Why sweatshop owners may start sweating
* Learning about workers’ rights, through a board game
* Clothes on your back: Inside a garment factory
* Govt, tanners sign MoU for tannery relocation Sunday
* Tanners expect to collect over 60-65 lakh pieces of rawhides
* Leather goods export rising in non-traditional markets
* Building the future of the leather sector
* Traders set minimum rawhide price amid ministry threat
* Tanneries to be relocated to Savar by Dec next year
* Bangladesh’s tanneries make the sweatshops look good
* RMG and hard truth
Gazipur Garment factory Fire
* Attack on rally against factory owners condemned
* Govt to sue Aswad mill for lack of fire safety measures
* Rana Plaza sweatshop disaster survivors: “We need compensation”
* Bangladesh factory collapse: Sheuly Begum, the survivor
* Bangladesh factory collapse: Shahera Akter, a survivor
* Bangladesh factory collapse: Morium Bibi, the widow

* After rescue, rehabilitation of child workers in focus
* Textile employees told to develop skills
* Textiles Ministry to seek restoration of cotton yarn export benefits
* Textiles sector may generate additional 5 mn jobs by 2017
* Bt cotton in Bellary under siege from pest
* 200 new ginning units expected to come up this cotton season
* Textiles minister asks clothing industry to set up power plants for uninterrupted energy supply
* Hosiery units upbeat, cracker shops upset

* Weliweriya Factory to be Reopened

* ‘Pakistan can’t utilise GSP Plus without easing import policy’
* Pak textilers needs to understand global market: Minister
* APTMA Punjab forms committees to resolve issues
* PTEA demands release of refunds
* Textile scrips fetch 150pc more profit in FY13
* Leather garments export up by 14 percent in July-August
* Weakening rupee lifts textile profitability by 150pc to RS30.6b

latest tweets (& news)

Convention on the Rights of the Child
Universal Declaration of Human Rights

I wonder who they are
The men who really run this land
And I wonder why they run it
With such a thoughtless hand

What are their names
And on what streets do they live
I'd like to ride right over
This afternoon and give
Them a piece of my mind
About peace for mankind
Peace is not an awful lot to ask
    David Crosby

I wonder who they are
The people who are buying these clothes
I'd like to know what they've paid for it
How much the makers have paid for this
Fairer income is not an awful lot to ask
Better working conditions is not an awful lot to ask
    A. Searcher

For more and other (labour) news you can follow on twitter: @asearcher2