in the news on-line, 19-21 Oct. 2013

map of asia ASIA

* A living wage = a human right:

Working alongside garment workers, trade unions, consumers and campaigners we are calling for those working in the garment industry to be paid a wage they can live on.

A major industry
The garment industry is a major employer across the world – in Asia for example over 15 million people are employed by the industry.  With global brands making millions in profits every year this booming industry has come to rely on, and exploit, the cheap labour of millions of garment workers whose wages fall far short of a living wage.

The right to a living wage: A living wage should be earned  in a standard working week (no more than 48 hours) and allow a garment worker to be able to buy food for herself and her family, pay the rent, pay for healthcare, clothing, transportation and education and have a small amount of savings for when something unexpected happens.

The lack of a living wage means many garment workers are forced to work long hours to earn overtime or bonuses and cannot risk taking refusing work due to unsafe working conditions or taking time off due to ill health.   The low wages mean that workers often have to rely on loans just to make ends meet and have no savings to use if they find themselves out of work.

Clean Clothes Campaign believes that in order for a living wage to become a reality brands and retailers must take concrete steps to ensure they are paying a living wage in the countries they source from, and national governments must ensure that minimum wages are set at a level that allow people to live with dignity.
20131017 CCC LW

read more.

* The Asia Floor Wage Alliance (AFWA):

The Asia Floor Wage Alliance (AFWA) is an international alliance of trade unions and labour rights activist who are working together to demand garment workers are paid a living wage.

As an alliance led by unions in the key garment producing countries in the region, the Asia Floor Wage Alliance represents the concerns and needs of the workers themselves.  Central to their demands is a call for a living wage to be paid to all garment workers, this led to the development of the Asia
Floor Wage calculation, as a  way to calculate a living wage for payment across Asia.
read more. & read more.
Site AFW stitchwage

The Clean Clothes Campaign calling for living wage:

Pay a Living Wage Action Week

From October 21st – 28th 2013, Clean Clothes Campaign partners across Europe will be launching the next phase in our campaign to demand garment workers are paid a living wage.

* Clothing brands and companies to take action by setting concrete and measurable steps throughout their supply chain to ensure garment workers get paid a living wage.

* National governments in garment producing countries to make sure minimum wages are set at living wage standards.

* European governments to implement regulation that make sure companies are responsible for the impact they have on the lives of workers in their suppply chain, including their right to earn a living wage.

Join our call for all garment workers to be paid a living wage –
sign the petition today here. & read more.

 09:48:03 local time map of china CHINA

* Workers’ right to a rest stressed:

A senior official urged trade unions on Friday to guarantee workers’ right to rest and ensure they work “happily and with esteem”.

Unions should take the initiative to protect workers’ rights in terms of employment, payment, social insurance, work safety and rest, said Liu Yunshan, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee.

He was speaking at the opening ceremony of the 16th National Congress of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions.
Top leaders including President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang attended the ceremony at the Great Hall of the People along with 1,900 union representatives.

Li Jirong, chairman of Shanghai SAIC Motor Corp’s trade union, said it is the first time the central leadership has placed such a high priority in an official speech on workers’ right to rest and on the importance of working happily.
The speech “has shown the direction for trade unions’ work”, he said. “Unions should pay more attention to workers’ mental and psychological health,” said Li, whose union has 190,000 members.
read more.

* China Calls on Labor Unions to Play Bigger Role:

A senior official of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has called on the country’s labor unions to play a greater role in safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of the working class.

Liu Yunshan, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, made the remarks in a congratulatory speech delivered at the opening session of the 16th national congress of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU).

Liu urged labor unions to “take a clear-cut stance and gain the initiative” to safeguard workers’ rights of employment, insurance, health and vacation, as well as to guarantee their rights to know, participate, express and supervise.

Members of labor unions were asked to implement the “mass line”, a one-year campaign launched in June by the CPC to boost ties between Party officials and the people, while cleaning up four undesirable work styles — formalism, bureaucracy, hedonism and extravagance.
read more.

* Online clothing retailer Vancl pays off debt to some suppliers but still owing others; concerns remain over late payments:

Vancl Technology Ltd Co, the Chinese online clothing retailer which runs, started making delayed payments to some suppliers last week, but other suppliers remain worried about whether they will get paid, a Vancl supplier said over the weekend.

Hong Shushu, an operation director at Honru Co. Ltd, a garment producer based in Wenzhou, East China’s Zhejiang Province, told the Global Times Saturday that some suppliers have received payments from Vancl, but the payments are only part of the total amount owed.

According to a list obtained by the suppliers, Vancl will pay some suppliers in October, but Honru is not on the list, Hong said.
read more.

09:48:03 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* 14th month pay, a silly proposal:

‘A wage dictated by law rewards the inefficient. It punishes the industrious worker.’

The Department of Labor vehemently but intelligently opposed a proposal by the Senate Labor Committee raising the wages of private sector workers to the equivalent of a 14-month year.
The plan is anti-labor but is presented as in the interest of labor or the working class.
The proposal argues against simple economic sense if not indeed against the workings of supply and demand and the spirit of free enterprise. The reality in the marketplace is that the cost of labor to the producer is always borne by the consumer for the benefit, not exactly always of labor, but first and foremost for the owner of capital.
In this sense, capital and labor cannot be treated on the same plane. Labor is a product of capital.
The simple fact in this country is that the leaders of the state—Congress and the Executive in particular—use wages as a carrot to hold labor at bay. It has never occurred to any of these leaders—politicians all—that legislated wages remove competition in the labor force.
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* Fobap sees growing export demand for garments, hard goods next year:

Foreign demand outlook for Philippine garments and hard or durable goods is rosy next year, with the country’s revenue projected to grow 30 percent to $500 million, the Foreign Buyers Association of the Philippines (Fobap) said over the weekend.

Robert Young, Fobap president, noted a resurgence in demand for these products from the United States, Europe and some Asian countries.
“[Thus], next year’s 30-percent increase [in sales] is very modest [and] it can increase, actually. The inquiries never came two to three years ago but now, there are so many inquiries that are coming in. Inquiries are indicative of the increased business next year,” Young said.
read more.

08:48:03 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Clothes on your back: Inside Cambodia’s garment industry:

While a fraction of the size of the Bangladesh garment industry in dollar terms, it is still the glue that holds the Cambodian economy together.

Neang Seap and his wife, Em Mom, arrived in Phnom Penh bearing the lacerating wounds that mark Cambodia’s rural migrants.

Evicted by the Khmer Rouge in the late ’70s from his village in the country’s eastern zone, Neang was part of the long forced march west, ending up at the Khao-I-Dang refugee camp, just across the Thai border. It was there that he met his 15-year-old bride-to-be. The couple married and brought five babies into the world before moving to the capital, where Em bore four more children.

Neang, now 59, tightens the towel that wraps about his waist, scrapes a chair across the parched hardwood and settles his sinewy frame. Once he was a rice farmer, before his land was taken away, before the music was taken away, before the books were taken away. His is one story, but thousands are identical. Hundreds upon hundreds of thousands.

Moch starts work at 7 a.m., sewing T-shirt sleeves until eight or nine in the evening, six days a week. She is given a one-hour break for lunch at 11. Her sewing quota is 950 shirts a day. For every 100 shirts above the quota she is paid an additional 25 cents. After adding the two or three hours of overtime, shift after shift, Moch can boost her monthly earnings to $130. Both Moch and Sar work under short-term contracts. Contracts for some workers run as short as three months. The sisters say theirs run for a year.

Neang listens to his daughters’ cost accounting: the minutes in; the pennies out. “This is the source of economy for the family,” he says. “If no factory, we will face many problems. If the two daughters were not working, the family would be deficient in living.”

The garment industry is the glue that holds Neang’s household together, as it is the glue that binds the country’s economy. While a fraction of the size of the Bangladesh garment industry in dollar terms, the value of Cambodian garment and textiles exceeded 80 per cent of the country’s $5.5 billion (U.S.) in exports last year. Add footwear — Nike, Adidas, Puma, etc. — and the figure exceeds 90 per cent. The top 20 Canadian consignees accounted for just over $121 million of that, with Walmart Canada Corp., Loblaws Inc. and Reitmans (Canada) Ltd. topping the list.
read & see more (video).
the STAR 2

* In one Cambodian factory, a strike gets ugly:

Most of the 6,000 workers at SL Garment are on strike

The owner of SL Garment comes rounding out of his second-floor office, shoving a CD and a print sheet of photographs my way.

He’s yelling. Motioning. When asked for a translation of what the Chinese-speaking Wong is saying, an English-speaking director responds dryly: “We are in a mess.”
The lion’s share of Wong’s 6,000-strong workforce, members of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union, or C-CAWDU, is on strike. Wong, hamstrung, wants the Star to know the extent of the internal disruption. Hence the photographs.

What’s missing from the dossier are images of the gun-toting military police who have threateningly taken up residence at the factory, a 24/7 existence that has the police eerily cocooned in army green hammocks suspended throughout the packing bay.

The strikers have defied back-to-work orders from the municipal court, pressing demands that include the removal of Meas Sotha, a private partner in the enterprise who has rejigged the shift work and who, the workers say, has been threatening and bullying. They also insist on $3 for lunch.
read more.
the STAR 2

Cambodian trade unions urge garment workers not to join opposition’s mass protest next week:

A Cambodian trade unions leader on Saturday called on garment workers not to participate in the opposition party-planned mass demonstration next week against the results of July’s election that handed victory to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling party.

“I would like to appeal to all workers in the garment industry to keep calm and do not engage in the opposition-planned protest next week,” Som Aun, president of the National Union Alliance Chamber of Cambodia, told reporters.

“Distancing yourselves from the upcoming protest would contribute to helping the Cambodian government in maintaining peace, security and public order,” he said.

Garment industry, the kingdom’s largest income maker, employs some 510,600 workers in about 500 factories.
read more.

* Media updates 12-21 October 2013, Brands tell GMAC to dial it down:

* To read in the printed edition of the Phnom Penh Post:
2013-10-14 Labour ministry told to keep SL talks alive
2013-10-18 Brands tell GMAC to dial it down

* To read in the printed edition of the Cambodia Daily:
2013-10-16 Bangladeshi factory workers detain boss

* To read in the printed edition of the Koh Santepheap Daily (Khmer):
2013-10-15 Workers in Kampong Cham go on strike

* To read in the printed edition of the Rasmei Kampuchea Daily (Khmer):
2013-10-17 ILO claims as labour partner in Cambodia
2013-10-18 LC garment workers go on stirke demanding 8 working conditions
2013-10-18 Strike at USA factory demanding 8 working conditions

BetterFactories Media Updates Overview here.

09:48:03 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* National Strike of Indonesian workers on 28 , 29 , 30 OCTOBER 2013:

Starting from the meeting and consolidation between the Confederation of Indonesian Unions (KSPI) and the Workers Joint Secretariat (Sekber Buruh) in the early weeks of September 2013, they agreed on a meeting involving all elements of national workers in Indonesia.

As the preparation for the consolidation, they formed the Preparation Committee of National Consolidation that has been intensely discussing on the preparation and materials of consolidation. This Committee has been working effectively and has decided to held a national meeting of Indonesian labor movement on 30 September 2013 at the Gedung Joeang 45, Central Jakarta.
Labor representatives, trade unions, community workers, alliances and federations attended the meeting. Recorded, at least there were 18 provinces came with more than 100s union representatives.
The National consolidation then composed some important formulas related to the future of Indonesian labour movement by conducting joint work test within short time/term. Thus, they compiled some struggle priorities including:
1. Rejection of the low wage politics by using the strategy of struggling for 50 % wage raise or an increase of about 3,7 million Rupiahs from 2.2 million rupiahs

2. Elimination of outsourcing system Those two issues become the central issues of the Indonesian labour Movement since the end of year is the struggle moment for wage raise for Indonesian workers and 19 November 2013 is the final deadline for all companies in Indonesia to comply the Stipulation of the Manpower and Transmigration Minister (Permenakertrans) of RI No . 19 year 2012 related to the elimination of outsourcing system.
read more.

* Textile Exports Rise despite Global Economic Turbulence:

20131020 TEMPO
Workers in a textile factory. REUTERS/Stringer

Indonesian Textile Association chairman Ade Sudrajat said Indonesian textile exports had grown by three to four percent despite the global economic turbulence. “Exports rose despite the global economic slowdown,” Ade told Tempo at the JI Expo Kemayoran in Jakarta on Friday, October 18, 2013.

Ade said textile and textile product (TPT) exports were predicted to reach US$13 billion this year, adding that the realization of TPT exports to August had seen US$8.6 billion. “Increasing by 1.7 percent year-on-year,” he said. Ade added, however, that the year’s exports were still lower than those of 2011, which hit US$13.3 billion.

Ade said the TPT industry contributed significantly to the nation’s foreign exchange, thus measures to improve the industry’s performance were necessary ahead of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015. “We have to enhance our competitive edge,” he said.
to read.

* ‘Foreign textile firms keen to invest in Central Java’:

Foreign textile firms are keen to invest in Central Java province of Indonesia, Ramon Bangun, director of Textiles Industry and Miscellaneous Manufacturing Industries at the Ministry of Industry, said while visiting Garment Industry Human Resources Development Centre in Semarang, the capital and largest city in Central Java.
In addition to Vietnam, foreign companies engaged in manufacturing of textile and textile products have began relocating their factories to a number of areas in Indonesia, including the Central Java province, which is likely to absorb the labour force in large numbers, Mr. Bangun said, according to a Suara Merdeka report.
Investors from China and South Korea are keen to invest in setting up textile units in Central Java due to more conducive business and political climate and wages being at relatively affordable level, Mr. Bangun said.
read more.

07:48:03 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH


* Rana Plaza survivor passes Eid in loneliness:

She wishes if someone at least visits her time to time just to talk for few minutes

After losing two legs and six family members in the deadliest Rana Plaza tragedy, 20-year-old Rebeka Begum passed the Eid-ul-Azha lying on a bed at the National Institute of Traumatology and Orthopaedic Rehabilitation (NITOR) alone.

“Eid? Eid has not been an occasion to rejoice, neither has it brought any patch of happiness for me since the accident. It is rather a day when I particularly know that everybody is celebrating outside while I am stranded inside this hospital alone,” says Rebeka.

Rebeka lost her mother, grandmother, two cousins and an aunt in the collapse of the Rana Plaza in Savar this year, an incident considered the deadliest disaster in the history of the garment industry in the country.

“The bodies of my mother, grandmother, one cousin and an aunt could not be traced. We received the headless body of one of my cousin brothers,” said a teary Rebeka.
read more.

* DNA tests identify 300 Rana Plaza victims:

DMC used Codis software to successfully match DNA samples provided by relatives of Rana Plaza victims

DNA tests have been able to confirm the identities of around 300 previously unidentified victims of the Rana Plaza disaster, sources said.

The national DNA testing laboratory at the Dhaka Medical College used Combined DNA Index System (Codis) software to successfully match DNA samples provided by relatives of Rana Plaza victims.
Although the DNA matching procedure is yet to be finalised, sources said 290 bodies have been identified. Of all the DNA samples taken, only 30-35 are yet to be matched to victims.
DNA specialists expressed hope of providing detailed information and confirming relationships between the victims and the sample donors once the process is completed.
read more.


* Determining minimum wage for workers :

Determination of wages and salary is one of the most important phases of employee-employer relationship.

It differs in different economies, regions and cultures. It depends on a number of country-specific factors, such as labour market conditions and variation in workers’ productivity across occupations, industries, regions etc. The policymakers need to reconcile two opposite kinds of considerations.

There are conflicting ideas surrounding the minimum wage. A moderate minimum wage is seen playing an important role in ensuring fair wages paid and bolstering the incomes of families with low-wage workers. On the other hand, high minimum wages can destroy the jobs and have a limited impact on poverty on families having no working members.

A fully enforced minimum wage to stabilise living standards do increase cost of production. In return, lay-off and prices will rise which hinder a country’s world competitiveness. Therefore, striking a balance between optimal level of economic expansion and appropriate employment is needed while pegging standards of living.

Wage needs to be high enough to secure some socially-accepted standard of living. On the other, it should not be too high in order not to price low-productivity workers out of employment. Evidence demonstrates that such a balance can be struck if the minimum wage is set at a moderate level so that it does not cause significant employment losses, while keeping low-paid workers out of poverty.
read more.
FE bd

* RMG minimum wage likely to be Tk 5,000:

The wage board may finalise the new salary structure today

The minimum wage for garment workers is likely to be set at Tk 5,000 per month, a 67 percent rise from the current Tk 3,000, in today’s meeting of the wage board.

The breakthrough comes after both the workers’ representative and garment owners’ representative on the wage board formed in June decided to make a compromise so that the new wage structure could be announced at the earliest to avoid possible labour unrest.
Originally, the workers’ representative bargained for a minimum salary of Tk 8,114 per month, while the owners’ representative was willing to provide a 20 percent raise to Tk 3,600.

“I hope the board will finalise the salaries in tomorrow’s [Monday] meeting. There is a possibility that the minimum wage would be fixed at Tk 5,000,” Sirajul Islam Rony, workers’ representative on the wage board, told The Daily Star by phone.
The new wage structure would take effect from the first of next month. He said only 20 percent of the country’s 3.6 million-odd garment workers fall under the category of minimum wage, while the remaining 80 percent are sewing operators and old workers.
“But they [the operators and old workers] should also be benefited proportionately and equally from the new wage structure.”
read more.
daily star bd

* RMG owners to submit conditional proposal:

Garment factory owners are going to submit a revised but conditional proposal to the wage board for increasing minimum wages for workers provided the government would reduce source tax.

A leader of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association told New Age that the core committee of the association has decided to submit the revised proposal with increased minimum wage. ‘But I know nothing whether the new proposal is conditional.’
The owners’ representatives at the wage board may submit the new proposal on Monday at the sixth meeting of the board, he said.
‘The proposed amount of minimum wages in the new proposal might be Tk 4,500 a month,’ the BGMEA leader said.
Another source of the garment sector, however, said that the owners have agreed to increase the minimum wage on condition that the government would reduce source tax.
Presently, the garment owners are to pay source tax of 0.80 per cent but they are pressing for reducing it at 0.25 per cent.
read more.
BD new age

* RMG factory safety compliance:

Competitors trying to cash in on BD’s possible failure

A significant portion of apparel export orders might go to other countries, including India, if Bangladesh fails to take prudent measures to ensure factory safety, said industry insiders.

Local exporters think the next two years to be the most challenging during which all the factory fire safety and building codes should be implemented to safeguard the readymade garment (RMG) sector in the context of the ongoing criticism after several accidents.

The industry leaders suggested far-sighted policy support, infrastructure development and utility support and concerted effort both by the government, policymakers and the trade associations for achieving the export target of US$ 50 billion by next five years.
read more.
FE bd

* Government to launch project to improve RMG working condition:

The government will launch a project this week to improve working conditions in the country’s readymade garments sector, which is under global scrutiny following the recent industrial tragedies of Tazreen Fashions and Rana Plaza that killed more than 1,200 workers.

“The project has five components, including a capacity building and awareness programme,” Foyzur Rahman, joint secretary of the labour and employment ministry, told the Dhaka Tribune on Saturday.
The labour ministry will implement the five-year project in coordination with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), he said.
The governments of Canada, the Netherlands and the UK Department for International Development will finance the $24.5m project, he added.
ILO Deputy Director General Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo, who arrives in Dhaka today on a three-day visit, will attend the launching ceremony on Tuesday.
read more.

* Govt to begin garment factory inspections this month:

Labour ministry will sign a funds deal with ILO tomorrow

Thirty expert panels led by Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology will start inspecting garment factories by the end of this month to find structural flaws and ensure worker safety, a government official said yesterday.

The inspection was supposed to start from September 15, but it was delayed due to a shortage of funds and the absence of a common checklist for inspection.
“The donor agencies have finally agreed to release the proposed fund worth $24 million as expenditure for the inspection. We will sign an agreement tomorrow with International Labour Organisation for the fund,” said Mikail Shipar, secretary to the labour and employment ministry.
“This time, I will not delay the launch of the inspection as the fund is ready. I hope the inspection will begin within two to three days of signing the ILO agreement.”
read more.
daily star bd

* ILO team to hold talks on RMG:

A delegation of International Labour Organization (ILO) will hold talks with stakeholders and assess the progress on improving working conditions in Bangladeshi garment industry on Monday and Tuesday.

Deputy Director General, Field Operations and Partnerships, Gilbert Houngbo will lead the ILO delegation.
“The team will be here for just two days – October 21 and 22, and comprise of Gilbert Houngbo and Yoshihiro Senoo,” said an ILO official through e-mail.
to read. & read more.

* Fresh move to increase penalty for non-compliant RMG units :

The government has initiated a fresh move to increase penalty for non-compliant apparel (RMG) factories in line with the trade, labour, fire and building construction laws and rules to ensure workplace safety, and workers’ welfare, officials involved with the process said.

The move has been undertaken as part of a series of official steps toward revival of the the generalised system of preferences (GSP) facility in the US market, they added.
Under the move, a technical committee, headed by joint secretary of the commerce ministry Atiqur Rahman, was formed on August 5 last.
A GSP review meeting on the steps taken and the steps on the cards, chaired by the commerce minister on that day, formed the technical committee asking it to give its recommendations in this regard within 15 days.
read more.
FE bd

* US wants to know measures taken on GSP action plan:

The United States Trade Representative (USTR) has requested Bangladesh to inform US within November 15 of the measures taken in line with Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) action plan, official sources said.

“The USTR will review Bangladesh’s progress in respect to the GSP action plan in November and December of 2013. USTR invites the government of Bangladesh to submit information by November 15 regarding steps taken or being taken with respect to specific aspects of the action plan to afford internationally recognised worker rights,” according to the letter of the embassy of the United States of America (USA).

“Given the current worldwide suspension of the GSP program, USTR does not plan to hold a formal hearing on Bangladesh, but will take into account information submitted by the government of Bangladesh and other stakeholders in its November/December review,” US embassy letter said.
read more.
FE bd

* More global brands join Accord on factory safety:

More than 100 global brands have joined the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, driven by the IndustriAll and UNI in the aftermath of the Rana Plaza collapse six months ago.

Woolworths Australia, GEBRA and the Wünsche Group of Germany became the latest brands to sign the Accord, aimed at making the readymade garment (RMG) sector safe and sustainable for years to come, a statement issued by the IndustriAll said Thursday.

The signatory brands committed to make the changes garment workers need to improve factory safety, it added. The Accord, a broad coalition of leading brands with IndustriALL Global Union and UNI, covers more than 1,600 factories and over two million workers in Bangladesh.
read more.
FE bd

* Accord names team for safer workplaces:

The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh Thursday announced its leadership team that will allow the Accord to make significant steps and progress in its aims of delivering safer working environments for garment workers in Bangladesh.

Sean Ansett, the Accord’s Interim Executive Director, announced the appointments of Brad Loewen as Chief Safety Inspector, Alan Roberts as Executive Director of International Operations and Rob Wayss as Executive Director of Bangladesh Operations.
read more. & read more.

* Coalitions to inspect 1,910 garment factories in BD:

The two coalitions — Accord and Alliance — will inspect some 1,910 garment factories in Bangladesh aiming to improve their fire and building safety measures, the organisations said.

The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety on October 15 published a list of about 620 factories, especially those manufacturing clothes representing an estimated 1.1 million workers.
About 50 per cent of factories listed by the Alliance also manufacture apparel products for the Accord members, according to the list.
The coalition representing 20 North American apparel companies, retailers and brands working to improve fire and building safety in the country’s garment factories released the list as part of a collective effort by the stakeholders to avoid duplication of inspection.
read more.
FE bd

* North American Alliance releases factory details:

The group of North American brands and retailers working to improve fire and building safety in Bangladesh’s garment factories has publicly released details of more than 620 factories used to supply its clothes.

The move by the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety comes two weeks after a separate, largely European Accord on Fire and Building Safety published a list of nearly 1,600 Bangladesh factories used by its members.
The Alliance supplier information covers factories employing 1.1m workers used to make clothes for companies including Gap,JC Penney, Kohl’s, Target, VF Corp, and Wal-Mart. Around half of the factories also manufacture goods for members of the Accord.

“By releasing this information, the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety hopes to be taking yet another step towards partnership on coordinated trainings, inspections and remedial support,” the group said in a statement.
read more. & read more.
Ittefaq BD new age

* Exports to US rise despite suspension of GSP:

The country’s export to the United States increased significantly in September last despite suspension of GSP facility, data showed.

The suspension of Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) facility by the US government came into effect from last month.
Industry insiders said exporters are trying to export by sacrificing a lion’s share of their profits for their sustainability.
read more.
FE bd

* BD’s cotton consumption will rise due to export growth of RMG, yarn:

Cotton consumption in Bangladesh will increase significantly in the current fiscal year (FY) 2013-14 due to continued export growth of readymade garment and yarn.

Industry insiders said to meet the growing demand for yarn and fabric in the international and domestic markets, cotton consumption will increase nearly by 17 per cent to 0.7 million tonnes in the current financial year.

They also said business relocation by the Chinese and other companies to Bangladesh have been increasing due to cheap labour costs and investment in the textiles sector is also growing leading to rise in cotton consumption.
read more.
FE bd

* Revising policies to support deemed exports:

BUILD for private sector development

A certain nomenclature, known as, ‘Deemed Export’ has been cited in several of our country’s policy documents for decades.

Deemed Export is essentially one of the critical building blocks, laying the foundation for export diversification and growth. Yet, there is no clear definition of what comprises Deemed Export and no emphasis on what needs to be done to foster growth in this segment.

Deemed Export refers to those transactions in which goods supplied to the users do not leave the country and payment for such supplies is received either in taka or in foreign exchange.
Deemed exporters sell goods to/through an independent domestic intermediary in their own home country, with the intermediary subsequently exporting the finished products to the customers in foreign markets.

The apparel accessories and packaging manufacturers rank among the highest contributors of deemed exports in Bangladesh.
Statistics show that while direct export constitutes only 15 per cent of the country’s total exports, they account for almost 85 per cent of deemed or indirect exports.
While deemed export is dominant in the readymade garment (RMG) and textiles sector, its presence can be felt in sectors including frozen food, pharmaceuticals, leather and leather goods etc. Deemed export performances in the knitwear and woven garments are respectively 75 per cent and 30 per cent, with a significant number of SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) directly involved in supporting these giant backward linkage industries.
With a view to identifying scopes for regulatory reforms in the policies concerning deemed exports, a BUILD (Business Initiatives Leading Development) research team undertook on a study.
The study revealed several loopholes in policies and export incentives.
BUILD found that policy interventions can be made, particularly through small revisions in the Export Policy Order (2012-15) and Foreign Exchange Guidelines (FEG) to ease regulatory barriers faced by the deemed exporters.

A recent meeting of BUILD’s Trade and Investment Working Committee, chaired by the Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce, discussed policy issues and regulatory constraints affecting deemed exporters.
What exactly are the major regulatory issues surrounding deemed exports?
read more.
FE bd

* Needlework brings fortune to 22,000 rural women :

Over 22,000 rural women have changed their fortune in the northern districts through various needlework like embroidering, spangling saree, ornamental stitching etc on female clothes in recent years.

The prospective venture continues attracting more unemployed, poor and distressed rural women in earning through working at home or smaller enterprises locally to attain economic self-reliance.
According to the successful women, their home-based embroidery works add additional values to the female clothes being marketed at higher price in the country’s sophisticated markets including capital city.

As result of growing success, the needlework has been getting a shape of growing cottage industry attracting local entrepreneurs to change the rural macro-economy in the northern districts.
Many of the rural women, who initiated the venture few years back, have launched smaller enterprises now after getting necessary training and assistances from different government and non-government organisations and local traders.

According to the sources in different NGOs, some 40,000 rural housewives, divorcees, unemployed young girls, adolescents, students and widows are now engaged with this profession and 22,000 of them have already achieved self-reliance.
read more. & to read. & to read.
BSS newstodayBD daily star bd

07:18:03 local time map of india INDIA

* Handloom workers agitate for fair deal:

Handloom workers and members of the A P Chenetha Karmika Sangham (APCKS) took up a 24 four ‘Deeksha’ at Clock Tower Centre here on Sunday, demanding solution to various problems being faced by the community.

Speaking on the occasion district general secretary of the Association, Ganji Murali has said that the government has been neglecting the welfare of weavers which forced dozens of them to commit suicide.
He accused government of delaying the sanctioning of ex-gratia for 27 weavers in Nalgonda district in the past few months who have ended their lives.

The government offers Rs. 1.5 lakh ex-gratia to each victim’s family.
The Centre had cut down 20 per cent rebate extended on handloom products and the insurance cover if any weaver dies is given to those who are below 59 years only under Mahatma Gandhi Bunkar Bima Yojana, he said and urged the Government to extend the insurance cover up to 80 years, besides increasing premium from existing Rs 60,000 to Rs 1 lakh.

Stating that about 47 per cent of weavers are living under BPL in country, the association state general secretary, K. Ramesh asked government to introduce a scheme for all round development of weavers in country.
read more.
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* 20 years after, relief to reach some Binny Mills workers:

Centre extends financial package under the Textiles Workers Rehabilitation Fund Scheme

Twenty years after they lost their jobs in Binny Mills, the Union government’s financial package under its Textile Workers Rehabilitation Fund Scheme (TWRFS) has come knocking at the doors of some of the workers. In some cases, the workers have themselves died leaving behind the money to their kin.

The package — ranging from Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 40,000 per person — will reach out to 854 of the 1,012 workers identified by the unions as those who lost their jobs due to a “partial closure” of the iconic textile mills, Binny and Co, in 1994.
The mills was eventually shut down completely and sold out in the year 2001, and the sprawling campus is now a popular shooting spot for films, among other things.

On Saturday, at a function in the city and in the presence of members of the workers’ unions, Union Minister for Textiles K.S. Rao handed over a cheque to the tune of Rs. 3.28 crore towards the first settlement that reaches out the rehabilitation package to nearly 85 per cent of the workers.
read more.
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 07:18:03 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* China to assist Sri Lanka to develop garment industry:

A free trade agreement (FTA) proposed between Sri Lanka and China will assist Sri Lanka to develop Sri Lanka’s garment and handloom textile industries as a way to eliminate poverty in rural areas.

The Economic Development Ministry says that Chinese investors will contribute to develop Sri Lanka’s garment industry and find international markets for the products aiming to reduce unemployment among rural women in the island.
A Chinese delegation led by the Deputy International Trade Representative of the Ministry of Commerce of China Yu Jianhua met Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa at the Ministry in Colombo yesterday for discussions on the subject.
While noting that Sri Lanka’s current development is impressive, the Chinese minister has pledged full assistance to the government’s development programs and praised the Government’s effort to develop the island’s agriculture.
read more. & read more. & read more.
colombo dailynewsSL island

06:48:03 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Buying Better:

Whatever your style, unless you’re home-growing your own cotton or buying your full wardrobe from charity shops (including your socks and jocks), you are buying into a supply chain.

One thing most of us are guilty of, stylish or not, is not knowing what happens along this chain. In this green era many believe the sweatshop days have come to an end, and if they haven’t, conditions probably aren’t that bad. Not so. Unfortunately, somewhere someone is paying the price for our high-street bargains.
And after my trip to Pakistan early this year, I’ll be very slow to flaunt my best bargains in public again. 

Just over a year ago on September 11, 2012 in Karachi, Ali Enterprises, a garment factory, caught fire. 300 workers were trapped inside and burned to death.

They were making jeans destined for sale in Europe, by the high-street German brand KIK, at €5 – €15 a pop. On my first day in Pakistan I was brought to see the burnt-out factory. More akin to a cage, every window on the building was fixed with metal bars like you would see in pictures of old prisons. Despite the fact that many victims were burnt beyond recognition, and some bodies never found, the barred windows are still intact.
The fire broke out next to the fabric store on the ground floor. As it spread, it blocked the entrances to the upper floors and the basement. The fire brigade took a long time to arrive and ran out of water at one stage.
Locals from the area brought ladders but the ladders weren’t high enough to reach the higher levels of the building, and even so, they had a hard job trying to remove the bars.
The tragedy is, and was, overwhelming. My stomach churns at the sight of a huge pile of charred jeans lying outside the factory gathering dust, a stark reminder of the price the industry placed on the lives of their workers.

For many, this fire is the tip of the iceberg. Despite the clear pain at reliving the memories, people are happy to share their stories, as they hope by sharing, someone will listen and maybe help. It is now a year since the accident but the families have not been given full, long-term and fair compensation.
read more.

* Punjab-based textile mills: power supply continues during Eid holidays:

Power supply to the Punjab-based energy-stricken textile mills continued during Eid holidays. Strong apprehensions on continuous power supply had gripped industry circles before Eid. It was generally believed that power supply will remain suspended in order to facilitate the domestic consumers.

Some millers pointed out that they had received mixed messages from the Fesco management at one stage that panicked them heavily. However, sanity prevailed ahead of Eid holidays and no such decision was implemented at any stage anywhere in the province. It may be noted that the Supreme Court has already directed for ‘equitable’ distribution of electricity to consumers, including the industrial ones. The industry was unhappy with the decision earlier. But, it proved a blessing in disguise for it on Eid.
read more.

* APTMA deprived of key post on cotton committee:

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar is said to have deprived All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) of the Vice Presidency of Pakistan Central Cotton Committee (PCCC), a body responsible for taking important decisions regarding research, well informed sources told Business Recorder.

Sources said, Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet in its meeting on July 3, 2012 had approved the proposed reconstitution of the PCCC with the direction that functional restructuring/ business plan for PCCC should be submitted to the ECC separately.
read more. & read more.

* PCGA rebuts cartelization allegations:

Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) has dispelled the impression of forming cartel with All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) or maintaining monopoly in cotton trade to fleece the cotton growers.

The PCGA made it clear that it could not even think of betraying the farmers which produces raw material for 1200 ginning factories, and textile mills.

Presiding over a meeting of central executive committee of PCGA, its chairman Mukhtar Ahmed Khan Baloch rebutted the allegations of delay in declaring the cotton arrival, payments to growers and creating monopoly in cotton trade. Baloch said that ginners were part and parcel of farmers’ community and they safeguarded the interests of cotton growers.
read more.

* The leather trade: Parties collect hides in peace:

20131020 TRIBUNE
Collection of skins often causes violence to erupt as volunteers strive for higher numbers. PHOTO: PPI/FILE

Stringent security measures and warnings issued by the government to adhere to the code of conduct when collecting hides ensured that the three days of Eidul Azha in the city were largely peaceful.

With the approximate number of hides totalling around 1.2 million, political and religious parties operating in the city were able to get their hands on a fair share of the precious commodity.

Volunteers and supporters of the political parties’ welfare organisations, banned outfits, charitable organisations, and religious parties plied through the streets in an attempt to attain the lion’s share of the trade worth approximately Rs3 billion. Unlike the last few years, however, there were hardly any reported incidents of snatching or violence which had become characteristic of the occasion.
read more.

* Government urged to exempt leather units from power, gas outages:

The government should exempt the Southern Punjab industry from power and gas load shedding for next three months, so that value added industry could meet the Christmas demand.

President of Multan Chamber of Commerce & Industry (MCCI) Khawaja Muhammad Usman said in a press statement issued on Saturday. He said that value added industry of South Punjab are supplied bedspreads, pillows, tableware, handkerchiefs, curtains, sofa cloth to different countries.
Endorsing the demand of Pakistan Tanners Association Khawaja Usman said, “If the government fails to supply gas and power to tanners, the billions of rupees skins and hides of sacrificial animals would be destroyed inflicting huge foreign exchange loss to the country.
read more.

* Knitwear exports fall:

The country’s knitwear exports fell by 4.177 million dollars to 385.197 million dollars during July-August 2013, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).

It said that knitwear exports went down by over one percent as compared to the commodity’s exports of 389.374 million dollars during July-August 2012. The PBS showed that in terms of volume, exports of knitwear however surged by 34 percent to 23,179 metric tons as compared to the commodity export of 17,358 metric tons, depicting a rise of 5821 metric tons.
to read.

06:48:03 local time map of uzbekistan UZBEKISTAN


Map of abuses in the 2013 Uzbek cotton harvest:

The map below depicts each confirmed incident documented in reports from human rights monitors, articles in the press, and from observations e-mailed directly by Uzbek citizens. For an interactive version with descriptions of each incident that will be updated throughout the rest of the harvest, visit:

20131020 COTTONCAMPAIGN incidents_map_2013harvest

read more.

* Uzbek cotton – not just slavery but also a big lie:

The authorities in the city of Jizzakh have been busy creating the appearance that everybody is at the cotton harvest. The city markets appear closed and car traffic is severely restricted.

Every morning Jizzakh traffic police set up barricades on all central roads within the city. Since they do not actually have barricades they use cars instead. And since they do not have sufficient cars for their purpose they have recently been stopping every car in sight and temporary confiscating them on various false reasons related to registration problems, technical issues, or licensing issues.

The traffic police usually open the roads again at around 5pm and let the unlucky car owners pick up their vehicles.
A Jizzakh city resident tells that The charades – no traffic on central roads and no customers at the markets – do not actually mean that everybody is at the cotton harvest.

Traffic now tries to avoid central roads – thousands of cars are now using narrow and poorly-maintained suburban roads to get around blockades.

Another pretense that “everybody is at the cotton harvest” is that the city markets have been made to appear closed. The sign on the front entrance of one market on October 17 read “Everybody is in the cotton fields” with the main gate locked with a padlock. But that is just for appearance – inside the busy market life goes on as usual. The customers are now using the back entrances of the shops to access the market and make their purchases.
read more.

* Uzbekistan exports more than 680,000 tons of cotton:

The IX International Uzbek Cotton and Textile Fair closed in Tashkent. As a result contracts for purchase of more than 680,000 tons of Uzbek cotton fiber were signed, reported UzA national informative agency.

Also contracts for supply of domestic textile products worth more than $1 billion were signed at the fair.
Foreign participants of the fair, who arrived in Tashkent expressed great interest in expanding trade, economic and investment cooperation with Uzbekistan.
The fair also presented modernized cotton pickers MX-1,8 produced by Tashkent Tractor Plant.
Cotton growers of Uzbekistan collected more than 3 million 35 thousand tons of cotton in 2012.
Cotton yields, which amounted to average 26.5 hundred kilograms per hectare increased by 1.6 quintals compared to average five-year index.
According to the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture), the average world price for cotton will be $1.98 per 1 kg in 2013. The rise in prices in 2013-14 season could reach 14% according to preliminary estimates.
to read.



map of Asia

In the menu under special reports you can find new reports-articles (overview) about LIVING WAGES


* A living wage = a human right
* The Asia Floor Wage Alliance (AFWA)
* The Clean Clothes Campaign calling for living wage

* Workers’ right to a rest stressed
* China Calls on Labor Unions to Play Bigger Role
* Online clothing retailer Vancl pays off debt to some suppliers but still owing others; concerns remain over late payments

* 14th month pay, a silly proposal
* Fobap sees growing export demand for garments, hard goods next year

* Clothes on your back: Inside Cambodia’s garment industry
* In one Cambodian factory, a strike gets ugly
* Cambodian trade unions urge garment workers not to join opposition’s mass protest next week
* Media updates 12-21 October 2013, Brands tell GMAC to dial it down

* National Strike of Indonesian workers on 28 , 29 , 30 OCTOBER 2013
* Textile Exports Rise despite Global Economic Turbulence
* ‘Foreign textile firms keen to invest in Central Java

* Rana Plaza survivor passes Eid in loneliness
* DNA tests identify 300 Rana Plaza victims
* Determining minimum wage for workers
* RMG minimum wage likely to be Tk 5,000
* RMG owners to submit conditional proposal
* RMG factory safety compliance
* Government to launch project to improve RMG working condition
* Govt to begin garment factory inspections this month
* ILO team to hold talks on RMG
* Fresh move to increase penalty for non-compliant RMG units
* US wants to know measures taken on GSP action plan
* More global brands join Accord on factory safety
* Accord names team for safer workplaces
* Coalitions to inspect 1,910 garment factories in BD
* North American Alliance releases factory details
* Exports to US rise despite suspension of GSP
* BD’s cotton consumption will rise due to export growth of RMG, yarn
* Revising policies to support deemed exports
* Needlework brings fortune to 22,000 rural women

* Handloom workers agitate for fair deal
* 20 years after, relief to reach some Binny Mills workers

* China to assist Sri Lanka to develop garment industry

* Buying Better
* Punjab-based textile mills: power supply continues during Eid holidays
* APTMA deprived of key post on cotton committee
* PCGA rebuts cartelization allegations
* The leather trade: Parties collect hides in peace
* Government urged to exempt leather units from power, gas outages
* Knitwear exports fall

* Uzbek cotton – not just slavery but also a big lie
* Uzbekistan exports more than 680,000 tons of cotton

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