09:08:35 local time CHINA
* Xi asks unions to protect workers’ rights:
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called on labor unions to serve and safeguard employees’ rights, while stressing the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) over the labor unions.
“Trade unions should protect workers’ interests and promote social justice to win public trust and support,” Xi told the new leadership of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) on Wednesday morning.
Xi urged the leadership of the trade unions to put workers’ initiative and creativity at the center of their cause, to serve the workers wholeheartedly and safeguard their rights and interests.
The unions should resolve the practical problems closest to workers’ interests and which they care about most, he said.
08:08:35 local time VIET NAM
* Ever – Glory Co’s commitment to comply with Labor Code:
The company’s leading representatives committed themselves to fully comply with the provisions of the Labor Code right within this week.
Leading representatives of Ever – Glory Vietnam Garment Co., Ltd. (based in Nam Sach industrial park, Hai Duong city) at around 9.30 am on 21 October had a dialogue with the workers of the company’s 2nd garment workshop.
The company’s leading representatives committed themselves to fully comply with the provisions of the Labor Code right within this week.
Specifically, overtime will not exceed four hours/ day, 16 hours/ week, 30 hours/ month, and 300 hours/ year; there must be the workers’ agreement for any more overtime.
The company will pay salary monthly on the 15th day or on the 14th day if the 15th day falls on a holiday.
From now to the end of the week, the company will check the provider of food for the workers. If the food quality is found insecure, the provider will be changed. Simultaneously, the company will remake specific payrolls for each kind of salary, bonus, and allowance.
08:08:35 local time CAMBODIA
* Garment exports up, margins down:
Despite concerns that political uncertainty would be a drag on the economy, Cambodia’s garment exports continued on an upward trend in the first nine months of the year, the latest data show.
Though volume increased, factory profit margins were squeezed due to labour disputes and demands for higher wages, according to the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC).
Cambodia’s garment and footwear exports were worth $4.1 billion in the first nine months this year, a rise of 22 per cent from the $3.44 billion amount in the nine months through September 2012, the Ministry of Commerce said yesterday.
09:08:35 local time INDONESIA
* Wage committee asked to finish survey:
Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has asked the city wage committee to finish its survey on decent living components in preparation for the 2014 wage hike.
“The results of the survey have yet to reach me. The wage hike decision will need to be made soon,” he said at City Hall on Wednesday.
The wage committee conducted its survey in August 2013 and reviewed the prices of goods and services, including basic commodities, rent and education fees, which are the elements taken into consideration when setting the wage hike. The two other elements are inflation and employers’ financial capability.
The governor seemed reluctant to predict 2014’s wage hike as the decision was now in the hands of the city wage committee.
The minimum wage in the city was raised by 38 percent to Rp 2.2 million (US$220) this year from Rp 1,550,000 in 2012 and workers have demanded the city administration raise the 2014 minimum wage by 68 percent to Rp 3.7 million.
07:38:35 local time BURMA/MYANMAR
* Wait continues for specification of new minimum wage:
U Myo Aung, Director-General of the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Welfare, told Mizzima that it is hard to estimate when the new minimum wage for Myanmar workers will be announced.
“We are working hard to get this task completed, as establishing a new minimum wage is highly important,” he said. “Each job [that this wage would impact] is very different in nature, so we have much to consider. That is why it is hard to estimate the exact amount of time this project will take.”
Protests have been arising in the wake of the continued delays in announcing the wage. Workers are reporting that they are having difficulty collecting their salaries or asking for raises.
“In the drugstore [that I work in], I have to work as a buyer and also as sales staff, but my salary is only 50,000 kyats,” said Daw Thidar, a local employee. “I cannot request to raise my salary as there are frequent turnovers in our staff. Once the minimum wage law is put into place, I will be able to get the minimum salary without having to wait for other members of staff to ask for it as well.”
07:08:35 local time BANGLADESH
* ILO to scrutinise Bangladesh factory safety:
After a series of deadly fires, the International Labour Organisation is putting safety measures under greater scrutiny.
A series of disasters in Bangladesh’s garment industry has led to owners, retail brands and the government promising to make changes, but so far, it has been more talk than action.
Now, the international Labour Organisation is launching a programme that will put factories’ safety measures under greater scrutiny.
see more.(video report).
* IFC joins ILO to improve worker safety in B’desh:
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has launched a Better Work programme to improve working conditions for hundreds of thousands of workers and promote competitiveness in the ready-made garment industry in Bangladesh.
In a joint initiative with the International Labour Organization (ILO), Better Work Bangladesh will provide factory-level services, including assessments of compliance with national labour laws and international standards, and advisory and training services that will dramatically improve working conditions for Bangladeshi garment workers, said a press release on Wednesday.
* Accord team to begin RMG factory inspection in Dec:
The Accord on Fire and Building Safety formed for Bangladesh is likely to begin its inspection of ready-made garment (RMG) factories from December next.
This was disclosed at a meeting of the visiting Accord members, headed by its Interim Executive Director Sean Ansett, with the leaders of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) at its headquarters in the city Wednesday.
BGMEA president Atiqul Islam, vice presidents Md Shahidullah Azim and Reaz-Bin-Mahmood and former president Abdus Salam Murshedy, among others, were present there.
“The Accord team is expected to start its factory inspection from December after working out a common standard,” Mr Azim told the FE after the meeting.
They will inspect about 1600 factories, he said adding the team had also informed about the recruitment of a chief safety inspector and two executive directors, one for international communication and the other for Bangladesh.
“The meeting also discussed the Liberty Factory issue and we are optimistic about a positive result,” he said.
read more. & read more.
* Winnipegger Brad Loewen new chief inspector of 1,600 Bangladeshi factories:
Fire expert now in charge of hiring a team of inspectors to police factories employing two million people.
A Winnipeg fire expert has been appointed chief inspector responsible for cleaning up the garment factories used by 100 retail outlets and brand manufacturers in Bangladesh.
The City of Winnipeg’s Brad Loewen is now in charge of hiring a team of inspectors to police 1,600 factories employing two million people.
The 100 brands, including H&M and Joe Fresh, all signed the Accord on Fire and Building Safety after the devastating Rana Plaza building collapse six months ago killed 1,129 people.
If inspectors find structural, electrical or fire safety problems in the factories, the brands and factory owners must fix them.
“Brad Loewen’s task is central to all that we want to achieve. Under his experienced leadership, the accord will establish and apply safety standards to all factories that supply to accord member brands,” she said in a release.
Loewen, 56, is a fire protection engineer who was an administrator of commercial plan examinations and inspections in Winnipeg. He has also worked for the governments of Canada and the Northwest Territories. He attended the University of Maryland, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Loewen, who has never been to Bangladesh before, is moving to Dhaka in December with his wife. He understands this is one of the biggest challenges he has every faced.
* BD garment workers’ safety, rights to be focused in Toronto fashion week:
Safety and rights of Bangladesh garment workers are likely to be focused in an international gathering of businesses, global retailers, leading designers and top models during a fashion week that began in the Canadian city of Toronto Monday.
The World MasterCard Fashion Week is the first such event since the collapse of Rana Plaza in Dhaka, that killed 1,129 garment workers and maimed many in April, industry sources said.
* U.S.-led group’s Bangladesh garment factory reviews halfway done:
More than half of the Bangladesh garment factories that do work for a group of North American retailers and apparel makers have already been inspected for fire and building safety, the group said on Tuesday.
Last week, the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety released a list of more than 620 factories its 23 current members do business with.
Bangladesh garment factory working conditions have been under close scrutiny since the April collapse of the Rana Plaza factory complex killed more than 1,100 garment workers and a November 2012 fire at the Tazreen factory killed 112 workers.
Members of the Alliance, including industry heavyweights such as Gap Inc, VF Corp and Wal-Mart Stores Inc, have agreed to inspect all of the Bangladesh factories from which they source goods within a year. So far, more than 50 percent of those factories have been inspected. It was not immediately clear how many factories may or may not need to make safety improvements based on those inspections.
read more. & to read.
* BB finalises JICA loan for RMG units:
The Bangladesh Bank has said the apparel factories of BGMEA and BKMEA members would get highest Tk 10 crore each in pre-finance from a JICA project to reconstruct risky industrial buildings, purchase equipment required for workplace safety and relocate the factories.
The apparel factories of BGMEA and BKMEA members having 100-2000 employees would qualify for getting pre-finance from a Tk 500-crore Japan International Cooperation Agency fund which is now being used for a project titled ‘financial sector project for the development of small and medium-sized enterprises’, according to a BB circular issued on Tuesday.
The central bank issued the circular to managing directors and chief executive officers of all banks and non-bank financial institutions which had signed participation agreements with the JICA project. The circular said from now on the banks and the NBFIs would be able to apply to the central bank to receive the pre-finance from the JICA fund.
The JICA fund comes when the country’s RMG sector is facing severe criticism all over the world after the Rana Plaza collapse at Savar in April this year.
More than 1,100 people, most of them garment workers, were killed in the building collapse.
read more. & read more.
* Demand for country’s home textile goods rising in international mkts:
Country’s home textile mill owners have taken a move for a major expansion of their units to grab a big portion of international market.
Industries insiders said demand for Bangladeshi home textiles have been increasing in the global market thanks to production shortfall in two major home textile producers — China and Pakistan.
“With a view to meeting the increasing demand for home textile goods in the international market, the country’s most mill owners have been going for a massive expansion,” president of Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) Jahangir Alamin told the FE on Wednesday.
* RMG sector: It’s time to act:
Trade openness (export and import as percentage of GDP) of the Bangladesh economy has increased over time. It is now almost 51 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). The import bill accounts for about 29 per cent and the export earnings about 22 per cent of GDP.
Export (f.o.b) earnings were about US $27 billion in June 2013. Import payments were to the tune of US $29 billion. According to official papers, the growth of export was 5.9 per cent and 10.7 per cent in FY 2012 and FY 2013 respectively. On the other hand, the growth of import was 5.5 per cent in FY 2012 and (-) 5.6 per cent in FY 2013.
The threats over suspension of Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) by the US, speculated for a long time, came true in June last. During that period, nothing tangible could be done by the government or by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
For suspension of GSP, the final blow came with the collapse of the Rana Plaza at Savar, Dhaka that claimed the lives of more than 1,100 workers.
Unfortunately such tragic events occurred earlier with Spectrum and Tazreen Fashions.
In the Tazreen tragedy, more than 100 workers were burnt to death. The last fire incident after the Rana Plaza tragedy took place in Aswad Composite Mills Ltd. at Ashulia where 11 workers died.
* Act before EU cancels GSP:
Garment exports will take a serious hit if factory safety and compliance are not enhanced by next June, when the European Union will review Bangladesh’s trade privileges, the World Bank said yesterday.
Johannes Zutt, WB’s country director for Bangladesh, said the country’s “dynamic” readymade garment sector is at a “critical crossroad” now after the recent spate of industrial accidents which have exposed the hazards workers face and “severely” tarnished the industry’s image.
“Bangladesh must act now to articulate and enforce improved standards for building safety and worker health and safety, so that the garments industry can continue to grow and other industries can follow its example.”
* USTR seeks progress report on ‘Action Planaa’ by Nov 15:
The United States Trade Representative (USTR) office has sought a progress report from the government on the implementation status of the ‘Action Plan’ the US government had suggested in reviving the lost GSP facility.
The report has to be sent latest by November 15 this year to the USTR, a top trade diplomat told New Age on Wednesday.
The move of the USTR comes as the US authority would review the actions taken by the government so far to improve labour standards in the apparel industries, develop fire safety and improve building structures for a favourable revision of GSP suspension.
Gazipur Garment factory Fire
* Apparel exporter faces ‘baseless’ case:
Fire safety inspection report contradicts with the allegations brought against them, management says
The managementof Aswad Composite Mills, a concern of Palmal Group export apparel products,yesterday claimed they fall victim of a baseless case filedby the administration.
They argued the case is baseless as the fire safety inspection report contradicts with the allegationsbrought against them about lacking fire safety measures.
Addressing a press conference in Dhaka, Managing Director NafisSikder said the allegations brought beyond the inspection report were fabricated, baseless and controversial.
The inspection teammarked positive in 22 categories out of 50 while negative in one categoryand 27 categories kept unmarked, he said.
* Palmal Group compensates families of fire victims:
Palmal Group, an apparel maker and exporter, yesterday compensated the beneficiaries of its seven employees killed in an October 8 fire in Aswad Composite Mills, a concern of the group located in Gazipur.
Beneficiaries of six of the deceased employees have been paid Tk 5 lakh each and an assistant general manager got Tk 15.87 lakh from the company’s group insurance scheme, said Nafis Sikder, managing director of Palmal Group.
Each employee will get another Tk 2 lakh from the BGMEA’s insurance coverage, he said.
The group handed over the compensation in presence of the leaders of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), at the group’s head office at Shahjadpur in Gulshan in the capital.
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE
* Six months on from Rana Plaza – survivors still fighting for compensation:
Six months after the Rana Plaza building collapse, history’s deadliest garment industry disaster, a new report from the Clean Clothes Campaign and the International Labor Rights Forum examines what progress has been made on delivering compensation to the families and workers most affected by the tragedy.
CCC and ILRF report that some progress has been made, but not enough yet to keep some of the permanently injured workers from having to pull their children out of school.
CCC and ILRF have supported IndustriALL global union in calling the Rana Plaza buyers and other key parties to come to the table and agree full and fair compensation for all the victims. First meetings in September, chaired by the ILO in Geneva, led to discussions on an “Arrangement” to provide a mechanism for calculating and distributing compensation to Rana Plaza families and establish a fund into which brands can contribute.
There are promising signs that this Arrangement, which is being developed by a Rana Plaza Compensation Coordination Committee made up of brands, the Bangladesh government, the BGMEA, local and global trade unions and NGOs, may turn demands for long-awaited compensation into a reality.
However, CCC and ILRF warn that there remains a lack of commitment from the majority of brands implicated in the disaster to contribute the funds so desperately needed.
The report also details which of the brands are stepping up to their responsibilities, and which aren’t. Primark and Loblaw are singled out for committing to providing short-term relief and, in the case of Primark, for establishing a process of delivering this to the affected families. These two
companies, along with Benetton and El Corte Ingles, are participating in the Coordination Committee. Inditex, Bon Marche and Mascot have signalled their commitment to contribute to a fund established under the Arrangement.
The report calls for all remaining brands linked to Rana Plaza to commit to joining the Arrangement, to paying into the fund and to ensuring the compensation fund is sufficient to provide full and fair compensation.
Those brands which have so far failed to agree include: Adler Modemärkt (Germany), Auchan (France), Camaieu (France), Carrefour (France), Cato Fashions (US), Children’s Place (US), LPP (Poland), Iconix (US), JC Penney (US), Kids for Fashion (Germany), Kik (Germany), Mango (Spain), Manifattura Corona (Italy), Matalan (UK), NKD (Germany), Premier Clothing (UK), Store 21 (UK), Texman (Denmark), Walmart (US), and YesZee (Italy), C&A (Germany/Belgium), Dress Barn (US), Gueldenpfennig (Germany) and Pellegrini (Italy).
“As we pass six months since the horror of Rana Plaza it is outrageous that those families who lost loved ones and those survivors who sustained horrific
injuries continue to pay the price for the negligence of employers, brands, and government by barely making ends meet,” said Ineke Zeldenrust of the CCC, “It is time that all brands linked to the tragedies step up and commit to supporting the Arrangement and pay into the fund, and thereby take financial responsibility for a disaster that they failed to prevent”.
The publication also highlights the link between poverty wages and safety, showing that low pay effectively forces workers to continue to work in unsafe buildings.
“The workers of Rana Plaza were trapped into a cycle of poverty and debt and forced to choose between losing desperately needed income and their own safety,” noted Judy Gearhart of the ILRF. “Many workers knew it was unsafe and some even asked managers if they could shut down for the day, but quick turnaround and on-time delivery are critical demands from apparel brands,” added Gearhart.
The report concludes with a series of recommendations for how to meet the urgent needs of the workers and their families affected by the recent disasters and how to secure sustainable reforms in the industry in the near term.
Read the report here.
* Rana Plaza disaster: victims still waiting for compensation:
Six months after the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory building in Bangladesh, more than 15 brands whose clothes were produced there have yet to agree to pay long-term compensation to injured workers or the families of the 1,129 people who died.
The Clean Clothes Campaign, an international workers’ rights pressure group, has written to brands including Spanish fashion brand Mango, UK workwear producer Premier and US supermarket Walmart, all of which had sold clothing made within Rana Plaza, calling on them to help victims of the disaster.
It says: “Clean Clothes Campaign would like to see all brands who were sourcing either directly or indirectly from factories housed in Rana Plaza commit, and implement, the payment of full and fair compensation for all victim’s families and the survivors of Rana Plaza.
“They must also agree a way forward in dealing with compensation when accidents do occur, to avoid making a tragic situation worse with months of uncertainty, for the survivors and families left behind, who are left with no income, high medical bills and a real risk of destitution.”
Jyrki Raina, the general secretary of international union IndustriALL, says: “The immediate concern is to keep the money flowing to victims.”
The debate about compensation comes amid a fraught atmosphere in Dhaka as the Bangladeshi government prepares to announce an increase in the minimum wage which will affect millions of factory workers. Workers have demanded 8,000 taka (£64) a month, more than double the current 3,000 taka rate, but the government is expected to set rates at 5,500 taka.
* Savar factory collapse victims no closer to recovery:
Six months after the garment factory disaster at Rana Plaza in Savar, victims of the deadly building collapse are still awaiting compensation and suffering debilitating physical and psychological injuries that have prevented the vast majority of them from returning to work, according to a recent survey.
It says that 90 percent of the victims reported that they have not received any legal benefits from their employers including sick pay or compensation since April this year.
ActionAid, an international NGO, conducted the survey on 2,297 people — nearly two-thirds of survivors and families of those who died in the eight-storey factory collapse on April 24 this year.
The survey comes as the Bangladesh government along with the global alliance of trade unions continues to negotiate compensation for survivors and families of the deceased.
The study reveals that about 92 percent of survivors have not yet gone back to work. About 63 percent respondent said physical injury such as amputations, paralysis, severe pains in head, and leg and body have stopped them going back to work.
read more. & read more.
* Compensation for Rana Plaza tragedy victims still a far cry:
Uncertainty looms large over the fate of Rana Plaza tragedy victims as no clear announcement regarding their compensation has been made so far either by buyers or apparel makers even six months after the deadliest accident.
The worried relatives are still waiting for help and have been moving desperately from here and there after the apparel factory owners pledged adequate compensation for family members who lost their near and dear ones in the Rana Plaza collapse.
The eight-storey commercial building that housed five garment factories in Savar, on the outskirt of the capital, collapsed on April 24. The accident claimed at least 1,100 lives, most of them workers.
Several hundred others were also critically wounded in of the country’s worst-ever industrial disaster that not only came as a great shocked for the whole nation, but also raised the questions about workplace safety of the country’s apparel industry both at home and abroad.
“I am totally in the dark about the fate of my family as I am unable to do any work and earn my livelihood after the accident that caused back pain and I can’t even seat for more than 15 minutes at a time,” Md Alauddin, a 24-year-old youth who worked as a sample man in the New Wave Style located at the Rana Plaza, told the FE last week.
The accident also took away my hearing ability, Mr. Alauddin, who is now under treatment at CRP (Centre for Rehabilitation of the Paralysed), told the FE.
“Despite all these, I and my other unfortunate colleagues did not get any financial support either from the government or garment manufacturers,” he said adding that he only got Tk 30,000 in two installments disbursed from Primark.
Monika Hembrom, another worker of the New Wave Style who had an operation in her leg, did not even get the Primark support.
“I did not get a single penny from either the government or the BGMEA or any buyer,” she said adding even not the Tk 10,000 support from the government given at the hospital.
Shapla Begum, a worker on the third floor of the Rana Plaza, is among others who did not even get her wage.
“I and my younger brother Solaiman Hossain worked at the same factory. I am lucky to survive while my brother is still missing,” she said adding “Now I am in a dire situation as I have to look after two kids of my brother.”
Nazma Akter, a labour leader, said lack of transparency still persists over the compensation of the victims even after six months of the disaster.
“There are lots of commitments from both local and international arena but things are progressing very slowly, especially the compensation issue,” she said adding the financial assistance received from different agencies including PM is something like ‘charity’ not ‘compensation’.
* 6 months on, Rana Plaza probe still incomplete:
The Criminal Investigation Department is yet to complete the investigation of the cases related to the Rana Plaza collapse even six months after the incident that took place in April, leaving at least 1,133 people dead.
‘We have some jobs still incomplete and we have plans to submit charge sheet by December,’ senior superintendent of police Bijoy Krishna Kar said when he was asked about the delay in investigations.
He said that they had identified the involvement of about 30 people, including the accused already arrested and some other officials who were yet to be arrested.
CID officials said that some officials of the Savar municipality and the civil administration had been arrested and some other officials, who had a role in the incident, would be named accused in the cases.
The investigation officer said that his team was examining reports of inquiries carried out after the incident and expert opinions.
On the morning of April 24, the eight-storey Rana Plaza, which housed five clothing factories, a shopping mall and a bank, collapsed, leaving at least 1,133 people dead and about 2,000 injured.
After the disaster, the police brought criminal charges against owners of the building, including Sohel Rana, and the owners of the five clothing factories. Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha filed another case against the Savar municipality.
* No progress in ACC probe of Rana Plaza collapse:
The Anti-Corruption Commission has not made any progress in the inquiry it planned into the allegation of illegal wealth being amassed by Sohel Rana, also a local Juba League leader, whose Rana Plaza at Savar collapsed on April 24, killing at least 1,133 people.
Commission officials said that the inquiry team had sent a notice to Rana’s mother as Rana and his father
are in jail. Six months after the institution of the team, the commission sent the notice on Sunday.
The commission’s director Tawhidul Islam said that the team was trying to collect relevant documents from the local administration. ‘We have no scope to send any notice to Rana as he is in jail.’
* German Development Cooperation, CRP and BGMEA join hands six months after Rana Plaza:
A first of its kind, an Orthotics and Prosthetics School is in the process of being established in Savar. On 23rd October 2013 a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)has been signed, six months after the tragedy of Rana Plaza.
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Centre for Rehabilitation of the Paralyzed (CRP) and Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) have joined hands to make it happen. The MoU includes several components with the intention to support people with disabilities, especially those affected by the Rana Plaza building collapse, but also other disabled people.
The ongoing GIZ project “Promotion of Social and Environmental Standards” (PSES), which already has a proven track record in improving the RMG sector in Bangladesh constitutes the framework under which the different measures of the MoU will be implemented.
* MoU signed to train disabled RMG workers:
Under the MoU, training would be provided to the people with disabilities through a school namely ‘Orthotics and Prosthetics School’
A tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed in Dhaka on Wednesday to provide training to people with disabilities, particularly the victims of Rana Plaza collapse and other readymade garment factory accidents.
Under the MoU, training would be provided to the people with disabilities through a school namely “Orthotics and Prosthetics School”, the first of its kind in Bangladesh to be established.
Marking six months of the Rana Plaza tragedy, the agreement was signed among Promotion of Social and Environmental Standards in the Industry (PSES), a joint project of the governments of Bangladesh and Germany, implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaftfür internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Centre for Rehabilitation of the Paralyzed (CRP) and Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
* No charge sheet yet:
People accused in cases in connection with the Rana Plaza disaster are out on bail
Six months have passed since the Rana Plaza building collapse, but the investigating agency is yet to present a charge sheet before the court in cases filed in connection with the disaster.
Many of the accused in the cases are enjoying a free life after securing bail from the High Court. Savar municipality engineers Emtemum Hossain and Refayet Ullah; Ward Councilors of Savar municipality Mohammad Ali Khan and Abul Hasan Abul Hasan, who gave shelter to the building’s owner Sohel Rana at Faridpur and Jessore; are all now out on bail.
Rana’s father Abdul Khalek also received bail from the High Court in the case filed under the building construction act. However, both Rana and his father remain behind bars as they were denied bail in the murder case.
* Rana Plaza collapse victims yet to get compensation:
Six months after the Rana Plaza collapse, the stakeholders are yet to disburse financial assistance and other benefits to the victims and their families.
The government and the organisations involved in garment business have failed to deliver on their much-talked-about promise of a compensation package for those affected by the tragedy.
However, the country has seen some determined individuals from different quarters, both at home and abroad, work tirelessly to bring relief to the families of the 1142 garment workers that were killed and more than 2500 injured who were injured.
On August 29 five months and six days after the April 24 tragedy, a high-powered committee formed on the instruction of the High Court recommended Tk1.951m in compensation for each of the apparel workers who died or went missing in the collapse based on worker’s basic salary, annual inflation, gratuity, pain and sufferings of victims.
The committee also proposed Tk1m each for a victim who lost one limb and Tk1.5m to Tk2m each for a victim who lost two limbs.
* Caught between fear and need:
Rana Plaza survivor hopes to live ‘like a human’
When Pintu Kumar Shaha emerged from the rubble of Rana Plaza after three days, his photos took the media by storm. With his head held high and arms stretched, gesturing his victory against death, he immediately became an icon for many who had been devastated by the news of deaths, injuries and amputations.
“When I came out, I felt like I was reborn. I had given up my hopes of living while I was inside. But when I saw the light, I felt that I was born again,” Pintu told the Dhaka Tribune.
But that has changed. Six months have passed since, and except for a month’s salary, Pintu is yet to receive any compensation either from the government or any other organisations. His right arm and hip still ache, and he has to bear the medicinal expenses himself. He has to pay Tk500-700 for his medical expenses every month.
“I do not feel that positive energy inside me anymore,” he said, sitting in his tin-shed room next to his son Gourango Shaha, 18, who was also a worker at Rana Plaza.
* Family seeks better recognition of Kaykobad’s heroic deeds:
Kaykobad was burnt in a fire ignited inside the rubble of Rana Plaza while trying to rescue victims
Mohammad Ejajuddin Ahmed Kaykobad, 35, was burnt in a fire ignited inside the rubble of Rana Plaza on April 28 as he was trying to rescue Shahina Akhter, a garment worker who was also burnt to death.
Kaykobad remained in hospital for about a week before he succumbed to his injuries in Singapore. Although he was awarded a Guard of Honour at his funeral, family members worry his story may fade with time.
“We do not want our brother’s deeds to be forgotten,” said Nurun Nahar Yasmin, elder sister of Kaykobad. She along with Kaykobad’s wife Jarmin Akhter is seeking a bigger recognition to commemorate his bravery.
“He is a hero only in people’s speech…We want something more concrete,” Jarmin told the Dhaka Tribune.
* Specialised school planned for victims:
The school will have a training lab and library facilities, student exchange programme, and consultation programme
Rana Plaza victims, who lost their limbs and were disabled, are going to get a specialised school in Savar.
According to a press release of GIZ, an international enterprise owned by the German Federal Government, GIZ, CRP and BGMEA signed a MoU on Wednesday to establish an orthotics and prosthetics school to support the people with disabilities, especially those affected by the Rana Plaza building collapse.
06:08:35 local time PAKISTAN
* Textile, clothing exports rise:
Export proceeds from these sectors rebounded following substantial increase in export of raw cotton and value-added products, showed data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics here on Tuesday.Export of textile and clothing surged to $3.576bn in July-Sept 2013 from $3.251bn during the corresponding months of last year.
The products, which witnessed a negative growth in July-Sept 2013 over the same months last year, are cotton carded, yarn other than cotton yarn, towels and art silk.
However, growth in exports in the first three months was mainly driven by bedwear and readymade garments, which are valued-added products.
Exports witnessed a growth because of increase in export to the European markets owing to preferential market access on selected products.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* Christmas buyings help boost exports to EU, US:
Buying for Christmas celebrations in Europe and the US has pushed up Pakistan readymade garments exports by $56.607 million in July-September period of the current fiscal year, exporters said on Wednesday.
“Exports of apparel products to Europe and the US grew this fiscal year for demand ahead of Christmas season,” they said, adding the country’s readymade garments showed a good exports growth.
Pakistan exported $477.067 million of readymade garments to the world markets during July-September period this fiscal year as compared to the garments exports of $420.46 million in the same period last fiscal year, showing an increase of $56.607 million (13 percent), according to Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). In terms of volume, the country’s garments exports mounted to 7,389, 000 dozens during July-September period of current fiscal year as compared to its exports of 6,768, 000 dozens in the same period last fiscal year, rising by 621, 000 dozens (9.18 percent), according to the statistics.
* Khurram Dastagir to lobby for GSP plus status for Pakistan:
The Minister of State for Commerce and Textile Industry, Engineer Khurram Dastagir Khan is currently undertaking a visit of four European countries to lobby for Generalized System of Preferences Plus (GSP+) status for Pakistan.
The Minister, accompanied by the Secretary, Commerce Division, will hold meetings with European Parliament members, leading business groups and influential members of Pakistani diaspora in Brussels, Paris, Madrid and Rome, says a statement issued by the Ministry of Commerce here Tuesday.
During his interaction with key figures, the Minister will seek support from European Union (EU) members for the Pakistan’s application for GSP+.
* Cotton committee reforms rolled back:
The bureaucracy seems to have tricked the government into rolling back the plan to reform the Pakistan Central Cotton Committee as an effective research organisation by wresting back its control from the private sector management.
The government has already dissolved its board and handed over its administrative control to the cotton commissioner for an unspecified period.
The reversal of the PCCC reforms will adversely hurt the efforts to increase domestic cotton output, textile industry analysts said. While Pakistan is struggling to maintain its crop size at 13 million bales since early 1990s, India has already raised its output to 37 million by investing heavily into research and development.
06:08:35 local time UZBEKISTAN
* 16-year-old dies during cotton harvest:
Jerkaboj Yuldashev, a 16-year-old college freshman, died on October 20 in Khorezm province. The reason for his death is unclear.
His mother, 35-year-old Dilfuza Djurmaniyazova, says that he was picking cotton with his classmates on Galaba farm in Urgench district.
A professor from her son’s college came to her house on October 22 and told her the terrible news.
“Why can’t I know the reason for his death? Why do I have to wait until an autopsy is performed? Why didn’t they inform me when he was dying?” asks the college student’s mother.
On his last day Jerkaboj did not appear unwell and was able to pick about 20 kilos of cotton, while many of his classmates only managed 5-6 kilos. During the night of October 20 he became ill, and had problems breathing. He died before the ambulance arrived.
His body was taken away by police and his parents were only informed of his death two days later.
Some of his professors speculate that he may have suffered from a heart condition and had a heart attack. It is unclear if he was healthy enough to participate in the cotton harvest.