17:21:24 local time MONGOLIA
* Trade union members demand wage increases:
Members of the Confederation of Trade Unions in the health, education, culture and art sectors held a press conference on October 18.
They said, “The economic growth of Mongolia is not supporting the livelihood of all citizens in our country. While the price of consumer goods rises day by day, the 2014 State Budget allocated only 200 billion MNT for wages, pensions and allowances.”
Unless the government quickly increases wages, the members pledged to prepare for the next stage of their demands.
J.Batzorig, chief of the Trade Union of Education and Science, said, “Before, the inflation rate of previous years was considered when increasing wages. But next year, the wage will be increased with little consideration of inflation rates in 2014, which is quite wrong. Compared to other workers, staff in the health and education sector have twice the work that others have.
“For instance, many classrooms regularly have 60 students instead of 30, which is the standard, and hospitals are providing medical treatment for more patients than they are capable of handling. If the government can’t solve these problems, they must increase wages. While the average education workers monthly salary is 5,000 USD in developed countries, it is barely 300 USD in Mongolia.”
17:21:24 local time CHINA
* China, the garment king: a portrait:
Though there are altogether 50 garment clusters throughout China, it is the total output of the five provinces Shandong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian and Guangdong in the eastern coastal area that make up 70 percent of China’s total garment output.
* Brazilians protest over loss of textile jobs to China:
Brazilian textile workers held a demonstration Wednesday over the loss of manufacturing jobs to China, in a protest at a trade fair here showcasing mainly Chinese goods.
An AFP reporter witnessed some 200 demonstrators who converged on the Anhembi convention center in the north of Sao Paulo, where 340 mostly Chinese firms were displaying their wares.
Unions and textile associations say they want to call attention to the loss of factory work to China.
Protesters waved banners reading: “In defense of national industry and our jobs.’’ Other signs suggested that sending textile work to China will lead to the demise of Brazilian firms.
Similar protests took place in Spain a decade ago against Chinese shoemakers, with warehouses being set ablaze as Spanish workers decried the arrival of Chinese competition.
Unions in Brazil say 55,000 jobs have been lost in the textile industry this year alone.
16:21:24 local time VIET NAM
* TPP will make Vietnam the world’s biggest garments center:
With considerable progress made at the last TPP negotiation round, all the parties keep a hope that the negotiations would finish by the end of the year, because all of them can see the big benefits from the agreement once it is signed.
Vietnam is believed to be the biggest beneficiary from the agreement among the 12 member countries.
Regarding the textile and garment industry, under TPP, Vietnam’s exports would enjoy the tax rate of zero percent instead of 17.3 percent as currently.
However, the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (Vinatas) keeps cautious when talking about the opportunities to be brought by TPP to the industry.
The association has warned that Vietnam is in the danger of becoming a textile and garment center with “three nos”: no materials, no technology and equipment, and no market.
According to Nguyen Duc Tuan, Deputy Secretary of Vinatas, TPP has set up the “yarn forward” principle, which means that the textile and garment products exported by the TPP member countries would enjoy the preferential tariffs only if the steps of the manufacturing process including spinning, weaving, dying trimming and sewing are carried out in TPP member countries.
* Vietman’s largest textile firm says IPO price remains a mystery:
Vinatex, the country’s largest textile company, is due to IPO (initial public offering) during the last quarter of this year at a price its CEO says remains a mystery.
The state-run company, fully known as Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group, has finished several important steps ahead of the IPO, CEO Tran Quang Nghi told Tuoi Tre.
These include assessing the company’s value and determining the number of interested investors and strategic shareholders over the privatization, Nghi said.
The CEO said the IPO will open new chances for Vinatex as well as the Vietnamese textile industry, especially after the Trans-Pacific Partnership is signed in the near future.
But Nghi refused to say how his company will be priced at the IPO.
“I think it is an unknown number,” he said.
* Transfer pricing: Hundreds of businesses named in black list:
122 foreign invested enterprises (FIEs) have been found as conducting transfer pricing and forced to pay the tax arrears of over VND200 billion.
The General Department of Taxation (GDT) has taken inspection tours to 122 enterprises in 23 cities and provinces by September 2013 and found the behavior of transfer pricing there.
A lot of enterprises which took losses, turned out to be profitable after the inspection, while the enterprises which reported modest profits, have been found as making fat profits.
Most of the enterprises operate in the fields of textile and garment, footwear, and food processing, while some of them are in the real estate and construction sector.
16:21:24 local time THAILAND
* Firms take eco-friendly route to serve EU demand:
As the European Union (EU) plans to become the single market for green products, textile companies are being urged to include sustainability in their business-as-usual practices to serve the demand for eco-friendly items.
Peeraporn Palapleevalya, director of the Thailand Textile Institute’s (THTI) Textile Testing Centre, said manufacturers should focus on lowering their carbon footprint and engage in eco-friendly designs.
“The demand for green products has risen from the young generation due to the increased awareness of the trend. And these people are the ones with the purchasing power,” she said.
According to the Customs Department, Thailand exported $7.22 billion worth of textiles and garments last year. Of the total, $4.27 billion was textiles and the rest apparel. The largest export market is Asean, followed by the US, EU, Japan and China.
16:21:24 local time CAMBODIA
* Stone, bottoles traded at SL garment protest:
& to read.
* Appeal court to hear Chhouk Bundith case:
* BetterFactories Media updates 22-25 October 2013, Garment exports up, margins down:
* To read in the printed edition of the Phnom Penh Post:
2013-10-22 Sabrina workers out after months in jail
2013-10-23 USA garment factory workers block national road
2013-10-24 Garment exports up, margins down
2013-10-25 Chain promises aid for factory collapse victims
2013-10-25 Stone, bottoles traded at SL garment protest
* To read in the printed edition of the Cambodia Daily:
2013-10-22 Bangladesh poised to hike garment wages
2013-10-23 SL garment protesters gain little from talks at Labour Ministry
2013-10-25 Appeal court to hear Chhouk Bundith case
2013-10-25 Primak pays more money to factory victims
2013-10- 22 Police train at Freedom Park as protesters target Hun Sen’s house
* To read in the printed edition of the Koh Santepheap Daily (Khmer):
2013-10-23 Factory closedown workers blocs the road and demand for seniority
2013-10-24 Factory owner ran away, workers blocked road and went on strike
BetrterFactories Media Updates overview here.
17:21:24 local time INDONESIA
* Workers demand wage increase:
Workers from a number of companies in Makassar staged a rally on Thursday, demanding the South Sulawesi provincial administration raise both the regional minimum wage (UMR) and the city minimum wage (UMK) for the upcoming year.
They said that the current South Sulawesi minimum wage of Rp 2.16 million (US$198) and the Makassar minimum wage of Rp 2.25 million per month was not adequate for basic living needs following skyrocketing food and fuel prices.
“The current minimum wage is unable to support workers, especially those supporting families. We urge the provincial and the city administrations to raise the minimum wage 50 percent for next year,” said rally coordinator Akbar.
“We make big contributions to the economy, but we only earn a small amount of money for our hard work,” he added.
* Three Million Workers Involved In National Strike Confirmed:
President of the Confederation of Indonesian Trade Union (KSPI) Said Iqbal ensure national strike will be followed 3 million workers in 20 Provincial and 150 Kabuparen/Kota.
And will be followed hundreds of thousands of companies in 40 industrial areas throughout Indonesia that would stop production, including in ports will be impaired by the National Strike that has been ascertained on 31Oktober-November 1 2013. And Preconditions national strike will be done 28-30 October 2013 in each region. National strike and preconditions conducted in an orderly and peaceful and non-violent.
According to Iqbal no political content in the national strike and no workers were ridden by anyone. Precisely Apindo chairman and minister perindustrianlah that as politicians. Thus politicizing workers in low wage policy sets, modern slavery, and limited social security. While, pure trade union fighting for the livelihoods of workers.
Related demands of national strike 2013 sue;
1. Minimum wage increases 2014 is 50% the national average and the USD. 3,7 million to Jakarta. Workers demanded a minimum wage calculation using 84 KHL item or if using 60 KHL item then minimum wage increases 50%.
2. Health insurance all the people 1 January 2014
3. Remove outsourcing included in SOE
15:51:24 local time BURMA/MYANMAR
* Belgium textile firm seeks to invest in Myanmar:
Belgium-based textile manufacturing company, Beaulieu International Group is seeking to invest in Myanmar, according to official reports.
Beaulieu’s Director Peter Desmet and his group visited the office of Directorate of Investment and Company Administration in capital Nay Pyi Taw to discuss the legal requirements for setting up a labour-intensive business in Myanmar.
Beaulieu International Group produces an extensive range of textile-related products including raw and intermediate goods. The company holds a strong market position in Asia and Europe. Its carpets are particularly successful in Europe.
The group has about 3,500 employees in some 30 sites across eight countries. In 2012, the Beaulieu International Group’s turnover was € 1.4 billion.
15:21:24 local time BANGLADESH
* WB: Bangladesh garment industry at crossroads:
‘The dynamic readymade garments sector has been a key contributor to Bangladesh’s strong economic performance and to women’s empowerment’
The World Bank has said the sunny picture of the apparel industry of Bangladesh has changed as the recent deadly accidents revived concerns over compliance in labor standards and workers safety, throwing Bangladesh’s competitiveness at risk.
“The dynamic readymade garments sector has been a key contributor to Bangladesh’s strong economic performance and to women’s empowerment,” said Johannes Zutt, country director for Bangladesh, at a report launching ceremony in Dhaka on Wednesday.
“But this industry is now at a critical crossroads, as recent high-fatality factory fires and a building collapse have exposed the hazards workers face and also severely tarnished the industry’s image,” he said.
* Inspection of RMG factories begins on November 1, finally:
The government’s scheduled inspection programme to check structural flaws in garment factories will finally start on November 1 next after finalising the safety checklist, officials said Thursday.
Earlier on September 01, the government announced that it would launch a structural integrity and fire safety assessment of buildings housing RMG (readymade garment) factories from September 15 last. Thirty expert panels, led by the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), were to be involved in the inspection drive.
But the programme was deferred due to unavailability of funds and non-completion of safety manual on fire and building safety, they added.
The BUET teams are expected to inspect 1,500-2,000 garment factory buildings under a tripartite agreement between the government, trade unions and the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
* ILO to provide $22m fund to train workers:
Secretary of Economic Relations Division Md Abul Kalam Azad and ILO Country Director Srinivas Reddy signed two project agreements
International Labour Organisation (ILO) will provide US$22m for vocational and technical training of Bangladeshi workers, including RMG workers, to develop them of international standard.
Secretary of Economic Relations Division Md Abul Kalam Azad and ILO Country Director Srinivas Reddy signed two project agreements in Dhaka on Thursday to provide fund for the skill development programme.
As per the agreements, the fund would be utilised through “Bangladesh Skills for Employment and Productivity (BSEP)” and “Promoting Workers and Labours Relation in Export Oriented Industries in Bangladesh.” Ministry of Labour and Employment and Bangladesh Technical Department will implement the two projects.
Norway and Canada will contribute US$19.5m and 2.5m respectively through ILO to the project, which is scheduled to be completed in September 2014.
* UK, Netherlands promise $15m for ILO project on workers’ safety:
The United Kingdom and the Netherlands have committed financial assistance to Bangladesh in implementing its deal with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to improve safety in the garment sector, officials said on Thursday.
The government and the ILO have already started implementing a $25.2 million plan, signed in June, to improve conditions in the garment sector in the next three and a half years, according to a Foreign Ministry official.
Both the UK and the Dutch governments have committed to assist the plan with some $15 million to minimise the threat of mishaps like fire and building collapse and to ensure rights of workers.
* Inter-ministerial meet on GSP action plan Sunday:
An emergency inter-ministerial meeting will be held Sunday to discuss how to prepare a position paper in line with the 16-point US action plan, compliance with which will see restoration of the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) Bangladeshi products earlier enjoyed in the US market, official sources have said.
Mr Mahbub Ahmed, secretary of the ministry of commerce (MoC), will preside over the meeting at the ministry.
The United States Trade Representative (USTR) requested Bangladesh to inform the US by November 15 of the measures taken in line with the action plan, official sources said.
* JICA-funded project to improve working condition of RMG workers:
In the backdrop of tragic incidence of Rana Plaza collapse and recent crisis in the RMG and Knitwear sector, a special initiative has been taken to improve safe working environment of RMG workers, said a Bangladesh Bank press release on Wednesday.
An initiative to finance the improvement of safe working environment of RMG and knitwear sector workers, the project authority has decided to start helping RMG and Knitwear sector of the country through the ongoing JICA assisted FSPDSME project.
In this regard, some exceptions to current operating guidelines have been approved. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for “RMG Sector Safe Working Environment Programme” has been signed among JICA, Bangladesh Bank, BGMEA, BKMEA and Public Works Department (PWD) of Ministry of Housing and Public Works on October 3.
* Alliance Board approves assessment standards:
The Alliance Board – a North American coalition working to improve fire and building safety in Bangladesh’s garment factories – has approved the assessment standards and established a committee of third-party experts for their implementation.
Moreover, over half of the factories utilised by Alliance members have undergone fire and building safety inspections, an Alliance statement said adding that an expert review process will soon begin to assess these inspections.
“Any inspection that does not meet the requirements of the Alliance Standards will be subject to a subsequent inspection, to ensure they meet the requirements of the Alliance Standards,” it added.
* Making Bangladesh’s sweatshop factories safe:
After public outrage over major factory disasters in Bangladesh, international clothing companies committed to improve factory safety.
Amirul Haque Amin, President of War on Want’s partner the National Garment Workers Federation, talks about recent disasters in the garment industry and the new deal.
see more (video interview).
* Minimum-Wage Hike Won’t Appease Bangladeshi Workers:
Earlier this month, a group of workers at the Tuba Group garment factory in Bangladesh locked owner Delwar Hossain in his office and demanded that he pay the bonuses he’d promised them for the Eid al-Adha holiday, according to Reuters.
Such extreme interventions are rare in Bangladesh, where the garment export industry is a main driver of the economy, but it was crazy enough to work: After 18 hours in captivity, the boss agreed to hand over the money. Such tactics have proven effective outside the factory walls, too, as workers in the streets resort to desperate measures to address desperate grievances.
After the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory complex, which killed more than 1,100 people in Savar, Dhaka this April, massive worker strikes erupted all over Bangladesh. Thanks to subsequently intensifying local as well as international public outcry, government officials have finally agreed to raise the minimum wage by as much as 50 to 80 percent.
The fight isn’t over yet, however. Though the workers have demanded a minimum monthly wage of 8,000 taka, or about $100 (more than double the current minimum of $38, last raised in 2010), the pending raise would likely be much less than that—perhaps raising it only to about $60, according to Reuters.
That proposed level would still be less than what comparable garment workers in Cambodia typically earn, and far below what experts say would keep up with the general cost of living in Bangladesh, Factory owners and their powerful official allies in government are continuing to resist any measures that would reduce their profits from the country’s massive, $22 billion garment export industry.
Gazipur Garment factory Fire
* Families of 7 Aswad Composite Mills fire victims get Tk 5.0m:
Palmal Group, an apparel maker and exporter Wednesday handed over Tk 5 million to the families of seven employees killed in a fire in Aswad Composite Mills, a concern of the group located in Gazipur on October 8,
Families of the each deceased employee were given Tk 0.5 million and families of san assistant general manager got Tk 1.587 million from the company’s group insurance scheme at the group’s head office at Shahjadpur in Gulshan in the capital.
Former President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Annisul Huq, vice president of BGMEA SM Mannan Kochi and managing director of Palmal Group Nafis Sikder were present on the occasion.
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE
* Six months after Rana Plaza – Brands must pay compensation NOW:
Today is the solemn milestone of six months since 1,129 garment workers were killed in the industrial homicide at the Rana Plaza factory building collapse in Savar on 24 April. Only one brand has paid any compensation.
IndustriALL and UNI, the two global unions jointly working to make the garment industry in Bangladesh safe and sustainable, will stand with survivors and families of the dead at Rana Plaza today for a candlelit vigil at sundown. The two unions are shocked that still after six months Primark is the only brand to have paid anything to the victims.
Primark worked with local trade unions, organised through the IndustriALL Bangladesh Council (IBC), to establish the mechanism for distribution of compensation payments to over 3,600 workers and families. The method of payment, through bKash, cuts out any middleman and has the full endorsement of Rana Plaza workers.
IndustriALL Global Union general secretary Jyrki Raina focuses on the Accord as the way to ensure that lasting change to the industry will be the legacy of the tragedy of Rana Plaza:
“All actors in the supply chain in Bangladesh agree that the enormous scale of the devastation at Rana Plaza gave all involved the historic chance to fix the industry’s safety problems. The Accord for Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh answers that call. The next five years will see the Accord regularly reporting success stories of factory repairs and improvements.”
* Primark announces long-term compensation for Bangladesh factory collapse victims:
Primark has announced plans to pay long-term compensation to the victims, or their families, involved in the Bangladesh building collapse in April.
Primark, which trades as Penneys in Ireland, is owned by Associated British Foods.
More than 1,100 people died in the Rana Plaza factory collapse and over 2,500 were injured in the disaster.
In a statement, the company said it had set a timetable for beginning long-term compensation payments to the 550 victims, or their dependents, of the firm that was producing clothing for Primark at the time.
It said the long-term compensation scheme involves medical and vulnerability assessments.
The company will also make another short-term compensation payment while the long-term scheme is implemented.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* Primark extends payouts to Rana Plaza victims:
Clothing retailer Primark on Thursday announced that it was to provide further compensation to victims of the Rana Plaza collapse that had killed more than 1,000 people in April.
Primark, one of many international retailers that were supplied by factories housed within the Rana Plaza complex, said it would pay an extra three months’ salary to 3,600 victims and their families while the terms of a long-term compensation deal are worked out.
The discount fashion brand, which has 258 stores across Europe, had made two earlier payments to the 550 staff of the factory inside Raza Plaza that supplied it.
But it said it the third payment would be given to wider victims of the April 24 disaster on the outskirts of Dhaka, many of whom were left with terrible injuries.
‘Primark will guarantee a further three months salary to the 3,600 or so victims of Rana Plaza to alleviate their immediate hardship, many of whom worked in the supply chain of other brands,’ a spokesman said.
read more. & to read.
* Loblaw to compensate BD garments’ workers:
Loblaw announced on Thursday that it will provide long-term compensation to victims and their families in the Rana Plaza garment factory collapse in Savar, at the outskirt of Dhaka that killed more than 1,100 workers six months ago.
The company will also pay three months` wages to all workers at New Wave Style, the company that makes its Joe Fresh clothes.
Loblaw said that the money “will assist in financial needs until long-term funds begin to flow.”
The factory made clothes for Loblaw and other companies in the clothing industry.
The company said it supports a proposal by UK clothing retailer Primark for funding compensation to clothing-factory victims. It also encouraged other brands that had clothing manufactured at Rana Plaza to take part.
* Accord statement upon the six-month anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster:
Upon the six-month anniversary of the building collapse in Dhaka that resulted in the deaths of 1,133 people, Andy York, member of the Steering Committee of the Accord for Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh today commented on behalf of the signatories of the Accord.
Speaking from Dhaka, he said:
“Six months since tragedy struck at the heart of Dhaka’s garment manufacturing community, taking the lives of 1,133 innocent, hardworking people, the tragedy is still all too fresh in the memories of the victims’ friends and families. The signatories to the Accord for Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh send our thoughts and sympathies to them all.”
Also speaking from Dhaka, Jenny Holdcroft from IndustriALL Global Union added:
“Sadly, we can’t turn back the clock, but we can at least take action now, and that is what the Accord is doing, by focusing on the future.
The Accord commits its signatories – now numbering more than 100 – to the goal of a safe and sustainable Bangladeshi ready-made garment industry, in which no worker needs to fear fires, building collapses or other accidents that could be prevented with reasonable health and safety measures.
Our goal will require a deep commitment from all stakeholders so that the tragic events of the past are substituted with positive examples of transformative change in the future.”
* No compensation yet:
The victims of Rana Plaza building collapse are yet to receive any compensation six months after the industrial accident, the worst in the nation’s history.
To mark the passing of six months of the tragedy, the surviving workers and leaders of many trade unions yesterday formed a human chain on the site of the ill-fated building in Savar, where calls for proper compensation and immediate punishment for the responsible parties were made.
In the human chain was Sujan Miah, a worker of one of the garment factories housed at Rana Plaza. The sole bread earner of his family, he has been left paralysed for life by the accident. He received severe head injuries , which left his left arm and leg dead.
“I am leading an inhumane life as there is no earning member in my family now,” he told The Daily Star.
“My wife and six-year old daughter are suffering because of the broken promises of the government, the BGMEA and the international brands.”
So far, only one international brand — the British retailer Primark — out of 29 has made remunerations of some sort to the victims.
“It is shocking that Primark is the only brand to have paid anything to the victims,” said IndustriALL and UNI, two global unions jointly working to make the garment industry in Bangladesh safe and sustainable. The two unions yesterday stood with the survivors and families of the 1,135 deceased for a candlelit vigil at sundown, IndustriALL said in a statement.
Amirul Haque Amin, president of National Garment Workers Federation, pointed out that 20 of the brands did not even bother turning up at the meeting organised by the International Labour Organisation on September 12 in Geneva to decide on compensation for Rana Plaza victims.
* Waiting for the charge-sheet:
Six months after the Rana Plaza tragedy, the police is yet to place its charge-sheet in court.
Those entangled in the cases were still out on bail.
Two Savar Municipality Engineers Emtemum Hossain and Refayet Ullah, Savar ward councillor Mohammad Ali Khan and Abul Hasan who had sheltered the accused building owner Sohel Rana — all have got bail from the High Court.
Rana’s father Abdul Khalek also got bail from the High Court in the case filed under Building Construction Act.
But neither he nor his son Sohel Rana managed to get bail in the case of murder and are now in jail.
Additional public prosecutor of Dhaka Chief Judicial Magistrate Court Anowarul Kabir Babul told bdnews24.com that the investigation report of the case will be submitted in court on Oct 24.
He said the CID was investigating the case but the Investigating Officer (IO) was taking his time to gather sufficient evidence to make the charge-sheet as ‘water-tight as possible’.
“80 percent of our work is finished,” IO Bijoy Krishna Kar told bdnews24.com.
read more. & read more.
* ‘Little help’ for Rana Plaza victims:
Six months after a major clothing factory collapse in Bangladesh, 94% of the victims are still awaiting compensation, a charity says.
The charity, Action Aid, says many survivors have serious injuries that have prevented them returning to work.
More than 1,130 people died when the Rana Plaza building near Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka, collapsed in April.
Action Aid, questioned nearly two-thirds of survivors and victims’ relatives for its survey.
It found that 94% of those questioned said they had received no legal benefits from their employers, including sick pay or compensation.
It also found that 92% of survivors had not gone back to work, with 63% of those reporting physical injuries including amputations, paralysis and severe pain.
Of those surveyed, 92% said they were deeply traumatised.
read more. & to read. & to read. & read more. & read more.
* Bangladesh commemorates tragedy victims, survivors seek compensation:
Survivors and their loved ones on Thursday marked the six-month anniversary of Bangladesh’s worst- ever industrial tragedy, while many families express anger and annoyance due to lack of proper aid.
Rana Plaza, an eight-story building housing five garment factories crumbled into a cement grave on April 24 in Savar on the outskirts of capital Dhaka, killing more than 1,130 people, mostly workers.
Family members of some victims say they still had not received any compensation.
Many survivors also came in wheelchairs to commemorate friends and raise voices for compensation.
“I had to come to raise voice with all,” said a tragedy survivor sitting in a wheelchair.
“We need support from all to return to normal life.”
Hundreds of agitating workers along with survivors and victims’ family members rallied at the tragedy site, staged a sit-in and formed a long human chain in the morning. In the night many workers also held a candlelight vigil to mark the day.
During the morning’s sit-in, many family members wore black badges and ribbons. Survivors, family members and hundreds of workers, carrying banners and placards inscribed with slogans in favor of their demands, shouted slogans for due compensation from global brands for which the tragedy victims worked in the Rana Plaza factories.
* Families hold candlelit vigil at Rana Plaza site six months on:
Families of workers who died during the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh have held a candle-lit vigil to mark six months since the day the tragedy occurred.
The families were joined at the site of the former factory by survivors as well as national trade unions, UNI Global Union and IndustriALL Global Union.
Rana Plaza, a structurally flawed building containing five garment factories and seven floors came down on 24th April, killing 1,129 people. More than 300 bodies are still to be identified, whilst thousands of workers have suffered injuries.
read more. & read more.
* Rana Plaza collapse victims, families demand compensation:
Several workers groups gathered there, demanding compensation for the missing, injured, and killed workers
Around 500-600 survivors and family members of victims of the Rana plaza collapse gathered in front of the collapse site remembering coworkers, family members or relatives on Thursday, six months from the day of the tragedy.
Several workers groups also gathered there, demanding compensation for the missing, injured, and killed workers.
They also demonstrated on the Dhaka-Aricha highway at 10am.
Leaders from National Garments Workers Federation of Bangladesh told a press conference in front of the collapse site that the 20 world recognised buyers of readymade garments did not attend the compensation fixing meeting that took place in Geneva on September 12.
The 20 companies which failed to show up were Adler, Auchan, Benetton, C&A, Carrefour, Cato Corp, The Children’s Place, Dressbarn, Essenza, FTA International, Gueldenpfennig, Iconix Brand, Inditex, JC Penney, Kids Fashion Group, LPP, Mango, Manifattura Corona, NKD, Premier Clothing, PWT Group, Texman and Walmart.
The leaders of workers organisations and survivors of Rana Plaza called on the retailers to come forward to provide them the compensation they deserved.
* Orphans Vent Grief, Six Months After Tragedy:
Orphans who lost their parents when a garment factory complex collapsed in Bangladesh vented their grief and anger at leading Western retailers Thursday on the six-month anniversary of the disaster.
As relatives of the 1,135 people killed in the collapse of the Rana Plaza complex gathered at the site, British clothing chain Primark urged other retailers to follow its lead and pay compensation to the victims.
Primark said it would pay an extra three months’ salary to 3,600 workers or their families, as a new report showed more than 90 percent of victims have not yet received any financial assistance.
“Primark is calling on other brands involved in the Rana Plaza disaster to make a contribution by paying short-term aid to some 3,000 workers or their dependents who made clothes for their labels,” the retailer said in a statement.
The discount fashion brand, which has already made two payments to the 550 staff of its supplier, said it would make the new payment while the terms of a long-term compensation deal for the 550 are worked out.
read more. & read more.
* Factory deaths fail to spur inspections:
Six months ago, when 1,127 Bangladeshi workers were killed in the collapse of a high-rise warren of garment factories, international outcry led to pledges by western retailers and the government to set up a large-scale inspection regime and a new wage system.
Today, not a single Bangladeshi garment factory has been inspected under any of the three programmes that sprang from those promises, according to officials at the programmes. Nor has danger ceased in the $19 billion industry: Two weeks ago, a fire ripped through a factory in a Dhaka suburb that provided material for plants supplying clothing to companies including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Nine workers died.
The slow implementation comes against a backdrop of worker unrest that has stalled production in factories and led to massive street demonstrations over safety conditions and wages, which are set at $39 a month before overtime. One, on October 15, was quelled by the Industrial Police, a rubber-bullet-firing riot force set up two years ago to bring protesting garment workers under control.
* Why the problem of Bangladesh isn’t solved yet:
It is now six months since the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, where over 1,100 people died, and the garment industry is still scrabbling to pick up the pieces.
Over 100 companies have now signed up to an agreement on monitoring factory fire and building safety in Bangladesh, and international efforts are being made to sort out compensation for the workers.
But will this mean that all is well with global trade again? Can we all go back to buying cheap clothes without guilt, telling ourselves that low-paid jobs are good for their economy and fast fashion good for ours?
Let us go back to six months ago and revisit the scene of the building collapse. A few days before the collapse a crack appeared in the side of the Rana Plaza building – workers from all the businesses in the eight-storey building were sent home while the building was surveyed.
The owner of the building was told by experts that there was a serious issue, yet workers from the garment factories were commanded to return to work the next day. This the garment workers did (and workers from the bank on the ground floor did not); then, during the morning rush, disaster struck.
Why the garment workers returned on the morning of the collapse is the essential point of this story. The reason is economic.
The minimum wage for a factory worker in Bangladesh is currently $38.69 a month – a pittance. Women and men working in the Rana Plaza clothing factories couldn’t afford to miss a day’s work and risk losing a month’s salary. They were forced to choose between their own safety and being able to feed their families.
* Improvements since Rana Plaza- Six Months Later:
Joseph Allchin speaks to the deputy director general of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Gilbert Houngbo about the progress in the RMG sector
Scenes of chaos gripped the world as the scale of what ultimately was a multinational tragedy became clear.
Multinational, because those who went to the site were all too often standing on products that were destined to clothe far flung European nations. A rapacious industry has led to brands and retailers seeking to cut corners on costs, and here in Bangladesh that means cutting corners on worker’s wages and ultimately their safety. The efforts to rehabilitate the industry will be crucial to the sustainability of Bangladesh’s industrial economy.
Six months since our worst industrial tragedy, we should ask ourselves: what progress has been made? Do the promises that were made by the politicians, NGOs and foreign stakeholders stand the test of time and their world? The ILO thinks it can, and Gilbert Houngbo tells us how.
What’s your evaluation of the new labour law amendment?
* Buyers make no compensation pledge yet for Rana Plaza victims:
Apparel buyers have not committed yet to compensate the victims and their families of Rana Plaza collapse.
At least 1,129 garment workers were killed in the industrial disaster that took place in Savar six months ago.
Primark is the only brand, which has paid something to the victims and made promises to provide compensation for the victims as per requirement.
The IndustriALL and UNI are shocked that still after six months Primark is the only brand to have paid anything to the victims, said a statement on Thursday.
“Six months have gone but the victims did not get any compensation from any quarter. What they got so far are charity,” Ray Romesh Chandra, general secretary of IndustriALL Bangladesh Council (IBC) told the Dhaka Tribune.
As per the ILO convention, compensation is a right for the workers and in that sense workers did not get compensation, he said. Ray termed the prime minister’s financial support to the victims as charity.He said they (workers) would stage demonstration in front of the brand shops, including Walmart, if they do not take effective measures to compensate victims by November.
Till today, only Primark has given Tk30,000 each to 3,629 workers who worked at the Rana Plaza, and made commitment to provide compensation as per the laws, he added. “We’ve demanded Tk2.8m compensation for each worker. Of which, 45% would be paid by brands, 28% by factory owners, 18% by BGMEA and 9% by the government.”
He said they (workers) would stage demonstration in front of the brand shops, including Walmart, if they do not take effective measures to compensate victims by November.
14:51:24 local time INDIA
* Huge loss to cotton growers:
Moderate to heavy rains lashed several areas of the district under the influence of the North-East Monsoon for the second consecutive day on Thursday.
The highest rainfall of 37.8 mm was recorded in Pinapaka mandal in the last 24 hours ending 8 a.m. on Thursday. Heavy rainfall was also recorded in Venkatapuram, Bonakal, Mudigonda, Yerrupalem and a few other mandals.
Incessant rain led to overflowing of drains in many low-lying areas in Khammam town causing severe hardships to citizens.
The condition of several roads, including the NSP camp road further worsened with stagnant rainwater accumulating in craters hindering the smooth movement of traffic.
* GoM rejects proposal to impose duty on cotton exports:
The Group of Ministers (GoM), headed by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, on Thursday rejected the proposal of the Textile Ministry to impose a 10 per cent duty on overseas sales of cotton beyond the declared exportable surplus limit.
The proposal was last month referred to the GoM by the Union Cabinet. “India’s cotton production has been increasing every year. In such a situation, the GoM has recommended that there should be no restrictions on export of raw cotton and no duty on export.
“The meeting advocated a free market for cotton, and was of the view that any quantitative restriction or export duty would penalise farmers,” Mr. Pawar told reporters after the GoM meeting.
14:21:24 local time UZBEKISTAN
* Medical workers continue to be forced to work in the cotton harvest:
Angren doctors and other medical personnel are being sent for daily trips to pick cotton, as are medical workers in other towns in Tashkent province.
Such daily “excursions” to the fields by government employees from Angren – in which medical personnel and teachers making up the majority workers – is a new type of scheduling scheme. Previously daily work trips only took occurred on Saturdays and Sundays.
In this year’s cotton harvest every medical or educational facility in the city is obliged to send a group of employees every other day for field work. The new scheme has come about after a government cut back on the use of child labor.
Always be ready to pick cotton!
To add insult to injury employees are not told when their next field trip will be. At best, they are informed the day before; at worst, in the morning right before departing for the fields.