18:21:18 local time CHINA
* The company vanishes: workers chase shadows in search for wage arrears:
Wage arrears have been one of the most common causes of labour disputes in China for well over a decade. And despite new laws criminalizing the malicious non-payment of wages, there is little evidence that the situation for workers is improving.
It is still relatively easy for company bosses to use stalling tactics or simply disappear in a bid to avoid paying the wages they owe employees.
In July 2013, China Labour Bulletin Director Han Dongfang talked to Zeng Biping, a technician at a small energy-saving equipment factory located in Dongguan, southern China’s manufacturing hub, which employed about 20 workers.
Zeng, a relatively well-paid, skilled worker, and two colleagues were owed a total of 180,000 yuan in back pay but after nearly two years of legal battles, all of which the workers won, the company was still only willing to offer about a third of what it owed.
17:21:18 local time VIET NAM
* ‘Vietnam sources 50% of textile raw material from China’:
17:21:18 local time LAOS
* Strategy on Lao silk textile trademark discussed:
The Lao Handicraft Association in the cooperation with the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) yesterday held a seminar under theme “Strategy for applying trademark and preservation of Lao Traditional Silk textiles”in Vientiane Capital.
“The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) cooperated with the Lao Handicraft Association in 1990. The JETRO helped design Lao products and develop Lao silk brand. The only current officially approved brand is �Chai Lao� which is popular worldwide,” said Mr Keisuke Kamada of Trade and Economic Cooperation Department of JETRO.
“The handicraft development is very important. In short it is marketing technique but design is heart of marketing,”said Director of Khanchana Handicraft Mr Hansana Sysane.
The JETRO provides a wide range of services, such as timely market intelligence, extensive business development support, and relevant business events, designed to encourage new business between foreign companies and Japan.
17:21:18 local time CAMBODIA
* Jailed worker to come home from Malaysia:
A Cambodian garment worker held in a Malaysian prison due to visa complications for nearly two months despite ailing health was ordered released yesterday and will return home.
Sry Ratha, 19, is still being held at Kluang prison in Johor, Malaysia, Huy Pich Sovann, a program officer with the Community Legal Education Center, said. But a judge at Johor Bahru High Court yesterday ordered the ailing garment worker to be released on November 6 and flown back to Cambodia.
“There’s no word on her health,” Pich Sovann said.
Immigration police in Malaysia arrested Ratha on September 9, after Honsin Apparel Sdn Bhd – the Nike supplier that employed her – sent her on a bus from Malaysia back to Cambodia after failed health screenings resulted in the revocation of Ratha’s work visa.
* Garment workers call in to hotline to ask questions:
Cambodian garment workers are slowly embracing a dial-in hotline created by United Nations-backed monitor Better Factories Cambodia that aims to be an information source on labour rights, a report released yesterday shows.
Named Kamako Chhnoeum in Khmer, which translates to “Outstanding Worker”, the automated hotline, launched two months ago and answers questions in three areas: wages, occupational health and safety. Workers get the information, while BFC is able to collect data on the extent to which the garment sector employees understand their rights. The hotline can be reached by dialing 8397, but is only free on Smart and Cellcard networks. It also takes anonymous voicemail messages.
Jill Tucker, BFC’s chief technical adviser, said the technology allows the monitor to reach a much larger number of workers than traditional face-to-face training, as “every worker has a mobile phone”.
18:21:18 local time INDONESIA
* Indonesians Strike for Minimum Wage and Fair Labour Laws:
Hundreds of thousands of Indonesian workers are taking strike action and holding mass rallies to demand a fair minimum wage and protection for workers from phony employment arrangements which remove employer obligations through ’outsourcing’ arrangements.
The country-wide mobilisation, starting on 30 October will last for two days, with stop-work actions in several workplaces already underway in advance.
Public opinion in Indonesia strongly favours better labour protections and a decent minimum wage, as revealed in the ITUC Global Opinion Poll released in 2012. The poll showed that 61% of Indonesians want better laws to protect job security, while only 43% of households are able to save any money. 90% support government action in favour of health care and education.
“Indonesian workers are putting forward straightforward demands that working people everywhere recognise are just and necessary. Workers there deserve a fair share of the economic cake just like anywhere else, and we wholeheartedly support their struggle for dignity at work and an economy that works for all” said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.
* Statement of Joint Labor Secretariat (Sekber Buruh) to welcome the NATIONAL STRIKE 31 October- 1 November 2013:
On the 31st of October – 1st November we will again be conducting a National Strike. Our demands are: wage rise of 50 % (making the minimum wage in Jakarta Rp. 3.7 million); end the system of contract work and outsourcing; withdraw the No. 9 2013 Presidential Decree; health insurance and free education for everyone.
Today and the coming days are the days where we can be excited looking back on our lives and looking to our future. Through our struggle together, our dreams and our life hopes will be realised. We can achieve our dreams through struggle.
Life experience and our struggle teach us many things. That we cannot hope for change by relying on our current government; that change for the better cannot be hoped for from any of the current political parties that are currently busy preparing their 2014 election parties. Even in our workplaces, although there is a mountain of profit for the business owners, there is not even a drop for us, except cheap wages, just enough to keep us alive for work the next day.
* Indonesia workers prepare for national strike:
Labourers will rally across the country on Thursday pushing for a 50 percent hike in the minimum wage.
As the marchers approached there was a buzz in the air at the Pulo Gadung industrial estate in the capital Jakarta. Young men danced around an open-top campaign van chanting the lyrics to pop songs blasting from the PA, whooping occasionally at young women passing on motorbikes.
Some had walked three hours from the neighbouring city of Bekasi. The union members gathered as a warm up for the general strike on Thursday and Friday, when an estimated two million workers will walk out of factories nationwide.
There was optimism among the crowd that their central demand – a 50 percent increase in the minimum wage – would be met.
“Workers are no longer isolated anymore. We are united and we are standing up for our rights,” says, Marhasan, a 32-year-old fridge assembly worker, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.
The union movement has achieved significant momentum in recent years, securing a 40 percent rise in the minimum wage effective since January. The minimum wage varies by province and is set relative to the standard of living. In Jakarta the minimum wage is now Rp 2.2m a month ($202.40) but in West Java it is only Rp 1.25m.
* Workers visit factories ahead of general strike:
Ahead of the two-day nationwide strike on Thursday, dozens of workers in Makassar, South Sulawesi visited factories at the Makassar Industrial Estate (Kima) on Wednesday.
The workers not only disseminated plans on the strike but also requested that each factory and company send representatives to participate in the strike.
The representatives are expected to recruit their fellow workers to join the nationwide strike and stage a rally to demand increased minimum wages and the dissolution of a contract system for workers.
* Workers skip wage talk for street rally:
A meeting of the Jakarta Wage Council scheduled for Wednesday to negotiate a minimum wage increase for 2014 was canceled because workers’ representatives refused to participate, opting instead to lead a demonstration in front of City Hall.
In the latest fight over the minimum wage, council workers’ representative Akhmad Jazuli said that workers were demanding that the official basic cost of living be set at Rp 2.7 million (US$243).
Meanwhile, the council had proposed the benchmark be set at Rp 2.29 million, based on 60 standard of living components (KHL) stipulated in Presidential Instruction No.9/2013 on the provincial minimum wage.
* Minimum wage negotiation meeting canceled:
A meeting to negotiate the 2014 minimum wage scheduled for Wednesday was canceled due to the absence of worker representatives.
The tripartite agreement should have involved representatives from the city administration as well as employers and workers.
Jakarta Remuneration Council worker representative Akhmad Jazuli said that workers demanded that the basic cost of living (KHL) be set at Rp 2.7 million (US$243).
* Indonesian Workers Stage Nationwide Strike Over Pay:
Workers across Indonesia begin a two-day strike Thursday to demand higher salaries, the latest industrial action in Southeast Asia’s top economy as people push for a greater share of the profits from stellar growth.
Calls have been growing in recent months for a hike in the minimum wage as the cost of living skyrockets due to high inflation.
Unions estimate that almost three million workers will take part in the action, although the numbers have come in lower than such forecasts in previous nationwide strikes.
“Living costs are going up,” Said Iqbal, chairman of the Confederation of Indonesian Workers Union (KSPI), told AFP.
“Many workers who could not afford their rents have had to move out of their homes and live under bridges and in sewers. They are eating instant noodles instead of rice.”
* Editorial: Workers’ demands:
Try to avoid main roads this week, as rallies and strikes will continue until the deadline of Nov. 1 for the decision on provincial minimum wages.
Workers are repeating their demands for higher wages, health coverage and the end of outsourcing. They demand that all citizens’ health costs are covered by next year, including workers, instead of the plan to roll it out in stages.
Neutral observers fervently hope for a compromise, while workers press on, testing their strength. After all, a few provincial decisions on wages were changed last year in the face of massive strikes. Workers sense that they have clout, even while critics cite “unrealistic” demands, such as a 50 percent wage increase and demands that universal health coverage be applied to all Indonesians in the New Year.
16:21:18 local time BANGLADESH
* 25 RMG units closed for a day in Gazipur:
At least 25 apparel factories were closed for Wednesday as the workers of apparel factories at Kaliakair in Gazipur staged protests and observed strike demanding Tk 8,000 as the minimum wage.
Thirty apparel workers were injured in clashes between the police and the workers of ESE Knitwear and Jamana Garment at Ashulia who brought out procession in front of the factory for the payment of their dues and withdraw of all ‘false cases’ against them.
In Gazipur, the authorities closed 25 apparel factories for Wednesday and another factory for an indefinite period.
Locals and Gazipur industrial police inspector Jakir Hossain said that the workers of Inter Stop factory at Kaliakair upazila observed strike on Tuesday pressing for different demands including Tk 8,000 as the minimum wage.
* 20 RMG units shut in Gazipur:
Owners were forced to close nearly two dozen factories in Gazipur yesterday as workers staged demonstrations and vandalised production units to voice demands for a minimum wage of Tk 8,000.
Workers from at least 20 units remained absent from work in the morning over the minimum wage issue, said inspector Jakir Hossain of industrial police.
The industrial police intervened when workers began vandalising the units. Later, the workers sat for talks with the factory owners, remaining fixed on their demands. The factory management declared their factories closed for the day.
However, Interstoff Apparels Ltd, a garments unit, announced closure for an indefinite period.
The unrest in the $20-billion industry comes just a day before the Minimum Wage Board, a government body, will hold its final meeting to revise the minimum wage.
The monthly minimum wage for the garments workers, the lowest in the world, is Tk 3,000 and was last revised in 2010.
* RMG workers-cops clash hurt 30 in Ashulia:
At least 30 workers of two readymade garment factories were injured in a clash with police in Khejurbagan area of Ashulia under Savar Upazila of the district on Wednesday morning.
Sources said that the workers of ESE Knitwear Limited staged protest demonstration demanding increase of their salary-allowances and withdrawal of fake case against workers.
Meanwhile, the agitated workers came out of the factory and started throwing brick-chips at adjacent factories.
Later, police charged baton to disperse them, leaving 20 workers injured.
On the other hand, the workers of Zamana Garment in Gauripur area staged protest demanding their due salaries.
* Owners to propose Tk 4,250 as minimum wage today:
Garment owners are set to propose a minimum wage of Tk 4,250 per month in today’s meeting of the wage board.
“We have reached a consensus for Tk 4,250 per month. It is our proposal and the rest depends on the government,” Arshad Jamal Dipu, owners’ representative on the wage board, told The Daily Star, while confirming his attendance in today’s meeting, the final one of the six-member board formed on June 26.
The figure, however, is lower than the amount (Tk 4,680) he earlier conveyed to journalists.
The government might increase the amount slightly, as in previous cases, so the final amount is likely to be Tk 4,500, Dipu added. The new wage structure would take effect on November 1, regardless of the timing of its announcement by the labour ministry.
“If the minimum salary goes any higher than Tk 4,500, many small and medium garment factories will be in trouble as their financial bases are not too strong.” Moreover, the international retailers are not paying higher prices for the garment items, although the cost of production increased more than 13 percent over the last few years, he said.
* Trade unionism a must: analysts:
Rights activists and labour leaders yesterday called for trade unions at all garment factories to give the workers a platform to ensure their rights.
They also favoured a system of determining the minimum wages for garments workers by considering the cost of living, and not just by taking food inflation into account.
Their pleas came at a national consultation with the United Nations mandate holders on women in the readymade garments sector in Bangladesh at BRAC Centre Inn in Dhaka.
The discussion was organised by Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development; Ain o Salish Kendra and Nijera Kori.
“The existence of trade unions is vital to fight to ensure workers’ rights,” said Heisoo Shin, a member of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Manufacturers should set minimum wages by following international standards under International Labour Organisation, Shin said. Increasing the buying power of garment workers will benefit the whole economy, she added.
“It will be unwise to fix the minimum wages by considering inflation. Factors such as the cost of education, health and others should also be taken into account,” said Khushi Kabir, coordinator of Nijera Kori.
Owners should ensure a minimum standard of living for the workers to increase their productivity and develop the sector, Kabir added.
* Workers don’t get legal redress for want of appointment letters:
A significant number of workers are being deprived of legal redress against their employers at the labour courts mainly because of not having appointment letters and identity cards, sources said.
They cannot move against their employers at the courts as they, in the absence of appointment letters and identity cards, fail to prove that they are workers of the respective companies or organisations, they said.
Depriving the workers of appointment letters and identity cards by their employers not only bars them to seek justice against infringement of their rights but also violates the Bangladesh Labour Act-2006.
The state of violation of their rights and law was found at the Labour Legal Aid Cell, a government institution, which provides free legal services to the workers to help ensure their rights.
* Focus on workplace safety to regain image of RMG industry:
Speakers at a certificate award ceremony emphasised ensuring workplace safety to regain the image of the country’s ready-made garment (RMG) industry that has been tarnished following a series of tragic incidents recently.
The programme was organised by Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) at Fire Service and Civil Defence (FSCD) Training Complex at Mirpur in the city.
Home Minister M K Alamgir was present in the programme as the chief guest, where Labour Secretary Mikail Shipar, Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed, FSCD Director General Md Ali Ahmed Khan, and BGMEA President Atiqul Islam, among others, were also present.
* Better late than never:
It is the duty of the government to hire and train a task force of competent factory inspectors who do regular check-ups on all factories and buildings to ensure they are safe and sound
The government is planning to appoint more factory inspectors for the RMG and all other industries in November, who would then begin doing inspections from the end of that month. While this is a welcome move, it is also long overdue.
Factory inspections are a basic requirement in any country, and ours should not be an exception. Our government should have taken this initiative to improve the safety of our factories much earlier.
It should not have had to wait for such a large number of people to perish, as happened in the Tazreen fire and Rana Plaza collapse, before choosing to act. It should not have had to wait for an outside nation to lay out an action plan, as the US has done for Bangladesh to regain GSP facilities.
It is the duty of the government to hire and train a task force of competent factory inspectors who do regular check-ups on all factories and buildings to ensure they are safe and sound. And if any hazards are found, that they are dealt with immediately.
We do not need any more tragic situations like the Tazreen fire, Rana Plaza collapse, and, this month alone a garment factory fire in Gazipur, baked goods factory fire in Chittagong, and an ammonia leak at an ice factory also in Chittagong.
Consequently, the government would do well to waste no more time in guaranteeing safer workplaces and factories.
* Bursting at the seams:
After the Rana Plaza clothing factory near Dhaka collapsed in April, killing at least 1,100 people, the big Western clothing companies that have their garments run up in Bangladesh came under pressure to intervene more forcefully to improve safety and working conditions in the workshops they buy from.
Two groups of retailers and fashion brands, one mainly North American and one mainly European, have begun implementing new monitoring schemes. On October 24th Primark, a big British retailer, said it would extend for another three months the aid it is giving to families affected by the disaster, while it works on a long-term compensation scheme.
Meanwhile, the tragedies continue: earlier this month ten people died when another factory in the Bangladeshi capital, used by big foreign clothes retailers, went up in flames. Nevertheless, it has become clearer since Rana Plaza that the clothing firms have little option but to continue sending work to Bangladesh.
It will remain Asia’s primary production base outside China for cheap clobber, with exports on track to rise by a fifth, to $24 billion, in the current fiscal year.
The country’s clothing industry has the advantage of scale: it has 5,000 factories, compared with 2,500 in Indonesia and 2,000 in Vietnam. Its labour costs less than any of its Asian rivals’: even a near tripling in the minimum wage, to $100 a month, as garment workers are demanding from the government, would not change this.
And unlike clothes put together in China, India and Sri Lanka, those stitched in Bangladesh enjoy duty-free access to the European Union.
* Garment manufacturers need to clean up their act:
Yet another fire at a garments factory has hit the country’s apparel sector with an unexpected blow when it is struggling hard to overcome the global outcry for safe workplaces.
We fear that the new fire may cause additional concerns to the global retailers as to whether to continue outsourcing from here, besides bringing renewed pressure on the industry as to how quickly it would rebuild a fire and factory safety system which will be positively rated by the global community.
The fire at Aswad Composite Mills in Gazipur, which is a subsidiary of Palmal Group, has caused deaths to nine workers and left many injured. Reports said it had originated in the chimney of a heating machine and immediately spread to clothes which were on drying tables. But the way the fire spread across the entire factory was mysterious.
Factory owner Nafis Shikder has declared that each worker who died in the fire accident would get Tk 500 thousand (5 lakh) as compensation from the company, besides another Tk 200 thousand (2 lakh) as insurance benefits. The company will also bear all the costs of treatment of the injured workers. He said, buyers have expressed condolences but did not make any negative gestures.
The fresh fire at a factory, after the Tazreen Fashions fire and Rana Plaza collapse made global headlines.
The industry leaders and other stakeholders, including the government and the workers, should work together to put in place an effective check and re-check system of fire fighting and improved building design to avert more such disasters. The industry must not waste time to reassure the global community that it is seriously working to mitigate the problems.
* Sick industries continue to get govt largesse:
The government is going to waive interest on loans taken by some 346 industrial units in the private sector which have been identified as sick, officials said.
Moreover, the entrepreneurs of those industries might be allowed to regularise their loan portfolios by paying only 1 per cent of the principle amount as down payment.
The officials said banking and financial institution division is expected to issue a notification in this connection this week.
The officials said the down payment will help the sick industries to be excluded from Bangladesh Bank’s list of loan defaulters.
They were selected from around 700 industries falling sick in the country — 270 industries in the RMG sector, 100 in the specialised textile mills sector and 80 in the tannery sector.
There were some 108 industries that became sick, mostly textile spinning mills, when the taskforce was formed way back in 1998 to help them.
* Speedy reforms needed for restoration of US GSP:
There should have been speedy implementation of the roadmap for restoration of the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) facility that has been put on hold by the US in the case of Bangladesh.
The GSP was suspended in June this year. Nothing concrete has yet been done in the field of compliance in the last five months. Against this backdrop, the move by the ministry of commerce (MoC), as reported in FE last Monday, to send soon a letter to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) relating to progress on the Bangladesh Action Plan-2013 is otherwise welcome.
The USTR plan urges Bangladesh to increase the number of labour, fire and building inspectors, improve their training and establish clear procedures for independent and credible inspections. It also calls for increased fines and other sanctions, including cancellation of import and export licences, for failure to comply with labour, fire, or building standards. Furthermore, the USTR calls upon Bangladesh to enact and implement labour law reforms as expeditiously as possible to address concerns related to freedom of association and collective bargaining.
* US ambassador presses apparel leaders to allow trade unions:
US ambassador Dan W Mozena strongly pressed the apparel sector leaders of Bangladesh Wednesday for allowing trade unions in garment factories to help regain US’ GSP facility.
The US envoy reiterated his country’s position on the trade union issue at his meeting with leaders of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) at the association office in the city.
“The Ambassador requested us to make our factory owners aware about trade unions as it is related to the GSP,” BGMEA President Atiqul Islam told reporters after the meeting.
read more. & read more.
Interesting: Some diplomats not following norms, hints Dipu Moni
* Mozena discusses RMG issues with F Secretary:
In an effort to have the GSP facility restored for Bangladesh in the US market, Dhaka and Washington on Wednesday discussed the progress made in the readymade garment industry here, especially the safety and labour issues.
The meeting between Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque and US Ambassador in Dhaka Dan Mozena was held at the Foreign Secretary’s office.
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE
* Assessment Report of the Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Rana Plaza Victims:
Bangladesh witnessed reportedly its worst man-made industrial disaster on the 24 April 2013. The eight- storey commercial building, Rana Plaza, which housed five ready-made garment factories, a commercial bank and a market, collapsed in the early hours in Savar, Dhaka leaving a large number of garment workers, mostly women, trapped under the rubble.
The collapse focused the world’s attention on Bangladesh’s garment industry which contributes to 13 per cent of GDP, adds value to 78% of total
exports and employs more than 3.6 million workers
At the end of three-week rescue operation on 14 May 2013, the government reported that 2438 workers had been rescued alive.
Of these, 17 died later in medical facilities, increasing the total deaths to 1133.
Eight hundred and thirty six bodies were handed over to the relatives, while 301 unidentified bodies were buried in Jurain graveyard. DNA tests were conducted on the unidentified bodies for cross-matching.
Different organizations conducted rapid assessments following the incident and produced various datasets, information and lists of the survivors, the deceased and missing workers.
The Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), the main group representing the garment factory owners, had not developed a comprehensive list of survivors and deceased at the time of this survey.
Following the disaster, government, non-government organisations and other institutions immediately helped the rescue operation. Gradually other support and services were provided, ranging from cash support, medical treatment to health and livelihood rehabilitation.
However, as the reintegration and rehabilitation needs of the survivors and the families of the deceased are diverse, it is difficult to plan a comprehensive support and service package for those affected. Neither has there been any database or mapping of the range of institutional services and support that are already provided or planned to be provided.
15:51:18 local time INDIA
* Increase wages, say power loom workers:
About 300 workers of power loom units observed a day-long fast on Wednesday near Chennimalai bus stand demanding 40 per cent wage hike and 25 per cent bonus.
Their agitation had the backing of major trade unions including All India Trade Union Congress, Indian National Trade Union Congress, Bharathiya Mazdoor Sangh, Anna Thozhilsanga Peravai, and Labour Progressive Front.
The fast followed the strike by workers since Tuesday morning, demanding that power loom owners make the payments immediately.
* India’s Tamil Nadu to get four new handloom clusters:
15:21:18 local time PAKISTAN
* Textile industry gaining momentum: APTMA:
The country’s textile industry has successfully launched over two dozen high-quality cambric brands for fall and winter seasons, said sources.
“Pakistan’s fashion industry has come of age,” said All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Punjab) chairman S M Tanveer, adding that the domestic textile industry has been recapturing the local market against smuggled or imported fabrics.
“Cambric brands are being introduced this year after the phenomenal success of innovatively designed cotton yarn, which is now a preferred fabric for women in the country.” He added that a niche has been created for the country’s fine quality cotton lawn in many foreign countries.
Akber said that the country’s manufacturers would get a tremendous boost in the sale of fine cotton yarn and cambric once the country receives the GSP plus status from the European Union. “Currently, only expatriates take some quantity of these fabrics with them. Major fabric producers, led by Bareeze, have opened their offices around the world, where they are doing good business.”
* PRGMEA urges govt to release stuck-up refund claims:
The Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufact-urers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) has earnestly called upon the government to release stuck up refund claims accumulated into billions of rupees.
In a SOS sent to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Commerce Minister Khurram Dastagir, PRGMEA Acting Chairman Amir Amin Kothawala appealed to look into this serious matter in order to release exporters money which has been held up by the Ministry of Finance for the last several years and has now reached Rs 40 billion against refund claims of Duty Drawback of Local Taxes and Levies (DLTL), sales tax and with the customs.
15:21:18 local time UZBEKISTAN
* Human rights activists of Uzbekistan, European Parliament’s deputies consider human rights situation in Uzbekistan:
A meeting of local human rights activists and European Parliament’s deputies was held at the residence of the European Union in Tashkent on October 28, the Initiative Group of Independent Human Rights Defenders of Uzbekistan said.
Human rights activists informed the deputies on human rights situation in Uzbekistan.
Problem of forced child labor in cotton fields, torture in penal institutions, during detention, arrest and investigation, court proceedings on political and religious grounds and other violations of the rights of citizens in social and economic spheres were considered at the meeting.
A meeting of deputies of the European Parliament with deputies of Oliy Majlis (Uzbek Parliament) and senior officials of the executive branch is scheduled for October 29.
Deputies of the European Parliament promised to human rights activists to raise questions presented by human rights activists at the meeting with Oliy Majlis deputies.
* Why does cotton production still use slave labour? :
The annual Uzbek cotton fair in Tashkent is a big deal. Last week traders from all over the world scurried there in order to do what they do best – trade 3m tonnes of Uzbek cotton (this year’s spoils) while ignoring the truth: that around 1 million people, including children and young adults, were forced out into the fields and exposed to terrible conditions and in many cases intimidation and violence in order to harvest it.
Overall, world cotton production is in decline – worsening weather conditions have affected harvests in Asia, while in the US less is being planted. Meanwhile the average westerner gets through 14.2kg of cotton a year, in everything from underwear to pillow covers to medical dressings. The value of Uzbek cotton is rising. It already brings in an estimated $1bn a year to Islam Karimov’s dictatorship.
* Uzbek textile sector production grows in Jan-Sept’13:
* Insight into Ethiopian Garment Industry:
Our (LBL) Regional Coordinator for Walsall, Leandra Gebrakedan, has written about her knowledge of the Ethiopian garment industry.
Being born in Ethiopia and raised in the U.K I feel I am writing this article from the perspective of a citizen of the world.
The information I have gathered has been researched and is true to the best of my knowledge.
Ethiopia is fairly new to the international garment industry and with export duty currently at zero and tax treaties to avoid double tax payment, along with bilateral treaties for the protection and promotion of investments, it’s potential is being well and truly utilised!
However shockingly it doesn’t have a minimum wage set by the government to protect workers, and so I wonder how are workers to be paid a living wage?
Even countries in Asia that rely on the garment trade and have a minimum wage, it is often up to six times lower than that of a living wage.
Ethiopia’s government I hear is apparently placing special emphasis on the textile industry – by 2016, the country aims to export more than a billion dollars worth of apparel.
At present , the high street stores H&M, Tesco, Primark and Asda produce garments in Ethiopia. Ethiopia’s textile and apparel market exports grew 28% by June 2012, the UK accounting for 10% of this trade, other countries in Europe taking 50% and the US taking 40%.
The latest news being 50 Turkish textile and garment companies are hoping to relocate factories to Ethiopia, as in June 2012 Ethiopia signed an agreement with Turkish Investors towards development.