17:09:49 local time VIET NAM
* Agencies disagree on how to punish leather firm for waste discharging:
Hao Duong, a leather processing company in HCM City was caught discharging untreated waste water to the Dong Dien River one week ago. It is still unclear about how to punish it.
The HCM City Industrial Zone and Export Processing Zone Management Board (Hepza), in its report to the HCM City People’s Committee about the case, proposed to stop the operation of the company for its repeated behavior of discharging untreated waste water to the environment.
This was for the sixth time Hao Duong violated the environment laws over the last 15 months, according to Hepza.
It has also asked the city authorities to instruct the city’s Department of Natural Resources and the Environment to revoke the license on the Dong Dien River water exploitation granted before to Hao Duong.
In August 2012, Hepza, when examining the industrial zone’s operation in the environment, investment, businesses, construction and labor, discovered that Hao Duong violated the laws in nearly all the five sectors.
The company was found as having four behaviors of violating the environment laws. It discharged the waste water 22.3 times higher than the allowed level, exhaust fumes by 13.7 times. It was also caught discharging waste water into the raining water system.
17:09:49 local time CAMBODIA
* Cambodian Appeal Court upholds verdict against ex-city governor for shooting workers:
Cambodia’s Appeal Court on Monday upheld the decision of a lower court to sentence Bavet city ‘s ex-governor Chhouk Bandith to 18 months in jail for unintentionally injuring three female garment workers in a protest last year.
Presiding Judge Taing Sunlay said the court decided to uphold Svay Rieng provincial court’s verdict in June that convicted Chhouk Bandith of unintentionally injuring three garment workers in the mass protest. The provincial court sentenced him to 18 months in jail and ordered him to compensate a total of 38 million riels (about 9,500 U.S. dollars) to the three victims.
The Appeal Court’s decision came after a Chhouk Bandith’s lawyer appealed against the provincial court’s decision and the victims’lawyers asked the Appeal Court to increase compensation for the victims. “The Hearing Council can neither change charges nor order the defendant to pay more compensation to the victims because the provincial court’s verdict is appropriate and acceptable,”Taing Sunlay read the Appeal Court’s decision.
Chhouk Bandith, who is now on the run, shot garment workers in a mass protest on Feb. 20 last year at the Manhattan Special Economic Zone (SEZ) situated in southeastern Svay Rieng province’ s Bavet city, and he was removed from his governor position by Prime Minister Hun Sen three months later.
* Chhouk Bundith’s Triple Shooting Case Called a ‘Mockery’:
The Court of Appeal on Monday upheld the Svay Rieng Provincial Court’s verdict in the case of former Bavet City governor Chhouk Bundith, who was sentenced to 18 months in prison for shooting three factory workers but has not spent a day in prison and remains at large.
The most recent verdict in the highly-politicized case comes more than 20 months after Chhouk Bundith, who was then-CPP governor of Bavet City, opened fire into a crowd of protesting workers at a special economic zone in Svay Rieng, injuring three women.
Since then, the ex-governor’s case has bounced back and forth between the provincial court and the Court of Appeal in Phnom Penh while the suspect himself has remained a free man, protected from prosecution by his powerful friends in government.
* Cambodia upholds jail term for ex-governor in shooting:
A Cambodian appeal court on Monday upheld an 18-month prison sentence on a former governor for shooting and injuring three protesting women workers at a factory supplying sportswear giant Puma.
The women, employees of Kaoway Sports, were wounded when the then-governor opened fire on protesters demanding better working conditions at factories in the eastern province of Svay Rieng in February 2012.
Chhuk Bundith, who was removed from his post of governor of Bavet city after the shooting, was also ordered in June to pay a total of $9,500 to the three victims in compensation.
* H&M Calls for Yearly Minimum Wage Review:
The call for a higher minimum wage in Cambodia’s garment industry by Swedish clothing giant H&M, which posted a 2012 profit margin of more than $3.4 billion, should begin with the brand itself as it has the power and means to raise workers’ wages, industry members said Monday.
H&M, the world’s second-largest clothing retailer by sales, has been buying from suppliers in Cambodia since 1998 and is one of the largest buyers in the country’s most profitable sector—which exported more than $4 billion worth of garments in 2012.
18:09:49 local time MALAYSIA
* Ministry To Study Effects Of Minimum Wage Implementation – Riot:
The Human Resource Ministry will study the effects of the minimum wage implementation, starting Jan 1 next year, in the middle of next year, said its minister, Datuk Seri Richard Riot.
He said the study, which would begin in May or June, would focus on the economic impact and implications of the minimum wage enforcement.
“The review is in line with the enforcement of the Minimum Wages Order 2012 which requires the rates to be reviewed every two years,” he told reporters at meet-the-people session in Kampung Krusen Mawang here Monday.
Riot announced yesterday that the minimum wage of RM900 a month in the Peninsular and RM800 in Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan would be enforced on Jan 1 next year after it had been relaxed and deferred since January this year.
He said the government had taken into consideration the issues affecting the various sectors in the country before its implementation.
18:09:49 local time INDONESIA
* Jokowi Accused of Taking Sides over Minimum Wage Decision:
The President of the Confederation of Indonesian Workers Union, Said Iqbal, accused Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo of taking sides with the businessmen for his decision to set minimum wage for Rp2.4 million in Jakarta. “This decision affects minimum wage in cities across Indonesia,” he said on Sunday, November 3, 2013.
Said said that Jakarta’s minimum wage has been the standard for minimum wage across Indonesia, because Jakarta has the highest decent living standards (KHL). “We demand KHL to be increased to Rp2.7 million in 2013, but it was ignored,” he said. Said will bring the decision to State Administration Court to be re-considered in determining the minimum wage. “Of course this will impacts other regions as well,” he added.
He said that his side will keep conducting demonstration to demand an increase in wage. The demonstration will take place in particular spots. “We will start the rally again in Wednesday.”
* Jakarta Worker Groups Plan Fresh Protest Over Minimum Wage Rise:
Workers in the Indonesian capital plan a fresh protest this week after an 11 percent increase in minimum wages in Jakarta, a benchmark for the nation, fell short of demands, a labor group said.
Thousands of workers are expected to join rallies that could begin on Nov. 6 after tomorrow’s public holiday, Muhammad Toha, head of the Jakarta Labor Forum, told reporters at a briefing today. Labor groups are considering seeking to repeal the wage decision at the state administrative court, Toha said without elaborating.
Indonesian workers are calling for higher wages to match those of other Asian countries as foreign direct investment continues to flow into Southeast Asia’s biggest economy. Companies are concerned that increases in salaries will boost costs at a time when consumer purchasing power is being eroded by accelerating inflation.
* Riau’s minimum wage set at Rp 1.7m through voting:
The Riau Remuneration Board has set the province’s 2014 minimum wage at Rp 1.7 million (US$151.3), up Rp 300,000 or 21.4 percent from last year, through voting as negotiations reached a deadlock.
Head of Riau Manpower and Transmigration Agency, Nazaruddin, who is also Riau Remuneration Board head, said the 2014 minimum wage was agreed on Friday evening, meeting the deadline stipulated by the Manpower and Transmigration Minister Regulation No.7/2013.
“We had to decide it through voting because although we had held negotiation meetings five times, no agreement could be achieved. Sharp differences between workers and businesspeople could not be resolved,” said Nazaruddin.
* Workers getting more education:
One signal of Indonesia’s industrial relations dynamics over the last few years is the high intensity of workers actions.
In Jakarta alone the local police recorded no less than 1,050 workers actions in 2012 with consistent demands: wage increase and improvement of working conditions.
Worker demonstrations also show a pattern in terms of timing — May Day and the last quarter of the year (during negotiations for the annual minimum wage increase). Since 2010, besides demands on wage increase and welfare, worker demonstrations have also demanded the implementation of universal social security.
The increasing intensity of worker demonstrations has gained a largely unsympathetic reaction since rallies create traffic congestion and are considered a reflection of Indonesian workers’ mentality — those who can only make demands, or hanya bisa menuntut.
* BetterWork Indonesia Media Updates:
1. Minimum wage set, Jakarta workers disappointed. Read the full article here .
2. 16 Provinces already set Minimum Wage.
Read the full article here
Read the Google Translate English Version here.
3. Factory Owners Threaten to Move Away From Jakarta. Read the full article here.
4. Indonesia Counts the Cost of Industrial Action (Video).View the video here.
5. Companies in KBN Cakung object to Rp. 2.4 million wage.
Read the full article here (Article is in Bahasa Indonesia).
6. Workers will never enjoy wage increment.
Read the full article here (Article is in Bahasa Indonesia).
7. Labor Tensions Will Eventually Cease, According to Industry Officials.
Read the full article here.
Betterwork Indonesia media updates overview here.
16:39:49 local time BURMA/MYANMAR
* Strike at garment factory enters second week:
Workers at a Yangon garment factory have entered the second week of a strike called over the sacking of a colleague and the installation of CCTV cameras near a women’s toilet.
The strike by about 200 workers at the ‘Handsome’ factory in Dagon Seikkan township began on October 26 after the sacking of their colleague,Sithu Min,who was reportedly accused by management of refusing to work overtime.
Striking workers said he was sacked without sufficient reason and responded by sending a four-point demand to management.
It calls for Sithu Min’s reinstatement, the removal of a CCTV camera in a passageway leading to women’s toilets and for the workers to receive the rights to which they are entitled under the labour laws. The workers, who have established a protest camp outside the factory, also want to be paid for the duration of the strike.
16:09:49 local time BANGLADESH
* Apparel minimum wage Tk 5,300:
The newly-formed wage board for the garment workers has set Tk 5,300 as the minimum monthly wages.
The minimum wage came at the ninth meeting of the wage board Monday afternoon.
Apparel factory owners, however, rejected the minimum wage.
A press briefing is underway at the board office, in the capital, regarding its announcement at around 4:00pm.
Apparels workers have long been demonstrating, demanding Tk 8,000 as minimum wage for a labourer per month.
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* Official panel recommends 76% garment worker wage hike:
A Bangladesh official panel recommended Monday that the government raises minimum wages for garment workers by 76 percent following a string of disasters and protests over pay and conditions, an official said.
The board of government officials, garment manufacturers and union leaders said the minimum monthly wage for the nation’s four million garment workers should rise from 3,000 taka ($38) to 5,300 taka ($67).
“The wage board has recommended 5,300 taka as the minimum wage of the garment workers,” head of the Minimum Wage Board A.K. Roy told reporters after the meeting in Dhaka.
“The decision was taken through majority voting,” he said, adding that four of the six member panels voted in favour of the decision, but the owners’ representative rejected it.
The government pledged to raise wages by November, based on the board’s recommendation, after strikes in September saw tens of thousands of workers take to the streets, torch factories and clash with police to demand an increase.
The board’s recommendation on Monday must still be adopted by the government.
read more. & read more.
* RMG owners reject minimum wage of Tk5,300:
The minimum wage has been fixed through voting as the owners and the workers could not reach a consensus on it
The garment owners on Monday rejected the minimum wage Tk5,300 fixed by the wage-board members.
They turned down this decision at a voting procedure which took place as the owners and the workers could not reach a consensus on the minimum wage.
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) proposed a minimum monthly wage of Tk4,250 at the wage-board meeting.
The workers came down at Tk6,000 from their previous demand of Tk8,114. But, the owners rejected even that amount.
Then the workers proposed Tk5,500 which was also refused by the owners.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* Board finalises minimum RMG wage, owners reject:
The board formed to re-fix the minimum wage for the garment workers at its meeting on Monday finalised a new minimum wage structure at Tk 5,300 only to be rejected by the owners.
“We finalised the new minimum wage structure for RMG workers at Tk 5,300 at today’s meeting. However, the owners’ representative walked out from the meeting,” Sirajul Islam Rony, the workers’ representative to the board, told UNB.
He said the owners’ representative finally proposed a minimum wage of Tk 4,500 while the workers’ representative proposed Tk 5,300. “As we couldn’t reach a consensus in finalising it, we went for vote and the majority of the board members voted for us (workers).”
“As RMG owners will implement the wage structure, we had wanted to reach a consensus, but the owners’ side unfortunately didn’t accept our proposal,” Rony said.
* Minimum RMG wage fixed at Tk 5300:
The Wage Board finalised Monday its draft proposal recommending Tk 5,300 as minimum wage, including food subsidy, for garment workers amid objections from the apparel manufacturers.
The proposal for a 76 per cent wage hike from the existing amount came at the ninth meeting of the Wage Board held in the city amid agitation by the readymade garment (RMG) workers outside the Board office for fixing their minimum wage at Tk 8,114.
“Since both the parties have failed to reach any consensus, we have decided to fix the minimum wage at Tk 5,300 in our draft proposal through voting,” Chairman of the Wage Board AK Roy told reporters after the meeting.
He, however, also said their draft proposal would be sent to the press on the same day (Monday).
After a long discussion, the labour representatives finally agreed on a Tk 5,300 minimum wage, which includes monthly food subsidy.
On the other hand, the owners’ representatives remained adamant on their previous proposal, he said.
A leader of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) in the last meeting proposed Tk 4,250 as the minimum wage while they also agreed finally to raise their proposed hike to Tk 4,500 including food subsidy.
According to the rule seven of the Wage Board Ordinance of 1961, the Board arranged the voting following the disagreement and took decision as four out of the six members endorsed the Tk 5,300 proposal.
* Garment wage hike won’t erode competitiveness:
Economists say the raise will create a positive work environment
Economists said the final recommendation of Tk 5,300 as entry level wage for garment workers would not affect the country’s global competitiveness.
With a hike of nearly 77 percent from the existing Tk 3,000 a month, workers will be able to cope with the pressures of inflation, economists said.
“Obviously the hike is a positive sign, although the amount is below workers’ demands for Tk 8,114 a month,” said Mustafizur Rahman, executive director of private think-tank Centre for Policy Dialogue.
“I hope Bangladesh’s competitiveness in the international market will not erode from the hike. The garment makers will have to enhance productivity, focus on value added items and strengthen the backward linkage industry,” Rahman told The Daily Star.
A positive working environment will be created due to the salary hike, he said, adding that the entrepreneurs should also pressurise international retailers for a price hike to source apparel items from Bangladesh.
Overall, both the wage hike and amendments to the labour law will help paint a positive image of the country worldwide, as Bangladesh’s image was tarnished after the Tazreen Fashions fire and Rana Plaza building collapse, he said.
Prior to the government’s declaration of minimum wage yesterday, garment workers rights activists stage a demonstration in front of the Wage Board office at Topkhana in the capital to press for their demand for Tk8,000 as minimum month.
Photo by DakaTribune.
* Board fixes Tk 5,300:
The minimum wages board for the garment workers on Monday recommended Tk 5,300 as minimum monthly wage for entry-level workers, up by Tk 2,300 from the existing structure amid opposition from owners’ representatives.
The minimum wage was decided through vote among the board members after the representatives of workers and owners failed to reach a consensus after long discussions at the ninth meeting of the wages board.
Both the employers’ representatives on the six-member wage board refrained from voting and signing the recommendations, alleging that the upward adjustment would hurt the apparel industry badly.
The rest four members, including the independent one, agreed on the minimum wage recommendation. The decision on the minimum wage was taken in the ninth meeting at the board’s Topkhana Road office.
‘It is a unilateral decision… The apparel industry which is facing great challenges both at home and on international market will be affected badly if the proposed wage of Tk5,300 is implemented,’ BGMEA president Atiqul Islam told New Age.
‘We cannot afford to pay more than Tk 4,200 as minimum wage,’ he said.
The $21 billion plus apparel industry currently employs more than four million workers. The current minimum wage for a Bangladeshi garment worker is the lowest in the world.
Of the Tk5,300, Tk3,200 has been suggested as basic wage, Tk1,280 as house rent (40 per cent of the basic pay), Tk320 as medical allowance (10 per cent of the basic pay), Tk 200 as transport allowance and Tk 300 as food subsidy.
Sirajul Islam Rony, workers’ representative and member of the board, said he had accepted the proposal for Tk5,300 as minimum wage considering the overall situation in the apparel industry, though originally the demand of the workers was Tk8,114.
He lamented the stance of the factory owners, who did not budge from their previous position on minimum wage.
‘At on point of discussion, we proposed Tk5,300 as minimum wage but the employers did not agree. They preferred to fix the minimum wage at Tk 4,500 at the meeting,’ Rony told reporters.
The sector representative of garment factory owners, Arshad Jamal Dipu, also a member of the board, declined comments on the decision.
* Minimum wage Tk5,300 proposed, owners unhappy:
Garment owners have rejected the monthly minimum wage of Tk5,300 finalised by the designated board on Monday, labour leaders have given mixed reactions.
The minimum wage board set the amount for entry-level workers, a 76.6% rise over the existing consolidated wage of Tk3,000, through voting as both the owners and labour leaders had failed to reach a consensus. The workers have been demanding Tk8,114.
The board proposed Tk3,200 as basic a salary, with an extra Tk1,280 for house rent, Tk320 for medical allowances, Tk200 for transport and Tk300 as food allowance.
Now the draft proposal will be submitted to the government. The labour ministry will upload the draft on its website seeking opinions of stakeholders, and after 14 days they will publish a gazette notification.
The owners earlier agreed to implement the new wage structure from November 1.
* Bangladesh to hike garment worker wage by 76%:
An official Bangladeshi panel voted Monday to raise the minimum wage for garment workers by 76 percent to $67, still the lowest in the world and well short of what unions wanted.
The board of government officials, garment manufacturers and union leaders recommended wages rise from 3,000 taka ($38) a month to 5,300 taka ($67) for the nation’s four million garment workers in the wake of a factory complex collapse that killed 1,135 people.
The collapse of the Rana Plaza factory complex in April, one of the world’s worst industrial disasters, focused global attention like never before on the industry’s appalling pay and conditions.
“The wage board has recommended 5,300 taka as the minimum wage of the garment workers,” Minimum Wage Board head A.K. Roy told reporters after its meeting in Dhaka.
But the board was split on the final figure, with the majority voting for $67, with factory owners rejecting the sum as too high.
Owner representative Arshad Jamal Dipu warned of dire consequences for Bangladesh’s $22 billion industry, the world’s second largest after China, if the figure was introduced.
“It’s an emotional decision devoid of reality,” Dipu told AFP.
“It’ll erode our competitive advantage,” Dipu added.
* Tanneries should shift to Savar to:
Western buyers look to source goods from environment-friendly factories, says chief economist at The Asia Foundation
Bangladeshi tannery owners should immediately begin relocating their units from Hazaribagh in the capital to Savar to maintain competitiveness in the international market, said a noted economist.
“Leather is now a very competitive industry globally. Bangladesh has a good track record in the leather and footwear business. But focusing on environment-friendly production is urgent,” said Véronique Salze-Lozac’h, chief economist and director of economic development at The Asia Foundation.
The US and European nations, key customers of Bangladeshi leather and leather goods, want to source products from factories that have a clean production process and safe working environment, she said in an interview with The Daily Star in Dhaka recently.
“Leather factories in Bangladesh, therefore, have to make a choice between whether they want to keep their long-term global clients by adopting environment-friendly technologies in the production or do as usual,” said Salze-Lozac’h.
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE
* 157 DNA test matched, victims to get Tk 2-5 lakh:
The government would provide financial support to each family of Rana Plaza victims Taka 2-5 lakh as the DNA test result identified 157 out of 322 RMG workers, Labour and Employment Secretary Mikail Shiper said.
“Each worker will get Taka 2-5 lakh from the government within two months,” he said while addressing a press conference at the ministry’s conference room here today.
He said the DNA test results of 157 out of 322 Rana Plaza victims have matched with the samples collected from their immediate family members. Of the family members whose DNA test matched included 116 females and 41 males. The DNA test of the rest 165 is underway, Shiper said .
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* Emerging from the ruins of Rana Plaza:
When Minu’s limp body was piled onto the mass of corpses after Rana Plaza collapsed, she prayed that someone would notice that she was still alive.
Too weak to call out, she had been smothered under dead bodies in the rubble without food or water for three days. As they laid her out in the makeshift mortuary on the Adhur Chandra High- School playground in Savar, someone heard the faintest of cries and realized she was still alive.
“As I laid on the school oval, I thought I could not even make enough noise for someone to notice me. I had nothing left in me at all – I was just like another one of the bodies in the pile,” she recalls.
Minu Aktar had been working in Phantom Apparels on the fourth floor of Rana Plaza for four and a half years. She still suffers from physical injuries sustained during the collapse, as well as ongoing trauma, from being trapped under the building.
Six months on, however, Minu is starting to overcome her grief with the support of her family and through the ILO’s Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Reform Project in partnership with BRAC, a major non-governmental organisation.
15:39:49 local time INDIA
* US pushes India again for early phase-out of textile sops:
The US has pushed India again to do away with its export subsidies to textiles and garment producers as these sectors are now competitive in the global market.
India will have to start phasing out its textile subsidies soon to conform with the Subsidies Agreement of the World Trade Organisation, a US representative said at a recent meeting of the WTO Committee on Subsidies & Countervailing Measures.
While India may not start phasing out export subsidies on textiles and garments immediately, the growing pressure at the WTO may prompt it to go slow in giving fresh subsidies to the sector, a Commerce Ministry official told Business Line.
“We have informed the WTO that India is working with stakeholders on this issue. However, we still needed clarification on certain points, including the definition of products involved,” the official said.
* Sops for weavers in the offing:
Union Textiles Minister Kavuri Sambasiva Rao has announced that a Common Facility Centre at Sircilla will be set up as part of integrated development of the proposed Sircilla Textile Cluster.
Mr. Sambasiva Rao who will be visiting Siricilla on November 12 to interact with weavers told media persons here on Monday there was immense potential for handloom/powerloom sector and the government would take necessary measures to promote the sector in a big way.