12:41:40 local time CHINA
* Migrant worker shortage intensifies:
Although China used to possess a sufficient labor force, the shrinking of its working-age population has begun to cast a shadow upon the nation’s economy in recent years.
Data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that in 2012, the number of working-age people in China decreased by 3.45 million to 937 million. According to the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, the number will drop by some 8 million every year between 2020 and 2030; after 2030, it will lose 8.3 million each year.
The Chinese Business Daily Economic Information reported recently that labor shortage exists not only in estern China, but also in central and western China. Young adults who stay behind in the rural areas of Zhejiang, Guangdong, Sichuan and Guizhou Provinces are decreasing in number. The labor tug of war is intensifying across the country, causing migrant worker incomes to continually rise.
In order to gain local government’s cooperation, many companies in Zhejiang and other coastal cities even throw in some investment bait.
One human resources and social security official in Zunyi County of Guizhou Province gave an example.
In 2012, a Zhejiang textile company promised to invest 8 billion yuan in the county, while the local government would have to help hire 5,000 workers in return. However, since only 200 workers had been recruited, the committed investment became a bubble.
* Survey: Chinese workers just not engaged:
China has one of the world’s lowest levels of employee engagement at just 6 percent, a survey by United States-based Gallup Inc has found.
About 68 percent of employees in China aren’t engaged in their jobs, and 26 percent are actively disengaged and likely to disrupt their colleagues’ efforts, according to the report —State of the Global Workplace: Employee Engagement Insights for Business Leaders Worldwide.
The report is based on Gallup’s study of workplaces in more than 140 countries from 2011-12.
Engaged workers “work with passion” and feel a connection to their company. Disengaged employees are “sleepwalking through their workday”, Gallup said.
Actively disengaged employees are busy acting out their unhappiness.
12:41:40 local time PHILIPPINES
* 4M workers affected by Typhoon ‘Yolanda’–ILO:
About four million workers are affected by the onslaught of Super Typhoon ‘Yolanda’, 44 percent of which are in ‘vulnerable’ forms of employment, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said.
ILO estimates that 1.8 million of these workers are already in vulnerable employment, which means they were forced to accept or create whatever work is available to survive. As such, they do not have social security and access to loans and benefits or any form of financial protection.
* Cheap labor attracts garments:
Labor costs in these countries are becoming too prohibitive to make garments a thriving business.
They turn to the Philippines, which happens to be a neighbor. Workers for the garments industry are running short in Vietnam, and garments operators “import” Filipino hands.
* ILO to assist in livelihood rehab of ‘Yolanda’ affected areas:
The International Labor Organization (ILO) said it will prioritize assisting the rehabilitation of livelihood in areas hit by super typhoon Yolanda.
ILO director Jeff Johnson issued the statement Tuesday amid reports that the recent typhoon has heavily devastated the agriculture and fishing industry in some coastal communities in Visayas.
Reports also showed that the super typhoon also wiped-out infrastructures in some urban centers in the region like Tacloban City in Leyte.
11:41:40 local time THAILAND
* Ecco, minimum wage don’t fit:
Ecco, the Danish shoe manufacturer, has closed its operation in Phichit province to consolidate its business in Thailand and cut operating costs due to the minimum wage hike.
The closure affects 1,138 employees, 1,000 of which are working on a daily basis with the rest on a monthly wage.
Ecco announced it will rehire these staff if they want to work at the company’s main production plant in Ayutthaya.
Phichit governor Surachai Kan-asa said he ordered social welfare officials to examine the reason behind the shutdown and how to assist employees. He acknowledged the daily minimum wage rise to 300 baht nationwide was the main cause of the six-year-old plant closing.
11:41:40 local time CAMBODIA
* Violent clash of strikers, police kills one:
Police, led by an officer with a drawn pistol, march toward rioting garment workers near the Stung Meanchey pagoda this morning. At least one person was confirmed killed by live ammunition during the violence. PHA LINA
At least one woman died when police opened fire with live ammunition amid intense rioting in the capital’s Stung Meanchey district this morning, during what began as a march of striking garment workers attempting to reach the prime minister’s house.
Hundreds of employees at SL Garment Processing (Cambodia) Ltd. making their way from the Meanchey district factory were met by riot police and fire trucks near the Stung Meanchey bridge – the site of a similar conflagration on election day in July.
The march was planned to commemorate the three-month anniversary of about 5,000 workers striking at SL.
At about 9:30am, a man – who the Post has not confirmed is a representative for the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union (C.CAWDU) – gave an order over a bull horn, at which point he and more than 100 protesters rushed the police.
A growing number of protesters hurled rocks and bricks at the police as they fired water cannons into the crowd in response.
* Bystander killed in worker protest:
A garment worker march to the Prime Minister’s home descended into violence today resulting in the death of an innocent bystander and the injury of at least nine others, including more people who had been shot.
see video report.
* Strikers, police clash:
A woman was killed and at least six others shot yesterday morning when police fired live ammunition into a crowd of hundreds of rioting garment workers in the capital’s Stung Meanchey district.
UN reports said police also arrested 37 people, including seven monks, as a result of the clash, which claimed the life of Eng Sokhom, 49, a rice vendor who was inadvertently caught up in the violence.
The bloodshed occurred after 600 striking employees at SL Garment Processing (Cambodia) Ltd., representatives from the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU) and the Cambodian Labour Confederation (CLC) attempted to march from SL’s Meanchey district location to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s house, where they planned to hold a demonstration.
After yesterday’s bloody riot, Kong Athit, vice-president of C.CAWDU – the union that represents a large majority of SL workers – said that, although demonstrators sparked the turbulence, police hold 100 per cent of the blame for the violence.
“They sent four or five fire trucks, so their intent was clear: They wanted to crack down on the strike,” Athit said.
Further, he said, C.CAWDU’s attempts to resolve the SL strike have been stymied by the government.
“We’ve been listening to the government for the past three months,” said Athit, who said the C.CAWDU found out on Monday that the Phnom Penh municipality denied a permit it filed to hold the march. “[The government] just pushed us to the wall.”
* Woman Killed as Police Open Fire During Garment Worker Clash:
One woman was killed, at least nine others injured and 37 arrested, including seven Buddhist monks, who were later released, after violence erupted Tuesday morning in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district between protesting garment factory workers, civilians and security forces, who fired live ammunition.
Two police vehicles and at least two police motorcycles were torched after several hundred workers from the SL Garment factory, who were attempting to march to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s residence, had their route blocked by police.
During the clashes, six police officers were trapped in a room inside the Stung Meanchey pagoda for more than one hour, but escaped unharmed.
Street vendor Eng Sokhom, 49, who was not taking part in the protest, was shot and killed during the clashes as she served food to customers, human rights workers said. The slain woman’s son, Vong Panha, 21, told reporters at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship hospital that his mother, who worked near the Stung Meanchey pagoda, had been serving food to a customer when she was shot in the chest.
Two Cambodia Daily journalists witnessed at least five police officers firing pistols in the direction of the protesters. One of the officers, who had been trapped in the pagoda, was seen drawing his handgun and shooting a young man in the torso at close range following his release. The shot man had not challenged the police officer in any way.
The clashes erupted at about 8:45 a.m. after about 2,000 workers from the SL Garment factory—the majority of whom were men—tried marching to Mr. Hun Sen’s house, only to be met by a phalanx of military police who urged them to retreat.
* At Embattled Factory, an Unmovable Manager:
In an industry rife with labor strikes, the workers at the SL Garment Factory in recent months have been strident, and sometimes violent, in their efforts to have their demands for better working conditions met by factory bosses.
Tuesday’s clash with police near Phnom Penh’s Stung Meanchey bridge, where one woman was shot dead and several others injured by authorities, was the third time since September that protests by SL workers have turned violent.
Many of the demands by the SL workers are typical: higher wages and a lunch stipend, but others are not.
Among the workers’ central demands is the resignation of Meas Sotha, an administrator and shareholder in the SL factory, who workers say is responsible for bringing armed security guards into the plant in recent months to intimidate workers inclined to unionize.
“Everything changed since he started working here,” said Oum Visal, a factory representative of the Coalition of Cambodia Apparel Workers Democratic Union (CCAWDU), which has organized what is now a three-month-long strike by its members in the SL factory.
* Woman shot dead in Cambodia protest clash: activists:
A woman was shot dead and several people injured in clashes between protesting garment workers and riot police in the Cambodian capital Tuesday, a rights group and family members said.
The clashes erupted as hundreds of employees from a factory supplying global brands marched towards Prime Minister Hun Sen’s home in the heart of Phnom Penh to demand better working conditions.
“This is a cruel crackdown by the authorities,” said Am Sam Ath from local rights group Licadho, at a city hospital where the injured were taken.
The activist told AFP that five others suffered gunshot wounds during the unrest.
Unions said violence broke out when riot police stopped more than a thousand workers from the Singapore-owned SL Garment Processing factory — which supplies global brands like Gap and H&M — who have been demonstrating periodically for weeks.
“We went to the prime minister to seek his intervention to improve the working conditions at the factory. But authorities used weapons to crack down on them,” said Kong Athit, deputy leader of the Coalition of Cambodia Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union which organised the march.
* One Dead, Several Wounded by the Riot Police…:
Yet another march by the SL Garment factory workers who are on a strike since the month of August for a rise in wages.
It turned very ugly this morning. Some members of the riot police forces who stopped the demonstrators at the Stung Meanchey bridge opened fire with their handgun when trying to push back the protesters, resulting in several injured and the death of 49 year old Seng Sokhon, a woman selling food from a street stall.
She had nothing to do with the demonstration. She was eking a living out of her small streetside restaurant…
Several alleged protesters were arrested inside the Stung Meanchey pagoda and brutally beaten by forces of the Gendarmerie.
read & see more.
* One killed, 6 injured in Cambodian police, garment protesters clash:
Cambodian anti-riot police and garment protesters clashed here on Tuesday morning, leaving one person dead, 6 injured, and a dozen of protesters were arrested.
The incident occurred in the capital’s Meanchey district when hundreds of protesting workers at SL Garment Processing (Cambodia) Ltd had tried to march to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s house for help with demand for payrise and better working conditions, but the police did not allow them to march by blocking the road.
“In the clash, strikers threw stones at police and set a police car and two motorcycles on fire,” Kheng Tito, spokesman for the National Military Police, told Xinhua. “The police have retaliated by using water cannons and smoke bombs to disperse protestors.”
He said at least a policeman was injured on his head by protestors’ stones.
“After about a three-hour clash, we had arrested more than 10 protesters for inquiry,” he said.
Eyewitnesses said police had fired real bullets on protesters, accidentally killed a female food seller on the sidewalk, and injured at least five protesters.
However, Kheng Tito denied that the police had shot real bullets to crack down on protesters. “Our forces have never fired live bullets on protesters, it is against the law.”
Ath Thon, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union, who led the protest, said the violence broke out as the police prevented about 2,000 strikers from marching to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s house.
* Garment Workers, Police Clash In Cambodia; 1 Killed:
Clashes in the Cambodian capital on Tuesday between protesting garment workers and riot police have left a bystander dead and injured at least 20 people.
Workers from SL Garment Processing (Cambodia) Ltd. Factory were marching toward Prime Minister Hun Sen’s residence. Workers from the factory have been protesting for months, demanding better pay and working conditions. The factory makes clothes for H&M, Gap and other Western brands.
Riot police were sent to block Tuesday’s march. The clashes began when protesters surrounded five police officers sent to negotiate with them. :
It was unclear which side started the attacks, which included police firing live bullets and tear gas to rescue their colleagues, and protesters throwing rocks and wielding iron bars and wooden sticks, Chan Soveth [senior investigator for the rights group Adhoc] said.
A woman selling rice near the scene was killed by a police bullet. Six protesters were wounded, along with nine members of the public. Five Buddhist monks were also injured when police fired tear gas into a pagoda where protesters had sought refuge.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
& read more. & read more. & read more.
* Cambodia garment workers protest turns deadly:
At least one person killed as police clash with demonstrators demanding better working conditions, rights groups say.
At least one person has been killed and 20 others injured after police in Cambodia clashed with protesting garment workers, according to rights groups.
Tuesday’s protest took place outside the capital, Phnom Penh, where a bystander selling rice was struck by a bullet, the activists said.
Chan Soveth and Am Sam Ath of the rights group Licadho both confirmed a woman had been hit by a bullet.
Six protesters were injured, Chan Soveth said, adding that five Buddhist monks were hurt when police fired tear gas into a Buddhist pagoda where protesters had sought refuge.
Nine other people were hurt, including youths who jumped into the clashes and bystanders.
“The crackdown conducted by police this morning against workers was very cruel and unacceptable,” said Kong Athith, a spokesman for the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union, which organised the protest.
“Workers were unarmed. Why did police use live ammunition to crack down on them?”
* CCHR deplores the use of live ammunition by security forces as today’s SL Garment Factory protests turned violent:
The Cambodian Center for Human Rights (“CCHR”) strongly condemns the violent turn of events during today’s – 12 November 2013 – protest by hundreds of garment workers from the SL Garment Factory, which produces garments for the Gap and H&M. Strikes and protests at the SL Garment Factory have been ongoing since early August, with workers asking for a wage increase, the
reinstatement of meal breaks and the removal of military police hired by the factory as security guards, demands which have remained unanswered by the factory’s management.
The protestors today were attempting to march to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s house near the Independence Monument in central Phnom Penh, but were stopped by security forces in the capital’s Meanchey district, where the factory is located.
Clashes between the protestors and the security forces erupted mid-morning Tuesday, during which, according to sources contacted by CCHR, at least one police car and two police motorbikes were set on fire by the protestors and at least three police officers were threatened by protestors and detained inside the Stung Meanchey pagoda, after which riot police intervened more forcefully.
During the clashes, one woman, Heng Sokhon – a 49-year-old rice vendor and a bystander not taking part in the demonstration – was shot by the security forces. She was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. Several other civilians were also injured during the clashes. Riot police is reported to have fired live ammunition, in addition to 38mm rubber bullet rounds and tear gas.
The protestors were dispersed by the security forces around mid-day, with around 20 protestors – including at least seven monks – reportedly being arrested.
Read more & you can download here.the Press Release.
* One Dead, Seven Injured Amid Violent Clashes in SL Garment Workers Strike:
Earlier this morning, a violent clash between striking garment workers and armed forces, followed by two additional clashes between the growing number of armed forces and a crowd of citizens, resulted in the death of one bystander and at least seven injured in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district.
The morning began with about six hundred SL garment workers who attempted to march from their factory to the Prime Minister’s home to press for responses from the government. The workers have been on strike for three months over unresolved demands for improvements in working conditions as well as the removal of a newly appointed manager.
The march did not get far as the workers were blocked by over a hundred armed anti-riot policemen and barricades at the Stung Meanchey bridge. Tensions ran high as demonstrators tried to push through the barricade and collided with police. Police fired water cannons onto the crowd, igniting the first wave of violence in which one police truck and two motos were overturned and set on fire.
Workers and onlookers stricken with fear sought safety within the Stung Meanchey pagoda. Five police officers followed them into the pagoda grounds and proceeded to violently beat several people. Angered by the violence inside the pagoda walls, the crowd began throwing rocks at the police officers, who ran into a room and locked themselves in.
12:41:40 local time INDONESIA
* Workers demand minimum wage revision:
The Jakarta Labor Forum has demanded a revision to the 2014 minimum wage, which was set on Nov. 1 by the Jakarta administration at Rp 2.44 million (US$211) per month.
In a desperate move, representatives from the forum arrived at the Jakarta Legislative Council on Monday to meet with legislators from the Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), whom they asked to lobby Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to revise his decision and raise the minimum wage to Rp 3 million.
“The decision needs to be amended. We have come here because we don’t know where else to turn to with our problem,” said Dedi Hartono, a member of both the forum and the Indonesia Labor Union Association (Aspek).
Jokowi’s predecessors, Fauzi Bowo and Sutiyoso, both revised the minimum wage during their tenures.
* More labor protests may hit industrial sector next year:
Labor intensive industries are predicting a gloomier business outlook next year, with an increase in minimum wages and growing labor rallies hurting business.
The Indonesian Textile Association (API) predicts an escalation in labor protests in 2014 as political parties use the labor issue to attract support from voters in the general and presidential elections.
API chairman Ade Sudrajat feared certain parties may force workers to join political rallies during the elections, further hurting businesses that had already been severely affected by the rise in the minimum wage.
10:26:40 local time NEPAL
* Teenager held captive‚ raped for five months:
It has come to light that a teenage girl from Rautahat was held captive at a garment factory in Kathmandu and raped frequently for the past five months.
The 15-year-old victim fled and came to Rautahat a month ago. The incident came to the fore after the victim filed a case at Area Police Office Chandranigahapur with support from her relatives and women rights activists last Friday.
Based on the complaints registered by the victim, police arrested Parang Lo and his wife Samjhana of Dhiyal VDC in Makawanpur yesterday as Lo had taken the victim to a garment factory in Kathmandu, pledging to provide her a decent job.
Lo took the teenager from Rangapur VDC of Rautahat to Kathmandu with the promise of finding her a decent job. Lo had held the victim captive and raped her frequently. The girl does not even know the factory’s name.
10:41:40 local time BANGLADESH
20131111 * Protest by Bangladeshi garment workers shutters 100 factories:
Demonstrators demand higher wages that employers say they can’t afford; police fire rubber bullets, close factories
Thousands of Bangladeshi workers demanding a higher minimum wage on Monday hurled rocks and sticks at clothing factories and clashed with police who used rubber bullets and tear gas against them, bringing fresh scrutiny to working conditions in the country’s garment industry.
The garment workers’ demonstrations forced the closure of more than 100 factories in the Ashulia industrial belt on the outskirts of the capital Dhaka, which accounts for nearly 20 percent of total garment exports.
At least 30 people were reported wounded in the clash with police.
* 150-200 Savar RMG units shut over wage fight:
Authorities suspended production in 150 readymade garment (RMG) factories at Ashulia here for Tuesday as the workers clashed with police demanding implementation of the new salary structure fixed by the government-formed wage board for them.
Witnesses said garment workers from Narsinghpur, Gazirchat, Baipail, Nishchintapur and Shimultala areas under Ashulia Police Station took to the streets in the morning and staged demonstrations.
They put barricades on different roads, including the Abdullahpur- Baipail one, disrupting traffic.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more..
* Apparels workers clash with police over wage hike:
Bangladesh police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at garment workers who stitch clothes for Western retailers during clashes on Tuesday as demonstrations against low wages intensified, an officer said.
Some 40,000 workers downed tools and took to the streets in the Ashulia export zone on the outskirts of Dhaka for the second day, forcing around 200 factories to suspend production, police and factory owners said.
The workers are demanding a wage hike to $100 per month instead of the rise to $67 approved last week by the Minimum Wage Board after rounds of meetings with industry, unions and government representatives.
“The workers came out of their factories and blocked a key highway and went unruly in at least three separate spots,” Ashulia industrial police inspector Abdus Sattar told AFP.
“They threw stones at police. We fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the protestors,” he said.
At least 200 factories at Ashulia were forced to suspend production for the day, said S.M Manna, a vice president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), which represents 4,500 factories.
The board recommended raising the minimum monthly wage from 3,000 taka ($38) to 5,300 taka ($67), still the lowest in the world, according to union leaders, and well short of demands.
The BGMEA has rejected the $67 figure as too high, and urged the government against implementing it.
A union leader, Muhammad Ibrahim, told AFP that workers were demanding $100 as the minimum wage, but were also protesting in anger over the owners’ rejection of the board’s proposed rise.
* 200 RMG units shut as police, workers clash:
Workers of readymade garment factories locked in clashes with police in Savar, Gazipur demanding minimum monthly wage of Tk 8,000, leaving at least 60 workers injured on Tuesday.
Production at around 200 garment factories was suspended following the clashes, sources in the industry said.
In a later development, owners of some 257 factories in Savar zone announced closure of their premises for today in view of staggering workers’ unrest. The decision was taken following a meeting with BGMEA last night.
Several hundred workers of different apparel factories at Fatulla and Sonargoan area in Narayanganj also observed work abstention demanding minimum monthly wage of Tk 8,000 and withdrawal of termination of the sacked workers.
The agitating workers blocked the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway, but police foiled their action by charging batons and firing tear gas canisters.
* 10 factories shut in Gazipur:
The authorities concerned declared some 10 factories closed in the district as Readymade Garments (RMG) workers staged protest at Kashimpur and Sripur upazila by blocking Dhaka-Mymensingh highway on Tuesday morning.
Witnesses said workers started protesting around 9:00am at Kashimpur and Sripur upazila separately demanding implementation of salary structure declared by wage commission board.
Police opened fire teargas shells to disperse the workers and rubber bullets. Later, they brought the situation under control.
* Dozens hurt in Bangladesh garment factory protest:
Bangladeshi garment workers assist their colleagues injured during a clash with police in Ashulia, outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013. Thousands of garment workers demanding higher pay clashed with police for a second day Tuesday, leaving dozens of people injured and at least 200 factories closed, police said. (A.M.Ahad, AP / AP)
Riot police fired tear gas to battle thousands of stone-throwing garment workers who rampaged through two industrial towns in Bangladesh during a protest over wages Tuesday that closed at least 200 factories and left dozens of people injured, police said.
The protesters built roadblocks with abandoned vehicles and wooden logs in violence that highlighted the poor working conditions in an industry that earns Bangladesh $20 billion in exports yearly but whose workers are the lowest paid in the world.
Thousands of angry workers hurled stones at security forces and attacked factories in the towns of Savar and Ashulia outside the capital, Dhaka, Industrial Police Director Mustafizur Rahman said. At least 200 factories closed in the second day of the protest, and 80 people were injured over two days.
Authorities deployed hundreds of paramilitary border guards to help police fighting the protesters.
“We can’t accept the wages that are being offered to us. This is not enough for us,” said Kahirul Mamun Mintu, a protest leader at Savar. “Our movement will continue until our demands are met.”
* Ashulia RMG units to shut tomorrow:
Law enforcers disperse the agitating readymade garments workers during a clash between the both sides at Ashulia, on the outskirts of the capital, this morning demanding Tk 8,114 minimum monthly wage. Photo: Focus Bangla
Owners have declared shutdown of garment factories in Ashulia on the outskirts of the capital for tomorrow due to security concerns.
“We have decided to shut our factories in Ashulia area for a day,” said Abdus Salam Murshedy, convenor of Ashulia zone after a meeting of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) at its office today.
he decision came amid days of clashes by garment workers demanding Tk 8,114 minimum monthly wage.
There are some 250 garment units in Ashulia, the major outsourcing area for the world’s renowned apparel brands. Locally big manufacturers also have their units in the region.
“We are continuing our discussions with labour associations how to remain the factories open,” Murshedy said adding that the zonal committee on Ashulia will sit tomorrow to decide on the next plan of action.
Meanwhile, production at around 200 garment factories in Ashulia was suspended for today after the workers clashed with police in the morning.
read more. & read more. & read more. & to read. & to read. & read more.
& read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* All RMG units at Ashulia to remain shut today:
All garment factories at Ashulia industrial belt will remain closed today (Wednesday) for security reasons following continuous labour unrest there.
The decision was taken Tuesday at an emergency meeting of the garment manufacturers of Ashulia zone that accommodates about 269 garment units. The meeting was held at the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) headquarters.
Abdus Salam Murshedy, convener of the Ashulia Zone owners committee, informed the FE about their decision saying they will sit again this evening to review the overall situation including the labour unrest and decide their next course of action.
Most of the factories in Ashulia apparel industrial hub were shut Tuesday in the face of apparel workers’ unrest over the latest wage proposal.
The trouble stretched into the third consecutive day when thousands of labourers demonstrated in the streets in the morning and engaged in sporadic clashes with the law enforcers, demanding immediate implementation of the latest wage structure proposed by the wage board (WB) last week.
Over 50 people, including eight policemen, were injured during the skirmishes that rocked Jamgorah, Zirani, Kabirpur, Baipail, Palashbari, Narasinghapur, Ghosbagh, Pukurpar, Kathgorah and Nishchintapur areas of the hub.
* 50 Gazipur RMG units shut over wage fight:
Production in 50 readymade garment (RMG) factories in the city was suspended for Wednesday after workers clashed with police demanding implementation of the new salary structure recommended by the government-appointed wage board.
Witnesses said garment workers from Konabari, Kashimpur, Laxmipura and Chandana areas of the city took to the streets and staged demonstration in the morning to press for immediate implementation of their new minimum wage of Tk5,300.
read more. & read more. & read more.
* 70 hurt in cop-RMG worker clash in Gazipur, Savar:
At least 70 people including ten policemen were injured as garment workers demonstrating for Tk 8,114 minimum wage clashed with law enforcers in Gazipur, Savar and Ashulia, on the outskirts of the capital, today.
The authorities suspended production at five RMG units in Savar for today fearing vandalism, reports our correspondent.
On the other hand, the garment factory owners have kept shutters of all RMG units in the Ashulia industrial belt down for today over security concerns following the continuous labour unrest in the last few days.
* RMG workers’ demo -Dhk-Tangail highway blocked:
At least 50 readymade garment workers were injured in a clash with police on Dhaka-Tangail highway on Wednesday morning.
Witnesses said hundreds of agitating workers staged a protest procession at around 9:00am and put barricade on Dhaka-Tangail highway demanding the implementation new salary scale declared by wage commission and protesting the factory shut.
* RMG workers-cop clash in Savar:
Thousands of workers readymade garment (RMG) factories locked into clash with police near Padma Can intersection in Hemayetpur area of Savar on Wednesday morning demanding implementation of new salary structure.
Witnesses said agitating garment workers from Babilon casual wear Ltd, Aboni Fashion and Standard group vandalized equipments and machineries in the factories at around 8:30am.
* RMG owners express inability to pay Tk 5,300:
Several hundred readymade garment (RMG) makers expressed their inability to implement Tk 5300 as the minimum wage as recommended by the government-formed Wage Board (WB) for workers and pressed the leaders for initiating negotiation with the government for reviewing the same.
They also sought policy support from the government to leave the business with finalisation of the new wage structure for garment workers.
“We have received about 470 factory owners’ letters expressing their inability to implement the proposed wage structure and they have also sought policy support to leave business,” Md Shahidullah Azim, vice president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) told the FE Tuesday.
Earlier, the BGMEA and the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) asked their member factories to inform the associations in writing of their inability, if any, to run business if the new wage structure is implemented.
The associations took the move following a good number of owners’ disagreement to implement the recommended wage structure at an emergency meeting held on November 05.
* RMG makers fear fall in summer export orders:
Readymade garment exporters fear that export orders for the next summer may fall as the international buyers are now scared of visiting Bangladesh due to the ongoing political unrest.
The Buyers’ Forum, an association of the buyers’ representatives in Dhaka, has already hinted that if the political turmoil continues, the exporters will have to go to any third country to negotiate orders with the buyers, RMG makers said.
‘We are facing a risk of shifting of orders to the neighbouring countries because of frequent general strikes and political violence,’ Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association vice-president Shahidullah Azim told New Age on Monday.
The global buyers are observing the situation and if they think that Bangladeshi exporters may fail to make shipment in due time, they must shift their orders to other sources because retailers will not keep their stores vacant, he said.
Global buyers place their summer orders in November-December, he said.
‘The buyers’ representatives in Bangladesh recently at a meeting said that in the prevailing situation it would be very tough for the buyers and brands to come to Bangladesh to negotiate orders with the RMG exporters,’ Shahidullah said.
* Apparel exporters show little response:
The BGMEA has taken all the necessary measures to send readymade garment products for shipment through Chittagong port
Arrangements for extra security on the highways for transportation of export goods to Chittagong during hartal got lukewarm response from apparel makers, who still do not dare to take products out of factories and send those to port by road.
Despite the ongoing hartal, apparel makers have started sending goods from Dhaka to the Chittagong port with the help of a highway police escort, in a bid to avert cancellation of shipments.
The BGMEA has taken all the necessary measures to send readymade garment products for shipment through Chittagong port, a BGMEA source said.
* Western buyers don’t reward compliance: Jamal:
Arshad Jamal, Chairman of Tusuka, BGMEA director and wage board negotiator spoke to Tanim Ahmed of bdnews24.com over the wage issue, the future of the industry and much else. Excerpts:
TA: The garment factory owners had proposed Tk 4,250 as their last offer. It appears that they might end up accepting the workers’ demand of Tk 5,300. But that is still significantly less than what it would cost you to fill up your car’s fuel tank once. Does this reflect a certain mindset?
AJ: Minimum wage is indeed a matter of mindset. I personally believe that higher minimum wages will make all take the whole industry more seriously. Especially after this Rana Plaza incident, which has given us a hard lesson — that once you are in this business, you do it properly. Otherwise you get out of it. It is a question of the country’s reputation, comparative advantage and involves confidence of the buyers.
Wage is more of a rights issue. The primary concept of minimum wage is to reduce human rights violations, in terms of paying the minimum, particularly for those marginalised entry level unskilled workers who are essentially desperate economic migrants.
* British MPs want garment certification scheme to raise garments factories’ standards:
MPs are calling for a study into the possibility of an ethical “Kitemark” for garments to help raise standards at overseas factories in the wake of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh.
In a report launched on Monday, the all-party parliamentary group for Bangladesh said there was a high chance of another tragic event like Rana Plaza, where more than 1,100 people died, or the Tazreen fire, which killed more than 100.
MPs also called for regulation of ethical audits, which monitor safety and conditions in factories for brands and retailers, and said there should be a legal requirement that any problems they discover should be revealed to workers’ representatives.
The MPs’ recommendations came as thousands of Bangladeshi garment workers took to the streets of Dhaka to demand higher wages, forcing the closure of about 100 factories.
* APPG report on BD RMG sector:
Bangladesh All Party Parliamentary Group on Monday made report on the readymade garment industry in Bangladesh tiled ‘After Rana Plaza’ mentioning different aspects of the sector.
The report reads: “In the view of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Bangladesh the Ready Made Garment (RMG) industry in Bangladesh is currently at a critical crossroads and in urgent need of reform to ensure its long term viability.
The human costs of doing business in Bangladesh, as illustrated by the Rana Plaza collapse, combined with poor infrastructure and political instability are the most pressing challenges facing the industry.
If Bangladesh is not to lose future investment in such a critical industry, all stakeholders must engage in dialogue together to address supply bottlenecks and rebuild the reputation of the industry by improving working conditions.
The RMG industry is a key driving force of Bangladesh’s economic development: in 2011-12 Bangladesh was the world’s second largest exporter of apparel and registered $19.1 billion of ready-made garment exports, a total which accounted for 13% of the country’s GDP.
The industry currently provides employment for an estimated 3.6 million people and is predicted to be the fastest growing export industry over the next two decades.
This growth is to be celebrated, but it is the concern of the APPG that the gains enjoyed at the national level are not evenly distributed and that the 3.6 million workers employed by the industry are labouring in precarious conditions.
read more. & read more.
* Why is the price of our RMG exports declining since 2005? :
The wage commission has set the minimum wage for the ready-made garment (RMG) workers at Tk. 5,300 for a new entrant notwithstanding the dissenting position of the representatives of the manufacturers.
The manufacturers are solely responsible to pay whatever minimum wage is finally set and hence have to bear the burden singlehandedly. According to them, the proposed minimum wage is too much for them and simply beyond their ability to bear.
One of the main reasons for the inability to bear the burden of the proposed minimum wage, as mentioned by the manufacturers, is the declining price of their exports in the global market.
Other reasons include lack of undisrupted source of power, high bank interest rate, poor trade logistics, and loss of working hours due to conflicting politics of the country. This is true that Bangladeshi RMG manufacturers are condemned with one of the most challenging business environment among their global competitors.
While the factors like high interest rate, power shortage, poor trade logistics, and political factors are beyond the control of the manufacturers, who is to be blamed for declining price of RMG exports?
The answer, unfortunately, is: the collective failure of the manufacturers.
They are to be held responsible why the price of the RMG exports of Bangladesh has been declining since 2005.
Until 2004, access to main global markets for RMG like the USA and EU was regulated through use of quotas allocated to different developing countries under multi-fibre arrangement (MFA). Under that environment international buyers had to come to Bangladesh after exhausting the quotas allocated to other countries.
That enabled Bangladesh to ensure a better bargain. In most cases, buyers did not have any alternative to accepting the price demanded by Bangladeshi exporters. But those heydays disappeared with the phasing out of MFA quota since 2005.
10:11:40 local time INDIA
* Dharavi: Self-created special economic zone for the poor:
It’s a symbol of raw inequality, epitomising the failure of policy makers towards millions of rural migrants
At the edge of India’s greatest slum, Shaikh Mobin’s decrepit shanty is cleaved like a wedding cake, four layers high and sliced down the middle. The missing half has been demolished.
What remains appears ready for demolition, too, with temporary walls and a rickety corrugated roof. Yet inside, carpenters are assembling furniture on the ground floor.
One floor up, men are busily cutting and stitching blue jeans.
Upstairs from them, workers are crouched over sewing machines, making blouses.
And at the top, still more workers are fashioning men’s suits and wedding apparel. One crumbling shanty. Four businesses.
In the labyrinthine slum known as Dharavi are 60,000 structures, many of them shanties, and as many as 1 million people living and working on a triangle of land barely two-thirds the size of Central Park in Manhattan.
Dharavi is one of the world’s most infamous slums, a cliche of Indian misery.
It is also a churning hive of workshops with an annual economic output estimated to be $600 million to more than $1 billion.
“This is a parallel economy,” said Mobin, whose family is involved in several businesses in Dharavi. “In most developed countries, there is only one economy. But in India, there are two.” India is a rising economic power, even as huge portions of its economy operate in the shadows.
Its ‘formal’ economy consists of businesses that pay taxes, adhere to labour regulations and burnish the country’s global image. India’s ‘informal’ economy is everything else: the hundreds of millions of shopkeepers, farmers, construction workers, taxi drivers, street vendors, rag pickers, tailors, repairmen, middlemen, black marketeers and more.
Discrimination is still common toward Dharavi. Residents complain that they are routinely rejected for credit cards if they list a Dharavi address. Private banks are reluctant to make loans to businessmen in Dharavi or to open branches.
Part of this stigma is as much about social structure as about living in the slum itself. “They all belong to the untouchables caste,” said Korde, the longtime social activist, “or are Muslims.”
But money talks in Mumbai, and Dharavi now has money, even millionaires, mixed in with its misery and poverty.
Mohammad Mustaqueem, 57, arrived as a 13-year-old boy.
He slept outside, in one of the narrow alleyways, and remembers being showered with garbage as people tossed it out in the morning.
Today, Mustaqueem has 300 employees in 12 different garment workshops in Dharavi, with an annual turnover of about $2.5 million a year.
He owns property in Dharavi worth $20 million.
* Strike in Bhiwandi affects textile market in Surat:
Ahead of marriage season, the man-made fabric (MMF) industry has started feeling the heat as the powerloom weavers in Bhiwandi and Malegaon are on strike from the past one week to protest increase in the electricity tariff.
Reason: The consumption of grey fabrics goes up during the festive and marriage season. Thus, the textile traders have to depend on the grey fabric supply from Bhiwandi to match the demand and supply.
Textile traders said that the industry in the city is observing Diwali vacation. Almost all the weaving units are closed and the workers have gone to their hometowns in Bihar, Orrisa, Uttar Pradesh etc. to celebrate the festival with their families and friends. However, the traders have to depend on the grey fabric supply from Bhiwandi and Malegaon to offset the requirement during the marriage season.
* Powerloom bandh brings Malegaon to a halt:
Malegaon: Life came to a standstill in Malegaon on Tuesday as over 2,50,000 powerlooms stopped production, demanding immediate rollback of the recent hike in the electricity tariff.
In Dhule, over 10,000 powerlooms remained non-operational on the first day of the five-day strike by mill owners.
This is the first time in the recent history of Malegaon that almost all powerlooms of the city remained silent.
The members of the Powerloom Electricity Consumers’ Association, an umbrella body supported by NGOs and political parties, including local MLAs Mufti Mohommad Ismael and Dada Bhuse, were seen taking rounds of the city, persuading people to remain firm and united.
* Textile sector to get green field project:
Surat- The city The may soon get a green field project to address the environmental issues faced by the textile processing units here. This is thanks to the launch of Integrated Processing Development Scheme (IPDS) approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs ( CCEA).
Industry sources said the IPDS scheme has been designed to address the environmental concerns faced by the textile processing units. About Rs 500 crore for the project has been approved in the 12th five year plan.
The government intends to set up brown field and green field projects to address the environmental issues by the textile processing units.
* Mega handloom cluster coming up at Chirala:
Union Minister of State for Petroleum & Natural Gas Panabaka Lakshmi on Tuesday announced that a mega handloom cluster is coming up at Chirala in the neighbouring Prakasam district.
The handloom cluster to be built at a cost of Rs.70 crore would go in a long way in providing better facilities for weaving, processing, and marketing yarn.
* AEPC Chairman hails Oct exports growth of 13.47%:
Chairman AEPC Dr. A Sakthivel has welcomed the exports growth of 13.47% for the month of October 2013.
Speaking on the export growth Dr. A Sakthivel stated that, “ With the stabilization of rupee and structural changes in the competing markets India’s garment exports has significantly improved, our performance is reflected in the stronger order book visibility for this season.
“Our exports have also grown because of tapping of new markets like Middle East, Latin America, Japan, Russia and Australia and our effort to leverage exports by export promotion events across the world.
“In recent months large international buyers have diverted orders to India. The big brands and international chain stores like GAP, Zara, Mango, Elcorte, Desigual, Tommy Hilfiger, Walmart, H & M, JC Penny, Target, etc are sourcing garments from India. We have good design and raw material strengths and our business is based on exceptional customer service, respect and integrity in the pursuit of mutually profitable outcome.”
10:11:40 local time SRI LANKA
* 800 Ansell Lanka workers protest outside Labour Ministry:
At least 800 workers of Ansell Lanka (Pvt) Ltd at Biyagama Export Processing Zone on Monday protested outside the Labour Ministry in Narahenpita urging the authorities to settle a labour dispute at the surgical gloves production factory.
The workers are on strike for 25 days demanding the management to reinstate 11 employees, including the trade union president and other office bearers sacked by the management for staging protests against exploitation of workers. Secretary of the Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees Union (FTZ & GSEU) Anton Marcus said that Labour Minister Gamini Lokuge has given them an assurance that he will hold discussions with the management of the company and representatives of the trade union to settle the workers dispute.
09:41:40 local time PAKISTAN
* ‘Labour market transitions require shift in development strategy’:
The country’s labour market is going through five transitions (farm to non-farm, rural to urban, unorganised to organised, subsistence self-employment to decent wage employment and school to work), said experts.
These transitions call for a shift in development strategy, they added.
“The government should capitalise on these opportunities,” said market analyst Dr Shahid Zia. “The planners will have to focus on immediate development in the rural areas and facilitate the creation of non-farm jobs to ensure equitable and sustained growth.”
* Consignments stuck up at Karachi Port: Transporters’ strike causes heavy loss to exporters: PHMEA:
Large numbers of export consignments have been stuck up at Karachi Port due to the continuous goods transporters strike that will cause heavy loss to the exporters as well as to the country, said Muhammad Amjad Khawaja Chairman Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers & Exporters Association (PHMEA) (North zone).
Talking to media persons, he said that transporters are on strike for the last many days. But the government failed to resolve their issues and grievances that forced them to continue their strike. He said that government is fully aware of the situation that energy crisis has already inflicting colossal loss to the national economy.
* Union protest ends in Peru:
Union members at Hialpesa, a Peruvian textile and garment factory, have returned to work after a three-day protest over temporary contracts.
Though the workers did not achieve their goal of forcing the company to respect a recent government ruling recognizing their permanent employment relationship, they did succeed in focusing attention on the travesty of Peru’s abusive ‘non-traditional export’ contracts.
The union also obtained from the company a commitment that it will make the workers permanent if it fails in its attempts to overturn the ruling on appeal.
Union members at Hialpesa are determined to continue to fight for their rights through all possible channels, and they have the full support of IndustriAll for whom Peru’s non-traditional export contracts are a priority issue.
IndustriAll Global Union has warned the brands sourcing from the company that while the immediate conflict may be over the underlying problem remains unresolved and must be tackled.