20:18:47 local time VIET NAM
* Ministry decree prioritises female workplace safety:
The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs has issued a new decree specifying 38 jobs that employers are not allowed to hire women for.
The list includes various professions ranging from metal processing, seafaring (except to provide healthcare and food), carrying goods of over 50kg and work that requires them to come into contact with human corpses.
Employers are also banned from hiring women to explore dangerous mountainous areas, work as professional divers, do dredging or mining work or work regularly on oil rigs.
In addition, the decree includes another list specifying 39 other jobs from which employers are not allowed to employ pregnant women or those with babies less than 12 months old to protect the wellbeing of the women and their children.
The list includes work that involves exposure to toxic chemicals, radioactive substances or work that requires heavy physical exertion such as operating large machinery, carrying goods of over 12kg or working in an uncomfortable environment – such as extreme temperatures or confined narrow spaces.
* Vietnam to accelerate the FTA ties with EU:
Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang was speaking at a reception for visiting Antonio Tajani, Vice President of the European Commission in Hanoi on November 13.
The EU is one of Vietnam’s leading partner in its foreign policy, and Tajani’s visit accompanied by 50 businesses will create a good chance for both sides to capitalise on the future Vietnam-EU FTA, said Hoang.
He proposed the EC support the FTA negotiations, provide continued ODA for 2014-20, and maintain the generalised system of preferences (GSP) for Vietnamese commodities as of January 1, 2014.
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* Medical cotton and gauze production model proves efficient:
A medical cotton and gauze technical demonstration model is expected to help medical companies to make large profits with a short return on their investment.
The Industry Promotion and Development Consultancy Center 1 (IPC1) and Agency for Regional Industrial Development (ARID) have disbursed VND227 million as industry promotion funding to invest in a medical cotton and gauze production line at the An Lanh Co., Ltd., located in An Xa Industrial Complex, My Xa Commune, Nam Dinh Province. The total investment for this production line is VND17.962 billion.
* Better Work Vietnam Impact:
Better Work strives to make a significant impact on the rights and in the lives of workers, the business of firms, and the social, human and economic development of countries.
Together with Tufts University, we are implementing a rigorous impact assessment methodology to measure the long-term impact of our programme. We have been measuring impact in participating factories in Vietnam since 2010, and results so far demonstrate the positive impact of the programme on workers’ rights, wellbeing and live -lihoods, as well as on businesses.
A summary of the results up to September 2013 is presented below.
* Vietnam: from strength to strength – a portrait:
Vietnam, currently the world’s no. 4 in terms of garment exports, is poised to overtake Bangladesh in due time.
The small but powerful Southeast Asian nation is benefiting from the fact that many buyers are looking for alternatives to China and Bangladesh.
Orders are coming in, mainly from the US, but also other traditional markets like the EU (with Germany and the UK as main garment importers), Canada, Japan, Korea and Australia; Russia and the Middle East are emerging as two non-traditional markets.
“Vietnam’s garment industry is having its best time,” confirms Nguyen An, general director of Saigon Garment Manufacturing Trading.
Garment exports reached a volume of 14.1 billion US dollars in 2012, an increase of close to ten percent compared to 2011, and the sector is a vital one for Vietnam (together with food processing, cigarette and tobacco, chemicals and electrical goods), employing around 1.5 million workers.
20:18:47 local time THAILAND
* Leather goods makers plead for lower tariffs on raw materials:
Leather-goods manufacturers have called on the government to help lower the cost of raw materials to ensure competitiveness amid slower global trading. Also, traders are worried that the current political conflict could drag down the industry.
Suriya Prateepmanowong, president of the Thai Leather Goods Association, said the industry was facing many problems including high import tariffs for raw materials, a shortage of labour, and high production costs, all of which have made it difficult for Thai producers to compete.
Duangkamol Jiambutr, deputy director-general of the International Trade Promotion Department, said export of leather products was expected to grow by 4 per cent this year as the economies of some major markets such as to the euro area and the United States recovered.
20:18:47 local time CAMBODIA
* Anniversary marked by inaction:
Six months after two of her co-workers were crushed to death when a storage level collapsed at the Wing Star Shoes factory in Kampong Speu, employee Yu Manith is noticing the cracks in a factory wall beginning to expand.
“When we told the company, they said they would repair them when they get bigger,” said the 31-year-old, who makes shoes for Japanese brand Asics.
Tomorrow marks six months since a mezzanine storage level – built without approval – collapsed, killing teenager Kim Dany and Rim Roeun, 22.
Shortly after police rummaged through the debris for survivors, authorities vowed to introduce widespread safety reforms to clean up Cambodia’s biggest export industry.
“We will create an inspection committee to investigate all the factories in this country,” said Ith Sam Heng, then minister of social affairs. “The inspection committee will have [inspections every] month, three months and in special cases.”
Six months on, those promises are yet to be fulfilled and many of Cambodia’s factories remain unsafe, labour-rights groups and unions say.
“The government is not developing any new systems,” said Kong Athit, secretary general of the independent Cambodian Labour Confederation. “[Companies are] using old and unsafe buildings. The government has no control over it because they have no records of it.”
* Complaint Lodged Against Security Chiefs Over Woman’s Shooting:
A protester involved in Tuesday’s clash between SL Garment Factory workers and security forces filed a complaint yesterday against Phnom Penh’s municipal and military police chiefs, accusing them of responsibility for the death of a 49-year-old street-food vendor who was killed by police gunfire, according to witnesses.
Two teenagers, aged 14 and 17, were also charged Thursday by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court for their alleged involvement in the violence and detained in Prey Sar prison’s Correctional Center 2.
Of the 31 civilians and seven monks originally detained and questioned, the teenagers are the only two charged with a crime, while all others have been released.
Neang Sokhun, a 25-year-old second-year law student, who claimed he was beaten by the police during the clashes, said he filed court complaints “on behalf of the Khmer people” against municipal police chief Chuon Sovann and Lieutenant General Roth Sreang, commander of the municipal military police, for the “murder that was committed by public civil servants, in accordance with Article 204 from the Penal Code.”
The clash erupted on Tuesday after SL Garment workers attempted to march to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s house to air their grievances, only to be blocked by police at Stung Meanchey bridge. In the ensuing violence, two police vehicles and motorcycles were torched and a crowd of mainly youths pelted rocks at the police, who returned fire with tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition.
* Children in the firing line:
The sound of bullets whizzing by Stung Meanchey Primary School terrified 13-year-old Mun Sonita as she sat in social studies class on Tuesday morning.
“My class and I were scared and we dropped to the floor,” Sonita said in the school’s courtyard yesterday, as children scurried about playing during their lunch break.
Her teacher ultimately had to evacuate the classroom as tear gas seeped in, burning the faces of Sonita and her sixth-grade classmates.
Intense rioting near the Stung Meanchey Bridge in the capital on Tuesday culminated with police opening fire with live ammunition into a crowd of hundreds of striking garment workers attempting to march from SL Garment Processing (Cambodia) Ltd to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s house.
Police gunfire killed one woman and injured nine others, according to a tally taken by rights group Licadho and the Community Legal Education Center. Two teenagers arrested during the riot, aged 14 and 17, were charged yesterday with damaging property, insulting public officials, obstruction of public officials and aggravating circumstances, according to CLEC executive director Yeng Virak.
* Social Media Challenges ‘Official’ Version of Events:
Seeing is believing—particularly in a country where the government controls the broadcast media and current affairs news, aired on pro-ruling party TV and radio, is often at odds with the country’s few independent media outlets.
But in the aftermath of a violent clash between striking garment workers and police near Stung Meanchey bridge on Tuesday, which left one bystander dead, the government’s official version of events has been refuted by videos posted online and disseminated through social networking sites.
In an age when smartphones are becoming commonplace and Internet access is expanding, the government is unable to control what images people get to see.
19:48:47 local time BURMA/MYANMAR
* Japan: Myanmar’s top market for garment:
Japan has been Myanmar’s top market for garment till this year, with South Korea the largest investor in the industry, according to Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association.
“South Korea invested the most in the garment industry. It has at least 20 garment factories running. The foreign countries which invested in the industry are Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, China and Malaysia.
There are also some from the West. 20 or so countries are working in the industry including Germany and Turkey.
The country has nearly 300 large garment factories. Among them, about 90 percent are owned by nationals.
There are also joint ventures with foreign companies. The foreign companies which made 100% investments in the industry represent about 5 percent of the total,” said Aung Win, the vice chairman of the association.
* EU aid to focus on rural sector, education, governance and peace building:
The European Union has unveiled plans to focus on rural development, education, governance and support for peace building in its multi-million euros aid cooperation program with Myanmar in the coming years.
The proposed main sectors for development cooperation for 2014 to 2020 were announced by the EU Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs,said an EU press release issued in Brussels on November 14.
The commissioner’s itinerary also includes attending the launch of a program aimed at benefitting small and medium enterprises in the garment sector.
The SWITCH-SMART (SMEs for Environmental, Accountability, Responsibility and Transparency) program“promotes and supports sustainable production of garments ‘made in Myanmar’ striving to increase the international competitiveness of small and medium enterprises in this sector,” the release said.
19:18:47 local time BANGLADESH
* Clash over Tk8,300 RMG wage hurts 5 in Ashulia:
At least five people, including a policeman, were injured as readymade garment (RMG) workers locked in a clash with police in Ashulia on Thursday morning to press further for a minimum monthly wage of Tk8,300.
Badrul Alam, officer-in-charge of Ashulia Police Station, said several thousand workers of a factory of Ha-Meem Group took to the street and staged a demonstration demanding Tk8,300 as minimum wage instead of Tk5,300, which the RMG factory owners accepted on Wednesday night.
Later, more workers from different factories of the area joined the demonstrators.
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* 40 hurt in Ashulia worker-cop clash- 200 factories shut in Ashulia:
At least 40 people including five policemen were injured as the apparel workers clashed with law enforcers in Ashulia, on the outskirts of the capital, this morning demanding Tk 8,114 as minimum wage.
Production at over 100 garment factories was also suspended for today following the clash, reports our Savar correspondent quoting Md Shahidullah, senior deputy director of Industrial police.
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* Police fire tear gas at garment workers protesting for better wages:
Bangladeshi garment factory owners said on Thursday they had agreed to a proposed 77 percent rise in the minimum wage, but fresh protests broke out as stone-throwing workers called for an even larger increase and police were forced to deploy tear gas and rubber bullets to break them up.
Bangladesh’s official wage board had proposed the rise to $68 a month as the minimum wage — still the lowest in the world, but up from $38 — after a string of fatal factory accidents this year thrust poor pay and working conditions into the international spotlight.
read more & see video.
* Unrest in Ashulia: 100 factories shut:
Garment workers clashed with the police in Ashulia on the outskirts of Dhaka yesterday to demand a minimum wage of Tk 8,114, leaving at least 40 injured.
Production at 100 factories was suspended following the clashes, said Md Shahidullah, senior deputy director of Industrial Police.
Protesters threw stones at Constable Jyoti Akhter, leaving her with head injuries. She was shifted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital. Jyoti was among the five law enforcers injured by the workers.
Traffic on the Dhaka-Tangail highway remained suspended for about two hours from 9am, when around 5,000 workers of over 100 factories began demonstrations, Shahidullah said.
Law enforcers charged batons and fired several rounds of rubber bullets and teargas canisters, leaving 35 workers injured, witnesses said. The injured workers were given first-aid at local health complexes.
* RMG workers lay siege to BGMEA Bhaban:
A group of readymade garment workers on Thursday laid siege to BGMEA Bhaban in the capital protesting the closure of their factories and demanding payment of arrears.
Nearly a hundred RMG workers of two garment factories gathered in front of BGMEA Bhaban at Karwan Bazar and besieged the building for hours.
Mijarul, a security guard of Wear and Style Ltd in Tejgaon area, said that the owner closed the factory on November 10 when they were supposed to get salary for the previous month.
He said that about 300 workers were working at the factory.
Mijarul said that they worked till 9pm on November 9, but the authorities did not inform them of the relocation of the factory.
When the workers went to the factory the next day, they found the gate locked and a notice stuck on it, said Salma, a sewing operator of Wear and Style Ltd. The notice reads, ‘The factory has been relocated to Tongi.’
* BGMEA Owners Agree on 5300BDT Minimum Wage. Unrests continue …:
After a lot of rejections from BGMEA, yesterday on 13.11.13, the BGMEA agreed on 5300BDT (68USD/50Euro) to be the minimum wage for garment workers in Bangladesh who have been demanding the wage to be at least 8000BDT.
They also declared their honest intention to solve the concerns of the workers and requested them to be patient during this time. It was disclosed that this decision came after the intervention of the Prime Minister herself into the matter.
However criticisms still loom questioning the true intention of the factory owners. It has been raised by garment workers and activists that raising the minimum wage of the Grade 7 (Helpers) by 77% is not enough to ensure the raising of the wages of the other grades which includes Operators who make up to 75% of any factory. As per workers, worker leaders, researchers, and activists: “the raising of the minimum wage should also act proportionately to all the other grades of workers otherwise the change cannot reach the lives of most of the workers in this sector.”
Although the minimum wage is conceptually to be set at a level which covers the basic needs of the lowest earned workers on the job-ladder, i.e. entry-level workers (grade 7 workers), the practice in Bangladesh is that revision has been taken place for workers of all grades (grade 1 to 7 workers). In that case, it is a fixation of structure of wages of different grades instead of setting minimum wages.
According to the last revision of the minimum wages, grade 7 workers should receive a wage of 3000BDT per month of which 2000BDT as basic, 800BDT as house rent (40 per cent of the basic) and 200BDT as medical allowances. However, an ‘informal’ grade below grade 7 has been introduced during the time of last revision of minimum wages in 2010 with the job title ‘trainee’.
* RMG minimum wage effective from Dec 1:
The newly declared minimum wage for the readymade garments workers will be effective from December 1, says Labour Minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju.
The minister said the basic of the newly declared wage has been brought down to between Tk3,000-Tk3,200 after consultation with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
He made the declaration while talking to the workers’ leader at his office in the capital on Thursday afternoon.
(BSS: Minister: “We will take legal action against them who will be responsible for anarchy and unrest in the RMG sector,” Razu said. He urged RMG workers to join work and perform duty for the sack of the country’s economy sector.
to read. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* RMG workers join work as owners accept wage hike:
The garment owners on Wednesday finally agreed to pay a minimum wage of Tk 5,300 per month for entry-level workers as proposed by the government’s Wage Board.
Representatives of garments owners officially agreed to the new wage in a meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her official residence Gonobhaban on Wednesday night, said wage board negotiator Arshad Jamal.
“It will be implemented as soon as the gazette comes out. Most probably, it will come to an effect from Dec 1,” he added.
Labour Minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju, State Minister for Labour Monnujan Sufian, Labour Secretary Mikail Shipar, BGMEA President Atiqul Islam, among others, were present, at the meeting.
Shipar said the garment owners had agreed to the Wage Board’s proposal at the Prime Minister’s intervention.
“The Prime Minister assured them (the owners) of looking into their problems and asked them to agree to the minimum Tk 5,300 wage,” he added.
Meanwhile, production resumed at all garments factories located in Ashulia industrial belt on Thursday morning after a two day closure following the workers’ unrest. Earlier, in the morning most factory workers joined their workplaces shunning their protest for wage hike.
to read. & read more. & read more.
* Tk 5,300 minimum wage for RMG workers from Dec:
Labour Minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju on Thursday said the Tk 5,300 minimum wage recommended by the government-formed wage board for the garment workers would come into effect on December 1, 2013.
“The garment workers will receive the new wage from January next and a gazette will be published in this regard after November 25,” the minister said after a meeting with labour leaders.
The minister urged workers to resume work. Otherwise, he warned, strict action would be taken against the workers for violating the law and creating anarchic conditions.
The government will strictly enforce the rule of law and nobody will be spared if the rules are violated, minister said adding that even owners will not be spared if they violate rules and create anarchy.
Workers and employees of the RMG sector will get a 5% increment on their basic salary each year, he added.
Labour leaders and representatives from various garments workers’ unions, including the National Garments Workers’ Welfare Federation, Bangladesh Textile Garment Workers’ Federation and the National Garment Workers and Employees’ League, attended the meeting, held at the conference room of the labour ministry.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
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* New RMG wages take effect Dec 1:
The proposed wage structure for garment workers is set to see some major changes in the basic pay, annual increment and the implementation timeframe after the owners agreed to accept Tk 5300 as the minimum wage at the entry level.
The changes are set to take place following the apparel makers’ acceptance of the Wage Board-proposed wage structure for workers in a meeting with the Prime Minister at the Ganobhaban Wednesday night.
“After the Prime Minister’s intervention, the owners have agreed to the Wage Board’s proposal which will come into effect from December 01 next,” Labour Minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju informed newsmen after a meeting with the labour leaders at his Secretariat office Thursday.
The ready-made garment (RMG) workers would accordingly get the enhanced pay in the first week of January 2014, he said adding they would also get an annual increment of 5.0 per cent in their basic pay.
However, a faction of the labour leaders at the meeting opposed the proposed changes in the basic pay and implementation timeframe, saying the garment workers might not accept it as they were expecting to get the new payment from December next.
* RMG minimum wage Tk 5,300 from Dec:
Workers file objections
The government on Thursday announced that the new minimum wage of Tk 5,300 fixed for an apparel worker would come into effect December 1 this year amid workers’ objection to the revised scale.
‘The revised minimum wage for a readymade garment worker would be Tk5,300 with effect from December 1 with five per cent increment of the basic every year,’ labour minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju made the announcement at a meeting with RMG labour leaders at the secretariat.
But representatives of most of the labour organisations in the export-oriented apparel sector present in the meeting, raised objection to the new wage structure, saying the basic wage had been fixed at Tk3,000 by the government although the minimum wages board recommended Tk3,200.
Different organizations working to protect garment workers’ rights demanded a further revision of the minimum wage following the formal announcement of the new wage structure for workers in the RMG sector that earns over $21 billion annually.
Garment Sramik Sangram Parishad, a combine of the eight garment labour rights bodies and Garment Sramik Oikya Forum, handed over a memorandum to the minimum wages board for a revision of the minimum wage.
Mahbubur Rahman Ismail, president of Bangladesh Textile Garments Sramik Federation, Rafiqul Islam Pathik, president of Samannita Garment Sramik Federation, Taslima Akhter, president of Bangladesh Garment Sramik Sanghati, Shabnam Hafiz, president of Bangladesh Garment Sramik Mukti Andolan and Mir Mofazzal Hossain, president of Biplabi Garments Sramik Sanghati, jointly and Mushrefa Mishu, president of Garment Sramik Oikya Forum separately filed their objections with the minimum wage board.
They demanded that the minimum wage be fixed at Tk8,000 per month for a worker.
Samjtantrik Sramik Front president Zahedul Haque Milu and general secretary Razequzzaman Ratan in a press statement also demanded that the minimum wage be fixed at Tk8,000.
The minimum wages board for the garment workers led by retired district judge AK Roy on November 4 recommended Tk 5,300 as minimum monthly wage for entry-level workers.
* 54 Ashulia factories declared shut:
About 54 readymade garment factories at Ashulia off the city were declared shut minutes after resumption of their operation Thursday following violent protest by workers over the proposed wage structure.
According to industrial police and labour leaders, the trouble started at about 8:15am when a number of garment workers from several units took to the street as they came to know that owners wanted to make the new wages effective from the month of December.
Angered at the development in respect to the wage implementation, the protestors refused to join work as they had been assured earlier by the wage board (WB) and apparel makers that the revised wages would be made effective from November 01.
The workers’ representatives in the RMG sector have expressed their serious concern over the changed deadline, fearing that it could push the workers towards massive protest.
Secretary of Bangladesh Garment Workers Employees Federation Quamrul Ahsan said the latest announcement on the implementation deadline frustrated the workers, the main engine of the US$ 21 billion export-oriented sector.
“It’s cheating and it will lead to further trouble in the apparel industrial belts,” he said, adding that most of the workers’ groups refused to sit in a meeting with the labour ministry on Thursday because of the issue.
* 5% annual hike offers long term solution:
The government yesterday announced a 77 percent hike in minimum wage for garment workers, a move which is set to end the labour strife unsettling the country’s chief export earning sector.
From December 1, the entry level wage for garment workers would be Tk 5,300, as per the recommendations of the wage board, up from the existing Tk 3,000 set in November 2010, Labour Minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju told reporters after a meeting at his ministry to lock down the new salary structure.
“Our expectation has been fulfilled. I now hope the workers will not engage in any further unrest,” said Sirajul Islam Rony, workers’ representative on the six-member wage board.
Under the new pay scale, the other six grades of garment workers, too, will enjoy a 77 percent increase in their basic wages from December onwards.
Moreover, there would be a 5 percent increment in basic pay every year as well for all workers, a provision which was absent in previous salary structures.
As for entry level workers, Tk 3,000 would be basic pay, Tk 1,280 house rent, Tk 320 medical allowance, Tk 200 transport allowance and Tk 500 food subsidy.
“Seeing the owners will now be paying them more, I also hope that the workers will be considerate and enhance their productivity,” Rony added.
However, some worker organisations are unhappy with the new salary structure and are still demanding a minimum wage of Tk 8,114 per month, as originally proposed by Rony to the wage board.
* Bangladesh Trade Union brought out a procession in city on Thursday demanding Tk 8000 as minimum wages:
* Progress on RMG wages:
The industry bodies need to learn to listen more to workers and incorporate regular cost of living increases into their pricing and wage structures
Leaders of the BGMEA and BKMEA have accepted the government wage board’s minimum wage of Tk5,300 for garment workers.
Although this falls short of the Tk8,114 sought by unions, it represents a significant advance on the employer’s initial offer of Tk3,600 and is more genuinely in line with increases in the cost of living since the last wage board.
Sirajul Islam Rony, president of Bangladesh National Garment Workers Employees who represented workers at the wage board, has welcomed the new base for the wage scale.
This agreement is a useful step towards progress in tackling the challenges facing the RMG sector. Whilst it cannot meet all the aspirations and requirements of workers, the industry association’s acceptance of the new figure is to be applauded.
* RMG action plan sees progress in 17 areas:
Bangladesh on Thursday sent a progress report on implementation of the action plan outlined by the US government in an effort to get back the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) facility.
The Ministry of Commerce forwarded the progress report to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) office.
“The report showed progress in 17 areas of the action plan recommended,” Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed told Dhaka Tribune, on Thursday.
“We’re hopeful about regaining the GSP facility as we have made significant progress in the action plan even 100% in some areas.”
Among the progress, the labour and employment ministry has taken initiatives to appoint 200 factory inspectors, the government withdrawn an order that forced suspension of the registration of two NGOs Bangladesh Centre for Women Solidarity, and Social Activities for the Environment.
* Govt sends report on RMG ‘action plan’ to USTR:
The Ministry of Commerce on Thursday sent a progress report to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) on implementation status of an ‘action plan’ which the US administration had asked the government last June to implement to revive the suspended GSP facility.
The report, as asked by the USTR to be sent latest by November 15, has elaborated actions so far taken by the government in line with the US plan to revive the lost facility in the US market, a senior trade official said.
‘We have apprised the USTR on the progress report sought by them in late
September, describing the development so far and the future strategies of the government based on the action plan,’ the official at the MoC told New Age.
* Canadian buyers to raise RMG import from BD by 20%:
Canadian buyers have assured Bangladesh of raising apparel imports by 20 per cent if globally accepted standards of safety and security in the factories are ensured, sources said.
Bangladeshi diplomats in Ottawa recently met senior executives of two major Canadian buyers– Haggars Canada and Loblaws-where they talked about the recent developments in apparel sector.
The diplomats met them to assess their position in future business strategies and their policies on import from Dhaka.
* The Rana Plaza Disaster in Bangladesh: Taking Stock Half a Year On – And marking one year since the Tazreen factory fire:
Events starts: November 20, 2013 – 3:00 pm
Event ends: November 20, 2013 – 5:00 pm
Location: Ford Foundation auditorium, 320 E 43rd St, New York, NY 10017.
The event will be livestreamed so those not able to be in NYC will be able to watch.
Over 1100 workers died and many more were injured when the Rana Plaza factory building collapsed in Savar, Bangladesh, on April 24.
This is not the only major accident in the clothing industry’s supply chain in recent years. For example on November 24, 2012 more than 110 workers lost their lives when the Tazreen Fashion Factory on the outskirts of Dhaka caught fire.
Please join us on November 20th at Business & Human Rights Resource Centre’s fourth annual event in the Mary Robinson Speaker Series in New York City for an important conversation on the rights of workers in the garment sector.
What are the root causes of these tragedies?
What has to change to prevent them from happening again?
And what are the wider implications for companies and governments?
18:48:47 local time INDIA
* Child labourer rescued:
She was found working in a cotton field in Thalaivasal block
In a joint surprise raid carried out by officials of various departments, a girl worker less than 14 years of age was rescued from a Bt cotton field in Siruvachur in Thalaivasal block here on Thursday.
Teams comprising officials from Integrated Child Protection Programme, supported by UNICEF, District Child Protection Office, Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of the rural police, Department of Labour, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and Child Line raided 40 fields and found three boys and two girls engaged in cross-pollination works.
A doctor from the Primary Health Centre in Siruvachur conducted age tests and found that a girl from Karumandurai was less than 14 years of age.
* Concerns raised over power-loom sector:
Mohan Gurnani, president, federation of associations of Maharashtra has expressed shock over the status of power looms in the state. According to him more than two millon power looms in maharashtra had come to a standstill since last six days.
Lakhs of weavers depending upon power loom sector for their livehood are on strike to protest against step of MERC to steeply increase the power tariff for power loom sector.
Maharashtra is one of the leading state in weaving sector providing employment to lakhs of poor weavers. The steep hike in power tariff will kill the weaving industry in Maharashtra and will force the weavers to shift to neighbouring states.
The federation fully supports the weaversd demand and their agitation against the unjustified hike in power tariff for power loom sector. The federation has appealed to the state government to sympthetically consider the demand of weavers and save the power loom sector from impending doom.
* Chinese delegation explores opportunities for better cooperation in textile sector:
A Chinese delegation with representatives from different segments of the textile industry is on a two-day visit to Coimbatore to explore opportunities for better cooperation in the textile sector.
Chairman of Southern India Mills’ Association T. Rajkumar told press persons here on Thursday that nearly 40 per cent of India’s cotton yarn exports were to China.
Tamil Nadu had almost 50 per cent of the country’s spinning capacity and more than half of the country’s yarn exports were from the State.
* Pesticide in blood of every fourth person of Punjab’s cotton belt:
Pesticide residues are present in blood and urine of every fourth person of Punjab’s cotton belt, a Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) study has found.
The study has established that around 23% of the people living in rural areas of the state’s cotton belt have residues of pesticide in their blood.
The study titled ‘Reducing pesticide toxicity in the exposed population of Punjab’ and funded by Indian Council of Medical Research was conducted by School of Public Health of the PGIMER, Chandigarh and Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins, US.
For the study, blood and urine samples of around139 people from eight villages of Bathinda district were collected. Sample analysis established that 33 people (23.74% of the total sample) had pesticide in their urine and blood.
“Pesticide residues of ethion, chlorpyrifos, endosalfan sulphate, and parathion were detected in the samples of the study population. Environmental samples such as soil, feed, vegetables etc also revealed presence of the above mentioned pesticides,” the study observed.
18:18:47 local time PAKISTAN
* Khairpur diaries: Where women earn and women rule:
A splash of colours on both sides of the National Highway in the areas leading to and from village Haji Peer Bux Solangi in Thehri, district Khairpur, is a pretty sight. Countless rillis (patch-work quilts) of varying patterns are hung up for exhibit and sale.
The men on the road, safeguarding the rillis and entertaining the customers, usher buyers they know or trust to the women in the house. The women, who are responsible for these works of art, have spent days and weeks on each rilli quilt, bent upon them, putting pieces together with precision and passion.
In Pakistan’s rural areas, a well-known proverb is “it takes a village to raise a child”. Far from urban sensibilities, in most of rural Pakistan, people still work as a community and as a big family unit. But this particular village in Sindh consisting of 200 households takes it one step forward. They share not just the land they live on but are bound by earning through the same profession. Located far from the hustle and bustle of city life, this entire village relies on the rillis their women make as a source of earning. In this village, one sees a role model of sustainability, peace and development.
While the traditional and ancient art of rilli-making is practiced all over Sindh, it is not the only occupation in any one community, except for this village. Going to one of the houses, The Express Tribune saw the patchwork being done. “Putting patches together takes all day, but we train our girls to do it fast,” said Mukhtiar, the lady of the house who has the status of the head of the family. With the main earning members of this village being women, the set-up is almost matriarchal.
* Square one: Faisalabad’s textile industry concerned about gas curtailment plan:
As the European Union Parliament moves closer to allowing duty free access for Pakistani products by early next month, industrialists in the country’s textile hub, Faisalabad, are surprisingly not as excited.
The approval and implementation of the Generalized System of Preferences plus (GSP plus) coincides with a temporary cut of gas supplies to the industries.
After the likely approval of the GSP plus scheme by the EU Parliament, the scheme will be implemented from January next year. The EU Parliament’s international trade committee has already cleared the scheme with a majority vote for ten countries including Pakistan.
The scheme will allow Pakistan to export duty free goods to EU. Currently, textile exporters pay an 11% tariff.
According to Faisalabad’s textile exporters, they will not be well positioned to take full advantage of the scheme because of the energy crisis. The winter season is the peak season for garment exports to international markets, as well the peak season of gas shortages in the country, said garments exporters while talking to The Express Tribune.
* Abad calls for increasing garment production capacity:
Association of Buildings and Developers (Abad) North Zone Chairman Engr Akber Sheikh, while congratulating the federal government and the Governor Punjab for successfully campaigning for GSP plus status for Pakistan exports to EU, has called for increasing garment production capacity to take full advantage of the anticipated duty-free market access.
In a statement issued on Thursday, Engr Akber Sheikh, who has earlier served as Chairman Constructors Association of Pakistan (CAP) and as Chairman All Pakistan Textile Mills Association APTMA Punjab, congratulated the federal government and the Governor Punjab for successfully campaigning for GSP plus status for Pakistan exports to EU resulting in positive vote at INTA meeting. He expressed the hope that EU parliament’s plenary session will also result in positive outcome.
* GSP Plus status to boost export by about $2bn: Dar:
Federal Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar hoped that Pakistan would soon get Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) Plus status that would be helpful to raise country’s annual export to about $2 billion.
The government had utilised diplomatic and other channels in this regard, he said adding that European Commission and Committee had recommended Pakistan for GSP Plus status.
He hoped that export would be started to European countries on January 1, 2014, after the approval of European Parliament.
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* Goods carriers’ strike: textile export goods sales may be cancelled:
Ten million dollars worth textile export goods destined for Christmas season sales are endangered to be cancelled due to goods carriers’ strike and blockage at Karachi port.
These apprehensions were expressed by Abaidullah Sheikh Chairman Pakistan Yarn Merchants Association Punjab & KPK Zone while talking to newsmen.
Elaborating he said big stores and textile importers in Europe, America and other countries place orders for Textile Goods for Christmas season and fill their stocks by the end of November for annual sales in December. Millions of Dollars worth Textile Goods are being shipped from Pakistan for this purpose. But, these goods have been stuck up at Karachi port for last eight days due to Goods Carriers’ strike, he said. If the strike is not ended urgently the export orders would be cancelled, he stated.