in the news on-line, 16-18 Nov. 2013

03:24:49 local time map of china CHINA

* London seen as center of China-influenced fashion:

For Chinese apparel makers, UK capital is the place to be, say those in the know

The oriental look is not everyone’s cup of tea. It is on that sentiment that at least one Chinese garment maker is trying to build its fortunes in Europe.

The evening gown designer eDressit of Shanghai opened a store in the heart of central London’s fashion district, just behind Oxford Street, this year, one of many Chinese garment companies opening up branches and seeking new opportunities in the city.
read more.
CHINADAILY

02:24:49 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Conference highlights Vietnam’s engagement in TPP:

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry on November 15 jointly held a conference in Hanoi on the forthcoming Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the engagement of Vietnam in the deal.

MoIT Deputy Minister Tran Quoc Khanh, head of the Vietnamese delegation at the TPP negotiations, highlighted opportunities and challenges that Vietnamese businesses will face when the country signs the deal, while offering some proposals to make full use of the agreement.
read more.
VIETNAMplus

* Vietnam steps up negotiations for signing TPP agreement:

Vietnam, along with 11 fellow Asia-Pacific countries, is stepping up negotiations for signing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement later this year.

Hanoi hosted a conference on November 15 discussing the TPP Agreement and Vietnam’s involvement.
Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh outlined the TPP’s negotiation process and basic requirements regarding tax cuts, garments, service liberalisation, investment, Government procurement, intellectual property, trade, environment, labour, trade unions, State-owned enterprises, and e-commerce.
He pointed out opportunities and challenges that could face Vietnamese businesses as a result of implementing the agreement.
read more.
HANOITIMESnew

* Businesses demand transparent TPP agreement:

Vietnam, along with 11 fellow Asia-Pacific countries, is stepping up negotiations for signing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement later this year.

Hanoi hosted a conference on November 15 discussing the TPP Agreement and Vietnam’s involvement.
Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh outlined the TPP’s negotiation process and basic requirements regarding tax cuts, garments, service liberalisation, investment, Government procurement, intellectual property, trade, environment, labour, trade unions, State-owned enterprises, and e-commerce.
He pointed out opportunities and challenges that could face Vietnamese businesses as a result of implementing the agreement.
read more.
VOVonline

02:24:49 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Stanley Kang says the garment industry needs to adopt a new approach:

Despite higher production costs, Thailand can still serve as a hub for apparel production and trading in Asean by offering complete solutions with creativity and innovation, a key player said last week.

“Value-adding must be adopted, otherwise we cannot have a place in this competitive market,” Stanley Kang, senior manager of Tuntex Textile (Thailand) Co, a leading textile and garment manufacturer in Asean, said last week.
Thailand will not be a place for low-end production so it needs to focus more on creativity and innovation, he said.

The garment industry should not limit itself to production, but must become a service provider by offering innovation and consulting on fabrics and designs.
Thailand has to deal with higher costs. The Bt300 minimum wage introduced early this year has driven many producers into expanding operations in otherAsean countries.
Thailand can still be a centre for the production and trading of textiles and apparel if enterprises learn to develop themselves for not only producing goods but also providing “total solutions” to customers.
read more.
theNATIONnew

* Drop costly populist ploys, businessmen tell parties:

Academics and the private sector say the political parties should not resort to populist measures such as a hike in the minimum wage and farm subsidies in order to win votes or gain popularity, as such policies damage industrial growth and add to the country’s financial problems.

They are worried that if there is a change in government in the current political climate, the parties will again use such populist policies in a bid to win over the electorate.

Thanavath Phonvichai, director of the Economic and Business Forecasting Centre at the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said the government should not increase the minimum wage again next year, as the current market mechanism had already adjusted some wages to as much as Bt350-Bt400 a day. The current daily minimum wage across the country is Bt300.
read more.
theNATIONnew

* Leather turns in sterling performance:

Leatherwear exports are tipped to grow by 4% this year despite stiff competition and the sluggish state of exports overall.

Duangkamol Jiambutr, deputy-director general of the International Trade Department, said leatherwear shipments are set to exceed last year’s US$1.68 billion thanks to the better quality of Thai products.
“Although several countries such as China, Vietnam, Indonesia and India have ramped up production, the quality of their products remains far below that of Thai leatherwear,” said Mrs Duangkamol.
For the first nine months of 2013, Thai leatherwear exports fetched $1.31 billion (41.4 billion baht), up by 2.3% year-on-year.
Growth was supported mainly by Hong Kong, China, Vietnam, Japan and Indonesia.
read more.
bangkokpostBusiness

* Sustainable style, responsible sourcing from Levi Strauss:

Levi Strauss & Co has debuted the Dockers Wellthread process for responsible sourcing at the company’s new innovation lab in San Francisco.

This ground-breaking approach combines sustainable design and environmental practices with an emphasis on supporting the well-being of the apparel workers who make the garments. It is the first time the company has brought these key elements together into one process.”How you make a garment is just as important as the garment itself,” said Michael Kobori, vice president of social and environmental sustainability at Levi Strauss. “Our company has been guided by the same principles since its founding 160 years ago. We believe that we can use our iconic brands to drive positive sustainable change and profitable results. Progress is in our DNA. We invented a category and with that comes the responsibility to continually innovate for each new generation of consumers.”
read more.
theNATIONnew

02:24:49 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

20131116 * At Strife-Ridden SL Garment Factory, Managers Stand Ground:

The SL Garment Factory is a name that has become uniquely synonymous with strikes and strife in a sector that employs hundreds of thousands of workers and already has problems with its poor public image.

Thousands of the factory’s workers have been in dispute with management for more than a year, demanding higher wages, a lunch stipend and the removal of one of the firm’s shareholders, Meas Sotha.
On Tuesday, the latest SL protest turned deadly during clashes between protesters and police in Phnom Penh’s Stung Meanchey district. Police responded to stone-throwing youths with bullets, and a bystander was shot dead and several were injured.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

20131116 * Lawyers Condemn Police Shooting of SL Factory Protesters:

A group of Canadian lawyers has expressed deep concern over the use of live ammunition by police in Phnom Penh during a garment worker protest on Tuesday when a bystander was killed, and called on government and military officials to respect the U.N.’s basic principles on the use of firearms by authorities.

Lawyers Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), as a committee of Canadian lawyers who promote human rights and the rule of law internationally, addressed their concerns in a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen, deputy prime ministers Sar Kheng and Sok An, Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana, Defense Minister General Tea Banh and National Military Police Commander Sao Sokha.

“LRWC is deeply concerned about the violence that occurred in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district on 12 November 2013 between police and citizens including striking garment workers. The violence resulted in the shooting death of a bystander and at least seven additional serious injuries,” wrote Gail Davidson, executive director of LRWC.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

2013117 * Government steps in:

Government officials have ordered SL Garment Processing (Cambodia) Ltd to reinstate 19 fired union representatives and activists, seemingly removing the final barrier to resolving the months-long strike that turned deadly last week.

The government has also promised to pay the medical bills of at least three factory workers injured when police opened fire on strikers, killing a bystander, in the capital last Tuesday.

The Ministry of Labour sent SL a letter on Friday, relaying that the Council of Ministers – following approval from Prime Minister Hun Sen – had ordered the factory to rehire the 19 fired members of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU), the union representing a large majority of SL’s roughly 6,000-person workforce.

The November 15 order, posted on the Ministry of Labour’s website, came days after the ministry and NGOs facilitated a marathon negotiation session between C.CAWDU officials and SL management, which ended when the two sides reached an impasse over the fired workers.
(…)
Union leaders and SL have yet to sign an official agreement ending the strike. At the Tuesday meeting, SL verbally agreed to pay workers 50 per cent of wages they would have earned during the strike, and that Meas Sotha – who hired armed military police to stand guard inside the factory – would no longer have a presence at the factory.
read more.
PPP new

20131118 * CNRP to Protest in Solidarity With SL Workers:

Leaders of the opposition CNRP said Sunday that the party will hold demonstrations throughout the country on December 10 to demand an investigation into the use of live ammunition by police during a garment worker protest in Phnom Penh last week.

CNRP President Sam Rainsy said the demonstration would seek justice for the victims of the police violence at the SL Garment Factory protest on Tuesday, who included Eng Sokhom, a 49-year-old rice vendor who was shot dead nearby.
read more. & read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo CAMHERALD

* IMF says Cambodia’s ‘robust’ outlook tempered by downside risks:

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says Cambodia’s rosy economic outlook is tempered by downside risks on both the external and domestic fronts.

A statement issued by Meral Karasulu, who headed a 12-day IMF mission to Cambodia concluded Friday, said economic activity remained “strong” and driven by “robust” garment exports, tourism and construction despite a tepid global recovery.
read more.
CAMHERALD

* Hong Kong’s Addchance opens $20 mln garment factory in Cambodia:

Hong Kong’s Addchance Holdings Ltd says it has opened a $20 million garment factory in Cambodia to produce sweaters and socks for Europe and other markets.

The company, which already operates the River Rich and Winner knitting mills in Cambodia in addition to other plants in southern and eastern China, said the new plant had 700 workers producing 250,000 sweaters a month.
(…)
COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES
The statement noted that Cambodia enjoyed import tariff concessions from Europe and Japan which strengthened its competitive advantages.
read more
CAMHERALD

* Exports to US rise, slightly:

20131117 PPP Cambodia_US_exports_garment-workers
Garment factory workers sew clothing for export at a factory in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district in September Hong Menea

Cambodian exports to the United States saw a 3.7 per cent year-on-year increase in the first nine months of this year, according to the US Department of Commerce. Officials and insiders called the figure just a “slight increase”.

While the government and the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC), said production had been slowed by garment workers strikes, unions said enhancing workers rights was the key to greater output.
Exports to the US totalled $2.09 billion, compared with $2.01 billion in the same period last year, data by the US Department of Commerce released last Friday show.
Kong Putheara, spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce, said export growth had been hindered by a high number of workers strikes in the country’s garment sector.
(…)
Kong Athit, vice-president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU) was quick to defend workers.
“The increase of export products does not depend on garment workers alone,” he said.
Athit said improving workers rights and negotiating a “win-win solution together” would lead to greater productivity.
read more.
PPP new

03:24:49 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Unions want higher minimum wage:

The Bali Wage Council’s decision to set the 2014 minimum wage for the province at Rp 1.3 million (US$111) per month has triggered protests from unions that say the minimum wage is too low to cover workers’ needs.

“We question the minimum wage set by the council. Do you think that Rp 1.3 million is a decent amount for Bali? How could [the council] propose that amount to the Bali governor?” Independent Workers Union Federation (FSPM) Bali chapter chairman Anak Agung Sagung Ratmudiani said in a meeting at the Bali Legislative Council on Friday.

The meeting was also attended by scores of union members, several members of the Bali Legislative Council, the head of the provincial Manpower and Transmigration Agency, the chairman of Bali Wage Council and other related parties.

The minimum wage must be paid to any worker in the province. It is issued by the governor, based on the recommendations of the Bali Wage Committee, which is tripartite, consisting of government, unions and business associations.
read more.
jakartapost

01:54:49 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

* ILO, Myanmar sign agreement on National Labour Force Survey:

The ILO and Myanmar team up to collect labour market statistics that will help to formulate policies on a number of critical issues for the country.

The Government of Myanmar and the International Labour Organization (ILO) have signed a cooperation agreement to conduct the first comprehensive National Labour Force Survey (LFS) in the country since 1990.

The LFS will furbish data to formulate policies of critical importance to Myanmar, national employment policy including youth employment, child labour, forced labour and social security.

The survey will identify areas where child labour and forced labour are prevalent in the country and help the Government to address these issues. This is in line with the Government’s commitments to ratify ILO Convention 182 on the elimination of the worst forms of child labour and to eliminate all forms of forced labour by 2015.
read more.
ILO

01:24:49 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

20131115 * RMG Wage: Owners, labour leaders agree to wait until Nov 21:

Owners and workers’ leaders of the country’s apparel sector on Friday agreed to wait until November 21 for a final decision on the new minimum wage structure and maintain an uninterrupted production refraining from destructive activities.

“We’ve agreed to wait until November 21. The workers leaders also agreed to refrain from vandalism, demonstrations and join works for maintaining an uninterrupted production,” BGMEA President M Atiqul Islam told reporters at a press conference.

He said their goal is the same — taking forward the industry maintaining smooth production and refraining from activities that tarnish the image of the sector and country. “We call upon the workers across the country to return to their works and ensure a smooth production,” Atiqul Islam said.
read more. & read more.
UNB DHAKATRIBUNE

20131115 * Labour leaders to work with garment owners to implement new wages:

Leaders of 52 labour organizations today agreed to work together with garment owners for implementing new wages to be announced finally by wage board on November 21.

The labor leaders expressed the view at a meeting with leaders of the Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) held at BGMEA Bhaban here, said a press release.
BGMEA President M Atiqul Islam presided over the meeting.
Vice-president M Shahidullah Azim, vice-president Riaz Bin Mahmud, former president of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) AK Azad and former leaders of BGMEA attended the meeting.

The labour leaders said there will be no vandalism of garment units centering the announcement of wages.
read more. & to read.
BSS INDEPENDENT

 20131116 *  RMG owner-worker federations for an end to unrest:

The garment factory owners and workers’ federation have jointly urged unruly workers to stay away from the path of vandalism and violence until the wage board announces the final salary structure.

The board is expected to announce the final pay structure on November 21.
The latest development came after the apparel owners’ organisation, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), held an urgent meeting with the leaders of more than 57 workers’ federations in its headquarters in the capital last night.

The two-hour long meeting held as the proposed minimum salary of apparel workers, Tk 5,300, has apparently failed to abate the ongoing unrest in the country’s 19-billion dollar sector.
The wage board announced Tk 5,300 as the minimum wage for an entry-level garment worker from Tk 3,000 now on November 4 against the demand of Tk 8,114.
read more.
daily star bd

20131116 * Gazipur knitting workers vandalise 50 vehicles:

Knitting factory workers of Gazipur blocked the Dhaka-Tangail highway for three hours today and vandalised at least 50 vehicles demanding a hike in per piece production.

The demonstrating workers of eight sweater factories have also been demanding Tk 200 per day when the production of their units remains suspended. The workers usually do not get salary when the sweater factories are closed during the off season.
read more. & read more.
daily star bd DHAKATRIBUNE

20131116 * RMG workers go on rampage in Gazipur, Savar:

Workers of several readymade garment (RMG) factories staged demonstration in Savar and Gazipur demanding wage hike and payment of outstanding wages on Saturday.

In Savar, production of 10 garment factories, including Rose Dresses Limited owned by BGMEA President Atikul Islam, was suspended following labour unrest in Ashulia on the day.
Badrul Alam, officer-in-charge of Ashulia Police Station, said workers of a garment factory staged demonstration demanding wage hike at Jamgarah in Ashulia on Saturday morning.
read more. & to read. & read more. & read more. & read more.
UNB INDEPENDENT primenews bdnews24 newstodayBD

20131116 * Unrest Continue as Worker Federations and BGMEA Agree To Be At Peace Till Law Is Made:

Yesterday, on 15.11.13, 57 Worker Federations came to an agreement with the BGMEA and held a press conference declaring that till the Minimum Wage Board publishes its final decision in a Gazette form, there will be no protest or rally backed by the worker federations.

However, today on 16.11.13, there have been massive worker protests in Ashulia and Gazipur by agitated workers. Workers fearing injustice in the proportionate increase of the Operators (a grade up than the helper, who is the lowest paid of the sector) may only get a few hundred BDT more than the helpers.
Operators account for more than 70% of the workforce in the garment sector, mostly women, suffer from low wages in a country with high inflation, no social security and high corruption in the public services.

The unrest among the Garment workers today is a surprising display of their helplessness.
Although the worker leaders informed that they will persuade the workers to be peaceful and get back to their work-stations till the gazette has been finally published (and thus turned to a law), their failure seems visible.
It now seems that had the leaders been more interested to pacify workers and win their hearts, listen to their demands and them peacefully associated with them to rally for support of their demands from the ordinary citizens of the country, violence could have been avoided.
The violence, as always, have only harmed innocent civilians and garment workers, and can only spur with mischief – mostly from the trapped restlessness from within when ones voice is ignored by all.
read more.

20131117 * 40 hurt as RMG workers agitate for wages:

Workers of a number of garment factories in Gazipur demonstrated for arrears and a hike in their allowance on Saturday.

Police used baton-charges and lobbed tear-gas canisters to disperse them, according to bdnews24.com.
Witnesses said at least 40 people were injured in the clashes at Gazipur’s Naojor and Konabari areas.
Workers of DotCom Sweaters at Naojor area started to damage the factory building in the morning after not getting paid their October salary due on Thursday.
The factory’s production manager Emdad Hossain said that the police intervened to bring the situation under control.
read more.
FE bd

20131117 * Factory owners, labour leaders call for calm:

Garment manufacturers and labour unions have jointly urged workers to refrain from vandalism until the wage board announces the final salary structure on November 21.

The move comes after the workers continued with their dissent despite the government’s announcement of a 77 percent rise in minimum wage to Tk 5,300 on November 14 in the face of owners’ objections. Their demand for minimum wage remains Tk 8,114 per month.
In response, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), the garment makers’ platform, drafted in an urgent meeting on Friday with leaders of more than 57 workers’ federations, where the labour leaders agreed to help in calming down the situation.
“The current situation is seriously denting the image of the industry. Everybody in the meeting has agreed that the sector cannot go on in this manner,” BGMEA President Atiqul Islam told reporters after the two-hour meeting at the trade body’s headquarters in Dhaka.
He said the workers’ federations have agreed to convince the workers to get back to work until the final gazette is published. More than 200 factories in Ashulia and Gazipur have remained shut due to the unrest in recent weeks, Islam added.
Kazi Ruhul Amin, general secretary of Garment Workers’ Trade Union Centre, said the federations will jointly submit a complaint with the wage board today over the proposed salary structure, which they deem to be too low when the living cost is taken into consideration.
read more.
daily star bd

* Bangladeshi Garment Workers Fight Back:

Surging union growth and militancy is due to courageous leaders like Kalpona Akter: child laborer at 12, union president at 15, she’s now head of the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity.

Whenever there is another disaster in a Bangladeshi garment factory, one of the country’s most dynamic young labor leaders, Kalpona Akter, races to the scene with two aims in mind.
First, she naturally wants to help and console a new set of victims. But second, she tries to get inside the factory, even if it’s still smoldering, so she can collect the labels from the clothing that was being sewn there.
“The big European and American importers sometimes deny that their brands were sourced in that factory,” she explained, in her small, old and very busy office in central Dhaka. “So we need to get the logos, the actual proof, before the Walmarts and others can start to cover up.”

Akter, 36, started working in a garment factory when she was 12 years old, and by the time she was 15, she was president of her local union.
She is now the executive director of the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity, and the leading figure in Bangladesh’s small but rapidly growing independent labor movement.
She is courageous, articulate and revered by the young workers, mostly women, whom she is helping to organize. Someday she will surely be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
read more.
the NATION

20131117 * RMG workers demonstrate in Gazipur- 25 hurt/20 units shut:

Workers of several garment factories demonstrated and blocked Konabari-Kashimpur road on Sunday morning demanding wage hike and payment of their arrears.

Witnesses said workers of a readymade garments (RMG) factory of Standard Group took to the streets at about 8:30 am and staged demonstration.
read more. & read more & read more.  & read more. & read more. & read more.
& read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
UNB UNB INDEPENDENT BANGLA NEWS24 DHAKATRIBUNE DHAKATRIBUNE
Ittefaq primenews newstodayBD FE bd

20131117 * Ashulia unrest hurt 50-200 -Highway blocked, 20-50 factories shut:

More than 50 people were injured in sporadic clashes between garments workers and law enforcers on Baipail-Abdullahpur highway on Sunday morning.

Witnesses said that workers of several garments started protest from morning and blocked the highway to press their demand of minimum Tk 8,000 salary.
The agitating workers also vandalized couple of vehicles during the protest.
On information, police rushed to the spot and charged baton, fired rubber bullets and tear shell to disperse the workers which triggered sporadic clashes.
read more. & read more. & read more.
BANGLA NEWS24 DHAKATRIBUNE BANGLA NEWS24

20131117 * Workers torch 2 Gazipur garment factories: 25 Ashulia RMG units shut:

Several hundred workers of two ready-made garment (RMG) units set fire to their factory buildings in Gazipur Sadar upazila and a nearby kitchen market on Sunday demanding immediate reopening of their factories as those remain closed since last month following a labour unrest over salary.

On information firefighters with the help of police doused the blaze at the two RMG factory buildings but at least 30 makeshift shops were gutted in the fire at kitchen market. Meanwhile, 20 garment workers were injured in clash with police in Ashulia as they staged violent street demonstration, blocking a highway over pay on Sunday morning.
Production at minimum 25 RMG units in Ashulia, in the outskirts of Dhaka city, was suspended for today, as workers demonstrating for Tk 8,114 as monthly minimum wage also vandalized factories. When police arrived, the agitating workers pelted stones at the law-enforcers. Police charged batons, lobbed teargas canisters and fired rubber bullets to drive the demonstrators from the Kaliakoir-Kashimpur highway, according to private TV channels.
to read.
FE bd

20131117 * Labour unrest shuts 25 RMG units in Ashulia- Gazipur:

Production at minimum 25 garment factories in Ashulia, on the outskirts of the capital, was suspended for today, as workers demonstrating for Tk 8,114 as monthly minimum wage clashed with law enforcers.

At least 20 workers sustained minor injuries during the hour-long clash, reports our Savar correspondent.
Meanwhile, workers of two garment factories set fire to their factory buildings in Gazipur Sadar upazila and a nearby kitchen market demanding immediate reopening of their units as those remain shut since last month following a labour unrest over salary.
However, police put out the flame at factory building but at least 30 makeshift shops were gutted in the fire at kitchen market.

ASHULIA
Around 5,000 workers of at least 25 factories started demonstrations on Dhaka-Tangail highway around 9:00am and, said Abdus Sattar, deputy assistant director of industrial police.
(..)
GAZIPUR
Workers of two garment factories of Standard Group set a factory building on fire at Konabari in Sadar upazila and a nearby kitchen market this morning demanding reopening of their factory.
The authorities shut production at their two units last month after workers waged a movement demanding a hike in the salary.
read more.
daily star bd

20131118 * Labour unrest- Gazipur turns into battlefield:

Clashes broke out between the police and workers of around 20 apparel factories in Gazipur yesterday morning, injuring at least 25 people.

Witnesses said around 2,000 workers of Standard Group took to the streets at about 8:30am demanding the factory be reopened and pay for production per piece be hiked.
They also placed a 10-point demand, including a daily payment of Tk 200 in off-season, when the owners keep factories closed, our Gazipur correspondent said.
Later, around 8,000 workers of 20 factories, including Green Land, Meditek and MM Knit Composite, joined the protesters and ransacked some vehicles, set fire to tree logs and burned tyres and blocked the Kashimpur-Konabari road.
At 10.45am, the workers came back to Standard Group and set fire to the factory building, which was extinguished by the law enforcers and the local people soon.
read more.
daily star bd

20131118 * Production at 100 RMG units suspended:

Production at over 100 garment factories in Gazipur and Ashulia was suspended for Sunday, after workers clashed with law enforcers in the morning.

Of the total, 50 units were shut in Gazipur while the rest in Ashulia, on the outskirts of the capital. At least 110 workers sustained minor injuries during the clashes, reports our correspondents.
The workers of Gazipur were demanding immediate reopening of their units, which remain shut since last month following unrest over salary.
On the other hand, the labourers of Ashulia were demonstrating for Tk 8,114 as monthly minimum wage. The workers set fire to a factory building and a kitchen market in Gazipur Sadar upazila and vandalised two vehicles in Ashulia.
read more.
NEWNATIONnew

20131118 * 70 RMG units closed following unrest:

At least 70 apparel factories in Savar and Gazipur was declared closed for Sunday following clashes between workers and the law enforcers that left 75 injured.

The clashes erupted at Ashulia of Savar and Konabari and Kashimpur in Gazipur when the police tried to disperse workers in the areas who took to the street demanding minimum Tk 8,000 as the minimum monthly wage and immediate reopening of closed factories, said witnesses.
A factory of Standard Group and at least 30 shops in the adjacent area of the factory in Gazipur were set on fire.
The workers continued with protests pressing for Tk 8,000 as minimum monthly wage, while apparel factory owners, after a meeting with prime minister Sheikh Hasina on November 13, accepted the award of the Minimum Wage Board fixing Tk 5,300 as the minimum wage for apparel workers.
read more.
BD new age

20131118 * 45 RMG unions demand Tk6,000 minimum wage:

As per their demands, the minimum wage for the sweater factory workers must be not less than that of the sixth grade while the wage for per unit have to be declared within three days of starting production

The leaders of 45 unions of readymade garment have demanded Tk6,000 as minimum wage for the workers.
They placed the demand to the minimum wage board chairman AK Roy on Sunday, urging the board to reconsider the already settled amount Tk5,300 and set it at Tk6,000 excluding food allowance.

Although the demand was placed on behalf of 45 trade unions, the representatives of 29 were present.
Meanwhile, on prime minister’s direction, the RMG owners and a section of workers’ unions have accepted the wage board proposal of Tk5,300 as minimum wage.

The wage board would finalise Tk5,300 as minimum wage for RMG workers on the November 21 meeting.
“We demand Tk6,000. Board will decide on the issue,” said Abul Hossain, President of Textile Garments Workers Federation.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

20131118 * Clash erupts in Ashulia RMG belt:

At least 20 workers of readymade garment (RMG) factories were injured as they clashed with police at Jamgora under Ashulia Police Station today (Monday) morning demanding minimum monthly wage of Tk8, 300.

The authorities suspended production in 20 garment factories, including Rose Dresses Limited owned by BGMEA President Atikul Islam, after labour unrest erupted in the area.
Witnesses said 3,000-4,000 workers from 20 garment units, including Rose Dresses, took to the streets at about 9:00 am and staged demonstrations demanding their minimum wage be fixed at Tk8,300, instead of Tk5,300 finalised recently, though with the factory owners’ consent at last, by the government-appointed wage board.
read more. & read more. & read more.
BD new age UNB FE bd

20131118 * 50 hurt in cop-RMG worker clash:

At least 50 people were injured, five of them bullet-hit, as the apparel workers clashed with law enforcers in Ashulia and Savar, on the outskirts of the capital, demanding Tk 8,114 as minimum wage.

Of the victims, condition of Babul, a worker of AM Design Limited, stated to be critical, reports our Savar correspondent.
Babul sustained wounds of seven rubber bullets and has been referred to Dhaka Medical College Hospital from Women and Children Health Centre in Ashulia.
Following the sporadic clash that continues when this report was filed, production at over 100 garment factories in the demonstrating areas remain suspended for today.
The violence was reported from Jamgarah, Shimultola, Gorat, Pukurpar, Ghoshbagh, Narshingpur in Ashulia and Hemayetpur in Savar.

ASHULIA, SAVAR
The demonstration started around 9:00am when around 12,000 workers from different garment factories from the areas took position in front of their units.
The workers of Envoy, Palmal Group and The Rose Dresses Ltd of Ashulia and Standard Group of Savar are demonstrating, said Md Shahidullah, a senior deputy director of Industrial Police.
read more.
daily star bd

20131118 * BGB deployment in Gazipur:

A total of seven platoons of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) have been deployed in Ashulia, Konabari and Kashimpur area of the district on early Monday.

Due to rampant agitation of garments workers in the areas, the BGB was deployed in a bid to avert any untoward situation and to secure the route as touring Malaysian Prime Minister will have a visit in the district here on Monday.
Sources of intelligence department told banglanews that BGB personnel were initiated scrutiny drive from 6.00am.
However, Konabari Police outpost Sub-Inspector Rabiul Islam said that the situation in the industrial areas is clam and under control now.
to read.
BANGLA NEWS24

* RMG troubles: No signs of abatement:

Sixty-four per cent of the respondents to an opinion poll, conducted by one of the leading national English dailies of Bangladesh, have said the fixation of Tk 5,300 as minimum wage for the garment workers would not be able to end the ongoing workers’ unrest in the apparel sector.

The negative response has come not without reasons. The events that have happened before and after the announcement of the minimum wage by the tripartite wage board have, apparently, led them to make such a response.

Lack of workplace safety which has claimed nearly 1,400 lives so far is responsible for enough of resentment among the apparel workers. But what has been a constant source of trouble is low wage. Despite a couple of hikes in recent years, the wage rates are still considered low if seen in the context of the unabated rise in the cost of  living.

The issues concerning workplace safety, right to trade union and wages came under intense national and international focus following the deadly Tazreen Fashion fire and the collapse of the Rana Plaza. While international stakeholders in collaboration with the government and the apparel industry owners are trying to ensure safety and security of workers in apparel factories and workers’ right to TU activities, the wage board has recommended a minimum wage synthesising the workers’ demand and the offer made by the apparel industry owners.

The owners initially rejected the minimum wage recommended by the wage board. They even threatened to close down their factories since the recommended wages, according to them, would make the industry unsustainable. But they finally agreed to pay the same with a little bit of changes in the wage structure following intervention by the prime minister.
read more.
FE bd

* Large RMG factories stand by sub-contracting units:

Many large ready-made garment (RMG) exporters are now providing cash support to their sub-contracting factories to upgrade the units to compliant ones. They have embarked on the task in the face of strict monitoring of sub-contracting activities by the foreign buyers, industry insiders said.

They said most of the sub-contracting RMG factories had failed to upgrade working conditions at their units mainly due to liquidity crisis and dearth of collaterals, against which they can take financial assistance from the banks. It has left the sector’s big players in trouble making timely shipments.

“Our local buyers have come forward to upgrade working conditions at our factories as we could not do it due to liquidity crisis,” Bashir Ahmed, proprietor of the sub-contracting factory Santonu Fashions told the FE Saturday.

The factory owner added his local buyers had also ensured him of sufficient work volume for at least fifteen days every month, and had also increased cutting and making (CM) price slightly. “Now we are more comfortable in ensuring a decent working condition for our workers,” he said.

“We could not manage the required capital from banks due to dearth of collateral and were passing through tough times as no exporter wants to work with non-compliant factories after the Tazreen Fashions fire and Rana Plaza collapse incidents. The latest move by the big players in the sector has relieved us from an uncertainty in business,” he added.
read more.
FE bd

* Better pay means more productivity:

Better human resource management and communication between employees and managers can benefit all, an UK Aid-run project has found in Bangladesh.

The RAGS Challenge Fund (Responsible and Accountable Garment Sector) of the UK government has demonstrated that better pay and working conditions can go hand in hand with better productivity.
In participating factories, when average monthly take-home pay was increased by Tk 491, daily efficiency and productivity increased 18.28 percent and 17.07 percent respectively.
This was disclosed at an event organised by the CSR Centre in Dhaka to look at how partnerships with buyers can help bring about much-needed reforms in the garment sector, now under tremendous pressure to improve labour conditions following a number of high-profile tragedies.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
daily star bd bdnews24 newstodayBD NEWNATIONnew

* GIZ, BGCCI sign MoU to develop skill in RMG:

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed on Sunday to address the shortage of skilled workers and mid-level managers in the readymade garment (RMG) and textile industry.

The MoU on ‘Promotion of Social and Environmental Standards in the Industry’ (PSES), a joint project of the governments of Bangladesh and Germany, was signed for implementation by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and Bangladesh German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BGCCI).
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
UNB INDEPENDENT daily star bd FE bd

* Common standard for factory inspection set :

A minimum common standard for inspection of garment factories across the country was finalised, though there was still room for incorporating more criteria in it as desired by the buyers, sources said Saturday.

By following the standard the government already started factory inspection Friday on a trial basis in cooperation with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), they added.

Thirty teams of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) comprising experts from other universities are inspecting the garment factories, except those which will be inspected by the Alliance and the Accord.

However, finalisation of the common standard came after a meeting held among officials and experts from the National Tripartite Committee, the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, and the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety at a city hotel on November 07 last.
read more.
FE bd

* Atiur for worker-friendly environ in RMG sector:

Bangladesh Bank governor Dr Atiur Rahman on Saturday underscored the need for ensuring human rights and worker- friendly environment in RMG sector to create a win – win situation both for workers and factory owners, reports UNB.

“Post-Rana Plaza calamity has revealed that in order to create a sustainable RMG sector in the countries in Asia, there have to be proper implementation and concern on aspects of human rights, worker friendly environments through occupational health & safety issues, capacity building of workers and supply chain interventions which will adhere to global standards and create a win-win situation for both employees / workers and factory owners,” he said at a discussion.
The programme was the concluding one of the UK aid-funded RAGS Challenge Fund (Responsible and Accountable Garment Sector) organised by CSR center at a city hotel.
read more.
newstodayBD

* Upgrade RMG industry to global standard :

Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr Atiur Rahman stressed the need to upgrade the country’s readymade garment sector to global standards by ensuring workers’ rights and workers-friendly environment.

He was addressing a discussion on “Responsible Business Lessons for the Bangladesh Ready Made Garment Sector” in Dhaka on Saturday.
The governor particularly mentioned about the occupational health, safety issues and capacity building of workers.

“Post Rana Plaza calamity has revealed that in order to create a sustainable RMG sector in the countries in Asia, there have to be proper implementation and concern on aspects of human rights, worker friendly environments through occupational health and safety issues,” he said.
According to Dr Atiur, the steps would “create a win-win situation for both workers and owners.” The discussion aimed to explore how partnership with buyers in the garment industry could help bring about much needed reforms to the RMG sector.

Responsible and Accountable Garment Sector (RAGS) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Center jointly organised the event.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Some RMG factories still risky for workers: DFID:

The speakers at a seminar on Saturday stressed that some substandard RMG factories in Bangladesh are still risky for the workers.

They observed that better human resource management and communication between employees and managers could benefit owners, managers and workers alike.  “I have visited and seen a number of garments factories and found some factories are truly first class others are clearly substandard and pose real threats to the people working in those premises,” said Sarah Cooke, Bangladesh country representatives of DFID (department for international aid), UK.
She pointed out that the RMG sector has brought about a radical social change in Bangladesh by providing large number of rural women with their own income. “Jobs in garment sector have also provided an alternative to early marriage and potential access to healthcare and education.”
read more.
INDEPENDENT

* Govt starts RMG factory inspection:

The government with the assistance of the International Labour Organisation on Friday started inspection to the readymade garment factories which are not on the lists of the EU Accord and the North American Alliance.

The government inspection has been initiated in line with the steps taken by the Accord and the Alliance to ensure a minimum common standard in the factories developing fire, electrical and structural safety.
Four factories at Mirpur in the capital were inspected on Friday as the labour ministry has targeted to inspect as many as 2,000 RMG units across the country, officials concerned said.
read more.
BD new age

* Factory inspection directorate awaits massive overhaul:

Vacant posts to be filled by yearend to improve safety monitoring as government expects review of US GSP decision

The government will overhaul the factory inspection directorate and increase its human resources to 2,291 from only 314 now to ensure factory safety—a must for getting US generalised system of preferences (GSP) for Bangladesh, official sources said.

The secretary committee on administrate development on Thursday approved the labour and employment ministry’s proposal to strengthen the factory inspection system.

The committee also approved the ministry’s proposal to create posts for 679 employees and gave its consent for upgrading 107 posts and changing the name of 144 posts of the factory inspection directorate.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Dhaka set to sign Ticfa on Nov 25:

Bangladesh and the US will sign a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement in Washington on November 25.

Critics said that the Awami League-led government agreed to sign the deal as a last minute effort to repair its relations with the US before the election.
Commerce ministry secretary Mahbub Ahmed and US deputy trade representative Wendy Cutler will sign the deal for their sides, foreign and commerce ministry officials told New Age Saturday.
After signing the much-talked about deal, the officials of the two sides will hold the first meeting of the ‘US-Bangladesh Forum on Trade and Investment to be set up under the deal’, on the same day, said a commerce ministry source.
read more. & read more.
BD new age DHAKATRIBUNE

* Nisha sits with garments owners:

US Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Desai Biswal held a meeting with Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) leaders on Sunday noon.

The meeting has started at around 12:30pm in capital’s Westin hotel.
With BGMEA president Atikul Islam in the chair, the meeting was also attended by its vice president of the organization Shahidul Azim, vice president (finance) Riaz Bin Mahmud and other leaders of apparel industries.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
BANGLA NEWS24 UNB BDCHRONICLE FE bd

* Nisha worried about RMG unrest:

US Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Desai Biswal expressed her concern over the recent workers unrest in country’s readymade garments sector.

Nisha expressed her discontent in a meeting with Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) leaders on Sunday afternoon.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
BANGLA NEWS24 bdnews24 newstodayBD INDEPENDENT NEWNATIONnew

* Exporters urge Nisha to push US buyers for RMG price hike:

The country’s apparel exporters on Sunday urged the visiting US assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, Nisha Desai Biswal, for a move to push the US buyers for increasing the prices of products.

Better prices for apparel products are necessary to ensure workplace safety and workers’ rights in Bangladesh, they told Nisha.
In a luncheon meeting in honour of the US assistant secretary of state at Hotel Westin in the capital, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association leaders requested withdrawal of the suspension of Generalised System of Preferences facility for Bangladeshi products on the US market, association leaders said.
‘We have also demanded duty-free access for Bangladeshi garment products to the US market,’ BGMEA vice-president Shahidullah Azim told New Age after the meeting.
read more.
BD new age

* US official Biswal backs trade union in apparel industry:

Nisha Desai Biswal, US assistant secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs, yesterday emphasised the importance of labour rights and safety standards in Bangladesh’s garment industry.

She spoke at a luncheon hosted by leaders of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association at the Westin Dhaka.
Quoting the US official, a participant in the meeting told The Daily Star that she also stressed that trade unions must be formed in a constructive way.
read more.
daily star bd

* Frequent hartals compel exporters to go for air shipment of RMG, other goods:

Air shipment of readymade garments and other goods increased significantly in recent times due to the frequent countrywide shutdown as a sequel to the restive political situation in the country causing hike in export cost.

To avoid the chaos and vandalism in the roads, exporters’ dependence on air route has been increasing which is taking a toll on export cost.
Air shipments cost is 13 times more than the sea way but exporters typically turn to the costlier air shipment for maintaining their shipment deadline.

It is now tough to reach the Chittagong port by roads as uncertainty looms large over transportation due to political programme like Hartal, industry insiders said.
President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Atiqul Islam told the FE on Saturday:  “Such shutdowns came as a big blow for export business as we could not maintain smooth shipment”.
read more.
FE bd

* Women labour force rises to 17.2m in seven years:

The number of women labour force of the country rose to 17.2 millions from the earlier level of 10.3 millions in seven years ,said a workshop arranged by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) here Saturday, reports BSS.

As per the survey conducted by the BBS shows that “country’s total women labour force was 10.3 millions in 2002-03 while it rose to 17.2 millions in 2010 which was mainly due to intensive growth of the informal sector of the country.”
The speakers unveiled this in the workshop titled ‘Revision of current standards of labour and work statistics : messages from 19th International Conference of Labour Statistics (ICLS) and their implications for Bangladesh. The 19th ICLS held at the ILO headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland on October 2, this year.
read more. & read more. & read more.
newstodayBD BSS daily star bd

* Rescue package for jute sector:

Jute, once known as the golden fibre, now faces a grim future. This time the external shocks have wreaked havoc on all efforts to revive its past glory.

The raw jute exporters, according to a report in the FE last Monday (November 11), have pleaded for a rescue package for them. The exporters have suggested to the Finance Minister to keep Tk 2.5 billion on account of outstanding bank interest charges in a blocked account for 10 years so that they could get fresh loans.
The interest charges on outstanding bank credits for some 300 exporters, had accumulated with banks over a decade. The interest and principal amount owed to different state-owned and private banks totalled about Tk 10 billion. The money had accumulated due to fall in raw jute prices which deteriorated further due to devaluation of currencies in the recent period.  The Bangladesh Jute Association (BJA) in its demand said the accumulated interests may be transferred to ‘Blocked Account’ in banks.
read more.
FE bd

* Sri Lanka offers land to Bangladesh for jute cultivation:

Bangladesh has received a request from Sri Lanka on jute cultivation in its northwestern province Puttalam where Colombo assured of giving long-term lease of lands.

The request came in a meeting between Sri Lankan President Mohinda Rajapaksa and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina here on Friday.
read more. & read more. & read more.
primenews daily star bd newstodayBD

* Tazreen Fire, Rana Plaza Collapse: Make public list of casualties:

Urge labour rights activists

Labour rights activists yesterday demanded making public a complete list of garment workers injured and killed in the Tazreen Fashions fire and Rana Plaza collapse, naming those who received financial assistance and those left out.

The process of disbursing financial aid should also be made public through formation of a coordination committee comprising the parties concerned, they told a press conference Sramik Nirapatta Forum (SNF) organised in the capital’s Dhaka Reporters Unity.
Syed Sultan Uddin Ahmed, assistant executive director of BILS, and SNF Convener Hamida Hossain also spoke.
to read.
daily star bd

                         THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE

* All brands responsible should compensate the Rana Plaza victims now:

The Clean Clothes Campaign and IndustriALL Global Union are today urging all brands and retailers linked to the disaster at the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh to work together to sign up to a credible and collaborative process for delivering compensation to the victims of the disaster.    

Since September the Rana Plaza Compensation Coordination Committee, comprised of the Ministry of Labour, the BGMEA, four international brands, IndustriALL global union, local trade unions and the Clean Clothes Campaign, has been negotiating a process for calculating, funding and delivering compensation to the families of those killed and injured when the Rana Plaza building collapsed in April.

The process is being facilitated by the International Labour Organisation.    In the last two months members of the Committee, along with ILO, have been engaged in an intensive programme of work to develop a credible and transparent system which would deliver a single approach to the provision of compensation owed
by both local and international stakeholders.
This has included several meetings and technical missions to Bangladesh, the involvement of international technical experts on compensation and the collection
and analysis of data collected in regard to those killed and injured.

Yesterday the Committee met to discuss final outstanding issues of the proposed “Arrangement”, which lays out practical guidelines for compensation provision. This includes the establishment of a voluntary international fund, which will channel contributions from brands and retailers into the compensation scheme. Negotiations towards this are ongoing with the aim of formalising the Arrangement sometime next week.
The groundwork for implementation has already been started and full implementation will begin as soon as the Arrangement has been formally adopted by all stakeholders.
“All brands need to step up – and stop hiding or presenting excuses. No brand can go it alone on compensation – by doing so they will fail the majority of workers and any compensation paid out will be partial, limited and unpredictable.”
said Ineke Zeldenrust of the Clean Clothes Campaign.
“The Arrangement will ensure that ALL the victims of this terrible disaster
finally get the compensation they deserve in a transparent manner with independent oversight. We are urging all brands to commit to signing the Arrangement now and to work with the committee to enable payments to begin.”

The Arrangement has already been signed by Primark, Loblaw, Bonmarche and El Corte Ingles. Other signatories include the Clean Clothes Campaign and industriALL. Other key brands including Mango, Walmart, Auchan, Childrens Place, Carrefour and Kik have so far refused to sign.
“Primark, El Corte Ingles, Loblaw and Bonmarché have led the way and sent a clear signal to consumers everywhere of their sincerity to the accident in their supply chain” said Monika Kemperle of the IndustriALL global union.
“We call upon other brands to follow their example, and expect them to continue to lead with full commitment to the Arrangement and implement a joint response under the auspices of the Coordination Commitee chaired by the ILO”
to read.
Site

* Rana Plaza compensation talks still frustrate:

The long overdue final agreement on compensation to Rana Plaza victims is still not finalised as brands continue to hesitate. Walmart, Carrefour, Bonmarché, Mango, Auchan and Kik refuse to sign the Arrangement.

Meeting yesterday, 14 November at the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the various parties involved in compensation negotiations once again discussed establishing a fund to pay survivors and families of the dead workers of Rana Plaza. Almost seven months have passed since the building collapse.

Relatives of the dead workers visit the Rana Plaza site every day in Savar, Bangladesh. While they remember their lost loved ones, the labels of well-known clothing brands are easy to find in the rubble next to them.

The situation for many of the survivors and their families is extreme. Rana Plaza survivors told IndustriALL at the site that around 90 per cent of all employees of the five collapsed factories are still unable to work due to the psychological damage the collapse caused.

IndustriALL Assistant General Secretary Monika Kemperle:
How can the brands that sourced from Rana Plaza continue to refuse to pay what they are obliged under international employment standards and ILO Convention 121?”
read more.
Home

* Buyers’ compensation for Rana Plaza victims far from reality:

The meeting was rescheduled as the brands refused to sign an agreement in finalising the proposal

A meeting among the world’s apparel retailers on proposed compensation for Rana Plaza victims ended inconclusive in Geneva on Friday, but they are scheduled to meet again on November 28.

The meeting was rescheduled as the brands refused to sign an agreement in finalising the proposal – an initiative by the IndustriALL with support from the International Labour Organisation.
“The long overdue final agreement on compensation to Rana Plaza victims is still not finalised as brands continue to hesitate,” said a statement of IndustriALL. Walmart, Carrefour, Bonmarché, Mango, Auchan and Kik refused to sign the arrangement.

The next compensation meeting is scheduled on November 28, where further discussion will be held on how to incorporate the increased minimum wage, scheduled to be announced in a week’s time, into the compensation figures, said the statement.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

              ASHULIA TAZREEN GARMENT FACTORY FIRE

* Tazreen’s owner Delwar faces wrath of victims :

The High Court earlier directed the government to provide better treatment to a victim of deadly Tazreen garment factory fire named Sumaya

Sunday was fixed for hearing on the writ petition that asked the government to arrest owner of Tazreen garment factory Delwar Hossain to ensure his trial for criminal liabilities.

As the hearing ended and Delwar Hossain walked out of the court room victims’ family members gathered around him. One of them shouted at him: “Give me my sister back.” Delwar answered with a smile: “The case is going on.”
Another aggrieved family member of a victim snapped: “Is this case can give me my daughter back?”

As he was standing in the middle of so many family members of the victims he looked perplexed. Just then some of his well-wishers came over and cordoned him off.
By the time he had to face a volley of questions from those people. He was asked why he was not giving the compensation. In reply Delwar said he was doing whatever he could and he could do nothing beyond that.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

                               ASWAD Garment Factory Fire

* HRW: Factory deaths could have been prevented:

Seven deaths at an October fire in a fabric mill in Bangladesh could have been prevented, Human Rights Watch has said.

In interviews, workers from the Aswad Composite Mills told Human Rights Watch that the fire hydrant system at the plant did not work properly, allowing the flames to spread quickly.
The fire is the latest in a series of garment-manufacturing catastrophes that have killed more than a thousand workers in the last year alone.

It is also a sign that foreign retailers need to take all reasonable steps to ensure all factories involved in their garment supply chain are safe places to work.
Seven people died in the fire at Aswad Composite Mills on October 8. Aswad supplied fabric for other Bangladeshi factories to turn into garments for North American and European clients such as Walmart, Gap, H and M and Carrefour.

The Bangladesh government and one of the retailers, Primark, said they had uncovered safety violations at the factory prior to the fire but no action was taken. Other companies said they had not inspected Aswad because they did not have a direct relationship with it.
read more. & read more.
Ittefaq BD new age

00:54:49 local time map of india INDIA

* Employees in India can expect 11% pay hike in 2014:

Employees at Indian companies can expect an average 11 per cent pay hike in 2014, according to a survey conducted by professional services company Towers Watson. However, after factoring in inflation, the rise would be just 2 per cent.

Taking inflation into account, Japan at 0.5 per cent and India at 2 per cent are among countries offering the smallest rises, while China and Vietnam lead the way with 4.9 per cent.

“Indian companies have traditionally offered high salary increases as compared to the rest of the region, but face a paradox today. They continue to offer double digit salary increases as they deal with the challenge of attracting and retaining critical talent, but high levels of inflation end up eroding much of this hike,” said Subeer Bakshi, Director, Talent & Rewards, Towers Watson India.
read more.
Return to frontpage

* India most preferred destination for global brands for textile:

India has emerged as the most preferred destination for global brands and stores like , H&M, and Walmart, apex industry body for apparel sector AEPC today said.

Apparel Export Promotion Council Chairman A Sakthivel said that India’s garment industry has its inherent strengths in terms of design and raw material.
“All big brands and chain stores are sourcing from India. It is the most preferred destination for brands like Zara, Gap, H&M, Mango, Tommy Hilfiger. Prominent stores like Walmart, Marks & Spencers and are sourcing garments from India,” he said in a statement.
He also said that huge opportunities are there for Indian textile players in Australia.
read more. & read more.
BUSINESSSTANDARD 2 financial-express

* New textile policy to attract Rs. 10,000 crore investment:

The State government has come out with an ambitious new textile policy for 2013-18, setting itself a target of attracting an investment of Rs. 10,000 crore and creating employment opportunities for five lakh people during the period and also make the State a preferred textile destination.

Releasing the policy document here on Sunday, Textile and Ports Minister Baburao Chinchansur told presspersons that the State was a pioneer in formulating textile policy.

On the new textile policy, Mr. Chinchansur said that the State has been classified into three zones and all areas falling in Bangalore Urban district, except Anekal taluk, will not get any incentives. However, backward districts with potential for textile activities will get the maximum benefits. Relatively developed areas from the perspective of a textile value chain will get marginally fewer benefits.
read more.
Return to frontpage

* Branded apparels poised to grow:

Propelled by steady rise in income levels and greater penetration of organised retail, India’s branded apparel market is expected to grow strongly in the next few years.

Total apparel sales volumes fell 2 per cent in 2011 and grew by a modest 2-3 per cent in 2012. Imposition of excise duty on branded apparels in 2011 along with a concurrent slowdown in economic growth badly hurt consumer sentiment and thereby impacted apparel purchases. However, volume growth has picked up since April 2013, attributable to the removal of excise duty and growth in demand from smaller towns.
read more.
Return to frontpage

* Possibilities of China-India JV in non-woven textiles:

The in China and India are exploring opportunities for joint ventures in the areas of non-woven and technical textile and other value added items in both countries.

A 12-member Chinese delegation, headed by Wang Tiankai, President, China National Textile and Apparel Council (CNTAC), were in the city as part of the last leg of their four-day visit to India, to explore opportunities for better cooperation and understanding in the textile sector.
After visiting some facilities in and around the city, Tiankai told reporters last night that there was huge potential for exporting grey fabrics and made-ups to his nation.
He also said there was a need to have broad discussions to encourage Chinese firms to invest in the Indian market.
read more.
BUSINESSSTANDARD 2

 00:54:49 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* Brandix Collaborates with Accenture for Business Process Outsourcing Services in Sri Lanka:

Accenture (NYSE: ACN) has signed an agreement with Brandix , the largest exporter of apparel in Sri Lanka, to provide Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) services for human resources, finance and accounting and procurement. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Together, Accenture and Brandix will contribute to the growth of business services in the retail industry with particular focus on the apparel segment, forming an industry centre of excellence.
The agreement is designed to help Brandix build world class, streamlined back office processes at a reduced cost and to drive significant improvement in operational efficiency and effectiveness. Accenture will deliver these services from Colombo, Sri Lanka.
read more.
island

00:24:49 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Harassment at workplaces: Online complaint system launched:

A majority of the working women face harassment at workplaces due to which their productivity and participation in the mainstream economy is badly affected.

Approximately 70 per cent of women who have faced sexual harassment did not want to file a complaint, specifically due to the complicated and inconvenient system.
This was stated at the inauguration of an ‘online complaint system’ about harassment at workplaces.

The system has been launched by the Federal Ombudsman Secretariat (FOS) in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO)’s gender equality for decent employment project funded by the Canadian government.
The participants were informed that according to a survey conducted in public-private organisations, a majority of working women suffered sexual harassment at workplaces but they did not lodge complaints.
read more.
DAWNnew

* Standing out: Going against the tide in the textile industry:

In the midst of declining production in the industry due to gas outages, Ashfaq Textile Mills Limited (ATML) has planned to double its production capacity and will invest Rs1 billion to place itself at a competitive position among the textile exporters.

As part of its expansion plan, the company has recently purchased seven acres of land. Currently, the company is operating 240 Sulzer looms and plans to add 260 more, according to Sheikh Ashfaq Ahmad, chief executive officer of ATML. The company will import the machinery from Switzerland at a cost of Rs3 million per machine.
ATML has been a listed company in the Karachi Stock Exchange since 1991. It is one of few companies operating without borrowing from banks, managing to keep the operational cost at manageable levels.
read more.
tribune

* Import of yarn: China’s decision may enhance cotton prices globally:

China’s decision to import yarn in bulk may elevate cotton prices internationally, a phenomenon anxiously waited by the Pakistan cotton farmers selling their stocks on an average basis prices ranging between Rs 3000 to Rs 3100 in Sindh and Punjab.

According to the Cotton Review of Pakistan Central Cotton Committee, under the Textile Division of Ministry of Commerce, Sindh has reaped up more than 70 percent of the assessed cotton crop for the year 2013-14. Farmers seem satisfied in terms of Phutti prices, in the meantime, declining trend in international prices has affected seed cotton prices in Pakistan.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

* Transporters’ concerns: Textile exporters welcome end of strike:

The Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) on Sunday welcomed the goods transporters’ decision to end their 10-day strike. Transporters had been on a strike against increase in incidents of theft, extortion, and frequent fining by Motorway Police. The strike was called off after talks with the government.

PTEA Chairman Sheikh Ilyas Mahmood and Vice Chairman Adil Tahir said the strike at Karachi port had delayed inland supplies and export consignments and caused billions of rupees loss to exporters. It had cut Pakistan’s traders from the rest of the world as over 20,000 loaded containers had been stuck at seaports, dry ports and at industrial units across the country for 10 days, they said.
read more.
tribune

 

 

map of Asia

HEADLINES:

CHINA
* London seen as center of China-influenced fashion

VIET NAM
* Conference highlights Vietnam’s engagement in TPP
* Vietnam steps up negotiations for signing TPP agreement
* Businesses demand transparent TPP agreement

THAILAND
* Stanley Kang says the garment industry needs to adopt a new approach
* Drop costly populist ploys, businessmen tell parties
* Leather turns in sterling performance
* Sustainable style, responsible sourcing from Levi Strauss

CAMBODIA
* At Strife-Ridden SL Garment Factory, Managers Stand Ground
* Lawyers Condemn Police Shooting of SL Factory Protesters
* Government steps in
* CNRP to Protest in Solidarity With SL Workers
* IMF says Cambodia’s ‘robust’ outlook tempered by downside risks
* Hong Kong’s Addchance opens $20 mln garment factory in Cambodia
* Exports to US rise, slightly

INDONESIA
* Unions want higher minimum wage

BURMA/MYANMAR
* ILO, Myanmar sign agreement on National Labour Force Survey

BANGLADESH
* RMG Wage: Owners, labour leaders agree to wait until Nov 21
* Labour leaders to work with garment owners to implement new wages
* RMG owner-worker federations for an end to unrest
* Gazipur knitting workers vandalise 50 vehicles
* RMG workers go on rampage in Gazipur, Savar
* Unrest Continue as Worker Federations and BGMEA Agree To Be At Peace Till Law Is Made
* 40 hurt as RMG workers agitate for wages
* Factory owners, labour leaders call for calm
* Bangladeshi Garment Workers Fight Back
* RMG workers demonstrate in Gazipur- 25 hurt/20 units shut
* Ashulia unrest hurt 50-200 -Highway blocked, 20-50 factories shut
* Workers torch 2 Gazipur garment factories: 25 Ashulia RMG units shut
* Labour unrest shuts 25 RMG units in Ashulia- Gazipur
* Labour unrest- Gazipur turns into battlefield
* Production at 100 RMG units suspended
* 70 RMG units closed following unrest
* 45 RMG unions demand Tk6,000 minimum wage
* Clash erupts in Ashulia RMG belt
* 50 hurt in cop-RMG worker clash
* BGB deployment in Gazipur
* RMG troubles: No signs of abatement
* Large RMG factories stand by sub-contracting units
* Better pay means more productivity
* GIZ, BGCCI sign MoU to develop skill in RMG
* Common standard for factory inspection set
* Atiur for worker-friendly environ in RMG sector
* Upgrade RMG industry to global standard
* Some RMG factories still risky for workers: DFID
* Govt starts RMG factory inspection
* Factory inspection directorate awaits massive overhaul
* Dhaka set to sign Ticfa on Nov 25
* Nisha sits with garments owners
* Nisha worried about RMG unrest
* Exporters urge Nisha to push US buyers for RMG price hike
* US official Biswal backs trade union in apparel industry
* Frequent hartals compel exporters to go for air shipment of RMG, other goods
* Women labour force rises to 17.2m in seven years
* Rescue package for jute sector
* Sri Lanka offers land to Bangladesh for jute cultivation
* Tazreen Fire, Rana Plaza Collapse: Make public list of casualties
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE:
* All brands responsible should compensate the Rana Plaza victims now
* Rana Plaza compensation talks still frustrate
* Buyers’ compensation for Rana Plaza victims far from reality
ASHULIA TAZREEN GARMENT FACTORY FIRE:
* Tazreen’s owner Delwar faces wrath of victims
ASWAD Garment Factory Fire:
* HRW: Factory deaths could have been prevented

INDIA
* Employees in India can expect 11% pay hike in 2014
* India most preferred destination for global brands for textile
* New textile policy to attract Rs. 10,000 crore investment
* Branded apparels poised to grow
* Possibilities of China-India JV in non-woven textiles

SRI LANKA
* Brandix Collaborates with Accenture for Business Process Outsourcing Services in Sri Lanka

PAKISTAN
* Harassment at workplaces: Online complaint system launched
* Standing out: Going against the tide in the textile industry
* Import of yarn: China’s decision may enhance cotton prices globally
* Transporters’ concerns: Textile exporters welcome end of strike

latest tweets (& news)

Convention on the Rights of the Child
Universal Declaration of Human Rights

I wonder who they are
The men who really run this land
And I wonder why they run it
With such a thoughtless hand

What are their names
And on what streets do they live
I'd like to ride right over
This afternoon and give
Them a piece of my mind
About peace for mankind
Peace is not an awful lot to ask
    David Crosby

I wonder who they are
The people who are buying these clothes
I'd like to know what they've paid for it
How much the makers have paid for this
Fairer income is not an awful lot to ask
Better working conditions is not an awful lot to ask
    A. Searcher

For more and other (labour) news you can follow on twitter: @asearcher2