* ILO says Bangladesh garment deal should be global:
Measures by top Western retailers to improve safety in Bangladesh’s garment factories after a disaster that claimed more than 1,000 lives should be adopted worldwide, a top UN official has said.
“It’s clear we shouldn’t make a double standard,” said Gilbert Houngbo, Deputy Director-General of the International Labour Organisation, yesterday.
“In Bangladesh, yes, but we have to make sure that the other countries, in the region and also in other regions, have it,” the former Prime Minister of Togo told presspersons.
The garment sector was spurred into action by April’s collapse of the Rana Plaza factory complex near the Bangladeshi capital Dkaha, which claimed 1,135 lives in one of the world’s worst ever industrial disasters.
The tragedy, coming in the wake of a factory fire in November 2012 that killed 117 people, led to pledges from big-name Western retailers and the Bangladeshi government to improve conditions.
Planned measures include more frequent fire and construction-safety inspections as well as expanded union rights.
Critics who have long pointed to risky conditions in the factories of the developing world note bitterly that it took more than 1,000 deaths in a single tragedy to jolt the sector into action.
“Unfortunately this is always what makes the whole international community, and national communities, move,” Houngbo said as he launched an ILO report on the Bangladeshi economy.
“My only hope is that, at least, for Bangladesh, there will be no repeat,” he added.
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22:03:04 local time CAMBODIA
* Despite Denials, Levi’s Still Producing at SL Garment Factory:
U.S. denim giant Levi Strauss continued to deny this week that its products are linked to the strife-torn SL Garment Factory in Phnom Penh, despite new photographs showing Levi’s trademark jeans stacked on benches at the plant in Meanchey district.
The Singaporean-owned factory, which also produces clothing for U.S. brand Gap and Swedish retail giant H&M, has seen ongoing protests since early August. Last week, one woman was shot dead by police gunfire and several people injured during clashes between authorities and SL protesters.
In late September, a Levi Strauss representative announced that SL was no longer producing jeans for the company, though no specific reason was cited for the severing of ties with the garment producer.
Yet a visit to the SL factory on Friday revealed that workers were still working on piles of denim pants with the familiar red-and-white Levi’s label sewn onto its back pocket and inside waistband.
* One Week on, Shooting Investigation Has Yielded Nothing:
One week after police opened fire on civilians during clashes that broke out during an SL Garment Factory protest, killing bystander Eng Sokhom and injuring nine others, arrests have yet to be made on the back of an investigation that victims said appears to be going nowhere.
Rights group Licadho on Tuesday also confirmed that one of the 27-year-old survivors of the November 12 clash is now paralyzed for life after being shot in the spine.
“The Ministry of Interior has created a committee to study and investigate the people who violated [the law] and killed people,” said CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap.
“We are following the law, and when we see a perpetrator commit the crime, they must be punished. The quicker they are arrested, the better it will be.”
Seng Seth, a 23-year-old SL worker who was shot in the hand, said if the government was serious about investigating the incident, it would have interviewed him by now to understand his version of the events.
Naly Pilorge, director of Licadho, on Tuesday confirmed that one shooting victim will be paralyzed for life, while another will take at least five months to recover from abdominal injuries caused by a bullet.
She said Licadho is “outraged that [there has been] no investigation—or prosecution of any policeman or the Phnom Penh police commissioner—into the November 12 clashes that led to the killing of an innocent woman and serious injuries including bullet wounds of at least nine others.”
* Cambodian workers battling for their rights:
Garment worker strike continues after violence, highlighting need for reform, critics say.
When volleys of rocks and bricks thrown between hundreds of rioting garment workers and police gave way to the sound of live ammunition, Sve Ka ducked for cover behind a large, plastic drink vendor’s cooler on Veng Sreng Boulevard.
“Cambodia’s crazy!” the young woman said with a nervous chuckle as bullets whizzed by.
By the time demonstrators cleared the streets and traffic moved along the busy road as usual, police gunfire had killed a 49-year-old street-food vendor and wounded at least nine others, according to a count taken by rights group Licadho and the Community Legal Education Centre (CLEC), a local non-government organisation.
The initially peaceful march on November 12 marked the three-month anniversary of the day garment workers at SL Garment Processing (Cambodia) Ltd walked off the job in protest over low wages and working conditions at the factory, which supplies Gap Inc and H&M. SL also supplied Levi Strauss & Co, until the brand stopped buying from the factory in August.
Although the ruling Cambodian People’s Party earlier this year raised the monthly minimum wage for garment and footwear workers from $61 to $75, a joint study released in September by UK-based Labour Behind the Label and CLEC reported that single workers need an income of at least $150 to cover their basic needs. The same study found 25 percent of the 95 workers sampled were seriously malnourished.
Strikes at Cambodian garment factories are endemic, but often short-lived and end with few, if any, concessions from factory management.
Calamity ensued last week when about 600 striking SL employees – along with staffers from the Cambodian Labour Confederation and the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (CCAWDU), which represents a large majority of SL’s 6,000 or so workers – clashed with police officers wielding riot shields and batons at Phnom Penh’s Stung Meanchey bridge.
* Exports to US rise, slightly:
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.
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23:03:04 local time INDONESIA
* Labors Rally over Minimum Wage in Bekasi:
Bekasi saw a great deal of labor strike yesterday as thousands flocked the Regency Office, causing the administration to fail performing. The flock of labors waged protest, demanding an increase on minimum wage (UMK).
Chief of Bekasi Salary Council Effendi, stated that UMK discussion is yet to result in a definite number as there was a disagrrement between the labors and entrepreneurs. Labor union in Bekasi proposed UMK that ranges from Rp3,440,842 to Rp2,924,716. Meanwhile, Indonesia Entrepreneur Association in Bekasi stated to be able to fulfill only up to Rp2,302,300.
* Bekasi workers demand higher wage:
Thousands of workers in Jakarta and its surrounding areas continued rallying on Monday to demand higher salaries, the provision of health care and the elimination of the outsourcing system.
In Bekasi regency, around 5,000 workers demonstrated in front of the regent’s office from 10 a.m. while waiting for the result of the Bekasi Wage Council’s meeting.
The head of the All-Indonesia Workers Union (SPSI) Bekasi, Iman, told The Jakarta Post that workers were ready to strike in the same manner as they did last year — by blocking the Jakarta-Cikampek toll road — if their demands were not met by the regency administration.
* Three provinces have yet to set 2014 minimum wage: Minister:
Three provinces, namely Bali, Lampung and North Maluku, have yet to set their 2014 provincial minimum wage (UMP), which should have been determined by Nov.1.
“We ask all regional heads to pay special attention to the workers-employers mediation process in determining the UMP 2014,” said Manpower and Transmigration Minister Muhaimin Iskandar in a press statement on Monday, as quoted by Antara news agency.
“We continue to push for the process to be accelerated so that tensions between workers and employers can be avoided,” he went on.
* C. Java sets highest 2014 minimum wage at Rp 1.42 million:
Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo approved the 2014 minimum wage (UMK) for regencies and municipalities in the province, on Tuesday.
Semarang City has the highest minimum wage across the province which amounts to Rp 1,423,500 (US$122.75) per month while the region with the lowest minimum wage is Purworejo regency with a minimum wage of Rp 910,000 per month.
20:48:04 local time NEPAL
* Carpet export earnings down 1.39 percent:
Export earnings froms fell 1.39 percent to $17.61 million in the first quarter of the current fiscal year from $17.86 million in the same period last year.
However, export volume rose by 2.73 percent 142,107 sqm in the first three months of the fiscal year compared to 138,337 sqm in the same period a year ago, according to the Trade and Export Promotion Centre (TEPC).
Exporters said despite a huge potential, labour shortage has been creating problems in delivering orders timely. “The export could have surged provided we managed to deliver in bulk after accumulating orders for a longer period,” said Anup Bahadur Malla, president of the Nepal Carpet Exporters’ Association. He said domestic products were losing competitiveness amid increasing supply of cheaper Indian and Chinese products.
21:03:04 local time BANGLADESH
* Violence goes on unabated in apparel hubs:
Garment manufacturers are holding a series of parleys to put an end to the ongoing workers’ agitation that rocked the country’s two important apparel hubs – Ashulia and Gazipur – Tuesday also.
The Ministry of Labour and Employment officials will also sit with the garment sector stakeholders today (Wednesday) to find out ways for resolving the unrest.
During the last three days, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) sat with RMG owners, worker leaders, law enforcers and government officials concerned for a number of occasions to restore normalcy at garment units.
But the meetings are yet to bring any positive output, as the unrest stretched to 15th consecutive day Tuesday, causing production suspension in a number of units. Production in around 50 garment factories was suspended on the day following the latest spell of violence. At least 40 people, mostly workers, were injured in sporadic clashes between workers and law enforcers.
Police charged baton on the protestors and fired teargas shells and rubber bullets to contain the situation, fuelling further violence.
Witnesses said the violence erupted at about 8:45am Tuesday, when workers of several factories at Baipail, Zirabo, Jamgora, Shimultola, Norsinghapur and Palshabari in Ashulia RMG belt went on rampage, demanding implementation of the proposed wage hike from November.
Talking to the FE, assistant director of Industrial Police-1 (Ashulia and Savar) Md. Shahid Ullah said the workers joined their work in the morning, but came out of their respective units just after a few minutes. “On the way to leave, they started attacking nearby factories to attach more protestors in their demonstration, creating disruption of production,” he said.
The senior police official said the latest wage structure somehow created confusion among the RMG workers, as they are not sure how much money they will get after implementation of the latest wage board.
“This is the main problem. Nobody takes the matter seriously. The confusion among the operators should be cleared, as they accounted for nearly 75 per cent of the industry’s total workforce,” he added.
* Garment workers seek clarity over wage:
Protesters act over misinformation; 100 factories shut and 30 injured in clashes
Police stand guard to disperse the garment workers who took to the streets in the industrial zone of Ashulia yesterday, following the death of two workers in Gazipur earlier. They are also calling for higher wage. Photo: Star
Confusion over new salary structure and rumours of casualties in other garment factories have been causing the labour unrest in Ashulia and Gazipur over the last couple of weeks, much to the frustrations of garment owners.
“When I went to the management to find out how much I would get under the new salary structure, I was informed that it may be Tk 8,500,” said a female worker of Rose Dresses in Jamgarah in Ashulia.
She now gets Tk 8,000 per month, meaning a pay rise of possibly just Tk 500 is forthcoming in contrast to the 77 percent salary hike for entry-level workers.
“This is totally unfair. An entry-level worker would get a raise of Tk 2,300 whereas I, an experienced worker, would get only Tk 500. How is this just?”
Amena Khatun, a sewing operator in another factory in Ashulia, too, felt hard done by.
“The new salary structure doesn’t bring any good news for us—they didn’t think of our interests but only of entry-level workers. This is unacceptable.”
Mamun, a sewing operator at Quaval Textile at Konabari in Gazipur, however, is holding his reservations until he hears an official announcement from the factory announcement.
“We just heard from workers in other factories that a pay rise is on the way. The authorities didn’t tell us anything yet but people are getting all worked up and fighting.”
* No trace of an RMG worker after clash:
Kolpona Akhter, 18, was nowhere to be found since the clash, claimed Jobeda Khatun, the mother of the missing woman
A garment worker of Gazipur’s JMS Composite Knitwear Ltd factory have reportedly gone missing, following Monday’s clash between the police and the factory workers.
Kolpona Akhter, 18, was nowhere to be found since the clash, claimed Jobeda Khatun, the mother of the missing woman.
Speaking to journalists and law enforcers in front of the factory on Tuesday, she said Kolpona and her husband Muzahid worked at the factory as a helper and an operator respectively.
Showing a photo of her daughter, the mother burst into tears and said Kolpona is the third among her four children.
* RMG workers go wild in Ashulia, Gazipur:
Readymade garment (RMG) workers went on the rampage through different areas of Ashulia and Gazipur.
On Tuesday morning protesting against the death of their two fellows in Monday’s clash and demanding Tk8,300 minimum monthly wage.
In Ashulia, workers of about 30 garment factories in Jamgora, Jirabu, Narasinghapur and Polasbari areas took position in front of their respective factories not taking part in regular works in the morning and were chanting slogans on the death of two apparel workers in a clash in Gazipur yesterday (Monday), said Mustafizur Rahman, director of Ashulia Industrial Police.
During the demonstration, the workers also raised a voice for Tk8,300 as minimum wage.
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* RMG unrest in Ashulia, Gazipur, 80 units shut:
Readymade garment (RMG) workers went on the rampage through different areas of Ashulia and Gazipur on Tuesday morning protesting against the death of their two colleagues in Monday’s clash and demanding Tk8,300 minimum monthly wage.
In Ashulia, workers of about 30 garment factories in Jamgora, Jirabu, Narasinghapur and Polasbari areas took position in front of their factories and were chanting slogans.
Later, all workers put up barricade on the Abdullahpur-Bypile road disrupting vehicle movement.
Police rushed to the spot and dispersed the unruly workers by spraying teargas, leaving 25 people injured.
The authorities of the 30 factories declared holiday for today (Tuesday) apprehending further trouble.
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* Massive protests erupt in Bangladesh over pay rise death:
Thousands of garment workers Tuesday staged violent demonstration after two of their colleagues died Monday evening when the laborers, demanding higher minimum wage, clashed with police in a key apparel hub.
The unrest entered the 15th consecutive day Tuesday despit the garment owners agreed to a new wage at a meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Nov. 13.
A senior police official in Gazipur industrial zone told Xinhua that the workers started demonstration in industrial hubs in Gazipur and Ashulia on the outskirts of capital Dhaka, protesting the death of two workers during Monday’s clash with cops.
The official who refused to be identified said the protestors also demanded a higher minimum wage and immediate reopening of the factories, which were shut down last month following labor unrest over salary.
Most of Ashulia’s 782 garment factories have declared a holiday on Tuesday, fearing more violence.
* RMG unrest continues in Gazipur, BGB deployed:
Around 50 factory owners also shut down their factories in the areas on Tuesday to avoid any untoward situation
Garment workers in Gazipur continued their demonstrations on Tuesday, protesting the killings of two labourers in Sardaganj area of Gazipur sadar upazila on Monday.
Workers of Konabari, Borobari and Sardagnaj areas of the district also raised calls for a pay-hike and the withdrawal of closure notices by the factories.
A chase and counter-chase took place between the workers and the police, after law enforcers hurled teargas shells to disperse processions brought out by the workers.
Nazrul Islam, inspector of Gazipur Industrial Police, said the police fired two rounds of rubber bullet to disperse another procession brought out by garment workers in Gazipur’s Konabari-Kashimpur area at around 8am.
Later at around 10am, agitated workers hurled brick chips towards a team of police led by an executive magistrate, when the team was heading towards Konabari. Police shot rubber bullets to disperse the protesters.
Meanwhile, Border Guard Bangladesh personnel, along with additional police and Rab members, have been deployed in the area to control the situation.
* RMG owners sit with Home Minister:
Leaders of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) are holding an urgent meeting with Home Minister MK Alamgir and higher authorities of Labor Ministry and officers of intelligence agencies on Tuesday noon.
The meeting started at around 12:30pm at home ministry amid continuous workers’ unrest in Ashulia and adjacent garment hubs.
* Govt to prevent RMG violence sternly:
State Minister for Home Affairs Ministry on Tuesday categorically said the law enforcement agency would take stern action against the miscreants involved in vandalism and sabotage in readymade garment sector.
He also said the police administration has already been given directives in this regard.
The ruling Awami League lawmaker came up with the assertion in the afternoon.
* RMG owners for action:
Readymade garment factory owners have urged the government to take action against those behind the recent unrest in the factories.
BGMEA and BKMEA leaders met the Minister and State Minister for Home on Tuesday and discussed the recent agitation in Savar, Ashulia and Gazipur industrial zones over the past several days.
Md Hatem, Vice President of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), said they had accepted the minimum monthly wage of Tk 5,300 even though they were not in a position to pay the amount.
“Why is this anarchy persisting even after that?” he asked.
Garment workers are agitating every day even after the owners following the intervention of the Prime Minister have agreed to pay them Tk 5,300 as minimum monthly wage recommended by the government-sponsored wage board.
Earlier, the workers’ leaders demanded Tk 8,114 as minimum monthly wage.
* 60 injured as apparel workers, police clash:
At least 60 people were injured as apparel workers protesting against Monday’s killing of two of their fellows battled with the police in Gazipur and Ashulia for the second straight day on Tuesday.
Garment factory workers have been staging protests in the industrial belt for the last few days also for an upward revision of the minimum monthly wage announced by the wages board and in protest at closure of some apparel units in the face of the unrest.
Earlier on Monday, two apparel workers, including a woman, were killed and over 250 others injured as the police opened fire to break up violent demonstrations at Kashimpur in Gazipur.
A team of BGMEA met with home minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir on the day to discuss the latest flare-up of violence in the garment sector while state minister for home affairs Shamsul Haque warned the troublemakers of stern action.
New Age Gazipur correspondent reported that at least 15 apparel workers were injured, five of them hit by bullets, as several hundred protesters clashed with the police at Konabari-Sardaganj.
Gazipur police sub-inspector Jahangir Alam said the trouble begatn after GMS Composite Knitting Industry management had hung a notice in the morning declaring the factory closed for the time being.
* Government to bring RMG troublemakers to book:
The RMG workers have been agitating to press their demand for Tk8,000 against Tk5,300 , decided by the government
The government has assured the owners of readymade garment (RMG) factories that the troublemakers of the garment sector would be identified and brought to book.
“The process is underway to identify and bring the instigators responsible for creating unrest in garment factories to book,” State Minister for Home, Shamsul Hoque Tuku told the media at his office after a meeting on Tuesday.
Following frequent unrests in the RMG units and the death of two garment workers on Monday, the home ministry held the meeting to assess the current situation of the industry, including the wages and allowances of workers.
The RMG workers have been agitating to press their demand for Tk8,000 as monthly minimum wage, against Tk5,300 decided by the government.
Home Minister MK Alamgir presided over the meeting, which was attended by, among others, Home Ministry Senior Secretary CQK Mustaq Ahmed, Inspector General of Police Hassan Mahmud Khandkar, Labour Secretary Mikhail Shipper, Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) Director General Aziz Ahmed and Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) President Atiqul Islam.
* Govt probing violations of TU rights in RMG sector:
The government has initiated a move to investigate an allegation that some readymade garment (RMG) factories have terminated jobs of workers and filed cases against them because of forming trade unions (TUs), sources said.
The US embassy in Dhaka made the allegation against seven garment factories. The authorities concerned were asked to prepare a report on it within seven days, they added.
Terming the issue important, sources said the Sustainable Compact signed by the government of Bangladesh, the European Union (EU) and the US and the US Action Plan, implementation of which is linked to revival of the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) in the US market, also recommended allowing freedom of association and collective bargaining in the RMG sector.
* B’desh must introduce comprehensive labour market: ILO:
Improving working conditions in Bangladesh’s readymade garment (RMG) industry is crucial for achieving a sustainable growth in the country maintaining its economic momentum and improve living standards, says a new ILO report.
“Unless a comprehensive set of labour market and social policies are introduced, Bangladesh will be unable to maintain its economic momentum and improve living standards in a sustainable way. And while the RMG sector is central to the economy, new measures need to be far-reaching ones,” the report warns.
The report, titled ‘Bangladesh: Seeking better employment conditions for better socioeconomic outcomes’, prepared by the ILO (International Labour Organization) Research Department in consultation with ILO’s tripartite constituents in Bangladesh.
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* RMG sector working state among global worst: ILO:
The working conditions in the garment sector in Bangladesh have been among the worst in the global garment industry despite the fact that the country enjoyed relatively high economic growth over the past two decades due mainly to readymade garment exports, said a report of the International Labour Organisation released on Monday.
The report ‘Bangladesh: Seeking better employment conditions for better socioeconomic outcomes’ put emphasis on the importance of improving working conditions in the RMG industry to achieve sustainable growth in the country.
The ILO research department prepared the report in consultation with the organisation’s tripartite constituents in Bangladesh.
The report said, ‘Unless a comprehensive set of labour market and social policies are introduced, the country will be unable to maintain its economic momentum and improve living standards in a sustainable way.’
* Better RMG working terms key to sustainable economic growth: ILO:
Bangladesh needs to improve the working conditions in its garment industry for attaining a sustainable economic growth, an International Labour Organisation (ILO) report said.
“Bangladesh must improve working conditions in its garment industry which is also crucial for achieving sustainable growth in the country,” said the ILO report.
The ILO released the study report titled “Bangladesh: Seeking better employment conditions for better socio-economic outcomes” in Geneva on September 18.
For example, Bangladesh’s garment sector workers earn some of the lowest wages in the region. As of August 2013, the monthly minimum wage for entry-level workers in the garment sector was US$39 per month, about half of the lowest rate in other major garment-exporting countries, such as Cambodia (US$80), India (US$71), Pakistan (US$79), Sri Lanka (US$73) and Vietnam (US$78).
While some other countries revise their minimum wages on a regular basis, Bangladesh has adjusted the RMG minimum wage only three times since it was first set in 1985 – with the last revision dating back to 2010. A wage board constituted this year is expected to make recommendations for a minimum wage increase shortly.
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* Speed up momentum on RMG reforms:
All stakeholders in the RMG sector need to increase the pace of progress
A new ILO report notes that without comprehensive implementation of improved market and social policies, the country will be unable to maintain its economic momentum.
It is imperative therefore for stakeholders in the RMG industry especially the government, factory owners, and buyers to up their game and increase the momentum of the recent progress that has been made in the sector.
The government is appointing 200 factory inspectors but its work is still moving at a slower pace than international stakeholder initiatives. With over 9,000 registered factories and 200,000 unregistered sites, the government urgently needs to follow through on hiring and training more factory inspectors.
* Wal-Mart audit finds progres sat factories:
Calls for more transparency in safety at apparel factories in Bangladesh are paying off, as audit results released by Wal-Mart show.
The US retail giant became the first major retailer to release a large-scale audit of Bangladeshi factories it sources garments from, outlining the failure and improvement rates in fire and building safety at 75 facilities.
Ten of the 75 factories had failed initial assessments and improved their scores in follow-up inspections, Wal-Mart spokesman Kevin Gardner told Bloomberg. Only two plants did not meet standards during the follow-up assessment and Wal-Mart will no longer use those locations, he said.
The retailer hired Bureau Veritas to check some 200 factories it uses in the country, with plans to publicly release the results from the audits.
* First Ticfa meeting likely on Nov 25:
The discussion in the meeting is expected to have positive impact on regaining the GSP eligibility
The first meeting under the Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (Ticfa) will be held on November 25, soon after the signing of the much talked-about deal with the US.
“We are going to Washington to sign Ticfa and we are hopeful of having the first meeting under the deal on November 25,” Director General of Americas Wing of the foreign ministry Mahfuzur Rahman said.
20:33:04 local time INDIA
* Goods worth lakhs gutted as major fire destroys garment factory:
The fire and emergency department of Surat Municipal Corporation ( SMC) was on its toes on late on Monday night when a major fire broke out in a ready made garment manufacturing company at Sachin GIDC.
Officials said that the fire broke out late at night and that they received an emergency call from the Sachin fire department.
The company has been exporting ready made garments and fabrics including shirts to different parts of the world.
Officials said that ready made garments and fabrics worth lakhs of rupees kept in the factory was gutted in the fire. It took more than three hours for the fire tenders to control the fire.
“The fire is believed to have taken place due to some short circuit incident inside the factory. There are no casualties as the workers were not present during the night shift” said a fire official.
* The gender divide in the Indian labour market:
India’s female labour force participation rate fell nearly seven percentage points to 22.5% between 2004-05 and 2011-12
* Kavuri inaugurates apparel training centre for women:
Union Minister for Textiles Kavuri Sambasiva Rao inaugurated an Apparel Training & Design Centre (ATDC) here on Tuesday.
The centre, functioning under the control of the Union Ministry of Textiles, will impart training to the jobless women in different areas relating to fashion and garment sectors such as Operator (Basic), Operator (Advance), Finishers and Packers, machine technician, surface ornamentation and tailoring. Initially, 200 women, mostly from the Self Help Groups, were drafted from different places across the district for receiving training.
Speaking at a function organised in this connection, the Minister proposed to establish similar training centres at Jangareddygudem and Chintalapudi shortly, keeping in mind the growing demand for the skilled hands in the apparel industry.
* Two children handed over to CWC:
Two child workers rescued from Bt-cotton fields in Thalaivasal block recently were handed over to Child Welfare Committee (CWC) in Tiruvannamalai district.
Four girls were rescued from the field in a raid carried out by the Child Line.
They were produced before the CWC and lodged in Reception Home for Girls here. All the four where from Javadu Hills. A girl produced school certificates that confirmed that she is regularly attending school and was present in the field to meet her relatives.
* Weavers stage protest:
In the 1960s and 70s, Puducherry was flush with weaving opportunities, with over 12,000 people being employed in the field. Many of them set up looms in their courtyards, and handloom from Puducherry was famous across the country.
Today, however, it’s a different story: there are just around 600 people who still continue in the profession, and even these people are slowly being forced to take up other work, seeking employment as house maids or looking for work in the construction industry.
For the past 40 years, Kamala and many women like her have been depending on the loom for their livelihood. Earlier, Kamala used to wake up in the morning, finish her prayers and head straight to the loom in her house. Until she finished up for the day, when the light was too dim, she would not leave her seat.
Now, her loom lies silent, with no thread to weave into exotic saris and no money to support her family. This is the condition of most households that depended on the loom for their livelihoods, Kamala explains.
* Rising silk yarn output helps cut imports from China:
A gradual increase in the quantum of indigenously produced silk yarn over the last five years has brought about a corresponding decline in the country’s dependence on imported silk yarn, mostly from China.
To meet its raw silk requirements, India had imported almost 8,400 metric tonnes (MT) of silk yarn against 18,370 MT of indigenously produced silk during 2008-09. Five years later in 2012-13, the quantum of imported silk yarn had declined substantially to less than 5,000 MT while indigenously produced silk had gone up to 23,679 MT.
20:03:04 local time PAKISTAN
* Textile mills in Punjab badly hit by poor gas, power supplies:
Punjab-based textile industry has agitated against costlier electricity and poor gas supply to mills, apprehending missing the train of Generalised System of Preference (GSP) plus in case of government’s failure in providing the basic facilities.
The industry circles have pointed out that the electricity tariff for industry in Pakistan is around 15 cents against around 7 cents for textile industries in competing countries of the region. Further, they said the textile units in Punjab were also heavily exposed to six hours a day electricity load shedding on independent feeders.
* Transporters strike: PBEA regrets apathy of government:
Pakistan Bed Wear Exporters Association (PBEA) has regretted the lack of apathy of the government in resolving transporters’ strike issue which has almost crippled the exporters.
Patron-in-chief of PBEA, Shabir Ahmed questioned why did the government sleep on this vital issue for last two weeks? Due to the strike Pakistan not only had lost valuable foreign exchange but the economy also badly suffered a big damage as billions of rupees were lost during this period, he said.
* Cotton output jumps 11.7%:
The country produced around 9.518 million bales of cotton up to November 15, 2013, an increase of one million bales, or 11.73 per cent, over the corresponding period last year when 8.519m bales were produced.
The impressive growth in the said period is a strong indicator that the crop size would be even higher than the government estimates of 12.9m bales and may even exceed 14 million bales, analysts said.
The jump in phutti arrival in Punjab completely changed the initial production estimates which were put at around 12.65m bales. The fortnightly (Nov 1 to 15) phutti arrivals data issued by the Pakistan Cotton Ginners’ Association (PCGA) showed that cotton production in Punjab increased by 8.41pc at 6.204m bales as against 5.723m bales produced in the same period last year. This would mean that 481,068 more cotton bales were produced in Punjab.
20:03:04 local time UZBEKISTAN
* Hospital chief physician in Samarqand province fired over cotton bribes:
Farmon Azimov, chief physician at an Urgut hospital in Samarqand province, who took bribes from his staff in exchange for them being “excused” from cotton works, has been dismissed from his job.
More than five hundred staff members at the Bogi Usmon hospital – doctors, surgeons, nurses, paramedics, administrators and maintenances – were forced to work in this year’s cotton harvest. The head physician Farmon Azimov, whowas in charge of the cotton works coordination, levied a bribe to the amount of 200,000 soms ($75) for those not wishing to participate in the cotton works.
The employees who did not or could not pay were sent to the Khonkishlok farm in Pastdargam for fifteen-day cotton shifts.
The daily quote expected of the medical workers was 60 kg and they had to walk four kilometers each way to get to and from the fields.
At one point a flu epidemic broke out among the cotton pickers but they were forced to continue their work despite being sick.