14:55:50 local time VIET NAM
* Minimum wage increase fails to meet living costs:
With the basic salary increase of around VND350,000 (USD16.56) per month, payment would meet only nearly 80% of an average worker’s budget.
The Vietnamese government has issued a new decree which stipulates the new basic salary, which would provide the highest salaries to the most developed areas.
Area 1 includes Hanoi, HCM City, Quang Ninh, Danang, Binh Duong, Dong Nai and Vung Tau, which will have salary increases of to VND2.7 million (USD127.75).
Area 2 includes Haiphong, Vinh Phuc, Thai Nguyen, Khanh Hoa, Binh Phuoc, Tay Ninh, Long An, An Giang, Can Tho and Ca Mau, and will have VND2.4 million (USD113.55) as a basic salary. Areas 3 and 4 will respectively set VND2.1 million (USD9936) and VND1.9 million (USD89.90) as basic salaries.
The new salaries are between VND250,000 (USD11.82) and VND350,000 (USD16.56) per month higher than the current payments.
>> Finance ministry confirms no salary cuts next year
>> Finance ministry’s salary cut proposal faces government opposition
>> Minimum wage increase proposed
>> Minimum wage for civil servants rises
>> Ministry proposes minimum wage increase delayread more.
* Fibre2fashion & VITAS sign cooperation agreement:
Fibre2fashion signed a cooperation agreement with the largest textile and apparel association in Vietnam – VITAS (Vietnam Textile & Apparel Association)
The objective of the cooperation agreement between VITAS and Fibre2fashion is to facilitate and support the growing Vietnamese textile and clothing industry.
Under the agreement, Fibre2fashion and VITAS will take several online, offline initiatives & measures which will create awareness about the global textile and garment industry among all the members of Vietnamese textile and apparel sector.
Fibre2fashion and VITAS will work together to spread information about trends in global textiles & apparel industry as well as promoting Vietnamese textiles and apparel companies on the global platform.
14:55:50 local time CAMBODIA
* Factory ordered to clean act:
The Ministry of Labour has ordered management at a Kandal province garment factory to clean their workroom and limit employees’ overtime hours, in response to over 100 workers fainting over two days.
During a visit to King First Industrial Co, Ltd’s Kandal location yesterday, Seng Sakada, director-general of the Labour Ministry, cited excessive overtime, insufficient ventilation and poor sanitation as likely causes for Thursday and Friday’s mass faintings.
“The employees work so much overtime, they are weak to the point of fainting,” Sakada said, adding that some employees work two to four extra hours every day. “The factory [also] must rid the workplace of all pollution in the air.”
15:55:50 local time INDONESIA
* Apindo rejects West Java minimum wage:
The Indonesian Employers Association’s (Apindo) West Java branch has filed an objection to the 2014 minimum wage for 26 regencies and cities across West Java.
“Karawang regency is now recorded as the region with highest minimum wage, surpassing Jakarta. The main issue is, is the cost of living in Karawang higher than in Jakarta?” said West Java Apindo chairman Dedy Wijaya on Friday.
West Java Governor Ahmad Heryawan approved the 2014 minimum wage for Karawang at Rp 2,447,450. The 2014 minimum wage for Jakarta has been set at Rp 2,441,301.
* Brace for more rallies, say unions:
Most of these cities, including the capital, have already set their 2014 minimum wage, and city dwellers are expressing annoyance, even more so than during the first wave of nationwide strikes held Oct. 31 to Nov. 1.
When asked for a comment, a manager in charge of thousands of cigarette factory workers only texted, “Pusing! [headache]”, during the prior weeks of heated negotiations.
The Jakarta unions have lowered their demand, though it may be too little too late as Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has indicated that he will not budge from the set minimum monthly wage of Rp 2.4 million (US$ 205.22), up 11 percent from the current Rp 2.2 million wage.
Instead of the Rp 3.7 million they were originally demanding, union boss Said Iqbal has said the Jakarta workers are now seeking Rp 3 million per month, citing the minimum cost of living in the city at
Rp 2.8 million.
* The varied demands of striking laborers:
Workers in different cities are still demanding higher wages ahead of the new year. Laborers in the capital have lowered their demand for a Rp 3 million (US$258.60) monthly minimum wage, down from the Rp 3. 7 million they were initially demanding. But they have other agenda as well.
Continued rallies and strikes indicate that workers have additional demands other than just attaining apparently impossible minimum wage hikes — at least in Jakarta, where Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and his deputy Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama have said they would not cave in to laborers’ minimum wage hike demands.
Workers have said that aside from higher wages and an end to outsourcing, recent nationwide strikes have targeted the following: strengthening unions across factories and regions; emboldening women workers to speak up and organize; forcing employers to pay the minimum wage; ending extension of casual workers to well over 10 years of service — often paid less than the minimum wage; calling for workers in other areas to demand higher wages, in anticipation of factories relocating to non-industrial areas such as West and Central Java where workers are not organized; and putting pressure on employers to not fire union leaders and others suspected of union activities.
* Better trust and data in wage deals: Hpeful changes under Jokowi:
Jakarta Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and his deputy have reiterated the administration’s commitment toward a friendly investment climate, while reminding employers to play fair and warning workers against “unrealistic” demands.
Such attitudes may be one source of hope for better negotiations in the future, at least in Jakarta. Among union leaders, acknowledgment of mistakes and talks of better strategies may also lead to less standoffs.
So far it is the varied results of surveys, citing the number of components of basic living costs, along with the alleged under-representation of workers that has contributed to blocked negotiations. Workers blame a lack of transparency while employers complain of low productivity and uncompetitive wages.
14:25:50 local time BURMA/MYANMAR
* Garment exports soar following European Union trade pact:
Garment exports have surged since the European Union admitted Myanmar into its generalised system of preferences last April, opening up European markets.
According to U Aung Myint, director of SMC garment manufacturing and member of the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers’ Association, Myanmar exported US$400 million worth of garments from May through July, on pace to surpass the $700 million it exported through all of the last financial year.
He said that the sudden rise in exports has also been fuelled by problems with the garment sector in competiting regional countries.
“Bangladesh, the leading country for garment manufacturing with more than $20 billion worth of exports, is now facing social compliance problems. In China, wages are rising. That’s what helped attract buyers to Myanmar,” he said.
But the boost has also brought drawbacks.
13:55:50 local time BANGLADESH
* Bangladesh’s RMG wage still the world’s lowest:
The minimum monthly wage of the readymade made garment workers in Bangladesh will continue to be the world’s lowest despite a 74 per cent hike proposed from the next month.
A government appointed wage board recently fixed the minimum monthly wage at Tk 5,300 equivalent to US $68.12, up from Tk 3,000 or around $39.
The hike is unlikely to help Bangladesh overcome the image as the home to lowest paid workers.
Bangladesh’s apparel industry employs four million workers, mostly women.
The new wage is likely to come into force on December 3, will be three dollars less than the minimum wage an RMG worker earns in India and five dollars less than a Sri Lankan gets.
According to an International Labour Organsiation report, released last week, the minim wage for an RMG worker is $73 and in India — $71.
Vietnam pays the minimum wag of $78, Pakistan — $79 and Cambodia–$80.
By refusing to pay more to the workers, Bangladesh’s RMG entrepreneurs only lost a big opportunity to leave their bad reputations behind, said former caretaker government adviser and economist Mirza Azizul Islam.
20131122 * RMG workers’ peace rally at Ashulia:
The scenario of Ashulia was totally different on Friday as garment workers staged a peace rally with police and Home Owners’ Somity.
Thousands of readymade garments workers joined in the peace rally at Fantasy Kingdom in Jamgora area arranged by Lions Club of Dhaka.
In the rally house owners were requested not to increase the house rent ten percent in a year and workers were requested to shun violence in the name of protest.
Meanwhile, workers also welcomed the decision of house owners about not to increase rent.
With Lions Club Regional Branch Chairperson Abu Sahid in the chair, Industrial Deputy Inspector General of Police Morshed, and others were present in the peace rally.
In last few months, RMG workers staged several protest, blocked highways, vandalized vehicles and factories in Ashulia to pres their demand of Tk 8,000 minimum salary.
Finally, the government fixed TK 5,300 as minimum salary.
* Winners and losers:
As the dust settles after the latest round of wage negotiations, with BGMEA and BKMEA accepting the government determined wage rate of Tk5,300, questions abound as to who gained and who lost from the deal. BGMEA leadership had been reluctant to give in to workers’ demands and subsequent rounds of discussion bore no concrete results.
The re-adjusted minimum wage, agreed upon by the wage commission, was squarely rejected by RMG owners. Amid such disagreements, violence flared up in Savar and Gazipur belts as workers agitated for more equitable pay. Finally, the PM had to step in by convincing the BGMEA and BKMEA leaders to accept the new minimum wage for greater stability of the RMG sector.
Before delving further into the issue, it is imperative to understand the economics of minimum wages in relations to the RMG sector. Many economists discourage the practice of setting minimum wages as it distorts the demand-supply mechanism.
Minimum wages, according to them, only provide temporary respite while negatively impacting competitiveness, and reducing efficiency. Many RMG owners point to the possible decline in RMG competitiveness due to increasing the wage. Also, they highlight that the minimum wage is applicable to trainees only, with more skilled workers earning 2-3 times more than the minimum.
RMG workers complain of missing out from the good fortune of the booming RMG sector. Despite doubling exports over the last five years, the wage hike has not caught up with inflation. Over the last three years, the real wage of RMG workers has actually declined.
* Minimum wage in RMG sector from global perspective:
Most of them used to work as maids in urban kitchens, in most cases, for subsistence known as ‘pete-bhate’ in Bengali.
Then came the opportunity to work in the manufacturing sector, more specifically, in the readymade garments sector (RMG). They left the urban kitchen forcing the urban people to do their own dishes.
Today, about 4.0 million workers, about 90 per cent of whom are girls and women, are working in the RMG sector. Local and international social activists are very concerned, rightly so, about the rights and pay of these workers.
Not all girls of Bangladesh are fortunate to find their way in the RMG sector, and hence still doomed to work as maid.
There are Aduris, who are deprived of the ‘Ador’ (affection) of her parents due to the abject poverty, and sent to urban household by her parents for the bare minimum.
Media frequently publishes news of them being tortured, abused, humiliated and sometimes even killed. Yet, there is none to speak for them.
There are garages in our own neighbourhood where children coming from poor background work in one of the most inhumane working conditions.
They serve the urban people who are the main users of transport, both private and public. Their suffering right in front of us goes unnoticed.
While our vigilance on the RMG sector should continue, the other unfortunate victims of inhumane working conditions and low wages should not go unnoticed.
20131124 * 50-100 hurt in RMG workers-police clash in Savar:
At least 50 people, including two policemen, were injured as garment workers clashed with police in Karnapara area on Dhaka-Aricha highway here on Sunday morning.
Mostafa Kamal, officer-in-charge of Savar police station, said workers of a garment factory of Al-Muslim Group attacked and vandalised the local fire station following an altercation with the fire station officials over teasing a female worker of the factory around 8:00am.
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20131124 * RMG workers vandalise fire station:
At least 60 people, including firefighters and policemen, were hurt as unruly garment workers attacked a fire service station and clashed with law enforcers in Savar yesterday morning.
The workers of Al-Muslim Group attacked and beat up staff of Savar Fire Service Station near Ulail bus stand following a rumour that their two other female colleagues were forcibly taken to the station over a trifling argument with the station staff.
They also looted valuables from the station and vandalised at least 12 vehicles, including three vehicles of the station and two motorcycles of its staff, said the station sources and Savar police.
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* Review body to decide fate of non-compliant units:
A review committee has been formed to decide on shutdown of any garment factory, if found risky or non-compliant during inspection by any of the three parties — BUET, Accord and Alliance.
The National Tripartite Committee (NTC) in a meeting chaired by Labour Secretary Mikail Shipar Thursday approved the seven-member committee comprising key government agencies, employers and trade unions, sources said.
The committee, formed to implement the NTC’s Plan of Action on Building and Fire Safety in the readymade garment (RMG) sector and thus prevent any further loss of life, limb and property in workplace fires or any other incident, also comprises representatives from the Accord and the Alliance.
The Accord is a platform of more than 100 buyers and retailers, mainly in the European Union, and the Alliance is another coalition of North America-based buyers.
However, the committee approved a common set of standards on inspection finalised earlier this month by technical experts from the NTC, Accord and Alliance at a workshop facilitated by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
“The NTC in Thursday’s meeting approved the seven-member review committee that will decide on the shutdown of any garment factory, if needed,” Dr Mehedi Ahmed Ansari, a teacher of BUET (Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology), who is also involved in the inspection under the NTC, told the FE Friday.
* Govt starts RMG factory safety inspection:
The National Tripartite Committee, an initiative taken by the government to ensure fire and building safety in the readymade garment sector, on Friday began formally inspection to the RMG factories which are not on the inspection lists published by EU Accord and North American Alliance, two global retailers’ groups.
Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh formed by European Union retailers and Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety Initiative formed by North American retailers will separately inspect the factories that manufacture products for their members.
On the first day of the government inspection, five teams led by experts of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology visited some factories at Shantinagar, Demra, Gendaria, Mirpur and Matuail in Dhaka, sources involved with the process told
‘The five teams have inspected today [Friday] 10 RMG units,’ said Mehedi Ahsan Ansari, an expert of BUET.
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* ILO-backed inspection on:
The government has ramped up inspection of building and fire safety at garment factories in efforts to ensure safer workplaces for apparel workers and avoid preventable disasters.
Five teams of experts from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) yesterday inspected about 10 garment factories in the capital, said Mehedi Ahmed Ansari, who led the team.
The top engineering university will do the work on behalf of the government, which has agreed to inspect 2,000 garment factories under an arrangement with the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
Although the official inspection began yesterday, the pilot inspection started on November 15. So far, experts have inspected 30 factories for building safety and 15 for fire safety.
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20131123 * Crack prompts workers to halt production in RMG factories at Tongi :
Productions at two sweater factories, ‘SS sweater ‘ and ‘Fame sweater’ were suspended as the workers refused to join their production lines following a crack in the factory building ‘Chaity Complex’ at Darail area under Tongi upazila in Gazipur on Saturday.
The Gazipur district administration formed a probe committee to investigate the crack. The district administration also announced the factory shut for the next three days.
Witnesses said, the workers noticed the crack on a wall of the top floor of the seven-storey building on Thursday afternoon and informed the authorities.
In the morning Saturday, a group of workers went to their factory and found the crack was still there. The workers then came out of the building and gathered in front of the factory and staged demonstration.
The workers alleged that the factory authorities forced them to work in the morning. They refused and began demonstrations at around 8:00am, which continued for about three hours.
One worker of the factory, Jewel, alleged that the factory owner was asking the workers to get back to work.
‘We will not go inside. We are afraid of fatal accident,’ said Jewel.
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* Factory safety: Fate of non-compliant units :
The apparel industry with its expansion at a robust rate during the past two decades or more has emerged as an important factor with enormous influence on both social and economic arenas of the country.
More importantly, until now it remains the single largest export industry in which the major importing countries have been demonstrating particular interest in ensuring safety and security of millions of workers, mostly women, engaged in hundreds of apparel units.
However, demonstration of special interest by large importers of Bangladesh apparels has not been without any reason.
The retailers as well as governments of the developed nations that happen to be the major importers of Bangladesh readymade garments (RMG) are very much accountable to their respective consumers.
So, issues such as exploitation of workers or lack of their safety and security in countries from where consumer goods are sourced very often prompt the consumers and rights organisations to raise questions that retailers and governments of the importing countries can hardly overlook.
20131124 * Sweater factory supervisor killed in Gazipur:
Police recovered the body of a sweater factory supervisor from a paddy field at Dighir Chala in Gazipur on Sunday.
The deceased was identified as Joynal, 25, son of Raiz Uddin Bhuiyan, of Titua Noapara village under Kendua upazila of Netrakona district. He was working as a supervisor of Diganta Sweater factory and living in a rented house near the factory.
Victim’s wife Rubina told New Age that her husband went out of the house after receiving a phone call at about 9:00pm on Saturday, but he did not return home.
Local people found the body at a paddy field at Dighir Chala on Sunday morning and informed the police of the matter.
On information, police recovered the body and sent it to Gazipur Sadar Hospital morgue for autopsy.
Sub-inspector Jasim Uddin of Joydebpur police station said that the body bore stab marks in the throat, hand and face. The motive behind the murder could not be known immediately.
20131123 * Apparel buyers from Spain come under attack:
A seven-member team of readymade garment (RMG) buyers from Spain came under attack on Saturday during Jamaat-Shibir men’s mayhem in the city’s Merul-Badda area, said an exporter.
One of the buyers – Walid Samaha – suffered injuries when the attackers vandalised their car during the attack around 8:45am.
“It’s very unfortunate. They got panicked following the attack and decided to leave Bangladesh tomorrow (Sunday) without placing any order,” Mohammad Hatem, first vice president of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), told UNB over phone.
He said the buyer of the Spain used to import knit apparels worth US$ 40 million each year and today he was going to negotiate in a factory owned by BKMEA President AKM Selim Osman who provides nearly products US$ 30 million.
“The seven-member team came for negotiations and place orders for the next year order. Once the buyer finds alternative, he’ll never come back to us.”
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* BKMEA concerned over attack on Spanish buyer:
A Spanish buyer was wounded when miscreants swooped on a vehicle carrying a group of foreign buyers at Merol Badda on Saturday morning.
The group, comprising seven buyers from a Spanish firm JHK Traders, was heading towards Fotulla, Narayanganj to negotiate a purchase deal. The incident made the buyers worried, who decided to leave the country Sunday, without settling the deals, said BKMEA (Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association) president Selim Osman, who expressed his grave concern over the incident and demanded police protection for buyers.
“The deal worth about US$ 30 million has now become almost uncertain,” said officials of the souring company – Wisdom Attires – adding that one of the transports carrying the visitors was vandalized and one of the buyers, Walid Samha, was physically assaulted.
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20131124 * Jamaat-Shibir men scare off global knitwear buyer:
Being frightened by the attack, the buyers immediately returned to the hotel they had been staying and decided to leave the country without placing order
A global buyer of Knitwear products left Bangladesh without placing order as he was assaulted by Jamaat-Shibir activists in the city on Saturday.
Being frightened by the attack, the buyers immediately returned to the hotel they had been staying and decided to leave the country without placing order, said a statement of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA).
The Spanish buyer came under attack at Merul Badda in the city, when he was going to Fatullah in Narayanganj, to place order at a factory owned by BKMEA President Selim Osman.
* Apparel makers demand security:
Apparel makers yesterday demanded security for international retailers, a day after attackers tied to Islami Chhatra Shibir vandalised a car carrying three officials of a Spanish company.
The incident came as a shock to apparel manufacturers who fear it will affect the county’s image badly and dent buyers’ confidence.
Shibir activists vandalised vehicles and blasted crude bombs in Merul-Badda in the capital on Saturday when they brought out a procession protesting recent attacks on religious minorities.
Seven officials of Spanish retailing company JHK Trader SRL were passing through the area in three cars to visit a factory of Narayanaganj-based Wisdom Attires.
* Bangladesh ranked 137th in Int’l Supply Chain Connectivity:
Bangladesh has been ranked in the 137th position out of 179 countries in the International Supply Chain Connectivity which highlights the extent of a country’s facilitation of import and export process as well as access to efficient maritime services, said Asia Pacific Trade and Investment Report-2013 released on Saturday.
Bangladesh Foreign Trade Institute, Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry and United Nation Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific launched the report in Dhaka at a ceremony held at DCCI auditorium.
The report suggested for improved working condition, better wages for the garment workers in Bangladesh.
It also stressed on gender balance in the workplace, infrastructure development, access to the education and social dialogue or policy making.
* Call to raise free labour movement in WTO meet:
Rights activists on Thursday urged the government to raise the issue of free movement of labour in the upcoming WTO ministerial meeting to be held in Bali, Indonesia from December 3 to 6.
The call came from a rally held in front of the Jatiay Press Club in Dhaka, reports UNB.
The rights activists said duty-free and quota free (DFQF) access along with relaxation in rules of origin might be harmful for the least developed countries (LDCs), otherwise the countries’ position to oppose TISA (Trade in Service Agreement) and TICFA (Trade and Investment Cooperation Framework Agreement) will be weakened.
The rally was moderated by Mostafa Kamal Akanda of EquityBD in presence of Dr Mejbah Uddin of Jatiya Sramik Federation, Zayed Iqbal Khan of Krishok Federation and Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD.
* BD needs more progress in labor rights:
Bangladeshi authorities need to make further improvements in factory safety and labor rights, an influential Democratic senator said Friday.
A report released Friday by Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey, chairman of Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, said Bangladesh has yet to meet benchmarks set by the U.S. government for restoration of trade benefits suspended after a garment factory collapse that killed more than 1,100 people.
The report, compiled by staff of the committee`s Democratic majority, acknowledged some progress, but said the presence of labor unions is still nominal.
The U.S. government suspended duty-free benefits to Bangladesh in July, two months after global garment industry`s worst disaster when the Rana Plaza collapsed outside Dhaka, the latest in a serious of deadly accidents in the South Asian nation`s sweatshops. The U.S. outlined actions needed to improve standards for the nation`s 4 million garment workers. A review of Bangladesh`s eligibility for the trade benefits is expected in mid-2014.
* US senators press Walmart on Bangladesh unions:
A US Senate report on Friday urged Walmart, Gap and other retailers to respect labor unions in Bangladesh, saying workers desperately needed greater rights after hundreds died in fires.
The staff report from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Democratic Party majority came as Bangladesh’s government and foreign retailers agreed to start safety inspections on the 3,500 factories in the world’s largest garment maker after China.
Senator Robert Menendez, the chairman of the committee, vowed to help give workers “the tools they need to protect themselves” after a factory fire in April killed 1,135 people and a similar disaster in November 2012 left 111 workers dead.
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* GSP not soon for Bangladesh: US Senate body chair:
Bangladesh has yet to meet benchmarks set by the government of the USA for restoration of trade preference suspended after a garment factory collapse that killed more than 1,100 people, an influential Democratic senator said in New York on Friday.
A report released Friday night by Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey, chairman of Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, said Bangladesh authorities need to make further improvements in factory safety and labor rights. The report, compiled by staff of the committee’s Democratic majority, acknowledged some progress, but said the presence of labor unions is still nominal.
* US panel calls for RMG safety:
A US senate committee in its report has advised Bangladesh government and the garment owners’ association, BGMEA, to take immediate “tough and effective sanctions” against the country’s law-breaking factory owners who particularly engaged in ‘anti-union activity’.
The Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Senator Robert Menendez released the report on Friday in Washington marking the one-year of the devastating Tazreen factory fire.
The report also advised quick measures in sanctioning owners who do not comply with required safety standards.
He also advised the next government to ‘act quickly’ to reform the existing legal framework, including labour laws for the Export Processing Zones, and ‘bring it into conformity’ with international labour standards.
* US senator for sanctions against non-complying RMG factory owners:
The Bangladesh government and the BGMEA should immediately develop and implement tough and effective sanctions against factory owners who do not comply with Bangladesh laws by engaging in anti-union activity and advance progress in sanctioning owners who do not comply with the required safety standards, said a US senator.
The next government of Bangladesh should act quickly to reform the existing legal framework, including labour laws for Export Processing Zones, and bring it into conformity with international labour standards, he said.
‘One year ago, the world woke up to the horror caused by unsafe working conditions for Bangladesh’s garment workers. We should not rest until these individuals are given the rights they deserve and the tools they need to protect themselves,’ Menendez added.
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* Ticfa has to be done as previous decision: FM:
New Foreign Minister Abul Hasan Mahmud Ali on Friday said Dhaka and Washington will sign the Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (Ticfa) as the decision was taken earlier in principle.
“It (Ticfa signing) has to be done because a decision has been taken in this regard earlier. Let’s see…still we’ve time,” Mahmud Ali told reporters after a marathon meeting with his colleagues at the Foreign Ministry.
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* TICFA Agreement protested:
Leader of the Democratic Left Alliance, a combine of the eight left leaning political parties on Friday at a protest rally in the capital called on the Awami League led alliance government to refrain from signing Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement with the United States.
Terming the newly formed government an election time government to continue the routine works of the government, the left leaders said that the present government had no right to sign such an important deal with the US government.
The government is going to sign TICFA deal with the United States government on November 25, which would be contrary to national interests, the left leaders said at a protest rally in front of the National Press Club.
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* Interim govt has no authority to sign Ticfa: CPB, SPB:
Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) and Socialist Party of Bangladesh (SPB) on Saturday said the ‘election-time government’ has no authority to sign Ticfa with the United States.
As per her speech in the last session of parliament, the Prime Minister should concentrate on routine works and retreat from the initiative to sign Ticfa (Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement) with the USA, said a joint statement by CPB and SPB.
Signed by CPB president Mujahidul Islam Selim and SPB general secretary Khalequzzaman, the statement said the initiative to sign Ticfa goes against the national interest.
* TICFA, at last: Keeping our fingers crossed:
Ending all speculation and not a little uncertainty Trade and Investment Co-operation Framework Agreement (TICFA) will be signed in Washington DC today (November 24).
With plodding progress the Agreement has been long in the negotiation stage. Having initiated America was eager and ready to ink the deal from the very beginning. It knew very well what should be in the Agreement and how it would be implemented. For Bangladesh, it was new and as such prompted reservations on many points and the need for clarifications.
As it happens in such cases, the status and influence of America made Bangladesh wary about agreeing on sensitive matters of trade and investment. Critics highlighting the risks of entering into an agreement over a broad range of economic issues may have made the Bangladeshi negotiators’ task all the more onerous and tricky. Only after implementation starts it will be possible to say whether critics’ apprehensions have been properly addressed by the Bangladeshi negotiators.
* Ticfa to be signed Monday in Washington:
The much-hyped deal — Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (Ticfa) — will be signed in Washington on Monday, which the government thinks will help expand trade and investment between Bangladesh and the USA through enhanced cooperation.
Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed, now in the USA, confirmed UNB through a text message on Sunday saying Ticfa will be signed at 10am (Washington time) on November 25. Acting Deputy United States Trade Representative Wendy Cutler and Bangladesh Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed will sign Ticfa on behalf of their respective sides. United States Trade Representative Michael Froman will make brief remarks and preside over the signing of the United States-Bangladesh Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (Ticfa).
to read. & read more.
* Garment exports rise despite odds:
Overall export growth year-on-year slows
Garment exports increased almost 19 percent year-on-year in the July-October period despite some domestic odds.
Between July and October, garment exports stood at $7.89 billion in contrast to $6.63 billion recorded for the period last year, according to data from Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).
Reaz-Bin-Mahmood, vice-president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), the garment makers’ platform, said the figures could have been enhanced further were there no industrial disasters like the Tazreen fire and Rana Plaza collapse.
* October apparel exports fall by nearly 18p%:
Export earnings from apparel products registered nearly 18 per cent fall in October last from that in the previous month with exporters and experts attributing it to the political turmoil, labour unrest and Eid vacation.
The export of apparel items – both woven and knitwear – fetched US$ 1.68 billion in October last compared to $ 2.04 billion in September, showed the official data available Sunday.
The Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) figures, however, showed a trend of fluctuation in earnings from the export of apparel products during the first four months of the current fiscal year (FY) 2013-14.
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE
* Rana Plaza charge sheets yet to be finalised:
Eight accused have already secured bail from the High Court in the midst of procrastination of the investigation agencies preparing the charge sheets that may be submitted next month
Seven months have elapsed since the Rana Plaza building at Savar collapsed, but the investigators are yet to finalise charge sheets in three out of five cases in connection with the disaster.
Eight accused have already secured bail from the High Court in the midst of procrastination of the investigation agencies preparing the charge sheets that may be submitted next month.
|The number one accused in the police case and Rana’s father Abdul Khalek got bail in the month of October.
The other accused – Savar Municipality Engineers Emtemum Hossain, Rakibul Hassan and Refayet Ullah; its ward councilor Mohammad Ali Khan; and Abul Hasan, Anil Dash and Shah Alam, who gave Sohel Rana, building owner, shelter at Faridpur and Jessore also got bail.
* CID asked to explain failure to submit Rana plaza probe report:
A Dhaka court issued a show cause notice asking the CID to explain why they failed to submit a probe report before it by today in two cases filed over the Rana Plaza collapse that killed 1,132 people and injured many more.
Senior Judicial Magistrate Kazi Shahidul Islam asked Bijoy Krishna Kar, an assistant superintendent of police of Criminal Investigation Department (CID), to submit the report by December 24.
During today’s hearing, 14 out of 22 accused including the building owner Sohel Rana, now in jail, were produced before the court.
Eight others, who were granted bail from the High Court, were present before the court today.
Earlier on October 24, the same trial court directed the CID to submit the probe report by today (November 24).
The two cases were filed with Savar Police Station following the collapse of Rana Plaza.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* Rana Plaza investigator censured:
A Dhaka court has served a show-cause notice on the investigating officer of the Rana Plaza collapse for failing to file a report on the accident that had left at least 1,130 people dead.
Dhaka’s senior judicial magistrate Kazi Shahidul Islam on Sunday served the notice, giving Criminal Investigation Department ASP Bijoy Krishna Kar time till December 24 to respond.
Rana Plaza, which housed six readymade garment factories at Savar on the outskirts of capital Dhaka, collapsed on April 24 this year.
The victims of one of the world’s worst building disasters were mostly factory workers.
Additional public prosecutor Anwarul Kabir told the news agency that December 24 had been fixed as the next date for hearing in the case. ‘The investigation officer has been asked to respond to the show-cause notice within that time.’
ASHULIA TAZREEN GARMENT FACTORY FIRE
* Tazreen fire victims still cry for justice:
Affected workers and family members of those killed in the Tazreen Fashions fire last year staged demonstrations on Friday in front of the fire- ravaged factory at Nichintapur in Ashulia, on the outskirts of the capital Dhaka, and expressed their frustration over the slow pace of investigation.
Many affected people also said they were yet to receive compensation while many demanded exemplary punishment of the factory owner Delwar Hossain and others in the management for their negligence which had left 112 people killed in the blaze allegedly caused by poor fire safety.
The family members of affected and some survivors recalled the horror as they gathered near the factory to offer prayers organised in memory of the deceased two days before the anniversary of the tragedy.
On November 24, 2012, a devastating fire broke out on the ground floor of the multi-storey building and quickly engulfed other floors with the management initially barring evacuation, leaving many workers trapped inside.
Al least 112 workers were either burnt to death or died while trying to escape the blaze.
On Friday, the victims’ families also brought out a peaceful procession demanding justice.
‘I did not see the body of my sister killed in the fire,’ said Matinul Islam Matin, who lost his sister Rehana Begum in the fire.
Rehana was among the 16 who remained missing since unidentified bodies of 12 victims were buried in Jurain graveyard in Dhaka. Matin expressed his deep frustration at the slow pace of investigation by the Criminal Investigation Department of the case filed with the Ashulia police station against unnamed miscreants.
* First Anniversary Of Tazreen Fashions Fire :Victims demand compensation:
Several hundred victims of the fire at Tazreen Fashions and their family members yesterday demonstrated at Nishchintapur of Ashulia, where the garment factory was, demanding compensation and also exemplary punishment for those responsible for the tragedy.
Part of garment conglomerate Tuba Group, Tazreen Fashions, a multi-storied readymade garment factory, was gutted by a deadly fire on November 24 last year that left around 112 workers dead and many injured.
The family members of those who died and some survivors along with social and rights activists organised a short procession on the street in front of the burnt down factory two days before the first anniversary of the fire.
The demonstrators offered a short prayer to Allah and the victims shared what they called was the most traumatic event in their lives.
Md Mirazul Islam, who used be a supervisor of the factory’s sewing section, is now unemployed with serious burn injuries to his right hand.
* US retailers decline to aid Tazreen, Rana Plaza victims:
One year after the Tazreen factory fire in Bangladesh, many retailers that sold garments produced there or inside the Rana Plaza building that collapsed last spring are refusing to join an effort to compensate the families of the more than 1,200 workers who died in those disasters, a report of the New York Times said.
The International Labour Organisation is working with Bangladeshi officials, labour groups and several retailers to create ambitious compensation funds to assist not just the families of the dead, but also more than 1,800 workers who were injured, some of them still hospitalised, according to the report that was published on November 22.
A handful of retailers — led by Primark, an Anglo-Irish company, and C&A, a Dutch-German company — are deeply involved in getting long-term compensation funds off the ground, one for Rana Plaza’s victims and one for the victims of the Tazreen fire, which killed 112 workers last November 24.
But to the dismay of those pushing to create the compensation funds, neither Walmart, Sears, Children’s Place nor any of the other American companies that were selling goods produced at Tazreen or Rana Plaza have agreed to contribute to the efforts.
Supporters of compensation plans say they are needed to pay for medical care for those who are paralysed or otherwise badly injured, to provide income after a vital breadwinner died and to give families enough income so that children are not forced to quit school and go to work.
“Compensation is so important because so many families are suffering — many families don’t have anyone left to support them,” said Kalpona Akter, executive director of the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity. “There’s been a good response from some European brands, but so far none of the US retailers have agreed to pay a single penny for compensation.”
read more.& read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
& read more. & read more. & read more. & to read.
20131124 * Tazreen fire anniversary today:
Labour organisations and social workers will observe today the first anniversary of fire at Tazreen Fashions at Nichintapur in Ashulia, the outskirt of the capital Dhaka, with the victims still crying for justice.
Different organisations have chalked out daylong programmes in front of the fire- ravaged factory at Nichintapur while others will hold demonstration in the capital pressing for their demands including trial of the Tazreen owner and others responsible for the incident and workers’ safety at workplaces.
On November 24, 2012, a fire broke out in the ground floor of the multi-storey building and quickly engulfed other floors with the management initially barring evacuation, leaving many workers trapped inside.
Al least 112 workers were either burnt to death or died while trying to escape the blaze.
On Friday, the victims’ families also brought out a peaceful procession demanding justice.
Many affected people said they were yet to receive compensation while many demanded exemplary punishment of the factory owner Delwar Hossain and others in the management for their negligence.
* One year on, compensation still eludes Tazreen victims:
The Tazreen fire victims are yet to receive any compensation one year after the industrial disaster, one of the worst in the country’s history, owing to mainly American retailers’ refusal to do so.
Not only that, Delwar Hossain, owner of Tuba Group, the parent company of Tazreen Fashions, remains at large despite the filing of two cases and a writ petition were filed against him.
“This is disgusting,” Roy Ramesh Chandra, general secretary of the local arm of IndustriALL, a global union federation, said about the retailers’ resistance towards committing money for the $6 million compensation programme for Tazreen survivors and families.
Kalpona Akter, executive director of the Bangladesh Centre for Worker Solidarity, said the response from “some European brands” has been “good”, but so far “none of the American retailers have agreed to pay a single penny” for compensation.
The US retail giant Wal-Mart has been singled out for criticism. Production documents recovered after the Tazreen fire indicate that 55 percent of the factory’s production two months prior to the incident on November 24, was for Wal-Mart contractors.
* Losses immeasurable for victims, not for owner:
How should the losses caused by last year’s November 24 fire at Ashulia’s Tazreen Fashions be accounted for?
To Delwar Hossain, the owner of the factory and director of Tuba Group that has six other garment factories, the losses mean burnt stocks, cancelled orders and missed opportunities of making profit. All of these can be measured in monetary terms.
“I reported losses of Tk 63 crore to the five-member committee that was formed by the home ministry to probe the incident,” he told The Daily Star.
“But my actual losses consist in lost business opportunities since many buyers are not comfortable placing orders with the Tuba group after the Tazreen fire.”
* Compensation not enough:
For those who died in the fire at Tazreen Fashions a year ago, each victim family should get an average of Tk 28 lakh as compensation, demanded a labour rights platform Sramik Nirapatta Forum yesterday.
“The compensation should take into calculation all the years of wages a worker would have been able to earn had she or he been alive. And as for the injured, it should be an aggregate of the earnings lost due to inability to work,” said secretary of the forum Syed Sultan Uddin Ahmed.
On November 24, 2012, a devastating fire in Tazreen Fashions Ltd at Nishchintapur of Ashulia, Savar killed 112 workers and injured scores others.
Yesterday morning, labour rights activists under the banner Sramik Nirapatta Forum (Workers’ Safety Forum) congregated at Jurain cemetery to remind how the garment industry’s nonchalance killed so many workers.
They demanded that the international retailers, who were outsourcing garment products from Tazreen, and the factory owner compensate the victim families immediately, as it has already been delayed by a year.
The activists also decried Sear’s and Walmart’s refusal to compensate, and vowed to bring the owner of Tazreen Fashions to book.
The Bangladesh Council of IndustriALL, a global union fighting for workers’ safety, pressed similar demands in a human chain in front of the Press Club in the capital yesterday.
“Walmart must agree to compensate the victims,” demanded the activists.
Walmart also did not show up at the IndustriALL meeting held in Geneva in September.
* No move yet to identify more Tazreen fire victims:
Relatives fail to get compensation
Uncertainty looms large over the fate of unidentified Tazreen fire victims as there is no clear announcement regarding their identification and compensation even a year after the deadliest blaze.
The worried relatives are still waiting for help and have been moving desperately from here and there after the apparel factory owners had pledged adequate compensation for family members who lost their near and dear ones in the blaze.
Two days after the inferno that killed at least 112 workers at Tazreen Fashions in Ashulia on November 24 last year, DNA samples were collected from 53 unrecognised bodies while 37 were later matched.
There is also a gap of information regarding the number of unidentified Tazreem victims. According to the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), 13 died in the Tazreen fire while the Labour Ministry put the number at 12 on October 21 last.
The National Forensic DNA Profiling Laboratory (NFDPL) sources said the number of unidentified Tazreen victims is 10.
“When I contacted the BGMEA, it asked me to talk to the government officials while the latter is yet to say anything until Saturday,” Abdul Jabbar, husband of Mahfuza Begum who worked for Tazreen, told the FE.
Ms Mahfuza’s dead body still remains unidentified.
* Stories of survivors and their families:
To mark the one-year anniversary of the deadly Tazreen Fashions factory fire in Bangladesh, the Solidarity Center is highlighting stories of survivors and their families.
read more & overview here. and below.
* Tazreen Survivor, Morsheda: We Poor Have Lost Everything:
Morsheda could not travel to her home village in Bangladesh for the recent Eid holiday because she could not afford the trip.
Her 9-year-old son, who lives in the village with his grandmother, told neighbors there that he does not have parents because if he did, they would be with him for the holiday
“You cannot imagine how very painful it is for parents to hear such words from their child,” she said.
Since sustaining severe injuries in the November 24, 2012, Tazreen Fashions garment factory fire, Morsheda, 25, has been too disabled to work. Without funds for her son’s education, she sent him to live with her relatives.
Morsheda has lost the use of her right hand, so badly damaged during her flight from the blaze that swept through the multistory factory that she can only prepare meals with the help of her sister. To get out of the factory, Morsheda, like nearly every Tazreen survivor, was forced to jump from a window to safety after she and co-workers found the stairwell exits locked.
They escaped even though their manager had ordered them back to work when the fire alarm sounded. Her right eye was gashed as a result of her fall, and she still has difficulty seeing from it.
* Abdul: I Could Not Find My Wife’s Body:
Mahfuza Khatun, 22, was a sewing machine operator on the fourth floor of the Tazreen Fashions garment factory when the multistory building went up in flames just outside Dhaka, the Bangladesh capital. Some 112 garment workers were killed in the November 24, 2012, tragedy, and Mahfuza was among them, although her body has never been found.
“I did everything to find her dead body. Unfortunately, all my efforts were in vain,” said Md. Abdul, Mahfuza’s husband.
Abdul and his 2-year-old son live with his parents and Abdul’s three siblings. As the eldest son, he must provide nearly all the financial support for his extended family.
“The family used to be supported by the income of me and my wife,” said Abdul, also a garment worker. Now, his income alone cannot cover all the family’s costs. As a result, he said, “My son often becomes sick, and I cannot take him to the doctor for lack of money.”
* Tazreen Survivor, Anjuma: Days Pass by without Food:
When someone knocks on her door, Anjuma knows a debt collector is probably on the other side. But ever since she escaped with severe injuries from the disastrous fire at the Tazreen Fashions factory where she worked as a cleaner, she has had no money to pay her bills.
“People become the prisoners of jail, but I became a prisoner of the world,” Anjuma, 45, said with a blank look. When the fire broke out, killing 112 workers at Tazreen, on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Anjuma jumped out the fourth-floor window onto a nearby roof. But her leg was sliced by a metal rod, and the debilitating injuries she sustained have made it impossible for her to work again. Faruk, a fellow worker who helped her escape, died in the consuming blaze. Anjuma also lost three cousins at Tazreen, one of whom was never found.
“My husband is a rickshaw puller but he is very old and not able to work more,” Anjuma said. She has three sons and a daughter. Among them, only one takes care of her. But he earns little and has gone into debt as well trying to help her. She has so many medical expenses, she cannot afford rent or food, and her landlord twice locked her out of the house for not paying rent. She’s now seven months behind in her rent.
Anjuma received no compensation for her injuries. Not from her factory employer. Not from the brands whose clothes were made at Tazreen.
And not from the government. Each week, she travels to a hospital for treatment and finds it difficult even to pay for the transportation.
* Tazreen Survivor, Anjuara: Too Injured to Hold Her Child:
Anjuara suffers from constant pain. She is too injured to work and unable to pay the rent. Yet this is not the worst of her suffering following the November 24, 2012, Tazreen Fashions garment factory fire in Bangladesh.
“The most painful thing is that I haven’t been able to lift up my 3-year-old baby girl in my lap for the past year because of the severe pain in my hand and back,” Anjuara said, tears in her eyes.
Over the past year, Anjuara’s medical bills have added up to nearly $3,900—a fortune in a country where the average yearly income is $770, according to the United Nations. The compensation she received in the wake of the tragedy, $1,282.05, from the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturing and Exporting Association (BGMEA), did not come close to covering these costs. So she sold her few valuable possessions, such as her television and the small plot of land she owned in her village. She also went through her savings.
Yet she is far from well and may never be able to work. She is regularly in pain and cannot sit for long periods. Anjuara sustained two broken vertebrae and a broken shoulder when she made her escape from the blaze that killed 112 of her fellow garment workers and injured thousands more. Today, she is unable to lift heavy items.
* Aferza, Tazreen Survivor: I Starve with My Kids:
Aferza, 25, left her village in 2010 for Dhaka, the Bangladesh capital, to escape poverty. She planned to help support her family and educate her children with the money she earned.
On November 24, 2012, she was working as a sewing operator on the fourth floor of the Tazreen Fashions Ltd., garment factory when a fire swept through the building. Like nearly all workers who escaped the blaze, she was forced to jump from a window because the building had no fire escapes. Her husband found her lying unconscious among dead bodies near the burning building.
Her skull was fractured and a broken chest bone punctured her lung. Now, she says, “I am unable to take a glass of water on my own. I cannot sit or lie down for very long. I feel intolerable pain in my whole body and cry constantly.”
Unable to work, she sold the small plot of land she owned in her home village to help pay for medical expenses and food for her family.
She spent the compensation she received from the Bangladesh Garments Manufacturing and Exporting Association (BGMEA) and Caritas, a private, Jesuit-run organization, for her medical treatment. “Living here with my husband and children, I cannot contribute to the maintenance of my family,” she says. “My husband is a rickshaw puller whose poor income cannot cover all these costs. Almost all of his earnings are spent on the cost of my medicine.
”As a result, she said, “I starve with my kids and cannot buy medicine for me.”
* Life still a fight for many traumatised survivors:
All of them had sad stories of their own hardships to tell
A year has passed after the tragic fire at garment factory of Tazreen Fashions at Ashulia and life has become tough for the survivors.
As soon as this correspondent reached Nischintopur village – where the factory is situated – on Saturday, many survivors rushed towards him.
All of them had sad stories of their own hardships to tell. They felt hopeful that this might be an opening for getting help – financial or any kind of help for that matter would suffice.
This correspondent was shot back with one question multiple times: “What will be the use of interviewing us again? Over the last one year, we have given names and interviews to many organisations literally every month; but we have got nothing except vague assurances.”
“We have nothing left for us. It would have been easier for us if we had died in that fire,” Mohammad Zikrul Islam, once a swing helper of the factory, said.
He said: “Over the last year, I have given interviews to more than 20 organisations; but got nothing; not even the Tk100,000 that some of the survivors got.”
“I was not in the hospital, is that my fault? Survivors, who were at the hospital received Tk100,000, and we, who did not need to be admitted for treatment, became useless”.
Zikrul, who jumped off from the third floor of the factory and injured himself, asked this reporter: “We have not been able to pay house rents for many months now. Shop owners would not sell anything to us because we cannot pay them. Is that what you call living?”
* Compensation still an empty hope:
The families of the deceased and the survivors of the fire are yet to receive any compensation from the global buyers
IndustriAll Bangladesh Council organised a human chain in front of National Press Club yesterday demanding compensation for the victims of Tazreen fire tragedy.
Photo- Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune.
Although a year had passed since the deadly blaze at Tazreen Fashion claimed the lives of at least 112 people, the families of the deceased and the survivors of the fire are yet to receive any compensation from the global buyers.
Thirteen people who were killed in the fire – which also injured over 100 others – are yet to be identified as the necessary processes including the DNA test had not been completed, according to the BGMEA.
On November 24, 2012, Tazreen Fashions, a clothing factory on the outskirts of Dhaka was engulfed in flames.
“Big brands like Wal-mart should come forward to compensate Tazreen’s victims. If they do not do so, we will continue to pursue them to come onboard in the process of compensation as per the ILO convention of 121,” said Roy Romesh Chandra, secretary general of IndustriALL Bangladesh Council.
“To the best of my knowledge, none but C&A [an international chain of fashion retail stores] provided some financial assistance to the victims of the Tazreen Fashion fire incident,” Romesh added.
The Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC), an alliance of labour unions and NGOs, also said that to date only C&A had committed any substantial compensation and developed systems to ensure funds were distributed among the victims.
Saying that Li & Fung (a global sourcing firm) had also made payments, the CCC added that while some brands linked to Tazreen had stated they will make voluntary contributions, no other brand has yet paid adequate amounts.
* Tazreen owner still scot-free:
Delwar Hossain refurbish the factory to hide all the evidences
Family members of fire victims in Tazreen Fashion expressed frustration as the owner of the factory has not yet been arrested one year into the incident even though a probe committee found him guilty of criminal negligence.
Tazreen’s tragic fire on November 24 last year killed 112 factory workers and injured many others. Many say the workers of the factory could not save their lives as some officials locked the collapsible gates.
After the fire incident the home ministry probe report says: “In the history of Bangladesh, no factory fire has surpassed the Tazreen Fashions Limited fire. It is evident that the owner’s unpardonable negligence is responsible for these appalling death. The owner of Tazreen Fashion Limited should be convicted under statuette 304.”
That committee disclosed the report last December.
The family members of the victims believe it was not merely an accident as the factory authorities prevented workers from getting out of the building.
Motiqul Islam’s sister died in that incident and before he perished he made a phone call to his brother. She said workers were trapped inside the burning building as some officials of the factory did not let them get out of the building.
After that, Matiqul filed a case against owner Delwar Hossain with the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court. He is now keeping a low profile after he was threatened with dire consequences if he did not withdraw the case.
Meanwhile, Ashulia Police Station sought more time for investigation after the investigation officer of the case had been changed.
Officer-in-charge of Ashulia Police Station SM Badrul Alam said: “We have sought further instructions from the court as the IO has been transferred.”
Badrul, however, said a separate case filed by Criminal Investigation Department after the incident was now under investigation. But he could not say anything about the progress of the case.
* Punish culprits responsible for Tazreen fire: Speakers:
Rights activists and labour leaders demand punishment to those responsible for the fire in Tazreen Fashion
Rights activists and labour leaders on Saturday demanded punishment to those responsible for the fire in Tazreen Fashion and proper compensation for the victims.
They said some of the victims had received financial assistances but not any compensation from the government nor from Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
Hameeda Hossain, convener of Sramik Nirapatta Forum said if any worker received any such assistance that was not their compensation rather it was assistance.
Demanding compensation for the victims she said: “Tuba Group, the mother company of Tazreen, is running other businesses and they can manage compensation from there.”
* Victim families want compensation, safe work place:
The families of Tazreen Fashions Ltd fire victims on Sunday demanded compensation on the basis of ‘loss of earning’, safe work place and immediate arrest of Tazreen owner.
They made the demand in a human chain formed under the banner of National Garments Workers’ Federation on the occasion of one year of Tazreen fire at Jurain Graveyard.
The fatal fire in Tazreen on 24, 2012 killed 112 garments workers and injured over 150 workers.
Speakers in the human chain demanded to realise the compensation from the buyers Walmart, Dickies, Delta apparel, Disney, KiK, Karl Rieker. Edinburgh Woolen Mill.
read more. & read more.
* Bangladesh police to charge factory owner over deadly fire:
Bangladesh police said Sunday they plan to charge the owner of a garment factory over a fire that killed 111 people as they wrap up an investigation 12 months after the tragedy.
Police officials said charges would be laid against 15 people including owner Delwar Hossain, security guards and managers over the fire that swept through the Tazreen factory that supplied clothes to Western retailers including Walmart.
“Delwar and his wife, who is the co-owner of the factory, are going to be charged with causing death due to negligence,” Monsur Ali Mondol, a police investigator of the case, told AFP.
The fire — which broke out exactly 12 months ago — on the outskirts of Dhaka was the country’s worst industrial inferno and shed an international light at the time on the appalling safety conditions of the country’s $22 billion garment industry.
“Our investigation is almost complete. We’ll soon press the charges against around 15 people,” said A.K.M Mohsinuzzaman Khan, another police inspector investigating the case.
read more. & read more.
* HC: Compensate Tazreen victims by 15 days – :
Order issued on the day marking one year of Tazreen fire
The High Court directed authorities to pay Tk700,000 to the not yet compensated families of 14 victims of the Tazreen Fashions tragedy within 15 days
Bench of Justice Md Rezaul Haque and Justice ABM Altaf Hossain issued the order for those identified victims who were yet to receive any compensation.
The bench asked petition lawyer Asaduzzaman to produce information on international standard for compensation.
The two judges adjourned the court until January 30 next year.
to read. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* Tazreen victims stare at uncertain future:
The survivers of the Tazreen Fashions fire in Ashulia are facing an uncertain future, a number of them with disabilities inflicted by the incident, and many remaining jobless one year after the tragedy.
Many of the survivors are passing days in extreme hardship nursing their wounds or struggling to recover from the trauma they suffered, New Age found a visit to the burnt-out factory building and its surroundings at Nishchintapur in Ashulia.
At least 112 apparel workers lost their lives and several thousand sustained injuries, many of them maimed, in the deadly fire that ravaged the factory on November 24, 2012.
Garment Sramik Kalyan Oikya Parishad’s Ashulia unit vice-president Khorshed Alam told New Age that most of the survivors had found no job after the blaze. Particularly the workers who are still nursing wounds or have been left maimed by the fire are surviving precariously with no income and no one to help them.
Some of the survivors told New Age that they were still struggling to recover from the trauma of the horror. Some said the traumatic experiences of the blaze have held them back from joining any other factory for job.
‘In clinical psychology, such experiences reflect a very critical condition of someone’s mental health, which is called “post-traumatic stress disorder”,‘ said Dhaka University clinical psychology teacher Kamal UA Chowdhury.
* TK 5 lakh compensation demanded for each Tazrin fire victim:
Leaders of the National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF) have demanded better medical treatment and Tk 5 lakh compensation for the each family of deceased and injured workers of the Tazrin garment factory based on “loss of earning.”
They also demanded immediate arrest of the responsible persons, including the factory owner, for the devastating fire at the factory on November 24, 2012 that claimed 112 lives.
The demands were placed at a human chain, organised by the NGWF, at the National Press Club in the city on Sunday.
The human chain was attended by NGWF’s vice president Md Faruk Khan, general secretary Safiya Pervin, vice president Nurun Nahar and other distinguished leaders of the federation.
Although one year has passed after the tragedy, the families of the deceased and injured workers are yet to receive compensation on the basis of “loss of earning,” they said. Most of the injured workers of Tazrin Fashion are a in a critical condition and they may be decimated due to lack of better treatment, the leaders said.
Besides, the garment factory owner who was the main person responsible for the high death toll in the devastating fire is yet to be arrested, they added.
* Tazreen victims slam govt, owner for delay in compensation:
Survivors and families of the workers who died in the fire at Tazreen Fashions last year formed a human chain in Savar yesterday to mark the passing of one year of the industrial disaster.
Injured garment workers of the Rana Plaza building collapse joined too, with all congregating at the site of the fallen
The bereaved mourned the losses suffered in the two tragedies, and demanded proper compensation from the respective factory owners and the government.
Some of them said they had not received any compensation from neither the owners nor the government.
The fire brought a double blow in the lives of many of the injured workers. Firstly, they had to lose jobs having sustained long-term injuries, and then they are forced to rent houses in Dhaka for better treatment and a hope to get compensation.
* One Year Passes Since The Tazreen Factory Fire In Bangladesh …:
Exactly one year ago today the night sky lit up red, screams started filling up Nischintapur … then Savar … then Dhaka … when finally it filled up the whole of their homeland – Bangladesh.
These screams were of a helpless group of people toiling hard day and night in a fashion wear production factory known as Tazreen Fashion Limited; they were trying to earn a meager living with which they would barely be able to feed themselves and their family.
Since 24 November 2012, the painful scream from Tazreen Fashion has echoed across the Globe, uniting activists and researchers with the consumers and victims of Tazreen itself.
While C&A and Li&Fung came forward with some form of compensation for the Tazreen Fashion Factory Fire victims and their families/orphans, other international brands who were also similarly into that factory are yet to compensate victims who have worked till death for them to be rich.
The effort of C&A towards paying the injured victims their salary till the time they have no other source of income while Li&Fung’s support towards education of the orphans have been supported by people across the national and international arena including RISE Society which supported the effort by updating the list of victims for the compensation program which would ultimately give some relief to the workers who have literally been distanced by the expensive Fashionable Brands who these very same workers helped make rich.
* Garments Sramik Federation organized a human chain in front of Jatiya Press Club demanding compensation for the dead victims’ families while marking the one-year of Tazreen Tragedy (top) and placing wreaths at Jurain graveyard on Sunday:
Garments Sramik Federation organized a human chain in front of Jatiya Press Club demanding compensation for the dead victims’ families while marking the one-year of Tazreen Tragedy (top) and placing wreaths at Jurain graveyard on Sunday.
By NN PHOTO.
* On 24th of every month, they mourn:
On the 24th day of every month, family members of the missing and deceased workers gather on the premises of the two buildings
November 24 marks one year of the terrible fire at Tazreen Fashions, a garment factory in Nischintapur area of Ashulia, and seven months into the deadly collapse of Rana Plaza at Savar that took place on April 24.
The 24th day comes every month, but sufferings of the survivors, and family members of the missing and deceased workers remain unheeded. On this day, they gather on the premises of the two buildings; they did it again on Sunday and demonstrated under the banners of different workers’ bodies and left-leaning organisations.
Most of them lost the only bread earners of the family, while many survivors lost their limbs for which they will not able to work anymore in future.
Bangladesh Garments Workers Federation and Bangladesh Garments Workers Solidarity organised programmes on Rana Plaza premises and Tazreen Fashions demanding actual compensation and arrest of Tazreen’s owner Delwar Hossain. They also demanded a complete list of missing workers.
Around 1,000 survivors and family members of the missing and deceased workers gathered at the two places. They also brought out a rally on Dhaka-Aricha highway and paid tribute to the deceased workers at the Rana Plaza premises.
13:25:50 local time INDIA
* Spinning mill faces bleak future:
Nearly 300 workers at the Kottayam Textiles Spinning Mill, at Vedagiri in Ettumanoor, are staring at a bleak future with the public sector company unable to break-even and disburse statutory benefits.
According to employees of the mill, the company has been functioning at a loss of around Rs.40 lakh per month. The management is also required to pay outstanding dues totalling Rs.4.10 crore — the benefits due to employees as on October 31.
The root cause of the crisis is the sale of products at prices lower than the market price. Jose Mathew, an employee and CITU member, said cotton threads of superior grades 80 and 90 were worth around Rs.380 per kg in the open market. However, similar products of the mill were being sold through an agency at Rs.323 per kg, incurring a loss of Rs.57 per kg. Similarly, polyester threads were being sold at low prices. Though the purchase committee met every month to fix prices, on most occasions it was the agency that set the prices.
“There have been instances of price cuts being imposed even when there was no market fluctuation.” He accused the agency of adopting steps to serve the interests of certain sections.
* Maha textile dept plans to generate 15K jobs in Vidarbha:
Maharashtra textile department has planned to offer seven packages for Vidarbha region with projected investment to the tune of Rs 1,800 crore with an aim to generate 15,000 jobs.
Presently, around 500 textile units have been started in the state and other projects are in the pipeline, state textile minister Mohammad Arif Naseem Khan told PTI.
Around 14 textile parks are coming up in the state and expected to generate an additional 14,000 jobs with a possible investment of Rs 16,000 crore, he said.
The government’s new textile policy has evoked tremendous response from investors and industrial sector as well, he said.
Presently, textile parks have 580 units with an investment of Rs 3,931 crore in the state, he said.
* Power cut threatens apparel delivery schedule in Tirupur cluster:
The return of unannounced frequent power outages is causing a wave of anger among the apparel producers in Tirupur knitwear cluster.
With diesel prices going up considerably in the past few months, the use of diesel-run generators as an alternative power generation source is not becoming financially viable for the entrepreneurs to ensure an unbroken production cycle.
“We are not sure how the shipments can be made on time. The expectation which soared high among the industrialists following promises from authorities last year that steps are taken to tide over the power crisis by 2013 end is now crumbling,” E. Palanisamy, vice-president of Tirupur Exporters Association, said.
* From cotton fields to classrooms in Sitheri:
From the age of six till she was eleven, Kalaiarasi would travel to Aatur village in Salem from her home in Sitheri hills, Dharmapuri during summer. For the next three months in Aatur, in the evenings she would emasculate the cotton plants in the fields. She would then use a sieve to obtain the fine pollen dust from the grains.
In the mornings she would be up at dawn to rub the pollen dust on the female flowers. Then, she would stick a red paper to the plant to indicate that it had been pollinated. A day’s job would earn her Rs 100.
Since cotton plants usually grow upto a height of 3-4 feet, children were the ideal choice to carry out cross pollination in the fields in Salem.
“Initially there was no actual count of the number of children migrating from these districts – Dharmapuri, Tiruvannamalai and Villupuram. An assessment conducted by our team revealed that the tribal pockets in the hills had the maximum migration of child labourers,” says Vidyasagar, Child Protection Specialist with Unicef which started working in Dharmapuri in November, 2008. “Once we identified the vulnerable areas, we decided that prevention of migration would be our main focus,” he adds.
* 7 more farmers commit suicide in Vidarbha region:
Seven farmers have committed suicide in several villages of Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region since Thursday.
The deceased were identified as Baburao Rawte, Pramod Potrajwar, Wasaram Rathod and Ramrao Khokle (all from Yavatmal district), Sanjay Gawande (Washim) and Vinod Mahakulkar and Suresh Ambarwele (both from Wardha district).
Bothbodan village sarpanch Balasaheb Chavan, where Rathod ended his life by swallowing poison on Thursday, said that the desperate farmer had five acres of land and most of his crops, particularly raw cotton and soyabean, were destroyed in unseasonal heavy rains this kharif season.
“Since the crops failed, he couldn’t pay the Rs. 2 lakh loan taken from banks and private money lenders. He was depressed because no one would lend again to a defaulter,” Chavan said.
According to Chavan, Rathod was the 24th victim of agrarian crisis in the village since 2005.
12:55:50 local time PAKISTAN
* ‘EU market access may create one million jobs annually’:
Market access from the European Union under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) plus may create one million fresh jobs annually, as exports of every one billion dollar will bring one million new jobs to the industry.
World textile trade comes around $710 million out of which the share of Pakistan textile industry is merely two percent, which is likely to increase by another one percent to 3 percent by 2018 once Pakistan qualifies for the GSP plus in December 2013.
The GSP plus facility is likely to increase exports to the EU by $1 billion per annum, which means one million jobs every year, said industry circles. According to industry circles, textile industry is on its front foot to assist the government in gaining market access from the EU under the GSP plus scheme.
* Skilled workforce crucial to harvest GSP Plus gains:
Importance of continued training becomes all the more important with the approval of Generalized System of Preference (GSP) Plus status for Pakistan by the European Union (EU).
Steady increase in skilled work force is a crucial lynchpin to hook up with internationally competitive textiles and garment industry.
These were the reflections shared by Regional Director, National Vocational and Technical Training Commission (NAVTTC), Hassan Nasir Jamy, while presiding over the graduation ceremony of training of trainers on ‘Apparel Manufacturing and Management’, organized by the UNDP PEPGI project Punjab chapter at a local hotel.
Mehmood ul Hassan was PEPGI representative on the occasion.
“There is a tremendous potential for clothing industry in Pakistan, with the textiles sector providing employment to about 40% of industrial labor force. We will get access to the EU market through duty free export quota under GSP Plus. Hence, garment production will increase times. Thus, the need for vocational trainings has become an imperative,” he said.
“There is need to harmonize the efforts of training institutes imparting similar trainings to ensure optimum use of scarce resources. Synergies and effective coordination between these training institutions and their curricula would help the sector to employ the much needed skills,” he recommended.
* Importance of vocational training urged:
Importance of vocational training becomes all the more important with the approval of generalised system of preference (GSP) plus status for Pakistan by the European Union (EU), said Hassan Nasir Jamy, regional director of National Vocational and Technical Training Commission (NAVTTC).
He was presiding over the graduation ceremony of training of trainers on ‘Apparel Manufacturing and Management’, organised by the UNDPPEPGI (United Nations Development Programme’s Promoting Employment and Productivity in Garment Industry) Punjab chapter on Saturday.
* PCGA rejects cotton production target:
Chairman of All Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) Mukhtar Ahmed Khan Baloch has dispelled the impression that cotton production would be 16.4 million bales describing it miscalculated and over-estimated figure.
In a press statement, Baloch said Pakistan might produce 14 million bales during current season because cotton production increased in 10 districts of the Punjab and eight districts of Sindh province.