in the news on-line, 1-2 Dec. 2013

20:03:38 local time map of china CHINA

* Four killed in Italy garment factory fire:

Four people were killed and two others seriously injured Sunday in a fire in a Chinese-run garment factory in Italy’s Tuscany region, media reports said.

Firefighters were called to the scene after a passer-by spotted the blaze at around 0600 GMT in the textile town of Prato, just north of Florence in central Italy, according to local television.
‘We saw a column of smoke and we ran towards it. There were two Chinese, a man and a woman, completely covered in soot. They were screaming, flames were coming out of the warehouse,’ police officer Leonardo Tucia told the Corriere Fiorentino newspaper.
read more.
BD new age

* China starts releasing cotton from state reserves:

The China National Cotton Reserves Corporation (CNCRC) has started releasing cotton from the state reserves.
The floor price has been fixed at 18,000 yuan per ton for standard grade of cotton, and the first released reserves were from 2011 crop.
The release price of 18,000 yuan per ton is about 50 percent higher than this year’s average price so far. In addition, the release being from 2011 crop means that the cotton would not be of very good quality.
read more.
fibre2fashion

20:03:38 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* ‘Govt will become exploiters of workers’:

The government will become exploiters of workers if they will just give 75 percent of the applicable minimum wage in the region devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda, the Federation of Free Workers (FFW) said.

FFW President lawyer Sonny Matula said that the cash-for-work program of the government implemented in typhoon-affected areas should “pay workers at least the minimum wage in the region.”
“Not giving the minimum wage will only make workers in the Visayas victims all over again and will expose government as an exploiter of workers’ rights,” Matula said.

Based on reports, the National Economic Development Authority has proposed that the displaced workers will only be paid 75 percent of the applicable minimum wage in the region.
read more.
MTnew

* Fiber sector’s boom may loom on auto-weaver:

The fiber industry, particularly the abaca sector, is expected to improve production through the automatic handloom weaving machine recently developed by an all-Filipino manufacturing company, according to agriculture officials.

Still a prototype but already can process abaca fiber into a multidesigned fabric, Deparment of Agriculture (DA) executives on Thursday presented an automated version of the traditional handloom weaver at a hotel in Quezon City.
(…)
He explained the design maintained the wooden heddle or comb, “which is absent in the powerlooms weaving machines manufactured in China today, a small difference but provides for the quality of weave that mimics the hand-produced textile.”
read more.
businessmirrorPH

19:03:38 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Shoes makers may fail to grab TPP opportunities ‘cause of material shortage:

The Trans Pacific Strategic Partnership Agreement (TPP) is believed to create 1 million jobs in Vietnam’s leader and shoes industry. In order to take full advantage of the agreement, Vietnamese shoes makers have to settle the existing material problem.

The Lien Anh Leather & Shoes Company in Binh Duong province has incurred a loss of $100,000 because of the low-quality import leather consignment.

However, Lien Anh does not intend to use the leather from domestic sources because of the low quality of the products.
Lien Anh, which does not want to continue relying on material imports, is considering buying a tanning factory in Dong Nai province. If the deal is made, the factory would provide finished leather products to the company to fulfill its export contracts, according to Truong Thi Thuy Lien, Deputy General Director of Lien Anh.
read more.
VNBusinessTIMES

* TPP negotiations in progress:

The latest round of TPP negotiations was wrapped up in Utah, Salt Lake City, the US, on November 26, opening up opportunities for concerned parties to reduce disagreements before the TPP Ministerial Meeting is due to open in Singapore next month.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh, Vietnamese chief negotiator for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) speaks about the progress of negotiations.

As scheduled, the round of negotiations in Brunei in August was the last one. Could you elaborate on the latest round in Utah, its main contents and goals?

This was an additional one, not on the agenda, but focused on resolving outstanding issues to a certain extent.
We planned to conclude our negotiations in Brunei in late August. However, there remain snags in some issues. So the latest round of negotiations aimed to resettle them. We tried our best to reduce disagreement before the ministerial meeting is held in Singapore from December 7-10.

Did you see any progress by comparison with the set targets?
read more.
VNNet

* Textile and garment exports to reach US$50 billion by 2020:

The textile and garment sector could reach export revenue of US$50 billion by 2020, Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS) Deputy Chairman Le Tien Truong said when speaking with Vietnam Economic News’ Viet Nga about benefits that the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) would bring for the industry.

What role will the TPP play in the development of the Vietnamese textile and garment industry?
The TPP plays and will play a very important in the development of the Vietnamese textile and garment industry now and in the future because 60 percent of Vietnamese exports are sold to TPP countries. The TPP will provide major tariff preferences that make it easier for textile and garment enterprises to increase exports especially to the US market.
read more.
VNBREAKINGNEWS

* Huge potential for Vietnamese clothing exports to Russia:

There is huge potential for increasing Vietnamese clothing exports to Russia, the Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex) said on its website.
Russia has the 5th largest economy in the world, and with a population of nearly 143 million people, the country provides a big opportunity for Vietnamese garments, according to Vinatex.
read more.
fibre2fashion

19:03:38 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Majority of workers denied annual leave:

Only about 10 per cent of Cambodia’s workforce is being granted paid annual leave, a report released last week says.

Under the 1997 Labour Law, workers who work a standard 48-hour week are entitled to 18 days of paid annual leave, in addition to one day off per week.
But according to the Cambodia Labour Force 2012 report, released on Thursday by the International Labour Organization and the Ministry of Planning’s National Institute of Statistics, 90 per cent of regular employees are not being given any paid annual leave – a figure that is similar when it comes to paid sick leave.
(…)
Dave Welsh, country manager for labour-rights group Solidarity Center, said that for industries other than the garment sector – which is responsible for more than 85 per cent of Cambodia’s exports – the report’s statistics “are not surprising”.
“Outside of the garment sector, unless you’re working for an international hotel, workers and their [bosses] are probably not aware of it [the Labour Law requirement],” he said. “But it is a violation of the law.”
Within the garment sector, compliance is much greater, Welsh added.
read more.
PPP new

* BetterFactories Media updates 28 November-2 December 2013, SL factory agrees to reinstate 19 union representatives:

* To read in the printed edition of the Phnom Penh Post:
2013-11-28 Minimum wage to be set next month
2013-11-29 Report shows worrying shcool drop-out rate
2013-11-29 SL to reinstate fired unionists
2013-11-29 Strikers block national road in Bavet town
2013-11-29 The hazards of youth
2013-12-02 Majority of workers denied annual leave

* To read in the printed edition of the Cambodia Daily:
2013-11-28 Labor Minister proposes annual wage rise
2013-11-29 ILO says unemployment low, vulnerability high
2013-11-29 ILO women still lag behind in education
2013-11-29 Poor education could cripple business growth
2013-11-29 Report says more than 10 percent of children are laborers
2013-11-29 SL factory agrees to reinstate 19 union representatives
2013-12-02 Garment workers injured in road accident

BetterFactories Media Updates overview here.
BF NEW

20:03:38 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Workers fight each other over minimum wage:

Labor unionists clashed with workers at a shipyard in Tanjung Uncang in Batam, Riau Islands, on Friday because the workers decided to keep working instead of participating in a rally demanding a higher minimum wage.

Workers with PT ASL had rejected a request by labor unionists to join a rally.
The ensuing clash, in which workers hurled stones at one another, damaged three cars and a number of motorcycles.
A company of Mobile Brigade (Brimob) officers from the Riau Islands Police was deployed to disperse the workers with tear gas. Other shipyards in the area, mostly with investment from Singapore, decided to send their workers home to prevent the dispute from spilling over.
Workers in Batam are demanding the provincial administration set the monthly minimum wage for workers in shipyards, hotels and other “special skills sectors” at 2 percent higher than the regional minimum wage of Rp 2,422,092 (US$202.43).
to read.
jakartapost

18:03:38 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

20131201 * Gazipur factory fire hits livelihood of RMG workers:

With their only source of income burnt to ashes, they see an uncertain future ahead

Ranjhana, 28, who is currently seven months pregnant, was left distraught on Friday as some unruly workers set fire to her workplace, a Standard Group garment factory in Konabari industrial area of Gazipur.

She had been working with the garment factory for over 10 years, but now, her livelihood and the future of her children is in tatters following Friday’s fire.
“The owner of the factory had promised me a special allowance for my coming children and I was waiting for that, but…” she could not complete the sentence while talking to the Dhaka Tribune as she was weeping.

Another worker, Melal Hossain, who was working at the factory as a quality inspector, said: “I have considered the workplace as my family. Now, after the fire broke out, we are left in dire conditions.”
Melal’s wife was also working at the same factory thus the couple’s livelihood is now in serious crisis.

Like Melal and Ranjhana there were several hundreds of workers who depended solely on the wage from this factory. With their only source of income burnt to ashes, they see an uncertain future ahead.
Almost all the workers at the Standard Group were seen waiting outside the factory building for the whole day on Saturday with blank looks in their eyes.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

20131201 * RMG fires need to be investigated:

Garment factory fires have been occurring in Bangladesh with alarming frequency, and more often than not, the root cause remains unexplained

Workers allegedly set fire to three buildings of an RMG factory on Saturday following rumours of the death of two fellow employees. Reports indicate that a 10-story building and two six-storey buildings were completely destroyed as the fire raged on for over 13 hours. The total damage cannot yet be estimated.

Garment factory fires have been occurring in Bangladesh with alarming frequency, and more often than not, the root cause remains unexplained.
The BGMEA has called the latest fire at Standard Group an act of sabotage and has pointed at workers and trade unions as being groups with an interest in torching the factory.

As such incidents have become commonplace in Bangladesh, we urge the government to conduct proper investigations to get to the bottom of these crimes. Rumours abound as to the actual reasons behind the arson attacks, but in the case of fires that were deliberate and not accidents, the criminality behind the actions must be made transparent.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

20131201 * Arson: foul play of outsiders:

Local influential people played key role

Friday’s fire at Standard Group’s factory complex in Gazipur was a clear case of arson by workers from neighbouring factories and some influential locals.

It all started on November 13, when a meeting was held at Baluchar, a neighbourhood near the factory, on how to organise demonstrations for higher wages.
The workers of Standard Group, one of the most compliant companies, stayed away from the meeting. More importantly, it was the only company at Konabari, Gazipur, that continued production during the wave of labour unrest which swept the garment industrial zones on the outskirts of Dhaka city.
It was a demonstration of confidence in their employer on the part of the Standard Group workers, but the workers of nearby factories — and some influential people of the locality – looked upon it as a breach of worker solidarity. It was unclear, though, why influential sections of people of Konabari got involved in the matter concerning the garment workers of the area.

They even put pressure on the Standard Group workers to join them in their act of rebellion, but in vain. Incensed, they beat up some workers of the Standard Group, just outside the factory premises.
In retaliation, the following day some angry workers of the Standard Group vandalised a number of shops owned by the meddling local influential people opposite the factory.
“That was the beginning of all our troubles. You could say a war broke out after the incident,” Rakibul Hassan, a pattern master at the Standard Group, told The Daily Star. Hassan is one of the 18 that The Daily Star spoke to at length to get to the roots of the matter.
read more.
daily star bd

20131201 * Standard garment factory attack pre-planned?:

The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has blamed the law enforcement agencies and the government for their failure and unwillingness to prevent the recent wave of subversive activities against the sector, including Friday’s arson attack on the garment factories of Standard Group in Gazipur.

The apparel makers’ trade body made the comments on Saturday at a press conference held in the wake of the incident, which it alleged was carried out by a group of unruly workers and people with an interest in damaging the sector.
“The government has to ensure security so we can run our factories,” said BGMEA President Atiqul Islam, who demanded new laws to bring the criminals involved in all such incidents to book.

“If the government could have taken punitive actions against the masterminds behind all these incidents, there would have been no recurrence of such sabotage,” he said.
(…)
Meanwhile, a group of RMG owners has blamed India for the recent violence in the country’s apparel industry. They said India wants to grab our market share by destabilising the sector through creating anarchy through their agents. They also argued that there were no incidents in the RMG factories owned by Indian citizens.

“Is there any law or justice in this country? If there is, I want justice and punishment to come to those who shattered my dreams by torching my factories,” said Mosharraf Hussain, owner and managing director of the Standard Group.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

20131201 * Clarification:

GMS Composite Knitting Industries Ltd has clarified that a rumour of assault on a female worker triggered the November 18 violence in the factory area in Gazipur.
In a statement, the GMS authorities said the claim that a factory official allegedly beat up a female worker of the sewing section was not true.
“The real fact was that some miscreants intentionally created a rumour that one female worker had been beaten by a production manager,” said the company in response to reports published in several news media.
to read.
daily star bd

20131201 * BGMEA demands arrest of Gazipur arsonists:

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) today demanded arrest of culprits, who torched six units of Standard Group in Gazipur, within seven days.

BGMEA President Atiqul Islam said this while addressing a press briefing at his office in Karwan Bazar of the capital.
Garment workers torched six units of Standard Group in Konabari of Gazipur Friday, causing a massive damage worth hundreds of crore taka.
to read.
daily star bd

20131201 * Compliant factories are the targets now:

Garments factory units are being attacked one after another. Most of these violent attacks are instigating from rumours or insignificant incidents. Most of the time it is compliant factory units are being targeted. Recently  Standard Group and Mondol Group have been the target of such attacks. 

What befuddles the mind is that these companies are some of the largest RMG factories in the country. They operated with full compliance- paid wages on time, treated workers ethically and fairly and abided by all factory and labour rules and regulations. So why were these factories targeted?

Sources at BGMEA said after every such incidence a number of probe committees are formed but their reports rarely see the light of day. The main culprits go unpunished almost always which is why such incidents of sabotage are on the rise. They told Ittefaq both national and international groups are masterminding these incidents.

Data obtained from BGMEA showed that almost all the factories attacked in the last couple of months- Opex group, Sharmeen Group. Ha-meem Group, Bandu Design, Sterling, Anonta, Knit Asia, DBL, GMS etc are all well known for operating under full compliance.
read more.
Ittefaq

20131201 * Businesses seek security; urge 2 top leaders to stop violence:

7-day ultimatum to arrest culprits involved in Standard Group arson

Top business leaders on Sunday sent out a strong message for two top leaders — Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia — and urged them to stop violence immediately giving space for smooth functioning of the country’s economy.

“We can’t be helpless witnesses to the gradual destruction of the sector (RMG). You (Hasina-Khaleda) can do politically whatever you like, but nobody has the right to destroy the RMG sector. The RMG sector is our pride,” President of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed told reporters at a joint press conference.
(…)
He said there is a deep-rooted conspiracy to destroy all the compliant factories in the country where thousands of people are working. “If those factories are destroyed, the country’s economy will get destroyed. So, we seek security.”
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
& read more. & read more.
UNB BANGLA NEWS24  FE bd bss BD new age bdnews24
primenews newstodayBD

20131201 * Hi-powered committee formed to probe arson attack at Standard Group:

The government on Sunday formed a high-powered committee to investigate the recent arson attack at Standard Group, a leading apparel factory, in Gazipur.

Standard Group is the largest single garment factory of the country which has been in operation in the most ethical way with full compliance and its clients include American Eagle, GAP, Zara, Tommy Hilfiger, KOHL’S, Sears, Abercrombie, and Fitch and Gymboree.
The decision of forming the probe body was taken at an emergency meeting with the top officials of the country’s law enforcing and intelligent agencies at Probashi Kallyan Bhaban in the capital in the morning.
read more. & to read.
UNB newstodayBD

20131201 * 3 bodies to probe Gazipur factory fire:

The committees will submit their probe report within 7 days

Three probe committees have been formed to investigate Thursday’s arson attack on Standard Group’s factory complex in Gazipur, Labor and Employment minister Engineer Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said.

The minister made the disclosure while speaking to journalists after holding a meeting with Gazipur district administration on Sunday.
He said: “The government will try the culprits, whoever they are, and ensure an exemplary punishment as such kind of incident is a hindrance towards flourishing the country’s readymade garments sector.
The minister informed that the Deputy Commissioner of Gazipur district and Deputy Secretary for Labour and Employment Md Aminul Islam would lead two probe bodies while another one would be led by home ministry officials.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

(These -above- articles-items were already to read in an updated EXTRA EDITION 1 December 2013)
======================

20131201 * Cotton factory gutted in Gaibandha:

A cotton factory located at BSCIC state at Dhanghara area near the district town, was gutted in a fire Sunday morning.

According to sources the fire originated from an electric short circuit at around 7.30 am and soon engulfed the Nushrat Akter Jahan Cotton Factory of the estate and burnt the goods to ashes.
Receiving information, the fire fighters unit rushed to the spot and extinguished the blaze after half an hour, said M. Moynul Islam, station officer, Fire Service and Civil Defense Gaibandha.
The loss caused by the fire could not be ascertained immediately, he said.
to read. & to read. & to read.
bss newstodayBD FE bd

20131202 *  Save RMG industry from destruction : Businesses:

The country’s top business leaders Sunday urged the major political parties to shun the path of violent and confrontational activities for the sake of saving the ready-made garment (RMG) sector, and the country’s economy as a whole.

Condemning the recent arson attack on Standard Group, a compliant apparel-making complex, they also gave a seven-day ultimatum to bring the persons involved in the incident to book.
read more. & read more.
FE bd NEWNATIONnew

20131202 * MCCI, BLFCA shocked over arson attack on Standard Group:

Country’s leading business associations including Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), Dhaka have expressed their deep shock at the recent arson attack on the garment factory of  the Standard Group in Gazipur.

In separate statements, the associations termed the incident unexpected and pre-planned.
Terming the incident a conspiracy, the associations demanded stringent action against those involved in it.
read more.
FE bd

20131202 * Confidence of buyers on rock:

Frequent shutdown and countrywide blockade programmes of the BNP led-18 party alliance came as big blow for the country’s ready-made garments (RMG) industry, severely affecting production and shipment schedules, industry insiders said on Sunday.

They said, the apparel industry, the mainstay of Bangladesh’s economy, now is passing through a most difficult time in its history taking a heat from the ongoing political turmoil and labour unrest in regular interval.
read more.
NEWNATIONnew

20131202 * Body to probe arson attack on Standard Group RMG unit:

The government formed a high-powered committee Sunday comprising representatives from the country’s law enforcement and intelligence agencies to investigate the recent arson attack on a leading apparel group.

The committee, headed by Additional Secretary, ministry of home affairs, Mainuddin Khandaker, has been given seven working days to submit its findings to the ministry of home affairs.
This is the third committee after the local administration and the ministry of labour formed two other probe bodies in respect of the arson attack.
read more.
FE bd

20131202 * BGMEA gives govt a week to arrest arsonists:

Standard Group seeks govt support to make a comeback

The apex trade body for garment manufacturers yesterday gave the government a week to arrest the masterminds behind the sabotage of Standard Group factory complex in Gazipur.

“The attackers responsible for the fire have to be identified and brought to justice within seven days,” Atiqul Islam, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), told reporters after an emergency meeting with leaders of all garment sector related associations.
The meeting condemned Friday’s arson attack on Standard Group’s factory compound in Konabari of Gazipur, which burnt valuables worth Tk 1,200 crore.
The garment leaders also urged the government and other stakeholders, including banks and insurance companies, to come forward to help rehabilitate the units, where 19,000 workers are employed.
read more.
daily star bd

20131202 * Govt opens probe into Standard Group fire:

The government yesterday formed a high-level investigation committee to find out the reasons behind the fire at a Standard Group factory on Friday.

The nine-member committee comprises members of different intelligence agencies and will be headed by Main Uddin Khandaker, additional secretary to the home ministry. The committee will submit its report in seven days.
read more.
daily star bd

20131202 * High-powered body set up:

The government on Sunday set up a high-powered committee to investigate the fire in a complaint factory at Konabari in Gazipur on November 28, officials said.

The labour ministry has made the decision amid continued protest by the business groups as a group of miscreants set fire to the apparel unit of the Standard Group, leaving more than 27,000 workers jobless.
(…)
The police have so far arrested 14 workers of different apparel factories for their suspected involvement in the fire incident.
The police also caught the imam and khadem of the mosque, where the PA system was used to spread the rumour that caused the attack, for interrogation.
According to the case documents, several hundred miscreants intruded into the factory building and set fire to and vandalised factory after a rumour regarding the death of two workers in police firing on November 28 .
read more.
BD new age

20131202 * Government forms 3 probe bodies :

14 arrested as a case was filed over Standard factory fire

A case was filed with Joydebpur police station on Sunday, implicating hundreds of people in connection with the devastating arson attack on Standard Garment Factory last Thursday.

Police had already arrested 14 workers of different garment factories for their alleged involvement in the incident.
Meanwhile, the government on Sunday formed three probe committees to detect the cause and the culprits behind the attack.

Md Saidur Rahman of Human Resources Department of Matrixport, a concern of the Standard Group, filed the case with Joydebpur police station, implicating many, including workers of the Standard Group and different factories located in Kuddus Nagar, Jarun and Konabari areas.

Following a rumour about the death of two RMG workers in police shooting last Thursday, hundreds of workers went on the rampage through Amotex Limited, Amex Limited, Standard Stitches Limited, Gazipur Fashions Limited, Matrixport (Bangladesh) Limited, Tulagoan Fashions Limited, and International Trading Co Limited all concerns of Standard Group.

They set fire to packaging materials on the ground floor of the factory and the fire quickly spread to other floors of the 10-storey building. They also vandalised 20 vehicles parked on the factory premises. The outsiders set fire to 19 covered vans and four microbuses belonging to the Standard Group, causing a loss of Tk12.02bn, said the case statement.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

20131202 * RMG fires need to be investigated:

Garment factory fires have been occurring in Bangladesh with alarming frequency, and more often than not, the root cause remains unexplained

Workers allegedly set fire to three buildings of an RMG factory on Saturday following rumours of the death of two fellow employees. Reports indicate that a 10-story building and two six-storey buildings were completely destroyed as the fire raged on for over 13 hours. The total damage cannot yet be estimated.

Garment factory fires have been occurring in Bangladesh with alarming frequency, and more often than not, the root cause remains unexplained.

The BGMEA has called the latest fire at Standard Group an act of sabotage and has pointed at workers and trade unions as being groups with an interest in torching the factory.

As such incidents have become commonplace in Bangladesh, we urge the government to conduct proper investigations to get to the bottom of these crimes. Rumours abound as to the actual reasons behind the arson attacks, but in the case of fires that were deliberate and not accidents, the criminality behind the actions must be made transparent.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Top western firms to pull out of BD RMG industry: Guardian:

Political turmoil ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections has paralysed the Bangladesh capital as teargas, bombs and death on the streets have become a daily feature, said The Guardian on Saturday.

The British newspaper also feared that that top western firms will pull out of the garment industry, which fetches more than $21 billion a year, that is 80 per cent of the aggregate export of the country.

Since it gained independence from Pakistan in a civil war in 1971, politics in Bangladesh has been turbulent. There is little chance of the violence subsiding in the short term, said the newspaper published from London.

In recent decades it has been dominated by the battle between Sheikh Hasina, daughter of civilian independence leader and “father of the nation” Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and Khaleda Zia, widow of the military independence leader Ziaur Rahman. Both men were assassinated.
(…)
But for one community the politics have a direct impact. Negotiations are still continuing between garment factory owners, brands and unions over how much compensation will be paid to the survivors of the collapse in April and relatives of the dead.

Campaigners have told the country’s high court that they should receive 2,800,000 taka (£22,000) under international laws instead of the local legal minimum of 100,000 taka (£787) some factory owners have suggested.

A decision was unlikely until the instability subsided, said Jyotirmoy Barua, a lawyer representing the survivors and the bereaved. “We are waiting to get that [level of compensation] approved by the courts. But if anything goes on politically the high court doesn’t sit, so we have to wait until everything in Bangladesh settles down.”

Nobody believes that will be soon.
read more.
FE bd

20131202 * Kmart, Target to limit buying in BD:

Kmart and Target owner Wesfarmers has dropped some of its suppliers in Bangladesh following the garment factory fire in that country in April, says director Diane Smith-Gander.

“They`ve made some decisions not to continue to source in particular markets where they couldn`t be comfortable the building codes were going to be safe,” Ms Smith-Gander said in an interview with The Australian, ahead of a keynote address to the Governance Institute in Perth on December 3.
Source: theaustralian.com.au
to read.
BANGLA NEWS24

20131202 * Banks to stand by Standard Group:

When many business houses in Bangladesh have a tendency not to repay bank loans on time, Standard Group stands out. And banks will continue supporting this trusted client.

“The Group is a wonderful client. We are ready to support their business,” said Ehsan Khasru, managing director of Prime Bank.
Standard Group was overwhelmed by a massive disaster on Friday when a deliberate fire gutted its 10-storey apparel factory building in Gazipur. Four other buildings in the complex were reportedly damaged, along with 22 trucks loaded with garments.
read more.
daily star bd

* Fresh blockade leaves businesses in deep trouble:

Garment shipment, delivery of essentials called off halfway

The sudden announcement of a fresh blockade programme by BNP and its allies on Friday night came as a blow to exporters and domestic businesses as many had to suspend their deliveries halfway.

And many trucks loaded with rice and essential commodities were stranded on the way, meaning the prices of those will soar.
“As the announcement came late, many trucks that were sent on Friday night could not reach their destination,” said Nirod Boron Saha, president of an association of rice wholesalers and commission agents in Naogaon, a rice trading hub in the north.
Mohammadi Group, a garment exporter, had to shelve its plan of delivering goods from its factories to Chittagong port at the last moment.
read more.
daily star bd

* How the Garment Industry Started in Bangladesh:

Bangladesh was created out of chaos in the early 1970s, at a moment when millions in the country were dying from a combination of war and famine. The future looked exceedingly bleak.

Abdul Majid Chowdhury and Noorul Quader were Bangladeshi businessmen who wanted to help their country. “We asked ourselves, ‘What the hell do we want?’ ” Chowdhury recalls. The answer he and his friends arrived at: “We need employment. We need dollars.”
20131202 RISE

Their solution involved Richard Nixon, an obscure but hugely influential trade deal, and a cultural struggle over kimchee.

At the time, Bangladesh had no modern economy to speak of. The country’s main export was jute, a fiber used to make burlap sacks. So Chowdhury looked to textiles, an industry that had been a first step out of rural poverty for dozens of countries, stretching all the way back to the Industrial Revolution in England. One problem: Chowdhury didn’t know the first thing about the textile business. “I did not know how many buttons I had in my shirt,” he says.

A few decades earlier, South Korea had also been a largely rural country that was devastated by war and written off by much of the world. But, partly by learning to make clothes and sell them to the world, South Korea had climbed the ladder out of poverty.

Chowdhury and a few of his colleagues went to South Korea and toured a clothing factory full of women working at sewing machines, and he knew instantly that women in Bangladesh could do the work. He managed to get a 45-minute meeting with the head of Daewoo, the giant company that owned the factory, and talked to the guy for 10 hours, until 2 in the morning. The meeting worked. Daewoo agreed to invest in a clothing factory in Bangladesh.
read more.

                        THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE

* Rana Plaza Compensation – The Delay With No Deadline …:

It has been two months more than 6 months already, and except for Primark and its well planned bKash initial relief fund transfer twice directly to the victims and their families (BDT15000 x 2), no other tangible/real action has been taken yet.

The wait is longer than any consignment ever takes to reach the shores of rich markets for occasions of love and compassion – just like Christmas 2013 that is ahead of us.

An ex-Rana Plaza worker (now an injured victim) questions, “… are we not to be remembered or helped by those we worked for? Were we not a part of the effort we put together for all of our sakes? We went inside the building that day because there was a deadline we had to meet … now we are in shatters and our pain is extreme.
Where is the deadline for the buyers to help us? … “We love our buyers as we have always had them as family, we love those who wear what we stitch – we care for them with our every effort. I hear this winter they will celebrate with their children.
Will they forget the hundreds of children now orphaned?”

Big Western Brands like Walmart, Sears, Children’s Place nor any of the other US sellers of goods produced at  Rana Plaza has agreed to contribute to the efforts of compensation.
A chilling display of ignorance by brands who claim to serve middle class working families (such as Walmart) and those who are there to cloth children.
If these brands are ignorant of the pain suffered by ordinary working families of their own supply chain and their orphaned children, an obvious question does arise of their true “care”for ordinary people who back in their countries make up their target market.
read more.

* Rescuer turned victim seeks way back to normalcy:

It was a spontaneous decision, coming to the aid of others in distress irrespective of the dangers involved.

But never did he imagine that it would end up in a personal tragedy, crippling and turning him penniless, at the mercy of others.
The morning of April 24 was like of any other day for Mohammad Sohel. He was working as a knitting machine operator in a garment factory adjacent to Rana Plaza in Savar.
But as the clock struck 8:45am, the nine-storey Rana Plaza came crashing down, trapping thousands of workers employed in its five garment units.
A natural instinct to save his two cousins working there kicked in and the 23-year-old sprung to action without waiting for firefighters.
read more.
daily star bd

17:33:38 local time map of india INDIA

* ‘Accord special industrial consideration to Tirupur’:

Textile associations in Tirupur knitwear cluster would be forwarding a joint representation to the State Government seeking special consideration to Tirupur knitwear cluster when it comes to ensuring continuous power supply to the industries.

“This is essential to protect the Tirupur export hub which has been helping the country earn about Rs.13,000 crore of foreign exchange from the garments exported.
“The government should immediately take steps to give continuous power to garment units in Tirupur similar in the manner of giving quality power to the foreign companies that set up their units in the State,” Tirupur Exporters and Manufacturers Association (TEAMA) president M.P. Muthurathinam told The Hindu.
read more.
Return to frontpage

* ‘No more subsidy for Bhiwandi powerlooms’:

Amid strong protests by powerloom owners in Bhiwandi against the recent hike in power tariff, the state’s power department has apprised Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan of its inability to consider their demand for more subsidies as it would mean an additional burden of Rs 400 crore.

“To give subsidies in the revised power tariff, we will have to bear an additional burden of Rs 400 crore, over and above the existing subsidies of Rs 11,000 crore for the sector across the state. There is very little scope for additional subsidies in the current scenario.”
Chavan, who had promised to consider the demand by the powerloom sector, has convened a meeting with deputy chief minister and power minister Ajit Pawar next week to find a solution.

Abdul Mannan Siddique, president of Bhiwandi Powerloom Federation, says, “On December 19, the chief minister promised to look into our demand for subsidies after which we called off our 12-day strike.
We have set December 4 as the deadline for the government to respond. If they fail, we will be forced to shut down the powerlooms.”
read more.
financial-express

* Bank for handloom weavers sought:

The Rashtra Dalit Sena (RDS) on Sunday urged the State government to launch a bank to exclusively to cater to the needs of the handloom weavers.

RDS district secretary Edara Chandramouli pressed for interest-free loan to weavers who were losing out in the competition from powerlooms and textile mills. Reservation of production items for the handloom sector should be strictly implemented, he added.
to read.
Return to frontpage

17:03:38 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

20131130 * Fire at textile factory in Karachi destroys goods worth millions:

A major fire broke out at a textile mill in the industrial district of SITE in Karachi on Friday evening. While there were no people inside, the blaze caused damage worth millions to goods stored.

The factory is located near Gulbai in SITE, within the limits of SITE B Section police station.
Fire fighters had initially declared it as a category ‘three’ fire, the highest degree of fire, and rushed a large number of fire tenders to the site.

After hectic efforts of around two-and-a-half hours, fire fighters were able to control the blaze.
According to fire brigade officials, the fire broke out at a warehouse of the ground-plus-one storey unit of Adnan Textile Mills. Firemen were able to control the fire before it engulf to entire building.
They said that the cause of the fire was yet to be ascertained.

SHO Sohail Khan of SITE B police station said that several workers were also present in the mill but all of them had been evacuated. He added that a fire had also broke out in the same mill last year.
He said that the investigation was underway while the fire fighters were busy in the cooling process to douse the fire completely.
This was the third fire at the garment factories in the city on Friday.
to read. & read more.
tribune thenewspk

* Winter season: textile mills hopeful about normal energy supply:

Textile industry in Punjab is quite hopeful of continuous energy supply to mills during winter season, said sources.

Talking to Business Recorder, reliable sources said efforts are underway on the part of government to avoid the unavoidable by managing supplies of electricity and gas to the consumers during winter season.

It may be noted that the Federal government had approved suspension of gas supply to textile mills in Punjab, used in keeping the Captive Power Plants operating to generate electricity during load shedding. This situation had gathered huge hue and cry from the industry and APTMA had released an appeal to the Prime Minister and other government functionaries to avoid a blackout of energy to industry during winter.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

 

 

map of Asia

HEADLINES:

CHINA
* Four killed in Italy garment factory fire
* China starts releasing cotton from state reserves

PHILIPPINES
* ‘Govt will become exploiters of workers
* Fiber sector’s boom may loom on auto-weaver

VIET NAM
* Shoes makers may fail to grab TPP opportunities ‘cause of material shortage
* TPP negotiations in progress
* Textile and garment exports to reach US$50 billion by 2020
* Huge potential for Vietnamese clothing exports to Russia

CAMBODIA
* Majority of workers denied annual leave
* BetterFactories Media updates

INDONESIA
* Workers fight each other over minimum wage

BANGLADESH
* Gazipur factory fire hits livelihood of RMG workers
* RMG fires need to be investigated
* Arson: foul play of outsiders
* Standard garment factory attack pre-planned?
* Clarification
* BGMEA demands arrest of Gazipur arsonists
* Compliant factories are the targets now
* Businesses seek security; urge 2 top leaders to stop violence
* Hi-powered committee formed to probe arson attack at Standard Group
* 3 bodies to probe Gazipur factory fire

* Cotton factory gutted in Gaibandha
* Save RMG industry from destruction : Businesses
* MCCI, BLFCA shocked over arson attack on Standard Group
* Confidence of buyers on rock
* Body to probe arson attack on Standard Group RMG unit
* BGMEA gives govt a week to arrest arsonists
* Govt opens probe into Standard Group fire
* High-powered body set up
* Government forms 3 probe bodies
* RMG fires need to be investigated
* Top western firms to pull out of BD RMG industry: Guardian
* Kmart, Target to limit buying in BD
* Banks to stand by Standard Group
* Fresh blockade leaves businesses in deep trouble
* How the Garment Industry Started in Bangladesh
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE:
* Rana Plaza Compensation – The Delay With No Deadline …
* Rescuer turned victim seeks way back to normalcy

INDIA
* ‘Accord special industrial consideration to Tirupur’
* ‘No more subsidy for Bhiwandi powerlooms’
* Bank for handloom weavers sought

PAKISTAN
* Fire at textile factory in Karachi destroys goods worth millions
* Winter season: textile mills hopeful about normal energy supply

latest tweets (& news)

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

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

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

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

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