16:40:12 local time CHINA
* China steps up support for African cotton-producing countries:
China will expand its cooperation program with the group of four major African cotton- producing countries, or the C4, trade officials from the two sides announced at the sidelines of the ongoing 9th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) here Tuesday.
China is moving one step further in promoting the capacity of the C4 countries, namely Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali, in production, processing and logistics cooperation of the cotton industry, said Chinese Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng at a press briefing.
The agreement is a follow-up of a cooperation program that started in 2011 at the 8th WTO Ministerial Conference, which helped cotton production in the four cotton-growing countries that roughly account for 15 percent of the world’s cotton exports.
15:40:12 local time CAMBODIA
* Jubilation as SL strike ends:
Frustration over a nearly four-month stalemate gave way to jubilation last night as about 1,000 garment workers threw up their arms and cheered as union representative Ouch Noeun announced the official end of the strike at SL Garment Processing (Cambodia) Ltd.
“Our struggle is a success; today is our best day,” Noeun, secretary-general of SL’s chapter of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU), shouted into a microphone in front of the SL1 factory.
“After today, everybody will know that the workers at SL got their justice, and we appeal to every employer to respect human rights.”
The celebratory end to the strike came after a three-and-a-half-hour meeting at the Ministry of Labor between SL and C.CAWDU, at which officials from the ministry, garment industry and labour rights groups watched each side sign a five-point agreement, said Dave Welsh, country manager for labour rights group Solidarity Center.
* SL Garment Factory, Workers Agree on Terms to End Protest:
A monthslong dispute between workers and management at the SL Garment Factory that turned violent last month appeared to come to an end Tuesday after the factory’s administration agreed to accept workers’ demands, a union leader said.
Members of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (CCAWDU) had made a number of demands of the factory, including the reinstatement of 19 previously fired union representatives and the removal of shareholder Meas Sotha.
“This is a very good decision by the employer…. On the workers’ side, we will keep trying to strengthen our good relationship with the employers and other workers in the factory,” said CCAWDU president Ath Thorn after the conclusion of a three-hour meeting at the Labor Ministry.
* Man Jailed for Killing Garment Factory Union Leader Faces Court:
The man who was convicted in absentia and arrested earlier this year for the murder of a garment factory union leader in 2007 appeared in court for the first time Tuesday to protest his innocence.
Chan Sophon, 35, along with Long Vannak, 35, was at large when he was sentenced in March 2012 to 18 years in prison for killing Hy Vuthy, a Free Trade Union (FTU) leader at Phnom Penh’s Suntex factory who was shot to death in February 2007.
Police arrested Mr. Sophon after he was identified while on a trip to Phnom Penh to visit his mother in February. Mr. Vannak remains at large.
Mr. Sophon’s appearance at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Tuesday, following a complaint that he filed with the court over its guilty verdict against him, was the first time that he has personally been able to protest his innocence.
“We want you to clarify this case because the witnesses told the court that you were involved in the murder,” presiding Judge Suos Sam Ath told Mr. Sophon.
Mr. Sophon said that he knew Hy Vuthy, a prominent labor activist at the Suntex factory, where Mr. Sophon was also employed, but denied that he played any part in his murder.
“I did not shoot Hy Vuthy dead, and I do not know who killed him,” Mr. Sophon told the court.
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16:40:12 local time MALAYSIA
* Portal To Help Employers, Workers Understand Minimum Wages Implementation:
Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot Jaem Tuesday launched the Minimum Wages Portal to enable the public, specifically employers and private sector workers, understand the method of implementing minimum wages.
He said the portal, which was developed with the cooperation of the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (PEMANDU) and National Wage Consultative Council (MPGN) would channel information and rationale on the policy of the National Minimum Wage more accurately and comprehensively.
He was confident the portal would be able to give the latest information on the result of a study of the impact of the implementation of minimum wages on the labout market, employment of foreign labour and national transformation towards a high income, developed nation.
14:25:12 local time NEPAL
* Nepal’s RMG, Pashmina exports swell on rupee depreciation:
14:40:12 local time BANGLADESH
* REPORT: IndustriALL leading the struggle for Bangladeshi garment workers:
The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh is a historic breakthrough covering more than 2 million garment workers. Breaking from failed corporate-led social auditing of the past, under the Accord trade unions and multinational companies are working together to improve the precarious situation of garment workers in Bangladesh.
Over 100 brands and retailers, covering over 2 million workers in 1,600 factories, are now working together with IndustriALL Global Union and UNI Global Union. This broad coalition constitutes a critical mass of the garment sector. Together they have worked hard to set up the foundations to the Accord for the work on the ground in Bangladesh to be up and running by December 2013.
A number of key factors make this broad coalition new – its size; the seriousness of the legally binding commitments; and the central role of national and international trade unions. Trade unions as partners are the only actors able to ensure accountability and reliable monitoring of conditions and the inspection process. For too long the industry publicly relied on one-off safety audits in its factories, conducted by auditing companies that are created and funded by the brands themselves. Strong industrial relations in the industry can replace this model and conduct constant safety inspections in a context where workers are empowered to refuse dangerous work.
IndustriALL has long supported the calls of its Bangladeshi affiliates for a rise in the minimum wage for the sector in line with a living wage. The IndustriALL Bangladesh Council (IBC) is united in its demand for an urgent increase in the minimum wage to well over US$100 per month from the current US$38. On 21 September 200,000 Bangladeshi garment workers mobilized for three days in Dhaka and elsewhere in the country, calling for a living wage and strongly rejecting a derisory employers’ wage offer in negotiations.
Recent attention has focused on discussions inside the wage board created by the government to recommend an increased sector-wide minimum wage. IndustriALL has criticized the absence of a trade union representative on the wage board. One spark that ignited the mass worker demonstrations in September was the inadequate proposal submitted to this wage board from the BGMEA and BKMEA employers associations in the sector of 3,600 BDT per month, a raise of less than 20 per cent.
IBC general secretary Roy Ramesh stated:
The IBC has proposed to fix the minimum wages based on the Millennium Development Goals and the cost of living which is equal to around US$120 per month.
Compensations – setting a standard for the future
Compensation is a difficult but important area of work that involves numerous actors. IndustriALL is taking the lead and was able to secure the ILO as neutral chair of the compensation process following the Rana Plaza and Tazreen tragedies. Although compensating the victims’ families and the injured workers of these industrial disasters is important in and of itself, the significance of this process is heightened by the possibility of setting a precedent for future deadly accidents.
* Perpetrators of Standard Group arson won’t be spared: PM:
Terming the arson attack on Standard Group factory buildings here pre-planned one, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday said the government would not spare those behind this heinous incident, reports UNB.
“We’ll take stern action, we won’t spare anyone…such incident is the attack on the liberty and the livelihoods of workers…the government is determined to bring the culprits to justice,” she said after inspecting the affected Standard Group factory.
The Prime Minister said the attack on the Standard Group factory buildings was a preplanned one. “Otherwise, it would have not been possible to set fire to such a huge area within a short time and burn theses factory buildings.”
Sheikh Hasina said these destructive activities are being carried out in recent times, aiming to shatter the country’s economy.
Talking about the government initiative for the welfare of the garment workers, Hasina said in the world Bangladesh is the only country where the government increased the wages of the garment workers by 219 percent in just four years of time.
“With my own initiative I forced the garment owners to raise the minimum wage from Tk 1,600 to Tk 5,300. I can challenge no one in the world can show such wage hike,” she said.
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* PM: Separate squads to protect industries:
PM urges people to prevent those who were behind the attack on the factory
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday said separate squads should be formed in order to protect the industrial institutions.
The prime minister made the observation during her visit to Gazipur’s Standard Group garment factory, which was set on fire on Friday.
Hasina said: “The contribution of the garment sector in the country’s social economy is huge and those who want to destroy the industry are actually destroying the country’s economy.”
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* Arsonists to be dealt with iron hand: PM:
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said those involved in arson, destruction and acts of sabotage in the name of movement and their instigators would be dealt with an iron hand.
She said, the evil elements playing with fire belong to the anti-liberation force and they have no faith in the existence of this country. \”We have information that they\’re now hatching conspiracy to sink ferry and steamer,\” she said urging people to remain careful against their designs.
The Prime Minister was speaking to a gathering of garment owners and workers during her visit to the gutted garment factory of Standard Group at Konabari in Gazipur industrial belt here today.
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* BGMEA condemns arson attack on Standard Group:
Leaders of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and the workers associations, in a joint statement Tuesday, condemned recent arson at a Standard group, readymade garment (RMG) unit.
The leaders in the statement also urged all banks, customs, government authorities, insurances and other stake holders with the business of the group to provide all types of possible support so that the group can regain its losses.
* Standard Group claims Tk 500cr from its insurer:
Standard Group has claimed Tk 500 crore from its insurer after two manufacturing units of the garment maker were devastated by a deliberate fire that caused losses worth around Tk 1,200 crore.
Due to higher premium, the garment maker had insured a portion of the assets in the manufacturing units, according to Atiqur Rahman, chairman of Standard Group.
“We have never imagined all our buildings, capital machinery and other assets will be damaged completely,” Rahman said.
Standard Insurance Ltd, the insurer, has already appointed 10 surveyors to inspect the ravaged plants and assess the losses.
The surveyor firms, registered with the Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority, will set the financial value of the accident after visiting the site.
“We will pay Standard Group based on reports of government intelligent agencies and the surveyors,” said Amar Krishna Saha, managing director of Standard Insurance.
The government has already formed several probe committees, including one that comprises members of different intelligence agencies, to find out the reasons behind the fire.
“We are waiting for their reports,” Saha said.
* BD leather trade needs more attention:
From the slums of Bangladesh to the fashion houses of the world, luxury leather goods from Dhaka generate sales of more than $1bn a year.
There are more than 200 tanneries in Hazaribagh, Dhaka, employing more than 30,000 workers.
Every day, the tanneries discharge 21,000 cubic metres of toxic waste into gutters that flow into Dhaka’s main river.
In 2009, the Bangladeshi High Court asked the government to relocate the tanneries to an area outside of Dhaka.
Bangladesh industries minister Dilip Barua said the government is committed to an environmentally-friendly tannery zone, but as yet, little has been done due to disagreements between the authorities and tannery owners, over who should bear the cost of moving.
* Clinton Meet: Investment Group to Raise $1B for Garment Factories:
Four months after the worst industrial accident in the history of the garment-making industry, a New York investment group pledged to raise $1 billion to help Bangladesh and other garment-making countries create factories with greater safety protections for workers.
The four-day annual meeting, which coincides with the United Nations General Assembly, brings together sitting heads of state, business leaders, non-profit organizations and celebrities from around the globe to discuss the world’s most pressing problems.
At this year’s meeting, which began Sept. 24, corporations and NGOs teamed up to create 160 new “Commitments to Action” – valued at $10.8 billion — which will reportedly affect the lives of 22 million people around the globe.
14:10:12 local time INDIA
* Two factories gutted in Ghaziabad, goods worth crores destroyed:
A massive blaze erupted in Sahibabad industrial area in two factories in the early hours of Monday. Fire department officers said the fire started around 3.45am and, by the time fire-fighters arrived, heavy smoke had filled the air.
Apart from Ghaziabad, fire tenders from Noida and Meerut were also pressed into service. Although no casualty was reported, officers said loss to property worth several crores could not be ruled out.
“The fire started at a shoe manufacturing unit and soon engulfed the adjacent rubber factory. Around 17 fire tenders were pressed into service. Three fire tenders were also taken from Noida fire department to douse the flames,” said V K Singh, chief fire officer, Ghaziabad.
Singh said the fire department is yet to establish the reason behind the blaze. However, initial probe points towards a short circuit to be the prime cause. Manufacturing machines, rubber goods and shoes were destroyed.
* Textile associations’ members to meet CM:
A meeting of office-bearers of leading textile associations held here on Monday has decided to meet the Chief Minister and Ministers concerned and apprise them the problems faced by the apparel manufacturers due to unscheduled power cuts.
“Continual changes from the grid power to the generator-produced electricity cause damages to the machinery because of the differences in its quality,” Tirupur Exporters and Manufacturers Association (TEAMA) president M. P. Muthurathinam told reporters here.
The entrepreneurs, who took part in the meeting, had unanimously called for a special status to the Tirupur knitwear cluster by ensuring uniform quality of power at uninterrupted stretches.
* Proper wages essential for J&K handicraft artisans: CM:
* Textile, apparel companies reap benefits of revival in exports:
Textile exports in last few months have shown good pick up along with increase in cotton yarn exports to China
A revival in textile and apparel exports is reflected in the performance of companies active in yarn spinning, fabrics and apparel. In the second quarter, textile companies saw a growth in top lines and bottom lines on strong export demand and rupee depreciation.
In the quarter, the rupee hit a low of 68.83 against the dollar on August 28; the average rate was 62.07. Textile exports were $13.6 billion, compared to $12 billion a year ago.
* Disease hits standing Bt cotton crop:
The Bt cotton crop standing on 13,000 hectares of land at several villages of Perambalur district has been affected by three distinct diseases, causing anxiety among farmers.
A team of scientists from the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University Anbil Dharmalingam Agricultural College and Research Institute, Tiruchi, along with officials of the Agriculture Department inspected the cotton fields in various villages on Monday and evolved a strategy for saving the standing crop.
13:40:12 local time PAKISTAN
* CM reiterates Pakistan wants trade, not aid with EU countries:
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that holding of a seminar by the European Union countries regarding new trade and investment opportunities in Punjab is a welcome step and would open up new avenues of trade and investment between Pakistan and European countries.
He thanked European Union countries for their support for granting GSP Plus status to Pakistan and said that it will result in increase in textile and garments production as well as prospects of investment in other sectors as well.
He was addressing a seminar on the topic of European Union- Pakistan—New Opportunities of Trade and Investment, at a local hotel, here. Ambassador of European Union Lars Gunnar Wigermark, Deputy Head of the delegation of European Union Pierr Mayadon, Ambassadors of member countries of European Union, industrialists, young entrepreneurs and concerned authorities were present on the occasion.
* EU states urged to allocate suppliers credit:
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has urged the European Union states to allocate suppliers credit for prospective investors in the energy sector to be utilised for setting up plants and procurement of machinery.
Speaking at the concluding session of a policy event on new opportunities for trade and investment between EU and Pakistan, Shahbaz said, “There exist great prospects of cooperation between EU states and Pakistan in electricity generation sector through bio-gas, solar, wind and renewable technology.
The chief minister said textile and garments are the backbone of the Pakistani economy.
“The Punjab government is making all-out efforts to exploit the real potential of this sector and to gain maximum benefits from the GSP-Plus status.” He said funds have been allocated for setting up a garment zone in the Punjab province and that 1,300 acres of land will be acquired for the purpose.
* Ministry withdraws summary of suspending gas to textile mills:
Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Resources has withdrawn summary of suspending gas supply to textile mills in Punjab during peak winter season, said reliable industry sources.
It may be noted that the Federal Minister for Petroleum & Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Chief Minister Punjab had held a detailed meeting with textile industry leadership in Lahore.
Chairman All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Punjab S M Tanveer and Gohar Ejaz had led a 20-member delegation and made an effective representation for seeking uninterrupted gas supply during extreme winter so that Punjab-based textile industry remain operative to produce textile goods predominantly meant for exports.
13:40:12 local time UZBEKISTAN
* South Korean TTG to invest $40 million by 2016 in textile industry of Uzbekistan:
South Korean Textile Technologies Group (TTG) will invest $40 million in 2014-2015 in development of textile industry in Tashkent region, reported RIA Novosti referring to the State Joint Stock Company Uzbeklegprom.
The Korean company for two years will provide additional capacity to produce 7.5 million square meters of cotton fabrics and 5 million pieces of garments per year. Korean Eximbank will provide a loan to finance the modernization.