in the news on-line, 20-27 Dec. 2013

TIME20131227

23:27:02 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Strike numbers swell:

20131227 PPP Garment-Workers-Joing-CNRP-Freedom-Park
Garment workers who joined CNRP supporters at Freedom Park in Phnom Penh hold protest signs and demand that the minimum wage be increased yesterday. Photo by Hong Menea.

Arriving in bursts of 20, 30 and 50 at a time, thousands of garment workers filled Freedom Park yesterday afternoon, shouting slogans and holding aloft cardboard sheets bearing the figure “$160” hand-written in marker, amid a quickly growing national strike.

The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) reacted to the fluid situation earlier in the day, “strongly” suggesting its 473 member factories close until Monday in order to avoid possible strike-related violence and property damage, while the Ministry of Labour invited members of six unions to discuss a resolution at an emergency meeting today.

The explosion of strikers came two days after the Ministry of Labour announced it would raise Cambodian garment workers’ minimum wage – which now stands at $80, including a health bonus – to $95, rather than the $160 workers and unions demanded.
(…)
A letter from seven union groups – the CUMW, FTU, the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU), the Coalition of Cambodian Unions (CCU), the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions (CATU), the Worker Friendship Union Federation (WFUF) and the Independent Youth Trade Union (IYTU) – addressed to GMAC executive committee chairman Van Sou Ieng and forwarded to the Labour Ministry yesterday claimed that nearly 250,000 people would join the strike if their demands are not met within a week.

“If you cannot meet all demands within one week, the unions and workers in every [garment] factory in the country will join demonstrations,” the letter says.

In addition to an industry-wide minimum wage of $160, the letter demanded $3 for meals each day for all workers, justice for people shot during a November clash between police and striking SL Garment Processing (Cambodia) Ltd workers, and four other points.

C.CAWDU president Ath Thorn said the seven-member coalition will consider ending the strike if wages are raised to $160, but more demands may come out of the woodwork as the strike continues.
“If there’s no progress, demands will get bigger and bigger,” Thorn said yesterday afternoon.
read & see more. (video).
PPP new

* Striking Garment Factory Workers Join CNRP Protest Again:

More than 10,000 striking garment factory workers again streamed into Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park throughout the day Thursday, joining opposition supporters on their 12th straight day of demonstrations and marches to demand that Prime Minister Hun Sen resign, and call a new election.

The workers, who have been on strike since Tuesday to demand the minimum monthly wage increase from $80 to $160, arrived in an string of noisy convoys that filled the park by lunchtime.
Thousands of the workers had turned out to the CNRP’s demonstration on Wednesday, and the party’s top leaders, including President Sam Rainsy, spent Thursday morning encouraging more to join the protest by visiting factories in Kandal, Kompong Speu and Kompong Chhnang provinces.

The morning consisted of the strikers dancing to music and giving brief speeches to air their grievances against Mr. Hun Sen’s government and call for the minimum wage to be raised to $160 immediately.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Factories Advised to Close as Wage Strikes Swell:

Cambodia’s garment manufacturers were advised to temporarily shut down operations Thursday as tens of thousands of workers at hundreds of factories joined nationwide strikes over wages, disrupting a $5 billion industry that accounts for about 80 percent of the country’s exports.

Rallies led by the opposition CNRP also continued to swell, reaching more than 10,000 people in the afternoon, as workers walked off the job and spent the day in Freedom Park, joining the 12th consecutive day of demonstrations calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Hun Sen.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Unions announce January strikes until goals achieved:

386 labor unions in Cambodia said that they will hold massive strikes beginning in January 2014 to demand minimum wage be raised to $160 per month along with other demands.

The unions representing 249,700 workers in the garment sector sent a letter to the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC) on Thursday, announcing their intent to strike.
In the letter, the unions said that they will lead workers to strike and march along the streets until their demands are met.
Apart from demanding $160 per month for the footwear and garment sectors, they also demand $3 per day for food, and factory employers keep compensation at the National Treasury to be provided to workers when the factories are closed.
read more.
CAMHERALD

* Three injured, three arrested in clash:

At least three police officers have been injured and three protesting workers arrested after a violent clash erupted in the Special Economic Zone of the Por Senchey district on Friday, according to reports.

The violence broke out after police officers at the site pushed protesting workers who were blocking National Road four.
During the clash, angry workers threw rocks and bottles at police forces.
In another part of the country, hundreds of protesting workers have blocked the road in front of the Ministry of Labor and the Prampi Makara overpass to demand that minimum wage be raised to $160 per month by 2014.
read more.
CAMHERALD

* Hun Sen Encounters ‘Choh Chenh Tov’ Chants on Drive to Airport:

Prime Minister Hun Sen got an unexpected send-off from thousands of striking garment factory workers Thursday morning when his motorcade passed the marchers along Russian Boulevard as he traveled to Phnom Penh International Airport to depart for a three-day state visit to Vietnam.

Holding paper placards demanding a salary of $160 per month, many among a crowd of between 5,000 and 6,000 garment workers chanted “Hun Sen Euy! Choh Chenh Tov! [Hun Sen get out],” as the prime minister’s car and an accompanying entourage of senior government officials passed by the marchers.

Police and members of the prime minister’s personal bodyguard unit, who normally clear the streets of the city for Mr. Hun Sen’s motorcade to pass, appeared unable to keep the marching workers out of sight, and earshot, of the premier.

Marching with the workers, Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions (CCU), said that 85 percent of the strikers encountered by the prime minister on Russian Boulevard had walked out of more than 20 garment factories in the city’s Choam Chao area and were en route to join the opposition party’s protest at Freedom Park.

“The worker marched from Choam Chao only to demand their main claim of wage rise,” Mr. Chhun said.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Cambodian police clash with protesting workers:

Cambodian police fired warning shots Friday during a brief clash with striking garment workers demanding higher wages, an official said.

The violence broke out when military police tried to move thousands of striking workers off a road on the outskirts of the capital Phnom Penh, according to Am Sam Ath of local rights group Licadho.
The workers then threw rocks at the authorities who fired “many warning shots” into the air and hit protesters with their batons, he told AFP.
Several people on both sides were reportedly injured.

Disputes over wages and safety conditions are common in Cambodia’s multi-billion dollar garment industry which supplies brands like Gap, Nike and H&M.
read more.
CAMHERALD

Cambodian police free 3 detained workers in clash:

Cambodian anti-riot police on Friday released three striking workers who were involved in a brief clash at the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone on Friday morning, police and rights group said.

The clash between anti-riot police and striking workers left at least three police officers and four workers injured.
“We just detained them a few hours for education; then, we released them,” Kheng Tito, spokesman for the National Military Police, told Xinhua.
The clash happened when a few thousand striking workers blocked the national road in front of the zone on the outskirts of Phnom Penh and hurled stones at police and factories, he said.
“These were illegal acts, we have to crack down on them, we could not allow them to cause anarchy and chaos,” he said, adding that as of Friday afternoon, workers are still blocking the road.

According to a Xinhua’s photojournalist who was at the scene, about 500 anti-riot police officers are deployed to protect the zone while around 2,000 striking workers are continuing their blockade of the National Road No. 4 in front of the zone.
Am Sam Ath, a senior investigator for the rights group Licadho, said at least four workers were injured by police batons.
“Now, they’re still confronting each other. We’re concerned that the situation will get worse if there is no any solution,” he told Xinhua over telephone.

Meanwhile, several thousand other workers have gathered in front of the Ministry of Labor in Phnom Penh to demand that the government double their wages from 2014.
Since Wednesday, tens of thousands of garment workers in hundreds of factories have walked out of their work in protest against low wage hike for 2014.
read more.
globaltimes

* Factories to lose millions:

The economic fallout from garment worker protests and the industry’s response is expected to cost the key sector millions of dollars while tarnishing the country’s reputation among international buyers, interviews with suppliers and figures from previous periods of labour unrest show.

Disputes over wages came to a head yesterday when the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) issued a letter to its 400-plus members urging them to cease operations for a week amid escalating protests.

The letter, which said the shutdown would avoid confrontations, came two days after unions called for a strike in response to the Ministry of Labour’s announcement that wages in the garment sector would rise to $95 in 2014, rather than the immediate hike to $160 that workers demanded.
A coalition of garment and textile unions predicts that more than 200,000 workers from 300 factories will eventually join the strike action.
read more.
PPP new

* Garment Exports Rise to More Than $5 Billion:

Garment exports increased 22 percent to about $5.07 billion during the first 11 months of the year compared to the same period in 2012, according to figures released yesterday by the Ministry of Commerce’s Camcontrol department.

The figures show that an increase in demand from the U.S. and the European Union (E.U.) has driven up garment exports from the country.
Neou Seiha, an independent economic analyst, credited the growth to the improvement of the U.S. and E.U. economies.
“the market situation of the E.U. and the U.S. is not really bad,” he said.
Van Sou Ieng, chairman of the garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia, said that the rising price of goods in China has forced buyers to look to other Asian countries, bolstering garment exports from Cambodia.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Cambodian garment industry ends 2013 on sour note with record labor unrest:

Even before the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia urged members Thursday to close their factories for three days, 2013 was already ending on a sour note for the industry.

While the December figures may not yet be available, the number of strikes and lost man-days reported by GMAC members in the 11 months to November are already the worst on record.

In June, GMAC represented 426 garment factories as well as 47 footwear factories. Together, the two sectors were employing about half a million Cambodians, mostly poor women from rural areas. Annual exports are worth more than $4 billion, accounting for about 80 percent of the country’s exports.
read more.
CAMHERALD

* BetterFactories Media Updates 21-27 December 2013:

* To read in the printed edition of the Phnom Penh Post:
2013-12-23 Unionist firings inspire walkout
2013-12-24 Keep striking for $160, Rainsy urges
2013-12-24 Maid MoU inches closer
2013-12-24 Turmoil marks year in labour
2013-12-25 CNRP sees allies in strikers
2013-12-25 Home for the holidays
2013-12-26 Cambodia’s garment exports rise
2013-12-26 Protest paths converge
2013-12-26 Strike picks up stream
2013-12-27 Factories to lose millions
2013-12-27 Strike numbers swell

* To read in the printed edition of the Cambodia Daily:
2013-12-21-22 Nike profits rises advance orders jump
2013-12-23 Government proposes $160 for new minimum wage
2013-12-23 No end in sight for Svay Rieng SEZ strikes
2013-12-24 Sam Rainsy visits Svay Rieng’s protesting SEZ workers
2013-12-25 US government clothes producer denies abuses
2013-12-25 Monthly wage increased to $95, unions vow to strike
2013-12-26 Striking factory workers join CNRP protests
2013-12-27 Factories advised to close as wage strikes swell
2013-12-27 Garment exports rise to more than $5 Billion
2013-12-27 Striking garment factory workers join CNRP again

BetterFactories Media updates overview here.
BF NEW

23:27:02 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Viet Nam eyes improvements to labour force:

Viet Nam is facing numerous challenges in its bid to improve human resources and take advantage of the current period of “golden demography,” experts have said.

The term “golden demography” means there are at least two people in the working age group to take care of one dependent person.
According to Dr Nguyen Dinh Cu from the Institute for Population and Social Studies, the current percentage of children under 15 in the Vietnamese population stands at nearly 24%, while the proportion of people in the working age group is 66 per cent.

At a recent conference held in Ha Noi to discuss human resource development during the golden demographic period, experts noted that such a demographic structure is rare in any country’s history. This structure can last for a maximum of 40 years and can help make significant changes in the country’s development, if it is used wisely.
read more.
VNNews new

00:27:02 local time map of malaysia MALAYSIA

* MTUC Seeking RM300 Monthly COLA For 10 Million Workers:

The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) today proposed a RM300 per month cost of living allowance (COLA) for all the 10 million private sector workers in view of the escalating cost of living.

Its President, Khalid Atan, told bernama that it was essential for the government to introduce the regulation on COLA because almost five million private sector workers were now earning just about RM30 above the poverty line of RM870 per month.
At present the minimum wage for workers in peninsular Malaysia is RM900 and for those in Sabah and Sarawak it is RM800.
Khalid said MTUC was working out strategies to help ease the workers’ burden.
read more.
BERNAMA

22:27:02 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Minimum Wage 2013 for Bangladeshi Export Processing Zones:

On 24 December 2013 Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority (BEPZA) announced the Minimum Wage 2013 for Garment Workers within Export Promotion Zones (EPZs) in Bangladesh.

The increase came after an approval from the Prime Minister in the Letter no. 03.068.018.04.00.024.2010-727 dated: 23 December 2013, the minimum wages, other benefits and conditions of the service for the workers of the enterprises of EPZs.

An elaborated view of the Bangladesh EPZ Minimum Wage 2013, in effect since 1 December 2013:
read & see more.

* 39 new inspectors join labour ministry:

Thirty-nine factory inspectors joined the labour and employment ministry yesterday to fortify the government’s effort to ensure safety in garment factories.

The recruitment is part of the government’s plan to appoint additional 200 inspectors to fulfil a requirement set by the American government to revive the GSP to their market, Labour Secretary Mikail Shipar said yesterday.
The ministry will have a total of 310 inspectors after the new recruits join work, Shipar said. The USTR was scheduled to review the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) for Bangladesh in December, but it was postponed following an appeal from Bangladesh on November 25.
The United States Trade Representative, the chief trade negotiation body for the US government, suspended the GSP on June 27, citing serious shortcomings in labour rights and safety in the factories.
The next review of the privileges to the US may take place in March or April next year, the secretary said.
read more.
daily star bd

* Western envoys set to be briefed on progress Dec 30:

Workplace safety, labour standard

The government will brief foreign diplomats especially those of the US, the EU and Canada on December 30 about the progress made in the country’s readymade garment industries (RMG) in areas of workplace safety and labour standards, officials said.

Revival of the generalised system of preferences (GSP) in the US market and sustaining the same benefit in the EU and Canadian markets are expected to be on top of the meeting agenda, they added.

“The meeting will mainly discuss progress that has so far been made in the garment factories in terms of workplace safety, labour standards and rights suggested by the US Action Plan, the Sustainable Compact and in line with the National Action Plan,” an informed source said.
(…)
Replying to a question about the progress, he said work is going on to upgrade factory inspection department to a full-fledged directorate and recruitment of additional 200 inspectors.

To ensure workplace safety and other compliance issues, a joint government-ILO fire, electrical and structural integrity inspection programme was also started from November last, he added.

“Moreover, the labour law has been amended recently. It has simplified formation of trade unions and incorporated new provisions to ensure workers’ safety,” Mr Shipar added.
read more. & read more.
FE bd BD new age

* Early morning fire in Ashulia factory:

Three people were injured yesterday when a fire broke out at Bangla Japan Trading Ltd, a company owned by a Japanese entrepreneur in Ashulia in Dhaka. There were no fatalities reported.

Fire fighters doused the fire after three hours, and production was suspended at seven units following the incident.
Around 30,000 pieces of shipment-ready sweaters were lost to the fire.
The fire originated on the top floor of the seven-storey building that housed three units: H2O Printing Factory, Brine Knit Ltd and Bangla Japan Trading Ltd, said Mohammad Asaduzzaman Khan, coordinator of the company.
Akram Hossain, a factory security guard, said he saw the fire at the woven unit on the top floor around 7:45am.
Casualties were avoided as the incident happened early in the morning and none of the workers employed by the company had reached the site yet, Hossain said.
The fire might have originated from a faulty electric wire, said Rafiqul Islam, assistant director of Fire Service and Civil Defence Dhaka.
At least three people suffered minor injuries while helping fire fighters battling the blaze, witnesses said.
to read. & read more. & read more.
daily star bd BD new age DHAKATRIBUNE

              THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE

* JUTA donates financial assistance to Rana Plaza victims:

The Jahangirnagar University Teachers’ Association (JUTA) gave financial assistance to eight children who lost their parents in Savar Rana Plaza collapse.

JUTA distributed Tk 60,000 to each child of eight families for their education amounting to a total of Tk 4, 80,000 at a function at the Cafeteria lounge on JU campus Thursday.
The teacher’s organization donated the financial assistance with the help of the all teachers of JU.
Recently all of the teachers of JU donated their one day’s salary for the help of the victim’s family.
read more. & read more. & read more.
FE bd BD new age DHAKATRIBUNE

* More human remains found:

At least 20 human bones and a broken skull were found in the Rana Plaza rubble in Savar yesterday, the fourth such recovery in two weeks.

The street boys who came across the remains said they saw many more in the pile of concrete about 10-12 feet high.
Inspector of Savar Model Police Station Dipok Chandra Saha said, “We collected the bones and will take necessary steps after discussion with the higher authority.”
On December 13, four street boys found some skeletal remains for the first time. More remains were discovered on Sunday and Monday.
The nine-storey Rana Plaza collapsed on April 24, killing at least 1,134 people and injuring and maiming several hundred.
According to the army, which led the rescue, 159 victims are still unidentified or missing.
to read.
daily star bd

21:57:02 local time map of india INDIA

* Fire destroys cotton bales at mill:

Fire destroyed hundreds of bales of cotton, machinery and the building at a textile mill where waste cotton is processed for surgical cotton here on Thursday.

Two fire tenders from Rajapalayam fought for more than three hours to put out the flames.
The police said that the fire could have been caused by an electrical short-circuit.
to read.
Return to frontpage

* Handloom mark missing from products at all 38 stalls of ‘India Weaves’ event:

India Weaves, the buyer-seller meet organised by the Eastern UP Exporters’ Association ( EUPEA), which was aimed to promote handloom, proved to be a complete eye wash as out of 38 stalls put up by exporters and traders here, none had the Handloom Mark, on its products.

 

 

The Handloom Mark is meant to authenticate that the product is hand woven.
The meet was organised in collaboration with the office of the development commissioner (Handlooms), ministry of textiles in Cantonment area.

Sources at the meet revealed, that most of these products were not even authentic handloom products and instead power loom fabrics, mill fabrics and Chinese silk fabrics with digital prints were being displayed at most of the stalls. In the absence of handloom and silk marks on these fabrics the buyers had no other option but to go with the word of the stall holders. More shocking is the fact that the stall put up by the textiles committee of the Union ministry of textiles, has not received a single registration of any of the exporters participating in the event so far.
read more.
TOInew

21:27:02 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Spinners left in a lurch:

For Pakistan’s textile sector in general, and the spinning business in particular, CY13 has been a year full of blessings. But, as we bid a fond farewell a particularly fruitful year, things do not look as good for the spinners.

Up till now Pakistani spinners have done well given that they have an edge over India in producing coarse count yarn owing to abundant production of short staple fiber locally, which has in a higher demand in China. But the future of yarn has turned murky going forward, especially in light of China’s unpredictable cotton procurement policy.

The policy, which saw Beijing raising the floor price for local cotton, prompted Chinese mills to buy hefty amounts of cotton and yarn from abroad. But, it was the spinners who had the best end of the bargain, since Chinese policies dictated that cotton yarn could enter the country tariff-free; whereas millers had to pay hefty taxes on raw cotton imports.

As a consequence, Chinese imports of cotton yarn managed to nearly double between 2008-2011, with mills having imported a record 1.53 million metric tons of the white stuff between this period: as per data from INTL FCStone.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

21:27:02 local time map of uzbekistan UZBEKISTAN

* South Korean firm to mechanize Uzbek cotton production:

LS Mtron Ltd., a South Korean company supplying tractors in over 40 countries, has signed an agreement with the Government of Uzbekistan to supply 24,570 specialized mini tractors for harvesting cotton over the next five years.
According to the agreement signed by LS Mtron and the Uzbek national enterprise Agromash Sanoat Invest LLC, the Korean firm will provide tractors worth US$ 500 million during 2014-18.
In addition to supplying tractors of six different models, the Korean company will also share manufacturing technologies in order to allow the Uzbek state-run agricultural machinery company to localize parts production for the tractors, the company said.
read more.
fibre2fashion

TIME20131226

23:27:02 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Strike picks up steam:

20131226 PPP 2-Garment-Strike
Garment workers strike outside the Chu Hsing factory to demand a higher minimum wage yesterday in Phnom Penh’s Russey Keo district.
Photo by Vireak Mai

A nationwide garment factory strike began to take shape yesterday, as workers took to the streets a day after the Ministry of Labour announced they would raise the industry’s minimum wage by less than a quarter of what union leaders had demanded.

Union leaders immediately decried the Labour Ministry’s decision to raise minimum salaries in the garment sector to $95 in April, rather than the $160 minimum wage they supported.

“I hope officials will negotiate again on the minimum wage in order to end this dispute,” said Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW). “If the government or the employers don’t, protests will grow larger and larger without ending.”

As of yesterday, 94 factories across Phnom Penh and several provinces had shuttered to join the strike, according to the Free Trade Union (FTU).

In a joint statement released hours after Tuesday’s decision, CUMW, FTU, the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU), the National Independent Federation Textile Union of Cambodia (NIFTUC) and the Cambodia Alliance of Trade Unions (CATU) called for a national strike of garment workers until the government agreed to set the industry’s minimum wage to $160 in the coming year.
read more.
PPP new

* Protesting workers block NR 2 demanding pay increase:

Hundreds of garment employees from the Macau-owned M & V International Manufacturing Ltd rallied in front of the factory on Thursday, blocking National Road two.

During the rally, protesting factory employees held banners and shouted their demand of a minimum wage increase of $160 per month.
Police forces and traffic policemen were seen being deployed to ease the traffic congestion.
Garment factory workers from two nearby factories were also seen holding their own rallies, demanding the same pay increase.
The protests and strike erupted at garment and footwear factories throughout the provinces and the capital after the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training announced the results of the wage talks.
read more.
CAMHERALD

* GMAC calls for factories to shutter:

As workers protest in their thousands, the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) this morning strongly urged its member factories to close for the rest of this week, fearing strike-related violence.

“If the workers are working in the factories, some bad elements of the demonstrators will go around and destroy your factories gates and properties in order to force the workers out to join the demonstration to demand a wage of US$160,” reads a letter sent by email and obtained by the Post. “It is safer if there are no workers in the factories.”

Five labour unions called for a nationwide strike on Tuesday, hours after the Ministry of Labour announced that the minimum wage in Cambodia’s garment sector would rise next year from the current $80 – including a $5 health bonus – to $95, rather than the $160 workers want.
read more. & read more.
PPP new CAMHERALD

* Striking Factory Workers Join CNRP Protests:

More than 10,000 garment factory workers joined opposition CNRP protests Wednesday in Phnom Penh, while tens of thousands more went on strike at factories across the country, following the government’s decision on Tuesday to raise the minimum wage to $95, a figure that fell well short of workers’ demands.

Leaders of the country’s independent and opposition-aligned unions said that workers at more than 120 garment factories in five provinces were on strike over the government’s decision to raise the minimum wage by just $15, falling $65 short of their demand for a $160 monthly wage.
read more. & read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo CAMHERALD

* Protest paths converge:

Drawing on leader Sam Rainsy’s deep connections to the labour movement, the Cambodia National Rescue Party announced plans to mobilise strikers at factories this morning and lead thousands on marches around Phnom Penh.

CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann said last night that elected lawmakers would be sent to factories to meet workers striking over the garment sector’s minimum wage.
“We will invite them to Freedom Park, and in the afternoon, we will march together around the city,” he said.
(…)
Although opposition demonstrations since July’s election have invariably involved garment workers, only in recent days – as they have begun striking across the country – has the CNRP intensified its focus on them.

The industry’s 400,000-plus workers are considered a demographic that contributed to the CNRP making significant gains at July’s election, which was awarded to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, 68 seats to 55.
read more.
PPP new

* Pro-opposition’s trade unions rally against low wage hike for 2014 in Cambodia :

An estimated 3,000 garment workers from various factories rallied at the capital’s Freedom Park on Wednesday to protest against the low wage hike for 2014.

The strike was led by pro-opposition trade unions.
It happened a day after the government decided to raise a monthly minimum wage for a garment worker to 95 US dollars from April onwards from the current 80 US dollars.
Labor Minister Ith Samheng said Tuesday that the government also set to raise 15 US dollars for 2015, 16 US dollars for 2016 and 17 US dollars in both 2017 and 2018, so a garment worker will fetch a monthly minimum wage of 160 US dollars from 2018.
However, pro-opposition’s trade unions demanded to double the wage for workers from 2014.
read more.
globaltimes

* Cambodia’s garment exports rise:

The value of Cambodia’s garment and footwear exports topped $5.07 billion in the first 11 months of 2013, an increase of 22 per cent from the same time last year, according to the latest Ministry of Commerce statistics.

Cambodia’s two biggest importers of textile garments and footwear, the US and Europe, both registered notable year-on-year increases.
US exports rose nine per cent to a total of $1.96 billion, while European exports rose 33 per cent to a total of $1.81 billion as of November.
Export value among the remaining countries, including South Korea and Japan, rose 31 per cent in the first 11 months of this year compared to 2012.
read more.
PPP new

22:27:02 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Fire at Garment factory:

A readymade garment’s factory in Savar’s Ashula is engulfed by fire, bdnews24.com reported.

Dhaka Export Processing Zone’s (DEPZ) fire station official Abdul Hamid Mia said the fire broke out at the 7-storey building around 8am on Thursday.
Two units of the fire service are trying to put out the fire.
He said they suspect an electrical malfunction at the store-room on the factory’s sixth floor may have caused the fire.
No one was, however, injured as the factory was not in operation when the fire erupted.
About 700 workers work in the factory, the management says.
to read. & to read. & read more. & to read. & read more. & to read. & read more.
BD new age bdnews24 UNB   DHAKATRIBUNE bss

* Ashulia RMG fire tamed: 3 hurt:

20131226 DAILYSTAR garments-fireSource: TV grab. Smoke spread over an area after a fire breaks out at the fifth floor of six-storey Bangla-Japan Trading Ltd building, a garment factory, in Ashulia, an outskirts area of the capital.

At least three people were injured when they were helping the firefighters in dousing a blaze that raged through a readymade garment (RMG) unit in Ashulia under Savar upazila on Thursday morning.

However, identity of the injured, all locals, could not be known immediately. Badrul Alam, officer-in-charge (OC) of Ashulia Police Station, said Japan-Bangla Garments Factory, situated near Unique Bus Stand, was damaged by the devastating fire that originated from an unknown source on the top floor of the seven-storey building around 7:00am.
The flame soon spread to the fifth floor, damaging fabrics, clothes and machinery of the factory. On information, four firefighting units from DEPZ, two from Savar town and two from Uttara rushed to the spot and tamed the inferno with the help of local people and firefighters of the factory around 9:00am. The extent of losses caused by the fire could not be ascertained immediately, according to UNB.
to read. & read more.
FE bd daily star bd

* Tk 5600 minimum wage for EPZ RMG workers to be fixed:

20131226 DAILYSTAR epz-pay
By DailyStar

The minimum wage for garment workers at the entry-level is set to be fixed at Tk 5,600 for factories in the country’s export processing zones (EPZs), higher by nearly 46 per cent than the existing amount.

A proposal of the Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA) to that end recently got the nod from the Prime Minister’s Office, sources said.

According to the proposal, a new wage structure for readymade garment (RMG) workers in the EPZs, including the minimum wage, will take retrospective effect from December 01 last.

Nazma Binte Alamgir, general manager of BEPZA, told the FE that the BEPZA had set Tk 5,600 as the minimum wage for the entry-level garment workers and it would be effective from December 01.

Another BEPZA official said the workers would get the wages in terms of the dollar value, but the wage would not be less than the fixed amount, even if the value of the US dollar falls against the local currency.
read more. & read more.
FE bd daily star bd

* Garment workers getting support for TB treatment:

Poor garment workers are receiving prevention, treatment and care for Tuberculosis (TB) with the support of Geneva-based Global Fund, the government and non-government groups.

The government’s National TB Control Programme (NTP) and non-government group BRAC are extending support to the workers of the apparel industry, says a press release.
Since TB is generally transmitted in crowded indoor spaces, factory workers are considered a high-risk group, particularly in Bangladesh, the release added.
Although TB is a serious problem in Bangladesh, there is no cause of concern as its treatment and test is available at free of cost across the country, said Dr. Mohammad Mojibur Rahman, a consultant of NTP.
read more.
FE bd

* EU may review GSP facility if democratic process hampered:

Experts and exporters fear that the European Union might take negative decision on the trade facilities Bangladesh is enjoying now in the European market in the review in July next year due to the ongoing political violence and threat to democratic process in the country.

Besides, experts said, the persistent political unrest which was disrupting the supply chain and progress of works related to work place safety and workers rights might prompt the EU to take the same course of action taken by the US in suspending generalised system of preferences.
The EU is closely monitoring the situation in Bangladesh and its decision of not to send observers for the upcoming 10th national parliamentary polls on January 5 is a bad signal to the country, they said.
‘The EU has not yet announced any decision about whether it will curtail the facilities Bangladesh is enjoying now. But, if the EU thinks that the country has failed to ensure basic criteria of democracy, it may suspend the generalised system of preferences facilities for the Bangladesh products in the European market,’ Centre for Policy Dialogue executive director Mustafizur Rahman told New Age on Tuesday.
read more.
BD new age

* Apparel makers raise question about latest export data:

‘The recent trend of UDs (utilisation declarations) and factory performance does not go with the export data released by the Export Promotion Bureau,’ former BGMEA vice president said

Apparel manufacturers and exporters yesterday raised question about the export data released recently as it showed robust growth despite the ongoing political crisis and industrial unrest in the country.

“The recent trend of UDs (utilisation declarations) and factory performance does not go with the export data released by the Export Promotion Bureau,” said Faruque Hassan, former BGMEA vice president.

Ordering trend in the factory and the UD shows downtrend in last few months, but the export data showed healthy growth.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Apparel raw materials use falls sharply:

Industry insiders say it’s a lagged impact of factory disasters; political unrest is a catalyst

The orders for apparel products registered decline as the country’s readymade garment industry witnessing a lagged impact of Rana Plaza collapse and Tazreen Fashion fire incident, industry insiders said.

The ongoing political unrest has intensified the crisis.
Their assessment is based on the recent trend of utilisation declaration (UD) of raw materials – BGMEA maintains for its members who use the materials tax-free under a bonded warehouse mechanism.
Number of UDs reflects the trend of production to be performed.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Garment sector: state banks’ major defaulter:

Around 30 percent of the state-owned commercial banks’ default loans are tied to the garment sector, with the ratio expected to increase further due to the ongoing political unrest.

Of the four banks’ total default loans of about Tk 25,000 crore on October 30, the garment sector alone accounts for Tk 7,345 crore. The sector’s performance becomes all the more startling seeing that the banks’ overall default ratio is 28 percent of total outstanding loans.
read more.
daily star bd

* Raw jute export falls by 50%:

The overall export of jute and jute goods have plunged by 19.80 per cent in July- November period of the current fiscal compared to the same period of the previous fiscal, according to a latest export figure compiled by the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).

The data also showed, export of raw jute and jute sack and bag also fell by 50 per cent and 42.71 per cent respectively during the first five months of the current fiscal against the corresponding period of the previous fiscal.
“Exports of raw jute witnessed sharp fall during the first five months in the wake of political turmoil in the country,” Mahfuzul Haque, President of Bangladesh Jute Exporters Association (BJEA)
read more.
NEWNATIONnew

* 264 Smart Garments workers get financial support from buyers :

Some 264 workers of Smart Export Garments Ltd got financial assistance from the buyers after 11 months of the fire incident that killed seven workers.

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and IndustriAll Bangladesh Council handed over the money to the workers at a programme held at the association’s headquarters in the city Wednesday.
Spanish clothing company Inditex and British global fashion retailer New Look provided the financial support.
Each of the workers got Tk 1,500, equivalent to wages of three months, in cash while three injured workers got cheque worth Tk 0.3 million each.
Meanwhile, two workers of Spectrum factory, that collapsed in 2005, received Tk 514,000 and Tk 464,000 at the same programme.
read more.
FE bd

              THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE

* Bangladeshi workers still missing eight months after Rana Plaza collapse:

Anger among relatives of victims who say authorities have not handed back bodies and are not paying them compensation

Almost 200 workers are still missing from the Bangladesh factory that collapsed eight months ago, compounding the misery for relatives who have received little in the way of compensation.

More than 1,134 people died in the disaster on 24 April, mainly workers making clothes for sale on western high streets by retailers including Matalan, Primark and other household names. The tragedy was the worst industrial accident anywhere in the world for a generation.

The failure to finalise the death toll and to unite bereaved relatives with the remains of their loved ones will raise questions about the capacity of local authorities to effect the wide-ranging reforms of the garment industry that brands, campaigners, labour activists, consumers and local officials all say are necessary. The garment industry employs around four million people in Bangladesh and produces 80% of the country’s exports.
read more.
GUARDIAN

21:57:02 local time map of india INDIA

* 12 child labourers rescued:

Twelve children working as labourer in shoe and bag manufacturing factories were rescued from Nangloi area in West Delhi and five persons arrested, the police said on Wednesday.

The children were rescued on Tuesday by a team of city police, SDM Punjabi Bagh, Child Labour Department and NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan.
The police arrested Avdesh Yadav, Pramod, Mujib Alip, Shahnoor Khan and Abdul Majid and registered a case under relevant sections of Child Labour Act and Juvenile Justice Act.
“During investigation, it came out that nine children were from Uttar Pradesh and three from Bihar. All of them were engaged as labourer on wages ranging from Rs.3,000 to 4,000 per head,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (West) Ranvir Singh.
The rescued children were produced before the Delhi Child Welfare Committee which sent them to Aradhya Shelter Home in Rohini for their rehabilitation, said police. PTI
to read.
Return to frontpage

* Minimum wages set to rise by 52%:

From January 1, the lowest paid workers in the unskilled category in Haryana will be allowed to take home Rs 8,100 a month, which is a significant leap ahead from the current salary slab that offers only around Rs 5,341 as the minimum wage.

While many see this as an election gimmick – both the general elections and Haryana assembly polls are slated to be held in 2014 – government officials say that the wage revision process was inspired by concerns more to do with economics rather than the electorate. High inflation and a steadily rising cost of living in places like Gurgaon, the labour ministry said, was the spur to this wage hike.

“The wage revision has nothing to do with elections. We have been getting appeals from workers throughout the state demanding higher wages, and we have responded only to that,” Shiv Charan Lal Sharma, the labour and employment minster for state, told TOI. The ministry has been flooded with petitions filed by workers’ groups from different parts of Haryana, demanding wages proportionate to the demands of the market. On the question of how efficiently will the new wage scheme be implemented in a state notorious for its rampant violation of labour laws, the minister invoked the need for ‘strict enforcement of law.’
read more.
TOInew

* Chinese textile giant BROS mulls Rs 500 crore investment:

After a dry spell of nearly six years, Brandix India Apparel City (BIAC), a special economic zone (SEZ) for apparel manufacturing set up by Sri Lankan apparel major Brandix Lanka Ltd on the outskirts of the Port City, is all set to draw its ‘biggest’ investment ever from Chinese textile major BROS.

It is learnt that the company is mulling an investment of around Rs 500 crore for setting up a plant spread over nearly 100 acres at BIAC.

In April this year, a Chinese delegation led by the secretary general of the China Chamber of Commerce for Import & Export of Textiles, along with senior officials of leading Chinese apparel and textile manufacturers, had visited the Brandix SEZ. While Brandix officials refused to comment, state government officials confirmed that a big Chinese investment for BIAC was indeed in the works.
“We are in advanced stage of talks with BROS.
The company is evaluating the opportunities offered by the Brandix SEZ and is also examining the policies of the government relating to cotton import and exports.
The company already imports Indian cotton and is keen to have its base in India to process the raw materials here, for which they have chosen BIAC. The company will make ‘substantial’ investments and it will be a big boost for the state and the SEZ as well,” Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (APIIC) managing director Jayesh Ranjan said.
read more.
TOInew

21:27:02 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Walt Disney may stop sourcing goods from Pakistan:

Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Secretary Munir Qureshi has stated that US-based Walt Disney Company is developing a strategy to eliminate Pakistan from the Permitted Sourcing Countries list.

This strategy was being prepared in consultation with the stakeholders to address concerns of US companies, he said, adding Pakistan, on its part, was striving to get its World­wide Governance Index (WGI) ranking upgraded by 2014.

Speaking to members of the Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) here on Wednesday, Qureshi pointed out that the US was a major export destination for Pakistan and elimination of Pakistan from the Permitted Sourcing Countries list would lead to a huge loss of export earnings.

Walt Disney Company claims to be the world’s largest provider of licences, since consumer products of Disney brand are being produced by thousands of independent vendors working in thousands of manufacturing facilities around the world.
read more.
tribune

* Only reliable energy can help Pakistan benefit from GSP Plus: FPCCI:

Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Wednesday asked the government to use all possible resources to tame energy crisis lest the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) Plus facility go in vain.

The government needs to initiate serious efforts on all fronts so that long-delayed Iran gas pipeline project and Kalabagh Dam (KBD) could be constructed otherwise energy security in Pakistan will remain a pipedream, said Zubair Ahmed Malik President FPCCI.
He said Pakistan was the only country where power plants were being run on natural gas despite its deficiency.
He said Musharraf took the decision to use clean fuel for producing electricity, which should be reversed immediately and power plants should be converted on coal or furnace oil.
He said Pakistan’s future was tied to Iranian gas and KBD but many intellectuals and politicians have not realised it yet which was unfortunate. “We should stop digging own grave before it is too late,” he warned.
read more.
daily-times-PK

* Investors accumulate textile stocks in wake of getting GSP Plus status:

Ironically, despite the security and energy problems, investors on the Karachi bourse have been busy accumulating stocks of textile companies.

The buying spree started more than one and a half month ago when it became clear that the country would win the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) Plus status from the European Union (EU).

Analysts observed that the investors pumped money into the textile sector mainly in anticipation of the GSP Plus status that was expected to give a significant boost to textile exports. After a long wait, the country eventually got the GSP Plus status on December 12 for three years, starting from January 2014.
read more.
tribune

TIME20131225

00:27:02 local time map of china CHINA

* Down garment makers facing another lean year:

The increasing cost of down and declining retail sales have brought a hard winter to down jacket producers in 2013, market insiders said.

Apparel industry experts said expanding sales channels, especially at online platforms and designs that better cater for consumers’ needs, are solutions to regain profitability.
Bosideng International Holdings Ltd, one of the world’s largest producers of down jackets, said it eked out a 3.1 percent rise in net profit in the six months to Sept 30.

Net profit rose to 326.1 million yuan ($54 million) on a decline in tax rates at a subsidiary and “effective cash management”, the interim report said.
Revenue fell 8.8 percent year-on-year due to poor domestic and global economic conditions and the industry downturn, the apparel producer said.
Sales of down apparel products, which accounted for 63 percent of its business at the time of the report, fell 4.7 percent year-on-year.The company’s Hong Kong-traded shares have lost nearly one-third of their value in the past 12 months.
read more.
chinadaily

23:27:03 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Home for the holidays:

Employees at hundreds of garment factories walked off the job yesterday after five labour unions called for a nationwide strike in the wake of the Ministry of Labour’s decision to raise the sector’s minimum wage by $15 next year, rather than the $80 increase they desired.

Yesterday morning, Labour Minister Ith Sam Heng announced that the monthly minimum wage for employees at garment and shoe factories – which now stands at $80, including a $5 health bonus – will rise to $95 in April.
Wages will climb another $15 in 2015, then $16 in 2016 and $17 in both 2017 and 2018, reaching a total of $160 by 2018.

The news was greeted with consternation by independent unions.

“We will go on strike because what we got is so much less than what we demanded,” said Ath Thorn, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU). “Workers must demand more because they still earn low wages.”

In a joint statement released hours after the ministry’s decision, C.CAWDU, the National Independent Federation Textile Union of Cambodia (NIFTUC), the Cambodia Alliance of Trade Unions (CATU), the Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW) and the Free Trade Union (FTU) declared more than 200,000 union workers at 300 factories will strike until the government agrees to set the minimum wage at $160.
read more.
PPP new

* Monthly Wage Increased to $95, Unions Vow to Strike:

The government announced Tuesday that the minimum wage in the garment sector will be raised to $95 in April, a 19 percent increase over the current $80 monthly wage, as the first step in a five-year plan to raise the minimum wage to $160 by 2018.

Following the decision, which fell well short of unions’ demands for a 100 percent increase in the minimum wage next year, small-scale strikes and protests broke out across the country, while leaders of the country’s independent and opposition-aligned unions said they would organize nationwide strikes to force further increases.

Labor Minister Ith Sam Heng told reporters following the meeting of the Labor Advisory Council, the multiparty body that approves wage changes, that the government had given equal consideration to the demands of workers and factory owners.
“We wanted to raise wages more than this, but we couldn’t because raising the minimum wage depends on many factors, including living standards, production and competition to attract investors from neighboring countries,” Mr. Sam Heng said.

Despite the increase, wages in Cambodia remain among the lowest amid major garment-producing countries. Wages in China, Vietnam and Indonesia have increased sharply in recent years. Earlier this month, Bangladesh raised its minimum wage by 77 percent to $68.
(….)
Ath Thorn, CCAWDU’s president, who was one of the two union leaders who voted against the government’s proposal, said that his unions would not heed the labor minister’s warning not to protest.
“We will issue an announcement to reject the wage raise and we will prepare to hold a mass demonstration across the country to demand a higher wage raise,” Mr. Thorn said.
Chea Mony, president of the Free Trade Union (FTU), said that his members had already started striking over the decision, and predicted that union leaders would not be able to prevent more strikes in the coming days.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* CNRP sees allies in strikers:

Amid workers walking off the job in protest over the minimum garment wage, opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha last night threw their support behind widespread strikes.

On the 10th day of opposition demonstrations in the capital calling for Prime Minister Hun Sen to either resign or call a snap election, Rainsy and Sokha said that if garment workers strike en masse throughout the country today – as some unions have already begun to do – the climate will benefit the CNRP.

“From tomorrow,” Rainsy said at Freedom Park last night, “the situation for garment workers is going to change – and so is the political situation.
read more.
PPP new

* Factory workers rally alongside opposition at Freedom Park:

Hundreds of footwear and garment factory employees rallied alongside the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) on Wednesday at Freedom Park to demand the country’s minimum wage rise to $160 per month.  

The factory workers joined in the opposition’s protest a day after the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training announced that wages will only be increased from $80 to $95 per month in April 2014.

The talks held yesterday between representatives from the government, factories and unions agreed to raise minimum wage for footwear and garment factory employees from $80 to $95 in 2014, $110 in 2015, $126 in 2016, $143 in 2017 and $160 in 2018.
read more.
CAMHERALD

* Rainsy mobilizing workers to protest in Bavet:

Sam Rainsy, head of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), is in Svay Rieng on Wednesday to gather footwear and garment factory employees from the area to join in wage rally held in the town of Bavet.

Speaking to a crowd of workers, he announced that he will provide transportation for all factory workers in Svay Rieng to join in the Bavet rally.

“This is the time for all workers throughout the country to unite and rally to demand $160 per month,” he said.
read more.
CAMHERALD

* US Government Clothes Producer Denies Abuses:

A representative of the Zongtex Garment Manufacturing company in Phnom Penh on Tuesday denied employing workers as young as 15 to make U.S. government clothing, following an exposé by The New York Times on poor standards in factories producing U.S. government attire.

On Sunday, The Times reported that despite a “zero tolerance” policy for using factories that break local laws, the U.S. government sourced some of its clothes from such factories.

The newspaper reported that an audit conducted this year found that Zongtex, which makes clothes sold by the U.S. Army and Air Force, employed underage workers as young as 15 and that bathroom breaks were so limited that workers were forced to soil themselves at their work stations.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Protest against new wage of $95 is illegal: Labor Ministry:

The Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training on Wednesday said that any activities made by the  unions against the minimum wage of $95, agreed upon by the Labor Council, are against the law.

After the wage talks yesterday, the Labor Council agreed to raise the salaries of footwear and garment factory workers from the current $80 to $95 in 2014, $110 in 2015, $126 in 2016, $143 in 2017 and $160 in 2018.

The ministry said that the raise showed the efforts of the Cambodian government, employers and unions in promoting the livelihoods of Cambodian workers, while not negatively affecting the factories, and investments in Cambodia, according to a ministry statement.

“Any unions that hold protests against the decision made by the Labor Council Committee is committing an illegal act, affecting democratic procedure and themselves,” said the statement.
“The unions holding the protests must take full responsibility for their action before the law, and any consequences resulting from the protest incitement.”
read more.
CAMHERALD

22:57:03 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

* Low wages cause labour disputes, says trade union:

20131225 ELEVEN
Workers on strike at Myanmar Handsome Garment Factory, Yangon Region. (Photo – Thet Myo Min/ EMG)

Low wages are the main cause of conflicts between employers and employees in factories, according to a survey taken by Myanmar Labour Union for “setting minimum wages and basic living costs.”

The survey said that workers’ low incomes have resulted in criminal offences, decreased productivity, conflict with employers, unethical behaviour, corruption and other serious social consequences.

Children of poor workers are usually deprived of education, as their parents cannot afford to send them to school, according to the survey. To solve these issues, it has called for the government to take measures to control rising commodity prices and enact a minimum wage law as soon as possible.

The interim labour union also stated that the average living cost for a family of three with a father, mother and a primary school-aged child is about Ks 182,910 (US$ 200) per month. However, factory workers who go on strike over low wages normally earn between Ks 25,000 (US$ 25) and Ks 30,000 (US$ 30) per month.
read more.
Eleven

22:27:03 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* EPZ RMG workers’ minimum wage Tk5,600:

New wage structure will get retrospective effect from December 1

20131225 DHAKATRIBUNE busi-graph-1

Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA) has set Tk5,600 as the minimum wage for the readymade garments workers employed by the factories located in the country’s EPZs.

The workers would also enjoy a yearly increment of 10% on the basic wages.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday approved the new wage structure, BEPZA officials said.

The workers will get salary on the basis of current dollar value, but the wages will in no way decrease if the dollar devalued against the local currency, an official told the Dhaka Tribune, requesting anonymity.
As per the new wage structure, the basic salary for entry level workers will be Tk3,600 and medical allowance would be Tk560.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Cotton factory gutted by Sylhet fire:

A cotton factory was gutted by a fire at Upashahar in Sylhet city on Tuesday morning.

Sub-inspector Rabiul Islam of Sylhet Kotwali Police Station said the fire originated at a room of “Saiful Alam Cotton Factory’’  on the 3rd floor of a building around 9am and it soon engulfed the whole factory.
On information, a firefighting unit rushed in and doused the blaze after one hour of frantic efforts with the help of the locals.
The reason behind the fire could not be known yet, according to a news agency.
The extent of losses caused by the fire could go up to Tk 1 lakh.
to read. & to read.
FE bd UNB

* Protecting women at workplaces:

Sexual harassment cases usually have a marked power imbalance between the victim and the accused; this may well affect the negotiation scenario, with the victim being unable to hold her own, writes Sriram Panchu

In recent times, the issue of sexual harassment of women at the workplace has assumed prominence with serious allegations being made against a former Supreme Court judge, whose court pronounced verdict on huge scams, and the editor of a magazine with truth and exposure as its masthead.

In the case of the former, a court-appointed committee found that the complainant’s statement prima facie disclosed an act of unwelcome behaviour of sexual nature, but matters went no further as the judge was found to have demitted office prior to the commission of the alleged offence.
The second case has followed the traditional process of criminal law, beginning with investigation and arrest. A Central Act brought into force on December 9, 2013, provides an alternative method of handling complaints of sexual harassment made by working women.
The purpose of this article is to highlight some key problems with this well-meaning but inadequately-formulated piece of legislation.

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, was a response to the public outrage over what has come to be known as the Nirbhaya case.
The redress forum under the Act is an Internal Complaints Committee appointed by the employer to be comprised of a woman senior employee, two other employees, and a social worker; it is mandated that at least half the committee must be constituted of women.

Where such a committee is not set up by the employer, or where the complaint is against the employer himself, a provision is made for the setting up, by the District Magistrate, of a panel drawn from social workers and NGOs. Based upon the complaint of the victim, the Committee is to conduct an inquiry and submit its recommendations to the employer (or District Magistrate), who is required to take action on the same.
read more.
newstodayBD

* Buyers lift orders from Bangladesh:

Survey shows over $3.6m orders of RMG have been cancelled in December
20131224 DHAKATRIBUNE busi-fdGraph

As political unrest continues, international garment buyers have continued to cancel orders in Bangladesh, which already crossed $3.6m in 21 days.

A survey conducted by Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has found the figure. It was conducted during 1-21 this month.
Thirty factories faced the order cancellations even after spending an additional money of over $1.2m for air shipment, the report said.
It also said those factories also had to pay $1.7m because of failure in shipping products on time.
Vandalism during the blockade cost the exporters $2.3m while the shipment delay cost $7.7m during the period.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Export performance in difficult times:

The country’s overall export earning during the July-November period of the current fiscal (2013-14) recorded more than 18 per cent growth compared with that of the corresponding period of the last fiscal.

The earning from export of apparels during the period grew by 21 per cent. What could be better news than this, particularly when the country is gripped by one of the worst political troubles it has ever seen and the apparel industry witnessing major accidents and frequent workers’ unrest? Both woven and knit garment exports increased by 21 per cent each during the period under review. And if the trend persists, the country in all likelihood would achieve its annual export growth target.
(…)
The apparel exporters have sought certain bank loan-related concessions from the central bank to help them overcome their troubles. Banks which are also in the midst of one of the worst times in history might find it difficult to fulfil a few of the concessions. But if assured of due compensation by the government, the banks might agree to help out the exporters from becoming defaulters. However, it needs to be seen whether the government under the prevailing circumstances can extend this kind of help.
read more.
FE bd

* RMG exporters are open for business:

There is a widespread shared interest in developing the future of the RMG sector. The industry should lead the way in reminding the world that they are open for business

The garment industry is reporting fall offs in export orders as overseas buyers have been deterred from visiting due to the ongoing political unrest.

In response some suppliers have been incurring additional costs by arranging to negotiate contracts abroad. When added to the extra costs imposed by delays caused by blockades and hartals, this creates a gloomy financial outlook and increases the risk of workers being laid off.

It is vital that the industry works together with government and overseas embassies to assure RMG buyers that their safety will be guaranteed.

The BGMEA and BKEMA also need to be more pro-active in promoting the industry and reminding buyers of the significant commitments made by stakeholders to improve the industry. The legally binding Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh has been signed by over 100 companies from Europe, North America and Asia, and has the backing of global trade unions and NGOs.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Action Plan to regain GSP- MoC seeks update from stakeholders:

The ministry of commerce (MoC) has requested concerned stakeholders to inform the ministry about their progress in respect to implementation of Bangladesh Action Plan-2013 to regain generalised system of preferences (GSP) of the United States soon, official sources said.

The MoC sent Monday separate letters to the ministry of home affairs, ministry of fisheries and livestock, ministry of labour and employment, ministry of housing and public works, Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA), Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Bangladesh Frozen Foods Exporters Association (BFFEA) and Bangladesh Shrimp and Fish Foundation (BSFF) in this connection.
read more.
FE bd

                  THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE

* 4 global retailers to set up $40m compensation fund:

Four global retailers, along with manufacturers and labour groups, have agreed to set up a $40 million compensation fund for victims of Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza disaster that killed 1,134 people, officials said Tuesday.

Retailers Primark, El Corte Ingles, Loblaw and Bonmarche have pledged to contribute to the fund following the collapse of the garment factory complex in April, the world’s worst industrial tragedy, the officials said.
‘A fund has been established to compensate the victims, injured workers and dependants of the deceased, of the Rana Plaza collapse,’ said Lejo Sibbel from the International Labour Organisation which helped broker the agreement reached last month.
‘An estimated $40 million will be required to compensate the victims and their beneficiaries,’ said Sibbel, who is based in Dhaka.
‘To finance the payments to victims, international brands and retailers are making voluntary contributions into the fund, which is also open to contributions from any other international donors,’ he told the AFP.
read more.
BD new age

* Victims, relatives demonstrate for compensation:

Several hundred relatives of Rana Plaza victims and some victims themselves demonstrated at the site of the collapsed building in Savar yesterday to press home their demands including proper compensation.

They also brought out a procession blockading the Dhaka-Aricha highway for half an hour demanding proper compensation, punishment of the accused and rehabilitation of the workers and their families.
They demonstrated under separate banners of “Bangladesh Garment and Industrial Workers Federation”, “Bangladesh Garment Workers Solidarity” and “National Garment Workers Federation”.
Speakers at the demonstration claimed the government has not treated the collapse of the nine-storey building with utmost importance and that is why victims have not been compensated even eight months after the incident.

Marium Begum, a worker of New Wage Style garment factory that was housed in Rana Plaza, attended the demonstration in a wheelchair.
Marium said her right eye sustained injuries and her left leg was broken in the incident and that she needs Tk 200 daily for medication.
She received financial assistance from different people and organisations in the first month but now is struggling to pay for her medicine, said Marium.
Ashraf Uddin Khan Emu, MP and Savar upazila chairman, among others, was present.
Rana Plaza collapsed in April last leaving over 1,100 dead and scores injured.
to read.
daily star bd

* $40m fund to compensate Rana Plaza victims:

Families will receive payments for lost wages “on a case by case basis”

Four global retailers, along with manufacturers and labour groups, have agreed to set up a $40m compensation fund for victims of Rana Plaza disaster that killed 1,135 people, officials said Tuesday.

Retailers Primark, El Corte Ingles, Loblaw and Bonmarche have pledged to contribute to the fund following the collapse of the garment factory complex in April, the world’s worst industrial tragedy, the officials said.

“A fund has been established to compensate the victims, injured workers and dependants of the deceased, of the Rana Plaza collapse,” said LejoSibbel from the International Labour Organisation which helped broker the agreement reached last month.
read more. & read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE daily star bd

21:57:03 local time map of india INDIA

* 25 children rescued from factory:

Twenty five child labourers were rescued from an embroidery unit in Galta Gate area on Tuesday. The police arrested three men for forcing them to work in inhuman conditions.

According to the police, the raids were carried out at a house in Pachrang Patti colony in Galta gate area around 3 pm on Tuesday. “About 25 children were rescued. They were brought to Jaipur from Bihar for labour. They were being made to sleep in crammed rooms of the house. They were not being paid,” said a police officer.
The officer said that three men who employed these children — identified as Akbar, Saddam and Mohammed Nalez – have been arrested.
The officer added that further investigation is going on.
to read.
TOInew

* Kavuri announces slew of sops for Sircilla power loom weavers:

Union Minister of Textiles Kavuri Sambasiva Rao on Tuesday announced several sops to the distressed power loom weavers of Sircilla to ensure production of value-added fabric, good profit and employment throughout the year.

The Union Minister was in Sircilla on Tuesday to inaugurate the implementation of a pilot scheme envisaging in-situ upgrade of regular power looms, a Rs. 90-crore project. He also launched a corpus of Rs.1 crore for setting up a yarn bank in the textile town.

The Minister visited the Textile Park and interacted with the entrepreneurs. Later, he visited the Baddam Yellareddy Nagar locality and inspected the functioning of power looms and interacted with the weavers.

Later, addressing the weavers at Padmanayaka Kalyana Mandapam, Mr. Rao called upon the weavers to upgrade their power looms with modern attachments to produce value-added fabric to compete in the global market.
read more. & read more.
Return to frontpage TOInew

* Fire in private spinning mill:

Fire broke out in YSR Spinning and Weaving Mills Private Limited in Nadendla mandal of Guntur district on Tuesday, and cotton worth lakhs of rupees was gutted in the mishap.

However, no casualties were reported. On information, authorities rushed two fire tenders from Chilakaluripet Fire Station to the spot.
to read.
Return to frontpage

* Major fire in warehouse in Kolkata:

No casualties reported in 4-storey building

A major fire broke out in a warehouse in the Metiaburuz area on the city’s western fringes, in West Bengal’s South 24 Parganas district early on Tuesday. There were no casualties.

The four-storey building, which houses a garment godown on its third and fourth floors, was engulfed in flames at around 6 a.m.
Thick smoke was billowing out of the building and cracks started appearing raising fears of a building collapse.
At least 15 fire engines rushed to the spot to douse the flame, a senior official of the West Bengal Fire and Emergency services told The Hindu.

Silk fabrics delayfire control
Additional Director General of West Bengal Fire and Emergency Services Gopal Krishna Bhattacharya said that the fire could be brought under control after several hours. He, however, said that as the garment godown in the third and fourth floors had silk fabrics stored in them, the fire was taking time to be extinguished completely.
As for the fire safety arrangements in the building, which had stocked inflammable material, Mr. Bhattacharya said that there were no fire safety arrangements in the building whatsoever.
“There is absolutely no precautionary arrangements like sprinklers in the building,” he added. There has been no casualty in the incident, said Mr. Bhattacharya.
read more.
Return to frontpage

* ‘Low registration of Handloom Mark causes loss to weavers’:

Activists and weavers, under the banner of State Alliances for Rights, Empowerment and Livelihood (SAREL Network), have demanded popularisation and promotion of ‘Handloom Mark’ for the hand woven products.

Addressing reporters on Tuesday, state coordinator, SAREL Network, Rajnikant and representative of weavers’ community said the lack of promotion and use of Handloom Mark by weavers and other stakeholders of handloom products of Varanasi is causing immense loss to weavers’ community. The weavers and activist have now joined hands together for the cause. Regarding the same, they will meet the officials of textile ministry, who would be in the city on December 25 to attend a function here.
read more.
TOInew

21:27:03 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Ministry yet to notify GSP+ Facilitation body:

The Ministry of Commerce & Textile Industry has yet to notify the ”GSP+ Facilitation Committee” to ensure smooth export to EU countries despite the fact the new scheme would become operational from January 2014.

Sources revealed to Business Recorder that after consultation with all stakeholders, the Ministry had decided to set up a GSP+ Facilitation Committee for removal of regulatory bottlenecks related to Customs, ANF, FBR, SBP, Labour Departments, etc.

However, delay in constitution of the committee may hamper the prospects of the scheme as after one week the scheme would become operational. Stakeholders are waiting for early notification of the GSP+ Facilitation Committee. Officials” sources revealed textile division and stakeholders had proposed to the government to bring back textile sector to zero rating while all their drawbacks amount held by the government should be immediately cleared to fully reap the benefits of GSP+ scheme.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

* ‘SPC preparing APTMA members to meet global trade challenges’:

Chairman APTMA Punjab, S M Tanveer has said the Sustainable Production Centre (SPC), an initiative in collaboration with GIZ, is preparing the APTMA members to meet international trade challenges in the wake of market access facility from the European Union.

He said the SPC has taken fundamental initiatives like Corporate Social Responsibility, Textile Education, Better Cotton Initiative and Energy and Water Conservation Initiatives to ensure sustainability of industry in fast changing world trade requirements. APTMA chairman said the SPC is also enabling its members to excel on Occupational Health and Safety (OHAS) and World-wide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) certifications to avail maximum benefit of market access facility from the EU.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

TIME20131224

GLOBAL

* U.S. Flouts Its Own Advice in Procuring Overseas Clothing:

One of the world’s biggest clothing buyers, the United States government spends more than $1.5 billion a year at factories overseas, acquiring everything from the royal blue shirts worn by airport security workers to the olive button-downs required for forest rangers and the camouflage pants sold to troops on military bases.

But even though the Obama administration has called on Western buyers to use their purchasing power to push for improved industry working conditions after several workplace disasters over the last 14 months, the American government has done little to adjust its own shopping habits.

Labor Department officials say that federal agencies have a “zero tolerance” policy on using overseas plants that break local laws, but American government suppliers in countries including Bangladesh, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Mexico, Pakistan and Vietnam show a pattern of legal violations and harsh working conditions, according to audits and interviews at factories. Among them: padlocked fire exits, buildings at risk of collapse, falsified wage records and repeated hand punctures from sewing needles when workers were pushed to hurry up.

In Bangladesh, shirts with Marine Corps logos sold in military stores were made at DK Knitwear, where child laborers made up a third of the work force, according to a 2010 audit that led some vendors to cut ties with the plant. Managers punched workers for missed production quotas, and the plant had no functioning alarm system despite previous fires, auditors said. Many of the problems remain, according to another audit this year and recent interviews with workers.

In Chiang Mai, Thailand, employees at the Georgie & Lou factory, which makes clothing sold by the Smithsonian Institution, said they were illegally docked over 5 percent of their roughly $10-per-day wage for any clothing item with a mistake. They also described physical harassment by factory managers and cameras monitoring workers even in bathrooms.

At Zongtex Garment Manufacturing in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, which makes clothes sold by the Army and Air Force, an audit conducted this year found nearly two dozen under-age workers, some as young as 15. Several of them described in interviews with The New York Times how they were instructed to hide from inspectors.
read more.
NYT

* How the U.S. Government Can Follow Its Own Advice to Be a Responsible Consumer:

Today, (22-12) the New York Times reports child labor, blocked fire exits, unsafe buildings, forced overtime and a range of other illegal, unsafe, and abusive conditions for garment workers in factories in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Haiti, Mexico, and Thailand. 

These factories have at least one thing in common: the United States government is a customer.   That means these abuses take place with the support of our tax dollars and are carried out in our names.  It also means the Obama administration “flouts its own advice” to private sector companies to use their purchasing power to improve working conditions in overseas garment factories.

Because the U.S. government is the world’s single largest buyer it could create a significant push for safe and decent working conditions in supplier factories across the globe by practicing what it preaches.  How would it do that?

First by establishing that illegal and abusive conditions are in fact unacceptable for purchasing by the U.S. government.  Today, most of the abuses uncovered by the New York Times do not cause any alarms to go off for US contracting officers.  Presidential executive orders from 1999 and 2012 prohibit only forced child labor and human trafficking in government contracting, but tacitly permit other illegal and abusive behaviors.

Here are 10 steps the U.S. government should take to be a responsible consumer:
read more.
ilrf

* ILRF Calls on President Obama To Protect Workers’ Rights at Government Suppliers:

Urges federal government to require companies it does business with to sign onto the Accord on Fire and Building Safety

The International Labor Rights Forum calls on the US government to adopt regulations to end the unsafe and illegal conditions behind federal government apparel purchases, following revelations in today’s New York Times investigative story, which links abusive working conditions in overseas sweatshops to purchasing by several US federal agencies and entities.

In a statement of ten steps to safe and legal conditions in US government contractor facilities, ILRF called for supply chain transparency; adoption and enforcement of labor standards in procurement, licensing and military exchange supply chains; and addressing the root causes of labor violations through fair pricing and related responsible purchasing practices.

“Over a year after 112 workers were killed in a fire at a factory that sewed Marines logo clothing, the rest of the US government still has not taken action to prevent unsafe and abusive working conditions in the factories that make procured or licensed apparel, or clothing sold at military exchanges,” said Judy Gearhart, executive director of the International Labor Rights Forum.
“The Tazreen fire – and the Rana Plaza building collapse that killed ten-fold more garment workers just a few months later – should be a wake-up call to the US government to put into place enforceable labor standards to ensure workers’ rights and transparency in government supply chains.”
read more.
ilrf

00:27:03 local time map of china CHINA

* Chinese textile firms need to accelerate genuine IT use:

In the process of industrial upgrading and encouraging technological innovation, the application of genuine information technology (IT) products for improving industry standards is necessary, Sun Rui Zhe, vice president of China Textile Industry Association, said recently at a seminar on “Innovation and Social Responsibility – China’s textile industry, information technology services and fair competition.”
Zhe said China’s textile and garment enterprises have begun to consider the issue of innovation and intellectual property protection in all aspects of the life cycle of the product.
read more.
fibre2fashion

00:27:03 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* 60% of local businesses now issue CSR and sustainability reports:

Majority or 60 percent of Philippine businesses now issue corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability information, either in their financial reports or in separate reports or more than double the global rate of 31 percent, latest survey results showed.

Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR) released its latest survey through its member firm Punongbayan & Araullo, an audit, tax, advisory and outsourcing services firm.
An even bigger proportion of Filipino business leaders – 86 percent – believe CSR and sustainability efforts should be integrated into financial reports, compared to 57 percent globally.
read more.
MBnew

23:27:03 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Footwear exports hit 7.9 billion USD:

The General Customs Department reported that by December 15, Vietnam earned 7.9 billion USD from footwear export, 14.9 percent higher than the same period last year.

The performance is likely to help the country reach its set export target of 8 billion USD for the product this year.
The US remained the key importer of Vietnamese footwear. It purchased 2.3 billion USD over the past 11 months, accounting for more than 30 percent of the country’s total footwear export value. The figure also represented a year-on-year rise of 16.9 percent.
read more.
VIETNAMplus

23:27:03 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Nationwide protest for raise in pay may occur: union leader:

 A prominent union leader on Tuesday announced that factory employees will rally throughout the country to demand minimum wage be raised to $160 per month in 2014.

Chea Mony, President of Free Trade Union of Workers of Cambodia (FTUWC), made his announcement after the Ministry of Labor and Vocation Training announced their results of the wage talks earlier today.
read more.
CAMHERALD

* Workers protest after wage talk results:

Hundreds of garment factory employees on Tuesday gathered in front of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training protesting the results of the wage talks.

The protesters surrounded and blocked the gates of the ministry with union leaders, representatives from the government and factories still inside.

Instead of achieving the $154 per month raise in wages the factory employees asked for, representatives from government, garment factories and labor unions decided to raise minimum wage from the current $80 to $95 in 2014, $110 in 2015, $126 in 2016, $143 in 2017 and $160 in 2018.

“This result was fruitful even though it doesn’t meet all of the demands requested by the workers,” said Labor Minister Ith Sam Heng after the talks.
read more.
CAMHERALD

* Keep striking for $160, Rainsy urges:

Ahead of today’s Ministry of Labour announcement of a minimum wage increase for Cambodia’s apparel sector, opposition leader Sam Rainsy yesterday urged striking workers in Svay Rieng province to hold out until their monthly salary is raised to $160.

“[Garment] workers should not return to work until the government raises their minimum wage to $160,” Rainsy said in Bavet town to thousands of workers from Svay Rieng’s Manhattan and Tay Seng special economic zones. “We have to be together, I support all of you until you reach success, and I’ll be with you and protect you all.”
read more.  & read more.
PPP new Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Turmoil marks year in labour:

When unions and the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) signed a memorandum of understanding in October last year, both sides were confident strikes in the Kingdom’s biggest export sector could be kept to a minimum.

“I believe strikes will be reduced, and we will solve our issues through legislative procedures,” Cambodian Labour Union Federation president Som Aun said at the time.
But despite intentions – and a $14 increase to the minimum wage for garment workers in May – 2013 has seen strikes in record numbers.
Not counting December, GMAC has recorded 131 strikes this year, the most since it began collecting data in 2003, and up from 34 in 2011, when a previous MoU was in place.
During strikes this year, a bystander has been shot dead by police, two women have miscarried after clashes with authorities, unionists have been jailed for months and factories have lost millions of dollars.

Building tensions
From the outset, 2013 shaped as a year of unrest in the Kingdom’s garment sector, which produces more than 85 per cent of total exports.
(…)
Low wages
Chea Mony, president of the Free Trade Union, said the majority of strikes this year occurred due to low wages.
“Most of them happen because the discussions about increasing wages just take too long and often do not reach a suitable resolution,” he said.
As for the MoU, Mony said both employers and workers rarely abided by it.
“It’s good if both parties respect it, but [right now], the MoU has no effect on workers and employers.”
Dave Welsh, country manager for labour-rights group Solidarity Center, said he was still a supporter of the MoU.
read more.
PPP new

00:27:03 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* 4th Edition of Better Work Indonesia Quarterly Newsletter, 2013:

 Contents:    
* Better Work Indonesia factory to benefit from Social Dialogue: PT Hansae Indonesia Utama.
* Putting a fresh twist on an old system: Better Work Indonesia and GAP Indonesia’s Cultural Sensitivity Training
* Visit to PT Willbes Global by the Project Advisory Committee of Better Work Indonesia
* Building Trust between Employers and Employees: the Best Way to Prevent Labour Disputes
* Meeting with Dr. Jung-Keun Park: An Expert on Occupational Safety and Health
* Disability Video Launch on SAME: Spaces, Opportunities and Treatment of Persons with Disabilities
* The 3rd Annual Better Work Forum, Seoul, November 2013
* List of Better Work Indonesia Guideline

You can download the newsletter here.
BW indonesia

22:27:03 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* High prices of warm clothes hit poor hard:

High prices of warm clothes have been putting pressure on the poor, leaving many of them to endure the bite of cold.

During a visit, New Age found that, many shops, especially those on the footpaths, were open during the 83-hours BNP-led opposition blockade.
Many people, mainly the low income group, thronged the footpath shops at Mohakhali, Gulistan, Bangabazar, Motijhil, Bangabandhu Stadium, Bangabandhu Avenue Hawkers Market, Dhaka College, New Market, Farmgate, Mirpur 10 and Azampur bus stand footpath shops in the capital.

The shopkeepers of those shops told New Age that in the previous year, the prices of locally-made shawls ranged between Tk 200 and Tk 400, blankets between Tk 300 and Tk 500, woollen sweaters between Tk 150 to Tk 300, winter caps between Tk 60 and Tk 100 while prices of local and Chinese jackets (second hand) ranged between Tk 200 and Tk 600.
However, this year the prices of locally-made shawls range from Tk 300 to Tk 600, blankets from Tk 400 to Tk 650, woollen sweaters from Tk 200 to Tk 500 while winter caps from Tk 100 to Tk 150.
read more.
BD new age

* RMG stimulus in the offing:

Cash incentive may go up, while export tax may fall, among other benefits, to protect exporters from political shocks

The government along with the central bank plans to come up with a stimulus package for the garment sector that has been affected by the ongoing political unrest.

The government may bring down export tax for the sector to 0.50-0.60 percent from 0.80 percent now, though garment makers want it at 0.25 percent.
The government may also increase the amount of cash incentive for garment exporters to 6 percent of their export proceeds, from 5 percent now.
And banks may raise cash credit on garment makers’ export earnings to 40 percent, which is 25 percent at present.
The incentives will remain effective for one and a half years though the garment makers want the benefits for at least three years, a finance ministry official said.
However, four state-owned commercial banks said 30 percent of their outstanding loans in the garment sector fall in the default loan category as on October 30.
The state banks have already informed the government and the central bank that their default loans may rise by 4-6 percent by the yearend due to continuous blockades and shutdowns.
Private commercial banks also told the central bank yesterday that their default loans may go up by 1-1.5 percent within December.
In this backdrop, the government already held several meetings with stakeholders to find out ways, and the central bank yesterday sat in separate meetings with the private banks and four state banks.

Three platforms of garment and knitwear makers and textile mill owners placed a three-point demand to the finance minister on December 11 to help them offset the extra cost following the recent hike in garment wages.
read more.
daily star bd

* Garment accessories sector loses $100m in 3 months:

Manufacturers of the country’s apparel accessories incurred financial losses to the extent of around US$ 100 million in last three months due to frequent hartals and blockades, backward linkage industry leaders said.

“In last one month, we have incurred losses worth $ 50 million as the number of orders executed was the lowest as foreign buyers are shifting their orders to our neighbouring country due to continuous political unrest here.” BGAPMEA President Rafez Alam Chowdhury told the FE.
read more.
FE bd

* Jute industry: Product diversification is key to prosperity:

Performance of the country’s jute sector, in terms of innovation and diversification of product range, is far from where it should be.

Following the remarkable accomplishment by Bangladeshi scientists in decoding the genome sequencing of jute plants in 2010, there is no denying that the ground breaking research has placed Bangladesh at the forefront of the global jute industry. But necessary initiatives are yet to see any progress.
Moreover, the slump in export of jute goods warrants fear that the country is presently not well poised to meet the growing demand for diversified jute products, in which jute bags account for the lion’s share.
read more.
FE bd

* Bangladesh textiles: unravelling at the seams:

All good things have a way of coming to an end-an unpleasant reality that Bangladeshi textile players might soon be coming face to face with.

The illustrious rise of the Bangladeshi textile profile is a case study in itself. The boom has contributed greatly to the countrys economic development; having created millions of jobs and helping drive down the countrys poverty rate.

But, in recent years, the rapid change has also created new problems for Bangladesh-a fact made tragically clear earlier this year, when the country faced two of the worst industrial disasters in its history.

As if that ignominy wasn enough, the shutdowns and frequent general strikes in the lead-up to the countrys parliamentary elections have put an additional strain on Bangladeshi garment manufacturers at a time when they were already under pressure to do more to make their factories safer.

Recently still, the execution of Abdul Qader Mollah has practically paralyzed the countrys industry, leaving many to question the future of Bangladesh as a lucrative and sustainable textile sourcing destination.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

                  THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE

* $40 Million in Aid Set for Bangladesh Garment Workers:

Eight months after the Rana Plaza factory building collapsed in Bangladesh, killing more than 1,100 workers and leaving hundreds of families bereft and financially adrift, several prominent retailers and labor groups have joined with the Bangladesh government to create an estimated $40 million compensation fund to aid the victims’ families.

So far, four retailers — Bon Marché, El Corte Inglés, Loblaw and Primark — have pledged to contribute to the fund, which is intended to compensate the families of those who died last April 24 in what was the deadliest disaster in garment industry history. The new fund is considered a landmark in compensating families of garment industry victims, in terms of both the amount to be paid and the sophistication of the arrangements. No United States-based retailers have signed on.

Several officials involved in negotiations to establish the fund said in interviews that the families of the dead would receive, on average, more than $25,000 each, while hundreds of workers who were injured or maimed would also receive compensation. Per capita income in Bangladesh is about $1,900 a year.

The fund’s members said they hoped to begin making payments in February, although they have yet to decide how much each firm will contribute, which depends in part on whether governments donate.
The money is to be paid in installments to ensure that the families have a steady source of income for years to come.
“We think the agreement is a really good result,” said Ineke Zeldenrust, international coordinator of the Clean Clothes Campaign, a European antisweatshop group that has pressed retailers to do far more to help the families of the disaster’s victims.
“The agreement will deliver to all the victims and the families of the Rana Plaza disaster full and fair compensation in a credible manner. What we need now is for other companies to agree to pay into the fund.”
read more.  & read more. & read more.
NYTUNB

* Rana Plaza Compensation Arrangement:

An unprecedented coordinated framework has been agreed to compensate the hundreds of victims, both injured workers and dependents of the deceased, as a result of the fatal disaster that took place on April 24th, 2013, when the Rana Plaza building collapsed in Savar (Bangladesh).

With the UN agency International Labour Organisation (ILO) acting as a neutral chair, a unique multi-stakeholder Coordination Committee has developed a “Practical Arrangement” which provides a single approach for compensation consistent with the ILO international standards.  The Understanding for this Arrangement has been signed by leading buyers (Primark, Loblaw,  Bonmarche, El Corte Ingles), the Bangladesh Ministry of Labour, Bangladesh Employers’  Federation (BEF), Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA),  IndustriALL Bangladesh National Council, Bangladesh Institute for Labour Studies (BILS),  Industriall Global Union and Clean Clothes Campaign, which also integrate the multi- stakeholder Coordination Committee.

This Coordination Committee, with the key technical support of ILO and UN experts, will  continue to oversee the scheme which will cover income replacement needs and medical costs  to all beneficiaries, according to the recently updated wages in Bangladesh. Disbursements will  be made on a case by case basis after a medical assessment will have determined the level of  disability of injured workers.

To finance the payments to victims, international brands and retailers are making voluntary  contributions into a humanitarian International Trust Fund, managed by a global bank and  open to other international donors. Any local funds will be kept in a local bank. A local bank  will provide payments directly to the beneficiaries ́ bank accounts.

Although the final funding needed will only be determined as the individual claims will be  processed, it is estimated that the total amount will be close to USD 40 million, based on the  provisions of ILO Convention No. 121 and the wage levels expected at time of award.  Compensation already paid to victims, both by local and global stakeholders, will be offset.
read more.
RANAPLAZA arragement

* $40m aid for Bangladesh garment workers:

Four global retailers, along with manufacturers and labour groups, have agreed to set up a $40 million compensation fund for victims of Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza disaster that killed 1,135 people, officials said Tuesday, AFP reports.

They said retailers Primark, El Corte Ingles, Loblaw and Bon Marche have pledged to contribute to the fund following the collapse of the garment factory complex in April, the world’s worst industrial tragedy.
‘A fund has been established to compensate the victims, injured workers and dependants of the deceased, of the Rana Plaza collapse,’ said Lejo Sibbel from the International Labour Organisation which helped broker the agreement reached last month.
‘An estimated $40 million will be required to compensate the victims and their beneficiaries,’ said Sibbel, who is based in Dhaka.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
& read more.
BD new age bss FE bd daily star bd PriyoNews BDCHRONICLE
Ittefaq

      TAZREEN GARMENT FACTORY FIRE

* Charges against Tazreen owners: a long-awaited beginning:

The charges of ‘committing homicide by negligence’ pressed by the Criminal Investigation Department on Sunday against Tazreen Fashions managing director, his wife, who is also chairman of the company, and 11 other executives sets in motion the long-awaited legal process towards dispensation of justice in relation to the death of more than 100 workers in the November 24, 2012 factory fire at Ashulia.

According to a report published in New Age on Monday, six of the 13 accused, including the managing director, have been shown as fugitives in the case and six are on bail; the other, the security-in-charge of the factory, is in jail.
Although the investigation officer has submitted a prayer, along with the charges, which have been posted for hearing on December 31, that warrants be issued for the arrest of the managing director and other absconding accused, their ‘fugitive’ status sounds somewhat strange.
After all, since the deadly fire, at least the managing director of Tazreen Fashions has been seen in public, sometimes even chatting away with senior police officers.
In fact, the criminal investigations of the Tazreen fire had seemingly made very little progress until the High Court intervened, in response to a writ petition by a group of anthropologists, and asked the home secretary and the inspector general of police to explain why they should not be directed to initiate action against the managing director on criminal charges.
read more.
BD new age

21:57:03 local time map of india INDIA

* CITU seeks better facilities for women:

The members of the Udupi district unit of Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) staged a dharna in front of the Clock Tower here on Saturday demanding better facilities for working women.

Speaking on the occasion, Bilkis, convener of Working Women’s Coordination Committee of CITU, said that though atrocities against working women was on the rise, the government and other authorities were doing little to stop it.
The system appeared to have become insensitive to the problems faced by the working women.

The CITU wanted the women working in all sectors to be given a minimum salary of Rs. 10,000 per month. They should also be given job security.
Equal pay should be given to both men and women as per the Equal Remuneration Act 1976. There should be no discrimination in service conditions, promotions, training and transfers for working women, she said.
to read.
Return to frontpage

* Powerloom upgradation to be launched in Sircilla today:

The Union Ministry of Textiles will launch a pilot scheme for in-situ upgradation of powerlooms in Sircilla on Tuesday.

The scheme is being implemented in six clusters across the country including Sircilla. Union Textiles Minister Kavuri Sambasiva Rao will launch the Yarn Bank scheme for powerlooms and distribute sanction letters to weavers. The Yarn Bank scheme envisages setting up of corpus fund to the tune of Rs. 1 crore enabling weavers to purchase yarn.
There are about 30,000 plain powerlooms in Sircilla that required modernisation, but no incentives were given to weavers so far. The Union Ministry took into consideration the economic conditions of weavers and formulated the pilot scheme for in-situ upgradation which would be formally launched on Tuesday.

Union Minister of State Panabaka Lakshmi, State Handlooms and Textiles Minister G. Prasad Kumar, MP Ponnam Prabhakar, local MLA K.T. Rama Rao and senior officials would participate in the launch, according to an official press release.
to read.
Return to frontpage

* Women labourers stage protest:

Women who eke out a life doing manual labour staged a dharna demanding job security and protection of their wages.

Women workers along with activists of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) staged a dharna demanding equal wages for men and women, minimum wages and job security.
Women were being called contract workers, casual labour, part-time workers, piece-rate workers other titles only to be underpaid.

Women doing manual labour in all sectors should be given maternity leave and other facilities like a crèche, drinking water, rest area and proper toilets near the work site. The employers should also ensure that safety was provided to the woman workers after they leave the work site, demanded the activists.
to read.
Return to frontpage

* Weaving a new tradition in women’s empowerment:

Satyan Mishra, co-founder and Managing Director of Drishtee, a social enterprise, stumbled upon a unique tradition while on a visit to Dharaha village in Bhagalpur, Bihar.

Every parent plants ten fruit-bearing trees to celebrate the birth of a girl child. The trees are named after the child, and the child and the trees are nurtured by the family.

For Mishra, who is of the firm belief that women are at the receiving end in the rural district, this unique example of an innocuous age-old tradition practised in a remote village, reveals how villagers have attempted to address the problem of a declining sex ratio, female child foeticide and the scourge of dowry-related deaths.

“Today, Dharaha has hundred per cent green cover, compared to an overall forest cover of only 7.4 per cent in the State,” Mishra told Business Line.
He noted that the farmers had stopped their traditional farming of wheat and paddy and planted many trees since they were profitable and dependable. Given that one medium sized mango orchard is valued at around Rs 2.5 lakh every season, these trees have great commercial value.

To facilitate organic growth and overall development in Dharaha, Mishra set up the Drishtee Rural Apparel Producers (Drap) organisation. A training programme was started in 2011, and now 7,000 women from the entire district have enrolled, learning different kinds of apparel techniques such as embroidery, sewing, weaving, spinning and crochet. “It is promoted by women producers and is entirely owned and operated by women as shareholders. The idea is to establish sustainable backward and forward market linkagesto ensure that the communities continue to get sustainable employment,” said Mishra.

Drap went a step ahead and started exploring various markets for collaboration. It teamed up with an export house in Delhi, Theme Export Private Ltd, Biba India, Naurang Foundations, and recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Handloom and Handicrafts Export Corporation of India. The deal ensured a space in Baba Kharak Singh Marg in New Delhi, where Drap products are sold.
read more.
Return to frontpage

21:57:03 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* Labour crisis in apparel industry Is costly technology or humane HR best practices the solution? :

The era of the closed economy of the left oriented state of 1970- 1977 saw only the domestic garments under the Brand names of Hentley, Maxim, Benhur and later the Duro products of Dasa Industries.

Then came the liberalized economy under the JRJ government and awakened the Export oriented garment industries in the first Free Trade Zone with a workforce of 30000 female workers under the GCEC the present BOI at Katunayake.

The social implications and other infrastructures were not geared to meet the sudden change in the area. Health & Safety standards were thoroughly inadequate in a snake infested locality. Basic Human needs were neglected and the Iron fisted administration were naïve and forceful.
The young members of the Armed forces roamed the area and young female workers who lived in Boarding houses were easy prey. Resulting pregnancies of unmarried singles and medical clinics springing up like mushrooms in the Katunayake and Negombo areas were the talk of the day. The scandals pouring out was the beginning of the irreparable permanent damage to the character of the female garment worker.

Availability of manpower
The mainly Sinhala adult females from all over the country which comprised the  workforce was freely available and queues of 1-2 kilometers length of young females thronged to the BOI Job bank from the BOI office to beyond perimeters of the zone fighting for a placement in any Garment factory in the Katunayake Zone. Applicants who possessed references from the State politicians were given pride of place while many were turned down to return to their villages.
(…)
Depletion of workforce
This scenario which continued for decades is still prevalent in the present day factories except for a few. HR continues to be blamed while the factory management continues to bully and batter the workers. Basic needs are granted but the most important personal domestic requirements are not recognized. The workers who migrated first from one factory to another within the Katunayaka Zone opted for other factories in other zones in later years. Thereafter the workers who rushed to garment industries for poverty and relief now find that earnings are not worth the sacrifice of their family life at home. They shun the garment industry.
read more.
daily mirror

* Sri Lanka’s textile & garment exports surge 47% in Oct’13:

Sri Lanka’s earnings from textiles and garments exports grew by 46.8 percent year-on-year to US$ 436.4 million in October 2013, which was the highest monthly value of export of garment and textiles ever recorded, according to a Central Bank of Sri Lanka press release. 
“Exports of garments to both the EU and USA, which are Sri Lanka’s major export destinations, recorded remarkable growth rates of 53.2 percent and 43.4 percent, respectively in October 2013, reflecting the recovery in those economies as well as seasonal demand,” says the statement.
read more.
fibre2fashion

21:27:03 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Ginning industry: Policy options for efficiency improvement:

Agriculture is the most important sector of Pakistan as it provides raw material to the industry and contributes 21.4% to the GDP. It employs 45% of the labour force and is the most important source of foreign exchange earnings.

Pakistan is the fourth largest producer of cotton after China, India and the United States and has about 8.7% share in world’s cotton production.

The ginning industry is considered to be the backbone of the textile sector and plays a significant role in the economy. Though Pakistan produces best quality cotton, but ginning factories get poor quality and contaminated cotton due to poor transportation and storage facilities and unskilled handling and harvesting.

Cotton ginning is a process of separating cotton seed from lint for further processing in textile industries. Cotton ginning is the weakest link in the textile chain.
read more.
tribune

* Clothing sector of Lahore: PHMA urges government to resume gas to processing units:

Zonal Chairman Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers Association Muhammad Amjad Khawaja appealed the government to resume the supply of natural gas to the processing units of clothing sector of Lahore in line with the basic and value-added processors in Punjab.

Addressing a press conference on Monday he pointed out that while the gas supplies to the entire textile sector has been restored, the supplies to the composite knitwear units have been denied. He said knitwear and garment producers are the main beneficiaries of GSP Plus status and its Lahore units have been denied the gas supply which amounts to only 1.75mmcfd.
read more. & read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER thenewspk

* GSP+ status: HS Codes to be synchronised with EU Codes:

The Federal Board of Revenue has decided to synchronise eight-digit HS Codes of Pakistan Customs Tariff (PCT) with the EU Codes to bring clarity and remove any type of confusion during export of Pakistani textile products to EU countries after GSP Plus status.

Sources told Business Recorder here on Monday that the decision has been taken in a recent meeting held at the Textile Industry Division, Ministry of Commerce & Textile Industry on the GSP Plus status.

More than 600 items mainly textile products will enter 27 members EU countries duty-free from January 1, 2014 for ten years. According to the decision, synchronisation of eight-digit HS Codes with EU Codes, or alternatively, would be done to establish equivalences. In this regard, guidance of the FBR Chairman has been sought to find the best solution.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

21:27:03 local time map of uzbekistan UZBEKISTAN

* Singapore Indorama to invest additional $20 million in textile industry in Uzbekistan by 2016:

Singapore Indorama Industry Pte ltd will additionally invest $20 million in 2014-2015 in textile industry on the basis of state enterprise Kokand Textile Mill, reported RIA Novosti on Friday referring to the State Joint Stock Company Uzbeklegprom.

Indorama Industry and Government of Uzbekistan signed a supplementary agreement, which provides for allocation of $20 million to increase production capacity – up to 12,000 tons of cotton per year.
Indorama Industry and National Bank of Uzbekistan in September 2011 commissioned a plant in Kokand. Its processing capacity is 20,000 tons of cotton fiber. Company’s investments in the project has reached $75 million.

Uzbek authorities in early 2006 announced plans to sell assets of about 220 insolvent textile companies for modernization within the financial recovery of the industry. In 2006-2010, number of foreign investors acquired such assets totaling approximately $300 million. But later some textile enterprises were declared bankrupt.
to read.
CA-NEWS eng

TIME30131223

23:27:03 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* No End in Sight for Svay Rieng SEZ Strikes:

A union official at the center of a strike that started last Monday and involves an estimated 30,000 workers from two special economic zones (SEZs) in Svay Rieng province said Sunday that he has no control over the strikers, and does not know when or if they will return to work.

The 36 factories involved in the strike remained shut and workers remained at home on Friday and over the weekend in Bavet City’s Manhattan and Tai Seng Bavet SEZs, said Chheng Chhoan, secretary-general of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers.

“I’m not sure if they’ll come back to work or not. I’ve tried to explain to those workers that, on the minimum wage topic, a solution might not be found now,” he said.
“I explained to them all that if they do not come back to work, there will be no good results, but they don’t listen to me. Most just say they will not come back to work unless their demands are met with success.”

The strikers have said they will continue protesting until their minimum monthly wage is increased to $154.
The Labor Advisory Council (LAC) is set to meet on Tuesday to decide on proposals to increase the minimum wage. The Council of Ministers on Friday decided to recommend incremental yearly minimum wage increases to bring it to $160 by 2018.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Unionist firings inspire walkout:

About 1,000 workers at a Kandal province garment factory walked off the job on Saturday after management there fired eight employees who attempted to start a new union.

Management at Sixplus Industry Co, Ltd originally sacked 13 union activists on Friday afternoon, but later that evening said they would allow five of them back to work, said Mai Bun Hai, president of the new Independent Union for Worker Solidarity.

“They told me that they will allow us to create the union inside the company if we obey their wishes, but I declined and they sacked us immediately,” Bun Hai said yesterday.

Sixplus’ is now home to two unions: the Free Trade Union and the Labour of Khmer Children Union. Nearly 800 employees there have thumb-printed a petition demanding the reinstatement of the eight fired unionists, Bun Hai said.
The dismissals are a clear violation of Cambodia’s labour law, said Moeun Tola, head of the labour program at the Community Legal Education Center.
Officials from Sixplus could not be reached for comment.
read more.
PPP new

* Sam Rainsy protests with workers in Bavet:

Opposition party leader Sam Rainsy joined a rally on Monday, initiated by garment factory employees in the town of Bavet.

“I’m protesting with workers in the Manhattan Special Economic Zone in the town of Bavet, Svay Rieng province, to demand a raise in salary, ” he posted on his Facebook page.
During the rally, Sam Rainsy, urged protesting garment employees not to go to work unless they receive $160 per month.
Around 28,000 workers from the Manhattan Special Economic Zone as well as Tai Seng I and Tai Seng II have been on strike since December 17.
read more.
CAMHERALD

22:27:03 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* 500 RMG units face closure:

More than 500 apparel units, small and medium in size, will face closure by February next due to sharp fall in orders from the global buyers, industry leaders said on Sunday.

They said, the buyers continued to shift their focus from Bangladesh to other garments manufacturing countries in the wake of political crisis, resulting fall in export orders.
“As many as 500 garment units are expected to face closure by February onward due to sharp fall in export orders,” Vice-President of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Md Shahidullah Azim, told The New Nation yesterday.
He added, if we analyze the existing order situation, these factories can hardly run their production up to February next. After the month, these factories would have to shut their manufacturing due to dearth of orders.
Closure of the factories would not only bring disastrous impact on the economy but also lead to thousands of workers jobless, he feared.
read more.
NEWNATIONnew

* RMG export earnings up by 21% despite odds:

Export earnings from apparel products during the July-November period of fiscal year 2013-14 grew by more than 20 per cent over that of the corresponding period of last fiscal despite sharp reactions both at home and abroad about the recent tragic incidents in garment industry.

Export receipts from knit products stood at $4.89 billion during the July-November period, registering a 20.48 per cent growth over the corresponding period last year. The earnings also surpassed the target by 11.04 per cent, according to official data of the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).

Woven products fetched $4.75 billion showing a 21 per cent growth though it missed the target by 0.81 per cent during the same period of the current fiscal, according to EPB data.

However, though earnings from export of garment items grew during the July-November period, the month-to-month earnings slowed down since October 2013. The exporters attributed this to recent incidents like Tazreen factory fire, Rana Plaza collapse, labour unrest and political turmoil.
read more. & read more.
FE bd BD new age

* RMG exports jump by 30%:

The troubles being faced by the RMG sector took place in the second quarter and the impact of this disruption would be seen in February onward

20131223 DHAKATRIBUNE 2
A worker is seen working in a garment

Bangladesh’s readymade garment exports have seen a 30% jump to US$1,767m in November 2013 compared to the same period last year, defying all political and labour unrests, according to Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data released yesterday.

The exports rose sharply, which runs counter to the apparel exporters claim that they failed to ship products due to the ongoing political unrest.
Bangladesh exported RMG products worth US$1,767m in November compared to US$1,364m in the same month last year, which is 30% higher than that of the last year.

In November 2013, Bangladesh exported knitwear products worth US$878m while it fetched $889m by exporting woven products, which is 34% and 25% higher respectively compared to the same period last year.

“The troubles being faced by the RMG sector took place in the second quarter and the impact of this disruption would be seen in February onward,” Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Vice President Shahidullah Azim told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* ‘RMG industry falling from frying pan into the fire’:

Some buyers recently mailed me. They said there was nothing a buyer could do to protect his business from acts of terrorism, sabotage and political instability, other than reevaluating the risk factors of the production order to assess the practices in place

20131223 DHAKATRIBUNE
Md Atiqul Islam, president of BGMEA 

The country’s economy feels the pinch of political unrest as businesses transport and all other aspects of daily life almost grind to a halt due to long spells of anti-government strikes and blockades.

For the $20bn-apparel industry, which employs more than 44 lakh people and accounts for nearly 80% of the country’s total exports, the situation becomes worse as it is a fully export-oriented industry.

In the present situation, Md Atiqul Islam, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association of Bangladesh (BGMEA), talks about the state of the readymade garments industry and a possible way out in an exclusive interview with Dhaka Tribune.

What is the impact of the ongoing spell of political unrest on the RMG industry?
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

                  THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE

* Human skull recovered from Rana Plaza:

Police recovered another human skull from the site of collapsed Rana Plaza in the city’s suburb on Sunday noon.

According to Sub-Inspector Shoyeb of Savar Model Police Station, some street children first discovered the human skull around 2:00 pm when they were collecting garbage from the area. The children also set fire on some garbage, which spread over the area immediately, the police official said. Getting the information, two units of fire service rushed to the spot and doused the fire.
Later, police recovered the skull from Rana Plaza area.
to read.

       TAZREEN GARMENT FACTORY FIRE

* Tazreen owner Delwar finally charged:

Charges have been pressed against 13 people including Delwar Hossain, the managing director of Tazreen Fashions Ltd, in a case filed for killing 112 garment workers in a devastating fire in Savar, on the outskirts of the capital, last year.

On November 24, 2012, a devastating fire in Tazreen Fashions Ltd at Nishchintapur of Ashulia in Savar killed 112 workers and injured scores.

AKM Mohsinuzzaman Khan, an inspector of Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and also the investigation officer (IO) of the case, submitted the charge sheet before the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court of Dhaka around 9:30am today.

The other accused against whom the charges were pressed are: Tazreen Fashions Ltd Chairman Mahmuda Akter, its Factory Manager Abdur Razzak, Quality Manager Shahiduzzaman Dulal, Production Manager Mobarak Hossain, Manager (admin) Md Dulal Uddin, engineer Mahbubul Morshed, two store-in-charges Hamidul Islam and Md Al Amin, two security in-charges–Md Al Amin and Anisur Rahman, security guard Md Rana alias Anwarul, and loader Shamim Mia.
read more. & read more.
daily star bd FE bd

* 13 sued year after Tazreen tragedy:

Police yesterday pressed homicide charges against 13 people, including Tazreen Fashions Managing Director Delwar Hossain, in a case over the devastating fire that killed 112 workers and injured many others in November last year.

The 13 were also charged with mischief by fire and causing grievous hurt and death by negligence.
The other accused include Delwar’s wife and Tazreen Chairman Mahmuda Akter, and on-duty managers, security guards and an engineer.
If convicted, the accused could face a maximum punishment of life imprisonment or minimum seven years in jail, said Investigation Officer AKM Mohsinuzzaman Khan, who submitted the charge sheet to the Dhaka Chief Judicial Magistrate’s Court.
At least 112 workers, mostly women, were killed and scores wounded in the country’s worst industrial blaze at Tazreen Fashions in Ashulia on the outskirts of the capital on November 24 last year.
The factory used to produce and supply garments to different international brands, including Walmart.
read more.
daily star bd

* Justice for Tazreen a boon for RMG:

The arrests a helpful step in ongoing moves towards winning back confidence in the RMG sector

At long last, formal charges have been finally filed against those thought to be responsible for the Tazreen factory fire that claimed the lives of 112 garment workers last year.

Delwar Hossain, the managing director of Tazreen Fashions, is among 13 people charged for manslaughter and negligence under the Code of Criminal Conduct.

In addition to the 112 people killed in the devastating fire that swept through the factory on November 24 2012, over 200 workers suffered burn injuries. Reports point to improper maintenance and violation of the building code and many workers indicated that the factory exits were locked, preventing them from escaping when the fire broke out.

We welcome the filing of charges in this case which can now be decided on by the legal system. It is reassuring to see that the gears of justice have finally begun to move. Six of the thirteen accused are currently on the run so it is important to ensure that they too are brought before the legal process.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Bangladesh factory owner to plead innocent in deadly blaze case:

The owner of a Bangladesh garment factory that was destroyed in a deadly fire last year said on Monday he was “saddened and astonished” that he had been charged with culpable homicide for the death of 112 workers and would plead innocent in court.

The police on Sunday laid charges against Delwar Hossain, his wife and 11 employees of Tazreen Fashions, a rare step in a country where critics complain that powerful garment industry bosses too often avoid blame for the many factory accidents.
Many of those who died in the blaze at the multi-storey building on the outskirts of Dhaka in November 2012 perished because supervisors ordered workers back to their stations even as an alarm rang and smoke rose through an internal staircase.

Hossain was absolved of blame earlier this year in a report by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) on the incident.
“It saddened and astonished me to see that both my wife and I are the main accused,” Hossain told Reuters by telephone, adding that supervisors who had allegedly blocked workers trying to escape from the burning factory were still on the run.
read more.
reuters

21:57:03 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

20131218 * Twenty garment factories to be set up:

Twenty new garment factories will be set up shortly, Investment Promotion Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said in Parliament yesterday.

He said despite the deprivation of the quota system and GSP Plus benefit, the government has been able to uplift the garment industries sector.

He noted there are 7,000 vacancies in the garment industries as at present. The Minister said with the collapse of the garment industry in Bangladesh, many companies were come forward to invest in Sri Lanka and to set up garment factories. He was responding to a question raised by UNP MP Sujeewa Senasinghe.
to read.
dailynewsSL

TIME

30131222

00:27:03 local time map of china CHINA

* Hair-raising rabbit clip hits China’s fur trade:

The bottom has fallen out of the market for Chinese rabbit fur since a video of fur harvesting appeared online, despite claims that the abuse was an extreme case.

The clip of a farmer ripping fur from an live rabbit precipitated a torrent of public outrage. Many fashion brands, including Calvin Klein, Topshop and H&M, have since refused to use rabbit fur from China in their designs, leaving the Chinese rabbit industry with a tremendous reduction in orders.

Cao Libin, a rabbit breeder form Shengzhou city in east China’s Zhejiang province has nearly 1,000 kilograms of fur lying unsold in a warehouse.
“Usually I would have sold it all by now. Winter is the peak season for fur sales. Now, because of the video, no buyers are showing up here,” he said.

Shengzhou is known as “the home of the angora rabbit” in China. More than 30,000 farmers raise 600,000 rabbits there, producing and exporting 9,000 tons of fur annually to more than 20 countries and regions.
read more.
chinadaily

* China cotton import costs to rise under adjusted tariffs:

The cost of importing cotton into China next year will be only slightly higher, after Beijing adjusted its formula for calculating tariffs, but some traders said this would not clarify uncertainty over demand by the world’s top cotton buyer.

The official announcement confirmed changes leaked in a report on Friday by industry website cncotton.com.

The news sent prices on US futures exchange ICE up to a seven-week high as traders saw the details as confirmation that Beijing will continue to issue import quotas. China’s finance ministry said on Monday it will raise the benchmark for its sliding scale tariffs from 14,000 yuan per tonne in 2013 to 15,000 yuan ($2,500) in 2014. At this price, a fixed duty of 570 yuan per tonne will be applied.
For fibre valued at less than 15,000 yuan per tonne, the duties will be calculated according to a sliding scale formula, also modified from last year.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

22:27:03 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* RMG unrest in Gazipur and Narayanganj:

Workers of an apparel factory in Gazipur observed a half-day strike protesting against assault on a fellow while workers of another factory in Narayanganj blocked the Dhaka-Sylhet highway for arrears and compensation.

New Age correspondent in Gazipur reported that workers of Farseeing Knit Composite Limited, a concern of Shangu Group, observed a half-day strike and staged protests in the factory premises at Telihati Faridpur village under Sripur upazila on Saturday following protesting against assault on a supervisor by the general manager.
The workers said that the factory general manager Babul Hossain Ratan assaulted supervisor Ramjan Ali on Friday night, when Ramjan refused to continue the production for an extra time after the end of the shift.
read more. & read more.
BD new age daily star bd

* New wages trigger RMG jobs at stake:

Fall in export orders due to political unrest also keeps owners from new intake

20131222 DHAKATRIBUNE busi-dUntitled
Photo- Dhaka Tribune Infograph

Bangladesh’s apparel makers have almost suspended recruiting workers as the sector is passing through a dual challenge of perpetual political unrest and implementation of new wage structure.

Industry insiders said implementation of increased wages from this December will lead to rise in production cost while the decline of export orders due to supply chain disruption in blockades would shrink the business.
In these circumstances, the apparel makers are now unwilling to recruit workers. Some even say the factories might have to axe jobs from the existing pool of workers.

The repeated workers’ unrests have also taken a heavy toll on the country’s largest export earing sector, according to them.
Thousands already have become unemployed following the factory accidents, including Tazreen Fashion fire and Rana Plaza collapse.

“RMG factory owners have stopped recruiting workers as orders from buyers have dropped due to political unrest,” said Reaz Bin Mahmood, vice president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Apparel industry loses 40% in fall season orders:

The country’s readymade garments saw 40% decline in orders for the spring-winter season as estimated by an industry leader.

Orders for the fall season dropped substantially because the global buyers are reluctant to place orders as they lost confidence that the suppliers would be able to meet the shipment deadline due to political unrest, Shahidullah Azim told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday.

The vice president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) said factory owners are cutting jobs, as a result. The situation also prompted the factories to bag some orders at much lower prices so they could mitigate losses.

To substantiate his estimate of falling orders, he said most of the factories will have only 20% orders for the months of January and February while no order for the March.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Cotton mill gutted in Khulna fire:

A cotton mill was gutted in a devastating fire at Bejerdanga area in Fultala upazila on Sunday morning.

However, no casualty was reported in the incident.
Fire service sources said the fire originated from electric short circuit in the cotton mill owned by former UP Chairman Sheikh Robiul Islam and soon engulfed the whole mill at about 7:50am.
On information, four fire fighting units from Khulna and Nayapara fire stations rushed to the spot and controlled the flames around 10 pm.
The extent of loss from the fire could not be known immediately.
Deputy Commissioner and Superintendent of Police visited the spot after the incident.
to read.
UNB

 20121321 * Commuting woes for RMG workers in Chittagong:

Some workers, desperate to find alternatives to passenger buses and trucks, are compelled to take rickshaw for a slower but more expensive ride to their office

A routine task such as getting to and from work can be pretty daunting in these days of communication blockade but for the RMG workers, fresh out of a crisis surrounding revision of their minimum wage, it has become something of a torture.

The workers have to endure various hassles in order to keep the wheels of the billion-dollar industry turning. While some have access to staff transport services provided by their employers, others are not as lucky and have to travel on their own.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Bangladesh RMG exporters pay highest for container shipment:

The country’s apparel exporters pay second highest cost after India and almost double compared to other rival countries while sending a container to export destinations because of transport and bureaucratic hurdles.

The cost to export at $ 1,025 per container in Bangladesh is compared to $ 600 per container in many other RMG-exporting countries including China, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
Only Indian apparel exporters pay higher than the Bangladeshi exporters, over $ 1,100 for sending a 20-feet container.
The International Monetary Fund made the discloser in its latest review on Bangladesh while approving around $ 140 million loan of  Extended Credit Facility to the country.

The IMF, quoting a study by the World Bank, said container costs of the Bangladeshi apparel exporters include administrative fees for customs clearance and inspections, customs broker fees, port-related charges, and inland transport costs.
read more.
BD new age

        THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE

* Bangladeshi Workers’ Long Wait:

It has been nearly eight months since the collapse of a building in Bangladesh killed more than 1,100 garment factory workers and left many others with grave injuries. But most of those victims and their families have yet to receive adequate financial help or medical care.

Some families of workers killed in the building, Rana Plaza, have had to send their children to work to make ends meet, according to a recent report by Jim Yardley in The Times. Workers who lost limbs or suffered other grave injuries have received substandard treatment. Many survivors have become burdens on their struggling families.

The catastrophe led to an outpouring of grief in Bangladesh and around the world. At the time, the government of Sheikh Hasina announced that it would take care of victims and their families, a promise that it has yet to fulfill despite having collected private donations for that purpose. The Bangladesh High Court is expected to decide how much money victims and their families will get, though many have been told that they won’t get the full amount until every dead body has been identified, a needless delay.
read more.
NYT

* After Rana Plaza collapse, bleak struggle for survivors:

Inside the single room he shares with his wife and young child, Hasan Mahmud Forkan does not sleep easily.

Some nights he hears the screams of the garment workers he tried to rescue from the wreckage of the Rana Plaza factory building. Or he dreams the bed itself is collapsing, sucking him down into a bottomless void.

A few miles away, at a rehabilitation centre for the disabled, Rehana Khatun is learning to walk again. She lost both legs in the Rana Plaza collapse and worries that she is not improving because her prosthetic replacements are bulky and uncomfortable. She is only 20 and once hoped to save money so she could return to her village and pay for her own wedding.
“No, I don’t have that dream anymore,” she said, with a cold pragmatism more than self-pity. “How can I take care of a family?”

Eight months ago, the collapse of Rana Plaza became the deadliest disaster in the history of the garment industry, and many of the survivors still face an uncertain future. The shoddily constructed building pancaked down onto workers stitching clothes for global brands like Children’s Place, Benetton, C & A, Primark and many others. Workers earning as little as $38 a month were crushed under tonnes of falling concrete and steel. More than 1,100 people died and many others were injured or maimed.

But while the Rana Plaza disaster stirred an international outcry — and shamed many international clothing companies into pledging to help finance safety improvements in other Bangladeshi factories — the people most directly affected are still living without any guarantees of help or financial compensation. Families who lost the wages of a son or daughter, husband or wife, are struggling.
Those who lost limbs, like Khatun, are uncertain if they will ever walk or hold things again. And many volunteer rescuers like Forkan and survivors are struggling to deal with debilitating emotional scars.
read more. & read more.
daily star bd NYT

                  TAZREEN GARMENT FACTORY FIRE

* Charge sheet pressed against 13 in Tazreen fire:

Criminal Investigation Department of police on Sunday pressed charges against 13 people, including its managing director and chairman Delwar Hossain and Mahmuda Akter respectively over the devastating fire at Tazree Fashions Ltd.

CID inspector AKM Mohsinuzzaman Khan, also the investigation officer in the cases, pressed the charge sheet, after 13 long months before the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court Sunday morning.
Judge Wasim Sheikh accepted the charge sheet and set Dec 31 for a hearing on the charge sheet framing.
On November 24, 2012, a fire broke out in the ground floor of the multi-storey building and quickly engulfed the other floors with the management initially barring evacuation, leaving many workers trapped inside.
At least 112 workers were either burnt to death or died of suffocation while trying to escape the blaze.
CID was investigating into the fire at Tazreen Fashions, located at Savar.
to read. & read MORE. & to read. & to read. & read MORE. & read more.
& read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
& read more.
BD new age UNB DHAKATRIBUNE FE bd
daily star bd aljazeera PriyoNews Print primenews
Ittefaq

21:57:03 local time map of india INDIA

* AFT mill extends lay-off:

The Anglo French Textiles (AFT) on Friday extended a lay-off given to workers for 30 more days.

The decision was taken in consultation with all stakeholders, including the territorial administration, AFT management and others. It was communicated to various unions of mill workers.
V. Balan, Chairman, AFT mill, told The Hindu that the decision was taken in the interest of workers.

However, there was no plan to extend the lay-off further. The unions also understood the issues faced by the mill on several aspects.
Chief Minister N. Rangasamy and Chief Secretary Chaten B. Sanghi had been apprised of the prevailing situation after the visit of union leaders to New Delhi, who met Union Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, seeking permission for selling Pattanur land.
to read.
Return to frontpage

21:27:03 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Winters bring unemployment to textile industry:

Some three million textile workers will continue to work during the next three months due to the federal government’s decision to supply 100 million cubic feet of gas per day (mmcfd) to the textile industry in Punjab, said All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) Punjab Chairman S M Tanveer.

In previous years, the Punjab-based textile industry would have had no option but to lay off workers during three months of winter due to suspension of gas supply.

Praising the decision of the federal government, Tanveer said each and every worker of the textile industry was acknowledging the support given by the prime minister and the chief minister of Punjab.
read more.
ARYnews

* Uninterrupted power, gas supply: government’s decision to help textile sector in adding $3 billion exports:

Khawaja Muhammad Usman President of Multan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) has hailed the government’s decision to provide uninterrupted power supply and two-day gas supply and said the step would help the textile sector in adding three billion dollars exports this fiscal year and create three million new jobs.

“This is a golden day for the textile industry of Pakistan,” Khawaja Usman said, while talking to media persons on Friday.

“For the first time in the last five years, the Punjab industry has been assured of uninterrupted power supply during winter,” added the textile industry in Punjab was sitting on huge idle capacities because of gas and power shortages. Benefits from the GSP Plus status, said Usman, were only possible if the industry ran round-the-clock.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

* Powers loss is textiles gain:

Just when you thought, there would be some respite in power load shedding during the winters, the Minster for Water and Power Khawaja Asif came up with the spoiler.

He informed the other day that the citizens will have to face some extra load shedding due to some unavoidable reasons. It turns out the unavoidable reason stems from the recent ECC decision to divert 85mmcfd gas from power sector towards industry, particularly the textile industry to make full use of the GSP Plus.

Power sector rightly sits second on the gas allocation priority list, two places ahead of industries.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

* Denying gas supply: hosiery manufacturers slam SNGPL for discrimination:

Hosiery manufacturers have criticised the SNGPL for creating disparity by denying gas supply to hosiery units in Lahore against Faisalabad where they supply is intact. Talking to Business Recorder, the hosiery circles pointed out that the SNGPL has discriminated them by stating that gas supply will only be available to the Aptma members in Lahore.

However, the same is not true in case of Faisalabad where everyone, irrespective of having membership with Aptma or not, has been facilitated with the hourly-based gas supply.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

* GSP Plus to help offset past losses:

Parliamentary Secretary for Finance and Economic Affairs Rana Muhammad Afzal, during his visit to the Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) office on Saturday, said the GSP Plus status would prove to be of immense worth for the textile manufacturers and exporters.

“Pakistan will now have duty-free access to 27 European countries,” he said, adding it would now enjoy a level playing field with regional competitors.
He said the government was committed to making all-out efforts to exploit the duty-free market access granted by the European Union.

He was of the view that the GSP Plus status had given a ray of hope to the country, which could offset the losses Pakistan had suffered in the past. Pakistan has been provided with a golden opportunity to improve its economic conditions by effectively utilising the duty-free facility, he suggested.
read more.
tribune

* Export of textile, clothing up by 6% :

Pakistan’s export of textile and clothing products witnessed a growth of over six per cent in the first five months of the current fiscal year from a year ago.

Export proceeds from these sectors rebounded following a slight deceleration in export of raw cotton and low value-added products in the pervious months, showed data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics here on Friday.
In absolute terms, export of textile and clothing reached $5.684bn in July-Nov 2013 from $5.361bn during the corresponding months of last year.

The government expects hike in growth from these sectors from January 2014 onwards following announcement of duty-free facility by the European market under the GSP Plus.

The products, which witnessed a negative growth in July-Nov 2013 over the same months last year, are cotton yarn, cotton carded, yarn other than cotton yarn, towels and tents.The growth in exports in the months under review was mainly driven by bedwear, garments, knitwear, cotton cloth and made-ups.
read more.
DAWNnew

* Towel exports fall by $25.586 million in July-November period:

Poor law and order, energy shortage and raw material price fluctuations have pulled down Pakistan”s towel export by over 8 percent in July-November 2013-14 to $289.464 million.

The towel exports underwent a stiff phase of recession during July-October this fiscal year, as the manufacturers were unable to increase production because of a number of issues, Chairman Towel Manufacturers” Association of Pakistan (TMAP)- south zone, Iftikhar Ahmed Malik, told Business Recorder on Saturday.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

TIME

20131221

22:27:03 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

20131220 * Factory catches fire in Gazipur:

A fire broke out at a thread making factory at Hotapara in Sadar upazila of the district on Friday.

Fire Services officials said the fire originated from an electric shot circuit at a godown of Masuma Textile of Givency Group around 2:15 pm and it soon engulfed the entire factory.
On information, four firefighting units from Gazipur and Bhaluka rushed to the spot and doused the blaze with the help of local people at about 4 pm.
The extent of losses from the fire could not be officially accessed immediately.
to read. & to read .& to read. & to read.
UNB FE bd daily star bd BD new age

* Proposal on RMG wage board restructuring put on hold:

 The labour ministry has put on hold the Minimum Wage Board’s proposal for upgrading its existing structure to a full-fledged council with 30 members, sources said.

The Minimum Wage Board members early this month in a letter to the labour ministry proposed to upgrade the broad to a 30-member National Wage Board/Commission/Council with representations from owners, workers, administration and experts.

“It would enhance the Board’s work capability, and the interest of both the owners and workers would be properly upheld,” the letter said.

“It is not possible to consider the Minimum Wage Board’s proposal at present,” Labour Secretary Mikail Shipar told the FE. The existing laobur law needs to be amended, which has recently undergone an amendment — if we want to implement the proposal, he said, adding they might consider the proposal in the coming days, when the labour law would be changed.
The Wage Board made the proposal following a suggestion from its members, who sat for re-fixing the minimum wages for the garment workers on November 21 last.

According to the letter, the members referring to the instances of the wage boards in Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, said in order to make the present Board more effective, a massive change is required.
read more.
FE bd

* Workers deserve a better deal:

Plainly speaking, those who earn their livelihood by selling their physical labour are called workers. The employers engage these workers by giving them wage.

Great thinkers have defined workers and have pointed out how this section contributes to the growth of capital and overall development of a nation. As for example, “Labour”, said Friedrich Engels, “is the source of all wealth”.

‘Labour’ has been recognised as the most important factor of production. Any work, whether it is manual, clerical or technical, undertaken for monetary consideration, is called ‘labour’ in economics.

Prior to the British colonial rule, the working class in Bangladesh was so trifle in size that it was not worth counting. Workers were limited to some specific fields such as agriculture.
During the Mughal Empire, Bengal was a very prosperous country for which it attracted so many foreign traders, starting from the Arabs to the Europeans. The agricultural workers, however, became surplus during the Company rule as the sector was not able to absorb their supply.
Following the Permanent Settlement Act of 1973 during the time of Lord Cornwallis, a new aristocratic society was developed.

The British rulers, however, were not willing to establish large mills as they decided to use the country as a hinterland. Using its agricultural products, they set up some jute mills in Calcutta and thus ultimately paved the way for creating industrial workers and forming the working class in Bangladesh.

In the meanwhile, severe poverty, growing landlessness, natural calamity, class disparity, man-made catastrophe such as World War II and Churchill’s secret war against Indians ultimately made these rural people move from agriculture to industries.
read more.
FE bd

* 30pc rawhides yet to reach tanners after 2 months of Eid:

Some 30 per cent of rawhides and skins of sacrificial animals, collected during the Eid-ul-Azha from across the country, has not yet reached the tanners in the capital due to frequent spells of strike and blockade since the festival in October.

“Usually it takes maximum one and half months to collect all the rawhides and skins after the Eid festival. But this year already two months have passed after the Eid, and 30 per cent of hides cannot be collected due to strikes and blockades,” Bangladesh Tanners Association (BTA) President Shahin Ahmed told The Financial Express (FE) Friday.
read more.
FE bd

                  THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE

* Over 100 victims to remain unidentified:

DNA Profiling Laboratory of DMC has so far identified 157 of 322 bodies

More than 100 ill-fated victims of the Rana Plaza tragedy are likely to remain unidentified forever, as the second phase of the DNA sampling nears its end at the National DNA Profiling Laboratory in Dhaka Medical College.

Following the identification of 157 victims from the 322 unidentified bodies in the first phase of the process, laboratory chief Dr Sharif Akteruzzaman told the Dhaka Tribune: “Among the 165 [still] unidentified victims, we would finally be able to identify 50 to 60 of them.”

Although a total 548 DNA samples from victims’ relatives had been submitted to the laboratory against the 322 unidentified bodies, more than 100 victims’ DNA did not match with any submitted samples.

After the Rana Plaza collapse, more than 800 bodies were handed over to relatives without having any DNA samples kept from either the victims or the relatives – a procedure which Dr Akteruzzman said was unscientific.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

TIME

20131220

00:27:03 local time map of china CHINA

* Leading brands to shun angora wool after video of abuse:

Leading fashion brands including Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein have stopped selling angora products after a video released by animal rights group PETA revealed the cruelty suffered by rabbits on Chinese farms.

The video was shot by a PETA Asia investigator who visited angora farms in China and witnessed workers tearing fur from the rabbits as they screamed in pain.

“Such animal abuse is totally unacceptable,” said Fu Xiarong, PR manager for H&M China. “We have now removed all angora products from our stores and we also offer refunds for customers who would like to return their already-purchased angora products.”
read more.
PEOPLEDAILY

00:27:03 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* Philippines seeks duty-free access to US for apparel good:

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) of the Government of Philippines is seeking duty free access and preferential treatment for garments to be exported to the US, particularly apparel products that are manufactured from areas devastated by the typhoon ‘Yolanda’ (international name ‘Haiyan’).
Gregory L Domingo, Secretary of DTI, said that Philippines will ask the US Government to grant duty-free entry for some goods, especially apparel, produced in areas affected by the typhoon, as part of the Filipino Government’s efforts for rehabilitation in these areas.
read more.
fibre2fashion

23:27:03 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* New regular dialogue at work can make a difference:

The new model of dialogue between employees and employers in factories, especially in garment factories have helped improve working conditions and the competitiveness of enterprises. Insight from Vietnam Economic News.

On September 7, 2012, 900 workers from Ando International, a women’s garment manufacturer in Ho Chi Minh City, for the first time elected their representatives to attend regular meetings with the company’s management.
Every month, the representatives and the company’s trade union chairman met the company’s management to address issues related to labour standards and occupational health and safety (OHS) in order to tighten cooperation in the workplace.
More than a year after the new mechanism was applied, employee awareness of OHS and cooperation in the workplace at Ando International has significantly improved, said Ando International CEO Duong Thuy Tu.

Better Work Vietnam, a cooperative programme between the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), has put into operation the Performance Improvement Consultative Committee (PICC) since 2009. Employee representatives are elected every two years.

Factories with a PICC have recorded significant progress in terms of working conditions, wages, welfare, occupational safety and hygiene and working hours. Both employers and employees have highly appreciated the PICC.
Vo Kim Long, who has been working for Ando International for six years, said that the company’s sewing workshop is now airy and tidier thanks to PICC, and that employee representatives who are PICC members now make it possible for workers like him to contact the company’s management.
read more in Social Headlines December 20. (for last item).
VNNet

23:27:03 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Svay Rieng Workers Strike Again, Throw Rocks:

Police briefly detained 13 garment factory workers on Thursday after about 20,000 workers, some throwing rocks, continued a strike that began Monday in Svay Rieng province’s Bavet City over wages and working conditions, a union official and police said.

Union leaders had on Wednesday evening agreed to call off the strike of workers from 36 factories at two special economic zones (SEZ) in the border province. However, when the workers returned to their jobs Thursday morning, they quickly went back on strike after they learned the details of the deal that had been worked out, said Chheng Chhoan, secretary-general of the Collective Union of Movement of  Workers.

“They were angry after I announced the agreement did not include a raise to the minimum wage,” Mr. Chhoan said,

The striking workers had hoped for an immediate increase of their monthly wages to $154. Their union representatives, however, had agreed to wait for the results of a national-level meeting on the issue of the minimum wage, which is scheduled for next week in Phnom Penh.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Better Factories Cambodia Program Extended:

The International Labor Organization (ILO) and the government agreed Wednesday to introduce public disclosure of non-compliant garment factories as part of a three-year extension of the Better Factories Cambodia (BFC) program.

Officials at the ILO also said that BFC would publicly report on unions found to be violating the country’s labor law through illegal strikes or other unlawful industrial action by workers.

“The agreement also promotes the enforcement role of the Royal Government of Cambodia and acknowledges the re-introduction of public disclosure,” the ILO and the government said in a joint statement released Wednesday.

BFC came under criticism earlier this year after the release of Monitoring in the Dark, a report by researchers from Stanford University that said that the ILO’s monitoring needed to be more transparent in order to bring significant improvements to the country’s wages and working conditions.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Program aims for safer workplaces for women:

A new program launched yesterday has its sights set on ending the endemic problem of sexual harassment against women in the workplace.

A ceremony at the Hotel Cambodiana marked the start of Safe Workplaces, Safer Communities, a project run by CARE Cambodia.

The three-year program, which will cost nearly $1 million to operate and is funded by the UN’s Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women, will engage with police, consumers and male university students to educate them on sexual harassment and gender-based violence along with women’s rights, CARE country director Stav Zotalis told the ceremony.
read more.
PPP new

* Agreement ends SL Garment strike in Cambodia:

IndustriALL affiliate C.CAWDU and SL Garment Processing sign an agreement to end a three-month long strike in Cambodia, including the re-hiring of 19 dismissed union representatives, payment of half of the lost wages and the removal of a newly appointed manager.

After more than five months of dispute, including strikes that were violently repressed by the police, SL Garment Processing and C.CAWDU reached an agreement in early December.

The agreement facilitated by the Ministry of Labour stipulates the reinstatement of 19 fired union leaders, in addition to 90% of workers who have returned to work. The company agreed to pay to the workers 50 percent of the wages lost during the strike, totalling a million USD. All lawsuits against CCAWDU will be dropped. Shareholder Meas Sothas who hired military police to attack workers will be taken off all operational management duties. The ministry formed a committee of government, labor and industry officials to oversee the agreement’s implementation.

The implementation of the agreement, notably the payment of the back wages still need careful monitoring from the Ministry of Labour and IndustriALL. Continued dialogue between the union and the management is also needed on working conditions in the factory that sparked the strike. IndustriALL, with the support of buyers such as H&M, Inditex and GAP, is committed to ensuring that this dialogue takes place and industrial relations are strengthened to prevent a similar crisis.

C.CAWDU president Ath Thorn commented:
read more.
Home

* BetterFactories  Media updates 11-20 December 2013:

* To read in the printed edition of the Phnom Penh Post:
2013-12-11 H&M may up prices to pay workers
2013-12-16 GMAC floats no strike bonus
2013-12-17 Raise now or pay later?
2013-12-19 GMAC makes push for $130

* To read in the printed edition of the Cambodia Daily:
2013-12-16 Factory owners slam government over handling of strikes
2013-12-17 Government proposes 100% hike in minimum wage by 2018
2013-12-19 Unions to push for 100% wage increase in 2014
2013-12-20 Better Factories Cambodia Program extended
2013-12-20 Svay Rieng worker strike again, throw rocks

* To read in the printed edition of the Koh Santepheap Daily (Khmer):
2013-12-19 36 factories in Bavet continue shutting down their doors
2013-12-20 36 factories keeps their doors closed due to strikes
2013-12-20 Better Factories Cambodia willl help to improve working conditions in factories

* To read in the printed edition of the Rasmei Kampuchea Daily (Khmer):
2013-12-19 Royal Government of Cambodia renewed MOU with ILO on Better Factories Cambodia programme
2013-12-20 Workers demand US160 dollars

BetterFactories Media Updates overview here.
BF NEW

* Cambodia sees 22% rise in garment export in 11 months:

Garment industry, Cambodia’s largest foreign currency earner, reported a 22 percent surge in exports in the first 11 months of 2013, according to figures from the Ministry of Commerce on Thursday.

The Southeast Asian nation exported apparel products in equivalent to 5.07 billion U.S. dollars during the January- November period this year, up 22 percent from the 4.15 billion U.S. dollars for the same period last year, the figures showed.
Garment products have been mostly sold to the United States and European countries, and some have been exported to Canada, Japan, China, and countries in Asia.
During the period, apparel exports to the United States went up by 9 percent to 1.96 billion U.S. dollars, those to Europe rose by 33 percent to 1.81 billion U.S. dollars, and those to other countries increased by 31 percent to 1.3 billion U.S. dollars.
read more. & read more.
XINHUAnet BERNAMA

00:27:03 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

Better Work Indonesia  Legal Update  Minimum Wage:

Better Work Indonesia has produced a Legal Update as our ongoing service to you.

In this edition we are highlighting 2014 minimum wage table for 5 provinces in Indonesia. You can access the document here.

Below are some of the points that you may be interested to know.
Within the BWI Geographical Scope (Banten, , Central Java, DI Yogyakarta, DKI Jakarta, Central Java, West Java) for 2014:

– Average increment of minimum wage: 18%
– Highest increment of minimum wage: West Java – Subang (57%)
– Lowest minimum wage: Central Java – Purworejo (Rp. 910,000)
– Highest minimum wage (garment sector) : West Java – Bekasi  (Rp. 2.686.000)
– Highest minimum wage (non-garment sector): West Java – Karawang (Rp. 2.814.590)

Please note that the sectoral section for each provinces/city may be different each year.
The complete set of Governor Decision Letter on Minimum wage will be uploaded to our website soon.
read more.
BW indonesia

22:27:03 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* After Bangladesh Factory Collapse, Bleak Struggle for Survivors:

Inside the single room he shares with his wife and young child, Hasan Mahmud Forkan does not sleep easily. Some nights he hears the screams of the garment workers he tried to rescue from the wreckage of the Rana Plaza factory building.

Or he dreams the bed itself is collapsing, sucking him down into a bottomless void.

A  few miles away, at a rehabilitation center for the disabled, Rehana Khatun is learning to walk again. She lost both legs in the Rana Plaza collapse and worries that she is not improving because her prosthetic replacements are bulky and uncomfortable. She is only 20 and once hoped to save money so she could return to her village and pay for her own wedding.

“No, I don’t have that dream anymore,” she said, with a cold pragmatism more than self-pity. “How can I take care of a family?”

Eight months ago, the collapse of Rana Plaza became the deadliest disaster in the history of the garment industry, and many of the survivors still face an uncertain future. The shoddily constructed building pancaked down onto workers stitching clothes for global brands like Children’s Place, Benetton, C & A, Primark and many others. Workers earning as little as $38 a month were crushed under tons of falling concrete and steel. More than 1,100 people died and many others were injured or maimed.
read more. & to read.
NYT daily star bd

* Probe bodies fail to submit reports in time:

The four separate committees formed to investigate the fire in the garment factory of Standard Group at Konabari in Gazipur have been allowed time to submit their reports after they missed the deadlines to do so.

Three of the four committees are yet to make any significant progress in the investigation as the current political unrest is hindering the probes, said officials concerned.
Only one committee headed by the additional district magistrate of Gazipur has made progress in the investigation and it hopes to submit its report by next week.
Standard Group, the largest apparel producers, of the country is fully compliant. Its buyers include international brands like Eagle, GAP, Zara, Tommy Hilfiger, Kohl’s, Sears, Abercrombie and Fitch and Gymboree.
Several hundred miscreants attacked and set fire to the factory on November 28 after rumours spread that two workers were killed in police firing.
After the fire, the government formed three separate investigation committees and Fire Service and Civil Defence launched a departmental probe into the blaze.
read more.
BD new age

* All four bodies get more time to probe Standard Group arson:

None of the four committees, formed to investigate the recent arson attack on the Standard Group factory in Gazipur, submitted their reports yet and sought more time for it due to the ongoing political turmoil.

Three of the committees were formed by the government while the other one was formed by the Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil Defence Directorate.

On December 01 last the government formed the three probe bodies: one headed by the additional secretary of home ministry, the second one headed by the deputy secretary of labour ministry and the third one headed by the additional district magistrate in Gazipur.

The three committees had been asked to submit their findings within seven working days. But they all sought extension of time saying that they were unable to visit the spot as required due to recurrent strikes and blockades, sources said.
read more.
FE bd

* Govt mulls standing by apparel makers to help them face two current problems:

The government is considering providing support to the apparel makers to help them cope with the rise in workers’ wages, and save them from becoming loan defaulters.

“We will give some incentives to the apparel manufacturers in view of two particular problems — enhanced salary as per the new wages and the possibility of their becoming defaulters to the banks as a consequence of the ongoing political instability,” Finance Minister AMA Muhith said Thursday after a meeting with the stakeholders at his office.

The minister said he had discussed the issues with the stakeholders.

“We have to provide some incentives to the apparel makers right now, as they are facing problems,” the finance minister said at a media briefing after he met with Bangladesh Bank (BB) governor Dr. Atiur Rahman, National Board of Revenue (NBR) chairman Ghulam Hossain, Finance Secretary Fazle Kabir, Bank and Financial Institution Division Secretary M Aslam Alam and chief executive officers of four state-owned commercial banks at his Secretariat office.
read more.
FE bd

* Govt to give stimulus to RMG exporters:

Finance minister AMA Muhith on Thursday said readymade garment exporters will be given stimulus to recoup the losses they have incurred because of lingering political unrest.

He, however, told reporters that the incentives were not finalised after a meeting with the officials of central bank, revenue board, ministry of finance and the state-owned commercial banks at his secretariat office.
To finalise the incentives, they would sit again with the RMG exporters, he said.
He noted that some RMG exporters might become loan defaulters without the government assistance.
read more.
BD new age

* ‘Current political situation crippling RMG sector’:

News Report After Rana Plaza tragedy, current political situation is crippling the export oriented garment industry of Bangladesh exposing the jobs of 4.00 million workers in the sector in danger.

Jos Huber, First secretary, Dutch Embassy, expressed the views at a discussion meeting marking the 43rd Victory Day of Bangladesh at Gulshan Club on Wednesday. Jos Huber said “Rana Plaza shocked the world. It is the worst industrial accident after the Bhopal disaster in India. Day after day the death toll rose. The images of the collapsed building became part of our global history.”
The Dutch Minister for Trade and Development cooperation made clear that she does not want fashion brands and retailers to stop sourcing in Bangladesh, but she points towards the corporate social responsibility to ensure safe labor conditions in the supply chain. Jos Huber told the discussion meeting that both the EU and the US made clear to the government of Bangladesh that workers should get better protection and labor rights should be respected.
read more.
newstodayBD

        TAZREEN GARMENT FACTORY FIRE

* Kalpona’s waits – A tale from Tazreen:

On 24th November 2012, Kalpona, a garment worker from Bangladesh, jumped from the third floor of the burning Tazreen factory and fell to the ground, breaking her leg. She was rushed to the nearest clinic like many others. She has been waiting for compensation for twelve months and wants to move on.

Kalpona (22) lives in a small village of Kurigram District (in the north of Bangladesh). She was born in Kurigram but she did not live with the rest of her family for long because they were too poor to sustain her.

When Kalpona was 16 years old, she moved with her husband to Dhaka to earn a better living and support an aging mother back in the village. In Dhaka, Kalpona gave birth to a baby boy, but two years later, her husband died.

That’s when she started working in the Tazreen factory. She sent money to her ill and aging mother and supported her son. She had to leave her son along in the slums of Nischintapur while she was away in the factory. One day she returned home from work and found her son’s arm was broken.
read more.

21:57:03 local time map of india INDIA

*  50 children taken to work in fields rescued:

Officials of the Labour Department, Child Labourers’ Society, Education Department and Regional Transport Office, in a joint operation, rescued 50 children, all aged under 14, who were being taken to work in paddy and cotton fields, near Wadagera Cross, in Shahapur taluk here on Thursday.

The children were being transported in autorickshaws. Of the 50 children, 22 were from Ashanal village, nine from Yargol in Yadgir taluk, 10 from Ambedkar Nagar in Yadgir city, five from Basatapur and four from Tadabidi village in Shahapur taluk.
read more.
Return to frontpage

* Child labourers rescued:

Thirty children were rescued from the spinning mills where they were employed at Vepadai near Pallipalayam on Thursday evening.
to read.
Return to frontpage

* Mixed bag for Indian textile industry in 2013:

The year 2013 turned out to be a mixed bag for the domestic Indian textile industry as rupee depreciation helped make country’s exports competitive, while rising input costs and high finance costs weighed upon margins.

First the good part, in the year 2013, Indian apparel exports growth picked up momentum and outperformed non-apparel exports. Indian apparel exports picked up in 2013 as compared to negative growth in the last two years; thanks to the economic recovery in US and EU markets—which account for over 80 per cent of the textile and clothing exports from the country—and the rupee depreciation. India’s textile exports are expected to register 15 per cent growth in current year as against a 5 per cent drop in the previous year.

The industry got a shot in the arm with the rupee depreciation mainly this year. Rupee has depreciated over 11 per cent since January this year. Companies like Trident Ltd, a leader in home textile exports, registered a growth of over 50 times in net profit and plans to expand its production capacity to about 700 looms manufacturing about 360 million pieces of towel per annum and 500 looms manufacturing 50 million meters of sheeting per annum.

Indian exports also became competitive as China and Bangladesh struggled with their own set of problems. While China is dealing with higher labour costs and rising Yuan, the Bangladeshi textile industry struggles due to protests by labourers demanding higher wages.
read more.
fibre2fashion

21:27:03 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* GSP plus status: gas supply to textile industry will help reap benefit: FPCCI:

The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Thursday said the provision of natural gas to the export-oriented textile industry in Punjab will help the country benefit from the recently awarded GSP plus status to Pakistan.

“The government should try to fulfil all the energy needs to the export-oriented industry to fully benefit from the trade discounts amid chronic energy shortages,” Zubair Ahmed Malik, President of the FPCCI said on his return from Belgium and Germany where he attended critical GSP plus meetings. He also studied the operations of various chambers, trade bodies and associations in the both countries and exchanged views with the trade officials.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

* GSP plus status: PHMA assured of resolution of various issues before New Year:

Various irritants and differences in harmonised code and refund issues would be settled before on the own setoff New Year to harvest the fruits of GSP Plus status, assured Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir to Textile Association.

Talking to news persons on Thursday, Muhammad Amjad Khawaja Chairman Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers & Exporters Association (PHMA) (North Zone) said that meeting of various organisations representing value added textile sector with Commerce Minister proved successful.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

* Holding their breath: Pakistani investors in Bangladesh facing uncertainty:

20131220 TRIBUNE
$2b is the amount Pakistanis invested in the textile, leather and garment sector of Bangladesh. PHOTO: FILE

Billions of dollars of investment made by more than 10,000 Pakistanis in Bangladesh is facing uncertainty in the wake of tense situation there after Dhaka’s decision to hang Abdul Qader Molla and anti-Pakistan statements made by Prime Minister Hasina Wajid.

Experts monitoring the situation, however, say although the situation poses some risk of loss to the Pakistani investors, it will ultimately benefit the overall economy of Pakistan. They said the situation, if prolonged, on the one hand will discourage further Pakistani investment in Bangladesh, and on the other hand encourage Pakistani investors to come back home to cash in on the benefits to be offered by the newly acquired GSP plus status from the EU.

http://i888.photobucket.com/albums/ac89/etwebdesk/2b_zps13a0f85c.jpg

The ministry of commerce has not received any complaints so far about difficulties faced by Pakistani investors in Bangladesh.
The experts say the situation is not likely to continue for long. Hasina Wajid has created the situation to use it as an election card and normalcy will return after the elections are over.
read more.
tribune

 

 

map of Asia

INFO:

For the next bulletin this bulletin will be updated during the week, or an event requires a extra bulletin.

And there were updates under ‘special reports:

* Minimum Wage-LIVING WAGE

* TAZREEN Garment Factory Fire

* RANA PLAZA building Collapse PART 3

HEADLINES :

20131227

CAMBODIA
* Strike numbers swell
* Striking Garment Factory Workers Join CNRP Protest Again
* Factories Advised to Close as Wage Strikes Swell
* Unions announce January strikes until goals achieved
* Three injured, three arrested in clash
* Hun Sen Encounters ‘Choh Chenh Tov’ Chants on Drive to Airport
* Cambodian police clash with protesting workers
* Cambodian police free 3 detained workers in clash
* Factories to lose millions
* Garment Exports Rise to More Than $5 Billion
* Cambodian garment industry ends 2013 on sour note with record labor unrest
* BetterFactories Media Updates 21-27 December 2013

VIET NAM
* Viet Nam eyes improvements to labour force

MALAYSIA
* MTUC Seeking RM300 Monthly COLA For 10 Million Workers

BANGLADESH
* Minimum Wage 2013 for Bangladeshi Export Processing Zones
* 39 new inspectors join labour ministry
* Western envoys set to be briefed on progress Dec 30
* Early morning fire in Ashulia factory
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE:
* JUTA donates financial assistance to Rana Plaza victims
* More human remains found

INDIA
* Fire destroys cotton bales at mill
* Handloom mark missing from products at all 38 stalls of ‘India Weaves’ event

PAKISTAN
* Spinners left in a lurch

UZBEKISTAN
* South Korean firm to mechanize Uzbek cotton production

20131226

CAMBODIA
* Strike picks up steam
* Protesting workers block NR 2 demanding pay increase
* GMAC calls for factories to shutter
* Striking Factory Workers Join CNRP Protests
* Protest paths converge
* Pro-opposition’s trade unions rally against low wage hike for 2014 in Cambodia
* Cambodia’s garment exports rise

BANGLADESH
* Fire at Garment factory
* Ashulia RMG fire tamed: 3 hurt
* Tk 5600 minimum wage for EPZ RMG workers to be fixed
* Garment workers getting support for TB treatment
* EU may review GSP facility if democratic process hampered
* Apparel makers raise question about latest export data
* Apparel raw materials use falls sharply
* Garment sector: state banks’ major defaulter
* Raw jute export falls by 50%
* 264 Smart Garments workers get financial support from buyers
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE
* Bangladeshi workers still missing eight months after Rana Plaza collapse

INDIA
* 12 child labourers rescued
* Minimum wages set to rise by 52%
* Chinese textile giant BROS mulls Rs 500 crore investment

PAKISTAN
* Walt Disney may stop sourcing goods from Pakistan
* Only reliable energy can help Pakistan benefit from GSP Plus: FPCCI
* Investors accumulate textile stocks in wake of getting GSP Plus status

20131225

CHINA
* Down garment makers facing another lean year

CAMBODIA
* Home for the holidays
* Monthly Wage Increased to $95, Unions Vow to Strike
* CNRP sees allies in strikers
* Factory workers rally alongside opposition at Freedom Park
* Rainsy mobilizing workers to protest in Bavet
* US Government Clothes Producer Denies Abuses
* Protest against new wage of $95 is illegal: Labor Ministry

BURMA/MYANMAR
* Low wages cause labour disputes, says trade union

BANGLADESH
* EPZ RMG workers’ minimum wage Tk5,600
* Cotton factory gutted by Sylhet fire
* Protecting women at workplaces
* Buyers lift orders from Bangladesh
* Export performance in difficult times
* RMG exporters are open for business
* Action Plan to regain GSP- MoC seeks update from stakeholders
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE:
* 4 global retailers to set up $40m compensation fund
* Victims, relatives demonstrate for compensation
* $40m fund to compensate Rana Plaza victims

INDIA
* 25 children rescued from factory
* Kavuri announces slew of sops for Sircilla power loom weavers
* Fire in private spinning mill
* Major fire in warehouse in Kolkata
* ‘Low registration of Handloom Mark causes loss to weavers’

PAKISTAN
* Ministry yet to notify GSP+ Facilitation body
* ‘SPC preparing APTMA members to meet global trade challenges’

20131224

GLOBAL
* U.S. Flouts Its Own Advice in Procuring Overseas Clothing
* How the U.S. Government Can Follow Its Own Advice to Be a Responsible Consumer
* ILRF Calls on President Obama To Protect Workers’ Rights at Government Suppliers

CHINA
* Chinese textile firms need to accelerate genuine IT use

PHILIPPINES
* 60% of local businesses now issue CSR and sustainability reports

VIET NAM
* Footwear exports hit 7.9 billion USD

CAMBODIA
* Nationwide protest for raise in pay may occur: union leader
* Workers protest after wage talk results
* Keep striking for $160, Rainsy urges
* Turmoil marks year in labour

INDONESIA
* 4th Edition of Better Work Indonesia Quarterly Newsletter, 2013

BANGLADESH
* High prices of warm clothes hit poor hard
* RMG stimulus in the offing
* Garment accessories sector loses $100m in 3 months
* Jute industry: Product diversification is key to prosperity
* Bangladesh textiles: unravelling at the seams
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE:
* $40 Million in Aid Set for Bangladesh Garment Workers
* Rana Plaza Compensation Arrangement
* $40m aid for Bangladesh garment workers
TAZREEN GARMENT FACTORY FIRE:
* Charges against Tazreen owners: a long-awaited beginning

INDIA
* CITU seeks better facilities for women
* Powerloom upgradation to be launched in Sircilla today
* Women labourers stage protest
* Weaving a new tradition in women’s empowerment

SRI LANKA
* Labour crisis in apparel industry Is costly technology or humane HR best practices the solution?
* Sri Lanka’s textile & garment exports surge 47% in Oct’13

PAKISTAN
* Ginning industry: Policy options for efficiency improvement
* Clothing sector of Lahore: PHMA urges government to resume gas to processing units
* GSP+ status: HS Codes to be synchronised with EU Codes

UZBEKISTAN
* Singapore Indorama to invest additional $20 million in textile industry in Uzbekistan by 2016

20131223

CAMBODIA
* No End in Sight for Svay Rieng SEZ Strikes
* Unionist firings inspire walkout
* Sam Rainsy protests with workers in Bavet

BANGLADESH
* 500 RMG units face closure
* RMG export earnings up by 21% despite odds
* ‘RMG industry falling from frying pan into the fire
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE
* Human skull recovered from Rana Plaza
TAZREEN GARMENT FACTORY FIRE:
* Tazreen owner Delwar finally charged
* 13 sued year after Tazreen tragedy
* Justice for Tazreen a boon for RMG
* Bangladesh factory owner to plead innocent in deadly blaze case

SRI LANKA
* Twenty garment factories to be set up

20131222

CHINA
* Hair-raising rabbit clip hits China’s fur trade
* China cotton import costs to rise under adjusted tariffs

BANGLADESH
* RMG unrest in Gazipur and Narayanganj
* New wages trigger RMG jobs at stake
* Apparel industry loses 40% in fall season orders
* Cotton mill gutted in Khulna fire
* Commuting woes for RMG workers in Chittagong
* Bangladesh RMG exporters pay highest for container shipment
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE:
* Bangladeshi Workers’ Long Wait
* After Rana Plaza collapse, bleak struggle for survivors
TAZREEN GARMENT FACTORY FIRE:
* Charge sheet pressed against 13 in Tazreen fire

INDIA
* AFT mill extends lay-off

PAKISTAN
* Winters bring unemployment to textile industry
* Uninterrupted power, gas supply: government’s decision to help textile sector in adding $3 billion exports
* Powers loss is textiles gain
* Denying gas supply: hosiery manufacturers slam SNGPL for discrimination
* GSP Plus to help offset past losses
* Export of textile, clothing up by 6%
* Towel exports fall by $25.586 million in July-November period

20131221

BANGLADESH
* Factory catches fire in Gazipur
* Proposal on RMG wage board restructuring put on hold
* Workers deserve a better deal
* 30pc rawhides yet to reach tanners after 2 months of Eid
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE
* Over 100 victims to remain unidentified

20131220

CHINA
* Leading brands to shun angora wool after video of abuse

PHILIPPINES
* Philippines seeks duty-free access to US for apparel good

VIET NAM
* New regular dialogue at work can make a difference

CAMBODIA
* Svay Rieng Workers Strike Again, Throw Rocks
* Better Factories Cambodia Program Extended
* Program aims for safer workplaces for women
* Agreement ends SL Garment strike in Cambodia
* BetterFactories Media updates11-20 December 2013
* Cambodia sees 22% rise in garment export in 11 months

INDONESIA
Better Work Indonesia  Legal Update  Minimum Wage

BANGLADESH
* After Bangladesh Factory Collapse, Bleak Struggle for Survivors
* Probe bodies fail to submit reports in time
* All four bodies get more time to probe Standard Group arson
* Govt mulls standing by apparel makers to help them face two current problems
* Govt to give stimulus to RMG exporters
* ‘Current political situation crippling RMG sector’
TAZREEN GARMENT FACTORY FIRE:
* Kalpona’s waits – A tale from Tazreen

INDIA
* 50 children taken to work in fields rescued
* Child labourers rescued
* Mixed bag for Indian textile industry in 2013

PAKISTAN
* GSP plus status: gas supply to textile industry will help reap benefit
* GSP plus status: PHMA assured of resolution of various issues before New Year
* Holding their breath: Pakistani investors in Bangladesh facing uncertainty

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