in the news 28 dec.2013-4 Jan.2014

TIME20140104

04:48:49 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

20140101 $160

* Military police storm Freedom Park:

Cambodia National Rescue Party leaders are holed up at their party headquarters in the capital’s Meanchey district after authorities forcefully evicted opposition demonstrators from Freedom Park today.

Amid rumours that the government intends to arrest key opposition and union figures, CNRP lawmaker-elect Mu Sochua said the party’s lawmakers-elect had gathered in solidarity in its office – close to the Ministry of Interior.
“I don’t think it [the arrest warrants] is a rumour,” she said. “I think it is a reality. “It’s a matter of time, [but] I have no idea [what the government is accusing us of]. How would I? We’ve done nothing wrong.”
When called for comment, Phnom Penh Municipal Court president Chiv Keng, pled ignorant of any warrants.

Negotiations with the government, meanwhile – originally planned for yesterday, but nixed by the opposition following a violent crackdown against garment workers and monks – appear to be off the table altogether now, Sochua added.
“[Interior Minister] Sar Kheng said he no longer wants to communicate with Mr. Rainsy,” she said.

Kong Athit, vice president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU), said he had moved to an undisclosed area on the outskirts of the capital.
“It’s unbelievable,” he said of the crackdown in Freedom Park. “I don’t know what their plan is. But this is their own fear.”
read more.
PPP new

* Cambodia clears protest park after deadly clashes:

Cambodian security guards and city workers, watched over by riot police, dismantled a camp occupied by anti-government demonstrators on Saturday, a day after a bloody crackdown on garment factory workers allied with the protest movement.

Friday’s clashes, during which police shot dead four people, have stoked a political crisis in which striking workers and supporters of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) are challenging a government they say cheated its way to power and is depriving them of a fair wage.

Despite the crackdown, CNRP leader Sam Rainsy vowed that a mass march and rally planned for Sunday would go ahead. Rainsy also condemned the violence and demanded a thorough investigation.
Hundreds of CNRP supporters have been camped since December 15 in tents around a stage in Freedom Park, the only place in Phnom Penh where protests are allowed.

Unions representing garment workers want better pay and support CNRP’s demands for a re-run of an election in July it says was rigged to allow long-serving Prime Minister Hun Sen to remain in power.
Friday’s clashes took place at Canadia Industrial Park, also in Phnom Penh, which is home to dozens of factories that make clothing for Western brands such as Adidas, Puma and H&M Hennes & Mauritz.
read more.
reuters

Peaceful Protesters Expelled from Freedom Park as Military Mobilization Escalates:

This morning state forces put a violent end to CNRP supporters’ long-standing occupation of Freedom Park, also known as Democracy Plaza, an area in central Phnom Penh specifically designated for protest.

This action follows two days of violence, which included the shooting yesterday at the Canadia industrial zone which left at least four civilians dead and dozens wounded.

The violence began at around 11.00 this morning when hundreds of police and military police blocked roads surrounding Freedom Park and rapidly and without warning moved in to clear the park of protesters. As they approached, the residing protesters, many of whom were monks or women with their children fled in fear leaving behind their belongings. The forces were accompanied by hundreds of thuggish civilians wearing red arm bands who used metre-long steel poles to beat and intimidate the peaceful protesters. Once the park was clear of people, they and the uniformed forces tore down the stage as well as temporary structures that had been built to provide shelter to protesters, destroyed a Buddhist shrine and wrecked audio equipment belonging to the CNRP.

LICADHO staff, as well as journalists and workers from other NGOS, who were attempting to document the events and provide help to protesters, were threatened by the thugs and prevented from entering the park while the destruction took place.
read more.
licadho

* Cambodia strike faces deadly crackdown:

Garment workers making clothes for export have been killed by security forces as they protested for higher wages.

As hundreds of heavily-armed military police began moving in to quell protesting garment workers Friday morning, Neang Davin looked on nervously.

“Last night I didn’t join anything, I was just driving my motorbike and stopped to watch. The police arrived, they didn’t ask anything, they just went in and began beating us,” said Davin, leaning on a bamboo stick for support. “Even though we ran into the market, we weren’t confronting them; they just went in and started beating us. They hit me on the back with a baton.”

Clashes between police and protesters that began after midnight Friday on the outskirts of Phnom Penh escalated Saturday morning leaving at least four shot dead and 23 seriously injured.

While the government lay the blame at the feet of protesters who pushed back security forces with rocks, Molotov cocktails and homemade weapons, none of those injured were police, admitted Military Police Spokesman Kheng Tito.

Instead, it was striking workers and bystanders who bore the brunt of an unusually harsh retaliation by police who appear to have grown weary of peacefully breaking up the protests that have roiled Phnom Penh for the past week.

Garment worker woes
On December 24, workers began striking en masse after the government announced it would be raising the minimum wage from $80 a month to $95 – an offer that fell far short of unions call for $160 a month. By the time the Ministry of Labour caved a week later and agreed to an extra $5 a month boost, the genie was out of the bottle. Years of chronic underpayment and poor working conditions had pushed at least half of the nation’s estimated 600,000 workers into the streets.
read more.
aljazeera

* Police Kill 5 During Clash With Demonstrators:

Five people were shot dead and more than 20 injured, most suffering gunshot wounds, when military police officers opened fire with AK-47 assault rifles during clashes with protesters armed with stones, sticks and crude Molotov cocktails on Veng Sreng Street in the heart of the garment factory zone in Phnom Penh’s Pur Senchey district on Friday.

Local rights group Licadho said the killings represent “the worst State violence against civilians” in 15 years, and is the single worst incident ever to hit the country’s key garment industry, which employs some 600,000 people in hundreds of mostly foreign-owned firms.

The deaths and injuries cap more than a week of mostly peaceful protests as tens of thousands of garment factory workers have gone on strike to press their demands for a wage of $160 per month.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Cambodia Must Investigate Protest Killings by Security Forces:

Cambodian authorities must hold security forces to account for today’s killing of at least four people at a protest by garment workers that turned violent in the capital Phnom Penh, Amnesty International said.

“Today’s tragic violence must be investigated and those responsible for deaths and injuries held to account,” said Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Cambodia researcher. “The Cambodian government has to rein in its security forces. Today’s events sadly echo other recent incidents – on at least four occasions in the past few months, security forces have used unnecessary or excessive force, including live ammunition, against protesters and bystanders.

“As with so many human rights violations in Cambodia, the lack of accountability for these incidents is a reminder of the pervasive culture of impunity in the country. There must be root and branch change to ensure the perpetrators of violations are brought to book.”
read more.
amnesty-international-logo

* Court Charges Protesters as Supporters, Police Scuffle Outside:

About 300 military police on Friday cleared demonstrators outside the Phnom Penh Municipal Court who were demanding the release of 10 protest leaders detained since a bloody clash with paratroopers on Thursday.

The protesters, who numbered at most 250 and included monks, had closed off Monireth Boulevard with speaker-mounted tuk-tuks at both the front of the court and at the road’s intersection with Sihanouk Boulevard.
As court officials inside began proceedings to charge the detained protesters, including striking garment factory workers, rights activists and union officials, those outside took turns to harangue the court over a loudspeaker.

About 150 military police soon emerged from the adjacent Olympic Stadium and formed a police line next to the tuk-tuk blockade, at times arguing with monks who approached them but otherwise remaining calm.
At 9 a.m., CNRP vice president Kem Sokha arrived and told the crowd that the 10 detained protesters were not criminals but victims of military brutality.

Five monks, striking garment workers, union leaders and journalists were beaten on Thursday as soldiers from the elite 911 paratrooper unit broke up a protest of workers striking for a higher minimum wage in Pur Senchey district.
“If you arrest the union leaders and garment workers, you must also arrest the police and military police who beat up the workers,” Mr. Sokha shouted to the crowd.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Security Guards, Police Forcibly Clear Freedom Park:

20140104 CD

At 11:30 a.m. Saturday, security guards, men in plainclothes and municipal police, all wielding steel bars and metal pipes, forcibly cleared hundreds of demonstrators from Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park, where the opposition CNRP has been protesting against the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen for three straight weeks.

Demonstrators, including monks and women, were indiscriminately beaten as they ran away.
The move by the CPP government came one day after its security forces shot dead at least five, and injured more than 20, protesting garment workers, armed with stones, sticks and crude Molotov cocktails, during clashes in Phnom Penh’s Pur Senchey district.
City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche said the park had to be cleared to restore public order in the capital city, which has been host to daily protests marches and mass demonstrations in recent weeks.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Police disperse opposition rally after deadly clashes:

Anti-riot police forces, armed with shields and batons, dispersed opposition’s supporters from their protest base at the Freedom Park on Saturday.

The measure was taken after Phnom Penh governor Pa Socheatvong sent a letter to opposition leader Sam Rainsy to inform him that the rally at the Freedom Park can not be allowed any more because of risky situation.
The Phnom Penh authority banned the opposition’s rally after there were deadly clashes yesterday, killing at least four protesters.
At the site, the police removed the tents and evicted the supporters of Cambodia National Rescue Party from the Freedom Park.
to read.
CAMHERALD

* Phnom Penh Municipality calls on factory workers to return to work:

The Phnom Penh municipality, on 3 January, appealed to factory workers to return to work as usual as many workers left Phnom Penh due to fear after violent clash between the military police and angry protesters, killing four people.

In its statement, the Phnom Penh Municipality said talks between the Government, Garment Manufacturers in Cambodia (GMAC) and the Worker Unions will resume to talks on the minimum wage demand.
In its statement, the municipality stated that the clashes stemmed from the incitement by politicians and not factory workers. The municipality also rationalized its last resort crack-down due to high risk of the violent incident.
Yesterday’s clash was the third and most serious clashes since the last July election.
After the clash, many workers were seen to take the buses back home for fear of security and safety.
to read.
CAMHERALD

* King requested to convene CPP, CNRP leaders for a summit to end crisis after deadly protest crackdown:

Independent analysts requested the Cambodian King to invite the leaders of Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) and the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) to a negotiation table to end the political tension following yesterday’s violent crackdown, which killed at least four protesters.

The three Cambodian independent analysts are Dr. Lao Monghai, Dr. Sok Touch and Dr. Kem Ley, who wrote a joint letter yesterday to propose His Majesty the King to invite the leaders of the CPP and CNRP to a negotiation table at a convenient time under the King’s presidency.
read more.
CAMHERALD

* Bloody crackdown: UN condemns live fire, asks to bring violence instigators to justice:

The United Nations on Friday condemned the use of live fire against protesters and also urge authorities to bring instigators of violence to justice.

The UN made the statement following a heavy-handed crackdown on protesters yesterday, killing at least four protesters and injuring 30 others.
read more.
CAMHERALD

* EU calls for dispute parties to return to negotiation table after deadly crackdown:

The European Unions expressed its concern and called for peaceful talks to end violence, which killed at least four people in a heavy-handed crackdown yesterday.

“The Delegation of the European Union to Cambodia is very concerned by the violent demonstrations occurring in the vicinity of Phnom Penh over two days and regrets the disproportionate and excessive use of force by the security personnel, which resulted in the loss of lives,”
read more.
CAMHERALD

* US urges ‘restraint’ in Cambodia after violence:

The United States on Friday appealed for peaceful dialogue and denounced violence in Cambodia after police opened fire on protesting garment workers, killing three people.

“The United States deeply regrets the recent loss of life in Cambodia during violent clashes between protesters and government security forces,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters.
read more.
CAMHERALD

* Cambodia bans opposition’s protests, citing security concerns:

Phnom Penh Municipal Governor Pa Socheatvong on Saturday banned the country’s main opposition party from holding any protests in the capital, citing security concerns.

“To ensure social security and public order, the Phnom Penh Municipality decides not to allow the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) to continue holding demonstrations at the Freedom Park and marching through streets in the city from Jan. 4 onwards until the security situation has returned to normal,” Pa Socheatvong said in a letter to CNRP’s President Sam Rainsy.

He said in recent days, inciting activities have led to violence that claimed lives and caused severe destruction to public and private properties.
“These violent activities have seriously affected social security, safety and public order,” he said.
Security forces have been sent to the Freedom Park on Saturday morning to disperse opposition’s protesters. As a result, all protesters were kicked out of the park.
read more. & read more.
globaltimes FE bd

* Khmer Kill Khmer…:

2013 Elections Aftermath
Striking workers who pulled up barricades on Veng Sreng road defying armed forces before being brutally dispersed, resulting in at least 3 dead, one badly injured and 3 confirmed arrests.

At least 3 people were shot dead and several were severely injured by hundreds of bullets fired by armed forces during a brutal crackdown in the morning of January 3rd on barricades set up by thousands of striking workers on Veng Sren road, in the industrial area of Phnom Penh.

Several others were arrested and subsequently tasered, beaten up or beaten unconscious.
see more. (photo report).
JohnVink

$160 We Need

03:48:49 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Sweater workers not entitled to overtime:

Sweater factory workers, who get wages on the basis of ‘piece rate’, are not entitled to get overtime, a labour ministry clarification said Thursday.

“According to Labour Law 2006 (Amended 2013), workers, who work on ‘piece rate’ basis, have no opportunity to get overtime,” it said.
The clarification came after the manufacturers sought explanation to this effect from the labour ministry, following queries from their global buyers.
Traditionally, the sweater factory workers get their payment on ‘piece-rate’ basis. They do not get other service benefits, like – overtime allowances, festival bonuses and leave benefit, according to labour leaders.
to read.
FE bd

* Clash at CEPZ leaves 15 injured:

At least 15 people, including seven police were injured, during a clash between the law enforcers and the apparel workers at Chittagong Export Processing Zone, which is a special economic zone, Saturday morning.
Witnesses said the fight ensued at Section 7 factory located at road no 4 around 10.00am, following altercation over implementation of newly announced wage board and holidays.
A decision by the factory authority not to count the overtime on Friday and not show the salary sheet for the month of December in spite of repeated request by the workers ignited the clash, workers said.
‘The factory authority declared that they would not count our overtime on Friday on the ground that there would be a holiday on Sunday because of the 10th national election’, an agitated worker of Section Seven factory said. The factory wanted to adjust works of Sunday with that of Friday, he said.
read more.
BD new age

* 10 Ctg RMG workers hurt in clash with cops:

At least 10 apparel workers were injured when they clashed with law enforcers on Chittagong Export Processing Zone (CEPZ) compound in the port city demanding their arrears and overtime this morning.

Of the injured, condition of three, who sustained bullet wounds, was stated to be critical, reports our Chittagong correspondent.
They are now undergoing treatment at Chittagong Medical College and Hospital.
The agitating workers also torched a motorcycle on the CEPZ ground, said Abul Monsur, officer-in-charge (OC) of the export procession zone.
The clash erupted around 8:00am when the workers of Section Seven Ltd and Section Seven Apparels Ltd, owned by the same proprietor, were holding a rally on the CEPZ premises demanding their arrears and overtime, said Arifur Rahman, deputy assistant director of industrial police in Chittagong.
read more. & read more. & read more.
daily star bd DHAKATRIBUNE

* Clash at CEPZ leaves 15 injured:

At least 15 people, including seven police were injured, during a clash between the law enforcers and the apparel workers at Chittagong Export Processing Zone, which is a special economic zone, Saturday morning.

Witnesses said the fight ensued at Section 7 factory located at road no 4 around 10.00am, following altercation over implementation of newly announced wage board and holidays.
A decision by the factory authority not to count the overtime on Friday and not show the salary sheet for the month of December in spite of repeated request by the workers ignited the clash, workers said.
‘The factory authority declared that they would not count our overtime on Friday on the ground that there would be a holiday on Sunday because of the 10th national election’, an agitated worker of Section Seven factory said. The factory wanted to adjust works of Sunday with that of Friday, he said.
read more.
BD new age

* Workers Clash in Chittagong Export Processing Zone (CEPZ) over implementation of the Minimum Wage 2014 (EPZ):

Today, 4 January 2014, at least 15 people including seven Industrial Police personnel were injured during a clash between the law enforcers and the apparel workers at Chittagong Export Processing Zone (CEPZ).

The clash erupted around 8:00am when the workers of Section Seven Ltd and Section Seven Apparels Ltd, owned by the same proprietor, were holding a rally on the CEPZ premises demanding their arrears, overtime and immediate implementation of their new minimum wages and holidays.

A decision by the factory authority not to count the overtime on Friday and not show the salary sheet for the month of December in spite of repeated request by the workers ignited the clash according to the workers.

‘The factory authority declared that they would not count our overtime on Friday on the ground that there would be a holiday on Sunday because of the 10th national election’, an agitated worker of Section Seven factory said. The factory wanted to adjust works of Sunday with that of Friday, he said.

Workers hurled bricks at the law enforcers which prompted them to retaliate with firing from shot guns. The condition came under control after a meeting was held comprising of workers, owners and the policemen clarifying the misunderstanding.
to read.

TIME20140103

05:48:49 local time map of china CHINA

* China’s textile industry will grow steadily in 2014: MIIT:

China’s textile industry will maintain steady growth in 2014, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has said in its 2013 report on China’s industrial communications industry.
The report said a series of fine-tuning of policy measures gradually turned up the growth rate of industrial production in the second half of 2013. It said business conditions have improved and there is a significant increase in market confidence, due to steady rise in industrial economy development, which has laid a good foundation for stable and healthy development of the national economy.
However, the production of textile industry was more sluggish in 2013. From January to November 2013, China’s textile sector grew by 8.5 percent year-on-year. The production of yarn, fabric and apparel increased by 8.3 percent year-on-year, 5.6 percent y-o-y and 0.7 percent y-o-y, respectively, which were all lower than the increases in production registered in 2012.
read more.
fibre2fashion

05:48:49 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* Why claims of stellar economic growth, industrial peace, taunt rather than cheer PH workers:

For progressive unions, Aquino’s ‘stellar economic growth’ and ‘industrial peace’ are rosy reports that cheer only the corporate few who benefit from it. For the working majority, the claims sounded more like a taunt because it rested on what they call as ‘false claims’ or deception, coupled with repression.

Amid the flurries of yearender stories are boasts coming from the Office of President Benigno Aquino III that the Philippine economy is enjoying a stellar economic growth.

Malacañang has ticked off statistics and names of various credit ratings agencies to bolster its reports on growth, which supposedly bucked trends in worldwide or even just in its neighboring countries’ performance.

But if statistics were to be cited at all, the progressive labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno said that what best captures the workers’ plight in recapping 2013 is this: “P10 billion ($225 million) kickback for Napoles, P10 million ($225 thousand) pork for the SSS board, and P10 ($0.23) wage hike for workers.”
Elmer “Bong” Labog, chairman of KMU, said this illustrates better the state not only of Filipino workers but of the nation, where he said the corrupt few are getting richer while the hardworking majority are getting poorer.
(…)

2. Lowest real wage rates, record profit-taking
The government’s consistent failure in solving unemployment and underemployment not only breeds poverty as millions are denied chances to get jobs. According to KMU’s Labog, “it is also bad news for workers as capitalists, especially the big ones, exploit high unemployment to try to make workers accept lower wages, contractual employment and violations of union rights.”

The labor center said the country’s two-tier wage system, implemented since last year, remains in full effect and has mandated some even more meager wage hikes.

In Region 4′s Calabarzon, which lies immediately south of the capital, workers in its “growth corridor area” were given only a “Conditional Temporary Productivity Allowance” of P12.50 ($0.28) while in “emerging growth area,” hike in minimum wages ranged from P2.00 to P7.00 ($0.05 to $0.16), amounts which are supposed to cover the shortfall in prevailing wages and the region’s “floor wage” of P255 ($5.74).
read more.
bulatlat_tagline

* Philippines to grow abaca fibre in typhoon-stricken areas:

The Government of Philippines is looking to introduce integrated abaca farming systems in areas ravaged by the super-typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) such as provinces of Samar and Leyte, to boost production of the plant and create livelihood there.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) of Philippines is hoping to replicate an abaca integration project named ‘Abakayamanan’, to enhance the industry’s competitiveness globally and provide alternative livelihood to families whose lives have been disrupted due to the typhoon, reports The Manila Times.
read more. & read more.
fibre2fashion  MTnew

04:48:49 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Industrial sector faces growing crisis:

The industrial sector risks losing competitiveness because of the labour shortage, a high minimum wage, infrastructure project delays, poor-quality education and energy imports, says a government think tank.

The National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) forecast Thailand will be classified as an ageing society within eight years, putting pressure on the industrial sector in terms of labour supply. The proportion of citizens aged 60 and above will grow, while the number of those aged 14 and younger and working people aged 15-59 has been declining amid growing demand for industrial labour.

Meanwhile, labour costs are relatively high in Thailand compared with other Asean members, said NESDB secretary-general Arkhom Termpittayapaisith.

With a daily minimum wage of 300 baht, equal to just over US$9, Thailand has the third-highest costs in Asean after Singapore and the Philippines.
Cambodia has the lowest labour costs in Asean, with a minimum rate equal to $2 a day, followed by Vietnam, Laos, Indonesia and Malaysia.

High costs and the worker shortage have already hit Thailand’s industrial sector, particularly in labour-intensive sectors that together require 5.7 million workers, said Mr Arkhom.
read more.
bangkokpostBusiness

04:48:49 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

20140101 $160
“Solidarity for #MW160KH”

* Crackdown turns deadly:

Gunfire at Phnom Penh’s Canadia Industrial Park today killed at least four people, a military police official said, after armed forces firing weapons stormed the area – where garment workers and supporters set fires and gutted at least one building.

“We received news from the hospital claiming that four people were killed and another 26 strikers were injured,” the military police official said on condition of anonymity.

Naly Pilorge, director of rights group Licadho, which tallied the casualties, also said four had been killed, adding that 29 others were shot in the crackdown and 12 more treated for injuries that have not been confirmed as gunshot wounds.

Rights group Adhoc has said that five people were killed in the crackdown, while Phnom Penh deputy police commissioner Chuon Narin told the Post only three people died and two were seriously injured.

The demonstration at Canadia comes amid an ongoing national strike that began last week when the Ministry of Labour’s Labour Advisory Committee set a new monthly minimum wage of $95 – $65 less than striking unions demanded. The ministry raised the minimum wage another $5 earlier this week, but many workers have remained on strike.
read more.
PPP new

 * 4 workers killed in unrest:

Cambodian military police yesterday opened fire with assault rifles to quell a protest by stone-throwing garment factory workers demanding higher pay in a crackdown a human rights group said killed four people.

Chaos during nationwide strikes erupted for a second day as security forces were deployed to halt a demonstration by thousands of workers, who refused to move and threw bottles, stones and petrol bombs at an industrial zone in Phnom Penh.
The clash represents an escalation of a political crisis in Cambodia, where striking workers and anti-government protesters have come together in a loose movement led by the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP).

Unions representing disgruntled garment workers have joined opposition supporters protesting against the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen to demand a re-run of an election in July that the opposition says was rigged.

Military police confronting the protesters fired live ammunition, Reuters journalists said, and bullet casings were later seen scattered across the ground at the scene.
The clashes took place at Canadia Industrial Park in Phnom Penh, home to dozens of factories that make clothing for western brands that include Adidas, Puma and H&M Hennes & Mauritz.
Human rights group LICADHO described the incident as “horrific” and lambasted military police, adding that their own investigation and surveys of hospitals had found four people were killed and 21 wounded.
read more.
daily star bd

* Three Killed as Police Open Fire on Protesters:

At least three people were killed Friday morning when police opened fire on several hundred protesters blocking a street at Canadia Industrial Park in Phnom Penh’s Pur Senchey district, police confirmed.

“So far, three are confirmed dead, two injured and two men were arrested by armed forces,” Phnom Penh Municipal Police Chief Chuon Narin said shortly after the incident at about 10 a.m.

Hundreds of young men and some women armed with sticks, rocks and Molotov cocktails confronted military police armed with AK-47s, riot shields and batons on Friday, following a night of fighting between both sides in the same location.

Barricades continued to burn and rubble was strewn across the road as both sides continued to clash Friday morning and afternoon. A medical clinic was destroyed by the demonstrators—mostly striking garment factory workers—allegedly because the clinic had refused to treat those injured by military police gunfire.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo jak-globe  Return to frontpage CAMHERALD daily star bd reuters

* At least three killed at factory clash:

20140104 PPP riot for web
Police, some armed with automatic weapons, face off with rioting garment workers at the Canadia industrial complex in Phnom Penh on Friday morning. Photo by Heng Chivoan.

At least three protesters have been shot dead by police this morning at the Canadia industrial complex in the capital’s Por Sen Chey district, Phnom Penh deputy police chief Chuon Narin has confirmed.

The use of force came as riot police moved in to break up a demonstration by thousands of workers who blocked Veng Sreng street, the site of an ongoing demonstration that began yesterday evening and saw hundreds of riot police deployed to the area after midnight.

Only moments ago, Post reporters on the scene confirmed that the widespread use of automatic weapons fire was still ongoing.

Union leaders and rights activists reported even higher death totals.
Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions, said he had received information that four strikers had been shot dead and many more injured.

“The situation now is still tense,” he told the Post. “Why are they cracking down on us as we just demanding our salary?”
read more.
PPP new

* Rights Worker Claims Five Dead in Clashes:

At least five people are dead after police opened fire on hundreds of protesters blocking a street at Canadia Industrial Park in Phnom Penh’s Pur Senchey district, a human rights worker said Friday afternoon.

“I witnessed myself three people killed, but police I spoke to told me that at least five have been killed and 22 are injured,” said Chan Soveth, senior investigator for rights group Adhoc.
Earlier Friday, police confirmed three people had been killed.
“So far, three are confirmed dead, two injured and two men were arrested by armed forces,” Phnom Penh Municipal Police Chief Chuon Narin said shortly after the incident at about 10 a.m.

Hundreds of young men and some women armed with sticks, rocks and Molotov cocktails confronted military police armed with AK-47s, riot shields and batons on Friday, following a night of fighting between both sides at the same location.

Barricades continued to burn and rubble was strewn across the road as both sides continued to clash Friday morning and afternoon. A medical clinic was destroyed by the demonstrators—mostly striking garment factory workers—allegedly because the clinic had refused to treat those injured by military police gunfire.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

Civilians killed and injured by security forces amid civil unrest in Phnom Penh:

LICADHO has confirmed that at least four civilians were shot dead and 21 injured in the worst state violence against civilians to hit Cambodia in fifteen years.

Amid risks of growing civil unrest in Phnom Penh in the aftermath of the shootings, the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO) and the Community Legal Education Centre (CLEC) call on security forces and protestors to exercise urgent restraint on both sides to avoid any further bloodshed.

“We condemn this appalling use of extreme lethal force by security forces, said Naly Pilorge, LICADHO Director, “security forces must now put an immediate end to the use of live ammunition against civilians and ensure that all those injured are safely transported to hospital without delay.”

LICADHO monitors witnessed security forces using live ammunition to shoot directly at civilians near the Canadia Industrial Area on Veng Sreng Road at around 10am this morning. The use of live ammunition was prolonged and no efforts appear to have been made to prevent death and serious injury. Reports suggest that security forces were also injured after being hit with stones.
read more.
licadho

* Cambodia garment workers’ strike turns deadly:

At least three people were killed when security forces opened fire on striking Cambodian garment workers in the capital.

At least three Cambodians have been killed when police opened fire on garment workers on strike, as a nationwide wave of protests, backed by the main opposition party, presses on in demand for wages to be doubled. 

An Associated Press photographer and human rights workers said police fired AK-47 rifles on Friday, after several hundred workers blocking a road south of the capital Phnom Penh began burning tires and throwing objects at them. Several wounded workers could be seen after the shots were fired.

Phnom Penh deputy police commissioner Chuon Narin told AFP news agency that three people had been killed and several others wounded in the capital.
read & see more. (video report).
aljazeera

* Cambodian Police Fire on Protesters as Clashes Turn Violent:

Military police officers fired Friday on protesters demanding higher wages for Cambodian garment workers, killing at least three people, officials said, as antigovernment protests against the decades-old rule of Prime Minister Hun Sen entered a volatile new phase.

The garment workers are demanding a doubling of their monthly wages, and they have been at the forefront of growing protests against Mr. Hun Sen’s authoritarian government. On Sunday, tens of thousands of people rallied to demand that Mr. Hun Sen step down.

But Friday’s violence south of Phnom Penh, the capital, marked a sharp escalation in the unrest. Protesters resisted police efforts to break up the demonstrations, and some threw homemade explosives, setting fire to vehicles, and pelted officers with rocks and other projectiles. As the street battles raged, the police fired live ammunition and smoke canisters to try to quell the disturbances.
read more. & read more.
NYT GUARDIAN

* Paratroopers Deployed at Protest: 15 Detained, Injured:

More than a dozen monks, striking garment workers and journalists were beaten Thursday by members of the elite 911 paratrooper unit armed with batons, steel pipes and even slingshots during a bloody clash outside a Phnom Penh factory where a few hundred protesters gathered to demand a hike in their monthly pay.

Human rights groups said at least four monks and 10 other protesters detained at the scene were still held by the military as of Thursday evening. Another monk and one woman were being treated for their injuries at the Khmer Soviet Friendship Hospital.

Thursday’s violence followed after protesters arrived at the gates of the Yakjin factory off National Road 4 hoping to convince workers inside to join their demonstrations for a $160 monthly minimum wage for garment workers.
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Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Cambodian Troops Quash Protest at Garment Factory:

Cambodian soldiers forcefully quelled a demonstration by garment factory workers who were striking for better pay Thursday, detaining Buddhist monks and labor leaders.

Soldiers from a military special command unit carrying metal pipes, knives, AK-47 rifles, slingshots and batons clashed with workers at a factory in an outlying area of Phnom Penh, local human rights group LICADHO said. Its statement said 10 people were taken into military custody and that monks and workers were beaten.

National Military Police spokesman Kheng Tito said those arrested had led hundreds of protesting workers in trying to destroy factory property by throwing stones and iron objects.

Workers at most of the country’s more than 500 garment factories are on strike, demanding an increase in the minimum wage to US$160 a month, double the current rate. The government has offered $100 a month.
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IRRAWADDY

Military Special Command Unit Deployed to Crackdown on Striking Workers:

The Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO) and the Community Legal Education Centre (CLEC) are outraged by today’s violent crackdown on striking workers by a military special command unit and the consequent violent arrest of union leaders, garment workers and monks.

The use of Special Command Unit 911 to suppress demonstrations near Yak Jin factory in Phnom Penh’s Pursenchey district is unprecedented and signals a disturbing new tactic by authorities to quash what have been largely peaceful protests.

Tension escalated this morning as striking garment workers from factories close to Yak Jin industrial unit gathered to urge other workers to join the general strike for a livable minimum wage. Soldiers from the neighboring 911 military base were quickly mobilized to quash the protest, leading to two violent clashes. The soldiers were seen brandishing metal pipes, knives, AK47 rifles, slingshots and batons.
read more.
licadho

* Arrested protesters sent to Prey Sar prison:

Phnom Penh Municipal Court decided today to send human rights activist Vorn Pov, and other nine protesters who were arrested in yesterday clash to prison.

Vorn Pov, president of Independent Democracy of Informal Economic Association (IDIEA), and the nine arrested protesters were sent to Prey Sar prison, awaiting for further investigation after the court procedure under tight security as hundreds of protesters including monks rallied outside the court to ask for their release.

They were arrested yesterday in a police crackdown at  at the Korean-owned Yakjin (Cambodia) after the striking workers allegedly threw rocks and damaged property in the factory.
to read.
CAMHERALD

* Strike violence erupts:

20140103 PPP Garment-Strike-man-beaten
A man is dragged along a dirt road outside of Yakjin garment factory after being beaten by authorities yesterday in Por Sen Chey district. Photo by Heng Chivoan.

Authorities yesterday injured dozens of union leaders, garment workers and monks, arresting at least 15 of them, in a series of crackdowns against demonstrators protesting the industry’s minimum wage.

Garment workers and their supporters who were gathered yesterday in front of the Yakjin factory, off National Road 4 in the capital’s Por Sen Chey district, said tensions between demonstrators and soldiers from a local military base guarding the factory boiled over at 9am when soldiers began unprovoked attacks on them.

The demonstration occurred amid a national garment worker strike that began last week when the Ministry of Labour’s Labour Advisory Committee set this year’s minimum monthly wage for workers in the garment sector at $95 – $65 less than unions demanded. The ministry this week tacked another $5 onto the minimum wage, which will now rise to $100 next month.

As the groups stood face-to-face on the dirt road just off the main road, soldiers began throwing water bottles at demonstrators, who picked up the bottles and threw them back at soldiers, said Chean Kongkea, a 20-year-old employee at Korean-owned Yakjin.
read & see more. (video report).
PPP new

* Cambodian police opens fire on striking garment workers:

Cambodian anti-riot police on Friday morning opened fire on striking garment workers, killing at least two protesters and injuring more than 10, according to a right group activist.

Chan Saveth, head of legal aid for rights group Adhoc, said the violence broke out when about 2,000 striking workers blocked a road in front of the Canadia Industrial Park to demand higher wage.
Kheng Tito, spokesman for the National Military Police, could not be immediately reached for confirmation.
According to Xinhua photojournalists at the scene, police opened fire on strikers and several workers were dead, while some others were injured.
read more. & read more.
globaltimes theNATIONnew

* Cambodian police open fire on protesters, several wounded:

Cambodian police opened fire on protesting garment workers on the outskirts of the capital Phnom Penh on Friday, leaving several people wounded, according to an AFP photographer.

The clash comes against a backdrop of growing public protests against the kingdom’s long-ruling Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Police fired warning shots in the air and then fired at the protesters, leaving at least three people injured, the photographer saw.
It is the latest in a series of violent clashes between security forces and textile workers demanding higher wages.
The incident happened after thousands of workers blocked the road in front of factories and later faced off with security personnel in the Veng Sreng area of Phnom Penh.
to read.
theNATIONnew

* Human Rights activists and workers ask to release arrested protesters:

Human rights activists and workers gathered at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to demand the release of 10 protesters who were arrested yesterday.

Vorn Pov, Independent Democracy of Informal Economic Association (IDIEA) and nine other protesters were arrested for allegedly provoking violence in a strike at a Korean-owned Yakjin (Cambodia) on Thursday.
After their arrests, human rights groups and political party condemned the crackdown by authorities.
Brigadier General Kheng Tito, military police spokesman, could not make any comment over the charges against the arrested protesters, saying that “he charges are dependent on the court”.
Kem Sokha, Deputy President of Cambodia National Rescue Party, was also found outside the Phnom Penh Court. He called for the release of the arrested protesters.
to read.
CAMHERALD

* Cambodia’s GMAC says factory closures continue due to ongoing strikes:

The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) said Thursday most of its 559 factories would continue to be closed due to security concerns after six pro-opposition trade unions led striking workers to destroy factories’ properties and forced workers to join their protests.

“Because of the current unrest and danger in the garment sector, the GMAC has requested the Labor Ministry to suspend the productions in these factories indefinitely,”GMAC’s Secretary General Ken Loo wrote in a request to Labor Minister Ith Samheng.
read more.
globaltimes

* Cambodia’s garment workers stand firm as sector reels:

One of Chenda’s biggest hopes is that she might one day make enough money to bring her daughter back to the Capital.

When the Cambodian government and unions began discussing a rise in the minimum wage for garment workers last month, she believed her six-year-old, currently living with grandparents in a neighbouring province, might be able to return home.
“I really want to bring my daughter to town, but we just can’t afford to spend money for someone to look after her,” said the 34-year-old.
When the Ministry of Labour announced they would be bumping up the $80 minimum monthly wage by only $15, Chenda, like many of her colleagues, was deeply disappointed.
read more.
Return to frontpage

Cambodia says outlawed strikes adversely affect investment climate:

Cambodian Ministry of Labor said Friday that outlawed strikes have frightened employers and worsened investment climate in the country.

“The ministry calls for the (opposition) Cambodia National Rescue Party and six trade unions to immediately stop inciting workers to commit violence, road blockade, and destruction of factories’ properties,” said a Labor Ministry’s statement, urging them to cooperate with the authorities in order to find out perpetrators.
read more.
globaltimes

* Cambodia’s garments to ship piece by piece:

Cambodia’s garment manufacturers might sell fabrics from unfinished clothing orders worth millions of dollars to factories offshore in a last-ditch attempt to meet looming buyer deadlines.

The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) issued a letter to the Cambodian government yesterday requesting it to “facilitate” exports of unfinished orders to other countries amid continued garment-worker strike action.

The letter calls on the Ministry of Economy and Finance to clarify and advise factory owners on “re-exporting” procedures.
This means that stockpiles of whole fabric and cut fabric pieces, as well as accessories, semi-finished and unpacked finished products would be shipped out to a buyer’s other manufacturing operations in the region.
read more.
PPP new

$160 We Need

03:48:49 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Some provisions of building code, fire-related laws relaxed:

The National Tripartite Committee has relaxed some provisions of building code and fire-related laws in carrying out its factory inspection programme for preventing a large number of apparel units from possible shutdown, sources said.

They said if the existing standard or building code is fully implemented,
nearly 50% of the garment factories would face closure causing unemployment of thousands of workers.

The operating manual, for assessing garment factories, had been prepared on the basis of the Bangladesh National Building Code (BNBC) and others laws of the land.

But the National Tripartite Committee (NTC) for ‘National Tripartite Plan of Action for Fire Safety and Structural Integrity in Readymade Garment Sector in Bangladesh’ recently allowed relaxation of some provisions of the existing laws in the operating manual for inspecting factory buildings, they added.

Explaining the relaxations, officials involved in the process said the NTC set 60 metres of travel distance for a worker up to stairs. But according to the BNBC, the travel distance will be 45 metres and easing compulsion of 1.5 metres of minimum width for stairs. The NTC set the width at 0.9 metres.
read more.
FE bd

* Probe body fails to submit report again:

The probe body, formed by the district administration to investigate the fire in the garment factory of Standard Group at Konabari in Gazipur, again failed to submit its report within the stipulated time.

The committee had been allowed more time to submit its report that might be placed someday after the national election slated for January 5, committee members said.
A committee member told New Age that the investigation had been completed and it found that the workers of Standard Group were involved in setting fire to the factory.
He said that the outsiders just instigated the workers to carry out ‘vindictive’ act, but they had no direct involvement with setting fire to the factory.
According to the source, there was a longstanding feud between workers and midlevel management, and just before the fire incident, the workers had assaulted an employee of midlevel management.

The source also said that the investigation team found that the number of managers was smaller than the required ratio with the workers and the midlevel management misbehaved with workers.
Additional district magistrate Mohammad Mohsin, also head of the seven-member inquiry committee, told New Age on Thursday that they had prepared the draft of the report and it would be finalised at next meeting of the committee.
read more.
BD new age

* RMG exporters gain from India’s retail boom:

A number of western retailers have opened stores in India, which came as a boon for Bangladeshi garment exporters, as the retailers are buying clothing items directly from Bangladesh to sell those in the neighbouring market.

Bangladesh also enjoys a duty-free privilege in the Indian market, as a result of which the demand for Bangladeshi garments is soaring in India, especially among its middle-income consumers, due to competitive prices.
The western clothing retailers started flocking to India when its central government eased rules for foreign direct investment in the $500 billion multi-brand retail market in August lat year.
Retail giant Walmart has already opened stores across the country and several others have followed suit tying up with some local supermarket operators.
Bangladesh’s garment exports to India rose by 36.70 percent to $75.21 million in fiscal 2012-13 compared to the previous year, according to Export Promotion Bureau.
read more.
daily star bd

                         THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE

* 28 more human bones retrieved from Rana Plaza debris:

Police on Friday retrieved 28 human bones, including a broken skull, from the debris of Rana Plaza at Savar.

Locals, former workers of the garment factories housed in Rana Plaza recovered the human remains and informed the police.
However, after receiving the human bones, officer-in-charge of Savar Model Police Station, Mostafa Kamal, told reporters that ‘some miscreants’ have staged the bone recovery drama to embarrass the government.
Sources among locals and former workers of Rana Plaza confirmed UNB that they have no doubt the bones recovered today (Friday) as well as in earlier days were human bones, and that some of the recoveries also included human skulls.
read more. & to read. & read more.
UNB FE bd DHAKATRIBUNE

* Human remains found again in Rana Plaza site:

Human remains were unearthed again yesterday from the site of Rana Plaza in Savar, on the outskirts of the capital.

A human skull and over 20 bones belonging to different body parts were found. A mobile phone was discovered as well.
Locals and survivors of the building collapse unearthed the remains.
On information, police collected the bones and skull and those will be later sent for DNA tests, said Md Shamshuzzaman, sub-inspector of Savar Model Police Station.
The searchers said they saw many other remains, which could not be reached as those were buried under iron rods.
This was the eighth time human remains have been found over a span of about three weeks.

However, Md Mostafa Kamal, officer-in-charge of Savar Model Police Station, said the bones discovered did not belong to human but to cows.
He said people were just trying to create dramas by claiming they found human remains.
The OC’s remarks angered the crowd which gathered at the site waiting to see if the remains unearthed belonged to their loved ones who went missing when the nine-storey building collapsed.
They said his remarks were insults to those who died.
Talking to The Daily Star, Taslima Akter, coordinator of Bangladesh Garment Workers Solidarity, said the government should launch an initiative to carry out DNA tests on the remains to identify the missing workers.
Human remains were unearthed for the first time on December 13 last year.
read more.
daily star bd

03:18:49 local time map of india INDIA

* Reform labour laws to boost Indian textile sector – FICCI:

FICCI has recommended the reform of the labour laws to boost textile & clothing industry and raise India’s share in world exports.

These recommendations have been submitted to Ajay Shankar, member secretary, National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council and chairman of expert Group on National Textiles Policy constituted by Government of India.

Assuming India’s GDP grows by 7% on an average over the policy period as per the scaled down estimates of Planning Commission and assuming that the domestic textiles industry also grows by 7%, it would mean that the textiles industry would be a USD 278 billion industry, of which exports would account for USD 145 billion, noted FICCI.

To meet this target, Indian exports require to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 15.1% over the 10 year period (assuming world exports in textiles and clothing grow by 5%). Indian exports would reach USD 145 billion by end of the policy period if we grow by 15%.

As per the 12th Plan working group on textiles and apparel, the textiles sector will create an additional employment of 15 million by 2016-17, which means the sector can provide 30 million additional jobs by 2023. Given that textiles & clothing sector is a labour intensive sector, FICCI projects that it can provide employment to at least an additional 20 million people from the current 45 million to 65 million by 2023.
read more.
fibre2fashion

* R&D centre for handlooms in Masula on the anvil:

Union Minister for Textiles Kavuri Sambasiva Rao on Thursday said that setting up of Research and Development Centre for Kalamkari and Handloom products in Machilipatnam was under consideration of the ministry.

“The Ministry has proposed to spend Rs.35 crore on the research centre” he added. Addressing weavers belonging to Kappaladoddi and Pedana town, he made clear that Krishna district authorities had already accepted to allot the land necessary for the centre. Mr. Sambasiva Rao inaugurated one-month special training on ‘Jamdani saree design programme” in Kappaladoddi village and Handloom expo, being conducted by the Weavers’ Co-operative Societies in Krishna district in Pedana.
He also inaugurated the Common Facilitation Centre for handloom weavers. Responding to the marketing woes of the handloom weavers, the Minister welcomed them to participate in any national or international handloom expos to meet huge demand for their products.
to read.
Return to frontpage

* Association demands uniform pricing for cotton across State:

The Raichur District Cotton Growers’ Association has urged the government to fix Rs. 6,500 a quintal as minimum support price for cotton and check the exploitation of farmers by traders and commission agents at the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) yard.

Speaking to presspersons here on Thursday, Chinnaiah Naik, president of the association, demanded that uniform pricing be followed for cotton across the State.
“Cotton growers in Raichur are in a pathetic condition owing to a sharp fall in its price. While cotton is being sold at Rs. 6,000 a quintal and Rs. 5,000 a quintal in Bellary and Surpur, respectively, traders in Raichur are offering only Rs. 4,000 a quintal.
read more.
Return to frontpage

* Cotton body keen to work closely with African growers:

Indian Cotton Federation (formerly SICA – The South India Cotton Association) is hoping to establish direct linkage with the cotton grower/ginners in Africa and the buyer in India.

Stating thus after the visit of a three-member team from that continent, J Thulasidharan, President, ICF, said ‘this is the third delegation in the last couple of months.
‘They are here on an exploratory trip, to understand the industry’s requirement and we intend to proactively pursue and establish better trade relationship’.

The team comprised Traore Karim, President of the National Union of Cotton Producers in Burkina Faso, Dioma Komonsira, APROCA’s (African Cotton Producers Association) Communication Manager and Balde N’Dila, Vice-President of the National Federation of Cotton Producers in Senegal.
International Cotton Trade, (ICT), a joint agency of World Trade Organisation and the United Nations has initiated the mission for promoting African cotton.
read more. & read more.
Return to frontpage  fibre2fashion

02:48:49 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Chinese group keen to invest in Pakistan’s textile sector:

China has shown interest to invest in the textile sector of Pakistan.

Pakistan Embassy sources in Beijing said that China’s top textile conglomerate, the Shandong Ruyi Group’s a high-level delegation visiting Pakistan next week to explore investment opportunities in the country, Radio Pakistan reported on Friday.
The sources said the delegation led by the Group Vice Chairman Jerry Liu is expected to make one hundred million dollars investment in the textile sector.
The Group is also expected to sign a deal for acquisition of fifty-two percent share of a Faisalabad-based textile enterprise.
to read.
BUSINESSRECORDER

* Additional gas meant for entire export-oriented textile industry: APTMA:

All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Chairman Punjab S M Tanveer has said the 85mmcfd gas supply has been allocated to the whole export-oriented textile industry, not only for APTMA.

The processing industry too is getting gas supply as per allocated quota. However, this decision has been taken by the government on APTMA”s initiative in the wake of grant of GSP plus status to the country.

According to him, the ancillary textile industry is a valuable customer of APTMA and it wants a win-win situation for all sub-sectors of industry irrespective of size and segment. As a matter of fact, this gas facility is for the basic textile industry including spinning, weaving, dyeing, processing and finishing, 80 percent of which is in APTMA”s fold.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

* Bleak future of cotton feared: PCGA urges government to ensure supply of certified seeds to growers:

“Textile sector should clear the dues of billions of rupees of ginners immediately and government should ensure the supply of certified well germinated seed of cotton to the growers and take exemplary action against seed-mafia, which was supplying adulterated and spurious seed to the farmers.”

Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) has demanded this to the government in its meeting chaired by its Chairman Mukhtar Ahmed Khan Baloch on Thursday. The PCGA suggested that cotton-seed should be imported from China instead of India. It warned that future of cotton may be bleak if virus-resistant and certified seed supply was not ensured.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

TIME20140102

04:48:49 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

20140101 $160     $160 We Need
“Solidarity for #MW160KH”

* Cambodian troops in riot gear break up strike:

20140102 ALJAZEERATwo witnesses said they saw troops striking a Buddhist monk [Reuters]

Cambodian troops armed with batons and rifles have broken up a protest by textile workers demanding a doubling of wages as part of a nationwide strike by unions allied with the main opposition party.

Witnesses said around 100 soldiers wearing riot gear and carrying assault rifles on Thursday used force to clear hundreds of workers protesting outside their factory about 20km west of the capital, Phnom Penh.

“Soldiers beat up everyone,” said labour rights activist Chhorn Sokha of the Community Legal Education Center. “They had sticks, electric batons, slingshots and stones.”
At least 10 protesters were detained and it was not known yet how many were hurt, she added.

Photographers, including one from Reuters news agency, were hit by batons while covering the protest. Two witnesses said they also saw troops striking a Buddhist monk.
The clashes mark a violent turn after two weeks of relatively peaceful strikes, marches and demonstrations of unprecedented scale in Cambodia. Security forces, which have a reputation for zero-tolerance, have so far exercised restraint.
read more. & to read.
aljazeera reuters

* GMAC to suspend garment production until the situation returns to normalcy:

Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) today sent a letter to the Minister of Labor and Vocational Training to inform about suspension of the work of many factories due to fear for security and safety of the workers.

“Due to unrest and dangerous situation, especially the security and safety, and the life of the workers, the factories find it difficult to prevent violence which can happen in every miniute,” said Ken Loo, the GMAC Secretary General in his letter dated on Jan 2, which was sent to Ith Sam Heng, the Minister of Labor and Vocational Training.
read more.
CAMHERALD

* Unions to Bring Demonstrations to Factory Gates:

Despite a warning from the government to end demonstrations over the garment sector minimum wage by today, union leaders said Wednesday that workers would continue nationwide demonstrations after taking a one-day break to mark the new year.

Strikes and demonstrations have been ongoing since the government decided last week to raise the minimum wage to $95, well below union demands for a $160 monthly wage. A decision on Tuesday by Labor Minister Ith Sam Heng to raise the minimum wage by an additional $5, to $100, was rejected by the non-government aligned unions.

Morm Nhim, one of six union leaders who have been told they could face legal action if demonstrations do not stop, said that workers would hold demonstrations today at individual factories.

“Most of the workers took the day off for a holiday today, but they will continue to protest tomorrow at their factories to demand the minimum wage [of $160],” she said.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Workers block many roads in wage strike:

Thousands of workers have blocked roads in many places to demand wage increase to $160 per month.

The protests took place on Thursday at many factories in Phnom Penh, Kampong Speu, Kampong Chhnang and Kandal provinces.
Anti-riot police forces were seen to crack down on workers at the National Road four.
After the meeting on December 31, 2013, the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training decided to increase the wage from $80 to $100, starting from Feb 2014.
However, the labor union leaders still insisted on $160 per month.
read more.
CAMHERALD

* 15 people arrested in wage protest crackdown:

Military Police have arrested 15 protesters including Vorn Pov, President of Independent Democracy of Informal Economic Association (IDIEA) on Thursday for allegedly provoking violence.

The police said they were arrested because they threw rocks and damaged property of Korean-owned Yakjin (Cambodia) Inc in Kambol commune, Porsen Chey district, Phnom Penh.
The 15 arrested protesters included five monks who were identified as Meas Vichet, Thach Hasam Ang, Kong Rathanak Saray, Lay Lat and Kim Chanthorn.
Yakjin (Cambodia), located in Kambol commune, Porsenchey district, employs about 3,000 workers to produce shorts, pants, dress, hooked jacket, pajamas top, nightwear and pullover.
to read.
CAMHERALD

* Workers quietly trickle back:

20140102 PPP Garment-Strike
Garment workers gather behind barbed wire during a strike on Monday in Phnom Penh. Photo by Vireak Mai.

As garment union groups resume their strike today, thousands of workers plan on returning to work, largely citing financial necessity rather than ideological disagreement with the unions.

The Ministry of Labour on Monday ordered union leaders to cease a nationwide strike that began nine days ago, after the ministry’s Labour Advisory Committee set this year’s minimum monthly wage for workers in the garment sector at $95 – $65 less than unions demanded. The ministry this week tacked another $5 onto the minimum wage, which will now rise to $100 next month.

“If we do not return to work, the factory will not pay us,” said Noun Bunthoeun, a worker representative at Chu Hsing Garments (Cambodia) Co Ltd in Phnom Penh, who added that more than 7,000 workers – about 80 per cent – at the Russey Keo district factory’s three branches will return today. “This does not mean we are abandoning our demand for [a minimum wage of] $160.”

Lacking financial resources is the primary motive for workers at 30 factories in Svay Rieng province, who will come back to work today, said Sok Na, a representative for the Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW) at the Best Way garment factory in Bavet town.
read more.
PPP new

Cambodian garment workers return to work as factories reopen, but striking unions chase workers off work:

A majority of garment and shoe workers have returned to work as factories reopened on Thursday after a week-long closure due to nationwide strikes over wage; however, protesting trade unions were still leading workers to go on strikes.

The country has about 900 garment and shoe factories with about 600,000 workers, according to Labor Ministry spokesman Heng Sour. The industry, the kingdom’s largest foreign exchange earner, generated 5 billion US dollars in revenues a year.

“On Thursday morning, about 500 factories have reopened and some 80 percent of the workers have returned to work,” he told Xinhua.

About 400 factories were still closed in fear of security and safety, he said, adding that striking workers were rallying in front of more than 30 factories to demand the government to double the minimum wage in the garment sector to 160 US dollars.
(…)
Sok Na, a representative for the Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW) at the Best Way garment factory at the Manhattan Special Economic Zone in eastern Svay Rieng Province, said about 90 percent of the workers in the zone returned to work on Thursday.

“Workers now agreed to accept the 100 US dollars minimum wage that the government announced on Tuesday,” he told Xinhua over telephone. “They all need jobs to support ourselves and families.”
read more.
globaltimes

* ILO urges dialogue to resolve current dispute in garment sector:

The ILO Country Office for Thailand, Cambodia and Lao PDR is closely following developments in the garment industry in Cambodia, particularly in relation to recent industrial unrest.

The current disruption within such an important sector for the Cambodian economy is a cause for significant concern.
The economic fallout from the protests and the industry’s response to them may impact significantly on the industry’s revenues while tarnishing the country’s reputation among international buyers. As Cambodia’s largest industrial sector, accounting for some US$5 billion per year in exports, and some 400,000 jobs, the risks arising out of the current situation are significant for a sector which continues to operate in an intensely competitive international environment.

Resolving the current situation will require support from all stakeholders, workers, trade unions, government and business and its representatives. The ILO urges all of these actors to maximise efforts to find a resolution to the sit

uation. We strongly encourage all parties to intensify these efforts through channels based on the principles of social dialogue and tripartism.
read more.
BF NEW

Cambodian security forces, striking workers clash, 10 arrested:

A brief clash between security forces and striking workers took place at a Cambodian garment factory on the outskirts of capital Phnom Penh on Thursday, leaving several protesters injured and 10 others arrested.

“Hundreds of protesting workers had tried to destroy the factory’s property, so security forces had to take action against them,” Kheng Tito, spokesman for the National Military Police, told Xinhua after the 20-minute clash at Yak Jing Garment Factory. “We could not allow them to cause anarchy and chaos.”

He said 10 people, including Von Pov, president of the Independent Democratic Association of Informal Economy, and a few Buddhist monks, were arrested for an inquiry after the incident.
Kheng Tito said those monks were fake because the police found underpants and condoms in their bags.
“They are not workers, but they joined to incite striking garment workers to destroy the factory’s property,” he said. “They will be charged with triggering violence.”
He said he did not know the number of people injured.
According to a Xinhua photojournalist at the scene, several protesters including Buddhist monks were injured on heads and faces due to security forces’ batons.
read more. & read more.
globaltimes XINHUAnet

03:48:49 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Worker-cop clash hurt 20 in N’ganj:

At least 20 people, including a foreigner and a journalist, were injured in a clash between readymade garments workers and law enforcers in the upazila on Thursday morning.

The injured are a Japanese national, Alamin, Hfizuddin, Alam Mia, Abbus Mia, Afazuddin, Shipon Mia, Anawar Hossain, Ali Ahmed, Rakib Hassan, Shahaz Uddin, Saiful Islam, Emadul Haque Bhauyan, Riaz Uddin, and Jaynal Abedin.
Witnesses, police and workers said a bus carrying garment workers turned turtle in Moikuli area on Dhaka-Sylhet highway around 7:00am as its driver lost control over the steering, leaving 30 workers injured.
The injured were rushed to different local clinics.
Following the accident, hundreds of agitated workers put barricade on Dhaka-Sylhet highway.
read more.

* Apparel makers set to pay workers’ wages under new structure from this month:

Doubts over proper execution by many owners

The apparel makers are getting prepared to pay wages to the workers under the newly-announced structure from this month amid doubts over its proper implementation by many owners due to an adverse impact of the country’s ongoing political stalemate on the industry, insiders said.

The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has already asked its member factories to pay the enhanced wages accordingly this month, as the new wage structure came into force from December 1, 2013, a BGMEA source said.

On December 26 last, the association in two separate statements asked its member factories to implement the new wage structure and clarified that factory owners can cut wages of workers who remained absent due to strike or other causes.

However, the labour leaders said the clarification relating to the deduction of wages would not be rational for the industry. Terming the clarification ‘unjust’, they alleged that the owners might misuse the loopholes of the existing laws and take strategies to deprive the workers.
read more.
FE bd

* Living costs soar:

Consumers’ Association of Bangladesh releases report on 2013 prices

Consumers were hit with increased costs of living by as much as 11 percent in 2013 on the back of rising house rent, utility bills and prices of various essential food items.

“House rent is rising, keeping pace with the spiralling costs of fuel, electricity, water and commodities,” the Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) said in a statement yesterday.
The consumer rights campaigner prepared a report taking into account the costs of 114 food items, 26 essential commodities and 10 utility services, the findings of which was released yesterday.
It estimated the cost of living based on weights of commodities and services in the consumer basket and found that it soared 11 percent in 2013 from the previous year. The prices of food and services rose 12 percent and house rent 10.9 percent in the course of the year.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
daily star bd BD new age  UNB DHAKATRIBUNE

* 15 RMG workers hurt in N’ganj crash:

At least 15 garment workers were injured when a bus carrying them fell into a roadside ditch on Dhaka-Sylhet highway in Rupganj upazila in Narayanganj this morning.

Of the victims, three sustained critical injuries, reports our Narayanganj correspondent.
They were undergoing treatment at Dhaka Medical College and Hospital.
As death rumour spread following the accident, fellow workers of the factory blocked the highway and vandalised several vehicles and an adjacent factory, All Tex Mill, Asaduzzaman, officer-in-charge (OC) of Rupganj Police Station, told The Daily Star.
Law enforcers managed to remove the marauding workers from the highway within 10 minutes of their demonstration, the OC added.
The workers of Antim Knitting and Garments met the accident around 7:00am when driver of the bus lost his control over the steering in Moikuli area, the police official said.
to read.
daily star bd

03:18:49 local time map of india INDIA

* Fire in cotton ginning mill:

A huge quantity of cotton stocked at a private ginning mill at Narasimharaopeta in Thallada mandal was gutted in a major fire that broke out in the mill on Tuesday evening.

There were no reports of any loss of life.
According to sources, flames emanated from one of the godowns of the ginning mill allegedly due to electrical short circuit.
A huge stock of cotton estimated to be of 15 lorry loads in volume was reduced to ashes even before a fire tender reached the spot from Kothagudem.
to read.
Return to frontpage

* Fire destroys spinning mill:

A spinning mill was gutted here in the early hours of Wednesday causing a loss close to Rs.4 crore.

Fire broke out in Ajanta Spintech, a mill located here in the early hours destroying two machines imported from Germany.
Later the fire spread to other parts of the mill destroying cotton bales.
Fire fighters from Guntur, Chilakaluripet and Vinukonda rushed to the mill and doused the flames by morning.
Mill proprietors put the total loss at about Rs. 4 crore.
The Fire Department suspects that electrical short circuit could have caused the fire.
to read.
Return to frontpage

* Apparel industry in job push:

The apparel manufacturing and export sector is one of the most labour-intensive of all industries in the country. So when it was hit by an acute shortage of manpower some time ago, its real impact was felt by garment manufacturers and exporters.

Scores of small-scale garment units were burdened by heavy losses, and many, having few options left, started running under capacity.

The decision to set up a skill development centre for industrial workers in Gurgaon was spurred by such downbeat conditions, and is among the first organized attempts to seriously address the issue of labour crunch. The Sector Skill Council (SSC) was inaugurated on Wednesday. According to the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC), the new skill development facility will train and certify as many as 18 lakh new workers over the next decade, with the support of senior industry representatives and academic trainers.
read more.
TOInew

* Production of textile goods improves:

Works on a textile processing park to gain momentum

With revival of export and domestic demand across the textile value chain, production of textile products have increased during the last year.

Chairman of Southern India Mills’ Association T. Rajkumar said that yarn export from the country from January to October in 2012 was 760 million kg and it was 1138 million kg this year. Domestic consumption of yarn has also increased by 15 per cent. Even the stock available with the mills has increased. Thus, production has increased, supply has gone up, demand has revived and prices are stable. The monthly production last year was 270 million to 300 million kg and it is 330 million kg this year.

With production costs going up, China is expected to import products such as yarn and fabric. This will be a boost to yarn and fabric producers here. All factors are favourable to the industry now.
read more.
Return to frontpage

* Higher demand and lower arrivals push cotton prices:

Fall in rupee against dollar has also motivated exporters, textile mills leading to growth in cotton demand

Increased demand from and exporters led to a rise in prices last month, by Rs 2,500 a candy (356 kg). According to industry sources, restricted selling by farmers was one reason. Prices moved up from Rs 38,300-38,500 a candy to Rs 40,800-41,000.

“Thanks to improved export, there has been a heavy rise in demand from domestic mills. To create stock, domestic yarn mills also bought cotton in large quantities during December,” said Arun Dalal of Arun Kumar & Co, a leading cotton trader from Ahmedabad.
read more.
BUSINESSSTANDARD 2

03:18:49 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* Factory workers in hospital after New Year party :

More than 120 employees of a garment factory at Boralugoda, Ingiriya were hospitalized due to a food poisoning at a New Year get-together in the factory last night, Hospital sources said.

They had been taken ill after partaking meals served to them at the get-together in the factory and were admitted to the Horana hospital.
A senior official of the Ingiriya MOH office said about 300 workers of the factory had attended the function.
He said the Public Health Inspectors are now conducting investigations into the incident.
Meanwhile another 150 workers of a Garment factory at Padukka and 60 workers of a factory at Homagama were admitted to the Homagama and Horana Hospitals.
According to reports the workers were taken ill after consuming chicken at the New Year parties held at their factories.
Hospital sources said they were out of danger.
to read.
daily mirror

02:48:49 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* GSP+ prospects and distribution of gas: Prgmea challenges Aptma ”hegemony”:

Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufac-turers and Exporters Association (Prgmea) said on Wednesday that the government has allocated 85 MMCFD gas to the entire export-oriented industry and not only for APTMA members.

Talking to Business Recorder, Ijaz Khokhar, a representative of Prgmea, said that during the recent meeting of apparel sector with the Minister of State for Commerce and Textile it was decided that gas supply will be supplied to the processing units as priority number one but the entire allocation has been hijacked by APTMA, “which is very unfair.”

In reply to a question, he said that awareness seminars are being conducted without taking apparel sector on board which is a major player in the GSG+ regime. He claimed that APTMA projecting itself as the entire textile sector whereas it is just one subsector of the textile chain with a share of around $2 billion.
“Prgmea requested MoC to keep focus on apparel industry which can generate foreign exchange, contribute to local taxes and generate employment,” he added. He said if the government resolves all issues the apparel sector alone can generate $500 million by enhancing its exports to the EU. Answering another question, he said the government should formulate an aggressive marketing plan for the EU countries as without this benefits cannot be maximised.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

* Shaky ground: ‘Want more energy to benefit from GSP Plus status’:

20140102 TRIBUNEDuring 2013, the textile sector was hit mostly by the energy crisis. Around 50% of the industrial units have either shut down or suspended work. PHOTO: RASHID AJMERI/EXPRESS

Textile exporters have pinned their hopes of industrial and economic revival on 2014, expecting Pakistan to achieve $14.5 billion of exports by the end of the fiscal year (FY) after being granted duty free access to the European Union (EU).

Terming 2013 a year of survival, Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) Chairman Sheikh Ilyas Mahmood and vice-chairman Adil Tahir said that the sector has set its hopes on the current year after enduring difficult times when industries were crippled by severe energy shortages, lack of funds, deteriorating economic conditions and many other issues.

During 2013, the textile sector was hit mostly by the energy crisis, the biggest issue besetting industries in Pakistan that crippled economic activity. Around 50% of the industrial units have either shut down or suspended work.

read more.
tribune

* Garment city project: farmers urge chief minister to revert decision of land acquisition:

The affected farmers of the garment city project at the Sheikhupura Motorway have urged the Chief Minister Punjab to revert the decision of land acquisition or otherwise they would shoot their buffaloes and set their standing crops ablaze in protest against acquisition of their lands by the Punjab government.

As a matter of fact, some 1,500 families of the affected farmers including Sahoki Malian, Bhamb, Khokharki Malian and Qyampur in district Sheikhupura have rolled their sleeves up against the Punjab government to safeguard their fertile rich agriculture land, three state-of-the-art dairy forms and around 50 milk points besides their pre-partition houses and havelis.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

* ‘GSP Plus status to revive Pakistan’s exports’:

Minister of State for Privatisation Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan has said that the GSP Plus Scheme will play a catalytic role to revive the country’s entire export product range.

He was speaking to newsmen about the impact of the GSP Plus on the country’s exports on Tuesday.
“The GSP Plus will facilitate the textile and apparel chain to diversify their product mix. Those products in which we do not have a competitive advantage will now be competitive vis-à-vis India and China due to zero tariffs,” he said. “However, the textile and apparel chain will also be required to upgrade their machinery and produce better quality products.”

He added that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had made the trade-not-aid slogan a reality. “The prime minister has delivered on his promise to the people of Pakistan to improve their economic prospects by achieving market access abroad for the country’s industries.”
read more.
thenewspk

 GLOBAL

* Uncle Sam’s Sweatshops:

The American government has pushed retailers like Walmart and Gap to demand better working conditions at factories in the developing world that make their merchandise.

But it turns out that the government, which buys more than $1.5 billion of clothes from overseas factories, does not follow its own advice.

Factories in Bangladesh, Haiti, Cambodia and elsewhere that make uniforms for federal workers often violate basic labor standards, according to a report in The Times by Ian Urbina. (Most American military uniforms are made in the United States.)
One Cambodian factory that makes clothes sold on Army and Air Force bases has employed children as young as 15. A factory in Bangladesh that makes uniforms for the General Services Administration beats workers to keep them in line.
read more.
NYT

TIME20140101

05:48:49 local time map of china CHINA

* Low Ethiopian labor cost attracts Chinese investors:

More companies are shifting part of their production lines to the African nation to save money and also tap new markets, Yao Jing reports

China’s active involvement in Ethiopia’s infrastructure, such as construction of roads and bridges, has been in the spotlight. Recently, Chinese investors’ rising interest in the plateau country’s labor intensive industries – a mixture of leather, steel and automobiles – is coming into sharper focus.

Against a background of rising labor costs and risky excess capacity in the domestic manufacturing sector, some Chinese producers are shifting part of their production lines to Ethiopia to lower costs and also tap new markets.
(…)
Two-way trade between China and Ethiopia jumped 56.3 percent to $1.84 billion in 2012. China’s major exports to Ethiopia were mechanical and electrical products, textiles and garments, while Ethiopia was mainly shipping sesame, leather and cotton to China, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
(…)
“We can make 1.5 million pairs of shoes every year. Most of them are exported to the United States and Europe.
read more.
chinadaily

05:48:49 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* No wage increase seen soon:

Despite the recent increases in the prices of basic commodities and utilities, workers may have to wait a bit longer this year for wage increases, according to officials of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

In an interview, Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) has not yet monitored any supervening condition that could be used to justify an immediate wage increase.
The NWPC oversees all Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards (RTWPB).
Under NWPC rules, regional wage boards could only raise the prevailing minimum wage one year after a previous wage order took effect.
read more.
MBnew

04:48:49 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Key policies come into force since January, 2014:

A large number of new policies and regulations influencing the entire socio-economic life will become effective in January, 2014.

Supreme law of Viet Nam
With 11 chapters and 120 articles (one chapter and 27 articles fewer than the previous version), the amended Constitution comes into force on January 1, 2014.
The document inherits and develops the basic principles and contents of the 1992 Constitution such as the State organization model, the socialist-oriented market economy, as well as land reclamation in favor of socio-economic development.
However, the new Constitution also consists of new contents. Accordingly, the Party closely connects with the people, serves the people, works under the supervision of the people and is responsible for the people on its decisions.
Higher minimum wage
Since January 1, 2014, the monthly minimum wage for employees increases to between VND 1.9 million (US$ 89.3) and VND 2.7 million (US$ 128).
Under the four region-based minimum wage levels, the minimum wage is VND 2.7 million (US$ 128) in Region I; VND 2.4 million (US4 114) in Region II; VND 2.1 million (US$ 100) in Region III, and VND1.9 million (US$ 90) in Region IV.
Accordingly, the new minimum wage is higher than the previous rates of VND 250,000-350,000 (US$11.8-16.5).
read more. & to read.
GOV VN DTI

* Vinatex begins building of textile project in Hai Phong:

The Vietnam Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex) has started construction of a textile complex in An Lão, a rural district of Hai Phong, the third largest city in Vietnam.
The textile complex will have spinning, weaving, dyeing and sewing facilities. It will also have sewage treatment plant and housing for workers, Vinatex said on its website.
Hai Phong City People’s Committee has urged the Department of Planning and Investment, Construction, Resources and Environment, People’s Committee of An Lao district to create the most favorable conditions for Vinatex during project implementation stage.
read more.
fibre2fashion

04:48:49 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

20140101 $160
“Solidarity for #MW160KH”

* Extra $5 ‘won’t woo workers’:

20140101 PPP Garment-Strike
Garment workers gather at the Ministry of Labour during a protest yesterday in Phnom Penh. Photo by Vireak Mai.

Striking garment unions balked yesterday at the Ministry of Labour’s announcement that it would raise garment workers’ minimum monthly wage to $100, well short of the $160 they demand.

Leaders of the six union groups representing striking workers generally saw the notification of a $5 bump to the ministry’s mandated $95 wage as a sign that the government is amenable to further raising wages, but said the amount is not enough to end the ongoing nationwide strike.

“The government’s decision to increase the minimum wage to $100 is a good sign for the workers,” Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW), said yesterday. “But they want more than $100.”
(…)
After the Labour Ministry’s Labour Advisory Committee last week landed on $95 for the garment sector’s 2014 minimum wage, union groups – including the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU), the Free Trade Union (FTU), the National Independent Federation Textile Union of Cambodia (NIFTUC), the Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW), the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions and the Cambodian Confederation of Unions (CCU) – walked off the job.

The ministry’s modest wage rise yesterday marked a distinct change of tone from Monday, when it threatened legal action against union leaders if the strike did not end by tomorrow. But the offer did little to persuade strikers to leave the picket line and return to workstations, CCU president Rong Chhun said.
“Increasing the minimum wage to only $100 does not fulfil the demands of workers and unions,” Chhun told the Post.

C.CAWDU vice president Kong Athit said strike demonstrations would halt temporarily today, but resume tomorrow, when workers will protest in front of their respective factories.

In raising the minimum wage offer at all, the Labour Ministry has sent the wrong message to strikers and their unions, said Ken Loo, secretary general of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia.
“First of all, it came as a total surprise.… It undermines everything we’ve done before and is saying it’s OK to ignore the set rules and regulations [regarding strikes] and you’ll be rewarded,” Loo said. “Our perception is it will not solve the problem. In fact, it will make it worse.”

Along with garment workers, teachers will soon join the strike, said Chhun, who also serves as president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association (CITA). At CITA’s annual conference yesterday Chhun announced that teachers would also take their grievances to the streets beginning on January 6.
read more.
PPP new

* Amid Strikes, Minister Raises Minimum Wage to $100:

A week after workers began nationwide strikes over the government’s decision to raise the garment sector minimum wage by $15 to $95, the Ministry of Labor announced Tuesday that it would now increase the monthly wage by an additional $5, to $100.

However, the leaders of six nongovernment aligned unions, who have led thousands of garment factory workers in demonstrations this week demanding a $160 minimum wage, rejected the $100 offer.

In a statement signed by Labor Minister Ith Sam Heng, the government also announced that the wage raise for garment workers must be implemented beginning in February, rather than April, as was initially planned for the $15 increase.

In the past nine months, the government has increased the minimum wage in the garment sector by 64 percent, from $61.
Prak Chanthoeun, director-general of the General Department of Labor Conflict at the Ministry of Labor, said that the additional $5 raise was made in order to appease striking workers, who have held mass demonstrations for the past two days in front of the ministry on Russian Boulevard.
“His Excellency Minister [Ith Sam Heng] made the decision to change the minimum wage because he wants to stop the protests,” Mr. Chanthoeun said.

Morm Nhim, president of the National Independent Federation of Textile Unions in Cambodia, said the offer fell short of $160 per month.
“We see that the government has relaxed its stance toward finding a solution, but we cannot accept this decision because the increase was very small,” Ms. Nhim said.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Authority will not use forces to crackdown on protesters: Governor:

Phnom Penh governor Pa Socheatvong said that authorities will not use forces to crack down on protesters.

“Talk is the only choice to find solutions,” said the governor.
read more.
CAMHERALD

* Workers out, deadlines loom:

As mass garment strikes enter a second week, fast-approaching buyer deadlines have manufacturers fretting about transport costs and mounting bills.

At least two of Cambodia’s hundreds of garment manufacturers, which ceased operations last week after workers walked off the job demanding a 100 per cent wage increase, will consider paying more than three times their usual transport costs to meet due dates and avoid late penalties.

Nam-Shik Kang, the managing director of Injae Garment Co in Phnom Penh, said manufacturers are expecting to have to fork out thousands of extra dollars to send their shipments by air freight instead of by ship to meet the looming deadlines and avoid penalties. This scenario, however, is still contingent on workers returning to finish off orders for shipment, an unlikely prospect in the short term.
read more.
PPP new

$160 We Need

03:48:49 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* RMG workers stage demo in Gazipur:

Declaring a work absence from 8am, the workers stage a demonstration in the factory in pursuit of higher wages

Workers at Quader Synthetic Limited, a ready-made garments factory in the Konabari area of Gazipur, staged a demonstration on Wednesday.

Declaring a work absence from 8am, the workers staged a demonstration in the factory in pursuit of higher wages.
The workers said the owners had assured them an increase in their wages by Tk1000 from December. However, the authority had put up a notice with a different wage structure on January 1.
Earlier, the male workers of the factory were getting Tk3,250 while the female workers were receiving Tk2,800.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Some garment makers may delay new worker wage as troubles linger:

Many garment owners may not be able to pay workers under the new wage structure from January as money flow in the sector has been squeezed by the ongoing political impasse, industry insiders said yesterday.(Tuesday)

Garment makers plan to delay implementation of the new salary structure by 15-20 days, as they will not be able to implement it in one go.
“I think 60 percent garment factories may be able to implement the new salary scale timely and the remaining 40 percent may fall behind,” said Shahidullah Azim, vice-president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
More than 3.5 million workers are employed in nearly 4,000 active garment units, according to data from BGMEA.
“But the garment makers must implement the salary structure, even if there is a delay, as it was finalised by the government,” he said.
The flow of work orders also began declining as political chaos is scaring off international retailers, he said. “The volume of orders has been declining since March.”
“We hoped we would implement the new salary scale with increasing prices from the retailers. But the retailers are now reluctant to increase prices,” he said.
According to a government decision, garment makers will have to implement the salary structure from December, meaning, most workers will receive the salary by January 7.
read more.
daily star bd

* Challenges ahead of RMG industry:

The country’s garment sector, which faced a series of hurdles in 2013, embraces New Year 2014 today with some challenges including an uncertain political situation and compliance of enhanced wage structure, industry insiders said.

Besides, the revival of the suspended GSP facility in the US market, safeguarding the same benefit in the EU and meeting growing pressure on ensuring workplace safety and labour rights in the industry are among other challenges, they said.

The apparel makers, however, expressed their fears that if the political instability prolongs, the country’s largest foreign currency-earning sector might face a major blow in the months ahead.

Though the apparel sector, despite having such odds, witnessed a considerable growth by 20 per cent during the July-November period of 2013-14 fiscal, the growth, according to exporters, might decline in the coming months.

However, 2013 was a totally eventful year for the country’s garment industry as some deadliest industrial accidents including the fire at the Tazreen Fashions and the Smart Garment and the collapse of Rana Plaza came into focus both at home and abroad. At least 1,137 people, mostly garment workers, were killed and several others injured due to the Rana Plaza collapse alone.

Not only the news on Bangladesh’s apparel industry dominated both the local and international media almost throughout the year but also the international community including the labour right groups raised questions about safety measures of the country’s apparel units.
read more.
FE bd

* Toughest year yet robust growth:

The RMG in 2013 witnessed several incidents including Rana Plaza disaster

The country’s readymade garments industry was stated to have passed the toughest ever year in 2013 since it started growing in 1980s.

The year faced worst ever fire incident and deadliest ever factory building collapse, followed by cancellation of Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) by the US authorities and repeated threats by global apparel buyers to cancel orders.

Despite the adversities that also include prolonged political unrest, exports rose substantially thanks to demands stimulated by low cost production mainly due to cheaper labour, who eventually won an announcement for increased wages.

“It was a year of nightmare,” said Anwarul Alam Chowdhury Parvez, former president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).

Bangladesh witnessed several incidents including Rana Plaza building collapse, fire at Smart Garment, Aswad Composite Knitting Limited throughout the year that killed over 1,144 workers and nearly 3,000 sustained injuries.

The Rana Plaza building collapse following Tazreen Fashion fire incident raised question among the buyers about the factory safety and workers’ security, creating an image crisis and thus offering a big challenge to the industry.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* The year of adversity, resilience:

Looking Back 2013 GARMENT SECTOR

20140101 DAILYSTRAR garment-sector

Resilience best sums up 2013 for the garment sector, the country’s main foreign currency earner: hit by one setback after another and yet it managed double-digit growth.

Between January and November, the sector raked in $21.22 billion, up 19.10 percent from the previous year.
Just as the sector was recovering its bruised reputation from the Tazreen fire of 2012, came the fire at Smart Export Garments on January 26, killing eight. And barely three months later, Rana Plaza, an eight-storey building which housed five garment factories, collapsed.
The worst industrial accident in the nation’s history, it put the sector right under the microscope the world over and prompted many international buyers to reconsider their sourcing options and the US to suspend its trade privileges for Bangladesh.
The sector then witnessed labour unrest over wage rise which lasted for months and brought about suspension of production in more than 300 garment factories in Ashulia and Savar.
The agitated workers demanded a 170.5 wage rise but the garment owners were willing to increase their payroll by 20 percent. After protracted negotiations, a salary increase of 77 percent was agreed upon on November 21, which restored normalcy to the sector.
read more.
daily star bd

            THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE

* Not of human but of cows, OC about Rana Plaza bones:

Human bones that are being recovered by locals and former workers of the ruined Rana Plaza are actually ‘cow bones’, claimed Savar Model Police Station officer-in-charge Mostafa Kamal on Tuesday.
The OC, however, told UNB and other media several times in the past that the police have been receiving human bones that the locals are recovering over the last few days.

“We’ve received four consignments of such bones after the official rescue ended. I can’t exactly tell you the number of the pieces. We’ve sent those to the DMCH (Dhaka Medical College Hospital) for DNA tests,” he told UNB on December 28 – the day when an assistant superintendent of police (ASP) of the same police station, Kamruzzaman, received some 100 human bones, including human skulls and jaw, in presence of journalists.

ASP Moshiuddoula Reza of the same police station was also quoted by Bangla daily Kaler Kantho in a report published on December 29, saying that ‘over the last few days, street children have been recovering bones, including human skulls from the debris of Rana Plaza.”
read more.
UNB

            THE  TAZREEN FACTORY FIRE

* Arrest order for Delwar, 5 others:

Court accepts homicide charges against 13 over Tazreen fire disaster

A Dhaka court yesterday ordered police to arrest Tazreen Fashions Managing Director Delwar Hossain, his wife Mahmuda Akhter and four others on homicide charges over one of the country’s worst industrial disasters in 2012.

Senior Judicial Magistrate Wasim Sheikh passed the order after he accepted the charges brought against 13 people by Criminal Investigation Department Inspector AKM Mohsinuzzaman in the case linked with the blaze.
Mohsinuzzaman, investigation officer of the case, on December 22, submitted a charge sheet to the court and sought arrest warrants for six of the accused, including Delwar and his wife, as they were on the run.
The four other fugitives are the garment unit’s manager Abdur Razzak, quality manager Shahiduzzaman Dulal, production manager Mobarak Hossain Monju and engineer Mahbubul Morshed.
The court asked the officer-in-charge of Ashulia Police Station to submit a report by February 25 on execution of the arrest warrants.
read more.
daily star bd

* Court orders arrest of Delwar, 5 others:

A judicial magistrate in Dhaka on Tuesday issued warrants for the arrest of six ‘absconding’ accused, including Tazreen Fashions managing director Delwar Hossain and his spouse, after accepting the charge sheet  in a case filed for ‘committing homicide by negligence’ that caused a deadly factory fire on November 24, 2012.

Senior judicial magistrate Wasim Sheikh also asked the officers-in-charge of respective police stations to submit the reports by February 25 on execution of the order.
On December 22, the Criminal Investigation Department pressed charges against Tazreen Fashions managing director Delwar Hossain, and his wife Mahmuda Akhter, also the chairman of factory, and 11 executives.
read more.
BD new age

* Court orders arrest of Tazreen owner, 5 others:

Senior Judicial Magistrate Wasim Sheikh issued the warrants after taking into cognisance the charge sheet filed against 13 people

A Dhaka Court yesterday issued arrest warrants against six fugitive accused including Tazreen Fashions Limited owners Delwar Hossain and his wife, a year after the tragic deaths of over 110 workers at the factory.

Senior Judicial Magistrate Wasim Sheikh issued the warrants after taking into cognisance the charge sheet filed against 13 people.
The court also ordered the investigation officer and the police station concerned to submit a report before the court whether the fugitive people were arrested or not by February 25.
Investigation Officer AKM Mohosin-uz Zaman Khan, also a CID inspector, pressed the charges on December 22.
If the charges filed under penal code – are proved, the accused may be punished by maximum life imprisonment or minimum seven years’ rigorous imprisonment.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

03:18:49 local time map of india INDIA

* Handloom weavers to protest:

Handloom weavers in Karnataka will stage Satyagraha from January 1 against the Central government’s decision to mechanise the handlooms and to replace them with powerlooms, said Prasanna, a Gandhian and convener of Desi, an organisation striving to promote handlooms.

The All India Federation of Handloom Organisations has called for a nation-wide Satyagraha against this move. The weavers in Karnataka have also expressed their support for the protest, he said at a press conference here on Monday.
As part of the protest, awareness meetings will be held in various parts of Karnataka from January 1 to 14. On January 14, a padayatra will be staged in North Karnataka.

The padayatra will commence from Gajendragad in Gadag district and pass through Koppal, Raichur and Bagalkot districts. A distance of 200 kilometres will be covered.
The representatives of weavers’ cooperative organisations, the functionaries of progressive organisations, ecologists, writers and ryot activists will also take part in the padayatra.
read more.
Return to frontpage

* India exports $15bn textiles & apparel in H1 2013-14:

India earned nearly US$ 15 billion through exports of textiles and apparel in the first six months of the current financial year 2013-14, according to the latest data released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
According to the data, India exported US$ 14.935 billion worth of textiles and garments during the first half of the current fiscal year, with the readymade garments accounting for US$ 7.074 billion of the same.
Cotton yarn, fabrics, made-ups, etc. contributed US$ 4.236 billion to the nation’s foreign exchange, while man-made yarn, fabrics, made-ups, etc. fetched US$ 2.431 billion during the six-month period.
read more. 
fibre2fashion

02:48:49 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* ‘All credit goes to APTMA’: Punjab textile industry ends up year 2013 on victory stand:

The Punjab textile industry has ended up the year on victory stand by securing a prominent position on the priority list of the government.

Credit goes to APTMA’s dynamic, promising and vibrant leadership who has convinced the government for maximum gas supply to the Captive Power Plants (CPPs) in order to ensure continuity of production and exports.

All credit goes to Gohar Ejaz, who revived the glory of APTMA as a premier body to the extent that the non-members have queued up to become members without any further delay.
One major success of the APTMA leadership was devising an out-of-box solution for seven days a week gas supply by suggesting hourly-based gas supply instead of fixing it to three of five days a week.
Under this arrangement, the SNGPL was filling the gap of electricity supply to the textile mills across the Punjab. Initially, the SNGPL was supplying gas for 10 hours a day that has now reduced to six hours a day due to extremely cold weather.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

* Exports to EU may soar 29%:

Pakistani products” duty-free entry into the European Union market will commence from January 1, 2014 (today) under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) Plus, notwithstanding the fact that a formal notification will be published in the official journal of the EU on January 16, 2014. Pakistan”s overall exports to the EU are expected to increase by 29 percent as compared to its existing share. Increase in exports of textile products is estimated to be 38 percent against its current volume of exports to the EU.

Pakistan”s current exports to the EU stand about $3.6 billion. This was disclosed by the Minister of State for Commerce and Textile, Khurram Dastgir at a press conference. Secretary Textile Division, Rukhsana Shah gave a detailed presentation on the incentives given to Pakistan under the GSP Plus, challenges and future strategy. “We are expecting $1.17 billion boost in exports to the EU per annum under the GSP plus incentives,” Khurram added.
read more. & read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER daily-times-PK

* Pre-reqs: Pakistan to set up monitoring body for UN conventions:

Pakistan has decided to set up a special working group to track progress on the implementation of 27 conventions of the United Nations (UN) in order to remain eligible for the 10-year duty free access to the European Union (EU).

The group is being set up in the Foreign Office, said Minister of State for Commerce and Textile Industry Khurram Dastgir on Tuesday. He was addressing a press conference to share further details of the GSP Plus incentive that the EU has recently granted to Pakistan.

“At midnight a new door for expanding trade and attracting foreign investment will open for the next ten years,” said Dastgir.
Pakistan has rectified these conventions which mainly pertain to human rights, labour rights, women, children and minority rights and freedom of expressions.
read more.
tribune

TIME20131231

05:48:49 local time map of china CHINA

* Italy- Workers suffer as garment workshops boom:

Shen Jianhe lost both her job and home when Italian police shut down her garment factory in the Tuscan city of Prato.

By day, the 38-year-old mother of four would sew trousers at one of the nearly 5,000 workshops run by Chinese immigrants in Prato, which largely turn out cheap clothing for fast-fashion companies in Italy and across Europe.

At night she slept in a plasterboard cubicle hidden behind a wooden wardrobe at the Shen Wu factory — until the police arrived one cold December morning. They sealed the doors and confiscated the 25 sewing machines under a crackdown on an industry that is booming but blighted by illegality and sweatshop conditions.

Amid rolls of fabric, food leftovers and dangling electric cables lay Shen’s belongings: a pink baby coat, a blue children’s stool, a laptop. She stuffed them into a van, ready to be transported away.

“What choice do I have?” said Shen, tears filling her eyes.

Prato, the historical capital of Italy’s textile business, has attracted the largest concentration of Chinese-run industry in Europe within less than 20 years. As many as 50,000 Chinese live and work in the area, making clothes bearing the prized ‘Made in Italy’ label which sets them apart from garments produced in China itself, even at the lower end of the fashion business.
read more.
HIMALAYAN

* China’s apparel export to Asean up 42% in Jan-Oct’13:

The exports of garments from China to the Asean region increased by 42 percent year-on-year during January-October 2013 period, according to the data released by the China Chamber of Commerce for Import & Export of Textiles, China TexNet reported.
 
In the first ten months of the current year, Chinese garment exports recorded a year-on-year growth of around 12 percent, according to the data.
 
While China’s clothing exports to the EU and the US grew by 9.2 percent year-on-year and 6.4 percent year-on-year, respectively, during the ten-month period, exports to Japan registered a slight dip of 0.2 percent year-on-year, statistics showed.
read more.
fibre2fashion

04:48:49 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

$160 We Need

Take it or leave it offer:

20131231 PPP Garment-work-Strike
A garment factory worker holds a placard during a protest that saw Russian Boulevard blockaded by razor wire and riot police yesterday in Phnom Penh. Garment workers are continuing to strike across the nation, demanding a higher minimum wage. Photo by Vireak Mai.

The government took a hard line against garment-factory strikers after thousands blocked Russian Boulevard in front of the Council of Ministers yesterday, ordering them to accept a $95 minimum wage and return to work on Thursday.

Alleging that six union groups provoked the nationwide strike – which officially began last week when workers were afforded a minimum monthly wage $65 less than they had asked – the Labour Ministry’s notice warned union leaders that the government will pursue legal action if the strike continues.

“The [$95] minimum wage was the decision of the Labour Advisory Committee’s on December 24,” the notice says. “Competent legal authorities will take steadfast legal action against anyone who agitates and disturbs employees and enterprises.”

Ministry officials sent the letter to leadership at the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU), the Free Trade Union (FTU), the National Independent Federation Textile Union of Cambodia (NIFTUC), the Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW), the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions and the Cambodian Confederation of Unions (CCU).

Letters were sent to unions after the Council of Ministers issued a notice to the Labour Ministry, instructing Labour Minister Ith Sam Heng to warn of harsh consequences for union leaders, and to begin legal action against CCU president Rong Chhun.
“If they do not want to stop their strike, we will suspend their license,” reads the letter, which was signed by Council Secretary Ngor Hong Ly. “If they continue striking, we will cancel their licenses; and if they still continue then, we will sue them in court.”
But because his confederation is not registered with the Labour Ministry, Chhun will face immediate legal action, the letter says.

Upon hearing of the order, Chhun told the Post that striking will continue.
“The ministry only ordered this because they do not have the ability to resolve the issue for the workers,” Chhun said. If workers had no problem with the Labour Advisory Committee’s decision last week, they would not have begun the strike in the first place, he added.
read & see more. (video).
PPP new

* Gov’t Unveils Legal Plan to Break Garment Industry Strike:

As mass demonstrations by garment factory workers continued Monday, the government laid out plans to bring an end to the labor unrest within the next three days, including suing union leaders in the courts and mobilizing security forces to take unspecified action.

The Council of Ministers sent a letter to Labor Minister Ith Sam Heng on Monday recommending that if demonstrations don’t stop, the leaders of five nongovernment aligned unions leading the strikes should have their licenses revoked and be brought to court, while the leader of a sixth unlicensed union should be prosecuted in court immediately.

Signed by Council of Ministers’ Secretary of State Ngor Hongly, the letter offers a five-step plan to the Ministry of Labor for how to deal with the nationwide strikes.

If union leaders do not immediately stop their demonstrations, the Labor Ministry should revoke their union licenses. If demonstrations continue, the letter suggests that union leaders should be brought to court.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Some Factories Stay Open Despite GMAC’s Call for Shutdown:

Some garment factories opened their doors Monday morning despite a notice on Sunday from the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) that all factories should stay closed until the government and striking unions guaranteed their safety.

In an open letter on Sunday, GMAC accused six unions—all known to not be aligned with Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling CPP—of inciting their members to damage factory property and of coercing workers to join their protests for higher wages. GMAC said all 400-plus factories in the association would close, or stay closed, until those unions and the Labor Ministry could assure their safety.

In another statement Monday, GMAC said some factories had stayed open, but only because many workers were urging them to.

“On the morning of December 30, some members of the association who were requested by the workers to return to work and earn salary as usual forcibly opened operations under the request of the workers with hopes to support their living and their families,” GMAC said in the statement.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Hundreds of anti-riot forces deployed as workers continue to block road:

Thousands of protesting footwear and garment factory workers, who demand minimum wage be increased to $160 per month, continue to block the road in front of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training on Tuesday.

The wage protest resumed at the ministry, after wage talks held yesterday between union leaders and government representatives failed.

During the protest, factory employee representatives shouted their demand for the resignation of Labor Minister Ith Sam Heng if he fails to find a solution to their wage crisis.

Hundreds of anti-riot forces were seen being deployed near the ministry where the workers are rallying.
read more.
CAMHERALD

* Cambodian garment workers demand higher wages:

20131231 DW

Tens of thousands of people have marched on the streets of Phnom Penh, demanding that long-serving Prime Minister Hun Sen resign. Many were garment workers, who walked out last week in a dispute over the minimum wage.

The peaceful march on Sunday, December 29, headed by opposition leader Sam Rainsy and his deputy Kem Sokha, was the largest of its kind in over a decade. Phnom Penh’s streets rang with calls for Hun Sen to quit, something that would have been unthinkable even a year ago.

The movement to unseat Hun Sen, who has been at the helm of one of the world’s most corrupt nations for nearly three decades, is being led by the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP).
read more.
DW

* In Cambodia, pressure mounts on a longtime leader:

Cambodian garment factory workers Then Any and Vong Pov aren’t showing up for work anymore. They make pairs of jeans sold in American stores at prices per pair higher than their $80 (48.40 pounds) monthly income and struggle to make ends meet.

It sounds like an all-too familiar story of labour disputes in one of Asia’s poorest countries, but this time it’s different. Their strike has taken on a new significance and is presenting a rare challenge to one of the world’s longest-serving leaders, Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The pair are just 18 and have only basic education, but are among 350,000 new and powerful allies of a political opposition seeking a re-run of a July election they say was stolen from them by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP).
Huddled behind barbed wired fences and stared down by riot police outside Hun Sen’s offices are hundreds of factory workers demanding a doubling of wages and threatening to shut down roads and cripple an industry worth $5 billion a year.

“I can’t feed myself,” said Then Any, as workers hurled water bottles towards police lines.
Vong Pov added: “Factories must give us a raise, otherwise, we will strike continuously.”

Instrumental in courting support of disgruntled workers who make clothes and footwear for brands like Adidas, Gap and Nike is Sam Rainsy, whose once-impotent party reinvented itself this year to tap resentment and present Hun Sen with an unprecedented electoral challenge.
read more.
EURONEWS

* Cambodia garment workers: Double minimum wage! :

Garment workers in Cambodia demonstrate in late December, demanding a doubling of the minimum wage from $80 to $160 a month.

Union leaders say more than 300,000 workers in 120 factories across the country went on strike this week in response to the Dec. 24 announcement by the government’s Labor Advisory Council that the minimum wage will be raised to $95 in April 2014 and with annual increases to $160 in 2018. Union federations are demanding an immediate raise to $160.

Workers have staged a record number of strikes this year, most of them centered on demands for higher wages. According to the Garment Manufacturers Association, there were 131 strikes from January through November, up from 121 for all of last year. Adjusted for inflation, wages today are at the same level as 2000.
read more.
MILITANT

* ILO expresses ‘significant concern’ over labor unrest:

The International Labour Organisation expressed Tuesday “significant concern” over Cambodia’s labor unrest and called for an immediate halt to violence and property destruction.

“The economic fallout from the  protests and the industry’s response to them may impact significantly on the industry’s revenues while tarnishing the country’s reputation among international buyers,” the ILO said in a statement.
read more.
CAMHERALD

* ILO urges dialogue to resolve current dispute in garment sector:

The ILO Country Office for Thailand, Cambodia and Lao PDR is closely following
developments in the garment industry in Cambodia, particularly in relation to recent industrial unrest.

The current disruption within such an important sector for the Cambodian economy is a cause for significant concern. The economic fallout from the
protests and the industry’s response to them may impact significantly on the industry’s revenues while tarnishing the country’s reputation among international buyers. As Cambodia’s largest industrial sector, accounting for some US$5 billion per year in exports, and some 400,000 jobs, the risks arising out of the current situation are significant for a sector which continues to operate in an intensely competitive international environment.
Resolving the current situation will require support from all stakeholders, workers, trade unions, government and business and its representatives. The ILO urges all of these actors to maximise efforts to find a resolution to the situation. We strongly encourage all parties to intensify these efforts through channels based on the principles of social dialogue and tripartism.
read more in PDF:20131231 ILO CMB resolve dispute in garment sector1.
ILO DECENTWORK

* Industry demands government ‘action’ to protect investment, jobs:

The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) called Tuesday for government action to protect private investment and jobs from continuing labor unrest.

In a statement, GMAC also appealed to the six labor leaders it named Sunday to refrain from linking private investors to their political dispute with the government.

“The Royal Government and politicians have a role to protect and create an investment climate that is favorable to the investors in the private sector so that more jobs could be created to support the development of the national economy and help reduce poverty in the country,” the statement said.
read more.
CAMHERALD

04:18:49 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

* Talks begin on minimum wage:

The Ministry of Labour has met Mandalay employers and workers to solicit advice on the setting of a minimum wage in the region.

Speaking at the meeting at Kanaung Hall in Mandalay Industrial Zone on December 24, director general U Myo Aung said the ministry wanted the minimum wage to be fair for both employers and workers.

“If the minimum wage rate is so low, the workforce won’t be satisfied and if the minimum wage is too high, employers can’t afford to pay staff and may even have to close their businesses. We are now surveying their opinion and taking their advice to set the right rate,” U Myo Aung said.
read more.
MMtimesnew

03:48:49 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

Will new wages better their life? :

Deprived, frustrated and frightened, the apparel sector workers have apparently been cushioned by the increased wages being implemented from this December.

The damage caused to the victims and survivors of the factory disasters in 2013 was huge and irreparable.
The workers are now trying to heal their wounds inflicted by those accidents and hope to live a better life with the raised salaries.
“New wage will definitely improve my life. We wish to live a better life as do other people,” said Sumaya, a worker of IDS Group’s garment factory in Mirpur, Dhaka.

Her salary has increased to around Tk8,000 per month from Tk5,000.
Sumaya, abandoned by her parents who are a broken couple, lives with her grandmother at a shanty room in the city.
Over 40 lakh workers employed in the country’s RMG sector had nothing other than the announcement of a new wage structure to raise their hopes of living during the outgoing year.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Clothing Brands Sidestep Blame for Safety Lapses:

From a sleek gray distribution center near Barcelona, the global fashion brand Mango ships 60 million garments in a year. Automated conveyor belts whir through the building like subway lines, sorting and organizing blouses, sweaters and other items to be shipped around the world. Human hands barely touch the clothes.

Five thousand miles away in Bangladesh, the Phantom Tac factory in the industrial suburb of Savar was a hive of human hands. Hundreds of men and women hunched over sewing machines to produce garments in an assembly line system unchanged for years. Speed was also essential, but that just meant people had to work faster.

Last spring, as it pushed forward with global expansion plans, Mango turned to Phantom Tac to produce a sample order of polo shirts and other items. Then, on April 24, the Rana Plaza factory complex collapsed, killing more than 1,100 people in the deadliest disaster in garment industry history, and destroying Phantom Tac and other operations in the building.

Now, eight months later, the question is what responsibility Mango and other brands should bear toward the victims of Rana Plaza, a disaster that exposed the murkiness and lack of accountability in the global supply chain for clothes. Under intense international pressure, four brands agreed last week to help finance a landmark $40 million compensation fund for the victims.
read more. & read more.
NYTdaily star bd

* Three more months’ time sought for recruiting extra 200 inspectors:

The government needs three months more to complete the process of its recruitment of additional 200 inspectors for garment factories, as per the suggestion from the European Union (EU) Sustainability Compact, sources said.

The labour ministry at a meeting Monday informed the representatives of the EU, US, Canada, the Netherlands, Sweden and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) about the requirement of additional time for the recruitment.

Earlier, the Compact set December 2013 as the deadline for recruiting 200 additional inspectors, as part of the efforts to ensure regular visits to apparel factories and assess their required compliances and working conditions including occupational and health safety.
Held at the state-guest house-Padma-in the city, the secretaries of foreign, commerce and labour ministries were present at the meeting from the government’s side.

According to meeting sources, the meeting discussed issues relating to the progress so far made in the country’s readymade garment (RMG) sector aiming at revival of the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) in the US market and sustaining the same benefit in the EU and Canadian markets.
They said the diplomats stressed on the speedy implementation of the issues that are yet to be done as recommended by the US Action Plan and the EU Sustainability Compact.

“We have tried to recruit 200 additional inspectors by December but could not,” labour secretary Mikail Shipar said.
“We have also informed the foreign diplomats and their representatives in Monday’s meeting about it,” he told the FE after the meeting.
read more.
FE bd

* 200 factory inspectors to be appointed by March:

The government needs three more months to appoint 200 factory inspectors, labour ministry secretary Mikhail Shipar told five western ambassadors on Monday.

The government was scheduled to complete by December, the appointments, a key aspect of Bangladesh Action Plan given by the US for restoring the country’s GSP status.
The labour secretary informed the ambassadors about the progress in addressing the compliance issues at a meeting at the state guest house Padma.
Later, Shipar told reporters that he informed the envoys that the government had appointed 39 inspectors and the rest would be appointed by March.
‘Diplomats reviewed the progress made in the implementation of the Action Plan and other issues for improving factory working condition and workers’ rights in the apparel industry,’ said Shipar.
The envoys pressed for the immediate and full implementation of the Bangladesh Action Plan,’ Shipar told New Age later.
‘We informed them about the progress achieved in five months including amending the labour law,’ he said.
He said that the envoys expressed their satisfaction over the progress achieved in some issues.
But they wanted to know about some other issues in which very little progress was achieved, Mikail added.
read more.
BD new age

* Facing competition in RMG export sector :

With the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) facility set to be given to Pakistan by the European Union (EU) from January 01 next, Bangladesh is most likely to face yet another hurdle to maintaining its position as a lucrative source of procurement, particularly of apparel items, for the EU buyers.

One more country will join the market that may squeeze Bangladesh’s exports. A FE report published last Saturday said Pakistan is likely to take a larger share of Bangladesh’s apparel export orders enjoying similar duty- and quota-free status. Pakistan is otherwise likely to enjoy an upper hand because it is a cotton producer while its backward linkage industry is also reportedly strong.
It is thus expected to gain in areas of exports of other products, too, as the EU on December 12 granted it GSP plus status, giving preferential duty access for a total of 3,500 products including textiles. Pakistan will sell its products in the 27 countries that form the EU under such facilities.
read more.
FE bd

* Insulating RMG from political turmoil:

Bangladesh export trade is heavily dependent on a few products like ready-made garments (RMG) including woven and Knit, home textile, jute and jute goods, leather and leather goods and frozen Fish.

Among them, RMG itself earns more than 80 per cent of foreign currency. Major destination of our RMG is the European Union (EU) and achievement of export target of Bangladesh mainly depends on the export of RMG to EU.
But it is a matter of grave concern that due to ongoing political turmoil foreign buyers, especially EU buyers, are shifting their export orders to other countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, India and Laos. In addition to that, recently the EU has granted GSP (generalised system of references) facility to Pakistan which will be effect from January 2014.
Pakistan has strong backward linkage and it has also expertise in this sector.
read more.
FE bd

              TAZREEN FACTORY FIRE

* Arrest warrants against Tazreen owner, 5 others:

A Dhaka court on Tuesday issued arrest warrants against six fugitive accused including Tazreen Fashions Limited owner and his wife, a year after over a hundred workers were burned alive in the factory.

Dhaka Senior Chief Judicial Magistrate Washim Sheikh issued the arrest warrants against the accused after taking into cognigence the charge sheet filed against 13 people.
Meanwhile, the court also ordered to submit a report on whether the fugitive people were arrested or not by February 25.
Earlier on December 22, Investigation officer, CID Inspector AKS Mohosin-uz Zaman Khan, filed the charges at the court of Dhaka senior Chief Judicial Magistrate Washim Sheikh.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE BD new age UNB theindependent

* Arrest warrant issued against Tazreen Fashions Chair, MD  :

A Dhaka court on Tuesday took into cognizance a case filed with Ashulia police station against 13 people including Tazreen Fashions Managing Director Delwar Hossain, accusing them of burning to death 112 people in a devastating fire that erupted at Tazreen Fashions Ltd more than one year ago.

However, the court did not fix a date for hearing over the homicide charges brought against the accused. At least 112 workers were killed and many injured as the members of security staff allegedly locked all the exits of Tazreen Fashions Limited in Ashulia near Dhaka, after a fire broke out at the ready-made garment (RMG) unit in November, 2012, according to private TV channels.
to read.
FE bd

* Court accepts homicide charges against 13:

A Dhaka court today took into cognisance the 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 112 workers, mostly women, were killed and scores wounded in the country’s worst industrial blaze at Tazreen Fashions Ltd in Ashulia on the outskirts of the capital on November 24 last year.
Senior Judicial Magistrate Wasim Sheikh accepted the charges against the 13 accused after scrutinising the case documents.

If convicted, the accused could face a maximum punishment of life imprisonment or minimum seven years in jail, said Investigation Officer AKM Mohsinuzzaman Khan, after submitting charge sheet in the case before the Dhaka Chief Judicial Magistrate’s Court on December 22.
The court also issued arrest warrants against Delwar, his wife and also Tazreen Chairman Mahmuda Akter, and four others who were shown as fugitives in the charge sheet.
read more.
daily star bd

03:18:49 local time map of india INDIA

* Shutdown looms as wage hike hits industry hard:

When the labour ministry decided to increase minimum wages in Haryana by more than double the amount currently offered, it was almost certain to be controversial.

While labour unions praised the step as a ‘progressive’ one, to many it still smacked of political point scoring. On the other side, industrial community has squarely opposed it.

As per the scheme, minimum wages for the unskilled category stand revised to Rs 8,100 from January 1, 2014; a clear jump from Rs 5,342 so far. “It can have a bad effect on industrial growth and employment opportunities,” said Deepak Maini, general secretary of the Industrial Development Association, Gurgaon. He said that the wage hike can only compound the economic worries of small industries, and that higher costs for labour in present conditions will lead to a large-scale “shutdown of industrial units in Haryana.”
read more.
TOInew

TIME20131230

04:48:49 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* CNRP calls a timeout:

After garment workers swelled turnout at the opposition’s ongoing demonstrations yesterday to what some estimated to be double the number seen at any previous rally, party leadership announced a weeklong moratorium on the marches.

Demonstrators will continue to assemble at Freedom Park each day, said Cambodia National Rescue Party MP-elect Mu Sochua, hours after protesters took to the streets yesterday. But instead of marching, protesters will hold “peoples’ conferences” – during which they will be allowed to speak freely onstage – each day from 4:30pm to 6:30pm.

“We can block a road whenever we want,” said Sochua, who added that the weeklong respite in marching will give the ruling Cambodian Peoples’ Party until January 5 to mull over a proposal CNRP members sent them on Saturday for the two parties to begin negotiations. “It has to come to the negotiation table; I don’t think we can avoid each other.”

The number of protesters marching yesterday appeared to exceed last Sunday’s estimated 100,000 people, with demonstrators continuing to demand the government increase the minimum monthly garment wage to $160 next year, rather than $95, which the Labour Ministry set last week.

In response to the growing strike, the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) yesterday said that it had no choice but to close factories until the issue was resolved.

In an open letter from GMAC, the factory association warns its 473 members that protesters could pose a danger to workers and factory property.

“[GMAC] would like to inform all stakeholders that our industry is unable to continue operations given the current situation,” the letter reads. “The illegal and violent actions of … six trade unions … as well as their apparent impunity by the Ministry of Labour have left us with no other option but to close.”
read & see more. (video).
PPP new

* Factories Closed Until Safety Guaranteed:

The Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC) on Sunday said all of the country’s 400-plus garment factories will remain closed until the government and striking trade unions can guarantee the safety of the factories and all employees who want to work.

The decision, outlined in an open letter GMAC released after a meeting of its board Sunday morning, will effectively halt the country’s largest export industry, which generated a critical $5 billion in revenue during the first 11 months of this year.

Dissatisfied with a $15 raise in the monthly minimum wage to $95, which the government approved for all garment workers last week, some unions have stepped up their strikes and protests, demanding a doubling of their wages to $160. One protest on the outskirts of Phnom Penh turned violent on Friday when workers briefly clashed with police, leaving windows smashed and at least three protesters bruised.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Garment industry blames six unions for mass factory shutdown:

The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) has blamed a factory shutdown on “illegal and violent activities” by six trade unions, warning that they will be held fully responsible for losses in wages, jobs and investment.

“Our industry is unable to continue operations given the current situation,” GMAC said in an open letter dated Sunday.

The association said it had tried its best to keep operating in an “extremely difficult business and economic environment” over the years. “We have also had to put up with numerous illegal strikes and militant behavior of some trade unions.”
read more.
CAMHERALD

* Wage talks kick off without employers:

Wage re-negotiations for footwear and garment factory workers commenced on Monday, without factory employers, to end Cambodia’s widespread protests and strikes by factory workers.

Thousands of factory workers were seen gathering outside the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training where government representatives and union leaders are currently holding the talks.

GMAC (Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia) had announced on Sunday that they would not attend Monday’s wage talks.
read more.
CAMHERALD

* Wage talks fail again, protests resume:

Wage talks held Monday morning by representatives from the government and trade unions yielded no results leading to the announcement by the six unions to continue their strikes and protests throughout the country to continue their demand for USD 160 per month

However, other trade unions warned to hold counter-protests against the protests led by the six trade unions.
“It gets very risky if wages rise to $160 per month,” Chuon Momthol, leader of the pro-government Cambodian Union Federation (CUF), told reporters after this morning’s wage meeting.
“I dare to say that at least 80 percent of all factories operating in Cambodia will be closed except for the larger ones,” he said.
read more.
CAMHERALD

* Thousands protest after failed wage talks:

Thousands of protesting workers have blocked the road in front of the Office of the Council of Ministers after Monday morning’s failed wage talks.

Hundreds of anti-riot police forces and barbed wires were deployed at the site where workers have gathered.
The protest erupted after the wage talks between union leaders and government representatives yielded no results.
Factory employers refused to attend this morning’s wage talks.
read more.
CAMHERALD

201312310 M

“We are protesting for #MW160KH not against police” worker said.
Photo by

* Cambodian Government warns to take strong action against widespread strike provokers:

The government today warned to take tough actions against those who provoke troubles for the operation of the garment manufacturers and the daily work of the workers.

“The factory employers shall resume operation and the workers shall go to work as usual on 2 January,” said the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training in its statement today aft the collapse of minimum wage talks this morning.
The ministry added that “Competent authorities will take tough actions in accordance with the laws against provokers who troubles the factories and workers”.
The ministry also said that the minimum wage (USD 95) shall be based on the decision of the 24 December.
read more.
CAMHERALD

05:48:49 local time map of malaysia MALAYSIA

* DAP urges govt to review minimum wage for foreign workers:

To ensure the country remains competitive, the DAP is urging the government to review the implementation of the minimum wage for foreign workers in Malaysia.

Party secretary general Lim Guan Eng (pix) said many small medium enterprises (SMEs) were forced to pay local workers higher salaries to stem unhappiness that their pay was to be on par with foreigners.
He said this development added to the cost of doing business which could be reflected by the increase of prices in goods.
“For this reason, there should be a review of extending the minimum wage to all workers by giving a grace period of five years to allow SMEs to adjust before including foreign workers,” he said in a statement today.

The minimum wage policy comes into force on Jan 1 next year with RM900 set for the Peninsular and RM800 for Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan.
read more.
sundaily

03:48:49 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Little progress in online submission of RMG sector UD certificates:

The National Board of Revenue has again asked the apparel manufacturers and exporters associations for submitting utilisation declaration certificates online so that the customs officials can identify counterfeit UD certificates instantly and prevent duty evasion, officials of the revenue board said.

They said that many dishonest business houses were forging UD certificates and evading duties in import of raw materials under bonded warehouse facility.
Officials of the customs houses and land customs stations cannot instantly check the authenticity of UD certificates and are bound to release even suspicious imported consignments that intensify the risk of duty evasion, they said.
read more.
BD new age

* Sustaining the growth of RMG sector:

For a few months we have been receiving hardly any good news. Amidst the prevailing dread, our garment sector continues to enliven our hopes.

Despite the political turmoil, the baggage of tragic Rana Plaza and Tazreen incidents, followed by prolonged workers’ strike, garments exports performed significantly well with about 21 per cent increase in July-November this year over the performance in the same period last year. It was even 5.0 per cent higher than the target.
This undeniably deserves a big applause! The cost of transportation to Chittagong port through roadways has mounted 600 to 700 times during the current political crisis, and therefore the reliance on air cargo has gone up sharply.

Bangladesh had excellence in textile industry for thousands of years.
The country used to produce the finest fabric of the world called muslin.
The present textile and garment making in the country, though not a continuation of the past legacy because of dynamic technological changes in manufacturing, product development and marketing, has placed the country at the forefront of the global industry.
Currently, Bangladesh is the second largest exporter of readymade garments. Figures below present a view of the performance of the RMG sector in recent times as well as that of other important products:

Total exports have also gone up during this period, averaging 18 per cent change compared to that of the previous year. It also exceeded the overall export growth target by about three percentage points.

The change in November 2013 over November 2012 was even higher, more than 25 per cent. Knitwear topped in terms of export volume ($4.9 billion) followed by woven garments ($4.75 billion).
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FE bd

* ‘Involve private sector to fullest possible extent’:

The growth story of the readymade garments sector in the country is well-known. Export of the RMG has been an unquestioned growth driver both in exports and formal sector employment.

“This success has been spectacular,” said Chairman of Power and Participation Research Centre and former Adviser to the Caretaker Government of Bangladesh Dr. Hossain Zillur Rahman.

Some eminent figures are usually singled out in this field. KDS Group Chairman Khalilur Rahman is one of those few. He is one of the leading industrialists of the country, one of those few entrepreneurs who have built up a complete manufacturing system of all accessories required in the garments industry.

It was his mission since the beginning of his journey and he has accomplished it successfully. That success has brought him and his company a reputation in the US, Canada, Europe, Middle East, Far East, Japan, Scandinavian countries and the South Asian sub-continent.

The annual turnover of the KDS Group is Tk. 50 billion and nearly twenty five thousand employees ranging from the senior-most executives to workers are in the Group’s payroll.
read more.
FE bd

02:48:49 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Three killed as mill’s boiler explodes:

A boiler explosion at a textile mill on Sargodha Road on Thursday night left three labourers dead and 13 burnt.

The district officer (environment) on Friday sealed the three boilers of the mill and the police took into custody some employees for interrogation.
A Rescue 1122 team was informed that a boiler of Dawood Export had exploded, leaving more than 15 workers injured. Later, Zahoor and Sohail were found dead on the spot. The rescue employees shifted the injured to Allied Hospital.

The injured were identified as Ishaq, 45, Abdul Ghafoor, 40, Kamran, 30, Sajjad, 35, Sarfraz, 50, Sharafat, 40, Ghulam Rasool, 50, Boota, 25, Usman, 20, Waqas Inayat, 18, Abdul Sattar, 30, Rooban Bashir, 25, and Dildar, 45.
The rescue team provided first-aid to another worker, Asif Aslam, 30.
read more.
DAWNnew

* Using local cotton can save $500 million foreign exchange: PCGA chief:

Spinners and textile millers and value-added industry required more than 2 million cotton bales to meet the demand of European Union after granting the GSP plus status and hoped that cotton rate would further go up in a couple of weeks.

Ginners are ready to meet the demand of local industry as had unsold stock of 19,71,849 bales and there was no need of import of cotton from abroad.
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BUSINESSRECORDER

* Seminar on ‘Status of GSP plus for Pakistan’ held:

Syed Muhammad Ahsan Shah, Chairman of All Pakistan Bedsheet and Upholstery Manufacturers Association (APBUMA), has urged upon the PML-N government to negotiate to the US administration for granting duty free access to Pakistani products in American markets so that Pakistan could enhance its exports to European Union as well as the United States.

Delivering his speech at a seminar on “Status of GSP-plus for Pakistan” jointly organised by TDAP and APBUMA here on Sunday.

Chairman of APBUMa said that product-codes of 210 textile items were not available in the Pakistan customs tariff. Only 949 items were part of the customs tariff. Government should immediately revise the custom tariff so that 1159 products could be exported to European Union as admissible in the GSP-plus status.
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BUSINESSRECORDER

* MKRMS, UNDP, GCU Faisalabad hold seminar:

‘GSP-Plus to boost textile exports by 30pc’

GSP-Plus to Pakistan from the European Union is a good omen which will increase the textile exports by 30 per cent, however, still there is a need to take steps to counter the challenges being faced by the garments industry.

These views were expressed by the speakers at a seminar titled ‘GSP-Plus Status: Imperatives for Garments Industry in Pakistan’. The seminar was jointly organised by the Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman Memorial Society (MKRMS), the UNDP and the Government College University Faisalabad. MKRMS Chairman Wasif Nagi hosted the seminar, while H Awan, Ali Imran and Shahzad Rauf assisted him.

Federal Parliamentary Secretary and MNA Muhammad Talal said that the country had received the GSP-Plus status due to efforts by the government. “Textile products will get an access to 27 EU countries after the GSP-Plus status. It will increase the exports by US$1b in addition to one million new jobs.

The government has taken revolutionary steps to get full advantage of the GSP-Plus status,” he claimed. Faisalabad Commissioner Akram Javed said the maximum benefit of the GSP-Plus status would be achieved if the garments industry produced international standard products. He said that the industrialists should start internship programmes for the youth.

He hoped that the GSP-Plus status would create a new international market for Pakistani products and help reduce the trade deficit, which would have a positive impact on the country’s economy.
read more.
thenewspk

02:48:49 local time map of uzbekistan UZBEKISTAN

* New spinning plant opened in Jizzakh region of Uzbekistan:

A new plant for production of yarn, created on the basis of LLC Jizzakh Kentex, was opened on December 28 in the administrative center of Jizzakh region, reported 12uz.com portal.

The plant worth $12.1 million is equipped with the newest equipment Desen Orme Tekstil Tie. Ve San.AS (Turkey, contract amount – $1 million) and Rieter Machine Works LTD (Switzerland, 4.2 million euros).
According to the press service of the city administration of Jizzakh, half of the production of the plant with capacity of 7.5 thousand tons of yarn will be exported.

Uzbek-German joint venture Jizzakh Plastex for $47 million was opened in Jizzakh in September 2013. The company can process 12,000 tons of cotton fiber and 10,000 tons of yarn, as well as 12.5 million pieces of finished jerseys per year. Level of processing of cotton is planned to be increased from current 9% to 68.5% by 2017 in Jizzakh region. 243 industrial plants totaling $340 million are scheduled for implementation in 2013-2015. In addition, construction of 21 industrial enterprises will start in 2014 in special industrial zone Jizzakh.
to read.
CA-NEWS eng

TIME20131228-29

05:48:49 local time map of china CHINA

* Turkey overtakes China as biggest US cotton buyer:

Turkey has overtaken China as the biggest buyer of US cotton, US data showed on Friday, as Chinese buyers have boosted their purchases of lower-taxed yarn and cut back on buying raw cotton.

Continuing a five-months-long trend since the Aug. 1 start of the 2013/14 crop marketing season, data for the week to December 19 showed Turkey was the top buyer. It bought 83,400 bales of upland cotton, double that of China. Turkey’s renewed appetite for US fibre has been a pocket of strength as US traders and growers worry that a decision by Beijing, reported on Friday, to dismantle its three-year stockpiling programme will erode foreign demand and hurt prices.
to read.
FE bd

05:48:49 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* Unemployment still big, wages small in 2013 – KMU:

Providing a recap of the situation of Filipino workers in 2013, national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno said today that unemployment in the country remained high while workers’ wages remained meager throughout the year.

KMU said that despite the Gross Domestic Product’s growth in 2012 and projected growth this year, unemployment remains high. It was reported in the 3rd quarter of 2012 that unemployment in the country is one of the highest in Asia and has remained unchanged for the past 10 years.

The Oct. 2013 Labor Force Survey shows that unemployment dropped only slightly to 6.5 per cent from 6.8 per cent in Oct. 2012, while underemployment dropped to 17.9 per cent from 19 per cent in Oct. 2012. These are meager reductions especially in the light of the increasing number of youths entering the labor force.
“The Aquino government continues to be a failure in solving unemployment and underemployment. This is bad news for workers as capitalists, especially the big ones, exploit high unemployment to try to make workers accept lower wages, contractual employment and violations of union rights,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

The labor center said that the P10.00 wage increase this year in Metro Manila fails to make a dent on the growing gap between the minimum wage and the Family Living Wage. Independent think-tank Ibon Foundation puts the FLW at P1,051 as of Aug. 2013 – a far cry from the P436 basic wage in Metro Manila, the highest in the country.
(…)
“The wages of the country’s workers show that development is only for big capitalists and not for the common tao. They also show that the Aquino government and big capitalists remain uncaring, if not ruthless, towards workers,” Labog said.
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KILUSANG MAYO UNO

04:48:49 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Supply chain key to textiles growth:

20131228 VNNews
Workers put the final touches to clothes at the French-owned Scavi Hue Garment Company in the central province of Hue. Garment and textile exports are growing at 18 per cent annually, with the foreign sector chalking up 30 per cent growth. — VNA/VNS Photo Danh Lam

Viet Nam can significantly increase exports of garment and textiles if it joins bilateral free trade agreements and multilateral ones like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but only if it can set up a robust supply chain.

The problem has dogged the industry for nearly 20 years but remains unresolved despite local firms’ efforts to create the chain.
Three-fourths of the country’s 3,000 garment and textile companies are domestically owned, but they account for a mere 25 per cent of exports.
FDI firms have invested in setting up their own supply chain to take advantage of incentives, resulting in immense value addition for them and profitability.
Garment and textile exports are growing at 18 per cent annually, with the foreign sector chalking up 30 per cent growth and their local rivals, 8 – 10 per cent.
read more.
VNNews new

04:48:49 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

20131228 * Workers Block Roads, Vow Further Strikes:

Thousands of striking garment factory workers blocked two major thoroughfares in Phnom Penh on Friday, demanding that the government raise the minimum wage to $160, instead of the $95 figure that was decided upon earlier this week.

An official at the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) said that the majority of more than 400 factories in the association remained closed on Friday in order to protect their workers and work sites from potentially violent elements in the demonstrations.

Beginning in the morning and continuing late into the afternoon, groups of striking workers demonstrated in front of the Ministry of Labor and Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone (SEZ), blocking traffic along Russian Boulevard and National Road 4.

More than 10,000 workers once again joined supporters of the opposition CNRP in Freedom Park for the 13th straight day of demonstrations calling for fresh elections and the removal of Prime Minister Hun Sen—and an increase of the minimum wage to $160.
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Cambodia_Daily_logo

20131228 * Violent clash as garment strike intensifies:

A nationwide garment worker strike intensified yesterday with at least one violent clash, even as authorities and Ministry of Labour officials agreed to continue negotiations with labour unions and industry officials on Monday.

More than 1,000 strikers blocked Russian Boulevard in front of the Labour Ministry yesterday, as union groups continued to demand a minimum monthly wage of $160 for garment workers next year – rather than the $95 announced Tuesday – and six additional points including a daily $3 food allowance for all workers.

Garment workers currently earn a minimum wage of $80, which includes a $5 health bonus.

A meeting of six union groups and Labour Ministry officials yesterday ended with no resolution, but the unions – the Free Trade Union (FTU), the Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW), 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) – will gather again Monday morning at the ministry for a negotiating session with the the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC), said C.CAWDU president Ath Thorn, who attended this afternoon’s meeting.

Monday’s meeting appears to be a sincere effort on the government’s part to renegotiate the $95 minimum wage, said Dave Welsh, country director of labour rights group Solidarity Center.
“I’m pretty confident that they’re looking to renegotiate the minimum wage they announced,” Welsh said after the meeting.
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PPP new

20131228 * Workers continue block of NR 4:

Thousands of factory workers on Saturday continue to block National Road four located in the district of Por Senchey, on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.

Anti-riot police forces were seen being deployed at the Special Economic Zone, to maintain order and provide security for workers and the residents of the area.
The angry garment factory workers have blocked the road since Friday in their quest for a pay raise of $160 per month.
Violence broke out that same day after military-police officers tried to chase the protesters from the area in order to alleviate traffic and open up the road.
The officers also fired warning shots into the air after irate workers threw rocks at them.
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CAMHERALD

20131228 * Defense Minister Warns Protesters Against Blocking Streets:

Striking garment factory workers and protesting CNRP supporters should respect people of other nationalities and make sure they act within the boundaries of the law, Defense Minister Tea Banh said Thursday.

Speaking at an opening ceremony for three new Royal Cambodian Armed Force science laboratory buildings, General Banh said that demonstrating is legal, but protesters should not block roads, and he accused the opposition of racism for its stance toward Vietnam.
“The CNRP has incited Cambodian people to hate other races of people,” Gen. Banh said. “Vietnam is very important, and we should remain friendly together as we have been for a long time.”
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

20131229 * Cambodia’s GMAC says garment industry unable to continue operations due to illegal strikes:

The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) on Sunday issued a statement, informing all stakeholders that the industry was unable to continue operations because six trade unions have conducted illegal and violent actions against factory property and forced workers out of work.

“Since Dec. 25, six trade unions have staged illegal and violent actions including destroying factory property, inciting workers to strike, and forcing workers to stop their work as well as their apparent impunity by the Ministry of Labor have left us with no other option but to close,” the statement said.

Garment sector, the country’s largest foreign currency earner, consists of about 500 factories employing some 510,600 workers. The industry earned 5 billion U.S. dollars in the first eleven months of this year.

The six labor unions with the pro-opposition tendency have led tens of thousands of garment workers to go on strikes since Wednesday after the government decided to raise a monthly minimum wage in the garment sector to 95 U.S. dollars from the current 80 U.S. dollars, but those trade unions disagreed with the new wage hike and demanded the government to force the GMAC to double worker’s wage to 160 U.S. dollars from 2014.
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XINHUAnet

03:48:49 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

20131228 * Yarn mill, shops burnt:

A cotton yarn mill and several shops have been burnt down at a market in Kishoreganj’s sadar upazila.

The fire began at a cotton yarn mill and then it spread to 14 other nearby shops at 9:45pm on Thursday, say firemen.
The blaze had been put out after one and a half hours of fire fighting, said Prannath Saha, deputy director at Kishoreganj fire service.
The fire might have started from an electric short circuit, he said.
All the shops along with goods were burnt down. Among the goods were yarns, clothes, shoes and groceries, said Kamrul Hasan, president at Borobazar Businesspersons’ Association.
Losses were estimated to be around Tk 30 million, he said.
to read. & to read.
BD new age daily star bd

* B’desh factory disaster makes little change in way of shopping:

The world’s worst garment industry accident had ripple effects beyond Bangladesh in 2013, as the fatal building collapse turned a lens on poor conditions endured by workers and brought fresh focus to production practices used to create affordable goods, reports the Canadian Press.

More than 1,100 people died in the April 24 tragedy at the illegally constructed Rana Plaza. Items created for Canadian label Joe Fresh were among those manufactured on-site, but a number of other clothing makers were also housed in the complex.
Joe Fresh brand owner Loblaw Companies Ltd joined several retailers in signing a pact to improve fire and building safety in Bangladesh. In October, the company said it would provide short-term financial support to all workers or dependents of New Wave Style (which produced Joe Fresh items) and plans to join with British retailer Primark to provide financial assistance to workers of all retailers in the factory plaza.

While there have been corporate reforms in the aftermath of the tragic incident, whether there will be a long-term impact on how consumers shop remains uncertain.
‘Ultimately, what it’s going to come down to is that industry needs to make these changes so that consumers can still shop with the convenience and the ease that they’re used to — just knowing that the brands that they’re buying from have cleaned up their act — and that they’re making their clothes in an ethical environment,’ said Kelly Drennan, founder of Fashion Takes Action, a Canadian non-profit focused on sustainability within the fashion industry.
‘It’s chicken and egg. Are consumers going to change the way they shop and then that’s going to dictate if industry changes? Or will industry change first and then consumers will just be buying stuff without even knowing it was made ethically? That seems to be more the way it’s going.’

Bob Chant, senior vice-president of corporate affairs and communications for Loblaw, told The Canadian Press the company was moving ahead with short-term compensation plans and has plans for long-term compensation as well.
Ethical Ocean general manager Jonathan Fishbein said coverage of the factory collapse has been able to help shoppers better understand how supply chains work.
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BD new age

* RMG orders worth $3.77m cancelled in December:

Foreign buyers have cancelled orders worth $3.77 million so far this month, as garment manufacturers failed to make shipments on time due to repeated strikes and blockades.

A survey of 31 factories conducted by Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association during December 1-26 found that 20 factories faced order cancellation.
During the period, 24 exporters spent $1.15 million on air shipment to meet the deadlines, according to the survey.
In addition, 20 factories saw price cuts worth $1.72 million as foreign buyers did not receive their products on time.
Shipment delays cost 28 exporters $7.83 million, while vandalism cost 13 factories $2.3 million during the blockades and strikes.
“Order cancellation is not a good sign,” said Shahidullah Azim, acting president of BGMEA.
Forty percent of the orders have either been cancelled or shifted to other countries, he said. “Once the buyers leave the country, they will never come back.”
read more.
daily star bd

* RMG building manual finalised:

‘We have already assessed 120 buildings. Findings will be placed to the labour ministry soon’

National Tripartite Committee (NTC) finalised a guideline for assessing structural integrity and fire and electrical safety of the country’s readymade garment buildings.

It was finalised at a meeting on November 19, which was presided over by Labour Secretary Mikail Shipar.

The meeting was attended by representatives from International Labour Organisation (ILO), Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), Fire Service Department, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufactures and Exporters Association (BKMEA).

The guideline is applicable only to the existing RMG factories, and those to come will follow Bangladesh National Building Code.

As per the guideline, minimum 25% of factory building rooftop will have to be kept open now. But gradually the whole rooftop will have to be made open.
The travel distance between persons in stairs will be maximum 60 metres while the minimum width of a stair will be 0.9 metre.
Sprinkler system is not mandatory and alternatives are adoptable.
The factories will carry out fire drill in every three months and the fire extinguishers must be placed at a distance of maximum 75 feet.
The staircases must be closed by swing doors and the doors will be fire rated.
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DHAKATRIBUNE

* Tripartite body relaxes some BNBC, fire act clauses:

The National Tripartite Committee has prepared an operating manual for assessing structural integrity and fire and electrical safety of readymade garments buildings, allowing relaxation in some laws of the Bangladesh National Building Code and the fire act.

EU Accord and North American Alliance recently signed an agreement on the operating manual of common standards.
A source involved with the process told New Age that the operating manual had been prepared based on the BNBC and others laws of the land, but the NTC allowed relaxation in some existing laws for the inspection of the existing factory buildings.
He said that the committee set 60 metres of travel distance for a worker up to stairs.
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BD new age

* No fresh investment in woven textiles in last four years:

Woven textile industry has failed to grow in the country as there was no fresh investment in this sector in the last four years, mainly because of EU’s introduction of ‘single stage’ rule, sources said.

Data shows that local textile industry capable of meeting the entire woven textile need yet still here in the exporters continue to remain dependent on imported fabrics for 70 per cent of their requirement.
The local woven textile producers are currently meeting only 30 per cent fabric demand of the RMG exporters. Still 70 per cent market is dominated by imported fabrics, industry sources said.
Earlier, during the EU-provided ‘two-stage transformation processes – local fabric and local cutting and manufacturing – there was a boom in textile sector.
read more.
FE bd

* Fate of SEZ for textile sector in Kushtia hangs in balance:

The fate of the special economic zone (SEZ) for the textile sector in Kushtia is now hanging in the balance as the project implementation period has already elapsed due to complications in land acquisition, according to sources concerned.

The Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC), the project implementation authority has failed to implement the project as they failed to acquire land in time.
Deputy General Manager of BSCIC project management and implementation division Begum Hosnee Ara told the FE that they have taken steps to revise the project which is now awaiting Planning Commission’s (PC) approval.
“We faced the problem of land acquisition for the project as price was much higher than we estimated. And according to the revised detailed project proposal (RDPP), the project cost will increase more than 5 times,” she said.
She said as the PC does not approve any project now, they have to wait for new government for getting approval.
read more.
FE bd

* Pakistan set to grab larger share of Bangladesh’s RMG exports to EU:

Pakistan is set to grab a larger share of Bangladesh’s apparel export orders as the European Union (EU) grants after getting the generalised system of preferences (GSP) facility from next month, industry insiders said.

Industry circles expressed their concern that Pakistan is going to enjoy the benefit at a time when the readymade garment (RMG) industry of Bangladesh is struggling hard to survive amid ongoing grave political turmoil.

The recent political crisis in Bangladesh has already given a negative signal to the EU member-states and many of them are looking for alternative destinations for a smooth supply of products. Pakistan might become a lucrative competitor for Bangladesh-made apparel products, they pointed out.

Earlier, on December 12, the EU granted GSP plus status to Pakistan coming into effect from January. The status will provide Pakistan duty-free or preferential duty access for a total of 3,500 products including textiles.

“Pakistan will emerge as a new competitor of Bangladesh as it will also enjoy the GSP benefit in the 27-nation bloc from January 2014,” Reaz-Bin-Mahmood, vice president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) said.

The GSP is one of the main factors for buyers to place orders in Bangladesh, Fazlul Hoque, former president of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) said. Pakistan will also avail the same benefit  triggering a strong competition.
read more.
FE bd

* Garment exporters face tough times as Pakistan gets European GSP:

Competition is set to intensify for Bangladesh’s apparel sector as the European Union has granted trade privileges to Pakistan.

The duty waiver scheme, known as generalised system of preferences, will come into effect for Pakistan from January 1 and will apply to 75 products, mostly garments. It ends in 2017.
Bangladeshi garment makers said the duty privilege will boost Pakistan’s exports by $1 billion a year to the EU market, which now consumes 60 percent of Bangladesh’s total garment exports.
At present, Pakistan exports garments worth more than $6.1 billion to the European bloc, and once the duty benefit takes effect, Bangladesh will have to compete with Pakistan in the market.
Under the same scheme, Bangladesh as a least developed country enjoys complete duty waiver from the EU for all products except arms.
Without GSP, Bangladesh would have to pay 12.5 percent duty on its $12.57 billion garment exports recorded last year.
read more.
daily star bd

* TICFA a launching pad for mutual cooperation:

Bangladesh has signed the much-talked-about Trade and Investment Co-operation Framework Agreement (TICFA) with the US after more than a decade of wrangling with the Shakespearian hesitation ‘to be or not to be’ from the Bangladesh side.

It is hoped that the signing of the deal in Washington on November 25, 2013 will raise chances of Bangladesh getting back duty-free access to the US market for its products after the suspension of the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) trade privileges. Bangladesh is currently the 59th largest goods trading partner of the US with $5.4 billion in total bilateral goods trade during 2012.
read more.
FE bd

* Rushanara for urgent action for BD RMG workers ‏:

Rushanara Ali MP called for urgent action to improve the conditions of workers in Bangladesh who make clothes sold in the UK after a series of deadly accidents in the country.

Rushanara Ali, appearing on BBC Radio Five Live recently said clothes should have a “kite mark” to let shoppers know they have been made safely and fairly.
Speaking after the interview, Ms Ali said: “Urgent action is needed to address labour conditions in the garments industry.
She also said: “This is crucial to prevent the future loss of life and investment.”
read more.

* Export earnings from jute, jute goods drop drastically:

Export earnings from jute and jute goods declined drastically in July-November period of the current fiscal year (FY) due to the sanction on Iran and price cuts of the products, industry insiders said.

Exporters also linked political turmoil in the Middle East and economic gloom in Europe to the sluggish demand of the natural fibre.

According to data available with the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), export earning from the second largest foreign currency earner after apparel fell by 25 per cent over its export target for the period and by 19.8 per cent compared to the same period of the previous FY.

“We are passing through hard times in almost all export destinations. Export earnings both in terms of value and volume have declined,” a director of Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) that oversees the state-run jute mills told the FE, preferring anonymity.
read more.
FE bd

* Warm clothes collected for cold-hit people:

English medium school students under the auspices of Footsteps with its 300 volunteers on Friday were collecting warm clothes in the capital city’s Gulshan and Banani area for climate-hit people of Northern districts.

Launching the warm cloth collection programme in the morning from Gulshan Road 118 plot 20, coordinator of Footsteps Shah Meem Rafayat Chowdhury, who is an A Level student of Scholastica, thanked the volunteer students of different schools for joining this humanitarian effort of the youth to help redress discomfort of the cold-hit people of the Northern Bangladesh as an adverse impact of runaway climate change.
read more.
BD new age

               TAZREEN GARMENT FACTORY FIRE

* Arrest Tazreen MD within a week: NGWF:

20131228 NEWAGE
National Garment Workers Federation on Friday forms a human chain in front of the National Press Club demanding immediate arrest of the owner of Tajreen Fashions Delwar Hossain. — New Age photo (2)

Leaders of National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF) on Friday demanded the arrest of Tazreen Fashions’ Managing Director Delwar Hossain within seven days on charge of ‘killing’ 112 workers.

NGWF leaders warned that garment workers will march towards the Prime Minister’s Office in support of their one-point demand if it goes unheeded.
The ultimatum came from a workers’ rally held in front of the Jatiya Press Club in the morning with Federation President Amirul Haque Amin in the chair.
On December 22, police pressed murder charges against 13 people, including Delwar Hossain, in a case over the devastating fire that killed 112 workers and injured many others in November last year.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
UNB BD new age newstodayBD BD new age

              THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE

* More human remains found:

Human remains have been unearthed again from the rubble of Rana Plaza in Savar yesterday.(Friday).

This time at least 13 human bones, including three chest bones, three leg bones and three finger bones, were recovered by street urchins scavenging the debris of the collapsed building. This is the fifth time that human remains have been found in just two weeks.
Md Khalid Khan, sub-inspector of Savar Model Police Station, said “We have collected the bones and will take necessary steps after holding discussion with higher-ups.”
On Thursday, at least 20 human bones and a broken skull were found in the rubble of Rana Plaza.
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

* Over 100 human bones found at Rana Plaza ruins:

Police on Saturday retrieved over 100 human bones and broken skulls from the debris of Rana Plaza at Savar, eight months after its collapse.

Street boys recovered the human remains and informed the police.
ASI Kamruzzaman of Savar Model Police Station said they have collected the bones and will take necessary steps after discussions with the higher authorities.
Rana Plaza, the nine-storey complex, collapsed on April 24, killing at least 1,134 people and leaving several hundred injured and maimed.
Officer-in-charge of Savar police station Mostafa Kamal said more human remains were recovered from the site four times earlier this month.
to read.  & to read. & to read.
UNB FE bd BD new age

* More human bones coming out from Rana Plaza ruins:

Locals, ex-workers call for recovery of ‘bones form mass graveyard’

Seven and a half months after the closure of the official rescue operation at Rana Plaza collapse site in April, human bones are coming out in numbers over the last few days, thanks to the curiosity of a few locals, particularly children, surviving workers and relatives of the missing workers who dared crossing the barbed enclosure put there at the end of the official rescue.

On Saturday, more than 100 pieces of human bones were recovered and handed over to the police by the locals, following four such consignments earlier this month.

“Bones are coming out almost with every scrap on the surface of debris. Skulls are coming out, jaws and little finger pieces. To me, it’s nothing else but a ‘baddhabhumi’ (slaughtering ground) or ‘ganakabar’ (mass graveyard),” Jiarul Islam, a worker of Phantom Apparels who survived the collapse, told UNB at the site on Saturday.
read more. & read more.
UNB DHAKATRIBUNE

03:18:49 local time map of india INDIA

* 10 hurt in cylinder blast at powerloom:

Three textile workers received severe burn injuries while seven others sustained minor ones in a LPG cylinder blast in a powerloom on Udhna-Magdalla Road on Friday. The blast took place during the chemical processing of fabrics.

Sources in the fire and emergency services of Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) said that the accident took place on the second floor of the three-storey powerloom located at Swamy Industrial Estate.

The textile workers were busy with the chemical processing of the fabrics in a gas-based boiler when there was a blast in the LPG cylinder due to some leakage. All the workers on the second floor including the owner of the power loom Hitesh Chandu Rotliwala received burn injuries. Rotliwala jumped off the second floor and fractured his right arm.
read more.
TOInew

* Textile exports to improve in 2014 on rising demand:

The sector in the country is expected to witness improvement as the demand has begun to pick up, according to Dun & Bradstreet India.

“The recent pick up in export demand is expected to improve the fortunes of textile sector in the coming year,” as per Textile Sector Outlook 2014 by Dun & Bradstreet India Senior Economist .

Revival of demand from the US market along with continued weakness of rupee against US dollar is expected to aid in higher export realisation in rupee terms, the report said. In Dollar terms the total value of textile products exported from India touched $33 billion in fiscal year 2013, a decline of 3 per cent compared to previous fiscal.

Lower demand from key markets of the US and EU, which were reeling under recessionary condition was the major reason for the dip in exports during fiscal year 2013.
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BUSINESSSTANDARD 2 Return to frontpage

* GM Crops – What’s all the fuss about:

A quick recap of the intensely fractured debate on GM crops and what the pro & anti arguments are.

After nearly a decade of opposition, Environment Minister Veerappa Moily is finally expected to rule in favour of the contentious GM or genetically modified food crops in India.The Economic Times reports that this will “pave the way for the government to submit an affidavit in the agreeing to of on a conditional basis.”

ALSO READ: The row over GM crops

Since 2005 when filed a public interest litigation asking for a moratorium on the introduction of GM crops, there has been a stalemate on the issue. A 6 member Supreme Court appointed panel was formed last year and submitted its interim report which took into cognizance objections from NGOs.
A final report was submitted in July this year which dropped the 10 year moratorium on field trials of GM crops as suggested in the interim report but imposed several conditionalities and asked for safety and regulatory aspects to be looked into before a nod for related tests could be considered

ALSO READ: Scientists body criticises moratorim on GM crops field trials
Here’s a quick recap on why the debate around GM crops is so fractured and what the pro & anti arguments are –

Anti GM crops
Consisting of farmers, environmental and social activists, this group of people believes GM foods pose potential threats to health and the environment, and their long term genetic impact on human beings could be harmful.
(…)
Pro GM crops
The pro GM foods lobby made up of multi-national corporations and certain sections of the farming community argue that GM crops increase agricultural productivity, and are recognized as safe by international bodies like the and the .
(…)
The Indian Scenario
is the only genetically modified crop whose commercial production is allowed in India. Former Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh put a moratorium on BT Brinjal last year after a study by the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology suggested that a variety of GM corn was causing cancer in rats.
read more.
BUSINESSSTANDARD 2

03:18:49 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* Demand for Lankan leather goods up:

The demand for Sri Lankan made leather goods has seen a sharp increase as a result of rapid development in the local tourism industry and Sri Lanka is planning to increase direct and indirect leather product exports to $ 25 million by 2015.

Sri Lanka is focusing on attracting nitch market buyers while developing local sales to the tourism industry. On a global basis, demand for leather goods are increasing day by day since most of the countries are recovering from recent recession. Colombo district has around 14 tanneries that process rawhide and skins to semi finished leather and finished leather. The production of tanneries is about 28 tones of raw materials per day, Sri Lanka Export Development Board said.
read more.
dailynewsSL

02:48:49 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Reaching highs: Textile exports rebound strongly in 2013:

20131229 TRIBUNE
Major share: $13.1b was the value of textile products exported in FY13, which was 53% of Pakistan’s total exports of $24.6 billion. PHOTO: FILE

The outgoing year 2013 has brought good news for the textile sector owing to the rise in exports and the much-awaited GSP Plus status granted by the European Union just before the close of the year.

With strong fundamentals like stable cotton prices, depreciation of the rupee against the dollar and relatively better gas supply to industries, textile exports rebounded strongly in 2013.

Pakistan exported textile products worth $13.1 billion in fiscal year 2012-13 (FY13), which is 53% of Pakistan’s total exports of $24.6 billion. The exports were higher than FY12 ($12.35 billion) but they were still below the figure of FY11 when the country made record high textile exports of $13.78 billion due to high cotton prices in the world market.
read more.
tribune

* ‘Minimum wages impede job creation’:

Minimum wages impede job creation and cause resentment among workers, experts said.

“In an open economy, market forces determine wages,” said market analyst Benish Toor. She said it is a simple solution for the politicians who try to gain support from masses; but for the documented industries facing high cost of doing business, it is an additional cost that erodes their competitiveness. She said in economies like Pakistan where the unregulated and non-documented sector is the main supplier of employment, it is tantamount to additional tax on the regulated sectors of the economy.

“Moreover, it discourages the documented sector from in-house training of unskilled workers at low cost, as there remains acute shortage of skilled workforce in the country.”

Unfortunately, she added, minimum wage is a bad idea, not only for the economy, but for the low wage workers who forced to have low wages in undocumented sector without any chance of improving their skills during their career.
(…)
M I Khurram, who operates two large composite knitwear units employing over 12,000 workers, said economic truth should not be ignored, while fixing minimum wage. He said when the price of a product is raised, the consumers reduce its purchase; in the same way an employer may be tempted to hire a new worker when the cost is low but would refrain from it if the hiring cost goes high. He said he had stopped recruiting apprentice unskilled workers for in-house skill training ever since the minimum wages started rising.

He said the present government declared in its manifesto to raise the minimum wages to Rs15,000 per month during its tenure from the current level of Rs9,000 per month. He said skilled workforce by that time might be earning much higher, but paying non-skilled workers Rs15,000 would be nightmare for manufacturers when a person with similar skills is employed by non-taxpaying sector at Rs5,000-6,000 per month.
read more.
thenewspk

Textile Policy schemes: government releases Rs 1.34 billion:

The government has released Rs 1.34 billion announced for different schemes and incentives in Textile Policy (2009-14), informed sources told Business Recorder.

The amount was released against Drawbacks on Local Taxes and Levies (DLTL), Export Financing Scheme and Markup Rates, sources said. This was the first release in the current year, where the government has earmarked Rs 7.5 billion in Budget 2013-14 for implementation of different initiatives pertaining to Textile Policy.

No amount was released in the first quarter of the current fiscal year to the Textile Division. Textile Policy, announced in 2009 envisaging $25 billion exports, is going to expire next year. However, the policy failed to achieve the desired results due to multiple reasons, including government”s inability to implement the policy in letter and spirit, lack of power/gas and the global perception about the country”s low production capacity, sources maintained.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

* 900 textile products to be benefited by GSP+ status: Baig:

Out of more than 6000 products falling under duty-free access to the EU markets under the GSP plus scheme, about 900 are textile products, said Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, Chairman Pakistan Denim Manufacturers & Exporters Association (PDMEA).

He was speaking at a gathering in honour of Governor Punjab Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar for the historic achievement of getting GSP Plus status from EU. The Textile exports are estimated to be enhanced by about US $1 billion per annum.

He said the Governor Punjab was truly instrumental in getting this facility for Pakistan. He said the PDMEA is a representative body of all denim manufacturers and exporters of Pakistan producing about more than 600 million meters denim fabric per annum. Our denim fabric is about 65 percent of the total cotton fabric production, he said and added that Pakistan denim industry is the fastest growing industry and has become 3rd largest producer of denim fabric in the world after China and India. Pakistan is called Denim Hub in the world, he said proudly.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

* Pak-EU Business Forum on GSP Plus facility proposed:

Chairman Pakistan Denim Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PDMEA) Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig has proposed Pak-EU Business Forum on GSP Plus facility headed by the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

He said the Forum should consist of Punjab governor, representatives from APTMA, PDMEA, FPCCI and other exporters associations, representatives from Ministry of Commerce and Textile Industries and TDAP to remove all bottlenecks, monitoring product wise export growth and special task to be given to our Commercial Counsellors to market duty free Pakistani products to EU, he added. He said the PM should convene regular meetings of this Forum.
read more. & read more. & read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER DAWNnew daily-times-PK

* GSP+ status: Sarwar advises businessmen to take full advantage:

Governor Punjab Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar advised business community to gear themselves up to take full advantage of Generalised System of Preference (GSP) Plus and improve supply side to fulfil demand in European Union (EU).

Speaking at dinner hosted by Pakistan Denim Manufactures and Exports Association (PDMEA) on Friday at a local hotel, he said Pakistan has the capability to take advantage of GSP Plus despite of facing challenges.
read more.  & read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER daily-times-PK

* Aptma seeks uninterrupted power supply:

Chairman Aptma Punjab S M Tanveer has demanded of uninterrupted power supply to prime users of electricity in textile industry of Punjab.

He lamented that duration of load shedding has been increased to eight hours a day from earlier six hours a day with canal desilting campaign, which has closed down a complete shift of textile mills. It will open up floodgate of unemployment in these mills, he stressed.

He said demand for load of the prime users is only 150MW, which can easily be supplied with provided there is a will to keep industry wheel running. He appreciated the government for ensuring 100mmcfd gas supply to Captive Power Plants (CPPs) of Punjab-based textile industry in the wake of GSP plus status from the EU. He added that the electricity-dependent textile mills are equally important and need uninterrupted power supply, as closing down of capacities of these textile mills might deprive the country an export worth $3 billion.
read more. & read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER thenewspk

 

 

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 :

20140104
CAMBODIA
* Military police storm Freedom Park
* Cambodia clears protest park after deadly clashes
* Peaceful Protesters Expelled from Freedom Park as Military Mobilization Escalates
* Cambodia strike faces deadly crackdown
* Police Kill 5 During Clash With Demonstrators
* Cambodia Must Investigate Protest Killings by Security Forces
* Court Charges Protesters as Supporters, Police Scuffle Outside
* Security Guards, Police Forcibly Clear Freedom Park
* Police disperse opposition rally after deadly clashes
* Phnom Penh Municipality calls on factory workers to return to work
* King requested to convene CPP, CNRP leaders for a summit to end crisis after deadly protest crackdown
* Bloody crackdown: UN condemns live fire, asks to bring violence instigators to justice
* EU calls for dispute parties to return to negotiation table after deadly crackdown
* US urges ‘restraint’ in Cambodia after violence
* Cambodia bans opposition’s protests, citing security concerns
* Khmer Kill Khmer…

BANGLADESH
* Sweater workers not entitled to overtime
* Clash at CEPZ leaves 15 injured
* 10 Ctg RMG workers hurt in clash with cops
* Clash at CEPZ leaves 15 injured
* Workers Clash in Chittagong Export Processing Zone (CEPZ) over implementation of the Minimum Wage 2014 (EPZ)

20140103
CHINA
* China’s textile industry will grow steadily in 2014: MIIT

PHILIPPINES
* Why claims of stellar economic growth, industrial peace, taunt rather than cheer PH workers
* Philippines to grow abaca fibre in typhoon-stricken areas

THAILAND
* Industrial sector faces growing crisis

CAMBODIA
* Crackdown turns deadly
* 4 workers killed in unrest
* Three Killed as Police Open Fire on Protesters
* At least three killed at factory clash
* Rights Worker Claims Five Dead in Clashes
* Civilians killed and injured by security forces amid civil unrest in Phnom Penh
* Cambodia garment workers’ strike turns deadly
* Cambodian Police Fire on Protesters as Clashes Turn Violent
* Paratroopers Deployed at Protest: 15 Detained, Injured
* Cambodian Troops Quash Protest at Garment Factory
* Military Special Command Unit Deployed to Crackdown on Striking Workers
* Arrested protesters sent to Prey Sar prison
* Strike violence erupts
* Cambodian police opens fire on striking garment workers
* Cambodian police open fire on protesters, several wounded
* Human Rights activists and workers ask to release arrested protesters
* Cambodia’s GMAC says factory closures continue due to ongoing strikes
* Cambodia’s garment workers stand firm as sector reels
* Cambodia says outlawed strikes adversely affect investment climate
* Cambodia’s garments to ship piece by piece

BANGLADESH
* Some provisions of building code, fire-related laws relaxed
* Probe body fails to submit report again
* RMG exporters gain from India’s retail boom
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE
* 28 more human bones retrieved from Rana Plaza debris
* Human remains found again in Rana Plaza site

INDIA
* Reform labour laws to boost Indian textile sector – FICCI
* R&D centre for handlooms in Masula on the anvil
* Association demands uniform pricing for cotton across State
* Cotton body keen to work closely with African growers

PAKISTAN
* Chinese group keen to invest in Pakistan’s textile sector
* Additional gas meant for entire export-oriented textile industry: APTMA
* Bleak future of cotton feared: PCGA urges government to ensure supply of certified seeds to growers

20140102
CAMBODIA
* Cambodian troops in riot gear break up strike
* GMAC to suspend garment production until the situation returns to normalcy
* Unions to Bring Demonstrations to Factory Gates
* Workers block many roads in wage strike
* 15 people arrested in wage protest crackdown
* Workers quietly trickle back
* Cambodian garment workers return to work as factories reopen, but striking unions chase workers off work
* ILO urges dialogue to resolve current dispute in garment sector
* Cambodian security forces, striking workers clash, 10 arrested

BANGLADESH
* Worker-cop clash hurt 20 in N’ganj:
* Apparel makers set to pay workers’ wages under new structure from this month
* Living costs soar
* 15 RMG workers hurt in N’ganj crash:

INDIA
* Fire in cotton ginning mill
* Fire destroys spinning mill
* Apparel industry in job push
* Production of textile goods improves
* Higher demand and lower arrivals push cotton prices

SRI LANKA
* Factory workers in hospital after New Year party

PAKISTAN
* GSP+ prospects and distribution of gas: Prgmea challenges Aptma ”hegemony”
* Shaky ground: ‘Want more energy to benefit from GSP Plus status’
* Garment city project: farmers urge chief minister to revert decision of land acquisition
* ‘GSP Plus status to revive Pakistan’s exports’

GLOBAL
* Uncle Sam’s Sweatshops

20140101
CHINA
* Low Ethiopian labor cost attracts Chinese investors

PHILIPPINES
* No wage increase seen soon

VIET NAM
* Key policies come into force since January, 2014
* Vinatex begins building of textile project in Hai Phong

CAMBODIA
* Extra $5 ‘won’t woo workers’
* Amid Strikes, Minister Raises Minimum Wage to $100
* Authority will not use forces to crackdown on protesters: Governor
* Workers out, deadlines loom

BANGLADESH
* RMG workers stage demo in Gazipur
* Some garment makers may delay new worker wage as troubles linger
* Challenges ahead of RMG industry
* Toughest year yet robust growth
* The year of adversity, resilience
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE:
* Not of human but of cows, OC about Rana Plaza bones
THE TAZREEN FACTORY FIRE:
* Arrest order for Delwar, 5 others
* Court orders arrest of Delwar, 5 others
* Court orders arrest of Tazreen owner, 5 others

INDIA
* Handloom weavers to protest
* India exports $15bn textiles & apparel in H1 2013-14

PAKISTAN
* ‘All credit goes to APTMA’: Punjab textile industry ends up year 2013 on victory stand
* Exports to EU may soar 29%
* Pre-reqs: Pakistan to set up monitoring body for UN conventions

20131231
CHINA
* Italy- Workers suffer as garment workshops boom
* China’s apparel export to Asean up 42% in Jan-Oct’13

CAMBODIA
* Take it or leave it offer
* Gov’t Unveils Legal Plan to Break Garment Industry Strike
* Some Factories Stay Open Despite GMAC’s Call for Shutdown
* Hundreds of anti-riot forces deployed as workers continue to block road
* Cambodian garment workers demand higher wages
* In Cambodia, pressure mounts on a longtime leader
* Cambodia garment workers: Double minimum wage!
* ILO expresses ‘significant concern’ over labor unrest
* ILO urges dialogue to resolve current dispute in garment sector
* Industry demands government ‘action’ to protect investment, jobs

BURMA/MYANMAR
* Talks begin on minimum wage

BANGLADESH
* Will new wages better their life?
* Clothing Brands Sidestep Blame for Safety Lapses
* Three more months’ time sought for recruiting extra 200 inspectors
* 200 factory inspectors to be appointed by March
* Facing competition in RMG export sector
* Insulating RMG from political turmoil
TAZREEN FACTORY FIRE
* Arrest warrants against Tazreen owner, 5 others
* Arrest warrant issued against Tazreen Fashions Chair, MD
* Court accepts homicide charges against 13

INDIA
* Shutdown looms as wage hike hits industry hard

20131230
CAMBODIA
* CNRP calls a timeout
* Factories Closed Until Safety Guaranteed
* Garment industry blames six unions for mass factory shutdown
* Wage talks kick off without employers
* Wage talks fail again, protests resume
* Thousands protest after failed wage talks
* Cambodian Government warns to take strong action against widespread strike provokers

MALAYSIA
* DAP urges govt to review minimum wage for foreign workers

BANGLADESH
* Little progress in online submission of RMG sector UD certificates
* Sustaining the growth of RMG sector
* ‘Involve private sector to fullest possible extent’

PAKISTAN
* Three killed as mill’s boiler explodes
* Using local cotton can save $500 million foreign exchange: PCGA chief
* Seminar on ‘Status of GSP plus for Pakistan’ held
* MKRMS, UNDP, GCU Faisalabad hold seminar

UZBEKISTAN
* New spinning plant opened in Jizzakh region of Uzbekistan

20131228-29

CHINA
* Turkey overtakes China as biggest US cotton buyer

PHILIPPINES
* Unemployment still big, wages small in 2013 – KMU

VIET NAM
* Supply chain key to textiles growth

CAMBODIA
* Workers Block Roads, Vow Further Strikes
* Violent clash as garment strike intensifies
* Workers continue block of NR 4:
* Defense Minister Warns Protesters Against Blocking Streets
* Cambodia’s GMAC says garment industry unable to continue operations due to illegal strikes

BANGLADESH
* Yarn mill, shops burnt
* B’desh factory disaster makes little change in way of shopping
* RMG orders worth $3.77m cancelled in December
* RMG building manual finalised
* Tripartite body relaxes some BNBC, fire act clauses
* No fresh investment in woven textiles in last four years
* Fate of SEZ for textile sector in Kushtia hangs in balance
* Pakistan set to grab larger share of Bangladesh’s RMG exports to EU
* Garment exporters face tough times as Pakistan gets European GSP
* TICFA a launching pad for mutual cooperation
* Rushanara for urgent action for BD RMG workers
* Export earnings from jute, jute goods drop drastically
* Warm clothes collected for cold-hit people
TAZREEN GARMENT FACTORY FIRE:
* Arrest Tazreen MD within a week: NGWF
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE:
* More human remains found
* Over 100 human bones found at Rana Plaza ruins
* More human bones coming out from Rana Plaza ruins

INDIA
* 10 hurt in cylinder blast at powerloom
* Textile exports to improve in 2014 on rising demand
* GM Crops – What’s all the fuss about

SRI LANKA
* Demand for Lankan leather goods up

PAKISTAN
* Reaching highs: Textile exports rebound strongly in 2013
* ‘Minimum wages impede job creation’
* Textile Policy schemes: government releases Rs 1.34 billion
* 900 textile products to be benefited by GSP+ status: Baig
* Pak-EU Business Forum on GSP Plus facility proposed
* GSP+ status: Sarwar advises businessmen to take full advantage
* Aptma seeks uninterrupted power supply

latest tweets (& news)

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

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

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

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

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