in the news 4-7 Jan. 2014

TIME20140107

map of asia ASIA

* Protests greet new year in Southeast Asia:

Price hikes, minimum wage disputes and political corruption spark widespread discontent

Southeast Asia was rocked by street protests during the first week of the new year – a troubling preview of the unfolding political and economic crisis gripping many countries in the region.In Malaysia, consumers rallied against the looming price hikes in petrol, sugar and other basic products. In Cambodia, garment workers conducted a nationwide strike to push their demand for a pay hike. In Thailand, anti-government protesters are preparing to “shut down” Bangkok in the next few days.Malaysia
If Bersih (clean) was the battle cry of election reform advocates in Malaysia in the past two years, Turun (“down”) was the rallying call of protesters who joined the annual New Year countdown at Dataran Merdeka park in Kuala Lumpur and used the occasion to denounce the rising cost of living in the country.
(…)
Cambodia
Meanwhile in Cambodia, tens of thousands of garment workers participated in a nationwide strike to press the government to raise the monthly minimum wage to $160 dollars (Bt5,300). The current minimum wage is only $80 dollars, but the labour council is only willing to grant a $15 dollar hike in basic pay. As protests intensified, the government agreed to raise the minimum wage by another $5.
(…)
Thailand
If the Cambodian opposition is already reeling from the recent political clampdown, the opposition forces in Thailand meanwhile are still preparing for their planned occupation of the capital city Bangkok before the end of the month in their bid to topple the caretaker government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
read more.
theNATIONnew

20:57:14 local time map of china CHINA

* Chinese industrial textiles shine in 2013:

Despite the Chinese textile industry showing slow growth rate due to weak recovery in major economies abroad, the industrial textiles segment turned out to be the fastest growing in 2013, mainly because of the policy support for the use of industrial textiles in national infrastructure building, environmental management, health care and other sectors.
The Textiles Industry data from the National Bureau of Statistics shows that from January to August 2013, the growth rate of industrial textiles was 13.7 percent, about 4.5 percent higher than the growth rate of the entire textile industry.
read more.
fibre2fashion

19:57:14 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Textile exports forecast to grow:

20140107 VNNews
Garment products being made at a knitting textile and garment company in Phu Bai Industrial Zone. The textile and apparel industry expects strong growth this year. — VNA/VNS Photo Danh Lam

The Viet Nam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS) expects the export value of the textile and apparel industry to show strong growth this year, an official of the association said.

Le Tien Truong, VITAS’ deputy chairman, told online news ven.vn that according to the global economic forecasts by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the world economy’s outlook is expected to improve in 2014, as large economies, such as the US, the EU, Japan and South Korea, have seen recovery.

An improving global economy will be favourable for Viet Nam, in general, and the local textile and garment industry, in particular, because the county will be able to boost its level of exports to the international markets, he said.
read more.
VNNews new

* Vietnam’s footwear export hits record high in 2013 :

Vietnam’s footwear export hit a record high of $8.3 billion in 2013, up 15.2 percent year-on-year, said Vietnam’s General Statistics Office (GSO) on Tuesday.

Vietnam’s turnover for footwear export was 3.75 percent higher than the set target of $8 billion for 2013, said the office.
In December alone, Vietnam earned 880 million US dollars from selling footwear products to overseas markets, up 18.92 percent- year-on-year, said the GSO.
read more.
globaltimes

19:57:14 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

20140101 $160
“Solidarity for #MW160KH”

* For families of 23 arrested: silence:

20140107 PPP 3-Arrests-Garment-Workers
Seven men detained by military police lay on the ground with their hands bound at the scene of deadly clashes on Veng Sreng Boulevard on Friday. RFA

When Prak Sovanny asked prosecutors where she could find her husband, detained since his arrest at a protest on Thursday, they told her to ask police. When she inquired with police, they insisted that prosecutors, not police, had that information.

Sovanny’s husband, Vorn Pao, president of the Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA), is one of 23 people arrested last week when police cracked down on demonstrations supporting a nationwide garment worker strike. But days after their arrest, which came amid a police shooting that killed at least four, the families of those imprisoned remain unable to contact their loved ones.

“We see the Cambodian government, at the moment, is going away from rule of law,” said Moeun Tola, head of the labour program at the Community Legal Education Center, noting that defendants have a legal right to contact their families. “There is no rule of law; they just claim rule of law.”

The 23 defendants are believed to be at Correctional Centre 3 in Kampong Cham, according to Tola – who said CC3’s chief confirmed this to an associate Tola declined to name – and rights group Licadho, which called the facility “one of the harshest prisons in Cambodia”.
read more.
PPP new

* Minister ‘too busy’ to sit down with unions:

The Ministry of Labour yesterday postponed a planned Wednesday sit-down with the leaders of five union groups participating in a nationwide garment worker strike, saying Labour Minister Ith Sam Heng is too busy.

Signed by the ministry’s Secretary of State Oum Mean, the brief notice was sent to Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU) president Ath Thorn, Free Trade Union (FTU) president Chea Mony, Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW) president Pav Sina, National Independent Federation Textile Union of Cambodia (NIFTUC) president Morm Nhim and Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions president Yang Sophorn.
read more.
PPP new

* Prominent Union Leader rejects talks on minimum wage with government:

Mr. Chea Mony, President of Free Trade Union of Workers of Cambodia (FTUWC) announced today that he would not attend the meeting on January 8 as convened by the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training , arguing that the meeting would be useless as one of the five Union leaders was put under pressure through legal lawsuit, which is a threat against the Unions’ legal rights.

The statement signed by Chea Mony today said that both Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) and the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training should allow workers to go off from work for a while without deducting their wage so as to avoid eventual violence which may affect the workers’ lives and property as a result of authority’s suppression.

On 3 January 2014, the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training invited the leaders of the 5 Unions, including Mr. Chea Mony, Mr. Pav Sina, Mrs. Mam Nhem and Mrs. Yang Sophorn who have been staging protest for a minimum wage of USD 160 to join a meeting on 8 January 2014.
read more.
CAMHERALD

* Video: Workers & Political Activists under Attack in Cambodia:

Year 2014 has opened to a sustained campaign of violence and arrests in Cambodia. This video looks back at events which occurred on January 2,3, and 4, 2014.
See Video report.
licadho

* Flouting Law, Government Holds Protest Prisoners Incognito:

Police and prison officials are refusing to disclose the whereabouts of more than 20 people, including union leaders and political activists, who were arrested during protests late last week, family members of the detained and rights workers said Monday.

Twenty-three protesters were charged with the destruction of property under aggravating circumstances after protests by striking garment factory workers were suppressed by military police on Thursday and Friday.

Moeun Tola, head of labor affairs at the Community Legal Education Center, said a team of defense lawyers from his organization had also been repeatedly denied access to or information about the prisoners, including a 17-year-old who was arrested at Veng Sreng.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Police Block, Search Garment Workers’ Vans in Svay Rieng:

Local police in Svay Rieng province Sunday and Monday set up checkpoints along National Road 1 to stop and search vans carrying garment workers back to Phnom Penh from their home villages.

Has Naly, deputy police chief in Svay Teap district, said police had set up the checkpoints to search workers’ cars for weapons because they were worried the workers would stage another protest over the minimum wage.
“We didn’t stop them from traveling, but we checked their vans to see if they had any weapons,” he said.
“We were worried they would bring them to a demonstration. We wanted to know company names, their positions and the identities of the workers,” Mr. Naly said.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Global labour movement shows solidarity with Cambodia:

At least four Cambodian workers were killed on Friday, and more than 39 others were wounded, when police in Phnom Penh opened fire on a crowd of protesters demanding higher wages.

In addition, at least 23 people have been arrested; their whereabouts remain unknown.
Human rights organisations describe the incident as the worst state violence against civilians in more than a decade.
According to witnesses on the ground, AK-47 rifles were used by armed forces to quell the demonstration.
In an interview with the French news agency AFP, a military police spokesman, Kheng Tito, justified the crackdown, saying nine policemen had been injured by violent protesters. He also said if the strikes were to continue, the situation would turn into “anarchy”.
read more.
EQUALtimes

* ICC complaint to lay shootings at PM’s feet:

The Cambodia National Rescue Party is preparing to file a complaint to the International Criminal Court against Prime Minister Hun Sen over the deadly violence against striking factory workers last week.

CNRP deputy president Kem Sokha told reporters yesterday that the party was working with the families of those killed when riot police on Friday opened fire on workers gathered at Veng Streng Boulevard in the capital’s Meanchey district.
“We are preparing the procedure, and we have enough international lawyers to do this work,” Kem Sokha said, without elaborating.
He added he believed enough evidence had been amassed to sue Hun Sen at the court.
read more.
PPP new

* Wage fight ‘to wound’ key sector:

Garment factories lost out on some $200 million in profits and another $70 million that should have been invested in production since workers walked out on December 25 in a strike for higher wages, according to Van Sou Ieng, president of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia.

Speaking at a presentation yesterday in Phnom Penh Hotel, Ieng said that in addition to missed profits, orders will go down 20 to 30 per cent this year, factories will have to rush through shipments to meet deadlines by using expensive air-freight options, and Cambodia will be thought of as high-risk by global brands, which will reduce prices.

“Now the factories are trying to recover from lost production time to deliver, and I am 80 per cent sure that no factory is making money because all will be shipped by air,” said Ieng, who appeared emotional over the crisis. “Over six months or four months, all the factories will lose money.
read more.
PPP new

* Garment Strike Cost Industry $200 Million, GMAC Says:

The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) said Monday that the recent weeks of labor unrest have cost the industry $200 million and international buyers would likely cut clothing orders by up to 30 percent this year, while the killing of five strike protesters was dismissed as “collateral damage.”

Capping off a week of strikes and protests by garment workers demanding a doubling of the sector’s monthly minimum wage to $160, military police shot dead five and wounded more than 20 outside a Phnom Penh factory on Friday.

Condemned by human rights groups, the U.N. and foreign governments, GMAC Secretary-General Ken Loo on Sunday said the military police’s lethal response to the stone-throwers was “absolutely” appropriate.

At a press conference at the Phnom Penh Hotel on Monday to justify its staunch rejection of the striking workers wage demand, and to call for an end to the strike, GMAC chairman Van Sou Ieng roundly condoned the military police killings, and blamed the deaths on the strikers themselves.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* GMAC worries about departures of investors after labor unrest:

The President of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) warned yesterday that the recent weeks of labor unrest may adversely affect the garment industry in the future.

“If the threat continues, the investors may not dare to invest in Cambodia,” said Van Sou Ieng, GMAC president told a conference yesterday at the Phnom Penh Hotel.
He also said that the garment industry lost USD 200 millions due to recent weeks of unrest, which killed at least five peoples and several days of closure of most of the factories in the Kingdom.
He added wage negotiation has to be held but must be in accordance with law and at a place free of violence/

“Employers agreed to provide USD 95 per month for workers in the last wage talk. However, the government then asked us to increase to USD 100 per month because it wants to help the workers,” he said.
He warned that most of factory employers could not afford if the minimum wage is to increase up to USD 160 per month.
to read.
CAMHERALD

* Apparel brands express ‘deep concern’ over Cambodia violence in open letter:

A clutch of popular global clothing and accessories brand names have sent an open letter to Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen and his Cabinet expressing “deep concern” over the violence of last week, when troops fired at rioting garment industry workers killing five and injuring more than 30.

The letter signed by H&M, Gap Inc, Inditex, Puma SE, Adidas Group, Columbia Sportswear Company and Levis Strauss & Co, was also addressed to Cambodian manufacturers and trade unions.

“We strongly oppose all forms of violence,” the letter, a copy of which was emailed to The Straits Times, said.
read more.
ST

* Stop Seeking Compensation for Damages from Cambodian Workers:

Korean companies in Cambodia appear to be preparing to launch a lawsuit against the leader of Cambodia’s opposition party and the labor unions seeking compensation for damages.They claim they have suffered losses reaching $10 million due to disruptions in production and damage to facilities caused by the union’s strike and demonstrations. It is a lawsuit by the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC), but reports claim that Korean companies are leading such an initiative.
It is inhumane and anti-labor to respond to a poor worker’s request to increase the minimum wage to $160 with a major lawsuit. If it is true that Korean companies are leading such an effort, it is truly embarrassing. It is only right that they stop such an attempt immediately.
read more.
KYUNGHYANGs

China hopes Cambodian parties express demands “legally” after bloody clash:

China called on all parties in Cambodia to express their demands through “legal means” following days of protests in the country.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying made the comment at a daily news briefing when asked about clashes between Cambodian police and protesters, which left at least four dead on Friday.
“We hope they can solve problems through friendly consultations and maintain social order and peace,” Hua said.
Friday’s garment worker protest on the outskirts of Phnom Penh turned violent. The clash between the protesters and police left four strikers dead, 26 injured and 11 arrested.
read more.
globaltimes

* Military Police Deny Their Bullets Killed Five Protesters:

A spokesman for the military police said Monday that there would be no investigation into the killing of five stone-throwing protesters and the wounding of more than 20 on Friday in Phnom Penh’s Veng Sreng Street, and that the military police had behaved “ethically” when they opened fire.

Brigadier General Kheng Tito said military police—who were witnessed firing AK-47 assault rifles and killing and wounding protesters on official orders—were “very ethical.”
Brig. Gen. Tito also claimed that it was unclear who had shot the five protesters.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Government Finds Deniability in District Security Force:

When the government violently cleared Freedom Park of protesters on Saturday morning, sending in more than a hundred men armed with metal bars and wooden batons, it didn’t use the police.

When a group of five anti-eviction activists were dragged off the street Monday morning and bundled into a van and driven to the Phnom Penh municipal prison, it wasn’t the police either.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Cambodia defends deadly crackdown on protests:

Striking workers go back to work as government official says opposition’s actions made police to crack down on protest.

Cambodia’s government has defended its violent crackdown on anti-government protesters and striking garment workers as the ruling party marks what they call the victory day over the Khmer Rouge regime.

“The Cambodian People’s Party will do whatever to defend the constitution and the royal government of Cambodia that was formed through an election,” Heng Samrin, Chairman of the Cambodian National Assembly, said during a ceremony on Tuesday.
read & see more. (video report).
aljazeera

$160 We Need

20:57:14 local time map of malaysia MALAYSIA

* How minimum wage affects you:

The minimum wage policy is consistent with Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s aspirations to transform the country into a high-level income country.

Although the ruling was gazetted in July 2012, it was supposed to take effect January this year. However, many businesses have urged for more time to comply to the ruling and as a result, the government said it would fully enforce the law only by January 2014.

This year, Malaysia will join more than 150 other countries that already have minimum wage laws in place. The policy sets a minimum wage of RM900 per month (RM4.33 per hour) for Peninsular Malaysia and RM800 per month (RM3.85 per hour) for Sabah, Sarawak and the Federal Territory of Labuan, covering both the local and foreign workforce, except for domestic workers such as domestic helpers and gardeners.
read more.
FREEMALAYSIATODAY

* Right To Food, A Rising Challenge For Malaysia:

As Malaysia continues to record impressive economic growth and good results in poverty eradication, the importance of achieving the right to food has become a challenge.

The right to food is a human right recognised under international law, which protects the right of all human beings to feed themselves in dignity, either by producing their food or by purchasing it.
Realising the importance of this issue, the Malaysian government has initiated a move to get to the root of the problem with the assistance of the United Nations (UN).
Olivier De Schutter, Special Rapporteur on the right to food was invited to prepare preliminary reports on several aspects that revolve around the human rights category including the right to food.
(…)
MINIMUM WAGE
UN also commended the adoption of minimum wage in Malaysia, which it said could help to ensure a higher standard of living for the working poor across the country.
De Schutter said the current rate for the minimum wage of RM900 a month in the Peninsular and RM800 in Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan, which was enforced on Jan 1, 2013, is still quite low in comparison to the poverty line defined by the government itself based on the basic needs of households
“I would hope the National Wages Consultative Council would in time increase the level of the minimum wage,” he said.
read more.
BERNAMA

* Malaysia living costs surge:

Millions of middle-class Malaysians are grappling with the biggest increase in state controlled electricity and gasoline costs since 2008, threatening consumer spending growth and reasserting Malaysia’s reliance on exports this year.

Since winning a May election, Prime Minister Najib Razak has unleashed a series of price increases to cut subsidies and improve state finances, crimping scope for companies to boost wages while spurring inflation.
The moves, from a 14% jump in sugar costs in October to an 11% increase for gasoline in September and an average 15% to 16.9% climb for electricity this month, could slow private consumption growth by 0.9 percentage point in 2014, according to Alliance Financial Group Bhd. and Malaysian Rating Corp.
(…)
Pay increases
Executives will get a 5.63% average increase in salaries, down from 6.31% in 2013, and non-executives will get a 5.65% raise from 6.7 last year, according to an MEF survey of 257 companies. Lower-paid workers will fare better — in addition to benefiting from a minimum wage, non-executives will get a bigger bonus this year while executives will get a smaller payout.
read more.
bangkokpostBusiness

18:57:14 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Incentives for apparel sector likely this week:

The leaders of the country’s apparel associations on Monday said they were expecting announcement of incentives for the sector from the government this week.

They expressed their optimism emerging from a meeting with finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith at the latter’s secretariat office.
Leaders of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association are pressing for incentives citing slowdown in business activities due to the ongoing political unrest.
Before the meeting Muhith told reporters that he would finalise the incentives after negotiating with prime minister Sheikh Hasina.
BKMEA president Mohammad Hatem said after the meeting that they were assured by the finance minister of finalisation of the demands this week.
BGMEA president Md Atiqul Islam said they discussed their demands with the finance minister once again. No concrete decisions were made in the meeting, he said.
BGMEA and BKMEA demanded for arrangement of a special loan package including low-interest credit for paying workers’ wages and blocking of term loans without any interest for the next two years.
read more. & read more.
BD new age theindependent

* Buyers keen on apparels made in Ctg for timely shipment:

Global apparel buyers are now interested to import garments from factories located at Chittagong mainly for timely shipment of their orders disrupted elsewhere following political turmoil, industry insiders said.

Many buyers, who have business with the factory owners in different industrial zones in Dhaka, especially Ashulia and Narayanganj, have in the meantime talked to manufacturers to shift some of their orders to factories in Chittagong, they added.

“A US-based buyer wanted to shift his knit products order to Chittagong from Narayanganj recently,” Sheik Sadi, Managing Director of Satabdi Garments Ltd at Chittagong told the FE Monday.
read more.
FE bd

* RMG buyers mull shifting orders to Ctg:

Global buyers of Bangladesh readymade garment products are mulling to shift their work orders to factories located in Chittagong from Dhaka as the factories in the port city enjoy less disruption in transportation of their products to the port for shipment amid general strikes and blockades.

Some international buyers have already expressed their interest to place orders with the factories located in Chittagong instead of Dhaka and its adjacent areas, factory owners of Chittagong told New Age on Monday.
Exporters said that the entrepreneurs of port city usually enjoy some preferences over export business but they have no capacity to handle huge quantities of orders.
‘Amid political unrest, exporters of Chittagong port city are enjoying some advantages in shipment and so buyers are interested to shift their orders here… but we could not build our capacity to maintain additional orders,’ Nasir Uddin Chowdhury, managing director of Eastern Apparels Ltd, told New Age.
read more.
BD new age

* Muhith assures RMG makers of considering their demands:

Finance Minister AMA Muhith assured the apparel makers Monday of considering their demands including reduction of the existing source tax to help the sector recoup the losses caused due to the prevailing political unrest.

The minister also expressed his willingness to come up with a special package for the country’s apparel sector after discussing the issues with the Prime Minister very soon.
read more. & read more.
FE bd DHAKATRIBUNE

* Garment exporters get cash benefits against fund transfer via TT:

Apparel makers will get 5 percent cash benefits against their export proceeds if sent through an electronic system known as telegraphic transfer (TT)—a move that aims to help them recoup the losses caused by political unrest.

The products that will enjoy the incentive from the government are woven, knitwear and terri-towels.
Separately, the government is going to cut export tax by a half and increase cash incentive by one percentage point for garment exporters, which will cost the government around Tk 3,000 crore.
The Finance Division yesterday issued a notice, saying the garment exporters will get the incentives after fulfilling conditions set by the central bank.
A finance ministry official said some sectors, including fish, vegetables, potatoes and jute goods, now get cash incentive against advance TT on condition that the value of exports must be repatriated from the importing country.
A Bangladesh Bank official said, in many cases the export value does not come from the country that the exports were meant for.
read more.
daily star bd

* Police prefers escorting RMG transportation in Daytime:

The goods-laden vehicles will start journey at 10am from Dhaka to reach Chittagong port at daytime under police escorts

After the advice from police, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has decided to transport products in the morning instead of night to avert ambush attacks on the highways.

Escalating violence in several places has prompted the authorities to change the timing.
According to the decision, the goods-laden vehicles will start journey at 10am from Dhaka to reach Chittagong port at daytime under police escorts.
The vans carrying imported raw materials from Chittagong port to Dhaka will follow the same timing. This is to ensure safe transportation of goods of the country’s highest export earning sector. The previous timing was 10pm.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* First Ticfa talks with US soon:

Bangladesh will soon start talks with the US to hold the first meeting under Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (Ticfa), which was signed in November.

Though the first meeting was scheduled for January in Dhaka, no specific date has been fixed yet, Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed said yesterday.
Ticfa is a platform for holding talks between the high level officials of the two countries’ commerce ministries.
In the meeting, Bangladesh will raise two issues — restoration of the GSP in the US market and meaningful duty-free and quota-free market access of Bangladeshi garment items to the US, Ahmed said.
read more.
daily star bd

      THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE

* A turn in Rana Plaza tale:

The recovery of human body parts from the debris piled beside the collapsed Rana Plaza at Savar on the outskirts of the capital Dhaka, eight months after the disaster took place, leaving more than 1,100 people dead and around 2,000 more maimed, reinforces the idea that the rescue operation there was finished incomplete.

According to a New Age report on Monday, nearly 200 pieces of bone and skull have been recovered in the past few weeks.
When the official rescue operation, spearheaded by the army, was declared finished 20 days after the worst-ever tragedy occurred on April 24, hundreds of people linked to the workers of the apparel factories housed in the eight-storey Rana Plaza were still crying for the bodies of their missing near and dear ones. Many people, especially those tied to different rights bodies, requested the relevant authorities to manage the debris carefully, even if it took some more time, lest there should be people trapped therein.
read more.
BD new age

17:57:14 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Labour laws compliance a must to take advantage of GSP Plus:

The provinces need to fine-tune the labour laws in line with the conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to ensure that Pakistan continues to get benefit from the free-market access given by the European Union (EU) under GSP Plus scheme for an initial period of three years, industry leaders said on Monday.

In a meeting at PHMA House with federal secretary for Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, Munir Qureshi, they said that after the 18th Amendment the labour-related matters, including labour inspection laws, have become a provincial subject and it was necessary that all provinces should have uniform labour laws which could meet ILO conventions.

It was also observed that Sindh is lagging behind in bringing about necessary changes in labour laws and this is going to badly hurt over 50 per cent export-oriented industry of the country located in the province.

Responding to these issues Mr Qureshi said that government and industry have to move in tandem to meet the ILO conventions such as Better Work Programme (BWP), Decent Work Programme (DWP) and the World Bank programme under Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGIs)
read more.
DAWNnew

* ILO’s ‘Better Work Program’: ‘non-implementation may lead to loss of export orders’:

Muneer Qureshi, federal secretary for overseas Pakistanis and manpower, said on Monday that Disneyland may stop export orders, if industries do not implement “Better Work Program” for labour.

Addressing the member of Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers Association (PHMA), he said that Pakistan is making all efforts with the support of other countries for some relief regarding implementation of “Better Work Program”. “If once Disneyland bans Pakistan’s exports then other western countries may follow to take strict stance on labour laws”, he added.

He said that Pakistan is seeking some relaxation for this programme and has already requested for some delay of this programme as Pakistan is unable to implement the programme due to law and order situation.
“We want delay of this programme for a period during which our export- oriented industries can implement the related conventions”, he informed. He said that Pakistan ranks 19th in good governess index, while, as per international standard, it should be 25th and Better Work Program is required in that countries where governess is lesser than international standard.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

* New taxes make second-hand garments out of reach:

Introduction of new taxes in total disregard to the living standards has made it difficult for the poor to buy even second-hand or used garments to brave extreme weather conditions in the winter season.

The prices of sweaters and jackets, which were earlier between Rs100 and Rs200, are now being sold between Rs200 and Rs400, depending on the quality of the material. Similarly, shoes, which were earlier sold between Rs50 and Rs200, are being sold between Rs150 and Rs500.

“The government has imposed a number of taxes and we are left with no other option except to increase prices of second-hand dresses. Even expenditures on transportation of used dresses has also increased manifold and unfortunately the people belonging to lower or middle strata of the society is facing its adverse effects,” said Shahid Malik, a shopkeeper at Raja Bazaar.
read more.
thenewspk

* PTEA seeks govt help for release of exporters huge amount:

Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) has urged the immediate intervention of the Government for release of huge amounts of textile exporters stuck up in refund regimes and demanded to allow the zero rating on textile exports.

Talking to newsmen here Monday, Sheikh Ilyas Mahmood, Chairman and Adil Tahir, Vice Chairman PTEA termed liquidity crunch as the major hurdle in export promotion. Textile industry is facing unprecedented crises since many years and consequently, sizeable textile capacity had been severely impaired.
Textile exports in quantity and value terms could not get the momentum and remained below the bar. Now GSP plus facility has brought the hope of significant jump in textile exports but lack of necessary funds could hurt the outcomes of this duty waiver relief, they argued.
read more.
PAKOBSERVER

* Govt asked to import cotton seeds from China:

The Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association has asked the government to import cotton seeds from China instead of India due to uncertain situation at borders. The PCGA chairman Mukhtar Baloch said that the continuous tension between Pakistan and India had been affecting the business environment at a large scale.

He said the cotton crop had been passing through a critical situation due to unavailability of germinated seeds at the right time. Mukhtar Baloch said that the future of cotton might be bleak in the country if resistant free and certified seed supply was not ensured to the farmers. He said that the farmers of Sindh and Punjab had incurred huge financial losses due to spurious and substandard cotton seeds.
to read.
thenewspk

TIME20140106

19:57:14 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

20140101 $160
“Solidarity for #MW160KH”

* Five Killed During Protest Confirmed as Garment Workers:

The five people killed by AK-47 gunfire from military police at a protest along Pur Senchey district’s Veng Sreng Street on Friday were all striking garment factory workers, a union official confirmed Sunday.

Military police officers opened fire on the factory-lined street on Friday morning during clashes with striking workers armed with sticks, stones and Molotov cocktails, killing five men and injuring at least 30 people.

An investigating team from the independent Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (CCAWDU) has since identified the five confirmed killed by military police as garment factory workers, CCAWDU legal officer Oum Visal said.

Mr. Visal added that 35 other garment factory workers, as well as two students, had also been identified by CCAWDU in its rounds of three Phnom Penh hospitals as having been injured on Veng Sreng Street.

The hospitals surveyed by CCAWDU, which Mr. Visal said will release the full findings of its investigation today, were the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital, Calmette Hospital and Preah Kossamak Hospital.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* After Clashes, Garment Workers Flee Veng Sreng Street:

The few remaining residents of Phnom Penh’s garment factory-lined Veng Sreng Street, where government forces armed with assault rifles shot dead five striking workers on Friday, said Sunday that most workers had since fled in fear for their lives.

Battlefield soldiers from the military’s Brigade 70 unit in trucks and machine-gun-mounted jeeps patrolled the stretch of road over the weekend, as overflowing green minivans ferried workers to the safety of their family homes in the provinces.

Khieu Khorn, 56, who owns a three-story residential building that military police attempted to storm on Friday, said that the 43 garment workers who rented rooms from him had all returned to their family homes since the end of the violence.

“I don’t think many are going to come back to even collect their salaries,” Mr. Khorn said. “Most believe that if they come back, the government may shoot at them again.”
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Many garment factories resume work:

Many garment factories along Veng Sreng street resume their operations on Monday, three days after deadly clashes.

The Veng Sreng Street was re-opened for traffic and many workers were seen going to work even though the some shops and restaurants remain closed.

Military Police and vehicles were seen being deployed in front of Canadia Industrial Park where the violence took place last Friday, leaving five people dead, some 37 people injured, and 13 arrested.

The Cambodian government announced Veng Sreng Street as dangerous location after the deadly clashes.
to read.
CAMHERALD

* Rong Chhun summoned to appear at court for allegedly provoking social unrest:

Phnom Penh Municipal Court summoned Rong Chhun, President of Cambodian Confederation of Unions, to appear at court for being questioned on January 14 after deadly clashes on Veng Sreng Street last week.

Rong Chhun, also President of Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association, was accused of inciting crimes and social unrest.
He was one of the six union leaders who led nation-wide strikes to increase the minimum wage from USD 80 to USD160 before the clashes. All of them are now going into hiding.
The court also summoned opposition party leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha to appear at court on January 14 for being questioned on the clashes.
The clash toke place last Friday and left five people dead, and 37 others injured.
to read.
CAMHERALD

* Exodus follows violent clash:

Garment workers have begun leaving the area surrounding embattled Veng Sreng street en masse, following the outbreak of clashes early on Friday morning.

An estimated 80 per cent of the more than 10,000 workers who live and are employed in the Meanchey district suburb have vacated their homes, said Som Aun, president of the government’s Cambodian Council of National Unions (CCNU).

“As far as I know, the workers at other factories did not return to their hometowns, but the workers living on Veng Sreng street and near Canadia park left their rental homes out of fear,” he said.
read more.
PPP new

* Picking up the pieces:

The sight of traffic moving easily and people milling about along Veng Sreng Boulevard in the capital’s Meanchey district yesterday was a far cry from two days earlier, when the street was occupied by makeshift roadblocks, bonfires and military personnel carrying automatic rifles.

While visible evidence of the deadly crackdown on a garment worker strike near the Canadia Industrial Park on Friday – which claimed the lives of at least four – and attacks on pro-opposition demonstrators in Freedom Park on Saturday had largely disappeared, the unprecedented violence remained all too real for those affected.

“I was very scared when authorities cracked down and opened fire,” So Sambath, 20, said as he lay in the intensive care unit of Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital with a bullet wound in his stomach. “Maybe I won’t return to work if protests continue, because I’m afraid they will open fire again.”

Demonstrations at the industrial park over the minimum wage began peacefully on Thursday, witnesses said, though Post reporters on site said that hours before police arrived, the road had been partially blocked and more than a half-dozen bonfires lit.

After an initial encounter that saw law enforcement officials beat demonstrators and go as far as chase some into their homes, police withdrew, only to return in greater numbers, and with deadly force, hours later.

Rights group Licadho yesterday confirmed that, according to their tally, at least four men were killed, three of whom were garment workers.

Pheng Kosal, a 24-year-old garment worker, Yean Rithy, a 24-year-old garment worker and father of one, and Kim Polin, 29, all died from gunshot wounds at the Khmer-Soviet hospital on Friday, according to Licadho. Korng Ravy, a 25-year-old factory worker and father of two, died at Calmette Hospital after being shot on Friday.
read more.
PPP new

* Canadia park, a ghost town:

On most Sundays, the wide boulevard separating two rows of some 40 mustard-coloured factories in the Canadia Industrial Park is teeming with people.

Garment workers who live on the premises stroll or bicycle along the road, stopping to eat at the same restaurants, patronizing the same stores. For businesses lucky enough to be in Canadia’s microcosm of an economy, the 13,000 workers in the park have translated into a steady stream of revenue. But all that changed on Friday, when garment workers—many of whom held jobs at one of Canadia’s factories—clashed with military police and riots cops outside the park on Veng Sreng road.

The bloody altercation was part of an ongoing labour strike that started almost two weeks ago, when workers walked off the job after the government refused to raise minimum wages to $160.
read more.
PPP new

* GMAC Defends Use of Force Against Striking Workers:

A senior member of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) on Sunday endorsed the use of deadly force by military police against striking garment workers, which left five dead and more than 20 with gunshot wounds.

Military police opened fire indiscriminately when they were pelted with rocks by hundreds of garment factory protesters on Veng Sreng Street in the city’s Pur Senchey district, where thousands of workers are on strike for a raise in the minimum wage.

The protesters had set up barricades on the road and had made crude, mostly ineffective Molotov cocktails.
While one local rights group called the killings the worst case of state violence against civilians in 15 years, GMAC Secretary-General Ken Loo said Sunday that the authorities had responded appropriately.

“GMAC condemns the use of violence, period,” he said. “However, I think that the police had to respond to break up the rioters, and the rioters were not responding to verbal warnings.”
Mr. Loo said the military police were in the right to open fire on the protesters.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Violent response to strike for increased minimum wage:

A nationwide strike in Cambodia to increase the minimum wage from USD 80 to USD 160 started on 24 December and ended nearly two weeks later in violence and killings.

Following a government decision to increase the existing minimum wage of USD 80 with USD 15, strikes erupted around Cambodia. Workers had demanded that the minimum wage should be raised to USD 160.

On the 2 and 3 January the demonstrations took a violent turn when protesters and rights activists were arrested. As Royal Police and striking workers clashed, four people were shot dead and 37 more were seriously injured.
Arrest warrants have been issued for the trade union leaders supporting the strikes, including leaders of IndustriALL Global Union affiliates.Jyrki Raina, IndustriALL’s general secretary, strongly condemns the violence and persecution of trade union representatives:
Killing and injuring workers is wholly unacceptable and must end immediately! IndustriALL fully stands behind the Cambodian workers’ demands for a living wage of USD 160. The 15 dollar increase proposed by the government is shameful.
to read.
Home

* Global Union Bodies Demand Justice for Cambodian Workers:

Workers had been demonstrating peacefully demanding an increase in the minimum wage.

At least four workers were killed and 39 injured during a crackdown by security forces on Friday. Trade unionists and labour rights supporters have been targeted for attack as workers demanded a minimum wage above the government offer of US$100 per month, which is woefully insufficient to meet the rising cost of living. Over 23 have been arrested, their whereabouts unknown, and summonses have been issued for several union leaders.

“Cambodia’s government must return to the negotiating table and agree to a fair wage for garment workers and cease the dictatorial repression of legitimate strike action by workers. It should immediately release all those detained, and ensure that those responsible for the killings and violence are brought to justice,” said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.

Jyrki Raina, General Secretary of IndustriALL, said “The right to strike for a higher minimum wage is solidly protected by the international right to freedom of association, enshrined in ILO Convention 87 – which Cambodia ratified in 1999. The threats, arrests, and the killing of trade unionists for the exercise of that right is an extremely grave violation and must be condemned. Any encouragement of that violence by garment manufacturers must end. ”
read more. & read more. & ITUC letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen
ITUC CSI IGB   Home

* Mr Hun Sen: Stop the Brutal Suppression of Workers and Trade Unions in Cambodia:

Support Cambodian working people who have been struggling for their rights.

The Cambodian government has been violently suppressing the legitimate strike organised and participated by the majority of garment, textile and footwear workers demanding higher minimum wage.

Numerous media reports confirmed that the use of excessive force of the police and armed forces brutally killed at least four workers and severely injured 23 workers and supporters between 2nd and 3rd January 2014.
We have been informed that many arrests were made by authorities as well and 10 workers are under police and army custody up to date.
It is very unfortunate that it was the government not the workers who initiated the violent clash between security forces and strikers.
read more and please sign.
ATNC

$160 We Need

20:57:14 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.
read more.
sundaily

* Minimum wage for foreign workers: Give SMEs 5-year grace period, says Guan Eng:

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has called for the implementation of the minimum wage policy to be delayed for foreign workers.

Lim said small and medium enterprises (SMEs) should be given a grace period of five years to adjust to the implementation of the policy before including foreign workers in the policy’s coverage.

He said this was because Malaysian workers in SMEs are complaining that foreign workers are earning the same rate as them, pushing SME employers to hire Malaysians at higher salaries resulting in higher costs for business operations.

“For this reason, there should be a review of extending the minimum wage to all workers, by giving a grace period of at least 5 years to SMEs employers to adjust before including foreign workers,” the DAP secretary-general said in a statement today.
read more.
EDGE

* LGE STATEMENT ON MIGRANT LABOUR MINIMUM WAGE SHORT SIGHTED ! :

Penang Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng’s statement that the minimum wage should be restricted to Malaysians only and not extended to migrant workers is hugely disappointing.

His reasoning that extending the minimum wage to migrant workers would increase business costs as well as result in a net outflow of money is lame and totally unacceptable.

Employers are under no compulsion to hire migrant workers and if indeed they are too costly, then bosses should stop hiring them! Or if it is felt that SMEs can’t cope with a larger wage bill, then the government should subsidise the SMEs in some way instead of asking workers to make a sacrifice.

Workers’ rights are not exactly a priority with bosses, and thus workers look to the government to intercede on their behalf. Unfortunately, the federal government has shown itself to be complicit with employers in the exploitation of both Malaysian and migrant workers. It is truly regrettable that Lim Guan Eng doesn’t differ from the federal government in this matter.

Instead of addressing the demands of Malaysian workers for better wages and
working conditions, the government has flooded the labour market with cheap migrant labour. |
This has severely curtailed the bargaining power of local labour, and created youth unemployment among unskilled, academically poor Malaysian youths, a situation that is a contributing factor to social problems.

Creating an income differential by denying migrant workers the minimum wage will not change this situation. In fact it will only encourage companies to employ foreign workers because it is cheaper. Lim Guan Eng’s remarks are thus shortsighted and harmful for Malaysian youths and workers as well.

The situation is no better for the more than 4 million migrant workers whose exploitation is sanctioned by government policies. It’s officially known that workers passports are unlawfully held by bosses, a situation that places them in an extremely vulnerable position, and that has led to all kinds of abuses, including the crime of trafficking.

The PSM is against the exploitation of workers. Cost-cutting should not be at the expense of workers, whatever their nationality.  All workers should be paid the minimum wage without further delay.
Stop discriminating by skin colour and nationality!
Accord labour its due dignity!
Legislate policy in the interest of society!
to read.& to read.
PARTISOSIALIS FREEMALAYSIATODAY

18:57:14 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Govt to examine progress in factory safety, labour welfare tomorrow :

The government will review tomorrow (Tuesday) the progress achieved so far in ensuring workplace safety and labour welfare with a view to revival of the generalised system of preferences (GSP) in the United States (US) market, sources said.

Three government secretaries — from commerce, foreign affairs and labour ministries — will sit with the stakeholders and relevant government bodies to take a look at the achievements and remove the obstacles that are hindering the progress.

Commerce secretary Mahbub Ahmed will preside over the meeting, to be held at the ministry’s conference room.

According to the relevant documents, the progresses regarding action plans offered by the US, the European Union (EU) action plan, and the decisions taken by the cabinet committee on the ready-made garment (RMG) industry will be reviewed at the meeting.
read more.
FE bd

* RMG incurs $20m loss in December:

The survey conducted by BGMEA over 38 export-oriented factories has come up with the claim of huge business losses in the RMG sector

The country’s readymade garment sector has incurred a loss of $20m due to cancellation of orders, extra-burden of air freight, delays in shipments, discount and vandalism in the wake of non-stop political unrest since December 1, 2013, says a survey.

The survey conducted by Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) over 38 export-oriented factories has come up with the claim of huge business losses in the RMG sector.
All the factories faced the order cancellations worth $5.35m and had to spend additional money of over $1.56m for air shipment, the survey said.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Keeping RMG industry competitive in world market:

Bangladesh is the second largest ready-made garments (RMG) exporting country in the world next to China.

The apparels account for almost 80 per cent of Bangladesh’s total merchandise export. A review of the garment industry shows that availability of lower cost and standard quality products in Bangladesh and the increase in production cost elsewhere in the world are the main reasons for the country’s headway in this field.
So the recent rise in wage rates will affect the competitiveness of the clothing industry of Bangladesh. This has become a matter of concern from the perspective of business strategy and export policy. A comparative competitiveness analysis with clothing industry of China, the global market leader, and Vietnam, close competitor of Bangladesh, can provide some insights.
read more.
FE bd

      THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE

* Many more human remains lie neglected:

Authorities concerned apparently reluctant to find identities

Labour rights activists and relatives of the missing victims of the Rana Plaza collapse believe there are many more human remains under the rubble in Savar.

Their conviction has been strengthened with the recovery of about 300 bones, three skulls and other human remains from under the debris by street scavengers, survivors and labour rights activists between December 13 and January 3.
The tragic incident on April 24 last year left more than 1,100 dead while 159 victims went missing, according to Bangladesh Army, which conducted a 20-day rescue and recovery operation till May 13.
“I saw many bones but those were buried under iron rods and so were not reachable,” one relative of a missing victim told The Daily Star on Friday after recovering some bones from under the rubble.

“How will it be possible for me to get a DNA match if my daughter’s remains still lie under the rubble?” asked Jamela Begum, mother of missing Parvin Akter.
The government has been trying to identify the remains found at the site by taking DNA samples from people claiming to be relatives of the missing.
Bangladesh Garments and Industrial Workers Federation President Rafiqul Islam Shujon on Friday demanded that the government runs another searching operation in the debris to find all the remains and get a confirmation on their identities.
The authorities, however, seem divided over the issue.
read more.
daily star bd

17:57:14 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* PTEA seeks release of exporters’ refund claims:

Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) has sought the government intervention for the release of huge amounts of textile exporters, stuck up in refund regimes and also demanded to allow zero rating on textile exports.

Talking to media persons on Sunday, Sheikh Ilyas Mahmood, Chairman, and Adil Tahir, Vice Chairman PTEA, termed the liquidity crunch as major hurdle in promotion of exports. The textile industry had been facing unprecedented crises since many years and consequently, a sizeable textile capacity had been severely impaired, they said.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

HAITI

* Hanes is stealing from some of the world’s poorest workers:

Giant clothing brand Hanes has been caught stealing from some of the poorest workers in the world, and we’ve got less than a week to stop it.

Haiti has become an apparel-producing powerhouse as global clothing brands like Hanes move factories there to take advantage of some of the lowest wages in the western hemisphere.  But workers aren’t benefiting from the boom — a new report from our friends at the Worker Rights Consortium has revealed that every single export garment factory in Haiti has been paying workers less than the minimum wage. And as a result, three quarters of Haitian garment workers don’t make enough to afford three full meals a day.

At the end of this week, Russell and Gildan, two of Hanes’s top competitors, are meeting with labor rights advocates and representatives from Haitian unions to make plans to pay workers what they’re owed. But Hanes has refused to join them. That means we need to speak out now and let Hanes know that consumers will hold it accountable if it tries to ignore the workers making its clothes.
read more.

 

TIME20140104-05

20:57:14 local time map of china CHINA

* China still dominates world’s cotton market – ICAC:

Cotton plantings for 2014/15 will start in a few months in the northern hemisphere, which accounts for about 90% of world production. World area is expected to decline due mostly to the expected decline in China.

In 2013/14, the Secretariat estimates that China’s cotton area is 4.6 million hectares, a decrease of 8% from 2012/13 and a further decline to 3.9 million hectares is expected for 2014/15.

However, this may change as planting does not start until March, and on December 26, Xinhua News reporting on a rural work conference indicated that trial subsidies for cotton and soybeans may be part of China’s reforms for agriculture to be implemented next year.

Global cotton mill use is expected to continue growing in 2014/15, on the basis of continued recovery in global economic growth. However, a small gain in cotton prices could constrain the increase in demand for cotton, particularly if the price of polyester remains low.
read more.
fibre2fashion

19:57:14 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Textile, garment exports surpass yearly target:

20140105 VNplus
(Photo: VNA)

Vietnam’s export turnover from fibre, textiles and garments surpassed 20 billion USD in 2013, up 18 percent from 2012 and surpassing target by over one billion USD, according to Dau Tu (Investment) newspaper.

Such an outcome put the commodities at the top of Vietnam’s key exports.
The sector also maintained considerable growth in major markets such as the US, EU, Japan, the Republic of Korea and ASEAN.

Last year, Vietnam’s exports of these goods to the US increased by 13 percent in the context that total textile and garment imports into the US only rose three percent. This market alone generated more than eight billion USD for Vietnam’s textiles and garment sector, representing 45 percent of the sector’s export revenue in 2013.
read more.
VIETNAM

* Dong Thap attracts 40 million USD footwear project:

Vietnam and Taiwan (China) signed a memorandum of understanding on building a 40 million USD footwear factory in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap on January 2.

The factory, which is located at Tran Quoc Toan industrial zone, Cao Lanh city, will have full production capacity of 9 million products for export per year.
The footwear export factory is a joint venture between Tien Hung limited company and Taiwanese Anshen company.
In the first phase of the project, Anshen will invest 10 million USD in building footwear workshops, expecting to employ 3,000 workers in 2014.
Once fully operation, the factory will attract 9,000 workers.
to read.
VIETNAM

* Vietnam eyes selling apparel to Walmart in 2014:

The Vietnam Trade Office in the US will seek to persuade leading US retailer Walmart to source goods, including apparel, from Vietnam in 2014, Vietnam Industry & Trade Information Center said on its website Asem Connect.
Vietnam is hopeful of successfully persuading Walmart to source its goods from the Southeast Asian nation, following its success last year in persuading Kroger, the second-largest supermarket chain by revenue in the US.
In 2013, due to efforts of the Vietnam Trade Office in the US, Kroger inked a memorandum of understanding with some of the businesses in Ho Chi Minh City for supply of goods.
read more.
fibre2fashion

19:57:14 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

$160 We Need

20140105

* Cambodian Authorities! End Brutal Repression Immediately! :

The Asia Floor Wage Alliance strongly condemns the use of extreme force, violence and arrest to quell garment workers strike in Cambodia on January 2nd and 3rd, 2014.  The garment workers’ strike is a legitimate expression of the desperation of garment workers who are crushed under poverty level wages.

The violent crackdown on striking workers by a military special command unit and the consequent violent arrest of union leaders, garment workers and supporters, causing 3 deaths is shocking and absolutely acceptable.  Desperate poverty has to be ended by the payment of living wages and cannot be ended through violence.

We, the international community, call upon the Cambodian authorities to release unconditionally those who are being arrested and detained for exercising their rights to participate in peaceful assembly. We call upon brands and retailers such as H&M, Adidas, GAP, and Walmart to act swiftly to support the implementation of USD 160 minimum wage in Cambodia.

The violent crackdown on the peaceful strike of garment workers and unions in Cambodia is a shameful example of how garment workers are brutalized by the forces of poverty, global garment brands’ greed and state-sponsored repression. This is against the treasured international human right of Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining.  Cambodia as the signatory to the ILO’s Convention on Freedom of Association is bound by the ILO Convention. The attack on the peaceful strikers and the ongoing violence and imprisonment are absolutely unacceptable by the international community.

The Asia Floor Wage Alliance supports the demand for the implementation of USD 160 as minimum wage in Cambodia.  We support USD 160 as the wage that can provide minimal dignity to Cambodian workers, and not the poverty wage of USD 100.

We call upon key brands and retailers such as H&M, Adidas, GAP, and Walmart to act swiftly to support the implementation of USD 160 minimum wage in Cambodia. They must show their commitment to bear the share in their supply chains so that garment workers in Cambodia are able to receive a minimally dignified wage.
On Behalf of Asia Floor Wage Alliance
ASIAFLOORWAGE

* After Park Cleared, CNRP Leaders Called to Court:

Saturday, municipal security guards and men in plainclothes, wielding steel bars, metal pipes, batons, sticks and axes, 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, who were armed with stones, sticks and crude Molotov cocktails, during clashes in Phnom Penh’s Pur Senchey district.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

20140104

* 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

* Democracy unraveling:

see video report.
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

* Military Police Are Killing the Cambodians Who Make Your Clothes:

Four people were killed and 21 more injured in Cambodia this morning, when police opened fire with AK-47s into a group of protesters. The deaths come after months of tension and escalating violence between the authorities and garment workers, who are demanding higher wages.

Things came to a head on Thursday evening, when a police battalion in Phnom Penh were beaten back from an apartment block that had been seized by protesters during a day of demonstrations. By this morning, the military cops were engaged in a standoff on Veng Sreng Boulevard—one of the main roads out of the Cambodian capital—and the makeup of their opponents was a curious one. The factory workers, 90 percent of whom are women, had at some point been replaced by groups of metal pole- and machete-wielding young men, gathered together behind rows of Molotov cocktails.

At some point, the military police chose to respond to a barrage of rocks, bricks, and flaming bottles with gunfire. A nearby clinic that had refused to help the injured was ransacked. One of the injured was a pregnant woman who had been trying to escape the chaos.
read more.
VICE

* 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

20140101 $160“Solidarity for #MW160KH”

18:57:14 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

* Garment pieceworkers not eligible for overtime pay:

Garment workers who are paid for the number of pieces they produce per day will not be eligible for overtime pay as they are employed on a contract basis, according to a notice of the labour and employment ministry issued on Thursday.

The workers paid on a piecework basis did not get any overtime pay earlier also, under section 108 of the labour law of 2006, Labour and Employment Secretary Mikail Shipar said yesterday.
The same section has also been incorporated in the amended labour law of 2013, Shipar said, adding that workers on piece rates are mainly employed in sweater factories, Shipar said.
As sweater is a seasonal product, factories continue such production for nine months a year and are engaged in other manufacturing activities during the rest of the time, he said.
read more.
daily star bd

* Cost of living registers a significant hike:

The cost of living increased by 80 per cent each year since 2009, according to the household income and expenditure survey conducted in 2010 by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS).

But a conservative interpretation of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) of the same agency suggested that the living costs had increased by around 50 per cent throughout the country during the same period due to rise in prices of food and non-food items.

In fact, growing health, education and transport expenses have been added to a significant hike in food prices during the last five years. These have pushed up the living costs to an unexpectedly high level, especially in urban areas of the country.

The estimate of the household income and expenditure survey of the BBS appears more credible as it takes into account the sharp increase in house rents, medical costs and transport fares. The growing living cost occurred in contrast to the promises the incumbent government had made in its election manifesto to keep prices of food and non-food commodities within the tolerable level of the common people.
read more.
FE bd

* RMG workers to get food and transport allowances even in absence:

‘We will not tolerate any conspiracy hatched by BGMEA as they are trying to convince the government to reduce the monthly wages on the ground of workers absence’

The country’s readymade garment workers are entitled to get food and transport allowances even in their absence from 1 December, 2013, as per new wage structure.

But, the workers who work for the sweater factories on piece basis, however, will not enjoy the overtime facilities as per existing labour law, which lacks any such provision.

“The government has made it clear that the RMG workers will get food and transport allowances along with their monthly salary as the new wage structure included both the two allowances in the minimum monthly wage,” Labour and Employment Secretary Mikail Shipar told the Dhaka Tribune.

“We have already verbally informed the BGMEA about the matter and will also send an official letter on Monday on the issue, he added.

Commenting as to what would the grade of the workers who do not fall in any existing grades Shipar said, ‘We will make such a decision after holding a meeting with the BGMEA leaders and labour leaders as they are the key stake holders.’’
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

20140104 * 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. & read more.
daily star bd DHAKATRIBUNE daily star bd

20140104 * 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. & read more.
BD new age FE bd

20140104 * 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.

* 38 injured in RMG workers-police clash:

The situation was brought under control after additional police from the EPZ police station went to the scene and fired blank rounds and conducted baton charges

At least 38 people, including eight policemen, were injured in a clash between readymade garment workers and police near the Chittagong Export Processing Zone yesterday.

Police and local sources said workers had vandalised two RMG factories – Section Seven and Section Apparels – five vehicles, and torched a motorcycle at the CEPZ intersection around 10am. They were demanding the immediate implementation of the newly announced wage board.

Arifur Rahman Arif, inspector (intelligence) of Industrial Police in Chittagong, told the Dhaka Tribune that around 8,000 RMG workers locked into clashes with the police when they tried to disperse the agitated workers. Eight policemen had sustained injuries during the clash, he added.

The situation was brought under control after additional police from the EPZ police station went to the scene and fired blank rounds and conducted baton charges, Mostak Ahmed, additional deputy commissioner of Port Zone of Chittagong Metropolitan Police said.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* HARD TIMES:

One of the weaving hubs of the country in Sirajganj, is in dire straits due to the lack of policy support from the government.

Dull business spread a pall of anxiety over the future of the 15 lakh people dependent on this weaving industry in the district.
Eight upazilas of Sirajganj district are famous for independent weaving units for a long time.
They are Belkuchi, Shahzadpur, Chowhali, Ullapara, Kamarkhanda, Sirajganj Sadar, Kazipur and Raiganj. According to Bangladesh Tant Board officials, there are about two lakh weaving factories in these eight upazilas.

Of them, about 1.35 lakh are handlooms while the rest are powerlooms. About three lakh people work in the handloom factories, while about one lakh work in the powerloom units. About 15 lakh people, directly and indirectly, are dependent on the weaving industry.
Weavers in Sirajganj mainly devote themselves to weaving saris, lungis and gaamchhas (locally made towels). These products are supplied to different parts of the district and also exported to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Burma, Malaysia and Germany.

Sources said local weavers have added modern technology to their traditional craft to increase production. Local weavers have been doing brisk business due to easy availability of raw materials, such as dye and yarn, reasonable prices of such materials and good communication facility. However, of late, the weaver community is facing quite a few problems. Continuous political turmoil and a hike in the prices of raw materials have presented some irksome problems hindering the workings of the weaving industry.
The sources also said that weavers in Sirajganj used to earn around Tk. 100 crore per week, but the figure has taken a nosedive to Tk. 20-25 crore a week due to the recent political troubles.
read more.
theindependent

* Tiding over crisis in apparel industry:

Workers in apparel industry in Bangladesh are its driving engines since it began its journey in mid-seventies.

Owners of apparel factories have become multi-millionaires at the cost of the labour of the workers and Bangladesh earned about $ 20 billion from the sector, almost 80 per cent of the annual export earnings.
Therefore, the owners and the government should logically pay attention to the well-being of garment workers.
The Bangladesh government has re-fixed the minimum wages for garment workers at Tk 5,300 per month against the earlier Tk 3,600. Initially, owners of apparel factories have showed their reluctance to pay at the new rate saying it would inflate production cost.
It was a lame excuse by the owners, and soon it triggered protests among the workers. On September 23, industrial police used batons, rubber bullets and teargases to disperse striking workers at Gazipur and Savar industrial areas that produce garments for many global brands.
The increased minimum wage is quite negligible in the context of market prices. Working conditions in garment factories are not of international standard posing health hazards for the workers.

It is not understood why the government is silent on taking action against industry owners reluctant to honour the minimum wages to the RMG workers who form the backbone of their industry. Instead, the police have been resorting to use of force to contain demonstrations of the ill-paid workers.
(…)
It is suggested that international organisations like the ILO, the International Labour Rights Forum and the American Federation of Labour Congress of Industrial Organisation (AFL-CIO) should form a united body for investigation into the state of affairs in garment industry in Bangladesh. This will improve the conditions in factories in terms of enforcing building code, ensuring fire safety network and providing minimum wages in terms of local market price level.  Improvement of image of the garment industry becomes more important now than in the past because it has become an export power house of Bangladesh, second only to China.
read more.
FE bd

* Buyers worried over RMG sourcing from Bangladesh:

Global apparel buyers and retailers were concerned about sourcing of their garments from Bangladesh amid the lingering political impasse and uncertainty that already seriously affected the whole supply chain, industry insiders said.

The concerns were conveyed to the government and the local apparel makers in the country on different occasions, the sources further said.

The issue was atop the agenda of a recent meeting between high government officials and representatives of the European Union (EU), Canada, the Netherlands, Sweden and the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

During the meeting, the representatives conveyed that buyers were losing confidence amid the ongoing confrontational politics and uncertainty, a meeting source told the FE.

Ambassadors and representatives of those countries and the ILO held the meeting on December 30 last. Secretaries of the foreign, commerce and labour ministries attended the meeting and discussed the progress in the country’s ready-made garment (RMG) sector so far made in line with the recommendations made under the US Action Plan and the Compact.
read more.
FE bd

* RMG sector loses Tk 10,000cr in 2-month political unrest: BGMEA:

Business activities worth around Tk 10,000 crore in the readymade garments sector were hindered by a supply chain disruption in the last two months amid frequent general strikes and blockades enforced by the opposition political alliance.

RMG sector leaders said the apparel sector lost the volume of the business from November 1 last year to January 4 this year as the country lost 41 out of 65 working days in the period.
In the 41 days, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led opposition alliance enforced strikes for 8 days and blockades for 30 days in phases and the transportation across the country remained suspended for three days due to a government-sponsored blockade, they said.
The leaders of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association said that the strikes and blockades hampered business activities worth Tk 250 crore a day in the sector.
A survey conducted by the BGMEA showed that business activities worth Tk 160 crore were hampered by the political programmes in 38 companies during December 1–January 4.
According to the survey, global orders worth Tk 41.76 crore for the Bangladeshi garment products were cancelled in 35 days in the 38 companies.
read more.
BD new age

* Knit export may soon exceed woven wear:

Apart from the existing European market, new export destinations for knitwear garments are helping increase country’s export volume every year, sources said.

According to BKMEA sources, knit readymade garment export may exceed woven again this year in the next couple of months, sources said.
Performance of knit export is increasing every year and in five months of the current fiscal the average growth per month is more than 19 per cent which is near woven, according to the sources.
The sources said in the financial year 2011-12 knit export share of RMG was 49.69 per cent and woven was 50.31 per cent and in the last fiscal it was 48.69 for knit and 51.31 for woven.
read more.
FE bd

* Warehousing facility for Uzbek cotton:

The proposed deal between Bangladesh and Uzbekistan on providing warehousing facility for Uzbek cotton has reportedly run into a snag.

Initially, the idea that was broached by Uzbekistan in a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), struck a note of facilitation for Bangladesh’s textile sector. The Uzbek proposal was about creating a hub by way of free warehousing facility in Bangladesh for its cotton trade in the region, including meeting the requirements of local textile mills.
In the draft MoU sent to the government of Bangladesh, Uzbekistan wanted a provision for establishing a free warehouse to facilitate selling of cotton to the Bangladeshi users and export to other countries in the region.
The draft also envisaged an estimated export of around two hundred thousand tonnes of raw cotton annually to Bangladesh. The proposal was initiated in May 2012, when Dhaka and Tashkent agreed to sign a cotton supply agreement.
read more.
FE bd

* A welcome boost for jute:

Increased local demand will stimulate production and help the country’s jute processors to catch up with major jute industries

The long-awaited implementation of the Mandatory Jute Packaging Act 2010 begins this month.

According to the Bangladesh Jute Research Institute, an additional 1.5m bales of jute will need to be manufactured to meet requirements. This will result in more essential products, such as paddy, fertiliser and sugar, being packaged with jute sacks and reduce the use of less environmentally friendly synthetic packaging.

Increased local demand will stimulate production and help the country’s jute processors to catch up with the major jute industries of China and India, which dominate 70% of the international market.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

          ASWAD Garment factory Fire

* Garment factory warned of danger before fatal fire:

20140105 DAILYSTAR garment-factory
Firefighters battle a blaze that broke out at the factory of Aswad Composite Mills in Gazipur in October last year, killing seven people. Photo: Star/File

The Bangladeshi textile factory that has made material for Kmart, Target, Big W and Just Jeans clothes, and in which a massive factory fire in October killed seven workers, was warned by government inspectors just a week before the blaze that the building was ”dangerous to human life”.

But despite a formal order to fix the major safety problems, the factory continued to operate without modification.
Australian companies sourcing material from Aswad Composite Mills in Gazipur, 40 kilometres north of the capital Dhaka, say they did not know of the formal warning issued to the factory, but have conceded they never audited it.
Aswad’s owners deny there were any faults with the factory, and say criminal charges laid by the government are ”false and fabricated”.

On October 8, a massive fire broke out at Aswad, when the chimney of a drying machine caught alight, the blaze spreading across the factory’s upper floor and further inflamed by metres of fabric and drums of dying chemicals.
Two production units were destroyed and seven employees died, caught upstairs and unable to escape.
Order forms from a host of Western fashion retailers were found in the charred wreckage. Australian companies Target, Big W, Kmart and Just Jeans sourced material from the factory.

On October 2, a week before the fatal blaze at Aswad, the factory was issued with a formal notification by the Bangladeshi government that the building was unsafe for work. The report, signed by government inspector Shahidul Islam, raised nine violations with the company, stating that the building was ”dangerous to human life and security”, and that the ”fire extinguishers and other fire safety equipment were not maintained in an appropriate manner”. The inspector also found:
The factory had been enlarged without approval.
There was no record of regular maintenance of motors, electric switches and wiring.
The building was not properly ventilated.
read more.
daily star bd

           THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE

* Human bones, skulls still being found in debris:

The authorities and locals continued recovering human body parts from the debris piled by the side of the collapsed Rana Plaza in Savar in last few weeks eight months after the worst industrial disaster killed about a thousand people in April last year.

The police claimed they had sent over 40 pieces of human bones in last two weeks while the DNA lab confirmed that they had received only two pieces of bone for examination lately.
The locals believed that nearly 200 pieces of bone and skull were recovered in last few weeks.
Dhaka deputy commissioner Shaikh Yusuf Harun on Friday told New Age that the news of fresh recovery of human bones was disquieting indeed ‘But we cannot launch a fresh search without instruction from the government.’
He said they would not do anything about it now as the army, who had led the rescue, on May 14 had announced the close of the 20-day operation saying that no more bodies were found in the ruins.
read more.
BD new age

18:27:14 local time map of india INDIA

* Spinning mill workers demand new wage agreement:

Spinning mill workers from Madathukulam and Udumalpet taluks, belonging to CITU- affiliated Tirupur District Textile Workers Union, staged a demonstration in Udumalpet demanding implementation of fresh wage agreement and better employment terms.

N. Krishnasamy, district secretary of Tirupur District Textile Workers Union, said that since 1996, wage agreement had not been signed between the private-sector spinning mills management and the workers.

“Some spinning mills, out of the 80-odd units situated in Udumalpet and Madathukulam taluks, have given marginal increments in the salary to the workers on their own. Due to the non-existence of a proper wage agreement, the majority of the workers are still struggling with poor salaries,” he added.
He further pointed out that the mills run under National Textile Corporation have accorded wage increases to the workers in accordance with the signed agreements.

Wage hike
The Union wanted a minimum increase of Rs 2,000 per month in the basic salary to the workers and enhancement of lower slab of variable dearness allowance for a day to Rs. 46.50.
Mr. Krishnasamy said that all workers who had completed 480 days of service should be made permanent.
to read.
Return to frontpage

* Sick units, job losses and low margin haunt UP textile sector:

Uttar Pradesh is facing tough times, which is getting manifested in rising count of non-operating units, margin squeeze and job losses.

The number of non-operating textile units in UP rose from 30 to 182 between 2000-01 and 2010-11. Besides, 11,400 jobs were lost during 2010-11 against merely 2,300 jobs lost in 2000-10, according to a study titled ‘State-wise assessment of textile sector & recommendations’ by Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India ().

Low productivity, lack of advanced technologies, lack of foreign investments, supply chain bottlenecks, lack of economies of scale, labour issues and challenges emerging from a fragmented industry and weak brand positioning have emerged key reasons for non-operation of textile units.
read more.
BUSINESSSTANDARD 2

* ‘Government should protect authenticity of handloom products’:

The Union government should adopt stringent measures to prevent the adulteration ofhandloom products in the country, said Prasanna, activist and convener of Desi, an organisation striving to promote handlooms.

Speaking to presspersons here on Saturday, he said based on a study conducted in Andhra Pradesh and other regions, nearly 70 per cent of the products sold as handloom products were in reality powerloom products. Powerloom operators were duping customers, he alleged. Products, falsely branded as handloom, were being sold in shops and exhibitions and were even being exported. Such products also include the famous Ilakal and Gadidade saris of Karnataka, he said.

The Union government was not taking steps to strictly implement the Handlooms (Reservation of Articles for Production) Act, 1985. The Act was as an important means of protecting the handloom sector by reserving certain products for the handloom sector.
But poor implementation had provided powerloom operators to manufacture the reserved products Besides, the government’s policy of promoting powerlooms was affecting the handloom sector, Mr. Prasanna said. Strict implementation of the Act would increase the demand for original handloom products and this would fetch fair returns to weavers.
read more.
Return to frontpage

18:27:14 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* Lankan garment exporters eye bullish 2014:

Sri Lanka’s apparel industry is hoping to dress up the Chinese by firming up the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) mid this year with a 2014 forecast of around US$4.6 billion in total trade even as the sector continues to struggle with limited access to the European Union (EU).

Apparel exports were estimated to top $4.2 billion in earnings for last year, market analysts predicted while speaking with the Business Times on Friday adding that they expect 2014 to be bullish.

Figures released for November indicate a 36.3 per cent increase compared to the same month in the previous year. Total exports from January to November show a growth of 11.4 per cent to $3.8 billion with the US bringing in earnings at $1.6 billion, up 18.9 per cent from the previous year and the EU at $1.7 billion, up 4.1 per cent and other countries’ earnings at $437.3 million, an increase of 16.8 per cent.

Sri Lanka Exporters Association President Yohan Lawrence told the Business Times that this year with the EU economy expected to grow under one per cent there would be a slow growth of apparel exports into that region. In this respect, analysts expect apparel exports to the EU to slow down this year.
read more.
STM-long

* Lanka clinches new EU GSP:

As many EU GSP beneficiary economies witness an end to their benefits on 1 January 2014 with the activation of the new GSP scheme, some notables, including Sri Lanka, shall continue to smile vis-à-vis their shipments to world’s largest economy.

Despite the reduction of the number of countries enjoying EU GSP in June 2012, starting tomorrow 1 January 2014, Sri Lanka has clinched 10 more years of this promising lifeline from the world’s largest trading bloc.
“The EU parliament has approved the New GSP Scheme on 13th June 2012 and will come into effect from 1st January 2014. Sri Lanka will continue to be a beneficiary of the Scheme” revealed Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka.
read more.
island

17:57:14 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Requirement: Textile exporters appeal for emergency release for refunds:

20140105 TRIBUNE
Breakdown: 85% of textile produced is exported while 15% is left for local consumption, according to PTEA Chairman Sheikh Ilyas Mahmood. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

The Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) has called for immediate intervention of the government for the release of huge amounts for its exporters stuck in refund regimes, demanding zero ratings on textile exports.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Sheikh Ilyas Mahmood, PTEA chairman, and Adil Tahir, vice-chairman, termed the liquidity crunch as a major hurdle for export promotion. For the past few years, the textile industry has been facing an unprecedented crisis and, consequently, sizable textile capacity had been impaired.

Textile exports in quantity and value terms have been unsuccessful in gaining momentum and have remained below the desired level.
“Now the GSP Plus status has brought hope of a significant jump in textile exports but the lack of funds could hurt the outcomes of this duty waiver relief,” they argued.
read more.
tribune

* SNGPL defying government decision: PHMA:

Central Chairman of Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers & Exporters Association (PHMA) Shahzad Azam Khan has said the SNGPL was defying the federal government by denying gas to the knitwear garment sector.

He said the federal government had taken a decision to provide gas to textile processing units but the SNGPL has discriminated against the knitwear garment sector.

The SNGPL management was supplying gas to the Aptma members and depriving rest of the industry, which is nothing but discriminatory treatment. He said the Secretary Textile Division has highlighted more than once that gas would be provided to all textile processing units but repeated demands of PHMA are falling on deaf ear of SNGPL and it seems that 85mmcfd gas has been hijacked by some influential persons.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

* Pakistan textile sector set to emerge from Indian shadow:

The growth of Pakistan’s apparel market in the year 2013 has taken most experts by surprise, and the country’s textile industry is now placed second in the seven country south Asian region. It is also set to emerge out of the shadows of its bigger neighbor, India.
With the growing glamour scene, Pakistan is quickly emerging as the top fashion destination in the sub-continent and is the 8th largest exporter of textile products in Asia. However, the scope for improvement in 2014 is huge with its share in the global textile trade being less than 1 per cent.
read more.
fibre2fashion

* Dairy farmers oppose garment city:

Rao Naeem had set up a state-of-the-art dairy farm three years ago in Mauza Sahoo Kee Maliyan in Sheikhupura district, with “huge investment”.

With over 100 local and imported cows in its sheds the farm produces 2,800 litres of milk per month which is then sold to a packed milk producer.
Some other 30 small and big farms in the village and adjacent mauza, Bhamb, have more than 2,300 cattle-heads and produce over 130,000 litres of milk monthly on an average. There are some fish farms around too.
Collectively these farms have been providing employment to a large number of villagers enabling them to earn their livelihood with honour.
read more. & read more.
DAWNnew thenewspk

17:57:14 local time map of uzbekistan UZBEKISTAN

* Truthfully “Why was a container with 22 tons of Uzbek yarn detained in the United States”?:

This week, in the article “Why was a container with 22 tons of Uzbek yarn detained in the United States,” the Uzbek state media outlet 12Uz complained that the U.S. Customs Service prevented a shipment of yarn produced in Uzbekistan by the South Korean company Indorama from entering the port of Los Angeles.

While the article makes wildly inaccurate allegations about the Cotton Campaign, it fails to mention the two words that would answer its own question: forced labor.

In 2013, the Uzbek government again systematically forced children and adults to pick cotton and farmers to produce state-established quotas of cotton in one of the largest state-sponsored systems of forced labor in the world. Authorities penalized those who refused to participate in cotton production, and penalties included fines, expulsion from school, job loss, denial of public benefits, and even physical violence.
read more.
COTTONcampaign

* Plea for Fair Cotton Harvest:

In Uzbekistan, the Practice of Forced Labor Lives On During the Cotton Harvest” (news article, Dec. 18) exposes the Uzbek government’s systematic use of forced labor to grow and harvest cotton.

The recent successful efforts by the Cotton Campaign to press the Uzbek government to curtail the use of young children in the forced-labor scheme should be celebrated. Yet it is alarming to read that again this year, the government continued to brazenly force Uzbek farming families to grow cotton, force older children and adults to pick the cotton, punish anyone who refused to follow orders and detain human rights defenders and journalists attempting to report the crimes to the outside world.

Unfortunately, with Uzbekistan among the world’s largest producers of cotton, we can expect that store shelves in the United States and Europe will continue to be stocked with apparel that contains cotton from forced labor until the Obama administration and governments around the world take serious steps to hold accountable Uzbek government officials and companies like Daewoo International that profit from the government’s forced-labor scheme.

BRIAN CAMPBELL
Washington, Dec. 19, 2013

The writer is director of policy and legal programs for the International Labor Rights Forum.ilrf
to read.
NYT

* Warehousing facility for Uzbek cotton:

The proposed deal between Bangladesh and Uzbekistan on providing warehousing facility for Uzbek cotton has reportedly run into a snag.

Initially, the idea that was broached by Uzbekistan in a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), struck a note of facilitation for Bangladesh’s textile sector. The Uzbek proposal was about creating a hub by way of free warehousing facility in Bangladesh for its cotton trade in the region, including meeting the requirements of local textile mills.
In the draft MoU sent to the government of Bangladesh, Uzbekistan wanted a provision for establishing a free warehouse to facilitate selling of cotton to the Bangladeshi users and export to other countries in the region.
The draft also envisaged an estimated export of around two hundred thousand tonnes of raw cotton annually to Bangladesh. The proposal was initiated in May 2012, when Dhaka and Tashkent agreed to sign a cotton supply agreement.
read more.
FE bd

 

 

map of Asia

INFO:

Some articles were published in the updated bulletin yesterday.:

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

And there are updates under ‘special reports:

* Minimum Wage-LIVING WAGE
* TAZREEN Garment Factory Fire
* RANA PLAZA building Collapse PART 3

HEADLINES :

20140107
ASIA
* Protests greet new year in Southeast Asia

CHINA
* Chinese industrial textiles shine in 2013

VIET NAM
* Textile exports forecast to grow
* Vietnam’s footwear export hits record high in 2013

CAMBODIA
* For families of 23 arrested: silence
* Minister ‘too busy’ to sit down with unions
* Prominent Union Leader rejects talks on minimum wage with government
* Video: Workers & Political Activists under Attack in Cambodia
* Flouting Law, Government Holds Protest Prisoners Incognito
* Police Block, Search Garment Workers’ Vans in Svay Rieng
* Global labour movement shows solidarity with Cambodia
* ICC complaint to lay shootings at PM’s feet:
* Wage fight ‘to wound’ key sector
* Garment Strike Cost Industry $200 Million, GMAC Says
* GMAC worries about departures of investors after labor unrest
* Apparel brands express ‘deep concern’ over Cambodia violence in open letter
* Stop Seeking Compensation for Damages from Cambodian Workers
* China hopes Cambodian parties express demands “legally” after bloody clash
* Military Police Deny Their Bullets Killed Five Protesters
* Government Finds Deniability in District Security Force
* Cambodia defends deadly crackdown on protests

MALAYSIA
* How minimum wage affects you
* Right To Food, A Rising Challenge For Malaysia
* Malaysia living costs surge

BANGLADESH
* Incentives for apparel sector likely this week
* Buyers keen on apparels made in Ctg for timely shipment
* RMG buyers mull shifting orders to Ctg
* Muhith assures RMG makers of considering their demands
* Garment exporters get cash benefits against fund transfer via TT
* Police prefers escorting RMG transportation in Daytime
* First Ticfa talks with US soon
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE:
* A turn in Rana Plaza tale

PAKISTAN
* Labour laws compliance a must to take advantage of GSP Plus
* ILO’s ‘Better Work Program’: ‘non-implementation may lead to loss of export orders’
* New taxes make second-hand garments out of reach
* PTEA seeks govt help for release of exporters huge amount
* Govt asked to import cotton seeds from China

20140106
CAMBODIA
* Five Killed During Protest Confirmed as Garment Workers
* After Clashes, Garment Workers Flee Veng Sreng Street
* Many garment factories resume work
* Rong Chhun summoned to appear at court for allegedly provoking social unrest
* Exodus follows violent clash
* Picking up the pieces
* Canadia park, a ghost town
* GMAC Defends Use of Force Against Striking Workers
* Violent response to strike for increased minimum wage
* Global Union Bodies Demand Justice for Cambodian Workers
* Mr Hun Sen: Stop the Brutal Suppression of Workers and Trade Unions in Cambodia

MALAYSIA
* DAP urges govt to review minimum wage for foreign workers
* Minimum wage for foreign workers: Give SMEs 5-year grace period, says Guan Eng
* LGE STATEMENT ON MIGRANT LABOUR MINIMUM WAGE SHORT SIGHTED !

BANGLADESH
* Govt to examine progress in factory safety, labour welfare tomorrow
* RMG incurs $20m loss in December
* Keeping RMG industry competitive in world market
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE:
* Many more human remains lie neglected

PAKISTAN
* PTEA seeks release of exporters’ refund claims

HAITI
* Hanes is stealing from some of the world’s poorest workers

20140104-05
CHINA
* China still dominates world’s cotton market – ICAC

VIET NAM
* Textile, garment exports surpass yearly target
* Dong Thap attracts 40 million USD footwear project
* Vietnam eyes selling apparel to Walmart in 2014

CAMBODIA
* Cambodian Authorities! End Brutal Repression Immediately!
* After Park Cleared, CNRP Leaders Called to Court
* Military police storm Freedom Park
* Democracy unraveling
* Cambodia clears protest park after deadly clashes
* Peaceful Protesters Expelled from Freedom Park as Military Mobilization Escalates
* Military Police Are Killing the Cambodians Who Make Your Clothes
* 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
* Garment pieceworkers not eligible for overtime pay
* Cost of living registers a significant hike
* RMG workers to get food and transport allowances even in absence
* 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)
* 38 injured in RMG workers-police clash
* HARD TIMES
* Tiding over crisis in apparel industry
* Buyers worried over RMG sourcing from Bangladesh
* RMG sector loses Tk 10,000cr in 2-month political unrest: BGMEA
* Knit export may soon exceed woven wear
* Warehousing facility for Uzbek cotton
* A welcome boost for jute
ASWAD Garment factory Fire:
* Garment factory warned of danger before fatal fire
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE:
* Human bones, skulls still being found in debris

INDIA
* Spinning mill workers demand new wage agreement
* Sick units, job losses and low margin haunt UP textile sector
* ‘Government should protect authenticity of handloom products’

SRI LANKA
* Lankan garment exporters eye bullish 2014
* Lanka clinches new EU GSP

PAKISTAN
* Requirement: Textile exporters appeal for emergency release for refunds
* SNGPL defying government decision: PHMA
* Pakistan textile sector set to emerge from Indian shadow
* Dairy farmers oppose garment city

UZBEKISTAN
* Truthfully “Why was a container with 22 tons of Uzbek yarn detained in the United States”?
* Plea for Fair Cotton Harvest
* Warehousing facility for Uzbek cotton

latest tweets (& news)

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

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

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

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

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