* Toxic chemicals found in children’s clothes, shoes: Greenpeace:
Children’s clothing and shoes made by a dozen globally-recognised brands have been found to contain potentially harmful chemicals, Greenpeace said Tuesday.
But some of the substances it tested were at concentrations as low as 1mg per kilo, which it described as “the limit of detection”, and it was not clear from the statement how many of the samples were above official limits.
The campaign group has issued similar findings before, and in 2012 held a “toxic” fashion show in Beijing to draw attention to its allegation that two-thirds of high-street garments it tested contained harmful chemicals.
Greenpeace analysed 82 products manufactured in 12 different countries, with China the biggest producer on 29.
“This is a nightmare for parents everywhere looking to buy clothes for their children that don’t contain hazardous chemicals,” Greenpeace East Asia campaigner Chih An Lee said in a statement Tuesday.
read more. & read more. & read more.
14:39:56 local time CHINA
* 16 dead, 5 injured in East China factory fire:
Sixteen people were killed and five others injured in a factory fire on Tuesday in east China’s Zhejiang Province, the local government said.
The injured, who have been sent to Wenling City’s No.1 People’s Hospital, are in stable condition, sources with the city’s publicity department said.
The fire broke out at 2:52 p.m. in a shoe factory in the northern part of Wenling City and burned an area of more than 800 square meters, local authorities said.
The fire was put out at 5:40 p.m. and more than 20 people were rescued as of 7 p.m.
Verification of the victims’ identities is under way, according to the publicity department.
The cause of the fire is being investigated.
read more. & read more. & to read. & read more. & read more.& to read.
* 3 detained over deadly E China fire:
Two owners and one manager of a shoe factory in east China’s Zhejiang Province were detained Wednesday following a fire, which killed 16 and injured five others, police said.
Lin Jianfeng and Lin Zhenjian of Taizhou Dadong Shoes Co., Ltd. were taken into custody along with a member of staff surnamed Yu.
Fire broke out at 2:52 p.m. Tuesday at the factory in the northern part of Wenling City and consumed an area in excess of 800 square meters,before it was put out at 5:40 p.m. More than 20 people were rescued.
Verification of the victims’ identities is still under way, according to the publicity department.
The cause of the fire is being investigated.
to read. & to read. & to read.
* Fire at Chinese shoe factory kills 16: Xinhua:
A fire at a shoe factory in eastern China killed 16 people and injured five, state media reported, the latest disaster to highlight China’s poor workplace safety record.
The fire broke out at the factory in Wenling in the wealthy coastal province of Zhejiang on Tuesday, the official Xinhua news agency said.
More than 20 people were rescued and the injured were all in stable condition in hospital, it said. The cause of the fire was being investigated.
China, the world’s second-largest economy, has a bad record on workplace safety. Fire exits in factories, office buildings and shops are often locked to prevent workers taking time off or stealing, or even blocked completely.
A fire at a poultry slaughterhouse in the northeastern province of Jilin in June 2013 killed 120 people. That blaze was blamed on poor management, lack of government oversight and locked or blocked exits.
Many industrial accidents happen in the huge coal mining industry, in which hundreds die every year from explosions, mine collapses and floods.
* China shoe factory fire kills 16:
A fire scene photo taken by a witness and posted online. The blaze hit a shoe factory in Wenling, Zhejiang Province, this afternoon, killing at least 16 people, China Central Television reported. The fire broke out around 3pm at the Dadong shoe factory. Fire fighters put out the fire at 5:40pm with more than 20 people rescued. (ShanghaiDaily)
At least 16 people have been killed in a fire at a shoe factory in eastern China, state media report.
China’s CCTV broadcaster says another 20 people were rescued from the Dadong factory in the city of Wenling in Zhejiang province.
It took firefighters about three hours to put out the blaze. The cause is being investigated.
China has improved workplace safety over recent years, but accidents in the vast country are still common.
In December, a fire at a fruit market in south China left 16 people dead.
Another at a north-eastern poultry factory killed 121 people last June – the country’s deadliest fire since 2000.
See Video Report. & to read. & read more. & read more.
* Shoe factory fire in Zhenjiang kills at least 16 workers:
In the latest devastating workplace fire to hit China, at least 16 workers were killed when a blaze broke out on the afternoon of 14 January at a shoe factory in the eastern coastal city of Wenling, China’s official media reported.
Fire-fighters rescued 20 people, five of whom were badly injured. Two of the owners and one manager at Taizhou Dadong Shoes were subsequently taken into custody by the local police pending an investigation into the cause of the fire.
The blaze follows a fire at a wholesale market in Shenzhen in December, which also killed 16 people including three young children, and a roof collapse at an illegally constructed storeroom in the northern province of Hebei, which killed ten people.
* 26 provinces raise minimum wage:
A total of 26 Chinese provinces decided to raise their minimum wages by the end of 2013, according to statistics from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.
Currently, Shanghai sees the highest minimum wage per month, i.e. 1,620 yuan (US$267.89).
Other regions that made the decision include Beijing, Zhejiang, Shaanxi, Shandong, Tianjin, Guangdong, Xinjiang, Jiangsu, Fujian and Chongqing.
Some of the pay rise plans will be implemented in 2014.
The continuous wage rise will help China accelerate the adjustment of its economic structure and the transformation of the growth model, the Economic Information reported.
“It will be impossible to realize rapid economic growth through low labor cost,” said Zhang Monan, associate researcher with China Center of International Economic Exchange, “It’s high time to improve productivity and the workers’ quality.”
14:39:56 local time PHILIPPINES
* Workers picket DOLE, hit P15 integration into basic pay;
Workers led by national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno picketed the main office of the Department of Labor and Employment in Intramuros, Manila this morning to condemn the integration of a meager P15 Cost of Living Allowance into the basic pay early this month.
The workers claimed that P15 will not help much in bringing the P466 minimum pay closer to the Family Living Wage (FLW) which, independent think-tank Ibon Foundation claims, already reached P1,051 last August 2013.
The FLW is the amount needed by an average Filipino family, composed of five members, to live decently in a day. The government started, but later discontinued, the computation of the FLW.
“Filipino workers find the P15 that was integrated into the basic pay too meager compared with their families’ everyday needs. The resulting minimum wage is a libing (burial) wage, not a living wage,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.
13:39:56 local time VIET NAM
* Decree 95 stiffens fines for labour rights violations:
On 22 August 2013, the Government issued Decree No 95/2013/ND-CP, referred to hereafter as Decree 95, that sets out administrative sanctions for violations relating to labour rights, particularly those related to social insurance and overseas labour contracts.
An important part of Decree 95 is the increase in penalties imposed on unlicensed employment services. A fine of VND45 million to VND60 million (US$2,142-$2,857) will be imposed on firms illegally operating any employment service or those continuing operations after their business license has expired.
Decree 95 also revised penalties for infringements relating to payment of wages. Fines of VND5 million to VND45 million can be imposed on any employer who:
does not pay salary on time; pays less salary than stated in information submitted to competent authorities; pays lower than regulated wages for overtime work or night-shift work; and deducts wages of workers in contravention of existing regulations.
* Less promotion, less leisure, worse health- conditions for female factory workers still behind males?:
Analysing Better Work Data from a Gender- Perspective: A Preliminary Exploration of Worker -Surveys with a Focus on Vietnam
The rapid incorporation of women into export manufacturing sectors of developing countries since the mid-1970s is documented through a wealth of research, including both qualitative case studies and quantitative data analyses.
Many scholars emphasise that the feminisation of the labour force in export oriented production is due to the fact that women workers provide a cheaper and more flexible source of labour than men, and thus are preferred by employers who seek to increase competitiveness by lowering labour costs and reduce the bargaining power of workers (for example Elson and Pearson, 1981 and Standing, 1989,1999).
The exploitative dimensions often involved in factory work such as low wages, absence of security benefits, a lack of promotion prospects, and vulnerability to sexual harassment, are widely documented.
Some researchers however argue that, despite the often unfavourable working conditions, jobs in export-oriented factories present women with enhanced opportunities for financial independence and can boost women’s self- esteem (most notably Kabeer, 2000, for Bangladesh).
Elson and Pearson (1981) are the first to draw attention to the ambiguous and multifaceted nature of these employment trends from the point of view of women’s emancipation and well-being. They highlight how the incorporation of women into export-oriented production takes place in many complex ways and has contradictory effects.
These contradictory effects are likely to vary by socio-cultural context and type of industralisation processes.
In sum, the gender landscape related to the expansion of labour intensive exports is varied and complex. As Bair (2010: 205) aptely puts it: ‘What the cumulative weight of research suggests is that how gender matters in a particular location on the global assembly line is variable and contingent; that gender matters is not’.
The question of whether women really benefit from increased paid work opportunities requires consideration of a range of outcomes. These include the type of jobs that women can access, the conditions of those jobs, and the effects that taking up paid work has on the gender division of labour, both within the household and in the labour market.
read more & download here.
13:39:56 local time CAMBODIA
* Garment Workers Go Back on Strike Over Unpaid Wages:
Thousands of garment workers from four factories have gone back on strike this week to protest a decision by their employers to withhold pay for the days they did not work during recent nationwide strikes.
Between 8,500 and 12,500 workers at four factories—two in Phnom Penh, one in Kandal and another in Kompong Cham—have gone back on strike, union representatives and workers said Tuesday.
“This is the second day of strikes by workers who are demanding that the two factories [in Phnom Penh] pay them because they cut their wages 100 percent for the time they were off during the strike,” said Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers.
Union representatives at the two other factories said workers there were striking for the same reason.
* Wages on par with regional standard: PM :
Amid calls for the government to raise Cambodian garment workers’ minimum monthly wage to $160, Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday said that wages garment workers earn fall in line with regional standards.
In a speech at a groundbreaking ceremony for a bridge project in Kandal province yesterday, the premier asserted that garment workers in neighbouring countries and Cambodian workers in other industries earn less than Cambodian apparel workers, and garment factories cannot afford the increase unions demand.
“I asked the Vietnamese Prime Minister about the minimum wage of garment workers in Vietnam; he said they get more than $100 per month,” Hun Sen said. “If [we] compare this to our increase to $100, it’s nearly the same as Vietnam, but higher than India, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Laos.”
Hun Sen added that garment factories could not afford a sudden jump to $160 from last year’s minimum wage decree of $80, which includes a $5 health bonus.
* Hun Sen Says He’s Here to Stay; Higher Wages Must Wait:
Prime Minister Hun Sen used a groundbreaking ceremony for a new bridge linking Cambodia to Vietnam on Tuesday to reiterate that he has no plans to step down from his position, and told opposition supporters who have called for his ouster to settle in for a long wait.
The ceremony for the $38.4 million Chrey Thom bridge in Kandal province’s Koh Thom district, which was agreed on during Mr. Hun Sen’s trip to Vietnam last month, came on the third day of a three-day visit by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.
* PM’s Reaction to Demand for Double Pay Rise:
Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen has made his first public reaction to the request to double the garment workers’ monthly minimum wage.
The increase of the garment workers’ minimum wage to US$160 per month is impossible, underlined the Cambodian premier while he was presiding over the groundbreaking ceremony of Chrey Thom-Long Binh Bridge in Koh Thom, Cambodia’s province of Kandal, this morning.
The pay rise should be done in accordance with the ability, said Samdech Techo Hun Sen, stressing that the minimum wage in Cambodia is higher than in other countries such as India, Bangladesh, ….
* Questioning draws rally:
Opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha were questioned at Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday, but were released without charge in a case they say amounts to nothing more than political machinations by the ruling party.
The duo, along with unionist Rong Chhun, arrived at the court separately yesterday morning to face questioning over claims they incited garment workers to commit crimes and disrupt social order after their strikes took a violent turn earlier this month.
“They just asked us questions in order to assess our possible involvement in the worker demonstrations, so we have explained to them [that] even though we support the workers’ cause, we have never been involved in any act of violence,” Rainsy said at a press conference following the questioning.
* Cambodian opposition leaders appear in court on suspicion of inciting social unrest:
Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy and his deputy Kem Sokha as well as a union chief Rong Chhun faced court hearings on Tuesday on suspicion of inciting garment workers to stage a violent protest on January 3.
Hundreds of their supporters and human rights monitors had gathered outside the court’s building as the court questioned the trio one by one.
The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Jan. 3 summoned the trio to question about their possible involvement in “inciting to commit crimes or conducting actions that cause serious chaos to social security.”
The summonses came after a garment protest over low wage hike on Phnom Penh’s outskirts on Jan. 3 turned violent, leaving four protesters shot dead, 26 injured and 11 arrested.
After being questioned by the court for several hours, the trio had left the court smiling broadly to their waiting supporters.
“We had answered the court’s questions, we tell the truth,” Sam Rainsy told the cheering crowd, vowing to continue struggling nonviolently to demand justice.
read more. & read more.
* Cambodian opposition duo, leader of union in court for ‘inciting’ protest:
Two leaders of Cambodia’s main opposition party and a union chief appeared in court yesterday morning on charges of inciting garment factory workers to protest two weeks ago. Sam Rainsy, president of the Cambodia National Rescue Party, and his deputy Kem Sokha said they had done nothing wrong and would contest the charges of “inciting civil unrest”.
* ILO statement on Cambodia:
The ILO deplores the loss of life and expresses its deep concern as regards the deaths, assaults and arrests of workers during the latest strike in Cambodia.
The ILO calls on the Government to launch an independent inquiry without delay to determine the justification for the action taken by the police, to determine responsibilities, punish those responsible and prevent the repetition of such acts. Authorities should resort to the use of force only in situations where law and order is seriously threatened.
As regards the allegations of arrests, the ILO recalls that the detention of trade unionists for reasons related to their activities in defence of workers’ interests constitutes a serious interference with civil liberties in general and trade union rights in particular.
* Confidence needed to keep jobs:
When workers took to the streets and protested for an immediate 100 per cent wage increase of up to $160 within a year, in hindsight I keep asking myself what should be the options for civil servants and university graduates who earn less than $100?
With 300,000 youth entering the job market each year, work is increasingly difficult to find, even for many university graduates, prompting some of them to take jobs with meager salaries in order to gain experience and to build skills to compete in the increasingly fierce job market.
For these people, should they also take to the streets or should they change their jobs to work at factories?
12:39:56 local time BANGLADESH
* Ashulia RMG workers abstain from work:
Hundreds of readymade garment workers are observing work abstention in protest against retrenchment of fellow workers and poor payment of production bonus at two factories in Savar-Ashulia industrial area on Wednesday.
Sources said seeing the retrenchment notice of 35 workers at Lusaka Group, co-workers started demonstration demanding cancelation of the official action.
Agitating workers from Lusaka Group factory tried to put barricade on Bismail-Jirabo road but industrial police dispersed the protesters.
* Tofail: Top priority is to retain GSP:
The number of foreign embassies and foreign missions will be increased, if necessary, for enhancing our trade
A day after taking oath as commerce minister of the new cabinet, veteran Awami League leader Tofail Ahmed yesterday said his utmost priority would be to retain the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) for the Bangladeshi products in the US market.
He came up with the priority issue while talking to journalists at his secretariat office in Dhaka. He said the United States is the single largest importer of the Bangladeshi products.
“Apart from that, we will take other initiatives for exploring new markets across the globe to get duty-free excess of our goods. We would try to enhance the internal as well as foreign trade to boost the country’s total trade volume,’’ said the minister.
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE
* Airtel assistance for Rana Plaza victims:
Private mobile service operator Airtel conferred assistance to 61 families of workers who died in Rana Plaza tragedy, one of the world’s largest factory disaster.
Airtel Bangladesh Ltd. handed over ‘Recharge Retailer Kit’ to victim’s family members at a city restaurant on Wednesday.
A total of 61 families got Airtel handset, recharge load, shop kiosk and umbrellas with Airtel logo from a cooperative fund by service holders of Airtel.
Airtel Head of Sales ASM Golam Tauhid told the matter to media.
14:39:56 local time CHINA
* Technical textiles growing steadily in China:
13:39:56 local time VIET NAM
* Vietnam, EU promise to complete FTA soon:
The chief negotiators of Vietnam and the EU pledged to make every effort to promptly complete discussions about a free trade agreement (FTA) between them.
Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade and Chief of the Government negotiation delegation Tran Quoc Khanh and Director of the Directorate General for Trade of the European Commission Mauro Petriccione stressed their determination to reach a deal soon during the opening session of the sixth round of talks for the Vietnam-EU FTA in Brussels on January 13.
13:39:56 local time CAMBODIA
* Hun Sen: Minimum wage of workers cannot be increased to USD160:
Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday said it would be impossible to double the garment workers from USD 80 to USD 160 even though he wish to see them to have better life.
“Which leaders and Prime Ministers don’t want to see their peoples have good and high standard of living,”,
Hun Sen said at the ground-breaking ceremony of Chrey Thom-Long Binh Bridge in Kandal province.
Hun Sen, who attended the ceremony with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, said the salaries of Cambodian workers are higher than those of workers in India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Laos, and as high as the minimum wage in Vietnam.
He also appealed to opposition leaders to stop inciting protest to demand wage be raised to $160 per month for workers as “it is impossible”.
* Huge spike in strikes: report:
Labour union officials say inflation and Cambodia’s national election contributed to a nearly 300 per cent increase in strikes last year over 2012.
An annual study of Cambodia’s labour market released yesterday by the Free Trade Union counted 381 industrial strikes in the Kingdom in 2013. The FTU reported just 101 strike actions for 2012.
“The high cost of merchandise, rental houses and food is the reason why the number of strikes is increasing so much,” FTU president Chea Mony told the Post yesterday. “When everything gets more expensive, it leads to workers demanding pay raises and increased benefits.”
Among the wage-driven strikes last year was a national garment worker strike that began on December 24 after the Ministry of Labour set the 2014 minimum monthly wage for garment and shoe factory employees at $95, a figure $65 less than the $160 unions demanded. A week later, the Labour Ministry raised the 2014 floor wage to $100, but unions balked at the small increase and continued striking.
* Free Trade Union Reports Overall Jump in Labor Strikes in 2013:
The Free Trade Union (FTU) on Monday reported an overall increase in industrial action by its local branches last year with 136 total strikes in the first 11 months of 2013, up 35 percent from all of 2012, when there were 101 strikes by its members.
This increase does not include the 241 strikes by FTU members in December during nationwide strikes, which culminated in police shooting dead five workers and wounding more than 40 on January 3.
Chea Mony, president of the FTU, said the heightened industrial unrest among his workers was a result of the rising cost of living.
“There were a lot of strikes and protests increased because of inflation, so the workers had to demand more salary,” he said. “Also the factory workers are forced to work overtime.”
In order to reduce industrial action, Mr. Mony suggested that the government and factory owners should stop intimidating and firing union activists, and instead deal with the root causes of labor strikes: low salary and mandatory overtime.
* NGOs push for more international pressure:
Civil society groups yesterday urged the international community to put more pressure on the government to ensure the safety of prisoners arrested in recent crackdowns and to prevent further police and military violence against civilians.
At a press conference yesterday morning, images of soldiers beating and arresting protesters at Yakjin (Cambodia) Inc on January 2 played on a loop beside panellists, who criticised the government’s use of excessive force – including opening fire with live ammunition, killing at least four – at demonstrations this month.
“Those who abuse their power, especially the military and soldiers, cannot go unpunished,” Yeng Virak, executive director of the Community Legal Education Center, told journalists and NGO workers in attendance. “The armed forces and military police beat everyone – young, old, men, women and even children.”
* Group Defies Government Ban to Demand Detainees’ Release:
Defying a new ban on public gatherings, more than 50 activists and monks gathered outside the local U.N. human rights office Monday morning to demand the immediate release of 23 men who were arrested earlier this month during violent clashes between police and garment workers.
The 23 men were arrested during two days of demonstrations for higher garment sector wages that ended in the fatal shooting of five protesters by military police outside a Phnom Penh factory on January 3.
The Interior Ministry ordered a freeze on public gatherings of 10 or more people the next day, and the 23 men have since been charged with inciting violence and damage to private property. They each face up to 15 years in jail.
Taking advantage of the latest visit from the U.N.’s human rights envoy to Cambodia, Surya Subedi, who arrived Sunday, activists, monks and relatives of the 23 detained men met outside the U.N. office with banners and a petition asking the envoy to help secure the prisoners’ release.
* Government Urged to Ease Pressure on Unions:
Visiting representatives from the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) on Monday urged the Labor Ministry to withdraw its threat to revoke the licenses of six unions behind recent strikes, and to drop legal proceedings against union leader Rong Chhun.
ITUC deputy general-secretary Jaap Wienen, whose Belgium-based group works with unions around the world including Mr. Chhun’s Cambodian Confederation of Unions, said he delivered the “advice” at a private meeting with Labor Minister Ith Sam Heng on Monday morning.
His visit follows garment worker protests that peaked on January 3 when military police opened fire on demonstrators outside a Phnom Penh factory, killing five and wounding dozens. About 100 factories have since sued the six unions for allegedly inciting the violence, and Mr. Chhun is scheduled for questioning today.
* Pressure grows for reforms of Cambodia garment industry:
Four dead. Thirty-seven injured. Three missing. Twenty-three detained.
Driving through the evening streets of Phnom Penh, Kong Athit grimly details the casualty toll of last week’s bloody crackdown in the Cambodian capital. “All of the dead were garment workers. All of the missing are garment workers. Among the 23 detainees, 21 are garment workers.”
Athit is the vice-president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union, or C-CAWDU, and his membership has been out in force through rolling protests in the capital, demanding an increase in the minimum monthly wage to $160.
This, the bloodiest protest thus far, commenced Christmas Eve, grew into the hundreds of thousands, and exploded in two violent standoffs between rock-throwing, stick-bearing protesters, who by day earn a meagre living sewing garments for global brand name manufacturers, and local police with AK-47s.
For four days the whereabouts of detainees, charged with “intentional violence” and “intentional damage,” was unknown even to family members. Athit says C-CAWDU leaders are now under close watch by security police.
* The ITUC Is Watching You Too:
Mr. Jaap Wienen, Deputy General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) representing 176 million workers worldwide, had a meeting at the Ministry of Labour, giving his full support to the cambodian workers demands of a $US160 monthly salary and the release of the workers and union leaders arrested during the January 2nd and 3rd crackdown (see HERE and HERE).
* Cambodian government must investigate killings and increase minimum wage:
IndustriALL Global Union and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) calls for the Cambodian government to act immediately to investigate the killing of four garment workers during strikes on 3 January, release all 23 detained unionists, and set a minimum wage on which workers and their families can at least meet their basic needs.
On 10-13 January, IndustriALL and the IUC joined forces for an international trade union mission to Cambodia. Demanding the release of jailed unionists, an investigation into the killings, and an increased minimum wage, the mission expresses particular concern over the fate of union president Vorn Pao. He was severely beaten and remains in jail despite his poor physical condition.
The mission demands the establishment of a credible, independent inquiry to investigate the killings and for those responsible to be held accountable. This demand was put to Cambodia’s Labour Minister today.
The delegation also informed him that the plan announced to set up a government-controlled inquiry is seen as insufficient, given that government such committees have produced few results in the past.
Calls for urgent action to raise the minimum wage and a government pledge to fully respect ILO Convention 87 on Freedom of Association, which Cambodia has ratified, were also put to the Minister. A government proposal to set up a new Commission on wages, headed by the Finance Minister, was described as inadequate. No meeting of that Commission has been scheduled yet, and further delay in establishing a decent minimum wage is likely to lead to further industrial action as workers seek justice.
* Cambodia: Statement from International Trade Union Mission:
An international trade union mission to Cambodia has today called for the government to act immediately to investigate the killing of four garment workers during strikes on 3 January, release all 23 detained unionists, and set a minimum wage on which workers and their families can at least meet their basic needs.
The mission has expressed particular concern over the fate of union president Vorn Pao, who was severely beaten and remains in jail despite his poor physical condition.
In a statement issued by the ITUC, its regional body ITUC-AP and the regional office of Global Union Federation IndustriALL, the mission demanded the establishment of a credible, independent inquiry to investigate the killings and for those responsible to be held accountable. This demand was put to Cambodia’s Labour Minister today.
14:39:56 local time INDONESIA
* BetterWork Indonesia Media Updates:
1. Task force set up to monitor JKN program. Read the full article here
2. High Minimum Wage, Industry start leaving West Java.
Read the full article here (Article is in Bahasa Indonesia)
Read the Google Translate English Version here
3. Industrial Areas that are prone to “cripple” due to flood.
Read the full article here (Article is in Bahasa Indonesia)
Read the Google Translate English Version here
4. 101 Companies in Bekasi proposes Minimum Wage Postponement.
Read the full article here(Article is in Bahasa Indonesia)
5. 16 Companies in DKI is in process of Minimum Wage Postponement.
Read the full article here(article is in Bahasa Indonesia)
Read the Google Translate English Version here
6. New health insurance program confuses people. Read the full article here
7. Here are the 3 obstacles of textile and textile products Industry in 2014.
Read the full article here
Read the Google Translate English Version here
BetterWork Indonesia Media Update overview here.
12:39:56 local time BANGLADESH
* Fire at garment factory in capital:
A devastating fire broke out at a garments factory housed in a nine-storey building in the capital’s Malibagh on Monday night.
The fire broke out on the 1st floor of the factory of Al Muslims Garments at around 8:15pm and soon engulfed the other floor, said witnesses.
Fire Service and Civil Defence official Anisur Rahman said six units of fire service were trying to douse the blaze while three more units were on the way to join with them.
He said they were find out the cause of the fire and the damages.
Witnesses said several hundred workers of the factory, fire fighters and locals were jointly trying to put off the fire.
read more. & read more. & read more. & to read. & to read. & to read. & to read.
* Cotton factory gutted in Patuakhali:
A cotton processing factory and an easy bike garage, adjacent to the new market under sadar police station in Patuakhali, were completely burnt Tuesday morning, a fire service official said.
The fire might have been originated from an electrical short circuit in the facility around 8:30 am. Fire service officials estimated the loss worth about Tk 10 lakh, our correspondent reported.
The official said the fire soon engulfed the nearby easy bike garage and a computer shop, gutting raw cotton and fabrics, an easy bike and a computer of the business establishments.
A unit of fire fighter brought the blaze under control after an hour of effort, fire officials said.
* RMG workers stage demo in capital:
Readymade garment (RMG) workers staged demonstrations in the capital’s Manda area under Mughda police station demanding the implementation of the minimum wage scale fixed by the government.
During the demonstrations, the workers of Ethical Garments Factory protested “unethical” activities of the authority by depriving them from their logical payment.
Witnesses and police said some 2000 workers of the factory took to the streets in front of the factory around 7:30am instead of joining their workplace.
They paraded in the area, chanting slogans voicing their demands and protesting of factory authorities’ dilly-dallying in implementing the minimum wage scale.
* Sweater factory management hires goons to beat up workers:
At least three workers of a sweater factory were injured when local miscreants hired by the factory management attacked demonstrating workers in Savar yesterday.
Workers of Galimpur Sweater Ltd of Moni Group in Mazidpur were demonstrating on the factory premises to press home their four-point demand including basic salary hike.
The workers claimed that the factory’s management hired miscreants to beat them as they have been demonstrating.
Babu Mondol, assistant production manager of the factory, said production at the factory was halted as the workers have been demonstrating for the last three days. To resume production at the factory, its high officials discussed the matter with some locals, he added.
“Only a few workers were leading demonstration. Some locals were called to control the situation,” Mondol said.
Some workers claimed Aminul Islam, an accountant at the factory, hired the miscreants.
* RMG wage board to sit Wednesday:
The minimum wages board for apparel workers is scheduled for holding its meeting on Wednesday, about one month and a half after awarding new wage structure, aiming at the inclusion of some new posts, which were left out, in the award, said officials concerned.
During the implementation of the new wage structure, it was found that many posts of workers were not included in any grade in the award published in gazette notification December 5, 2013.
Those workers are facing complication in receiving their wages as the owners of the apparel factories are paying wages at their (owners) whims.
The government had asked the owners to implement the new wage structure from December 1, 2013.
Workers at several apparel factories staged protests in last week as their posts were not included in the new award.
* Missing posts to be included in new RMG wage structure:
The government has initiated a move to incorporate some posts in the new wage structure for readymade garment (RMG) workers aiming to ensure proper implementation of the wage hike, sources said.
They said some posts were not incorporated in the new wage structure announced in November last and a fresh crisis emerged in fixing the wage hike for those workers.
Following the complaints, the Labour Ministry has asked the Wage Board to hold a meeting with the stakeholders and take necessary steps in this regard.
“Last week we told the Wage Board to take measures to include the posts that were somehow missed during that time,” Labour Secretary Mikail Shipar said.
After the Wage Board’s recommendation, the ministry will take action, he added.
The Minimum Wage Board will sit tomorrow (Wednesday) to discuss the issue and incorporate the missing posts in the wage structure, the Wage Board sources confirmed.
A large number of posts of garment workers, especially in printing, embroidery and washing units in the three to six grades were not included in the new wage structure though we repeatedly pressed for it, Sirajul Islam Rony, president of the Bangladesh Jatiya Garments Sramik Karmachari League, said.
read more. & read more.
* RMG shows its strength in new markets:
With the economy hit hard by strikes and exporters enduring increasing transportation costs, the maintenance of market share during this time has clearly been important
RMG exports to non-traditional markets such as China and South America have grown by over a third in the last year. Exports to Turkey alone more than doubled to over $335m.
This is a welcome reminder of the initiative of the nation’s garment entrepreneurs. During a period when public attention has been focused on the main buyers from Europe and North America and there have been reports of some buyers dropping orders, the RMG sector has shown creativity and innovation by continuing to diversify across new markets.
The Export Promotion Bureau reported a rise in apparel exports overall for July to November 2013, compared to the same period the previous year. With the economy hit hard by strikes and garment exporters having to endure the burden of increased costs for transportation, the maintenance of market share during this time has clearly been important.
* Bangladesh garment exports soar 19.95% in H1 FY ‘14:
* Political stability is a must for rebuilding buyers’ confidence:
Harsh political programmes such as hartals and blockades should be stopped. If political violence cannot be avoided, the whole economy especially the export sector will face the dire consequences
Bangladesh needs to ensure its political stability for creating a congenial atmosphere to rebuild the global buyers’ confidence for the sake of maintaining a sustainable export growth trend in the coming days, Abdus Salam Murshedy, veteran footballer turn businessmen and also the president of Bangladesh Exporters Association (EAB) told the Dhaka Tribune in an exclusive interview.
How can Bangladesh rebuild buyers’ confidence?
11:39:56 local time PAKISTAN
* High-yielding seeds: Companies push for Bt cotton in Pakistan:
In a fresh bid to restart the legislation process from where it was discontinued earlier, a summary is being sent to the Prime Minister Secretariat, seeking exemption over the lapse of the proposed Seed Amendment Act 2010, which could not be tabled before the parliament prior to its dissolution in 2013.
The passage of the Seed Act is vital for ensuring provision of quality seed to farmers, said Syed Muhammad Nasir Ali, Federal Seed Certification and Registration Department (FSCRD) director general, while speaking at a seminar on ‘Employing Modern Technologies in the Agriculture Sector’, held under the aegis of the Agricultural Journalists Association (AJA).
He said that modern technologies like genetically-modified seeds could not be introduced due to lack of legal cover. “Inadequate legal cover has been a major challenge in launching Bt cotton certification for the private seed sector,” he observed. Moreover, he added, private seed breeders cannot produce basic seed under the prevalent legal framework.
* Op-Ed | Garment Workers Deserve a Global Minimum Wage:
Garment manufacturing is global. But the rules that protect workers are not, creating a race to the bottom amongst poor countries aiming to attract foreign investment with the lowest wages and flimsiest safety standards. In the wake of recent tragedies and protests in Bangladesh, Cambodia and Haiti, it’s time for a global minimum wage, argues Tansy E. Hoskins.
Apparel is one of the world’s oldest, largest and most global export industries. In a world where robots are used to automate many types of manufacturing, garments are still made by hands-on human toil. But fashion and apparel, as an industry, is failing the vast majority of its workers.
The scale of the failure can be seen in the 1,134 deaths at Rana Plaza in Bangladesh, the five garment workers recently shot dead in Cambodia and the thousands of workers eeking out a living, all but enslaved in a South Korean factory complex built on the site of the Chambert Post Prison Camp in Haiti.
As a result, Bangladesh, Cambodia and Haiti have all been buffeted by recent protests staged by impoverished garment workers, who have gone on strike, fought pitched street battles with police and burned factories. In each country, their demands are the same: better wages and better working conditions.
Yet, across the board, the protestors have been accused of being traitors, bringing disrepute to their countries, jeopardising the garment manufacturing industries that have taken root there and causing foreign investment to flee.
Asia Floor Wage is an alliance aiming to ensure garment workers across Asia are paid a living wage. The group’s ‘floor wage’ is calculated using the World Bank’s PPP (purchasing power parity) dollar and buys the same set of goods and services in all countries.
“The Asia Floor Wage is the first time a cross-border agreement and formula has been found. It is a minimum living wage formula agreed upon by Asian garment unions to protect garment workers in the global garment industry,” said Anannya Bhattacharjee of the Garment and Allied Workers Union in India, who is on the Asia Floor Wage’s steering committee.
“We would like to work more closely with our colleagues in Latin America and Africa to develop a minimum living wage that would be applicable to all the Global South.”
13:39:56 local time VIET NAM
* Labour market to see minor wage growth in 2014:
The Vietnamese labour market this year will see just a 6-8 per cent salary increase due to the sluggish economy.
The forecast was made by Nicola Connolly, chairwoman of Eurocham’s Human Resources and Training Sector Committee.
At a press briefing in HCM City on January 9, she said that minimum wage insurance in Q3 of this year is expected to reach VND3.2 million ($152.3).
The outlook for the Vietnamese labour market is contingent on various global trends – high unemployment rates, production shifts, the increasing skills gap and shortage, freelancing become an ever more normal way of life and the internet which is creating a larger marketplace for jobs.
* TPP lures swarms of garment producers:
An element of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement is helping Vietnam coax more foreign garment and textile makers.
Northeastern Quang Ninh province’s Department of Planning and Investment said the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), currently under negotiation, was making the province a hot destination for garment and textile firms looking to establish factories as their products are exported to TPP member nations and would enjoy a 0 per cent tax rate on imports.
Under the TPP’s ‘yarn forward’ rule of origin, to be eligible for a 0 per cent import tax rate – instead of the existing 17-20 per cent – all manufacturing processes including yarn spinning, knitting, and dyeing must be carried out in a TPP member country.
The department’s deputy director Do Minh Tuan said Hong Kong’s Black Peony is planning to build a $100 million jeans factory at Hai Yen Industrial Park. TAL Hong Kong Development Company and Sri Lanka’s Hidramani Group were also reportedly working with provincial authorities to build garment factories in Dong Mai Industrial Park.
13:39:56 local time CAMBODIA
* Unions Want Government, Factories to Resume Wage Talks:
The unions behind several days of strikes that turned deadly this month said they will officially ask the Labor Ministry today to resume negotiations on a new minimum wage for the country’s critical garment sector, and said they would hold more street protests if their request is rebuffed.
The six unions led strikes for a doubling of the sector’s monthly minimum wage to $160 that peaked when military police shot into crowds of protesters outside a Phnom Penh factory on January 3, killing five people and wounding dozens more.
Though most workers have since returned to their factories and the Labor Ministry has offered to boost the minimum wage from $80 to $100 per month, the unions said Sunday that they were sticking to their demand for $160.
* Relatives Call On Government to Release 23 Detainees:
Relatives and human rights activists on Sunday called on the government to release 23 men beaten and arrested during clashes between police and garment workers just more than a week ago, and said they would defy a ban on public gatherings if they were not.
The 23 protesters, union leaders and garment workers were apprehended during two days of violent demonstrations—for a doubling of the monthly minimum wage for garment workers to $160—that turned deadly on January 3 when military police shot and killed five people and wounded dozens more. The 23 have since been charged with intentionally causing violence and damage to property.
At a press conference at the Phnom Penh home of one of the detainees, anti-eviction activist Chan Puthisak, about 40 relatives and activists condemned the men’s arrest and demanded their immediate release.
* Labour rallies move overseas:
As protests in Cambodia become scarce in the wake of authorities opening fire on demonstrators near Canadia Industrial Park, killing at least four people, labour and human rights advocates across the globe are showing solidarity with demonstrations of their own.
Since the deadly incident on January 3, protesters have gathered at Cambodian embassies in more than a dozen countries to publicly condemn the shooting of unarmed demonstrators.
“The shooting against the protesters cannot be justified at all,” said Mikyung Ryu, international director of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, which has organised three demonstrations in South Korea.
“On no grounds should the military fire on protesters.”
About 2,000 demonstrators attended the protest at the Cambodian embassy in Seoul yesterday, Ryu said. Their first demonstration was held at the embassy a few days after the shooting, and they held a second rally outside South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where they decried the country’s alleged complicity in the shooting.
read more. & read more.
* Rights groups critical of gov’t investigations:
The government announced on Friday it would set up two commissions headed by Interior Minister Sar Kheng to investigate clashes between police and protesters early this month that left at least four dead, more than 20 injured and 23 arrested, a move criticised by rights groups, which said the government was incapable of carrying out an independent investigation.
One will focus on investigating the damage caused by “anarchic demonstrators”, while the other will investigate how the incident occurred. A third commission will study the minimum wages of garment workers and be headed by Minister of Finance Keat Chhon, according to a statement from the Council of Ministers.
Pointing to the creation of similar fact-finding commissions formed after violent police incidences in the past, senior Licadho monitor Am Sam Ath said there was virtually no chance these groups would uncover the truth.
* Cambodian garment workers: The skin of their teeth, the shirt on your back:
Her quick hands and sharp eyes have, for a year, inspected the stitching in a stream of clothes before they left a factory by a dusty potholed street in Phnom Penh to head to stores in Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Berlin, London and New York.
Today Ms Heit Ladi, 20, who eked out a living by the proverbial skin of her teeth on a monthly salary of US$80 (S$102) and just wanted more, lies staring at the ceiling in Phnom Penh’s Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital, her upper left arm shattered by two bullets. She wonders if it will heal well enough for her to resume work.
She is among over 30 left wounded when troops opened fire on striking workers on Jan 3. Five were killed.
The local rights organisation, the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defence of Human Rights, called it “the worst state violence to hit civilians in 15 years”.
Seven global apparel brand names which buy from Cambodian factories, in an open letter to Cambodia’s strongman Premier Hun Sen last Tuesday, expressed deep concern over “the widespread civil unrest and the government’s use of deadly force”.
* Blood on our backs:
Global garment workers deserve more than intermittent concern
Early one morning about a week ago, I awoke in a shiver, grabbed a purple cotton shirt from my closet and pulled it over my head. I didn’t notice the label. I made my coffee and checked the news.
On the other side of the globe, five Cambodians had been shot and killed and more than 20 wounded as military police cracked down on a swelling demonstration of garment workers protesting for higher pay. I clicked on the wrenching photo of a body bathed in blood, his shirt and pants painted the same startling red as the dirt beneath him. As rocks, bricks and Molotov cocktails flew, armed forces responded with batons and bullets. The human-rights group Licadho called it the worst violence against Cambodian civilians in 15 years.
It’s a remarkably risky job, making clothes for Westerners. When the Rana Plaza factory collapsed in Bangladesh in April, killing more than 1,100 people, we Westerners responded with a collective pause: How, exactly, should we think about the workers who make our clothes? But we didn’t think long or hard enough. In October fire killed seven workers in a Bangladesh fabric mill that supplied cloth for Western companies. Human Rights Watch has said the tragedy could have been prevented. And now blood spatters the streets of Phnom Penh amid massive political protests, as opposition leaders demand long-standing Prime Minister Hun Sen step down after decades in charge.
I looked at the shirt on my back: a Tresics tag, “made in Cambodia.” I flipped through hangers and dresser drawers to find more made-in-Cambodia labels from Mossimo, Old Navy, Faded Glory, Gap and Sonoma, purchased long ago from Target, Walmart and Kohl’s.
* Another dark day in our history:
On December 29, more than 100,000 Cambodians – garment workers, teachers, farmers and students from all over the country – marched through the streets of the capital calling for Hun Sen, our long-serving prime minister-dictator, to step down or allow an independent investigation into the flawed national elections that took place in July.
The massive demonstration was the culmination of months of non-violent rallies and marches led by the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP). It was also the most significant challenge to Hun Sen’s 28-year reign of exploitation and corruption.
And he could not tolerate it. He would sooner draw blood than enact real reform.
For almost three decades, Hun Sen – a Khmer Rouge defector who was put in power after Vietnam toppled Pol Pot’s regime in 1979 – has convinced foreign governments to pour aid into the country, even while the ruling Cambodian People’s Party has rigged elections, sold off our natural resources, imprisoned journalists, union leaders, opposition politicians and human rights activists.
* A family’s anguish:
It’s been a week since Khim Saphath’s family held a funeral for their missing son, last seen with blood pouring from his chest during clashes between striking garment workers and authorities on January 3.
Without a body to place in a casket, framed photos had to suffice as a physical reminder of a baby-faced 16-year-old who lied about his age to work at a Chinese-owned garment factory for $8 a day.
But although they say they have accepted the worst, Saphath’s doting parents haven’t stopped looking for him.
“I look for my son at pagodas, hospitals and clinics. Wherever we go, we ask people about him, but we have found nothing,” Saphath’s father, Khim Souern, 41, said yesterday outside the sparse rental room that the youngster shared with his older sister, a few hundred metres away from the factory where he worked. “We just want to know what happened to him, if he survived or died. If he is dead, we need to see his corpse.”
14:39:56 local time MALAYSIA
* Don’t Hire Foreign Workers If Employers Don’t Agree With I-kad Cost – Zahid:
Employers who disagree with the cost of RM110 for the i-Kad for foreign workers, should not be hiring foreign workers to work for them, said Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
He said at present, the cost of hiring foreign workers here was still much lower than that charged in other countries even with the payment for an i-Kad for each worker.
“If they (employers) don’t agree (with the i-Kad), send them (foreign workers) home…in other countries like Singapore and UAE, employers have to pay not less than US$5,000 for each foreign worker hired.
12:39:56 local time BANGLADESH
* RMG ‘workers’ salary’ of Tk 14 lakh looted in Gazipur:
Miscreants yesterday allegedly looted cash Tk 14 lakh, which was to be given as salary to workers of a garment factory in Gazipur.
Mahi Uddin Ahmed, assistant general manager of Sunghar Tex Ltd, claimed that unidentified miscreants at gunpoint took away the money from two factory officials in Shibrampur area.
He said the officials had withdrawn the money from a bank and was returning to the factory in an auto-rickshaw.
Mahi added the miscreants, who were on motorbikes, also hurled cocktails before fleeing from the spot with the bag of cash.
* Incentives being weighed for home, specialised textiles:
Bid to fend off competition from Pakistan, China, India
The government has moved to keep the home textile and specialised textile sectors afloat by providing various types of incentives, as export earnings from the two areas were continuously declining, sources have said.
The move has been taken in the face of a stiff competition from Pakistan, China, India and some other cotton producing countries, they have further said.
“As Bangladesh is dependent on import of cotton, we see no other options but to provide incentives to keep the sectors competitive in the global market,” said vice chairman of the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) Shubhashish Bose while talking to the FE Sunday.
He said the European Union (EU) granted the generalised system of preferences (GSP) plus status to Pakistan which is a major cotton producing country.
“With the GSP plus facility it will be able to export home and specialised textile at further competitive prices to the European market,” he added.
Mr Bose said Bangladesh’s exports from the sectors were also facing a competition from India and China. Being cotton producers they are in a more advantageous position in the global market compared to Bangladesh.
* Home textiles export sees 6% fall:
Inadequate supply of gas and power to industrial units severely hampered production and compelled them to spend more to generate energy by alternative means
The Country’s home textile exports have seen a 6% decline in the first half of the current fiscal year due to political unrest and inadequate supply of gas in the dyeing factories.
It also fell 9% short of the period’s target of $388.21m. The home textile export target was set at $831 for the whole fiscal.
In July-December period of the FY2013-14, home textiles fetched $350.20m, which is 6.30% lower compared to $375m for the same period of previous fiscal, EPB data showed.
* Production resumes in full swing in Korean EPZ :
After three days of suspension of production the workers of the Korean Export Processing Zone joined their duties on Sunday morning.
When contacted, an officer of the Korean EPZ at West Patiya and Anwara said all workers and employees joined their duties and production in the Karnaphuli Sportswear Ltd was going on in full swing.
Public Relations Officer of the Korean EPZ Md Azim said the atmosphere in the specialized export zone was peaceful. Workers’ wages and benefits have been paid after fruitful negotiation. The shoe manufacturing factory has some 6500 workers, he said.
The authority said there is no disparity in the wages of the workers. The incident occurred due to misunderstanding regarding the wages and benefits.
A representative of the workers said they have joined their duties following a decision taken by the management. The workers have welcomed the decision to re-open the factory, it is learnt.
* RMG export to non-traditional markets surges by 37% in H1:
Readymade garment export to the non-traditional markets in the first half of the current financial year soared by 37.27 per cent to $1.36 billion against $996.89 million of the same period of the last financial year 2012-13, Export Promotion Bureau data showed.
Terming the export growth encouraging, exporters said that the market diversification was the key option for Bangladesh to diminish the dependency on export to the traditional two regions — the EU and the US.
They hoped that the non-traditional markets mainly China, Japan and Russia would be the big alternative destinations of Bangladeshi RMG products in the future as the domestic consumption of those countries was huge.
Of the total export in six months to the non-traditional markets, woven items fetched $743.96 million with 49.68 per cent growth while knitwear amounted to $624.46 million with 24.93 per cent growth.
* New markets boost RMG export :
The country’s apparel exporters gradually penetrating into new markets thanks to their efforts in diversifying markets – a strategy to reduce dependence on the traditional market that often poses threat to the industry.
The apparel exports to the non-traditional markets registered a sharp growth by over 37% to US$1.37bn in the first half of the current fiscal year, braving the political turmoil throughout the year.
The manufacturers had earlier exported apparel products worth $977m during the same period (July-December) in 2012.
The comparatively new markets include Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, South Africa and Turkey.
12:09:56 local time INDIA
* Handloom weavers take the satyagraha route:
The Union Textile Ministry’s move to redefine the handloom sector has become a cause of concern for handloom weavers. The All-India Federation of Handloom Organisations (AIFHO) has launched a nationwide satyagraha.
Handloom weavers in the State are now holding awareness meetings as part of their agitation.
Prasanna, convener of Desi, an organisation striving to promote handlooms, told The Hindu that the weavers would take out a padayatra in the northern districts in support of their demands from January 14. It would begin at Gajendragad of Gadag district and pass through Koppal, Raichur, and Bagalkot districts, covering 200 km.
Representatives of weavers’ cooperative organisations, functionaries of progressive organisations, ecologists, writers and farmer activists would take part in the programme.
11:39:56 local time PAKISTAN
* Power loom owners search for credit to modernise:
With the grant of the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) Plus status by the European Union to Pakistan, there comes the pressing need of producing quality products as well as modernising the machinery.
However, a major obstacle in the way of owners of outdated power looms is the dearth of credit – a necessity for upgrading their machinery to meet the growing demand for grey fabric in European markets.
The benefits that the 10-year GSP Plus status entails are huge for the textile industry, especially for grey fabric manufacturers, but these largely depend on the ability to produce products of international standards.
“Many businessmen have been doing business in the domestic market while banking on outdated machinery,” said exporter Ikhlaq Ahmad while talking to The Express Tribune. “Now that the demand for grey cloth is weakening here, they are targeting inroads into European markets.”
* Sialkot gets football export order:
The city received a big export order of 6.2 million hand stitched footballs, disclosed former Chairman Pakistan Sports Goods Association(PSGA) Prof. Safdar Sandal.
Talking to reporter here on Sunday, he said that over 2 million footballs have so far been prepared and ready for the shipment.
The export order of footballs was diverted from China to Pakistan as a result of which about ten to fifteen very large companies of Sialkot are now busy in producing machine stitched footballs and this number was growing rapidly, he said. Prof. Sandal said that the world demand of hand stitched footballs is 45 percent while the demand of machine stitched footballs is 55 percent.
He further stated the government should take appropriate steps for promoting sports industries development centre to facilitate the business community of the city.
* PCGA for allowing private sector to import cotton seed:
Central Executive Committee of Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) has urged upon the government to allow the private sector to import heat and virus resistant well-germinated cotton seed to improve the per acre yield.
Prohibit the establishment of sugar mills in Cotton zone. It was resolved at a meeting chaired by Mukhtar Ahmed Baloch, its chairman, here on Sunday.
It threatened to suspend the business with defaulter textile mills if they did not clear the dues of ginners. Through an unanimous resolution, the CEC of PCGA hailed the remarks of Lahore High Court in a case against developing a garment city in Kala Shah Kaku and said the government should take the observation of the court seriously.
14:39:56 local time CHINA
* Nation’s salary growth strong: Report:
China will see the strongest salary growth among all Asian countries in 2014, even though the nation’s economic growth rate has been slowing down, a report from global human resources firm Hays has said.
According to the 2014 Hays Asia Salary Guide, which was released on Thursday and polled about 2,600 employers across the region, 67 percent of the surveyed Chinese employers said they will increase employees’ salaries above 6 percent, compared with 66 percent last year.
Only 29 percent of polled employers from other Asian countries and regions said there would be a salary increase above six percent in their organizations, with the rate remaining the same as in the previous year.
14:39:56 local time PHILIPPINES
* Labor group seeks TRO on SSS premium hike:
National labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) filed a petition for Temporary Restraining Order Jan 10 against the 0.6-percent increase in Social Security System (SSS) members’ premium contributions.
The questioned hike is set to take effect starting this month.
“Workers are determined to stop the implementation of SSS premium hike. It is an unjust burden imposed by the Aquino government. It will further dig into our pockets just to fill the pockets of big capitalists and corrupt bureaucrats,” said Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general.
Starting January this year, monthly SSS contributions will rise to 11 percent from 10.4 percent.
This means minimum wage earners would have to pay at least P25 ($0.56) more on premium contributions per month.
13:39:56 local time CAMBODIA
* Stop the violence against Cambodian garment workers:
Cambodian garment workers make around $80 a month, taking on long hours of overtime in harsh conditions.
Now workers across the country are standing up for themselves to demand more – but the fight for a better wage in Cambodia is a dangerous one. This video is to show the workers who are standing up – and the violence that’s consistently employed to keep them quiet.
Photos and video by Heather Stilwell. @HeatherStilwell
* Groups Demand Mandatory Minimum Wage, Threaten Protest:
About 100 people, including 20 monks, held a ceremony in Phnom Penh on Friday in memory of the five people killed a week beforehand when military police opened fire on protesting garment workers, and demanded that the government introduce a mandatory, sector-wide standard minimum wage.
In Sen Sok district’s Toek Thla commune, representatives from seven advocacy groups and unions said they stood in solidarity with the garment workers, who are calling for an increase in the minimum wage to $160 per month, but said such a sum should be introduced in other sectors too.
The groups, which included the Coalition of Cambodian Farmer Community and the Independent Monk Network for Social Justice, also called for the release of 23 strikers, activists and union representatives are detained in Kompong Cham province’s maximum security Correctional Center 3 (CC3) after their arrest last week.
* Committees to ‘Research’ Minimum Wages, ‘Study’ Killings:
Prime Minister Hun Sen on Friday assigned former Finance Minister Keat Chhon as the head of a newly formed committee tasked with researching the government’s capacity to introduce wage increases for civil servants and factory workers.
In a statement released by the Council of Ministers’ Press and Quick Reaction Unit, Mr. Hun Sen said that he wants Mr. Chhon to “discuss with related institutions and parties over the possibility for raising salaries and reforming the salary system for civil servants.”
On January 3, military police shot dead five and wounded more than 40 protesting garment factory workers during clashes on Veng Sreng Street after a week of mass demonstrations to demand a monthly minimum wage of $160.
* Cambodian garment workers return to work; firms sue unions:
Tens of thousands of garment workers have returned to work in Cambodia since a strike for higher pay was put down with deadly force by the authorities last week but employers are now piling up lawsuits against trade unions over the two-week dispute.
The garment makers’ association said most workers had returned to work around the country by Friday although only about 60 percent had shown up at the Canadia Industrial Park in the capital, Phnom Penh, where military police opened fire on January 3, killing three strikers according to the government.
The park is home to factories that make clothes for Western brands such as Adidas AG, H&M Hennes & Mauritz AB and Puma SE.
“The lawsuits will focus on incitement to strike, damage to property and assets, coercion and threatening workers who want to work,” Ken Loo, secretary-general of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC), told Reuters.
Khieu Sambo, an attorney representing firms against the six unions involved in the strike, told Reuters that more than 150 factories had filed lawsuits and more were being prepared.
Chea Mony, president of the Free Trade Union, one of those targeted, said the judiciary was politicised but he would still fight the charges in court.
“They sued us because they want to intimidate us so we won’t strike any more and we won’t help the workers,” he said. “We are not afraid.”
* World Retailers Want Negotiations in Cambodia Labor Dispute:
Major international clothing companies say they are concerned for the safety of Cambodia’s garment workers and want to see peaceful negotiations between unions, factories and the government.
The workers have been on strike for weeks, calling for the monthly minimum wage to be doubled to $160. The industry employs up to 400,000 people.
Five people were killed, 40 injured and 23 arrested in crackdowns on striking workers and other demonstrators last week. Many laborers have since returned to work but unions are still calling for a raise.
In an unusual move, major international clothing retailers, including H&M, Adidas, Gap, Columbia, Puma and Levi Strauss, this week signed a joint letter decrying violence against workers.
“We strongly oppose any form of violence, and urge the Royal Government of Cambodia to drive negotiations among stakeholders to peacefully resolve this dispute,” Laura Wilkinson, a spokeswoman for Gap, told VOA Khmer in an e-mail.
20140112 * Big brands must act on Cambodia’s pay crisis:
The protests of Cambodian garment workers which ended in a fatal clash with police early this month highlight the plight of workers who make a significant contribution to the country’s economic success.
The protesters, whose demonstrations bolstered efforts by the opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party to challenge prime minister Hun Sen, were demanding an increase in the minimum wage _ which is now US$95 per month (about 3,100 baht) _ to $160.
The demand of another $65 per month to the wage has been turned down by the Hun Sen government and the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC). In 2010, the minimum wage was $50 per month.
Needless to say, the Cambodian government wants to maintain the low wage _ the significant factor that makes Cambodia attractive to investors who supply to leading global fashion brands such as Gap and H&M. Over the past decade, many of the world’s fashion labels have shifted their production base for this labour-intensive industry to developing countries. The garment industry is a huge sector that provides jobs to some 30,000 Cambodian workers.
12:39:56 local time BANGLADESH
* Tk 0.6m for family of worker killed in KEPZ labour unrest:
The authorities of Karnaphuli Shoes Industries Limited (KSIL) allocated about Tk 0.6 million as compensation for the family members of the worker killed in the labour unrest Thursday last.
The company also sanctioned about Tk 0.1 million each for the injured workers and expressed their heartiest sympathy to all the families of those killed and injured in the turmoil, a press release said Friday.
Managing Director of KSIL Sheikh Shahinur Rahman said that the people engaged in the turmoil were outsiders and no worker of their factory was involved in it.
“The workers are the main strength of our factory and we will do everything possible for their welfare,” he said.
A female worker named Parvin Akter of KSIL was killed and 12 others were injured during a demonstration in the Korean Export Processing Zone (KEPZ) in Anwara upazila of Chittagong district Thursday.
* RMG worker killed in ‘police action’:
Relatives of a female worker who was killed in a clash between police and workers in Korean Export Processing Zone in Chittagong alleged that police attack had caused her death.
Parvin Akther, a worker of Karnaphuli Sportswear Factory, was killed in the clash on Thursday, witnesses said.
Victim’s younger sister Nasima Akther, also a co-worker, claimed that police attacked their peaceful programme nearby the factory.
‘Police charged baton, fired tear gas and opened fire on the workers, leaving many injured,’ she said, adding that when workers were trying to take Parvin to hospital, police swung into action again.
Deputy Commissioner of Chittagong Metropolitan Police (Bandar) Saiful Karim denied the allegation, saying that police had acted after being attacked.
Police filed a case on Friday accusing five hundred unnamed workers, said Mohammad Mohiuddin, officer-in-charge of Karnaphuli police station.
He said that the factory authorities had agreed to provide 6 lakh in compensation to the victim’s family.
* Clash at KEPZ raises a number of unpleasant questions:
The killing of a woman worker during a clash between workers and the police inside the Korean Export Processing Zone in Chittagong at midday Thursday provides a poignant pointer to the simmering discontent in the export-oriented apparel industry.
According to a report published in New Age on Friday, the trouble began over an alleged spat between workers and officials of Karnaphuli Sports Wear Factory centring ‘inadequate transport allowance’ in the new pay scale. Workers claim that they approached the management for redress to their complaints over the matter but the officials not only were rude to them but also called in the police at one stage.
The deputy commissioner of the Chittagong Metropolitan Police was, however, quoted in the report as suggesting that the law enforcers had tried to bring the situation ‘peacefully’ but ‘in vain’.
He also claimed that the workers had set fire to empty boxes near the factory and attacked the police, prompting the latter to resort to lobbying teargas shells and firing rubber bullets. Beside the death of the woman worker, 16 people, including three policemen, were injured in the clash.
The incident gives rise to a number of unpleasant questions.
First and foremost, it points to an increasing tendency of the law enforcers to employ brute force when it comes to quelling labour unrest.
It is not the first time that an apparel worker was killed amidst police action, in Chittagong or anywhere else in the country.
* Victims to get compensation, 6,000 workers sued:
The EPZ authorities announced closure of the factory for indefinite period
The authorities of Korean Export Processing Zone will give compensation to family members of the workers of Karnaphuli Sportswear Industries who, was killed and were injured during Thursday’s clash.
The EPZ authorities announced closure of the factory for indefinite period.
The police filed a case with Karnaphuli police station accusing about 5,000-6,000 unknown workers in connection with the clash.
Saifee Anwarul Azim, public relation officer of Korean EPZ, told the Dhaka Tribune that the EPZ authorities would provide Tk six lakh to family members of each deceased worker while the injured officials, employees and workers would get Tk one lakh.
Mohammed Mohiuddin, officer-in-charge of Karnaphuli police station, said Sub-Inspector Md Saifuzzaman had lodged a case with the police station accusing about 5000-6000 unidentified workers in connection with the incident.
* KEPZ blames outsiders for January 9 clashes:
Lack of understanding and close communication between the workers and high-ups in the management and instigation by outsiders have led to clashes in the Korean EPZ (Export Processing Zone) that left a female worker dead and 20 others injured on January 9.
The mid-level officers in the Karnaphuli Sportswear Industries Ltd (KSIL) owned by the Korea-based apparel giant Youngone Corporation also failed to cope with the situation and appease the workers despite a ‘positive attitude’ of the KSIL management for the welfare of its workers.
A group of general workers of the factory are scared of termination from their jobs as the factory production is expected to resume tomorrow (Sunday) following work suspension for the last three days in the aftermath of the clashes.
The workers assume that the owner of the industry does not want to deprive them of their due wages and benefits while others opine that the authorities had tried to reduce the existing medical allowance from Tk 400 to Tk 200 and travelling allowances from Tk 400 to Tk 200 a month with enhancement of wages from December.
* Apparel workers getting fired:
Several apparel factories at Gazipur and Ashulia sacked hundreds of workers in last two months alleging they were involved in recent labour unrest and also for cost cutting.
But labour leaders said that the workers were getting sacked since the recent wage hike and also for engaging in lawful trade union activities.
Labour leaders said that there is none to protect the rights of workers who organize for better working conditions.
They said that workers who protested against assault of two colleagues by a general manager were sacked in ‘reprisal.’
Many workers were unlawfully threatened, disciplined and terminated in retaliation of lawful trade union activities, they said.
* Workers being fired only to be hired on contract:
A large number of readymade garment (RMG) factories in the capital and other industrial areas have cut jobs of a segment of their workers blaming it on workers’ unrest and difficulty in implementing new wage structure.
Factory owners, labour leaders and leaders of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) have confirmed such job cuts.
Some labour leaders have said the owners are retrenching regular workers in order to create a mechanism for running their factories with workers on contractual basis. Irregular workers lose rights to demand due benefits.
They, however, could not give the actual figure of workers already fired in different factories.
BGMEA President Md. Atiqul Islam said the factory owners are facing a heavy financial burden due to wage hike and prevailing workers’ unrest.
“It’s early to speak about the figure of job cuts in the garment industry. But an owner cannot simply bear the wage hike unless he/she is able to carry on his business without facing any obstacles,” said Mr. Islam.
20140111 * Gazipur dyeing factory catches fire:
A fire broke out at a textile dyeing factory at Konabari in Gazipur on Saturday morning causing substantial damage, UNB reported.
Fire service sources said the fire originated from the machinery on the ground floor of Swadhin Dyeing Factory at about 9:30 am and soon engulfed the entire factory.
Being informed, two fire fighting units from Gazipur rushed in and doused the flame after half an hour of frantic efforts.
Several machines and accessories were gutted by the blaze.
to read. & to read. & to read. & read more. & to read.
20140111 * Fire breaks out at a Gazipur factory:
While no casualties were reported, the cause of the fire has yet to be ascertained
A fire broke out at a ready-made garment factory located in Gazipur Sadar upazila on Saturday morning.
The flames broke out at the dyeing warehouse of Swadhin Dyeing, Knitting and Composite Limited in the Konabari BSCIC area around 9am, officials said.
Gazipur Fire Service and Civil Defense Deputy Assistant Director Akhtaruzzaman Liton said the flames soon spread to the rest of the factory.
Six fire fighting units from Gazipur, Kaliakoir and Tongi brought the flames under control after nearly one hour of efforts around 10:30am, he said.
20140112 * Fire at Savar spinning mill:
A fire broke out in a spinning mill in the Rajashon Mahalla area of Savar municipality early Sunday.
Sources said that the fire originated from an auto-machine of Marhaba Spinning mill at around 2:00am and soon spread out to surrounding the factory.
On information, two fire fighting units rushed to the spot and brought the fire under control after a one-hour effort.
Savar fire service station officer Anwar Hossain confirmed the matter to banglanews.
The spinning mill authority claimed that the extent of damage could go up to Tk 20 lakhs.
* Committee formed to end row over sweater factory worker payment:
The government has taken a move to resolve a prevailing dispute over the payment of piece-rate basis for the sweater factory workers.
The government has recently formed an 11-member committee comprising the representatives from factory owners and workers headed by a joint secretary to identify the problems and decide on the next path of solution, labour ministry officials said.
Labour leaders have been making allegations for long that the sweater factory workers are deprived of legal service benefits like overtime allowances and festival bonuses.
They also demanded hike in piece-rate payment, food and travel allowances for sweater factory workers in accordance with the newly-announced minimum wage for the woven garment factory workers.
Though the sweater factory workers receive their payments based on piece-rate but the rate was not set in the sector.
Usually, owners set the piece-rate for peak and off-peak season every year.
* RMG workers block Dhaka-Aricha highway in Manikganj:
The apparel workers blocked Dhaka-Aricha highway for two hours demanding implementation of their new wage structure in Saturia upazila of Manikganj this morning.
Vehicular movement on the highway came to a halt since 9:15am when workers of Tarasima Apparels took position on the road in Nayadingi area of the upazila, reports our Manikganj correspondent.
The commuters suffered a lot as they had to strand on a three kilometres of traffic congestion, said Mashiur Rahman, officer-in-charge of Saturia Police Station.
The new wage structure for the readymade garment workers which was passed on November 4 was expected to be implemented by the authorities of all apparel factories from December 1 last year.
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* RMG workers stage demo for govt-fixed wages in Manikganj:
Workers of a ready-made garment factory blocked Dhaka-Aricha highway in Saturia upazila on Saturday demanding that they be paid government-fixed wages.
Police and locals said authorities of ‘Tarasima Apparels’ situated at Nayadangi were paying their workers less than the wages recently fixed by the government.
Protesting the deprivation by the factory management, over 100 workers went on a work abstention on Saturday morning and staged demonstrations.
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* Savar RMG workers demonstrate demanding new salaries:
Several hundred garment workers of different factories in Savar demonstrated yesterday demanding salaries under the new pay scale and protesting sacking of their colleagues.
Workers of Mtranet Group at Rajashon demonstrated at the factory gate and also formed a human chain at the Rana Plaza site.
The demonstrating workers claimed that authorities sacked at least 70 workers since December 18.
Lavli Yesmin, a sewing machine operator of Mtranet Group, claimed management forced the workers to resign as they had earlier demonstrated demanding salaries under the new pay scale.
Later, the agitated workers formed a human chain under the banner of Bangladesh Garments and Industrial Workers Federation.
Mtranet Group authorities were contacted by The Daily Star but they refused make comments.
Meanwhile, workers of printing section of HR Textile in Karnapara of Savar observed work abstention also demanding salaries under the new pay scale.
In Ashulia, workers of Medler Apparels Ltd also observed work abstention with a similar demand.
* Undercover Look Inside A Bangladesh Garment Factory:
Below is a video of a clothing factory in Bangladesh, where the workers are unethically young. These particular children are paid approximately (at most) 40 dollars a month to work everyday, rotating on 12-hour shifts.
Corporations, especially many North American-based ones, often travel to poverty stricken areas in different countries all across the world for cheap labor so they can maximize their profits. This is ridiculous, these corporations could easily afford to provide jobs for adults at a good rate of pay in comfortable conditions. Sometimes I wonder if it’s really to maximize profit or to purposely exploit children and have them struggle every day, that these corporations get a rise out of that.
Clothing corporations that exploit children make billions upon billions of dollars every year. It’s not just clothes, but everything. Not long ago it was revealed that inside Apple’s Chinese factory, workers were paid 1 dollar an hour to produce iPhones and iPads for the West. They even have suicide nets outside their factories because people were commonly jumping out of the windows.
read & see more.
* HK based co to launch new business after Bangladesh RMG disasters:
Li & Fung Ltd, the buying agent for retailers including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Corp., said it is setting up a new unit to provide buyers and factories with consulting services, financing and insurance to bolster compliance with safety codes, according to a WSJ report.
The industry has come under pressure to improve safety at the factories it relies on to cheaply produce apparel in the wake of the fire at the Tazreen Fashion factory in the country, which killed more than 100 workers in 2012, and the collapse of the Rana Plaza building last year, which killed more than 1,100 people.
Li & Fung’s main business leaves it at the center of the controversy. The Hong Kong-based middleman helps Western brands find vendors, negotiate contracts and handle the complex logistics involved with delivering T-shirts and sweaters from factories in places like Bangladesh and China to store shelves in the U.S. and Europe.
* 35% cut in RMG insurance premiums on the cards:
The country’s clothing industry that fetches four-fifths of the total export earnings is likely to get reduced the insurance premium rates up to 35 per cent on the existing tariff charts in the wake of the unending political confrontation.
The ministry of finance (MoF) on January 02 asked the insurance regulator to take immediate steps in this connection. A copy of the MoF order was made available to the FE.
But top executives at the insurance firms said reduction of the existing tariff rates would affect the country’s 46 non-life companies adversely.
The government is actively considering a cut in the tariffs as demanded by the leaders of two leading clothing groups and textile makers in a meeting with the MoF in December last.
* Handloom industry in dire straits in Narsingdi:
The handloom industry in Narsingdi district is passing through a critical stage. About 5,000 handlooms have become inoperative in the district, and the rest are struggling for survival.
High prices of yarn, dyes, chemicals, and lack of running capital have imperiled the people connected with the industry, sources said. The weavers of the district are bearing the brunt of the situation.
Handloom owner Abdul Malek of Char Hazipur village in Narsingdi sadar upazila told journalists the handloom factories in Narsingdi sadar and Raipura upazilas were running well once but now they are in grip of different problems, leading them to almost closure.
Rise in prices of yarn by a syndicate has inflicted a severe blow to the 5,000 handloom factories in the district. Prices of yarn, dyes, chemicals, dying charge and overall increase in labour cost have affected the people connected with the industry.
* Tanners now want to build township at Hazaribagh:
Tannery owners now want to build a modern township on around 50 acres of land in the city’s Hazaribagh area after relocation of their factories to Savar.
“We have discussed the issue in our forum and decided to construct a planned housing project in the area under a joint venture or a single initiative,” President of Bangladesh Finished Leather, Leather Goods & Footwear Exporters Association (BFLLFEA) Mohammad Abu Taher told the FE Friday.
He said, “The modern buildings including school, college, community centres, playgrounds and other residential facilities will be there.”
“We will welcome any high-quality realtor who will come up with a modern plan on its own or on joint venture basis,” he said.
The process of relocating tannery factories from the city’s Hazaribagh area to Savar’s Hemayetpur was to be completed by December this year but the tanners have not yet started relocation.
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE
* Bones and skulls still being found in Rana Plaza debris:
Calls raised for renewed search, police claim remains are ‘cow bones’
Some form of closure has finally arrived for the family of Obaidul Haque, who had been missing since the deadly Rana Plaza disaster, after the garment worker’s skeletal remains were recently recovered from under the debris of the building.
Obaidul, who worked at the New Wave Bottoms factory and hailed from Mymensingh, was the first among the missing workers whose full skeleton had been found since the rescue operation was called off.
Although eight and a half months had passed since the tragedy occurred, human bones and skulls are still being found at the Rana Plaza site, as relatives of many missing people continue their wait to be able to bury their loved ones.
The long wait for Obaidul’s family ended when his skeleton was found along with an identity card and a mobile phone, during a series of search drives.
* The miracle baby who survived Rana Plaza collapse:
Naznin Nazma cradles the miracle baby boy she feared she had lost in the Bangladesh factory disaster that claimed his father.
She says five-month-old Junaid looks a lot like Jewel, the father he will never meet, who was one of 1,129 people killed when the eight-storey garment factory in Rana Plaza collapsed earlier this year, report British daily The Mirror.
“Jewel always wanted to have a baby boy and the Almighty blessed us with one,” she said in a recent interview with the daily published today.
“Junaid’s fairer than me and it’s like he’s a miniature copy of his father”.
“His little head and nose in particular remind me of Jewel.
“I feel so much pain inside when I look at my son because I miss my husband tremendously and I can’t keep control of my emotions.”
The tiny survivor brings hope after the horror – but at the same time Nazma, 21, fears for his future as the tragedy robbed her of any chance of supporting him.
This is not how she expected to be bringing up her precious son.
She and Jewel had been working hard at the factory as they saved up to start a business of their own so they would be able to provide for him properly.
read more. & to read.
12:09:56 local time INDIA
* Cotton prices worry textile mills:
Textile mills here have expressed concern over the increase in cotton prices during the last one week as it is the main raw material for the mills. Cotton prices have gone up by Rs. 800 to Rs. 1,000 a candy during the last one week.
This is because the arrivals so far are less than what it was during the same period last year, says K.N. Viswanathan, vice-president of the Indian Cotton Federation. Cotton farmers across the country are having the stocks and are expected to increase the volume they bring to the market after Sankranti. They do not want to sell at lower prices, he says.
“The mills have run out of stocks and the arrivals so far are lesser compared to last year. Prices are going up as there is buying from the mills, though it is restricted.”
* Garment makers protest VAT:
The Garment Manufacturers Association of Kerala has urged the government to drop the move to impose 5 per cent VAT on garments.
In a statement, P.K. Rajeevan, president of the association, said there was no VAT on garments in other States and that the move was a big blow to the garment makers as they needed to source the raw materials for dress-making from outside Kerala. Rajeevan said that already there was an additional excise duty on garments imposed by the central government and sales tax by the state government on readymades.
12:09:56 local time SRI LANKA
* Lanka apparels in new supply chain breakthrough:
Sri Lanka’s top forex earner apparels have arrived at the next level in global supply chains, and in the manufacturing front, have progressed beyond the original ODM status.
“It’s a first time in the world for us. We are pioneering G4 level in Sri Lanka. We are beyond the experimental level and it’s a new supply chain model. We at PVH Corp are directly working with manufacturers instead of working through an office in Sri Lanka” revealed Mark Green, the Executive Vice President of Global Supply Chain of New York’s PVH Corporation on 13 November in Colombo.
PVH Executive Vice President Green was responding to questions by Media of Industry and Commerce, in the aftermath of his address to Textiles and Apparels Sector session of CHOGM Business Forum on 13 November at Cinnamon Grand, Colombo.
11:39:56 local time PAKISTAN
* $2 billion investment in textile industry: Punjab government, Chinese group sign MoU:
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between Punjab government and prominent Chinese Shandong Ruyi Group for investment of two billion dollars in textile sector and setting up textile industry in garments of industrial zone.
Vice Chairman Punjab Investment Board Syed Maratab Ali on behalf of Punjab government, while Chairman Shandong Ruyi Group YAFU QUI signed the agreement.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Provincial Ministers Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman, Muhammad Shafiq, Advisor Dr Ijaz Nabi, MNA Asim Nazir, concerned officials and senior officials of Chinese Group were present on the occasion. Under the agreement, Chinese group will invest $2 billion in textile and garments industry in Punjab whereas Chinese group will also invest in garments industrial zone being established near motorway.
* Garments Industrial Zone renamed as Punjab Apparel Park:
Lahore—Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has given approval to rename Garments Industrial Zone as ‘Punjab Apparel Park’ whereas a Board of Management has also been constituted for running the PAP affairs.
This was decided at a high level meeting presided over by the Chief Minister and attended by Provincial Ministers Tanvir Aslam, Muhammad Shafique, Advisor Dr. Ijaz Nabi, MPA Dr. Ayesha Ghaus Pasha, Senior Member Board of Revenue, P&D Chairman, secretaries concerned, the PIEDMC senior officials and industrialists associated with garments industry, according to a handout issued here Saturday. It was also decided that renowned industrialist Muhammad Ahsan would be Chairman of the PAP Board of Management.
On this occasion, Shahbaz Sharif said that all persons in the Board had been taken from private sector. Punjab Apparel Park would be set up at 1,500 acres of land with 1,170 plots of different sizes, while an amount of Rs 2.5 billion had been released for acquiring the land, he added.
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