* Wages – How the Workers See It:
This interview with a young Pakistani worker is indicative of the state of play across the garment industry:
Wages are so low and the cost of living so high, she finds it very hard to make ends meet. At 18, she is the only earning member of her family of three. She is an only child and both her parents are jobless.
She spends almost 40% of her income on the rent of a one bedroom house. When told that companies check that workers should get at least the minimum wage set by the government, which they all do, she said:
“If they think this is enough , they should all try to live on this amount for a month and then decide if it is OK.”
Employment in the garment industry offers hope for people like this young Pakistani woman, in areas where work is scarce. In many countries those who can get jobs in factories like hers are considered lucky, and young girls leave their families in rural areas to travel hundreds of miles in search of them. Yet the reality when they arrive is tough. A Thai woman gives a similar example:
“We work until 2 or 3am during the peak season. We always have to work a double shift. Although we are very exhausted, we have no choice. We cannot refuse overtime work, because our standard wages are so low.”
* Wages – What Should Fashion Brands Do?:
Most companies seem to think that ensuring payment of a minimum wage is sufficient to have discharged their responsibilities, or at least an adequate stop-gap measure. But a stop-gap for what? There is little cause for workers to be optimistic on the basis of our survey.
Brands and retailers at the top of the supply chain aren’t passive entities floating on a sea of global trade. When they work together, they control the industry. They don’t have to relocate to chase the cheapest labour. They could take responsibility for their actions, commit to paying a living wage, and absorb the small increase in costs this might create.
Whether a living wage is defined by a formula or by collective bargaining, it requires that companies address the root problems of the conflicting messages they send to factory managements, and the way they purchase. This means finding solutions that work on a country-wide, supply chain-wide and ultimately industry-wide level. Companies deserve credit for working actively to find industry-wide solutions to the difficulty, but not simply for signing up and then doing nothing.
This means that buyers need to:
- Develop strategies to improve wages, above and beyond minimum wages, in their supplier base.
* Labor Wants Its Say at Davos:
Philip Jennings, a union leader from working-class Wales, has been coming to this Alpine ski resort for two decades to rub shoulders with the bosses of the world. His message has not changed.
“The world needs a pay rise,” Mr. Jennings said on a Davos panel last year. Some executives in the room rolled their eyes, others smiled politely. Did he want to go back to the 1970s, one journalist inquired. Did he understand basic economics? Mr. Jennings, who has a master’s degree from the London School of Economics, is general secretary of UNI Global Union, which represents 20 million service workers in 150 countries. This year, as he again carries labor’s message to Davos, he arrives with some rhetorical wind at his back.
The balance has been getting increasingly skewed. Real wages have stagnated or declined in recent years in most rich industrialized countries, even where productivity has grown. The chief executives who assembled at the first Davos meeting in 1971 would have earned an average of about 20 times what a typical employee made, according to data from the time. C.E.O.s today now make several hundred times more than their average worker.
But unions, a powerful force in improving wages and social welfare programs in the West in the 20th century, are struggling in the 21st. Their members now compete with cheap labor in emerging economies and with ever smarter, faster and cheaper machines. With the exception of the Nordic countries, union membership in most rich industrialized nations has plummeted, to 17 percent across the member countries of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development.
* Public Eye Awards 2014: Gap receives ‘award of shame’:
Today, (Thursday) the Berne Declaration (EvB) and Greenpeace Switzerland award American textile giant Gap the Public Eye Jury Award for their continuous refusal to contribute to effective reforms in the textile industry.
The Public Eye Awards shine a light on the current and most serious cases of human rights violations and disregard for environmental protection and sustainability by corporations.
Despite the most serious industrial disaster that the garment industry has ever seen, the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh, which left over 1,100 dead and countless people injured, Gap have shamelessly refused to sign the legally binding agreement Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh. Instead, the company continue to actively undermine the efforts for effective reform in the textile industry with their own corporate-controlled sham agreement.
When a few months after the Rana Plaza disaster eight workers were killed during a fire at the Aswad factory, a known Gap supplier, the company denied having a relationship with the factory, inspite of documents clearly showing their involvement. The surviving workers and the families of the deceased are still waiting for Gap to pay compensation.
Liana Foxvog from International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), who along with SumOfUs und United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) nominated GAP, says:
“Gap deserves this award. The company portrays a public image of being a leader in responsibility while actively undermining real corporate responsibility. Instead of joining the Accord, GAP created together with Walmart the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety. Despite sounding promising, this initiative is not legally binding and includes no union involvement, making it hardly more than a PR stunt to dodge safety responsibility.”
Kalpona Akter, Executive Director of the Bangladesh Centre for Workers Solidarity and herself a former child garment worker is in Switzerland where the Public Eye Awards are being held.
She said: “Gap still refuses to make a contractual commitment to work with their suppliers and local and international trade unions to ensure that repairs are made and workers have the right to refuse dangerous work.”
CCC applauds the Public Eye Awards for highlighting Gap’s systematic failure to live up to their social responsibility and calls on Gap and all other brands to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh. Furthermore, all brands involved at Rana Plaza should pay into the compensation fund for the Rana Plaza survivors and the families of the deceased.
* Gazprom, GAP top Davos ‘hall of shame’:
Campaigners at the World Economic Forum Thursday handed clothing giant Gap and Russian oil major Gazprom their annual Public Eye shame awards for what they said were lax factory safety standards and Arctic drilling.
At an “award ceremony” on the sidelines of the annual gathering of the global elite in Davos, the Swiss chapter of Greenpeace and the Berne Declaration said Gap had won the jury prize, while Gazprom had been chosen by online voters for the public award.
The activists attacked Gap for failing to sign up to a safety accord struck in the wake of a factory fire in Bangladesh that killed 1,127 people.”International brands sourcing from Bangladesh such as Gap have failed to ensure that their suppliers comply with even the most basic safety standards mandated by local law,” they said in a statement.
“Moreover, garment workers work intolerably long hours for poverty wages.”
* Big Gap Surfaces at World Economic Forum:
As self-appointed global leaders gather at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos and discuss ‘The Reshaping of the World,” a stone’s throw away non-governmental organizations named this year’s winners for their dreaded Public Eye Awards.
The jury chose the American textile giant Gap, while 95,000 online voters honored the Russian energy company Gazprom.
“Sadly, there’s still a need for campaigns like ours that demand corporate accountability,” Silvie Lang said on behalf of the organizers, the Berne Declaration (BD), a Swiss NGO working for equitable North-South relations, and Greenpeace Switzerland.
“We are here to remind the corporate world and those hiding behind closed doors in Davos that the social and environmental consequences of their business activities affect not only people and the environment, but also the reputation of their company.”
15:11:43 local time VIET NAM
* Garment industry needs to cutdependence on imports:
Vietnam’s garment sector is too dependent on foreign imports according to Pham Xuan Hong, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS).
Vietnam’s garment exports spiked 16.3% to a record high US$20 billion in 2013,which included garment and textile sales of US$17.9 billion,with the balance coming from ancillary products.
However, major input materials, currently estimated at more than 70%, such as fabrics, labels, zipper pullers, and strings are imported from overseas markets, Hong said, and Vietnam needs to develop domestic alternatives to ease the situation.
* Leather, footwear firms set sights on exports:
The Vietnam Leather and Footwear Association (Lefaso) is forecasting high export growth of Made-in-Vietnam handbags, suitcases and briefcases for the leather and footwear industry in 2014.
- Footwear exports hit US$7.9 billion
- Footwear, handbag production jumps on strong Japanese orders
- Vietnam sees bright prospects for handbag exports
Handbag exports jumped up 26% to US$1.92 billion in 2013, which far outpaced expectations of US$1.7 billion, according to Lefaso.
This year, it is anticipating that handbag exports will surge approximately 30%.
Lefaso regularly tracks information about opportunities in the handbag industry as many foreigners are seeking Vietnamese suppliers, who are benefiting from a world-wide trend away from factories in China and Indonesia.
15:11:43 local time CAMBODIA
* Workers strike again to demand strike pay:
About 2,000 workers at Takeo province’s I-Cheng (Cambodia) Cooperation remain on strike today, after management held steady in its refusal to pay employees for days they joined in a national garment worker strike in December and this month.
Sok Chea, Collective Union of Movement of Workers president at I-Cheng, yesterday said negotiations with the factory and the provincial labour department had broken down.
The workers have protested since Tuesday to demand bosses pay their wages for during the previous strike and the current strike, Chea said.
* Unions to Proceed With Mass Rally in Freedom Park Despite Ban:
Unions planning a mass rally at Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park on Sunday to call for the release of 23 detainees and a higher minimum wage in the garment industry say they will proceed with the event despite City Hall’s decision Thursday to deny permission.
The nine unions, some of them representing the country’s 600,000 garment workers, want a higher minimum wage for the industry and the release of 23 men arrested earlier this month while protesting outside Phnom Penh factories.
The unions had asked the city for permission to stage a rally of 10,000 people despite a ban on public protests the Interior Ministry imposed in Phnom Penh on January 4.
* NGOs Continue to March to ‘Free the 23′:
On their third day of petitioning for the release of 23 activists and striking workers who were imprisoned earlier this month following minimum wage demonstrations, a group of civil society representatives marched to seven embassies in Phnom Penh on Thursday.
Thursday’s march began with about 40 participants and grew to include about 100 civil society representatives.
“We advised people not to use insulting words, or words that affect people’s feelings,” said Nay Vanda, Adhoc’s deputy head of human rights monitoring, who has helped organize the petition drive.
“We just used words calling for the release of the detainees,” he said.
* Union leaders to hold protests despite warning:
Authority does not allow unionists to hold protests scheduled for 26 January at a Freedom Park until the situation in the Capital return to normalcy. However, the union leaders said they will go ahead with their plan.
The unionists plan to hold protest aiming to demand the wage increase to $160 per month for workers, and the release of 23 people arrested in recent bloody crackdowns, said Yang Sophorn, President of the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions.
She said the nine federations and associations still maintain their stance to hold the protest as scheduled.
Kert Chhae, chief of Phnom Penh administration, said that the City Hall banned any protests and rallies temporarily because the opposition’s recent protests had caused chaos in society, and led to the loss of lives.
* Union leader violates protest law: Phnom Penh official:
Phnom Penh official on Wednesday said that union leader Chea Mony violated the protest law and protest ban which was imposed by the government recently for the security concern.
“Chea Mony was violating protest law and Phnom Penh City Hall’s decision, which banned march along the streets until normalization of the situation,” Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Khuong Sreng told The Cambodia Herald by telephone, adding that Chea Mony and other unionists must be responsible before law in case of security issues arise.
The Deputy Governor made the comment after Chea led march along the streets to mark the 10th anniversary of slain prominent labor union leader Chea Vichea, who was shot dead at a newsstand in 2004.
* Legal actions to be taken against protest leaders: Interior Ministry:
Ministry of Interior warned that legal measures would be taken against those who would hold protests, defying a ban imposed by the government.
The warning was made yesterday after the leaders of nine labor unions insisted that they would hold protests, which are scheduled for January 26, to demand the wage increase from USD80 to USD160 and the release of 23 protesters who were arrested in the bloody crackdowns earlier this month.
Yang Sophorn, President of the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions, said that the nine union leaders maintain their stance to hold the protest as scheduled.
Khieu Sopheak, Spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, said the authority didn’t allow them to hold the protest because the situations haven’t returned to normalcy.
“If they insisted to hold the protests on Jan. 26, the police will take action,” he added.
* The crackdown waltz:
Unimpeded gatherings in the capital over the past two days, following the arrest of 11 activists on Tuesday, have brought the government’s seemingly selective enforcement of a ban on protests into sharp relief.
Yesterday, a day after people gathered in the capital for a remembrance ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the murder of union activist Chea Vichea, dozens of activists marched through Phnom Penh to deliver petitions to seven foreign embassies.
The protesters marched to the German, Swedish, South Korean, Australian, Russian, Thai and Malaysian embassies, where the petitions – calling for the release of 23 activists and workers imprisoned during a government crackdown early this month – were received.
* More solidarity for Cambodian workers:
The violence against garment workers in Cambodia has met with outrage all over the world. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has requested an investigation into the events, and that the perpetrators be held accountable.
Unions in Thailand and Korea have showed solidarity and staged demonstrations outside the Cambodian embassies.
The violent end to the demonstrations in Cambodia in January this year resulted in four deaths, three missing people, 23 jailed and hundreds of dismissed workers. Trade union leaders have been warned that if they go on strike, their union registration will be suspended or cancelled. More than 100 court cases have been filed by employers against union leaders for inciting violence and damage of property, and six trade union leaders have pending arrest warrants.
IndustriALL Global Union and the ITUC quickly sent a mission to Phnom Penh to talk to the government and garment employers. Soon after, 30 global clothing brands joined IndustriALL, UNI and the ITUC in a strongly-worded letter to the government, demanding that workers’ rights be respected and negotiations on minimum wage re-launched.
* Unions take big picture view:
Union leaders yesterday said that despite having held strikes calling for a doubling of the minimum wage that were supported and encouraged by the country’s opposition party, they did not feel betrayed that the wage hike was taking a backseat in political negotiations.
Following a government announcement on December 24 that lifted the minimum wage from $80 to $95, a number of unions called a general strike asking for $160 that was immediately backed by the opposition, which quickly began urging workers to join their rallies.
* Chanthol on reform, wages, politics:
In today’s instalment, we’re running a longer-than-usual talk. The Post’s deputy business editor Joe Freeman sat down this week for a wide-ranging interview with recently appointed Minister of Commerce Sun Chanthol, who took the job in September after the ruling party reshuffled senior positions amid promises of reform.
Chanthol replaced longtime Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh, quickly making several changes that suggest he’s out to make his mark. Chanthol, who was educated in the US in the late 1970s, brings years of private sector experience to the ministry, having worked as an executive at General Electric before returning to Cambodia in the 1990s and helping set up the Council for the Development of Cambodia, or CDC.
He served as the Minister of Public Works and Transport from 2004 to 2008. Until taking up his current position, he was the senior minister at the CDC, where he still retains his vice-chairmanship. Can Chanthol change years of entrenched policies and use his influence to stamp out corruption, or will piecemeal reforms not add up to real change?
Here, he discusses his plans, and weighs in on unrest in the garment industry, the opposition’s National Assembly to protest the election results in July, and what drives Cambodia’s economy.
* Garment IPO to pay for factory:
Taiwanese garment factory Grand Twins International (GTI) has carefully laid out a schedule so it can go public on Cambodia’s stock exchange after the dust settles from unrest tied to minimum wage disputes, according to the company’s chief financial controller, Henry Chen.
GTI received approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission of Cambodia (SECC) on Wednesday to list with an initial offering of eight million shares priced between $1.85 and $3.50, Chen confirmed with the Post during an interview at the SECC yesterday. The offering will help fund the construction of a new factory.
Upon its official listing on the CSX, which the company is planning for mid-year, GTI would become only the second stock traded on the bourse since the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority went public to great fanfare in April 2012.
16:11:43 local time MALAYSIA
* No review of minimum wage:
Putrajaya will not review the minimum wage as it was only just fully implemented this month.
Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot Jaem said the minimum wage of RM900 for workers in the peninsula and RM800 in Sabah and Sarawak had just been implemented, The Malaysian Insider reported.
“It is too early for us to review the minimum wage policy as we must also consider the interests of employers as well,” he said today.
“It is unfair for employers to have to pay more for the same amount of productivity from their workers,” he added.
read more. & read more.
* Study On Minimum Wage System To Be Done By Mid Year:
A study on proposed improvements to the minimum wage system will only be done by the middle of the year.
Human Resources Minister Datuk Richard Riot Jaem said it is too early to talk about it since the new system was only fully implemented on January 1.
“We only know the effects at least six months after implementation and will do a mid-term review either in June or July.
“Only then, we will study proposals submitted by various parties to improve the weaknesses,” he told reporters after witnessing the Corporate Integrity Pledge (CIP) signing between Pembangunan Sumber Manusia Berhad (PSMB) and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), here Thursday.
16:11:43 local time INDONESIA
* Labor Minister Decries Low Wages:
As if a current account deficit, a weakening rupiah and rising inflation weren’t enough, speakers at a forum being held at the Jakarta Convention Center have highlighted a poorly trained workforce and labor unrest as factors acting as a brake on growth.
“Low monthly income is a sensitive issue,” said Muhaimin Iskandar, the manpower minister, said at the Indonesia Investor Forum on Wednesday.
Low salaries have frequently sparked street protests in cities across the country, and there were calls at the forum to see the minimum salary increased to keep pace with the rising cost of living.
Muhaimin said the average national minimum wage of Rp 1.5 million ($123) per month was not adequate to cover the monthly living costs of many workers, and supported an increase.
14:11:43 local time BANGLADESH
* Bangladesh garment factories failing to pay minimum wage:
Nearly 40 percent of garment factories in the Bangladesh capital were failing to pay a new minimum wage announced last year for workers stitching clothes for Western retailers, an industry head said Thursday.
Bangladesh’s government agreed last November to raise the minimum monthly wage for the country’s four million garment workers to $68, an increase of 77 percent, after protests and strikes in the crisis-hit industry.
But almost 40 percent of factories surveyed in and around Dhaka were still not paying the new amount, while the figures were much higher for the port city of Chittagong, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association said.
The association surveyed the $20 billion industry, the world’s second largest and a mainstay of the Bangladesh economy, to determine which of the 4,500 factories were paying the new legally required wage.
“We have done a survey on 594 factories situated in Dhaka and its outskirts. Of them 62 percent paid their workers under the newly hiked wages,” association vice-president Shahidillah Azim said.
* 38% of RMG factories yet to implement new wages:
About 38 per cent of the surveyed apparel manufacturing factories in Dhaka are yet to implement the new minimum wages for the garment workers, according to BGMEA.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) conducted a survey on 594 apparel manufacturing units in Dhaka and its surrounding areas which revealed that 62 per cent of the surveyed factories had paid wages in line with the newly announced wage structure.
The implementation of the new minimum wage in the factories located in the port city-Chittagong-is very low, according to the BGMEA and the estimated rate is only 5.0 per cent.
On the other hand, labour leaders claimed that about 50 per cent of the factories located in Dhaka are yet to implement the recently announced new wage structure for garment workers while Industrial Police sources said the rate is about 20 per cent in different industrial zones.
Labour leaders alleged that the implementation rate is very poor in the factories located in the metropolitan city especially at Mirpur.
* No new wage in 38pc of Dhaka factories:
At least 38 per cent of apparel factories in Dhaka and almost all in Chittagong are yet to implement the new wage for workers although manufacturers agreed to implement the wage in December, government officials and labour leaders said.
The failure of the factories to implement the new wage structure has also given rise to fears for labour unrest in industrial areas that are home to apparel factories, the industrial police said.
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association conducted a survey on 594 factories in the capital Dhaka and found that 62 per cent of them have implemented the new wage structure that was announced on December 5, 2013.
‘We have found through the survey that 38 per cent of the factories have failed to implement the new minimum wage in Dhaka but the number is higher in Chittagong,’ Shahidullah Azim, a BGMEA vice-president, told New Age on Thursday.
* 40% garment units fail to pay new wage:
Nearly 40 percent of the garment factories in Dhaka and its adjacent areas could not implement the new wage structure from December 1 last year as agreed, a BGMEA survey found.
“It will take another two to three months for full implementation of the wage structure as the garment sector is passing through testing times,” said Shahidullah Azim, vice-president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
The survey conducted between January 10-22 covered 596 factories in Dhaka and its adjacent areas and 350 in Chittagong.
Only 5 percent of the factories in Chittagong have implemented the new salary for garment workers so far.
The reason for the low implementation in port city, Azim says, is that most of the factories there are vulnerable ones. “The factories in Chittagong are not as capable as the ones in Dhaka.”
* ILO holds introductory program for new Labour Inspectors:
To achieve sustainable reform in labour inspection system in Bangladesh, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the program “Promotion of Social and Environmental Standards in the Industry” (PSES), implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), joined hands to develop capacity of the newly recruited labour inspectors of the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE).
A 3-day Introductory Course for Labour Inspectors is being held during 22nd – 24th January 2014 in Dhaka, where resource persons from the ILO and GIZ interact with the new labour inspectors. Key issues discussed in the course include the role of labour inspectors within the framework of the Bangladesh economy and legal structure, the ILO Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, features of a credible and transparent labour inspection system, national labour law, and inspection techniques.
* National Labour Policy 2012 handed over:
Copy of the policy along with the English version was handed over to the government yesterday
Manusher Jonno Foundation, in cooperation with the government, published the National Labour Policy 2012.
Copy of the policy along with the English version was handed over to the government yesterday.
Executive Director of the foundation Shaheen Anam handed over a copy of the policy to State Minister for Labour and Employment Md Mujibul Haque (Chunnu) at the conference room of the ministry at the secretariat yesterday, says a press release.
THE TAZREEN FACTORY FIRE
* Arrest of Tazreen owner demanded:
Garment workers form a human chain in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka yesterday to demand arrest of the owner of Tazreen Fashions where a fire killed 112 people last year. The workers also sought compensation from western retailers who sourced garments from Tazreen. Photo: star
Leaders of six garment workers’ rights bodies at a human chain in the city on Thursday demanded immediate arrest of the owner of Tazreen Fashion Limited Delwar Hossain on charge of killing 112 workers of the factory in a fire.
Amirul Haque Amin, president of National Garment Workers’ Federation addressing the human chain rally in front of the National Press Club said that on November 24, 2012, 112 workers were killed in a fire at the factory at Ashulia in Savar.
Criminal Investigation Department had filed charges against the factory owner Delwar Hossain and 13 others on December 22, 2013, on charge of killings the workers, but police were yet to arrest anybody, Amirul said.
Salauddin Shawpan, president of Bangladesh Biplobi Garments Sramik Federation, demanded more compensations for the workers killed and wounded in the incident.
He demanded ensuring safety of the garment workers at their workplaces.
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE
* Tk 1.45m for each of the dead, missing, disabled:
The committee to fix compensation for the Rana Plaza victims Thursday finalised Tk 1.45 million for the family of each of the dead, missing and disabled workers, sources said.
Earlier a sub-committee recommended Tk 1.95 million for the family of each of the deceased, they added.
The committee was formed following a High Court order after the country’s worst industrial disaster at Rana Plaza on April 24 last year that killed more than 1,100 workers to decide the amount of compensation rates and categories of the injured.
Later two sub-committees were formed to fix the compensation rates and the categories while the first one recommended Tk 1.95 million for the family of each of the deceased and for those who sustained permanent injury during the incident.
But the apparel makers’ apex body – Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) – in a meeting in November last proposed to fix Tk 0.7 million for the family of each of the dead victims and requested to do it according to the labour law and also consider the owner’s capability and reality.
* Rana Plaza victim damages revised:
The committee on compensation for Rana Plaza victims cut down the damages decided earlier by Tk 5 lakh to Tk 14.5 lakh for each of the workers who died or went missing as the building, which housed five clothing factories, collapsed in April 2013.
The committee on Thursday revised the compensation amount at its fourth meeting at Savar and set Tk 14,51,300 in damages for each of the workers who died or became permanently disabled, Tk 7,50,000 for each of the workers who lost one limb, Tk 4,50,000 for each of the workers in need of long-term treatment and Tk 1,50,000 for each of the workers who became mentally imbalanced.
Major General Chowdhury Hasan Sarwardy, 9 Infantry Division general officer commanding, presided over the meeting in his office at Savar.
* Committee sets compensation for Rana Plaza victims:
The decision was taken at the committee’s fourth meeting held yesterday at Savar Cantonment
The committee on compensation for the victims of Rana Plaza has proposed over Tk14.5 lakh to help each of the families of workers who have died and persons who became permanently disable.
The decision was taken at the committee’s fourth meeting held yesterday at Savar Cantonment, presided over by Maj Gen Chowdhury Hasan Suhrawardy, general officer commanding of the ninth infantry division.
The proposal would soon be placed to the High Court to take a final decision on the compensation amount, said a meeting source preferred not to be named.
As per the recommendation, workers who lost one limb would get Tk7.5 lakh while ones needing long time treatment Tk4.5 lakh and mentally sick ones Tk1.5 lakh.
On April 30, the High Court ordered formation of a committee to determine adequate compensation for the victims of the country’s deadliest clothing factory accident that killed over 1,100 workers and injured more than 2,500.
* Rana Plaza collapse victims, families demand compensation:
Surviving workers of Rana Plaza collapse and families of those who died formed a human chain at the site of the collapse in Savar yesterday to press home their six-point demand including proper compensation for victims.
They formed the human chain under the banner of “Rana Plaza Garments Workers’ Union”.
The speakers said they only received assurance of compensation but have not been compensated in the nine months since the tragedy.
They also demanded the government launch an operation to uncover human remains which are still buried under the rubble of Rana Plaza.
The nine-storey Rana Plaza collapsed on April 24, 2013 killing over 1,100 people and leaving scores injured.
* Rana Plaza victim commits ‘suicide’:
Salma, 27, a victim of the Rana Plaza collapse, has reportedly committed suicide in the capital’s Bamnarteck on the morning of Friday.
Salma had been left injured in the collapse that claimed the lives of 1, 129 people last year. Nearly 2500 people were injured in the incidnet of collapse.
Turag police station Sub-Inspector Kalam Hossain said: “Upon being informed by her husband Babu, we rushed to the spot and recovered her hanging body at 10:45am.”
He said Salma had been rendered mentally unstable since she sustained injuries on her head during the Rana Plaza collapse.
The SI also said her body was sent to the morgue in Dhaka Medical College Hospital for autopsy.
Babu said: “She went through a lot of bodily pains since the Rana Plaza collapse. She was behaving normally till last night [Thursday] during dinner.”
He said: “I found her hanging from the celling today [Friday].”
to read. & read more.
* Miraculous survivor kills self:
Salma, a woman worker who was miraculously found alive beneath the debris several days after the horrific Rana Plaza building collapse at Savar, has committed suicide, bdnews24.com reported.
Police said the readymade garment worker, who was just 27, hanged herself on Friday morning.
Her body was recovered around 11:00am from her home in the Bamnar Tek area, at Turag, in Dhaka.
She has been living there with her husband ‘Babu’ for the last two months.
Turag police station sub inspector Kamal Hossain said, ‘Babu said that Salma had been injured on the head in the Rana Plaza collapse. Of late, she had been suffering from severe headache. The neighbours, too, said the same thing.’
‘Babu believes Salma hung herself because she could not suffer the pain any more,’ he said.
Hossain also said Salma’s body had been sent to the Dhaka Medical College and Hospital for autopsy.
Police, however, were investigating the incident, he said.
Babu said he is an assistant to a vehicle driver. Salma worked in a readymade garment factory on the sixth floor of Rana Plaza.
She was found alive several days after the multi-storied building collapsed on Apr 24, 2013. She was in hospital for sometime due to critical injuries to her head and other parts of her body.
Babu said they had left Savar and started living at Bamnar Tek area two months ago.
He said Salma used to bang her head on the wall when the headache became unbearable.
He said they had received Tk 60,000 as aid from the government until now.
to read. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
13:41:43 local time INDIA
* Mill workers to continue strike:
Workers of National Textile Corporation (NTC) mills have decided to continue their strike after talks with labour officials here failed on Thursday. Representatives of trade unions, which included Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) and New Democratic Labour Front (NDLF), were involved in the talks for wage revision.
“It has been nearly 13 months since the last revision was made. We have been waiting for a long time for the general wage revision,” said C. Padmanabhan of the CITU.
About 5,000 workers have been on strike.
* Textile units in Surat shut as gas supply stops:
* Cotton yarn spinners set to cash in on export-led boom:
Spinning mills seem confident this year as a surge in the demand for cotton yarn is expected in the export market and domestic apparel and home furnishing sector.
The government’s decision, notified on Wednesday, making the export of cotton yarn eligible for benefits under the Incremental Export Incentivisation Scheme for all of 2013-14 will also lift exports.
Many mills are raising headcounts. A good monsoon and a better crop size may help keep the price of cotton viable for the sector in the next few months. According to a study by Credit Analysis and Research Limited, direct yarn exports are likely to touch 1,500 million kg by FY14 from 1,107 million kg in FY13. Major demand would come from China, it said.
13:41:43 local time SRI LANKA
* FTA with China next boost for Lankan apparel sector:
Efforts to drive the Sri Lankan apparel sector into a new growth phase may hinge on the success of the potential free trade agreement (FTA) in the offing with China, according to Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) Secretary General Tuli Cooray.
“China is a massive market. If we can capture even a small percentage of market share, it could easily lift up the entire apparel industry. An FTA which grants Sri Lankan apparel exporters access will open up a host of opportunities, particularly given the government’s policy of working towards the hub-status.
In such a large market, we can compete through niche products but we have also lobbied the government to create entrepot trading for the apparel sector and this too has significant potential in combination with the FTA,” Cooray noted.
* China-Sri Lanka FTA feasibility to be finalized in March:
The feasibility study on the highly-anticipated Sri Lanka-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is underway and due to be completed by March with eventual signing of the deal slated for before end 2014, an official said here on Thursday.
The progress towards what would be a landmark agreement was revealed by Wang Yingqi, commercial counsellor of the Chinese embassy in Sri Lanka, at a forum promoting ceramics from China.
13:11:43 local time PAKISTAN
* ‘Pakistan likely to get a boost in textile exports to EU under GSP Plus’:
Pakistan is likely to get a boost in textile exports to the European Union after attaining GSP Plus status.
It is estimated that over 10 percent of textile exports will be increased due to the facility granted to Pakistan by the European Parliament in December 2013 and will continue till 2017. It is believed that the pressure on foreign exchange reserves will ease in the days to come, besides there will be stability in the local currency value. The country from January 1 has started availing of the facility.
The EU remain major textile trading partner; 90 percent of Pakistani exports to the EU consists of textiles and clothing and leather apparel, in which competitors such as Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia and Bangladesh enjoy duty-free access to the EU market against peak duties paid by the Pakistani merchandise. Moreover, 80 percent of Pakistan’s exports are directed to seven EU member countries, Germany, the UK, Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands, Spain and France.
* Textile exports: growth a pleasant sign for ailing economy: PTEA:
Textile exporters have welcomed the growth of 22.4 percent in textile exports for the month of December 2013 and termed the surge a pleasant sign for ailing economy.
With constant gas supply to export oriented textile sector, country’s textile exports has significantly improved, said Sheikh Ilyas Mahmood, Chairman and Adil Tahir, Vice Chairman Pakistan Textile Exporters Association.
In a press statement, welcoming the current growth rate in textile exports, they said that consistent supply of gas to export oriented textile sector produced the desired results, especially in Punjab.
For the first time, the government realised the fact and ensured gas supply to textile export industry under a special arrangement during winters which proved a successful step, they said.
With the current growth rate, we can achieve the export targets set by the Government. Textile industry has the ability to double its exports in four years if Government ensured uninterrupted energy supply and release the stuck up amounts of exporters in different refund regimes, they argued.
* Chinese trade delegation meets APTMA Punjab chief:
Chairman APTMA Punjab S M Tanveer welcomed Chinese delegation on Thursday, identifying trade and investment potential between the Chinese province Xinjiang and Punjab.
He said both governments of Pakistan and China were serious about enhancing trade ties through the economic corridor.
He also assured the visiting Chinese delegation from the Division of Foreign Economic and Technical Co-operation Department of Commerce of Xinjiang that APTMA will extend full co-operation for foreign synergies between the two brotherly countries.
* Guatemala Factory Supplying Walmart and Other US Retailers Stole $6 Million From Workers:
Many of the US labels that produced clothing at the Alianza Fashion sweatshop in Guatemala.
A factory company that made clothes for at least sixty American labels, including Macy’s, JCPenney, Kohl’s and Walmart, allegedly owes Guatemalan workers more than $6 million in back wages and benefits, according to an investigation by the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights.
Investigators obtained more than 200 internal documents smuggled out of Alianza Fashion factory last spring, including invoices, pay stubs and manufacturing instructions from some of the most well-known brands in the world. The factory, owned by South Korean national Boon Chong Park, went out of business last March.
Here are some of the report’s findings: