in the news 1- 7 Feb.2014

TIME
20140207

20:16:17 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

20140207 ALLindustry cambodian_women

* Free the 23 and give workers a living minimum wage of USD$160 a month:

On the 24th of December 2013 an estimated 50,000 to 200,000 garment workers went on strike in Cambodia. Their main demand was a living minimum wage of $US160 per month. They were joined by a number of other unions and workers also demanding the same minimum wage.

Demonstrators have faced continuous heavy government repression for demanding this wage. This has included attacks by police, military police, plain clothes thugs, and private security who between them have used an assortment of weapons including tear gas, grenades, axe handles, sling shots, electric batons, AK-47 rifles, and metal poles.
By January 4th, 4 workers had been killed, 39 seriously injured, and 23 indefinitely detained in the remote and harsh CC3 prison. Of those arrested 20 of them were garment workers, and 3 were prominent human rights defenders – Theng Savoeun, Vorn Pao, and Chan Puthisak. Another 2 workers have since died from injuries sustained at these demonstrations.

After these crackdowns the government issued a decree essentially prohibiting any public demonstrations or protest. Some workers have lost their jobs for striking or been denied pay, unionists are being denied access to factories, and companies are suing unions for their loss of income and damage to the factories.

At this point is it extremely difficult for Cambodians to speak out. However hope still remains and many workers, unionists, Buddhist monks and human rights activists are working hard to release those wrongfully imprisoned and to continue to push for a living minimum wage. Despite the prohibition on protest, many people are still risking detainment and abuse from authorities to still protest for these demands.

It is of crucial importance that international community puts pressure on Cambodia from outside and give solidarity to those risking their lives to continue to organise and protest. We must be rallying both on and off line.
This movement has been one of the strongest in Cambodia in recent times, which is why the government has been so unapologetically repressive.

This is an important time to help contest the 30 year rule of Hun Sen, demand dignity and a living wage for all workers, and the right to organise to achieve this, including freedom from arbitrary and punitive detainment.
This petition is a small but meaningful step for Cambodian people. Please sign it and pass it along to friends, family, co-workers, and concerned organisations.
SIGN THE PETITION HERE & read more.
CLEC

* Release the 23 Gathering:

Around a hundred of people from civil socities, unions, communities and monks gathered this morning at Preh Ang Dong Ka in front of Royal Palce to pray for the 23 detainees to be released at the bail hearing on 11th, Feburary next week.
read & see more.
CLEC

Another round of religious prayers to release the 23 detainees:

20140207 LICADHO

This morning about 100 civil society members and monks gathered at Preah Ong Dongkau on Riverside to call for the release of 23 detained workers and rights workers in anticipation of their bail hearing, set for Tuesday, February 11.

23 monks prayed for the release of the 23 men, who were arrested during the garment protests in early January, as the group released birds and balloons into the air. This gathering comes ahead of a planned Global Day of Action which will see global unions including IndistrALL Global Union, UNI Global Union and the ITUC mobilising workers around the world to protest at Cambodian embassies on February 10, the day before the bail hearing, to demand the release of the 23.
to read.
licadho

* Two among the 23 to be freed prior to bail hearing:

This morning, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court granted bail to two garment factory workers: Bou Sarith, 27 years old, and Yon Sok Chea, 17 years old. The two belong to the group of 23 workers and rights defenders arrested in early January during the garment worker strike.

Their families and lawyers are currently on their way to CC3 prison and Kampong Cham provincial prison.
All 23 men were refused bail at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on January 21. The bail hearing at the Phnom Penh Appeal Court for the remaining 21 workers and human rights defenders is still set for February 11.
to read.
licadho

* Cambodian court releases 2 of 23 detained protesters:

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Friday ordered the release of two men out of the 23 protesters who were arrested last month during violent clashes.

Leang Sam Nath, Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s Presiding Judge, ordered the release of the two men in separately written orders to the chief of Trapaing Thlong Correctional Center, where they are all detained.
Am Sam Ath, a senior investigator for the rights group Licadho, said the release was a positive sign for the remaining detainees.

“We hope that the court will continue freeing the others,” he said.
The Court of Appeals will hear bail requests for the remaining imprisoned protesters on Tuesday.
read more.
CHINAORG

* Labor union leaders discuss protest plan:

Nine labor union leaders who rejected the minimum wage of USD100 per month, announced in January by the government, met today to discuss the minimum wage for garment and footwear workers and their protest plan.

Rong Chhun, President of Cambodian Confederation of Unions, said the meeting at Community Legal Education Center (CLEC) is to decide if the nine labor unions have to hold the second protest to demand better wage for workers.

The workers protested throughout the country to demand the minimum wage of USD160 per month, increasing from USD80 per month until bloody crackdowns in January, leaving at least five people dead, and some 40 injured.
Police also arrested 23 people, who are now being detained in prison in Kampong Cham province.
to read.
CAMHERALD

* Union leaders delay protest:

Labor union leaders who rejected USD 100 per month for workers decided to delay their protest plan, awaiting the government’s announcement over the wage increase for workers, and the court decision on 23 individuals arrested last month.

The suspension of the protest was made after the meeting attended by 11 labor union leaders at Community Legal Education Center (CLEC).

Ath Thon, president of the Coalition of Cambodia Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU), said the meeting discussed the workers’ salary cut by factory employers during their protests.

He said the agreements in the meeting included:
1 — Asking government to release the 23 people arrested in recent crackdowns.
2 — Calling on the government and employers to resume wage talk over the demand of USD160 per month.
3 – Asking the government and factories to bring to justice the gunmen of victims killed, and injured during the violent clashes on Jan. 2-3.
4 – Asking the government and factories to drop complaints against the leaders of the labor unions, and lift its ban on public rallies in the capital and other places.
5 — Reinstating the workers, who have been fired.

The Garment and footwear workers will receive USD100 per month starting from this February, according to a decision made in January.
to read.
CAMHERALD

* Poverty Wages Unraveling Cambodia’s Garment Industry:

Cambodia’s garment industry is regularly plagued with strikes and protests. But when armed security forces opened fire on striking workers in the capital city of Phnom Penh on Jan. 3, killing five and injuring dozens, it suddenly became clear that this was not just another protest.

With the situation left unresolved since, advocacy groups are urging clothing brands to review their purchasing practices and take action to ultimately end low wages, which are at the root of the bloody demonstrations in Cambodia.

“Workers are getting very angry,” Anannya Bhattacharjee of the New Delhi-based Asia Floor Wage Alliance, told IPS. “There is a lot of explosiveness. They do not want to tolerate the current situation of continuing poverty anymore.”

Statutory minimum wages determined by national governments and industries usually fall short of workers’ demands. In the case of Cambodia, the government first offered to raise monthly pay from 80 to 95 dollars, then to 100. Striking workers, however, insisted that the minimum level should be 160 dollars.

Asia Floor Wage, which has been campaigning for higher minimum wages across garment-producing countries in Asia, believes that if statutory minimum wages are not high enough, multinational companies need to be involved.
read more.
IPS

* Threat of ‘mass strike’ looms:

20140207 PPP Garment-Demonstration
Garment workers gather behind barbed wire on Phnom Penh’s Russian Boulevard during a demonstration in December. Photo by Vireak Mai.

Workers from more than 200 garment factories are to take part in industrial action on Monday, but unions yesterday hesitated to call it a mass strike, saying they plan one of those for later next week if their demands aren’t met.

The chances of another mass strike occurring increased last night when a government committee announced after a four-hour meeting that it would not be raising the minimum wage, despite unions demanding at least $160 per month.

“In the meeting today, we did not talk about the amount … but only the technical side – how we can support the LAC [Labour Advisory Committee] determine whether it can accept [the unions’ demands] or not,” Ministry of Labour spokesman Heng Sour said.

Representatives of nine union confederations met earlier at the Community Legal Education Center after some had told the media that another large-scale demonstration was imminent.

Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, said after the meeting that unions had agreed to stand firm on their demands, which included, among other things, a wage increase and the release of 23 unionists and workers imprisoned since violent crackdowns last month.

“Our members from about 200 factories over the country will gather at their factories to demand the government release the 23 workers and six other points on Monday, one day before their Appeal Court bail request,” Sina said. “If the court does not allow the 23 workers to go free, we will announce a second mass strike.”
read more.
PPP new

*  Unions to March After Failure to Address Minimum Wage:

Six garment worker unions and two general labor unions said Thursday that they will march on Monday along Phnom Penh’s Sisowath Quay and to various foreign embassies to protest the government’s inaction to address their calls for a higher minimum wage.

The call to action was issued after a high-level government committee failed Thursday to address the minimum wage issue, saying there was no plan for any raise at this time.
“We have decided on Monday to gather more than 300 people from different unions and NGOs to…march to the shrine near the riverside,” said Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers.

Afterward, the unions will deliver a seven-point petition seeking support from foreign embassies including the U.S., China, France and Britain, Mr. Sina said.
“We will not protest on that day. We just plan to submit petitions with embassies to ask for their help in achieving our demands,” he said.

The petition calls for a $160 minimum wage for garment workers, the release of 23 protesters imprisoned last month during strikes for a higher minimum wage, the prosecution of state forces who killed five protesters on January 3, an end to the government’s ban on demonstrations, an end to legal action against union leaders who organized a nationwide strike in December, and the payment of salaries for workers who took part in that strike.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Garment workers to receive USD 100 per month from February:

The Government already issued a Decision to require the employers to increase the minimum wage for the factory workers to USD 100 per month, starting from February 2014, said a government official.

Vong Savann, a senior official of the Labor Ministry added that the Decision was already issued by the Ministry and was acceptable by representatives of employees and employers.
However, a number of Union Workers have rejected the offer.

Before the increase, the workers received only USD80 per month.
Sovann said the recently established Committee led by Keat Chhon, a Deputy Prime Minister, is further studying the possibility of wage increase. However, it has not yet been clear when another phase of pay hike will take place.
read more.
CAMHERALD

$160 We Need

* Industrial relations and rights:

Dear Editor,
Comments made by Tim De Meyer, ILO Specialist regarding Convention 87 (C87) and Right to Strike, do not represent tripartite consensus within the ILO.
The suggestion by the Post that CAMFEBA and GMAC do not respect the right to strike is not representative of employer’s views. Employers respect that striking is a means of industrial action.

However, this does not mean such action is a fundamental right. Employers expect that any strike action must be conducted in line with the law.
Cambodian delegates comprising of CAMFEBA, unions and government were all represented at the 2013 International Labour Conference where the ILO Committee of Application of Standards (CAS) deliberated on the Right to Strike and C87.
(…)
Vice-president,
CAMFEBA
read more.
PPP new

* Strike debate a ‘red herring’:

Workers undoubtedly have the fundamental right to strike, and any arguments as to whether such rights exist are merely “red herring debates”, the UN special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association Maina Kiai said yesterday.

Kiai, who today will wrap up his three-day unofficial visit to the Kingdom, made the comments after paying a “courtesy call” on Ouch Borith, secretary of state at the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the main purpose of which was to ask the government to invite him on an official visit to Cambodia, he said.

Speaking outside the foreign ministry, Kiai told reporters that the right to strike has for generations been globally recognised as a fundamental tool of unions and workers, and “cannot, and must not” be taken away from them.
“Under international law … there is a right to assembly and to assemble peacefully for any purpose. Now … assembly can be a protest, assembly can be in a room, assembly can be a strike, it can be a sit-down,” he said.
read more.
PPP new

* Military Police Asked to Answer for Protest Deaths:

Richard Rogers, the lawyer retained by the opposition CNRP to potentially submit a case against Prime Minster Hun Sen’s government with the International Criminal Court at The Hague, said Thursday that letters were hand-delivered to two military police chiefs requesting information about the fatal shooting of garment strike protesters last month.

Mr. Rogers said that the letters were delivered to National Military Police commander Sao Sokha and Phnom Penh Municipal Military Police commander Rath Srieng, who was in command of the military police officers who opened fire on January 3 on Veng Sreng Street, killing five protesters and wounding more than 40.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

gov STOP 2

* Man Acquitted of 2007 Murder of Union Leader Hy Vuthy:

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday acquitted Chan Sophon of the 2007 murder of union leader Hy Vuthy, overturning a 2012 conviction and an 18-year jail sentence that rights groups and Mr. Vuthy’s own union believe was cover for the real perpetrators.

Hy Vuthy was a senior leader of the opposition-aligned Free Trade Union (FTU) and was gunned down by two men on a motorcycle while heading home from a Phnom Penh garment factory at the end of a night shift in February 2007.
Mr. Sophon has always professed his innocence, insisting that he was on a family farm in Kompong Speu province at the time of the union leader’s murder.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Verdict in murder reversed:

After more than nine months in prison, wrongly convicted murderer Chan Sophon was released by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday following his exoneration in the 2007 killing of Free Trade Union leader Hy Vuthy due to a lack of evidence.

Sophon had been sentenced in absentia to 18 years in prison after being convicted of aggravated intentional murder in March 2012. He was finally arrested last April, but following a new investigation and a retrial last month, the court found there was no hard evidence linking Sophon to the crime.

“Based on hearing, the court has found that Chan Sophon, 35, is not guilty, because there was no real proof or witnesses to show that he was involved or had killed the victim, Hy Vuthy, former president of the [branch of] the Free Trade Union … at the Suntex garment factory, in 2007 as accused,” presiding judge Kor Vandy said.
read more.
PPP new

* H&M exec talks Cambodia vision:

With the local garment industry still reeling from the deaths of at least four workers in January, and the possibility of future strikes over minimum wages looming on the horizon, brands sourcing from the country are coming under increased scrutiny. Swedish clothes-maker H&M is one of the most prominent companies buying garments from Cambodia.

In an exclusive interview this week, the Post’s Daniel de Carteret talks to H&M’s social sustainability manager, Anna Gedda, about minimum wages, industrial relations and how far the company can use its influence to effect change.

Can you describe your position at H&M?
Me and my team are responsible for all the social questions, all the social issues related to H&M. That covers human rights, social development in all the regional markets and in all producing markets.

Have you had much to do with Cambodia? Are you out here very often?
Yes, I think that’s part of the role, to be honest. The way we are organized is that we have a global department here in Sweden; I have a team of 44 working together with me, and I think we have about five people working on the ground in Cambodia. So, of course we are in very close contact with them on a daily basis and they update us on what is happening, and we report to them from our side as well. I think that is the strength of the approach that we have. We have such a strong local presence.

H&M has talked about providing a fair living wage by 2018, can you elaborate on the plan?
The vision that we have is that a fair living wage should be paid by all our suppliers. It is very much a collaboration between us and our suppliers. What we mean with a “fair living wage” is that it is a wage that covers basic needs. Not only the actual amount, but also how this amount is established is very important.
read more.
PPP new

19:16:17 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* BD factories exploiting child labour in unsafe conditions: The Guardian:

Garment factories in Bangladesh producing clothes for British retailers are exploiting child labour in unsafe conditions, despite last year’s factory collapse that killed 1,130 people, the Guardian reported Thursday last.

Citing an ITV undercover documentary shown Thursday night, the British daily said the RMG (readymade garment) factories are forcing girls as young as 13 to work up to 11 hours a day in appalling conditions.

ITV is a commercial public service TV network in the United Kingdom (UK). The undercover documentary will be available on http://www. itv.com/news/2014-02-06/exposure-rana-plaza-bangladesh-garment-factory-conditions.

Undercover filming by the Exposure programme found clothes produced for Lee Cooper, BHS and other UK retailers in factories where workers were physically and verbally abused and fire safety ignored, the report said.
read more.
FE bd

* Child labour in RMG: Rights bodies blame stakeholders:

They made the remark following a report published in the Guardian titled “Bangladesh garment factories still exploiting child labour for UK products” on Wednesday

No stakeholder including government, garments factory owners and international organisations, particularly working on preventing child labour, can deny their roles behind the existence of child labour in the readymade garments sector, observe labour leaders and child rights activists.

They made the remark following a report published in the Guardian titled “Bangladesh garment factories still exploiting child labour for UK products” on Wednesday.
Labour leader Syed Sultan Uddin Ahmad said it would be wrong if someone blatantly labelled the garments owners as the exploiters.

“As far I know, the ILO, the Unicef and several other international organisations have been working on the child labour issue, for a long time. Now it is time to question them about the result of their activities as well.”
In 1995, an agreement was signed between the BGMEA, the Unicef and the ILO when the stakeholders had agreed to stop hiring under-aged workers and start working together to eliminate child labour.

However, a number of children’s names including Anna, Rabeya Akhter and Hamida Akhter were found in the list of workers who had been killed, injured or missing in the collapse of eight-storey Rana Plaza where several garments factories operated.
The list was prepared by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA). Anna used to work on the sixth floor while Rabeya and Hamida worked at a factory on the seventh floor of the building.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Exposure investigation uncovers violence and abuse in Dhaka sweatshop:

The appalling loss of life at Rana Plaza last April exposed the dangers of Bangladesh’s vast garment trade to the world when more than a thousand people were killed when a factory building collapsed.

But until now, the pressures, abuse and shockingly, the violence that also takes place behind the closed doors of Dhaka’s sweatshops has remained a secret.
For the first time tonight, An undercover ITV investigation reveals a factory with links to a major UK brand where verbal and physical abuse place takes place, child workers are reduced to tears, being slapped and kicked for not working quickly enough, and another factory with fire exits that are kept locked and vital health and safety checks being manipulated.
read & see more.  & read & see more.(video reports).
ITV ITV

* Bangladesh garment factories still exploiting child labour for UK products:

Bangladesh garment factories producing clothes for British retailers are forcing girls as young as 13 to work up to 11 hours a day in appalling conditions, according to an ITV documentary to be shown on Thursday night.

Undercover filming by the Exposure programme found clothes produced for Lee Cooper, BHS and other UK retailers in factories where workers were physically and verbally abused and fire safety ignored.

Despite promises made by retailers to improve conditions following last year’s Rana Plaza factory collapse in Dhaka, where at least 1,130 people died and thousands more were injured, staff as young as 13 are filmed in factories being kicked, slapped and hit with a used fabric roll as well as abused with physical threats and insults.

Fire escapes at one factory, Vase Apparel, are shown padlocked, even though hundreds of garment workers have died in fires after being trapped in similar factories over the past few years.

ITV producers fitted local garment workers with secret cameras to record the conditions. One of the women is forced to work 89 hours over seven days at Olira Fashions in Mirpur, a district of Dhaka. Male managers abuse younger girls who they think are not working fast enough and exhausted staff are told they must work all night to get out a big order. They are threatened with beatings or the sack if they don’t comply.
read more. & to read. & to read.
GUARDIAN PriyoNews daily star bd
gov STOP 2

* RMG factory owners intimidate workers for organising TUs: HRW:

Pressure from buyers on factory owners sought

The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged the government to stop readymade garment (RMG) factory owners from intimidating and threatening workers for organising trade unions (TUs). It also sought prosecution of those who are responsible for attacks on labour leaders.

The New York-based international rights group in a statement issued on Thursday said foreign buyers, including major US and European retailers, should ensure that their Bangladeshi suppliers respect labour rights.

The HRW had interviewed 47 workers in 21 factories in and around Dhaka. The workers claimed some managers intimidate and mistreat them for being involved in setting up unions. They also threaten to kill them. The full report is available at http://www. hrw.org/news/2014/02/06/bangladesh-protect-garment-workers-rights.

Some union organisers said they were assaulted. Others said they had lost their jobs or had been forced to resign. Factory owners sometimes used local gangsters to threaten or attack workers outside their workplaces, including in their homes, they alleged.
read more. & read more.
FE bd BD new age

* HRW for trade union in RMG:

Urges govt to stop ‘threat, intimidation by owners’

Human Rights Watch has urged Bangladesh to stop garment owners from intimidating and threatening workers for organising trade unions and to prosecute those responsible for attacks on labour leaders.

Foreign buyers, including major US and European retailers, should ensure that Bangladeshi garment suppliers respect labour rights, the New York-based rights body said in a report published yesterday.
The rights body interviewed 47 workers of 21 factories in and around Dhaka to make the report.
Some workers told HRW that not only had their managers mistreated those, who formed trade unions, they had also threatened to kill the employees, the report says. Some union organisers said they were beaten up while some others said they had lost their jobs or had been forced to resign.
From the interviews HRW also learnt that factory owners sometimes used local goons to threaten or attack garment employees outside the workplaces and even when they were at home.
read more.
daily star bd

* Human Rights Watch concerned over workers’ rights in garment sector:

It is alleged that some of the unions in factories are not genuinely independent

Human Rights Watch has urged the government to stop garments owners from intimidating and threatening workers for organising trade unions, and prosecute those responsible for attacks on labour leaders.

In a statement yesterday, the New York-based rights watchdog also said the foreign buyers, including major retailers from the US and European should ensure that Bangladeshi suppliers respect labour rights.
Based on the findings of a survey conducted on 47 workers of 21 factories in and around Dhaka, the HRW said some managers had intimidated and mistreated employees involved in setting up unions, including threatening to kill them.

The interviews were conducted from October 2013 onwards when many of the workers described abusive practices.
“The best way to avoid future Rana Plaza-type disaster and end the exploitation of Bangladeshi workers is to encourage the establishment of independent trade unions to monitor and protect workers’ rights,” said Brad Adams, Asia director of the organisation.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Bangladesh garment factories intimidate workers over unions: group :

Bangladeshi garment factory owners use beatings, the threat of murder and sexual intimidation to stop workers from forming trade unions, a human rights group said on Thursday, reports Reuters.

Bangladesh amended its labour law in July to boost worker rights, including the freedom to form trade unions, after a factory complex collapsed in April killing more than 1,100 garment workers, sparking debate over safety and rights.

But New York-based Human Rights Watch said it interviewed 47 workers in 21 factories in and around the capital, Dhaka, from October and it said many of the workers described abusive practices.

“The workers claimed that some managers intimidate and mistreat employees involved in setting up unions, including threatening to kill them,” the rights group said in a statement.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Bangladesh to showcase progress in labour standards on Feb 13:

The first meeting of three secretaries and five diplomats’ committee will be held in Dhaka on February 13 to highlight the progress made in different areas including factory and safety standards under the Sustainability Compact.

Progress under the deal may help Bangladesh regain trade privileges from the United States that suspended the generalised system of preferences status on June 27 last year.
The EU signed the Sustainability Compact involving International Labour Organisation in Geneva on July 8 to improve safety standards in the factories.
“We will mainly discuss the progresses made under the agreement,” said Labour Secretary Mikail Shipar by phone yesterday.
The compact is a roadmap that ties the government to three specific action plans: labour rights; structural integrity of buildings and occupational safety and health, and responsible business conduct with stakeholders. But it is not a legally binding agreement.

The EU and Bangladesh resolved to work together on improving labour rights, addressing safety concern, uplifting factory building conditions and ensuring responsible businesses in the country’s garment sector.
Bangladesh is also committed to improving 16 conditions that were given to the government by the US after suspension of the trade preference on June 27 last year.
Of the 16 conditions, Bangladesh has made good progresses in some areas, he added.
Bangladesh amended the labour law on July 15 last year to allow full freedom of association by the workers.
read more.
daily star bd

* 15% have structural flaws:

About 15 per cent of the BUET-surveyed garment factories have structural flaws, while most of the units lack required fire and electrical safety measures, people connected with the inspection process said.

The BUET (Bangladesh University of Engineering Technology) has already submitted its initial findings on 80, out of 200, surveyed garment factories to the government.
Of the 80 factories, the teams recommended detail assessment of 10 manufacturing units, as they were not satisfied with their structural designs and other safety compliances.

“The BUET teams have submitted their report on 80 factories with recommendations, which is being scrutinized by the technical committee,” a senior labour ministry official told the FE Thursday.
The National Tripartite Committee, formed to implement the national plan of action on building and fire safety in RMG sector, will take the next decision in line with the final recommendations of the technical committee, he added.
read more.
FE bd

* BGMEA, Impactt sign deal to increase productivity at RMG factories:

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) today signed a collaboration agreement with Impactt, a leading ethical trading consultancy, to build productivity in the country’s garment factories.

The collaboration will support roll out of a program titled Benefits for Business and Workers (BBW) to 200 industrial units in Dhaka and Chittagong regions by December 2015.
BGMEA vice-president Riaz Bin Mahmud and chairman of Impactt Bangladesh Private Ltd Rosey Hurst inked the agreement on behalf of their respective sides at BGMEA Bhaban.
President of the association M Atiqul Islam and other senior office bearers, representatives from DFID and leading global garment retailers joined the function.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
BSS UNB BD new age INDEPENDENT

* BGMEA, Impactt sign MoU to boost output in RMG industry:

The country’s apex apparel body — Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) — teamed up with the ethical trading consultancy — Impactt — aiming to increase productivity in the readymade garment (RMG) industry.

BGMEA and Impactt signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in this connection Thursday where BGMEA President Md Atiqul Islam along with its other office-bearers, head of DFID Bangladesh Sarah Cook and Chairman of Impactt Bangladesh Private Ltd Rosey Hurst, among other representatives of different brands, were present.

The two parties will partner to roll out the programme titled ‘Benefits for Business and Workers (BBW)’ which has already improved efficiency and quality and supported better jobs for workers in 45 factories in the country.
Rosey Hurst said partnership with the BGMEA is important as it will enable a more competitive industry that provides better jobs for its workers.

BGMEA Vice President Reaz-bin-Mahmood said the cost of doing business is ever increasing while prices of products are declining and there has been appreciation of local currency against dollar.
“Unfortunately these things are not in our hands, so we should focus on areas that we can control and explore to increase our competitiveness,” he said adding that productivity is one such area and it has been a major strategic issue for the industry.
read more.
FE bd

* Effective steps needed to restore GSP:

The United States is going to review the suspended Generalised System of Preference (GSP) for Bangladesh soon but the government has not taken any effective step to fulfil the requirements of the US to get back the trade privilege.

The GSP is not a trade privilege only, the image of our country in the world is intertwined with it. Our readymade garments sector has achieved great success from a very humble beginning and our foolhardy steps may put this whole sector in jeopardy.
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FE bd

* Market share of local woven fabrics in RMG export stagnating:

The market share of local woven fabrics in RMG export is stagnating for the last three years despite rising demand every year, data shows.

Though the mills have expanded their production capacity in line with export growth but their market share is stagnating at 35 per cent, textile industry sources said.
Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) President Jahangir Alamin said with 35 per cent local market share, Bangladesh is meeting more than 70 per cent denim demand.
read more.
FE bd

*  Working long hours ‘for living’ may restrict well-being:

Adam Smith observed in The Wealth of Nations: “The man who works so moderately as be  able to work constantly, not only preserves his health the longest, but in the course of the year, executes the greatest quantity of works”.

Bertrand Russell similarly reckoned that if society were better managed the average person would only need to work four hours a day. The rest of the day could be devoted to the pursuit of science, painting, and writing. International Labour Organisation (ILO) also recognises that working excess hours poses a danger to workers’ health and to their families. The ILO has adopted forty-hour work convention, and other specific conventions on hours of work, weekly rest, holidays with pay, night work, and part-time work. Working long for living, technical skill alone, and repetitive work are devoid of awakening and nurturing of thought. ‘Work for living’ is only one part of humanity – though probably the most important one – but there are other aspects of life like leisure, art, literature, music, sports, and socialisation.

A study of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) covering 1990 to 2012 found negative relation between productivity and hours worked. They found that GDP (gross domestic product) per hour is high where workers are better paid and consequently they put less time at the office. Vast majority of people of OECD countries work fewer hours in recent years than they used to do in 1990.
read more.
FE bd

18:46:17 local time map of india INDIA

* Exporters seek govt subsidies:

After a brief spell of recuperation and stabilizing growth, exporters in the city once again find themselves facing a possible decline in business. The local export community is struggling to obtain basic sanctions on government subsidies, demanded months ago.

The recent setback faced by the sector has come at the hands of the European Union, which granted the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) Plus status to Pakistan, ‘giving the neighbouring country’s exporters an edge over those in India’, according to senior officials of the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC).

“Garment exporters would lose the competitive advantage built with great efforts,” said Virender Uppal, chairman, AEPC. According to the EU export rankings, India now figures just a rank below GSP-plus, categorized only as a GSP country. What the exporters here are now demanding is equivalent status.

“The APEC requests the government to take this issue seriously so that India’s exports, which have the biggest share in the manufacturing sector in terms of employment, do not face another decline owing to unfair tariff structures,” Uppal added.
to read.
TOInew

* India’s leather exports grow 17.09% in April-Nov’13:

The exports of leather and leather products from India increased by 17.09 percent to US$ 3.786 billion during the first eight months of the ongoing financial year 2013-14, compared to exports of $3.233 billion made during the corresponding period of the previous fiscal, as per the export data officially notified by the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics (DGCI&S), Kolkata, under the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India.
Product-wise, the highest growth was observed in exports of non-leather footwear, which grew by 63.36 percent year-on-year to $118.77 million during April-November 2013 period, followed by saddler and harness exports which jumped by 35.95 percent year-on-year to $94.52 billion, and footwear components’ exports which increased by 30.60 percent to $208.45 million.
read more.

fibre2fashion

* Stringing together a livelihood:

They have a fascinating sense of colour. Meet the narikuravar women who sell accessories made with beads on the city’s pavements

“N oinoinu kelvi kaettutae irukkae ?” bursts out Kanniamma. “Why do you keep asking questions?” She strings shiny white beads by the roadside in Mylapore as she chews betel leaves. Her collection of bead strands, glass bangles, and earrings gleams on a steel bench in front of her. “My neck hurts when I look up every time to answer you.” It’s when she flicks open her cash box that you realise she has had a bad day — it’s almost empty.

Kanniamma is from the narikuravar community, a people once involved in hunting for a living. As times changed, they took to other ways of generating income — they stocked a variety of knick-knacks, from hairpins and safety pins, to sticker bindis, travelling from one place to another to sell them. This business has now evolved with the narikuravars setting up roadside stalls where they sell beautifully colour-coordinated handmade accessories. They can be seen in places such as Mylapore, Besant Nagar, T. Nagar, and Mahabalipuram.

“We go to Delhi once a year to buy the beads in bulk,” explains Pushpa who has spread her wares on a pavement in Besant Nagar. This trip is an annual event she looks forward to. “I like travelling by train. We have a jolly time.” The beads are packed in jute sacks and sent by lorry to their destination.
read more.
Return to frontpage

18:16:17 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Enhanced water supply to leather industry demanded:

Chairman Tanners Association (SZ), Fawad Jawed has sought intervention of the Governor Sindh, Dr Eshratul Ebad Khan and urged him to direct Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) to connect 5 MGD water pipeline with Water Trunk Main at Chamra Roundabout and release water into the mains so that the water-intensive exporting leather industry may survive from total collapse.

In a SOS massage to the Governor, he said the tannery zone in Korangi industrial area (KIA) is not getting water from KWSB for over a decade and the only source of water is from underground wells that are drying up fast. The pipeline has been laid for over a year ago but the water is yet to be released into the pipeline due to which the pipeline has started rusting.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

* Leather garments export grows by $18.17 million in July-December:

Pakistan’s export of leather garments posted an increase of over 9 percent to $218.094 million in July-December period of the current fiscal year, official figures suggest. Leather garments export grew by $18.175 million in July-December 2013-14 from $199.919 million exported in the same period last fiscal year, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) said.

In terms of volume export of leather garments went up to 584,000 dozens in July-December 2013-14 from 469,000 dozens in the same period last fiscal year, showing an increase of 115,000 dozens or 25 percent, the figures indicate. The export of leather garments was higher by 11.49 percent or $3.984 million in December 2014 to $38.646 million compared to $34.662 million in December 2013, the PBS says.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

TIME
20140206

20:16:17 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Vietnam eyes 6-10% hikes in rice, garment exports:

Vietnam targets to hike rice and apparel export revenue by 6-10 percent this year amid pressure from competitors and expectations for a trans-Pacific trade agreement to be concluded.

Vietnamese garment firms aim to increase export value by 10 percent this year from US$20.5 billion in revenue last year, said Le Tien Truong, deputy director of state-owned textile corporation Vinatex.
Truong added that the local garment industry will have a huge opportunity when the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPP) is signed.
The TPP is being negotiated by Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US and Vietnam.
read more.
TUOITREnews

20:16:17 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* The latest twist in silk:

The colourful fabric glittering at Museum Siam all looks and feels different – knitted, woven, stretchy like spandex, as light and thin as chiffon, dyed in every imaginable hue – but it’s all the same material. It’s Thai silk.

“These 50 samples are prototypes from our ‘Modern Thai Silk’ project,” explains Dr Chanchai Sirikasemlert, director of the Thailand Textile Institute’s Technology Promotion Division. “You’re encouraged to touch, feel, stretch and even squeeze the silk. It’s durable and some pieces are even wrinkle-free, which makes them more suitable for daily use.”

These prototypes are going on display from February 18 to 20 at Premiere Vision in Paris, the world’s top fabrics fair. Fashion brands and designers will be there to scrutinise material from more than 700 weavers around the globe – and to buy en masse what suits their needs best.

Thai silk’s reputation for high quality and unique weaving techniques and patterns is well established, but its golden age has dimmed. Young urbanised Thais prefer more upscale kinds of labour to the traditional and arduous tasks of sericulture and weaving. Only our grandparents’ generation knows how to raise and harvest silkworms, few farmers tend mulberry trees to feed the worms, and even fewer people are earning a living wage from silk cultivation.
read more.
theNATIONnew

20:16:17 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Strike threat remains as Cambodia wage dispute drags on:

Garment workers in Cambodia could defy a ban on demonstrations and strike again this month unless the government agrees to a further rise in the minimum wage.

Vice-president of the Cambodian Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (CCAWDU), Kong Athit, said his and other unions had not set a date, but would be willing to strike over their demand to lift the minimum wage from US$100 to $160 per month.

“If the government is not offering a fair solution … maybe we can come up with a general strike again,” Mr. Athit said. CCAWDU organises 26,000 garment workers in Cambodia.

At a forum on January 16, unions heads called on Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government to resume wage negotiations, with the President of the Coalition of Cambodian Unions (CCU), Rong Chhun, promising a “grand strike” if an agreement could not be reached.

A previous two-week strike that caused many factories to close ended after a bloody crackdown by police and paramilitary forces on January 3. According to rights group LICADHO, the clashes left at least four protestors dead and more than 40 injured.
read more.
asiancorres

* Ministry to ‘examine’ probe results:

Officials from the Ministry of Interior will meet tomorrow to review the results of an investigation into a crackdown that left four dead on Veng Sreng Boulevard in Phnom Penh last month, a police spokesman said.

After saying on Tuesday that a report on the investigation’s findings would be released within a day or two, National Police spokesman Kirth Chantharith said yesterday a decision had been made to “let the ministry meet first”.
“From what I’ve heard, [the meeting] is on Friday,” he said. “The ministry has to meet to examine the results of the investigation.”
Chantharith would not confirm whether those results will be released tomorrow.
read more.
PPP new

* United Nations Envoy Visits After Protest Deaths:

The U.N. special rapporteur on the freedom of peaceful assembly and association, Maina Kiai, began a three-day unofficial visit to Cambodia on Wednesday, just one month after military police shot dead five protesters in Phnom Penh and the government imposed a ban on public gatherings.

Mr. Kiai, a Kenyan lawyer, is tasked with monitoring and reporting on people’s rights to assembly and will meet with union leaders and NGO representatives during his visit, which was organized by the Bangkok-based Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development. 

Mr. Kiai on Wednesday declined to comment outside the offices of the Coalition of Cambodian Workers’ Democratic Union (CCAWDU) in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district, where he met the union’s president, Ath Thorn.
Mr. Thorn said later by telephone that the meeting, which lasted about two hours, had been productive.

“We talked about freedom of association in Cambodia, about the right to organize and the right to join unions and we explained about the recent situation,” Mr. Thorn said.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Groups tell ILO to retract ‘right to strike’ claim:

An employers and businesses federation that took out paid newspaper advertisements claiming Cambodia’s workers have no fundamental right to strike has hit back at the International Labour Organization (ILO), asking it to retract comments it made in response to the ads.

Last week, the Cambodian Federation of Employers and Business Associations (CAMFEBA) and the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) began running ads in local media, including the Post, saying the public had been misled over the right to strike following deadly protests in the garment sector last month.

“The right to strike is not provided for in … [the ILO’s Convention 87 on Freedom of Association] and was not intended to be.… Is the right to strike therefore a fundamental right? NO. The right to strike is NOT a fundamental right,” the ads say.

Tim de Meyer, a senior international labour law specialist for the ILO in Bangkok, rejected the argument last Wednesday.
read more.
PPP new

gov STOP 2

* IMF says Cambodia’s strong outlook subject to ‘considerable’ risks:

Cambodia’s strong economic growth and foreign investment are subject to “considerable” downside risks, the International Monetary Fund has warned.

A staff report released in Washington late Tuesday said “economic activity remains strong driven by robust exports, with garment exports helped by preferential access to European Union.”
At the same time, tourism destinations are more diversified and fast credit growth has led to rapid expansion in real estate and construction.

FACTORIES RELOCATING TO CAMBODIA FROM CHINA AND VIETNAM
Foreign direct investment (FDI) remains “strong,” the report said, adding that it was “partly driven by factories relocating from China and Vietnam.
Growth is expected to stay at 7 percent in 2013 “due to the sluggish global recovery, recent floods, and a slowdown in activity during the election period.”
But in line with the global recovery in 2014, growth is projected at 7-1⁄4 percent, rising to 7-1⁄2 percent in the medium term with improvements in infrastructure, competitiveness, and the investment climate.
read more.
CAMHERALD

19:16:17 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Bangladesh garment factories still exploiting child labour for UK products:

Bangladesh garment factories producing clothes for British retailers are forcing girls as young as 13 to work up to 11 hours a day in appalling conditions, according to an ITV documentary to be shown on Thursday night.

Undercover filming by the Exposure programme found clothes produced for Lee Cooper, BHS and other UK retailers in factories where workers were physically and verbally abused and fire safety ignored.

Despite promises made by retailers to improve conditions following last year’s Rana Plaza factory collapse in Dhaka, where at least 1,130 people died and thousands more were injured, staff as young as 13 are filmed in factories being kicked, slapped and hit with a used fabric roll as well as abused with physical threats and insults.

Fire escapes at one factory, Vase Apparel, are shown padlocked, even though hundreds of garment workers have died in fires after being trapped in similar factories over the past few years.

ITV producers fitted local garment workers with secret cameras to record the conditions. One of the women is forced to work 89 hours over seven days at Olira Fashions in Mirpur, a district of Dhaka. Male managers abuse younger girls who they think are not working fast enough and exhausted staff are told they must work all night to get out a big order. They are threatened with beatings or the sack if they don’t comply.
read more. & to read. & to read.
GUARDIAN PriyoNews daily star bd

* Exposure investigation uncovers violence and abuse in Dhaka sweatshop:

The appalling loss of life at Rana Plaza last April exposed the dangers of Bangladesh’s vast garment trade to the world when more than a thousand people were killed when a factory building collapsed.

But until now, the pressures, abuse and shockingly, the violence that also takes place behind the closed doors of Dhaka’s sweatshops has remained a secret.
For the first time tonight, An undercover ITV investigation reveals a factory with links to a major UK brand where verbal and physical abuse place takes place, child workers are reduced to tears, being slapped and kicked for not working quickly enough, and another factory with fire exits that are kept locked and vital health and safety checks being manipulated.
read & see more.  & read & see more.(video reports).
ITV ITV

____________________

* Taking free legal aid services to workers’ doorsteps stressed:

Speakers at a meeting Wednesday strongly emphasised on taking free legal aid services to the doorsteps of country’s workers, especially in the readymade garment (RMG) sector.

They also suggested creation of awareness among the workers and the mid-level employees on a large scale about workers’ rights, facilitating them to work together to take the industry forward.

Labour Legal Aid Cell (LLAC), a recently-formed agency under the National Legal Aid Services Organisation (NLASO) of the Law Ministry, arranged the views exchange meeting at the Shrama Bhaban in the city to find what steps should be taken to make the cell more effective and worker-friendly.

NLASO director Syed Aminul Islam, was the chief guest at the meeting, which was attended, among others, by First Labour Court in Dhaka chairman Miah Md Sharif Hossain, Labour Court Bar Association (LCBA) president Advocate Chowdhury Sarowar Ali, LCBA general secretary Advocate Belayet Hossain, LLAC Law Officer Moshiur Rahman Chowdhury, leaders of different worker associations, factory inspectors and other lawyers of the labour courts.
read more. & read more.
FE bd daily star bd

* HRW urged govt to protect apparels workers’ rights:

The New York-based Human Rights Watch Thursday urged the government to stop garment factory owners from intimidating and threatening workers for organising trade unions and prosecute those responsible for attacks on labor leaders.

In a statement on Thursday HRW said foreign buyers, including major US and European retailers, should ensure that their Bangladeshi suppliers respect labor rights.
Human Rights Watch interviewed 47 workers in 21 factories in and around Dhaka.
The workers claimed that some managers intimidate and mistreat employees involved in setting up unions, including threatening to kill them.
Some union organisers said they were beaten up, and others said they had lost their jobs or had been forced to resign.
read more. & read more.
BD new age FE bd

* Don’t endanger business: HRW to RMG owners:

Factory owners use beatings, threat to kill, stop labour organisers

Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Thursday said Bangladesh government should stop garment factory owners from intimidating and threatening workers for organising trade unions, and prosecute those responsible for attacks on labour leaders.

The New York-based international rights body also said foreign buyers, including major US and European retailers, should ensure that their Bangladeshi suppliers respect labor rights.

Human Rights Watch interviewed 47 workers in 21 factories in and around Dhaka. The workers claimed that some managers intimidate and mistreat employees involved in setting up unions, including threatening to kill them.

Some union organisers said they were beaten up, and others said they had lost their jobs or had been forced to resign. Factory owners sometimes used local gangsters to threaten or attack workers outside the workplace, including at their homes, they said.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
UNB INDEPENDENT  BANGLA NEWS24  DHAKATRIBUNE daily star bd

* Bangladesh: Protect Garment Workers’ Rights:

The Bangladeshi government should stop garment factory owners from intimidating and threatening workers for organizing trade unions, and prosecute those responsible for attacks on labor leaders, Human Rights Watch said today.

Foreign buyers, including major US and European retailers, should ensure that their Bangladeshi suppliers respect labor rights.

Human Rights Watch interviewed 47 workers in 21 factories in and around Dhaka. The workers claimed that some managers intimidate and mistreat employees involved in setting up unions, including threatening to kill them. Some union organizers said they were beaten up, and others said they had lost their jobs or had been forced to resign. Factory owners sometimes used local gangsters to threaten or attack workers outside the workplace, including at their homes, they said.
read more.
HRW

* Role of professional engineers in garment workers’ safety:

On behalf of the Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh, I welcome the launching of a $24.21 million safety campaign by the government and the International Labour Organisation to improve the working condition in the readymade garment industry.

The programme is intended to focus on minimising the threat of fire incidences and collapse of buildings due to faulty construction thereby ensuring the safety of million of workers of the sector.
While we acknowledge that there are hundreds of well-designed compliant garment factories in the country (and their number is increasing), there are hundreds of sweatshops set up in unsuitable buildings all over the cities of Dhaka and Chittagong and its suburbs, without or say very little fire/safety protection, narrow stair and inadequate emergency exits.
Many of these buildings were converted from residential or commercial space to house garment factories.

These factories were, in most cases, set up without proper evaluation of the building’s ability to carry the weight of the machine, work benches and workers and the effect of vibration of the machine, including standby/captive generator.
The plight of the people working in such buildings is now known and documented beyond our borders and has become a matter of grave concern within and outside the country.
read more.
daily star bd

* Alliance finds no ‘disastrous’ fault like Rana Plaza:

Of total 700 factories targeted to be inspected by July this year, the Alliance of the North American retailers so far inspected some 243

Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety has inspected over 34% of the readymade garment factories from where its members source products.

Of total 700 factories targeted to be inspected by July this year, the Alliance of the North American retailers so far inspected some 243.
“We already visited about 243 factories in first phase,” M Rabin, managing director of Alliance, told Dhaka Tribune yesterday.

The US retailer Walmart, an Alliance member, checked 200 factories by the help of a third party, he said, adding that “no factory was found disastrous.”
“The factories, of course, varied in the scale of safety arrangement, but none was found potentially dangerous, which could create disasters like the Rana Plaza incident.”

But BGMEA is unaware of the findings, said its vice president Shahidullah Azim who rather criticised some safety standards set by the Alliance. The inspections are being carried out under a five-year project of the group.

Another group namely Accord on Fire and Building Safety will also inspect over 1,700 factories by July this year.
This is a platform 101 European retailers sourcing clothing products from Bangladesh. M Rabin said now the Alliance targets to inspect another 15-30 factories between last week of February and first week of March.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Save our RMG sector:

FE EDITORIAL:

Periodic violence in our ready-made garments sector is indeed alarming. It is really a bad sign for our economy as we are heavily dependent on this sector. Any wrong step from any quarters may prove costly for us.

Political instability is one of the reasons for the frequent unrest in RMG sector. We must bring political stability and strong democratic culture which will ensure peace, justice and security.
All the stakeholders of RMG sector must come to a middle point so that we can reach a consensus to bring peaceful atmosphere in this sector.
The investors in RMG sector have many limitations. So, it will be unfair to expect that they can fulfill all the demands of the workers at once.

The government and the banking sector should also help the investors so that they can get some relief.
The USA and European Union (EU) countries are the largest importers of our ready-made garments and recently they have expressed their serious disappointment over the 10th parliamentary election, boycotted by most of the political parties.
Measures should be taken to restore their confidence as we need strong support from all of our development partners.
The RMG sector has been growing despite the global economic recession and severe political unrest in our country but we have no room to be complacent. It is high time for us to act together.
to read.
FE bd

gov STOP 2

* GSP review in May:

Conditions to improve labour, factories issues must be implemented, says Mozena

The suspended GSP facility for Bangladesh will be reviewed in May by the USTR as the conditions attached to reinstate the status needed to be met by the government for a favourable outcome.

‘I want Bangladesh gets back the GSP facility… I am eager to see the preference is reinstated,’ U.S. ambassador in Bangladesh Dan W Mozena told reporters on Wednesday after a meeting with commerce minister Tofail Ahmed at his secretariat office.
However, the ambassador reminded that 16 steps attached to get back the duty-free market access in the U.S. under the generalised system of preference scheme have to be implemented by the government as a pre-condition.
The conditions include improving safety records in garment factories, establishing labour rights including allowing the workers unions to call for strike and appointing adequate manpower in different offices to inspect fire safety and building construction of garment factories.
read more.
BD new age

* Not much done to get it back:

GSP To US Market

The USA is set to review the suspension of the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) in May but the government has not made much progress in fulfilling the requirements for regaining the trade privilege.

The American government suspended Bangladesh’s GSP status in June last year citing serious shortcomings in safety standards and lack of workers’ rights at the industrial units of the country. As many as 16 conditions were put forward at that time, which have to be implemented by Bangladesh to regain the trade facility during the review.

An amendment to the labour law was done in July last year to meet one of the conditions but the amended law, which provides for full freedom of association by workers, has not been implemented. Therefore workers are still not allowed to form trade unions at their factories.

Another major condition was to recruit 200 additional factory inspectors by December last year, but the labour and employment ministry has not even published advertisements on the newspapers for the recruitment.
The government could only begin factory inspections by 30 teams of the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology from November 21 last year.
They visit factories only to check whether the factory buildings are safe and enough fire safety measures are in place.

The government has also failed to arrest the killers of labour leader Aminul Islam, which is another conditions for regaining the GSP status.
A committee has been formed to draft a separate labour law for workers of the factories in the Export Processing Zones (EPZs).
read more.
daily star bd

* BD needs to do a lot more to regain GSP : Mozena:

US Ambassador in Dhaka Dan W Mozena said Wednesday that Bangladesh needs to do a lot more to regain its Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) facility in the US market.

He said the issues relating to the GSP facility would be resolved shortly.
He, however, said the US is satisfied with Bangladesh for taking some steps to get back the GSP. There is good progress made by Bangladesh in getting back the GSP facility.

“Some progress that Bangladesh made is satisfactory. But still it needs to do a lot in regaining the GSP facility. I hope it will be resolved soon,” he told the media after a meeting with Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed at his secretariat office on the day.

Earlier, President Barack Obama suspended US preferential trade benefits, or GSP status, for Bangladesh in June last year as mainly a symbolic response to dangerous conditions in the garment industry that claimed more than 1,200 lives in 2013.
read more.
FE bd

* BUET tech wing to work as consultant for Tannery Estate in Savar:

Bureau of Research, Testing and Consultation, a commercially operated technical  wing of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), will work as consultant for the central effluent treatment plant (CETP) of the proposed  Dhaka Tannery Estate in Savar.

The BUET’s technical wing, BRTC will supervise the environment, structural, foundation, chemical, electrical and mechanical job of the CETP scheme at a contract value of Tk 5 crore.

Cabinet Economic Affairs Committee on Wednesday approved a proposal of the Industries Ministry in this regard.
Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC), a subordinate body of the Industries Ministry, is implementing the entire Dhaka Tannery Estate project on 199.40 acres at a cost of Tk 1078.71 crore.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
UNB FE bd  BD new age INDEPENDENT daily star bd

* Diversified use of jute:

Jute scientists in Bangladesh have stated that they are working to develop a special jute variety that can replace cotton for fabric manufacturing.

They will, as they have further noted, use genome sequencing of jute in developing the special varieties of the golden fibre.

A recent report in the media says the local jute variety which is known for producing soft and quality fibre could be easily blended with cotton. The potential for uses of jute was explained at a recent media briefing by a professor of microbiology at Hawaii University, who led a group of Bangladeshi scientists in sequencing the genome of local jute variety.

At the news briefing, the scientists showed sarees and fabrics for making shirts and other clothes, made of jute fibre as well as by blending jute and cotton fibres.
read more.
FE bd

* Working towards sustainable development:

The Rana Plaza tragedy at Savar in Dhaka last year that had claimed lives of about 1,200 garment workers had sent a shock wave across the world.

While the buyers in Europe, Australia, Canada and the U.S. were considering the possibility of sourcing their ready-made garments from Bangladesh on a larger scale, the industrial disaster tainted the image of the country.
They raised questions about the working conditions here. It is true that in most cases the working conditions are horrible.
The factories, especially in the apparel sector, lack sufficient space, light and fire safety, supply of drinking water, foods and medical facilities for the employees. However, corporate entities are these days thinking of ways and means to address the negative aspects and thus ensure sustainable development to stay in the race in the free market era.

Sustainable development means development of business as well as development of socio-economic condition of a country, where people and environment get the top priority to the benefit of future generations in the long run.
read more.
FE bd

* Inflation rises to 7.5% :

Inflation edged up 15 basis points to 7.5 percent in January on the back of a non-food price hike, making it harder for the central bank to curb price pressures.

The figure comes less than two weeks after the central bank admitted it would face challenges in bringing down inflation to the desired 7 percent in the second half of the fiscal year. The concerns over inflation prompted the regulator to keep the policy rates unchanged.
Food inflation went down 19 basis points last month to 8.81 percent, while non-food inflation increased 65 basis points to 5.53 percent, according to data from the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.
read more.
daily star bd

       THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE

* Call for fast-tracking compensation for missing workers:

A labour organisation yesterday demanded the missing victims of the Rana Plaza building collapse be declared dead through inspection instead of solely depending on DNA tests, so that their families can be compensated.

The families that have been waiting for closure for the last nine months have lost hope of finding the graves of their loved ones through DNA tests, as human remains are still buried at the site, the organisation said.
As the bodies recovered were decomposed beyond recognition, some families took home the wrong bodies, making it harder for DNA sampling to identify the victims, it said.
Speaking at a press briefing at Topkhana Road in Dhaka, a garment worker’s organisation—Bangladesh Garment Sramik Samati— demanded a fresh search for human remains at the Rana Plaza site.
“The discovery of Obaidul’s skeleton at the site, followed by around 300 bones, proves that the rescue mission at Rana Plaza site was flawed, incomplete,” said Taslima Akhter, convenor of the organisation.
read more.
daily star bd

* Publication of list of workers killed in Rana Plaza collapse demanded:

Bangladesh Garment Sramik Sanghati, a body of apparel workers rights, on Wednesday called on the Awami League-led government to publish the list of the workers killed, wounded and missing in the Rana Plaza collapse in Savar last year.

The coordinator of the organisation, Taslima Akhter, at a press conference at Nirmal Sen Auditorium at Segunbagicha, alleged that confusions still remained regarding the list of the victims of the collapse.
In the building collapse on April 24, in 2013, 1,134 people, most of whom were garment workers were killed and a huge number of people were wounded and missing, Taslima said.
But confusions were created when more bones of the killed workers were found at the collapse site and the number of killed and missing workers increased, Taslima added.

The organisation raised seven-point demands including publication of the revised list of workers, killed, wounded and missing, giving compensations for the killed according to their loss of earning, identifying the bones of the workers found later, identifying the graveyards according to the DLA reports and giving exemplary punishments to people responsible for the building collapse.
read more.
BD new age

* Labour groups cheating Rana Plaza victims:

Organisations defrauding them in the name of helping get compensation

They luckily survived the building collapse but they have now fallen victims to fraudulent labour organisations and individuals who are allegedly pulling in big buck in the name of helping the victims of the Rana Plaza get compensation. 

These organisations and people are also cheating the victims in the name of free medical treatment, complained several victims.

Neru Sarder, who worked on the 4th floor of the Rana Plaza, told the Dhaka Tribune: “Some workers’ organisations called us and told us to visit their offices. They said we would get compensation if we joined their processions and rally from time to time.”

“A few days back a leader of the National Garments workers Federation called me to join a press conference at the National Press Club in Dhaka. I went there with a hope to get some financial help. I delivered a speech at the conference in front of many journalists and political leaders. I saw many people give that organisation money and other assistance. But I got nothing. They helped one or two victims in front of the camera.” he alleged.

Misty Akhter, who used to work on the 8th floor of Rana Plaza, said people of those organisations came to them and took their names, photos, and identity card numbers and then demanded money for including their names on the list to make them eligible for compensation.

“Labour leader Sathi Akhter and Kamrul of Shadhin Bangla Garment workers Employees Federation (SBGWEF) came to me and demanded Tk150 for including my name on the compensation list. I along with other survivors gave them the money expecting to get some assistance. But we have got nothing so far.”
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

18:46:17 local time map of india INDIA

* India wants EU to do away with import duty on its textiles:

India has asked European countries to waive import duty on its textiles, arguing that the quality of its cloth is better than that supplied by Pakistan and Bangladesh, yet Indian textile makers have to cough up nearly 10% in import duties while imports from its two neighbours are duty-free.

The government has told several European countries in recent discussions that their “skewed” textile import policies have made Indian textiles unfavourable for European customers. “Germany has given zero duty to Pakistan, whereas they are levying 9.6% on us, affecting our exports,” Union textiles minister Kavuru Sambasiva Rao told ET.

“So, we are in talks to give us the same facility that they are giving to Pakistan.” Rao said the government has already raised the issue with Germany and the UK. The 28-member European Union withdrew the generalised system of preferences (GSP) for India in December 2013 while continuing with the “GSP-plus” status for Pakistan and other least developed countries (LDC).

Most European countries do not make textiles as it is expensive, Rao pointed out, adding that 95% of their textiles requirement is met through imports. The GSP-plus status allows Pakistan to export 20% of its goods with zero tariff while 70% have a preferential rate policy to help the country recover from the economic effects of the 2010 and 2011 floods.
read more.
TOInew

* Apparel sector lags in winter-wear exports:

While India is one of the top apparel exporters to western markets for summer wear, every year when it comes to winter wear, the country witnesses a dip in shipments. To bridge the gap, apparel exporters are now making an effort to increase the import of .

Companies and experts alike attribute the dip in winter wear export to lack of availability in specialised fabrics and low value addition in apparel.
read more.
BUSINESSSTANDARD 2

* Cheap labour and competitiveness:

20140206 the HINDU

For years now China has been the world’s manufacturing powerhouse, leveraging its cheap labour and much else to dominate global trade in general and developing country exports in particular.

But, of late, talk that China has reached the Lewis turning point, when it runs out of access to a cheap labour reserve at a near constant real wage has gained currency. This, it argued, could undermine its competitiveness in a range of products, making way for new suppliers exploiting the benefit of a cheap labour force.

According to A Deutsche Bank study quoted by the Financial Times: “Since China’s WTO accession in 2001, real wages paid in the manufacturing sector have risen by almost 200% in USD-terms, surpassing Thailand and closing the gap with the Philippines. Strikingly, Chinese wages continued to move ahead in 2009-11, even as regional peers felt the dampening impact of the global recession.”

Is this China story true? And if so would India be among the countries that benefit? International comparisons of unit labour costs are difficult to come by, but some numbers are available from a few sources.
This discussion is based on estimates made by the Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS) of the US government. Despite the difficulty involved in generating comparable numbers the BLS has (till recently) routinely put out figures on unit labour costs in different countries as part of its International Labour Comparison programme.
China and India were not part of the regular programme, but the BLS conducted special studies of labour compensation in these countries, being careful to underscore the dangers of comparing data that are different in terms of method, coverage and reliability across countries.
read more.
Return to frontpage

18:16:17 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Pakistan apparel exporters expect $100mn orders from India:

Apparel and textile exporters from Pakistan expect to generate US$ 100 million export orders from Indian buyers during the ‘Made in Pakistan Expo 2014’ scheduled to be held from April 3 to 7, in the Indian city of Mumbai, said Pakistan Readymade Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) chairman Arshad Aziz.
 
Addressing a press conference, Mr. Aziz said that PRGMEA has received an overwhelming response from exhibitors and around 45 percent stalls have already been booked and Pakistani exporters may fetch at least $ 100 million worth of export orders from the country.
read more.

fibre2fashion

18:16:17 local time map of uzbekistan UZBEKISTAN

* What Will 2014 Hold for Those Trying to Reduce Child Labor and Forced Labor in Uzbekistan’s Cotton Harvest? :

For several years, the Child Labor Coalition (CLC), which the National Consumers League co-chairs with the American Federation of Teachers, has worked closely with the Cotton Campaign to reduce child labor and forced child labor in Uzbekistan’s cotton harvest.

Uzbekistan, run by totalitarian dictator Islam Karimov is the only country in the world where the central government has recently played a major role in causing large-scale forced child labor.
For many years, Uzbekistan’s leaders emptied schools and literally forced school children—sometimes very small children—to harvest cotton, a grueling, painful, sometimes dangerous job.
The country is one of the largest cotton producers in the world, and Uzbek cotton sometimes finds its way into the U.S. apparel industry, despite a pledge by more than 130 apparel companies that they will not knowingly use Uzbek cotton in their garments.

For years, Uzbek children worked beside similarly conscripted college students and older adults for four to eight weeks at a time, missing much-needed school in the process.
The workers were paid so little that their forced labors should be considered a form of temporary slavery. Those who refused were expelled from school, fired from their jobs, denied public benefits, or worse. Some harvesters have reported being beaten because they did not meet their cotton quota.
The forced labor of children and adults did not enrich struggling local farmers, but benefited the country’s ruling elite.
read more.
stopCHILDLABOR

KENYA

* Kenya earns 543 mln USD in 2013 from export economic zones:

Kenya’s Export Processing Zones (EPZ) earned the East African country 543 million U. S. dollars in the last financial year, a government official said on Tuesday.

Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA) CEO Cyrille Nabutola told Xinhua in Nairobi that the zones contributed 10 percent of all exports.

“The bulk of the exports consisted of textile and apparels and U. S. was the major destination,” Nabutola said during the pre- budget hearings for the 2014/2015 financial year.

“In fact, Kenya has now overtaken Lesotho to emerge as the largest textile exporter to the U. S. under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) preferential trade agreement,” he added.
read more.
CHINAORG

map of asia ASIA

* Dutch-German effort to improve Asian textile industry:

The Netherlands and Germany will be working closely together to improve labour conditions and wages for millions of textile workers in Asia, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.
Last week, Lilianne Ploumen, Netherlands Minster for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation met her German counterpart, the newly appointed Gerd Müller in Berlin and agreed to join forces on this issue.
Both Ministers support a broad-based approach for the textile industry and they also see an important role for the International Labour Organization (ILO), said the statement.
read more.

fibre2fashion

TIME
20140205

20:16:17 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Bright outlook for Thai textile export sector in 2014: TTI:

Thailand’s textile export sector has a bright outlook this year, owing to the country’s advanced textile production technology, according to the Thai Textile Institute (TTI), reports the National News Bureau of Thailand.
Last year, Thai textile industry produced goods worth US$ 7 billion, growing at 3.6 percent year-on-year, according to Ms. Suthinee Phupaka, director of the TTI.
The export sector performance of the textile industry showed an eight percent growth, as competent textile production technology enabled the textile export firms to fulfill demands from Asean markets as well as from the US, the EU and China, she informed.
Besides Thailand, Indonesia is the only other country among Asean nations that has complete textile production chain consisting of yarn, fabric and garment production. However, the difference lies in the fact that while Indonesia excels in mass production, Thailand has better production technology and customization.
read more.
fibre2fashion

20:16:17 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* On the outside looking in:

20140205 PPP Correction-center-3
Prak Sovannary (right), wife of detained IDEA president Vorn Pov, and her six-year-old daughter wait at the gate of Correctional Centre 3 in Kampong Cham province yesterday. Photo by Heng Chivoan.

Having travelled for three hours from Phnom Penh in the back of a taxi with her month-old daughter yesterday morning, Van Monika stood on the red dirt road outside the fences of Correctional Centre 3 prison in Kampong Cham and cried.

She had been denied permission to visit her husband, 26-year-old security guard Pa Sarat, who has not seen his newborn daughter since she was four days old on January 3 – the day Monika says military police broke down the door to their home, viciously beat Sarat and dragged him away.

As rocks and Molotov cocktails being thrown by striking garment workers on the streets outside were met with live ammunition from security forces, leaving at least four dead, Sarat was accused of hiding protesters fleeing the gendarmes in the couple’s cramped rental room.

Monika, a garment worker at Canadia Industrial Park, near where the clashes erupted, was still in hospital recovering from childbirth. She has only seen him once since then. “My daughter cannot see her father and her father cannot see her,” Monika said, cradling her baby, clad in white pyjamas and a pink beanie despite the midday heat, in her arms.
read more.
PPP new

* All quiet as Veng Sreng probe ends:

The government’s investigation into the bloody crackdown on unruly protesters on Veng Sreng Boulevard one month ago wrapped up yesterday, officials said, though those familiar with the investigation remained tight-lipped about its findings.

National Police spokesman Kirth Chantharith said yesterday that the three-week investigation had cooperated with relevant institutions, and the report had been forwarded on to the Ministry of Interior’s upper echelons, but he declined to speak about its contents.

“This report has already been done. [We] are waiting for ministry leaders’ approval first,” Chantharith said, adding that the report would be released to the public within a day or two.

Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak also declined to comment in detail on the report, but confirmed that the committee had finished its investigation yesterday, and said that ministry leadership will now meet to make its final conclusions.
read more.
PPP new

* ‘Workplace inequality pervasive’:

Discussions about salaries on the factory floor led worker Channa, 22, to begin feeling jealous of her male counterparts.

She learned, through talking with a number of co-workers, that the men working around her were doing the same amount of work as she was, but being paid more.

“Most of the men I work with get a higher income than the women,” Channa told the Post yesterday from her factory in Phnom Penh’s Russey Keo district. “And men seem to easily get promoted ahead of women who have the same abilities. I don’t know the reason why, but it’s always been like that.”

Channa’s story is a common one.
According to a recent study by the Asian Development Bank, gender wage gaps of up to 40 per cent exist in Cambodia’s formal sectors – and equality remains a goal rather than an achievement.

Male legislators, officials and managers, for example, on average earn 29 per cent more than their female counterparts, while across all formal occupations, the gap is about 27 per cent, says Gender Equality in the Labor Market in Cambodia, a study produced in conjunction with the International Labour Organization.
read more.
PPP new

* Union eyes morning wage meet:

The outcome of a government meeting this morning on the garment industry’s minimum wage will play a part in determining when nine unions will take to the streets for another mass strike, Cambodian Confederation of Unions president Rong Chhun said yesterday.

“We will strike as soon as possible and are now awaiting the result of this meeting,” Chhun said.
The CCU leader added that workers could strike again as soon as this week, and the nine unions will distribute 50,000 leaflets outlining their intentions and urging them to join.

“We demand the government release the 23 detainees [arrested on January 2], increase the minimum wage to $160 per month, urge officials to properly investigate the deadly shootings [on January 3] and some other points.”
Prime Minister Hun Sen assigned one of his deputies, Keat Chhon, to head a committee to examine the minimum wage today at the offices of the Council for the Development of Cambodia in Phnom Penh.
to read.
PPP new

* Unions Argue Over Wage Committee Reforms:

Meeting for a minimum wage workshop on Tuesday, the country’s independent and government-aligned unions argued over reforms to the Labor Advisory Committee (LAC), the body in charge of setting the minimum wage in the garment sector, which employs some 600,000 workers.

The LAC, which is composed of representatives of the government, factory owners, and unions, came under heavy criticism from independent unions in December when it rushed through a new minimum wage of $95, a $15 increase that fell far short of union demands for a $160 monthly wage, leading to nationwide strikes that paralyzed the garment industry and ultimately turned violent.

Morm Nhim, president of the National Independent Federation Textile Union of Cambodia, blamed the ineffectiveness of the LAC on the fact that some of the union representatives worked for the government.

“We have seen that the LAC is unjust when raising the minimum wage for the workers because Mr. Chuon Mom Thol is an adviser to the Ministry of Labor and Mr. Sam Aun is an official at the Council of Ministers, so their role would affect any working decision,” Ms. Nhim said.

Mr. Mom Thol is also president of the Cambodian Union Federation, while Mr. Aun is president of the Cambodian Labor Union Federation.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

gov STOP 2

* Garment Workers Injured in Svay Rieng Crash:

20140204 CLEC 4
Truck collapsed that made many workers injured.
Photo by
@cleccambodia

At least 86 garment workers were injured when the 3-ton truck in which they were traveling overturned on National Road 1 in Svay Rieng province Tuesday morning, police and health officials said.

A police official said the truck was carrying about 100 people when one of its front tires blew out, causing the driver—who subsequently fled the scene of the accident—to lose control of the vehicle and overturn.

“They were on their way to work in the special economic zone in Bavet City at about 6:15 a.m.,” said provincial traffic police chief Ouch Saran.

Ke Ratha, director of the provincial health department, said 86 workers were brought to the hospital for treatment, and 11 women among them were seriously injured. There had been three similar accidents in the province last year, he said.
read more. & read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo PPP new

* Garment Export Value Up 20 Percent in 2013:

Cambodia’s garment exports increased 20 percent in value in 2013, despite the sector being marred by industrial action and political unrest that cost an estimated $200 million.

Garments and textiles accounted for 80 percent of Cambodia’s total exports and were worth $5.53 billion last year, according to the latest figures from the Ministry of Commerce, while the sector saw 131 strikes during the first 11 months of the year—a ten-year high. In 2012, garment exports were worth $4.61 billion.

Ken Loo, secretary-general for the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC), who has consistently lamented the effect strikes have on the sector, said the growth is not a true reflection of the state of the industry and means very little.

“I wouldn’t say the export figure is disappointing, but export value alone doesn’t mean much. The number of factories has increased 30 percent, so if exports have increased 20 percent; you tell me if that’s a good number.”

“A better indication of the sector is to look at new investments and the number of factories that have closed and the number of days lost.”
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

19:46:17 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

* Enabling Sustainable Value Chains in Asia’s Apparel Frontier (Part II):

Building Human Capital and  Improving Working Conditions

Myanmar’s readymade garment industry is still small when compared to that of neighboring Bangladesh, the world’s second-largest sourcing hotspot.

The former’s 350 garment factories currently in operation are utterly dwarfed by the latter’s 5,600. But more than 700 new factories are expected by 2015, and the industry in Myanmar is growing fast, earning $917 million in 2012; up from $770 million in 2011.
Estimates show the potential to create more than 10 million additional non-agricultural jobs by 2030. Indeed,one of the most striking comparative advantages of the country’s location is its availability of abundant, low-cost, and fairly well-educated labor.Key to making sustainable sector growth happen will be managing the workforce well and building human capital fast enough.

Working Conditions Are a Lever of Industry Upgrading
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MMbiztoday

19:01:17 local time map of nepal NEPAL

* Garment factory fire guts property worth Rs 10 mln:

A fire that broke out at a garment factory in Bhimsengola this morning reportedly gutted property worth Rs 10 million.

According DSP Rewati Dhakal, In-charge of Metropolitan Police Circle, Baneshwor, the cause behind the fire is suspected to be an electric short circuit.

The fire that erupted at around 8 am was taken under control by locals and police. “The garment factory was situated on the first floor of the building,” DSP Dhakal told THT Online. “It luckily did not spread onto other storey of the building.”

It took an hour for the police and the locals to douse the fire. Investigations are underway, DSP Dhakal said.
to read.
HIMALAYAN

19:16:17 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* RMG makers unhappy over buyers’ new conditions:

FACTORY INSPECTION STANDARD

Garment sector leaders are concerned over the imposition of new conditions in factory inspection standards by the EU and North American retailers’ groups bypassing the decision of the National Tripartite Committee (NTC).

Earlier, the two platforms of EU Accord and North American Alliance agreed to adopt a harmonised set of standards in line with the National Action Plan, but latter they included some new provisions in their drafts which will create complexity in the sector, they said.
The garment manufacturers urged the government to take steps so that the retailers group make their inspection standards flexible in line with National Action Plan, set by the NTC, which included representatives of government, factory owners and worker groups, with the help of International Labour Organisation.

The government might sit with the buyers, manufacturers and ILO officials over the issue by end of the month, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association vice-president Reaz-Bin-Mahmood told New Age on Tuesday.
‘Earlier, the Accord and Alliance had agreed on a minimum common standard for readymade garment factory inspection which was adopted by the NTC in association with ILO under the NAP but later the retailers’ groups included some fresh conditions in their drafts avoiding NAP,’ he said.
read more.
BD new age

* Retailers, makers at odds over inspection standards:

A fresh disagreement has cropped up between western retailers and local apparel manufacturers over some inspection standards after the latter opposed them terming them too costly, unrealistic and not implementable.

The industry insiders said the ready-made garment (RMG) owners were now in panic over the inspection process. They feared closure of many factories, if the apparel units were assessed based on the standards or checklists drafted by both the retailers’ groups Accord and Alliance.

The thorny issues include the use of sprinklers, fire escape, fire wire walls and structures, fire window and fire door as certified by the UN, according to the sources.

They also alleged that there were many differences in standards set by both the Accord and the Alliance. The standards also included many new requirements besides those set by the National Plan of Action on fire and building safety.

“Buyers are now adding new requirements to the checklists triggering panic about inspection among the manufacturers,” said Md Atiqul Islam, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) while talking to the FE Tuesday.
read more.
FE bd

* RMG safety standards hard to implement:

As per Alliance and Accord safety standards, the RMG factory buildings shall have sprinklers, fire escapes, fire walls, fire windows and setting worker hotlines etc

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) said the draft building safety standards set by Accord and Alliance for the country’s readymade garment sector are “impractical and hard to be implemented.”

At a meeting with global retailers of Bangladesh’ RMG products in Dhaka yesterday, BGMEA president Atiqul Islam said the standards looked pretty similar with that of National Action Plan (NAP).

“But Accord and Alliance standards are more complex than the NAP. They will be very difficult to implement in Bangladesh context.”
BGMEA organised the meeting to present current state of the country’s business, also attended by the representatives from Accord and Alliance and buyers.
read  more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* RMG buyers return with bigger import orders:

Most factories booked for next few months

Manufacturers of readymade garments (RMG) have expressed their optimism to achieve their export growth target in the coming months, thanks to improved working conditions and stable political situation, industry insiders said.  

They said many international buyers are now coming back to Bangladesh following better business environment. Most of local exporters have already bagged bigger orders than before.

“Most garment units are now booked for next couple of months, mainly due to a shift of international buyers to Bangladesh again. Such a shift is attributed to restoration of political stability in the country and better working conditions in factories,” Managing Director of Envoy Group Abdus Salam Murshedy  told the FE recently.

“We are hopeful of further increase in exports of garments, thanks to the better business environment,” he said.
(…)
Managing Director of the Onus Group Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin said orders in his factories have almost doubled in the two months compared to that of last six months.

“Local factories are in a better position now as they are getting more orders because of various reasons like improved compliance in factories, increased wages and above all, better political conditions,” he added.
read more.
FE bd

* GSP review in May: Mozena:

The US ambassador in Dhaka Dan W Mozena said on Wednesday that the US authority would review Bangladesh’s GSP entitlements, now suspended, in May.

He said Bangladesh needs to perform better in some areas relating to labour rights, working environment and employment of factory inspectors.
read more. & read more.
BD new age DHAKATRIBUNE

* Lot more to do to get back GSP: Mozena:

Hailing Bangladesh for taking some steps to get back the GSP (generalised system of preferences) facilities, US Ambassador to Bangladesh Dan W Mozena today said the country still needs to do a lot more in this regard.

The country has done a lot but still needs more to reinstate the facilities,” the ambassador said while talking to reporters after a meeting with Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed at his ministry in the capital.

After emerging from the meeting, the commerce minister said he is hopeful for reinstatement of the GSP to the US market by June as Bangladesh government has already significantly improved fire safety and workers’ rights.

The minister also said a high-profile delegation comprising of public and private members will arrive in Dhaka April 6 to hold first meeting of Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (TICFA) to discuss the bilateral trade and investment issues.
read more.
daily star bd

* Bangladesh likely to get GSP facility by June: Tofael:

Commerce Minister Tofael Ahmed on Wednesday said that Bangladesh is likely to get the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) facilities by June month of this year.

Earlier in June last year, the US scrapped the GSP benefit for Bangladesh over factory safety and poor working condition.
to read. & read more.
INDEPENDENT BSS

* First Ticfa talk on April 6:

The first meeting with the United States authority under the Trade and Investment Cooperation Framework Agreement (Ticfa) is likely to be held on April 6, says Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed.

The minister made the disclouser after holding a meeting with US Ambassador in Bangladesh Dan W Mozena at his secretariat office on Wednesday afternoon.
He said: “The first talk under Ticfa between the high level officials of the two countries’ commerce ministries will be held on April 6.”
“A team from the United States will visit Bangladesh by the first week of April to discuss the issue,” he added.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Ensure speedy compensation for victims:

Focus must be given to ensuring timely financial compensation payments are delivered to victims and their families

The High Court is currently considering proposed compensation schemes for victims of the catastrophic fire at Tazreen garments in November 2012.

As there is inevitably legal debate about the extent of liability, it is right for the government and courts to take all necessary steps to ensure that compensation agreements are in line with international standards.
However, it is important that debate on issues not be prolonged. The sooner they can be settled, the quicker focus can be given to ensuring payments are delivered to victims and their families.

Recent research conducted by the CPD shows that the delivery of timely financial compensation can be hampered by many practical factors, including a lack of availability of concrete data and agreed lists of the names of all the victims. The disbursement of financial assistance would be greatly helped if information sharing between the various stakeholders was enabled.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

       THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE

* Funds too low for Rana Plaza victims, say union leaders:

Protesters demand ILO standards in compensation

Trade union leaders yesterday threatened to launch countrywide protests if the government does not scale up compensations for Rana Plaza victims in line with ILO standards.
The government-appointed 31-member panel recommended Tk 14.5 lakh for each dead victim’s family; but under the ILO’s ‘loss of earnings’ standards, which fix compensation based on the age of the victims and the national life expectancy, it would come to Tk 28 lakh.
Union leaders demand compensations based on the national life expectancy which is 67 years for males and 69 years for females in Bangladesh.
The lowest compensation for a survivor under the ILO standards is Tk 5 lakh, whereas it is Tk 1.5 lakh according to the recommendations of the government committee formed on a court order on August 29 last year.

“If our demand is not met, we will go for much bigger protests. We know how to realise the demands of the workers,” Wajedul Islam Khan, a central leader of Sramik Karmachari Oikya Parishad, said at a rally organised in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka.
He said the Rana Plaza collapse happened only for the negligence of the building and garment owners and for weak government mechanisms. “Rana Plaza was like a death trap.”
read more.
daily star bd

* More compensation for Rana Plaza victims demanded:

Labour leaders on Tuesday demanded Tk 18 lakh compensation for the family of each of the workers killed and Tk 5 lakh compensation for each of the workers injured in the Rana Plaza collapse.

The demand was made at a human chain formed by National Garment Workers Federation in front of the National Press Club.
Addressing the human chain, the labour leaders said that the government had formed a committee to fix compensations for the Rana Plaza victims and the committee proposed Tk14 lakh for the family of workers killed in the building collapse.
to read.
BD new age

* Families of Rana Plaza victims find solace in new school:

The multi-purpose school currently has classes from I-IV and seven teachers. The total number of students is 132

Razia Begum, who lost her daughter and son-in-law in the disastrous Rana Plaza collapse, seemed somewhat happy yesterday when she along with her grandson, Bijoy, came to the newly-built premises of Songkolon Primary School, a charitable initiative, at Anandapur of Savar.

Bijoy was admitted to the specialised school in class I early January when the Songkolon Bangladesh Trust authorities launched academic activities under the open sky as the school had only one small room.

But yesterday, Bijoy and over hundred others were overwhelmed to see their new school building with five well-furnished class rooms. The preliminary facilities also include playground and computer education.

Jotsna Begum was relieved as she was asked to enrol her two children – Siam and Sima–in the school where the children are offered education in non-traditional method under the supervision of teachers having university degrees. The headmaster is a doctorate from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, USA.

Shahidul Islam Khokan, father of the two children who lost his fingers and had severe injuries to his head and legs during the fall of Rana Plaza, has been unable to work now. He was rescued on the fourth day of rescue operation.

Selina Akhter, mother of class I student Helal, said she had been rescued from under the rubbles two days after the collapse of Rana Plaza on April 24 last year.The three-member family is too poor to manage three meals a day as her day labourer husband earns very little money let alone has the ability to bear the cost of education for their child. After she survived, her husband and parents have been asking her not to join any other garment factory.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

18:46:17 local time map of india INDIA

* 5 women workers injured as roof caves in:

The sheet roof of one of the PonFab’s manufacturing sheds in Muthialpet collapsed injuring five women who were working in the spinning section.

The women were rushed to the Indira Gandhi Government General Hospital, where they were given outpatient treatment. Around 2 pm, the workers heard a strange noise.
Two minutes later, the sheet roof of the building collapsed on them.
The sheds in the PonFab textile mill, which was established around 40 years ago, are badly in need of repairs, but till date the area remains the same despite several requests from the workers, one of the weavers in the mill said.
Since many of the looms in that particular shed had not been used, the number of injured was much fewer. The police have not yet registered a case.
to read.
Return to frontpage

* Apparel producers express concern:

Apparel producers in Tirupur have expressed their concern over the decisions by the spinning mills to increase the yarn prices on multiple occasions within a span of five weeks.

M. P. Muthurathinam, president of Tirupur Exporters and Manufacturers Association, said it had been resolved by all leading textile associations to meet Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and request her to ensure that the prices of yarn were kept stable at least for a period of six months.

“Sudden increases affect the profitability of the units because the orders are taken normally based on the raw material prices at the given point of time and the execution period of the orders span over many weeks,” T.R. Vijayakumar, coordinator of Sripuram Trust, formed of various textile stakeholders, and also executive committee member of Tirupur Exporters Association (TEA). In a memorandum to the Union Textiles Ministry, the TEA had stated that the pricing strategy of the spinning mills when it comes to fixation of yarn prices had put the garment sector in jeopardy.
to read.
Return to frontpage

* Well-Knit Tirupur-2020 vision document presented:

“Institutionalise the available expertise in the knitwear production, develop a satellite township to provide attractive housing infrastructure to the migrant labourers, invest on skill development, create a Board for knitwear development and provide energy security”.

These were some of the major points that figured in the ‘Well-Knit Tirupur 2020’ prepared by Sripuram Trust, formed of different stakeholders in Tirupur knitwear cluster, and handed over to team Narendra Modi through BJP leader Pon Radhakrishnan, here on Sunday.
read more.
Return to frontpage

* Garment exporters worry over costlier yarn:

The Textiles Ministry expects exporters to achieve a target of $43 billion this fiscal. But, fundamental issues such as the rise in costs of raw cotton, freight charges, and labour puts it a little beyond reach.

The recent hike in cotton yarn prices by mills is a roadblock to the revival in garment and knitwear exports, said A. Sakthivel, President, Tirupur Exporters’ Association, in a letter sent on Monday to the Textiles Minister Kavuru Sambasiva Rao.

He protested the ₹ 10/kg increase mills have effected over the last 10 days, raising bottom-line concerns for clothing manufacturers at a time Indian textile units have just begun to benefit from European and American economic recovery.
read more.
THEHINDUBUSINESS

* Cotton yarn prices up because of cotton cost, says SIMA:

Cotton yarn prices have increased recently because of the hike in prices of cotton, according to the Southern India Mills’ Association (SIMA).

Its chairman T. Rajkumar has said in a press release here that the price of cotton was Rs. 47,500 a candy in September 2013, Rs. 39,000 in December 2013 and Rs. 43,000 now.
The price of cotton yarn was Rs. 260 a kg last September, Rs. 241 a kg in December and Rs. 256 a kg now.
read more.
Return to frontpage

18:46:17 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* Sri Lanka is an apparel nation: Treasury Secretary:

Sri Lanka is neither a tea nation nor a cinnamon nation, but an apparel nation, said PB Jayasundera, Secretary to the Treasury, Ministry of Finance and Planning and Economic Development, Government of Sri Lanka, in his remarks as Chief Guest at the 10th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF).
Mr. Jayasundera said the Sri Lankan apparel industry has not only surpassed the expectations of the Government, but also successfully faced up to challenges and stood resilient in the face of adversity.
He said the Sri Lankan garment industry has survived the withdrawal of the GSP facility earlier, and last year it faced challenges due to electricity tariff increases and oil price increase.
However, he said the apparel industry should strive to be among the top ten in the world. He pointed out that Sri Lanka should not just be a garment producing centre but should also enter the global market in the category of world class designer fabric producers.
read more.
fibre2fashion

18:16:17 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Pakistan Textile garments and leather workers federation meeting:

20140202 PA 2

On 2 February 2014 Pakistan Textile garments and leather workers federation held a meeting with textile, garments and powerlooms workers.

Issues:
* social security registration of workers
* registration of workers welfare grants
* non implementation of minimum wages

In this office meeting there were bearers and affiliated unions members, especially female garment workers participate.
Decided is that written complaints will be filed against those factories employers who have not implement minimum wages.
ITGLWFHome

TURKMENISTAN

* Turkmenistan to commission new textile mills this month:

Three new textile mills are scheduled to become operational this month, Ministry of Textile Industry, Government of Turkmenistan has said, reports en.trend.az.
The textile factory located in the city of Seidi in Lebap province would have an annual capacity to produce 6,000 tons of cotton yarn, while the spinning unit in the city of Turkmenabat would have a capacity to produce 4,000 tons of yarn per year.
The spinning unit in Kunyaurgen district of Dashoguz province would also have an annual capacity to manufacture 6,000 tons of cotton yarn.
(…)
The cotton grown in Turkmenistan is majorly utilised by the 36 operational textile mills in the country, and is also exported in its raw form to Ukraine, Russia, South Korea, China, Turkey, Britain, Indonesia, Iran, Singapore and the Baltic countries.
read more.
fibre2fashion

TIME
20140204

20:16:17 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Global day of action to free Cambodian garment workers:

Global unions are mobilizing workers around the world to protest at Cambodian embassies on Monday 10 February to demand the release of 23 activists seized during demonstrations in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh in January.

IndustriALL Global Union, UNI Global Union and the ITUC are garnering international support in solidarity for protestors who were arrested during demonstrations by garment workers for higher wages last month. The call to action to “Free the 23” comes on the eve of a Cambodian court hearing for the workers on 11 February.

The detainees, which include trade union activists and garment workers, were incarcerated after peaceful rallies on 2 and 3 of January were met with brutal force by Cambodian police, which opened fire on demonstrators leaving four people dead and 39 injured.

Unions are being asked to demonstrate outside Cambodian embassies and present a letter to the ambassador condemning the violence against the garment workers and demanding the release of the 23 detainees. The letter also calls on the government to respect the right to freedom of association.
read more. & read more. & read more
Email us for more information on how to join your nearest action:
press@industriall-union.org
Download this model letter to present to the Cambodian Ambassador.
Join the petition to support Cambodian garment workers: http://www.labourstartcampaigns.net/show_campaign.cgi?c=2129
Home ITUC CSI IGB  UNIglobalUNION

* Cambodia: Garment Factories Thwarting Unions:

Government Should Enforce Rights of Workers to Unionize, Demonstrate

The Cambodian government should ensure that garment factories stop intimidating and threatening workers seeking to form unions and assert their labor rights, Human Rights Watch said today.

The government should cease banning public demonstrations and using security forces to disperse worker protests, and instead enforce the country’s labor laws.

Cambodian garment factories supplying international brands regularly use threats, firing, and non-renewal of temporary employment contracts to interfere with workers’ rights to establish and participate in independent unions, Human Rights Watch said. On January 17, 2014, international brands wrote a public letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen supporting workers’ rights to unionize, but they should do more to ensure their suppliers comply with the law and cease anti-union practices.

“The Cambodian government should ensure that garment factories stop deploying union-busting strategies and respect workers’ rights,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
“Global apparel brands need to make sure their suppliers allow workers to form independent unions without interference, and that union representatives can be in factories without threats and retaliation.”
read more.
HRW

* End the ‘union-busting’: HRW:

20140204 PPP Garment-Strike
Garment workers gather near the Yakjin factory during a strike in Kambol village on the outskirts of Phnom Penh in early January. Photo by Heng Chivoan.

As well as needing to lift a ban on public demonstrations and to release 23 detained activists and workers, the government must act to stop garment factories from discriminating against unions and those trying to join them, Human Rights Watch said yesterday.

The NGO said that workers from 35 of 55 factories it surveyed last year reported discrimination against unions since 2012, as well as retaliatory action against their members.
“While many workers have joined unions, others said they wanted to set up or join independent unions but feared they would lose their jobs if they did so,” HRW said in a statement.
The results of the survey of about 200 garment workers come after a month of unrest that included security forces shooting dead four people on January 3 and declaring a ban on public gatherings.
read more.
PPP new

* Human Rights Watch Says Anti-Union Activities Must End:

The government has been urged to put a stop to anti-union practices in garment factories after workers at a number of plants complained to a rights group that attempts to unionize were met with intimidation and dismissals.

In a statement released Monday, New York-based Human Rights Watch said it had found incidents of garment factories actively trying to suppress the establishment of independent unions, forcing staff to join pro-management unions and security forces unleashed on striking workers.

“Cambodian garment factories supplying international brands regularly use threats, firing, and non-renewal of temporary employment contracts to interfere with workers’ rights to establish and participate in independent unions,” Human Rights Watch said in the statement, adding that the government and factories should “do more to ensure their suppliers comply with the law and cease anti-union practices.”
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

gov STOP

* No Results in Protest Shooting Investigations:

At 10 a.m. on January 3, about 2,000 members of the security forces, mostly military police, advanced down Phnom Penh’s factory-lined Veng Sreng Street, spraying AK-47 assault rifle fire into a crowd of about 100 protesters who had been throwing stones and crude Molotov cocktails.

Military police also fired at the upper balconies of surrounding apartment buildings, where protesters were hurling objects down at them.

The military police left five protesting garment factory workers dead, at least 40 injured by bullets, and 13 more beaten and then imprisoned in a maximum-security prison in Kompong Cham province where they have been denied bail ahead of their trial, a date for which has not yet been set.

Now, one month after the killings of the five protesters, which were condemned by human rights groups and the U.N., a military police official said Monday that there has been no progress in their investigation into who among their ranks fired those lethal shots, or who gave the orders to open fire.

“We are proceeding with the investigation but haven’t received any results,” said Brigadier General Kheng Tito, spokesman for the National Military Police.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Labor Unions plan to hold mass protest soon: Rong Chhun:

Nine labour unions planned to hold nationwide protest soon to demand $160 per month for workers, release of 23 people arrested in last month deadly crackdowns, and probe into the violent clashes.

Rong Chhun, President of Cambodian Confederation of Unions, said that mass protest is scheduled soon, but specific date hasn’t been set yet.

Chhun, also President of Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association, said the labor unions also planned to publish and deliver 50,000 leaflets in the first phase to workers in factories and other target locations.
Last month, the government’s police forces clashed with the protesting workers, leaving five workers dead and some 40 injured.

Kiet Chantharith, spokesman for General Commissariat of National Police, said that if the union leaders want to hold mass protest, they have to ask for permission from the authority.
“We, police, are ready to take measures to protect and safeguard security for protesters if a permission is granted,” he said.
to read.
CAMHERALD

* 97 workers injured in vehicle crash:

20140204 CLEC
Truck collapsed that made many workers injured. Photo by @cleccambodia

97 factory workers were injured after a 100-passenger vehicle were turned over on National Road one this morning.

Eight workers were seriously injured and three others suffered broken hands in the crash in Svay Toeur commune, Svay Rieng province.
The three-ton truck was seen heading to Special Economic Zone in Bavet town before the accident. The truck which carried 100 workers, turned over when its right front tire exploded.
The truck driver fled the scene after the crash, while the wounded workers were rushed to a Svay Rieng hospital.
to read.
CAMHERALD

* Illegal factory floor removed:

The illegally built second storey of the Siu Quinh garment factory in Phnom Penh has been destroyed, factory officials and workers said yesterday.

Bun Leng, administrative manager at the factory in Dangkor district, said his company had demolished the floor after inspection from a private company – whose name he did not reveal – and discussions with officials from the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction.
“The private company released the results of their investigation, saying the second floor had to be demolished,” he said, adding this had happened in December.
The ministry, he said, had approved the rebuilding of the floor, which would be completed in March.

Workers fled from the factory in late November claiming the walls were shaking. An inspection by ministry officials in the days that followed discovered the unauthorised floor.
read more.
PPP new

* Garment exports rose 20 per cent last year:

Despite a year of record labour strikes, a larger manufacturing presence has helped Cambodia’s garment sector continue its upward trend in 2013.

According to Ministry of Commerce figures published by China’s state-run news agency Xinhua, exports were valued at $5.5 billion last year, a 20 per cent hike from $4.6 billion in 2012.
Ken Ratha, spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce, told Xinhua that growth could be attributed to more orders and greater investment.
read more.
PPP new

* Cambodian garment exports surge 20% to $5.53bn in 2013:

The exports of apparel earned US$ 5.52 billion for the Southeast Asian nation of Cambodia in 2013, registering a rise of sharp 20 percent over $4.61 billion exports made in 2012, reports xinhuanet.com, citing data from the Ministry of Commerce.
Cambodian garment exports to the US increased by 7.6 percent year-on-year to $2.12 billion during the 12-month period, whereas exports to the EU jumped by 28 percent year-on-year to $2 billion and to other countries by 32 percent year-on-year to $1.41 billion.
The Ministry of Commerce attributed the rise in garment exports to an increase in buying orders and inflow of more investment in the clothing sector.
In late December 2013, Cambodian garment industry was forced to remain shut for about 10 days, following six trade bodies– C.Cawdu, Niftuc, CUMW, FTUWKC, CCU and CATU—demanding raising the minimum wage of workers to $160 per month.
read more.
fibre2fashion

21:16:17 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* BetterWork Indonesia Media Updates:

1. 14 Companies (in Jakarta) got permit for postponement of 2014 minimum wage implementation.  Read the full article here (Article is in Bahasa Indonesia)
Read the Google Translate English Version here.
2. 88 Companies in Banten postpone the implementation of 2014 Minimum Wage. Read the full article here
R
ead the Google Translate English Version here.
3. City introduces building permit online system. Read the full article here.
4. Minister of Manpower and Transmigration request to speed up the Postponement of Minimum Wage Implementation.
Read the full article here(Article is in Bahasa Indonesia).
5. Increase in electric tariff to affect economic growth: Kurtubi.
Read the full article here.
6. Jakarta Looks At 1001 Ways To Prevent Flooding. Read the full article here.
7. Muhaimin: Labour Stability will guarantee investment. Read the full article here
R
ead the Google Translate English Version here.

BetterWork Indonesia Media Updates overview here.
BW indonesia

19:16:17 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Govt requests global apparel buyers to raise prices:

Commerce minister Tofail Ahmed on Monday urged the global apparel buyers and retailers to raise the product prices in line with the recently enhanced wage for the garment workers with a view to sustainability of the sector.

‘The wage for garment workers has increased by 77 per cent. If the buyers do not raise the prices of apparel products, it will be difficult for the sector to survive,’ he told reporters after an exchange of views with the brands and retailers held in a city hotel.
The meeting on ‘Strengthening business environment in the RMG sector of Bangladesh’ was organised by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association where representatives of 40 buyers including Walmart, H&M, GAP and JC Penny took part.
Commerce, labour and foreign secretaries Mahbub Ahmed, Mikail Shipar and Shahidul Haque were present along with the representatives from the EU Accord, the North American Alliance and the ILO.
read more. & read more.
BD new age INDEPENDENT

* Tofail urges global buyers to increase RMG prices as per workers’ wage hike:

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed Monday urged the global buyers and retailers to increase the prices of Bangladesh-made readymade garment (RMG) products in line with the recently enhanced wages for the garment workers to sustain the sector.

“The wage for garment workers has been increased by 77 per cent. If the buyers do not raise the apparel prices, it would be difficult for the sector to survive,” he told newsmen after a view exchange meeting with the brands and retailers at a city hotel.

Organized by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), the meeting titled “Strengthening Business Environment in the RMG Sector of Bangladesh” was attended by over 40 buyers’ representatives.
read more.
FE bd

* Garment orders coming back on track:

Retailers pledge to continue business with Bangladesh suppliers

Work orders are flowing in from international garment retailers as steady economic activities are being restored after several spells of political violence, industry insiders said yesterday.

“Retailers are now placing a lot of orders. The situation is good now. I urge the government to maintain this stable situation to get more orders,” Atiqul Islam, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, told The Daily Star.
As a prerequisite to continued work orders, retailers demanded a stable political scene, at a meeting with Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, leaders of BGMEA and other stakeholders at Westin Dhaka yesterday.
“Another reason for holding the meeting was to convey a message to retailers that Bangladesh is back in business after the political upheaval,” Islam added.
Buyers are regaining confidence after the general elections on January 5 and they have a long-term business plan in Bangladesh, an official of Inditex, a Spanish clothing retail giant, said asking not to be named. “We want a stable political situation.”
read more.
daily star bd

* Tofail urges buyers to raise apparel price:

He said it at at a meeting arranged by BGMEA where Representatives from more than 40 buyers attended

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed has urged the buyers to increase prices of readymade garment products in line with the recent wage hike for the workers to help survive the industry.

“As the government has set the wage 77% higher, it would be really difficult for this sector to survive unless the buyers increase the prices of the apparel products,” he said, emerging from a meeting in Dhaka yesterday.

Representatives from more than 40 buyers attended the meeting titled “Strengthening Business Environment in the RMG sector of Bangladesh,” organised by Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

gov STOP

* PROTECTING THE LIVES of Bangladesh Garment Workers:

A 6-month Progress Report of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety

Message from the Alliance Independent Chair & President
Dear Colleagues,
Recent years have marked several tragic factory disasters in Bangladesh, such as the Tazreen  re and the Rana Plaza collapse, which together took the lives of more than 1,200 people. No one should have to risk their life in order to make a living—and in the face of such events, preventing these tragedies is nothing short of a moral imperative.
That is why six months ago, leading North American apparel companies came together to form the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety—a  ve year, legally binding, results-oriented initiative dedicated to dramatically improving safety conditions for workers in Bangladesh.
Today, the Alliance is pleased to share the progress achieved against our commitments in our  rst six months.
There are approximately 700 factories in Bangladesh from which our Member companies source, employing approximately 1.28 million workers. It is our goal to ensure that safe workplaces in Bangladesh become the rule, not the exception, for all women and men employed in the Bangladesh ready-made garment industry. We also recognize that improving safety needs to be a collaborative effort, and we will continue to work with others who share in the responsibility for garment factory safety.
read more & download the Report here.
ALLIANCE

* 400 new factories cry out for gas:

Country’s 400 industrial units with an investment worth Tk 200 billion could not go for production due to a lack of gas connections for the last four years.

Investors said the potential industrial units, which are bulk gas users, already have set up their establishments taking loans from banks but did not get gas connections yet.
The industries including ceramic, textile, readymade garment (RMG) mostly in Dhaka, Savar, Gazipur and Sreepur are now becoming burden following delay in their operation.

The factories like Esrak Textile and Panama Composite were built more than two years back with an investment of more than Tk 7.0 billion but haven’t got gas connection yet.
read more.
FE bd

* Tazreen fire: New compensation scheme proposed:

Petitioners submit proposal, accusing owners for industrial disasters

The High Court will take an alternative method of compensation for those who die and sustain injuries at industries based on a report submitted by petitioners who demand proper compensation for the victims.

Lawyer Asaduzzaman submitted the report to the court yesterday proposing a compensation scheme which considers the fire at Tazreen Fashions Ltd on November 24, 2012 as the “tortuous liability of the owner.”

The court on November 24 last year asked the petitioners to help it finding out the international standard of compensation for victims of industrial disaster.

The lawyer told the Dhaka Tribune: “We submitted an alternative scheme to the court where we demand that all compensation should be given by the government. Later, the government can realise the money from the liable companies.”
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

       THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE

* More Rana Plaza victims to be identified soon:

The second phase of DNA test results would be submitted to the ministry soon

The second phase of DNA test results of the unidentified victims of the Rana Plaza disaster are set to be submitted to the labour ministry soon, although the exact number of verified identities could not be known.

Dr Sharif Akteruzzaman, head of the National DNA Profiling Laboratory at the Dhaka Medical College (DMC), told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday that the second phase of DNA test results would be submitted to the ministry soon.

When asked how many victims had been identified, he said the results were yet to be finalised and the exact number would not be disclosed before the report was submitted to the ministry.

On November 4 last year, the first phase of DNA test results was announced. Out of 322 unidentified victims, the tests were able to identify 157 victims, including 116 women and 41 men.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* The Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund:

The payments to Rana Plaza victims foreseen under the Arrangement are to be financed by a combination of funds, including contributions from buyers and other private donors who wish to give to the victims in a spirit of solidarity and compassion.

The Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund was therefore established in January 2014 in order to collect these contributions and to hold them in trust under specified Terms and Conditions.

How will the Fund be used?
The contributions in the Trust Fund will be used exclusively to cover payments to Rana Plaza victims and their families.
Payment amounts will be recommended by Independent Commissioners following a  claims process, which will be carried out under the terms of the Arrangement to ensure equitable distribution according to the losses suffered and the needs of surviving dependents and family members.
The Trust Fund will transfer specified amounts, agreed by a multi-stakeholder Coordination Committee, to a designated Bangladesh bank.
The Bangladesh bank will then deposit the specified amounts into the victims’ own bank accounts. The Fund will also cover nominal charges incurred for the administration of the Fund.
read more.
RANAPLAZAarrangement

18:46:17 local time map of india INDIA

* Textile units want more benefits:

The Union Ministry of Textiles recently restored benefits under the incremental exports incentivisation scheme and revised the duty drawback rates for textile fabric that uses spandex yarn.

However, the Ministry should take immediate action to solve the problems faced by the textile units in the Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (TUFS), according to industry sources here.

The TUFS was launched in 1999 and was implemented till 2004. It was extended in 2004 and modified in 2007. The scheme was restructured in 2011 and extended till March end 2013. The restructured scheme was revised and introduced last year.
read more.
Return to frontpage

18:16:17 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* GSP Plus status: Textile City to be launched in April:

In order to get maximum benefits from GSP Plus status, it has been decided to formally launch the much-awaited investment oriented project – Pakistan Textile City – in the second quarter of this calendar year.

Sources said the board of directors of Pakistan Textile City has decided to complete the development work regarding basic utilities by end-March 2014 and formally launch this project in April or May this year to make the most of GSP Plus status.

Sources told Business Recorder on Monday that under the new business plan the board of directors of Pakistan Textile City has decided to launch this mega project in different phases with a vie to ensuring fastest development of the infrastructure that can meet the industries” requirement as well as international standards.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

* Low cotton yield a snag in textile exports:

The textile industry is in a celebratory mood, thanks to the GSP Plus facility provided by the European Union. The industry is convinced it can earn $1 billion through additional exports to the EU.

The industry rightly expects to increase exports because it has infrastructure, finance, expertise and manpower to achieve the given GSP Plus targets. However, it may not be able to perform, as required, due to non availability of certain raw materials, like cotton. If cotton production is not stepped up, it could prove to be weakest link in the whole scheme of things.

As things stand today, the crop is on slippery slope; losing both in acreage and production for the last many years. Over the last few years, Punjab has lost around one million acres of cotton to other competitive crops like maize and sugarcane. Its production is stuck at around 12 million bales and a little extra when the Mother Nature helps.
The country’s textile industry requires around 16 million bales to meet the current export orders. If the production is increased, as it should because of GSP-Plus status, the requirement, according to one estimate, may touch 20 million bales.
read more.
DAWNnew

* Clothing business: Pakistan and India aim to stitch new ties:

Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) Chairman Arshad Aziz said he was thrilled at the overwhelming response from exhibitors, saying that about 45% stalls have already been booked at the ‘Made In Pakistan Expo 2014’ being held in Mumbai, India.

“If all goes well, the event may fetch at least $100 million worth of export orders and Pakistani garments, especially ladies wear, are in great demand in India,” said Aziz, while addressing a press conference on Monday. “Long-term business deals between the two countries will help flourish bilateral trade and Pakistan’s value-added sector could be given a big boost.”

While giving details, Aziz said that the expo, which would run from April 3 to 7, has been duly endorsed by the ministry of commerce and the textile industry.
read more.
tribune

* Exporters see $100m Indian orders:

Pakistani exporters expect to fetch $100 million export orders from the “Made in Pakistan Expo 2014” being organised in Mumbai, India, an official said.

The Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (Prgmea) has received overwhelming response from the exhibitors and around 45 percent stalls had already been booked.
Addressing a press conference on Monday, PRGMEA Chairman Arshad Aziz said that if all went well and the event remained successful, Prgmea may fetch at least $100 million export orders.
Pakistani garments, especially ladies wear and lawn are in great demand in India and the long-term business deals among the two countries will flourish the bilateral trade and Pakistan’s value-added sector could get a boost, he said.
read more.
thenewspk

TIME
20140203

20:16:17 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Vietnam apparel production rises 26.9% in Jan’14:

The production of garments and textiles in Vietnam increased by 26.9 percent year-on-year in January 2014, as per the data from the General Statistics Office, under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, Vietnam National Textile and Apparel Group (Vinatex) said on its website.
 
The growth in garment and textile manufacturing was much higher than the 3 percent year-on-year growth recorded by the Vietnamese manufacturing sector during the month.
The surge in clothing and textile production during January 2014 was due to active flow of orders since late 2013 and stable workforce, the statement said.
read more. & read more.
fibre2fashion VINATEX

20:16:17 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Monks, Workers Hold Vigil for Slain Protesters:

About 100 monks, activists and workers returned on Saturday evening to the Canadia Industrial Park, where garment workers clashed with military police on January 3, to pray for the five protesters who were shot dead in the violence and call for the release of 23 imprisoned activists and workers.

About 20 monks from the Independent Monks Network for Social Justice lit candles and led prayers near Veng Sreng Street, which was temporarily placed under curfew and military surveillance last month after military police opened fire on protesters armed with rocks and Molotov cocktails, killing five and injuring more than 40.

Military police arrested 13 protesters on Veng Sreng Street, bringing the total number of imprisoned workers and activists to 23 after soldiers on January 2 arrested 10 protesters following the violent dispersal on of peaceful protests outside the Yakjin garment factory in Pur Senchey district.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* CNRP to try to visit jailed 23:

Opposition party members will lead a delegation to the doors of Kampong Cham Correctional Centre 3 on Tuesday in the hope of visiting the 23 people imprisoned there following a violent crackdown on striking garment workers in early January.

Despite having previously been denied access to the prisoners, Cambodia National Rescue Party whip Son Chhay said yesterday that he hoped prison authorities would allow the group, which will include six senators and 10 elected MPs, to meet with the detainees.
read more.
PPP new

19:46:17 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

* Labour shortages plague nascent garment sector:

20140202 MMTIMES
Garment workers stitch together clothes at a Korean-owned factory in Pyin Ma Bin Industrial Estate in Yangon. Photo: Philip Heijmans

A shortage of skilled labour in the garment sector is hampering Myanmar’s ability to take advantage of increased interest from international investment in manufacturing, industry sources said.

Myanmar faces myriad problems in bolstering its fledgling garment sector, including transport, logistics, infrastructure and electricity supply. But skilled labour shortage is the most immediate hurdle to industry growth, sector players said.
“We just can’t get the human resources,” Ma Myat San Win, director of UMH company, told The Myanmar Times.
Her voice is echoed by many of Myanmar’s garment manufacturers who say workers do not yet have the skills required to secure high-end manufacturing contracts.
read more.
MMtimesnew

19:16:17 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Fire guts garment factory in Bogra:

A small garment factory was gutted by a fire at Bagbari in Gabtali upazila of Bogra district early Sunday.

Locals said the fire originated at the Bagbari Garments from an electrical short circuit in the early hours. The fire burned down valuables, including machinery, thread and clothes, and Tk 10,000 in cash. Later, locals extinguished the blaze, according to a news agency.
to read.
FE bd

* Stimulus drives RMG exports to new destinations:

Apparel shipments to non-traditional markets rise to $3.5b in 2013 from $800m in 2008

Garment exports to non-traditional markets advanced more than four times over the last six years following the government’s incentive package in 2008 to offset the impact of the global financial crisis on the sector.

The financial crisis started off in the US and then spread to the European Union—both of which happen to be the chief destinations of the country’s garment exports.
In a bid to offset any significant drop in garment export figures, the government in 2009 introduced a financial package to encourage garment manufacturers to explore new destinations.
Under the scheme, the government gave 5 percent cash incentive to garment exporters in fiscal 2009-10, 4 percent in fiscal 2010-11 and 2 percent in fiscal 2011-12. The exporters are still receiving 2 percent cash incentive for exporting to the new destinations.
Subsequently, exports to India, China, Russia, Japan, South Africa, Turkey, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, South Korea, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand, took off.
In 2008, garment exports to destinations other than the US, EU and Canada stood at $800 million; in 2013 the figure crossed $3.5 billion.
read more.
daily star bd

       THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE

* Rana plaza owner denied bail:

Sohel Rana charged of violating Building Construction Code

The High Court on Sunday has declined to give bail to Sohel Rana, the owner of collapsed Rana Plaza that took the lives of some 1,134 people, in a case filed under the Building Construction Rules.

An HC bench comprising of Justice Nizamul Huq and Justice Jahangir Hossain passed the order rejecting the bail petition, defence lawyer Najmul Huda told the Dhaka Tribune.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE  FE bd  BD new age   daily star bd

18:46:17 local time map of india INDIA

* Fire in textile godowns put out:

A major fire that erupted in three textile godowns along Kovalan Street in the city late on Saturday night was extinguished on Sunday in a fire-fighting operation that extended for several hours.

Fire and Rescue Service personnel from Modakurichi, Bhavani and Perundurai units joined their counterparts in Erode in the fire-fighting operation led by Divisional Fire Officer T. Mathialagan.
Electricity leak had caused the fire, official sources said.
to read.
Return to frontpage

* Textile mills seek measures to control prices of cotton:

Textile mills here have sought measures to control prices of cotton as it is the main raw material for the mills.

This was discussed at a meeting held in New Delhi recently. K. Thirunavukarasu, president of South India Spinners’ Association who participated in the meeting, informed that the meeting was attended by officials from the Union textile and finance Ministries and banks and representatives of the textile spinning sector.

Funds at lower cost
The textile mills have sought additional funds from banks at lower cost so that they would be able to purchase cotton that would be needed for six months. This would enable the mills to purchase substantial quantity of cotton when the arrivals are good and thus, protect the units from the fluctuations in cotton price.
read more.
Return to frontpage

* Handloom weavers end strike:

Handloom weavers seeking revival of the dying sector have called off their agitation after the government promised to look into their demands.

Theatre personality Prasanna had started an indefinite hunger strike on Thursday in support of the weavers at Heggodu village in Shimoga district.

The Karnataka unit of the Federation of All-India Handloom Organisations said the decision to end the hunger strike followed an assurance from the government that it’ll not introduce powerlooms in traditional handloom clusters and take steps to implement the Handlooms (Reservation of Articles for Production) Act, 1985.
read more.
TOInew

* The age of handloom is past, says Kondaiah:

20140203 theHINDU
Weavers are earning much less than MNREGS workers, says Karnataka State Weavers Union president K.C. Kondaiah.— File PHOTO: M.A. Sriram

Karnataka State Weavers Union president and former MP K.C. Kondaiah said on Sunday handloom was on the verge of extinction and it was highly difficult for weavers to depend on handloom for their livelihood.

Weavers were not even getting wages given to workers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS), he said, and suggested weavers to discontinue handloom and adopt power looms instead, to survive in the “highly competitive” world.

Mr. Kondaiah said weavers were not even earning Rs. 180 per day while the workers under the MNREGS were being given more than Rs. 200 per day. More than 10 metre of cloth could be produced a day in handloom while 40m to 50m of cloth per day could be produced in a power loom.
Hundreds of metres could be produced using mechanised system, he said, adding that consumers would not pay more just because a product was made in handloom. Handloom products were expensive compared to power loom products, which had reduced the market for the former, he said.
read more.
Return to frontpage

* ‘Solve handloom weavers’ problems’:

The Sarvodaya Karnataka Paksha has appealed to the State government to understand the seriousness of the fast resorted to by a Kannada playwright and other people at Heggodu in Shimoga district from January 30 (it was called off on Sunday), and take steps to find a solution to the grievances of handloom weavers.

In a statement released to the press here on Saturday, noted writer and paksha president Devanoor Mahadeva and president of the paksha’s youth wing Abhiruchi Ganesh alleged that owing to the establishment of large industries and globalisation, successive governments had ignored their own policies to protect those working in the handloom sector.
The handloom sector had the potential to become a major national resource, facilitating economic progress of the country, they said.
read more.
Return to frontpage

* MGNREGS wage rate to go up:

Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh said here on Sunday that the wage rate of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) would be increased from April because of inflation.

The notification will be placed in the Parliament session beginning this week.
At the ninth MGNREGA Divas, the Minister said the wage rate had already been linked to the consumer price index, and the yearly revision followed from it. Mr. Ramesh acknowledged the need for parity between the MGNREGS wage rate and the minimum wage in 14 States.
For instance, in Jharkhand, the minimum wage was higher.
read more.
Return to frontpage

* Give our textiles also duty-free access: India to Germany, UK:

Country has graduated out of EU preference scheme, but wants level-playing field with Pakistan, Bangladesh

India is seeking duty-free access for its garments and textiles into the European Union, in line with what is on offer to competing countries such as Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The Textiles Ministry is already in talks with Germany and the UK for zero duty access for garments and some other textile items, Textiles Minister KS Rao told Business Line .

“We are negotiating Government-to-Government. We want them (EU countries) to give us the same dispensation as Pakistan and Bangladesh,” the Minister said. It is important to ensure a level-playing field for Indian exporters. The Ministry has also asked the Finance Ministry for an interest rate subvention (lower interest rate) of 3-4 per cent for textile exporters. “This will help them compete in the export market better and exports would go up,” Rao said.

Preferences scheme
The Minister said that the Textile Ministry would set an ambitious export target of $60 billion for the textiles sector for the coming fiscal, which is almost 50 per cent higher than exports of $41 billion estimated this year.

But the fact that the country has graduated out of the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) scheme offered by the EU under which it was getting preferential access to the European market (by paying lower import duties) could make the going tough. EU is India’s largest market for textiles.
read more.
THEHINDUBUSINESS

18:16:17 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Textile Ministry to train cotton growers for maximizing GSP+ benefits:

Ministry of Textile Industry will train cotton growers for harnessing the full potential of Generalized Scheme of Preference Plus (GSP Plus), granted by European Union to Pakistan for free market access to its textile products in EU markets.

The Ministry will start training programmes in electronic media to provide training to the farmers living in far flung and remote areas of the country to introduce them with modern technologies of cultivations and crop management, said Cotton Commissioner in Ministry of Textile Industry, Dr Khalid Abdullah.
read more.
PAKOBSERVER

* Grant of GPS Plus status to help in economic turnaround: Wajid:

Pakistan High Commissioner to United Kingdom Wajid Shamsul Hasan has termed the granting of GSP Plus status to Pakistan timely and said that it would greatly help in economic turnaround and creation of jobs for Pakistani youth.

He said Pakistan economy had suffered tremendously due to terrorism and unprecedented natural disasters which had inflicted huge losses to its economy.
read more.
PAKOBSERVER

* Capitalising on: GSP Plus – for three or ten years:

20140203 TRIBUNE
Exporters believe that under the scheme they can increase sales to Europe from $500 million to $1 billion annually over the next three years. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

After winning the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) Plus status from the European Union (EU), the debate about how long Pakistan will be enjoying the facility has gained significant importance.

The government and private sector have their own sets of responsibilities, yet they are trying to ask each other to do their job first.
While the private sector has praised the government’s role in qualifying for the GSP Plus status, it is pressing the PML-N administration to do more to get the deadline for trade concessions extended for seven more years beyond 2017.
On the other hand, the government is asking private businesses to work hard and meet the European standards.
read more.
tribune

TIME
20140201-02

20:16:17 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* TPP offers garments and textiles huge opportunities:

Free trade agreements such as that with the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), will expand export markets for Vietnamese garments and textiles, according to Industry and Trade Minister Vu Huy Hoang.

The 12 potential TPP members account for 40% of global GDP and 30% of global trade. TPP commitments are more onerous than their WTO equivalents.Vietnam’s garments and textiles sector can expect to enjoy the agreement’s greatest benefits. A Radio the Voice of Vietnam (VOV) reporter interviewed Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex) Deputy Director Le Tien Truong about the TPP agreement and its advantages.Reporter: How is Vinatex preparing for the TPP?
Mr Truong: Over the past 15 years, the group’s strategies have focused on localization, added value, labour productivity, and competition. The TPP negotiations provide fresh impetus for realising this strategy ahead of schedule. .
read more.
VOVonline

* Buoyant textile industry prepares to implement trade deal:

20140201 BIZHUB
A garment worker of Phong Phu Corporation checks the weaving machine in HCM City .— Photo tuoitre.vn

Development of Viet Nam’s textile industry has jumped ahead of the nation’s other industrial sectors, according to latest data from the Ministry of Planning and Investment. Textiles saw an increase of nearly 27 per cent in January of this year, compared with an average increase of just 3 per cent across other sectors.

During 2013, the local garment industry achieved its highest ever export turnover of US$20.4 billion.

However, despite the good news, industry leaders say that more needs to be done to take full advantage of the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement, which could remove the existing 17 per cent import tax on textile products from Viet Nam.
read more.
bizhub

20:16:17 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

Praying for justice & release on site of deadly clampdown:

20140201 LICADHO monks-youth-pray-zoom

This afternoon, about 80 people, including 20 monks, gathered on Veng Sreng street, the site of the Jan 2 and 3 clashes, to call for a release of the 23 imprisoned workers and human rights defenders and for justice for those injured and killed during the violence.

The ceremony took place in front of Canadia business park, where the two days of violence resulted in more than 40 people hospitalized and four people confirmed dead.
to read.
licadho

* Rights Groups Want Access to 23 Detained Prisoners:

Two human rights groups on Friday appealed to Interior Minister Sar Kheng to intervene after the General Department of Prisons, which is part of the Interior Ministry, refused to allow representatives from their organizations to meet with some of the 23 union activists and protesters arrested in early January.

In an open letter, the Cambodian Center for Human Rights and the Cambodian Labor Organization asked why their attempts to meet with Vorn Pao, president of the Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association, and some of the other detainees, had been denied. 

“The investigating judge has not identified our organizations or any of our members as individuals who should be prevented from visiting the detainees; therefore the General Department of Prison should grant us a permit to visit our friends and colleagues,” the letter says.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

19:46:17 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

* Myanmar union-industry talks seek to preempt labor woes:

Garment producers and labor leaders met in mid-January in an effort to boost the country’s growing apparel sector.

With interest in its garment industry growing, Myanmar appears keen to avoid the kind of labor scandals that have hit some of its neighbors.

Japanese and Korean firms are the country’s biggest customers so far, but “many European buyers are now coming,” Daw Khine Khine Nwe, secretary of the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association, tells the Monitor. The number of factories operating in Myanmar has doubled to 200 in the last few years, employing 150,000 workers, she notes.

And Myanmar seems aware of the fact that it isn’t just the lowest wages in Southeast Asia that are attracting Asian and, increasingly, European firms. Companies are also eager to avoid the reputational risks that come with operating in scandal-hit Bangladesh, where workers’ conditions have come under scrutiny. Preempting labor rights concerns may be the key to winning over new European investors and make them stay.
read more.
MONITORFRONTIERmarkets

19:16:17 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

20140201 * Fire at two garment factories in Gazipur:

A huge quantity of cotton, thread and wastage was gutted in separate fire incidents at two garment factories in  Kaliakoir upazila of Gazipur on yesterday.   However, none were injured in the incidents.

The affected garment factories are- Shamim Spinning Mill at Nishcintapur area and Northern Fashion Limited, situated beside Nondon Park at Baroipara area in the upazila. In the first incident,  the fire broke out at Shamim Spinning Mill the in the early morning on Friday.
Witnesses and fire service sources said, due to electric short circuit from a machine at the Bellroom of the factory, the blaze spread immediately in the whole section within a few minutes.
On being informed, two units of Kaliakoir fire service rushed to the spot and doused the flame after one and half hour of frantic efforts.
The amount of losses could not be known immediately. In another fire incident at Northern Fashion Limited, the fire originated from an electric short circuit in a cotton godown of the factory and spread to adjacent thread godown.
Locals and employees of the factory could not bring the fire under control, they informed local fire  station.
Two units from Kaliakoir fire station and other two units from DEPZ fire service station of Savar rushed to the spot douzed the blaze after three hours.
Huge amount of  cotton, threads, wastage and goods were burnt to ashes in the fire.  Assistant Deputy Inspector of industrial police Mohammed Shah Alam said, the authority of Northern Fashion Limited claimed the loss to about 170 tons of thread worth over  Tk four crore.
read more. & read more.
INDEPENDENT DHAKATRIBUNE

* 65% workers prefer to work on lower floors:

About 65% of workers say they would prefer to work on lower floor, 30 per cent workers think their factories are highly risky in case of fire while 47 per cent opined they cannot leave the building quickly in case of emergency.

According to a progress report by the North American apparel companies’ coalition, 27 per cent of the workers feel they are not given sufficient training on how to protect themselves.

The Alliance conducted a ‘worker baseline survey’ among more than 3,200 workers in 28 garment factories of the country from November to December 2013, and published a report titled “A Six-month Progress Report of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety’ on its official website on January 30.
read more.
FE bd

* Half of apparel workers live in disaster fears: Alliance:

Almost a half of apparel workers in Bangladesh are worried about safety in their work place and think that they could not be able to leave the factory buildings quickly in emergencies, according to a half-yearly report of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety.

Alliance, a platform of North American apparel brands set up after the Rana Plaza building collapse, conducted a worker baseline survey on more than 3,200 workers in 28 factories in November–December 2013 and came up with he finding hat 30 per cent of the workers think that there is a high risk of fire in their factory buildings.
Ten focus groups did off-site interviews with 101 respondents in three regions to obtain more detailed information on fire and health and safety issues.
In July 2013, the North American apparel companies set up Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, a five-year initiative to improve safety condition for workers in Bangladesh. Alliance made the survey report public on January 30.
Alliance reported on the progress achieved against its commitments for the first six months and said that it had already inspected 222 factories, accounting for 31 per cent of the factories on its list.
read more.
BD new age

20140201 * Sub-contracting RMG factories to come under regulations:

The apparel factories involved in sub-contracting business must be complaint on labour issues, working conditions, wages and building construction, said a draft guidelines prepared by the government.

The guidelines to come into effect by the end of this month are aimed at regulating the sprawling sector, which still remains largely unaccountable for their low standard in industrial operations and abuse of workers, a high official in the commerce ministry said.
The sub-contracting garment units, which make up nearly one-fifth of the country’s more than 5,000 apparel factories and employ about 5 lakh workers, must implement the minimum wage structure for their employees, the guidelines said.
Commerce ministry in cooperation with BGMEA and BKMEA finalized the draft guidelines in the backdrop of serial industrial disasters in the apparel industry in recent period that triggered huge outcry among foreign buyers and rights groups.
read more.
BD new age

20140201 * Strict laws, stringent enforcement crucial for RMG factory safety:

Since the November 24, 2012 fire at Tazreen Fashions Limited, which killed more than 100 workers, and the April 24, 2013 collapse of Rana Plaza, which left more than 1,100 people, mostly workers of apparel factories housed in the ill-fated eight-storey building, the export-oriented readymade garments industry in Bangladesh has been under an increasingly intense scrutiny of not only international buyers but also workers’ rights organisations at home and abroad.

Subsequently, there have been initiatives towards comprehensive inspection of the apparel factories by both the international buyers and the government with assistance from the International Labour Organisation.
Such scrutiny and inspection have unearthed a host of reasons that seem to have essentially encouraged non-compliance with safety standards by many in the apparel industry.
According to a report published in New Age on Friday, experts and labour leaders identified flaws in rules and absence of stringent legal actions against aberrant factories and their owners as two major reasons that essentially encourage many to flout safety standards in the apparel industry.
For example, the labour law stipulates Tk 5,000 in fine as the maximum penalty for non-compliance with safety standards in readymade garment factories, which is anything but prohibitive.
Moreover, in many cases, the aberrant factories did not bother to pay the fines for their non-compliance and apparently got away with it in the absence of stringent legal actions.
Encouragingly, in the wake of a number of factory disasters, the government seems to have taken strict measures to ensure safety.
read more.
BD new age

20140201 * RMG workers unrest in Ashulia:

Workers of two ready garments on Saturday staged protest in Ashulia protesting job cut, demanding pay hike and opening shut factories.

Witnesses and industrial police source said that workers of Yard Dying and Interco Sweater staged work abstention protesting job cut and demanding pay hike.
Agitating workers said banglanews that authorities of Interco Sweater had kept their factories shut for last four months while workers’ payment remain due.
read more.
BANGLA NEWS24

* US firms urge return of GSP:

In an effort to lessen their tax burden, a host of American companies and trade organisations have urged the US Congress to immediately restart the GSP programme that expired for all countries on July 31 last year.

“Over the past five and a half months, American companies like ours—and our members—have paid nearly $2 million per day in higher taxes while waiting for Congress to renew the programme. We cannot afford to wait any longer,” said the 463 signatories in a letter to the US Congress on January 27.
read more.
daily star bd

* Tannery relocation: An unending journey? :

The relocation of tanneries from the city’s Hazaribagh area to Savar has been hampered seriously and delayed unusually mainly due to the dilly-dally attitude of the government, accompanied by bureaucratic bottlenecks.

Industry sources also attributed the reasons to owners’ reluctance to move to the new place, disputes over bearing the cost of relocation and delay in setting up the Central Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP). Former Industries Minister Dilip Barua, however, expressed hope that the process of relocating tanneries from the city’s Hazaribagh area to Savar’s Hemayetpur is likely to be completed by December this year.
Meanwhile, the delay in implementation of the project –Hazaribagh Tannery Relocation Project (HTRP) — has increased the cost to Tk 10.78 billion from the initial amount of Tk 1.75 billion, six times higher than the initial project cost.
In 2003, the Ministry of Industries initiated the project of relocating Hazaribagh tannery to Savar Leather Industrial Estate (SLIE) at a cost of Tk 1.75 billion in order to save the capital city and the river Buriganga from pollution following a guideline submitted by Unido experts in 1996.
read more.
INDEPENDENT

18:46:17 local time map of india INDIA

* Bonus ceiling for factory workers may be raised:

An upward revision in the ceiling of bonus paid to employees of factories and other establishments is on the cards as a proposal in this regard would be taken up for consideration at the upcoming Indian Labour Conference (ILC) here next month.

At present, employees drawing salary or wage not exceeding Rs. 10,000 per month are eligible for payment of bonus with a ceiling of Rs. 3,500 per month.
Trade unions have been demanding removal of conditions on the payment of bonus as salary drawn by even a small time employee these days is much higher and therefore the limits hold little relevance.
read more.
THEHINDUBUSINESS

* ‘Plans afoot for Rs. 300-cr. textile mill in Warangal’:

The Central government is contemplating to set up a textile mill in Warangal district at a cost of Rs. 300 crore, Union Textile Minister Kavuri Sambasiva Rao has said.

Addressing the farmers after inaugurating an automatic dupion reeling machine and a market yard for silk worms in Jangaon town on Saturday, he exhorted the unemployed youth to take up silk worm cultivation. “ The youth can earn around Rs. 2 lakh per annum, by growing mulberry plants in one acre. If youth will acquire the skills, we can eradicate unemployment problem from the country,” Mr. Sambasiva Rao said.
read more.
Return to frontpage

* Govt. urged to save handloom sector:

The members and supporters of Sangatya organisation on Thursday urged the State government to take immediate steps to rejuvenate the ailing handloom sector and protect the interests of the weavers.

In a memorandum addressed to Chief Minister Siddharamaiah and submitted at the Taluk Office here, the trustee of Sangatya S. Shreekumar said the electrification or mechanisation of the handloom sector should be stopped immediately.
The products made by handlooms had their own uniqueness. Hence it was necessary to save this sector, he said. If all the looms were given electric connection, a large number of weavers would be thrown out of their jobs.
The Handloom Department should become more active in promoting handlooms and handloom products, the memorandum said.
read more.
Return to frontpage

18:46:17 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* Apparel exports top US$ 4.3 bn in 2013:

Apparel exports in 2013 have reached an all time record of US$ 4.3 billion compared with US$ 3.8 billion in 2012,” said Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) acting Chairman Noel Priyatilleke.

Speaking at the JAFF 10th Annual General Meeting he said that nevertheless, the challenge ahead of us is not only to sustain this business but also to grow because the Government expects Sri Lankan apparel, tea and rubber to fetch a turnover of US$ 10 billion by 2016 and Sri Lankan apparel has also to be among the first ten apparel exporter countriesof the world by 2020.
read more. & read more.
dailynewsSL STM-long

* Apparel sector calls for single digit VAT:

Acting Chairman of the Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) Noel Priyatilleke last week requested the government to introduce a transparent single digit VAT system terming it to be ‘an absolute necessity for the economy to grow’.

Addressing the Post Business Session that followed the 10th Annual General Meeting of JAAF, Priyatilleke said that if not for the introduction of the suspended VAT scheme, due to the complexities attributed to VAT administration system including refund mechanism and double digit rate, the apparel industry could not have been able to perform.

“However, even today despite the presence of SVAT system, further reforms are recommended in the larger interest of the economy. Your attention is requested in this regard,” Priyatilleke said addressing the Chief Guest at the event, Secretary to the Treasury, Ministry of Finance and Planning and Economic Development, Dr. P B Jayasundara.

The request was made in the backdrop of the JAAF announcing that in the calendar year 2013, Sri Lanka’s apparel exports had reached the highest ever level of US$ 4.3 billion compared with US$ 3.8 billion in 2012.
read more.
theNATION SL

18:16:17 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* ‘Textile policy by middle of this year’:

The government will announce new textile policy by the middle of this year. In an interview‚ Secretary Ministry of Commerce and Textile Industry‚ Rukhsana Shah said long and short-term projects will be launched under this policy to revive the textile industry.

She said the local industries will be equipped with the latest technology and skilled manpower. The secretary asked the industrialists to utilise latest technology to compete the foreign investors.
to read.
BUSINESSRECORDER

* Textile industry hails $1.6b Thar Coal power project:

Muhammad Yasin Siddik, Chairman, All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) has asked the Federal Government that the decision to relax trading links with India should have to be in stages and only opening up sectors in the first stage where Pakistani businesses and industries do not feel threatened on a large scale.

In a statement, Yasin Siddik said that the importance of regional trade can not be denied but the decision to liberalize the trade will need to be made keeping in view the developmental stage in different industries and the level playing field should be given due importance while granting MFN status to India.

Chairman APTMA further said that the higher cost of production in a relatively smaller economy in comparison to India will make the Pakistani Industries vulnerable to tough competition and will adversely affect our industries, which are not so competitive in terms of prices. He further said that in order to provide a level playing field the duty structure between the two countries should be equal and on reciprocal basis without any discrimination and Non-Tariff Barriers hurting exports to India be removed immediately.
read more.
PAKOBSERVER

* APTPMA expresses satisfaction over gas supply:

All Pakistan Textile Processing Mills Association (APTPMA) expresses satisfaction on partial supply of gas to value-added and export-oriented textile processing industry during the ongoing winter season.

Smooth and uninterrupted gas and electricity supply to value-added textile industry is beneficial both for the industry and the country as recent export figures of value-added textile products are indicating positive sign.
read more. & read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER daily times PK

* Import of textile machinery increases by 80% :

Import of textile machinery increased by 80 percent to $56.651 million in December 2013, an official statistics said. Import of textile machinery posted an increase of $25.158 million in December 2013 from its import $31.493 million in December 2012, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) said.

During July-December 2013-14, import of textile machinery surged by 31.22 percent or $60.791 million to $255.520 million, up from $194.729 million in the same period last fiscal year, the PBS added. Import of construction and mining machinery grew by 73 percent to $142.311 million in July-December 2013-14, it said.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

* Grant of GSP Plus status : ‘Private sector should focus on achieving $30bn export target’:

The grant of Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) Plus status to Pakistan by the European Union has opened up new opportunities for improving exports and private sector should accelerate its efforts for achieving $30 billion export target to reap full benefits of this facility, said Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) Director General Shahzad Hussain Rana while exchanging views with business community at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI).

He said we have to strengthen the supply side to facilitate the exporters. Dilating upon Pak-India trade potential, he said currently trade is in India’s favour; however Pakistan has good potential to increase trade with India if India removes all technical barriers, which are acting as main hindrance in promoting trade up to the real potential.
read more.
daily times PK

* Government urged to remain cautious in trading links with India:

The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) has advised the federal government to relax trading links with India only in sectors where Pakistani businesses and industries do not feel threatened, an official said.

Aptma Chairman Muhammad Yasin Siddik said that the decision to relax trading links with India should be in stages and only those sectors should be opened in the first stage where Pakistani businesses and industries do not feel threatened on a large scale.

Siddik said that the importance of regional trade could not be denied but the decision to liberalise trade will need to be made, keeping in view the developmental status of various industries and industrialists must not be deprived of the level-playing field while granting the most favoured nation (MFN) status to India.
read more.
thenewspk

* ‘Cheap labour attracts Chinese investors’:

Director General Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) Shahzad Hussain Rana said that cheap and quality labour in Pakistan could attract Chinese investment since labour cost in China had gone up.

Interacting with business community at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), Rana said that entrepreneurs should further build rapport with Chinese counterparts to goad investors. He said peaceful environment will greatly be helpful in this.
DG TDAP assured the businesspersons of the authority’s full support to ICCI’s initiatives to improve the country’s trade and exports.

About Pakistan-India trade, the TDAP’s chief said that currently the trade was in India’s favour. However, Pakistan has good potential to enhance the bilateral trade if India removes all technical barriers, which are acting as main hindrance to promoting trade up to the real potential, he said.
DG TDAP said that GSP Plus status had opened up new opportunities to improve exports. He said private sector should accelerate its efforts to reap full benefits of this facility for achieving $30 billion.
read more.
thenewspk

* China’s cotton import demand seen hurt by fears of lower quotas:

China’s demand for imported cotton is being squeezed by fears that Beijing will issue fewer import quotas this year, prompting mills to hold off on orders, traders say.

The world’s top buyer of cotton will halt a three-year stockpiling programme in the 2014/15 season, replacing it with a subsidy for farmers in its biggest growing region of Xinjiang.

The new policy – officially confirmed this month, although few details have been decided – has stirred concerns that China will want to encourage consumption of its huge domestic stockpile of fibre at the expense of imports.
China’s cotton reserves are expected to reach 12.7 million tonnes, equivalent to almost 60 percent of global stocks, after its third year of buying ends in the next few months. “There is a fear that with so much in reserves, how will China issue more quota?” asked Gao Fang, secretary-general of industry body the China Cotton Association.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

 

map of Asia

INFO:

There are updates under ‘special reports’:

* Cambodian Garment Workers Demonstration: $160 We Need!
* Minimum Wage-LIVING WAGE
* THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE
* THE TAZREEN FACTORY FIRE

HEADLINES:

20140207
CAMBODIA
* Free the 23 and give workers a living minimum wage of USD$160 a month
* Release the 23 Gathering
* Another round of religious prayers to release the 23 detainees
* Two among the 23 to be freed prior to bail hearing
* Cambodian court releases 2 of 23 detained protesters
* Labor union leaders discuss protest plan
* Union leaders delay protest
* Poverty Wages Unraveling Cambodia’s Garment Industry
* Threat of ‘mass strike’ looms
* Unions to March After Failure to Address Minimum Wage
* Garment workers to receive USD 100 per month from February
* Industrial relations and rights
* Strike debate a ‘red herring’
* Military Police Asked to Answer for Protest Deaths
* Man Acquitted of 2007 Murder of Union Leader Hy Vuthy
* Verdict in murder reversed
* H&M exec talks Cambodia vision

BANGLADESH
* BD factories exploiting child labour in unsafe conditions
* Child labour in RMG: Rights bodies blame stakeholders
* Exposure investigation uncovers violence and abuse in Dhaka sweatshop
* Bangladesh garment factories still exploiting child labour for UK products
* RMG factory owners intimidate workers for organising TUs: HRW
* HRW for trade union in RMG
* Human Rights Watch concerned over workers’ rights in garment sector
* Bangladesh garment factories intimidate workers over unions
* Bangladesh to showcase progress in labour standards on Feb 13
* 15% have structural flaws
* BGMEA, Impactt sign deal to increase productivity at RMG factories
* BGMEA, Impactt sign MoU to boost output in RMG industry
* Effective steps needed to restore GSP
* Market share of local woven fabrics in RMG export stagnating
* Working long hours ‘for living’ may restrict well-being

INDIA
* Exporters seek govt subsidies
* India’s leather exports grow 17.09% in April-Nov’13
* Stringing together a livelihood

PAKISTAN
* Enhanced water supply to leather industry demanded
* Leather garments export grows by $18.17 million in July-December

20140206
VIET NAM
* Vietnam eyes 6-10% hikes in rice, garment exports

THAILAND
* The latest twist in silk

CAMBODIA
* Strike threat remains as Cambodia wage dispute drags on
* Ministry to ‘examine’ probe results
* United Nations Envoy Visits After Protest Deaths
* Groups tell ILO to retract ‘right to strike’ claim
* IMF says Cambodia’s strong outlook subject to ‘considerable’ risks

BANGLADESH
* Bangladesh garment factories still exploiting child labour for UK products
* Exposure investigation uncovers violence and abuse in Dhaka sweatshop
* Taking free legal aid services to workers’ doorsteps stressed
* HRW urged govt to protect apparels workers’ rights
* Don’t endanger business: HRW to RMG owners
* Bangladesh: Protect Garment Workers’ Rights
* Role of professional engineers in garment workers’ safety
* Alliance finds no ‘disastrous’ fault like Rana Plaza
* Save our RMG sector
* GSP review in May
* Not much done to get it back
* BD needs to do a lot more to regain GSP : Mozena
* BUET tech wing to work as consultant for Tannery Estate in Savar
* Diversified use of jute
* Working towards sustainable development
* Inflation rises to 7.5%
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE:
* Call for fast-tracking compensation for missing workers
* Publication of list of workers killed in Rana Plaza collapse demanded
* Labour groups cheating Rana Plaza victims

INDIA
* India wants EU to do away with import duty on its textiles
* Apparel sector lags in winter-wear exports
* Cheap labour and competitiveness

PAKISTAN
* Pakistan apparel exporters expect $100mn orders from India

UZBEKISTAN
* What Will 2014 Hold for Those Trying to Reduce Child Labor and Forced Labor in Uzbekistan’s Cotton Harvest?

KENYA
* Kenya earns 543 mln USD in 2013 from export economic zones

ASIA
* Dutch-German effort to improve Asian textile industry

20140205
THAILAND
* Bright outlook for Thai textile export sector in 2014: TTI

CAMBODIA
* On the outside looking in
* All quiet as Veng Sreng probe ends
* ‘Workplace inequality pervasive’
* Union eyes morning wage meet
* Unions Argue Over Wage Committee Reforms
* Garment Workers Injured in Svay Rieng Crash
* Garment Export Value Up 20 Percent in 2013

BURMA/MYANMAR
* Enabling Sustainable Value Chains in Asia’s Apparel Frontier

NEPAL
* Garment factory fire guts property worth Rs 10 mln

BANGLADESH
* RMG makers unhappy over buyers’ new conditions
* Retailers, makers at odds over inspection standards
* RMG safety standards hard to implement
* RMG buyers return with bigger import orders
* GSP review in May: Mozena
* Lot more to do to get back GSP: Mozena
* Bangladesh likely to get GSP facility by June: Tofael
* First Ticfa talk on April 6:
THE TAZREEN FACTORY FIRE:
* Ensure speedy compensation for victims
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE:
* Funds too low for Rana Plaza victims, say union leaders
* More compensation for Rana Plaza victims demanded
* Families of Rana Plaza victims find solace in new school

INDIA
* 5 women workers injured as roof caves in
* Apparel producers express concern
* Well-Knit Tirupur-2020 vision document presented
* Garment exporters worry over costlier yarn
* Cotton yarn prices up because of cotton cost, says SIMA

SRI LANKA
* Sri Lanka is an apparel nation: Treasury Secretary

PAKISTAN
* Pakistan Textile garments and leather workers federation meeting

TURKMENISTAN
* Turkmenistan to commission new textile mills this month

20140204
CAMBODIA
* Global day of action to free Cambodian garment workers
* Cambodia: Garment Factories Thwarting Unions
* End the ‘union-busting’: HRW
* Human Rights Watch Says Anti-Union Activities Must End
* No Results in Protest Shooting Investigations
* Labor Unions plan to hold mass protest soon: Rong Chhun
* 97 workers injured in vehicle crash
* Illegal factory floor removed
* Garment exports rose 20 per cent last year
* Cambodian garment exports surge 20% to $5.53bn in 2013

INDONESIA
* BetterWork Indonesia Media Updates

BANGLADESH
* Govt requests global apparel buyers to raise prices
* Tofail urges global buyers to increase RMG prices as per workers’ wage hike
* Garment orders coming back on track
* Tofail urges buyers to raise apparel price
* PROTECTING THE LIVES of Bangladesh Garment Workers
* 400 new factories cry out for gas
THE TAZREEN FACTORY FIRE:
* Tazreen fire: New compensation scheme proposed
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE:
* More Rana Plaza victims to be identified soon
* The Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund

INDIA
* Textile units want more benefits

PAKISTAN
* GSP Plus status: Textile City to be launched in April
* Low cotton yield a snag in textile exports
* Clothing business: Pakistan and India aim to stitch new ties
* Exporters see $100m Indian orders

20140203
VIET NAM
* Vietnam apparel production rises 26.9% in Jan’14

CAMBODIA
* Monks, Workers Hold Vigil for Slain Protesters
* CNRP to try to visit jailed 23

BURMA/MYANMAR
* Labour shortages plague nascent garment sector

BANGLADESH
* Fire guts garment factory in Bogra
* Stimulus drives RMG exports to new destinations
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE:
* Rana plaza owner denied bail

INDIA
* Fire in textile godowns put out
* Textile mills seek measures to control prices of cotton
* Handloom weavers end strike
* The age of handloom is past, says Kondaiah
* ‘Solve handloom weavers’ problems’
* MGNREGS wage rate to go up
* Give our textiles also duty-free access: India to Germany, UK

PAKISTAN
* Textile Ministry to train cotton growers for maximizing GSP+ benefits
* Grant of GPS Plus status to help in economic turnaround: Wajid
* Capitalising on: GSP Plus – for three or ten years

20140201-02
VIET NAM
* TPP offers garments and textiles huge opportunities
* Buoyant textile industry prepares to implement trade deal

CAMBODIA
* Praying for justice & release on site of deadly clampdown
* Rights Groups Want Access to 23 Detained Prisoners

BURMA/MYANMAR
* Myanmar union-industry talks seek to preempt labor woes

BANGLADESH
* Fire at two garment factories in Gazipur
* 65% workers prefer to work on lower floors
* Half of apparel workers live in disaster fears: Alliance
* Sub-contracting RMG factories to come under regulations
* Strict laws, stringent enforcement crucial for RMG factory safety
* RMG workers unrest in Ashulia
* US firms urge return of GSP
* Tannery relocation: An unending journey?

INDIA
* Bonus ceiling for factory workers may be raised
* ‘Plans afoot for Rs. 300-cr. textile mill in Warangal’
* Govt. urged to save handloom sector

SRI LANKA
* Apparel exports top US$ 4.3 bn in 2013
* Apparel sector calls for single digit VAT

PAKISTAN
* ‘Textile policy by middle of this year
* Textile industry hails $1.6b Thar Coal power project
* APTPMA expresses satisfaction over gas supply
* Import of textile machinery increases by 80%
* Grant of GSP Plus status : ‘Private sector should focus on achieving $30bn export target’
* Government urged to remain cautious in trading links with India
* ‘Cheap labour attracts Chinese investors’
* China’s cotton import demand seen hurt by fears of lower quotas

latest tweets (& news)

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

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

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

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

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