In the news 8-10 Feb.2014

TIME
20140210

20:17:48 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Silk producers hope to weave new image:

Thais under 50 who wear silk clothes are often called old-fashioned, and a woman’s silk suit can set her back at least 4,000 baht.

But some 50 silk fabrics to be showcased at the Premiere Vision clothing and fabric show in Paris later this month will attempt to alter consumers’ perceptions.

With little resemblance to traditional Thai silk, these fabrics are 20-30% lighter, with prices 25-30% higher than traditional silk, though a majority of Thais surveyed by the Thailand Textile Institute (THTI) say they would “definitely” buy silk apparel that suited their demands.
read more.
bangkokpostBusiness

 20:17:48 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

Day before appeal: Groups take to the streets:

Today, groups, communities, and monks are releasing balloons in 57 places in Phnom Penh and the provinces in support of 23 rights defenders and workers arrested last month.

After two were released on bail on February 8, the remaining 21 are set to appear at a bail hearing tomorrow at the Appeals Court. These actions are happening in conjunction with today’s global day of action for the arrested rights defenders and workers, which will see international unions IndustriALL, Global Union and ITUC mobilizing workers around the world to protest at Cambodian embassies in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Canberra, Berlin, Brussels, Geneva, Hong Kong, Manila, Jakarta, London, and Seoul.

This morning, 100 land activists delivered a petition calling for their release to the Ministry of Justice. Several NGO representatives attempted to deliver a joint civil society petition with 197 signatures to the Vietnamese embassy but their petition was not accepted. At 10am, the Pochentong airport area community will release balloons at their community center.
read more.
licadho

* When Freedom Meets Oppression: Timeline of Recent Events:

20140209 LICADHO
A female garment worker joins a peacefully rally in front of the Ministry of Labor on December 28, 2013 demanding a monthly living wage of $160. Ninety percent of garments workers in Cambodia are women.

LICADHO has compiled a timeline summarizing the series of event leading to and following the January 2-3-4, 2014, lethal clampdown on labour and political demonstrations in Cambodia’s capital. A Khmer version is available here.

December 15, 2013
The Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), the main opposition party, begins their third post-election mass protest by staging a permanent occupation of Freedom Park, intended to last for three months.

December 22, 2013
After one week of evening rallies in the streets of Phnom Penh, CNRP hosts the largest march in Cambodia since 1998 to protest the current political situation.

December 24, 2013
The Labour Advisory Council announces its decision to raise the living wage from $80 to only $95 by April 2014. The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (MOL) also outlines a plan to increase the minimum wage to $160 by 2018.
read more.
licadho

* Bailed Garment Workers Speak of Injustice Ahead of March:

In the weeks that 17-year-old garment worker Yon Chea languished in prison, he spent hours staring out of the window at a concrete wall, certain that he would never see his home or his family again.

“I never thought I would get out. There was a window that looked out onto a wall, I would sit all day and stare at that window,” he said Sunday, as he sat on the floor of the tiny apartment on Veng Sreng Street in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district that he shares with his parents and two of his siblings.

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Friday morning granted bail to Mr. Chea and one other detainee, 27-year-old Bou Sarith, both of whom were among the 23 union activists and protesters jailed following the deadly suppression of garment worker strikes on January 2 and 3. They were released on Saturday.

Many of the 21 who are still being held in prison went on hunger strike Sunday morning.
“Sixteen prisoners out of 21 have been hunger striking since this morning because they want to send a message to the Ministry of Justice to find justice for them,” Kea Sovanna, the director of Correctional Center 3 (CC3), where the remaining 21 prisoners are being held, said Sunday.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Supporters of 21 to march to embassies:

Activists may find themselves in a showdown with police this morning during a planned vigil on Phnom Penh’s riverside and a march to several embassies.

National Military Police spokesman Kheng Tito said yesterday that people supporting the release of 21 people detained during a garment strike in early January do not have the right to march to embassies to deliver petitions.

“[Police] may be force[d] to stop them,” Tito said in a text message. Representatives from NGOs, unions and other groups are free to deliver the petitions, he added, but they may not march.

After a 9am press conference at the Imperial Garden Villa and Hotel, more than 350 unionists, families of those detained and other activists are expected to march to Preah Ang Dongker, across from the Royal Palace, for a prayer service and to release balloons in support of the 21 detainees, a day ahead of their bail hearing, said Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers.
read more.
PPP new

* Court under pressure to free 23 protesters in jail:

Some 50 anti-eviction activists from property development sites Boeung Kok, Borei Keila and Thmor Kol rallied on Monday to submit a petition to Ministry of Justice, asking for the release of detained protesters.

The activists, holding banners, shouted demand in front of the Ministry of Justice. There was no disturbance or crackdown by the authority despite protest ban imposed after the bloody crackdowns in January.
Boeung Kok representative Tep Vanny, prominent anti-eviction activist, handed the petition to the Ministry of Justice and Appeal Court of Appeal.
The Appeal Court will have a hearing on the case of the 23 protesters, two of whom were released on bail last week, tomorrow.

Labour unionists and human rights activists also rallies this morning at Preah Angdong Koeur shrine before they presented the petitions to the foreign embassies in Phnom Penh.
The unionists also maintained their stance to demand USD160 per month for garment and footwear factory workers.
to read.
CAMHERALD

20140207 ALLindustry cambodian_women

21:17:48 local time map of malaysia MALAYSIA

* MTUC wants RM300 Cola:

The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) yesterday called for a monthly RM300 cost of living allowance (Cola ) for private sector employees to meet rising costs.

Its president Mohd Khalid Atan said a memorandum on the matter will be submitted to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak and Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot Jaem soon.
He told theSun that there is a need for such a policy in the private sector, which had been hit by rising costs.
“It’s difficult to survive on just the RM900 minimum wage,” he said after chairing a general council meeting.
read more.
sundaily

19:17:48 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Legal steps against people hindering TU in RMG units:

The government will take legal actions against people hindering trade union (TU) activities in the country’s ready-made garment (RMG) factories.

The Ministry of Commerce (MoC) has asked the Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE) to identify the people and take actions against them as per laws.
MoC secretary Mahbub Ahmed sent a letter to MoLE secretary Mikail Shipar last week in this connection.

There is an allegation that a vested quarter, mainly involved with management of the RMG factories, has been creating impediments to formation and operation of trade unions.
Allowing freedom in trade union practices is one of the key components for restoration of the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) facility in the US market.
The US government suggested Bangladesh to implement an action plan for developing working environment in the RMG units after the Rana Plaza collapse and the Tazreen garment fire incidents.
read more.
FE bd

* The economics of min wage: Good intentions, bad outcomes:

‘Focusing on supply side policies such as education, healthcare and training to boost long-term productivity of the workforce would lead to a better outcome than a one-off hike in minimum wages’

20140210 DHAKATRIBUNE Syed-Zakir-Hossain
Workers are seen working in a garment factory 

Recently, after rounds of negotiations the minimum wage for blue collar RMG workers was increased by 77%.

The humanitarian in me rejoiced at the news, as I believe that their income was too low to support a decent standard of living. These people have been shedding blood, sweat and tears for our country and quite frankly they deserve better.

However, the economist in me was not so sure about how much it would help them or even the economy itself. Before you pigeonhole me as the stereotypical “crony capitalist,” I would ask that you at least peruse my reasoning.

Let me start with a bit of theory. Free market economists, particularly of the Austrian school of thought (Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, etc) speak vehemently against any sort of government intervention.

Their logic, when applied to minimum wage, is simple. Setting a price above the market determined price will take the market to a disequilibrium and thus demand will be lower than supply.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* ILO team visiting BD to develop detailed plan:

Improving safety, workers’ rights in RMG units

An eight-member delegation of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) is visiting Bangladesh mainly to develop a detailed plan to improve safety and workers’ rights in readymade garment (RMG) factories.

Their visit also aims to cover areas including training and capacity building of the Directorate concerned, employers, mid-level managements and trade union leaders, a statement issued by ILO said Sunday.

The delegation comprising representation from Geneva, Bangkok and New Delhi along with a senior representative from the ILO International Training Centre (ITC) in Turin, Italy will meet with the labour minister and the labour secretary during their week-long stay in Dhaka to discuss the ILO plans, it said.

The mission will also hold discussion with the newly appointed Inspector General of Factories and Establishments along with a team of the incumbent and new inspectors to conduct a detailed assessment of the training and capacity building needs of the Directorate and develop a three-year partnership plan.
read more.
FE bd

* ILO appreciates govt for RMG measures:

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) hailed the government for its decision to upgrade the office of the Chief Inspector of Factories and Establishments (CIFE) to a ‘Directorate’ and appointment of an additional secretary as CIFE.

“The government today appointed an additional secretary as  the Chief Inspector of Factories and Establishments (CIFE),” Mikail Shipar, Secretary Ministry of Labour and Employment told  BSS.

He said the newly appointed CIFE also joined the office,  adding, “The CIFE will work to improve safety and workers’ rights  in the Bangladesh garment industry sector”

A delegation of 8 senior ILO officials from Geneva, Bangkok  and New Delhi along with a senior representative from the ILO  International Training Centre (ITC) in Turin, Italy, is visiting Dhaka and will be meeting the newly appointed CIFE along with a
team of incumbent and new inspectors to conduct a detailed  assessment of the training and capacity building needs of the Directorate and develop a three year partnership plan.
read more. & read more.
BSS INDEPENDENT

* ILO welcomes upgrade of labour inspectorate:

The International Labour Organisation has welcomed the decision of Bangladesh government to upgrade the office of Chief Inspector of Factories and Establishments to a directorate.

‘The upgrading of the inspection services is a significant milestone in our joint efforts to strengthen the capacity of the government, employers and workers organisations in addressing the working conditions, safety and workers’ rights issues in Bangladesh,’ said Srinivas B Reddy, country director of ILO Bangladesh.
The ILO, in a press release, said that it (the upgradation) was an important step in the implementation of one of the commitments agreed by the government in the National Tripartite Plan of Action on Fire Safety and Structural Integrity and the EU Sustainability Compact issued on July 8, 2013.
On January 15 this year, the government issued orders sanctioning 679 new staff positions in the directorate including 392 new inspector positions.
read more. & read more.
BD new age UNB

* Govt steps forward to meet factory safety standards:

The government has upgraded the office of the Chief Inspector of Factory and Establishment to a ‘directorate’.

This is an important step in the implementation of one of the commitments agreed upon by the government in the National Tripartite Plan of Action on Fire Safety and Structural Integrity, and EU Sustainability Compact issued on July 8, 2013.
Syed Ahmed, an additional secretary of the parliament secretariat, joined as the inspector general (IG) of the new directorate yesterday, according to Mikail Shipar, secretary to the labour and employment ministry.
“We have created a directorate and appointed an additional secretary as the IG. He will start recruiting factory inspectors as soon as possible.”
“We have stepped forward to meet the safety standards committed in the ‘sustainability compact’,” Shipar said.
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.
The EU and Bangladesh resolved to work together on labour rights, safety concern, factory conditions and responsible businesses in the garment sector.
read more.
daily star bd

* US finds no tangible progress in executing its Action Plan:

Bangladesh is yet to make any tangible progress in several key areas as far as the implementation of the US Action Plan, linked to the restoration of the GSP is concerned, the US embassy in Dhaka said in a note to the government of Bangladesh (GoB) recently.

The areas where the government could not make substantial progress include fire and building inspections, up-gradation of export processing zone (EPZ) law to international standards and stopping of harassment and intimidation of labour activists, the embassy has said in a review of the Plan.

The sub-committee on the US GSP (generalised system of preferences) Action Plan has reviewed the progress made in labour welfare by Bangladesh until December last year and asked the government to take more concrete steps to address the issues.

“While acknowledging some progress and positive developments, the subcommittee has concluded that more remains to be done to address several key elements of the Action Plan,” the US embassy note said.
read more.
FE bd

* US Senate hears on Bangladesh Feb 11:

The US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations will hold a hearing on the ‘Prospects for democratic reconciliation and workers’ rights in Bangladesh’ on Tuesday, February 11.

According to the United States Senate website, the hearing will be held at Senate Dirksen 419 at 10:00 am (local time in Washington DC) where Senator Menendez will preside over the hearing on the subject.
read more. & read more. & read more.
BD new age DHAKATRIBUNE FE bd

* Apparel team goes to Vietnam today to see workers’ rights there:

The delegation will see industrial practices in the South-east Asian nation

A team of garment owners will leave for Vietnam today to learn about trade unions, workers’ productivity and working environment in the country’s apparel sector.

The delegation will see what industrial practices exist in the South-east Asian nation and if they could be applied in the Bangladeshi garment sector to ensure workers’ rights and improve productivity.

The four-member team is comprised of representatives from Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA.)

“During the visit, we will talk to workers and trade union leaders,” said BGMEA vice president ShahidullahAzim who is also a member of the delegation.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Sharp rise in foreign traders’ arrival in recent weeks:

The number of inbound foreign businessmen has marked a sharp increase in recent weeks thanks to the country’s current political scenario, which has improved after the 10th parliamentary election.

With the stability of political situation the global business partners are now gaining confidence and have long-term business strategies with Bangladesh.
According to the Special Branch (SB) of police in last one month the number of foreign visitors including business partners has increased by more than 50 per cent compared to that of last December.

An official of SB of police told the FE: “Arrival of foreigners, mostly business representatives and apparel buyers, in the country has increased sharply in last one month”.
He said foreign business partners have been enhancing their visits to the country because of the stable political environment and trustworthy security measures.

President of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed told the FE: “We have noticed that a significant number of overseas buyers and suppliers have been arriving here over the last one month.”
read more.
FE bd

* BTMEA demands 5% cash incentive:

Leaders of Bangladesh Textiles Manufacture and Exporters Association (BTMEA) yesterday demanded the government to allow 5% cash incentive against affected spinning mills which purchased the raw cotton at high prices.

BTMEA leaders led by its president Jahangir Alam placed the demand during a meeting with finance minister AMA Muhith at the secretariat. “We had to buy cotton at a higher price, as a result the spinning mills were affected,” he informed the minister.
They also demanded relief from taxes at source while settling back to back letter of credit (L/C) or local L/C.
“We had to deliver the products as per the value added tax (VAT) Act. The millers have to pay tax at source despite getting the facilities of bill of export or shipping bills. We need relief from tax at source,” Alam said.
to read.
INDEPENDENT

* Legal issues, red tape hold back CETP job at Savar:

The construction of the central effluent treatment plant in the new tannery estate at Savar could not begin because of bureaucratic exercise and legal complexities although an international contractor was selected more than two years ago, officials said.

They said that Chinese firm Jiangsu Lingzhi Environmental Protection Company Limited and local firm Development Construction Limited were given the job of the plant construction on December 5, 2011.
But the settlement of an allegation by unsuccessful bidder Vatech Wabagh Ltd in court and bureaucratic procedures for fund allocation have stopped the progress in the treatment plant construction job for the past two years.
The officials said that they needed at least 18 months from the day the construction would begin one to complete the central effluent treatment plant, without which the relocation of 205 tanneries would not be meaningful.
read more.
BD new age

* Human resources department can’t work properly (3):

In many cases, owners recruit their relatives in important positions. They are less qualified than the professionals. Owners rely on their relative-employees’ information to gather secrets about happenings in the organisation.

Those relatives become shadow owners of the organisation. Genuine professionals suffer from uncertainty and conspiracy if anything makes those relatives unhappy. The professionals eventually compromise with the situation. Ultimately the organisation suffers and employees are deprived of their legal and reasonable benefits.

The team responsible for HR (human resource), Admininstration and Compliance has to perform in the core areas of the company. This team determines required manpower against each job or department.
According to employees’ skills and activities, HR determines their wage grades based on those declared in the Gazette at different times by the Minimum Wage Board and the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
They need theoretical knowledge and practical experience on job skills, performance evaluation, time study, etc.
The team has to comply with labour law and/or factory rules on workers’ recruitment, compensation, health and safety issue, penalty, etc.
Environmental impact assessment is another important field of the team. Electrical fire safety assessment and building integrity are two major issues which require engineering knowledge.
This team with shallow knowledge is no match to external compliance auditors. Their role in factories is like that of the police in the country.
All these are possible because of weak and helpless HR. As a result, the factory suffers from overcrowded workforce with under- employment.
Placement of the right person in the right place is not possible because the HR can’t judge impartially and objectively. Finally, they are to compromise, in many cases, with illogical and unjustifiable requirements from auditors.

The non- or mal-functional HRD (human resource development) harms an organisation in many ways.
One of the most serious case is that it creates a situation where sincere and dedicated employees leave the organisation.
In an organisation, generally three types of ‘yes man’ are very common. They are: flatterers, duffers and inefficient., –

The main task of the flatterers is to satisfy their boss(es). They keep themselves busy for their own development.
Organisational interest is in the least priority for them.
Any action or step they take is for the sake of their personal interest. They do not care for any collective or organisational development but for their own interest. Bosses are also, in most cases, happy with them.
read more.
FE bd

* Tazreen MD, his wife sent to jail on surrender:

A Dhaka court sent Sunday Tazreen Fashions managing director Delwar Hossain, his wife and chairperson of Tazreen Mahmuda Akter to jail hours after they surrendered before it.

The court of Senior Judicial Magistrate Tajul Islam passed the order rejecting their bail petitions in a case over the garment factory’s devastating fire that killed at least 112 workers in 2012.
Their surrender came after 40 days of police hunt to arrest them following a lower court order that on December 31, 2013 issued arrest warrants against them.
Taking homicide charges into cognizance, the court issued the arrest warrants against Tazreen’s six officials including the MD and chairperson, who were shown fugitive in the charge sheet.
read more.
FE bd

* Delwar, wife land in jail after surrender:

A judicial magistrate court in Dhaka on Sunday sent Tazreen Fashions managing director Delwar Hossain and his wife Mahmuda Akter, also the company chairman, to jail. 

Metropolitan magistrate Md Tajul Islam passed the order after the couple surrendered before Dhaka chief judicial magistrate court to seek bail which the court refused to grant.
They are facing charges of committing ‘homicide by negligence’ that had caused 111 deaths in a factory fire on November 24, 2012.
Delwar went into hiding after the police on December 22, 2013 pressed charges against him and his wife, and 11 executives in the factory fire case.
After accepting the charges, the judicial magistrate on December 31 issued warrants for the arrest of six ‘absconding’ accused, including the couple and the police were asked to submit a report on the execution of the order.
read more.
BD new age

* Owners land in jail, finally:

A Dhaka court yesterday sent Tazreen Fashions owner Delwar Hossain and his wife to jail in a case over the country’s worst factory fire that killed 112 workers.

Delwar, managing director, and Mahmuda Akter, chairman of Tazreen Fashions, are first of the garment factory owners to be prosecuted for factory fire.
Hours after sending them to jail, the chief judicial magistrate fixed today for hearing on their bail petitions.
The couple surrendered before the court yesterday to seek bail, after being at large for more than a year after the November 2012 fire in Ashulia. It came six weeks after arrest warrants were issued for them.
Senior Judicial Magistrate Tajul Islam rejected their bail petitions and sent them to prison around 12:20pm.
During yesterday’s proceeding, some 500 workers of Tazreen Fashions demonstrated on the court premises, demanding the death penalty to the couple.
Before the fire incident, Tazreen was making clothes for various international brands, including Walmart of the US.
On December 22 last year, police pressed homicide charges against 13 people, including Delwar and Mahmuda. The accused also face charges of mischief, causing grievous injuries and death by negligence.
read more.
daily star bd

* Tazreen Owners Surrender:

Dhaka court today sent Tazreen Fashions Managing Director Mr. Delwar Hossain and his wife who is its Chairman Mrs. Mahmuda Akter to jail after rejecting their bail petition in a case over the devastating fire that killed 124 workers on 24 November 2012.

The court passed the order, nearly three hours after Delwar and his wife Mahmuda surrendered before it seeking bail in the case.
The surrender came as a lower court had earlier called them a fugitive and issued arrest warrant against them. After the hearing, Senior Judicial Magistrate Tajul Islam sent the accused couple to jail around 12:20pm.

During today’s trial, around 500 workers of Tazreen Fashions Ltd chanted slogans on the court premises demanding death penalty to the factory MD and chairman.
Earlier on December 22 last year, police pressed homicide charges against 13 people including Delwar and Mahmuda in the case.
The accused were also charged with mischief by fire and causing grievous hurt and death by negligence.
read more.

* Tazreen boss Delwar Hossain finally lands in jail:

Senior Judicial Magistrate Tazul Islam rejected the bail petitions and sent them to jail after a hearing

Tazreen Fashions Limited Managing Director Delwar Hossain and his wife Mahmuda Akter Mita, also chairman of the garment factory, were sent to jail yesterday after the couple surrendered to a Dhaka court seeking bail.

Senior Judicial Magistrate Tazul Islam rejected the bail petitions and sent them to jail after a hearing.
Earlier in the day, the duo surrendered before the court and sought bail through their counsel in a case filed over the fire incident of November 24, 2012 when over 111 workers had been killed at the factory in Nishchintapur in Ashulia.

Defence counsel ATM Golam Gaus in the hearing said the Delwar and Mahmuda had not been made accused in the FIR listed since they were not involved in the incident. He also mentioned that over 15,000 workers of Toba group, owned by Delwar, would face problems and the country would incur loss if Delwar was denied bail.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

20140210 * Tazreen owner, wife’s bail verdict at noon:

The managing director and his wife, the chairman, of Tazreen Fashions Limited lodged a bail plea on Sunday morning, what the court will decide on around noon.

Tazreen’s Managing Director Delwar Hossain and his wife Mahmuda Akter Mita, the chairman, filed the plea with a Dhaka court in the morning.
Dhaka Chief Judicial Magistrate Ismail Hossain scheduled the verdict of the plea at noon after completing hearing in this case.
Lawyer ATM Golam Daud represented the Tazreen owner and his wife while the court’s Additional Public Prosecutor Anwarul Kabir Babul represented state.
read  more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

       THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE

* 43 more Rana Plaza victims identified :

More 43 unidentified Rana Plaza victims were identified by the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) test report.

The DNA testing authority on Sunday submitted 43 DNA test reports to the labour and employment ministry, Labour Secretary Mikail Shipar told the Dhaka Tribune on Sunday.
Earlier, the authority submitted 157 DNA testing reports out of 322 DNA samples that were sent to them for identifying the victims testing their DNA samples.
The rest 122 DNA samples are now in the hands of DNA testing authority. It would also be identified shortly, the secretary hoped.
He said the names of the identified victims would be disclosed soon to reduce harassments of the victim families.
read more. & read more.& read more. & read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE   DHAKATRIBUNE    BD new age  daily star bd

* Bangladesh Garment Sromik Shanghoti brought out a procession:

20140210 FE
Bangladesh Garment Sromik Shanghoti brought out a procession in front of the National Press Club in the city Sunday to realise its 7-point charter of demand including compensation to the affected families in the Rana Plaza disaster.
— FE Photo. to see.
FE bd

* Sramik Sanghati demands full list of Rana Plaza victims:

Bangladesh Garment Sramik Sanghati, a body to protect apparel workers’ rights, on Sunday handed over a memorandum to the ministry of labour to press home its seven-point demands that include publication of a full list of the workers killed, wounded or missing in the Rana Plaza collapse at Savar in April, 2013.

The leaders and activists of BGSS, after a rally in front of the Press Club, a marched towards the labour ministry but the police stopped them near the Press Club and allowed a 10-member team, led by its coordinator Taslima Akhter, to give the memorandum to the ministry.
The demands included award of adequate compensation for the dead workers, identification of the bones of the workers found later and the graves according to the DNA reports and exemplary punishment for the people responsible for the building collapse.
read more.
BD new age

18:17:48 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Pakistan releases Rs 1.5bn for textile sector in H1 FY’14:

The Finance Division of the Government of Pakistan has released Pk Rs. 1.5 billion for supporting the textile sector during the first six months of the current fiscal year, Parliamentary Secretary for Cabinet Secretariat Raja Javed Ikhlas told the National Assembly, Radio Pakistan reported.
During a question hour, Mr. Ikhlas informed the house that Pakistan Textile City and Karachi Garment City are being set up to boost the country’s textile and apparel exports.
 The House was additionally informed that land for constructing the Pakistan Textile City has been acquired in Karachi.
read more.
fibre2fashion

 

TIME
20140208-09

21:17:48 local time map of china CHINA

* U.S. to keep anti-dumping duty on Chinese garment hangers despite protests:

The U.S. government decided Friday to maintain an existing anti-dumping duty on steel wire garment hangers imported from China, despite Beijing’s repeated calls for Washington to drop trade protectionism.

Six members of U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) concluded unanimously in a ruling that revoking the current anti-dumping duty orders on Chinese hangers would likely lead to “material injury” to U.S. industries in a foreseeable future.
read more.
XINHUAnet

20:17:48 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Vietnam’s garment exports off to a good start:

Orders placed with garment factories in the first days of the Lunar New Year herald a bonanza for the garment sector, boosted by breakthroughs created by the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement, reported radio The Voice of Vietnam (VOV).

Members of the National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex) customarily place their orders in the first three months and this year’s rise bodes well for 2014 being an opportunistic year for Vietnam tapping into the burgeoning global garment market.

Garment orders
Over recent days, the Duc Giang Garment Company has been busily packing products for export to the EU, the US and Japan. Workers at its 20 factories in Hanoi, Thai Binh, Ha Nam, Thanh Hoa, Thai Nguyen and Hoa Binh provinces are in a cheery rush to fill the orders on the first days of the Year of the Horse.

Many other garment businesses are also sanguine about the prospects for exports this year. They are actively searching for quality domestic materials to reduce dependence on imports, mindful of the need that domestic suppliers ensure delivery of goods on schedule.

This contributes to improving the competitiveness and is attracting more orders from well-known trademarks in Spain, Germany, the UK, the US and Japan.
read more. & read more.
VIETNAMplus VOVonline

* Construction begins on new Vinatex factory:

The Vietnam National Garment and Textile Group (Vinatex) kick-started construction work on a new factory inside the Thanh Loc Industrial Zone in the southern province of Kien Giang on February 7.

The project is part of an effort by the group to reach 5 billion USD in export turnover by 2016.
Covering an area of 36,500 sq.m, the factory will be built at a cost of 150 billion VND (7.05 million USD).
read more.
VIETNAMplus

Year of the Horse hoped to boost leather industry:

Export revenue of bags and suitcases was 1.92 billion USD in 2013, up by 26 percent year-on-year.

Local manufacturers are expecting better growth this year, with increasing global market demand prompting t he Vietnam Leather and Footwear Association (Lefaso) to forecast an export growth of 30 percent for this group in 2014.
According to Lefaso, many foreign enterprises are seeking providers of finished products, and some manufacturing factories are even moving to Vietnam from China and Indonesia to gain access to lower tariffs and a relatively better-skilled workforce.

To benefit from preferential tariffs under various free trade agreements and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, several foreign companies of ancillary industries have also invested in Vietnam.
Nguyen Duc Thuan, Lefaso chairman, told VnEconomy that eight out of the 10 global leading brands had expressed interest in moving their orders to the country.
read more in  BUSINESS IN BRIEF 9/2  (6th item).
VNNet

 20:17:48 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Two of 23 Jailed Protesters Granted Bail; Release Date Unknown:

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Friday morning granted bail to two of the 23 union activists and protesters jailed following the lethal suppression of garment worker strikes by military police on January 3.

Municipal court presiding Judge Leang Samnatt held an unscheduled hearing on Friday morning and decided to grant bail to two of the jailed protesters: garment workers Bou Sarith, 27, and Yon Chea, 17, who are being held at seperate jails in Kompong Cham province. 

Judge Samnatt ordered the directors of both prisons to “release the accused…if they are not under detention orders for committing other offenses,” according to a copy of the court’s release warrant, which was signed by the judge.

The bail order did not specify when the two should be released, but Am Sam Ath, technical supervisor for rights group Licadho, said he was told that the document granting bail had been sent to the General Department of Prisons.
read more.  & read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo CAMHERALD

* Free the 23!:

Clean Clothes Campaign are joining with others around the world in a day of action calling on the Cambodian Government to immediately release the 23 men detained during wage protests at the start of 2014.

A minimum wage should be a wage you can live on.
In December 2013 garment workers in Cambodia went on strike to demand an increase in the monthly minimum wage to USD160 per month, after the national wage board ignored the advice of it’s own committee and only proposed a wage increase to USD 95 – falling far short of a living wage.

On January 2 and 3, 2014 the tensions escalated and police and military used violence against the demonstrators and those caught up in the protests.  At least four people were killed and 39 injured and 23 were detained.

Global day of action
On Monday February 10th around the world activists will be taking their messages to Cambodian Ambassadors around the world.  If you cannot join one of the planned demonstrations but would like to show your support for the detained workers you can send a picture of yourself with a sign saying “Free the 23” and post to our Facebook site.
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Site

20140207 CCC-LICADHO
Monks in Cambodia call for the release of the 23. (photo: Licadho)

* The 23 men detained in Correctional Centre 3 and Kampong Cham Prison, Kampong Cham Province:

Arrested on January 2 and January 3, 2014
In December 2013 garment workers in Cambodia went on strike to demand an increase in the monthly minimum wage to $160 per month.

The strike continued every day into the new year, with increasing numbers of workers joining the protests.
On January 2, 2014, tensions escalated as striking garment workers from factories close to South Korean/U.S.-owned Yakjin factory in Phnom Penh gathered to urge other workers to join the strike.
Special Command Unit 911 was quickly mobilized to suppress the garment factory worker demonstration, brandishing knives, metal pipes, slingshots, batons and AK-47 rifles to intimidate and injure strikers.

Ten people were arrested on January 2, including Vorn Pao, President of IDEA (Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association), Theng Savoeun, Coordinator of CCFC (Coalition of Cambodian Farmer Community), Chan Puthisak, community leader from Boeung Kak Lake, and Sokun Sombath Piseth, staff member at CLaRi-Cambodia (Center for Labor Rights of Cambodia). On January 3, all ten appeared before Phnom Penh Municipal Court charged under Criminal Code Articles 218 and 411 (intentional violence with aggravating circumstances and intentional damage with aggravating circumstances).

That same day, January 3, 2014, mixed security forces (hereafter referred to as ‘security forces’) used live ammunition to clear striking workers in front of Canadia Industrial Park on Veng Sreng Road, resulting in at least four civilian deaths and 38 injuries requiring hospitalization, including 25 who suffered bullet wounds.

Thirteen more men were arrested during the clashes and charged on 4 January under Criminal Code Articles 218 and 411. Three men were additionally charged with Criminal Code Article 502 and Traffic Law Article 78 (Insult addressed to a public official acting in their official capacity and blocking public traffic).
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licadho Site

* National, International unions to hold joint campaign for release of 23 protesters:

National and International labor unionists planned to meet in Phnom Penh and abroad to hold joint campaign for the release of 23 protesters who are currently in jail.

Ath Thon, President of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU), said the unionists would meet at 200 factories throughout the country on February 10, and at Preah Angdong Kouer shrine before they would summit petitions to the Embassies of China, European Union and Unites States.

The petition of the labor union leaders included seven points of demands including release of the 23 detained protesters, the demand of $160 per month, and other demands.

“The activities of the national unionists tomorrow [Monday] would be held to coincide with ones of the unions abroad,” he said.

The international unions appealed to their members in the world to protest in front of the Cambodian embassies abroad on February 10 to seek the release of the detained protesters.
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CAMHERALD

19:17:48 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Gazipur factory catches fire:

A fire has broken out at Delta Spinning Mil factory at Konabari area under Gazipur Sadar Upazila on Sunday.

Gazipur Fire Service and Civil Defence Deputy Director Aktaruzzaman Liton said: “The fire originated at the factory’s generator room at 10am. Firefighters managed to bring the blaze under control around 11am.”

The reason behind the fire and the extent of damage were not known immediately.
No casualties were reported till filing the report around 11:30am.
to read.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* RMG storehouse torched:

On information, firefighters went to the spot and doused the fire
20140209 DHAKATRIBUNE Gazipur-fire
Fire rages at an RMG storehouse at Mawna intersection of Sreepur upazila in Gazipur yesterday

A store house of garment wastage was burnt yesterday at Mawna intersection under Sreepur upazila of the district.

Abdus Sattar , senior station officer of Sreepur fire service and civil defense, said the fire had originated at the garment wastage shop of Abu Hanif and engulfed the adjacent soon.
On information, firefighters went to the spot and doused the fire.
The reason behind the fire and the amount of the loss could not be known immediately.
to read.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Govt under pressure over moves against TUs:

The government is set to face mounting pressure from the western countries over allegation of growing harassment and termination of labour leaders for trying to form trade unions in the readymade garment (RMG) factories, sources said.

The US embassy in Dhaka, in a recent note to the Secretaries Committee on RMG, spoke about increased number of harassment and forced resignation of workers for making moves to form trade unions (TUs).

The Ambassadors of the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Canada, and the Netherlands will meet the Secretaries Committee, headed by Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed on February 13. Secretaries from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Labour are also members of the committee which met the envoys last time on December 30, 2013.

New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Friday also in a statement, quoting some union organisers, said, workers were beaten up, 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.”

In the note, the US embassy said in some cases, the factory management paid money to union leaders and members to convince them to quit their jobs and cease their efforts to form trade unions.

“The embassy wishes to stress once again that it considers such harassment as unacceptable and notes that the Bangladesh law prohibits terminating a worker for engaging in trade union activity,” the note said.

The embassy in the note provided updates on seven cases which the Joint Director of Labour (JDL) investigated months back. Besides, it also mentioned about reports of labour harassment in 12 factories it received from the American Federation of Labour and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).
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FE bd

* Govt urged to be worker-friendly:

Politicians and labour leaders on Friday at a discussion meeting called on the Awami League-led government to be worker-friendly.

The labourers are suffering much as they get the poorest wages and are deprived of their rights, they said.
Jatiya Sramik Jote-Bangladesh, the labour front of Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal faction, led by Hasanul Haq Inu, organised the discussion meeting at Taher Auditorium at its central office in the capital.
The JSD faction president and information minister, Hasanul Haq Inu, said the 10-th parliament would be effective and it would find out the faults of the government and the administration.
The present parliament would be worker-friendly and he called on the workers leaders to place their demands in parliament.
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BD new age

* Child Labor Still Found In Bangladeshi Factories. Horrid Images Of Physical & Verbal Abuse:

On 6 February 2014, a British based news channel known as ITV aired an hour long documentary exposing frightening conditions in some of Bangladesh’s worst sweatshops in downtown Mirpur, Dhaka.

Cramped behind the “Purobi Cinema Hall” in Mirpur Section 7, a ready made garment factory named Olira Fashions Limited was discovered to employ workers as young as 13 years of age – an act which is clearly against the labor law of Bangladesh. A factory without proper fire safety mechanisms, unbearably long hours, irregular overtime payments and over-crowded working space was found to be manufacturing for some of UK’s biggest fashion brands e.g. Lee Cooper Jeans.

In one of the scenes, a supervisor named Hridoy is shown slapping a young under-aged girl forcefully on her face in an effort to make her work faster,

See Video Clip: http://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-news/video-watch-shocking-moment-child-3118925#.UvTIDwAXx9E.facebook

Apart from Olira Fashions Limited, the documentary also takes its viewer to Vase Apparels Limited which is also located at the Mirpur region of Dhaka, in the Senparaparbata area. According to the documentary, Vase Apparels Limited is shown to be producing for Southbay (JD Williams) and BHS Shirts (Arcadia Group), in appalling safety conditions. Not only do they lock the fire exits, this factory is also situated on top of two restaurants, wrapped in overhanging wires, above shops and crowded footpaths.
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* Garment buyers yet to shake off political instability concern:

Shamsur Rahman, managing director of Stylecraft Limited, one of the oldest garment firms in the country, in an interview with New Age on Saturday, talked about the present situation of the country’s garment industry. Interviewed by Ahmed Shawki

New Age: What is the present situation of the garment industry in Bangladesh?

Shamsur Rahman: The industry is going through an anxious time at the moment as there is uncertainty about the political situation among the garment buyers.
The main aim of the buyers is to put merchandises on the shelf on time; it is their priority.
The blockades and other political programmes in the last few months affected the operation in the garment sector badly. Some orders were even shifted from Bangladesh to neighbouring countries due to buyers’ concern over the political situation.
The present calm on the political front is yet to assure the buyers of stability. There are so many things going on at the moment. But I believe the garment industry, especially textiles, have a long way to go and we should focus on the core issues.

NA: How do you see the foreign buyers’ moves towards ensuring workplace safety and other rights of our garment workers?

Shamsur: Most of the buyers are always striving for profit maximisation.
They hardly care about anything else.  Issues like wage hike and labour union formation are being preached by the foreign buyers because of their own interest. Our labours are not educated enough to act after thinking cause and effect of their action; they are easy to be motivated.
I think if formation of labour union is forced on the industry, the operation side [of the industry] will be affected. Ensuring workplace safety and labour welfare should be the most important job of the garment owners but they have to do it with their own consideration.
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BD new age

* Move to launch hotlines for RMG workers to report on safety:

The government has moved to launch hotlines as an effective complaint mechanism for workers to report on violation of their rights, fire and building safety and other related issues.

The ministry of labour and employment in a letter has requested the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC) for two telephone numbers for the purpose, sources have said.
However, apparel makers expressed their apprehension that the hotlines might be misused.

The government’s move to launch the hotlines came in line with the US Action Plan that suggested creation of an effective complaint mechanism, including a hotline, for workers to confidentially and anonymously report on fire and building safety and violation of their rights.
“We have already sought two numbers from the BTRC for the hotlines,” a senior labour ministry official told the FE.
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FE bd

* Bangladesh’s RMG going green to retain competitiveness:

Bangladesh’s readymade garment (RMG) sector has stepped into making factories eco-friendly as demand for green products has been on the rise from the global buyers.

Three manufacturers – ABA Group, Viyellatex and Envoy Textile – have so far introduced green factories reducing harmful emissions, improving energy efficiency, recycling byproducts and bettering waste management.

Some are also on the way to bring the green efforts to their factories, according to the respective factory officials. The sector insiders said the initiative will enhance competitiveness of the Bangladeshi products in the global market.

The renowned brands place high importance on the factory environment and working condition, they said. The Western consumers would also prefer buying products manufactured in factories sensitive to the environment.
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DHAKATRIBUNE

*  Freight forwarders enforce new RMG handling charges:

The freight forwarders have triggered a row with readymade garment exporters as the former raised their charges to the extent of 75 per cent from February 01.

However, the Customs authority has intervened asking all freight forwarders not to enforce the latest charges until today (Sunday).
The Chittagong Customs House (CCH) will meet all stakeholders today on the issue at its office in the port city over the new service charges imposed by the freight forwarders.
But, sources said the freight forwarders will not succumb to any pressure saying they had wanted to implement the hike in charges at least five months earlier.
Freight forwarders continued to realise charges at higher rates ignoring the CCH request.
Some of the freight forwarders hinted that they might start a legal battle against garment factory owners as none can fix rates under a free-market economy.
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FE bd

* Jute goods worth 3.84b lying unsold in 9 Khulna jute mills:

The export of produced jute goods has been halted from 9 state-run jute mills of Khulna region and the goods remain stockpiled in the warehouses of the mills.

The normal export has fallen during the last 3 months due to political unrest. As a result the produced jute goods of about 41,021 metric tonnes worth Tk 3.84 billion has been laying unsold in different warehouses of the mills.
The mills are facing severe financial crisis as the produced jute goods are not exported. Officials said that they could not purchase raw materials due to financial crisis. The officials also anticipate that the production would be suspended within 15/20 days if the finance is not arranged.
Moreover, some jute mills are not able to pay the wages of their workers and one shift is to be shut down to reduce production.
Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) regional office source said that 41,021 metric tonnes produced jute goods has been laying unsold in 9 jute mills of Khulna region till Februay-5.
to read.
FE bd

* Govt moves to restore investors’ confidence:

Road shows, meetings to be held abroad

The government has taken a number of initiatives including road shows to restore confidence of local and foreign investors, officials have said.

“After the general election held last month, the most challenging task for the government is now to restore confidence of entrepreneurs so that they come up with new investments or reinvestments,” said an official concerned.

The Board of Investment (BoI) has planned to hold several meetings on investment with local and foreign entrepreneurs aiming to earn confidence of investors about Bangladesh as one of the most potential places for trade.

“We are going to take various initiatives including two international road shows in the current calendar year to attract new investments”, a director of the BoI told the FE.

He said the BoI was actively looking for local and foreign direct investments (FDI) in sectors like textile, plastic, light engineering, home textile, ICT (information communication technology), software development, ITES, jute and jute goods, pharmaceuticals, hospital  and medical equipment, tourism, infrastructure development and rubber products.
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FE bd

* Garment tech fair starts Wednesday:

A four-day international fair of leading brands in textiles and garment technology, machinery and parts will begin in the capital on Wednesday.

The 11th Dhaka International Textile & Garment Machinery Exhibition will be held from February 12-15 at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka.
Bangladesh Textile Mills Association, Chan Chao Int’l Company Ltd and Yorkers Trade and Marketing Service Company will organise the annual fair.
Over 850 exhibitors will display a wide variety of state-of-the-art textile and garment technology, machinery and parts, organisers said.
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daily star bd

* The wheels of garment industry (1):

Among the basic elements of industrial production–man, machine and materials–managing human beings is the most complicated one.

It is at the core of the matter. Unfortunately, in most of the cases, this core element does not get proper attention from the top rank in the hierarchy of a management. Like any other organisations, the activities of readymade garment factories can be divided into two key functions:

Line – those are directly involved with production, the key function of the industry and  Staff – those who provide assistance to production.

According to the wage grade (Bangladesh Gazettes in 2006, 2010, 2013 on Minimum Wage Board) employees of the readymade garments (RMG) industry are divided into two categories, a) workers – those are differentiated into seven grades (1-7) according to their skills and experiences and b) employees – who are not directly involved in production but they help in production, delivering their services, divided into four different grades (1-4). There are many other important functions which have been skipped in the wage grade.

Readymade garment is a labour-intensive industry. Proper labour management is very important for the industry as cost of wages and salaries is the single highest cost in the manufacturing process.
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FE bd

* HRD plays limited role in RMG sector (2):

Besides the production and personnel issues, the production manager (PM) remained involved in many pre-and-post production activities.

The purchase of machinery and spare parts, maintenance of the equipment, excess materials, especially fabrics, etc. were attractive areas of interest of the production manager.

The production manager had a pivotal role in selling fabrics and left-over garments to local businessmen keeping the owner in the dark. They were involved in many other unethical earnings for themselves. During those times, manual register was maintained. They hid actual working hours and attendance of the workers and showed more attendance in register to earn unethical financial benefits from both sides. The PMs had no required education but gained experience by working in the factories for years.  They were privileged to exercise the power beyond their expectations. Many malpractices were their regular practices. Working even up to midnight was usual and female workers had to stay in the factory for the rest of the night. Corrupt and autocrat PMs abused their power and authority as they wished. Because of these, a negative impression was created about the industry. Absolute power corrupts one absolutely. This trend existed until 2000.

With the increased manpower as business went upwards, it was difficult for the production managers to control the activities beyond their capacity. Increased numbers of employees, their payroll, issuing appointment letters, identity cards (ID), calculation of overtime hours, store, security, loader, etc. were not possible for a single person.

So, the term ‘time keeping’ section got converted to ‘Personnel Department’. But in many cases, functional authority remained with the production manager. Workers were given manual card (time card) which they had to submit to the personnel department in the morning and members of the personnel department punched those cards to confirm workers’ attendance. The role of the personnel department was limited to time-keeping management only.
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FE bd

* Tazreen MD, Chairman sent to jail on surrender:

A court here on Sunday sent Managing director and owner of Tazreen Fashions Delwar Hossain and chairman of the company Mahmuda Akther to jail after rejecting their bail petitions in a case over the devastating fire in the garment factory that claimed over 100 lives in 2012.

Senior judicial magistrate Tajul Islam passed the order after a hearing on their bail petitions.
Earlier in the morning, MD Delwar and his wife Mahmuda surrendered before the Dhaka Chief Judicial Magistrate court and submitted petitions seeking bail.

A Dhaka court on December 31 issued warrants of arrest against six people, including the chairman and the managing director of Tazreen Fashions, in connection with the case.
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UNB INDEPENDENT  BANGLA NEWS24 FE bd daily star bd BD new age

* Tazreen owner, wife sent to jail:

The prosecution will produce 104 witnesses in the case

A Dhaka court on Sunday sent Tazreen Fashions Managing Director Delwar Hossain and his wife Mahmuda Akter Mita, who is also the chairman of the garment factory, to jail, rejecting their bail plea.

The court of Senior Judicial Magistrate Tazul Islam passed the order in the afternoon.
Earlier in the day, Delwar Hossain and his wife surrendered before the Dhaka court seeking bail in a case over their factory fire that killed more than 110 workers.

Earlier on December 31, 2013, a Dhaka Court issued arrest warrants against six fugitive accused, including Tazreen Fashions Limited owners Delwar Hossain and his wife, a year after the tragic deaths of over 110 workers at the factory.

Senior Judicial Magistrate Wasim Sheikh issued the warrants after taking into cognisance the charge sheet filed against 13 people.
The court also ordered the investigation officer and the police station concerned to submit a report before the court whether the fugitive people were arrested or not by February 25.
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DHAKATRIBUNE  BSS

* Bangladesh Garment Factory Owners Surrender Over Deadly Fire:

Owners of a Bangladesh garment factory surrendered to a court Sunday, more than a month after warrants for their arrest were issued over the country’s worst industrial fire that killed 111 workers.

Delwar Hossain and his wife Mahmuda Akter were charged and sought for arrest in December over a 2012 blaze that gutted the Tazreen factory where workers stitched clothes for Western retailers including Walmart.

Prosecutor Anwarul Kabir said the couple handed themselves in to the magistrate’s court in Dhaka and were currently in custody awaiting a bail hearing.
“They have sought bail upon surrendering to the court. The court will hold a hearing on their bail prayers later today,” Kabir told AFP.
Although warrants were issued on December 31, police have not arrested Hossain and Akter who have been living freely in Dhaka. It is unclear why they have now decided to give themselves up.
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jak-globe HIMALAYAN MALAYonLINE Return to frontpage
aljazeera

       THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE

* Relatives of Rana Plaza victims get aid:

UNO Ahsan Habib hands over the cheques of financial assistance to the close relatives of the victims at a function held at his office

Relatives of two more Rana Plaza victims of Sadullapur upazila got financial assistance of Tk400,000 from the Prime Minister’s office on Thursday.

UNO Ahsan Habib handed over the cheques of financial assistance to the close relatives of the victims at a function held at his office.
Tazul Islam, husband of deceased Bulbuli Begum of Zamudanga village, got Tk200,000 while Sumela Begum, mother of Bulbuli Begum of the village and Aduri Begum, mother of deceased Rasheda Begum of Burirvita village of the upazila received Tk one lakh each.

Besides, Shaheda Begum of Gayespur village under Jamalpur union and also wife of victim Azinur Rahman, who was killed in petrol bomb attack during the strike enforced by the BNP led 18-party alliance recently, also got Tk13,000 and a bundle of corrugated iron sheet from the district administration.
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DHAKATRIBUNE BSS

18:47:48 local time map of india INDIA

* Weavers’ villages suffer TB epidemic:

This cluster of poor villages, long known for its colorful silk saris, now is known for something else: tuberculosis. Nearly half of Lohata’s population has it — some 100,000 people — and the community’s weaving tradition is part of the reason it is on the front line of a major Indian health crisis.

The area of Uttar Pradesh state is under unofficial quarantine because of the epidemic. Strangers rarely venture into these villages outside the ancient city of Varanasi. Even rickshaw drivers refuse to enter, turning away the few passengers looking for a lift.

The high rate of TB cases in Lohata is unusual, even for India, where the disease kills about 300,000 people every year. Poverty and malnutrition are factors, but the fact that so many people in Lohata are weavers also is significant, said Dr. J.N. Banavalikar, vice chairman of the TB Association of India, a government agency.

Thousands of sari weavers work all day in cramped rooms, breathing in minute threads that weaken their lungs and make them more susceptible. “They work in poorly ventilated rooms for hours, and that spreads germs very fast,” Banavalikar said.
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AP

* Talks for NTC workers’ wage revision on February 10:

‘Strike has resulted in a loss of Rs. 70 lakh to Rs. 80 lakh a day’

As part of their protests demanding wage revision, workers of the textile mills of National Textile Corporation (NTC) opened a gruel centre at the NTC Housing Colony here on Friday.

Strike
Over 4,500 workers (permanent and non-permanent) of seven NTC mills in the State are on strike from January 21. The strike entered the 18{+t}{+h}day on Friday and the workers have been staging protests seeking an early agreement on the issue.

Demands
They are demanding a monthly increase of Rs. 1,650 for each worker and payment of arrears for one year.
The NTC management has said that it can pay the arrears only for six months.
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Return to frontpage

* Textile industry sees revival as orders grow:

After a prolonged slump, the textile industry has staged a strong comeback on the back of growing revenues and stable profit margins.

Improving textile and apparel demand from large markets, benefits accruing from a falling rupee and the country’s emerging position as a preferred supplier for value-added garments have significantly improved the order visibility.

China’s high cotton costs and rising labour rates have resulted in more orders for textile manufacturers here. Textile exports grew 14.7% year-on-year (y-o-y ) to $21.46 billion (provisional) during April-November 2013. Provisional data showed that the growth in rupee terms was much higher—at 26.3% y-o-y. Apparel exports from India grew 15% y-o-y to $8.2 billion during April-October 2013.

The recovery has been attributed to the recovery in the US economy and a pick-up in growth of some European regions. Rupee fall has improved the competitiveness of exporters vis-a-vis China, Bangladesh and Vietnam.

“We are getting more orders as the US economy has picked up. EU economies have also started to improve,” said A Sakthivel, president, Tirupur Exporters’ Association. The US and EU are the biggest markets for textile exports and account for more than 50% of the shipments.
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TOInew

* All help offered for handloom sector:

20140209 theHINDU
Industries Minister P.K. Kunhalikutty tries his hand at a traditional loom displayed at Marine ground after the inauguration of a national handloom expo on Saturday. Photo: K. Ragesh

Showcasing the nation’s handloom splendour, a three-week handloom garment expo commenced at Marine Ground here on Saturday. Industries Minister P.K. Kunhalikutty inaugurated the fair, which will showcase traditional looms and equipment as well.

Financial aid
Mr. Kunhalikutty said the State government was keen on extending financial support to the handloom sector to enable modernisation, product diversification, and strategic marketing. These were essential for a sector such as handloom to survive, he said.
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Return to frontpage

18:47:48 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* Sri Lankan garment exports lose market share:

Sri Lanka’s garment industry is losing market share in its key export destinations, the US and the EU, to its competitors from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Vietnam and Cambodia, according to a report by the Colombo-based Institute of Policy Studies.

“Despite considerable increases in absolute export earnings to both and US and EU markets, it is of concern to note that Sri Lanka’s relative market share in garment exports has been losing ground.
The increase in export earnings over the years has been due largely to a shift in Sri Lankan garment exports from the US to EU,” the IPS said in its report, ‘Sri Lanka: State of the Economy 2012’.
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tamil_guardian

* ‘Sri Lankan garments have reached niche status’:

Sri Lanka has now achieved niche status as regards garment manufacture. She is reputed for her high quality workmanship and is noted globally for her up-market products, Intertek Country Head for Sri Lanka Manish Kumar said.

Speaking to ‘The Island Financial Review’ recently in an exclusive interview Kumar said that as a frequent visitor to Sri Lanka over the years, he has seen this country increase its stature as a garment manufacturer. He predicted that Sri Lanka’s garment production, in terms of volume, would witness an increase in the days ahead.

Intertek, based in the UK, is a leading provider of quality and safety solutions to a wide range of industries, including the garments sector. It expanded its presence to the garments industry in Sri Lanka when on February 6 it launched an ISO 17025-approved textiles and apparel testing laboratory in Battaramulla ( see page 3 for story).
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island

* Pakistan boosts Sri Lanka handloom textile industry:

The opening of the handloom textile training project and the textile village at Kottala-Meerigama took place last week as facilitated by the Pakistan Government.

Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, who participated at the event, said that while many countries tend to forget the village when reaching development goals, Sri Lankan Government treats both urban and rural areas equally since its programs are centered around the individual and the family.

The program will provide training courses, handlooms and other necessary equipment, technological assistance, new designs as well as a market for the products, the Minister said.
Pakistan’s High Commissioner Casim Kureshi said that Pakistan-Sri Lanka ties have been strengthened through economic and trade cooperation. Pakistan’s export textiles generate US dollars 12.6 million annually.
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theNATION SL

Sri Lanka’s footwear and leather industry booming:

Sri Lanka’s footwear and leather sector has shown a remarkable growth in the last year with exports surging over 63 percent from the previous year.

The total Leather and Leather Product exports stood at US$ 51 million in 2013 increasing 63.5% from the US$ 31.19 million earned in the previous year.
“Our footwear and leather exports have shown a strong growth trend,” Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiyutheen said Friday addressing the inauguration of the sixth edition of the Footwear and Leather Fair at the BMICH.
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colombo

18:17:48 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Pakistan enjoys huge advantage over India in cotton textiles:

Pakistan enjoys huge advantage over India in cotton textiles still All Pakistan Textile Mills association -the premier textile trade body of the country has conveyed its serious reservation regarding Non- Discriminatory Market Access (NDMA) to India under current scenario.

According to reports Pakistan is ready to accord non discriminatory market access to India by the second week of February have created ripples in the manufacturing circles of Pakistan, though the Govt has denied the same but has not refuted eventually doing so in nearest future.
The APTMA and particularly some large textile tycoons have up till now been favoring opening of trade with our next door neighbor. However in a letter written to the Commerce Secretary even APTMA has shown reservation on this issue.

“Look at the hunger of thousands of Indians that visit Lahore through Wagah” said one textile entrepreneur adding that their first destinations in Lahore are the fabric markets selling Pakistani cotton lawn.
He said even the trade delegations that visit Pakistan request the organizers to arrange a visit to Anarkli so that they could buy the Pakistani lawn for their wives and daughters.
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PAKOBSERVER

* GSP Plus status to boost pace of economic development in Pakistan:

President of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry Engineer Suhail Lashari has said that the GSP Plus status would boost the pace of the economic development in the country which is crucial for Pakistan.

Talking to Radio Pakistan, he said that the government policies have been devised in the best interest of the economy but the pace of putting them in action remains slow.
Lashari said that tax reforms should be introduced with handsome incentives and cheaper things’ production should be to expand the volume of exports.
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BUSINESSRECORDER

*  ‘Pakistan has edge over India in cotton’:

Experts point out that Pakistan enjoys huge advantage over India in cotton textiles, still All Pakistan Textile Mills Association -the premier textile trade body of the country has conveyed its reservation regarding non-discriminatory market access (NDMA) to India under the current scenario, a statement said.

The reports that Pakistan is ready to accord non-discriminatory market access to India by the second week of February have created ripples in the manufacturing circles of Pakistan, though the government has denied the same but has not refuted eventually doing so in the nearest future, it said.
Aptma and particularly some large textile tycoons have up till now been favouring opening of trade with the next door neighbour.
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thenewspk

  map of asia ASIA

* The Challenges of Running Responsible Supply Chains:

Horrific factory tragedies often prompt powerful public calls for reform, and the Rana Plaza fire that killed more than 1,100 garment workers in Bangladesh almost a year ago is no exception.

Bangladesh is the poster child for the global apparel industry. It is the world’s second-largest exporter of clothing after China. Its factories employ four million workers, supplying retail giants like Benetton, Walmart, J.C. Penney and H&M. About 90 percent of these workers are women, and they earn wages that are among the lowest in the developing world.
Yet for them, a job in the garment industry is often the only job available and a possible step out of grinding poverty. Apparel wages in many countries, including Bangladesh, are often higher than wages in alternative employment.

At a dreadful human cost, the Rana Plaza tragedy has led to some beneficial changes. To protect their brands and reputations, American and European corporations have scrambled to reduce the risks of similar calamities.
Several big European companies have signed an Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, which includes binding commitments and financial obligations to make factories safer and submit them to independent inspectors.
Major retailers in the United States have signed a similar but less-ambitious agreement known as the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety.

Both groups have cooperated to establish a fire safety and structural integrity standard for the factories with which they do business.
American companies have committed to completing inspections at more than 700 factories to assess their compliance with the new standard by the middle of this year. This will be a formidable task.
There is a shortage of trained inspectors in Bangladesh, and at the end of January only about 30 percent of the required inspections were done.
(…)
Self-regulation and voluntary codes of conduct by large multinational companies are essential, but they aren’t enough to eliminate abusive labor practices. Even when multinational buyers use their bargaining power to push suppliers to maintain high standards of safety and fair treatment, they deal directly only with first-tier and possibly second-tier suppliers. The complete supply chain is much bigger than that.

Sustained progress to improve working conditions in global supply chains requires engagement on all fronts: by multinational buyers, national governments, local factory owners, labor, consumers and international organizations. Better Work, a joint venture of the International Labor Organization and the International Finance Corporation, is an example of what is needed.

Better Work provides public factory-level assessments of garment industry conditions in eight nations, including Cambodia, Indonesia, Nicaragua and Haiti. It has just initiated a program for Bangladesh. Each Better Work program is a voluntary partnership with the national government, employers, workers and international buyers.
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NYT

 

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

HEADLINES:

20140210
THAILAND
* Silk producers hope to weave new image

CAMBODIA
* Day before appeal: Groups take to the streets
* When Freedom Meets Oppression: Timeline of Recent Events
* Bailed Garment Workers Speak of Injustice Ahead of March
* Supporters of 21 to march to embassies
* Court under pressure to free 23 protesters in jail

MALAYSIA
* MTUC wants RM300 Cola

BANGLADESH
* Legal steps against people hindering TU in RMG units
* The economics of min wage: Good intentions, bad outcomes
* ILO team visiting BD to develop detailed plan
* ILO appreciates govt for RMG measures
* ILO welcomes upgrade of labour inspectorate
* Govt steps forward to meet factory safety standards
* US finds no tangible progress in executing its Action Plan
* US Senate hears on Bangladesh Feb 11
* Apparel team goes to Vietnam today to see workers’ rights there
* Sharp rise in foreign traders’ arrival in recent weeks
* BTMEA demands 5% cash incentive
* Legal issues, red tape hold back CETP job at Savar
* Human resources department can’t work properly (3)
THE TAZREEN FACTORY FIRE:
* Tazreen MD, his wife sent to jail on surrender
* Delwar, wife land in jail after surrender
* Owners land in jail, finally
* Tazreen Owners Surrender
* Tazreen boss Delwar Hossain finally lands in jail
* Tazreen owner, wife’s bail verdict at noon
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE:
* 43 more Rana Plaza victims identified
* Bangladesh Garment Sromik Shanghoti brought out a procession
* Sramik Sanghati demands full list of Rana Plaza victims

PAKISTAN
* Pakistan releases Rs 1.5bn for textile sector in H1 FY’14

20140208-09
CHINA
* U.S. to keep anti-dumping duty on Chinese garment hangers despite protests

VIET NAM
* Vietnam’s garment exports off to a good start
* Construction begins on new Vinatex factory
* Year of the Horse hoped to boost leather industry

CAMBODIA
* Two of 23 Jailed Protesters Granted Bail; Release Date Unknown
* Free the 23!
* The 23 men detained in Correctional Centre 3 and Kampong Cham Prison, Kampong Cham Province
* National, International unions to hold joint campaign for release of 23 protesters

BANGLADESH
* Gazipur factory catches fire
* RMG storehouse torched
* Govt under pressure over moves against TUs
* Govt urged to be worker-friendly
* Child Labor Still Found In Bangladeshi Factories. Horrid Images Of Physical & Verbal Abuse
* Garment buyers yet to shake off political instability concern
* Move to launch hotlines for RMG workers to report on safety
* Bangladesh’s RMG going green to retain competitiveness
* Freight forwarders enforce new RMG handling charges
* Jute goods worth 3.84b lying unsold in 9 Khulna jute mills
* Govt moves to restore investors’ confidence
* Garment tech fair starts Wednesday
* The wheels of garment industry (1)
* HRD plays limited role in RMG sector (2)
THE TAZREEN FACTORY FIRE:
* Tazreen MD, Chairman sent to jail on surrender
* Tazreen owner, wife sent to jail
* Bangladesh Garment Factory Owners Surrender Over Deadly Fire
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE:
* Relatives of Rana Plaza victims get aid

INDIA
* Weavers’ villages suffer TB epidemic
* Talks for NTC workers’ wage revision on February 10
* Textile industry sees revival as orders grow
* All help offered for handloom sector

SRI LANKA
* Sri Lankan garment exports lose market share
* ‘Sri Lankan garments have reached niche status’
* Pakistan boosts Sri Lanka handloom textile industry
* Sri Lanka’s footwear and leather industry booming

PAKISTAN
* Pakistan enjoys huge advantage over India in cotton textiles
* GSP Plus status to boost pace of economic development in Pakistan
* ‘Pakistan has edge over India in cotton’

ASIA
* The Challenges of Running Responsible Supply Chains

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