23:58:26 local time VIET NAM
* EU lowers tax on footwear imports:
Tariffs on Vietnam’s footwear exported to the EU will be cut from 13-14 percent to 3-4 percent this year, according to Chinhphu.vn.
This move is intended to bring the country’s footwear exports in line with the EU’s generalised system of preferences (GSP).
To capitalise on the new regulation, which gives developing countries unilateral tariff preferences for the 2014-16 period, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has directed local footwear producers to design long-term investment policies that will help boost domestic sources of materials and develop ancillary industries.
read more. & read more.
* Leather and footwear sector keeps leading post: paper:
Pursuing a development strategy aimed at promoting both quantitative and qualitative growth, the Vietnamese leather and footwear sector continues to maintain the position as one of the top leather footwear exporters in the world. Report by the Vietnam Economic News.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) and free trade agreements (FTAs) are expected to open bright prospects for the sector in the near future.
Increases in quantity and quality
2013 was a year full of hardships, but tremendous results were achieved by the Vietnamese leather and footwear sector. Businesses in the sector achieved an impressive export growth rate of 30 percent in October 2013 after decreases in four consecutive months. The yearly export value reached over 10.30 billion USD (footwear: over 8.36 billion USD, up 15.2 percent compared with 2012; handbags, suitcases, headwear and umbrellas: nearly 1.94 billion USD, up 27.6 percent).
* Citing trade negotiations, 11 US Congress members demand release of labor activists:
Today, (11 Feb.) eleven members of the House of Representatives joined a public letter to Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang calling for the release of three imprisoned labor rights activists.
Among the signatories are Representatives Frank Wolf and James McGovern, the Co-Chairs of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, and Representative Chris Van Hollen, who adopted the case as part of the Commission’s Defending Freedoms Project.
Arrested in 2010, Do Thi Minh Hanh, Doan Huy Chuong, and Nguyen Quoc Hung are currently serving between seven and nine years in prison as a result of their activism on behalf of workers.
The Vietnamese government arrested the trio after they attempted to organize striking workers at a shoe factory in My Phong and distributed leaflets with the workers’ demands.
During the trial, the government denied Do, Doan, and Nguyen access to lawyers and prevented them from speaking in their own defense.
All three have been beaten and forced to perform hard labor–Do in particular is deaf in one ear as a result of the beatings and is believed to be suffering from breast cancer.
23:58:26 local time CAMBODIA
* Brands set for gov’t sit-down:
Global brands Puma and H&M are among a group of international buyers set to meet Cambodian government officials in Phnom Penh on Wednesday, only weeks ahead of planned labour action that could see thousands of apparel workers stay home.
The scheduled sit-down comes just a month after 30 brands and international unions sent a letter calling on the government to address several labour rights issues in the Kingdom.
A spokeswoman for Puma yesterday confirmed that a representative for the company would be among those meeting with a deputy prime minister on February 19, but declined to answer questions regarding the meeting’s topic. A spokeswoman for Swedish clothing brand H&M also confirmed the company will send a delegate, but declined to go into further detail.
While neither brand representative identified which deputy prime minister they are scheduled to meet, Keat Chhon, one of several to carry that title, is now heading a government committee to investigate minimum wages.
* Government Sets Deadline for Trade Union Law :
Representatives of the International Labor Organization (ILO) on Thursday met with Labor Ministry officials to discuss the draft trade union law, which the government plans to put into effect by the end of 2014, an ILO representative said.
Tun Sophorn, the ILO’s national coordinator in Cambodia, said an ILO industrial relations specialist and an ILO international labor specialist met with Ministry of Labor Secretary of State Mam Vannak, the head of the team reviewing the draft law, and other government officials at the ministry Thursday afternoon.
“The trade union law has been a draft for two years or more already. The government was so busy lately and not moving forward. So we wanted to follow up. The government wants this law adopted by the end of this year. Their timeline is set at that,” said Tun Sophorn, the ILO’s national coordinator in Cambodia.
“[The government] wants to review the current draft internally, but also for us, we want to see the final draft before it is submitted again to the Council of Ministers. We want it to be reviewed by trade unions and employers,” he added.
* Workers’ journey still perilous:
Sixty-seven garment and footwear workers were killed in traffic accidents during commutes to factories in 2013, up from 49 in 2012, a report from the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) said yesterday.
The increase came despite the efforts of a government working group to educate truck drivers not to cram scores of workers in their trays.
“When we have educated them, some drivers who transport 50 workers now take only 20 or 30, because we told them to install seats,” said Preap Chan Vibol, from the Ministry of Public Works.
But the spike in deaths, as well as 729 serious injuries, has prompted the Ministry of Labour to call for factories to sign contracts with drivers, believing more formal relationships with them will lead to better safety.
“Mostly the drivers are the main cause of these traffic accidents, because they are not skilled and they are immature,” Minister of Labour Ith Sam Heng said in the NSSF’s report summary. “Some do not have driver’s licences and carry 60 to 70 people.”
* From Cambodia’s prisons, workers’ voices are still being heard:
In Cambodia, 23 workers have been jailed. Their demands were far from criminal: a liveable minimum wage.
Earlier this week, trade unions from around the world rallied in front of Cambodian embassies for the release of the jailed workers and for a liveable minimum wage.
In Cambodia, the minimum wage is now US$100 per month. According to a government-backed study, a wage of between US$157-177 is minimum required to allow people to meet their minimum monthly needs.
Yet, making the minimum wage a living wage is not the priority of Cambodian authorities.
Between 2-3 January 2014, heavily armed police, military and paid thugs resorted to violence and intimidation to quash peaceful strikes and demonstrations for an adequate minimum wage of up to US$160.
* Cambodia garment worker dreams of better future:
Garment factories are the backbone of Cambodia’s economy, yet the people working the sewing machines make just a few dollars a day. Chem Chan is one of them, who despite hardship holds out hope for a better life.
On Sunday, the Prek Tea traditional market near Phnom Penh’s airport is alive with the sounds of shouting vendors, TVs in cafés and the busy cleavers of fruit sellers. Chem Chan is in the middle of all this controlled chaos, shopping and running errands. Sunday is the only day she can take care of practical matters. During the other six days of the week, the 25-year-old is sitting behind a sewing machine in one of the many garment factories in the area. Her days start when she gets up at 5 a.m. and often end when she leaves the factory at 8 or 10 p.m.
“Then I come home, eat food left over from lunch, and go to bed,” she says. “Then I get up again at five the next morning.”
This exhausting regimen is a reality for the majority of Cambodia’s approximately 600,000 garment workers. Most of them are young women from poor, rural families who have come to the factories where they can earn more money than they could in their home villages. Still, sewing clothes for international brands like H&M and Gap earns them only around $3.33 a day, unless they work four to six hours of overtime after each shift. Then if they’re lucky, they might make around $125 (around 92 euros) a month.
* During ‘Free the 23’ Protests, Where Was CNRP?:
Late last month, protesters calling for the release of 23 imprisoned workers and activists clashed with district security guards on Phnom Penh’s Norodom Boulevard.
Batons, rocks and punches were thrown, and a handful of people on both sides were left bruised and bloodied.
Later that week, opposition leader Sam Rainsy posted video and photos to his Facebook page showing him skiing down a gentle slope amid the snow-covered alpine mountains of Switzerland.
“Preferring helmets and batons in Switzerland [rather] than in Cambodia,” one Facebook user commented dryly, referring to the opposition leaders ski equipment.
“The country is having problem, CNRP president Sam Rainsy was skiing and happy. How can we trust [him] if Mr. president has an idea like that?” wrote another.
“He has sacrificed a lot of his time for the country,” retorted another Facebook user. “He deserves some fun time when going through all the stress in politics.”
Mr. Rainsy had lobbied at garment factory gates on the dusty outskirts of Phnom Penh in December urging workers to strike for a higher minimum wage. But, with 21 of those protesters now in jail awaiting trial, the CNRP’s absence from rallies to have them freed is more than a little noticeable.
And even when Mr. Rainsy has been in the country, the CNRP has been notably absent from marches and rallies to help free the original 23 strike protesters.
23:28:26 local time BURMA/MYANMAR
* Myanmar conducting survey to set minimum wage:
Research groups in cooperation with the International Labour Organization are conducting a survey to set a minimum wage for workers, according to a national committee.
The groups comprising officials from Myanmar Development Resource Institute and Myanmar Marketing and Research Development are working in Yangon, Mandalay and Bago regions. A similar survey will also be made in other states and regions, including the capital Nay Pyi Taw.
Researchers are collecting data about the present salaries and wages of the workers as well as their daily expenses. The survey will also include the flow of migrant workers to neighbouring countries and the impact on domestic workers.
According to the researchers, setting a minimum wage includes many things such as commodity prices, services, workers’ production capacity, national economic status, consumer demand, inflation rate and how employers can afford to pay salaries.
The Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Welfare will submit a proposal on a minimum wage to parliament before the end of 2014.
* Calculating a Living Wage:
A regional calculation of a living wage is necessary in order to ensure workers receive a decent wage. The Asia Floor Wage calculates a floor level that no wage in Asia should drop below.
A Living Wage calculation across a region is key in ensuring workers receive a decent wage, but also that wage differences do not mean companies pull out of one country to move manufacturing to a country with lower costs – the so called race to the bottom.
Living wage calculations must take into account some common factors including the number of family members to be supported, the basic nutritional needs of a worker and other basic needs including housing, healthcare, education and some basic savings.
Clean Clothes Campaign is part of the Asia Floor Wage Alliance – an alliance of Asian trade unions and labour groups who have calculated a living wage formula for Asia.
The 2013 Asia Floor Wage figure is PPP$725.
Click here to see how this translates to local currencies.
The Asia Floor Wage Alliance base their calculations on the following assumptions:
* A worker needs to be able to support themselves and two other “consumption units” (1 Consumption unit = 1 adult or 2 children)
* An adult requires 3,000 calories a day to be able to carry out their work.
* In Asia food costs account for half a workers monthly outgoings.
The Asia Floor Wage is calculated in PPP$ – Purchasing Power Parity $, which are an imaginary World Bank currency built on the consumption of goods and services by people, allowing standard of living between countries to be compared regardless of the national currency.
The Asia Floor Wage Alliance carry out regular food basket research in the region to calculate new Asia Floor Wage figures.
* FWF Wage Ladder:
Straight to the FWF Wage Ladder
Download the quick guide here
Payment of a living wage is one of FWF’s eight labour standards.
A living wage means that workers’ basic needs, including food, clothing, housing, healthcare and education, are met. The idea is simple: people who work a normal working week should be able to make a living.
The export-oriented garment industry has great potential to lift millions of workers worldwide out of poverty. In most low-cost production countries, however, wages are too low for workers to meet basic needs, like food, shelter, and health care. The obvious answer to relieving the poverty of workers participating in garment supply chains is to find mechanisms that increase the wages of those at the bottom of the supply chain.
While global garment supply chains generate enormous wealth, improving wages, has proven a challenge. Progress has stalled in discussions about what, exactly, constitutes a living wage. Sidestepping these discussions, FWF has developed a web-based tool that will help garment brands and factories to gradually improve workers’ wages.
A first step is to find out what wages are in a certain factory, how they relate to various wage benchmarks and to wages in other factories. To make these comparisons possible, FWF has developed the Wage Ladder, an innovative online tool that helps brands, factories, trade unions and NGOs to work towards living wages for garment and other workers.
Read more in the FWF Living Wage policy or in the Wage Ladder Background Study.
22:58:26 local time BANGLADESH
* Dangerous Silence:
Retail operations run by the U.S. government are buying clothing from unsafe and abusive factories
In a year when the tragedies at Rana Plaza and Tazreen Fashions have spurred both governments and private retailers and apparel brands to take action for a safer Bangladeshi garment industry, retail operations run by the U.S. government have been conspicuously quiet.
The U.S. military exchanges use some of the same factories as private retailers and brands to make their own private-label apparel in Bangladesh and operate more than 1,100 retail stores on military installations in all 50 states and more than 30 countries around the world. As large buyers of apparel and as agents of the U.S. government, the military exchanges should lead by example and take responsibility for safe working conditions in their supply chains.
Subsidized by U.S. taxpayers, the military exchanges are also important emissaries of American values and have a special responsibility to reflect those values in their purchasing. While the exchanges provide important services to members of the military and their families by offering low-cost merchandise and by directing its profits into morale, welfare and recreation programs, these services should not come at the cost of unsafe working conditions for the workers who make the apparel they buy.
However, the International Labor Rights Forum(ILRF) has learned that the military exchanges are, in effect, “flying blind,” sourcing their private-label clothing from factories in Bangladesh without taking any independent action to investigate or remedy safety hazards and illegal conditions.
read more. & read more. & read more.
* Canadian firms lag in joining Bangladesh safety accord:
While companies throughout the US and Europe continue to join an accord that legally obliges them to improve working conditions in Bangladesh garment factories, most Canadian retailers are rejecting the initiative, a top Canadian newspaper reports.
Just one Canadian company, Loblaw, has signed on to theAccord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, compared to 18 major UK companies and 11 Australian retailers, Toronto Star quotes Alan Roberts, the accord’s international operations executive director, as saying.
“Canada is far behind on the idea of corporate social responsibility,” Roberts said in an interview. “Most Canadian companies today are where UK companies were in the mid-1990s.
read more. & read more.
* Accord unhappy over Canada’s reluctance to sign its initiative:
The Accord, a platform of mostly UK buyers, has expressed its dissatisfaction over Canada’s reluctance in signing its initiative to improve working conditions and safety standards in Bangladesh’s apparel industry, a leading Canadian daily reported Thursday.
The initiative is a five-year legally binding agreement between International Labour Organisation (ILO), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and retailers engaged in the textile industry to maintain minimum safety standards in the Bangladesh textile industry.
Toronto Star, one of the most-circulated dailies in Canada, published the news on the day on its World Section under the headline “Canadian firms lag in joining Bangladesh safety accord” saying that most Canadian retailers are rejecting the initiative while companies throughout the US and Europe continue to join an accord.
Quoting the Accord’s international operations executive director Alan Roberts, the report said just one Canadian company, Loblaw, has signed on to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, compared to 18 major UK companies and 11 Australian retailers.
* Bangladesh Accord reaches 150 signatory marks:
‘The Accord’s extensive inspection programme will help eradicate dangerous workplaces for some of the world’s most vulnerable workers’
The number of signatories to the Accord on Fire and Building and Safety in Bangladesh has already grown up to 150.
“We are delighted to have reached this milestone so soon. It shows the strength of commitment to the Accord’s aims from a truly international spread of companies. We look forward to more companies joining the Accord,” said Alan Roberts, Executive Director of Bangladesh Accord for International Operations, in a recent statement.
The Accord’s extensive inspection programme will help eradicate dangerous workplaces for some of the world’s most vulnerable workers, said Roberts.
“The businesses that have signed up to the Accord’s legally-binding agreement include many household names, spanning the globe.
* A CONTRACT TO END DEATHTRAPS- NO ONE SHOULD DIE FOR FASHION:
North Face and its parent company, VF Corporation, have spent years evading responsibility for worker safety to maximize profit at all cost – even the cost of a human life. As a result, since 2005 more than 1,800 garment workers have died in preventable factory disasters.
Together with Bangladeshi workers, students on more than 150 college campuses are declaring that they’ve had enough. United Students Against Sweatshops is calling on North Face/VF Corporation to take responsibility for the safety of their workers and sign a contract to end deathtraps — the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh.
After months of campaigning by USAS and its union allies, more than 150 companies, including American Eagle, H&M, and Adidas, have signed the Accord. However, VF Corporation, the largest branded apparel manufacturer in the world, has refused to sign.
Join us in taking action to end this senseless string of industrial disasters in Bangladesh. Join us to End North Face Deathtraps.
* BB can help RMG factories recoup losses: Top banker:
The government through the central bank can help the owners of garment factories recover the heavy losses caused by political instability across the country last year, says a top banker.
“There’s no long-term fund to help the garment sector in recovering their losses. It’s also not possible for the banks to relax loan reschedule rules for big loans,” M Ehsan Khasru, Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Prime Bank, told UNB.
The Bangladesh Bank can help the garment factories which were affected badly due to turbulent politics last year.
Khasru, however, said loan rescheduling rules can be relaxed for SME and short-term loans.
Reminding the due role of banks, he said banks need to understand where they are making returns, rather than simply looking at the volumes of profits.
read more. & read more. & read more.
* Efforts on to get back GSP soon: Tofail:
Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed on Thursday said efforts are on to fulfill all the US conditions to get back the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) facility soon.
“Bangladesh has three more conditions out of 16 to fulfil to get back the GSP facility to the US market,” Tofail told reporters after he met leaders of International Business Forum of Bangladesh (IBFB) at the Secretariat, reports BSS.
IBFB president Hafizur Rahman Khan led the 26-mmeber delegation.
read more. & read more.
* Most conditions met : Tofail:
Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said Thursday Bangladesh would fulfil all the conditions required for revival of the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) facilities by next month. It would send a report to the United States by April to help restore the benefit.
“We have already fulfilled 13 conditions out of 16. The rest will be fulfilled by March 30. We will send a report on it to the US by April 15,” he said at a meeting with the delegation of International Business Forum of Bangladesh (IBFB) at his secretariat office on the day.
Hafizur Rahman Khan, president of IBFB, led the 26-member delegation.
The commerce minister expressed the hope that Bangladesh would regain the GSP facilities from the US soon as it has fulfilled almost all the conditions.
“I hope Bangladesh will get back GSP facilities from the US soon as the country has fulfilled almost all the conditions, including those related to occupational safety and workers’ rights, raised by the US,” he said, adding that if the US decided against restoration it could be due to political reasons.
* All conditions to be fulfilled to get back GSP soon: Muhith:
Finance Minister AMA Muhith today said all conditions would be fulfilled to get back the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) soon from the US.
“If Bangladesh does not get back the trade facility even after fulfilling all conditions, then it has to understand there was a political reason,” he said at an award giving ceremony of T-20 school sports competition here.
District deputy commissioner M Shahidul Islam was, among others, present on the occasion at the district stadium.
Muhith said Bangladesh’s economy will not suffer if the US does not revive the GSP facility for Bangladesh as the country has the capability to earn 600 million US dollars from export.
Later, the minister distributed awards among the winners of the competition.
to read. & read more.
* GSP Issue: All eyes now on March-end deadline:
Int’l community, press to monitor improvements in labour, safety issues
Bangladesh needs to demonstrate the real progress in enhancement of labour standards and factory safety fulfilling the remaining conditions related to GSP Action Plan and Sustainability Compact by March-end deadline and before the first anniversary of Rana Plaza tragedy, said top diplomats here on Thursday.
They said though there has been some progress, lot more needs to be done mentioning that the international community, including the global press, will monitor the progress very closely.
The diplomats said all the focuses are now on the March deadline to fulfill the remaining conditions outlined in the GSP Action Plan, and the first Rana Plaza tragedy anniversary on April 24.
The three diplomats came up with the observations after a meeting with the Commerce, Labour and Foreign secretaries that held at the Foreign Ministry.
read more. & read more. & read more.
* Recruit 200 factory inspectors by March:
Suggest 5 envoys to regain GSP from US, confidence of EU
Five foreign mission chiefs yesterday gave the government until the end of March to show some visible progresses towards enhancement of labour rights and factory safety, including the recruitment of 200 factory inspectors.
The focus is on the end of March deadline as the international community would be calling in April to observe the first anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse, Dan Mozena, US ambassador to Bangladesh, said after the meeting with commerce, foreign affairs and labour secretaries.
The secretaries presented the progress made on the 16-point action plan from the Obama administration for regaining the Generalised System of Preferences status, suspended on June 27 last year on grounds of poor labour rights and workplace safety.
* 5 ambassadors meet 3 key secretaries:
BD under the lens over progress in RMG sector after Rana Plaza collapse
Bangladesh will be under the watchful eye of the whole world, regarding the progress made in the readymade garment sector, on the anniversary of Rana Plaza.
“It is very important that we are able to demonstrate results particularly by the anniversary of Rana Plaza, because the international community will be looking at this anniversary very very closely,” Canadian High Commissioner Heather Cruden said.
She made the comments after a meeting on the RMG industry, held with three secretaries and five ambassadors, at the Foreign Ministry yesterday.
Secretaries of commerce, labour and foreign affairs; and envoys of the US, EU, Canada, Germany and the Netherlands; and officials from different government agencies; and the JICA, ILO, US Alliance and EU Accord took part in the meeting.
The tragedy of Rana Plaza caught the attention of the whole world as the industrial accident caused the deaths of over 1,100 workers, mostly females.
“There will be a lot of press, there will be a lot of visitors from countries that are buying garments. In terms of progress, I think we will be assessing that on the anniversary of Rana Plaza,” she said.
* Bangladesh tops list of cotton-deal defaulters :
Mills in Bangladesh, which have had the highest number of defaults since 2011, were left high and dry as prices more than halved from the March 2011 peaks
Bangladesh has the world’s longest list of defaulters on cotton deals with overseas suppliers – an issue that prevents importers from sourcing cotton.
A total of 96 textile mills of Bangladesh failed to make payments to the suppliers in due time, putting the country on top of the default list, according to February 4 update of International Cotton Association (ICA).
In its previous update in July last year, the country was also on top with 93 defaulters.
Textile mills in Bangladesh had the highest number of defaults since 2011 when the tide of contract defaults stemmed due to the wild volatility in cotton prices.
India is just behind Bangladesh with its 88 companies defaulting, followed by China with 84, Brazil 55 and Pakistan 50 companies, said the ICA, the world’s leading international cotton trade association and arbitral body based in Liverpool, UK.
* China to invest US$ 13.64m in Uttara EPZ:
China is set to invest US$ 13.64 million to set up a leather goods industry at the Uttara Export Processing Zone in Nilphamari, a press release of Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority (BEPZA) said.
The enterprise — M/s. Kin Selection Product Manufacturers (BD) – will be a 100 per cent foreign owned company, with an annual production capacity of about 7.9 million pieces of various leather goods.
The company will create employment opportunities for about 6000 Bangladeshi nationals. The products, the company will produce, include wallets, handbags, purses, belts, cosmetics bags, stationery sets, keychains, travel tab, evening bags, clutches, cases, ID lanyards, wristlet pouches and briefcases.
read more. & read more.
* Investors still observing country’s political developments for fresh or reinvestment:
A good number of investors both local and joint venture companies are still observing the political developments in the country for fresh or reinvestment.
Insiders said they are not coming forward with new or reinvestment plans fearing recurrence of political violence following a row over the general elections that held last month.
“The confidence of the investors, both local and join venture ones, hasn’t yet been restored”, Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) told the FE.
He said after the general elections all the investors are now seriously observing the political developments in the country.
* Making a living out of garment scrap:
Factories in the north use the scraps to make apparel items
It was a short three years ago that Hamider Rahman bought five sewing machines and rented two small rooms at his home in Saidpur, a trade and industrial town in the northern district of Nilphamari. His was not an everyday establishment. He made clothes from garment scraps (jhut).
In 2013, propelled by the popularity of his clothes, he went for an expansion; he rented land to set up a tin-shed to hold 30 sewing machines, raw materials, and his office. He mostly makes trousers, three-quarter trousers, shirts and jackets by using scrap fabrics that are mainly laid out on the floor as wastes by operators of the $21 billion export-earning apparel industry.
“The demand for the clothes has encouraged me to expand the business,” said 35-year-old Rahman, sitting in his office in one corner of the tin-roofed factory.
“When you look at a finished product, you can hardly say it was made of garment scraps.”
Rahman, who owns NR Garments that employs 50 workers including 16 women, is one of nearly 500 micro and small garment factories in the country to cater to demand at home and abroad, mainly India and Bhutan.
The sub-sector engages nearly 5,000 people, according to Exportable Small Garments Factories Association.
THE TAZREEN FACTORY FIRE
* Tazreen owner’s punishment demanded:
Leaders of Garment Sramik Sangram Parishad on Thursday demanded exemplary punishment of Tazreen Fashions Limited owner Delwar Hossain for the death of 124 workers in a deadly factory fire.
The GSSP, a combine of eight apparel workers’ rights organizations, at a protest rally in front of the National Press Club in the city also demanded implementation of the new wage structure in all garment factories.
Accusing Delwar of killing the workers, the combine’s coordinator Rafiqul Islam Pathik said that the Tazreen owner had been sent to jail by the court for committing homicide by negligence that had caused the death of so many workers in the fire in his factory in Ashulia.
He also demanded that the amount paid in damages to the victims and their families should be increased.
22:28:26 local time INDIA
* They feel bleak future looms large:
Anyone who lived in Puducherry in the 1960s and 70s, and even before would recognise the work of the Puducherry handloom weavers anywhere. These textiles are world famous, some being exported to foreign countries as well.
For the weavers who are associated with the Pondicherry State Weavers Cooperative Society, which is an aggregate of several weavers societies across the town, the future seemed set. They would receive thread from the government. The cloth they wove using the same would be bought back by the governmentto be given away to the needy as part of the free sari and lungi scheme, she said.
But this arrangement seems to have fallen through in the past couple of years. They no longer get thread for work. Also the saris and lungis they make are not being bought by the government. As a result, the families that depend on weaving for their livelihood have been forced to seek alternate employment, head of the weavers trade union Rajangam said.
The loom, which at one time would run for over 12 hours a day, has now fallen silent, with many households choosing to either let their equipment rot or sell them in parts. In a place where there were 1000s of weavers, there are now less than 600, with the numbers continuing to dwindle, he said.
The weavers have been staging a series of protests and have also spoken to higher officials, but so far there has been no response. In this regard, the weaver’s association staged a fast outside the Registrar of Cooperative Societies.
* Give us our due, say handloom weavers:
Quota in education, setting up of procurement centres for handloom fabric sought
Even after a 491-km long padayatra, 69-year-old P. Ganga Subba Rao and his 68-year-old comrade J. Nageswara Rao still have to cry hoarse for governmental attention. Part of a group of two dozen handloom weavers, they set out from Chirala on January 30, hoping that the trek would spur the powers that be to act and help improve their lot.
Under the banner of Rashtra Cheneta Jana Samakhya, and led by its president Macherla Mohan Rao, the group called for reservations in education, the setting up of procurement centres for handloom fabric and budgetary allocation.
They also called upon political parties to reserve at least 25 Assembly seats for their lot, which would include three women. In fact, among the group were 65-year-old Vengala Nageswaramma, Macha Malleswari, Subbaravamma and Padma.
* Textile experts endorse Gujarat as investment destination:
At a recent textile conference held in Ahmedabad in Gujarat – India, textile experts from India and abroad endorsed the state of Gujarat as one of the most investment friendly destinations in the country.
The Confederation of Indian Textile Industry (CITI) organized a well-attended one-day conference – Textile Investment Conclave on February 11. The conference discussed and showcased Gujarat as a destination for investments in the textile industry.
Mr Prem Malik – Chairman of CITI who gave the welcome address said, “Gujarat is an investor friendly state. And although, Gujarat has a one-third share in national cotton output, most of the cotton is sent to other states or exported, so there is a need to process more cotton in the state, thereby adding value and employment”.
21:58:26 local time PAKISTAN
* Energy crisis, high mark-up: exporters apprehensive about GSP plus benefits:
The knitwear exporters have feared missing the opportunity of GSP plus from EU in the face of lingering energy crisis, high mark-up and a negative travel advisory for visitors from across the world.
Talking to the Business Recorder, leading knitwear exporters said there was a general impression that floodgates of textile orders will get open with the GSP plus status from the EU. But the situation on ground is quite contrary because the buyers are reluctant in placing orders.
“It seems that the benefits of GSP plus status will take time to materialise due to multiple factors'” said M I Khurram, a leading exporter of knitwear products. He said the financial cost of business in Pakistan is double to the regional competitors, namely Bangladesh, India and China. The competitors are being facilitated further by their respective governments in terms of tax concessions, rebate and refunds, he added.
* GSP plus to enhance Pak-German ties: Tilo:
The Consul General of Germany, Dr.Tilo Klinner said that status of GSP Plus would play important role to further strengthening the business relations between Pakistan and Germany.
Due to status of GSP Plus given by European countries to Pakistan, exports to European countries would be increased by 27%. This was stated by Dr.Tilo Klinner, during a meeting at KATI. President KATI, Syed Farukh Mazhar, Immediate Past Chairman Mohammad Zubair Chhaya, Chairman, Diplomats Affairs Standing Committee, Mr.Masood Naqi have also addressed while German Consular Attache Economic & Culture Affairs Development, Faraz-ur-Rehman, Danish Khan, Amjad Ullah Khan, Usama Abbas Khan Niazi, Niaz Ahmed, Shahid Jawed Qureshi and others were present at this occasion.