In the news 26-27 Feb. 2014

TIME
20140227

04:48:25 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* National labour safety week to raise public awareness:

The 16th annual National Week on Labour Safety and Hygiene – Fire and Explosion Prevention will be launched from March 16-22 in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue.

The event will include seminars, safety inspections and public safety awareness campaigns. Organisers are particularly targeting prevention of industrial accidents, occupational diseases, fires and explosions in the workplace.

Latest statistics show that 6,695 accidents occurred at work in 2013, killing and injuring 6,887 workers.
read more.
VNNews new

* Textile exports up 10.6% in January:

Export of textile hit more than US$1.9 billion in January, up 10.6% from December, 2013, and a year-on-year increase of 21.7%, according to the Viet Nam Customs.

The figure included US$1.13 billion attained by foreign-invested enterprises.
The US, the EU and Japan are three largest importers of Viet Nam’s textile with US$955 million (up 23.3%), US$302 million (up 26.4%) and US$228 million (up 10.4%), respectively.The Ministry of Industry and Trade reported that many textile enterprises have secured the orders till the second quarter of 2014.
Source: VEF/VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/Dantri/VIR
to read in BUSINESS IN BRIEF 27/2. (last item).
VNNet

04:48:25 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Scores of factories ‘set to sue’ over strike:

20140227 PPP Factory-Workers
A stream of garment workers leaves a factory after finishing a shift yesterday in Phnom Penh. Photo by Hong Menea.

The owners of 170 factories have handed power of attorney to the nation’s factories association ahead of a potential lawsuit directed at the leaders of six union groups.

Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) secretary-general Ken Loo said yesterday that the factories would seek damages related to the late-December to early-January strike, which ended with a government crackdown that left at least four protesters dead by police bullets.
“It’s based on damage to property and incitement, in a nutshell,” Loo said.

An unofficial translation by the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU) of what it claims is a January 5 complaint filed by GMAC to Phnom Penh Municipal Court names liable parties as the leaders of C.CAWDU, the National Independent Federation Textile Union of Cambodia, the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, the Free Trade Union, the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association and the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions.

Loo confirmed those named in the complaint but could not confirm the authenticity of C.CAWDU’s document, saying he had not seen the unofficial translation. He declined to name specific companies that gave GMAC power of attorney or how much GMAC plans to seek in damages.

Leaders of all six union groups encouraged garment workers to strike after the Ministry of Labour set the industry’s 2014 minimum monthly wage at $100, rather than the $160 unions demanded.“
[GMAC] tries to use its power to try and find a way to destroy trade unions,” said C.CAWDU president Ath Thorn, who has forwarded the complaint to international labour unions and rights groups.
read more.
PPP new

* As Garment Sector Strikes Loom, Soldiers Watch Over Factories:

Armed soldiers will continue to patrol Veng Sreng Street, the garment factory-lined thoroughfare in Phnom Penh’s Pur Senchey district where military police shot dead five workers during a nationwide strike last month, until labor unrest in the garment sector subsides, the deputy commander of the military’s Brigade 70 said on Tuesday.

Soldiers from the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces’ Brigade 70 and Brigade 99, who openly carry AK-47 assault rifles and were first deployed to the area after last month’s lethal strike suppressions, have maintained an ominous presence along the street since a union-led boycott of overtime hours began Monday.

“We deployed our forces to provide security both for the people and workers, and for the confidence of investors,” said General Hem Tha, the deputy commander of Brigade 70, when asked about the presence of his forces along the street Tuesday.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Gov’t Suspends Freedom of Association for Unions:

Following a complaint from the Free Trade Union (FTU) over the Ministry of Labor’s refusal to register 10 local branches of its organization, a ministry official said Wednesday that the constitutional right to freedom of association has been suspended until a new trade union law is passed by the government.

Chea Mony, president of the FTU, an opposition-aligned union, said Wednesday that he sent a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen complaining about the Ministry of Labor’s rejection of his request to license new branches of his union.

“I submitted a proposal with the registration department at the Labor Ministry to register local unions in factories and enterprises, but one officer told me his minister [Ith Sam Heng] temporarily banned issuing [licenses for unions],” Mr. Mony said.

Heng Sour, spokesman for the Ministry of Labor, confirmed that Mr. Hun Sen’s CPP-led government would not be issuing licenses to new unions until a forthcoming trade union law is adopted and implemented.
Under that proposed law, new unions would need permission from the ministry in order to register and organize, Mr. Sour said.
“We will allow unions to create local unions in factories and enterprises after the law is put into official use,” he said.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Keeping the Heat on Cambodia:

The International Labor Rights Forum continues its coordination of a major union solidarity campaign against the alleged killing and imprisonme nt of garment workers in Cambodia.
see video report-interview.
IAM

* A year after trial, still free:

One year ago today, ex-Bavet town governor Chhouk Bandith smiled as he sat before a judge at the Appeal Court in Phnom Penh on the first day of his trial for shooting and badly injuring three unarmed garment workers at a protest in Prey Veng one year prior.

Some four months later, Bandith was found guilty of “unintentional violence” – a charge widely decried by rights groups as too light – and was sentenced to 18 months in prison. Bandith, however, was never arrested after the conviction came down and remains at large today, and could legally dodge prison forever if he keeps up his vanishing act for a few more years.

According to Khieu Sopheak, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, which oversees Cambodia’s police forces, officers are still hunting for the elusive ex-governor, but leads are scarce.

“We would like to announce publicly that if anybody knows any news about Chhouk Bandith, please report to us, and we will give a reward and we keep [their identity] secret,” he said.
read more.
PPP new

05:48:25 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Govt urged to move on new trade, industry law:

The Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo) called on the government to begin implementing the newly approved Trade Law and Industry Law to provide legal certainty in preparation for the 2015 ASEAN single market.

Apindo chairman Sofjan Wanandi said in a press conference at his office in Jakarta on Wednesday that the government should immediately issue implementing regulations for the new law.

“If we really want to progress [among ASEAN countries], then we need to make sure that we have implementing regulations as the legal basis for the implementation of the [trade and industry] laws,” he said.
read more.
jakartapost

03:48:25 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Doubts cast over recruiting 200 more inspectors by Mar:

Doubts cropped up about recruitment of additional 200 inspectors for the local apparel sector by the March deadline as part of the government’s efforts to meet one key requirement before getting the GSP facility restored in the US market, sources said.

According to them, some formalities, including formulation of recruitment rules, still need to be done. A decision is also needed to be taken on whether the recruitment will be done by the labour ministry or the Public Service Commission (PSC).

Sources said the new recruitment rules were yet to get the nod of the Ministry of Public Administration while the approval from the committee of secretaries and the PSC was also required.

On being vetted by the law ministry, the proposed recruitment rules would be sent to the President for the final approval, they mentioned.
If the government wants to make the recruitments by following the regular procedure, it will take a longer time.

On the other hand, labour ministry sources said they wanted the recruitments to be done by the PSC, as it would take less time compared to the regular process.
Earlier, the government on different occasions reiterated its commitment to complete the recruitment of 200 inspectors by March 30 under pressure from the international arena, especially from the US and the EU.

Appointment of the 200 inspectors is one of the key requirements that include implementation of the labour law, establishment of hotlines for workers, creation of a publicly-accessible database and ensuring export processing zones’ conformity to international standards to get the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) restored in the US market and to retain the same benefit in the EU market.
read more.
FE bd

* Cotton use may rise 8pc next fiscal year:

Cotton consumption in Bangladesh may rise 8.75 percent to 870,000 tonnes in fiscal 2014-15 with higher demand for garments, according to a report by Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

At the end of the current fiscal year, cotton consumption will reach 800,000 tonnes, the same quantity that Bangladesh consumed in fiscal 2012-13, the report added.
Cotton consumption started picking up after fiscal 2011-12 when consumption had declined to 700,000 tonnes for volatility in the global cotton market. In fiscal 2010-11, Bangladesh consumed 840,000 tonnes of cotton.

For the sudden rise in cotton demand by China in 2011 to build stocks, prices reached a height of $2.5 a kilogram from 60-90 cents previously.
Since Bangladesh is not a cotton producing country, it needs to import its entire cotton needs.
read more.
daily star bd

           THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE

03:18:25 local time map of india INDIA

* Repeal labour laws to boost manufacturing, create jobs: NMCC:

Says existing labour laws are dated and are acting as a disincentive to SMEs growth

Blaming rigid labour laws for declining manufacturing output and poor job creation, the National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council has asked the government to replace the dated laws with new ones to suit the needs of modern business.

In a letter to Labour and Employment Minister , Chairman V Krishnamurthy has said that the existing labour laws are “dated” and are acting as a disincentive to SMEs growth.

“We have 44 laws relating to labour. Repealing the existing labour laws and replacing them with new labour laws suited to the 21st century and in consonance with our International Labour Organization obligations is an essential pre-requisite for success in large scale employment generation in manufacturing,” the letter said.

He has suggested to make a single comprehensive law or a maximum of three laws related with labour’s safety, welfare and rights.
read more.
BUSINESSSTANDARD 2

02:48:25 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Bid to win textile products’ buyers: India resorting to baneful propaganda against Pakistan:

India has intensified its dissuasion drive, propagating globally about Pakistan’s acute energy shortage and low textile output in a bid to convince the international buyers to sign deals with Indian exporters instead of Pakistanis, industry sources said on Wednesday.

“India is keenly following its plans to upstage Pakistan’s textile exports by resorting to heinous propaganda against the country in a bid to book our existing global buyers for its products,” they said.
Pakistan may lose a large number of buyers in the wake of Indian propaganda and growing fears of energy crisis could increase production insecurity in coming months, they said, adding that “exporters are tired of moving around the globe to book new buyers in the absence of government’s economic polices.”
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

EGYPT

* Egyptian textile workers end stir on Minister’s assurance:

Textile workers from Misr Spinning and Weaving Company, the biggest public sector textile company of Egypt located in Mahalla, have ended their 12-day strike and have returned to work after receiving an assurance from the Minister of Manpower that their demands would be met, reports Daily News Egypt.
Earlier this month, over 10,000 workers from the state-owned textile firm had gone on strike demanding immediate payment of the last installment of their yearly bonus, which was scheduled to be disbursed by December 2013, as well as implementation of the 1,200 Egyptian pounds (approx. US$ 172) minimum wage.
The textile workers also demanded the dismissal of the chairman of the firm Fouad Abdel-Alim Hassan, as well as the inclusion of labor representatives on the company’s administrative board.
read more.

fibre2fashion

 

TIME
20140226

05:48:25 local time map of china CHINA

* Cheap labour not the only driver of factories’ flight from China:

While higher labour costs are often cited for foreign buyers’ switch to other Asian countries, rising industrial tension is hastening the trend

Foreign buyers are fleeing China for Bangladesh, Cambodia and Indonesia not just for cheaper labour but also because of rising tensions between the workers and their employers, in some cases because of poor corporate social responsibility on the part of the companies.

Swedish firm H&M, the world’s second-biggest clothing retailer, now sourced about 45 per cent of its needs from Bangladesh, and Cambodia’s share was growing, said Goran Larsen, a former chairman of the Swedish Textile Importers Association.
Larsen said the shift from China to other Asian countries had little to do with cost, although that had been widely perceived as a major reason.

“In simple garment manufacturing, the direct labour cost is rarely above 10 per cent of the FOB [free-on-board] price,” he said. “Today, we buy better products, produced under higher ethical standards, in Bangladesh than in China,” said Larsen, who has travelled in China as a buyer over the past 20 years.
His comments appear to be at odds with reports of fires and a factory collapse in Bangladesh within the past two years that killed many workers.

But Mainland Headwear, which operates factories in Shenzhen, Panyu in Guangzhou, and in Bangladesh, has seen the tightening in the requirements for fire equipment and building safety in the South Asian country.
“My new factory in Bangladesh has installed an automatic fire extinguisher and alarm system that connects to the central monitoring system in the fire department,” said Pauline Ngan Po-ling, the deputy chairman and managing director of Mainland Headwear. “The whole system cost north of HK$1 million.”
read more.
SouthchinaMORNINGPOST business

* East China province raises minimum wage by 10%:

East China’s Shandong province will raise its minimum pay by about 10 percent next month in a bid to attract workers and help them offset rises in living costs.

As of March 1, the minimum monthly wage for full-time workers in Shandong will be raised to 1,500 yuan ($245), 1,350 yuan or 1,200 yuan in the province’s different cities, depending on economic level, the provincial government said in a statement Tuesday.
The 1,500 yuan level is the fifth highest nationwide.

The rise in minimum wage in Shandong mirrors similar moves in other parts of the country where fewer new workers are entering the labor force. The rapid rise in living costs is also a factor behind the wage hikes.

The growing wages highlight the challenge for the world’s second-largest economy, with its low-cost exporters reporting low margins or being forced to move factories to inland regions.
The southeastern manufacturing hub of Shenzhen, which borders Hong Kong, raised its minimum monthly wage this month by 13 percent to 1,808 yuan, the highest nationwide, to help attract workers to tackle labor shortages.
to read. & to read. & to read.
CHINADAILYnew2 people rood CHINAORG

04:48:25 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Exports increase likely due to GSP:

20140226 VNNews giay-dep
Workers at Huu Nghi Da Nang Joint Stock Co in central Da Nang City make shoes for export. From 2014 onward, more Vietnamese products, including footwear, may gain further benefits under the EU’s new GSP regulations. — VNA/VNS Le Lam

Market shares of Viet Nam’s major exports to the European Union (EU) are expected to surge as exporters will enjoy preferential treatment under the bloc’s Generalised System of Preferences (GSP).

Tran Ngoc Quan, deputy director of the European Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, stated this at a conference on “The EU’s New GSP Regulation – New Opportunities for Exports to the EU”, held in Ha Noi yesterday.
From 2014 onward, more Vietnamese products, including footwear, may gain further benefits under the new GSP regulations, Quan noted.

The EU published its amended GSP regulations in October 2012, and they came into effect at the beginning of this year. The regulations are aimed at facilitating market access for goods originating from developing countries, including Viet Nam.
read more.
VNNews new

* Vietcombank to fund 207bn dong for Hoa Tho garment project:

The Da Nang branch of Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank) has signed an agreement with Hoa Tho Textile Stock Corporation to finance 207 billion dong for expansion of Hoa Tho Garment Factory I.
The expansion project would be carried out in two phases. While Phase I would involve investment of 65 billion dong, Phase II would see investment of 142 billion dong.
read more.
fibre2fashion

* Japan to recruit more textile workers from Vietnam:

Job opportunity is opening to Vietnamese textile workers as Japanese companies have ordered to recruit more Vietnamese textile workers to make up for a reduced number of guest workers from other countries this year, said the Board of Management of Vietnamese Guest Workers in Japan.

A number of countries, including China, have been reducing the number of their guest workers sent to foreign countries including Japan,  since their domestic demand have increased recently again, said Nguyen Gia Liem, head of the board.
read more. & read more.
TUOITREnews fibre2fashion

04:48:25 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Demonstrators Demand Release of 21 Detainees:

About 60 monks and land rights activists from communities facing eviction in Boeng Kak, Borei Keila, and nearby Phnom Penh International Airport protested outside the Supreme Court building Tuesday for the release of 21 people arrested during strike demonstrations in January.

Holding lotus flowers, incense and placards, the protesters marched three times around the city block where the court is situated, shouting for the release of the 21 detainees.

“We don’t only want their release on bail, but also for [the court] to drop all charges since they are victims and not wrongdoers,” said Tep Vanny, an anti-eviction activist from the Boeng Kak area of the city.

“Although the Municipal and Appeal Courts denied releasing [the 21] on bail, we hope the Supreme Court will provide justice for them since they are not guilty,” Ms. Vanny said.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Workers in 200 factories boycott overtime work:

20140226 CAMBODIAHERALD

Workers in about 200 factories boycotted working overtime on Tuesday after having been urged by a coalition of labor unions and associations.

This is part of their campaign toward nationwide strike, according to Cambodian Labor Union Federation.

The coalition of 18 unions and associations appealed to workers to boycott working overtime from February 24-28 to seek the release 21 detained protesters and the demand of USD 160 per month for garment and footwear workers.

If there is no solution for them, they will hold nationwide strike, which is scheduled on March 12-15.
to read.
CAMHERALD

* Strike Justified, Suppression Not, Experts Say:

Garment workers’ calls for a $160 minimum wage are justified and should be honored, a new report by an international team of academics and labor experts has found.

The authors—including a team from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, South Korean and Philippine union groups, and the Asia Monitor Resource Center in Hong Kong—traveled to Cambodia to speak with workers and union activists following the government’s suppression of garment strikes in January during which five people were killed.

“The demand of Cambodian workers to lift the minimum wage to $160 is fair and reasonable, as their real wages have been stagnant despite their tremendous contribution to Cambodia’s economic growth,” states the 52-page report, which will be released officially on Thursday in Hong Kong.

“The disproportionate use of force by the government to suppress these legitimate protests demonstrates that the government is more concerned with protecting the interests and profits of the employers of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) than protecting the workers’ rights to a decent living wage, freedom of association and other basic human rights,” it continues.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Boycott a tough call for many:

Outside the Bloomtime Embroidery factory in Por Sen Chey district yesterday, Chenda, a 23-year-old garment employee, said he would refuse overtime work this week, even though it means a large cut to his monthly wage.

“I can get about $30 per month from overtime work,” said Chenda, who declined to give his full name. “I need the money, but I want to help the other workers who are detained in prison.”

About half an hour later, at 5pm, Theara, 35, walked out of the nearby Bright Sky factory with more than 2,000 other workers finishing their overtime shift.
Forgoing overtime seems pointless, since so few in her factory went along with the boycott, said Theara, who also declined to give her full name.

“On Monday, between 30 and 40 workers among more than 3,000 workers boycotted overtime,” Theara said. “It is difficult to succeed, because workers are not united.”
The actual size of a boycott of overtime work in Cambodia’s garment factories remained dubious yesterday, as it moved into its second day. Garment workers participating demand a minimum monthly wage raise to $160, the release of 21 detainees arrested during demonstrations supporting a garment worker strike early last month and five other points.

Ath Thorn, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU), said more than 150,000 workers across 129 factories boycotted overtime on Monday, but he didn’t yet have yesterday’s total.
read more.
PPP new

* As Workers Boycott Overtime, CPP Goes on Counteroffensive:

As thousands of garment factory workers continued to boycott working overtime in the first phase of a threatened nationwide strike, Prime Minister Hun Sen and CPP-aligned union leaders have launched their own campaign to keep the industry’s labor force at work.

Mr. Hun Sen personally called on factory workers Tuesday to refrain from taking part in strikes that he said could destroy the garment industry, and CPP-aligned unions distributed leaflets warning workers of the danger of joining the strike, which is planned for the middle of March.

“We try to contact and facilitate factories to invest in Cambodia…and they have moved out from the countries that have high labor prices to our location, which has reasonable labor prices,” Mr. Hun Sen said during a speech at the opening of a coal-powered electricity plant in Preah Sihanouk province.

The prime minister said that people who are supporting workers in their calls for a $160 minimum wage would be exposed as frauds when factories begin to leave the country due to high rates of industrial action.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Hun Sen warns strikes will lead to factory closures:

Prime Minister Hun Sen once again warned the labor union leaders would be held responsible for the closure of factories which can be caused by protests and strikes.

Hun Sen made the comments Tuesday, while a coalition of labor unions and associations are currently asking the workers to join nationwide strike scheduled for March 12 to demand the release of 21 detained protesters and the minimum wage of $160 per month for garment and footwear workers.
read more.
CAMHERALD

* Cambodian PM holds opposition-backed unions responsible for future factory closures due to strikes:

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said Tuesday that the opposition-aligned unions, inciting garment workers to stage strikes for higher wages, must take responsibilities for any future closures of factories.

“The government has worked very hard to attract investors to build factories and has urged manufacturers to increase wages for workers every year,” he said during the inauguration of a coal- fired power plant in Preah Sihanouk province.

“We wait and see if any factories close doors due to demonstrations or strikes demanding higher wages,” the prime minister said. “When investors close factories, (unemployed) workers should hold protests against those inciting unions and demand those inciters to find jobs for them.”

The minimum monthly wage for Cambodian garment workers is 100 U. S. dollars.
“Currently, the wages for our garment workers are higher than those of Laos, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Myanmar,” Hun Sen said.

The prime minister’s remarks came after a coalition of 18 opposition-aligned trade unions and associations have incited garment and footwear workers to boycott working overtime since Monday to demand a 160 U.S. dollars minimum wage and the release of 21 detained protesters.
read more.
CHINAORG

* We can protest, too: PM:

Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday warned that any future demonstrations by the opposition party would be matched with pro-government protests by ruling party supporters who have “equal rights” to do so, suggesting the current ban on public assembly may soon be lifted.

A government spokesman later said a lifting of the ban – imposed in the wake of a violent crackdown on protesting garment workers last month – was the “will” of the premier, though it would be up to relevant authorities to decide whether that happens.
read more.
PPP new

* Made in Cambodia: Garment Workers Fight Gap, H&M and Others for a Minimum Wage:

As 2013 drew to a close, Cambodian garment factory workers began striking in Phnom Penh for a livable wage.

Recently, the Ministry of Labor had approved a $95-a-month wage, and while this was more than the $80 a month workers had been living on, they held out for $160, which was the bottom end of a “living wage” for Cambodia, according to labor research.

Another $5 a month was offered, but workers rejected it. By January 3, the non-violent strikes ended in a military crackdown and riots. Four garment workers were shot dead, another was shot in the chest and is missing, and more than 30 were injured. A ban on public assembly was put in place, and 23 labor leaders were arrested.

International media coverage showed Cambodian youth clad in skinny jeans, covered in blood and running from the military.
Lost in coverage of the social unrest were the women behind the movement.

The Life of a Cambodian Garment Worker
Of the half-million garment workers in the county, 90 percent are women living on about $3 a day. The garment industry accounts for about 80 percent of Cambodia’s exports.
The majority of textiles exported (70 percent) are destined for popular brands in the United States, like Gap and Wal-Mart, as Cambodia enjoys “most favored nation” status with the United States under the World Trade Organization’s free trade agreement. Supplying the U.S. brands are factories based in Cambodia but owned by East Asian businessmen who contract with western brands.
Cambodian women fill unskilled labor positions, sewing the clothes.
read more.
Women-feminist-solidariy

* Cambodian garment workers take new approach to strikes:

Taking a new approach to strikes, workers at about 100 garment factories in Cambodia are likely to refuse overtime work from this week, reports The Phnom Penh Post.
In Cambodia, employees generally work two to four hours more than their regular eight-hour shift each day. But, to press their seven-point demand, including a raise in the monthly minimum wage to US$ 160 per month, a group of 18 unions and confederations have come together and are encouraging garment workers to refuse overtime, says the report.
In case there is no progress in addressing their demands, even after refusing to work overtime, the unions plan to stage a stay-at-home strike in mid-March.
read more.
fibre2fashion

03:48:25 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Garment Worker, Organizers Beaten in Bangladesh:

A Bangladesh garment worker leader and four union organizers, among them two women, were badly injured Saturday when about two dozen people beat, kicked and threw them to the ground as the five were speaking to workers in the dormitory where they live.

One of the organizers was taken from the scene, beaten severely and dumped, unconscious, nearby. He and a female organizer remain in the hospital. The whereabouts of the garment worker are unknown.

According to several witnesses, the attack was carried out by factory managers and other men and women, some of them who worked for the factory, potentially paid to carry out the act—not an uncommon practice in the country. The women in the group were separated from the others and threatened with rape.

The organizers, all working with the Bangladesh Federation of Workers Solidarity, were supporting workers who had earlier approached the union for assistance and who had been fighting to be paid the minimum wage at their factory. The factory, which manufactures for Western brands, employs approximately 4,500 workers—many of who had staged a wage protest February 18, which was ultimately put down by police.
read more.
SOLIDARITYCENTER

* Sweater factory workers demonstrate for dues:

20140226 DAILYSTAR workers-of-mirpur-based
Workers of Mirpur-based D&S Pretty Fashions Ltd protest in front of the BGMEA office yesterday to demand the reopening of the factory. The shutdown has left them without jobs for the past two months. Photo: Star

Workers of D&S Pretty Fashions Ltd, a Mirpur-based sweater factory, yesterday demonstrated in front of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, demanding reopening of the plant as they have been out of work for the past two months.

As many as 200 workers took to the streets as the owner of the company asked them to resign without taking termination benefits, which goes against the labour law, protesters said.
“Many workers had worked at the factory for over seven to eight years, but the owners are paying them a measly amount,” said Zharna Akter, a worker of D&S Pretty Fashions.
The owner plans to shift the production unit from Mirpur to Savar, where other units under the same group are located. As a result, the owner has been terminating the contracts of the workers without paying arrears and other service benefits.
The owner of the unit could not be contacted despite several attempts.
Sirajul Islam Rony, president of Bangladesh National Garments Workers Employees League, claims the owner is shifting the Mirpur unit fearing formation of a trade union, as the labour ministry is about to approve a union for the factory.
read more.
daily star bd

* Japan’s Sumitomo holds back on mega industrial park plan:

Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation, one of the biggest corporate entities in the world, has put on hold its multi-billion dollar investment plan for developing a mega industrial park in Bangladesh primarily because of a land crisis.

It wanted 200 acres of land near the Dhaka city for the purpose, sources said.
The Japanese Group wrote to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) nearly one year back. Later, they met with the high-ups of the Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA).

The Tokyo-based company was formed in 1919 and its annual turnover is nearly Yen 8.0 trillion.
“The Japanese group wanted land desperately. But we failed to meet their demand in respect of land near the Dhaka city,” said manager (promotion) at the BEZA Md Moniruzzaman.
read more.
FE bd

* BD gets back GSP by April:

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed made the disclosure while addressing the parliament in response to a query on Tuesday.
to read.
BANGLA NEWS24

* Dhaka, Delhi to discuss textiles sector cooperation Thursday:

The first meeting of the joint working group (JWG) for cooperation in textiles sector between Bangladesh and India will be held here on Thursday, said an official.

Bangladesh and India signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation in textiles sector in New Delhi in August last year.
Later, a JWC on textiles was formed as an institutional collaboration mechanism for speedy implementation of the MoU.
The JWC would work to develop collaborations between the textile institutions of the two countries such as the skill building institutions, fashion institutes and research institutions.
read more. & read more.
UNB daily star bd

           THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE

FACEBOOKPAYUPLOGO

* BD factory collapse : Big brands urged to pay into help fund:

Only five of the 27 global clothing brands linked to the Bangladesh factory that collapsed last year with the loss of 1,138 lives have committed to paying into a compensation fund for the victims, according to British daily The Guardian.

The Clean Clothes Campaign, which wants improved conditions in the industry, said only Zara-owner Inditex, Mango, Canada’s Loblaw, Denmark’s Mascot and El Corte of Spain had committed to the fund, which is trying to raise $40m in time for the anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory disaster in April.

Several big British brands, including Primark and Matalan, are among the companies that have not paid into the fund, although Primark has paid the wages of workers laid off after the disaster. Other big brands connected to the factory include Walmart, Benetton and JC Penney. The collapse, the deadliest disaster in the history of the clothes industry, also left more than 2,000 injured.

The CCC campaign, which is supported by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), said it was “time for clothing brands to pay up”.Global trade unions urged consumers to bombard their favourite brands with demands that they pay into the fund. “It is time to name, shame and campaign,” said Monika Kemperle, assistant general secretary global trade union body IndustriALL. “On April 24, one year will have passed since the horror of Rana Plaza. No more excuses.”
read more.
FE bd

* Bangladesh factory collapse: big brands urged to pay into help fund:

Primark, Matalan, Walmart, Benetton and JC Penney among 22 of 27 brands still to contribute after Rana Plaza disaster

Only five of the 27 global clothing brands linked to the Bangladesh factory that collapsed last year with the loss of 1,138 lives have committed to paying into a compensation fund for the victims.

The Clean Clothes Campaign, which wants improved conditions in the industry, said only Zara-owner Inditex, Mango, Canada’s Loblaw, Denmark’s Mascot and El Corte of Spain had committed to the fund, which is trying to raise $40m in time for the anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory disaster in April.

Several big British brands, including Primark and Matalan, are among the companies that have not paid into the fund, although Primark has paid the wages of workers laid off after the disaster. Other big brands connected to the factory include Walmart, Benetton and JC Penney. The collapse, the deadliest disaster in the history of the clothes industry, also left more than 2,000 injured.

The CCC campaign, which is supported by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), said it was “time for clothing brands to pay up”.Global trade unions urged consumers to bombard their favourite brands with demands that they pay into the fund. “It is time to name, shame and campaign,” said Monika Kemperle, assistant general secretary global trade union body IndustriALL. “On April 24, one year will have passed since the horror of Rana Plaza. No more excuses.”
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GUARDIAN

* Cruden monitors rehabilitation process:

The Canadian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Heather Cruden and high officials of a Canadian company Loblaws Incorporation visited two rehabilitation projects of Rana Plaza victims on Tuesday.

The Canadian government and the Canadian company are funding the ‘Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed’ (CRP) and ‘Canada Fund for Local Initiatives’ (CFLI) projects to aid the victims by providing medical support and other contributions for a better recovery to Rana Plaza collapse catastrophe.

Earlier, several prompt actions were taken by these projects immediately after the incident and now the projects are concentrating on long term support and rehabilitation for the victims having spinal cord injury, amputation of limbs and any other disability.
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BANGLA NEWS24

03:18:25 local time map of india INDIA

* IFTU stages dharna:

In response to a call given by the Indian Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU), members of the IFTU’s district unit on Tuesday staged a massive dharna in front of the Collectorate demanding implementation of a minimum wage of Rs. 15,000 per month for those who were working in the unorganised sector.

Holding the Union’s flag and banners, the workers raised slogans demanding setting up of Minimum Wage Advisory Board and facilities like the ESI, bonus, provident fund and gratuity to the workforce of the unorganised sector. President and general secretary of the IFTU’s district unit K. Joji and Ch. Venkateswara Rao respectively spoke.
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02:48:25 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Punjab Governor urges ginning industry to adopt modern technology:

Governor Punjab Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar has said, “Since we are living in global village we would have to change ourselves up to entire satisfaction of the foreign buyers, we would have to adopt modern technology and we would have to replace old machinery in ginning factory to get good results and to meet the requirements of the global market.

(..)
Governor Punjab was told that the government had imposed ban on the imported cotton seed.
He assured that this issue would be taken up at provincial as well as federal level and we would ensure the smooth supply of well-germinated certified seed to growers so that they could get better per acre yield.
Governor assured that all stakeholders would be invited to sit on a table to evolve a strategy for the improvement of cotton economy and to finalise the cotton policy.
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BUSINESSRECORDER

* GSP Plus is not textiles specific alone: German Ambassador:

German Ambassador to Pakistan Dr Cyrill Jean Nunn has said that GSP Plus is not textiles specific alone but it offers opportunities to other sectors of the economy as well therefore Pakistani businessmen should get this benefit and enhance their interaction with European counterparts.

The Ambassador was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Tuesday. LCCI President Engineer Sohail Lashari presented the address of welcome while Senior Vice President Mian Tariq Misbah, Vice President Kashif Anwar, former Vice President Saeeda Nazar, Head of Economic Section of German Embassy Samy Saadi, Executive Committee member Mian Muhammad Afzal and former EC member Rehmatullah Javed also spoke on the occasion.

He said that the GSP Plus would give great boost to Pakistan’s business with European countries is almost all sectors of the economy including leather and sports goods.
The Ambassador said that Germany intended to develop and strengthen mutual trade relations with Pakistan and would make all out efforts for ensure access for exporters to the European Union (EU) and German markets.
He expressed the optimism that there would be investments in Pakistan by different companies of Germany as they had shown a keen interest, especially in the energy sector.
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PAKOBSERVER BUSINESSRECORDER DAWNnew tribune thenewspk

02:48:25 local time map of uzbekistan UZBEKISTAN

* Daewoo: Stop supporting slavery in Uzbekistan! :

Daewoo International Corporation is unabashedly profiting from forced labor in Uzbekistan, where the government mobilizes more than a million men, women and children each year to harvest cotton.

Eleven people died in the latest harvest, including Amirbek Rakhmatov, a 6-year-old boy who accompanied his mother to the field.

Daewoo must stop purchasing Uzbek cotton until the International Labor Organization can confirm the government of Uzbekistan has dismantled this forced labor system. Daewoo should use its decades-long relationship with the government to publically urge the end of this abominable practice.
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ilrf

 

 

map of Asia

INFO:

There are updates under ‘special reports’:

* Minimum Wage-LIVING WAGE- PART 3: 20131116- NOW
* Cambodian Garment Workers: $160 We Need! Part 2 20140207-now
* THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE Part 3 20131109- NOW

HEADLINES TODAY:

20140227

VIET NAM
* National labour safety week to raise public awareness
* Textile exports up 10.6% in January

CAMBODIA
* Scores of factories ‘set to sue’ over strike
* As Garment Sector Strikes Loom, Soldiers Watch Over Factories
* Gov’t Suspends Freedom of Association for Unions
* Keeping the Heat on Cambodia
* A year after trial, still free

INDONESIA
* Govt urged to move on new trade, industry law

BANGLADESH
* Doubts cast over recruiting 200 more inspectors by Mar
* Cotton use may rise 8pc next fiscal year

INDIA
* Repeal labour laws to boost manufacturing, create jobs: NMCC

PAKISTAN
* Bid to win textile products’ buyers: India resorting to baneful propaganda against Pakistan

EGYPT
* Egyptian textile workers end stir on Minister’s assurance

20140226

CHINA
* Cheap labour not the only driver of factories’ flight from China
* East China province raises minimum wage by 10%

VIET NAM
* Exports increase likely due to GSP
* Vietcombank to fund 207bn dong for Hoa Tho garment project
* Japan to recruit more textile workers from Vietnam:

CAMBODIA
* Demonstrators Demand Release of 21 Detainees
* Workers in 200 factories boycott overtime work
* Strike Justified, Suppression Not, Experts Say
* Boycott a tough call for many
* As Workers Boycott Overtime, CPP Goes on Counteroffensive
* Hun Sen warns strikes will lead to factory closures
* Cambodian PM holds opposition-backed unions responsible for future factory closures due to strikes
* We can protest, too: PM
* Made in Cambodia: Garment Workers Fight Gap, H&M and Others for a Minimum Wage
* Cambodian garment workers take new approach to strikes

BANGLADESH
* Garment Worker, Organizers Beaten in Bangladesh
* Sweater factory workers demonstrate for dues
* Japan’s Sumitomo holds back on mega industrial park plan
* BD gets back GSP by April
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE:
* BD factory collapse : Big brands urged to pay into help fund
* Bangladesh factory collapse: big brands urged to pay into help fund
* Cruden monitors rehabilitation process

INDIA
* IFTU stages dharna

PAKISTAN
* Punjab Governor urges ginning industry to adopt modern technology
* GSP Plus is not textiles specific alone: German Ambassador

UZBEKISTAN
* Daewoo: Stop supporting slavery in Uzbekistan!

latest tweets (& news)

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

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

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

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

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