17:18:34 local time CHINA
* Migrant worker wages increased by 14 percent in 2013:
The average monthly income of China’s 269 million rural migrant workers stood at 2,609 yuan at the end of 2013, an increase of about 14 percent over the previous year, according to data from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.
Vice Minister Yang Zhiming said that migrant worker wages now represented more than half of the total income earned by China’s rural population. However, wage levels for migrant workers are still far below the average wage in the cities, which in 2012 stood at 3,897 yuan per month, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, still 50 percent higher than the figure for migrant workers last year.
Migrant workers are still overwhelmingly concentrated in low-paying industries, accounting for 81.8 percent of construction workers, 73.6 percent of the workers in manufacturing and 67.4 percent of workers in the service industry. Yang acknowledged that despite an increase in the number of migrant workers in the hi-tech sector, most migrant workers lacked the skills to obtain high-paying jobs.
17:18:34 local time PHILIPPINES
* 3,600 workers lose jobs as Laguna garments factory closes down:
Thousands of garment workers from Carina Apparel, Inc. at the Laguna International Industrial Park (LIIP) in Biñan, Laguna lost their jobs due to the factory’s sudden closure.
In the midst of management-induced leave, union members from Carina received informal messages regarding ‘total closure’ and definite stoppage of operations.
A number of 3,600 workers, 80% of which is composed of women, currently face job loss without pay.
The management of Carina Apparel, Inc. decided to ‘cease operations and dissolve the corporation effective on March 27, 2014, but as early as February 21, this large number of workers were advised about the complete cease of functions.
Carina’s Senior Operations Manager, Anthony Wong, sent a letter to the Department of Labor and Employment stating that the lack of Carina Apparel Inc. Labor Union – Independent (CAILU) and its members’ cooperation to increase the amount of production resulted to serious business losses.
“After more than a decade of hardwork that the workers spent in the factory, this is all we’ll ever get.
The capitalist accuses the workers for this, but in reality, it’s their greed for money and power that lead to the company’s closure and us losing our jobs,” says Gina Cedron, a worker from Carina, coordinator of Garments and Textile Labor Alliance (GATELA), spokesperson of Kilusan ng Manggagawang Kababaihan – Timog Katagalugan (KMK-TK, Movement of Women Workers – Southern Tagalog), and current Chairperson of GABRIELA – Southern Tagalog.
* Factory making CK, Gap to close, lay off 3,600:
At least 3,600 workers of a multinational garments factory that supplies famous international brands would file a case of illegal closure in the labor department today against the company that “suddenly” stopped its operations in Biñan City, Laguna province.
The complaint will be filed against Carina Apparel Inc., a British-owned lingerie factory located at Laguna International Industrial Park, by Carina Apparel Inc. Labor Union-Independent (Cailu), said Gina Cedron, a union member and spokesperson of the militant labor alliance Kilusan ng Manggagawang Kababaihan-Timog Katagalugan.
She said the company unilaterally decided to permanently cease operations without informing the employees and by writing instead to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
The company supplied products to known brands such as Marks & Spencer, Calvin Klein, Gap, Forever 21, Victoria’s Secret, Uniqlo and Toray, said Cedron, a machine operator in the company for 14 years.
* Workers slam illegal closure of Laguna garments factory:
National labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno condemned the illegal closure of Carina Apparel Inc., a garments factory in Biñan, Laguna, last Feb. 21 that has left 3,600 workers out of jobs without pay, calling the closure a desperate move to deny workers’ rights to form unions and collectively bargain.
The labor group said company’s excuse for ceasing operation – that the Carina Apparel Inc. Labor Union–Independent (CAILU) has refused to cooperate with the company and has caused serious business losses – is thoroughly anti-worker and anti-union and must not be allowed to set a bad precedent for workers.
It also said that illegal closure has been a standard practice for capitalists inside the country’s industrial parks and Special Economic Zones who want to bust unions.
“We condemn the illegal closure of Carina Apparel Inc. which has resulted in the sudden loss of 3,600 jobs. This is a gross violation of workers’ rights and a desperate attempt to avoid scheduled negotiations for a Collective Bargaining Agreement with the workers’ union,” KMU chairperson Elmer “Bong” Labog said.
* KMU raises alarm over closure of Laguna garments factory as 3,600 workers left jobless:
Leftist group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) on Wednesday expressed alarm over the alleged illegal closure of a garments factory in Biñan, Laguna, on February 21.
The closure of Carina Apparel Inc., according to the KMU, has left 3,600 workers jobless. Worse, the workers were not paid wages due them, according to KMU Chairman Elmer Labog.
Labog said the Carina Apparel Inc. Labor Union–Independent were told that the company’s closure was triggered by their refusal to cooperate with the management, leading to serious business losses.
Carina Apparel is at the Laguna International Industrial Park and manufactures high-end lingerie for brands like Marks & Spencer, Calvin Klein, Gap, Forever 21, Victoria’s Secret, Uniqlo and Toray.
Labog said the firm’s closure was “illegal” and “set[s] a bad precedent for workers.”
According to him, illegal closure has been a standard practice for businesses inside the country’s industrial parks and special economic zones (SEZs) to avoid workers from organizing into unions.
16:18:34 local time CAMBODIA
* Free the 23: meet the global campaigners supporting Cambodia’s garment workers:
Since the government imposed a ban on public assembly following garment worker strikes that turned violent on January 2 and 3, there hasn’t been much visible protest action on the streets of Phnom Penh.
Rights advocates, however, have continued campaigning for the lifting of the minimum wage to $160 per month and, critically, for the release of 23 (though two have been bailed) detainees arrested during January’s protests.
But whatever happens in Phnom Penh following Prime Minister Hun Sen’s suggestion that he will lift the ban on public assembly earlier this week, human rights organisations and trade union movements such as IndustriALL Global Union have helped spread the Free the 23 campaign worldwide. Emily Wight reports. Illustration by David Pinho.
“We all live in a global village, from Africa to Cambodia,” said 65-year-old Harry Willard Mamba over email from Malawi this week, when asked why the organisation for which he is co-ordinator, the Lilongwe Urban Poor People’s Network (LUPPEN), had pledged their support to Cambodian garment workers.
While Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s government is hardly sympathetic to unions at home, let alone abroad – earlier this month they announced a wide-ranging investigation into alleged corruption that domestic trade leaders called a ‘political witchhunt’ – there are plenty who are.
You wouldn’t find the UK’s Embassy of Cambodia unless you were specifically looking for it. Tucked away on a residential street in London’s northwest, it’s a good twenty minutes’ walk from the nearest underground station.
Jessie van Couwenberghe and her colleagues at the Belgian trade union ACV found an unusual way to support garment workers on the other side of the world earlier this month.
When Eva Pfannerstill, a 24 year old student in chemical biology, found a Facebook group of Germans in solidarity with Cambodian garment workers, she immediately wanted to join in. Having spent 12 months volunteering in Kampong Speu five years ago, she thought of the friends she has since kept up contact with. “I love Cambodia and it’s important for me to know what’s going on there, so I regularly follow the political news of the country”, she said.
When garment workers from a Cambodian factory met with the Korean Metal Workers’ Union (KMWU) as part of an IndustriALL meeting in Seoul last year, Hyewon Chong, executive director of the union’s international department, couldn’t help but sympathise with their plight. The female Cambodian workers told the meeting that a thousand police troops raided a strike rally in May last year, injuring several women and causing two pregnant women to miscarry.
* Leaflet arrests questioned:
The arrests and temporary detainment of two union activists for passing out pamphlets yesterday has union supporters and a prominent lawyer questioning whether a law even exists that would justify the police action.
Russei Keo district police arrested Yin Sareoun, secretary general of National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), and Choub Nith, an accountant with the union, as they passed out flyers supporting a worker boycott on overtime work in front of Evergreen Apparel (Cambodia) Co Ltd.
“When my accountant and I were passing out leaflets to Evergreen workers, a few policemen came and grabbed my bag and motorcycle key without saying anything to us,” Sareoun told the Post yesterday. “After that, they took us to their office for questioning and released us after we agreed to thumbprint a document” about an hour later.
* Union Representatives Detained for Distributing Strike Leaflets:
Two union representatives said that they were detained and “educated” Thursday for distributing leaflets calling on workers to participate in a nationwide strike next month.
Yin Saroeun, secretary-general of the National Trade Unions Coalition, said police detained him and his colleague, Chuob Noek, at about 11 a.m. after they distributed strike leaflets outside the Evergreen garment factory in Russei Keo district. They were taken to the Russei Keo commune police station and were only released after they had thumbprinted declarations swearing that they would not hand out any more leaflets.
“We were threatened by them that if we did not follow their orders, they would take our belongings,” Mr. Saroeun said, adding that he and Mr. Noek were held for about an hour.
“They had no right to arrest us since there is no law that states that distributing leaflets is illegal—we just distributed the leaflets to inform and make workers understand our demands,” he added.
* Labor Ministry Denies It Has Stopped Recognizing Unions:
The Labor Ministry in a statement Thursday insisted that unions were still free to register as entities recognized by the government, a day after a ministry spokesman said that union registration had been effectively suspended for the foreseeable future.
Free Trade Union (FTU) president Chea Mony claimed on Wednesday that the Labor Ministry was refusing his request to register 10 new branches in the country’s garment factories.
Mr. Mony said an official at the ministry’s registration department told him last week that Labor Minister Ith Sam Heng had put a freeze on issuing union licenses.
Mr. Mony also sent a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen to complain.
* Workers faint due to smell of glue:
26 workers at a Japanese-owned Shimano (Cambodia) Co., Ltd fainted due to strong smell of glue.
Hun Channy, a worker at the factory, told CEN (Cambodia Express News), an affiliate of The Cambodia Herald, that before they fainted, they were difficult to breathe, and vomited because of the strong smell of the glue used to stick shoes.
She said the fainted workers were rushed to Kampong Speu referral hospital after the incident in the factory, which located in Trapang Kong commune, Samrong Tong district of Kampong Speu province.
Shimano (Cambodia) employs about 1,000 workers to produce shoes for men and women.
* Over 100 felled in faintings:
More than 100 workers fainted at two factories yesterday morning in Kampong Speu and Kandal provinces, and were sent to the hospital for treatment.
Soeun Kea, president of the Free Trade Union at SHIMANO factory, said yesterday that 26 workers fainted at work that morning.
A new type of glue had been introduced to the footwear factory that day, which produced overwhelming fumes, he said.
“They were poisoned by the glue for [putting together] the shoes. First a worker fell to the ground because of difficulty breathing, and then other workers started to faint,” he said.
Kea said that factory officials helped to send the affected workers to the hospital for treatment.
“All workers were allowed to go home in order to avoid more workers fainting,” he said.
* More than 100 Garment Workers in Two Factories Faint En Masse:
More than 100 garment and shoe factory workers fainted in two separate incidents Thursday, the first reported factory faintings of the year, according to local officials.
Eighty-two garment workers fainted at the Crystal Martin factory in Kandal province after inhaling fumes from leaking battery acid, a district official said.
Khieu Sok Narth, the deputy governor of Ksach Kandal district, said the acid began flowing from a battery that powers a crane to lift clothes out of treatment tanks, which caused the workers to faint en masse.
“We have sent some of the workers who fainted to the district referral hospital and some were sent to the [Vihear Sour] commune health center to be revived,” Mr. Sok Narth said, adding that two of the workers were sent to Calmette Hospital in Phnom Penh because their condition was serious.
* Mass faintings occur at two garment factories in Cambodia:
At least 104 workers at two Cambodian factories fainted on Thursday morning due to exposures to chemical substances, the country’s union and factory officials said.
The fainted workers had been sent to hospitals soon after the incidents and the rest of the workers in the two factories had been allowed to take a day off.
Soeun Kea, head of the Free Trade Union at the Shimano factory in Kampong Speu Province, said that at least 26 garment workers got fainted due to bad smell of glue that was used to stick shoes.
“They were difficult to breathe due to bad smell of the glue and got unconscious,” he said, adding that the factory officials had immediately sent them to hospital for medical treatment.
In another factory, Crystal Martin-Cambodia Limited, in Kandal Province, some 78 garment workers also got fainted due to the bad smell of sulfuric acid coming out of an exploded battery used in their workplace.
A factory officer Seang Phearum said they were sent to hospitals for treatment soon after the incident, and all have recovered and returned home.
* How Julie Bishop betrayed Cambodian workers:
HOW stupid am I? Why am I surprised? Why am I shocked?
Australia’s Foreign Minister jets off to Phnom Penh and asks Cambodia’s Hun Sen regime to help us out with our human rights problem.
This is a regime, Human Rights Watch, regularly castigates.
Ten years ago one of Cambodia’s most prominent union leaders, Chea Vichea, was murdered – still to this day we do not know who pulled the trigger and who ordered the assassination.
Julie Bishop’s visit overlapped with a visit to Phnom Penh by global unions and global retail brands. They were also in town demanding the release of 21 garment workers and their union leaders, detained after mass protests>
The 21 have been held, largely incommunicado, for protesting against ‘satanic mill’ conditions that garment workers face – with bail denied during several court appearances.
* Kamako Chhnoeum: Program Findings from November 1st to December 31st, 2013:
Our worker mobile phone project inhas now surpassed 10,000 calls
After the launch of the Kamako Chhnoeum (Outstanding Worker) on September 1, 2013, the International Labour Organisation’s Better Factories Cambodia (BFC) program released the first report in late of October.
The project is available for free to workers calling on two networks. BFC is in discussions with other phone companies to expand the program.
The project uses an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system to educate factory workers on issues of importance to them. The format is a phone-in quiz where workers answer questions related to salary and allowances, occupational health and safety, and personal health.
The caller chooses one topic on which they would like to be quizzed and is then
asked a series of three questions.
Call Volume & Driving Awareness:
Kamako Chhnoeum received 1,991 valid calls out of 2,537 calls in total during the reporting period. A valid call means that the caller stayed on the line to answer
Notably, during the reporting period BFC had not yet replaced “easy” questions with new questions. (Note: Five questions were replaced in January 2014.)
Additionally, the number of calls during the reporting period decreased as the industry experienced widespread strikes and factory closures in
December 2014. In addition, no program marketing efforts were conducted during this period.
Flyer distribution, distribution of wallet cards, and broadcasting radio spots will take
place in the first quarter of 2014 to inform workers about the program. The program
continues to offer a random drawing for a rice cooker or cell phones to those who use theIVR system.
Key Findings from the Report
* Of the three topics, the greatest number of callers chose to answer questions on
Salaries and Allowances (35%), followed by Occupational Health and Safety (22%)
and Personal Health (21%).
* 24% of the callers incorrectly believe that workers on strike are entitled to receive
wages. This figure is an improvement over the previous reporting period in which
32% of callers answered this question incorrectly.
* We note a significant increase in respondents understanding of occupational health
and safety. 70% understood correctly that twice/year emergency drills are needed,
76% knew what do when a fire alarm rings and 80% clearly understood the
importance of needle guards on sewing machines.
* 65% correctly answered that workers who have worked for less than one year are
entitled to unpaid maternity leave; an increase from 53% in the last reporting period.
read more. & download the report here.
17:18:34 local time INDONESIA
* Next government must address labor productivity : Experts:
Worker productivity must be improved if Indonesia is to retain its status as the darling of investors in the Asia-Pacific region, an expert with Jakarta-based think tank the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) said.
“This must be a concern for the next government as many employers expect wage increases to be in line with a rise in productivity,” CSIS senior researcher Haryo Aswicahyono said on Thursday at the launch of a book entitled Untuk Indonesia 2013-2019: Agenda Ekonomi (For Indonesia 2014-2019: An Economic Agenda) published by CSIS.
The 133-page book highlights several key economic issues that the new government, expected to take office in October, must address to spur or maintain economic growth.
Haryo, one of the book’s authors, said that labor productivity was a key issue in the book as it would be one of investors’ main considerations before pouring their money into the country.
“Indonesia’s labor productivity only grew by 2.8 percent per year from 1980 to 2012, while Thailand grew by 3.6 percent,” he said.
According to combined data from the World Bank and the International Labor Organization (ILO), Indonesia’s average minimum wage rose by 5.5 percent between 2000 and 2011 but its productivity only increased by 3.4 percent, while in China the figures were 7.2 percent and 10.1 percent, respectively.
Minimum wages across Indonesia increased by 30 percent from 2010 to 2013, the highest compared to Thailand (14.2 percent), China (8.4 percent), Vietnam (6.7 percent), Cambodia (5.2 percent), Malaysia (3.3 percent) and the Philippines (3.1 percent), the data shows.
15:18:34 local time BANGLADESH
* Let’s Try Something Different! Gap and the Race to the Top:
Right now, Gap is helping to clean up the Next Collections sweatshop in Bangladesh by improving working conditions in accordance with international labor rights standards.
But focus is everything: we must demand that the 21 workers who were illegally terminated are reinstated in their position and that their back wages are paid.
Gap needs to understand that the workers at Next Collections must have a real stake and voice, be treated as human beings, and be paid a fair wage if productivity is to surge and the company is to prosper. Why don’t the Bangladeshi workers—with support from the American people—partner with Gap in a race to the top? This could create a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Together we can help corporate leaders like Gap realize that it is time to stop killing for pennies, and to start ensuring that workers are treated with the dignity they deserve. This race to the top is one worth running.
Will Gap lead the way? Let’s hope so.
read more and please sign.
* Retailers soften stance on factory relocation:
North American retailers yesterday assured apparel makers in Bangladesh that they would give a reasonable amount of time to relocate the factories operating on shared buildings.
“We know transition needs time. Obviously, we will allow an appropriate amount of time to make the transition,” said Wesley Wilson, senior director for ethical sourcing at Wal-Mart.
Wal-Mart is a member of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, a platform of 27 North American retailers and brands.
He was speaking at a meeting on building, fire and safety assessment, with garment makers and representatives of the Alliance at the office of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association yesterday.
“Our intention is not to punish garment factory owners in the country; rather, we want to extend support for their upgradation,” said Wilson.
The official, however, did not specify a timeframe for the relocation process.
The assurance comes in response to apparel makers’ requests for sufficient time to improve workplace safety.
Around 40 percent of clothing factories in Bangladesh currently operate on shared or converted buildings, said Atiqul Islam, president of BGMEA.
* Alliance begins RMG factory assessment:
The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety started its full-fledged readymade garment (RMG) factory assessment from Wednesday with its nominated seven local engineering companies, said BGMEA President Md Atiqul Islam.
“No individual auditors from the Alliance’s buyers and retailers will carry out any garment factory assessment except the seven nominated firms,” he told reporters after a view-exchange meeting on ‘Sharing of Views with Alliance on Building, Fire and Electrical Safety Assessment of RMG Factories’.
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) organised the meeting at its headquarters Thursday while Alliance managing director M Rabin and its board member Welsley, among the factory owners who manufacture apparel products for the Alliance signatories, were present.
The Alliance nominated companies includes Bureau Veritas, Shahidullah Associates, Uttaran, MK, BD Technology and EIMS.
* North American buyers too begin safety inspection:
Technical teams engaged by North American retailers on Wednesday started inspection of about 800 factories in Bangladesh from where they procure their products.
The American teams came within a week after European retailers began their safety inspection in about 1500 factories.
Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, the North American retailers’ platform, has appointed seven firms for the safety inspection, the Alliance officials told garment factory owners at a view exchange meeting at Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association auditorium on Thursday.
* Individual buyers will not inspect RMG factory:
Appointed local engineering firms will do it for them: BGMEA President
Individual buyers, who are signatories of the Alliance for Bangladesh workers’ safety, will no more inspect apparel factories in Bangladesh they source from.
Instead, the job will be performed by local engineering firms the Alliance had hired earlier.
The decision emerged from a meeting between Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporter Association (BGMEA) and the executives of the Alliance in Dhaka yesterday.
The Alliance of North American retailers had appointed seven local engineering firms to inspect apparel factories. These are Shahidullah Associates, Bureau Veritas, Uttaran, MK, BD Technology and EIMS.
* Awareness on RMG fire, safety issues stressed:
Many garment factory owners have misconceptions on use of fire and building safety equipment, said experts at a view exchange programme stressing the need for making owners more aware about the issues.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) yesterday organised the views sharing event with Alliance on “Building, fire and electrical safely assessment of RMG factories” in Bangladesh. The views sharing event is expected to address such crucial issues that are hindering development of the country’s RMG industry,” said BGMEA President Atiqul Islam while addressing the programme.
Three separate presentations on building, fire and electrical safety were presented by Prof. Ishtiak Ahmed of BUET, and other two members of “Alliance Committee of Experts” respectively.
These presentations exclusively focused on the technical aspects of fire and building safety to improve safety for Bangladesh garment workers through separate, but closely related work streams.
However, Bangladeshi RMG factory owners urged to identify a common, shared set of standards that will ultimately serve to make garment factories in Bangladesh safer.
* India to help develop textile, jute sectors:
The Indian government has agreed to extend technical cooperation to Bangladesh in the textile and jute sectors.
“India has committed to provide technical assistance for improvement of our textiles and jute sectors,” a senior official told the FE Thursday after the first meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) for cooperation in the textiles sector between Bangladesh and India held in Dhaka.
The meeting discussed different issues including import of raw cotton from India and keeping functional the International Jute Study Group (IJSG), established under the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the term of which expires on April 26 this year.
* Move to set up garment village on unused BSFIC land:
The government is considering setting up a garment village on the unused land under Bangladesh Sugar & Food Industries Corporation (BSFIC).
The ministry of commerce (MoC) would seek opinions of the Privatisation Commission (PC) on approval of the proposal, a high official of the MoC said.
“The concerned wing of the ministry is working on the move that is still at a formative stage. As a result, we can’t say anything about this,” said an official of the MoC familiar with the move.
Over 1,516.74 acres of land belonging to ailing state-owned enterprises (SoEs) are lying unused in different areas of the country, according to sources. Of the land area, about 706 acres are under the BSFIC, according to the available data.
THE TAZREEN FACORY FIRE
* Bail cancellation hearing of Tazreen MD’s wife on March 5:
Acting judge of the Dhaka’s District and Session’s Court Hosne Ara Akhter set the new date after hearing both the sides
A Dhaka court yesterday set March 5 to hear a prosecution petition seeking cancellation of the bail granted to Mahmuda Akhter Mita, the chairman of Tazreen Fashions.
Acting judge of the Dhaka’s District and Session’s Court Hosne Ara Akhter set the new date after hearing both the sides.
On February 12, public prosecutor Khondoker Abdul Mannan filed the plea before the court. The state counsel mentioned in the petition that the accused had been absconding for a long time and that she was not obedient to the court.
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE
* Govt to confiscate Rana Plaza site:
Fires, looting still occur frequently
The government is likely to confiscate the site of Rana Plaza in Savar, ten months after the eight-storied building collapsed claiming lives of over a thousand garment workers.
Dhaka District Deputy Commissioner Shaikh Yusuf Harun said a committee, which has been leading the coordination works of Rana Plaza will soon implement the decision.
“Earlier, there was a plan to confiscate the site as Khas land. But the decision has remained pending due to the compensation issues of the victim’s families,” said Harun while talking to the Dhaka Tribune on Sunday.
“Now, it seems frustration of the victim’s families have come down as many of them received their compensation. We have already published advertisements in the newspaper regarding confiscation and we have not received any objection in this regard. Therefore, we will soon go forward with our decision,” he added.
14:48:34 local time INDIA
* Indian textile exports may miss FY’14 target by $1bn:
* Industries shy away from CSR activities:
Despite repeated warnings , many units fail to release funds
Despite repeated warnings, many industries located in Medak district have failed in paying the mandatory amount under the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
While some small industries are somehow responding to the notices being issued by the administration, many pharmaceutical giants are not bothering about them.
According to sources, there are as many as 959 industries located in the district and they are mandated to pay as much as Rs. 42,59,39,370 to the district administration. There is a mandate for for industries to pay 1 per cent to 5 per cent of their respective project cost at the construction stage under the CSR scheme.
Similarly, the industries should pay at least 0.08 to 0.2 per cent of the project cost every year from there on. The industries have to spend this amount on welfare measures like health, education, sanitation and drinking water supply.
* Sewing livelihoods:
Lakshmi Meera provides free tailoring workshops for rural women at her South India Institute of Fashion Technology. Parshathy J. Nath reports
The sound of 34 feet working furiously on the pedals of the sewing machines greets you at the South India Institute of Fashion Technology.
It is a school for fashion that offers many courses to students interested in fashion designing. But there is more to it.
The 34 feet are of rural women who are participating in a free tailoring programme, offered by this institute that teaches them how to tailor frocks and shirts.
Lakshmi Meera, founder of the institute, walks around suggesting alterations and making corrections. From hard-and-fast rules of tailoring, the conversation gradually shifts to the day-today problems faced by these women.
Some talk about their marital troubles, while the others complain about the lack of safety in their villages.
Lakshmi knows a lot about these women. “Many of them face so many hurdles,” she says.
“Often they do not have the money to pay even their house rent. This tailoring class means a lot to them, as they can earn right from home. It is a huge opportunity for these women to earn. Some of them never handled a machine.
14:18:34 local time PAKISTAN
* 30 percent rise in export orders to Pakistan encouraging: German envoy:
The Ambassador of Germany Dr Cyrill Nunn has said that an increase of 30 percent in textile export orders in Heimtextile to Pakistan is an encouraging sign so far as the GSP plus facility for Pakistan is concerned.
He was speaking to the APTMA members at the APTMA Punjab office on Thursday. Chairman APTMA Punjab S M Tanveer welcomed him at the APTMA House.
The visiting envoy said an increase in textile orders to Pakistan suggest that the European buyers want to take advantage of the GSP plus facility to Pakistan. Accordingly, he said, the Pakistan government has revised it’s growth rate from 3.6 percent to 5.1 percent for 2013-14, which may be taken as first indicator of GSP plus facility. I’m sure that more developments will take place by the end of year, he added.
read more. & read more.
* Infiltration of Indian yarns: domestic spinners facing severe competition:
Over the past several weeks, trade sources have divulged that domestic mills are facing severe competition from Indian spinners.
A number of mills have also confirmed that cotton yarns are being exported by India into Pakistan in sizeable quantities. This turn of events is providing stiff competition to the domestic spinners.
At first, the higher counts of yarns received from India were giving severe competition to the locally produced yarns in Pakistan.
Now we have been informed that coarser counts of yarns are also being imported into Pakistan from India.
As a result, domestic spinners are quite worried about the import of Indian yarns into Pakistan. According to various reports, local prices of yarns and sales thereof are being adversely affected.
* GSP plus status to increase exports: Shahbaz:
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that the granting of GSP Plus status by European Union is a big achievement of Pakistan, which will not only create new job opportunities in the country but Pakistan’s textile and garment exports to European countries would substantially increase as well.
He was talking to a foreign delegation, led by British member of European Parliament Dr Sajjad Karim, here on Thursday, disclosed an official. The prospects of Pakistan’s access to the markets of European countries and increase in its exports in the wake of GSP Plus status were discussed on the occasion.
* Striking workers not included in the minimum income system: Ministry of Finance:
Egyptian workers in various public sectors, including the Postal Authority and the Public Transportation Authority, who entered strikes this week are not eligible for the minimum income system, Mesbah Qotb, the finance minister’s adviser for public outreach, told the Daily News Egypt on Wednesday.
No workers in any business sector public companies and government-owned entities, are eligible for the plan, Qotb said.
This includes the employees of nine holding companies under the authority of the Ministry of Investment, such as Cotton and Textile Industries Holding Company and the Food Industries Holding Company, which have more than 150 subsidiaries branching out of them.