In the news 7 March 2014.

20:16:54 local time map of mongolia MONGOLIA

* MP S.Odontuya: Immediate minimum wage increases could harm the economy:

Member of Parliament S.Odontuya gave some information about the current economic situation and the minimum wage increase.

 -Right after the start of 2014, the Mongolian People’s Party demanded that the Government increase the minimum wage by 30 percent. What is your position regarding their demands?

-I agree on increasing the salaries of public servants, in particular the salaries of teachers, doctors and  nurses. The reason is, a salary should be directly related to the outcome of the work a person is doing. Doctors work under high pressure. The salary they receive is relatively low compared to their workload. That’s why for many years I have touched upon the issue of a salary increase for teachers and doctors. Increasing the salaries of all state servants tomorrow has the danger of negatively influencing the economy of the country.
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20:16:54 local time map of china CHINA

* US & China announce new cotton policies:

In the past two months, both the United States (the largest exporter in 2012/13) and China (the largest producer and consumer in 2012/13) announced changes to their agricultural policies, including cotton. On February 7, 2014, President Obama signed the 2014 U.S. Farm Bill into law. 
The Direct Payments, Countercyclical Payments and Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) programs are repealed for all commodities and, for upland cotton, replaced by the Stacked Income Protection Plan (STAX). STAX provides premium subsidies to upland cotton producers to purchase insurance policies that cover “shallow” revenue losses–those below the level generally covered by standard crop insurance policies.
The Secretariat will provide additional information on this new policy in the next issue of Cotton: Review of the World Situation.
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19:16:54 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Work accident inspections progress slowly:

The progress in inspecting work accidents, especially fatalities, is slower than expected, stated the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA)’ Bureau for Safe Work’s head Ha Tat Thang.

According to MOLISA, out of the total number of over 560 fatal work accidents that occurred last year, only 175 have been properly investigated and officially reported to the ministry.

Thang pointed out that many work accidents occurred during the process of mineral exploitation in projects conducted by private companies or by the people for civil use. These cases have so far not yet been investigated and included in statistics and reports.

He noted that many localities failed to submit a report analysing the figures of work accidents by the types of enterprises and the categories of professions, or failed to provide an adequate, full report as required.
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VNNews new

* Vinatex prepared for sell-off:

Vietnam’s largest textile and garment manufacturer Vinatex has again failed to complete procedures for a first quarter initial public offering.

Le Tien Truong, Vinatex’s deputy general director, claimed the delay was a minor inconvenience and the initial public offering (IPO) would now take place within the second quarter as plans for the sell-off were awaiting official approval.
The state-run group has continuously failed to carry through on their IPO after initially missing their launch date in the fourth quarter of 2013 and first quarter of 2014.

Vinatex’s equitisation dates back to 2008, with the original plan delayed because of unfavourable market conditions.
After equitisation, the group will boast chartered capital of VND5 trillion ($238 million). Vinatex will sell a 49 per cent stake in the firm, with the state set to retain the remainder.

Vinatex is now one of Vietnam’s biggest state enterprises and has made a major contribution to the country’s export earnings. In 2013, the country’s textile and garment exports earnings were estimated at $20.4 billion, with exports to the US up 14 per cent, EU exports up 9 per cent, Japan up 20 per cent and South Korea 43 per cent.

It is predicted that 2014 will see a wave of foreign investors looking for opportunities in the textile and garment industry as Vietnam prepares for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
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* Shoe sector expands Thai footprint:

20140307 VNNews giay-dep
A production line of Hunex Co in Da Nang City. Footwear exports to Thailand hit US$25.87 million last year. — VNA/VNS Photo

The value of Viet Nam’s footwear exports to Thailand has increased sharply in the past four years, jumping from US$6.6 million in 2010 to $25.87 million in 2013.

According to the General Department of Viet Nam Customs, in January 2014 Vietnam shipped $2.01 million worth of footwear to Thailand and since 2012, the country’s monthly footwear export value to Thailand has been above $1 million on average.
Thailand has become one of Viet Nam’s four largest footwear importers in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the department said.

Nguyen Van Khanh, chairman of the Leather and Footwear Association in District 4, HCM City, said that Vietnam will have opportunities to ink more contracts with Thailand in the labour-intensive sector, as the partner country will stop producing its own footwear sometime in the future, reports Vneconomy.
Apart from a shortage of labour, Thailand is facing challenges posed by the unstable baht, the high labour cost and fierce competition from other producers, Khanh said.
read more.
VNNews new

19:16:54 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Garment unions: the call for women to represent women:

20140307 PPP Of-Cambodia’s-nearly-half-a-million-garment-workers,-90-per-cent-are-womenOf Cambodia’s nearly half a million garment workers, 90 per cent are women.
Photo by Heng Chivoan.

Of Cambodia’s nearly half a million garment workers, 90 per cent are women. Their unions have played a major role in Cambodian politics recently as their demand for a $160 monthly minimum wage has become a rallying cry for the opposition.

But those unions are dominated by men, creating a situation that one expert has termed “a woman’s movement under male leadership”.
Among the six major union federations, there is just one run entirely by women at the top level: the National Independent Federation Textile Union of Cambodia (NIFTUC), which has 25,000 members across 32 factories. Morn Nhim, a middle-aged former garment worker, is its president and founder.

She and other women who have risen to the top ranks agree that they are better equipped to respond to women’s unique needs, such as maternity leave, breastfeeding and sexual harassment.
“Women know each others’ problems, so we choose women to represent the workers,” she said in an interview at NIFTUC’s headquarters.

Nhim began her career in the garment sector in 1997 during the industry’s early years. Workers were far less organised than they are today, with the Cambodia Labour Organisation (CLO), a labour rights NGO which shut down in 2005, providing the bulk of support.

“There were no NGOs or unions like [today], but one of the NGO officers from CLO came to train the workers about the laws and the working conditions, and I saw that I should work for workers because there was too much pressure from the employers, and the workers appointed me to be a representative.”
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PPP new

* Gov’t passes buck on faintings:

Mass faintings in Cambodia’s garment factories do not occur as a result of long hours and arduous working conditions, but from workers’ failure to care for their own health, according to the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) director.

During an annual meeting, which mainly focused on a pension scheme for garment workers that is scheduled to go into effect next year, NSSF director Ouk Samvithyea brought up the endemic industrial issue of mass fainting during his speech.

“I want to tell you all that we have looked deeply into the situation of mass fainting, and it is not caused by the work, but mostly because of the workers’ health,” Samvithyea said. “For example, when they get a headache or are slightly ill, they don’t see a doctor, because they think healthcare is too expensive.”

The comment came less than a week after more than 100 workers across two factories fainted on the same day. A Free Trade Union representative at SHIMANO factory in Kampong Speu province said glue fumes caused 28 workers to faint there last Friday. A factory representative at Crystal Martin (Cambodia) Limited in Kandal province said about 120 workers fainted after breathing fumes from battery acid that day.

Dave Welsh, country director for labour rights group Solidarity Center, said such comments were “preposterous”.
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PPP new

* Labor unions not allowed to hold public forum at Freedom Park:

Phnom Penh City Hall said that it didn’t allow a coalition of 18 labor unions and associations to hold a public forum at the Freedom Park on March 8.

In a letter issued Thursday, Phnom Penh deputy governor Khuong Sreng asked the union leaders to hold the public forum at their offices.
“Phnom Penh City Hall didn’t allow them to hold public forum because the Cambodian People’s Party and Cambodia National Rescue Party’ talks on election reforms are underway,” the statement said.
However, the leaders of the coalition of labor unions and associations still maintained their stance to hold the forum scheduled for March 8 – International Women’s Rights Day.
The forum is expected to draw around 30,000 participants as well as speakers from labor unions, government and the opposition to raise questions over the suppression, arrest of workers and wage demands.
to read .

* Security Forces Hold Drills Ahead of Saturday’s Union Forum:

Some 2,000 police officers in full riot gear carried out demonstration-suppression drills at Olympic Stadium on Thursday, ahead of a scheduled forum hosted by labor unions at Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park on Saturday.

The U.N. special rapporteur to Cambodia, Surya Subedi, also released a statement Thursday welcoming Mr. Hun Sen’s touted lifting of the ban on the constitutional right to free assembly, despite a number of public gatherings having since been violently quashed this week and other rallies denied permission.

“I was pleased to learn that, in a speech delivered on 25 February, Prime Minister Hun Sen stated that the ban would be lifted,” Mr. Subedi said in the statement.

Despite the Prime Minister’s announcement and the Ministry of Interior conceding that his statement trumped its ban on public gatherings, the unions who plan to gather at Freedom Park on Saturday have had their request to hold the forum rejected by City Hall.
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* Police drill ahead of forum:

On the same day 18 union federations made their final decision to move forward with a labour rights forum in Freedom Park on Saturday, thousands of police officials from several departments gathered in Olympic Stadium for a training session.

“Plans for a demonstration, such as the one on March 8, is nothing new for us; we have faced similar challenges many times already,” said Military Police spokesman Kheng Tito, who insisted yesterday’s training session was unrelated to the planned forum. “We train to strengthen our capacity.

On Saturday, union groups plan to gather at Freedom Park to both celebrate International Women’s Day and discuss pressing issues in the garment industry. Following last week’s boycott of overtime in which some garment workers took part, the forum is the last action before a planned stay-at-home strike, which is scheduled to begin on March 12 and last until at least March 19.

Discussion at the forum will focus heavily on garment workers’ demands for a minimum monthly wage of $160 and the release of 21 activists and workers jailed since January crackdowns.
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PPP new

Cambodian anti-riot police conduct exercise in preparation for future protests:

The Phnom Penh Municipal Police held a special training at the capital’s Olympic Stadium on Thursday afternoon in preparation for any future demonstrations.

More than 2,000 policemen, armed with shields and batons, joined the half-day training, Gen. Chuon Sovann, chief of the Phnom Penh Municipal Police, said.
“It is usual for armed forces to get training in order to strengthen their abilities in maintaining security, safety and public order for the city,” he told reporters at the event.

He said the training had no aim to threaten the opposition or its aligned trade unions that have planned to hold rallies, but it aimed to protect safety and public order if any violence occurred during protests.
“The security forces will protect demonstrators if their demonstrations get permission from the government or the interior ministry,” he said. “But if demonstrations are illegal, protest leaders must be responsible for any incidents.”
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* Union Reps Must Prove Clean Criminal Records:

The government now requires union leaders to prove that they have no criminal record before registering new branches of their organization, according to a statement from the Ministry of Labor, a decision that comes less than a week before planned nationwide strikes in the garment sector.

The statement says that union leaders must submit a letter from the Ministry of Justice proving they have no previous criminal convictions before they can register a new union, said Jill Tucker, a technical adviser with the International Labor Organization (ILO), who said she has seen the communique.

Last week, a Ministry of Labor spokesman said that the constitutional right to unionize has been suspended until a long-awaited trade union law is brought into force. The official retracted his statement the following day without explanation.

Chea Mony, president of the opposition-aligned Free Trade Union, said that his efforts to register new branches of his union this week were once again rebuffed by the government, with Labor Ministry officials now demanding proof of a clean criminal record.
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* BetterFactories Media updates 7 March 2014, Union reps must prove clean criminal records:

* to read in the printed edition The Phnom Penh Post:
2014-03-07 Gov’t passes buck on faintings
2014-03-07 Police drill ahead of forum

* to read in the printed edition The  Cambodia Daily:
2014-03-07 Security forces hold drills ahead of Saturday’s union forum
2014-03-07 Union reps must prove clean criminal records

BetterFactories Media Updates Overview here.

18:16:54 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Fortune Garments in Dhanmondi catches fire:

A fire broke out at Fortune Garments located in capital’s Jigatala area on Thursday afternoon.

The fire originated at 5:53pm on the second floor of the five-storied building, fire control room officials said.
Eight units from Mohammmadpur, Palashi and Dhanmondi fire stations are working to douse the flame.
The cause of the fire could not be known immediately.
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* RMG factory catches fire at Hazaribagh:

Locals and fire-fighters try to control a fire at a garment factory in DhakaLocals and fire-fighters try to control a fire at a garment factory in Dhaka March 6, 2014. Credit: Reuters/Stringer

A fire broke out in a readymade garments factory in Hazaribagh in the capital this evening, gutting a large shipment of goods.

The fire began around 5:45pm in Green Leaf Apparels, located on the first and second floors of a building in the area.
One man suffered minor injuries inside the fire. He was identified as supervisor Mizan.
An entire shipment of jackets was burnt down, said factory officials.
Ten firefighting units were required to bring the flames under control. The fire service needed at least an hour to declare the situation within control.
Maj Mahbub, director (operations) of Fire Service and Civil Defense, provided the above to our correspondent covering the incident.
However the fire service could not determine the cause of the fire.
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daily star bd reuters BD new age

* Fire guts 2 garment factories:

Two garment factories were gutted by a fire that broke out in the city’s Jigatala area on Thursday evening.

Fire service officials said the fire originated on the 1st floor of a six-storey building near Jigatala bus stand at about 5:53 pm.
Soon the fire engulfed the entire building which housed ‘Green Leaf Garment’ on the 1st and 2nd floors and ‘Bengal Garments’ on the 3rd, 4th and 5th floors.

On information, 12 firefighting units from different city fire stations, including Lalbagh, rushed in and doused the blaze at about 8:35 pm.
The reason behind the fire as well as the extent of losses from the fire could not be ascertained yet.
Meanwhile, a three-member committee, headed by Fire Service assistant director Rafiqul Islam, has been formed to probe the fire incident, according to a news agency.
to read.
FE bd

* Garment factory gutted in city’s Jigatola:

Around 5:30pm some staffs saw sparks from a electric wire and soon a fire spread to the entire first floor of the five-storey building

20140307 DHAKATRIBUNE mahmudOpu

Firefighters climb up a building after a fire broke out at a garment factory located on the first floor of the building in the city’s Jigatola

A garment factory was gutted at Jigatola in the capital yesterday evening. 

Fire Service and Civil Defence officials said around 5:30pm some staffs saw sparks from a electric wire and soon a fire spread to the entire first floor of the five-storey building.
On receiving information, 10 units of firefighters rushed to the spot and doused the fire after one-hour’s efforts.

The workers were safe as the garment was closed after the day shift at 4:30pm, said Major Mahbub, director of the fire service. A finishing supervisor Mizanur Rahman sustained minor injuries while trying to douse the flame.
“A few staffs were there to pack up the day’s work during the incident,” said Shahnoor Islam, the owner of the factory named Green Leaf.

The five-storey building housed another factory Bengal Group Garments on the third and the fourth floor but blazes could not up there.The Bengal Garments was also closed during the incident.
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* RMG factories face production suspension:

The decision was taken at a meeting of the review committee

A review panel of factory inspections yesterday asked Softex and Fame Sweater to suspend production and asked to retrofit before going for production.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the review committee, following a recommendation from the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh.
Fakhrul Amin and Ehsanul Kabir, professors of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, BGMEA and BKMEA representative Shahidullah Azim and representatives from Alliance and Accord were present at the meeting.

“We have found some problems in Softex, which needs retrofitting and after the discussion among the review panel, the factory owners have been asked to suspend production and make quick retrofitting,” said a meeting source, wishing anonymity.
Fame Sweater Limited has been asked to minimise loads on floor, strengthen column and then to restart production after four days of the improvement, he added.

Earlier on Tuesday, the review panel asked Jeans Care, a Tejgaon-based garment maker, to take immediate steps to upgrade safety standards to remain in production.
read more.

* Database creation, 200 inspectors’ recruitment to be made this month: Tofail:

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed reiterated Thursday that the conditions including creation of a database and recruitment of 200 inspectors would be met by March for restoration of the GSP facility in the US market.

“Out of 16 conditions, some will take time for their fulfilment while recruitment of 200 inspectors and establishment of database will be done by March,” the minister said at the inaugural ceremony of the four-day “International Garment Accessories, Packaging, Machinery, Yarns, Fabrics and Apparel Technology Trade Show (GAPEXPO-2014)”.

Bangladesh Garments Accessories and Packaging Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGAPMEA) with Zakaria Trade and Fair International and ASK Trade and Exhibition Pvt Ltd jointly organized the expo at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the city.
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FE bd

* Tofail: RMG welfare associations to convert into trade unions:

Commerce minister came up with the disclosure while addressing an inaugural ceremony of a four-day GAP Expo-2014 being held at BICC

The government is going to convert Workers Welfare Associations (WWA) into trade unions to allow the readymade garment workers for the formation of trade unions at the factories located at the Export Processing Zones (EPZs), as part of a move to fulfill the US conditions, for regaining the suspended GSP facilities.

Commerce minister Tofail Ahmed came up with the disclosure while addressing an inaugural ceremony of a four-day GAP Expo-2014 being held at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) in the city yesterday.
“The government has already met 13 conditions, out of 16, outlined by the US administration for the reinstatement of the GSP facilities for the revival of the GSP trade facilities. We will be able to meet rest of the conditions including the labour union right issue before April 15,” the minister hoped.

He also hinted that the government is going to convert the existing WWA into trade union to address the RMG workers’ right to form trade unions in the EPZs areas.
read more.

* BGMEA seeks Tk800cr sovereign guarantee for industrial park:

‘If the government provides Tk800 crore guarantee, it would exceed the limit set by the IMF,’ finance division official says

Bangladesh’s garment exporters have sought sovereign guarantee against Tk800 crore bank loan to acquire land for an industrial park at Bausia in Munshiganj for the apparel sector.

But a senior finance division official said the government could not provide any sovereign guarantee to any sector under the International Monetary Fund’s condition of the extended credit facility (ECF).

He said if the government provides Tk800 crore guarantee, it would exceed the limit set by the IMF.
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* Moving The Toxic Tanneries – Another Wait Starts:

20140306 RISE hazaribagh-tannery
Workers live among toxic tannery waste in Hazaribagh Tannery Area

The pollution level in tanneries at Hazaribagh is rising every day, causing many diseases to spread around the area.

Experts say that if the tanneries are not relocated soon there will be a medical catastrophe in the region. While deadlines for executing the High Court orders on relocation of tanneries have already passed several times with the government repeatedly asking for extension, new questions are rising on a realistic solution for this problem.

In 2003 the government initiated a project for relocation to “Savar Leather Estate” in Savar. During this time two of the country’s  main tannery associations agreed with the government that some 150 member-tanneries in Hazaribagh would relocate to a site outside of the city.

The government agreed to compensate these tanneries for some of the cost and planned to prepare a relocation site in Savar by 2005, although completion of the site has been delayed numerous times.
The initial deadline for relocation of the more than 40 year old tanneries from Hazaribagh to Savar Leather Industrial Estate (SLIE) was June 2004, which was extended to December 2005.
After a public interest litigation was lodged, the High Court in June 2009 asked the government to relocate the tanneries from Dhaka to a proposed leather estate at Savar by February 28, 2010 or face shutdowns.
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* Tanners meet JICA to get $1b loan for relocation:

Tanners held a meeting with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) officials Thursday for $1.0 billion loan to meet relocation cost of their units from the city’s Hazaribag to Savar Tannery Estate.

The meeting was held after the tanners wrote a letter to JICA recently for providing the financial assistance, as the owners are unable to relocate around 200 tanneries on their own.

Bangladesh Finished Leather, Leather Goods & Footwear Exporters Association (BFLLFEA) President Mohammad Abu Taher and JICA Advisor Yasuhiko Yuga led their respective teams at the meeting at JICA office.

The BFLLFEA president told The Financial Express (FE): “We talked for around one hour, and they showed positive sign regarding the credit… but nothing is final yet.”
read more.
FE bd

* BGMEA urges govt not to hike energy price:

First Vice President Nasir Uddin Ahmed Chowdhury today expressed concern at the government move to hike the price of electricity and gas.

In a statement he said the readymade garments sector has suffered a lot due to political stalemate during the pre-election period, which led to cancellation of export orders, receipt of low volume of export orders, discounts and air shipment.
Besides, the wages hike of the garment workers worsened the grave situation and the distribution of electricity and gas on the basis of peak and off-peak hour.

Considering the above situation Nasir Uddin urged the government not to hike the prices of electricity and gas at this point of time which will help the industries to recover the loss.
to read.
FE bd

* Garment accessory makers look to brisk sales:

Garment accessories and packagers are anticipating a pick-up in fortune as interests from local and international buyers have increased this year with the recovery of global economy, participants of a trade fair said yesterday.

“Local garment producers are showing interest in knowing about the new machines,” said Didarul Hasan, managing director of Dad International BD Ltd, an authorised dealer of Durkopp Adler, a German manufacture of industrial sewing machines.
He said the participation of local and foreign visitors is higher at this year’s International Garments Accessories and Packaging Expo, where 300 companies from 30 countries are participating.
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daily star bd


* Tazreen MD’s bail plea hearing on March 13:

A court here on Thursday fixed  March 13 for hearing on the bail petition of Tazreen Fashions’ managing director Delwar Hossain in a case filed over the devastating fire in a garment factory in 2012.

Judge of Dhaka district Session Judge’s Court Abdul Majid passed the order upon a time petition submitted by Delwar’s lawyer.

Earlier on February 25, Delwar’s counsel ATM Golam Gaus filed a petition seeking bail for him.
On February 9, a Dhaka court sent Managing director and owner of Tazreen Fashions Delwar Hossain and chairman of the company Mahmuda Akther to jail after they surrendered before the Dhaka Chief Judicial Magistrate court seeking bail.
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UNB FE bd DHAKATRIBUNE daily star bd



* Rana Plaza brands must pay compensation now:

We cannot allow the one-year anniversary of one of the worst industrial accidents, Rana Plaza, to pass on 24 April without compensation being paid to the injured and victims families.

All the work has been done to build the Donor Trust Fund. An inclusive process was run under the stewardship of the ILO during the second half of 2013, achieving a final agreement in December 2013 with the signed commitment from all parties. Cosigning partners of the Rana Plaza Coordination Committee and the Arrangement framework include the Bangladeshi government, Bangladeshi unions, Bangladeshi manufacturers, IndustriALL Global Union and the Clean Clothes Campaign, as well as four key brands.

The total needed is US$40 million for correct levels of payments to be made to the families of those 1,138 workers and rescue workers crushed to death at their workstations in Rana Plaza, and also to the survivors, thousands of whom lost limbs and their ability to work when the factory fell.
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17:46:54 local time map of india INDIA

* 1,300 crore spent for textile sector:

Commissioner for Department of Handloom and Textiles D.A. Venkatesh said the department had invested Rs. 1,300 crore in the state under various schemes for establishing textile parks and to support micro, small and medium entrepreneurs.

This money also went into modernising existing units of handloom and textile industries during the current financial year.
He was addressing the skill development trainees and entrepreneurs at a one-day workshop on new textile policy in Gulbarga city on Wednesday.

Mr. Venkatesh further added that the handloom and textiles industry had been playing a vital role in stopping migration by providing direct employment opportunities and helped check unemployment.
He added that after agriculture, the textile sector was the major employment provider to rural people and also for those who mainly depend on agriculture as major occupation.
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17:46:54 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* Ansell continues to defy Supreme Court instruction:

The conflict at the Ansell factory in one of Sri Lanka’s free trade zones has seen 294 workers out of a job since October.

The Supreme Court has instructed Ansell to negotiate a settlement with the trade union FTZGSEU, which the company blatantly refuses to do.

The 294 workers were fired in October last year when striking in support of 11 sacked colleagues and trade union representatives at Australian multinational Ansell, maker of surgical and industrial gloves. With lower courts ruling in favour of reinstating the dismissed workers, the Supreme Court ordered Ansell to negotiate a settlement with IndustriALL Global Union affiliate FTZGSEU.

But when the Supreme Court again took up the case on 3 March it was clear that Ansell had no intention of trying to find a viable solution. The Supreme Court had proposed the reinstatement of the 294 workers, but Ansell claims to have filled the vacancies.
read more.

17:16:54 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Labour rights: ‘CM to approve new policy for home-based workers in two weeks’:

20140307 TRIBUNE womensworkers
“Due to a lack of rights for home-based workers, jobs from garments and automobiles industries have been transferred to homes,” Home-Based Women Workers Federation general-secretary Zehra Khan.

Within the next two weeks, a policy for home-based workers will be approved by the chief minister, said the adviser to the chief minister on labour, Asghar Ali Khan Junejo, on Thursday.

“Very soon, I will give you the good news,” said Junejo to a cheering crowd. The draft has been lying with the chief minister for the last three months.
The auditorium of the Karachi Arts Council was filled with home-based workers to mark the International Women’s Day falling on Saturday. The convention was organised by the Home-Based Women Workers Federation.

The federation’s general-secretary, Zehra Khan, said that they are planning to form a union of home-based workers very soon.
She believed that due to a lack of rights for home-based workers, jobs from garments and automobiles industries have been transferred to homes.
“The workers are using their homes and their utilities, such as gas and electricity, but they are not even paid the minimum wage.”
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* Textile City: NBP to provide over Rs 1 billion credit facility:

National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) has agreed to grant over Rs 1 billion credit facility against a sovereign guarantee to Pakistan Textile City Limited. Sources told Business Recorder on Thursday that presently Pakistan Textile City requires huge funds for completion of infrastructure development schemes to launch this mega project as soon as possible.

The management of Textile City is making efforts to generate funds from different sources and as part of these efforts, the bank has agreed to provide sufficient funds to Pakistan Textile City, which is a public private joint venture company and driven by the federal government with a vision to develop and operate Pakistan’s first state of the art industrial zone near sea port dedicated for the value-added textile sector.
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* Body to resolve cotton trade with India:

All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) Punjab Chairman S M Tanveer on Thursday constituted an ad hoc committee to resolve cotton trade with India through Wagah border such as short weight, quality, backing out of contractual obligations by the Indian shippers, etc, a statement said.

The Aptma Punjab chairman said that the cotton import from India is important for the stakeholders of both the sides, including shippers from India and the textile millers located in Northern Pakistan, it said.

In view of the compatibility, he said, the lesser cost of transportation has resulted in the import of around one million cotton bales from India, of which around 40 percent is being shipped from Wagah border.

Recently, he said, Aptma member mills have started experiencing short of weight complaints of cotton bales imported through the Wagah border. Keeping in view the importance of cotton trade through Wagah border, Aptma called an emergent meeting of stakeholders and constituted an ad hoc committee on cotton trade with India, the statement said, quoting Tanveer as saying.
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* Five percent duty on import of cotton yarn: value-added textile sector opposes government proposal:

Value-added textile sector has opposed the government’s proposal of imposing 5 percent duty on import of cotton yarn, fearing the move will further increase cost of business with costlier raw material.

Chairman Pakistan Apparel Forum (PAF), Javed Bilwani, on Thursday said the government should discourage export of cotton yarn, which is produced through expensive gas and electricity amid shortage of energy in the country.

“Manufacturing of cotton yarn involves costly gas and electricity and export of this essential raw material, which is used in the value added textile sector production, should be discouraged,” said Bilwani.
He was of the view that the country is already facing acute electricity and gas shortages, adding that the government should help the value-added textile sector to meet its raw material needs, without duties, to achieve export targets under GSP Plus status.
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* Textile machinery imports surge by $79.9 million:

The country has imported $303.313 million worth of textile machinery during July-January 2013-14, official figures say.

Textile machinery import is higher by $79.908 million (36 percent) during the July-January 2013-14 as compared to $223.405 million in the same period last fiscal year, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) suggests.

In January 2014, the import of textile machinery went up by $19.072 million (67 percent) to $47.748 million from $28.676 million in January 2013, the PBS indicates. Import of construction and mining machinery grew by $63.547 million (70 percent) to $154.848 million in July-January 2013-14 from $91.301 million in the same period last fiscal year, the statistics depict. Import of construction and mining machinery stood at $12.573 million in January 2014 as compared to $8.828 million in January 2013, going up by $3.745 million (42.42 percent), the PBS says.
to read.



map of Asia


There are updates under ‘special reports’:

* Minimum Wage-LIVING WAGE- PART 4: 20131223- NOW
* Cambodian Garment Workers: $160 We Need! Part 2 20140207-now
* TAZREEN Fire Part 2 20 November 2013- NOW


* MP S.Odontuya: Immediate minimum wage increases could harm the economy

* US & China announce new cotton policies

* Work accident inspections progress slowly
* Vinatex prepared for sell-off
* Shoe sector expands Thai footprint

* Garment unions: the call for women to represent women
* Gov’t passes buck on faintings
* Labor unions not allowed to hold public forum at Freedom Park
* Security Forces Hold Drills Ahead of Saturday’s Union Forum
* Police drill ahead of forum
* Cambodian anti-riot police conduct exercise in preparation for future protests
* Union Reps Must Prove Clean Criminal Records
* BetterFactories Media updates 7 March 2014, Union reps must prove clean criminal records

* Fortune Garments in Dhanmondi catches fire
* RMG factory catches fire at Hazaribagh
* Fire guts 2 garment factories
* Garment factory gutted in city’s Jigatola
* RMG factories face production suspension
* Database creation, 200 inspectors’ recruitment to be made this month: Tofail
* Tofail: RMG welfare associations to convert into trade unions
* BGMEA seeks Tk800cr sovereign guarantee for industrial park
* Moving The Toxic Tanneries – Another Wait Starts
* Tanners meet JICA to get $1b loan for relocation
* BGMEA urges govt not to hike energy price
* Garment accessory makers look to brisk sales
* Tazreen MD’s bail plea hearing on March 13
* Rana Plaza brands must pay compensation now

* 1,300 crore spent for textile sector

* Ansell continues to defy Supreme Court instruction

* Labour rights: ‘CM to approve new policy for home-based workers in two weeks
* Textile City: NBP to provide over Rs 1 billion credit facility:
* Body to resolve cotton trade with India
* Five percent duty on import of cotton yarn: value-added textile sector opposes government proposal
* Textile machinery imports surge by $79.9 million

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