In the news 12 March 2014

Articles with are updated 12 March  07.15h (GMT)

00:10:42 local time map of china CHINA

* Chinese apparel export dip to EU favors Bangladesh – IAF:

IAF’s Matthijs Crietee delivered a speech at Dialog’s Textil Bekleidung’s (DTB) and MODINT’s biannual Sourcing Convention held March 6th, 2014 in Düsseldorf, Germany.He explained the elements of the ‘2nd phase post MFA’ sourcing pattern following the first drop in imports of apparel from China in 2013.
The main beneficiary of a withdrawal from China is Bangladesh, clearly visible in the EU import figures over 2013. Other elements, such as near shoring and pioneering in new production countries such as Ethiopia are not yet visible in the broad figures.
The most striking element of this new sourcing phase, remarked Crietee, is that the focus has shifted from moving production to improving production.
All of the presentations at the DTB sourcing Convention made clear in their own way that the industry has re-discovered investments in factories and investments in the supply chain.
The fact that in the short and medium run few volume alternatives to China and Bangladesh are available is fuelling this development.
read more.
fibre2fashion

23:10:42 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

# * Gov’t, trade unions to secure workers’ rights:

A new co-operation agenda agreed upon the Government and the Viet Nam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL) sets the protection of workers’ rights and interests and improvment of their living conditions as key priorities for 2014, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said yesterday.

Speaking at a working session with confederation officials, Dung said the agreement should galvanise Party and State policies on improving the lives of workers through practical measures like providing housing and kindergarten facilities in industrial zones with large numbers of workers.

The Prime Minister praised the VGCL’s close coordination with the Government on workers’ rights, suggesting both sides could create secure and comfortable conditions for workers.
read more.
VNNews new

23:10:42 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

# * Six Unions Suspend ‘Stay At Home’ Garment Strike:

The majority of garment factory unions organizing a nationwide stay-at-home strike among their members, which was set to begin today, decided to delay their plans until next month following a meeting among union leaders Tuesday.

Only two out of the planned eight labor unions will push ahead with the strike to demand a $160 minimum monthly wage, while six others have decided to delay the industrial action until after the Khmer New Year holiday, which begins on April 14. Eight labor associations who were also supporting the strike action were also split on whether they would stay at home Wednesday.

The unions that have decided to hold off on the strike include the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union (CCAWDU), the country’s largest independent union, and the influential, opposition-aligned Free Trade Union.
Ath Thorn, president of CCAWDU, admitted that if he were to go ahead with the strike, few of his members would actually join.

“We are following our members’ request and if we continue to hold the strike, few workers would participate,” Mr. Thorn said, adding that CCAWDU would instead ask workers to stay home for one week following the Khmer New Year.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

# * Planned strike delayed; some vow to press on:

Sixteen of 18 union groups planning the biggest industrial action since security forces shot dead at least four people in January agreed yesterday to postpone a stay-at-home garment strike until after the Khmer New Year.

The official reason given was that workers had expressed fear of being left broke and unable to return home for the holidays.
Some union leaders, however, said they were concerned over disunity between the strike’s organisers, while another said unions needed the extra time to rethink their strategy when it came to rallying workers and securing a $160 monthly minimum garment wage.

Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, said workers would now hold a stay-at-home strike from April 17 to 22.
“There were eight people who appeared at the meeting today, and we decided to delay the strike on the suggestion of the members and workers,” he said.

But Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions, said his group, along with the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions, disagreed with the postponement.
“I will not abandon my plans, even if not all workers join. But I hope all my members – about 8,000 – will think the same as me, as well as workers from other unions,” he said.

But questions are now being asked about the extent to which workers support the concept of mass strikes in the future.
Unions had predicted up to 30,000 would attend a public forum planned for the capital’s Freedom Park last Saturday. When government forces blocked their entry, the number of protesters was only in the hundreds.
read more.
PPP new

# * ‘Only paying lip service’:

Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday accused the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party of hypocrisy, claiming that although the CNRP has pushed garment workers to strike for no less than a $160 minimum wage, party leaders pay their own bodyguards, drivers and cooks half that.

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy rejected the accusation, saying that while only “allowances” were given to guards and drivers – for whom he claimed accommodation, food and medical care was provided – any full-time CNRP employee living at home was paid at least $160 a month.
read more.
PPP new

# * New look at Vichea murder:

Phnom Penh Municipal Court has reopened an investigation into the high-profile slaying of union leader Chea Vichea in 2004, a court official said yesterday.

Prosecutor Sok Roeun said the court’s head prosecutor began reinvestigating the case early last month in response to an order from the Supreme Court.
That order, he added, was delivered in September as part of the verdict acquitting Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun, two men wrongfully imprisoned over Vichea’s murder.

“The municipal prosecutor has already started the reinvestigation but it is not yet finished,” Roeun told the Post. “So far, we have invited some police officers for questioning in relation to this case.”
Roeun would not reveal any more details about the investigation or how long it is expected to last.

Vichea, the outspoken and opposition-aligned leader of the Free Trade Union (FTU), was shot dead in Phnom Penh on January 22, 2004, at a newsstand close to Wat Lanka. The man who pulled the trigger escaped on a motorcycle with an accomplice.
read more.
PPP new

# * Court Orders New Probe of Chea Vichea Murder:

The Supreme Court has ordered Phnom Penh Municipal Court Prosecutor Yeth Chakrya to reinvestigate the 2004 assassination in Phnom Penh of Free Trade Union (FTU) president Chea Vichea, Supreme Court Judge Khim Pon said Tuesday.

The decision to return the case to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court was made when the Supreme Court last year released the two men widely believed to have been the government’s scapegoats for the murder, Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun, each of whom had served five years in prison for a crime they did not commit.

“[The Supreme Court] orders the Phnom Penh Municipal Court prosecutor to begin reinvestigating the case to find out who killed Chea Vichea,” reads the final verdict of the Supreme Court, obtained Tuesday.

Judge Pon said the reason for returning the case to the court in Phnom Penh was simple.

“We want the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to find out who really killed Chea Vichea and to not give up on this case,” he said.

Chea Vichea’s brother and current FTU President Chea Mony said Tuesday that justice for his brother was unlikely, as he does not believe the Phnom Penh Municipal Court has any interest in finding the killers since the real killers were likely hired by someone within the government to assassinate his brother for leading workers to protest for an increase in the minimum wage.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Arrested union leader Vorn Pao speaks from prison:

In December last year, violence against garment workers began after Cambodian unions called a national strike.
Workers were demanding an increase in the minimum wage to USD 160 per month.

As protests continued, the police and military responded with violence on January 2 and 3, killing at least 4 people and injuring almost 40.
Among those who were arrested with violence is Vorn Pao, union leader of the Independent Democratic Informal Economy Association (IDEA). In February, he smuggled a letter out of prison.

Letter from Vorn Pao to All Comrades, posted by his wife on Friday 14 February 2014

I, Vorn Pao, would like to say hello to all members of associations, unions, federations, confederations, international and national civil societies, international and national networks, and all Khmer patriots living both in the country and around the world!

I have known that there are millions of Khmer people inside and outside the country that are striving to advocate for our freedom and release from CC3 Prison.
Your action is really a new, enormous driving force to demand rights and freedom for our nation and to show that we hunger for justice and peace for our nation as well.

Moreover, I have known clearly that everyone has been busy day and night pushing for our freedom.
For me, even though my body is being detained in prison, my soul, my ideals, my willingness and my consciousness is not being detained.
Prison has provided me enormous life experience as a social advocate and shown various types of images, especially the life of prisoners.

Many scars from wounds are on my body, creating a lot of pain for me, but it cannot shock me or depress me or make me forget the social struggle because I hope that one day in the near future, we will receive our freedom after our united sacrifice. Every activity is for the sake of our nation, ourselves and our next generation.
Our nation has suffered so many years from people who have always mistreated and wanted to destroy our nation from generation to generation.
Therefore, every action of sacrifice is for the sake of ourselves as well as our next generation.
read more.
Site

20140311 * Cambodian opposition-aligned trade unions postpone garment strike:

Eight opposition-aligned trade unions on Tuesday decided to delay a stay-at-home garment strike scheduled for March 12-19, said a union leader.

“We met Tuesday morning and decided to postpone our strike until after the Khmer New Year,”said Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, adding that the strike was re-scheduled for April 17-22. “The postponement came after some workers feared the strike would leave them without salaries for the New Year holiday,”he said.

The unions’ planned strike aims to demand a 160 U.S. dollars minimum wage for garment workers and the release of 21 detainees who were arrested in early January during violent protests.

According to Pav Sina, the eight trade unions represented over 100,000 out of the 600,000 workers in about 900 garment and shoe factories in the kingdom.
read more. & to read.
CHINAORG GLOBALTIMES

# * BetterFactories Media updates 11-12 March 2014, Planned strike delayed; some vow to press on:

* to read in the printed edition The Phnom Penh Post:

2014-03-11 Strike may be shifted to post-holiday date
2014-03-12 Bribes often cost of doing business survey
2014-03-12 New look at Vichea murder
2014-03-12 Planned strike delayed; some vow to press on

* to read in the printed edition The Cambodia Daily:

2014-03-11 A framework for higher growth and more and better jobs
2014-03-12 Business employers say corruption greatest threat to economy
2014-03-12 Court orders new probe of Chea Vichea murder
2014-03-12 Inspections highlight safety risks at Bangladeshi garment factories
2014-03-12 Six unions suspend Stay at Home garment strike

* to read in the printed edition  Rasmei Kampuchea Daily (Khmer):

2014-03-12 Unions postpone strike plan
BetterFactories Media updates Overview here.
BF NEW

00:10:42 local time map of malaysia MALAYSIA

# * Some 3,147 Employers Comply With Minimum Wages Order – Riot:

A total of 3,147 employers have complied with the minimum wages payment nation-wide since it was fully enforced beginning early this year.

Human Resources Minister Datuk Richard Riot Jaem said the number accounted for 3,218 or 97.79 percent of the total inspections carried out by the Labour Department.

He said in January this year, only 11 out of the 988 employers, who were inspected, failed to comply with the minimum wages implementation.

“It is still premature to see the impact of employers’ failure to comply with the minimum wages order but I believe with the high number of employers complying, it will be successfully implemented,” he said.
read more.
BERNAMA

00:10:42 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Indonesian govt needs to frame batik law: GKBI:

The Government of Indonesia needs to frame a batik law to protect the country’s cultural heritage of batik weaving, Romi Oktobirawa, chairman of Gabungan Koperasi Batik Indonesia (GKBI or Indonesian Batik Cooperatives Association), has said, Antara news agency reported.
Speaking on the sidelines of an event ‘Deklarasi Busana Indonesia’ (Indonesian Clothing Declaration) in Jakarta last week, Romi said there needs to be a batik legislation which clearly states that whenever the Government refers to promotion of batik, it means the original hand-made batik and not batik printing.
read more.
fibre2fashion

22:10:42 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* RMG workers-cop clash hurt 20:

At least 20 people were injured on Tuesday in a clash between police and garment workers in Savar municipal area in the district.

Witnesses said that the workers of Dynamic Sweater Factory (Dhaka Sweater) were staging protest procession from past couple of days demanding 10 points including salary increase.

Following the protest, the factory owner and workers sat in a meeting on the day, but an armed man named Mashiur, reportedly, on behalf of the factory owner threatened workers in the meeting.
read more. & read more.
BANGLA NEWS24 BD new age

* Footwear factory at Adamjee EPZ catches fire:

A footwear factory at Adamjee EPZ caught fire on Tuesday night, burning down huge materials.

Fire service officials said the fire originated at Super Protective Shoe Factory around 10pm.
On information, four firefighting units from Adamjee EPZ, Demra, Narayanganj and Hajiganj fire stations rushed in and extinguished the blaze after half an hour of hectic efforts.
The reason behind the fire and the extent of losses caused by it could not be known yet.
to read.
UNB

* Women’s Day 2014: Unionists Around the World Educate, Mobilize:

Hundreds of workers from multiple garment factories rallied in recent days at the National Press Club in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where they formed a human chain and demanded equal wages, equal rights and equal dignity for woman workers in the ready-made-garment (RMG) sector.

The action was among many around the world throughout the past week as women workers and their allies commemorated International Women’s Day, held annually on March 8.

20140311 SGSF Bangladesh_Womens Day
In Bangladesh, the SGSF helped organize a human chain and rally International Women Day. Photo: SGSF

In Chittagong, where workers from 16 garment factories marched and rallied, Bangladesh Independent Garments Union Federation (BIGUF) Chittagong President Nomita pointed out that nearly all who took part were women.

“I can’t imagine trade unions without women,” she said. Nomita urged RMG factory owners to fully implement maternity leave and establish child care centers in factories. In addition to BIGUF, other Solidarity Center allies taking part in International Women’s Day actions in the country included the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity (BCWS), the Bangladesh National Garments Workers Employees League (BNGWEL), the National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF) and Sommilito Garments Sramik Federation (SGSF).
read more.
SOLIDARITYCENTER

# * Jute mill workers go on strike:

The workers of all state-run jute mills across the country went on a 24-hour strike simultaneously to meet their 11-point demand from Wednesday morning.

Earlier on Tuesday, the jute mill CBA (collective Bargaining Agent) leaders had a meeting with state minister for Textile and Jute Mirza Azam at his secretariat office but they failed to reach a positive outcome.

Then, the workers leaders called the strike for 24 hours in all state-run jute mills to realize their demands, said CBA president of Platinum Jute Mill unit Shahana Sharmin.
For the strike, all types of production in the mills became halted, banglanews correspondent reports.

Some CBA leaders said that BGMC workers’ leaders will also declare strike for an indefinite period.
Sources concerned said that the government declared pay commission for jute mill workers in 2012 which is scheduled to be implemented in July of 2013.
According to the gazette of pay commission 2012, the government has to pay the wage among workers in four installments.
read more.
BANGLA NEWS24

* Publication of first Accord structural, fire and electrical safety inspection reports:

The Bangladesh Accord Foundation has today announced the completion of the first reports detailing the results of factory inspections in Bangladesh.

Available online on the Accord website as of Tuesday (March 11) 09:00 CET, the reports set out details of current building safety standards in the first Bangladesh garment factories to be inspected and identify necessary steps required to improve the level of safety.

The reports do not highlight any issues of a similar magnitude to those which caused the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in April 2013. They do identify a number of issues to be addressed and explain the steps to be taken to resolve them. Some of these steps are already underway. The reports completed so far are for the first 30 inspections of 10 factories and were conducted in December 2013.

Between February and September 2014, 38 teams of international fire, electrical,
and structural engineers, working with Bangladeshi engineers and technicians, will conduct inspections of 1500 factories in total.

Please click here for more information on this important step in the Accord’s progress in making safe workplaces for garment workers in Bangladesh.
The Key guide is to give an overview of the report. Click on the report you want to download.
read more.
BANGLADESHACCORD

* Accord finds faults in all 10 RMG units it inspected:

The platform of European retailers, Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, on Tuesday said that it had found faults in all 10 garment units it inspected in a pilot basis late last year.

Officials of the Accord said that they found mismatch between structural designs and constructed structures, uncontrolled heavy storage load on floor, locked fire escapes and unsupported and unprotected wires in the factories.
The platform, which also accommodates brands and labour unions, at a news conference at a city hotel on the day released its initial inspection report on the 10 garment factories.
Executive director of Bangladesh Operations of the Accord Rob Wayss said the technical teams of the platform had found structural, electrical and fire-related problems in the 10 factories and provided the owners with remediation plan.
The 10 factories were inspected on pilot basis whereas the Accord in February started full-scale 7-month inspection of about 1,500 garment factories from where the European retailers procure products.

None of the 10 factories, however, asked to close down as there was no immediate risk to the factories but in the latest inspection the Accord asked owners of two other risky factories to evacuate their factories at Pallabi leaving around 5,000 workers jobless.
Accord said it would not take any responsibility in providing wages to workers in case any of the factories was closed down for faults.
read more.
BD new age

* Accord finds flaws in most of 10 RMG units:

3-6 months timeframe given for remedy

Majority of the Accord-assessed readymade garment (RMG) factories have structural, fire and electrical flaws including cracked support beams, overloaded ceilings, inconsistency between drawing and construction of factory building, exposed cables and locked fire escapes, according to the initial assessment report.

But the report has not highlighted any issue of a similar magnitude relating to those which caused the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in April 2013.

The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, Tuesday released at a press conference held in a city hotel its first report on 10 manufacturing units that were assessed in December 2013. It also contained the remedial plan with a three to six months’ timeframe.

The Accord, the largest platform of retailers, brands, trade unions and companies, was formed after the Rana Plaza building collapse. The collapse which killed more than 1,100 garment workers highlighted unsafe working conditions in the country’s garment industry.

The ten garment factories that were inspected are Alif Garments Limited, Anlima Textile Limited, Big Boss Corporation, Dragon Sweater, The Fashion Island Limited, Grameen Knitwear Ltd, Majumder Fashions Ltd, Redpoint Jackets Ltd, Rio Fashion Wear Ltd and Viyellatex Ltd.

The fire, electrical and structural assessments in those 10 factories were chosen to be inspected first as they have multiple floors and are located in riskier geographic locations based on building age, Brad Loewen, chief safety inspector of the Accord said while presenting the report.
read more.
FE bd

* Accord satisfied with RMG factory inspections:

The Accord Foundation, an alliance of global apparel brands, retailers and trade unions, said on Tuesday it is getting cooperation from Bangladeshi garment industry in its current inspection of factories to find if they are safe enough for workers, reports UNB.

The statement came two days after the country’s readymade garment (RMG) exporters said the industry is facing ‘tremendous pressure’ over the building and workers safety inspection undertaken by Accord and Alliance.
Accord and Alliance are two separate agreements reached by apparel brands, retailers and workers bodies across the world.
Addressing a press conference at a city hotel to announce the completion of its first factory inspection report, Accord officials noted that the factory owners, government and labour bodies are cooperating during the inspection.

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) at a meeting on Sunday alleged that the sector is under tremendous pressure over the safety and compliance issues coming from the Accord and the Alliance.
BGMEA said a group was active in destroying the sector by raising compliance and safety issues.
Asked to comment on this remark, Accord executive director (Bangladesh Operation) Rob Ways said they do not have any experience to suggest that the BGMEA, the government, the workers bodies are raising such complaints.
read more. # & to read.
INDEPENDENT UNB

# * RMG units faulty but not severe, says intl probe:

Western retailers have found structural-related security problems with some ready-made garment factories in Bangladesh, but not as severe as the Rana Plaza.

Such has been said in the reports of Bangladesh Accord Foundation, a group of 150 retailers from more than 20 countries all over the world.

The group in association with Bangladeshi engineers have released their probe report on the first 10 factories and released their findings on Tuesday, the New York Times reports.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Inspections highlight safety risks at RMG factories:

Initial inspections of Bangladesh garment factories organised after the collapse of the Rana Plaza complex have found safety problems including overloaded ceilings, exposed cables and locked fire escapes, an industry-backed group said on Monday.

Working conditions in the $22 billion industry have been under scrutiny since April, 2013 collapse of Rana Plaza in which more than 1,100 workers were killed.
A November 2012 fire at another factory also resulted in 112 deaths.
Rana Plaza, the world’s most deadly industrial accident since the 1984 Bhopal disaster in India, has prompted Western brands to pledge to cooperate to improve working conditions, but inspections of Bangladesh’s 5,600 factories have been slow to get under way.

More than 150 clothing brands and retailers, including the world’s top fashion chains Inditex and H&M, have joined the Accord for Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, which announced results of 10 initial inspections.

Brad Loewen, chief safety inspector for the Accord, said two factories had been temporarily closed in the last week after serious structural issues were uncovered, although work was allowed to continue after overloading was reduced.
“We have been getting great cooperation,” Loewen told a webcast presentation ahead of the publication of the inspection reports planned in Dhaka on Tuesday. “We trust that will continue.”
read more.
daily star bd

* Major flaws in 10 garment factories:

20140312 DAILYSTAR major-flaws

Engineers hired by European brands and retailers have identified major electrical and structural flaws in 10 leading local garment factories in their first scrutiny under a five-year aggressive inspection plan.

The teams from the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh detected electrical safety problems as cables were found laid down on the floor without proper safety, said Rob Wayss, its executive director, in an example of the type of flaws.
At a press conference at Best Western La Vinci Hotel in Dhaka, he said cables entering or leaving the terminal box are connected without cable gland and baseplate.
Brad Loewen, chief safety inspector of the Accord, a platform of 150 retailers and brands mainly from Europe, said cables are laid directly on concrete floor.
The inspection teams also found overloading of goods on different floors in factory buildings, insufficient exit capacity through the exit doors and absence of sprinklers. Loewen showed a photograph of dozens of electric wires entangled on a factory floor.
The safety picture of garment factories came after the Accord under a pilot project inspected Alif Garments, Big Boss Corp, Anlima Textiles, Dragon Sweater, Grameen Knitwear, Majumder Fashions, Redpoint Jackets, Rio Fashion, Fashion Island and Viyellatex in late 2013.
read more.
daily star bd

# * Accord finds obstacles to RMG workers safety:

Heavy storage load on the floors, locked fire escapes and unsupported wires are some major safety and security threat to the RMG workers

Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh has detected “uncontrolled” heavy storage load on the floors, locked fire escapes and unsupported wires as major safety and security threat to the RMG workers.

During the initial inspection, the Accord has found locks on fire exits, inadequate fire alarms and sprinkler systems, chaotic electric wiring, insufficient exit capacity and over load on buildings’ floor, said chief safety inspector of Accord Brad Loewen at a press conference held yesterday in the city.

The conference was organised to brief the media about their findings on their factory inspection, which has been conducted on 10 RMG factories as a pilot project, which began at the end of the last year.

For ensuring electrical safety, the Accord suggested installing cables with supports and protection and proper route as it found that wires were not supported and cable identification was not provided, while routes are not defined, according to the inspection report.

“In assessing the fire safety, the Accord also found that the exit stairs were not separated from the work areas on each floor by fire-rated construction.”
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

# * 25% factories in lack of fire sprinklers:

European retailers’ inspection team has found some 25% of recently inspected garment factories from which they source products will need to install fire sprinklers.

A number of 1,750 factories were inspected.
“Approximately 25% factories will need sprinklers,” said Brad Loewen, chief safety inspector of Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh.

He was addressing a press conference held in Dhaka yesterday to present the findings of recent factory inspection.
“For a 150-square feet space, one sprinkler will be needed and the building is over 23-metre tall, all floors will require it,” Brad told the Dhaka Tribune on the sidelines of the press conference.
A fire sprinkler is an active fire protection measure, consisting of a water supply system, providing adequate pressure and flow rate to a water distribution piping system.
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DHAKATRIBUNE

# * RMG owners must pay wages during development works:

If the owners are not sound enough to pay salary for the workers, the retailers who source from the factory, should also come forward to support the owners to make sure that the workers are getting salary

The country’s apparel factory owners will have to pay monthly wages to the workers as per Accord agreement in cases of production suspension for retrofitting or upgrading to help improve the fire safety and structural integrity of the factories.

The Accord signatories, however, would provide funds for remediation or retrofitting if the factory owners fail to manage funds but it still depends on the pattern of the factory.

“If the production of a factory is suspended or temporality closed for remediation, the obligation is the factory owners will pay the wages of workers for six months,” said Rob Wayss, Executive Director of Accord Bangladesh operation, quoting the Accord’s article no 13.

He was addressing a press conference on the occasion of the launching of an Accord report on factory inspection held at a city hotel yesterday.

According to article 13, signatory companies shall require their supplier factories that are inspected under the program to maintain workers’ employment relationship and regular income during any period that a factory (or portion of a factory) is closed for renovations necessary to complete such Corrective Actions for a period of no longer than six months.
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DHAKATRIBUNE

* Safety Flaws Found in New Inspections of Factories in Bangladesh:

Nearly a year after a factory building collapsed in Bangladesh, killing more than 1,100 workers, engineering teams sponsored by Western retailers have been rigorously inspecting that country’s garment industry, resulting in at least two temporary closings because of safety problems.

The inspection reports on the first 10 factories, which were released Tuesday and contain an unusual level of detail, found that some factories lacked adequate fire doors, did not have required sprinkler systems and had dangerously high weight loads on several floors.

The announced inspections were done through the Bangladesh Accord Foundation, a group of 150 clothing brands and retailers from more than 20 countries that plans to inspect 1,500 Bangladesh garment factories by early September.

“Our inspection program is in full swing,” said Brad Loewen, the group’s chief safety inspector. “It’s big news that we’re in full flight.”

The program has 38 teams of international engineers, who, with Bangladeshi engineers and technicians, plan to inspect 250 factories each month, doing fire, electrical and structural inspections on each.
read more.
NYT

* Bangladesh factory inspections highlight safety risks as anniversary of Rana Plaza tragedy looms:

Initial inspections of Bangladesh garment factories organised after the collapse of the Rana Plaza complex have found safety problems including overloaded ceilings, exposed cables and locked fire escapes, an industry-backed group said on Monday.

Working conditions in the US$22 billion industry have been under scrutiny since the April 2013 collapse of Rana Plaza in which more than 1,100 workers were killed. A November 2012 fire at another factory also resulted in 112 deaths.

Rana Plaza, the world’s most deadly industrial accident since the 1984 Bhopal disaster in India, has prompted Western brands to pledge to cooperate to improve working conditions, but inspections of Bangladesh’s 5,600 factories have been slow to get under way.
read more.
FINCIALPOST

* Accord to inspect 1,500 garment factories by Sept:

Bangladesh Accord Foundation, an independent body to inspect fire and building safety at factories, will inspect fire and building safety of 1500 garment factories by September this year.

The Accord, an agreement of 150 global brands and retailers from the US, North America, Asia and Australia, will also inspect other garment factories in the country in next five years in phases.

“In our engineering inspections, we’ve identified same problems of fire, electrical and building structural safety at apparel units,” Rob Wayss, Executive Director, Operations, Bangladesh Accord Foundation, said while sharing the key findings of an inspection report at a press conference at a city hotel today.

Brad Lowen, Chief of the Inspection of factories and Roy Ramesh Chandra, member of the Accord Steering Committee and Secretary General of Industrial Bangladesh Council (IBC) also spoke on the occasion.

The first inspection was carried out on 10 factories under a pilot scheme last year.
read more.
BSS

* West interfering in factory safety efforts: Tofail:

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed yesterday criticised Western nations for what he said was interference in the government’s efforts to improve factory conditions in the apparel industry.

“We are taking decisions on our own to improve conditions in our garments industry. But different countries in the West are imposing various conditions on us,” he said in parliament.
Bangladesh is facing hostility from other countries as it has become the second largest apparel exporter, he said.
“They are interfering and creating barriers to our exports. Despite barriers, the Sheikh Hasina government will go forward with its own decisions and our exports must increase in the coming years.”

Inspectors hired by these countries are visiting factory buildings here for inspection and suggesting that the structures be reconstructed within seven days, citing safety concerns, he said.
“But it’s not possible to reconstruct a building overnight. We have taken a decision to reconstruct those buildings following building codes, which might take a month or year.”
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daily star bd

* Building code compliance for GSP to take time: Tofail:

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed on Tuesday said it will take time to fulfill the condition on factory safety following the building code though other conditions to get back the GSP facility in the US market would be fulfilled before the April-15 deadline.

“It’s (factory safety) a long-term process. The government has already allocated 500 acres of land for a garment village in Munshiganj where factories will be built following the building code,” he said.

The Commerce Minister informed that around Tk 800 crore will be needed to implement the garment village project. “China has expressed interest to invest in this sector. The government is considering it.”
read more.
UNB

* Results of 3 different surveys vary widely:

A government survey has found little progress on safety-related compliance issues in the RMG (ready-made garment) sector, sources said.

The ministry of labour and employment (MoLE) surveyed 567 RMG factories during the October-December period last year to know the progresses made on the compliance issues.

At the same time, the BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association) and the BKMEA ((Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association) surveyed 910 and 79 factories respectively in a unified format to review the progress.

But the results of the survey conducted by the labour ministry and that by the representative bodies of apparel unit owners vary widely.

The MoLE survey found that only 34 per cent of the surveyed factories were up to the mark in terms of factory building condition, 45 per cent factories were following the directives on fire-fighting and safety measures, and 42 per cent were at ‘satisfactory level’ on the electrical safety issue.
read more.
FE bd

* Improving human rights practices in RMG sector in Bangladesh:

More than 40 participants from Bangladeshi businesses, government agencies, trade unions and civil society organisations came together in Dhaka early this month to identify concrete actions to improve human rights conditions in the ready-made garment (RMG) sector.

The multi-stakeholder forum was organised as part of the Pillars in Practice programme, a joint initiative of the CSR Centre (Bangladesh), Social Accountability International (USA) and the Danish Institute for Human Rights (Denmark).

The objective of the project is to help companies, government agencies and civil society organisations implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

The Pillars in Practice project has been ongoing since October 2012, and has conducted wide consultation toward identifying human rights challenges in the RMG sector and devising actions to address them.
read more.
FE bd

* Remain alert to foil plot against RMG sector:

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed Tuesday called upon owners and workers to remain alert against any conspiracy to foil the success of the country’s readymade garment (RMG) sector.

Pointing to some quarters, who are not cordially taking the RMG sector’s success in the global arena, he directed the owners to be caring to the workers and ensure their rights.

The huge industry has not developed in a day. Everyone has to play a responsible role to ensure its sustainability and progress, he added.
The minister was speaking as the chair of the 24th meeting of the Social Compliance Forum at the ministry.
read more.
FE bd

* Uncertainty over ‘garment village’:

The response from the manufacturers of apparels to the move for relocation of units to the proposed ‘garment village’ at Bausia in Munshiganj should not come as a surprise to the policymakers who have completed a significant portion of groundwork for the project.

No matter what was their initial positive reaction to the government move to build the village, it was more likely that the apparel unit owners would seek both time and government support for settling payments against acquisition of land for the proposed village and building necessary infrastructure there.

The government reportedly asked the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) to deposit Tk 7.7 billion by February last as the price of the land area, measuring 500 acres, selected for building the village.

But both the associations reportedly have sought time to settle the payment in question on the ground that the apparel units are going through an uncertain time because of their safety-related challenges. A good number of units might be required to spend a substantial amount on ‘remediation’ or ‘retrofitting’ to be suggested by the Accord team and the official review committee on the basis of their inspection of garment factories.
read more.
FE bd

* Merchandising department in RMG sector:

Every garments industry is running smoothly with its wings like marketing, merchandising, human resource, admin, accounts, production department etc.

The perfection of the wings varies depending on the standard of the factory. It is a fact that merchandising department is very important and a prime wing for export-oriented garments industries.
The losses and profits of one factory depend upon its capacity, planning and good communications skill. It is encouraging that the garments industry cannot run without smart merchandising department as merchandisers convince buyers, inform the production manager of all the details and advise buyers if there are problems. Merchandisers also calculate the costs of certain inputs (fabrics, buttons, etc.) required to deliver the orders, ensure quality and may help the sources of inputs.

However, factory owners evaluate them by rewarding them annually.
read more.
FE bd

* Jute production on wane on export fall:

The country’s jute production fell for third year to 74.36 lakh bales in 2013-14 season as sliding export hit the price of jute, discouraging farmers to cultivate the cash crop.

In 2010-11 season jute production had hit a record high of 84.60 lakh bales as the export of jute and jute products was recorded worth US$ 1.1 billion in the year, according to Department of Agriculture Extension and Export Promotion Bureau data.
Agriculturists and jute experts said the jute growers had turned their arable lands for production of other crops including aus rice, maize and pulses in last three years as the price of jute fell on waning export.
read more.
BD new age

* Tannery transfer likely to start next month:

Relocation of tanneries from Hazaribagh to Savar Leather Industrial Estate is likely to start from next month as the government finally approved the extended deadline for setting up the Central Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP).

The tannery owners could not start transfer of their industries earlier, as the contracting firm failed to set up the CETP within the stipulated timeframe. Later it applied for extension of the deadline.
Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu on February 24 directed the contracting firm to start construction work of the CETP at Savar Leather Industrial Estate within a week. “If there is any lapse in implementing the decision, stern action will be taken against the concerned bodies,” Amu warned the firm.
Following the instruction, the contracting firm ‘JLEPCL-DCL JV’ applied for extending the deadline up to June 2015.
read more.
INDEPENDENT

       THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE

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21:40:42 local time map of india INDIA

# * Powerloom workers seek better work conditions:

They demand minimum monthly wages of Rs. 10,000

The workers in the power loom job working units in Tirupur district, affiliated to six trade unions, submitted a memorandum to the district administration on Tuesday in which they highlighted their demands for better work conditions and social security.

The workers had planned to observe fast at Mangalam but were denied permission by the police citing the ‘Code of Conduct’ in place relating to the elections.
M. Sivasamy, secretary of Tirupur District Powerloom Workers Progressive Union, said the workers in the sector should be given minimum monthly wages of Rs. 10,000 with daily shifts restricted to eight hours.

Weekly holidays should be given and women workers should be sanctioned paid maternity leave.
The other demands were provident fund and ESI coverage for the entire workforce in the sector and issuance of identity cards to all workers in the sector.
to read.
Return to frontpage

# * Fire in garment company in Tirupur:

Huge volumes of fabric and furniture were destroyed in an accidental fire that broke out on the premises of a garment company situated on Tirupur-Kangayam Road on Monday night.
to read.
Return to frontpage

# * Fire destroys footwear company’s godown:

20140312 THEHINDU
Fire and Emergency Services personnel took six hours to douse the fire that engulfed the Paragon Godown near Nelamangala on Tuesday.

A warehouse of a private footwear company was gutted in an accidental fire on Tuesday. The warehouse located in Nelamangala on the outskirts of the city belongs to Paragon Footwear.

According to the police, around 15 employees were on the premises at the time of the incident. They said that the fire broke out around 10 a.m. in the area where raw material, including rubber and cotton, was stored. They vacated the premises before alerting the fire control room. Fifteen fire tenders and 150 personnel rushed to the spot.
The fire gradually engulfed the entire godown that is spread over 1.34 acres.
It took six hours to contain the blaze.
Nelamangala Rural police registered a case. Sources in the police said that the entire building is damaged and the loss is estimated to be around Rs. 1 crore.
to read.
Return to frontpage

# * Gujarat’s labour law not industry-friendly: Survey:

Assessment, a PlanComm official says, will enable state and central govts to pinpoint bottlenecks in manufacturing & business regulatory environment

The government of has been projecting its industrial growth as a model for other states but it does not appear so industry-friendly in the number of one needs to comply with, shows a survey.  

According to a survey on the business regulatory environment in states, done by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu for the , it is one of eight states — the others are Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Assam, Goa and Jharkhand —  which do not offer adequate flexibility in this regard.

Deloitte conducted the survey by talking to state government officials, industry associations and about 400 manufacturing units across all 28 states. Finance and tax-related compliance, labour laws, infrastructure and utilities, land and building-related approvals, environment clearances and other issues were the six measures.
read more.
BUSINESSSTANDARD 2

21:40:42 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* Sri Lanka President launches ‘Sri Lanka Fast Growth 25’:

The AllWorld Network, co-founded by Professor Michael Porter of Harvard Business School, and The Joint Apparel Association Forum (Sri Lanka Apparel) announced the launch of AllWorld’s Sri Lanka Fast Growth 25 (SriLanka25). 
This is a pioneering effort to showcase and rank the most innovative and dynamic fast-growth private companies in Sri Lanka through a rigorous international credentialing process that discovers entrepreneurs with a track record of success in growth markets.
read more.
fibre2fashion

21:10:42 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

# * International Textile & Garment Machinery Show commences at Expo Centre:

Importers of textile machinery, who are showcasing their products at the 12th Textile Asia 2014, are hopeful that the GSP Plus status will help intensify the country’s economic growth.

The three-day ‘International Textile & Garment Machinery Show’ being organised by Ecommerce Gateway Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd at Expo Centre, started here on Tuesday, which will continue till Mar 13.

Talking to Business Recorder at the exhibition, a representative of Shabbir Textiles, Abdul Rehman, said that his company was dealing in import of computerised embroidery machinery, which are being imported from China on orders. He said that the exhibition helped different companies to establish their brands in the market.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

* Chinese firm to invest US$ 119mn in Punjab Apparel Park:

Shandong Ruyi Group of China would invest US$ 119 million for providing technical assistance to aid establishment of Punjab Apparel Park in Pakistan’s Punjab province.
This was announced when a Chinese delegation led by chairman of Shandong Ruyi Group, Yafu Qiu, met Chief Minister of Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif, who welcomed the investment support.
read more.
fibre2fashion

SOUTH AFRICA

* SACTWU Bargaining Conference 2014 declaration: SACTWU also has a good story to tell! :

The COSATU-affiliated Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU) held its Annual National Bargaining Conference from 6 to 9 March 2014, in Durban.

We met under our union’s national theme for the next three years, as adopted by our 12th National Congress held in Augustlast year: “Unity, Cohesion & Radical Transformation for Sustainable Growth & Decent Work”

The Conference was attended by 430 delegates and unionofficials – double the amount of delegates in previous years.This followed our 12th National Congress decision to broaden worker participation and shopfloor democracy by expandingthe Conference to involve more worker leaders and workplaces in our collective bargaining processes. Delegates were 400 shop stewards representing 99000 SACTWU members in the clothing, textile, leather, distribution and related sectors in all parts of South Africa.

Over the last month and a half, SACTWU has collectedapproximately 18 000 living wage demands from its members in just over 1 610 workplaces nationally. These demands were reconciled provincially, and were collected in metro area-based workplaces as well as workplaces in non-metro areas.Our 2014 Bargaining Conference has now consolidated these living wage demands into more coherent national sectoraldemands, to be backed up by an aggressive national programme of action.

We demand a living wage!

The Conference noted that SACTWU will this year negotiatein 3 national bargaining councils (clothing, textiles and leather), 2 provincial bargaining councils (canvass goods in Gauteng and laundry in KwaZulu-Natal), 8 company group level negotiations (including Service Products/Sheltered Employment) and in just over 100 plant level wage bargains.The outcomes of our negotiations will affect over 100 000clothing, textile, leather, footwear, distribution and relatedworkers.
read more.
SACTWU

 

map of Asia

INFO:

There are updates under ‘special reports’:

* Cambodian Garment Workers: $160 We Need! Part 3 20140307-now
* Minimum Wage-LIVING WAGE- PART 4: 20131223- NOW
* THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE Part 3 20131109- NOW

HEADLINES TODAY:

CHINA
* Chinese apparel export dip to EU favors Bangladesh – IAF

VIET NAM
# * Gov’t, trade unions to secure workers’ rights

CAMBODIA
# * Six Unions Suspend ‘Stay At Home’ Garment Strike
# * Planned strike delayed; some vow to press on
# * ‘Only paying lip service’
# * New look at Vichea murder
# * Court Orders New Probe of Chea Vichea Murder
* Arrested union leader Vorn Pao speaks from prison
* Cambodian opposition-aligned trade unions postpone garment strike
# * BetterFactories Media updates 11-12 March

MALAYSIA
# * Some 3,147 Employers Comply With Minimum Wages Order – Riot

INDONESIA
* Indonesian govt needs to frame batik law: GKBI

BANGLADESH
* RMG workers-cop clash hurt 20
* Footwear factory at Adamjee EPZ catches fire
* Women’s Day 2014: Unionists Around the World Educate, Mobilize
# * Jute mill workers go on strike
* Publication of first Accord structural, fire and electrical safety inspection reports
* Accord finds faults in all 10 RMG units it inspected
* Accord finds flaws in most of 10 RMG units
* Accord satisfied with RMG factory inspections
# * RMG units faulty but not severe, says intl probe
* Inspections highlight safety risks at RMG factories
* Major flaws in 10 garment factories
# * Accord finds obstacles to RMG workers safety
# * 25% factories in lack of fire sprinklers
# * RMG owners must pay wages during development works
* Safety Flaws Found in New Inspections of Factories in Bangladesh
* Bangladesh factory inspections highlight safety risks as anniversary of Rana Plaza tragedy looms
* Accord to inspect 1,500 garment factories by Sept
* West interfering in factory safety efforts: Tofail
* Building code compliance for GSP to take time: Tofail
* Results of 3 different surveys vary widely
* Improving human rights practices in RMG sector in Bangladesh
* Remain alert to foil plot against RMG sector
* Uncertainty over ‘garment village’
* Merchandising department in RMG sector
* Jute production on wane on export fall
* Tannery transfer likely to start next month

INDIA
# * Powerloom workers seek better work conditions
# * Fire in garment company in Tirupur
# * Fire destroys footwear company’s godown
# * Gujarat’s labour law not industry-friendly: Survey

SRI LANKA
* Sri Lanka President launches ‘Sri Lanka Fast Growth 25’

PAKISTAN
# * International Textile & Garment Machinery Show commences at Expo Centre
* Chinese firm to invest US$ 119mn in Punjab Apparel Park

SOUTH AFRICA
* SACTWU Bargaining Conference 2014 declaration: SACTWU also has a good story to tell!

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