In the news 19 March 2014

21:49:56 local time map of korea_n NORTH KOREA

* N. Korea seeking 10% wage hike for Kaesong workers:

Seoul says raise will be discussed at July meeting, but that retroactive raise can’t be enacted due to losses from April-September shutdown

North Korea is demanding talks toward a 10% hike in wages for its workers at the Kaesong Industrial Complex.

The 10% total includes two regular annual 5% rises, one for 2014 and one for last year, when wages were not raised because of a long-term shutdown at the complex. South Korea’s Ministry of Unification is now indicating that it will not agree to the hike as a matter of principle.
Ministry spokesman Kim Ui-do reported on Mar. 14 that North Korea’s Central General Bureau for the Central Guidance to the Development of Special Zones, its body in charge of administration of the Kaesong complex, recently proposed talks toward a 10% wage hike for North Korean workers.
read more.
HANI korea

19:49:56 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Textile firms face dangerous dependence on imported raw materials:

Leading economists have forecast a healthy 10% increase in Vietnam’s garment and textile exports for 2014 to 23 billion USD.

However, according to radio The Voice of Vietnam (VOV), the National Garment and Textile Group ( Vinatex ) cautions that a number of thorny problems, particularly those dealing with the procurement of raw materials, must be overcome if such an optimistic outlook is to be achieved.
The sector is overly dependent on the importation of raw materials to meet its production quotas, which adds significantly to its production costs, Vinatex reports.
read more.

19:49:56 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Wing Star Strike to Continue After Meeting Fails:

Thousands of workers at the Wing Star Shoes factory demonstrated Tuesday for the second day in a row outside the factory in Kom­pong Speu province after a meeting between union and company officials failed to reach an agreement that would end an ongoing strike, worker representatives said.

About 7,000 workers protested Tuesday and Monday morning. They are demanding the company raise their bonuses by $5 and stop committing what workers say are abuses of the Labor Law.

“I told workers to continue to protest tomorrow unless they get an appropriate solution,” said Phorn Phal, deputy secretary-general of the Free Trade Union, who attended Tuesday’s meeting at the provincial labor department.

The workers are demanding 11 points, including an increase from $10 to $15 in their monthly bo­nuses, which include lunch and transportation costs. They also want the company to stop forcing employees to work overtime, stop cutting monthly wages during strikes and remove male security guards from outside the factory’s female restrooms.
read more.

* Dying for fashion:

Deadly clashes between poor garment workers and police are threatening to cripple Cambodia’s largest export industry.

20140318 ALJAZEERA
Garment workers pile into trucks every morning to get to work [Tiffany Ang/Al Jazeera]

Cambodia’s largest export industry is facing its biggest crisis, with garment workers and security forces engaged in a series of ongoing clashes. One recent protest left five people dead and scores injured.

The violence comes after weeks of political and labour unrest crippled Cambodia’s garment industry.
While the international spotlight has focused on the garment factories of Bangladesh, Cambodia’s garment workers have been staging their own revolution. Hundreds of industrial strikes have left the industry in turmoil and presented Prime Minister Hun Sen with the toughest political challenge in his nearly three-decade rule.

Last year 381 industrial strikes were recorded, up from 102 the previous year. Backed by a powerful workers’ union, the nationwide strikes are fuelled by opposition-led, anti-government protests demanding Hun Sen’s resignation.

Cambodia began exporting garments in the 1990s. Low wages and an abundant workforce, powered mainly by the country’s rural population, have drawn major clothing brand names like GAP, H&M, Nike and Puma to Cambodia. Today, the industry is a $5bn-a-year business with almost 550 factories, mostly owned by Taiwanese, Korean, Chinese, Hong Kong and Singaporean companies.
“The situation is like a war,” Ath Thorn, the president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union, says of the crackdown. He says demands for a higher minimum wage reflect Cambodia’s rising cost of living.
read more.

* A New Transparency Program For Garment Factories Could Give You Nutrition Info For Your Clothes:

Better Factories Cambodia has launched a public disclosure website for factories, so anyone can see what’s really going on in the country’s garment factories.

On blustery winter mornings, bundled under layer upon layer of clothing, I walk from Union Square to my office in the Flatiron District in New York City. As I plod up the blocks, I pass H&M, Zara, J.Crew, Banana Republic, Gap, and Joe Fresh, and I wonder if the garments I saw being made on factory floors in Asia a few months ago have arrived on the Fifth Avenue sale racks yet.
At this time of morning, the stores stand dark and quiet with brightly colored vinyl decals and cardboard signs hanging in their windows advertising massive price cuts on the stoic winter wear to make room for the optimistic pastels and floral prints of spring.

I think about how those florals and pastels were probably being sewn in Cambodia during this winter’s upheaval when garment workers and law enforcement squared off in massive protests across the country, and I think about how wonderful it would be if, even for just one day, those windows would highlight the achievements the brands made in bettering the conditions in the factories where the merchandise was produced: “Fifteen percent fewer worker injuries this year because of our CSR programs in Myanmar” or “We are vigilant about paying minimum wage or better for garment workers in Dhaka.”
read more.

* Cambodia’s garment exports still rising despite recent production halt:

Garment industry, the kingdom’ s largest foreign currency earner,reported a 6.5 percent rise in exports in the first two months of 2014 despite recent production suspension due to illegally violent strikes.

During the January-February period this year, the country exported garment and shoe products worth 991 million U.S. dollars, up 6.5 percent from 930 million U.S. dollars over the same period last year, the figures of the Ministry of Commerce
showed today.

The products have been mostly sold to the United States and European countries, and some Asian countries, particularly Japan, China, and South Korea.
The sector, comprised some 900 factories with about 600,000 workers, accounts for about 80 percent of the country’s total exports.
read more.

* BetterFactories Media updates 15-19 March 2014, ILO names factories with poor conditions:

* to read in the printed edition The Phnom Penh Post:
2014-03-17 Factory flaws go live
2014-03-19 Campaign focused on reducing deaths

* to read in the printed edition The Cambodia Daily:
2014-03-17 Union representatives file complaint against leaders over pilfering
2014-03-18 ILO names factories with poor conditions
2014-03-18 Workers demand bonus increase, labor laws
2014-03-19 Bangladesh factory collapse victims to get $10M
2014-03-19 Wing Star strike to continue after meeting fails

BetterFactories Media updates Overview here.

19:19:56 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

* Workers win wage victory in Myanmar:

20140318 I-ALL yes_garment_factory_workers
Yes 1 garment workers gather outside the factory. Source FTUM.

Collective bargaining by a Myanmar union has succeeded in securing a 20 per cent wage increase for workers at the Yes 1 Garment factory in the country’s industrial centre, Yangon.

After tense and drawn-out negotiations, Korean factory owners agreed to a wage increase of US$26 (25,000 Myanmar Kyats) to raise the maximum monthly salary from US$124 to US$150 a month.
The contract was signed on 13 March 2014 by the Yes 1 Garment Basic Labor Organization and factory director, Kim Yaung Hon.

Yes 1 Garment Factory, which is located at Hlaing Tharyar Industrial Zone, employs 1,600 workers of which 1,200 are union members.
The wage proposal, which took into consideration workers’ living costs, was formulated in an IndustriALL Global Union training workshop attended by the union’s woman president, Win Theinghi Soe, as well as other Executive Committee members in December 2013.

There are approximately 400 garment factories in Myanmar employing more than 200,000 workers and the numbers are growing. In 2013 alone, 200 new factories were set-up. Many brands are now eyeing Myanmar as a new country to source and manufacture their products due to cheap labour costs.
to read.

 18:49:56 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Rmg safety: Inspections lead to fear of job loss:

20140319 DHAKATRIBUNE rmg-worker-szh

Nearly 6,000, mostly women, were working in two factories closed after structural flaws were revealed

As production in two garment factories in Dhaka has been suspended temporarily after Accord found structural hazards in the building, a number of around 6,000 workers fear loss of their jobs.

Softex Cotton Ltd and Fame KnitWears Ltd were asked to stop working in the “weak and flawed” building early this month.
They were of 10 factories inspected by the Accord experts on a pilot project.

The owners of the two factories said they might no longer resume production in the building which Accord-designated hazardous.
When told about the workers’ fear, the employers, while talking to the Dhaka Tribune, however assured that the workers would be taken back in their other factories.
The assurance would not satisfy workers until they saw it happen.

“We may be refused from getting back our jobs. The factory closure could be for permanent,” feared a worker.
“The owners have other factories. If the ones where we were working are closed permanently, they will have no problem,” she added explaining her fear.
read more.

* Two owners turn down request to reopen factories:


Two garment makers who shut their factories after an inspection found poor safety records are now refusing to reopen the plants despite repeated requests from European retailers.

A team of experts of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, a platform of mainly 150 European retailers, on March 6 identified the premises of Softex Sweater Industries and Fame Knitwears Limited as unsafe.
An abrupt shutdown of the factories led the workers to stage demonstrations, which prompted Accord to request the owners to reopen the units.
“First the inspectors said my factory was unsafe and instructed me to shut it down and now they are requesting me to reopen,” Rezwan Selim, managing director of Mirpur-based Softex Sweater Industries, told The Daily Star.
“It could be that they realised they made a mistake, but I will not resume operations at that unit—I don’t want another Rana Plaza tragedy there.”
Selim along with Moshiul Azam Sajal, managing director of Fame Knitwears, yesterday held a video conference with Brad Loewen, chief safety inspector of Accord, and Rob Wayss, executive director of the Bangladesh operations of the platform, over the matter.
read more.
daily star bd

* Fire at N’ganj RMG factory:

A fire broke out at a readymade garment factory at Bangladesh Small & Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) industrial area in Fatullah in the district early Tuesday.

The cause of fire origination could not be known immediately.
On information, three fire fighting units of Narayanganj fire service rushed to the spot and brought the blaze under control after two hours of frantic effort.
read more.

* 7 jute warehouses, 2 shops burnt down in Rajbari:

A fire burnt down seven jute warehouses and two shops at Mrigi Bazar in Kalukhali upazila early Wednesday.

Fazlul Haque Mandal, station officer of Pangsha Fire Service, said the fire originated from an electric short circuit in a jute warehouse and soon spread burning down six more adjoining warehouses and two shops in the area at about 12:30am, UNB reported.
On information, two fire fighting units from Pangsha and Khoksa fire stations rushed to the spot and doused the flame after four hours of frantic efforts.
Affected owners of the warehouses claimed that their financial losses were as much as Tk one crore.
to read. & read more. & to read.
BD new age UNB  FE bd

* Bangladesh mulls new guideline in industrial sludge management:

The Department of Environment (DoE) plans to incorporate a new guideline on industrial sludge management in the environmental regulation, officials said on Tuesday.

The officials told a consultation of Bangladesh-Germany joint-project, titled Promotion of Social and Environmental Standards in the Industry (PSES), that they have almost completed the guideline for effluent management of textile and other industries.
The consultation was jointly organised by DoE and GIZ (German Agency for International Cooperation) in the capital.

“Sludge generated from effluent treatment plants (ETPs) used in textiles and other industries poses serious threat to our environment. Sludge management standards and guidelines are extremely important as an initial step towards the solution of this problem.” said DoE director (international convention) Rafique Ahmed.

PSESI senior advisor Elke Shrestha said, “Following this consultation process, we expect to see the standards and guidelines for textile sludge, hazardous sludge from other industries and sludge from central effluent treatment plants (CETPs) in industrial zones finalized and gazetted to become part of the environmental regulations.”
read more. & read more.

* RMG sector database to be completed by March 24:

The government-set working committee on readymade garment factory database on Tuesday decided that the work of the database will be completed by March 24 and will be launched by March 31.

At the first meeting of the committee, the information on about 3,500 garment factories, which will be included in the database, were distributed among the members of the committee seeking opinion from the stakeholders, sources said.
Meeting sources said that the factory database will be a part of the website of the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishment.
Total design of the website and the factory database portion will be completed in time and it will be launched by March, Sayed Ahmed, the inspector general of the DIFE, said after the meeting.
Ahmed, also the chief of the working committee, said that there will be an option on the website for RMG sector and factory information will be included in the tab.
The committee also included representatives of the garment unit owners and International Labour Organisation.
read more.
BD new age

* TIFCA Forum: What Bangladesh agenda should be in negotiations:

The first meeting of the Ticfa (Trade and Investment Cooperation Framework Agreement) forum is likely to be held in Dhaka in end-April.

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed is reported to have said that the Government plans to raise the GSP (generalised system of preferences) issue at the meeting. He emphatically said, “A commitment has been adopted at the WTO Bali ministerial Conference that duty-free and quota-free (DFQF) market access will be given to the least developed countries (LDCs).

This will be discussed as the main agenda at the Ticfa meeting.”

The spectrum of issues relating to EU-US GSP, DFQF market access for all LDCs and Ticfa need to be analysed and clarified in the light of respective global legal frameworks to decide appropriate policy approach of the government.

US SUSPENSION OF GSP: Resorting to trade restrictive measure the USA has suspended GSP for Bangladesh by a Presidential proclamation issued on June 27, 2013 which states ” …  I have determined pursuant to section 502(d) of the 1974 Act, that it is appropriate to suspend Bangladesh’s designation as a GSP beneficiary developing country because it has not taken or is not taking steps to afford internationally recognised worker rights to workers in the country.”

POSSIBLE SUSPENSION OF EU GSP (EBA): The statement of Karel de Gucht, the EU Trade Commissioner, is worth mentioning statement in this regard. “I want to make it clear,” he warned, “that Bangladesh — or for that matter any other least developed country — cannot take for granted the trade preferences it currently enjoys [in the EU market] under the ‘Everything but Arms’ scheme. The EU may consider appropriate action should there be no, or insufficient progress for Bangladeshi workers.”

VALIDITY OF US AND POSSIBLE EU GSP REGULATIONS VERSUS    WTO TERMS OF GSP:  The generalised system of preferences (GSP) came into existence under a 1971 ten-year waiver on GATT (general agreement on trade and tariff). The MFN (most favoured nations treatment) clause (equal treatment to all members) was made permanent in 1979 through the GATT enabling clause that authorises all GSP programmes to operate under its provisions as interpreted by the WTO Appellate Body (India-EU-GSP Dispute:WT/DS246). GSP programmes are also to comply with WTO obligations including the decision on ILO core labour standards adopted under Paragraphs 4 and 8 of the WTO Singapore and DOHA Ministerial Decelerations.
read more.
FE bd

* 1st Ticfa meeting from Apr 27:

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said today the maiden meeting under the Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (Ticfa) between Dhaka and Washington will be held on April 27-28.

The minister disclosed this at a meeting with the Economic Reporters’ Forum (ERF) at his office.
The meeting was originally scheduled for April 7-8, but was postponed as both sides were enaged with other schedules.
Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed and newly elected leaders of ERF were also present at the meeting.
to read. & read more. & read more.
daily star bd FE bd daily star bd

* Dutch Speaker lauds Bangladesh for taking steps on RMG safety:

Dutch Speaker Anouchka Van Miltenburg has lauded Bangladesh government for taking various steps in ensuring safety of the workers, working at the country’s ready made garment sector.

Miltenburg made the appreciation when Bangladesh Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury now on a visit to Switzerland met the Dutch speaker in Geneva yesterday, according to a message received here from Switzerland today.
read more.

* Impact of negative campaign hits hard RMG sector: BGMEA:

The readymade garment sector is passing through a very hard time now as the industry faces a negative propaganda following the incidents of Rana Plaza collapse and Tazreen fire, on the one hand, and GSP (generalized system of preferences) postponement by the USA and recent political unrest on the other.

First vice president of the BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association) Nasiruddin Ahmed Chowdhury said around 3.6 million workers are directly involved in the RMG sector that contributes 80 per cent of the total national foreign exchange earning.

“Incidents like Rana Plaza are not rare in the global arena but the case of Bangladesh witnessed much negative propaganda in the media at home and abroad which has greatly damaged the image of Bangladeshi products in the world,” he said adding it was unwelcome and unexpected.
read more.
FE bd


* Bangladesh unions criticise compensation payments:

Primark was one of more than two dozen Western retailers who had orders at the Rana Plaza factory complex that collapsed on the outskirts of the capital Dhaka in April last year. The collapse killed 1,135 workers and injured more than 1,500.

Primark announced on Monday it would start paying out $9 million to the families of 580 dead or injured workers who worked for its supplier New Wave Bottoms, one of the five factories based at the Plaza.

The payments being arranged through Primark’s local partners “will be met in full, in cash”, it said, adding that it would contribute another $1 million to an UN-backed fund which aims to raise $40 million to compensate all the families of dead and injured workers.

While New Wave Bottom workers welcomed the compensation, Bangladeshi unions and manufacturers criticised Primark’s unilateral move, saying it could sow discord and spark protests.

Roy Ramesh, head of the Bangladesh chapter of global labour group IndustriaALL, said the retailer’s plan to compensate workers without going through the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and other agencies meant hundreds of other victims would receive nothing. Separate initiative ‘might create problems’

“It should have contributed to the ILO-chaired fund to ensure that all the victims and their families had their share,” Mr Ramesh said.
“Not only the ILO, Primark is also bypassing the government, the garment manufacturers’ association and the labour unions, although the retailer itself is a part of the ILO-chaired initiative,” he said.
read more. & read more.

* Benetton denies compensation to RMG victims:

Benetton is said to be denying compensation to workers injured in the Rana Plaza disaster

Benetton Group, a global apparel retailer based in Italy, is said to be violating terms of an accord it signed to compensate victims of Rana Plaza disaster.

Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC), one of the largest alliances of labour unions and non-governmental organisations in the world, made the claim in a press release.
Benetton signed the accord in May 2013 under pressure from a worldwide campaign which generated over a million signatures, the report said on Wednesday.

However, now, Benetton is said to be denying compensation to workers injured in the Rana Plaza disaster that killed 1,138 workers and injured about 2,000 others.
read more.

* Benetton fails on worker safety in Bangladesh:

  • Investigation reveals Benetton fails to disclose full list of suppliers to Bangladesh safety programme
  • Benetton called on to pay $5 million in compensation to Rana Plaza victims.

20140318 CCC

The Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) is today calling on Benetton to live up to their promises after an investigation conducted by the journalists of Presa Diretta, in collaboration with Campagna Abiti Puliti (CCC Italy), revealed that Benetton has violated the terms of the Bangladesh Accord, which it signed in the aftermath of the Rana Plaza tragedy, where 1138 people were killed and almost 2000 were injured when the eight story building collapsed.

At the same time Benetton continues to deny compensation to workers injured in the disaster and to the families of those killed.

Benetton signed the Accord in May 2013 under pressure from a worldwide campaign which generated over a million signatures. Full disclosure of all supplier factories is a basic principle of the Accord, whose objective is to ensure that all factories used by its members meet international building safety standards. The film taken by the journalists shows that at least two Benetton suppliers had not been disclosed to the Accord and did not show up on the public list of factories that will be inspected by the Accord team. By failing to disclose their suppliers Benetton not only violates this legally binding agreement but continues to put those workers at risk of yet another factory disaster.

This is not the first time Benetton has failed to fulfil its obligations or public commitments in relation to this disaster. Benetton initially denied they were sourcing from one of the Rana Plaza factories last April, but were forced to acknowledge their connection after photos of their products among the rubble were published worldwide.
read more.

* Take action:

Benetton has been caught again. Investigative journalists have found out that Benetton has failed to fully disclose to the Bangladesh Safety Accord which factories are producing for them – a requirement for every brand signed up to the legally-binding Accord.

This means that Benetton may be using factories that are not being properly checked and the company is hiding that fact from the public.  

Benetton knows first-hand the risks of using unsafe factories. Benetton products were found buried in the rubble of the collapsed Rana Plaza building, where at least 1,138 workers lost their lives on April 24th last year. Yet, Benetton is still willing to put more workers at risk by failing to include all their factories on the Accord team’s inspection list.

Benetton’s actions show that they don’t care about the lives of workers making their goods. Almost a year after the horrific Rana Plaza disaster they have yet to contribute a cent to the Rana Plaza Trust Fund, which is collecting contributions to cover compensation for the injured workers and the families of those killed.

We are confident that the Accord will now take action to ensure these factories are now included in their inspection schedule. But Benetton must change its ways. Email Benetton now to send a message that workers’ lives matter and demand that Benetton make an immediate payment of $5 million into the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund. 

We know that Benetton cares about what people think. They only signed the Accord last year following a million signature campaign demanding they did so. Now they are avoiding their legal obligations under the Accord and are ignoring the plight of the Rana Plaza victims. Benetton must take responsibility now. Take action and demand that there are no more victims of Benetton!
read more and Please Sign!

* Each Rana Plaza worker to get Tk50,000 from Trust Fund:

‘It is a great achievement for the trade union that it has been able to provide compensation for all workers’

Every worker who worked at the garments housed at Rana Plaza will be given Tk50,000 as compensation from the “Rana Plaza Donor’s Trust Fund,” formed  to compensate the victims of the deadly factory disaster.

The decision was made at a meeting of the Rana Plaza Compensation Coordinating Committee yesterday.

This fund would be distributed among workers by the coordinating committee through bKash by April 15, Ramesh Chandra Roy, secretary general of IndustriAll Bangladesh Council, told the Dhaka Tribune.

The Trust Fund, backed by the International Labour Organisation, includes IndustriALL, UNI Global Union and the Clean Clothes Campaign. The ILO is the trustee of the fund.

Currently, the Trust Fund has $8m while British retailer Primark would give $1m to the fund. About $40m is needed to pay 3,000 workers or the families of those killed in the collapse on April 24 last year. At least 1,133 workers were killed and over 2,500 injured in the incident.
read more.

18:19:56 local time map of india INDIA

* Methane gas kills 7 workers of dyeing unit:

Seven workers of a textile dyeing unit at the SIPCOT Industrial Estate in Perundurai died after inhaling methane gas emanating from a valve that they were repairing on Tuesday morning.

The deceased included two workers from Nepal.

Eight other workers of the mechanical section involved in the repair work were admitted to a private hospital with respiratory problems.

The valve that regulated the movement of sludge from the sedimentation tank to the filter press section in the zero discharge plant of the dyeing unit reportedly gave way, causing gas leak. This resulted in the death of Anand Kumar, Madan Kumar, Murugan, Sudakar, Sasikumar, and Ubasakthi and Subasakthi, from Nepal, who were employed as helpers.
read more.

* 7 workers die in TN textile mill gas leak:

 Toxic fumes leak out of effluent treatment plant

Seven workers died on the spot after inhaling toxic fumes at an effluent treatment plant at a cotton dyeing unit at Perundurai Growth Centre, an industrial estate about 20 km from Erode.

According to T Mathialagan, District Officer – Fire and Safety, the accident occurred at KPR Mill’s effluent treatment plant that processes wastewater from the dyeing unit.
An electrician working on a water pump in a sunken pit was first overcome by poisonous fumes when a valve broke, releasing waste and fumes from an adjacent tank. A fitter and five other workers also suffocated to death after they climbed into the pit one by one to pull out the earlier victims.

Eleven of the factory workers who rushed to the spot were taken ill and hospitalised, he said. The police have filed an FIR and initiated action against the company.
KPR Mill is a BSE-listed company with integrated operations from processing to garment production. According to information available on the company’s website, the 9,000-tonne-a-year processing unit has a 2.5-million-litre-a-day water treatment plant.
to read. & read more.

17:49:56 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* GSP Plus to be fully exploited: Shahbaz:

Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has said that as a result of granting of GSP Plus status to Pakistan by European Union, Pakistani products will now have duty-free access to European markets and there will be a substantial increase in the national exports especially textile and garments.

Presiding over a meeting regarding promotion of textile sector and the project of setting up Punjab Apparel Park, here on Thursday, he said keeping in view this fact, Punjab government was taking a number of steps for the promotion of textile industry and a modern park was being set up where state-of-the-art facilities would be provided.
read more.
the NATIONnew

* Upswing in yarn imports:

The current surge in import of cotton yarn from India has caused a face-off between the spinning and the value-added sectors of the textile industry, over whether these imports should be discouraged and subjected to customs duty or not.

The spinners favour the duty as they find their yarn losing market to cheaper imports from India, and want an immediate halt to the ‘dumping’ of the commodity from the neighbouring country.

Out of imports of 1.7 million bales so far in this fiscal year, approximately 1.2 million bales came from India, at a landed cost of 81-88 cents per pound. Imports from India save a lot of freight cost and transportation time.
read more.

* About 13.37 million bales reach ginneries: PCGA:

The Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) fortnightly report showed on Tuesday that around 13,369,627 cotton bales have to the country’s ginneries by March 15th, showing an increase of 4.08 percent against last year when ginneries received 12,845,070 bales.

PCGA Chairman Mukhtar Ahmed Khan Baloch briefed journalists about seed-cotton (phutti) arrivals, sales and unsold stock of cotton.

He said that 12,148,634 cotton bales were sold to the textile units and exporters bought 369,673 bales. Thus, overall 12,518,307 bales were traded, so far. He said that PCGA was following the production target of Pakistan Central Cotton Committee. Baloch said that total 42 out of 1,200 ginning factories are operational in Sindh and Punjab.
read more. & read more.

* Liberalised trade with India: Concessions must be offered on reciprocal basis: PTEA:

Liberalised trade regime with India will help to boost the economy but the concessions offered should be on reciprocal basis with meaningful market access and level playing field for Pakistani’s exports to India, said Sheikh Ilyas Mahmood, Chairman Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA).

Talking to news persons after a meeting with Minister of Commerce Engr Khurram Dastgir Khan, he said improved trade relations between India and Pakistan will trigger pace of development and will affect positively on the whole SAARC region. “Pakistan and India have tremendous potential of trade but no serious attempt has ever been made to develop and strengthen a framework of terms and conditions of formal bilateral trade between both the countries,” he said.
read more.


* Follow rules or ship out, minister tells EPZ firms:

Companies operating in the Export Processing Zone but which are demand tax waivers to access the local market must confirm to the rules of ship out, a Cabinet Secretary said on Wednesday.

In his first visit to the EPZ at Athi River, Cabinet Secretary for Industrialisation and Enterprise Development Adan Mohamed said the state would not yield to pressure from manufacturers who want to access local market without paying 25 per cent tax imposed on traders who sell their products here.

“We cannot provide opportunities where people want to enjoy tax-free status in EPZ and also opportunities meant for people outside EPZ,” said Mr Mohamed. “If you do not want to export your products then you have no reason to be in EPZ.”

He, however, said the government was ready to address other challenges affecting the textile and clothing industry to boost what he says is a sector that can provide over 700,000 jobs in the next three years.

“We must take advantage of the global market through Agoa to aggressively grow the sector,” said Mr Mohammed. His office, he added, will work with the Agriculture ministry to ensure cotton growing is facilitated as a critical raw material for the sector.
read more.

* Kenyan govt ready to address problems of textile sector:

The Government of Kenya is ready to address problems affecting the textile and clothing industry of the country, Adan Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary for Industrialization and Enterprise Development, has said, reports Daily Nation.
During a visit to the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) at Athi River, Mr. Mohamed said the textile and garment industry has the potential to create more than 70,000 jobs in Kenya over the next three-year period.
read more.
map of Asia


There are updates under ‘special reports’:

* Minimum Wage-LIVING WAGE- PART 4: 20131223- NOW
* Cambodian Garment Workers: $160 We Need! Part 3 20140307-now


* N. Korea seeking 10% wage hike for Kaesong workers

* Textile firms face dangerous dependence on imported raw materials

* Wing Star Strike to Continue After Meeting Fails
* Dying for fashion
* A New Transparency Program For Garment Factories Could Give You Nutrition Info For Your Clothes
* Cambodia’s garment exports still rising despite recent production halt
* BetterFactories Media updates 15-19 March

* Workers win wage victory in Myanmar

* Rmg safety: Inspections lead to fear of job loss
* Two owners turn down request to reopen factories
* Fire at N’ganj RMG factory
* 7 jute warehouses, 2 shops burnt down in Rajbari
* Bangladesh mulls new guideline in industrial sludge management
* RMG sector database to be completed by March 24
* TIFCA Forum: What Bangladesh agenda should be in negotiations
* 1st Ticfa meeting from Apr 27
* Dutch Speaker lauds Bangladesh for taking steps on RMG safety
* Impact of negative campaign hits hard RMG sector: BGMEA
* Bangladesh unions criticise compensation payments
* Benetton denies compensation to RMG victims
* Benetton fails on worker safety in Bangladesh
* Take action
* Each Rana Plaza worker to get Tk50,000 from Trust Fund

* Methane gas kills 7 workers of dyeing unit
* 7 workers die in TN textile mill gas leak

* GSP Plus to be fully exploited: Shahbaz
* Upswing in yarn imports
* About 13.37 million bales reach ginneries: PCGA
* Liberalised trade with India: Concessions must be offered on reciprocal basis: PTEA

* Follow rules or ship out, minister tells EPZ firms
* Kenyan govt ready to address problems of textile sector

latest tweets (& news)

Convention on the Rights of the Child
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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