In the news 21 March 2014

10:12:16 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* Workers reject Cha-cha, demand wage hike:

One week after the House of Representatives went on recess after having passed a resolution that seeks to amend the 1987 Constitution, workers led by national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno marched to Mendiola this morning to condemn moves to amend the country’s Charter and call for a significant wage hike.

The workers said Pres. Noynoy Aquino, who said he will not stop Congress from pursuing Charter change (Cha-cha) and whose leading allies in the Liberal Party are responsible for resolutions to amend the Constitution, is really the driver of the Cha-cha train.

Carrying a large streamer that reads “P125 Dagdag-sahod, hindi Cha-cha! (P125 Wage Hike, not Cha-cha!)” the workers condemned Aquino for pushing for Cha-cha in Congress and ignoring their clamor for the legislation of a P125 across-the-board wage hike nationwide.

“By seeking Cha-cha and refusing to implement a significant wage hike, Aquino is trying to further enrich big foreign capitalists and is allowing Filipino workers to become even poorer. It is clear who his real bosses are,” said Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general.
read more. & read more.
KILUSANG MAYO UNO bulatlat_tagline

09:12:16 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Northern apparel firms to benefit from Better Work:

Deputy Labor Minister Pham Minh Huan told the launch ceremony of Better Work Vietnam office in Hanoi on March 19 that as the country is pushing for international integration, made-in-Vietnam products must meet the requirements of customers in choosy markets such as the U.S., EU, and Canada among others

Accordingly, the program will provide textile and garment firms with three integrated service packages to make their working environment more suitable to demands of importers. These include assessing and setting up database on factory conditions, giving information and advice on improvement and technology, and offering guidelines and training on essential affairs.
read more.
SAIGONTIMES

* Largest garment and textile Industrial Park built in Nam Dinh:

Construction of a US$400 million garment and textile Industrial Park (IP) – the largest in the nation – in Nghia Hung district is expected to break ground in the northern province of Nam Dinh late this year.

This was announced on March 19 at a working session between local authorities and representatives of the project’s main investors, Hong Kong’s Luenthai Holdings Limited, VINATEX investment JSC and China’s Sanshui Jialida Textile Co, Ltd.
read more. & read more. & read more.
HA NOI TIMES VOVonline VNNet

* Nam Dinh plans to build new textile industrial zone:

A 1,500-hectare textile industrial zone is expected to be built in Nghia Hung district, Nam Dinh province, by the end of 2014.

The project, jointly invested by Luenthai Company of Hong Kong (China), the Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex) and China’s Jialida Company , is worth 400 million USD.
During a working session with provincial officials, representatives of the investors proposed the province hand over the land shortly and introduce preferential policies for the financers.
read more.
VIETNAMplus

* Vinatex asks for share sale cash:

State-owned national textile and garment group Vinatex has requested that the Vietnamese government allow the group to use the capital raised through selling off the state’s shares following equitisation to bolster productivity.

The textile giant has asked for cash to be used over the next five years to feed its key raw material production projects valued at VND20 trillion ($952 million) which are slated for execution during 2014-2015.

Vinatex is desperate to source funding for these projects that would ease the firm’s reliance on importing raw materials from abroad. The group complained that the projects also would be characterized by a slow return on investment and that they received little support from local authorities due to environmental concerns.

“If our proposal gets the green-light, we could immediately kick-start a raft of important projects, paving the way to shape powerful weaving and dyeing and garment chains in crucial development areas,” said Vinatex’s general director Tran Quang Nghi.
read more in BUSINESS IN BRIEF 21/3. (16th item).
VNNet

* Empowering the national week of labor safety- hygiene and fire protection in the year 2014:

In the morning of 16 March 2014, the Central Steering Committee of the national week of labor safety- hygiene and fire protection in collaboration with Thua Thien Hue province People’s Committee held a ceremony to empower
the 16th week of labor safety- hygiene and fire protection in the year 2014 at Phu Bai industrial zone, Thua Thien Hue province themed ” Thinking and acting for the purpose of no labor accident, occupational diseases and fire at workplaces “

To perform successfully the work of labor safety- hygiene and fire protection in the year 2014, Head of the Central Steering Committee of the national week of labor safety- hygiene and fire protection Pham Thi Hai Chuyen requested levels, sectors, employers and employees to focus on synchronically carrying out important tasks, solutions, and especially emphasized in boosting up the work of training, propaganda, awareness raising on labor safety and labor accident and occupational disease prevention methods at workplaces; enhancing the work of inspection, checking, seriously and publicly punishing enterprises and individuals violating; boosting up international cooperation in labor safety- hygiene and fire protection, etc. It can be seen as a breakthrough to bring law policies in labor safety- hygiene and fire protection to levels of employee.
read more.
VNBREAKINGNEWS

09:12:16 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Worst Factories Named, But Will They Change? :

20140321 CD cam-photo-BFC-
Workers board a remorque after their shift at the Best Tan garment factory in Phnom Penh on Thursday. (Siv Channa)

At the end of December, Best Tan Garment Ltd. moved its operations from a dilapidated, now-abandoned property in Chamkar Mon district to new premises in Meanchey district.

But the move has not improved working conditions for the factory’s 300 to 400 workers, who make clothes for the Spanish brand Pull & Bear.
In fact, workers say, the conditions inside the factory, which this week ranked lowest in a new report identifying companies that are failing to meet industry standards, have gotten worse.

“The old location was much larger than this one and much cooler. Now, it is incredibly hot inside and there are not many fans,” said 28-year-old Ly Rany as she left the factory for her lunch break.

More than a dozen of her co-workers agreed, many of them emerging with wet towels over their heads as they complained that the hot season was sending temperatures soaring inside the cramped factory.
Im Sokha, 30, said her colleagues were bringing fans from their rental properties to make conditions more bearable.

On Monday, the International Labor Organization’s Better Factories Cambodia program (BFC) launched the Transparency Database. The initiative seeks to name companies that persistently fail to comply with Cambodian labor law and international standards, encouraging factory owners to improve conditions for workers.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* The few who stayed at home to strike:

20140321 PPP Breang-Sopheap
Breang Sopheap, originally from Takeo, works between 7am and 4pm. She funds both of her brothers, a teacher and a student. She has worked in factories for more than 10 years. Photo byCharlotte Pert.

The week-long stay-at-home strike proposed by all 18 union groups might have been postponed until after Khmer New Year, but last week four of the unions decided to continue with their own.

The unions and workers who back a strike have asked for a $160 minimum monthly garment wage as well as the release of 21 workers and unionists arrested in early January.

Last Friday, in shared accommodation off National Road 2, where many factories are located, some workers had decided to remain at home.

Long Naty, 26, lives inside a pagoda complex with her mother and sister, who are also both garment workers. They rent a small section of a shared floor. Their corner, measuring roughly 2.5 metres by 2 metres, is marked out by a sheet. She is not worried about her job, she said.
“This is just a small part of the protests – there are many protests in Cambodia now.”

Breang Sopheap, 33, works at the same factory and lives on the other side of National Road 2, down a narrow alley filled with rubble.
She believes that if all the workers in Cambodia join together, there might be change. “Two factories are not powerful,” she said, in between sewing pajama collars which she sells for extra money.
to read.
PPP new

* Cambodia’s stability is hanging by a thread:

The conflict over raising the minimum wage in Cambodia’s textile industry reflects a growing power struggle between the government and the opposition, which might throw the nation into a political deadlock.

Textile workers in Cambodia have been demonstrating for weeks demanding a monthly minimum wage of around 115 euros. Violent clashes broke out during protests that took place last December and in January. According to human rights organizations, five protesters were shot dead by the police and many more were seriously injured. Twenty-three people were arrested.

David Welsh of “Solidarity Center,” a labor rights organization in Phnom Penh, is concerned about the recent developments. “This is a gross violation of trade union rights in the largest and most important economic sector of the country. This has nothing to do with the rule of law,” said Welsh.

Overwhelmingly women
More than half a million workers are employed in Cambodia’s textile industry. With total revenues amounting to around 5.5 billion USD, the sector generates some 80 percent of the Southeast Asian nation’s export earnings.

However, real wages in the sector haven’t risen for years. Women account for more than 80 percent of the textile industry’s workforce. Van Thina is one of them: She works more than 60 hours a week and makes just over 70 euros a month.

“How will I ever support a family if my salary is not even enough for me to survive on?” asks the 18-year-old. The textile worker says she will take part in a strike set for next month, despite the fact that such a step could cost her her job. Textile workers in Cambodia are usually hired on short-term contracts and they generally lack career opportunities in factories.
read more.
DW

$160 We Need

08:12:16 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Solving Bangladesh’s ‘Living Wages’ Problem Demands Global Support:

Garment workers in the developing world are mostly women, who barely make decent wages. Campaigns to increase their pay globally face huge complexities. Here, Bangladeshi workers.

The dialogue on living wages has come a long way since the Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh that killed more than 1,000 people in 2013, but there will be no solution to the living wage problem until all parties involved work together, a diverse group of panelists agreed at a panel on the topic, held during this year’s session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations.

In April 2013, an eight-story commercial building called Rana Plaza collapsed in a district of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, leaving 1,100 workers inside the building dead. It was a garment factory that housed 3,122 workers during the collapse, and news stories revealed after the disaster that most of the garments produced there were exported to multinational firms. The workers were barely paid a living wage, an average minimum income necessary to meet their basic daily needs. Living wages vary by country and are generally based on cost of living numbers.
read more.
PassBlue

* Garment workers of Tejgaon Textiles:

20140321 FE

Garment workers of Tejgaon Textiles staged a demonstration in front of the National Press Club in the city Thursday protesting attacks on them by owners’ paid musclemen. Focus Bangla Photo.
to read.
FE bd

* Softex workers receive wages:

Workers of the suspended apparel factory–Softex Cotton Pvt Limited -received their wages on Thursday, industry insiders said. Production of the Softex Cotton was kept temporarily suspended on safety grounds following the recommendation of the Accord’s inspection team and government formed review committee recently.

When contacted, the owner of the factory was not available for comments. However, the BGMEA President Md Atiqul Islam informed the FE that the factory owners disbursed wages to the workers for three-and-a- half months.
to read.
FE bd

* Regulator to probe Standard Group’s insurance scandal:

The Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority (IDRA) yesterday formed a three-member panel to probe the alleged irregularities in insurance claims on the gutted garment units of Standard Group, the regulator said in a statement.

The committee was formed after a news report revealed that Standard Insurance, a sister concern of Standard Garments, fabricated insurance policies to inflate claims, it said.
Standard Insurance included an additional Tk 100 crore in claims without taking any policy coverage from Standard Garments, which is a gross violation of the law, according to the documents scanned by The Daily Star.
read more. & read more.
daily star bd DHAKATRIBUNE

* Seven jute warehouses gutted in Rajbari:

A fire burnt down seven jute warehouses and two shops at Mrigi Bazar in Kalukhali upazila early wednesday, reports UNB.

Fazlul Haque Mandal, station officer of Pangsha Fire Service, said the fire originated from an electric short circuit at a jute warehouse and spread fast burning down six more adjoining warehouses and two shops in the area at about 12:30 am.
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 property worth Tk one crore were gutted by the blaze.
In Kurigram, at least eight houses of four families were gutted in a fire that broke out at Prothom Alo Char in Sadar upazila of the district early Tuesday.
read more.
daily star bd

* Explore new mkts abroad, Tofail urges RMG owners :

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed on Thursday said the government will take initiatives to establish a readymade garment (RMG) industrial park in the port city.

Addressing the inauguration of the three-day Chittagong Apparel, Fabrics and Accessories Exposition 2014, the minister noted that most of the export-import in the country’s RMG sector is done through Chittagong sea port, and steps should be taken to build Chittagong as a major location for RMG manufacturing considering the comparative advantage.
read more.
FE bd

* Tofail predicts continued growth of RMG sector:

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed on Thursday said the government will take initiatives to establish a readymade garment (RMG) industrial park in the port city.

Addressing the inauguration of the three-day Chittagong Apparel, Fabrics and Accessories Exposition 2014, the minister noted that most of the export-import in the country’s RMG sector is done through Chittagong sea port, and steps should be taken to build Chittagong as a major location for RMG manufacturing considering the comparative advantage.
read more.
UNB

     THE TAZREEN FACTORY FIRE

* Court cancels bail of Tazreen Fashions chairman:

A Dhaka court on Thursday cancelled the bail granted earlier to Tazreen Fashions Ltd Chairman Mahmuda Akhter Mita in a case over the devastating fire in the garment factory that claimed over 100 lives in 2012.

The court also asked Mahmuda Akhtar to surrender before it within 15 days.
Judge Md Abdul Majid of the District and Sessions Judge’s court passed the order accepting a prosecution plea for cancelling the bail of Mahmuda, wife of Tazreen Fashions Managing Director and owner Delwar Hossain.

The court also issued show cause notices to Dhaka Chief Judicial Magistrate Ismail Hossain and Senior Judicial Magistrate Tajul Islam for the procedural mistake in the order of sending both Mahmuda Akhter Mita and Tazreen Fashions Managing Director and owner Delwar Hossain to jail.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
UNB BANGLA NEWS24 DHAKATRIBUNE FE bd BD new age

* Magistrate warned of action for ‘incomplete’ order on Tazreen chairman’s bail:

A Dhaka court today warned of legal action against a magistrate for “incomplete” order on a bail petition of Tazreen Fashions Ltd chairman in a homicide case filed after a deadly fire at the factory which killed 112 workers.

Judge Md Abdul Majid of the Court of District and Sessions Judges also cancelled the bail of Mahmuda and asked her to surrender before the court in 15 days.

Today’s decision came following a government petition against a February 10 order by Chief Judicial Magistrate Md Ismail Hossain granting one-month conditional bail to the Tazreen chairman.

On surrendering before the court of Senior Judicial Magistrate Tajul Islam on February 9 as per a court directive, Mahmuda and her husband Delwar Hossain, also the owner of the factory, sought bail. But the court ordered to send both of them to jail without disposing of their bail petitions.
read more. & read more. & read more.
daily star bd daily star bd DHAKATRIBUNE

       THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE

* ‘DNA tests could be decisive to identify bodies’:

The identifications could be made by doing DNA tests of the family members of over 800 victims, whose bodies were claimed by relatives without providing any DNA sample

The identities of over a hundred Rana Plaza collapse victims, who remain unidentified almost a year after the disaster, could be ascertained if necessary steps were taken by the government, speakers at a seminar said yesterday.

The identifications could be made by doing DNA tests of the family members of over 800 victims, whose bodies were claimed by relatives without providing any DNA sample, speakers added. The process would require around Tk50 lakh, as every DNA test costs Tk5,000.

Addressing a seminar on identifying Rana Plaza victims, Professor Dr Sharif Akhteruzzaman, national technical adviser for the national DNA laboratory, said the process of handing over the bodies of Rana Plaza victims had been “totally wrong,” as only visual identification marks were used to verify relatives’ claims on more than 800 bodies.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Rana Plaza compensation set to begin Monday:

The victims of the Rana Plaza collapse will receive the first compensation instalment on March 24, a month before the first anniversary of the industrial disaster that killed 1,135 workers.

Each of the total 3,600 people, including workers and beneficiaries, will be paid Tk 50,000 ($650) in advance—before the disaster’s first anniversary on April 24, according to the Rana Plaza Trust Fund coordination committee’s decision on Tuesday.
British retailer Primark will bear full reimbursement costs of 581 workers of New Wave Bottoms, one of the five factories that were housed in Rana Plaza. “All payments and support will be conducted under the auspices of the ILO-chaired Trust Fund,” IndustriALL Global Union said in a statement.
An estimated $40 million is necessary to make compensation payments.
to read.
daily star bd

* Keep flow of Rana Plaza compensation moving:

The Donors Trust Fund, which is based entirely voluntary contributions, should be supported by as many brands and stakeholders as possible.

We welcome the Rana Plaza Coordination Committee’s announcement that it will be processing claims and payments for injured victims and families of the over 1,100 people killed in the Rana Plaza disaster, from Monday next week.

This should allow initial payments by the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund to be made ahead of the one year anniversary of the disaster on April 24.

This fund is run by the stakeholders who signed the Rana Plaza Compensation Arrangement last year. The arrangement was set up to provide a coordinated framework to compensate the injured workers and dependents of the over 1,100 killed, according to ILO standards.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Take action: Make sure Benetton pays what they owe:

20140318 CCC

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 obligation and are ignoring the plight of the Rana Plaza victims. Benetton must take responsibility now.

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.

Go straight to the action link:
http://action.laborrights.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=8134#petition Benetton knows first-hand the risks of using unsafe factories. Their 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.
read more.
CCC

07:42:16 local time map of india INDIA

* Powerloom workers stage protest and court arrest:

As many as 355 workers involved in powerloom weaving courted arrest at Sankarankoil on Thursday after they staged a road roko on Sankarankoil – Thiruvengadam junction.

The agitating workforce was demanding hike in wages. They resorted to road blockade since their demands had not been considered by the employers.
The agitation was led by Madasamy, district vice president of the CITU.

Over 10,000 workers had been relying on this powerloom industry in Sankarankoil and its surroundings.
Even after two years, wages had not been revised as per agreement.
To fulfil their demands seeking a hike in wages, the workers boycotted work for the past 10 days.
read more.
THEHINDU

07:12:16 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* PCGA seeks ban on import of yarn from India:

Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) has showed serious concern over the massive import of cotton yarn from India and demanded an immediate ban.

A meeting of PCGA south zone was held at PCGA Karachi office to review the situation erupted after rising import of cotton yarn from neighbouring country.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

* GSP+ demands improvement in quality:

If Pakistan fails to fulfil the high-level quality regulatory requirements, it will not see any gains from its GSP+ status.

Pierre Mayaudon, deputy envoy of the European Union delegation to Pakistan, said this on Thursday while speaking at the finalisation of the National Quality Policy 2014 draft.

“The GSP+ status to Pakistan does not guarantee access of Pakistani products to the EU markets unless the regulatory requirements have been dealt with accordingly. There is no shortcut to quality; it is a long and arduous journey of which the national quality policy and its implementation are important first steps,” he said.
read more.
DAWNnew

* GPS Plus reflects EU’s confidence in Pakistani goods:

President Mamnoon Hussain on Thursday said that the grant of GSP-Plus status to Pakistan demonstrated the trust and confidence of the EU countries in the quality and competitiveness of its goods and products.

He was talking to Pakistan’s ambassador-designate to Belgium Ms Naghmana Hashmi who called on him at the Aiwan-e-Sadr. Congratulating Ms. Naghmana Hashmi on her new responsibilities, the President observed that Brussels, being the headquarters of EU, was an important Capital. He expressed the hope that the ambassador-designate would work with full devotion to further enhance cooperation between Pakistan and the European Union.
read more.
the NATIONnew

 

 

map of Asia

INFO:

There are updates under ‘special reports’:

* Minimum Wage-LIVING WAGE- PART 4: 20131223- NOW
* TAZREEN Fire Part 2 20 November 2013- NOW
* THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE Part 3 20131109- NOW
* Cambodian Garment Workers: $160 We Need! Part 3 20140307-now

HEADLINES:

PHILIPPINES
* Workers reject Cha-cha, demand wage hike

VIET NAM
* Northern apparel firms to benefit from Better Work
* Largest garment and textile Industrial Park built in Nam Dinh
* Nam Dinh plans to build new textile industrial zone
* Vinatex asks for share sale cash
* Empowering the national week of labor safety- hygiene and fire protection in the year 2014

CAMBODIA
* Worst Factories Named, But Will They Change?
* The few who stayed at home to strike
* Cambodia’s stability is hanging by a thread

BANGLADESH
* Solving Bangladesh’s ‘Living Wages’ Problem Demands Global Support
* Garment workers of Tejgaon Textiles
* Softex workers receive wages
* Regulator to probe Standard Group’s insurance scandal
* Seven jute warehouses gutted in Rajbari
* Explore new mkts abroad, Tofail urges RMG owners
* Tofail predicts continued growth of RMG sector
THE TAZREEN FACTORY FIRE:
* Court cancels bail of Tazreen Fashions chairman
* Magistrate warned of action for ‘incomplete’ order on Tazreen chairman’s bail
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE:
* ‘DNA tests could be decisive to identify bodies’
* Rana Plaza compensation set to begin Monday
* Keep flow of Rana Plaza compensation moving
* Take action: Make sure Benetton pays what they owe

INDIA
* Powerloom workers stage protest and court arrest

PAKISTAN
* PCGA seeks ban on import of yarn from India
* GSP+ demands improvement in quality
* GPS Plus reflects EU’s confidence in Pakistani goods

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

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