In the news 16 April 2014

00:23:57 local time map of china CHINA

* More than ten thousand workers stage strike at massive Dongguan shoe factory:

20140415 GLOBmoHK 2

At least 10,000 workers at shoe-making factories owned by Yue Yuen Industrial in Dongguan took to the streets Monday 14 April 2014, protesting the company’s failure to pay its 70,000 employees their full social security and housing fund contributions.

Workers swamped the basketball courts inside the dormitory area holding banners that read: “Pay back the social security and public housing fund! Shame on Yue Yuen’s illegal activities!”

As the peaceful demonstration wound down around 5.30 pm., hundreds of riot police armed with batons reportedly rushed the crowd and grabbed about ten of those who had held banners and threw them into a police van parked nearby.Two of the arrested were women. Four workers were beaten and hospitalized.

The company, which had vowed to provide a solution to the dispute which first broke out on 5 April when hundreds of workers blocked a local bridge, announced on Monday that it would only agree to sign new contracts with all its employees as of 1 May and refused to pay the social security contributions and public housing fund payments in arrears.

“The company hasn’t paid us since 2006, today’s announcement shows that they knew all along and don’t want to pay a penny!” said a mid-level manager named Xue. “Some of my colleagues estimate that Yue Yuen owes the workers as much as one billion yuan over the years.”
read more.
CHINA LABOR Bulletin

* Globalization Monitor: An Open letter to Adidas and Yue Yuen Dongguan, China:

On April 5, 2014, several thousand workers, out of 60,000 from Yue Yuen Dongguan, the world’s largest maker of athletic shoes, took to the streets and gathered at the highway to protest against the violations of Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings Ltd. Yue Yuen, is a Taiwanese giant shoe manufacturer that operates in south China, producing shoes for global brands including Nike, Adidas, Reebok, ASICS, New Balance, Puma, Converse, Salomon and Timberland.

According to a news report, Yue Yuen is the largest supplier for Adidas’ production in China, and Adidas has an unescapable responsibility to ensure that Yue Yuen follows the China Laws.

The dispute started when some of the workers suddenly found out about some malpractices of the company that obviously violated the law.
Firstly, for years, the company’s contributions to workers’ personal social security accounts were far less than they should have been. Secondly, workers who have been working for the company for 20 years found that their labour contract is not a legally effective document.

Case 1: Yue Yuen employee Mr. Yang
He entered Yue Yuen at age 17 and has now already been working for the company for 20 years.  He signed a non-fixed labor contract with the factory and his monthly income is now more than 3,000 yuan a month, but when he checked his social security account, he found that the factory only based their social security payments on a 1810 yuan monthly wage.

Case 2: Yue Yuen employee Mr. Li
He has already been working for the company for more than 10 years. Recently, he took along his labour contract for his child’s school enrollment, but he found that the contract did not have legal utility and this made him very shocked.
He is not the only case and many of his colleagues are having the same problems–their contract is not legally effective.

Case 3: Yue Yuen employee Mr. Xu
“I have worked 20 years for the company. The company started to buy social insurance for me in 2000. According to the standard social insurance contribution for an employee in Dongguan, the worker should contribute 8 percent, while the factory contributes 20%. The factory announced that it only paid 12%.
However, when I made an inquiry about my own social security account, I found that the factory only contributed around 1500 yuan in 14 years, which means less than 1.5% of the total amount of contribution.”
(….)

We do not accept Yue Yuen’s excuse when it says that it is a “misunderstanding over social security benefits and different terms for local and migrant workers”, as Yue Yuen should follow the social security law and pay the amount they should contribute. We also want to ask Adidas why it has never found these violations in all these years through its audits at Yue Yuen.

News reports say a number of workers were arrested and detained during the protest.
Without the violations of Yue Yuen and Adidas,the workers will not end up being detailed. Adidas and Yue Yuen should make sure workers are released and will not be prosecuted.

We demand Adidas and Yue Yuen:
1.     Do the right thing and follow the laws in China;
2.     Pay back full social security benefits to all workers;
3.     Make sure Yue Yuen issues legally effective contracts and stops fake contracts;
4.     Help release the detained workers since April 5 protest action.
read more.
GLOBALMONorgHK

* Chinese sneaker factory workers go on strike:

Workers at a Chinese factory owned by Yue Yuen, the world’s largest maker of athletic footwear for brands such as Nike and Adidas, are striking in a dispute over benefits.

A worker said more than 10,000 employees at Yue Yuen Industrial’s plant in the southern province of Guangdong joined the strike on Tuesday.
The number could not be independently verified. A company spokesman could not be reached for comment.

The Taiwanese owned company, which employs about 60,000 workers in the Dongguan district, also makes shoes for Reebok, Asics, New Balance, Timberland and other brands at factories in China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Mexico and the United States. The company made 323.3 million pairs of shoes in the 15 months to December 2012.

It’s the latest labor dispute to flare up in southern China’s Pearl River Delta manufacturing heartland, where factories face a growing shortage of migrant workers.

The worker, Cui Tiangang, and labor groups said the workers are upset because the company failed to pay full social security and housing fund contributions. The strike started on April 5 and resumed Monday when the demands were not met, according to China Labor Watch.
read more.
AP

* Massive China shoe factory strike rolls on as offer falls flat:

Thousands of workers at a giant Chinese shoe factory shrugged off an offer for improved social benefits on Tuesday, prolonging one of the largest strikes in China in recent years amid signs of increased labor activism as the economy slows.

The industrial unrest at Yue Yuen Industrial (Holdings), now stretching to around ten days and sparking sporadic scuffles with police, has centered on issues including unpaid social insurance, improper labor contracts and low wages. Workers have demanded improved social insurance payments, a pay rise and more equitable contracts.

“The factory has been tricking us for 10 years,” said a female worker inside a giant industrial campus in Gaobu town run by Yue Yuen in the southern factory hub of Dongguan in the Pearl River Delta. “The Gaobu government, labor bureau, social security bureau and the company were all tricking us together.”

A spokesman for Yue Yuen said the firm, which makes shoes for the likes of Nike, Adidas, Reebok, Asics and Converse with a market capitalization of some $5.59 billion, had agreed to an improved “social benefit plan” on Monday, while stressing the business impact had been “mild” so far.

“Basically, the terms that we announced yesterday was after a very thorough internal analysis and calculation and considering all the factors including the affordability from the factory perspective,” the spokesman told Reuters by phone.

“The revised plan will be effective from May 1, about a couple of weeks from now.”

Despite this, thousands of workers, most out of uniform but with factory lanyards and ID cards around their necks, loitered in and around the leafy industrial estate, lounging on plastic chairs, sitting on curbs, chatting, drinking tea and nibbling nuts, refusing to return to their production lines.
read more.
reuters

00:23:57 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* Workers hit wage commission for ‘lies’ vs. P125 wage hike:

Workers led by national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno picketed the office of the National Wages and Productivity Commission in Malate, Manila this morning to condemn the agency for spreading “lies” against the P125 across-the-board wage hike that workers have been clamoring for.

The labor group, which burned an image of the agency’s logo to show its condemnation, said that contrary to the NWPC’s claim, such a significant wage increase can be absorbed by capitalists’ profits and will not lead to massive retrenchment or to soaring inflation.

“We condemn the NWPC for using the age-old tactic of blackmailing workers with retrenchment and inflaton into accepting starvation wages. The truth is that capitalists’ profits have increased over the years and can absorb a significant wage hike. A P125 wage hike is aimed at partially recouping the value that has been eroded by price hikes through many years,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.
read more.
KILUSANG MAYO UNO

23:23:57 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Vietnam garment sector eyes 60% localization rate by 2015:

The garment and textile industry of Vietnam is aiming to reach a localization rate of 60 percent by 2015, and thereby reduce dependence on imported inputs, Le Trung Hai, vice president of the Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex), has said, Viet Nam News reported.
Speaking to reporters during the recent Saigon Tex exhibition for international textile and garment manufacturers and accessories makers, Mr. Trung Hai said the increase in localization rate, which means the amount of domestically produced materials used in making a final product, would also help the textile and apparel firms to increase profits and raise their competitiveness in the global market.
read more.
fibre2fashion

23:23:57 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Thailand cotton yarn exports rise 66.4% in 2013: USDA:

Cotton yarn exports from Thailand amounted to US$ 217,495 during last year, registering a rise of 66.4 percent, compared to 2012, as per the data released by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).According to the USDA report on Thailand Cotton 2014, Thailand exported 63,821 metric tons (MT) of cotton during last year, totaling $217,495, whereas during 2012, the country exported around 33,908 MT of cotton amounting to $130,693.
read more.
fibre2fashion

* Thailand cotton fabric exports surge 8.9% in 2013: USDA:

Exports of cotton fabric from Thailand totaled US$ 397,240 during last year, recording a rise of 8.9 percent compared to 2012, as per the data released by the United States Agricultural Department (USDA).

According to the USDA report on Thailand Cotton 2014, Thailand exported 47,284 metric tons (MT) of cotton fabrics during 2013, amounting to $397,240, whereas during 2012, the country exported 41,376 MT of cotton fabrics totaling $364,900.

Myanmar was the main destination for cotton fabric exports from Thailand during last year, with 7,728 MT of cotton fabrics worth $65,046, followed by Bangladesh with 6,705 MT amounting to $46,070, Vietnam with 4,466 MT of cotton fabrics worth $44,501, Niger with 2,876 MT of cotton fabrics totaling $25,477 and Japan with 2,577 MT of cotton fabric exports worth $18,412.
read more.
fibre2fashion

23:23:57 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Cambodia’s Garment Workers: Videos of a Struggle- Rising For Rights:

Over the past two years, there has been a growing campaign to highlight the plight of workers in Cambodia’s garment industry, which accounts for more than 80 percent of the country’s exports.

The workers, over 80 percent of whom are women aged 18-35, face a myriad of problems including extremely poor wages and living conditions, and the lack of protection for health and safety. When these workers organise themselves to voice out about these issues, they are often met with threats of arrest, violence, and in some cases, death.

In December 2013, Cambodian garment workers went on a nation-wide strike asking for a higher monthly minimum wage than the $75 they currently earn. This led to a violent crackdown by Government authorities and a complete ban on demonstrations.
read & see more. (video reports)
ENGAGEMEDIA

* Union Leader Appeals for Worker Bail Donations to Avoid Jail:

Ath Thorn, the embattled president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (CCAWDU), said yesterday that he plans to call on his members—mostly garment factory workers—to help fund a $25,000 bail order that would keep him from being detained on allegations of incitement.

Questioned last week at the municipal court over allegations that he incited a violent strike, threw rocks and injured a worker at Phnom Penh’s SL Garment Factory last year, Mr. Thorn was told he would have to post $25,000 to avoid being held in pre-trial detention if he is formally charged.

“After Khmer New Year, we will collect the money from [union] members and garment workers to deposit this money for the court,” Mr. Thorn said by telephone yesterday.

“We aren’t sure of the amount yet. We just had a meeting with members and they said…we will collect the money. If we had a choice, we would talk to the court, because maybe that judge ordered too much of an amount,” he said.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

00:23:57 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Indonesian Textile Products Losing in US, Europe Markets:

Indonesian textile products are becoming less and less competitive in the US and European markets. One reason is because Indonesia has yet take part in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a community that gives import duty cuts for its members.

After joining the TPP, Vietnam received five to 12 percent cut in import duties on products exported to America. Meanwhile, Indonesia still has to pay 12 to 31 percent import duty.
As a result, the volume of Indonesian textile exports is far below Vietnam’s even though “we have been a textile manufacturer since the 1980s, while Vietnam only started in the 2000s,” Indonesian Textile Association (API) chairman Ade Sudrajat told reporters in Jakarta yesterday.

Therefore, textile entrepreneurs are urging the government to lobby the US so that Indonesia can join the TPP soon. Ade also asked the government to negotiate with the European Union, which is the second largest export market for Indonesian textiles after America.
read more.
tempo-eng

* Better Work Indonesia – Thematic Synthesis Report: Fire Safety:

The Better Work Indonesia programme, a partnership between the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), was launched in 2011.

The programme aims to improve competitiveness in the apparel industry by enhancing economic performance at the enterprise level and by improving compliance with Indonesian labor law and the principles of the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.

The programme engages with participating factories by conducting independent assessments and offering advisory and training services.
As part of its mandate of sharing information with all programme stakeholders, and encouraging continuous improvement, Better Work Indonesia produces a public synthesis report per year aggregating information on the performance of participating factories in the reporting period.
As of 2013, Better Work will also produce a thematic synthesis report on a chosen theme with relevance to the national garment industry.
This will allow the programme to look more in depth at relevant issues. This is the first such thematic report for Better Work Indonesia with fire safety selected as the focus.
read more.
BW indonesia

22:23:57 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* RMG UNIT INSPECTIONS: Alliance to pay wages for 2 months during factory closure:

20140416 NEWAGE
A file photo shows employees working in a garment factory in Dhaka. The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, a platform of North American retailers, on Tuesday informed the government that it would make payments for workers’ wages for two months if any of the garment factories was closed as per the suggestion of the Alliance experts during safety inspections. — New Age photo

The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, a platform of North American retailers, on Tuesday informed the government that it would make payments for workers’ wages for two months if any of the garment factories was closed as per the suggestion of the Alliance experts during safety inspections.

The visiting chair of the Alliance, Ellen O Tauscher, made the announcement at a meeting with the government officials at the labour ministry in the capital.
Labour secretary Mikail Shipar, Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments inspector general Syed Ahmed, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association president Md Atiqul Islam, visiting members of the board of directors of the Alliance and representative of International Labour Organisation attended the meeting.

The Alliance team demanded clarification from Bangladesh side about the media report that the Alliance and Accord, the platform of European retailers, are closing garment factories in Bangladesh during the safety inspections, a meeting source said.
The alliance chief urged the government to clear the issue that retailers groups had no authority to shut any factory and if they found any immediate risk in any building they could only suggest for closure and necessary remediation, according to the source.

Explaining the matter, a government high official told the meeting that the manufacturers, mainly the BGMEA, repeatedly said that the Alliance and the Accord had been shutting down factories during safety inspections and most of the media ran report according to the information provided by the BGMEA.

‘From the government side we clarified our stance on the issue as we are with the process and we know only chief inspector as the authority to shut down the factory — not Alliance or Accord,’ Mikail Shipar told New Age after the meeting.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

* RMG retailers to pay workers over suspension of factory production:

The Alliance for Bangladesh Workers Safety has assured the government of paying two months’ wages to the workers of any readymade garment factory, production of which will be suspended following inspection.

“The visiting Alliance Board has informed us that if any factory is required to suspend its production following its assessment, the two months’ wages will be paid to its workers,” Labour Secretary Mikail Shipar told the FE Tuesday.

He made the disclosure after a meeting with the Alliance Board headed by its Chairman Ellen Tauscher at his Secretariat office.
read more.
FE bd

* Rising wages ‘squeeze’ RMG makers as factories await upgrades:

Bangladesh garment factory owners say they are soaking up much of the cost of nearly doubling wages as some global retailers balk at price hikes, leaving less money for safety improvements urged by apparel chains after last year’s Rana Plaza disaster.

The task of coping with a 79 per cent increase in the minimum monthly wage to $68, imposed last December at the urging of some retail chains, comes as competition intensifies among emerging markets producing garments for stores like Walmart and Zara. That is squeezing sales in Bangladesh’s main export industry.
At Dhaka-based clothing company Simco Group, one of the thousands of businesses the sector comprises, chairman Muzaffar Siddique said that before the wage increase his net profit margin was a little more than 2 per cent. Now he’s losing money on orders, and reckons four out of every five garment makers in the world’s second-biggest clothing exporter after China are in the same boat.
‘I approached one of my Western buyers to raise prices, and the relevant company said, “It is your business and you have to manage it … you cannot slip it to us”,’ Muzaffar said. He declined to identify the Western buyer.
read more. & to read.
NEWAGEnew DHAKATRIBUNE

brands PAY 2

* H&M CEO warns rising Bangladeshi wages may spook some firms:

Hennes & Mauritz (H&M), the world’s second-biggest fashion retailer, supports higher wages for textile workers in Bangladesh, its chief executive said, but warned that higher costs could also prompt some companies to go elsewhere.

“After all, many companies source from Bangladesh, not just us. The country needs to take into account that jobs could be lost to other countries,” German daily newspaper Die Welt cited CEO Karl-Johan Persson as saying in an interview published on its website on Tuesday.
“In Bangladesh, the clothing industry offers 4 million jobs that are relatively well paid compared with others. Textile workers earn about as much as teachers,” Persson said.
read more. & read more. (german) & read more.
daily star bd dieWELT NEWAGEnew

* H&M CEO warns rising Bangladeshi wages may spook some firms:

“In Bangladesh, the clothing industry offers 4 million jobs that are relatively well paid compared with others. Textile workers earn about as much as teachers”

Hennes & Mauritz, the world’s second-biggest fashion retailer, supports higher wages for textile workers in Bangladesh, its chief executive said, but warned that higher costs could also prompt some companies to go elsewhere.

“After all, many companies source from Bangladesh, not just us. The country needs to take into account that jobs could be lost to other countries,” German daily newspaper Die Welt cited CEO Karl-Johan Persson as saying in an interview published on its website on Tuesday.

“In Bangladesh, the clothing industry offers 4 million jobs that are relatively well paid compared with others. Textile workers earn about as much as teachers,” Persson said.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Women, men and children are more than just an economic factor:

investors

* Six of 16 conditions for GSP revival fully met:

The government has met only six out of 16 conditions of the US action plan for the revival of the GSP facilities for Bangladeshi products that were suspended in July 2013.

Seven of the conditions are half-done and there has been no progress on the remaining three, according to the report the commerce ministry submitted to the US Trade Representative’s office on Tuesday.

The commerce minister, Tofail Ahmed, at briefing at the secretariat on the day, however, claimed that the government had fully implemented all the 13 conditions.
Tofail said that the generalized system of preference would be restored if the United States did not apply political judgement.
The progress report submitted to the US Trade Representative’s office showed that six of the conditions had been fully met.

A publicly accessible database of export-oriented apparel factories was  completed on March 30 with information on labour, fire and building inspections, violations identified, fines and sanctions made and factories closed or relocated.

The registration process for labour unions has been simplified and 127 trade unions in the apparel sector were registered with the labour directorate in January 1, 2013–March 15, 2014.
A legal aid cell has been set up to facilitate and speed up disposal of cases workers file with labour courts for rights being violated.
The government has withdrawn all restrictions on the operation of two non-governmental labour organisations — the Bangladesh Centre for Worker Solidarity and the Social Activities for the Environment.

Charges brought against labour activists Babul Aktar and Kalpana Aktar have been withdrawn, the charge sheet against Mustafizur Rahman have been filed and the trial of the Aminul Islam case has begun.
(…)
The government has passed the labour act 2013 but could not enforce the law as relevant rules were yet to be made. The report hoped to complete the process by May 15.

The government has failed to introduce online labour union registration for both apparel and shrimp sectors in keeping with the action plan.

The labour directorate is working on it under the ‘promoting fundamental principles and rights at works’ project, the report said adding that measure would be in place by this year.

The government has also failed to to launch a public reporting system on anti-union discrimination or other unfair labour practice by April 15 as the establishment of such a system will take place under the same project, the report said.

The government has not implemented increased penalty for failure to comply with labour, fire and building standards. The report hoped to put in place the  measures soon; rules on the amended labour act have yet to be completed.

The report avoided the issue of the introduction of the right to strike for EPZ workers. The report only said that a process was under way for the passage of the Bangladesh EPZ labour act 2014.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

* Partial trade union facilities in EPZs:

It has also claimed that the Workers’ Welfare Association has not reported any allegations of violation of workers’ rights at the EPZs

 

Workers of the export processing zones (EPZs) in the country now have partial trade union privileges as the government has not extended Industrial Relations Act 2010, which restricted EPZ workers’ demonstration rights.

With the law having expired on December 31 last year, the government has since allowed EPZ workers to go on strike as part of its steps to meet the conditions outlined by the US government for reinstating GSP facilities to Bangladesh.

Labour Secretary Mikail Shipar yesterday told the Dhaka Tribune that EPZ workers’ right to demonstration and strike had been suspended until December 31, 2013. “The EPZ workers have since been allowed the right to observing strike since January 1, 2014.”
In its latest report to the US Trade Representative on Bangladesh’s action plan for fulfilling 16 conditions to retain the GSP, the government has promised that the authorities concerned will not black-list any EPZ workers for observing activities to press home their demands.
It has also claimed that the Workers’ Welfare Association has not reported any allegations of violation of workers’ rights at the EPZs.

One of the major USTR conditions for retaining the GSP was amending the laws of the EPZs to allow workers the right to demonstrate to realise their demands.

A high-level committee was formed under the senior secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office. The committee will work to upgrade the Export Processing Zones Act in line with international standard.

However, the government failed to fulfil the condition.
(…)
An official of the Commerce Ministry told the Dhaka Tribune that there had been no satisfactory progress in the trial of labour leader Aminul Islam murder.

The trial was a major condition set by the USTR for GSP reinstatement.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Progress report on RMG action plan sent to USTR:

‘Remaining conditions to be fulfilled soon’

 

The government has sent a progress report on ‘Bangladesh Action Plan 2013’ to the office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) assuring it of fulfilling the remaining conditions ‘as soon as possible’.

“Most of the conditions (GSP Action Plan) have been fulfilled. The remaining conditions, which are time-consuming, will be fulfilled as soon as possible,” he told a group of reporters at the Secretariat on Tuesday.

The government could not fulfill the conditions of recruiting additional 200 factory inspectors by the April-15 deadline which is one of the major conditions for reinstatement of the generalised system of preferences (GSP) status to the US market mainly due to bureaucratic tangles.
The Commerce Minister is now hopeful of recruiting the required factory inspectors by June next.

Responding to a question, Tofail said the US government has expressed satisfaction over the progress Bangladesh made so far in line with the 16-point action plan given by the US administration for regaining the GSP.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
& read more. & read more.
UNB BANGLA NEWS24 DHAKATRIBUNE FE bd INDEPENDENT BSS
NEWAGEnew daily star bd

gov STOP 2

* 14 face contempt charges over tannery relocation order:

20140415 DAILYSTAR tanneries
This file photo ( by Daily Star) shows tannery wastes, both solid and liquid, stuck in a low land of Hazaribagh in the capital, exposing locals to severe health hazards.

The High Court on Tuesday issued a rule asking 14 people, including the Industries Secretary and the director general of Department of Environment (DoE), to explain why contempt of court charges should not be drawn against them for flouting its order over relocating tanneries from the city’s Hazaribagh area.

An HC bench comprising Justice Md Ashfaqul Islam and Justice Md Ashraful Kamal came up with the rule in response to a contempt of court petition. Then rule is returnable in two weeks.
Advocate Manzil Morshed who stood for then petitioner during the hearing said the HC ordered the relocation tanneries from Hazaribagh in phases.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
UNB BANGLA NEWS24 daily star bd NEWAGEnew FE bd DHAKATRIBUNE

* Training facility upgraded to help disable women work for apparel sector:

The Department of Women Affairs (DWA) under the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (MoWCA) has upgraded Shahid Sheikh Fazilatunnessa Mujib Women’s Training Academy in Gazipur by introducing facilities for women including physically challenged to work in the readymade garment industry.

State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Meher Afroze Chumki inaugurated the new barrier-free training facilities at a function Tuesday. In collaboration with the GIZ-funded ‘Promotion of Social and Environmental Standards in the Industry’ (PSES), the MoCWA established the facilities.

Equipped with eight new additional class rooms–conference room, teachers’ room, production rooms, merchandising, pattern-making and design room and counseling room–the training centre now offers inclusive skills development trainings for sewing operators and floor supervisors to women workers, including workers with disabilities in the RMG in Bangladesh, the German donor said in a statement.
read more.
FE bd

* Apparel makers want to open outlets in UK:

Leaders of the newly formed UK Bangladesh Catalysts of Commerce and Industry Ltd yesterday demanded that the government allow the transfer of money to invest in opening showrooms for clothing items in the UK.

“The government should allow garment exporters to invest 5-10 percent of their export value on opening showrooms in the UK, as there is a big market in that country,” said Iqbal Ahmed, chairman of the platform.
“If the government allows opening showrooms, country branding will also take place in the UK,” Ahmed said in a meeting with Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed, president of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), at the latter’s office in Dhaka.
A total of 400 million pound sterling was invested by the non-resident Bangladeshis in the UK through establishment of NRB Bank in Bangladesh, said Iqbal Ahmed, who is also the chairman of the bank.
read more.
daily star bd

* Set up Sylhet SEZ to channel more foreign investment:

A United Kingdom-based non-resident Bangladeshi (NRB) business delegation asked the government Tuesday for rapid set up of the proposed special economic zone (SEZ) in Sylhet to facilitate more foreign investment in the country.

“As a large number of Sylhet-based businesses live in the UK, it will be a good step to establish the SEZ in the area,” said chairman of UK Bangladesh Catalysts of Commerce and Industry Ltd (UKBCCI) Iqbal Ahmed OBE.

He said this during a meeting with the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) officials at its auditorium in the city. A 10-member delegation of UKBCCI joined the meeting.

The team has arrived in the country for a week-long visit. It will meet the government high officials and business leaders.
Mr Ahmed also advised the government to release fund for promoting Bangladeshi brands in the readymade garment (RMG) industry.

“Though the country’s RMG business is expanding rapidly, our own branding is still a far cry due to lack of initiatives and promotional activities.”
read more.
FE bd

* Creating and sustaining a global brand:

As business has become increasingly global, the values and principles that guide managers are no longer local.

To cope with globalisation, creating a brand image is essential. According to marketing guru Philip Kotler, “Brand image is a set of beliefs consumers hold about a particular brand.” In today’s world, consumer perception gets more currency.

That is why spreading of products over the world is needed to emerge in the global market with a global brand.

Global brand, more often called global product, is the name of a product or service that is known and sold in all parts of the world by a particular company. Presently, a new generation of global brands is emerging. With an international business suggesting strength and stability in the fragile economic markets, global brands are no longer being seen as dominating bogeymen.
Nowadays, global brands for global market are the combination of local and global perceptions of consumers which also involves buyers, sellers and investors. This type of product or market is known as ‘global-local’ or ‘glocal’ market or product. Surely, a ‘glocal’ brand has the advantage of economies in terms of production, recognition, and packaging.
(…)
How can Bangladesh produce and market global brand products?
Though we have various products renowned in the world such as tea, medicine, readymade garment (RMG) products etc, we don’t have the absolute recognition of a global brand which indicates the use of three words ‘Made in Bangladesh’.
It is a matter of hope that we are launching ourselves through organic clothing, environmentally and socially responsible textile processing methods settled by the

Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) , which are patronised  all over the world. On the other hand, after the collapse of Rana Plaza on April 24, 2013, the world’s consumers became concerned about who are making their cheapest clothes and immediately more than 100 global brands signed the Bangladesh Accord on fire and building safety, driven by ILO, IndustriALL Europe and UNI Globl Union.
As a result, the government, manufacturers and various associations of the related fields have committed to improve factory safety and other conditions for regaining US GSP facilities.
read more.
FE bd

   THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE

* Owner of collapsed Bangladesh factory faces murder charges:

The owner of a nine-storey building that collapsed and killed 1,135 Bangladeshi garment workers in April last year is to face murder charges, police said on Tuesday.

Sohel Rana, the owner of the Rana Plaza factory complex on the outskirts of the capital Dhaka, was one of around 40 people who would be charged in connection with the disaster, lead investigator Bijoy Krishna Kar said.
‘We are planning to press murder charges against Sohel Rana and some other accused,’ Kar of Bangladesh police’s Criminal Investigation Department told AFP, adding if convicted Rana could be sentenced to death.
to read.
NEWAGEnew

* In Bangladesh, murder charges against Rana plaza owner:

Bangladesh police said on Tuesday they will press murder charges against the owner of a nine-storey building that collapsed and killed 1,135 garment workers last April, the worst industrial disaster in the country’s history.

Sohel Rana, owner of the Rana Plaza factory complex on the outskirts of the capital Dhaka, was one of around 40 people who would be charged in connection with the disaster, said lead investigator Bijoy Krishna Kar.

“We are planning to press murder charges against Sohel Rana and some other accused,” Mr. Kar of the police’s Criminal Investigation Department told AFP, adding that if convicted Mr. Rana could be sentenced to death.

It was the first time police have said they would file murder charges against Mr. Rana, arrested as he tried to flee the country days after the April 24 disaster.
read more. & read more.
THEHINDU thenewspk

21:53:57 local time map of india INDIA

* Dyeing units in Karur caught between warring parties:

While drinking water scarcity and inadequate power are a widespread phenomenon transcending Karur Lok Sabha constituency spread over four districts in the central region of the State, the prolonged agony of textile exporters and thousands of people connected to its allied activities in Karur district has assumed importance given the silence of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in addressing the issues during her weekend campaign in Karur.

Farmers successfully forced the closure of polluting dyeing units after a two-decade struggle that ended with the Madras High Court ruling that dyeing units must follow zero liquid discharge mechanism if they were to operate.
The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board must monitor the process; it had ruled two years back that resulted in the closure of more than 450 small and medium dyeing units that were operating in Karur plunging the textile export industry into a deep crisis.
The TNPCB has been demolishing illegally operating units regularly and has been maintaining a vigil over the developments.
The ban and the activism has upset the textile exporters who are now forced to undertake dyeing activities in neighbouring districts and States at additional cost.

Balancing the conflicting interests of polluting textile industrialists and suffering farmers is a rather delicate political task for the parties.
While the DMK accuses the AIADMK of not finding a solution to the vexed pollution issue, the AIDMK is turning the table on the DMK saying the Opposition party had not done anything to prevent the situation slipping into a crisis while it was in power during 2006-11.
But the DMK circles allege that as the ruling party, the AIADMK must have taken the lead to address the crisis.
When the textile industrialists were competing globally for wafer thin margins, the ruling party has not done its part to help them, DMK avers, pointing to the silence of Ms.Jayalalithaa on the issue.
read more.
THEHINDU

* Govt proposes revival package for handloom sector:

The government proposes to implement a revival, reform and restructuring package for the to improve the condition of the sector and help access funds.

According to a proposal floated by the , the much needed relief to the sector is aimed to bring it  out of the debt overhang and grow as it is the second largest employment provider next to agriculture.
According to ministry officials,  low productivity of the handloom sector that employs around 43 lakh  handloom weavers on 27-28 lakh handloom household units contribute only about 11% of the total cloth production.
This is major weakness of the Indian textile industry and underutilisation of the manpower and skills.
read more.
BUSINESSSTANDARD 2

21:53:57 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* New Chemical manufacturing Company at Biyagama Zone:

BOI signed an agreement with S & D Chemicals (Pvt) Ltd., a Company specialized in the manufacturing of Industrial chemicals used in the textile industry as well as polymers for textile processing, coatings and water treatment operations.

The agreement was signed by Dayantha de Silva, Managing Director of S & D Associates and the Chairman of the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka, Dr. Lakshman Jayaweera.
This new project will have a total value of US$ 3 million. It is important to note that the Company will employ 100 staff including 25 highly skilled local and overseas Chemical Engineers and industrial chemists.
With such a skilled work force, this company whose manufacturing plant will be located at the BOI Export Processing Zone at Biyagama, will be engaged in a high technology area of production.
read more.
slgov

21:23:57 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* ‘APTMA believes in talks to resolve industry’s issues’:

APTMA spokesman has clarified that APTMA is apolitical organisation of textile industry and believes that only workable negotiations, and not strike calls, can bring solution to all issues and problems.

Therefore, APTMA has no relation with any assertion or statement contradicting its stated policy of resolution of disputes through negotiations, he added.

APTMA spokesman said the Association is dedicated to purposeful efforts for promotion and protection of textile industry.
Therefore, it smooth operations are imperative to ensure, employment, exports and investment in the country.
He further clarified that APTMA has always supported the government efforts in streamlining industrial expansion and preferred to go hand in hand with government policy-makers to resolve all outstanding issues.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

* GSP plus: the early signs:

Some might say along the lines: “It is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.”

That is, better to have GSP+ than not have it at all. While acquiring GSP+ is being touted as the game changer for Pakistans textile industry, the first quarter export performance lends some credence to the hype!

As per the latest PBS data, textile exports grew by 14.54 percent year on year in February and 8.28 percent year on year in 8M FY14. Meanwhile, overall 9M FY14 exports grew by 6 percent year on year. Against markets high anticipations, these growth numbers may seem small–although the February textile export growth is a good sign–but it must be noted that the GSP+ only went into effect from January this year.

While early signs offer hope, it needs to be stressed that tariffs cuts will not automatically transform into rise in exports. Supply-side bottlenecks have to be removed. Besides, there is the issue of continuously appreciating rupee that is impacting textile industrys margins and competitiveness. Other export-oriented sectors are also feeling the heat.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

* Pakistan Textile Ministry demands funds for cotton sector:

Pakistan’s Ministry of Textile Industry will soon be submitting a summary to the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Federal Cabinet demanding allocation of funds for timely intervention in the cotton market, in order to bring stabilization in the domestic cotton market.

In this regard, the Ministry has also directed the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) to purchase seed cotton instead of cotton lint during the coming season, so that farmers in the country get the maximum benefit and prices of cotton remain stable, said Minister of Textile Industry Abbas Khan Afridi, reports Business Recorder quoting APP.
read more.
fibre2fashion

* Woes: APTMA demands 10% rebate due to rupee appreciation:

20140416 TRIBUNE
The sudden surge of around 12-15% in rupee value against the dollar has disturbed the business cycle of textile exporters who get export payments after a lag of 90-120 days. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) has urged the government to pay 10% rebate to textile exporters to shield themselves from the inventory losses they have incurred due to the fast appreciation of the Pakistan rupee against the US dollar.

“We want the government to tell us where exactly the rupee is going to stabilise against the dollar,” said APTMA Chairman Yasin Siddik. “Textile exporters have already faced the brunt of $300 million in exchange rate losses and huge cotton inventories,” Siddk added.
read more. & read more.
tribune thenewspk

* Cotton market: cautious buying by mills, spinners amid dollar uncertainty:

Most of the leading mills and spinners were on the sidelines due to rising uncertainties, caused by decline in dollar’s value versus the rupee, dealers said on the cotton market on Tuesday.

The official spot rate was unchanged at Rs 6,500, they added. Prices of seed cotton in Sindh and Punjab per 40 kg were unchanged at Rs 2800 and Rs 3100, dealers said. In the ready session, around 2500 bales of cotton changed hands at Rs 6100-6500, dealers said.

According to the market sources, cotton traders looked confused over the present situation. The world over economic situation is not good, this is major reason behind the fall and the other big factor behind the weak demand by consumers is high cost of production, they said. Cotton analyst, Naseem Usman said that some months ago, cotton traders purchased at the high rates, but they were not getting return at realistic level.
read more. & read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER DAWNnew

* Tannery Zone’s on-going projects: Commissioner orders early completion:

Commissioner Karachi, Shoaib Siddiqui, has directed concerned officials to expedite and complete all the on-going projects in Korangi Industrial Area’s Tannery Zone on priority.

He gave these instructions during his meeting with a delegation of Pakistan Tanners Association (PTA) which was led by its Chairman Fawad Jawed.

The Commissioner also directed the officials concerned to ensure cleanliness in the area by regularly removing solid waste. On this occasion, Siddiqui, also asked deputy Commissioner, Zubair A. Channa, to remove all encroachments from the area, besides ensuring that oil tankers of National Refinery might not create traffic congestion on Road-5000.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

21:23:57 local time map of uzbekistan UZBEKISTAN

* No cotton picking for slave Isaura:

The Uzbek television channel Eshlar is currently showing re-runs of the old Brazilian TV series “Slave Isaura”. However scenes of slaves working in the cotton fields have been censored.

The TV series is well loved and remembered fondly from its first run on the Soviet First Channel.

Practically all Soviet viewers sympathized with the young beautiful Isaura who ended up enslaved by a farmer. She could not marry the love of her life and instead was subjected to her owner’s advances.

In revenge for her rejections Isaura’s owner sends the gentle young woman – who plays the piano and likes to read books – to pick cotton.

Unnecessary parallels
The scenes of Isaura picking cotton particularly affected viewers; the most compassionate crying during her suffering in the fields.
However, the current version being shown every evening at 7:45 pm in Uzbekistan has been subjected to censorship and these particular scenes have been cut.
Today these scenes are no less relevant than before if not more so – the similarities between South American slavery of the past and cotton farming in Uzbekistan today have obvious parallels.

Robbery too
Uzbek farmers say that the cost of growing one ton of cotton costs them one and a half million soms while the government only pays one million. This is not just slavery; it’s robbery.
read more.
UZnews

* Memo to the European Union, by Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights:

The Uzbek government once again used forced labor in the cotton sector systematically on a massive scale, and across the country in 2013, affecting hundreds of thousands ofchildren aged 15- 17 and adults.

While children younger than 15 were not mobilized on a mass scale in 2013,  authorities forced children aged 15-17,studying at colleges and lyceums, to abandon their studies and harvest cotton in every region of the country, for periods up two and a half months.
The authorities forced teachers from institutions at every educational level to pick cotton, thereby disrupting studies for many children, even those who were not sent to the cotton fields themselves.

Uzbekistan has an atrocious human rights record, with entrenched human rights violations limiting a wide range of fundamental human rights. Torture is systematic. Courts are not independent.
Violations of due process and other protections are endemic in the criminal justice system.
Uzbekistan severely and unduly restricts the freedoms of religion, speech, assembly, and association. The government has only granted registration to one independent human rights organization.
Journalists, civil society activists and human rights defenders are subjected to harassment, surveillance, and interference in their work, and in some cases imprisonment, ill treatment, or torture.
read more.
COTTONcampaign

 

 

map of Asia

INFO:

There are updates under ‘special reports’:

* Minimum Wage-LIVING WAGE- PART 5: 20140307- NOW
* Cambodian Garment Workers: $160 We Need! Part 3 20140307-now
* 24 April 2013 THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE Part 4 20140314- NOW

CHINA
* More than ten thousand workers stage strike at massive Dongguan shoe factory
* Globalization Monitor: An Open letter to Adidas and Yue Yuen Dongguan, China
* Chinese sneaker factory workers go on strike
* Massive China shoe factory strike rolls on as offer falls flat

PHILIPPINES
* Workers hit wage commission for ‘lies’ vs. P125 wage hike

VIET NAM
* Vietnam garment sector eyes 60% localization rate by 2015

THAILAND
* Thailand cotton yarn exports rise 66.4% in 2013: USDA
* Thailand cotton fabric exports surge 8.9% in 2013: USDA

CAMBODIA
* Cambodia’s Garment Workers: Videos of a Struggle- Rising For Rights
* Union Leader Appeals for Worker Bail Donations to Avoid Jail

INDONESIA
* Indonesian Textile Products Losing in US, Europe Markets
* Better Work Indonesia – Thematic Synthesis Report: Fire Safety

BANGLADESH
* RMG UNIT INSPECTIONS: Alliance to pay wages for 2 months during factory closure
* RMG retailers to pay workers over suspension of factory production
* Rising wages ‘squeeze’ RMG makers as factories await upgrades
* H&M CEO warns rising Bangladeshi wages may spook some firms
* H&M CEO warns rising Bangladeshi wages may spook some firms
* Six of 16 conditions for GSP revival fully met
* Partial trade union facilities in EPZs
* Progress report on RMG action plan sent to USTR
* 14 face contempt charges over tannery relocation order
* Training facility upgraded to help disable women work for apparel sector
* Apparel makers want to open outlets in UK
* Set up Sylhet SEZ to channel more foreign investment
* Creating and sustaining a global brand
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE:
* Owner of collapsed Bangladesh factory faces murder charges
* In Bangladesh, murder charges against Rana plaza owner

INDIA
* Dyeing units in Karur caught between warring parties
* Govt proposes revival package for handloom sector

SRI LANKA
* New Chemical manufacturing Company at Biyagama Zone

PAKISTAN
* ‘APTMA believes in talks to resolve industry’s issues’
* GSP plus: the early signs
* Pakistan Textile Ministry demands funds for cotton sector
* Woes: APTMA demands 10% rebate due to rupee appreciation
* Cotton market: cautious buying by mills, spinners amid dollar uncertainty
* Tannery Zone’s on-going projects: Commissioner orders early completion

UZBEKISTAN
* No cotton picking for slave Isaura
* Memo to the European Union, by Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights

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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