In the news 17 April 2014

00:39:13 local time map of china CHINA

20140416 * Yue Yuen shoe factory workers’ strike at Dongguan plants continues:

Thousands of workers continued their strike yesterday at a sports shoe manufacturer in Dongguan in a dispute over welfare payments.

An estimated 40,000 workers downed tools at seven Yue Yuen factories in the city, according to some of the workers taking part in the stoppages. The company said more than 1,000 staff stopped working.
About 3,000 also took part in a protest march yesterday, the workers said.

The firm is listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange and produces footwear for international brands including Nike, Adidas and Timberland.
The strike started on Monday with workers complaining about the level of payments for pensions, medical insurance, housing allowances and injury compensation.
read more.
SouthchinaMORNINGPOSTchina

* Thousands of workers strike at China shoe factory:

Tens of thousands of workers were on strike Wednesday at a factory in southern China which makes shoes for Nike and Adidas, rights groups and a worker said.

More than 30,000 staff at the Yue Yuen Industrial (Holdings) factory in Dongguan city have been striking for several days in protest at unpaid social insurance payments, said US-based China Labour Watch, adding that police had beaten and detained several protesters.

China is facing labour unrest as its economic growth slows and as factories in its southern manufacturing heartland report a shortage of workers, prompting rising demands from staff.
Yue Yuen says on its website that it produces shoes for foreign brands including Nike, Adidas, Puma and New Balance.

The factory at Dongguan in Guangdong province is partly Taiwanese-owned.
A spokesperson at Yue Yuen’s office in Hong Kong was not immediately available for comment.

“The workers are still striking, and the numbers have probably increased,” said Dong Lin, a worker at the Shenzhen Chunfeng Labour Justice Service Department, a rights organisation in close contact with the workers.
“They are demanding unpaid social benefits.”

He estimated 40,000 workers were involved at the plant, adding that no deal had been reached. “The factory has released a notice saying it will dismiss the workers if they continue,” he said.

Factory authorities have promised workers they will make the welfare payments some time before the end of 2015, a female employee told AFP, declining to be named due to fear of arrest.
read more.
CHINAORG

* Strike reveals loopholes, rising labor cost crunch:

A massive worker strike over social benefits in south China’s Guangdong Province has exposed loopholes in the country’s social security scheme and the growing pressure on manufacturers to keep up with rising labor costs.

The strike at Yue Yuen Industrial (Holdings) Ltd., a footwear maker in Dongguan City, entered its third day on Wednesday, with thousands of workers shelving their tools and gathering at the factory compound.

About 600 workers from the plant first stormed onto the streets on April 5, blocking roads and demanding that social insurance and housing funds be fully paid.
read more.
people rood

* Dongguan shoe factory workers strike over social security benefits:

Thousands of workers in South China’s largest shoe company marched in protest in the city of Dongguan, Guangdong Province over contract and social security benefit issues.

Some 2,000 to 3,000 out of 40,000 striking workers took to the street in protest on Tuesday morning, said a worker who requested anonymity.

They marched from the factory to Gaobu town government building and staged a sit-in protest, he told the Global Times.

Some 1,000 to 2,000 workers of Yue Yuen, an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) company, protested in front of the factory gate Tuesday, confirmed an officer at Gaobu police station who requested anonymity.
read more.
GLOBALTIMES

* Thousands of Yue Yuen (Nike Adidas) Factory Workers Strike Over Unpaid Pensions:

Thousands of workers at Yue Yuen, a major shoe factory in China, at three separate plants which supply brands including Nike and Adidas, are striking over 10 years of the company’s neglect in paying into the social security for workers. Leaving pensions for workers at only 400 Yuan a month or 64 USD.

‘Tricking us’
Worker Cui Tiangang said that the company had not paid sufficient workplace insurance coverage for years – something he learned after he had injured himself at work.
“The factory has been tricking us for 10 years,” another worker said.

“The [local]government, labour bureau, social security bureau and the company were all tricking us together.”
read more. & read more.  & read more. & see more.
REVOLUTIONnews bbc ALJAZEERA US bbc

00:39:13 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* ‘Pay employees holiday wages’:

The department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) yesterday reminded employers to abide by the pay rules for the Holy Week holidays.

“Voluntary compliance with labor laws, including the correct payment of wages during holidays, promotes workplace harmony and excellence, which redound to the productivity and competitiveness of businesses,” said Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz in a statement.

Maundy Thursday (April 17) and Good Friday (April 18) have been declared regular holidays and Black Saturday (April 19) is a special nonworking day.

“If an employee reports for work during a regular holiday, he shall be entitled to 200 percent of his regular pay for that day for the first eight hours, and for work in excess of the eight hours, an additional 30 percent of his hourly rate,” Baldoz said.

If the day falls on an employee’s rest day but he goes to work, he shall be paid an additional 30 percent of his daily rate of 200 percent. For work in excess of eight hours on those days, he should receive an additional 30 percent of his hourly rate.

“If an employee does not render work during a regular holiday, he is still entitled to 100 percent of his salary for that day,” Baldoz said.
read more.
INQUIRER new

23:39:13 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Mongolia seeks textile partnership with City :

HCM City and Mongolia have much potential in trade, especially in garment and textile, Regzenda Sandag of the Mongolian Ministry of Industry and Agriculture told Vietnamese officials at a bilateral seminar held in HCM City yesterday.

Regzenda said his country, whose economy is based mostly on agriculture, is trying to integrate into the global economy.

It exports hundreds of items to the EU with low tariffs and is negotiating a free trade agreement with Japan, making it an attractive investment destination for companies, especially those building industrial parks, he said.

His country wants to co-operate with HCM City businesses in the garment and textile sector to develop its own industry and exports, he added.

Nguyen Binh An, deputy head of the Viet Nam National Textile and Garment Group’s southern office, said Viet Nam’s garment and textile industry, which employs 2.5 million workers, is growing at 15-20 percent annually.
read more.
VNNews new

* Vietnam textile and garment exports soar in Q1:

A positive forecast for the garment and textile industry has gradually become a reality. In the first three months of this year, the industry recorded impressive growths in terms of production and exports, creating good impetus for the next quarter, according to the Vietnam Economic News.

In the first quarter of this year, the garment and textile industry ranked second in total export turnover with 4.5 billion USD, an increase of 21.9 percent compared to the same period last year. Exports to foreign markets recorded a fairly good growth.
read more.
VIETNAMplus

23:39:13 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Predictions Mixed For Post-New Year Garment Strike:

Along Phnom Penh’s industry-heavy Veng Sreng Street on Wednesday, garment factories lay idle in observance of Khmer New Year. The dorms around them were empty, save for the few workers who could not afford the bus ticket home for the holiday, which ended Wednesday.

Eight unions planning a nationwide stay-at-home strike, scheduled to start today, are hoping it stays that way.

They have been spreading the word for the past several weeks about the strike, which has been called to demand a higher minimum wage in the garment sector as well as the release of 21 protesters imprisoned during the last round of strikes in January.

On Wednesday, union leaders were hopeful that as many as half the country’s roughly 600,000 garment workers will be taking up the call and staying home in protest.

“We expect more than 50 percent of the workers not to come to work until April 22 to demand that the government and Ministry of Labor release the 21 prisoners and give them a $160 [monthly minimum] wage,” said Far Saly, president of the National Trade Union Coalition. “We have informed our workers, handed out 100,000 leaflets and spread the information through social media and word-of-mouth.”
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

00:39:13 local time map of malaysia MALAYSIA

* Can you survive on minimum wage in M’sia?:

Living on less than RM1000 a month is tricky business indeed so in the interest of curiosity, this article will attempt to look into the lives of minimum wage workers to determine how they survive in Malaysia.

There has been and will continue to be a lot of talk about minimum wage recently due to the enforcement of the new ruling in January 2014. The minimum monthly income was set at RM900 for peninsular Malaysia and RM800 for east Malaysia.

The announcement has been met with mixed reviews thus far, with several Malaysians arguing that the amount is insufficient, considering the recent surge in the cost of living. Conversely, some Malaysians feel that the law decreases the competitiveness of the nation’s industries while doing more to benefit foreign laborers rather than locals. Some business heads also lamented that it would in turn force them to raise prices even more.

Whichever side you’re on, the minimum wage law is here to stay (for now) and nothing’s going to change that. Living on less than RM1000 a month is tricky business indeed so in the interest of curiosity, this article will attempt to look into the lives of minimum wage workers to determine how they survive in Malaysia.

Survive NOT thrive
In case you didn’t already know, earning minimum wage literally means that in terms of pay, you’re at the very bottom of the food chain.

Minimum wage workers form the backbone of society within Malaysia.
They do menial jobs that most Malaysians often take for granted such as cleaning tables at food courts, washing toilets and manning the multitude of factory assembly lines across the nation. If all of them packed up and quit overnight, then life in Malaysia would come to a virtual standstill.
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FREEMALAYSIATODAY

00:39:13 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Bekasi Bergerak (Bekasi Workers Fight Back):

This film documents workers’ struggles in the Bekasi Industrial Zones, West Java, Indonesia, between 2011 and 2013.

The documentary presents the views and voices from the ground and explains why workers and union leaders stood up against the capital. It highlights their resistance actions including marches, toll road blockades, shutting down industrial zones, and factory raids.
see more (subtitled).
ENGAGEMEDIA

* Indonesia’s woven apparel exports up 1.76% in Jan-Feb’14:

The exports of woven apparel and clothing accessories (under HS code 62) from the Southeast Asian nation of Indonesia grew marginally by 1.76 percent to US$ 697.5 million in the first two months of the current year, compared to exports of $685.5 million made during the corresponding period of last year, the data from Statistics Indonesia showed.
Month-wise, exports of non-knitted apparel and clothing accessories from Indonesia in January 2014 stood at $362.9 million, while the figure for February was $334.7 million.
read more.
Fibre2fashion

22:39:13 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* The shirt on your back  –  the human cost of the Bangladeshi garment industry :

How did the clothes you’re wearing get to you?
Guardian journalists trace the lifecycle of the shirt on your back via the teeming workshops of Dhaka, where labour is cheap, factories are cheaper and just going to work can be fatal

We trace the human cost of the Bangladeshi garment industry in video, words and pictures.
See here.
GUARDIAN

* Shoe warehouse catches fire in Savar:

A fire broke out at a shoe warehouse at New Market at Savar upazila in the outskirts of the city on Thursday morning.

However, no casualty is reported till filing the report and 11:45 am. The fire has burned down a large quantity of shoes.
Fire service officials said the fire originated from an electric short circuit at the warehouse of ‘Abanti Shoe Factory’ on the second floor of the multi-storey New Market building at Savar Bus Stand around 09:30am and soon engulfed the entire warehouse.
On information, three fire fighting units rushed to the spot and were working to control the fire as of filing this report around 11:45, according to a news agency.
to read. & read more.
FE bd  UNB

* Govt wants more time to meet conditions on RMG sector:

The government has sought more time to meet some of the conditions set by the US and the EU to improve the workplace safety and labour standards in the country’s readymade garment (RMG) sector.

The government has sought time until June, July and October next for recruitment of additional 200 inspectors, formulation of rules for labour law implementation and making sure the EPZ law conforms to the international standards respectively.

“We could not meet few conditions timely and have sought more time to meet them,” Labour Secretary Mikail Shipar told the reporters after a meeting with the diplomats of the US, EU, the Netherlands, Canada and Germany.

Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed and Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque and International Labour Organisation (ILO) Country Director in Bangladesh Srinivas Reddy, among others, were present at the meeting.

The recruitment of additional 200 inspectors would be completed by June next. Of them, 25 were already appointed, he said. It was taking a long time due to some legal complexities, he added.
read more.
FE bd

* WORKPLACE SAFETY IN RMG FACTORIES: Govt gives new deadlines:

The government on Wednesday gave new deadlines to meet a number of conditions including recruitment of factory inspectors, framing of labour rules and amending export processing zones law, set almost a year ago following the deadly collapse of Rana Plaza.

The authorities concerned sought more time to implement the plan of action to improve the workplace safety for the export-oriented apparel workers at a meeting with the diplomats from European Union, the USA, the UK, Canada, the Netherlands and a representative from International Labour Organisation.
The group of ambassadors held the routine meeting with the secretaries of the ministries of commerce, labour and foreign affairs to review the progress in improving the welfare and safety of RMG factory workers.
(…)
‘We have sought more time to implement some of the decisions taken earlier to ensure safety and welfare of the factory workers,’ labour secretary Mikail Shipar said.

In the fresh deadlines, 200 factory inspectors would be recruited by the end of June, the labour rules under the amended labour law would be framed by July and factory database would be made accessible for the public by May, he added.
The secretary said that 25 inspectors were already recruited by the previous deadline of March 31.

The government has met only six out of 16 conditions of the US action plan for the revival of the GSP (generalised system of preference) facilities for Bangladeshi products that were suspended in July 2013, according to the progress report the commerce ministry submitted to the US Trade Representative’s office on Tuesday.
Seven of the conditions are half-done and there has been no progress on the remaining three, the report showed.
The registration process for labour unions has been simplified and 127 trade unions in the apparel sector were registered with the labour directorate from January 1, 2013 to March 15, 2014.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

* US retailers not to pull out business from RMG units in shared building:

North American retailers’ group on Wednesday assured the garment factory owners that its members would not pull out their business they are doing with the Bangladesh apparel factories housed in shared buildings.

The group also assured of its all-out support towards improving the working condition in Bangladesh’s readymade garment sector.
The assurances came from the retailers’ group, the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, at a meeting with the garment factory owners and other stakeholders at the Westin Hotel in the city.
The Alliance’s visiting board of directors led by its chair Ellen O Tauscher, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association president Md Atiqul Islam, vice-president Shahidullah Azim, former BGMEA presidents Annisul Huq and Anwar-ul Alam Chowdhury, and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association vice-president AH Aslam Sunny attended the meeting.
Meeting sources said that the garment manufacturers urged the retailers not to inspect again the factories which had already been inspected by the Accord, an EU retailers’ group.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

* Alliance recommends production suspension in two garment units:

The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety recommended immediate suspension of production in two garment units after detecting structural faults in those buildings, sources said.

The North American retailers’ group requested the official committee to review the structural feasibility of the two factories-Jans Fabrics Ltd located in the port city and MAM Garments Ltd in Dhaka and take necessary steps in this regard.

M Rabin, managing director of the Alliance confirmed the FE that they have sought the official review committee’s decision on the two factories.
read more.
FE bd

The government has finally sent the progress report on implementation of Bangladesh Action Plan 2013 for the country’s ready-made garment (RMG) sector to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) in a bid to get back the suspended trade facility – Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) — in the US market.

The commerce minister has been reported to have stated that substantial progress has been made about implementing the action plan.

However, the real scenario is yet to match well what the minister has said. Bangladesh, as reported in a section of the media, has, once again, not been able to fulfil the ‘required conditions’ for reinstatement of GSP status in the US markets within the stipulated deadline, mainly due to bureaucratic tangles.

The US suspended the GSP facility on June 27 last year following tragic disasters such as the Rana Plaza collapse and the Tazreen Fashions fire in the RMG sector. However, the RMG exports by Bangladesh to the USA have not been enjoying this facility for the purpose of exemption from import duties by the US government.

On its part, the USTR formulated the Bangladesh Action Plan 2013 later in last July for implementation in the RMG sector in order to get the facility revived for the purpose of other exports by Bangladesh to the US market.

On failure to appoint 200 additional inspectors, the commerce minister has said it is a hard job. The government has already appointed 67 inspectors. The country has taken an initiative to bring export processing zones (EPZs) under the Bangladesh Labour Act within a short span of time. The work on it is going on, he has added. Will such contentions of the minister concerned be enough to convince the present US administration?

This question apart, this is the second time that the government has not been able to give a positive impression about its actions – already taken or to be taken. The first progress report that was submitted in November last could not convince the US authorities to their desired extent. Then, the second deadline of April 15 was set, a month ahead of Obama administration’s review of the decision on the suspension of GSP facility.
read more.
FE bd

* RMG factory shut for a lack of work order:

A garment factory in Savar yesterday closed its operation permanently in the face of insufficient work order for the last few months, owners said.

Mohammad Ashek Elahi Sumon, a director of Bonds Fashions at Kalma area in the industrial belt, said the factory had been facing an acute fund shortage.
Sumon also said the workers were given half of the salary for the month of March on April 13, as it could not afford a full pay.

The workers started demonstration at 6pm when the factory management said it would pay their termination benefits on May 10.
They kept Sumon captive for realising compensation and other benefits. He was freed after the factory officials signed an agreement.
“In the agreement, we have agreed to pay the workers before May 10,” Sumon said.
to read.
daily star bd

* Miscreants kidnap businessman from car in N’ganj:

Armed miscreants kidnapped a readymade garments businessman on gun point in broad daylight on Wednesday from Dhaka-Narayanganj link road under Fatullah thana in Narayanganj.
The victim was identified as Abu Bakar Siddiqui, 47, managing director of Hamid Fashion at Fatullah.

Police said that Siddiqui was going to Dhaka by his own private car. When he reached at Bhuiyan filling station of link road around 3.0 pm, a Hi-ace  microbus rammed into his vehicle. Then seven to eight armed criminals picked up Mr Siddiqui and left for Dhaka with the microbus.

Officer-in-charge of Fatullah thana Md Akter Hossain admitted the incident and said police conducting drives to rescue the kidnapped businessman.

Bdnews24.com adds: “Both Siddiqui and his driver Ripon got down to see the damage when the microbus hit the car. Then the miscreants jumped off the microbus and hit Ripon on his head with a pistol and smeared pepper over his eyes,” said Syed Ahmed Sourav, a lawyer with BELA.
reads more. & read more.
FE bd

* Bangladesh’s exports hit over 22 bln USD in first 9 months of FY 2013-14:

Bangladesh’s export income in the first three quarters of the current 2013-14 fiscal year (July 2013- June 2014) surged nearly 13 percent to 22.24 billion U.S. dollars with ready-made garments as the key performer, an official said Wednesday.

The Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) official told Xinhua that the country earned “a total of 22,242.66 million U.S. dollars from exports in July to March period of the current fiscal year.”
In the first nine months of the previous 2012-13 fiscal year ( July 2012-June 2013), Bangladesh exports grew by 10.16 percent to 19,703.94 million U.S. dollars, the EPB data showed.
(…)

He said the overall export growth has been largely driven by ready-made garments despite the sector has been facing problems in key global markets due to last April’s worst ever industrial tragedy in which a total of 1,131 people, mostly garment workers, were confirmed dead.

The collapse of an eight-story factory building outside Dhaka on April 24 raised questions about poor labor and safety standards in Bangladesh’s garment industry, which make up three-fourths of the country’s total exports a year.
read more.
XINHUAnet

* Keeping jute mills operational:

The Pubali Jute Mills was set up immediately after liberation to promote industrialisation of the country.

The mill was closed last month. About two thousand workers became unemployed. During the last two months, five private sector mills were closed down and about 30,000 workers lost their jobs. During last one and half months 12 jute yarn factories stopped their operation. Yarn producers have reduced production by 50 per cent.

The number of jute and yarn mills, which were closed down in last three years, stands at 40. About 50,000 people used to work in those mills and factories.

The condition of jute traders and farmers is pitiable. Jute prices are going down and its export is declining. Jute traders are due to get Tk 6,000 million from public and private sector mills. Several meetings were held for keeping the losing mills operational but no action was taken.
read more.
FE bd

* RANA PLAZA, TAZREEN TRAGEDIES: Punishment demanded for those responsible:

The National Alliance for Protection of Garment Workers and Industry, a combine of garment labour rights bodies, on Wednesday demanded exemplary punishments for those responsible for the Rana Plaza collapse and Tazreen Fashion fire.

Shamima Akter Shirin, coordinator of the combine, at a press conference at Dhaka Reporters Unity made the demand while announcing programmes to observe first anniversary of Rana Plaza collapse on April 24, where more than 1100 workers were killed.
The programmes include holding workers’ rally in front of the National Press Club on April 18, views exchange at Asad Auditorium on April 20, international seminar on workers issue at the press club on April 22, human chain in font of the press club on April 22, placing wreath at the Rana Plaza monument and holding rally of the wounded workers April 24.
to read.
NEWAGEnew

   THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE

* Which brands need to Pay Up!:

With just a week to go until the first anniversary of the terrible collapse of Rana Plaza just 1/3 of the money needed has been committed to the Donor Trust Fund. Clean Clothes Campaign is calling for all brands connected to Rana Plaza or Bangladesh to Pay Up! The survivors and victims’ families have suffered enough.

20140416 CCC


It is almost a year since the tragic collapse of Rana Plaza when 1,138 garment workers died and over 2,000 were injured.

The Donor Trust Fund provides a central coordinated approach to collecting claims of victims and then ensuring the money is distributed.  However to ensure all those affected receive the support they need the fund needs US$ 40 million in contributions.

To date just half the companies who have been connected to a factory in the building have made commitments, and the fund has just one third of the funds required.

See which brands have yet to make a contribution and which need to make a second installment.

The time for excuses is over – now it is time to Pay Up!
read more.
Site

* Compensation fund for Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza victims barely one-third full:

UN-backed scheme raises $15m of $40m target, despite pressure on brands to assume some financial responsibility

A UN-backed scheme to compensate victims of Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza factory collapse is barely one-third full, despite pressure on dozens of western brands to assume some financial responsibility for one of the world’s deadliest industrial accidents of modern times.

A year after the tragedy, which killed more than 1,100 workers and injured another 1,000, the scheme backed by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), a UN agency, has raised only $15m (£9m), well short of the $40m (£24m) target.

Of the 28 brands linked to the Rana Plaza factory complex by campaigners, only about half have paid into the fund. They include the British retailer Bonmarché, Canada’s Loblaw and Spain’s Mango and Inditex.

But pressure is intensifying on those brands who have not paid up, such as Matalan, the Italian brand Benetton and US retailer JC Penney. All are now thought to be considering making a contribution after months of stonewalling. Matalan is being asked for £3m.
read more.
GUARDIAN

* Rana Plaza Collapse: Cheques given to families of more 53 persons killed:

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday handed over cheques of financial assistance from her Relief and Welfare Fund to the families of more 53 persons killed by the deadliest Building Collapse in the history, at Savar on the outskirts of the capital, on April 24 last year.

Seventy-three cheques were handed over among the family members of the 53 persons who were killed in tragic accident and later identified through DNA test.
The Prime Minister has so far distributed Tk 22.11 crore as financial assistance in nine phases to the families of 909 victims of the Rana Plazza collapse.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
& read more.
UNB BSS NEWAGEnew FE bd DHAKATRIBUNE BANGLA NEWS24
daily star bd

* Compensations continue to elude Rana Plaza victims:

The Rana Plaza victims are yet to get promised compensations though nearly one year has gone by since the tragic incident, causing untold sufferings to the several hundred affected families, victims and labour leaders say.

Except a few pledges made and initiatives taken so far by the global buyers and other stakeholders, no specific announcement has been made nor any decision taken yet about the payment of the compensations, they say.

Although some financial and humanitarian supports have been extended to a number of victims and their families, most of the affected families are still in the dark about payment of their due compensations. None can say when and how the compensation money will be paid, they say.

Different labour rights groups and social organisations have long been demanding rightful compensations to the victims and their families after the Rana Plaza collapse on April 24, 2013.
(…)
Yeanur, who had joined the garment factory with her mother Anwara Begum, who had died in the building collapse, underwent surgery on her both legs and now is undergoing therapy at the Centre for Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP).

“I myself didn’t get any financial support either from the government or from garment manufacturers,” she said.

Her father had received Tk 0.3 million (three lakh) from the Prime Minister’s Office and Tk 45,000 on behalf of her mother through bKash, she added.

Shapla Begum, who had been working on the third floor of the Rana Plaza, said: “I and my younger brother Solaiman Hossain worked at the same factory. I am lucky to survive. But my brother is still missing.”

“Now I am in dire straits as I have to look after my brother’s kids along with three of mine,” she said adding that how she could bring up those kids apart from hers without any help from others.

However, a good number of people still gather in front of the Rana Plaza site. Some of them gather there to know about the fate of their missing family members and some others gather there with the hope of getting financial support.
read more.
FE bd

* Rana Plaza trust fund collects $17m so far:

20140417 DAILYSTAR

Retailers and brands have deposited a total of $17 million so far with the Rana Plaza Donor Trust Fund to compensate victims of the building collapse that took lives of at least 1,135 people last April.

“The retailers and brands have started depositing money with the compensation fund. We will start paying the victims before the 24th of April, the first anniversary of the building collapse,” Srinivasa Reddy, country director of International Labour Organisation, told The Daily Star yesterday.
Of the money deposited, the British brand Primark is paying $9 million to the 580 workers of New Wave Bottom Ltd, a factory that was located on the second floor of the Rana Plaza building. The payment is being made through the ILO.
read more.
daily star bd

* Compensation fund for Rana Plaza victims barely one-third full: Report:

A UN-backed scheme to compensate victims of Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza factory collapse is barely one-third full, despite pressure on dozens of western brands to assume some financial responsibility for one of the world’s deadliest industrial accidents of modern times, reports The Guardian.

A year after the tragedy, which killed more than 1,100 workers and injured another 1,000, the scheme backed by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), a UN agency, has raised only $15m (£9m), well short of the $40m (£24m) target.
Of the 28 brands linked to the Rana Plaza factory complex by campaigners, only about half have paid into the fund. They include the British retailer Bonmarché, Canada’s Loblaw and Spain’s Mango and Inditex.

But pressure is intensifying on those brands who have not paid up, such as Matalan, the Italian brand Benetton and US retailer JC Penney. All are now thought to be considering making a contribution after months of stonewalling. Matalan is being asked for £3m.

Sam Maher, of the workers’ rights group Labour Behind the Label, said: ‘For Matalan and its owners, £3m is pocket money. For those families struggling to survive after losing not only family members but much-needed income it means the difference between remaining destitute or being able to rebuild their lives.’
read more.
NEWAGEnew

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22:09:13 local time map of india INDIA

* Garment workers: numerically strong, but weak bargaining powers as voters:

The four-lakh strong garment factory workers in the Bangalore region have received a recognition of sorts during the run up to the Lok Sabha elections with some of the candidates campaigning even on factory premises, normally out-of-bounds for non-workers.

This is an interesting development considering that this segment of the city’s unorganised workforce — nearly 80 per cent of whom are women — remains largely invisible, in stark contrast to the workers of the Information Technology industry who are constantly in the spotlight.

Even so, there are no indications of their real workplace issues — casualisation of work, low wages, occupational hazards, unrealistic production targets and gender discrimination — getting attention as electoral issues. Bangalore is among the five major garment production hubs, producing exclusively for exports, others being Delhi, Mumbai, Tirupur and Chennai.

“Garment labourers do not exist as a political constituency of workers,” observed Supriya Roy Chowdhury, Professor at the Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC) who has studied garment and other unorganised workers. Barely 10 per cent of them are unionised and their politicisation is minimal, she added.
read more.
THEHINDU

* ‘Expand home textiles export to non-traditional markets’:

Indian home textile manufacturers and exporters should do some extra work and expand their exports to non-traditional markets, Textiles Secretary Zohra Chatterji has said.

In her address after inaugurating the third edition of Home Expo India 2014 in Greater Noida, Ms. Chatterji said some extra work needs to be done for expanding export base to such non-traditional markets that have considerable buying powers and the standard of living is rising.
The size of such markets may not be as big as the traditional US and European markets, but some extra efforts is needed for expanding to markets in the Central Asian, Southeast Asian, West Asian and Latin American regions, she said.
She informed that the export of furnishings, floorings and textiles have grown by 27.45 percent during the last few years.
read more.
Fibre2fashion

21:39:13 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Over 25 spinning, weaving mills closed down in Punjab:

More than 25 spinning and weaving mills have closed down in the last one month in Punjab, while 75 spinners have curtailed one shift, as the cost of doing business in the province has increased sharply and international sales remained subdued, experts said on Tuesday.

“Textile industry has suffered badly after the rupee appreciation, as it has booked orders at Rs106 to Rs108 a dollar, while export proceeds have been realised at Rs96 to a dollar,” Gohar Ejaz, group leader of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma), said.

On an average exports worth $1.2 billion per month, the textile exporters used to get Rs126.60 billion at the dollar rate of Rs106. Now with the same exports, they are fetching only Rs115.2 billion – a net decline of Rs14.40 billion, he said, adding that since over 70 percent of the textile industry is based in Punjab, the share of the provincial textile exporters due to the rupee appreciation comes to Rs10.08 billion per month.

Other losses that the Punjab-based industries are facing are because of power and energy shortages, Ejaz said, adding that the entire textile sector in the country except Punjab generates power at Rs7 per unit because of uninterrupted gas supply round-the-clock.

Punjab, he said, is getting gas for only six hours a day, while the power supply is limited to 16 hours a day. The cost of electricity in Punjab is Rs17 per unit, he said. Thus, the industry bears additional expenses on power worth Rs80 billion per annum more than their counterparts in other provinces.
read more.
thenewspk

* Punjab textile units start downsizing:

20140417 DAWN

Reports of labour unrest started trickling on Wednesday from parts of Punjab as several spinners and weavers began to cut or close down production in panic over mounting losses because of short supply of cheaper gas, long power cuts and massive appreciation the rupee against US dollar.

“In Sargodha, the workers thrashed the manager of a mill after they were laid off,” a labour department official told Dawn on Wednesday. Although the mill management couldn’t be reached immediately, Seth Mohammad Akber, Senior Vice-Chairman of Aptma, confirmed the incident.

“A similar incident took place in Bahawalpur where the mill workers kept the roads blocked for several hours.”

Punjab’s textile industry contends that scores of spinners, weavers and processors have already shut down their operations or significantly decreased their production ever since the “exchange rate started to climb without any warning” in early March.

The entire textile industry from yarn makers to apparel producers are calling for compensation for their losses on account of falling value of the dollar on rising forex reserves.

“The entire textile industry in Punjab is faced with a severe crisis for quite some time owing to short gas supply and long power cuts. The 12pc appreciation of the rupee has accentuated this crisis, forcing many to retrench workers to avoid further losses,” argued Gohar Ejaz, former Aptma chairman.

“The only solution to prevent this crisis from getting uglier lies in restoration of gas supplies to the factories to help them reduce their production costs. The road is running out. The government must act now.”

Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is reluctant to increase gas supplies to the textile manufacturers from the current level of six hours a day (approved for winter months) in spite of decrease in domestic demand on rising temperatures and intervention by the Punjab chief minister and the textile minister. The textile ministry has moved a summary for the ECC’s consideration to increase gas supplies to Punjab’s textile factories round-the-clock five days a week.

Pakistan Towel Manufacturers and Exporters Association on Monday warned of closures if the government didn’t take effective steps to remedy the situation. “The exchange rate loss of 12pc will ruin exports,” it had stated.

A Pakistan Textile Exporters Association, an alliance of Faisalabad’s textile industry official said rising exchange rate had severely damaged exports.

“The exporters had booked orders at Rs108 a dollar. Now when the remittances are being realised we are getting Rs96-97 in exchange for our hard earned dollars,” said a knitwear exporter who requested anonymity because he is on the board of a public company. “Punjab’s industry is unable to even compete with the Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa based exporters because they are using gas round-the-clock seven days a week.”
read more.
DAWNnew

* ‘Compliance must for textile exports’:

Textiles can penetrate the Japanese market and capture huge business consignments if they comply with the quality, design and other pre-requisites, said Yoshiaki Kamiyama on Wednesday.

Senior Researcher Japan Textile Import Association was addressing a workshop on ‘how to access Japanese market’ organised by the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (Tdap) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica).

Kamiyama urged the Pakistan companies to carefully select Japanese trade partners. He stressed on building close relation between the business communities of both the countries.
read more.
thenewspk

* Textile products worth $90 million being exported to Japan: TDAP:

Director General Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) Lahore Sher Afgan Khan said Pakistan is exporting about $90 million worth of textile products to Japan but mostly raw material such as cotton yarn.

He was addressing the workshop on ‘how to access Japanese market’ organised by TDAP in collaboration with Jica here on Wednesday.

Sher Afgan Khan also said TDAP in its capacity of trade promotional organisation of Pakistan is putting all efforts to develop the export potential of new as well as traditional Pakistani products to increase their market share in foreign markets.
He stressed his hope that the participants would be able to acquire valuable information through expertise of the notable speakers and as a result, our exporters would eventually be able to enhance their export size to the Japanese trade markets.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

* July-February fiscal year 2013-14: leather garments’ exports up by 15%:

Exports of leather garments posted an increase of 15 percent to $287.738 million during July-February 2013-14, according to Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).

Exports of leather garments grew by $37.631 million in July-February 2013-14 from $250.107 million in the same period of last fiscal year, the PBS said. In term of volume, exports of leather garments went up by 233, 000 dozens (38 percent) to 849,000 dozens during July-February 2013-14 from 616,000 dozens in the same period of last fiscal year.

In February 2014, exports of leather garments grew by $13.109 million (69.36 percent) to $32.010 million from $18.901 million in February 2013. Exports of leather garments in term of quantity jumped by 28, 000 dozens (62.22 percent) to 73,000 dozens in February 2014 from 45,000 dozens in February 2013, the official figures showed.
to read.
BUSINESSRECORDER

TURKEY

* Brax “Feels Good” over labour rights violations at Lafem in Turkey:

IndustriALL Global Union and IG Metall call on German textile brand Brax to play instrumental role to stem labour rights violations in its major supplier Lafem in Turkey.

The Turkish union Tekstil, belonging to DISK national center and IndustriALL, conducted an organizing campaign at Lafem in September 2013. A majority of the workers joined the union in the following month seeking to achieve better working conditions.

However Lafem management dismissed 40 union members with seniority of 10 to 17 years instead of respecting fundamental labour rights. Two of the dismissed workers were already elected as workers’ representatives in the factory, and had never received any complaint or negative notification beforehand.

All the dismissed workers filed a court case against Lafem for reinstatement, as their dismissals were unjustified. Lafem management in the meantime continued to exert pressure over the workers to withdraw from their court cases with the condition of paying their severance payments, but most of them did not accept.

Brax is the major customer of Lafem, and almost its entire production is done for the German brand. Even Brax employs a full time staff at the Lafem plant to check the production on a daily basis.
read more.
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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
* TAZREEN Fire Part 2 20 November 2013- NOW

CHINA
* Yue Yuen shoe factory workers’ strike at Dongguan plants continues
* Thousands of workers strike at China shoe factory
* Strike reveals loopholes, rising labor cost crunch
* Dongguan shoe factory workers strike over social security benefits
* Thousands of Yue Yuen (Nike Adidas) Factory Workers Strike Over Unpaid Pensions

PHILIPPINES
* ‘Pay employees holiday wages’

VIET NAM
* Mongolia seeks textile partnership with City
* Vietnam textile and garment exports soar in Q1

CAMBODIA
* Predictions Mixed For Post-New Year Garment Strike

MALAYSIA
* Can you survive on minimum wage in M’sia?

INDONESIA
* Bekasi Bergerak (Bekasi Workers Fight Back)
* Indonesia’s woven apparel exports up 1.76% in Jan-Feb’14

BANGLADESH
* The shirt on your back – the human cost of the Bangladeshi garment industry
* Shoe warehouse catches fire in Savar
* Govt wants more time to meet conditions on RMG sector
* WORKPLACE SAFETY IN RMG FACTORIES: Govt gives new deadlines
* US retailers not to pull out business from RMG units in shared building
* Alliance recommends production suspension in two garment units
* What impedes the revival of GSP facility by USA?
* RMG factory shut for a lack of work order
* Miscreants kidnap businessman from car in N’ganj
* Bangladesh’s exports hit over 22 bln USD in first 9 months of FY 2013-14
* Keeping jute mills operational
* RANA PLAZA, TAZREEN TRAGEDIES: Punishment demanded for those responsible
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE:
* Which brands need to Pay Up!
* Compensation fund for Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza victims barely one-third full
* Rana Plaza Collapse: Cheques given to families of more 53 persons killed
* Compensations continue to elude Rana Plaza victims
* Rana Plaza trust fund collects $17m so far
* Compensation fund for Rana Plaza victims barely one-third full: Report

INDIA
* Garment workers: numerically strong, but weak bargaining powers as voters
* ‘Expand home textiles export to non-traditional markets

PAKISTAN
* Over 25 spinning, weaving mills closed down in Punjab
* Punjab textile units start downsizing
* ‘Compliance must for textile exports’
* Textile products worth $90 million being exported to Japan: TDAP
* July-February fiscal year 2013-14: leather garments’ exports up by 15%

TURKEY
* Brax “Feels Good” over labour rights violations at Lafem in Turkey

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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
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I'd like to know what they've paid for it
How much the makers have paid for this
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