14:09:08 local time CHINA
* S China footwear factory resumes production:
Production at a footwear factory in south China’s Guangdong Province has resumed after a strike over social benefits, according to a statement from the factory on Monday.
The Yue Yuen Industrial (Holdings) Ltd., a Dongguan-based footwear maker for major brands like Nike, Adidas and Timberland, has reached agreement with workers, the statement said.
On Monday, more than 99 percent of 45,000 workers had returned work.
The factory has agreed to catch up on all social benefits and pay an extra of 230 yuan (37 U.S.dollars) in living allowance monthly for each worker from May 1.
Protests started on April 5, when 600 workers from the plant took to the streets blocking roads and demanding that their social insurance and housing funds be fully paid.
After failed negotiations with the management, more workers joined the strike on April 14.
to read. & to read.
* China can’t ignore workers’ well-being if it wants to avert strikes:
One of the world’s largest footwear manufacturers, Yue Yuen, is in many ways typical.
A Taiwanese firm listed in Hong Kong, it has numerous factories based in the southern China manufacturing belt, making shoes emblazoned with stripes and swooshes for sale around the world. In recent weeks, it has also faced an increasingly typical problem for companies located in China – an aggrieved and angry workforce.
In Yue Yuen’s case, demands for proper treatment shut down operations across two provinces.
The first action, on April 14, saw employees at a factory in Dongguan walk out over the non-payment of social insurance, following the discovery of years of missing pension contributions.
It escalated into a full-blown strike involving thousands of workers across several factories in Guangdong supplying shoes for Adidas, Nike and Timberland. On April 18, the strike spread to the company’s factories in neighbouring Jiangxi .
* A stitch according to the times:
The elderly women sit on a step by the side of the road and sew by hand. Their weathered faces are maps of smile lines and crow’s feet, their hands and chatter lightning quick.
A small mountain of denim jackets teeters precariously in front of them, piled up right out on the street. The hole-in-the-wall workshop behind them is crammed with sewing machines and workers and material.
On either side of the narrow thoroughfare where the women stitch, big old factories tower like rust and ruin reefs.
No one seems to remember the original purpose for the long, multi-level structures. Every nook and cranny of both buildings is now occupied by tiny factories and workshops, organic growth on the skeleton of a failed big business, teeming pockets of industry separated by thrown-up partitions.
In one of those small spaces, Lu Keqin sits at a sewing machine with about half a dozen others, deftly making women’s business shirts.
The 44-year-old has been at it since 8 am, and he won’t finish until midnight. It’s a work routine he follows every day, seven days a week.
read more. (2 pages:)
13:09:08 local time CAMBODIA
* 10,000 Workers Still Striking for Bonus Pay:
At least 10,000 garment workers in Svay Rieng province resumed their strike for extra bonus pay yesterday following the weekend holiday, but there was little sign that any more factories would give in to their demands.
The strike began with just a few Bavet City factories after the Khmer New Year holidays, when some garment workers grew envious of colleagues at another factory who had just been paid a one-time, $50 bonus for having agreed to not strike during the previous three months. Though other factories had not offered the same deal, more and more workers have continued to join the protests for their own $50 bonus.
One factory, Smart Tech, caved in to its workers on Saturday.
“We protest to demand $50 because the workers at the other two factories got it for not striking,” said Sok Khemara, a Best Way factory worker who joined the protests yesterday.
* Strike closes most Bavet factories:
All but four garment factories in Svay Rieng province were closed yesterday, as a strike of thousands of workers there continued into its second week, a labour union official said.
The strike, estimated to involve about 20,000 people across the province’s Tai Seng and Manhattan special economic zones, began immediately after Khmer New Year, said Kat Lot, vice president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW).
Workers began leaving their posts in protest, when word of a $50 bonus received by employees at A&J factory spurred workers at other factories who did not receive a bonus.
“Thousands of workers in two special economic zones in Svay Rieng Province’s Bavet town continued protesting today, since their demands have been refused,” Lot said yesterday.
Members of CUMW and non-unionised workers are among the strikers.
In a statement released on its website yesterday, the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia decried inaction by the Ministry of Labour and local authorities in putting a stop to workers’ demonstrations, which, the group says, are tantamount to extortion.
“Because those factories refused to give them this money, [CUMW] led the workers to do the violent demonstration by throwing the rocks at the factories, threatening other workers not to return to work and destroying the factories’ properties,” the statement says. “It is so disappointing that there seems to be no action from the authorities to stop this activity.”
* Garment strikes in Cambodia’s Bavet City continue Monday:
Thousands of garment workers at some 30 factories in two special economic zones in Bavet City of Svay Rieng province continued striking Monday to demand a 50 U. S. dollars bonus, a trade union leader said.
“Workers at those factories go on strikes Monday to demand the 50 U.S. dollars bonus pay,”said Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, which is one of the eight opposition-aligned unions that lead the strikes. “They will protest until factories give them the bonus.”
Workers at the Manhattan and Tai Seng special economic zones have staged strikes since last week to demand the 50 U.S. dollars that they claimed that factories had promised to give them when they did not join a post-New Year strike, which was organized by the opposition-aligned trade unions in mid-April.
However, the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia ( GMAC) denied that factories had made such promise and accused the opposition-aligned trade unions of fabricating this information after they failed to attract workers for their post-New Year wage demanding strike.
read more. & to read.
Around 20,000 Cambodian garment workers have joined a strike to demand a $50 bonus for shunning walkouts over the last three months, a union official said Monday, in the latest labour dispute to rattle the kingdom’s lucrative but troubled garment sector.
Workers at around 30 factories in two special economic zones near the Vietnamese border want the bonus after a union said that two factories had rewarded employees for not participating in the strikes, which routinely cripple the industry.
“Most of the factories have denied the demand,” Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, told AFP.
* Cambodia’s garment, footwear exports up 16 pct in Q1:
Garment and footwear industry, Cambodia’s largest income earner, reported a 16 percent surge in exports in the first three months of 2014, the figures of the Ministry of Commerce showed Monday.
The Southeast Asian nation exported apparel and footwear products in equivalent to 1.56 billion U.S. dollars during the January-March period this year, up 16 percent from 1.34 billion U. S. dollars over the same period last year.
Main markets for the products are Europe and the United States.
The garment and footwear sector comprises 960 factories with about 620,000 workers, Labor Minister Ith Samheng said last week. The sector earned 5.5 billion U.S. dollars last year, accounting for about 80 percent of the country’s total exports.
12:09:08 local time BANGLADESH
* Bangladesh looks for 29 cents:
A year on from the April 24, 2013, Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, the world’s attention largely seems to have shifted away from the problems in the garment industry that were exposed by the tragedy.
There has been some tentative progress to improve conditions for workers. But serious challenges remain if the 1,132 deaths in that accident aren’t to be in vain, let alone repeated.
The government in Dhaka and the foreign retailers who buy garments from Bangladesh have not been idle. Starting in December, the minimum wage has been increased to $69 per month from $39 without overtime.
The Labor Law also was amended last year. New provisions include a requirement that factories with more than 5,000 workers have a clinic and a lower threshold (of 100 workers as compared to 200 before) above which factories need to offer compulsory group insurance. And workers are starting to organise to press for better safety standards and pay.
Meanwhile North American retailers’ Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, and European brands’ Accord on Fire and Building Safety, a five-year programme committing to improve factory conditions and source from safe factories that comply with structural integrity along with fire and electrical safety.
These initiatives are unique and are not applicable to any other country.
All of these moves are helpful. Yet the fundamental economic problems facing the industry remain unsolved. Consider some simplified calculations for a small factory of four “lines,” or rows of 50 sewing machines:
The minimum wage hike works out to 20 US cents per garment for this hypothetical factory, and suppose a recent audit shows that the owner has to spend $132,000 in building improvements within a year.
An approved fire hydrant system will cost $75,000, a reservoir for the fire sprinklers will be $15,000, a fire-system control panel will be $25,000, and nine fire-proof doors will cost a total of $17,000. Assuming this factory produces 1.4 million pieces annually, it will incur an additional cost of approximately 29 cents per piece in wages and safety improvements.
* Workplace accidents are growing, says study:
At least 63 workers in formal and informal sectors died in accidents at their workplaces from January to March this year, revealed a study.
Conducted by Bangladesh Occupational Safety, Health and Environment (Oshe) Foundation, the study also showed that at least 115 workers in both formal and informal sectors sustained injuries from accidents at their workplaces.
The study was based on media reports as well as the records kept by the regional offices of the Oshe Foundation.
The findings of the study were presented at a national seminar on “Safety and Health in the Use of Chemicals at Work, Bangladesh Perspective and Way Forward”, organised by the foundation at the Jatiya Press Club on Monday.
* Tannery among most dangerous industries:
Workers in tannery, ship breaking and agro industries are vulnerable to hazardous contamination
The most dangerous industries in the country on the basis of workplace safety are agriculture, ship breaking and tannery as the workers are vulnerable to exposure to toxic and hazardous chemicals and contamination.
Following the three, most toxic chemicals, based on category of workplace, are used in textile and garment industry, food processing, pharmaceuticals, ceramic industries, plastic factories, health care and dental care sector.
This was revealed at a discussion on safety and health issues in the use of chemicals at work in the National Press Club in the capital yesterday.
It was arranged by Bangladesh Occupational Safety, Health and Environment Foundation (OSHE) marking the World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2014.
While presenting the keynote paper, Shahriar Hossain, a national expert on chemical safety, said tannery workers suffer the worst when it comes to exposure to chemicals. “They do not use any safety gear and directly deal with toxic substances.”
“We found that a tannery worker becomes unemployed after working for 9-12 months. They develop severe illness because of prolonged exposure to chemical but the owners refuse to take responsibilities then. They just fire the worker,” Shahriar noted.
* US Congressmen push for ‘improving conditions’ for workers:
US Congressmen Sander M Levin and George Miller have urged the government of Bangladesh to improve conditions for the country’s workers saying there has been ‘insufficient’ progress in many areas, especially with regard to freedom of association.
Levin, ranking member, committee on Ways and Means Workforce and Miller Senior Democratic Member, Committee on Education and the Workforce, sent a letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on April 23 outlining specific labour issues that have yet to be addressed by the Bangladesh government.
They also brought Bangladeshi government’s attention to numerous labour issues that still require action.
“We believe it’s critical for the government of Bangladesh to take stronger steps to fully implement the Bangladesh Action Plan that was issued as a roadmap for reinstating trade benefits,” the letter reads.
They said the government of Bangladesh has taken some steps, but there has been insufficient progress in many areas.
Issues related to union registration and protection, labour law reform, Export Processing Zones (EPZs) and labour leader Aminul Islam case were highlighted in the lengthy letter.
They urged the government to reopen the investigation regarding labour leader Aminul Islam murder case and ensure that a transparent and independent investigator is appointed and mentioned that the in absentia trial of Mustafizur Rahman is ‘not satisfactory’.
“The investigator should consider all available evidence related to the murder of Aminul Islam, including evidence concerning who planned the crime,” the letter further reads.
It says with the registration of many new unions, Bangladesh is at a crucial juncture and laid emphasis on addressing the unmet conditions in the coming months to ensure that the potential benefits from new union registrants can actually be realised by Bangladeshi workers.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* BD seeks special tariff benefit for its products in US market:
First Ticfa meeting highly successful: US
Bangladesh on Monday sought a preferential treatment on Bangladeshi products to the US market like Sub-Saharan African and Caribbean countries considering its extreme ‘vulnerability’ due to climate change.
Bangladesh also demanded duty- and quota-free access to the US market under ‘Bali Package’ as the US imposes high tariff on Bangladeshi products.
Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed said this at a joint press conference after the first-ever meeting of Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (Ticfa) between Dhaka and Washington at Sonargaon Hotel in the city.
Expressing satisfaction over the Ticfa meeting, US delegation chief Delaney characterised it as a very productive, pragmatic and a problem-solving oriented event.
* ‘More to be done to retain GSP’:
During today’s meeting, the GSP Action Plan has been reviewed
Bangladesh has made progress with the terms to get the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) back, but much work was still to be done, said Michael J Delaney, assistant US Trade Representative for South and Central Asia.
He made the remarks while talking to journalists after the first meeting on Trade and Investment Cooperation Framework Agreement (Ticfa) at Hotel Sonargaon in the capital on Monday afternoon.
A delegation of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) led by Michael J Delaney, is now in Dhaka for the first forum meeting.
During today’s meeting, the GSP Action Plan has been reviewed as retaining GSP facilities for Bangladeshi exports in the US is one of the top agendas of today’s Ticfa meeting.
The USTR delegation has advised Bangladesh to negotiate with the World Trade Organization (WTO) for duty-free and quota-free market access (DFQF).
“Tariff structures for Bangladesh is under the authorities of the WTO.the duty- free and quota-free are in the context of Doha round and its overall package..Doha round is yet to be implemented,” Delaney told the crowded press conference.
* US wants BD to do more to get back GSP facility:
The first ever Bangladesh-USA meeting held under the TICFA (Trade and Investment Cooperation Framework Agreement) concluded in Dhaka Monday with Washington asking Dhaka to do more in the areas of labour law reform and factory safety inspection to get the GSP (generalised systems of preferences) facility revived.
“We believe that there has been considerable progress in a number of areas and we are impressed by the direction it’s heading. However, more needed to be done in terms of labour law reform and safety inspections,” assistant United States Trade Representative (USTR) for South Asia Michael Delaney said at a joint press briefing held after the meeting at a local hotel.
On the Bangladesh demand for duty free access of Bangladesh products to the US market, Mr. Delaney said the issue is depended on the successful conclusion of the Doha round of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
* US-BANGLADESH FIRST TICFA MEETING : US reluctant to give duty-free market access:
The U.S. has shown no interest in providing duty-free market access for Bangladesh’s apparel products at the first Ticfa meeting and asked the government to fully implement the USTR’s action plan to see the suspended GSP reinstated, meeting sources said.
On the other hand, Bangladesh’s delegation at the talks expressed its rigidity on forming two committees on labour and women issues as the top policy makers in the government think the U.S. would mount further pressure on the country’s labour rights issues through such committees.
The formation of a women economic empowerment committee and a labour affairs committee are two major interests shown from the U.S. side among their 11-point agenda placed at the Ticfa meeting on Monday at a local hotel, a senior official, who attended the meeting told New Age.
* Duty cuts for RMG exports not in sight:
US negotiator says it depends on WTO
The visiting US delegation yesterday declined the country’s request for duty reduction on garment items in the inaugural Ticfa talks, saying the issue is in the hands of the World Trade Organisation.
Michael J Delaney, assistant US trade representative for South Asia, who is leading the five-member US delegation, said the matter of extending duty privileges to garment products from Bangladesh is part of the Doha Development Agenda of WTO.
But the Doha round of negotiations is yet to be completed, he said.
The US diplomat went on to insist that garment items from Bangladesh are not subjected to any discriminatory duty vis-à-vis China’s, the largest apparel manufacturer, or other competitors.
“Bangladesh and China are afforded identical tariff structure to the US market under the most favoured nation status,” he said.
* ‘Duty, quota-free access under WTO framework’:
Washington has clarified that Dhaka might get duty-free and quota-free access for the US market under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) framework, but not bilaterally.
“The duty-free and quota-free discussions have been in the context of WTO; more specifically they are in the context of Doha Round [the latest round of trade negotiations among the WTO membership] and the commitment on DFQF [duty-free and quota-free] was made as part of the Doha Round and as a part of the overall package.
Doha Round is yet to be completed. It [DFQF] is tied to the Doha Round,” said Assistant US Trade Representative for South and Central Asia Michael Delaney, in reply to a question at a joint press conference with Bangladeshi Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed.
They were speaking after the first Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (Ticfa) meeting held at a city hotel yesterday.
* Safety equipment to see substantial duty reduction:
The government has decided to substantially reduce tariff on imports of fire, electrical and structural safety equipment in an effort to make those more affordable to apparel makers to improve their safety standards.
“To the best of my knowledge, it’s (the decision) at the final stage,” Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed told reporters at a joint press conference after the first meeting of Ticfa at Sonargaon Hotel in the city, according to a news agency.
read more. & read more.
* RMG: Remaining engaged is all:
Uncertainty shrouding the country’s readymade garment (RMG) industry is far from over.
Although exports have demonstrated strong resilience despite many odds during the last one and a half years, it now seems that the threats looming over the sector are getting increasingly complex.
While the Tazreen and Rana plaza tragedies have brought to spotlight issues unaddressed for long, steps initiated by the government and other stakeholders do not appear to be visible enough to satisfy the governments of the major export destinations — the European Union (EU) and the USA.
In a statement, the day after the first anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster, EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht mentioned that although significant progress has been achieved during the past months in a number of areas, further progress ‘on labour issues is important for Bangladesh’s continued preferential access to the EU market.’
So, it is the preferential trade facility that remains integrally tagged to the progress of work in sight.
The statement said, the EU remains ready to assist Bangladesh with its reforms and monitor the implementation of the Sustainability Compact – an initiative launched by the EU, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the government of Bangladesh that outlines concrete commitments regarding improved levels of occupational safety and greater assertion of worker’s rights.
* RMG industry: Post-Rana Plaza:
It is more than one year now since the horrific Rana Plaza disaster that claimed at least 1,135 lives and left hundreds more missing, wounded or incapacitated.
The scale and gravity of the disaster generated a chorus of condemnations from all around the world and mobilised global opinion to revamp and improve building structures and working conditions within the industry.
It was a wake-up call!
International Labour Organisation (ILO), in this regard, acted quickly and negotiated, within the first ten days of Rana Plaza disaster, a tripartite statement signed by the government, employers and workers stipulating the need for structural assessments of all export-oriented garment factories, employment of additional 200 building inspectors and the rehabilitation of workers affected or disabled by industrial accidents.
It also agreed to amend law allowing right to union and enhancing occupational safety and health. Subsequently, an integrated National Tripartite Plan of Action on Fire Safety and Structural Integrity in the Garment Sector (NTPA) was signed by the government, Employer’s Federation, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturing and Exporting Association (BGMEA), Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturing and Exporting Association (BKMEA), National Coordination Committee for Workers’ Education (NCCWE) and IndustriALL Bangladesh Council (IBC) representing unions.
Major buyers, retailers and key fashion brands were not signatories of the agreement, which overshadowed the actual objectives of such an arrangement.
Internationally, two major positive developments took effect — the signing of an Accord on Fire and Building Safety by global unions and major fashion brands and retailers primarily from Europe; and an Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety agreed upon by retailers and brands primarily from North America. Both Accord and Alliance aimed at inspecting and setting safety standards in garment factories used by the signatories over a five-year period.
* After Rana Plaza, what comes next? :
On April 24, 2013 the Rana Plaza, an eight-storied commercial building, collapsed at Savar off Dhaka city. On May 13, just 21 days after the accident, search for the dead ended with the death toll standing at 1,131.
Approximately 2,515 people were rescued from inside the collapsed building. It is the deadliest accident in the country’s garment sector. According to BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association) sources, a total of 2,760 people were working in five factories inside the building at the time of the collapse.
Reports from other sources put the figure at 3,900. Cracks in the building columns appeared the day before, but the authorities ignored the impending danger. They ordered the reluctant garment workers in. When the work was going on in full gear, the building collapsed all on a sudden during the morning rush hour.
WHY THE BUILDING COLLAPSED:
According to an assessment report of the Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre (ADPC, 2013), the column sizes of the Rana Plaza were comparatively small, if compared to a standard 8-9-storied industrial building and it might have been the cause of the collapse.
Storing heavy equipment on upper floors, poor workmanship and the use of low-strength materials also led to the collapse.
The ill-constructed building was built on marshy land filled in with garbage and loose soil. After the tragedy, it was also alleged that the Rana Plaza was constructed by following a faulty design and using poor-quality construction materials in violation of related rules.
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE
* Some Rana Plaza victims not compensated:
Some victims of Bangladesh’s worst industrial disaster said Monday they have still not received promised compensation, days after a deadline for payments from a multi-million dollar fund backed by Western retailers.
Victims, many of whom suffered horrific injuries when the Rana Plaza garment factory collapsed April 24 last year killing 1,138 people, said they feared authorities had bungled payments they were supposed to receive by April 23.
‘I am still staying at the hospital and am running short of money,’ said Rehana Akhter, 22, who lost her left leg in the disaster.
‘Still no one has said whether I will get the compensation or not. If I don’t get the money I’ll have no choice but to start begging,’ she said.
‘I am not alone. A lot of Rana Plaza victims haven’t got any money. I think some people may have stolen our compensation.’
11:39:08 local time INDIA
* 64 child workers rescued from bag-making units in Bangalore:
Central Crime Branch sleuths and officials of the Labour Department on Monday raided five bag manufacturing units in Devarajeevanahalli here and rescued 64 child workers.
Acting on a tip-off from a non-governmental organisation, the team, led by Joint Commissioner Hemant Nimbalkar, raided three residential buildings which housed the bag manufacturing units.
Among the child workers rescued, 11 are from Nepal, while the others are from Bihar, Mr. Nimbalkar said.
As many as seven persons were arrested and booked under the Juvenile Justice Act, Child labour Act, Bonded Labour Act and the Right to Education Act.
The children, who have been working in the units for the past one year, were deprived of basic facilities, Mr. Nimbalkar said and added that the children were not paid any salary nor were they allowed to venture out.
The children, aged between 14 and 18, belong to poor families.
Parents of these children were given money for letting their children work in the units, he said.
* Cotton yarn exports expected to be higher than previous year:
Cotton yarn exports in 2013-14 are expected to be more than 10 per cent higher than the previous year. While it was 1,110 million kg in 2012-13, the exports are expected to be about 1,200 million kg or a little more in 2013-14.
An industry source says that yarn exports were good during the last financial year (2013-14) till December. For a couple of months earlier it went up to even 140 million kg. However, the demand reduced in February, especially for lower count yarn.
* India’s garment exports grow 15.5% in FY’14: AEPC:
11:09:08 local time PAKISTAN
* Punjab textile mills seek 12-hour gas supply daily:
The Punjab based textile industry is seeking 12 hours a day gas supply to captive power plants in order to generate cost effective electricity and continue with the operations.
The industry circles said that at present SNGPL is providing eight hours a day gas supply at present to generate electricity at the rate of Rs 7 per unit.
Meanwhile, the cost of each unit of electricity on Pepco network is over Rs 14 per unit. The industry circles have demanded 12 hours a day gas supply to mills to mitigate high cost of doing business and bring down the inter-province disparity, costing the Punjab based mills around Rs 75 billion annually.
It may be noted that the SNGPL has increased gas supply to the mills in Punjab for eight hours a day from earlier six hours a day. However, a good number of millers, particularly in Faisalabad are annoyed with the SNGPL for low pressure.
* ADB agrees to give $400m loan to help end energy crisis:
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Pakistan on Monday signed an agreement under which ADB will provide $400 million loan to help Pakistan carry out reforms to overcome power shortages.
“The programme loan will support key reforms in the energy sector to enable Pakistan ensure uninterrupted supply of cheaper and dependable power to millions of industrial and private consumers who are presently adversely affected by long-hours of power outages.” said Werner E Liepach, ADB’s Country Director for Pakistan.
“This important energy sector assistance will propels growth, boost businesses, and create jobs that are critical to reduce poverty in the country”, said Liepach after signing the agreement with Nargis Sethi, Secretary, Economic Affairs Division, Government of Pakistan, and witnessed by Muhammad Ishaq Dar, Pakistan’s Finance Minister and ADB’s Governor.
read more. & read more. & read more.
* $400 million ADB loan for energy-sector to be paid over 25 years: Dar:
The $400 million energy-sector loan that the Asian Development Bank (ADB) had approved last week, will be paid over a period of 25 years, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar informed on Monday, Radio Pakistan reported.
The government on Monday signed an agreement with the ADB for the loan in Islamabad. Secretary Economic Affairs Division Nargis Sethi and an ADB representative signed the agreement.
* GSP Plus status: EU official wants anti-terror law to meet rights code:
The government is facing stiff resistance over the controversial Pakistan Protection Ordinance (PPO) which, opposition parties believe, infringes on fundamental rights guaranteed in the 1973 Constitution.
The European Union, which recently granted major trade concessions to Pakistan, says the proposed law should be in compliance with international human rights conventions.
“We fully support the kind of efforts that would eliminate terrorism and bring peace to Pakistan. We acknowledge and agree on the right of the government to pass such laws but with some perimeters,” said Nicolas Gibert-Morin, Head of Cabinet for the European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, in an exclusive interview with The Express Tribune.
* Labour Day or holiday? :
For a lot of people, Labour Day means two things: a day off and a day for pending works. But why is it called Labour Day?
Labour Day is a day to pay tribute to working men and women. It has been celebrated as a national holiday since 1894. The day belongs to those who are out in search of bread and butter for their family. While for us the day is just a holiday, those living on daily wages go home without having earned.
If we really want to save the assets of Pakistan (the labouring class) then the government should appreciate them by taking an hour and spending some time with labourers and realise how hard working they are. Without them we would fail to do many of our own jobs.