In the news 23 May 2014

01:03:27 local time map of china CHINA

* Labour activist Lin Dong released after 30 days detention in Dongguan:

After 30 days in detention, labour activist Lin Dong (see photo below) was released late Wednesday evening and today was already back at work in the Chunfeng Labour Dispute Service Centre in Shenzhen.

Lin was in high spirits following his release and stressed that his resolve to defend workers’ rights had never wavered.

Lin had been arrested by Dongguan police on 22 April and was held at the Dongguan Detention Centre on suspicion of “picking quarrels and creating trouble” (寻衅滋事). Lin and the director of Chunfeng, Zhang Zhiru, had been advising workers in the early stages of the massive strike at the Yue Yuen shoe factory in Dongguan. However, the police refused to say exactly what Lin was accused of.

Zhang Zhiru was detained at the same time as Lin but he was released within three days. Zhang then embarked on a high profile campaign to secure his colleague’s release. Several lawyers offered their legal services and more than 600 people signed the online petition calling for Lin’s release.
read more.
CHINA LABOR Bulletin

* China’s workers defiant and determined:

20140522 CLB yueyuen

The two-week strike by 40,000 workers at the vast Yue Yuen shoe factory in Dongguan last month was one of the largest strikes in living memory.

It was important not simply because of its sheer scale but also because it highlighted what is likely to become one of the most pressing problems facing the Chinese government in the next decade – social security.

In this newsletter we take a detailed look at the Yue Yuen strike through the eyes of the workers involved, examine how wage growth for migrant workers in China has failed to keep up with the cost of living, and comment on attempts by the Hong Kong business community to block collective bargaining legislation in Guangdong.
We also highlight the resolve and determination of jailed worker activists in China to continue their struggle after their release.
read more.
CHINA LABOR Bulletin

* Bright prospects for protective clothing industry in China:

There are bright prospects for the development of protective clothing industry in China, according to experts.
The current domestic and international situation is forcing the development of traditional textile industries, which in turn, is resulting in the rapid development of industrial textiles in China.
In short, the ongoing structural adjustment in the Chinese textile industry is playing a catalyst role in the development of technical textiles in China, say experts.
The growth of industrial textiles needs favourable policy direction and market demand.
The demand can be visualized from the fact that by 2050, the UN projects the global textile fibre processing volume to reach 253 million tons, of which, about 171 million tons will be industrial textiles, constituting a 67.4 percent share.
read more.
Fibre2fashion

01:03:27 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* Philippine apparel exports grow 3.96% in Q1:

The exports of apparel and accessories from Philippines grew by 3.96 percent to US$ 433.527 million in the first three months of 2014, compared to exports of $417.008 million made during the corresponding period of last year, data from the National Statistics Office, under the Philippine Statistics Authority, showed.
In the month of March 2014, articles of apparel and clothing accessories earned $165.91 million in export receipts for the Philippines, growing at 5.6 percent year-on-year. During the month, garments and accessories were the ten-largest foreign exchange earner for the Philippines.
read more.
Fibre2fashion

 00:03:27 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Feature: Chinese investors recall horror of riot, think twice about Vietnam:

“I can only speak in a low voice. We called police, but it seemed they won’t come very soon,” Wen Yong, a Chinese businessman in Vietnam’s southern Binh Duong province, told Xinhua as he recalled the horror on May 13 when the anti-foreign riot started.

Like Wen, who owns the Yong Hao Shoe Company in Vietnam’s southern Binh Duong province, many Chinese investors were severely affected by the riot.

At the time, Wen and other Chinese staff were hiding in their upstairs office, as the office downstairs was already ruined by rioters with broken glasses and smashed furniture scattering everywhere..

“Nearly 20,000 people are rioting out there. Police used rubber bullets and tear gas but failed to take control over the crowd,” Wen said.

Security forces had been deployed to Ho Chi Minh City to protect the country’s economic hub, leaving Binh Duong out of control, he said.

“Any Chinese here?” a mobster asked the Vietnamese employees who stayed downstairs. “No, already fled,” came the answer from the employees and Wen breathed a sigh of relief.

Wen, who arrived in Vietnam 10 years ago from China’s southern Jiangxi province and established the company, couldn’t have imagined that his business was attacked three times on May 13. He also could not remember how many rioters had entered his office looking for Chinese.

There was no need to check what happened to his factory, Wen knew by looking outside at the shoe-maker Xiang Hong across the road. Dozens of rioters destroyed the gate, making the way for throngs of motorcycles and people to sack the plant and haul out large boxes.

The riots in central and southern Vietnam have tarnished the country’s image as a safe investment environment.
read more.
XINHUAnet

* 260 prosecuted for destroying factories in Binh Duong:

20140523 VNNet
Over 100 of people were arrested for theft.

For the first time, the police of Binh Duong Province have found themselves handling a case with hundreds of suspects, who are expected to be put on trial as soon as possible.

On Thursday, Binh Duong police prosecuted 259 people and imposed administrative sanctions on 276 others, in relation to the riots at the province’s industrial zones. In addition, hundreds of others are still in custody to serve in the investigation.

Among those arrested, the investigating agencies identified 397 people as having committed acts of public disorder and resisting officers on duty; over 100 who are suspected of theft; 47 who committed acts of property damage; 374 suspected of property appropriation; 10 suspected of consumption of illegal property; and six on charges of robbery.

Major General Vo Thanh Duc, Director of Binh Duong’s police agency, praised the functional units’ work in their efforts to stabilize the situation and to quickly investigate the cases.

On May 13, about 19,000 workers participated in a march protesting China’s illegal acts in Binh Duong’s exclusive economic zone. At first the march took place peacefully but some people then agitated workers to destroy and steal the assets of dozens of factories.
read more.
VNNet

* Textile and garment industry eyes rural market:

After four years of implementation of the Buy Vietnamese Goods campaign, garment and textile enterprises have achieved many positive results.

Vietnam’s garment and textile brands have been enhanced and gained consumers’ trust, bringing a new face to the market and increasing revenues for enterprises, said Vietnam Economic News on May 22.

To achieve remarkable results, domestic enterprises have continuously invested in production and focused on renewing designs, developing brand and expanding distribution system. The campaign on bringing Vietnamese goods to rural areas has taken effect thanks to reasonable prices and higher product quality compared to made-in-China goods.
read more.
VIETNAMplus

00:03:27 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* New charges as trial wraps:

20140523 PPP Vorn-Pov
Union leader Vorn Pov talks to the public from inside a transport truck as it enters Phnom Penh Municipal Court. Photo by Heng Chivoan.

Despite presenting no hard evidence against defendants throughout the two trials of 23 men arrested during a strike that turned deadly in early January, a prosecutor used his closing statement yesterday to up the charges against union leader Vorn Pov.

The final day of two trials that have dominated public discourse for nearly five months ended with prosecutor Ly Sophanna calling for guilty verdicts for 10 men he claims were responsible for violence at the Yakjin garment factory on January 2.

More surprisingly, he told Judge Keo Mony that because Pov lacked evidence to support his claim that he attended that rally only in his role as a union president, he would increase charges against him to instigation with aggravating circumstances and additional penalties.

Instigation with aggravating circumstances alone carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

“We raised the charges, because there is no evidence that Pov went to Yakjin [only] to monitor the protest,” Sophanna said.

Pov’s lawyer, however, said in his closing statement that the prosecution had failed to prove the president of the Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA) had done anything wrong at all.

“There’s no real evidence to prosecute Vorn Pov,” defence attorney Sam Sokong said. “It’s just the word of witnesses who are not present at the court hearing.”
read more.
PPP new

* Court Concludes Two Trials Against 23 Garment Protesters:

Two high-profile trials involving 23 men accused of taking part in a pair of violent garment worker protests in early January ended Thursday after five days of hearings at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, with verdicts due next week.

Of the 23, union leader Vorn Pao and nine others were arrested on January 2 at a protest for higher garment sector wages that turned violent when protesters and soldiers, called in to protect the Yakjin factory, began pelting each other with rocks.

Over five days of hearings that ended Thursday after a marathon 12-hour session, the prosecution sought to paint Mr. Pao as the main culprit in the violence, accusing him of inciting the protesters to attack the soldiers. The defendants have all accused the soldiers of throwing the stones first.

Much of the day’s testimony from both Mr. Pao and the soldiers focused on what the union leader did or did not say to the crowd on January 2 and the tuk-tuk Mr. Pao drove to the scene.

Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Colonel Chou Eng, who led the unit of elite Brigade 911 soldiers deployed to the protest, insisted that the workers threw the first stones and that Mr. Pao’s tuk-tuk was found packed with rocks after it was seized.

He said Mr. Pao incited the workers to violence with his words, but could not recall exactly what was said.

Mr. Pao and the other defendants were all beaten by soldiers during their arrests at the protest, in some cases severely. Throughout his questioning Thursday, Mr. Pao complained that he was suffering from the aftereffects of his beating and at one point fell to the floor in a dizzy spell, prompting an early recess for lunch.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Union leaders evade arrest, co-workers say:

Two union leaders narrowly escaped arrest yesterday morning when employees on strike at a Phnom Penh garment factory forced their release from police and security guards, fellow union officials said.

Seang Sambath, president of the Worker Friendship Union Federation, said WFUF vice president Mao Vannak and secretary-general Yi Yet were detained at about 9am outside the Cambo Handsome factory in Por Sen Chey district, where more than 3,000 workers were on strike.

“Por Sen Chey district police officials and private security guards . . . arrested my two officials who went down there to intervene for workers who had been protesting for more than a week,” he said.

According to Sambath, striking workers grabbed the union officials from the clutches of police and private security personnel.

“They are free now and we sent a letter [to the factory] to set a date for negotiations to find a resolution, but the factory . . . did not accept our letter,” Sambath said, adding that workers will protest again today.
read more.
PPP new

* Striking Garment Workers Foil Leaders’ Arrests:

Garment workers at the South Korean-owned Cambo Handsome Ltd. factory in Phnom Penh’s Pur Senchey district managed to foil the arrest of two union leaders Thursday, workers and officials said.

District security guards were allegedly ordered by district governor Hem Darith to apprehend Mao Vannak, vicepresident of the Workers Friendship Union Federation, and union officer Yi Yet after the pair called for a strike, but garment workers managed to prevent the arrests by surrounding the union leaders.

“The district governor ordered about 10 security guards to arrest me and my officer, but workers immediately stood around the guards and grabbed us away from them,” Mr. Vannak said.

“I think the authorities are trying to intimidate the freedom of unions, because we just expressed our opinion to demand better working conditions for workers, which have been violated by the company,” he added.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Global unions and brands to meet Cambodian government for critical talks:

Global unions and multinational clothing brands are to again hold talks with the Cambodian government to voice their alarm at continued and increased violations of workers’ rights in the country.

The high-level discussions will take place in the capital Phnom Penh on Monday 26 May between the government, IndustriALL Global Union and brands and retailers including H&M, Gap, Levi’s, Puma, Inditex, Debenhams and New Look amongst others.

It is the second round of talks between the parties in a matter of months, following a previous meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister, the Ministers of Labour and Commerce and other senior government officials in February.
IndustriALL’s general secretary, Jyrki Raina, who will be attending the meeting and also representing the ITUC and Uni Global Union, said:
“Despite assurances from the government in February, there have since been unprecedented levels of intimidation, violence, and a declining respect for the rule of law, which together constitute a grave attack on union and worker rights.
read more.
INDUSRIall

* Clothing retailers challenge Cambodian factory conditions:

Retailers including H&M, New Look and Zara owner Inditex are to meet the Cambodian government early next week to seek better treatment of clothing factory workers in the country.

The meeting, which will also be attended by international union IndustriALL, comes as workers campaigning for an increase in the national minimum wage and improved conditions in factories have faced detention and intimidation in a country where few trade unions operate. A series of mass faintings at clothing factories have also highlighted poor conditions.

IndustriALL’s general secretary, Jyrki Raina, who will be attending the meeting and also representing the ITUC and Uni Global Union, said: “Despite assurances from the government in February, there have since been unprecedented levels of intimidation, violence and a declining respect for the rule of law, which together constitute a grave attack on union and worker rights.
read more.
GUARDIAN

20140522 * Supporters stand with the 23 on fifth day Cambodian trial:

20140522 CCC-LICADHO
Photo by Licadho

On day 5 of the trial against the 23 people arrested during the wage strikes in Cambodia last January, supporters shelter from the rain while others continue to sing and dance. Locals have been providing them with refreshments.

After Vorn Pao, President of IDEA (Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association) and one of the 23 arrested people during the wage strikes in Cambodia, began to give evidence yesterday, the Deputy Prosecutor has repeatedly accused him of playing the victim. Pao replied that that’s because he got beaten on the head.

He is not the only one with horrific stories of abuse: yesterday another men arrested on the days of the strike said that military police beat him before making him run to only catch him again and beat him again. He required several stitches on his nose following the beating.
read more.
CCC

20140522 * Trial of Cambodian labor activists ends, verdict expected on May 30:

The trial of 23 labor activists and garment workers, who were arrested during violent protests four months ago, came to an end Thursday night after a three-day hearing.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s Presiding Judge Keo Mony said a verdict for the defendants will be announced on May 30 at 8:00 a.m.
The 23 detainees are accused of inciting violence and destroying property during clashes between police and protesters in January when violent protests were held to demand a higher minimum wage of 160 U.S. dollars a month for garment workers.
The clashes at that time left 4 people dead and dozens injured, and cost garment factories millions of U.S. dollars.
read more.
CHINAORG

* Free the 23 verdict: 30th May:

The verdict of the 23 people 23 people arrested during the wage strikes in Cambodia last January will be announced at 8am on May 30. Free the 23!

Around 15.30 CET, after two full days of testifying, the arrested strikers left court and are returning to CC1 prison.

After Vorn Pao, President of IDEA (Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association) and one of the 23 arrested people during the wage strikes in Cambodia, began to give evidence yesterday, the Deputy Prosecutor has repeatedly accused him of playing the victim. Pao replied that that’s because he got beaten on the head.

He is not the only one with horrific stories of abuse: yesterday another men arrested on the days of the strike said that military police beat him before making him run to only catch him again and beat him again. He required several stitches on his nose following the beating.

CCC and our partners worldwide continue to stand in solidarity with all those demanding a living wage for garment workers in Cambodia and we demand that the prisoners are released from custody immediately and all charges dropped.
to read.
CCC

23:03:27 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Softex files $100m compensation suit over factory closure without notice:

20140523 DHAKATRIBUNE
Debates continue between factory owners and Western inspection authorities over the suspension or closure orders after safety faults are revealed 

The Softex Cotton Limited has filed a suit against the members of review panel for the factory closure without prior notice, seeking a compensation package worth US$100m.

The plaintiff of the suit also sought 20% interest per year till realisation of the compensation and cost of the suit, in accordance with the case filed on Wednesday.

It would be the first such case in Bangladesh after the Accord and Alliance began inspection of the readymade garments factories in Bangladesh in an effort to ensure factory safety standards.

A review panel following recommendation by the buyers’ platforms has so far closed 19 factories allegedly for their poor conditions as compared to the standard specifications of the factories. Production of 10 more factories has also been suspended.

Industry insiders said other factory owners, who faced closure or production suspension, were also observing the developments of Softex’s legal notice.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Accord slow in recruiting local engineers for factory inspection:

The platform of 150 mostly European retailers and brands that source garment products from Bangladesh has so far recruited only seven local engineers for inspections of 1,600 garment factories.

The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh has 38 teams of foreign engineers for the inspections.
It pledged to recruit 25 local engineers just after few days of the beginning of the inspection on February 20, as the garment makers complained that the foreign engineers are not familiar with the situation in Bangladesh.

More local engineers will be recruited soon as they are waiting in line to face interview, said Rob Wayss, executive director for the Bangladesh operations of the Accord.
The Accord has already completed inspecting 600 factories in Dhaka and Chittagong. “We are still hopeful for the completion of the inspection of all 1,600 factories by the end of September,” Wayss said.
After the deadliest Rana Plaza building collapse in April last year, the IndustriALL Global Union, a federation of trade unions, initiated the Accord.
to read.
daily star bd

* Accord-Alliance rift over inspection of RMG units:

A fresh complexity has been created over the inspection of some 350 ready-made garment (RMG) factories which have been selected by both Accord and Alliance for assessment, officials and people close to the inspection process said.

The Accord is sticking to its previous decision to assess all its listed factories, including those which have been overlapped with the Alliance list, they mentioned.

On the other hand, the Alliance has decided to inspect the said numbers of factories, except 20 units which have already been assessed by the Accord.

If both the buyers’ platforms remain firm on their decisions regarding the inspection of the common factories, it could cause some problems including disruption in production activities of a significant number of units, manufacturers said.

Considering the situation, the matter was raised at a meeting, which was held Wednesday between the government and the stakeholders including representatives from the Accord and the Alliance.

Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed, Labour Secretary Mikail Shipar, envoys from the embassies of the USA, the EU, Canada, the Netherlands and Denmark; BGMEA vice president Md Shahidullah Azim, BKMEA vice president Md Hatem, Alliance managing director M Rabin and Accord chief safety inspector (CSI) Brad Loewen  were present at the meeting held at the commerce ministry.

There are about 350 factories that produce apparel products for both Accord and Alliance-signatory brands and retailers, according to sources.
read more.
FE bd

* ILO for amendment to BD acts, ordinances:

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has requested Bangladesh to bring necessary amendments to the country’s several acts and ordinances to make them conform to its convention on abolition of forced labour, sources have said.  

Bangladesh ratified the ILO Convention on Abolition of Forced Labour, 1957 in 1972. But, the organisation found that provisions of Bangladesh’s many acts and ordinances went against the convention.

Bangladesh will have to submit a progress report to ILO in September, mentioning the progresses so far it has made relating to amendment of the acts and ordinances.
read more.
FE bd

* Tannery relocation to be completed by March next, says Amu:

Production at the Savar Leather Industrial Estate will be started from April next as the stakeholders reached a consensus on relocating their tanneries from Hazaribag to Savar by March next, said Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu yesterday.

Amu came up with the declaration while addressing a press briefing at Savar Leather Industrial Estate at Hemayetpur in Savar on Thursday.
The minister made a visit to the industrial estate to see himself the progress of the estate.
The press conference was held after a meeting with the stakeholders of the sector.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
INDEPENDENT daily star bd NEWAGEnew FE bd

    RANA PLAZA – TAZREEN

* DNA sampling not enough:

Identifying Rana Plaza, Tazreen deads

Along with DNA sampling, the authorities should use other methods like conducting investigation through interviewing relatives and neighbours to identify the bodies of the Rana Plaza collapse and Tazreen Fashions fire victims, said speakers at a roundtable yesterday.

The DNA profiling lab will not be able to identify the bodies of the victims, as the collection of the samples following the two industrial disasters was not appropriate, they said.
Hameeda Hossain, convener of Sramik Nirapotta Forum, urged the authorities concerned to conduct the investigation using the local government bodies and representatives to identify dead workers’ families and compensate them.
“DNA lab could have identified all bodies if DNA samples had been taken from all victims of Rana Plaza collapse and Tazreen fire,” said Prof Sharif Akhtaruzzaman, chief of National Forensic DNA Profiling Laboratory (NFDPL) of Dhaka Medical College.
The roundtable titled “No Grave to Grieve: The Search for Missing Garment Workers and the Challenges of DNA Technology in Bangladesh” was organised by a group of researchers under the banner of Activist Anthropologist at The Daily Star Centre in the capital.
read more. & read more.
daily star bd DHAKATRIBUNE

22:33:27 local time map of india INDIA

* India among countries that systematically violate workers’ rights, says report:

India is reportedly ranked among countries where systematic violations of rights of workers are widely reported.

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), an alliance of regional trade confederations that advocates for labour rights around the world gave India a score of 5+ on a scale of 1-5 on the The Global Rights Index: The World’s Worst Countries for Workers.

Countries were ranked on a scale of 1-5 with 1 considered best and 5 worst, on the basis of standards of fundamental rights at work in particular the right to freedom of association, the right to collective bargaining and the right to strike, The Express Tribune reports.
read more.
BUSINESSSTANDARD 2

22:03:27 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Workers protest against price-hike, low wages:

 Working class observed protest day on Thursday all over the country under the aegis of Pakistan Workers Confederation in support of their demands, urging the prime minister to raise wages and pensions of the workers employed in government, semi-government departments, autonomous bodies and private sector @ 30% of their basic pay and fix minimum pension at Rs10,000 per month and minimum wage at Rs.30,000 per month for unskilled workers as well as levy tax upon feudal lords and elite and get recovered $300 billion deposited by the elite of the country in Swiss banks and raise productivity of national public utilities instead of privatizing them.

The workers held mass protest rallies in various cities of the country including Peshawar, Hyderabad, Quetta, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi/Islamabad, Attock, Multan, Faisalabad, Sukkur and other cities. At Lahore, a large protest rally was held at Press Club Square, which was participated by representatives and workers of the trade unions of various departments and private sector industrial trade unions including WAPDA, electricity, railways, PTCL, textile, transport, leather, PWD, irrigation etc.
read more.
the NATIONnew

* Labourers want raise in wages, pensions :

PUNJAB’S labourers held a protest demonstration under the auspices of the Pakistan Workers Confederation on Thursday demanding Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to raise wages and pensions of the workers employed in government, semi-government departments, autonomous bodies and private sector by 30 percent of their basic pay and fix minimum pension by 10,000 rupees per month and minimum wages by 30,000 rupees per month for all workers.

Workers of different trade unions of various government departments and private sector industrial trade unions, including Wapda, railways; PTCL, PWD and Irrigation Department Punjab, participated in the protest.

Protesters gathered outside the Lahore Press Club said a tax should be imposed on landlords and elites in order to break the chains of heavy debt of the World Bank and IMF and recover 300 billion US dollars deposited by Pakistani businessmen and politicians into the offshore banks as admitted by Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.
read more.
thenewspk

* GSP Plus status is EU confidence in Pakistan:

Europe has become popular among Pakistanis after it has been granted GSP Plus by the European Union (EU) early this year, this was stated by Germany’s Consul General in Karachi Dr Tilo Klinner while addressing to the office bearers and members of Karachi Union of Journalists-D (KUJ) and Karachi Press Club. The GSP Plus status is a proof of confidence shown by the European countries on Pakistan, because of which huge foreign investments are coming here in different sectors.

He however said that in order to fully exploit the GSP Plus, Pakistan should have to comply with the international conventions it signed earlier.

He said that a big potential of Pakistan’s agro products is exists but the Pakistani exporters must adhere to the European quarantine regulations. He said Germany is already importing Pakistan’s rice and wheat.
He praised the investment policies of Punjab government due to which a number of foreign investors are being attracted to invest in Punjab. He said that Pak-India bilateral trade is not only in the interest of both the neighbouring countries but beneficial to the region as well.
read more.
PAKOBSERVER

* Textile sector to get relief in federal budget: minister:

Federal Minister for Textiles Abbas Khan Afridi on Thursday said that the government will announce relief for the textile sector in the upcoming budget, adding that the Ministry of Textile is pursuing the restoration of zero-rated sales tax regime for the sector.

“The Ministry of Textile is in constant contact and coordination with the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Commerce and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and we are trying that a favourable package is announced for the textile sector in the federal budget,” Afridi said.

Addressing the Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers Association (PHMA), he said, they had proposed transferring of Export Development Fund (EDF), which is received from the textile sector, to the Ministry of Textiles so that the same could be spent on research and development.
read more.
thenewspk

* Value-added textile sector to get good news in budget: Afridi:

Federal Minister for Textile Industry Abbas Khan Afridi on Thursday said that budget was being prepared in the line with business community’s expectations and value-added textile sector would get good news.

Addressing the members of Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PHMA) at PHMA house, he said that there would be a number of benefits, which are under consideration for value-added textile sector in the upcoming budget aimed at facilitating the sector and generate new employment opportunities in the country.

He said the government was aware that value-added textile sector was facing immense problems and hurdles, which needed to be removed for enhancing exports in the best interests of the nation. “The reason behind rising terrorism activities is unemployment. We can curb it by creating new job opportunities for the young generation,” he added.
read more. & read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER tribune

* Workers’ rights :

There is little good news for Pakistan in the recent release of “The global rights Index: The world’s worst countries for workers”.

Indices such as these are increasingly common and although occasionally flawed, they do give a broad-brush picture that is generally reflective of ground realities.

This index scores Pakistan at four on a scale of one-to-five, and ranks us alongside countries such as the United States where systematic violations of the rights of workers are reported.
The index was prepared by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), which is an alliance of regional trade union confederations. It acts as a global advocate for the rights of workers.

Workers in a country with a ranking of four have reported systematic violations of their rights, violations which in our case may take many forms.
Whether it is an effort by companies, both national and international, to prevent the collective voice being heard, or by the government of the day bypassing or ignoring existing legislation to protect the rights of workers, the working environment in Pakistan presents a dismal picture.

The right to collective bargaining — negotiating terms and conditions of service for an entire workforce from chowkidar to senior manager — is rarely to be found. Trade unions are generally seen to be weak or corrupt — or both.
The right to strike, to legitimately withdraw one’s labour in the light of grievances and conflicts with management are equally rarely seen, despite there being a plentitude of things which workers are entitled to protest about.

Health and safety at the workplace is an area where Pakistan — in company with India and Bangladesh it has to be said — are areas of particular deficiency, as attested by innumerable building collapses and industrial fires.

Workers would have every right to protest if they found fire exits to be chained shut, but they know that they risk their jobs if they did. Poor or indeed completely absent sanitary facilities, cripplingly long working days with insufficient breaks and for women particularly, sexual harassment in the workplace — are all commonplace. Commonplace they may be but they are rarely protested about and are viewed, in many cases, as ‘normal’.
For much of industry across the country, the fundamental rights of workers are violated and knowingly so, on a daily basis.
read more.
tribune

 

 

map of Asia

INFO:

The next bulletin will be published 26 May.

There are updates under ‘special reports’:

(And these pages will be updated as articles are found):

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

HEADLINES TODAY:

CHINA
* Labour activist Lin Dong released after 30 days detention in Dongguan
* China’s workers defiant and determined
* Bright prospects for protective clothing industry in China

PHILIPPINES
* Philippine apparel exports grow 3.96% in Q1

VIET NAM
* Feature: Chinese investors recall horror of riot, think twice about Vietnam
* 260 prosecuted for destroying factories in Binh Duong
* Textile and garment industry eyes rural market

CAMBODIA
* New charges as trial wraps
* Court Concludes Two Trials Against 23 Garment Protesters
* Union leaders evade arrest, co-workers say
* Striking Garment Workers Foil Leaders’ Arrests
* Global unions and brands to meet Cambodian government for critical talks
* Clothing retailers challenge Cambodian factory conditions
* Supporters stand with the 23 on fifth day Cambodian trial
* Trial of Cambodian labor activists ends, verdict expected on May 30
* Free the 23 verdict: 30th May

BANGLADESH
* Softex files $100m compensation suit over factory closure without notice
* Accord slow in recruiting local engineers for factory inspection
* Accord-Alliance rift over inspection of RMG units
* ILO for amendment to BD acts, ordinances
* Tannery relocation to be completed by March next, says Amu
RANA PLAZA – TAZREEN:
* DNA sampling not enough

INDIA
* India among countries that systematically violate workers’ rights, says report

PAKISTAN
* Workers protest against price-hike, low wages
* Labourers want raise in wages, pensions
* GSP Plus status is EU confidence in Pakistan
* Textile sector to get relief in federal budget: minister
* Value-added textile sector to get good news in budget: Afridi
* Workers’ 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

For more and other (labour) news you can follow on twitter: @asearcher2