In the news 4 July 2014

17:45:31 local time map of china CHINA

* S. Korea’s trade deficit with China in textile, clothing hits US$1.43 bln:

South Korea’s trade deficit with China in textiles and clothing reached US$1.43 billion in the first five months of this year due mainly to the inflow of cheap goods, a report showed Sunday.

In the January-May period, South Korea imported $2.47 billion worth of goods and shipped some $1.04 billion in clothing and textiles, the report by the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade (KIET) said.

The size of the deficit is equal to 39.8 percent of the $3.59 billion deficit posted for the whole of last year, when the country imported $6.32 billion worth of Chinese products.
read more.

17:45:31 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* 4th ASEAN Labor Inspection Conference opens in Philippines:

The 4th Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Labor Inspection Conference opened on Thursday in the Philippines.

Philippine Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said the conference aimed at promoting regional partnerships to strengthen the network of labor inspectorates within the ASEAN.

She said the conference intended to develop labor inspection guidelines for local workers as well as for the migrant-reliant sectors, which would serve as a benchmark for the ASEAN member states on how to better protect and promote the rights and welfare of local and migrant workers through labor inspection.

“It also aims to address particular challenges related to work- sector, age, and legal status of migrants and local workers,” she said.

The two-day conference will be highlighted by country presentations and discussions on ASEAN Good Practices on Labor Inspection, Training and Capacity Building for Labor Inspectors, and Identified Challenges and Solutions on Inspection and Emerging Issues.

It will also adopt implementation strategies on how to proceed with the Action Plan agreed upon during the 2nd ASEAN Labor Inspection Conference in Dong Nai, Vietnam in October 2012, she added.

The first ASEAN Labor Inspection Conference was held on October 13-14, 2010 in Ha Long, Quang Ninh Province, Vietnam, while the 3rd ASEAN Labor Inspection Conference was held in Bali, Indonesia on July 3-4, 2013.
to read.

16:45:31 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Foreign textile firms line up for TPP bonanza in VN:

20140704 VNNews
A worker at Shinwon Ebenezer, a Korea-invested garment firm in northern Thai Nguyen Province. Foreign investment in the textile and garment sector is increasing rapidly as firms look to take advantage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement when it comes into effect. — VNA/VNS Photo Trong Dat

Foreign investment in the textile and garment sector is increasing rapidly as international firms seek to take advantage of the benefits Viet Nam’s will potentially derive when the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement comes into being.

Several companies from mainland China, Hongkong, Taiwan, Japan, the US and South Korea have made large investments in the sector, according to Thoi Bao Tai Chinh (Finance Times) newspaper.

The textile and garment industry in the TPP member countries is expected to benefit the most from the trade deal.
For instance, products made from domestically sourced materials or imported from other TPP member countries will enjoy zero tariff when exported to signatory countries.
read more. & read more.
VNNews new VOVonline

* Vietnam overtakes China as top market for Korean textiles:

The Southeast Asian nation of Vietnam has overtaken China as the largest market for textiles manufactured in South Korea, according to a report released by the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade (KIET), reports Yonhap news agency.
In the January-May 2014 period, Vietnam accounted for 16.5 percent of South Korea’s total textile exports, overtaking China, which contributed 15.6 percent share in overall textile exports. Thus, Vietnam has for the first time become the largest export destination for South Korean textiles, the report said.
read more.

16:45:31 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Hundreds to march after failed factory talks:

Workers at a Preah Sihanouk province garment factory plan to march to Provincial Hall today, after negotiations fell apart between management and employees demanding the reinstatement of five workers sacked for declining overtime work.

The strike at Pollysa (Cambodia) Home Textile factory began on Wednesday, two days after the workers were terminated for declining to work overtime hours, said Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW).

More than 200 workers protesting the firings demand a total of 17 points, including a daily 2,000 riel ($0.50) food allowance during overtime worked and for management to treat workers in a more respectful manner, Sina said.

Officials from Pollysa could not be reached for comment.
Provincial Labour Department director Yov Khemera yesterday said the case will be submitted to the Aribtration Council.
to read.
PPP new

* ILO Says Shaming Factories Leading to Improved Standards:

Naming and shaming factories that fail to ensure a basic standard of conditions for their workers is starting to improve standards in the crucial garment sector, according to the International Labor Organization (ILO), but persistent offenders remain.

Nine factories are included in the “lowest compliance” category in the ILO’s Better Factories Cambodia (BFC) program’s second transparency report—including eight that were first flagged in March.

But according to BFC, one third of the 92 factories which were in violation of the so-called “critical issues”—21 basic legal requirements—made some improvements after discovering they were to be shamed in the report.

A total of 43 factories were found to have no violations of the “critical issues,” including 19 that cleaned up their acts to be included in the group, according to BFC.
read more.

* More factory data released:

Three of the first 10 garment factories that Better Factories Cambodia (BFC) revealed in March to be in “low compliance” when it comes to working conditions have improved enough to be taken off that list, according to the industry monitor’s latest data.

After years of compiling monitoring reports that were not publicly released, BFC, an International Labour Organization initiative, took the first step in making its data available online in March.

Ten factories received the lowest rating at that time, a figure that now stands at nine, thanks to improvements at some factories and a deterioration of conditions at others, data released yesterday shows.

BFC yesterday increased its total database to include 91 more factories, which means it now rates 152 factories on issues ranging from freedom of association and compliance with payment laws to emergency exits and evacuation drills.

“I would say [there are] just a whole range of health and safety issues: heat, improper chemical safety, [unsafe] equipment,” said Jill Tucker, BFC’s chief technical adviser.
read more.
PPP new

* ILO says all 26 strikes added to database were illegal:

The International Labor Organization said Thursday that all 26 strikes added to its transparency database this month failed to meet Cambodian legal requirements.

According to the database, national strikes of between 7 and 11 days starting in late December involved 5,174 workers and resulted in the loss of 43,039 person days.

Other strikes by hundreds of members of various union federations around the same period resulted in thousands of additional lost days.
Factories conducting emergency evacuation drills rose from 57 percent to 79 percent and those discriminating against workers fell from 20 percent to 7 percent, it said.
Jill Tucker, advisor to the UN agency’s Better Factories Cambodia initiative, said: “We are seeing changes in factories that have resisted change for years.

“Some of the benefits that are newly being given – such as proper seniority allowances – put money in workers’ pockets, and these benefits cannot be taken away once they are provided, she said.
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* Clothing retailers seen sourcing more from India, less from Cambodia and Bangladesh:

Global retailers are expected to increase sourcing from India as suppliers like Cambodia and Bangladesh become less attractive amid compliance and labour concerns, The Hindu reported Thursday.

The report said Japanese apparel retailer Uniqlo sought a tie-up with Indian garment makers last week, seeking to identify the 10 largest clothes manufacturers.
Others such as Gap, Decathlon, H&M, Zara and Marks & Spencer are already sourcing from India, it said.

The Indian newspaper quoted a an official from the  Apparel Export Promotion Council as saying that the government was  “keen to exploit the country’s competitive advantages.”

These include low labour costs and steady availability of raw materials, the official reportedly said.

“While Cambodia has been in the news for using child labour, Bangladesh has been facing labour unrest,” the report said.
Rachna Nath of PwC India told the newspaper that apparel retailers were looking for sustainability.
“India offers that potential in the long run,” Nath said.
to read.

17:45:31 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Union slams govt over social  security plan:

The Occupational Social Security Management Agency’s (BPJS Ketenagakerjaan) labor union has criticized the government for being slow in implementing its social security program, which is slated for 2015.

According to the union’s chairman, Abdurrahman Irsyadi, any delays in introducing the social security program would be a blow to the country.

“One sign of a nation’s prosperity is that its citizens are guaranteed the right to social security,” Abdurrahman said on Thursday.
He explained that Indonesia was in need of the social security program, even if it was introduced gradually as other countries did.
read more.

15:45:31 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Zigatola tannery catches fire :

A fire broke out at a tannery plant at Tannery More in the capital’s Zigatola on Friday.

Fire Service sources said the fire erupted at ‘Bhulua Tannery’ in the area around 9:05 am.
Being informed, four firefighting units rushed to the spot and managed to tame the flame 09:35am.
The losses caused by the blaze could not be estimated immediately.
to read. & read more.
UNBnew FE bd

* BD yet to implement major parts of Action Plan to retain GSP benefit in US :

Bangladesh has not yet implemented substantial parts of the Action Plan given by the US administration to retain GSP benefit in the US market, says USTR.

An interagency review led by the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) has concluded that Bangladesh has made some important progress, but must do more to address the worker rights and worker safety issues that led US President Barack Obama to suspend the country’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) trade benefits in June 2013.

At the time of the suspension, the Administration provided the Government of Bangladesh with an Action Plan which provides a basis for the President to consider the reinstatement of GSP trade benefits.
read more. & read more. & to read. & to read.

* Uncertainty looms large over BD’s regaining GSP benefit:

USTR unhappy over compliance issues

An uncertainty looms large over Bangladesh’s immediate restoration of the GSP benefit in the US market as the USTR is not satisfied with the progress so far made by the government in ensuring workers rights and safety issues in the apparel sector.

In response to the progress made by Bangladesh in implementing the specific measures listed in the Action Plan, an interagency review led by the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) has found that Bangladesh has failed to implement substantial parts of the plan.

” Bangladesh has made some important progress, but must do more to address the worker rights and worker safety issues that led President Obama to suspend the country’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) trade benefits in June, 2013,” the USTR in a statement issued Wednesday said.
read more.
FE bd

* USTR claims not based on facts: Tofail:

The commerce minister, Tofail Ahmed, on Thursday said the statement of the US Trade Representative that the government of Bangladesh had not implemented substantial parts of the GSP action plan was unjustified and not based on facts.

‘The actual situation of the readymade garment sector in Bangladesh was not reflected in the statement of the USTR as the labour condition in Bangladesh has made a significant improvement and we have implemented almost all conditions of GSP action plan,’ the commerce minister told New Age.

Tofail alleged that in association with some non-governmental organisations, a few trade union leaders were providing international community with false information about the labour condition in Bangladesh.
The USTR on Wednesday expressed its concern over non-implementation of significant parts of the action plan provided by the administration of president Barak Obama last year as conditions for restoring the facilities under the Generalised System of Preferences.

An interagency review led by the Office of the USTR concluded that Bangladesh needed to develop a credible and effective mechanism for responding to and addressing allegations of unfair labour practices.
‘Since the suspension of GSP, the government has also not advanced the labour law reforms called for in the action plan, including changes to ensure that workers are afforded the same rights and protections in Export Processing Zones as in the rest of the country,’ the USTR said.

Tofail, however, said that the government had made the highest efforts to fulfil the conditions set in the GSP action plan and there was no reason why the facilities should not be restored if the congress resumed the programme.
‘… we remain concerned about the large number of factories that have yet to be inspected, the lack of progress on needed labour law reforms, and continuing reports of harassment of and violence against labour activists who are attempting to exercise their rights,’ The US Trade Representative, Michael Froman said.

‘If the situation [raising allegations] continues, the implementation of TICFA deal might face challenge,’ he said.
Replying to a question, the commerce minister said that Bangladesh had no plan to write to the US administration about the allegations raised by the congressmen and USTR.
read more.

* Tofail vents anger over US GSP decision:

USTR says Bangladesh must do more to get back the facility

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed yesterday termed the US decision to not restore GSP facility for Bangladesh “unfortunate” as a review concluded that Bangladesh must do more to address the workers rights and safety issues.

The report on the GSP review was made public on Wednesday.
“After the review, we understand that it is not possible for Bangladesh to satisfy the US,” Tofail told the Dhaka Tribune.

The review has no reflection of reality, the minister retorted.
“If such non-cooperation continues from the US side it may have negative impact on the execution of Ticfa,” Tofail said.
He said some non-workers are engaged in trade union activities and were creating problems.

US President Barack Obama suspended GSP facilities for Bangladesh last year and placed for Bangladesh a 16-point Action Plan which provides a basis for the president to consider the reinstatement of GSP trade benefits
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* US eyes Bangladesh to be a preferred apparel brand: Mozena:

US Ambassador in Dhaka Dan Mozena on Thursday said the United States wants Bangladesh to become a premium and a preferred brand in the global apparel market, reports UNB.

He said this while talking to a small group of reporters at the Foreign Ministry after a meeting with Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque. The US envoy also said Bangladesh has a prospect to become the world’s number one RMG exporter.
He said incidents like Rana Plaza building collapse and Tazreen fire should not take place again, and Bangladesh needs to ensure it.
read more. & read more.

* Progress in Bangladesh? :

20140703 ILRF We Want Justice, photo by UFCW
We Want Justice, photo by UFCW

After 30 years of unsafe and abusive conditions, consistent repression of union organizing, and the lowest wages in the world, Bangladesh’s apparel industry is today the testing ground for massive industry reform initiatives.  

The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, a legally-binding agreement between 180 apparel companies and 12 unions, has introduced accountability and transparency in an industry where social responsibility has meant voluntary efforts and private reporting.

The U.S. Government has appropriately demanded genuine freedom of association as a condition of trade benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) in a country where labor leaders and union members have been fired, harassed, imprisoned, tortured, and even killed with impunity. More than a year after the launch of the Accord and the U.S. suspension of GSP benefits, is there progress in Bangladesh?

The U.S. Trade Representative Office  (USTR) says progress is not enough to reinstate trade benefits.
While acknowledging a significant uptick in the registration of unions, USTR also notes with concern the “lack of progress on needed labor law reforms and continuing reports of harassment of and violence against labor activists who are attempting to exercise their rights.”
Supporting the USTR findings, Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Sander Levin and Education and the Workforce Committee Senior Democrat George Miller stated:  “We need to continue to ensure that workers in Bangladesh are assured basic safety and internationally recognized rights in the workplace.”

USTR and the Members of Congress are right that the climate of repression against union organizers does not warrant new trade benefits for Bangladesh.  But how should progress be measured?  Progress is not linear or uncontested, or even well-defined.  Nor is it guaranteed.

Union registration is a second sign of progress. Trade union registrations in garment factories increased dramatically in 2013 and 2014, following the Rana Plaza tragedy and the suspension of U.S. GSP benefits.  According to figures from the AFL-CIO Solidarity Center in Bangladesh, 19 garment worker unions applied for registration and only two were approved between 2010 and 2012.  However, from 2013 through May of 2014, 240 unions had applied and 162 unions been approved.  Even including five management-sponsored unions these figures reflect a vast increase in union activity.

Yet, in May 2014, Bangladeshi unions began reporting a disturbing increase in violence against union members and growing numbers of union registrations being rejected for dubious reasons.
Most of the reports of violence implicated lower-level supervisors and local thugs.  But, accounts in Bangladeshi press have also revealed that the Bangladeshi Commerce Minister and the President of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) engaged in intimidation of labor activists themselves, calling for action against labor leaders who reported on the violence against union organizers, and stating that they were acting against the country’s interest.

Such words from high-ranking government and business officials are eerily reminiscent of the Prime Minister referring to labor leaders as “enemies of the nation” after minimum wage protests in 2010; those leaders were persecuted, falsely charged with criminal activity, beaten and imprisoned.
Only this year did the government drop all charges against them.

The U.S. Government is right to continue to withhold trade benefits for Bangladesh. But there is much more work to be done in defining and measuring progress, and holding government and companies alike accountable to benchmarks of success.
read more.

* What can make Bangladesh No.1 brand in RMG?:

Hosts and hot favorites Brazil of FIFA World Cup 2014 donning jerseys and sporting attires of Bangladesh RMG is a huge banding of Bangladesh. Fans of few other countries are also wearing tea shirts and vests of Bangladesh origin. 

It is a great tribute and recognition of hour RMG workers and a show of respect to the souls of departed RMG workers of Rana Plaza and Tajreen Garments. Bangladesh now stands a unique opportunity of achieving the number one RMG band in world market if it can successfully carry out some ongoing reforms of improving working environment of RMG.
It will another milestone Bangladesh can achieve on the way of achieving mid income country status by 2021.

Cheap but hard working honest labor, cheaper gas and power helped develop Bangladesh grow in to a preferred brand of ready Made Garments (RMG) in the world market.
In my usual visit to shopping malls in Northern America, Western Europe, Middle Eastern countries and even in Australia I have come across made in Bangladesh quality garments products in almost everywhere.

But some incidents of fire and building collapse with special mention of Tajrin Garments and Rana plaza dented Bangladesh Garment sector reputation quite a bit. But as far as competitiveness and quality Bangladesh RMG is still number two band just behind China in world market.
With China intending moving out of RMG gradually Bangladesh stands a huge opportunity of claiming the Number One band if we can made some very critical reforms and upgrading of our RMG industry.

Let us try to assess what are the present challenges and what needs to be done?

GSP is Not an Issue:

PM Hasina China and Japanese Visits Helped Ground Breaking:
The important state Visit of PM Hasina to China among other milestone achievements of potential China Bangladesh cooperation and collaboration has also achieved a major stepping stone in RMG sector.

Bangladesh and China have agreed on setting up modern self-contained Garments village on the outskirts of Dhaka city at Gazaria.
In addition to that China will have an exclusive Chinese industrial zone where Chinese Investors will also set up export oriented RMG factories and products will be exported as Bangladesh brand. Even the Japan visit has also opened avenues of Japanese investors making Bangladesh their preferred locations for setting up industries including RMG.
For better control and management all RMG factories from the heart of the major city centers should be phased out and relocated to properly planned RMG villages having better organized and reliable utility services , world class safety and security arrangements , accommodation , health care facilities of RMG workers.
Minimum wages and fringe benefits must be reviewed. RMG workers getting at least US$ 250-300 will not cause much reduction of profits of huge earning RMG owners.

Creating Industrial Police and Special Intelligence Unit:
For security and safety of RMG workers and the industry a special police unit as RMG Police or in a larger concept Industrial police unit can be created. It may have a sub unit named RMG Intelligence unit for surveillance of possible subversive activities in our RMG industry. All foreigners working in RMG must have valid work permits and their records must be maintained and monitored. 
read more.

* Berliners shrug off ethical worries to storm new Primark store:

Thousands of bargain hunters flocked to a new Primark store in the heart of Berlin on Thursday despite a protest by campaigners demanding the Irish chain improves conditions in the factories that produce its budget tops and jeans.

Primark, owned by Associated British Foods, is accelerating the pace of its expansion in Europe, where it already has 274 stores, and in April announced it would open its first U.S. store in Boston towards the end of 2015.
‘Primark is criticised but it is not just Primark. All the big stores are the same, including H&M, because we want to have things cheaper and cheaper,’ said 16-year-old shopper Anna Schmidt. ‘I am not prepared to pay 30 euros for a T-shirt’.
‘Fast fashion means there is extreme pressure to meet orders. They must produce fast, fast, fast which causes accidents,’ said Berndt Hinzmann from German development group Inkota Network, which helped organise the protest.

‘We consciously don’t call for a boycott. That would mean that the factory workers wouldn’t earn anything. The companies should not leave Bangladesh. They should recognise the problems and introduce structural changes.’
read more. & to read.
NEWAGEnew daily star bd

* Cash incentives on textile exports to new markets increase to 3%:

The government has increased the cash incentive to 3 per cent from 2 per cent for export of new textile products and expanding export of textile items to new markets other than US, Canada and European Union for financial year 2014-15.

A Bangladesh Bank circular issued on Thursday said the cash incentive for textile exporters had been enhanced in line with a government decision to give additional incentive to the exporters from January 2014 to June 2015.
The government earlier announced that it would provide additional 1 per cent cash incentive in textile export.
The cash subsidy for other 13 sectors has not been changed for the FY 2014-15, the BB circular said.
The BB circular was issued to authorised dealer branches of all the scheduled banks saying that 14 sectors would receive the cash subsidy against their exported products in the FY 2014-15 according to finance ministry decision on cash subsidy/incentives.
read more.

* Thrust on strengthening leather sector:

Leather Sector- Industry Skills Council (ISC) organised a meeting recently to discuss how to strengthen Leather Sector- Industry Skills Council in sync with Technical Vocational and Educational Training (TVET) projects.

International Labour Organization (ILO), Centre of Excellence for Leather Skill Bangladesh Ltd. (COEL), Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the European Union (EU) and the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh also sponsored the meeting at a local hotel in Dhaka.

ISC started with 11 members in the leather industry which is a great achievement in order to work as a team to support the unskilled and physically challenged workforce in Bangladesh.
To implement this mission ISC council gives more emphasis on skill development for the unskilled and unemployed workforce to meet the industry based need, so that they can make themselves competent for their job sustainability.
read more.
FE bd

15:15:31 local time map of india INDIA

* Global apparel retailers to source more from India:

Other major supplying nations are grappling with labour, low-skill issues

Global retailers are expected to step up sourcing from India as other major destinations such as Cambodia and Bangladesh slip amid concerns over compliance and labour issues.

Last week, Japanese apparel retailer Uniqlo sought a tie-up with Indian garment makers. Others, such as Gap, Decathlon, H&M, Zara and Marks & Spencer, are already sourcing from India.

The Apparel Export Promotion Council said Uniqlo had asked it to identify the 10 largest domestic clothes manufacturers and exporters with whom the Japanese firm could tie up for exports.

“India can take advantage of its global competitiveness. We have given Uniqlo a list of names, such as Orient Craft and Gokaldas Exports, which can be tapped for sourcing. Besides, Ludhiana, Ahmedabad and Tirupur are being looked at as potential sourcing hubs,” an AEPC official said

Keen to exploit
The Government is keen to exploit the country’s competitive advantages, such as low labour cost and steady availability of raw materials, the official added.

While Cambodia has been in the news for using child labour, Bangladesh has been facing labour unrest.
Several other countries are grappling with issues such as outdated machinery and low-end skills.
“The apparel sourcing business is dependent on a few countries.
read more.

* Textile Ministry to ready draft of new policy in 15-20 days: Gangwar:

The Textiles Ministry will firm up the draft of the National Textiles Policy within the next 15 to 20 days, Textiles Minister Santosh Gangwar said on Thursday.

The key objectives of the new Textiles Policy include developing a vision statement of the textile sector for the next decade to treble market share from the current 4 per cent in the next decade.

Besides, it also aims to formulate a stable and fibre neutral raw materials policy to benefit the entire value chain and to address modernisation and mechanisation needs of the textile industry.
“We are having discussions (on the new National Textiles Policy) and the draft will be ready in 15—20 days,” Gangwar told PTI.
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* FICCI urges for early National Textiles Policy declaration:

FICCI delegation which met Shri Santosh Kumar Gangwar, Hon’ble Minister for Textiles (Independent Charge) presented FICCI’s Vision for the industry and urged him to announce the new National Textiles Policy at the earliest.

Mr Shishir Jaipuria, Chairman, FICCI Textiles Committee who was part of the delegation said “We have requested the Hon’ble Minister to announce the new policy at the earliest to provide long term road map for the industry.

This policy is required to treble the share of India in world’s exports of textiles and also to attract large scale investments in the sector.
We are hopeful of an early announcement of the policy by the Government.”
FICCI’s Vision is that with the support of the policy industry can achieve a size of $145 billion of export in next ten years.

The Expert Committee set up for reviewing the National Textiles Policy (NTP) 2000 and formulating new NTP has set up a target of trebling the share of India in world exports of textiles & clothing.
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* Now, another TMC leader accused of threatening jute mill workers:

Workers of Hanuman Jute Mill lodged a written complaint against local Trinamool Congress leader Tapas Ghosh on Wednesday for allegedly threatening them to work for 11 hours, three hours more than the scheduled eight hours.

Hanuman Jute Mill at Ghusuri under Malipanchghara police station was closed for a long time before it reopened on April 29.

According to mill workers, on April 28, Trinamool leaders had a deal with the mill authorities after which, it was decided that workers will have to work for 11 hours.

“We were forced to work for 11 hours after the meeting. Moreover, the mill started running in two shifts instead of three shifts and all the casual workers were shown the door.
This was taking a toll on our health,” said mill worker Manoj Kanoria. Later, when the Trinamool leaders turned down their plea to minimize the working hours, workers stopped going to the mill from June 17.
“We appealed to the mill authorities and Trinamool leaders but none were ready to listen to our problems and so we stopped going to the mill,” Kanoria said.
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* Weave, a spiritual wealth:

Fabric Bali’s Ikat, considered a gift from the gods, has a craft connection with India. PUSHPA CHARI

It was a surreal moment, sitting in the ancient village of Tenganan deep in the mountain forests of Eastern Bali and watching Sutari weave a wondrous double ikat ‘protection shawl’.

With its philosophy, a complex, almost magical weave and aesthetics, ikat has woven across time a global textile and heritage web stretching from Patan in Gujarat, Sambhalpur in Odisha and Putapakka in Andhra Pradesh to Sarawak in Malaysia and Tenganan, in a remote corner of Bali, and is considered by many textile historians as mankind’s oldest weave.

So here I was on my ikat trail, wrapped in an exquisite Patan Patola, to experience the making of Bali ikat and its place in Tenganan’s life.

Tenganan is one of the oldest pre-Hindu, Bali Aga villages of the island, which is like a living anthropological museum with its millennia-old structural and architectural patterns, unchanged social customs and rituals, temples in typical thatched dwellings, arts and crafts – all untouched by the ‘Hinduisation’ of Bali some 600 years ago.

A special place
It was fascinating to see Sutari bringing together the pre-dyed and tied warp and weft in the universal language of ikat, in mellow colours that brought the geometric mandala motifs to life.
Meanwhile, Sutari’s brother Made, who does the tying and dyeing of the yarn, brushed up our sketchy knowledge of Balinese history along with a running commentary on the ikat piece being woven by her and the special place ikat has in pre-Hindu Balinese life.
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15:15:31 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* Sri Lanka can elevate its special handloom brands: Expert:

Rather than moving into fast fashion handloom cycles, Sri Lanka can elevate its special handloom brands by building weaver competence and international promotion efforts, feels Jennifer Shellard, Visiting Lecturer, Woven Textile Department, University of Creative Arts, London.

Ms. Shellard was addressing a gathering of Sri Lankan handloom designers and experts at a session titled “Design Development for Sri Lanka’s Handlooms”, organized by the Export Development Board (EDB) in Colombo.

“Sri Lanka has been known for its handloom textiles and rather than moving into fast fashion handloom cycles, Sri Lanka can elevate its special handlooms brand by building competence and international promotion efforts,” said Ms. Shellard, whose expertise extends to use of research for designs and crafts, as well as challenging definitions and perceptions of hand-made textiles, particularly with regard to their presentation and context.
read more.

14:45:31 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Fire damages textile mill:

A textile mill situated in the Landhi Industrial Area incurred loss of millions of rupees when it caught fire due to a short circuit on Thursday.

According to the central fire station, a blaze erupted at around 4:30pm at the Olympia Textile Mill and spread to its other parts within minutes.

At least five fire tenders and a snorkel arrived at the scene and tried to douse the leaping flames which could be seen from a great distance.

Meanwhile, officials of the K-Electric and Sui Southern Gas Company also came and disconnected power and gas supply lines. Police and other law-enforcement agencies cordoned off the area.
Workers were rescued by the firefighting staff who were able to control the blaze after a few hours. However, goods worth millions of rupees reduced to ashes.
to read.

* Textile exports witness 5.96 percent rise in July-May:

Textile exports witnessed an increase of 5.96 percent in July-May 2014 as compared to the same period of previous year; however representatives of the textile sector termed the increase a usual phenomenon.

Textile Industry Ministry officials argued that the share of Punjab province in total textile exports stood at 55 percent, Sindh”s 40 percent while the remaining five percent belonged to other provinces.

However, due to capacity issues especially in Punjab, where 70 percent textile industry is based, the sector is faced with shortage of electricity and gas hence growth of textile and clothing remained stagnant at around 6-7 percent. The industry is facing 10-hour power and 16-hour gas loadshedding, which is badly hampering the production capacity.
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* Power supply to textile units ‘worsening’:

Textile industry stakeholders, including workers, powerloom owners and millers lament that Faisalabad Electric Supply Company outages schedule has worsened power supply situation for the sector this year.

They also deplore increase in the power rates for the industry, saying these factors are causing losses to the sector, resulting in increase in unemployment.

According to them, the industry had to face only four-hour power outages last Ramazan, but this year the duration has been increased to nine hours.

Some entrepreneurs attached with the textile processing industry claim they have been facing up to 15-hour power suspension, resulting in lower productivity and lay-offs.

Ashiq Ali, a powerloom worker at a factory in Ghulam Mohammadabad says prolonged power suspensions mean a severe financial crunch for labourers like him.

Taking advantage of the situation the millers have been reducing weaving rates for workers, he adds.
He says factory owners claim their clients have reduced conversion rate from Rs0.42 per meter to Rs0.29 so they were getting lesser wages.

“I am much worried and don’t know how to earn enough to fulfill the desires of my three children on coming Eid,” he says.
read more.

* PTEA demands additional gas for industries:

Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) has demanded the government to supply additional 200 mmcfd gas to the textile industry.

PTEA Chairman Sheikh Ilyas Mahmood and vice chairman Adil Tahir said here on Thursday that the industry was suffering from huge loss.
They said the industrial sector was fulfilling its national obligations by paying all taxes to the government.
Pakistan was endowed with plenty of renewable energy resources like wind and solar, which still remain untapped.
Adoption and deployment of renewable energy resources can play a significant role in contributing towards energy security and energy independence of the country, he added.
to read. & read more. & read more.

* Scheme for empowering Bajaur women launched:

The political administration has launched a scheme to empower women of the militancy-affected areas of Bajaur Agency by imparting them vocational training on tie-dye skills and sewing machines.

An official said that the administration in collaboration with the social welfare department has launched a scheme for the empowerment of women affected during militancy.

The official said that initially the scheme had been launched only for widows with no source of income in the militancy-hit areas. He said the scheme would soon be extended to poor women in other parts of the agency.

He said that the selection of participants had been completed while the training workshops would be started after Eidul Fitr.
The official said that during the training workshop the women would be imparted different vocational skills such as tying, dyeing and making scarf from cotton, linen, wool, silk etc.

Answering a question, he claimed that the administration had selected the needy and deserving women and with the financial support of the social welfare department it had so far distributed sewing machines among 300 widow women of the agency. The scheme will enhance the skills of women with which they could start small businesses in their villages.
to read.

 14:45:31 local time map of uzbekistan UZBEKISTAN

* Daewoo to invest $22mn to expand Uzbekistan’s production:

South Korea’s Daewoo International Corporation will invest up to $ 22 million to expand production at two textile factories in Uzbekistan.

“Uzbekyengilsanoat” and Daewoo International Corporation signed a memorandum of understanding on the expansion and modernization of existing production at Daewoo Textile Fergana and Daewoo Textile Bukhara.

The memorandum is aimed at further deepening and expansion of investment and cooperation, as well as modernization and expansion of production capacity of the two enterprises.
According to the memorandum, Daewoo Textile Fergana and Daewoo Textile Bukhara invest $ 12 million of equity in 2014-2015 to increase the spinning capacity of 4 tons. Company, and in 2016-2017 will send another $ 10 million to modernize and expand capacity.
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* SACTWU settles Woven and Crochet textiles sector 2014 wage negotiations:

The COSATU-affiliated Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU) has settled its 2014 wage negotiations in the woven and crochet textiles sector, after the second round of negotiations.

The settlement package is 8% covering wages and an improvement in family responsibility leave.
Approximately 1500 workers in 30 factories, nationally, will benefit from this increase. SACTWU’s final package demand was 8%.
The agreement was reached under the auspices of the National Textile Bargaining Council, between SACTWU and the Narrow Fabric Manufacturers Association.

The agreement was signed yesterday,  2 July  by the employers. The union is expected to sign the agreement by close of business today.
The increases will be effective from 1 July 2014.
Workers can expect the increase to reflect during next week’s pay run.
to read.


* The spirit of football is meant to be fair play-  Tell Adidas to go “all in” for a living wage:

An estimated 3.5 billion people, or half the world’s population, will tune in to watch this years’ FIFA World Cup, leaving sponsors scrambling to capture fans imaginations.

For sportswear giant Adidas the potential return is huge, after spending £62million in order “to make the World Cup in Brazil the best World Cup ever” – for the Adidas brand. Adidas expects to make €1.7billion from the sale of football merchandise this year alone and Adidas’s CEO Herbert Hainer hopes the Cup will catapult the Adidas Group into pole position as leader of the sportswear industry.

Through flashy ads, acclaimed and influential spokespeople, and catchy slogans, Adidas is harnessing the world’s passion for the World Cup to grow their brand profile and profits.

As Adidas is encouraging the world to go all in, for garment workers around the world, they have no choice but to go all in for close to nothing. A majority of the world’s garment workers are young women struggling to survive on their poverty wages. At its core, the garment industry continues to perpetuate a system of extreme inequality, providing inordinate wealth for the privileged few, while condemning the vast majority of workers in the supply chain to unconscionable poverty.
read more.

Join our campaign to ensure that Adidas goes all in for a living wage.
Sign and share the petition: Here
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map of Asia


There are updates now under ‘special overviews’:
* Minimum Wage-LIVING WAGE- PART 6: 20140607 – NOW


* S. Korea’s trade deficit with China in textile, clothing hits US$1.43 bln

* 4th ASEAN Labor Inspection Conference opens in Philippines

* Foreign textile firms line up for TPP bonanza in VN
* Vietnam overtakes China as top market for Korean textiles

* Hundreds to march after failed factory talks
* ILO Says Shaming Factories Leading to Improved Standards
* More factory data released
* ILO says all 26 strikes added to database were illegal
* Clothing retailers seen sourcing more from India, less from Cambodia and Bangladesh

* Union slams govt over social security plan

* Zigatola tannery catches fire
* BD yet to implement major parts of Action Plan to retain GSP benefit in US
* Uncertainty looms large over BD’s regaining GSP benefit
* USTR claims not based on facts: Tofail
* Tofail vents anger over US GSP decision
* US eyes Bangladesh to be a preferred apparel brand: Mozena
* Progress in Bangladesh?
* What can make Bangladesh No.1 brand in RMG?
* Berliners shrug off ethical worries to storm new Primark store
* Cash incentives on textile exports to new markets increase to 3%
* Thrust on strengthening leather sector

* Global apparel retailers to source more from India
* Textile Ministry to ready draft of new policy in 15-20 days: Gangwar
* FICCI urges for early National Textiles Policy declaration
* Now, another TMC leader accused of threatening jute mill workers
* Weave, a spiritual wealth

* Sri Lanka can elevate its special handloom brands: Expert

* Fire damages textile mill
* Textile exports witness 5.96 percent rise in July-May
* Power supply to textile units ‘worsening’
* PTEA demands additional gas for industries
* Scheme for empowering Bajaur women launched

* Daewoo to invest $22mn to expand Uzbekistan’s production

* SACTWU settles Woven and Crochet textiles sector 2014 wage negotiations

* The spirit of football is meant to be fair play- Tell Adidas to go “all in” for a living wage

latest tweets (& news)

Convention on the Rights of the Child
Universal Declaration of Human Rights

I wonder who they are
The men who really run this land
And I wonder why they run it
With such a thoughtless hand

What are their names
And on what streets do they live
I'd like to ride right over
This afternoon and give
Them a piece of my mind
About peace for mankind
Peace is not an awful lot to ask
    David Crosby

I wonder who they are
The people who are buying these clothes
I'd like to know what they've paid for it
How much the makers have paid for this
Fairer income is not an awful lot to ask
Better working conditions is not an awful lot to ask
    A. Searcher

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