16:52:00 local time CHINA
* Textile firms mark 35 years of ties at US expo:
Chinese fabric and textile companies are showcasing the strong ties they have with New York City’s fashion and garment industries, with nearly 300 exhibiting their products at the 2014 International Apparel Sourcing Expo.
The show – now in its 15th year – opened on Tuesday and runs until Thursday at the Javits Center in Manhattan. It features a record 768 exhibitors from 24 countries. It is organized by the China National Textile and Apparel Council and Messe Frankfurt USA.
“The trade show shows that the Chinese textile industry and its US counterparts and trading partners can enjoy an orderly and stable free trade environment and enhance communication while deepening mutual understanding,” said China National Textile and Apparel Council President Wang Tiankai in opening remarks.
Wang said that the textile industry in China is a major contributor to the global economy and the industry will “continue to make an effort to write a new chapter in the extensive cooperation of the textile industries of the two countries”.
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15:52:00 local time VIET NAM
* Worker dissatisfaction blamed for riots:
Two weeks after the rioting in the southern province of Binh Duong, workers returned to work at Esquel Garment Manufacturing Viet Nam, one of the affected enterprises in the Viet Nam – Singapore Industrial Park. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vu
Poor industrial relations may have contributed to the riots in Binh Duong in May, according to research conducted by the Project for Promoting Sustainable Compliance in Viet Nam.
The riots, which took place during the anti-China protests, damaged many foreign firms.
“Incidents like that can take place anytime, anywhere, if workers’ dissatisfaction is not dealt with and if they don’t feel their concerns have been answered,” said Dang Thi Hai Ha, chief technical adviser of the project.
The project, also known as FLA 3.0 Vietnam, funded by the US Department of State and implemented by the Fair Labour Association, indicated that out of a total of more than 5,270 strikes during the 1995-2013 period, none were legitimate.
During the riots in Binh Duong in May, many workers attempted to vandalise not only other firms, but also their own firms.
Workers who responded to the FLA 3.0 project’s survey said that extremists involved in the riots probably resented their firm’s managers. Some said the workers could have been angered by ill treatment from managers.
Ha said low pay was not the only reason for worker dissatisfaction. She said other factors included frequent requirements of overtime work and delays in paying wages.
* Big chance for Vietnam’s leather-footwear industry :
Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) and several free trade agreements are expected to be signed this year and they will provide huge opportunities for the breakthrough development of Vietnamese leather – footwear industry.
However, to seize these opportunities, businesses need to identify their market positions and products as well as satisfy requirements for quality and model.
Vice President of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Doan Duy Khuong spoke with the Vietnam Business Forum Magazine (VBF) about the issue.
*What do you think about opportunities for Vietnamese economic sectors in general and the leather – footwear sector in particular when TPP and FTAs are signed?
15:52:00 local time CAMBODIA
* Garment Workers Demand District Intervention:
About 200 garment workers on Wednesday marched from the Sun Well Shoe Factory on Veng Sreng Street to the Pur Senchey district office, demanding intervention in an ongoing dispute over their wages, a union representative said.
At 7 a.m., the workers left the factory, marching out of the industrial area and onto Russian Boulevard before reaching the office, said Sieng Sambath, president of the Worker Friendship Union Federation.
“If the intervention by the district cannot organize for us to negotiate, we will protest at the factory,” Mr. Sambath said.
The workers went on strike last week to demand seven points, including a monthly $5 attendance bonus, a $15 per month travel and accommodation stipend, severance pay and better safety equipment.
* Workers clash: At factory in Kandal, fight over protest:
Melees at a garment factory in Kandal province between striking workers and employees who are against the industrial action have left five people mildly injured.
Employees at the Tae Young factory began striking a week ago, calling for two administrators at the plant to be fired, among other demands, said Seang Rithy, president of the Cambodian Labour Solidarity Union Federation.
“Since we protested more than a week, the workers have clashed with each other two times already, causing about five people to be injured, but they are not seriously hurt,” Rithy said.
In addition to the firings, the demands include the reinstatement of six union officials who were fired in April, the elimination of forced overtime and the payment of wages during protests.
Lor Sopheak, vice president of Rithy’s union, said negotiations with ministry officials have not yet yielded any results.
14:52:00 local time BANGLADESH
* RMG workers besiege BGMEA building for salary, bonus:
Jocky Garments workers hold demonstration inside Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association office in Dhaka on Thursday night as they were yet to get arrear wages and festival allowance. — Indrajit Ghosh
Several hundred apparel workers on Thursday evening surrounded the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) building in the capital’s Kawran Bazar area demanding their salaries and festival allowances.
Workers of Jockey Garment besieged the BGMEA building and some of its officials since morning as promise to pay their salaries and festival allowances were not kept.
Gias Uddin, a supervisor of Jockey Garment, under the ownership of Opsonin Group, at Mirpur 13, said that the owners of the RMG factory closed it on May 30 saying they would reconstruct the building within 15 days. However, the factory was then permanently shut down.
They workers then demanded two months’ salaries and festival bonuses.
* Another RMG unit closed partially:
The government-set review committee has asked the authorities of Dew Fashions Ltd which is located in Gazipur to evacuate top four floors of its six-storey building immediately due to structural faults.
Following a recommendation made by Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, the review committee on Tuesday visited the factory and found the faults in the building.
Accord, a platform of European brands and retailers, detected serious structural faults at the building of Dew Fashions and sent its findings to the review committee with the recommendation that the building should be evacuated.
The review committee is comprised of representatives from the government, Accord, Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, BUET, BGMEA and BKMEA.
‘We have asked the factory authorities to evacuate top four floors of the building as experts found that the columns of the building are weak,’ Syed Ahmed, inspector general of the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishment, told New Age on Thursday.
* Accord says £4m more needed for RMG inspections:
Retailers and clothing brands are being asked to pay an extra $6.8m (£4m) towards factory inspections and worker education following the collapse last year of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh.
In its first annual report, the Accord on Fire and Building Safety, in Bangladesh, the body set up in the wake of the disaster to ensure higher factory standards through a legally binding agreement, said it was supported now by more than 180 brands and retailers, including H&M, Primark, Puma, and Marks & Spencer.
The organisation said it had carried out inspections of 800 out of the 1,500 factories used by its members and that 16 factory buildings had been temporarily closed. Seven of these had reopened after new safety measures were put in place.
* Alliance to work closely with labour groups:
The Alliance for Bangladesh Workers’ Safety, an initiative of North American retailers and brands, has pledged to work more closely with Bangladesh labour groups.
Alliance’s local Managing Director Rabin Mesbah said this emerged from discussions at the body’s annual board meeting on July 21 in the US.
The meeting also discussed projects implemented and ongoing and the roadmap for the next 2 years.
Mesbah said: ‘It was decided that the Alliance would work more closely with workers’ organisations.
From the very beginning Alliance has been working with labour unions.
Bangladesh government has recently amended the labour act and allowed workers to form trade union in Export Processing Zones (EPZ).
‘This will create more RMG workers’ trade unions. Alliance has made up its mind to work with the labour leaders and to train them up.’ Rabin said Alliance will organise for the second time ‘The Building and Fire Safety Expo, 2014’ on Dec 7-9 to display fire safety equipment.
Factory owners, brands, retailers, NGO and government officials will participate, according to bdnews24.com.
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* Govt. to buy more rescue equipment, says Maya :
The government will buy more rescue equipment for use in the aftermath of a disaster like Rana Plaza collapse, Disaster Management and Relief Minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya said on Thursday.
He was speaking at a function marking distribution of compensation money to some of the families of Rana Plaza victims at Red Crescent office in Dhaka.
The money was provided by Motorola Solution Foundation.
Maya said his ministry spent Tk 4.5 crore after the Rana Plaza tragedy in rescue work, procurement of rescue equipment and compensation to the victims.
* 246 die in workplace accidents in six months:
The survey was conducted on construction, garments, agriculture, ship breaking sector and day labourers
A total of 246 workers died and 260 workers injured in different workplace accidents from January 1 to June 30, 2014, says a survey report.
The Bangladesh Occupational Safety, Health and Environment Foundation (OSHE) has revealed the data in its half-yearly workplace accident survey report.
The survey was conducted based on monitoring 15 leading national daily newspapers of the and reports of its field offices in different parts of the country.
The survey was conducted on construction, garments, agriculture, ship breaking sector and day labourers.
* Four factories busted for using tannery waste:
A mobile court backed up by Rab raids a factory in Hazaribagh in the capital yesterday where leather strips, allegedly tainted with chromium, was being used for making poultry feed. Photo: Rashed Shumon
A mobile court yesterday sealed off four factories at Hazaribagh for using tannery waste in poultry and fish feed that contains hazardous chemical chromium.
The court also ordered the agencies concerned to destroy 300 tonnes of so-called “feed” made with toxic tannery scraps generated from nearly 200 tanneries at Hazaribagh.
“We have also asked the authorities concerned to file cases against the owners of these factories for making feed using the tannery waste,” said Mohammad Al Amin, executive magistrate, during the drive with Rab-4 personnel at Eastern Feed Mills.
Huge amounts of tanned leather off-cuts and shaving dust were seen piled up inside the factory for making feeds. Beside the factory, there was a warehouse that contained hundreds of sacks filled with poultry and fish feed.
The court fined each of the 20 workers of the four factories Tk 20,000, in default of which they are to serve 15 days’ imprisonment, said Al Amin.
* 10 physically challenged women get sewing machines in Rajshahi :
Some 10 trained women with special needs received sewing machines from Rajshahi City Corporation (RCC) in order to make them self-reliant after the best uses of the received goods.
Urban Partnership for Poverty Reduction Project (UPPRP) donated the machines aims at improving living and livelihood condition of the challenged women.
* Post Rana Plaza: a failed system of accountability on global scale:
We are facing another 24th of a month, horrific day for apparel workers in Bangladesh.
Fifteen such days have passed after the Rana Plaza disaster in which the building that housed five clothing factories on the Savar outskirts of the capital Dhaka collapsed on April 24, 2013, leaving at least 1,135 people, most apparel workers, dead and thousands others wounded.
Even after so many days, main concerns about the worker conditions have changed little. We have heard loud promises but seen little progress on the ground.
There are many initiatives that do not reach the real problems on the ground.
The unbelievable becomes true that even after more than a year, no compensation policy has been formulated yet. Nobody from nearly 4,000 families has, therefore, received compensation.
Only money that they received from the government, Primark, individuals and some agencies is charity support and for healthcare facilities for the severely injured. Many of the workers who survived lost their job and have not got any other job despite many promises from the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association and others.
Sufferings of the unemployed, and the injured have increased with nobody around to look after them. The Prime Minister’s Office is sitting over more than Tk 1 billion, collected in the name of Rana Plaza victims but the money has not been handed over to the victims till today.
Dhaka and Washington: What are they doing?
Although the government did little to change the condition of the apparel industry, owners succeeded to earn more from the public money.
Different export incentives over the years have provided up to 5 per cent cash credits on the basis of total export volume.
In January 2014, the finance minister announced a 0.25 per cent cash incentive based on the freight on the board value of export of all types of apparel items.
The number of sales contracts is considered the basis for creditworthiness.
International initiatives: Accord and Alliance
After the Rana Plaza disaster, citizens around the world demonstrated their discontent and anger on the condition of workers in the billion-dollar industry.
In response to citizen protests, we see some initiatives by global brands and retailers in apparel-importing countries.
Most important are the formation of the Accord and the Alliance.
While the Accord is a legally binding agreement between companies and trade unions, the Alliance is not legally binding and has no role for trade unions and workers and worker representatives.
Irresponsible global chain
Many companies looked at all fatal ‘accidents’ discussed above as a brief ‘PR disaster’ but these leave permanent trauma for the thousands of workers families.
In all considerations, both national and multinational enterprises have failed to uphold their responsibilities but they did make their profit more than before.
Therefore, in investigating the global chain, we find a number of groups in Bangladesh and in many western countries who are getting fatter over the value created by workers of garment industry in Bangladesh.
All of them must bear responsibility for failing to secure a minimum standard in the factories.
RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE
* HC rejects Rana’s bail plea:
The HC bench of Justice Nizamul Haque and Justice Jahangir Hossain passed the order on Thursday afternoon
The High Court has rejected the bail petition of Rana Plaza owner Sohel Rana in a case filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
The HC bench of Justice Nizamul Haque and Justice Jahangir Hossain passed the order on Thursday afternoon, Deputy Attorney General Amit Talukder said.
On June 15, the Anti-Corruption Commission filed a case against 17 people including parents of Sohel Rana, the owner of the building that collapsed on April 24 last year, killing more than 1000 people.
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* Rana Plaza victims to observe Eid at collapse site if not compensated:
They tell human chain in Savar
Several hundred survivors and relatives of the dead victims of Rana Plaza yesterday said they would observe the upcoming Eid at the collapse site and Shaheed Minar like the previous year, if they were not compensated before the festival.
They were addressing a human chain at the collapse site in Savar outside the capital marking 15 months of the disaster.
Under the banner of Bangladesh Garment Workers’ Solidarity, and Rana Plaza Khotigrasto Sramik o Poribarbargo, they also brought out a procession from the venue to Savar Kancha Bazar.
Expressing agony, injured Nurul Islam, who was the only earning member of his family, said now he became a burden on his family as he could not work.
Saiful Islam, father of deceased Nilufa, said he was still to get any help from any quarter.
Emdadul Islam, president of Rana Plaza Garment Workers’ Union; and Taslima Akter, coordinator of Bangladesh Garment Workers’ Solidarity, spoke among others.
They also sought aid from the prime minister’s fund.
* 59 families of Rana Plaza victims get aid:
Maya claimed that the government had given financial support to all the Rana Plaza victims and their families
Families of 59 Rana Plaza victims, who have been missing since the day of incident on April 24 last year, yesterday were given Tk18,000 each as financial support ahead of Eid.
Red Crescent Society gave the money in association with Motorola Solution Foundation. Disaster Management and Relief Minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya distributed the aid at a programme in the Red Crescent headquarters at Nayatola in the capital.
Maya claimed that the government had given financial support to all the Rana Plaza victims and their families.
“We are also trying to identify the unidentified victims of the incident. The list of missing persons has also been prepared. They were also given financial support by the government and many non-government organisations.”
14:22:00 local time INDIA
* Government aims at benifiting workers, to amend 3 labour laws:
The ministry of labour and employment will soon seek Cabinet approval for amendments to three archaic labour laws, kickstarting a long-pending revamp of labour market rules with the aim of benefitting workers and increasing productivity.
The ministry is finalising changes to the Child Labour Act of 1986, the Minimum Wage Act of 1948 and the Apprenticeship Act of 1961, a senior official told ET. The proposed amendments will be put up before the Cabinet next week, after which they will be introduced in Parliament in the ongoing budget session, the official, who did not wish to be named, said. Parliament’s budget session ends on August 14.
“The ministry is keen to see these amendments going through in the current session and I see no hindrance in getting them passed in Parliament. We are finalising the amendments proposed to the above laws by incorporating the views of various stakeholders,” the official said.
Meanwhile, in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, minister of state for labour and employment Vishnu Deo Sai said, “Government is actively considering amendments to various labour laws. The interministerial/public/tripartite consultations is in progress.”
As part of the amendments proposed to the Minimum Wage Act, the ministry will set a national floor for minimum wages for workers across professions, resulting in a significant jump in salaries for workers in the unorganised sector. The minimum wages would be revised every five years by the Centre in accordance with the NSSO’s Consumer Expenditure Survey. It would also be revised every six months by state governments in accordance with the Consumer Price Index.
In the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, the proposed amendments will bar children between 14 and 18 years from taking up hazardous occupations such as mining related jobs.
At present, children under 14 years can work except in prohibited sectors such as domestic work, automobile workshops, bidi making, carpet weaving, handloom and powerloom industry, and mines.
The move is significant as child labour accounts for nearly 8.5% of the country’s 312 million-strong workforce. Of these, 43.53 lakh children are between 5 and 14 years of age, as per the Census 2011.
* Survey confirms Surat as biggest man-made fabric centre in India:
Surat has become country’s biggest man-made fabric (MMF) hub, according to the first ever ‘Baseline Survey of Powerloom sector’ conducted by AC Neilsen ORG MARG for ministry of textiles, government of India.
There are a total of 4,88,649 powerlooms in Gujarat with Surat having the maximum number of 4,70,496.
There are only 14,364 shuttleless looms in Surat, the survey says.
The annual polyester yarn consumption by the powerloom units in Surat is pegged at 40,610 lakh kilograms and annual fabric production at 91,871 lakh metres.
The total fabric production in Gujarat is 97,206 lakh metres, the survey says.
However, Ahmedabad and Dholka are the only centres that manufacture cotton fabrics.
There are 16,986 powerlooms and 1,622 powerlooms in Ahmedabad and Dholka
The annual production of cotton fabrics in Gujarat is pegged at 3,982 lakh metres.
* Surat textile mega cluster on lines of Maharashtra:
Possible design of the textile mega cluster announced by the Central government in the Union Budget came up for discussion in the meeting between textile commissioner Kiran Soni Gupta and members of man-made fabric industry of the city on Wednesday.
Gupta also held discussions with various stakeholders of the textile industry over various issues ranging from Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (TUFS), indigenous manufacturing of textile machinery, skilled manpower requirements, yarn bank, etc.
The Southern Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry leaders, who made represent-ations on behalf of the textile entrepreneurs, said that development of the mega textile cluster is foreseen on the lines of the one already developed in Ichhalkaranji in Maharashtra. It is proposed to develop additional facilities like market research, brand Surat, data library and the inclusion of the global fabric research centre and zari sector.
* Banks not keen to sanction loans for handloom sector: Gangwar:
He also informed that the govt has earmarked financial assistance of Rs 537 cr for schemes related to the sector during 2014-15
Banks are not showing eagerness to sanction loans for the handloom sector, forcing the Textiles Ministry to urge its Finance counterpart to fix a sub-target for the sector under priority sector lending, Parliament was informed today.
“State governments have informed that banks are not showing enthusiasm in providing loan to handloom weavers/ cooperative societies due to various reasons,” Textiles Minister Santosh Gangwar said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.
“Ministry of Textiles has been regularly pursuing the matter with Ministry of Finance and banks to extend loans to handloom weavers and their organisation as a regular agenda of state-level bankers’ committee.
* Farmers’ suicides will continue as problems are deep-rooted:
The news of 11,772 farmers committing suicide did not hit the headlines when the NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau) released its data for 2013 early this week.
The gravity of the problem somehow didn’t get the attention it deserved. Perhaps, we are quite used to the numbers since they have always remained north of 10,000 in the last few years.
Those who closely follow developments in Indian agriculture know quite well that this is only to be expected. When you don’t address the fundamental problems in farming, suicide numbers will keep increasing.
That the farming community is in deep distress is no news and the reasons are well known. They are starved for affordable credit. They are enticed to grow crops that are not suited to their lands, keeping them in the perennial debt trap. They are not in a position to hire labourers, a tribe that has become quite scarce in rural areas. There is neither any post-harvest mechanism nor a farmer-friendly marketing setup to help them sell crops.
When these fundamental issues are not addressed in agriculture, you can’t expect a dramatic improvement in the lot of farmers. The four cotton-growing States of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh accounted for more than half of the 12,000 deaths in 2012. The 2013 figure is a tad lower but it indicates our failure to recognise a serious problem.
* Ban trial of genetically modified crops: PMK:
The Pattali Makkal Katchi on Thursday urged the Centre to impose a ban on the field trial of genetically modified (GM) crops.
The decision of the Union government’s panel on genetic engineering evaluation to permit field trial of genetically modified cotton and brinjal and to allow import of oil extracted from genetically modified soya would put domestic agriculture in peril, party founder S. Ramadoss said.
The panel, which met four times in the last few months, had permitted the field trial of 60 GM crops, though the permission was given only for Bt cotton for commercial purposes. “At such a juncture, the urgency shown in permitting the field trial of several GM crops remains an unanswered question,” he said.
13:52:00 local time PAKISTAN
* GSP Plus pushes textile exports up by 5.3pc to $13.74b:
Textile exports surged to $13.74 billion during previous financial year 2013-2014 mainly because of the GSP Plus status granted to Pakistan by the European Union (EU).
The country exported textile made commodities worth $13.74 billion during last fiscal year (July 2013 to June 2014) as compared to $13.05 billion of the preceding year (July 2012 to June 2013), according to the latest figures of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) released on Wednesday.
The country’s textile exports have shown increase of 5.3 percent during previous fiscal year.
The PBS data showed that export of raw cotton has registered an increase of 33.27 per cent, cotton cloth 3.11 per cent, yarn 12.82 per cent, knitwear 10.53 per cent, bed wear 19.78 per cent, readymade garments 8.67 per cent, made-up articles 11.41 per cent and other textile materials 23.24 per cent during the period under review.
Meanwhile, exports of the following textile commodities have recorded negative growth including cotton yarn 11.65 per cent, cotton carded 53.3 per cent, tents, canvas & tarpaulin 30.07 per cent and art, silk & synthetic textile, 5.47 per cent.
The main reason behind increase in textile exports is GDP plus status effective from January 2014.
Textile exports to the European Union (EU) registered an increase of 18 percent reaching the figure of $5 billion for the first time due to the GSP plus status given by the EU, while textiles exports to the rest of the world declined by 3.5 percent.
* Electricity blues:
One of the promises that the PML-N had made during its election campaign was putting an end to prolonged loadshedding.
After coming into power, the party has not been able to do things differently.
If anything, this Ramazan there has been unprecedented loadshedding.
The Powerloom Owners Association and City Anjuman-e-Tajiran have warned of closing their factories and shops against unprecedented electricity loadshedding in Faisalabad, the hub of Pakistan’s textile industry.
As it is, our industry has suffered massive losses due to unscheduled power cuts and many small units have been shut down as a consequence.
* Punjab eyes 10m cotton bales from 5.6m acres:
Punjab has been able to sow cotton on 5.67 million acres this season, 227,000 acres more than last year’s figure, and it hopes to get closer to 10 million bales.
Out of total 5.67 million acres, only 13 per cent was sown what is termed as early crop. The rest 87 per cent was sown after May 15 – regular sowing period for the crop.
“The farmers are now avoiding early sowing for two reasons,” says Abad Khan from central Punjab district of Chunian.
The crop was still yielding between 40 to 50 maunds, depending on the weather conditions. It was not worth 10-month long tendering of the crop. Thus the early sowing is now almost out of vogue now.”
* SACTWU issues strike notice in the cotton sector:
The COSATU-affiliated Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU) has on Monday issued a strike notice to cotton sector employers after wage negotiations for the sector failed to yield a settlement.
The strike notice has been issued and the strike has commenced at 06h00 today 24 July 2014.
The issue in dispute is the employers’ final wage package increase offer of 7.75%. Our members are demanding a 10% wage increase. The strike is protected (legal) in terms of the provisions of the Labour Relations Act.
Wage increases were due on 1 July. Approximately 3000 cotton sector textile workers are currently on strike nationally.