23:13:40 local time VIET NAM
* Labor union calls for sharp increases in Vietnam’s minimum wage:
The head of Vietnam’s only labor union warned that a pledge to ensure an equitable minimum wage by 2017 will fail unless the authorities hike it by at least 23 percent next year.
The variance is determined by the location of the worker.
23:13:40 local time CAMBODIA
* Staff of Suspended Factory Demand Wages:
About 70 workers from the Xing Chang Sin factory marched to the Ministry of Labor on Friday to demand intervention after the factory allegedly failed to pay wages for the past two months.
According to Ek Pheakdey, deputy director of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union, the Russei Keo district factory—which he claimed produced apparel for GAP and Nike—suspended operations in mid-June due to lack of orders but told its staff of more than 500 to that they would be paid when business resumed as usual on Friday.
However, on Friday the staff were told to wait another week, according to Mr. Pheakdey, raising fears that the factory would never reopen and the staff would never see their promised wages.
22:13:40 local time BANGLADESH
20140803 * Tuba Group workers hold sit-in:
Failing to bring out the procession in the face of police resistance, they sat on the road blocking one side of the street
On the sixth day of their fast-unto-death programme demanding three months’ outstanding wages and Eid bonuses, the workers of five garment factories of Tuba Group staged a sit-in programme in front of Hossain Market that houses three units.
Under the banner of Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Committee, the agitating workers, along with leaders and activists of 11 left leaning parties came out of the building to hold a procession on Badda-Gulshan road around 11am yesterday.
Failing to bring out the procession in the face of police resistance, they sat on the road blocking one side of the street. They kept the road occupied for around an hour, encircled by the police.
At the end of the demo, a section of demonstrators scuffled with the police while trying to remove the barricade the law enforcers put on the street. But there were no incidents of injuries.
At the demonstration, the workers chanted slogans in favour of their five-point demands – immediate payment of the outstanding wages, bonuses and overtime dues of 1,600 workers; job security for all workers of Tuba Group; keeping all the factories operational; scrapping of Managing Director Delowar’s bail; and paying compensation to the deceased workers of Tazreen Fashions and bearing costs of treatment of those injured in the devastating fire incident of 2012.
20140803 * Tuba Group owners given 24 hours to pay workers’ dues:
Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Committee held a protest rally in front of Hossain Market at North Badda in the city on Saturday morning defying police obstacles.
A large contingent of police was deployed in the area where workers of Tuba Group garment factories continued their hunger strike for the sixth straight day for three months’ wage and festival allowance.
Speaking at the rally, politicians, academics and labour leaders gave the government and Tuba Group owners 24 hours to resolve the crisis arising from non-payment of the wages of 1,600 workers.
Communist Party of Bangladesh president Mujahidul Islam Selim warned that the workers would go for a tougher movement if Tuba Group owners failed to pay the wages and festival allowance in 24 hours.
Socialist Party of Bangladesh general secretary Khalequzzaman called on the government and the factory owners to take immediate steps to pay the wages that remained outstanding for four months.
20140803 * No govt instruction to appeal against Delwar’s bail:
Tuba Group owner Delwar Hossain has obtained two months’ interim bail from a High Court bench after three other benches had denied him bail in July.
The bench of Justice Syed AB Mahmudul Huq and Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder on July 24 granted Delwar the bail for two months on his application that he would pay wages to the workers of his factories that remained outstanding since February as he was in jail, the court’s deputy attorney general Shafiul Bashar Bhandari told New Age on Saturday.
Bashar also said he had received no instructions from the government to move the Appellate Division against Delwar’s bail.
There were allegations that Delwar had suppressed facts in obtaining the bail, which legal experts said, was tantamount to ‘fraud’ and ‘professional misconduct’ by his lawyer as per the Supreme Court of Bangladesh (High Court Division) Rules, 1973.
As per the Rule 6 of the General Rules for Applications and Affidavits stipulates, ‘When an application is made to the Court or to the Registrar in any matter in which any previous application was made to the Court or to the Registrar to the same effect, or with the same object, or with a similar object, the fact of such application having been made and the order passed thereon shall be clearly stated in the application.’
20140803 * Govt asks BGMEA to settle dues in a day or two:
State minister for labour Mujibul Haque on Saturday urged garment industry leaders to find a way out of the ongoing crisis over the wage arrears and festival allowance of the workers of Tuba Group in a day or two.
The state minister sat with the leaders of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association at the association’s head office on the day and requested them to arrange the payment to the workers at any cost in the shortest possible time.
BGMEA acting president SM Mannan Kochi, vice presidents Mohammad Shahidullah Azim and Reaz bin Mahmood, former president Tipu Munshi and former vice-president Siddiqur Rahman attended the meeting.
‘The promise [of payment] in seven working days is pretty vague.
The BGMEA will have to announce a specific date for the payment to the workers and I have requested the association leaders to resolve the crisis without delay,’ Mujibul told New Age.
‘I asked the BGMEA leaders to meet the lawful demands of Tuba Group workers and said that waiting for seven working days would be tough for the workers who are already hard pressed,’ he said.
He warned that the government would be forced to take legal action against the factory authorities concerned, if the BGMEA failed to settle the issue of payment to the workers of the five garment factories of Tuba Group. Mujibul also said that the government did not want to take legal action at the moment because it might delay the process for payment to the workers.
20140803 * Seized machines, hungry garments and bloodied strawberry:
Many apparel factory workers of five Tuba Group factories on a hunger strike since July 28 at a unit of the group at Madhya Badda in Dhaka fall ill on the fourth consecutive day of their protests on Thursday. — New Age
Hunger strike and seizure of machines by garments workers in and near Dhaka during the last part of July 2014 were part of Bangladesh labour action that is moving unabated through experiences of gains and failures.
In distant Greece, labourers from Bangladesh witnessed a court verdict that further bloodied already bloody strawberries. The incidents once again confirmed the dominating reality: dominance of capital. The incidents, on the opposite, also showed an emerging reality: labourers’ increasing action.
Of seized machine
Eid, the Muslim’s festival after a month of fasting and practising restraints on aspects of life, was approaching.
That was July.
All salaried employees and wage labourers usually get festival allowance.
It is the rule, practice and tradition. The allowance provides for a small opportunity to mend torn-down life of the hard-pressed labourers and low-salaried employees.
But alas! Workers in a garments factory were not going to have it.
Their wages for the months of June were not paid. Uncertain was the festival allowance.
The aggrieved workers had to resort to action: demonstration. And, then, they had to resort to strike.
The owner and his management cadres fled away.
A few accounts officials were gheraoed, kept seized, for five days that led to a ‘resolution’: payment of all unpaid wages and festival allowance by July 21, 2014. It was a written commitment from the factory management.
The seizure was withdrawn.
The owner-committed time limit for payment of wages and allowance passed.
Eid approached nearer. Darkness of uncertainty was coming closer to workers. They frantically tried to contact the owner. But, to no avail!
He was beyond reach.
Of hungry garments
About 1,500 workers of five garments factories in Dhaka resorted to protests and about three hundred of them went on a hunger strike to realise their unpaid wages for the months of May and June and the festival allowance.
The hunger strike continued for days and it was during the Eid festival while millions of people were celebrating the festival and the entire country was in a festive mood. Scores of workers were sent to hospital as they collapsed from hunger strike.
The workers returned to the factory, the place of the hunger strike, and joined their striking colleagues after being discharged from hospital.
The Progressive Doctors’ Forum, an association of physicians connected to the Communist Party of Bangladesh, extended medical care to the striking workers.
The commitments for the payment of wages and the festival allowance were made three times on behalf of the owners.
But all the commitments remained unfulfilled. As the festival neared, the workers began protest that later led them to resort to hunger strike. Initially, there was none to unknot the problem of non-payment.
Later, the garments manufacturers’ association sought another week for a partial payment.
It was reported that the factories, owned by the Tuba Group, produced garments amounting to Tk. 260 million during the recently concluded World Cup Football.
20140803 * Tuba workers threaten protests if dues not cleared by today:
Organisations of workers in the apparel sector plan to launch massive protests, including countrywide work abstention, from this week, unless the demands made by the agitating workers of five Tuba Group factories are met by today (Sunday).
Seeking anonymity, a labour leader at the protest rally of the workers Saturday said they would launch a tougher movement, including work abstention at each apparel unit all over the country from the current week if the payments of protesting workers are not paid by tomorrow (Sunday).
“We don’t want to call any such programme as we’re in favour of smooth functioning of the factories. But we have no alternative,” he said.
Leaders of 20 organisations of workers, mostly left-leaning ones, have already expressed their solidarity with the unpaid Tuba workers, who have been on a hunger strike for the last six days at their workplace at Badda in the capital.
More than 15 other organisations sat in an emergency meeting to discuss about the crisis, which could lead to serious trouble in the country’s highest foreign currency earning sector.
Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Committee, a special body formed Friday last by the protestors, has already started spreading the wave of protest to other industrial belts in a bid to press home their demands.
The agitating workers have set a fresh deadline for meeting their five-point demand at the protest rally held on Saturday.
Different groups of workers, political leaders, rights activists and civil society members raised their voice in favour of the 1,600 striking workers of the five Tuba Group units, as they have been going unpaid since May last.
Talking to the FE, a key member of the committee Taslima Akhter Lima, convener of the Bangladesh Garment Sramik Sanghati (BGSS), said they had been maintaining communications with other labour groups in different industrial belts to ensure their participation in the ongoing protest.
“We’re receiving good response from them,” she said.
20140803 * BGMEA seeks emergency funds:
The BGMEA yesterday sought emergency funds from big garment companies to clear the dues of Tuba Group workers, as protests continued for the sixth day.
The development came in a meeting of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association with State Minister for Labour and Employment Mujibul Haque Chunnu.
The sum would be extended as a loan to Tuba Group, a person present at the meeting told The Daily Star on condition of anonymity.
More than Tk 4.14 crore is needed to pay three months’ arrears and Eid bonuses to the 1,600 workers of Tuba Group.
For that end, both the BGMEA and Tuba management applied for bank loans but were rejected for failure to provide a guarantee from the company’s managing director Delwar Hossain, who has been detained in jail since February 9 for his role in Tazreen fire in November 2012 that took 112 lives.
“We have already said the workers will be paid within seven working days. The bail to Delwar is a matter of the court. But, we have taken this initiative to pay the workers. I hope the bigger groups will respond to our call.”
20140803 * No problem with Tuba bank accounts:
Bank accounts of the Tuba Group have not been frozen and that indicates no official impediment for the apparel group to paying wages to its workers even during custody of its managing director, circles concerned have said.
Leaders of the BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association) earlier at a press conference said that despite their initiative, it was not possible to pay wages and other benefits to the workers because of detention of its owner and lack of cooperation from the banks concerned.
Tuba Group managing director Delwar Hossain was sent to jail by a court on February 9 last after his surrender before it in the case filed in connection with the devastating 2012 fire at the Tazreen Fashions, a unit of the group.
“We even did not pray before the High Court (HC) to freeze the bank accounts of the group so that payment of wages to its workers is not hampered,” Barrister Jyotirmoy Barua, a lawyer of the Tazreen fire case, told the FE Saturday.
* Women-led seven garment workers’ federation:
20140802 * Tuba workers stage demo in city :
The workers of Tuba garments factory staged demonstration in front of their factory at Badda in the city to press for the payment of their dues on Saturday.
Police said the workers of ‘Tuba Garments’, who are on strike since Tuesday, took to the streets around 11 am demanding that their three months’ outstanding salaries and overtime be cleared immediately.
The agitated workers blocked the road in front of their factory.
On information, additional force of police was deployed in the area to avert further trouble.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
20140802 * State minister sits with BGMEA to resolve Tuba labour crisis:
State minister for labour and employment, Mujibul Haque Chunnu sat with Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association leaders on Saturday in his bid to end Tuba workers’ hunger strike, BGMEA sources said.
A section of the workers of the export-oriented Tuba Group continued their hunger strike for the sixth straight day and agitated on Saturday morning, demanding payment of their arrears, wages and festival bonuses.
BGMEA acting president SM Mannan Kochi, vice presidents Mohammad Shahidullah Azim and Reaz Bin Mahmud and former president Tipu Munshi were kept on discussing the Tuba crisis during filing this report at 1:00pm.
The outcome of the meeting could not be known immediately.
But a former BGMEA president, on condition of anonymity, said that the state minister and the BGMEA leaders were working hard to end the Tuba crisis.
The Garments Sramik Oikya Forum president Mushrefa Mishu earlier announced programmes on behalf of the demonstrators and placed the five-point charter
* immediate payment of arrear wages of past three months and festival allowance,
* keeping all the units of Tuba Group running to ensure employment of the workers,
* ensuring physical and psychological treatment to the workers who fell sick during the hunger strike,
* cancelling the bail of Tuba Group managing director Delwar Hossain and award him death sentence,
* and ensuring total compensation for the injured workers and the families of those who remain missing till date in the 2012 deadly fire at Tazreen Fashions, owned by Delwar Hossain.
The Democratic Left Alliance, a combine of eight left leaning political parties, The Socialist Party of Bangladesh, The Communist Party of Bangladesh and eleven other left-leaning organisations extended their solidarity to the movement of the apparel workers.
20140802 * Cancel Delwar’s bail: Tuba workers:
Hundreds of workers of Tuba Group staged demonstration in front of Hossain Market in the city on Saturday morning demanding cancelling ‘the bail’ for its owner Delwar Hossain in a case filed over Tazreen Fashions fire two years ago.
Tuba Group, which has five readymade garment factories at the 12-storey Hossain Market in Dhaka’s Uttar Badda, also owned Tazreen Fashions Ltd that caught fire in November 2012 killing about 116 workers, injuring 170 others.
Meanwhile, the indefinite hunger strike programme of agitating Tuba workers entered sixth day. Earlier, they rejected the BGMEA’s pledge of payments in 7 days.
Over 600 Tuba workers thronged Hossain Market premises to enforce their demonstration there around 11:00am.
They chanted slogans, demanding three-month’s unpaid salary and allowances, including Eid bonus. T
he protesters also demanded Tuba Managing Director Delwar’s supreme punishment for what they said killing of 116 Tazreen Fashions workers and burning 170 others.
read more. & read more. &
20140802 * Tuba workers partially block Badda-Gulshan road:
Tuba workers scuffle with cops : read more.
The workers of Tuba Group, who are on hunger strike, today took to the Badda-Gulshan link road in the capital since this morning after police foiled their attempt for holding a rally in front of the factory.
Road communications were partially disrupted following the agitation programme till noon when the report was filed.
At least 1,600 workers are continuing their hunger strike for the sixth consecutive day today to realise their five-point demand including unpaid salary and Eid bonus and cancellation the bail reportedly granted to the group’s managing director Delwar Hossain.
The workers along with the activists of 11 left parties, who joined the agitation yesterday under the banner of Tuba Group Sramik (workers) Sangram Committee, started gathering in front of the factory housed at Hossain Market at Badda to hold a prescheduled rally.
20140802 * BGMEA, labour leaders behind Tuba agitation:
Workers were told only freeing Delowar could ensure due wages
Neither the BGMEA nor Tuba Group management nor workers’ leaders involved in the ongoing agitation seemed sincere in ensuring workers’ payment before Eid; rather, they allegedly pushed them into untold sufferings only to free Delowar Hossain, the owner of the group, from prison.
When some 1,600 garment workers of the Tuba Group were eagerly waiting to draw their overdue wages before Eid their representatives along with the leaders of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association persuaded them to launch an agitation to free Delowar so they get their payments.
Delowar was arrested in connection with the November 2012 Tazreen factory fire.
The workers, however, are yet to get a single penny.
They have been on a fast-unto-death demonstration for the fifth consecutive day starting a day before Eid for the dues.
Talking to several workers of five factories of the Tuba Group – who participated in the negotiation with the BGMEA – this correspondent came to know that leaders of the apex trade body had persuaded the workers to demonstrate to free Delowar.
China Akter, a line chief of the Tuba Textile, told the Dhaka Tribune: “We had given up the hope of getting our salaries and bonuses, but a ray of hope became visible when Mishu apa came.
“She announced the hunger strike and we joined her.”
Moshrefa Mishu, president of the Garment Workers Unity Forum (GWUF), told the Dhaka Tribune: “We informed the BGMEA that we were going to stage a fast-unto-death as there were no options left.”
She said after several failed attempts to contact any official of the BGMEA she sent a text message to BGMEA Vice-President Shahidullah Azim informing him about the demands of the workers.
20140802 * Tuba workers’ hunger strike passes fifth day:
A hunger strike by more than hundred people working in factories owned by Tuba Group passed the fifth day on Friday, as the workers failed to realise their demand for unpaid salary and festival allowance.
Tuba Group owns five ready-made garment factories, including the ill-fated Tazreen Fashion factory, which caught fire in November 2012 killing at least 117 people. So far, ten people have been admitted to hospital from falling sick during the strike, being observed on the premises of a Tuba factory in North Badda.
Meanwhile, a newly-formed platform of the workers – Tuba Group Sramik Sangaram Committee – will hold a rally and procession, in front of Hossain Market in the area, at 11:00am today.
read more. & read more.
20140802 * Cancel ‘Delwar’s bail’:
Tuba workers demand; demo today
The workers of Tuba Group have announced an agitation programme for today to realise their five-point demand, including the cancellation of the reported bail granted to owner Delwar Hossain.
As their hunger strike yesterday entered the fifth consecutive day, the workers also rejected the BGMEA’s pledge of payments.
About 1,600 workers could not go to their village homes to celebrate Eid as they were ye to get three months’ arrears and festival bonus. Their hunger strike began on Monday on the factory premises in Hossain Market area of North Badda, Dhaka.
“We demand cancelling Delwar Hossain’s bail,” Moshrefa Mishu, president of Garment Workers Unity Forum (GWUF), on behalf of the workers, told journalists at the spot.
“We want the highest punishment for Delwar.
“We also demand payment of arrears and bonus to the workers and compensation for their physical and mental sufferings due to the hunger strike.
“Besides, the authorities have to ensure job security of workers after the payments.”
Today’s demonstration will start from 11 in the morning in front of the Hossain Super Market and continue until 12:30pm.
20140802 * Tuba workers vow to continue strike:
BGMEA pledge rejected, cancellation of MD’s bail demanded
The workers of five Tuba Group factories rejected Friday the apparel trade body’s assurance about payments and decided to continue their ongoing agitation unless their demands are met.
They said the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) made a ploy to get released Delwar Hossain, managing director of Tuba Group, now in jail in the Tazreen Fashions fire case.
They were just holding nearly 1,600 workers of the five units hostage only to force the government to release Delwar.
The Tuba Group is the parent company of the Tazreen Fashions that burnt down on November 24, 2012 killing at least 112 workers.
At a press conference Garment Workers Solidarity Forum leader Moshrefa Mishu said they would stage a protest rally Saturday (today) in front of the Hossain Super Market, which houses three of Tuba Group factories, demanding payment of their wage arrears and other allowances.
About the BGMEA assurance, she said, “It’s nothing but an evil design to deter us from staging our agitation through delaying it. The earnings made by the Tuba Group over the last three months are much higher than the workers’ dues.”
“Will the BGMEA inquire about the export earnings or check with the bank accounts of errant factory owners?” the workers’ leader posed a question. She also has been taking part in the hunger strike from the first day. “BGMEA is trying many tricks to get Delwar Hossain out of jail and it’s a part of it. We want to make it clear that the workers will continue with their hunger strike until their demands are met,” Mishu said.
20140801 * Tuba workers to stage demo Saturday:
The workers have started the strike since Tuesday, demanding their dues of the last three months
The agitating workers of Tuba Group will stage demonstration in front of the factory in the capital’s Badda on Saturday.
Moshrefa Mishu, president of the Garment Workers’ Unity Forum (GWUF) made the announcement on Friday.
The workers will continue hunger strike until their five-point demand is met, she said.
However, the workers’ leader rejected the proposal of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) to resolve the crisis within seven days as there is no specific date of payment and clear direction.
The Tuba Group workers began a hunger strike from Tuesday on Eid-day demanding their dues of the last three months.
20140801 * Tuba workers reject BGMEA’s proposal, announce fresh programme:
The workers of Tuba Group, who are on hunger strike for past five days, on Friday announced fresh programmes rejecting the proposals of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
The workers announced the fresh programme with five-point charter of demands from site in Badda in Dhaka where they were on hunger strike demanding payment of their arrears, wages and festival allowance for the fifth consecutive day.
The Garments Sramik Oikya Forum president Mushrefa Mishu announced programmes on behalf of the demonstrators and placed the five-point charter of demands those include immediate payment of arrear wages of past three months and festival allowance, keeping all the units of Tuba Group running to ensure employment of the workers, ensuring physical and psychological treatment to the workers who fell sick during the hunger strike, cancelling the bail of Tuba Group managing director Delwar Hossain and award him death sentence, and ensuring total compensation for the injured workers and the families of those who remain missing till date in the 2012 deadly fire at Tazreen Fashions, owned by Delwar Hossain.
20140801 * Tuba workers’ protest procession Saturday:
Besides payment of dues, deprived workers declared protest procession form Saturday demanding supreme punishment of Tuba Group owner Delwar Hossain.
Hundreds of Tuba workers will bring out the protest procession from in front of Badda Hossain Market in the city around 11:00am.
Tuba Group Workers Movement Alliance leader Moshrefa Mishu made the announcement on Friday noon.
She said that Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association (BGMEA) is lying about workers salary and bonus.
“The organization said that dues couldn’t be paid as the owner was in jail — but where is money of shipments that we made in last months?” she threw a question.
She also alleged that these all are way to release Delwar using workers’ issue.
* Networking and women’s rights in RMG sector:
Industrialization has opened up a new avenue for young women workers in developing countries especially in garment industries over the period of last 25 years.
Predominantly, industrialization process has been forced by the multilateral donor agencies like the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the United States Agency for International Development.
Due to the effect of industrialization, production has been transferred from developed nations to developing countries with a view to creating export-oriented markets where women are offered jobs with a little amount of money.
Export-led industries have two kinds of impacts on women workers in third world countries.
The women workers are reinforced into lower position both at work and in their society on the one hand, they are also getting opportunity to take part in formal and informal organizations, community and the family on the other hand.
The rural women of Bangladesh primarily go for jobs in RMG sector in terms of low pay, worse conditions and limited promotion aspects.
They also work for long hours with overtime and receive irregular wage and bonus payment in the industry.
The women workers of RMG industries work hard and engage in daily struggle to get better economic and social status.
In Bangladesh, most of the women workers of RMG come from rural areas for entering the city employment.
The workers are working in RMG sector due to the effects of socio-cultural factors especially poverty and unemployment.
Some other factors like rapid increase of using machine in harvest operations, sharp increase of rural-urban migrations, female headed households etc are also responsible for increasing women’s employment in RMG industries.
The women workers are accustomed to carrying out their duties at an average of 12 hours a day.
During the period of deadlines, they have to work more as they are supposed to do normally.
They are also abused verbally and physically by the practices of the management. However, women workers are by and large unaware of their rights.
In some cases, they make obvious informal signs like shop floor protests, walk-outs and street protests to achieve their rights.
But, these forms of revelations are not supportive to endure injustice in the workplace.
RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE
* Rana Plaza fund gets 44% of estimated $40m compensation money:
The Rana Plaza Coordination Committee, a body of representatives of global trade unions, retailers, factory owners and governments, has failed to collect even half of the committed fund of US$ 40 million to pay workers and families of the victims who were killed in the building collapse.
In September 2013, national and international stakeholders came together to form the committee to develop a comprehensive and independent process that would deliver support to the victims, and their families and dependants in a manner consistent with international labour standards.
As a neutral chair of the committee, International Labour Organisation established the Rana Plaza Donors’ Trust Fund in January 2014 to collect contributions from buyers and other private donors.
The committee urged 29 global brands that procured products from the five factories housed in the Rana Plaza to contribute to the Trust Fund, but most of the brands are yet to pay. In last six months a total of US$ 17.7 million has been deposited into the fund which is only 44.25 per cent of the committed amount.
‘It is frustrating that less than 50 per cent of the expected US$ 40 million is yet to be collected and most of the brands did not contribute,’ IndustriALL Bangladesh Council secretary general Roy Ramesh Chandra told New Age on Friday.
He said if the 29 global brands that procured products from the five factories housed in the Rana Plaza contributed 0.2 per cent of their profit into the fund the expected US$ 40 million would be available as the brands gained a net profit of over US$ 2 billion in last year.
‘It is a shame and painful that the workers and the families of the victims who were killed in the building collapse did not get compensation even after one-and-a-half year of the tragic incident.
* Savar Foundation continues its Rehabilitation Efforts:
The Savar Foundation, a charitable organisation targeted towards the relief and rehabilitation of victims of the Savar Rana Plaza disaster which happened a year back, is continuing its work.
On July 26, it has donated Tk 160,000 to family members of four garment workers who died in the catastrophic accident. The cash amounts were handed over to the victims’ families at the Adhar Chandra High School in Savar.
Sabina Yesmin, who worked in a garments factory at Rana Plaza, was the primary source of earning in her family. After she died, the family has been suffering a lot, because of not having received enough compensation from the authorities. Cash help of Tk 40,000 has been provided to her husband Ashraf Ali.
Sujit Saha also worked in the same building and suffered the same fate. Monetary help has also been provided to his family, his mother Nila Saha receiving the contribution.
* Rana Plaza probe at final stage:
Charge sheets in 3 cases likely this month; 42 to be accused
Investigators have found a total of 42 people responsible for the Rana Plaza collapse that left at least 1,135 people dead and scores maimed in April last year.
The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of police has “almost completed” the probe into the country’s worst industrial disaster in Savar on the outskirts of the capital, and it is likely to submit two charge sheets to the court within this month.
However, Assistant Superintendent of Police Bijoy Krishna Kar, who is leading the investigation, recently told The Daily Star that they would not be able to submit the charge sheets by August 13 as they were asked to by a Dhaka court last month. The CID may seek more time for this on that day.
Rana Plaza owner Sohel Rana, owners of the garment factories housed in the building, some officials and engineers of Savar municipality and the Department of Inspection of Factories and Establishment (DIFE) have been found to be responsible for the collapse of Rana Plaza and the loss of lives, he said.
According to Bijoy, owners of Rana Plaza and the garment factories had forced the staffs and workers of the factories to work inside the building even after cracks were found in the building. So, the owners are responsible for the deaths and will be accused of killing people in the charge sheets.
The then executive engineer, assistant engineer, sub-assistant engineer and town planner of Savar municipality have been found responsible for giving clearance to constructing garment factories inside the building without consulting experts.
The DIFE officials, who had issued the licence for using the commercial building for industrial purposes without even inspecting the building and examining necessary construction features, will also be accused in the charge sheets.
21:43:40 local time INDIA
* Textile association seeks wage board:
A textile workers association has asked the Centre to constitute a national level wage board for workers in the sector saying such boards in a number of segments had proved helpful.
The textile sector had been registering good growth in the country but the plight of the workers continued to cause concern.
The wage structure was also not of help to them, the All India Textile| Workers Federation said.
Briefing reporters on resolutions adopted on the concluding day of the two-day meeting of the federation executive, general secretary of the Tamil Nadu AITUC T M Moorthy said the meeting felt that a wage board should be constituted and its recommendations implemented for the good of 3.5 crore workers directly employed in textile industries. Wage boards set up in various other sectors had proved to be helpful, he said.
Claiming that the industry’s share in foreign exchange earnings was considerable, he said the Central and state governments should take effective action to ameliorate the lot of the workers. There should be undelayed initiatives to rehabilitate those affected by closure of textile industries.
* Labour laws amendments: CITU slams government’s ‘unilateralism’:
A day after the Union Cabinet cleared amendments to three labour laws, CITU today protested against the government’s “unilateralism”, saying it “seriously undermines the basic principle of bipartism as well as tripartism”.
The Centre for Indian Trade Unions (CITU) has urged Union Labour Minister Narendra Singh Tomar to intervene in the matter.
“Unfortunately despite your concrete assurance for prior consultation with trade unions, unilateral moves are being taken by the government in the matter of amendments of labour laws…
* No more protests at factory gates: Mamata Banerjee:
Desperate to salvage Bengal’s battered industry image, chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday issued her most stern diktat yet against militant trade unionism.
“I will not tolerate sit-in demonstrations in front of factory gates. No organization can politicize worker agitations to establish its base,” the CM said while inaugurating a Rs 200 crore expansion unit of SK Birla Group’s Expro India at Bhutgaria in Bankura.
Condemning the politics of industrial closures, Mamata said: “Large industries like this create jobs and bring in ancillary units. Man-days must not be lost in the name of trade unionism.”
Mamata’s remarks are aimed at sending positive vibes to the industry ahead of her Singapore trip, as much as they are meant to rein in rogue union leaders.
The Trinamool chief’s tough stand comes in the wake of a string of staggering blows to Bengal’s industry — the murder of a jute mill CEO that triggered suspension of work at several mills, closure of Hindustan Motors’ Uttarpara plant, suspension of work at Jessop’s and union trouble at ECL mines and Shyam SEL to name a few.
Trinamool’s trade arm INTTUC was blamed in many of these incidents.
* Sluggishness in textile market in Q1: Study:
Even as predominantly cotton-based textile industry has performed well during 2013-14, there was sluggishness in the market in the first quarter of this fiscal due to decline in yarn exports to China and also fall in the demand for fabrics and made-up exports to European countries.
This has resulted in over supply and making yarn prices decrease to the tune of Rs.10 to Rs. 25 per kg, depending on the counts.
However, the garmenting sector had around 15 per cent growth during the current year, when compared to previous years, Southern India Mills Association Chairman T Rajkumar, said in a research study on the market conducted by SIMA.
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* Footwear units seek duty relief:
Having lost competitive edge to low-cost manufacturing countries such as China, Vietnam and Cambodia, the domestic footwear industry has urged the Finance Minister to reduce excise duty on footwear for its survival.
“Higher excise duty has made Indian manufactured footwear uncompetitive. This has resulted in fall in manufacturing of footwear in India.
From being entirely domestically produced, import of footwear from China, Vietnam and Cambodia has grown by 300 per cent in the last three years,” said the All India Footwear Manufacturers & Retailers Association (AIFMRA) in a representation.
Footwear attracts an excise duty of 8 per cent and in addition to state Value Added Tax of 12-15 per cent and octroi/local body tax of 2-5 per cent, it is among the highest taxed items among necessary goods industry officials said.
21:13:40 local time PAKISTAN
* Government yet to fix minimum wage of Rs15,000:
The provincial government and opposition’s decision to fix minimum wages for the unskilled workers at Rs15,000 per month proved nothing less than a joke as the government has not yet implemented the decision.
The government in its annual budget for 2014-15 had announced minimum wages for the unskilled labourers at Rs12,000 per month and presented the same at the provincial assembly on June 14.
The decision was taken in line with the federal government that in its annual budget for the current fiscal had also fixed the minimum wages at Rs12,000 for the unskilled workers of different organisations and factories.
However, later during the debate on budget in the provincial assembly the opposition raised the issue on the floor of the house and urged the government to revise the wages for the unskilled workers and fix it at Rs15,000. The government conceded to the opposition demand and fixed the minimum wages at Rs15,000 per month for the unskilled workers.