15:08:57 local time VIET NAM
* Indian fabric producers seek to raise exports to VN textile firms:
Garments are made for export at a factory in the northern province of Thai Nguyen. Viet Nam was the fifth largest garment and textile exporter in the world and had achieved an impressive growth rate.— VNA/VNS Photo Trong Dat
India, which supplies 2 per cent of the inputs used by the Vietnamese textile and garment industry, wants to increase it to 25 per cent in the next five years, according to the Cotton Textiles Export Promotion Council of India (TEXPROCIL).
Speaking at a Viet Nam – India Textile and Garment business forum in HCM City yesterday, Manikam Ramaswami, TEXPROCIL’s chairman, said Viet Nam was the fifth largest garment and textile exporter in the world and had achieved an impressive growth rate.
But it had to import a lot of the raw materials while India was the world’s second largest producer of materials like cotton, cloth and fibre, he said.
Co-operation between the two countries would help Vietnamese enterprises diversify their raw material sources and sell high-quality products to the international market, he added.
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15:08:57 local time CAMBODIA
* Garment workers, bosses meet to discuss wage rise:
Garment industry worker and employer representatives met yesterday as part of negotiations on raising the industry’s minimum wage.
The meeting came after unions revealed on Monday they had raised their demand from $160 to $177. They agreed to reach an agreement by September.
14:08:57 local time BANGLADESH
20140810 * Tuba Group workers to get July salary today :
The workers of Tuba Group will be paid their salary of the month of July at Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Bhaban today (Sunday) as per the decision taken earlier.
The disbursement of salary among the workers will begin at 2 pm.
On Thursday, Shipping Minister M Shajahan Khan and State Minister for Labour and Employment Mujibul Haque Chunnu conveyed a strong message to Tuba Group owner Delwar Hossain to pay the salaries of the workers of Tuba Group factories for July by Sunday.
20140810 * Bleak future awaits Tuba workers:
The wages for May and June have already been paid by the BGMEA
The workers of five garment factories under Tuba Group are in dark about their job security since those were already facing crisis of funds while the recent agitations for dues have brought the matter to the forefront.
Neither the factory owner nor the BGMEA or the government, who have been mediating to pay the workers’ dues, did not make it clear whether these factories would be in operation any longer.
There are around 1,500 workers in these five factories, which are currently shut as the workers went on hunger strike on July 28 demanding three months’ outstanding wages, overtime and Eid bonuses.
At a meeting yesterday, the government, the BGMEA, the factory management and labour leaders decided to pay due wages for the month of July and overtime for the last three months from today. But the meeting did not discuss the issues of running the factories and payment of the current month.
He said it would be tough for him to get another job immediately if the factory management decided to announce lay off. “The garment owners have somewhat stopped recruiting workers after the implementation of the new wage structure,” Kamal added.
Meanwhile, a section of workers of Tuba Group have decided to quit work fearing uncertainty. Since several units had been shut earlier due to crisis of funds, they fear that these five factories may also be closed.
“We had promised to pay the wages for the last three months and the overtime dues. The matter is solved as the dues for July will be paid on Sunday,” BGMEA Vice-President Shahidullah Azim told the Dhaka Tribune.
Asked about the workers’ job security, Azim said: “It is matter of the factory management.”
State Minister for Labour Mujibul Haque Chunnu said: “It is not our duty to see whether the factories will run or shut.”
He told the Dhaka Tribune: “It was our duty to ensure the payments and we have done it. If the factory owners decide to shut the units, then the workers’ dues will have to be paid as per the law.”
Though the factory owner, Delowar Hossain, is freed from jail on bail, he is yet to make any decision over running the factories.
20140810 * Tuba workers to get July dues today:
The five units are Tuba Fashion, Tuba Textile, Mita Design, Taif Design and Bughsan Garments
The management of Tuba Group is set to pay its workers of five garment factories the outstanding wages for July and the overtime dues today.
The workers would be paid at 2pm at the BGMEA headquarters in Karwan Bazar area, as decided at a meeting of the garment owners’ platform, government, factory management and labour leaders in the city yesterday.
“As per our promise made earlier, the BGMEA compelled the owner of Tuba Group to pay the wages for the month of July and the outstanding overtime amounts,” BGMEA President Atiqul Islam said.
At the meeting, the labour leaders placed three demands – to ensure payment of Eid bonuses, keeping factories operational and not to harass the workers by law enforcement agencies.
However, the issues of Eid bonuses and job security were not discussed while the government assured that the workers would not be harassed.
The five units are Tuba Fashion, Tuba Textile, Mita Design, Taif Design and Bughsan Garments.
20140810 * Delwar sells land, Tuba workers to get July wages:
Tuba garments workers will be paid their July wages and overtime today, Sunday, at the office of BGMEA, the association of garment factory owners. Tuba’s owner Delwar will pay the dues. BGMEA has asked for a few more days to pay the Eid bonus.
BGMEA sources say that 1495 workers of Tuba will be paid about 13 million taka today in wages and overtime. Delwar has sold 16 kathas of land in Uttar Badda for 35.2 million taka. However, he had already used this land as collateral to take 27 million taka as loan and so will be now collecting 8.2 million taka from here. He is reportedly selling some other land to arrange the funds.
Another meeting was held yesterday at the Parliament Members Club of the Jatiya Sangsad yesterday, Saturday, attended by BGMEA leaders, labour leaders and the government side. Prior to that, Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan met with BGMEA leaders in his office. State Minister for Labour Mujibul Huq, BGMEA President Atiqul Islam and others of the association were present.
At yesterday’s meeting the labour leaders drew the attention of the State Minister for Labour, asking for Eid bonus to be paid and that the factory should be kept running. They said that workers should not be harassed with any cases filed against them.
20140810 * RMG strike garners lukewarm response:
Readymade garment factories in the country carried out work as usual on Saturday during the strike called by Tuba Group Sramik Sangam Parishad.
The nationwide dawn to dusk strike had been called to protest the attack on workers of Tuba Group, who had been holding a hunger strike for 11 days, on Thursday. Police on Thursday stormed a factory of the group at Hossain Market in Badda in the capital and drove out the strikers using rubber bullets, pepper spray and tear gas. Ten people, including newsmen, were injured.
The strike passed off almost without incident, besides police intervention in some places to resist picketers in the outskirts of the capital.
Labour leaders, however, said they were chased out by ‘police and goons’ in various places when they gathered to picket, and brought out a procession in the capital and Narayanganj in support of the strike.
Owners said the strike did not have any influence over the regular activities of factories.
Kazi Ruhul Amin, general secretary of Garment Sramik Trade Union Centre, one of the allies of Sangram Parishad, alleged that police and goons dispersed gatherings and chased away workers at different industrial areas, including Ashulia, Savar, Tongi, Gazipur, Dakkhin Khan, Tejgaon and Lalbagh.
Some workers brought out processions and staged rallies at Chashara and Press Club in Narayanganj and other areas.
20140810 * Tuba’s July pay today; due bonus undecided:
No Strike At Garment Factories
Tuba Group has agreed to pay today overtime and wages for July to its workers, who called a strike yesterday in garment factories to press home their demand of full payment at a time.
Their call for strike, however, fizzled out as all the factories remained open and they did not get much support from other garment workers.
The arrears will be given today from 2:00pm at the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) headquarters.
The decision came at a meeting between the owners of Tuba Group and representatives of BGMEA, workers and the government at the Parliament Members Club yesterday.
Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan and State Minister for Labour and Employment Mujibul Haque Chunnu were there.
However, decision on payment of the Eid bonuses and resuming production in all five factories of the group remained uncertain.
”The owner will pay the bonus later,” Atiqul Islam, BGMEA president told The Daily Star over the phone. He, however, did not make it clear when the bonuses would be paid. Khokon Mia, a worker of the Tuba Group, was unhappy.
“We want all payment at one go. The BGMEA has been taking time for payment which is not right,” he said.
The meeting was held at a time when Tuba Group Shramik Sangram Committee, a temporary platform of 15-trade union organisations, called upon workers in garment industrial areas to take part in a strike to help nearly 1,600 of their fellow workers get due pays.
Tight security, inadequate campaign for the strike, fear of detention by police, job loss and lack of willingness among workers resulted in the strake falling flat on its face, sources said.
Additional police were deployed in Savar and Ashulia industrial areas to avoid any untoward incidents, reports our Savar correspondent.
20140810 * Strike call draws lukewarm response:
Tuba workers to get July dues today
Apparel workers’ strike call drew lukewarm response Saturday amid a decision in a meeting on the day that the Tuba Group authority would pay the workers’ dues for the month of July Sunday.
Tuba Group owner Delwar Hossain agreed in a meeting Saturday with Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) board of directors at the National Parliament Complex to pay his workers the wages and overtime bills for July Sunday, according to bdnews24.com.
“It has been decided that unpaid wages and overtime bills for July, amounting to Tk 11.7 million, will be paid to workers of the Tuba Group’s five factories Sunday,” BGMEA Vice President SM Mannan Kochi said after the meeting.
The payment of wages will start at BGMEA Bhaban at 2:00 pm. It was decided in another meeting with 35 labour organisations, said BGMEA President Atikul Islam.
However, according to an FE report, most of the garment factories functioned as usual on the day despite the strike call by the Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Parishad.
20140810 * BNP trying to instigate RMG violence, says Nasim:
Health and family welfare minister Mohammad Nasim alleged that Bangladesh Nationalist Party instigated the garment workers to create chaos in the country.
He said the BNP leaders should get prepared for the next national election in 2019 as no political party can survive without election.
He was addressing a discussion organised by Bangladesh Chhatra League at the Public Library auditorium, marking the birth anniversary of Begum Fazilatunnesa Mujib and Sheikh Kamal.
Nasim said that BNP was hatching conspiracy against the government to thwart development of the country.
‘The country is running in a peaceful atmosphere but BNP is trying to create chaos again through conspiracy. As part of their plot, they are instigating the garment workers,’ Nasim added.
20140810 * Slow Tuba move upsets Suranjit:
Former railways minister and senior Awami League leader Suranjit Sengupta has expressed his displeasure at the ‘delay’ in resolving the issues regarding payment of overdue salaries and allowances of Tuba Group workers.
Speaking at a discussion in the city, he said these problems could have been solved earlier if ‘sincere approach’ had been made. Suranjit, the ruling party’s Advisory Council member, however, praised the shipping minister and the state minister for labour and employment for ‘solving the problems’.
Around 1,600 workers of the five Tuba Group garment factories observed a hunger strike for nearly two weeks at Hossain Super Market at Uttar Badda to press for their three months’ unpaid wages, overtime dues, and Eid bonus.
Sengupta said the initiatives the shipping minister and state minister for labour have taken could have been taken much earlier.
If that had happened, the situation would not have boiled to this point, according to bdnews24.com.
20140810 * Tuba garment: A lesson needs to be learned:
The police crackdown on the peaceful workers of the Tuba Garment factory was unfortunate.
The government and the BGMEA failed to handle the matter properly.
In the beginning they did not pay attention to the grievance of the workers.
The workers should also remember that by vandalising and creating anarchy they will not only damage the national economy but also the business which gives them and their families their bread and butter.
We should not politicise such sensitive issues.
20140809 * Operation ‘smooth’ at RMG units amid strike call:
Despite Tuba Group workers’ call for strike at all garment factories across the country today, activities at major garment producing areas has been learnt to be continuing without any disruption.
No such work abstention is being observed in Savar, Narayanganj and Gazipur.
Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Committee called the strike demanding that the garment authorities pay their arrears in full, cancel the bail of Tuba Group’s owner Delwar Hossain and stop terminating the workers.
Operations were going on normally at every garment factories in Gazipur, said Assistant Director of Gazipur Industrial Police Abdul Khaleque.
Also normalcy has been reported at the factories in Savar in the outskirt of capital Dhaka, Md Mostafizur Rahman, director of Industrial Police-1, Dhaka (Ashulia) confirmed to The Daily Star.
20140809 * Benazir: Police did not act cruel on Tuba workers:
DMP Commissioner Benazir Ahmed has claimed that police had not acted hardhearted on the agitated workers of Tuba garments on Thursday.
He said: “The Tuba Group workers had been dispersed from factory on security purpose.”
The DMP boss made the statement while addressing a book launching programme at capital’s Police Lines auditorium on Saturday afternoon.
20140809 * No disruption in RMG production despite strike :
Production in garment factories across the country remained ‘undisrupted’ on Saturday despite Tuba Group workers’ call for strike in all garment factories across the country.
Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Committee called the strike demanding their arrears in full, cancellation of Tuba Group owner Delwar Hossain’s bail, stopping the termination of workers and ‘attacks’ on them.
“Regular police along with industrial one and government cadres didn’t allow workers to stay in the streets,” Moshrefa Mishu, president of the Garment Workers Unity Forum, told UNB explaining the situation.
However, BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association) leaders and on-duty officials of the Industrial Police said the production in garment factories were ‘normal’.
“There has been no disruption in production,” BGMEA vice president M Shahidullah Azim told UNB adding that no such work abstention was seen in Savar, Narayanganj and Gazipur industrial belts.
He said the owner of the Tuba Group would disburse salaries for the month of July from BGMEA Bhaban tomorrow (Sunday) as per the decision taken earlier.
Moshrefa Mishu, who was leading the movement of Tuba Group workers, however claimed that the salaries of July, along with overtime dues and bonus, should be paid together.
She also demanded disbursement of salaries and bonus from the Tuba Garment factories instead of BGMEA Bhaban.
20140809 * Tuba owner to pay workers for July on Sunday:
Tuba Group owner Delwar Hossain has agreed to pay his workers their wages and overtime for July on Sunday.
He gave this assurance during a meeting with Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) board of directors at the National Parliament Complex on Saturday.
The workers were also expected to get their Eid bonuses soon.
“It was decided that unpaid wages and overtime for July, amounting to Tk 11.7 million, would be paid to workers of the Tuba Group’s five factories tomorrow (Sunday),” BGMEA Vice President SM Mannan Kochi told bdnews24.com after the meeting.
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20140809 * Strike ‘ineffective’ at Dhaka, Chittagong factories:
Ready-made garment workers in Dhaka, Chittagong and Gazipur have not joined the strike called by protesting Tuba Group workers across all RMG units in Bangladesh.
Police said works were going on as usual at factories in these areas on Saturday with no untoward incident reported until noon.
20140809 * Apparel strike receives lukewarm response:
A daylong strike in garment factories called by Sramik Sangram Parishad in protest of Thursday’s police action in a factory received lukewarm responses as most of the workers joined their works on Saturday, factory owners and labour leaders said.
‘I am not notified about any problems in my factories till this afternoon,’ said Abdus Salam Murshedy, a former president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association. Kazi Ruhul Amin, general secretary of Garment Sramik Trade Union Centre, one of the allies of Sangram Parishad, acknowledged that they could not enforce the strike properly due to what he said ‘police and terrors’ obstacles.’
The police chased the workers to disperse their gatherings at different industrial locations, such as, Ashulia, Savar, Tongi, Gazipur, Dakkhin Khan, Tejgaon and Lalbagh, witnesses said. Some workers brought out processions and staged rallies at Chashara and Press Club in Narayanganj and other areas of the country.
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20140809 * Dawn-to-dusk strike at garment factories today:
Samajtantrik Mahila Forum and Women Cell of the Communist Party of Bangladesh also formed a one-hour human chain at the same venue at 3:00 pm
Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Parishad will enforce today a dawn-to-dusk strike at all garment factories across the country, protesting against the police attacks on the workers of Tuba Group.
Sangram Parishad, a combine of 15 garment workers’ rights bodies, announced the strike on Thursday and also demanded immediate payment of Eid bonus, overdue wages of Tuba Group workers and cancellation of the bail the High Court granted to Delowar Hossain, owner of the group.
To press home their demands, they staged demonstrations in the garment belt yesterday.
Garment Sramik Oikya Forum formed a human chain in front of the National Press Club for an hour from 11:00am, protesting against the police attacks on the Tuba workers.
Chaired by central leader of the organisation Shahidul Islam Sabuj, the programme was addressed, among others, by its central leader Mominur Rahman Mobin.
Samajtantrik Mahila Forum and Women Cell of the Communist Party of Bangladesh also formed a one-hour human chain at the same venue at 3:00 pm.
The leaders of the organisations condemned the police attacks on the workers of Tuba Group.
The leaders and activists of Sangram Parishad yesterday held rallies in different garment industrial belts, including Narayanganj, Kanchpur, Siddhirganj, Chittagong, Ashulia, Savar, Tongi, Tejgaon and Mirpur in support of today’s strike.
However, the people of Badda and Hossain Market areas yesterday got tensed up as a huge number of police were patrolling the area along with riot cars and water cannons.
The Dhaka Tribune correspondent found that most of the shops at Hossain Market were closed on Friday, a day after police foiled Tuba workers’ hunger strike, using tear gas and rubber bullets and forcing them to leave the area.
Although the police surrounded the area of Tuba garments, presence of workers was zero on the day.
Asked about the deployment of huge police, Mahbub Hasan, additional deputy commissioner of police of Gulshan division, told the Dhaka Tribune that law enforcers kept patrolling the area to avert any unwanted situation.
When asked about any clash, he said he had no information about it. “We do not want to take any risk and that’s why law enforcers are guarding the area.”
The workers of a factory yesterday demonstrated at Kaliakoir in Gazipur, saying that they had been cheated in the name of meeting their eight-point demand, including overtime bills and production bonus.
20140809 * Suranjit upset over Tuba settlement delay:
Senior Awami League leader Suranjit Sengupta has expressed his displeasure ar the ‘delay’ in resolving the issues regarding payment of overdue salaries and allowances of Tuba Group workers.
Speaking at a discussion in Dhaka on Friday, he said these problems could have been solved earlier if ‘sincere approach’ had been made.
Sengupta, a member of ruling party’s Advisory Council, however, praised the shipping minister, state minister for labour and employment and BGMEA for ‘solving the problems’ .
Around 1,600 workers of the five Tuba Group factories have been on a hunger strike for nearly two weeks to press for their three months’ unpaid wages, overtime dues, and allowances.
Sengupta said the initiatives the shipping minister and state minister for labour have taken could have been taken much earlier. If that had happened, the situation would not have boiled to this point .
He criticised the ‘uncompromising attitudes of extremist Left politics’ and said those doing Left politics in trade unions have to consider the ‘real situation of politics’.
20140809 * RMG workers to observe strike today:
Tuba Group Sramik Sangam Parishad on Friday urged workers of all garment factories across the country to make successful today’s strike called in protest at Thursday’s police action against the agitating workers at Badda.
Tuba Group workers had observed an 11-day hunger strike till Thursday to press home their demands for payment of three months’ wages, festival allowance and cancellation of the bail granted by the High Court to the owner of the group Delwer Hossain.
Police on Thursday stormed a factory of group at Hossain Market at Badda in the capital and drove out the hunger strikers using rubber bullets, pepper spray and tear gas leaving at least 10 of them, including newsmen, injured.
In protest against the police action, the Tuba Group Sramik Sangarm Parishad had announced a dawn-to-dusk strike in all garment factories across the country for today.
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20140809 * Workers strike at RMG factories across Bangladesh Saturday:
Tuba Group, who are into the second week of a hunger strike for pay, have called for a strike at all readymade garment factories across Bangladesh on Saturday.
The worker action committee are pressing for several demands including payment of all dues to all workers.
The committee’s announcement came through a statement sent to the media on Friday night.
The statement, signed by Garment Workers Trade Union Centre’s General Secretary Qazi Ruhul Amin, said the strike was called demanding payment of dues to all garment workers across the country.
They are also demanding exemplary punishment to Tuba Group Managing Director Delwar Hossain after scrapping his bail, a stop to sacking and harassment of workers and filing cases against them.
The strike is also to protest against the arrests of agitating labour leaders and attack on the workers.
While on a hunger strike at Badda’s Tuba garment factory on Aug 5, Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Committee Convenor Moshrefa Mishu had threatened to call a strike across Bangladesh’s industrial zones for Saturday.
20140809 * Partial victory for Tuba workers:
The owner of the Tuba Group, aided by the government, the apparel exporters’ group Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association, broke the movement that workers of five clothing factories of the group had waged since July 28, a day before Eid-ul-Fitr that was celebrated the next day, for the payment of wages for May, June and July and the festival allowance before the movement could finish.
The police and hired goons barged into the Tuba Group factory at Badda in the capital Dhaka on
Thursday, as New Age reported on Friday, and drove out people, apparel workers and some political and
rights group leaders, who had been on hunger strike demanding the payment of the workers.
The group owner, Delwar Hossain, pawned about 1,200 people workers of the five clothing factories, who were forced to go on hunger strike to exert pressure on the authorities to pay them their dues, including the festival allowance, for his security from the other crimes that he had committed earlier.
He had been in jail since February 2014 after his arrest on surrender in the case of fire at Tazreen Fashions Ltd, in which at least 112 died on November 24, 2012.
What he did in securing his bail and release from jail is also unethical — he forced the workers to pass Eid starved on the factory premises at Badda, with their families, living in outlying districts remaining, in all probability, ill-fed, half-fed or starved.
After Delwar Hossain’s release from jail, while the BGMEA was disbursing wages, the police along with hired goons stormed into the factory and detained Garment Workers’ Unity Forum president Mushrefa Mishu, was leading the hunger strike, along with several other labour rights leaders. Delwar Hossain is now out of prison and it is all quiet on the factory premises.
Only the workers are left uncertain about getting their festival allowance.
It was, however, a partial win on part of the workers.
20140809 * Vigilance beefed up as strike today at RMG hubs:
25 hurt as workers clash with police
Vigilance and security in and around the country’s apparel hubs have been stepped up to avert any untoward incident as workers’ groups have planned to observe a dawn-to-dusk strike at their units today (Saturday).
Following intelligence reports of possible violence at industrial belts like Ashulia, Savar, Gazipur and Dhaka, industrial police increased the number of law enforcers there to protect the readymade garment (RMG) units from any violence.
Seeking anonymity, a senior security official said they had intelligence reports that some of the key apparel industrial zones could face violent labour protest during the strike hours that could also lead to production suspension.
“We took the report very seriously and all kinds of preparation have been taken to ensure smooth production at the factories,” he said, adding that activities of leaders of the labour groups came under their close watch. The measure was taken to prevent any possible incident of violence.
When contacted, Deputy Inspector General (Industrial Police) Abdus Salam said all the officials of the force had been instructed to remain alert with respect to the strike, which was called by Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Committee to realise their five-point demand, including full payment of workers’ arrears of five factories of the group.
“We’ll not allow any troublemaker in the highly sensitive apparel belts,” he said, adding that police members, both in uniform and plainclothes, have already been posted on duty in this connection.
Meanwhile, at least 25 people, mostly apparel workers, were injured Friday as protesting workers clashed with police at Uttara, Ashulia, Savar, Konabari and Mawna when they held rallies in protest against Thursday’s police action on agitating Tuba workers.
More than 15 workers’ groups under the banner of Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Committee staged protest rallies in all the apparel industrial zones to back the strike, scheduled to be observed today.
Talking to the FE, Mohammad Shahjahan, a workers’ leader who was assigned to coordinate the movement at Ashulia, said they brought out a procession in the apparel manufacturing belt.
When the peaceful procession reached the Fantasy Kingdom at Jamgora in Ashulia at about 4:45pm, police swing into action against them and that left at least 12 people injured. Another workers’ leader, Emdadul Islam, said their procession was also foiled by police at Savar that caused injuries to 10 people.
20140809 * RMG labour unrest:
It should be fairly resolved immediately
The incident at Tuba group is a typical example of how we managed to turn an isolated incident of workers’ disgruntlement over pay issues into a national issue.
With the deployment of high-handed measures in an effort to forcibly clear the premises of what was essentially a peaceful gathering of workers, we have managed to put the international spotlight back on the RMG sector.
Overnight, an incident of agitating workers in a single factory has become a national issue that threatens wider labour unrest in the RMG sector.
We question the logic behind the use of police, especially when arrears over back pay and Eid festivity bonus were in the process of being paid.
There are serious questions as to why even after the Managing Director of the Tuba Group was released on bail he has not been available to redress the issue of pay and bonus.
At a time when the country is being watched by important international buyers of RMG and progress on the tripartite agreement on safety of workers at the workplace is coming up for review, surely we could have done better than allow a one-factory issue becoming a national one.
20140809 * Police foil demo for Tuba workers:
Strike called in garment industry for today
Law enforcers did not allow garment workers to stage their prescheduled demonstrations at Savar and Ashulia industrial areas yesterday.
A group of workers tried to demonstrate in Ashulia around 5:00pm, demanding payment of three months’ wages and Eid bonuses for workers of five units of Tuba Group.
“Law enforcers beat the workers to thwart the demonstration,” alleged Shahidul Islam Sabuj, finance secretary of Garment Workers Unity Forum.
A total of 10 workers injured in Savar and Ashulia, he claimed.
But police outright denied the allegation.
“There’s no question of any worker getting injured … Two groups of workers gathered at Jamgora-Fantasy Kingdom area in Ashulia and in front of Rana Plaza site in Savar. Each group had 20-25 people. They ran away when local police chased them,” said Md Mustafizur Rahman, director of Industrial Police-1, Dhaka (Ashulia).
20140808 * Cops foil Tuba demo in Ashulia, Savar:
Garment workers and leaders could not organise their pre-scheduled demonstration in Savar and Ashulia today as law enforcers did not let them.
A group of workers tried to stage demonstration in Ashulia at 5:00pm but police foiled the programme.
“Workers stopped demonstration after seeing police,” Officer-in-Charge of Ashulia Police Station SM Badrul Alam told The Daily Star.
But a number of worker leaders claimed that police beat up the workers.
Law enforces have beaten up the workers to stop demonstration, said Shahidul Islam Sabuj, finance secretary of Garment Workers Unity Forum.
A total of ten workers were injured in Savar and more ten in Ashulia, he said.
Tuba Group Shramik Sangram Committee, a temporary platform of labour rights organisations, called a strike in garment factories across the country for Saturday demanding salaries for three months and Eid bonuses.
20140808 * Tight security in front of Badda RMG units:
Security measures have been beefed up in front of Readymade Garment factories in city’s Badda area to avert any untoward situation following ongoing workers’ unrest.
Huge police members are seen taking position in front of Tuba Garment, Fuji Tower, Holland center, Lutfun Tower in the area from Friday morning.
Armored Car of police (ACP), water cannon kept on alert on the spot to tackle any unexpected incidents for workers’ strike.
Regarding the matter, Badda thana officer-in-charge M A Jalil told banglanews that on Thursday, demonstrating RMG workers blocked road, vandalized vehicles, clashed with police over due salaries and bonuses. They also called workers’ strike for Friday. So, we beefed up security measures in the area.
20140808 * RMG workers to stage demo today :
Agitating workers of Tuba group will stage demonstrations on Friday protesting ‘police attacks’ on them and demanding payment of their dues.
Amid the confusion of salary disbursement, the garment workers on Thursday backtracked from their indefinite countrywide strike but announced demonstrations for Friday while a countrywide strike on Saturday.
Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Committee made the revised programme following changed scenario.
Earlier, Moshrefa Mishu, president of the Garment Workers Unity Forum, had announced the indefinite countrywide indefinite strike on behalf of the workers when she was arrested by police in front of Tuba Group factory in the city’s Badda area on Thursday.
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* Beximco Park fire yet to be doused:
The fire, which broke out at godown of a ready-made garment located at Beximco Industrial Park in Dhaka-Gazipur bordering Chakrabarty area early Sunday, is yet to be brought under control..
Locals told banglanews that “On information, seven units from Savar and Gazipur fire service stations rushed to the spot and are trying to bring the flame under control since 5:00am when the fire broke out there.
Gazipur Fire Service and Civil Defense Assistant Deputy Director Akhtaruzzaman Liton told banglanews that the fire originated from Crescent Fashion Design Limited warehouse at that area and later spread to a couple of building there.
* Poor wages key challenge to RMG sector: speakers:
BGMEA accused of siding with amoral
Inadequate wages, lack of workplace safety and trade union rights, and infrastructural weakness are the main challenges to the country’s readymade garment sector, said economists and trade union leaders in Dhaka on Saturday.
Criticising the role of the government and the apparel sector leaders over the crisis of Tuba Group workers, they said charging baton on the workers was an attempt to deny the lawful demands of the workers.
‘Garment sector will not sustain based on the cheap labour for long and the entrepreneurs will have to invest for enhanced productivity of the workers.
But the question is who will enjoy the benefits of enhanced productivity,’ former adviser to the caretaker government Hossain Zillur Rahman said in a dialogue held at the National Press Club.
The safety issue in the RMG sector has been focused following the tragic incidents in the Tazreen Fashions Ltd and Rana Plaza but it is also true that the incidents somewhat benefited factory owners as the source at tax has been reduced, he said.
Zillur criticised the role of the government and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and said a group of good entrepreneurs is working for the betterment of the sector and another amoral group is working for the betterment of their own.
‘The BGMEA represents them who are amoral and who have political influence,’ he said. Zillur said the BGMEA was the representative of the owners those who are backing cheap labour and creating bad precedent in the sector like Delwar Hossain.
He pointed out that inadequate health, accommodation and transport facilities for the workers were also the big challenges to the RMG sector. Writer and columnist Syed Abul Moksud said a comprehensive research was needed to identify the real challenges to the RMG sector.
He urged the government and the BGMEA to review the published and unpublished
investigation reports on the incidents occurred in last 25 years to identify the way-out of the prevailing problems. |
Dhaka University professor MM Akash said lack of trade union rights, proper
wages and compensation to the workers who were killed or injured in the workplace accidents were important issues for the sector. ‘To solve the problems a social insurance system will have to be established,’ he said.
* Workers unrest at Ashulia sweater factory:
The workers of Helicon Sweater factory started work abstention at Dhaka Export Processing Zone (DEPZ) in Savar, on outskirt of the capital, on Saturday.
Sources said that the workers of the factory entered into the factory on time and then started sit-in programme to meet their demands.
The workers complained that ownership of the factory has changed recently. And new owner reduced the basic salary and piece rate.
* Sweater factory workers demand piece rate hike:
Workers of Helicon Ltd in Savar demonstrated yesterday for a hike in piece rates.
Helicon is an export-oriented sweater factory at the Dhaka Export Processing Zone (DEPZ) on the outskirts of the capital.
The ownership of the factory changed hands recently, and the new management has cut basic salaries of workers and slashed the piece rates, a worker said on condition of anonymity.
The workers and the factory management were called for mediation, said Md Mostafizur Rahman, director of Ashulia Industrial Police.
The incident is not related to the countrywide strike called by Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Committee, he said.
The factory management could not be reached for comments.
* Buyers remain wary of tensions in RMG sector:
Leading buyers of readymade garments (RMG) were wary of the situation in the RMG sector as the tensions rose over the Tuba workers’ payments.
“Labour unrest at several garment units including those of Tuba Group is giving a bad message to the global market badly affecting expansion of the country’s RMG export destinations”, secretary general of Bangladesh Garment Buying House Association (BGBHA) Aminul Islam told the FE.
He said a large number of international buyers of Bangladeshi apparel products were expressing their concerns to the local manufacturers about the tensions in the RMG sector.
They were also saying that the photos and videos of police action against the protesting workers were prompting both new and old buyers to turn to other countries.
“Our foreign buyers are telling us that the common consumers in their countries are unwilling to buy Bangladeshi products for the recent action by law enforcers against the workers,” he said.
Mr Islam, also Managing Director of City Import & City Apparel Tex, said buyers including apparel giants like Wal-Mart, JC Penny, Zara, Tesco, IKEA, Marks and Spencer, H&M, Uniqlo and Li&Fung expressed their concern about the condition in the garment and textile sectors and the prospects for their business in the country.
* BGMEA doesn’t stand by compliant factories:
A former adviser says the platform represents opportunist sub-contractors
A former caretaker government adviser yesterday came down on the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, the apex trade body for the garment sector, for its continued support to the sub-contractors who run noncompliant factories.
“The BGMEA does not represent the successful entrepreneurs who have already invested to ensure the safety of their workers. It only stands for the sub-contractors, who exploit the cheap labour force, and the politically-linked owners,” said Hossain Zillur Rahman, a former caretaker government adviser.
He cited the Tuba Group as a case in point. “The owner of Tuba Group is a sub-contractor — why are the BGMEA and the government standing up for him?”
Rahman’s comments came at a dialogue on the challenges facing the garment industry and ways to overcome them, jointly organised by Chintar Chash, a research firm, and The Dhaka Forum at the National Press Club in the capital.
When contacted, BGMEA President Atiqul Islam, however, said it is no longer possible to manufacture garments under the sub-contracting system, as the international retailers are wary of placing orders under the arrangement nowadays.
“We used to cater work orders under sub-contracting a few years ago. But, now we are facing a crisis of orders due to some oddities over the last two years. Perhaps, Hossain Zillur Rahman is not aware of the latest situation,” he added.
* RMG census to propel its growth stressed:
The country should carry out a Readymade Garment (RMG) census to know the exact number of workers working in the apparel industry and their characteristics, a leading economist said here Saturday, reports BSS.
“Alongside looking into compliance issue, we need to conduct a RMG survey to know the characteristics of workers…it will largely benefit local apparel makers,” said Dr Binayak Sen, Research Director at the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS), at a dialogue in the city.
Chintar Chash, a research-oriented organisation, arranged the dialogue titled ‘Challenges of RMG Industry and Way Out’ at the Jatiya Press Club (JPC).
Former Bangladesh Bank governor Dr Salehuddin Ahmed moderated the session while Director of Economic Research Bureau (ERB) and Professor of Economics Department of Dhaka University Dr Shafiq Uz Zaman presented the keynote paper.
Former Caretaker Government advisers Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman and Mahbub Jamil, noted columnist Syed Abul Moksud, Chairman of Chintar Chash Mohammad Shafiqur Rahman and Secretary General of Citizen Rights Movement Tushar Rehman addressed it.
Former president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Abdus Salam Murshedi, former president of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) Fazlul Haque and first vice-president of BKMEA Mohammad Hatem also spoke.
Dr Sen said the RMG survey should be included in the year-long plan of BGMEA. He highlighted different issues including compliance issue and safety standard and labour rights.
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* Workers right needs to bolster the economy:
Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan today underscored the need for preferring the workers right which is necessary to strengthen the economy of the country.
“Workers, apparel factory owners and the government also have contribution in development of the apparels sector of the country-so no atrocities but well practice of trade unionism can protect the interest of the workers”, said the minister.
The minister said this as the chief guest while he was speaking at public parliament debate programme at Bashundara city here.
The debate competition titled “the role of the government and the trade union for protecting the interest of the garment workers”, held between South East University and BGMEA University.
The minister, however, said that the government and the trade union are not rival-rather these are complementary to one another.
The workers as a whole are playing important role in overall development of the country, poverty alleviation, raising national growth and procuring foreign remittance, said the minister, “so, the present government has taken various initiatives which are helpful to protect the right of the workers”.
Debate for Democracy organized the function while its chairman Hasan Ahmed Chowdhury Kiron chaired it.
* ‘Foreign investment not required in RMG sector’:
Abdus Salam Murshedi, leader of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), has said foreign investment is no more necessary in the readymade garments sector.
“The foreign investment is not needed in the garment sector in Bangladesh but the investment is required for backward linkage,” he said.
The former BGMEA president made the observation while addressing a discussion meeting at National Press Club in city on Saturday.
Two organizations ‘Chintar Chash’ and ‘The Dhaka Forum’ arranged the meeting to find ways to face the challenges by readymade garments sector and to get rid of them.
He also said, “We started from the scratch after the liberation war and now we have an investment of around US $24 billion in the readymade garments sector; this was not achieved in a day.”
“We should focus on backward linkage industries and foreign investment is necessary in that sector not directly in ready made garments sector,” he said.
* RMG exports to US fall in six months as Vietnam thrives:
Bangladesh’s apparel export to the US fell by 1.39 per cent to $2.45 billion in the first six months of 2014 compared with that of the same period in last year as Vietnam, the main competitor of Bangladesh, is gaining more ground in the market while India is emerging.
Experts and exporters said that the tragic industrial incidents of Rana Plaza building collapse and Tazreen Fashions fire were behind the negative growth in the export to the US market.
Apparel export earnings of Bangladesh from the US market were $2.48 billion in January-June of 2013.
Exporters said that due to negative campaign following the Rana Plaza building collapse and political turmoil in last year a good number of export orders were shifted from Bangladesh to Vietnam and India.
In the first six months of the current calendar year, the RMG export of Vietnam to the US market rose by 15.45 per cent to $4.28 billion from $3.71 billion in the same period of last year, showed US commerce department data released on Thursday.
* Handloom industry in dire straits for lack of govt’s policy support:
Thousands of handloom factories in the country have been closed down in the last couple of years and many others are facing the same fate mainly for want of government’s policy support, industry insiders said.
They said around 0.2 million units out of nearly 0.5 million handloom units in the country have been closed down and many others are on the verge of closure.
The then government in 2001, assured the handloom owners of providing cotton, dyes and chemicals at fair price along with arranging financial support with a minimum charge, but the promise was not kept up, resulting in the closure of almost all the small capital based units, they said.
Besides, absence of modern cloth processing centres also played a role behind the sorry state of the sector.
According to them, handloom is the second largest labour intensive sector for rural employment after agriculture.
Over 1.5 million people are involved with the sector directly or indirectly.
* Cops recover 2 bodies from RMG factory:
Police recovered the bodies of two workers from the effluent treatment plant (ETP) of a garment factory in Vannara area under Kaliakoir upazila of the district yesterday.
The victims were identified as Abdur Razzak, 55, son of Sohrab Hossain of Siddipasha village under Abhoynagar upazila of Jessore district and Lavlu Miah, 20, son of Sadekul Islam of Khamarbari village under Palashbari upazila of Gaibandha district.
Razzak was the operator and Lavlu the helper of the ETP plant of Urmi Knitwear Limited.
Police said the two employees did not return to their homes after their duties on Friday. The factory authorities found their corpses floating in the tanks of the ETP waste water and informed the Mouchak police outpost.
On information, police rushed to the spot and recovered the bodies from the tank at around 10 am yesterday and sent them to Gazipur Sadar Hospital morgue. Police also recovered their dresses from near the ETP house but could not ascertain the cause of their death immediately.
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13:38:57 local time INDIA
* Trade unions oppose govt’s move on labour, FDI, disinvestment:
The unions have called a national protest convention of workers in the national capital in the first week of September
Central trade unions on Friday strongly opposed the recent moves of the central government related to labour law amendments, foreign direct investment in various sectors and disinvestment in public sector undertakings by issuing a formal statement.
“All the central trade unions have strongly opposed in one voice, the onslaught on the working class by the Narendra Modi government through its move of massive amendment of various fundamental labour laws and that too unilaterally, totally ignoring the central trade unions,” stated the 11 trade unions after holding a meeting on Thursday.
It alleged the labour law amendments in Rajasthan were taking place “with the approval of the Modi government”. The unions have called a national protest convention of workers in the national capital in the first week of September and for a plan of action to be decided in the forum.
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13:08:57 local time PAKISTAN
* Textile sector: PTEA, ILO weave together programme for compliance:
The International Labour Organisation (ILO), in collaboration with the Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA), is setting up the ILO-ILS Textile Programme, with an aim to improve the application of labour laws in Pakistan and ensure continuity of the country’s exports to the global market.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will be signed between the two bodies this month.
PTEA Chairman and Vice Chairman Sheikh Ilyas Mahmood said the programme has been designed in a way to further the agenda of ILO in Pakistan.
He added that the primary purpose is to improve adherence to national laws and international labour standards in Pakistani textile factories and develop buyers’ confidence that standards in these factories are being publicly monitored. In addition, the programme will also help establish an effective coordination mechanism between textile industries, related workers’ organisations and labour departments on ILS compliance and reporting.
He said that the government is working on improving its textile industries’ competitiveness in the global market.
However, maintaining this GSP-Plus status, which Pakistan was granted at the start of this year, depends on how well the government implements and reports on the country’s application of 27 UN Conventions including eight ILO fundamental conventions.
* Prgmea fears low orders for Christmas, New Year:
Pakistan’s textile exports might fall during the current fiscal year as global buyers apprehending that the country’s power and gas shortages might delay their supplies have placed unexpectedly low orders for Christmas and New Year seasons, exporters informed to media.
They said the western buyers are largely reluctant to place orders with Pakistani textile exporters for such big occasions in Europe and the US fearing low industrial output in the wake of the country’s power and gas crises. “The trust of global buyers in Pakistan exporters is sliding because of continuing power and gas shortages in the country,” they opined.
Talking to media, Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association’s (Prgmea) chief co-ordinator, Ijaz A. Khokhar, said the global buyers have now strategically changed their preferences for the country’s textile sector because of delays in shipments to the west.
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