In the news 11 August 2014

23:45:33 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Unions, Factories Set Positions on Minimum Wage Raise:

Unions and factories remained at odds over where to peg next year’s minimum wage for the garment sector after a meeting between representatives for both sides on Friday, though they agreed to resume the talks later in the month.

Earlier this year, the Labor Advisory Committee, made up of government, factory and union representatives, agreed to hold a series of negotiations that will lead up to the start of a new minimum wage for garment workers on January 1.

The committee is aiming to settle on the new wage in October, and Friday’s meeting was the first between the unions and Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) to begin the process.

Kong Athit, vice president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union, said the unions all went into the meeting having agreed to call for a raise of the minimum monthly wage from $100, where it sits now, to $177.

“We want the employers to increase it between $160 and $177 per month,” he said. “Although we did not reach an agreement, GMAC and the unions discussed and shared ideas, and we will continue discussing.”
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Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Workers End Protest After Taking Sewing Machines:

About 200 employees of a Phnom Penh garment factory agreed to go back to work after reaching a deal with the factory Sunday, a day after they walked off the job—with some sewing machines in hand—because the owners could not pay them on time.

Long Sarann, police chief of Pur Senchey district’s Trapaing Krasaing commune, said his officers were called in when the employees of the Korean-owned Atto garment factory walked off the job on Saturday and took eight sewing machines outside with them.

“The workers protested and took the sewing machines outside because the factory could not pay their monthly salaries on time,” he said.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Man Killed, 12 Injured in Latest Garment Worker Truck Crash:

A garment worker was killed and a dozen more were injured when the truck they were traveling in overturned in Phnom Penh’s Pur Senchey district on Saturday afternoon in the latest case of a serious traffic accident involving factory workers, who are crammed into truck beds by the dozens and transported to and from factories around the country.

Keo Channoeun, 18, died at the scene and another four workers were rushed to hospitals after the truck flipped over due to what police suspect was a reckless and drunk driver who attempted to flee the scene after the accident, according to Kambol commune police chief Phann Phoeun.

“Witnesses saw a truck full of workers in the back drifting left and right at a high speed. The truck then lost control and overturned with dozens of workers thrown 3 to 4 meters from the truck,” said Mr. Phoeun, adding that local residents attacked the driver as he attempted to flee prior to being arrested.
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Cambodia_Daily_logo PPP new CAMHERALD

* BetterFactories Media Updates 11 August 2014, Man Killed 12 Injured in Latest Garment Worker Truck Crash:

* To read in the printed edition of the Cambodia Daily:

2014-08-11 Unions, Factories Set Positions on Minimum Wage Raise
2014-08-11 Man Killed 12 Injured in Latest Garment Worker Truck Crash
BetterFactories Media Upates here.
BF NEW

00:45:33 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* BetterWork Indonesia Media Updates:

1. Workers, Employers Welcome New Health Plan But Challenges Remain.
Read the full article here.
2. Minimum Wage: Workers Request 30% Rise, Legislative ask Decent Living Component to be Evaluated.
Read the full article here (Article is in Bahasa Indonesia)
Read the Google Translate English Version here.
3. Cirebon informal workers interested in Employment Social Security.
Read the full article here  (Article is in Bahasa Indonesia)
See the Google Translate English Version here
.
4. Textile Association Think Government Support as Very Urgent.
Read the full article here  (Article is in Bahasa Indonesia)
Read the Google Translate English Version here
.
5. Industrial Investment Flat: Minister. Read the full article here.
6.Textile Production Grow Weakly due to Business Uncertainty.
Read the full article here  (Article is in Bahasa Indonesia)
Read the Google Translate English Version here
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7.Remarkable Indonesia Pavilion at August Sourcing at MAGIC 2014.
Read the full article here.

BetterWork Indonesia Media Updates overview here.
BW indonesia

23:15:33 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

* Survey on commodity prices and living costs to be conducted for setting minimum wage:

A survey will be conducted across the country on commodity prices and living costs at the end of this month to help set a minimum wage, Naw Aung, a worker representative from the national committee for setting a minimum wage, has said.

Survey teams including workers will be formed in 14 regions and states throughout the country.

The survey will cover average family members, commodity prices, expenditure and other expenses for living, clothes and fuel, etc.

“We will collect the average number of households in wards. Then, we’ll classify ‘model families’. The model family has a decent living. We will conduct a survey on living costs of model families and poor families,” he said.
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Eleven

* Chinese firm and local company to build garment factory in Bago:

20140811 ELEVEN
Garment factory in Hlaingthaya Township, Yangon Region (EMG).

A Chinese company will cooperate with local firm Lat War to create a garment factory in Bago region – a US$20-million project expected to employ thousands of people.

Sumec Textile & Light Co Ltd, the Chinese firm, and Lat War will rent a former paper factory from the Ministry of Industry in Yedashe Township, Bago, Dr Khin Maung Aye, the managing director of Lat War garment company, said.

“We rent the Yaene paper factory for this garment factory. Total investment is around US$20 million (Ks 19.46 billion),” he said.

“Factory processes have started to operate and over 200 staff have already been placed in some parts of the factory. After phase one of the factory is finished, about 1,500 employees will get jobs and after phase two over 5,000, and after phase three, up to 15,000 [people].

“This project is targeted to give jobs to 15,000 employees,” Dr Khin Maung Aye said.
read more.
Eleven

22:45:33 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

 20140810 4-5demands

20140811 * RMG would benefit from wage tribunals:

Set up a system that can adjudicate on wage issues and help prevent disputes

Around 1,600 Tuba Group employees have suffered from not receiving wages for on average the last three months.

The BGMEA’s action last week in paying these wages for May and June, and the company’s announcement that it will pay for July, are hopeful signs that this particular dispute may now be ended.

While there are disquieting aspects about the way this particular dispute has been prolonged, it raises a more general question for the RMG sector.

Namely that many RMG companies face severe pressures which can give rise to genuine financial reasons for delays in paying wages.

In this case, matters have been helped by the BGMEA commendably agreeing to pay some of the overdue wages even though they were under no legal obligation to assume these liabilities. A proper system is needed to help address this type of issue in other cases.
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DHAKATRIBUNE

20140811 * Tofail for BGMEA fund to handle Tuba-like crisis:

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed on Sunday suggested that the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) create a fund to tackle crisis like the Tuba Group’s one.

The minister made the recommendation at a press conference at BGMEA Bhaban in the city, which was arranged on the occasion of disbursement of salaries and dues among the workers of five Tuba Group garment factories.

The Tuba Group authorities disbursed some Tk 1.05 crore among 1,417 workers of its five factories for the month of July and overtime bills at the BGMEA Bhaban on Sunday.

Tofail said the workers have already been given salaries and other dues except Eid bonus. “They must be given Eid bonus as well.”

Criticising some progressive political parties for what he said their instigation behind the Tuba crisis, the minister said, “They wanted that anarchy prevails and the workers remain unpaid. What type of ideology is this?”
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UNBnew DHAKATRIBUNE

20140811 * Doubt over resuming production at Tuba Group factories:

The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association president, Md Atiqul Islam, on Sunday said that there was a doubt whether the owners of Tuba Group could resume production at their five apparel factories soon.

‘It might be difficult for the owner to resume production in the factories soon as under the circumstances the company owner had to give wages to the workers by selling land and the machineries of the factories,’ he said at a briefing at the association headquarters in the city.

Atiqul said that labour unrest had taken place in the factories of Tuba Group centring the outstanding wages for three months as the owner were in the jail but the association arranged the wages for two months on August 6 on humanitarian ground and rest of the wages and allowances were paid on Sunday by the factory authority.

‘The factory owner will decide whether he will run the factories or not,’ he said. At the briefing, commerce minister Tofail Ahmed thanked the association leaders and said it was insignificant that out of 4,000 apparel factories, problem occurred only at one factory.

He said that the Tuba Group owner, Delwar Hossain, was released from jail on bail as per the law and there was no interference of the government but the government put pressure on Delwar to pay thearrears of the workers.
Replying to a query, he said, ‘If the owner fails to run the factories he will have to pay the workers as per the law.’ He, however, criticised the statement of former caretaker government adviser Hossain Zillur Rahman and said they might criticise the government in round tables but could not stop development.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

20140811 * AG office now seeks copy of order on Delwar’s bail:

The attorney general’s office on Sunday filed an application to get the certified copy of a High Court order that had granted bail to Tuba Group managing director Delwar Hossain on which he was released five days ago.

Assistant attorney general Sheikh Saifuzzaman filed the application, said officials concerned. ‘We cannot make a decision whether to move the Appellate Division challenging the bail, as we are yet to get the certified copy of the High Court order,’ said additional attorney general Murad Reza following Delwar’s release on August 5.
He had told reporters that his office applied for a copy of the order following issuance of the order by the High Court on July 24 in a case of culpable homicide by negligence in connection with the fire at his apparel factory Tazreen Fashions that killed 112 workers in November 2012.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

20140811 * Tuba workers get July dues:

20140811 FE
RMG workers of the trouble-torn Tuba Group waiting in queues in front of the BGMEA Bhaban at Karwan Bazar in the capital Sunday to collect their July wages. — FE Photo

The Tuba Group authorities disbursed wages and overtime bills for the month of July to their workers on Sunday.

A total of 1,470 workers of the group received their dues at the headquarters of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) in the capital.
BGMEA president Atiqul Islam was present when the payments to the Tuba Group workers started.

Sabura Begum, a senior sewing operator of Tuba Group, said she had received a total of Tk 5,490.
She received Tk 5,290 as the wage for the month of July and Tk 200 as the attendance allowance. She expressed her satisfaction.

Sharmin Nahar, another operator, said the authorities of Tuba Group had distributed wages and overtime bills for July but not festival allowance.
She said they had been expecting that all dues would be cleared, but it was not. Still the payment of festival allowance remained uncertain.
read more.
FE bd

20140811 * BGMEA asked to form emergency fund:

20140811 DAILYSTAR

Tuba workers’ salaries paid; Eid bonuses still uncertain

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed yesterday suggested Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association form an emergency fund to handle precarious situations like the Tuba Group workers’ payment crisis.

“It is my suggestion to the BGMEA to form the fund to face any emergency,” Ahmed said at a press conference at the BGMEA office following the completion of payments to Tuba Group workers.

The association yesterday distributed the salaries and overtime allowances of 1,417 workers of Tuba Group on behalf of its owner Delwar Hossain. Hossain sold off his land and machineries to arrange the Tk 1.4 crore that was needed.

Ahmed also came down heavily on former commerce adviser Hossain Zillur Rahman for his comments on the garment sector.

Rahman in a roundtable on Saturday said the government and the BGMEA always stand beside the non-compliant garment factories.
(…)
About the fate of Tuba Group now, Ahmed said it remains in its owner’s hands.
(…)

Khan said the Tuba Group owner will pay the festival bonuses, which is still outstanding, to workers later.

State Minister for Labour and Employment Mujibul Haque Chunnu said the government arranged for Hossain’s bail in the workers’ interest.

If Hossain was still in jail, it would have taken six months or more for the workers to get their arrears, he said. “We created pressure on Delwar Hossain and on the BGMEA to pay the workers,” Chunnu said.

Meanwhile, Khokon Mia, an operator at one of Tuba Group’s factories, said every worker received a month’s salary and overtime payment yesterday. But, in many cases, the overtime amount was not calculated properly and workers did not get the exact amount.

Khadiza Akter, an operator of Bugsan Fashion, a unit of the Tuba Group, said she got the right amount of salaries.

Sirajul Islam Rony, member of the minimum wage board for garment workers, said every worker got their salaries properly. “I have not noticed any problem in payment to the workers.”
read more.
daily star bd

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20140810 * Tofail for emergency RMG fund:

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed today suggested the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) to generate a fund for any emergency like Tuba Group workers’ payment crisis.

Tofail was speaking at a press conference on the payment to the workers of the Tuba Group at the BGMEA office.

The BGMEA paid the salary of the month of July and overtime allowances to 1,417 workers of the Tuba Group at the BGMEA office from 2:00 in the afternoon.
“It is my suggestion to the BGMEA to form the fund to face any emergency moment,” Ahmed said.
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daily star bd DHAKATRIBUNE FE bd

20140810 * Tuba Group distributing July wage among workers:

The authorities of Tuba Group have started distributing wage of July and overtime bills to its workers, who went on hunger strike since July 28 demanding three-month wages and Eid bonus.

Hundreds of the workers of the Tuba Group gathered to take their due payments this afternoon at the headquarters of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association (BGMEA) at Karwan Bazar in the capital.

Delwar Hossain, owner of the factory started distributing the payments to his workers around 2:00pm.BGMEA officials are also present there.
The decision of distributing salary for the month of July came at a meeting between the owners of Tuba Group and representatives of BGMEA, workers and the government at the Parliament Members Club yesterday.
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daily star bd banglanews24NEW UNBnew prothom

* Mandatory use of jute sacks:

The recent verdict of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, upholding the government order to make mandatory use of jute sacks for packaging rice has provided a much sought-after support that the country’s jute sacks industry needed for long.

It is, no doubt, a last ditch attempt to enforce the government decision on the use of sacks made of jute as against those of  plastic or polythene.
The ministry of textiles and jute on September 26, 2013 had issued a circular on mandatory use of jute bags for commercial packaging of rice by the private rice millers and rice traders.
It had also asked them to stop using polythene/plastic bags by December last year. But the circular was far from seeing the results it was meant for as millers and traders paid least heed to comply with its instructions.

Subsequently, some rice mill owners filed a writ petition with the High Court seeking a stay on the enforcement of the circular. In response, the High Court in its ad-interim order, stayed the directive relating to the mandatory jute-bag use.
Now, following the Appellate Division’s verdict vacating the stay order, it is for the concerned authorities and law enforcers to ensure compliance with the court order.

As always with most government directives in this country, the lacuna often lies with the practicality or ground realities in implementing those.
As for the use of jute sacks, the immediate difficulty faced by the millers and traders was non-availability of jute sacks in sufficient quantity all over the country.
Coupled with it was the price of jute sacks, reportedly higher, compared with those made of plastic or other artificial materials.
Re-usability of the latter was also a matter of convenience that appeared to discourage the users from being compliant.
read more.
FE bd

22:15:33 local time map of india INDIA

* Unions plan action against changes to labour laws:

A slew of changes in labour legislations proposed by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has brought 11 Central Trade Unions (CTUs), with a wide spectrum of political affiliations, on a common platform.

The CTUs — including those backed by the Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Left parties — met late last week and decided to hold a joint national convention in New Delhi in the first week of September to plan action against what they call “unilateral” moves by the government to amend labour laws.
The CTUs, in a joint statement issued after the meeting, said the amendments were being pushed through in a hurry despite an earlier assurance by Labour Minister Narendra Singh Tomar that they would be consulted.

They said the amendments would have “serious negative impact on working conditions, including trade union rights of workers.”
The amendments were aimed at empowering employers to retrench or lay off workers, declare closure at will and resort to large-scale contractualisation, they said.
read more.
THEHINDU

* Factories Bill seeks to overhaul labour law:

The Bill acknowledges the reality of women at the workplace, increases worker safety and reduces the days an employee must work to be eligible for annual leave

The Factories (Amendment) Bill of 2014, tabled in the Lok Sabha, could be considered the first piece of an expected incremental overhaul of India’s labour laws by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government.

The Bill acknowledges the reality of women at the workplace, increases worker safety and facilities, and reduces the days an employee must work to be eligible for annual leave. It also proposes to increase the permissible limits for overtime from 50 to 100 hours a quarter in normal circumstances and 125 hours of overtime a quarter “in public interest”, with permission from the state government.

The Bill grants state governments the freedom to raise the threshold of applicability of the law – from companies employing 10 employees working with the aid of electricity and 20 employees without, to 20 employees working with electricity and 40 without.
read more.
BUSINESSSTANDARD 2

* Textile policy draft sets 8-fold jump in exports:

Information technology is one of the most vibrant industries in India, generating not just huge revenues and profits for the producers, but also jobs, especially in smaller cities and towns.

India’s textile sector, which is the second-largest employer after agriculture, is poised to grow at an even faster pace if the government accepts the recommendations made by an expert panel.

The Narendra Modi government has laid emphasis on the manufacturing sector and wants to encourage industry by providing incentives, leading to faster growth, employment generation and exports. Textile is one sector which can gain substantially from these policies.
read more.
DAWNnew

21:45:33 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Families of 2012 factory fire victims struggle for compensation:

Families of the victims of the Baldia factory that was gutted in September 2012 took out a rally, led by the National Trade Union Federation, from the Arts Council traffic intersection to the Karachi Press Club on Sunday.

The main demand of the participants was that the Employees’ Old Age Benefits Institution (EOBI) issue them pension permits.

Mohammad Jabir — father of 22-year-old victim of the Baldia factory fire Mohammad Jahanzaib and scrap dealer in the Shershah Market — is now heading an association formed about a month ago by the families of the fire victims to help them with the compensation process and “to speak for the neglected families”.

Speaking at the rally in the afternoon, surrounded by families of victims at the Arts Council, Mr Jabir said that the EOBI was reluctant to issue pensions as “most of the victims who died in the fire were young and not eligible to get one”.

A mother of one of the victims — 30-year-old Mohammad Ayan — also spoke at the rally. When the woman started to speak she began crying. She said that the families were being ignored by the higher-ups. “Two years after the incident we are left to fend for ourselves,” she added.

Speaking about their demands, Nasir Mansoor, deputy general secretary of the NTUF, said that at present there were facing “multiple issues” regarding Baldia factory fire victims.

“One is the lifelong payment of compensation to the families. The EOBI is refusing to allow pension for more than five years. We are working to resolve the issue by communicating our reservations with them. We want them to provide a lifelong pension to the families who have lost their breadwinners,” he said.

Speaking further, he said that soon after the tragedy, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and property tycoon Malik Riaz announced compensations for the families — 120 of them. However, they haven’t heard back from them as yet, he added.

“Only a few among the families received compensation, but 120 of them are still waiting,” he added.

Apart from that, the trade union is also planning to file a petition against two international companies — the RINA and the KIK. The former would be sued for issuing a social audit certificate and the latter for not agreeing to pay the long term compensation to the families, he said.

The NTUF also demanded that the government introduce proper protection and safety laws which could be implemented to ensure safety for labourers and factory workers.

As for compensations, the counsel for the victims of the Baldia factory fire, Faisal Siddiqi, had called a press conference along with the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler) executive director Karamat Ali on the same issue a week ago.
read more.
DAWNnew

* Withholding rights: Families of Baldia fire victims yet to receive compensation:

The compensation amount announced by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should be paid to the heirs of the Baldia factory fire victims and the Employees Old-Age Benefit Institution (EOBI) should issue life-time pension cards for them, demanded the speakers of a rally.

The rally was jointly staged on Sunday by the National Trade Union Federation Pakistan and the Association of the Affectees of Baldia Fire Tragedy.
The demonstrators marched from the Arts Council of Pakistan to the Karachi Press Club.

Addressing the rally, NTUF central deputy-general secretary Nasir Mansoor said that despite the incident, the government and related departments are yet to take steps to safeguard the lives of workers.
He said that 259 workers were burnt alive but no precautionary actions have been taken after this grave tragedy.
He said the apathy of the rulers can be gauged from the fact that the aid announced is yet to be given to the families of the victims.
to read.
tribune

* Two years later, Baldia fire still burns in hearts:

The heirs of the Baldia factory fire victims, trade unionists and civil society activists staged a rally outside the press club on Sunday to mark the second anniversary of the tragic event and demand compensation from the stakeholders indirectly involved in the disaster and also lifelong pension from the Employees’ Old-age Benefits Institute (EOBI).

The participants of the rally, staged jointly by the National Trade Union Federation Pakistan (NTUF) and the association formed by the people affected by the Baldia tragedy, pointed out that as the KIK, the German company that was having its products manufactured at the ill-fated factory, and the RINA, the Italian organisation that issued an SA8000 certificate and thereby attesting to its compliance with the social accountability system, were equally responsible for the disaster and should compensate the heirs of the people killed in the fire.

However, they added, these organisations were reluctant to accept responsibility and compensate the affected people as per the international laws.

Besides, they also demanded that the EOBI had issued pension cards to heirs valid for just five years instead of a lifetime.

On September 11, 2012, over 250 people were killed when a fire broke out at the Ali Enterprises garment factory in Baldia Town.

A case was registered under sections related to murder against the factory owners, its general manager, security guards and some government officials over negligence.

Around 150 people, including the heirs of the victims, industrial workers, students and civil society activists, participated in the rally.

They walked from the Arts Council to the press club. Speaking on the occasion, NTUF central deputy general secretary Nasir Mansoor said the government had still no taken steps to safeguard the lives of factory workers.

“Even though 259 workers were burnt alive, no precautionary actions have been taken after tragedy,” he noted. “Such incidents will continue to happen at factories and that shows that the rulers are least concerned about the lives of workers.”

Mansoor said the heirs had still not received the aid announced for them by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
read more.
thenewspk

 

 

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INFO:
There are updates under “special overviews”:

* TUBA Garment Workers Strike & Tazreen bail 20140724-now
* TAZREEN Fire Part 2 20 November 2013- NOW
* Minimum Wage-LIVING WAGE- PART 6: 20140607 – NOW
* The BALDIA (& Lahore) Fire September 2012 –PART 3 20121120- NOW

* 24 April 2013 THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE Part 5 20140502- now

HEADLINES:

CAMBODIA
* Unions, Factories Set Positions on Minimum Wage Raise
* Workers End Protest After Taking Sewing Machines
* Man Killed, 12 Injured in Latest Garment Worker Truck Crash
* BetterFactories Media Updates 11 August

INDONESIA
* BetterWork Indonesia Media Updates

BURMA/MYANMAR
* Survey on commodity prices and living costs to be conducted for setting minimum wage
* Chinese firm and local company to build garment factory in Bago

BANGLADESH
* RMG would benefit from wage tribunals
* Tofail for BGMEA fund to handle Tuba-like crisis
* Doubt over resuming production at Tuba Group factories
* AG office now seeks copy of order on Delwar’s bail
* Tuba workers get July dues
* BGMEA asked to form emergency fund
* Tofail for emergency RMG fund
* Tuba Group distributing July wage among workers
* Mandatory use of jute sacks

INDIA
* Unions plan action against changes to labour laws
* Factories Bill seeks to overhaul labour law
* Textile policy draft sets 8-fold jump in exports

PAKISTAN
* Families of 2012 factory fire victims struggle for compensation
* Withholding rights: Families of Baldia fire victims yet to receive compensation
* Two years later, Baldia fire still burns in hearts

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