In the news 21 August 2014

08:51:11 local time map of china CHINA

* From dusk till dawn, Suzhou Creek sculpture is a no-go zone for locals:

20140820 SHANGHAIdaily
A sculpture of nine textile workers near Suzhou Creek is widely regarded as an attractive work of art during the day, but under the cover of darkness it takes on a ghostly aura.
— Zhang Suoqing. read more.

07:51:11 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Minimum wage spike seen piling pressure on employers:

Many firms have expressed concerns over a recent proposal to raise the minimum wage by region by an average of 15.1% next year as agreed upon by the National Wage Council, saying it would put them into a more difficult position.

The director of a footwear company in Binh Duong Province said if the minimum salary is raised by 14-15% to VND3.1 million, bonuses would rise accordingly. The current pay for an apprentice in the company ranges from VND6 million to VND7 million.

However, the wage hike will send other relevant costs rising, making it hard for producers to maintain normal operations and at the same time keep prices competitive, the director said.

His company spends nearly VND10 billion paying for its workers a month but when the new wage takes effect, the payroll could surge to VND11-12 billion. “We have four production lines run by 1,200 employees. We could be forced to scale down operations if the minimum salary is up 15.1%, thus laying off certain staff,” he added.

He also noted workers’ living standards and businesses’ operations could be assured without having to raise the minimum salary if inflation is kept low.
read more in BUSINESS IN BRIEF 21/8. (for last item).

* Businesses unaware of competition rules:

20140821 VNNews
Only 1.6% of polled enterprises said they fully understand the law, while 92% said they are aware but are not clear.— Photo baocongthuong

Though the Law on Competition took effect in 2005, only a small number of enterprises understand its provisions, a seminar heard yesterday in HCM City.

The law aims to preserve the rights of enterprises to compete freely and lawfully with each other, said Pham Van Cao of the Viet Nam Competition Administration Department (VCAD) under the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Competitive practices by an enterprise that are contrary to general standards of business ethics and which cause, or may cause, damage to the interests of the State and/or the legitimate rights and interests of other enterprises or consumers are defined as unfair competitive practices, Cao said.

In order to protect consumers and to ensure competitors can compete freely, the law prohibits enterprises from undertaking following unfair competitive practices: misleading instructions; infringement of business secrets; coercion in business; defamation of other enterprises; causing disruption to the business activities of other enterprises; advertisements or promotions aimed at unfair competition; discrimination by association; and illegal multi-level selling.
read more.
VNNews new

* Social welfare procedures in need of revamp: National Assembly:

20140819 VNNet

Mai was speaking at a meeting of the committee to hear a report by the ministry on its implementation of the NA’s Standing Committee’s resolution and ordinances on policies for those who have contributed to the country’s revolution.

The report said welfare policies for these beneficiaries had been carried out well and comprehensively. Supporting policies on health-care service and accommodations had been adjusted accordingly to the changes of wage and social insurance.

At present, 1.4 million people receive monthly supporting policies. However, the report also said that there are still cases in which the intended benefactors have not been confirmed and able to received support.

Besides, there are still shortcomings in implementing welfare policies for these people. A group of them are still living in difficulties due to old age and decreased health conditions while the procedures for welfare policies are complicated and lengthy.
read more.

* Better Work Vietnam: Garment Industry 7th Compliance Synthesis Report:

Reporting period: February 2013 – January 2014
Number of factory assessments in this report: 137

The Better Work Vietnam program, a partnership of the International Labour Organization and the International Finance Corporation, began conducting independent assessments of working conditions in Vietnamese apparel factories in December 2009.

Each assessment consists of four on-site person days and includes management, union and worker interviews, document reviews, and factory
The goal of these assessments is to establish a baseline of performance against which participating factories can work with Better Work Vietnam to make ongoing improvements to their working conditions.

Better Work produces public synthesis reports for each country program twice a year. The goal of these reports is to provide transparent information for all program stakeholders regarding working conditions in Better Work factories. Independent research commissioned by Better Work provides evidence that public reporting like this contributes significantly to continuous improvements in factory compliance levels.
read more & download.
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* Bright future for Vietnam, Africa raw cotton trade:

20140820 VOV cotton

The Vietnamese textile and garment sector, with its rapid and sustainable growth over recent years, remains overly dependent on foreign raw materials, paying inordinately higher prices than necessary.

Do Huu Huy, deputy head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Africa and South West Asia Market Department, also divulged most of the raw materials for the sector originate in Africa and are sold to Vietnamese manufacturers through intermediary French, Swiss and Indian wholesalers.

The garment and textile sector would benefit tremendously by developing a direct international supply chain with African nations, Huy says, thus eliminating the extra cost of the middleman, resulting in increased price competitiveness in the global marketplace.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Industry and Trade and Vietnam Cotton & Spinning Association, echoing Huy’s views, disclosed the agency has been endeavouring to strengthen trade promotion activities with African countries over the past with a view towards ameliorating the situation and enhancing the sector’s supply chain.
read more.

07:51:11 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Unions Say Gov’t Blocking Branch Registrations:

In March, the Ministry of Labor for the first time began requiring union leaders to submit proof they had no previous criminal convictions before they would be allowed to register a new union or local branch.

Now, the country’s leading unions say worker representatives are struggling to obtain the complex documentation they need to prove they have clean criminal records, and that the new rule amounts to deliberately blocking the registration of new unions.

The Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (CCAWDU) has been unable to register a single new branch with the Labor Ministry this year, despite about 10 attempts, according to its vice president, Kong Athit.

“Now they put more conditions and put more difficulties on us, so it’s difficult to register,” said Ath Thorn, the president of the union. “If we do not have enough documents they delay until we have enough.”

He said he believed the government was deliberately blocking independent unions from setting up new branches with an overly bureaucratic registration process as a response to January’s nationwide garment sector strikes, which turned violent and were lethally suppressed by military police.

“[The reason] why the Ministry of Labor changed [their policy] is because of the general strike in January,” Mr. Thorn said.

Although the 1997 Labor Law stipulates that convicted criminals cannot become union leaders, documentary proof of a clean record was not required until March. To obtain a criminal record letter, worker representatives must now travel to central Phnom Penh to provide the Justice Ministry with an original birth certificate, their family book, and an identity card.

Union leaders say this is difficult for garment factory workers, who don’t always have original documents at hand, and who must get permission from their factory management—who are reluctant to give them the time off to create a labor union—to travel to Phnom Penh.

Pav Sina, the president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, said the new procedure is unnecessarily burdensome and is preventing the unions from expanding.
read more.

* Factory, enterprise employers warned of legal action if workers still faint:

Labor Minister Ith Sam Heng warned to take legal action against employers of factories and enterprises whose environment and work condition cause workers to faint.

Speaking Wednesday to reporters after workshop on 2009 – 2013 health and labor safety, he said fainting nowadays is still continuing to happen in factories and enterprises, but Ministry of Labor is trying to prevent this issue.

Fainting seriously affected the health of workers in the present and the future, he said, adding that this issue was known to have been caused by work environment in the factories and health conditions as well as psychological and weather issues.
read more.

* AEC can benefit everyone:

Policymakers talk a lot about the impact of the ASEAN Economic Community’s launch in 2015.

But the real question is: How will the AEC affect the 600 million people who live in the region? Together, the International Labour Organization and the Asian Development Bank set out to find some answers, and this week we delivered our findings in a report presented to ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh.

Ordinary men and women first experience economic change through the labour market.
What matters to them is whether they can find a good job that offers security, pays decent wages in decent conditions and whether, in time, their children will be able to have the same.

Our findings are encouraging. If managed well over the next decade, the AEC could boost the region’s economies 7.1 per cent and generate 14 million additional jobs. However, there are some big “ifs” and “buts”.

While some sectors will flourish, others are likely to see job losses, and those workers will not necessarily have the right skills to seize the opportunities created by the AEC.
Also, while improved productivity may raise incomes for some, this could bypass a large majority of people unless more effective wage-setting institutions are created.
read more.
PPP new

* Cambodia looks to be winner for growth for AEC: ILO:

Cambodia stands to be the biggest beneficiary, in terms of GDP growth, for the first decade following ASEAN Economic Integration in 2015, according to a study released publicly today by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

The ILO’s 160-page report says Cambodia could see a 19.9 per cent increase in its GDP value by 2025, provided member states continue to reduce trade costs, remove intra-regional tariffs and liberalise non-tariff barriers.

“The lower-income ASEAN Member States in general see the largest increases in GDP … in part as consumers and producers in these countries face relatively high trade barriers and costs, and thus stand to gain most from increased international trade,” the report states.

But the forecast is “highly optimistic” according to Jayant Menon, lead economist at the ADB’s office of regional integration, who says the model likely takes in to account a rapid flow of capital to support growth that Cambodia does not have the current capacity to absorb.

“Cambodia doesn’t have the kind of skilled labour force or infrastructure to accommodate a rapid increase of capital,” Menon said.

The ILO predicts that while retail, wholesale, trade management and electrical repair jobs will increase the most by 2025 in Cambodia, driven by more attractive wages and higher skills, the share of the population finding employment in the key agricultural sector may steadily decline.
read more. & read more.
PPP new Cambodia_Daily_logo

* SGS inaugurates new textile testing laboratory in Cambodia:

The newly-inaugurated laboratory is equipped with the-state-of-the-art facilities to provide physical and restricted substances testing for the entire range of apparel and textile products and restricted substances testing for footwear products.

The presence of SGS here will contribute to and strengthen the local apparel industry’s ability to attain a Global standard and acceptability.

Textile and Garment Industry in Cambodia
Cambodia remains the hub of ready-made garment exports to European and USA markets.
This clearly demonstrates the increasing demand for consumer product testing services in the region.
Product safety, quality and compliance requirements of REACH and CPSIA regulations have increased the need for chemical test parameters in the textile supply chain.
The SGS new state-of-the-art facility is fully equipped to address these restricted substance requirements as well as sustainability management in the textile and apparel industry.
read more.

06:51:11 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Five Tuba factories shut; workers’ leader Mishu released after arrest:

The closing of the factories made 1,600 workers jobless

The Tuba Group owner has illegally shut down his five garment units to deprive the workers of their termination benefits and gratuity, claim a lawyer, labour activists and trade union leaders.

The closing of the factories made 1,600 workers jobless. The five units were Tuba Fashions, Tuba Textiles, Mita Design, Taif Design and Bughsan Garments.

On Monday, Delowar Hossain, the managing director of Tuba Group, announced the shutting down of the five factories in line with article 13(1) of the Labour Act, 2006.

According to the Labour Act, 2006, employers may, in the event of an illegal strike by any section or department of any establishment, close down either wholly or partly such section or department and the striking workers shall not be paid any wages for such a closure.

But the factory owner made a vague announcement about the closure with retrospective effect from June 10, said labour activists and trade union leaders.

They said it was not illegal to stage demonstrations to demand the payment of dues. The government had also echoed the same and forced the owner to pay their dues, they added.

According to the law, the announcement about the lay-off should have been made during the notice period and on the day of strike. But the owner did not follow this.

“As per the Labour Act, 2006, the factory owners can shut down his or her factories under section 13(1) in case of illegal strike, but the declaration should be effective from the notice period and when the workers started their strike,” AHM Sazedur Rahman, a High Court lawyer, told the Dhaka Tribune.
The owner could not announce the shutdown with retrospective effect, he added.

The strike conducted by the workers of Tuba Group was not illegal. It was a legal fight for their dues and benefits,” Syed Sultan Uddin Ahmed, assistant executive director of Bangladesh Institute of Labour Study (BILS), told the Dhaka Tribune.
read more.

* Mishu picked up by police, eleased after 6 hours:

Police foiled a scheduled rally of the Garments Sramik Oikya Forum and detained its president Mushrefa Mishu, and another activist, for about six hours, on Wednesday.

The forum had called the rally to highlight their demand to reopen the factories owned by Tuba Group.
Police arrested Mishu and student activist Jesmin Jui from Badda Link Road at about 3:30pm, snatched banners  and foiled their procession toward Aftabnagar in Merul Badda, where the Tuba group factories are located.

Law enforcers released Mishu and Jui at about 8:45pm from the Detective Branch office in Mintoo Road.
The owners of the Tuba Group on Tuesday closed the five factories hanging the notices at the factory gates.
Mishu was leading the procession which was attacked by police, who snatched the banners of the organisation and forced the leaders and activists of the organisation to leave the spot, Shahidul Islam Sabuj, a central leader of Sramik Oikya Forum told New Age.
read more.

* Police club Tuba workers demanding reopening of closed units:

Police intercepted Tuba Group workers who were staging demonstration Wednesday demanding immediate reopening of all closed units.

Several hundred workers under the banner of Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Committee came under police action at about 3:10pm when they were staging the agitation on Badda-Gulshan Link Road.

The law enforcers also charged baton on the demonstrators to maintain smooth movement of vehicles on the busy road that left a few of the protesters injured.

President of Garments Sramik Oikya Forum Mushrefa Mishu, also coordinator of the Sangram Committee, was picked up by the police as the workers were trying to put up a barricade around Hossain Super Market, which house three units of Tuba Group.

When contacted, Officer-in-Charge of Badda Police Station, Abdul Jalil, said they foiled the agitation for not having any permission of holding such programme.

“We will not accept anything that hinders vehicular movement in the capital,” he added.

Talking to the FE, Finance Secretary of the Forum Shahidul Islam Sabuz said police launched the attack while the demonstrators were moving towards Aftabnagar in the area.
“It was a programme that was announced earlier and we informed the police about it,” he said.
He was very critical of the decision to shut down five Tuba units under article 13(1) of the labour laws, saying that the owner cannot do so as no worker was involved in vandalism or violent activities.
But leaders of workers’ groups rejected the owners’ claim, saying that owners of the factories must declare lay-off if they want to shut the units as the demonstrating workers did not resort to violence.
read more.
FE bd

* Moshrefa Mishu freed:

The workers have been protesting in the capital’s Badda

The police have freed labour leader Moshrefa Mishu on Wednesday evening, hours after she was detained from the capital’s Badda area.

Masudur Rahman, deputy commissioner at the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Media Centre, confirmed the Dhaka Tribune about the release.

Earlier in the day, the police picked her up from in front of Tuba factory around 3:30pm, while she was attending a protest programme of RMG workers.

The workers have been protesting in the capital’s Badda following the shutdown announcement of the five garments of Tuba group.
to read. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE prothom  bdnews24 NEWAGEnew  daily star bd

* Police scatter Tuba workers, pick up Mishu:

Police scattered Tuba group workers who gathered on Gulshan-Badda Link Road in Dhaka on Wednesday afternoon to protest at shock closure of five garment units of Tuba group by its owner.

The law enforcers also picked up Tuba Group Workers Action Committee Convener Moshrefa Mishu from the spot.

Earlier the factory owner on Tuesday announced sudden shutdown of the factory following the group workers 11-day hunger strike ended on 6 August demanding outstanding wages for three months.
Workers were paid salaries and overtimes in two instalments on August 6 and 7, but deprived of festival bonus that is promised to be paid.

Police said workers gathered on the road few minutes before 3:00pm.
Local people said police inhibited them from bringing out a procession and snatched away banner of the workers.

At one point, the law enforcers got into a scuffle with the workers and later picked up workers’ leader Moshrefa Mishu in a prison van and disperse the workers.

Badda police officer-in-charge MA Zalil said, “It’s [Gulshan-Badda Link Road] a very busy road. They were deterred as they had no permission to bring out procession and hold rally.”

“Moshrefa Mishu is now in police custody,” he added.

Before she was detained by the police, Moshrefa Mishu said, “We wanted to hold a peaceful rally to push for workers’ lawful dues. But police hindered us.”
read more. & read more.
prothom bdnews24

* RMG workers’ leader Moshrefa Mishu held in Dhaka:

20140818 Huq 81 Mishu
Moshrefa Mishu. Photo by Chaumtoli Huq, Editor of Law@theMargins (www.lawatthemargins) Twitter: @lawatmargins

Police detained two leaders of garment workers including Moshrefa Mishu from Gulshan-Badda link road in the capital this afternoon.

Law enforcers detained Mishu, the president of Garment Workers Unity Forum, and Liza around 3:30pm as they were trying to put barricade on the road near Hossain Market which house several units of Tuba group, said Abdul Zalil, officer-in-charge of Badda Police Station.

A worker, preferring anonymity, claimed that police nabbed the duo when they were going to attend a rally organised by the forum.

The organisation organised the rally at Abtabnagar demanding reopening of the Tuba Group’s factories.

The authorities on Monday hanged a notice outside the office, saying that the factories will remain closed due to the ongoing unrest centring full payment of their wages.
to read. & read more. & read more.
daily star bd NEWAGEnew  DHAKATRIBUNE

* JS watchdog grills labour secretary over Tuba mayhem:

Faced hard questions from MPs over its role in dealing with labour unrest

The labour and employment ministry on Tuesday faced hard questions from MPs over its role in dealing with labour unrest at Tuba Garments, embarrassing the authorities in front of international buyers.

Ever since the devastating fire at Tazreen Garments and the Rana Plaza collapse, ready-made garments (RMG) buyers have pressed the government to improve working conditions for Bangladeshi labour or face a boycott of products from the country.

In a discussion on the recent unrest at Tuba Garments over the non-payment of three-months wages and festival bonuses, the parliamentary standing committee on labour and employment said the ministry should sue the owners for violating labour laws.

According to the law, owners must pay the previous month’s wages by the 10th day of the current month or face legal action from the labour directorate.

Mujibul Haque, the state minister for labour and employment, did not attend the meeting because he was unwell.

Mikail Shipar, the labour secretary, answered questions posed by members of the 10-person watchdog body whose job is to ensure the transparency and accountability of the ministry.

“Why did you not intervene before the situation got out of control?
Why did workers have to take to the streets to get paid?
Why did you negotiate with the owners?”
committee member Rezaul Haque Chowdhury told the Dhaka Tribune members had asked at the meeting in the parliament building.

Israfil Alam, another committee member, said if the ministry had intervened immediately, workers could have gotten their wages on time and the unrest could have been averted.
read more.


* City garment factory closed without notice:

Hundreds of workers of Jamuna Fashion Wears Ltd on Tuesday staged a demonstration in front of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association office as the owner shut the factory without any notice.

On August 14, the factory authorities shut the factory overnight without any prior notice and workers also staged demonstration on the day protesting illegal shut down and demanding lawful benefits.

In the face of the protests of the workers the BGMEA on Tuesday sat with the factory owners and the representatives of the workers at the association office and the owners of Jamuna Fashion Wears Ltd promised at the meeting to pay the termination benefits to the workers as per the labour act.

Workers alleged that the authorities have been asking workers for last few months to join another unit of the company located at Mirpur in the city and closed the factory without any prior notice on August 14.
read more.

* RMG factory shut down following workers’ protest:

The closing of the factories maActing on information, two platoons of Industrial Police rushed to the spot and dispersed the protesters around 9:30am

Around 100 workers of a ready-made garment (RMG) factory in Chittagong blocked a road in the city’s Majhirghat area yesterday in protest of the factory authorities’ decision to shut it  down.

Led by the leaders of local trade unions including Bangladesh Independent Garment Union Parishad, the workers of Valiant Garments Ltd put up the road block in Majhirghat, which falls under the jurisdiction of Sadarghat police station, around 9am, demanding to resume the factory’s operations by Sunday, police said.

Acting on information, two platoons of Industrial Police rushed to the spot and dispersed the protesters around 9:30am, said Inspector Arifur Rahman of Industrial Police in Chittagong.

Around 900 workers worked at the RMG factory, which comprises three separate buildings, the inspector said.

The decision to shut down the factory came after visits by Accord and Alliance, two separate associations of buyers from European Union and North American countries, respectively.

The visiting teams declared the factory buildings risky and instructed the authorities to move the factory to a safer location within July 20, acting upon which the authorities shut the factory down on July 18, Arif said.
read more.

* RMG workers demand reopening of factories in Savar, Ctg:

Garment workers of four factories in Savar outside the capital and Chittagong city yesterday demonstrated demanding reopening of the factories.

Our Savar correspondent reports, the workers of Sonia Fine Knit Ltd at Shimultola in Ashulia started demonstration outside the sweater factory gate in the morning, said witnesses.
The workers, who have been continuing their movement to realise their four-point demand for a long time, said the authorities closed he factory on Monday for an indefinite period.
Their demands include salary hike, a stop to sacking workers, increase in festival bonus and termination benefit.
read more.
daily star bd

* RMG workers block city-road in Chittagong:

They also demanded reopening the factory by next Sunday, police said

Around 100 workers of a ready-made garment (RMG) factory in Chittagong blocked a road in the city’s Majhirghat area yesterday in protest of the factory authorities’ decision to shut it down.

Led by the leaders of local trade unions including Bangladesh Independent Garment Union Parishad, the workers of Valiant Garments Ltd put up the road block in Majhirghat, which falls under the jurisdiction of Sadarghat police station, around 9am, demanding to resume the factory’s operations by Sunday, police said.

Acting on information, two platoons of Industrial Police rushed to the spot and dispersed the protesters around 9:30am, said Inspector Arifur Rahman of Industrial Police in Chittagong.

Around 900 workers worked at the RMG factory, which comprises three separate buildings, the inspector said.

The decision to shut down the factory came after visits by Accord and Alliance, two separate associations of buyers from European Union and North American countries, respectively.
read more.

* Organizing in Bangladesh – changing the dynamics:

Although an industry which often suffers from sub-standard conditions, low pay and low job security, organizing garment workers in Bangladesh can be an uphill battle.

Together with its partners, IndustriALL is participating in a project to increase union membership in the factories.

1,300 garment workers in Gazipur, Dhaka turned to their union federation, IndustriALL Global Union affiliate the Bangladesh Independent Garment Workers Federation (BIGUF) and the Solidarity Center for support.
By working to develop a constructive relationship with the employer, Masco Cotton, both sides have been able to sit down and negotiate and resolve issues in the factory.

Despite being faced with serious challenges when some workers lost their jobs and one union application being rejected three times before the Joint Director of Labour (JDL) registered it, workers persevered.

“They worked hard to demonstrate to the employer that overall if both sides sat down and negotiated, worker empowerment through a trade union could be beneficial for the factory,” says Rashedul Alom Raju, acting general secretary of the BIGUF.

“I am very happy that we have established a good relationship with our employer, but it hasn’t been a smooth path,” says Faruk, president of the Masco Cotton Ltd. Workers Union. “At first, I was suspended along with three other workers for trade union activity, and it was two and a half months before we were reinstated.”

Organzsing for a sustainable garment industry
IndustriALL is supporting a major organizing project aiming to build a comprehensive union presence in the Bangladeshi garment factories.
And the results are already showing.
In 2013, the Bangladeshi government agreed to facilitate the registration of new local unions and in the last 12 months IndustriALL affiliates have organized more than 100 factories and 40,000 workers.
read more.

* Garment sector to get loan for fire safety:

Bangladesh Bank will disburse loans in the garment sector from its Tk 200-crore environment friendly revolving fund in a bid to ensure the security system in the garment industries to avoid fire accidents.

The central bank also added two more green products under the revolving fund to build an environment-friendly economy.
The BB issued a circular to the managing directors and chief executive officers of all scheduled banks and non-bank financial institutions, saying that it incorporated three more products including the solar pump to pull out and purify the surface water, to set up green industries, and to ensure the security system at the garment factories.
Initially, the BB introduced the refinance scheme in August 2009 to finance the solar energy, bio-gas and effluent treatment plants, a BB official told New Age on Tuesday.
read more.

* Kuwait army lauds BEPZA:

Kuwait Armed Forces praised the production system, international standard products and the operational activities of export processing zones (EPZs) of Bangladesh.

The Deputy Chief of Staff of Kuwait Army Lieutenant General Mohammed Khaled Al-Khadher, psc, lauded Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA) during his visit in Dhaka Export Processing Zone (EPZ) recently, said a press release.

Executive Chairman of BEPZA Major General Mohd Habibur Rahman Khan, ndc, psc, received the high power delegation in Dhaka EPZ.
He informed General Khaled about the overall scenario of EPZ as well as BEPZA.

Mentioning Bangladesh EPZs as the ‘Bonanza for Investors’, he said that investors from 37 countries have set up industries in the EPZs.
BEPZA is prominent as a brand in the global market, he added.

The BEPZA chief uttered that Kuwait is very good friend and long standing development partner of Bangladesh.

He also informed General Khaled that presently EPZ has one joint venture garments industry with Kuwait which is going to operation soon in the Adamjee EPZ.

Highlighting the increasing success in investment and employment generation, General Manager of Dhaka EPZ Ashraful Kabir said about 3,89,000 workers have been employed in the 428 operating enterprises of eight EPZs running under the BEPZA and exported goods worth US$40 billion.
Later on the delegation of Kuwait Armed Force went round garments industry Youngone Hi Tech Sportswear Industries of Korea and Tigerco of Belgium that produces uniform and bags for military.
read more.
FE bd

* Use of eco-friendly jute sacks holds out good promises:

The government appears, of late, to be tough and, thus, considering to go for hard action in order to compel the country’s millers and traders to use the environment-friendly jute sacks to pack rice for domestic marketing.

Last week, the Department of Jute, under the ministry of jute and textiles, conducted a drive through mobile courts in Dhaka, Jamalpur and Khulna to ensure compliance with the law.
The courts fined some rice millers there. The law provides that the violators would be imposed a fine up to Tk 50,000 and also be sentenced to three months in prison.

The Mandatory Jute Packaging Act, to mention, was enacted in 2010 to promote the use of environment-friendly jute goods, instead of polythene or polypropylene bags.
It provides for bringing initially products such as rice, paddy, wheat, sugar, seeds, fertiliser and saplings within its purview.
Gradually, other manufacturers are to be brought under its domain in order to making them use packaging materials made of jute fibre, up to, at least, 75 per cent.
The initiative was taken more than two decades after India had enacted a similar rule to encourage domestic uses of jute goods. India uses jute in bulk for internal consumption.
read more.
FE bd


* Rana Plaza fund to roll out in two weeks:

The ILO-managed Rana Plaza Trust Fund will finally start its disbursement of compensation in two weeks.

Some 332 victims will receive the first instalment of their compensation within the next two weeks, Srinivasa Reddy, country direction of the International Labour Organisation, told The Daily Star.

The pay-out has been delayed for the failure of many international retailers to put in their committed amounts into the trust fund by April 24, the first anniversary of the industrial accident that claimed 1,138 lives and injured thousands, he said.
So far, $17.9 million has been collected against the requirement of $40 million to adequately compensate the victims.

Subsequently, the Rana Plaza Coordination Committee in a meeting on August 14 resolved to write to the retailers, asking them to release the funds in good time for completion of the compensation process by the end of October.

Retailers that are yet to make contributions are:
Adler Modemärkte, Grabalok, Ascena Retail, Iconix (Lee Cooper), NKD, Auchan, JC Penney, PWT (Texman), Benetton, KANZ/Kids Fashion Group, Robe di Kappa, Carrefour, LC Waikiki, Yes Zee, Cato Fashions and Manifattura Corona.
Reddy said the Rana Plaza Claims Administration has already completed the list of recipients for compensation.
Earlier in April, the victims and dependents of the deceased were given Tk 50,000 each to help them get by for now and open bank accounts, which exhausted $2 million from the $17.9 million fund.

Mikail Shipar, labour secretary, said: “The retailers made their commitments but now they are not following through.” Meanwhile, many dependents of the deceased complained that they were not included in the compensation lists yet.
Take, for instance, Akkas Mia, who lost his daughter-in-law in the tragic event.
She left behind a husband and a son, both of whom are now residing with Mia.
He said his daughter-in-law’s name has not been put in the compensation list.
read more.
daily star bd

* Rana Plaza exposes fashion’s lack of accountability:

On April 24th, 2013, the Rana Plaza building in Savar, Bangladesh, became the site of the worst tragedy in the history of the fashion industry.

The building, which housed several garment factories supplying high-street fashion retailers including Mango, Matalan and Benetton, collapsed. 1,134 people were killed, and over 2,500 injured.

When the story broke, brutal images of young women trapped under rubble and bloodied survivors shocked the world, and statements of remorse spilled out of spokespeople for Primark and Bonmarché, both of whom were supplied by the factory at the time of the disaster.

And yet, justice has not come.
The fashion brands implicated have faced no criminal charges or punishments of any kind and efforts to compensate the victims and their families have fallen far short of their targets.
How could this have happened?
In the year since Rana Plaza collapsed, fresh scandals involving the fashion industry have peppered the news. Alleged cries for help from workers found stitched into the labels of Primark’s clothing; Bangladeshi garment workers resorting to hunger strikes over outstanding salaries.

Have we forgotten the appalling incident at Rana Plaza in the face of more recent scandals?
And why have the fashion brands implicated still not been held accountable?
Following the tragedy, the Rana Plaza Arrangement (RPA) set up a compensatory scheme to protect victims and their families who had lost a family member or suffered life-changing injuries in the catastrophe.

Claims for compensation received by the RPA were to be funded by the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund, a money pot “open to contributions from any organisation, company or individual”.

This is where the problems begin.
The fund was “open to” contributions — it did not demand them.
The UN agency International Labour Organisation backed the fund, yet did nothing to enforce payments into it, despite having a long list of the companies who used the factories.
There was no organisation, institution, or law to make sure this fund was filled.
And as a result, it was not.

The RPA estimated that the fund would need to collect $40 million to cover the expected claims. As of 4 August 2014, the current total is just under $17.9 million; the fund is not yet half-full.
Fashion companies’ reluctance to offer compensation has been astounding. UK clothing retailer Matalan, who admitted to using the factory the month before it collapsed, paid into the fund one day before the deadline for payments.

It only did so after tens of thousands of people lobbied the retailer via e-mails and calls, and Twitter users bombarded the brand with over 1,000 tweets an hour.
When Matalan finally did pay up, it was clear that the brand did not accept any responsibility.
“We wish to make it clear that we have never been ordered by any organisation to pay compensation or been found culpable for the tragedy,” said Matalan’s chairman, Allan Leighton.
“However, our company is happy to continue to make substantial contributions to help the people who need it most.”

Other brands have been less “happy” to pay.
Neither US retailer JCPenney or Italian multinational Benetton have contributed, despite clothing destined for their shop floors being found amongst the rubble of Rana Plaza.

This incident makes clear that the fashion industry has a serious problem of accountability. JCPenney and Benetton were responsible for Rana Plaza.
So were Primark, Mango, Bonmarché, Monsoon Accessorize, Walmart, Joe Fresh, and all of the fashion companies who had clothing manufactured there.
read more.
daily star bd


06:21:11 local time map of india INDIA

* India set to surpass China as world’s top cotton producer:

The harvest is estimated at 39.63 million bales or 6.74 mn tonnes in the season starting October 1

India could topple China as the world’s largest cotton grower next year as farmers plant the the biggest area ever, boosting production to near-record levels, according to the Cotton Association of India.

The harvest is estimated at 39.63 million bales of 170 kg each, or 6.74 million tonnes (mt), in the season starting October 1, the association said in its first prediction for 2014-2015.
That’s more than the 6.04 mt estimated for India by the International Cotton Advisory Committee and the 6.22 mt of Chinese output, said Dhiren Sheth, president of the Mumbai-based association.

Cotton futures fell 24 per cent this year as expanding US and Chinese reserves increased global stockpiles to a record and rising supplies from India might further pressure prices.
India’s crop may surpass initial estimates after a revival in the monsoon rains improved crop conditions, Sheth said.
Chinese output might fall 24% in 2015 as the government ends direct purchases from farmers, according
read more.

05:51:11 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* 20 hurt as factory bus crashes:

As many as 20 female workers of Crescent Bahu Maan Textile Mills were injured, five of them seriously, when the bus of the mills carrying them overturned near Mubara village on Sukheke-Hafizabad Road Wednesday evening.

According to hospital sources, the workers were returning to their homes after performing their duties in the mills.
When the bus reached near Mubara village one of the tyres of the vehicle exploded. As a result, the bus overturned.
The Rescue-1122 shifted the injured women to the DHQ Hospital where condition of five of them is stated to be critical.
to read.
the NATIONnew


* India evinces interest in reviving Kenyan textile mill:

India has evinced interest in reviving and expanding operations of Rift Valley Textile Company Ltd (Rivatex) located in Eldoret town of Uasin Gishu County in Kenya.

If the Indian Government okays the proposal, the Export-Import Bank of India will provide funding totaling to Sh7.9 billion, for the planned expansion of the textile company, the Star reported.

India will sign a financing agreement with the Kenyan Government for expansion of Rivatex, once the former is convinced of the textile firm’s revival.

The firm is currently owned and managed by Moi University, which acquired and revived it after it collapsed earlier.

Yogeshwar Varma, India’s High Commissioner to Kenya, visited the factory recently to assess its operations before negotiations for the agreement are completed.
read more.



map of Asia

There are updates under “special overviews”:

* Minimum Wage-LIVING WAGE- PART 6: 20140607 – NOW

* TUBA Garment Workers Strike & Tazreen bail 20140724-now

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


* From dusk till dawn, Suzhou Creek sculpture is a no-go zone for locals

* Minimum wage spike seen piling pressure on employers
* Businesses unaware of competition rules
* Social welfare procedures in need of revamp: National Assembly
* Better Work Vietnam: Garment Industry 7th Compliance Synthesis Report
* Bright future for Vietnam, Africa raw cotton trade

* Unions Say Gov’t Blocking Branch Registrations
* Factory, enterprise employers warned of legal action if workers still faint
* AEC can benefit everyone
* Cambodia looks to be winner for growth for AEC: ILO
* SGS inaugurates new textile testing laboratory in Cambodia

* Five Tuba factories shut; workers’ leader Mishu released after arrest
* Mishu picked up by police, eleased after 6 hours
* Police club Tuba workers demanding reopening of closed units
* Moshrefa Mishu freed
* Police scatter Tuba workers, pick up Mishu
* RMG workers’ leader Moshrefa Mishu held in Dhaka
* JS watchdog grills labour secretary over Tuba mayhem
* City garment factory closed without notice
* RMG factory shut down following workers’ protest
* RMG workers demand reopening of factories in Savar, Ctg
* RMG workers block city-road in Chittagong
* Organizing in Bangladesh – changing the dynamics
* Garment sector to get loan for fire safety
* Kuwait army lauds BEPZA
* Use of eco-friendly jute sacks holds out good promises
* Rana Plaza fund to roll out in two weeks
* Rana Plaza exposes fashion’s lack of accountability

* India set to surpass China as world’s top cotton producer

* 20 hurt as factory bus crashes

* India evinces interest in reviving Kenyan textile mill

latest tweets (& news)

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

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

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

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

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