In the news 23-25 August 2014

07:17:31 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Experts discuss minimum wage increase:

The region-based minimum wage in Viet Nam would increase by 15.1 per cent starting next year under a proposal that the National Wage Council recently submitted to the Government.

The minimum wage varies between four regions. Under the proposal, it would range from VND2.2 million (US$103) to VND3.1 million ($145) per month.

Some feel the move is necessary to help workers cover the increasing cost of living. However, others express concern that a minimum wage increase would be costly to businesses.

Vietnam News talked to various stakeholders about this issue.

The Government is planning to raise the minimum wage so that it will soon cover the minimum living standard. How can we determine the minimum living standard?

Pham Minh Huan, Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, Chairman of the National Wage Council

To set the minimum wage, the key is to first determine the minimum living standard. This should be considered in the context of the country’s socio-economic development, considering demand for food, clothing, travel, education and child care.

State agencies are working together to determine the minimum living standard. The Viet Nam General Confederation of Labour is conducting surveys into the lives of workers at enterprises. The National Wage Council’s technical team is calculating demand for 45 basic goods and the General Statistics Office is studying the living standard of the population.

Based on these studies and surveys, we plan to reach an agreement about the minimum living standard by 2015. Of course, there will be certainly some gaps between studies, but we will work to reach an agreement by then to make sure to produce the most realistic result based on scientific calculation.

Is it expected that by 2017, the minimum wage will be able to cover the minimum living standard?

Huan: Previously, we hoped to achieve that by 2016, but in the current context, we had to prolong the adjustment. Now the plan is to achieve that target by 2017.

Dang Quang Dieu, Head of Viet Nam General Confederation of Labour’s Policy and Law Department

I doubt that we will be able to meet this target by 2017. This year, the minimum wage only meets around 70 per cent of the minimum living standard. With the 15-per-cent adjustment next year (if the National Wage Council’s proposal is approved by the Prime Minister), we would be able to raise it only to around 75 per cent, considering the compensation for devaluation.

Dang Nhu Loi, former chairman of the National Assembly Committee on Social Affairs, an independent expert in wage policy

I think we need to differentiate between two concepts: minimum wage and the floor minimum wage. The Government can determine the floor minimum wage, which means businesses cannot pay lower than that benchmark. I think what we’ve been talking about is the floor minimum wage.

The actual minimum wage should be determined by the business based on its production and operation. In addition, the role of trade unions must be boosted. Like other countries, trade unions can negotiate with employers to determine the level of minimum wage for that business, which can obviously be higher than the floor minimum wage set by the Government. We need to let the market decide that level.

If the National Wage Committee’s proposal is approved, how do you foresee it impacting enterprises and workers?
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* Garment, textile industry faces cotton shortage:

20140825 VNNews
In the first seven months of this year, cotton imports surged 34 per cent in volume and 36.3 per cent in value year-on-year to a record 458,000 tonnes valued at US$919 million.— Photo

The domestic garment and textile sector has to import a large quantity of cotton as the country’s cotton output met only 1 per cent of local producers’ demand.

Ho Thi Kim Thoa, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, told a conference on the garment and textile industry here on Wednesday that the sector lacked cotton because the total land area planted to the crop in Viet Nam was reduced from 30,000 ha to 10,000 ha.

Cotton has been the industry’s principal raw material, and Viet Nam needs more than 400,000 tonnes to meet rising demand, Thoa said. She added that imports would continue to be the main source of cotton for the industry.

Thoa said cotton growers had to face numerous difficulties, though the Prime Minister had approved a cotton development programme to be implemented from 2015 to 2020. “Farmers are earning more income from the planting of other crops and have become indifferent to cotton,” she added.
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VNNews new

07:17:31 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Factories Ask Gov’t to Punish Strike Leaders:

The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) over the weekend released a statement condemning an ongoing strike at a Kompong Chhnang garment factory and urging authorities to “punish the perpetrators.”

About 3,000 employees of the Chinese-owned Jiun Ye Garment factory have been on strike since August 18 over management’s failure to include their monthly bonus pay in their last paychecks.
The factory has blamed the omissions on a technical error and says it is working to correct the mistake, but the workers accuse the owners of trying to cheat them.

The strikers have blocked National Road 5 on several occasions and, according to the factory, smashed the windows of a guardhouse and knocked over a gate.

“The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) would like to request the competent authorities and the Royal Government to enforce the law and punish the perpetrators,” the association says in a statement published by the Rasmei Kampuchea Daily newspaper on Saturday. “Cambodia is a state of law. Therefore, implementing the law is a priority of the country in order to make investors have confidence.”
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* ‘Solvable problems’ focus of fainting review:

Amid reports of increased mass-fainting incidents in Cambodia’s garment sector, workers, employers and government officials gathered in Phnom Penh yesterday for a roundtable discussion on the issue.

The conference, which was organised by the Cambodian Center for Independent Media, identified issues such as workday lengths and holidays as solvable problems that could reduce a large number of garment worker faintings, said Labour Ministry Inspection Department Director Ouk Chanthou.

“The factories teach employees about safety and good sanitation, so I believe that fainting will be reduced,” Chanthou said.

“The ministry will also put more pressure on garment factories. If they do not respect labour standards … they could be fined or face other punishment.”

Labour Minister Ith Sam Heng last week warned factory owners of fines for mass fainting incidents.
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PPP new

* More Than 1,000 Faintings Reported in Cambodian Factories This Year:

A total of 1,222 faintings and three deaths were reported in garment factories in Cambodia’s key industrial zones so far this year, surpassing those reported throughout 2013, a local trade union said Thursday, accusing the plants of flouting laws that protect working conditions.
The faintings between January and August were much higher than the 802 reported in the whole of last year, while only one factory worker died in the workplace in 2013, the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia (FTUWKC) said in a report.
FTUWKC said the report covered incidents reported in factories in Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh, as well as Kandal, Kampong Speu and Kampong Chhnang provinces—areas where the highest concentration of garment factories are located in the country.
The trade union said that the majority of the casualties were the direct result of chemical fumes from textiles and other materials, factory use of pesticides during working hours, lack of ventilation, poor sanitary conditions and, in some cases, forcing workers to labor for extended periods of overtime.
The FTUWKC has repeatedly called on the government to implement stronger inspections and better working conditions in factories across the country.
In 2012, a total of 2,107 workers fainted in 31 separate incidents at 29 factories in the country, the union said.
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06:17:31 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Rules yet to be formulated to implement labour law:

Dilly-dallying tactics alleged

The government has failed to formulate the rules to implement the labour law even one year after it has been amended, sources said.

Moreover, it has also missed the revised deadlines as it says it still needs some more time to complete the task, they added.

Formulation of the necessary rules is urgent in order to implement the country’s labour law, they said.

There is also an international pressure to amend the law and properly put them into practice to improve and ensure workplace safety and labour standards, especially in the garment sector following the deadly Tazreen fire and Rana Plaza building collapse, they added.

The EU and the US on different occasions pressed the government to formulate the rules for implementation of the amended labour law to ensure workplace safety and labour standards especially in the readymade garment (RMG) sector.

The government also promised to formulate the rules by March and again sought time extension until July last, which also expired, to revive the US GSP facility and retain the same in the EU market, they added.

Earlier, in August last, the government formed a committee aiming at formulating the draft of rules within three months.

Due to absence of the rules, the new provisions that have been incorporated in the amended ones can not be implemented, another labour leader observed.

Citing an example, he said, according to the amended labour law, a safety committee is a must for a factory that has 50 workers or more than that and the committee would be administered according to the rules. Yet there are no rules to implement the labour law, he regretted.

Moreover, unrest is witnessed in the garment sector before each Eid as nothing is made clear either in the labour law or Minimum Wage Structure for the garment workers, he added.

“The issue is also absent in the draft rules despite frequent requests from the rights groups,” he alleged.
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FE bd

* Tuba Group workers deprived of lay-off benefits, bonuses:

Delowar described himself as being penniless. He said he lost everything since Tazreen Fashions fire that engulfed the factory

The workers of five closed factories of Tuba Group are being deprived of termination benefits, gratuity and Eid bonuses as the factory owner yesterday expressed his inability to pay the dues.

“I am unable to run the factories. I had to shut them down as I am going though cash crunch,” said Tuba Group Managing Director Delowar Hossain at a media briefing at a city hotel yesterday.

Delowar described himself as being penniless. He said he lost everything since Tazreen Fashions fire that engulfed the factory.

In reply to a query, the owner claimed that the garment workers would not get any dues as he had paid them three months’ wages and overtime.

“I am unable to pay the Eid bonuses for I am in a dire state and have not enough fund,” he said when asked about the bonus.

On August 18, the Tuba Group owner announced the shutdown of five factories in line with article 13(1) of Labour Act 2006.

“If I get the loan, I will be able to resume operation and export RMG products worth $5 million per month.”

Delowar added that he would also be able to employ over 2,000 workers at Tazreeen Fashions if the insurance company pays him Tk18 crore, which he owes them as fire insurance claim.

He called for the RMG factory owners to hire workers, who turned jobless in the wake of shutdown ofhis five factories.

The Tuba Group boss laid blame on some outsiders, who he said, had stolen parts of the factory machinery and other equipment in the guise of workers during agitation that forced him to shut the factories.
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* Tazreen owner turns to govt to get Tk 182m insurance claim:

The owner of Tazreen Fashions Ltd, Delwar Hossen, has now moved the government high-ups to get insurance claim of deadly fire incident which burnt 111 garment workers alive and injured many, sources said.

Last week Mr Hossen submitted an application to the ministry of commerce (MoC) seeking its intervention so that he can get Tk 182 million insurance claim made to the Karnaphuli Insurance Company Ltd after the incident. The copy of the application was also given to the finance secretary and the president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).

The authority of Karnaphuli insurance had turned down the claim of Tazreen Fashions terming the fire incident malicious.

Mr Hossen, in his letter, referring to fire brigade report, claimed that his factory had incurred loss of Tk 192 million because of the fire incident of November, 2011. After that he made claim to the insurance company on December 26, 2012 which three companies, selected by Karnaphuli Insurance, surveyed.

The surveyors in their report said: “The concerned policy does not cover the risk of malicious act. As such we are unable to recommend the assessed loss amount to pay to the insured.”

After getting the report from the surveyors, the authority of Karnaphuli insurance closed the file of Tazreen Fashions mentioning it as “no claim”.

Mr Delwar in his letter said the survey report was biased and unacceptable since not all the investigation reports proved the incident as malicious.
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FE bd

* Tuba owner seeks Tk 30cr loans to turn around:

Delwar Hossain, managing director of Tuba Group, yesterday sought Tk 30 crore in soft loans from the government to help his businesses turn around.

“I have lost everything. I have nothing left to sell for money,” said Hossain with tears in his eyes, while reading a written statement during a media briefing at Hotel Sundarban in Dhaka.
“I was in jail. I could not pay the workers. The workers could not celebrate the Eid and I am guilty.”
“I came to the press conference, with a guilty conscience.” Taking questions from reporters, Hossain said four of his garment units are now in operation, where 1,100 workers are employed.
After a fatal fire at Tazreen Fashions, a unit of Tuba, Hossain shut down eight units, leaving about 6,000 workers jobless.
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daily star bd

* Delwar now wants low-interest loan to reopen Tuba factories:

Tuba Group managing director Delwar Hossain on Sunday sought a low-interest loan from the government to reopen the five factories located at Badda in the city which were closed on August 18 without paying benefits to the workers.

‘If any banks or financial institutions provide me with a low-interest loan of Tk 25-30 crore, I will be able to resume production in the five factories and export garment worth $4-5 million,’ he said in a press conference at Sundarban Hotel in the city.
A total of 1,500 workers of five apparel factories of Tuba Group began a hunger strike the day before Eid-ul-Fitr for wage arrears of three months and allowances.
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 20140824 * Tuba’s Delwar now seeks low interest bank loan:

Tuba Group managing director Delwar Hossain on Sunday sought soft loan from the government to reopen the five factories located at Badda in the city which have been closed in August 18 without paying benefits and compensation to the workers.

‘If the bank or any financial institutions provide me a low interest loan for Tk 25 crore-Tk 30 crore I will be able to export worth $4-$5 million through resuming production in the five factories,’ he said at a news conference at Sundarban Hotel in the city.
A total of 1500 workers of five apparel factories of Tuba Group went on fast unto death the day before Eid-ul-Fitr for arrears of their wages for three months and allowances.
After 11 days, the workers were paid partial arrear wages and no festival allowance under arrangement of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association as the owner of the company was in Jail.
Delwar, the owner of Tuba Group, is also the owner of Tazreen Fashions Ltd, where at least 117 workers were killed in a fire accident in November 2012 and he had been in jail since February as the police had pressed charges against him for culpable homicide by negligence.
He said that all the dues of the workers have been paid but the demand for festival allowance could not be met as he was in the prison and his business had been ‘ruined’.
Accusing workers Delwar said that the company had failed to provide wages and allowances in time as the workers halted production on June 10 demanding wages for the month of May.
‘Had the workers continued productions keeping patience, payment of wages for May, June and July and festival allowance would not be problem,’ he claimed.
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 20140824 * Troubled Tuba now wants Tk 30cr loan to reopen factories:

Tuba Group owner Delwar Hossain on Sunday sought at least TK 25-30 crore loan from any financial institution to reopen its five garment factories situated in the city’s Uttar Badda area.

“I’ll be able to export US$ 40,000-50,000 by reopening the factories if I get at least TK 25-30 crore loan on relatively low interest rate from any financial institution or bank,” he said.

Delwar who got out from jail recently on bail came up with the demand at a press conference at a city hotel in the morning.

Describing the reasons that forced him to shut the five factories, he claimed that he had no option but to shut down those due to financial crisis.

“I’ve no saleable lands left at this moment. After securing bail form jail, I’ve sold a printing factory housed on a 16 acres of land, nine kathas land and garment machinery to collect Tk 5 crore 38 lakh,” he said.
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 20140824 * Delwar seeks bank loan to reopen factories:

Delwar says he paid all the dues and allowances of the Tuba Group workers

Tuba Group Managing Director Delwar Hossain has sought Tk25 crore to Tk30 crore bank loan for reopening the closed factories of the group.

He came up with the urge in a press conference at a city hotel on Sunday afternoon.
“If I get Tk25 crore to Tk30 crore bank loan in low interest, I can be able to reopen the closed factories of Tuba Group,” said Delwar.

He further said: “I did not shut the factories willingly. I was compelled to do it because of financial crisis and lack of work order.”
He informed that he paid all the dues and allowances of the Tuba Group workers.
However, he said he is unable to pay the bonus as he does not have money right now.
to read.

 20140824 * I have no way but to close factories: Delwar :

Tuba Group owner Delwar Hossain said that he had no option but to close his five apparel units at Uttar Badda in the capital.

Delwar Hossain said this while responding to the question of a journalist. He faced newsmen at a press conference at a hotel at Karwan Bazar on Sunday.

At one stage of his deliberation, he brought his hands together and pleaded, ‘I didn’t have any other way other than closing those factories. I am penniless. I have lost my everything.’

He also said, “If any insurance or financial organisation granted a 25-30 crore loan to me without interest; I could have a fresh start.
to read.

20140822 * Tuba Group workers:

20140823 FE
Tuba Group workers give a helpless look at a rally organised in front of the National Press Club Friday to press for reopening of the closed Tuba factories.
— FE Photo
FE bd


20140824 * Garment workers of Dorin Fashion Limited staged a demonstration:

20140825 FE
Garment workers of Dorin Fashion Limited staged a demonstration at Shewrapara of Mirpur in the city Sunday fearing termination from their jobs ahead of the Eid-ul-Azha.
— FE Photo.
FE bd

20140823 * 15 -20 Partex Group workers hurt in clash with cops in Narayanganj:

At least 15 people were injured when Partex Group workers, who blocked Dhaka-Chitagong highway demanding a hike in their salaries, clashed with the law enforcers in Bandar upazila of Narayanganj this morning.

Transport movement on the highway remained suspended for an hour following the clash, reports our Narayanganj correspondent.
Several hundreds of workers put barricade at Madanpur point around 7:30am, halting transport movement on the highway, said Akhter Morshed, officer-in-charge of Bandar Police Station.

On information, police rushed the spot and tried to resist them from blocking the busy highway, the OC said.
Being resisted, the agitated workers started hurling brick chips targeting the law enforcers, resulting in the clash.
To disperse the workers, police charged baton on them, leaving at least 15 workers injured, the OC added.
Transport movement on the highway resumed after the workers left the scene around 8:30am.
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daily star bd  DHAKATRIBUNE banglanews24NEW INDEPENDENT UNBnew  FE bd

20140823 * The Jatiya Garments Sramik Federation:

20140824 FE
The Jatiya Garments Sramik Federation brought out a procession in the city on Saturday demanding reopening of an Italy-owned factory at Dhaha EPZ and reinstatement of its workers immediately.
The picture was snapped in front of the National Press Club.
— FE Photo
FE bd

* Bureaucracy delays recruitment of factory inspectors:

The recruitment of additional 200 factory inspectors, a must for regaining trade benefits to the US market, is being delayed due to the lengthy process of the Public Service Commission (PSC).

As per rules, the ministry is not allowed to circumvent the PSC and recruit such a number of government officials.

So far, the labour and employment ministry has managed to recruit only 17 first-class officials and 42 second-class ones — way behind the target of employing 63 first-class inspectors and 137 second-class ones by December 2013.

Syed Ahmed, inspector general for factories and establishments, said the process is being delayed for an amendment to the laws.

The PSC though is currently recruiting inspectors from the pending pass list of BCS examinees and has recently recruited 20 officials. They are yet to join the ministry, he added.

At present, there are 135 inspectors against the requirement for 575, according to Ahmed.

Meanwhile, the next meeting of the five diplomats and three secretaries to review the progresses made by the country against the action plan provided by the United States Trade Representative to win back the Generalised System of Preferences facility will be held on September 10 in Dhaka, said Hedayetullah Al Mamoon, senior secretary to the commerce ministry.
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daily star bd

* Textile industry on a rocky road:

Braces for huge loss as global cotton price falls sharply, speaks against archaic central bank regulations

Bangladesh textile industry is in deep trouble as the global cotton price has dipped sharply, leaving it stacked with the raw material bought at a much higher price.

The worst is they could have easily avoided this loss but for the archaic central bank regulations that bar them from participating in modern financial instruments that hedge commodity importers from price fluctuations.

For a country like Bangladesh which is the second largest garment exporter and is projected to be the top exporter, such old-fashioned regulations now create a big hurdle, as a tussle between yarn producers and garment manufacturers is imminent.

Textile lobby will try to avoid loss due to price fluctuation by factoring in yarn price based on high cotton price. But garment manufacturers will argue that since global cotton price has dipped, yarn price should drop correspondingly.

Bangladesh has some 400 spinning mills affiliated with the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA).  Their 10 million spindles whir to produce about 1 lakh tonne of yarn a year to feed both the local and export markets.

For the knit apparels like T-shirts, they provide 90 percent of the yarn and for the woven apparels like shirts and trousers, at least 35 percent.

Bangladesh needs 40 lakh bales (each bale equals 480 pounds) of cotton a year for its domestic and export consumption. Only 25,000 bales are produced in the country, which is not regular, and the rest is imported from the USA, Africa, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), India and Pakistan.
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daily star bd

* 1st instalment of recompense to be distributed early Sept:

Tannery relocation from Hazaribagh to Savar

The first instalment of the compensation for tannery relocation from Hazaribagh to Savar will be distributed to tanneries early next month (September).

The first instalment will be around 10 per cent of the total promised compensation of Tk 2.5 billion, according to a source in the Savar Tannery Estate Authority.

The compensation will be given under a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the tanners and the government in October last year to ensure relocation of Hazaribagh tanneries to the Savar Tannery Estate.
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FE bd

* Jute sector in deep trouble:

Stock of jute goods rises as exports, domestic consumption fall

Stockpiles of jute goods hit a nine-year high of 1.69 lakh tonnes in the face of a slump in exports and domestic consumption, putting the entire sector in deep trouble.

Jute mills have begun the current fiscal year with the stock, which is 62 percent higher than last year, according to the Department of Jute (DoJ).

“Exports are likely to fall in both value and volume. I do not see any hope of recovery unless the local demand for jute goods picks up,” said Mahmudul Huq, deputy managing director of Janata Jute Mills Ltd, a leading exporter of jute products.

The jute industry, which involves about 40 lakh farmers and 1.5 lakh workers, has been on an acute downturn in export earnings owing to the Middle East crisis and a slump in demand from Africa, Thailand and India.
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daily star bd

* Targeting a more inclusive budget:

Expenditure in some sectors under appropriate policies in line with a budgetary plan provides an opportunity for maximising income generation for the countrymen.

The sectors, namely agriculture (A), readymade garments (R), manpower (M) and the second-best sectors (S), can be termed ARMS.
The ARMS ensure income, employment generation, an increase in per capita income and improvement of the living standard.

Expenditure in some other sectors under appropriate policies in line with a budgetary plan helps build the basement or ground on which a nation stands. The sectors are Liberty and democracy (L), Education (E), Governance (G) and Seminal needs and infrastructure (S) that can be termed LEGS.

The LEGS help build the image of a nation in the field of investment and also in the field of resource distribution.
Forty-two years on, is Bangladesh in a strong position, when it comes to its ARMS and LEGS?
ARMS are the sectors that have the potentiality to be stronger and LEGS are the ground on which the performance of ARMS depends.
The national budget should focus on the ARMS and LEGS strategically to build a better nation.

Readymade garments: Bangladesh is the second largest garment exporting country in the world.
80% of export proceeds of the country come from readymade garments. Considering its growth every passing year, policy supports including easy access to credit, export incentives and tax incentive have been given to the sector.
Such supports will continue this fiscal year as well.
The sector fetched US$ 23.5 billion in the last fiscal year and employed 4.4 million workers.
No other sector is there to fetch that amount of foreign currency and employ the 4.4 million garment workers.

So, it is very important to ensure sustainability of the sector by providing proper policy support and taking initiatives to resolve any crisis.
Some issues like minimum wages and compliance with the requirement of workplace safety and job security are of utmost importance.
The government should have an action plan to resolve any crisis and thus attract buyers and get the GSP (generalised system of preferences) facility revived in the US market and also retain the buyers in the European Union (EU).

In this connection the budget focuses on two points:
(I) a work plan by the government, owners and workers has been initiated to decide on minimum wages and
an accord has signed between BUET and the EU at the initiative of the ILO (International Labour Organisation) and the alliance has been established at the initiatives of importers to identify the factories having deficiencies.

An immediate compliance with the requirements and review of the compliance are necessary for implementation of the steps.
The budget could focus on the following issues for sustainable development of the sector and making it more vibrant:
a strategy to resolve any crisis based on the action plan,
(ii) establish a welfare fund for workers with contribution from the government, factory owners and buyers with a view to ensuring welfare of workers’ families under certain  conditions and establishing health clinics for garment workers for providing health services free of costs and/or at a subsidised rate under certain terms and conditions,
(iii) to set up an institute for the garment sector to explore markets, ensure safe investment and return and training for officials and workers,
to impose penalty tax/surcharge on any factory found with deficiencies and gradually increase the rate to keep pressure on the factory for addressing the deficiencies.
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FE bd

* Dhaka needs to erase its rocky anti-FDI past, says Korean envoy:

Korean Ambassador to Bangladesh Lee Yun-young has said Bangladesh should come out from protectionism and open up its market for big investors through removing its anti-FDI (foreign direct investment) atmosphere.

“As Bangladesh’s ‘enduring friend’, Korea wants to see more success stories through a stronger partnership with Bangladesh in the coming days overcoming all the challenges, including an ‘anti-FDI’ atmosphere here right now,” the Korean envoy told UNB in an interview.

The envoy said Bangladesh’s preparation to that end should start right now to find ways to make its economic base stronger by competing with other countries as Bangladesh wants to join the middle-income club by 2021.

Disappointment over KEPZ
The Korean Ambassador expressed disappointment over ‘very complex bureaucracy’ and the impediments faced by the Korean Export Processing Zone (KEPZ); and drew attention of Bangladesh’s top authority to remove those problems very quickly.

“We want to invest more in KEPZ according to our master plan. If fully developed, 300,000 new jobs and $1.5 billion new export will be created through the KEPZ,” he said.

“If Bangladesh can’t solve the issue (KEPZ), Bangladesh will not be able to attract any major investment. This is very serious issue. We want equal treatment like other EPZ. This is our simple request,” said the diplomat.

No other EPZ in Bangladesh has restrictions on products and investments, the envoy observed. “We’re facing discriminations here though we’re valuable partner of Bangladeshis. For us new investment is restricted. I don’t know why. ”
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FE bd

* FBCCI urges Japanese investors to collar Dhaka’s incentive offers:

Bangladeshi businessmen will persuade Japanese entrepreneurs to invest in a big way when a group of investors accompanying prime minister Abe descends on the capital next month, a top business leader said.  

“They (Japanese investors) are very positive about investing here. We will request them to utilise the incentives our government is ready to offer,” President of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed told the FE.
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FE bd

* Mozena: Bangladesh can be top garment exporter:

Bangladesh is currently passing through a crisis moment, the country can overcome it, says Mozena

Bangladesh can become economically prosperous like Malaysia through garment export, US Ambassador to Bangladesh Dan W Mozena has said.
He made this remark while visiting a garment factory in Rajbari under Sreepur of Gazipur district on Saturday.
US Aid Director Janina Jaruzelski accompanied him during his visit to the district.

Mozena said the Obama administration has suspended GSP privileges for Bangladesh as part of its long process.
It has given the government of Bangladesh to take some action plans for implementations for the restoration of the privileges.
America, the European Union and Bangladesh have adopted the action plan on July 8 last year in Geneva.

Mozena said Bangladesh is currently passing through a crisis moment, the country can overcome it.
Through the implementation of the roadmap, Bangladesh garment industry could be turned into number one, or it may fail if it is not implemented, said the US diplomat.

He said if the action plan is not implemented, the disasters like Rana Plaza or Tajrin garments can happen again.
He, however, said: “I do not believe it will happen again.”
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Time after time, week in, week out.

Year after year, the same words.
The Oracle of a Tiger….
Empty slogan, which drive people to madness.

Is being a nummer one so imporant…
Respect for workers, by a Living Wage, real good Labour Laws, Proft Sharing and
a Compensation (for example by USA  companies!!) for the Tazreen and Rana Plaza victims are much more important.
Quality, is more important than quantity.

* VK Singh for joint-effort on RMG:

Indian state minister for external affairs and Development of North Eastern Region VK Singh on Sunday proposed joint-effort with Bangladesh on ready made garments (RMG).

VK Sing placed his proposal during the meeting with Bangladesh foreign minister Abul Hasan Mahmood Ali at latter’s office in the city.
At the 15-minute meeting started at 9:30am, they discussed different bilateral issues.
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05:47:31 local time map of india INDIA

* Trade unions demand job security:

Members of various trade unions, led by the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), staged a protest in the city on Thursday seeking job security for employees in the private and unorganised sector.

The AITUC also said the retirement age in some private companies was 58 years though it had been increased to 60 in most companies, both under private as well as public sector.

The protesters said, though the State government had amended the model Standing Order in December, 2009 making it mandatory to increase the retirement age to 60 years in the private sector, the draft order was yet to be given a final shape and ratified.
As a result, hundreds of workers were retiring at the age of 58, according to AITUC leaders, who were led by district unit president Raju and General Secretary H.R. Seshadri.
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* Coimbatore’s textile industry hit by severe shortage of skilled labour:

It’s an irony that Coimbatore district, known as the textile hub of the state, faces acute shortage  in skilled employees for the textile industry.

With more than 9 institutions offering technical training in textile engineering in the city, companies still find it very difficult to get skilled employees.

“Even though the city has an install capacity of 7 million spindles in comparison to Maharashtra’s 4.5 million and Gujarat’s 3 million, the textile profession is losing its popularity. In the last ten years, while the off take for textile education has come down drastically, the industry has grown significantly during the same period. Thus, there is severe shortage of skilled labour,” said T. Rajkumar, Chairman, SIMA.

The IT boom and construction boom in recent years are the major reasons for this scarcity. During the first year of employment, the salaries these industries pay is double that of the textile industry salary.

“Fifty per cent of people in the textile engineering field end up in software firms,” says Dr. G Thilagavathy, HoD, Textile Technology at PSG College of Technology.
read more.

* Tirupur knitwear sector seeks ‘Textile Bank’:

Submits suggestions to Union Ministry

Creation of a ‘Textile Bank,’ a separate policy for man made fibres and polyester, a processing zone for dyeing sector, and direct marketing facilities for power loom weavers, figured in the report submitted by the cluster here to Union Ministry in response to its draft action plan for apparels sector.

The suggestions were obtained by the CII (Tirupur district council), and Sripuram Trust (a body of textile sector representatives). The Union Ministry had recently brought out a draft ‘Vision, strategy and action plan’ for textiles and apparels sector.
read more.

* ‘Tap opportunities in technical textiles’:

Entrepreneurs interested in investing in technical textiles should look at opportunities related to cotton woven and knitted fabric, T. Rajkumar, chairman of Southern India Mills’ Association, said here on Friday.

Inaugurating a conference organised by PSG College of Technology Centre of Excellence (Indutech), he said more than 70 per cent of technical textiles needs man-made fibre and filaments. With levy of excise duty, import duty, special additional duty, etc, the cost of the fibres and filaments in India is 20 per cent to 30 per cent higher compared to competing countries such as China and Indonesia.

The country is producing nearly 390 lakh bales of cotton a year and textile industry in Tamil Nadu is predominantly cotton-based.

The State has units across the textile value chain from spinning to garmenting. Considering the huge investment needed for non-woven and lack of technical know-how, entrepreneurs should focus on cotton-based technical textiles.
read more.

* Trade unions of Bharathi Mills demand textile park:

The trade unions of State-run Sri Bharathi Mills and Swadeshi Cotton Mills urged the Government to set up a textile park.

In a press release, V.S.Abishegam of the action committee said that already infrastructure were available and hence there was no need to strive for the facility. Mr. Abishegam said that the three mills — AFT Mills, Sri Bharathi Mills and Swadeshi Cotton Mills — should be integrated and a textile park be created.
to read.

05:47:31 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* Textile and apparel exports boost external sector earnings:

Textiles and apparel export earnings recorded a steady growth in June this year, a Central Bank report revealed last week. The increase in apparel export income had contributed to the growth in industrial export earnings during the month.

Industrial income increased by 18.7 percent year-on-year, to US $ 725 million in June due to favourable performance in major export categories such as textiles and garments, rubber products and leather products, the report said.

Textiles and garment exports which account for 45.3 percent of exports grew 25 percent, year-on-year, to US $ 446 million contributing over 50 percent to overall growth in exports in June. The significant increase in exports to traditional markets such as the EU increased by 34.6 percent and USA 12.1 percent and non traditional markets 44.5 percent contributed to the growth.

Apparel exporters said that the growth in the apparel industry indicates the industry is poised to achieve the export target of US $ 5 billion by 2016.

An apparel exporter said that backward integration and promotion of new Sri Lankan brands in the international market will help surpass the goals set for the future.

The maintenance of safety and other international standards helped the textile and garment industry in Sri Lanka to face strong competition in international markets, the Central Bank report revealed, highlighting further the growth in external sector which contributed to the decline in the trade deficit.
read more.

* Factories to produce raw materials for apparels should be launched in SL — Basil:

Under Japanese investment

A discussion on Japanese investments in Sri Lanka between the Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa and Thadai Suki, Chairman of Japan Sri Lanka Enterprise Committee, took place recently at the Ministry premises.

Rajapaksa said: “Sri Lanka and Japan have been enjoying good business relations for a long time.
At the same time, the Japanese Government has made major investments in our country.
This enabled a large number of Sri Lankans to be employed in these Japanese factories in Sri Lanka and earn an income”.

“We are now taking action to promote export of vegetable, fruits and ornamental foliage using modern techniques. We have opened a Tissue Culture Centre at Gampaha and we are constantly getting advice and observations from local universities”.

He noted that there is an encouraging demand for pineapples, with a taste endemic to Sri Lanka, in the Middle East market.
Action will be taken through this tissue culture centre to promote appropriate varieties of pineapple.
Local cultivators will be encouraged to breed plantains, mangoes, vegetables and flowers in home gardens as well as major scale plantations.
Export oriented cultivation of plantains, mangoes and pineapple is already happening in remote areas like Moneragala and Hambantota.

At the same time, the apparel industry has reached a new high in Sri Lanka with top quality products.
However, 90% of raw materials required for the industry is imported, the Minister said.
“Therefore, I urge factories that produce raw materials for apparels be launched in Sri Lanka with Japanese investments.
As our labor resources are knowledgeable, efficient and friendly, it will be easy to achieve productions of high quality”.
read more.

05:17:31 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Two years after factory fire tragedy, trial yet to start :

Firefighters and medical personnel take part of rescue operation in the Baldia Town garment factory in Karachi. — Photo by AFP

Despite the passage of around two years, the trial of the case pertaining to the devastating fire that broke out in a Baldia Town garment factory in which over 250 workers died has yet to commence, it emerged on Saturday.

The owner of the industrial unit, Abdul Aziz Bhaila, and his two sons — Arshad Bhaila and Shahid Bhaila — general manager Mansoor and some gatekeepers have been booked in the case while on the directive of a magistrate, the then managing director of SITE Abdul Rasheed Solangi, labour department director Zahid Gulzar Shaikh, additional controller of civil defence Ghulam Akbar and chief inspector (electrical) Amjad Ali were also named in the case for their alleged negligence.

However, the case has yet to reach the stage of indictment as the process of supplying copies of evidence to suspects has not been completed while the issue of removal of section of the premeditated murder offence from the last charge-sheet also has remained undecided.
read more.

* It’s transfers not minimum wages that raise the incomes of the poor:

Part of this ongoing debate about whether or not to raise the minimum wage is the point that, well, we’d like to raise the incomes of the poor.

Some argue we should do that simply through pure free market measures, others through rigging the markets by, say, raising the minimum wage.
However, there’s an important point that we can make by looking at matters international.

Which is that other places haven’t in fact raised the incomes of the poor through raising the minimum wage.
That’s just not been the effective policy.
Lane Kenworthy is no free market extremist like myself, most certainly not, but rather a socially democratic leaning (we might call this “liberal” in the context of the American political debate) economist and an economist who actually looks at the evidence of what has been working: Reihan Salam: Much of your work is based on the notion that the United States can learn from the efforts of other affluent market democracies to better the lives of the poor.
Across these countries, have rising wages been the chief vehicle for raising incomes at the bottom or has it been rising transfers?
read more.
daily times PK

* Concern expressed over decline in textile exports:

Pakistan Yarn Merchants Association (PYMA) chairman Obaidullah Sheikh has expressed concern over decline in textile exports.

Talking to newsmen here, he said that export of cotton yarn had declined by 35.32 per cent, of cotton cloth by 8.13 per cent and of other textile material by 14.4 per cent in July.
He said that textile exports were $1.19 billion in July 2013 while the same were $1.16 billion in July 2014. He said that the reasons behind the decline were loadshedding of electricity and gas, poor law and order and uncertain political situation.

In the month of Ramazan, the government increased loadshedding duration for the industrial sector to provide relief to the people, he said, adding that the government had promised to decrease the loadshedding after the month of Ramazan but due to the political crisis, the sector was still facing hours long loadshedding.

He said that the textile industry was facing severe loadshedding and production had decreased by 50 per cent. Foreign buyers and investors were hesitant to come to Pakistan due to the political crisis, he added.
read more.

* Textile exports drop two percent:

The share of textiles in total exports of Pakistan increased to 64 percent in July; although textile exports registered a drop of 2.37 percent mainly due to weakening spinning and weaving sectors, textile trade body said on Friday.

Exports fell by 7.8 percent in the first month of this fiscal year to $1.929 billion in July 2014 from $2.094 billion in July 2013. The monthly textile exports slid to $1.169 billion from $1.197 billion. All high power consuming sectors, including weaving and spinning, experienced a drop in exports.

“The European Union’s generalised scheme of preferences status saved the exports from a plunge,” said SM Tanveer, chairman of All Pakistan Textiles Mills Association.
read more.

* PYMA decries decline in textile exports, demands regular power, gas supply:

Pakistan Yarn Merchants Association (PYMA) expressing concern over the declining trend in textile exports demanded of the government to take immediate remedial measure to arrest this shortfall.

The major reason behind this decline was severe shortfall in supply of electricity and gas to the industry while law and order situation also played its role.
PYMA Chairman Abaidullah Sheikh on Saturday said in July 2014 export of cotton yarn has declined by 35.32 percent, cotton cloth 8.13 percent, art silk 12.64 percent, textile made ups 5.59 percent and other textile material by 14.40 percent.
The overall decline in exports stood at 2.37 percent in July 2014.
read more. & read more.
daily times PK tribune

* Textile exports: PYMA chief voices grave concern over declining trend:

Chairman of Pakistan Yarn Merchants Association (PYMA) Obaidullah Sheikh has expressed grave concern over the declining trend in textile exports and urged the government to take immediate steps to resolve this issue.

Talking to newsmen here on Saturday he said that in July 2014 export of cotton yarn has declined by 35.32 percent, cotton cloth by 8.13 percent and other textile material by 14.40 percent.

Thus overall decline of 2.37 percent has occurred in this month. He further said in July 2013 textile exports were 1.19 billion dollars where as in July 2014 exports were 1.16 billion dollars.
read more.

* PTEA endorses vision 2025:

Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) hailed the vision 2025 and termed it the right step to transform the country into an economically strong and prosperous nation and enhance exports to USD 150 billion by 2025.

In a statement here, Sheikh Ilyas Mahmood, Chairman and Adil Tahir, Vice Chairman Pakistan Textile Exporters Association said that the country required economic revolution for which the Vision 2025 has provided the base.

They appreciated the road map to enhance country’s exports to 150 billion by 2025 and hoped that this would lay the foundation for a stronger and prosperous Pakistan. Implementation of this long-term development plan has the potential to put Pakistan on sustainable economic growth as well as improve its global competitiveness and bring prosperity to the country, they said.
read more.

* APTMA, GIZ launch technical training sessions for millers:

APTMA, in collaboration with the German International Corporation (GIZ), has initiated series of technical training sessions for its member mills.

In this regard, an interactive session for CEOs and top management with GIZ officials held at a local hotel on Saturday where Professor Dr Helmut Koerber made presentation on the subject of ‘More profit through energy efficiency’.
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

* Bangladesh- the Labour Law 23 April 2013-now


* Experts discuss minimum wage increase
* Garment, textile industry faces cotton shortage

* Factories Ask Gov’t to Punish Strike Leaders
* ‘Solvable problems’ focus of fainting review
* More Than 1,000 Faintings Reported in Cambodian Factories This Year

* Rules yet to be formulated to implement labour law
* Tuba Group workers deprived of lay-off benefits, bonuses
* Tazreen owner turns to govt to get Tk 182m insurance claim
* Tuba owner seeks Tk 30cr loans to turn around
* Delwar now wants low-interest loan to reopen Tuba factories
* Tuba’s Delwar now seeks low interest bank loan
* Troubled Tuba now wants Tk 30cr loan to reopen factories
* Delwar seeks bank loan to reopen factories
* I have no way but to close factories: Delwar
* Tuba Group workers
* Garment workers of Dorin Fashion Limited staged a demonstration
* 15 -20 Partex Group workers hurt in clash with cops in Narayanganj
* The Jatiya Garments Sramik Federation
* Bureaucracy delays recruitment of factory inspectors
* Textile industry on a rocky road
* 1st instalment of recompense to be distributed early Sept
* Jute sector in deep trouble
* Targeting a more inclusive budget
* Dhaka needs to erase its rocky anti-FDI past, says Korean envoy
* FBCCI urges Japanese investors to collar Dhaka’s incentive offers
* Mozena: Bangladesh can be top garment exporter
* VK Singh for joint-effort on RMG

* Trade unions demand job security
* Coimbatore’s textile industry hit by severe shortage of skilled labour
* Tirupur knitwear sector seeks ‘Textile Bank’
* ‘Tap opportunities in technical textiles’
* Trade unions of Bharathi Mills demand textile park

* Textile and apparel exports boost external sector earnings
* Factories to produce raw materials for apparels should be launched in SL — Basil

* Two years after factory fire tragedy, trial yet to start
* It’s transfers not minimum wages that raise the incomes of the poor
* Concern expressed over decline in textile exports
* Textile exports drop two percent
* PYMA decries decline in textile exports, demands regular power, gas supply
* Textile exports: PYMA chief voices grave concern over declining trend
* PTEA endorses vision 2025
* APTMA, GIZ launch technical training sessions for millers

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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