EXTRA edition 30 Sept. – 28 Oct./ 24 Nov. 2014

(Please see editor’s note at the bottom of this bulletin.)

20141124

00:01:55 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Tazreen survivors stare blankly at future:

Survivors of the Tazreen Fashions fire stare blankly at future with their lives shattered as the tragedy left many of them crippled making them incapable of working at factories.

More than one hundred Tazreen workers, who were badly injured in the fire, are passing days in extreme hardship struggling to bear the costs of their treatment two years after the incident.
A good number of survivors are yet to recover from the trauma of the terrible incident and lost their mental strength permanently to work in the readymade garment sector or any other industry.

Survivors and their families alleged that the government or the BGMEA had made arrangements for primary treatment of the injured immediately after the incident but that was all and none seemed willing to bear the costs for their treatment for long. No one came in recent months to enquire about how they were doing.

Two years after the tragedy, a number of workers were still in trauma and could not stand noise.
Symptoms of various physical complexities have developed in some of them.
Rokeya Begum, who worked as a sewing assistant at the factory, jumped out of the third floor of the factory building breaking open the windows to escape the blaze on the dreadful night of November 24, 2012. ‘I suffered injuries and received primary treatment.

There were no serious problems with the injuries at that time. But after a few months, various physical complexities started emerging,’ she said. Rokeya is suffering from severe chest pains and respiratory troubles and she vomits blood at times but she cannot afford her treatment.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

* Fire ravaged their lives:

Victims recall fateful night of Tazreen garments disaster that killed 112 people 2 years ago

Everything happens for the best, it is often touted, but for Hena Akter, it is impossible to find a silver lining in the tragedy that unfolded on this day two years ago.

A slight short circuit gave way to an errant fire, which went on to ravage her entire workplace — and her life.

“I have lost everything in that fire,” said Hena, who joined the ill-fated Tazreen Fashions as a helper in January 2010. She used to draw a salary of Tk 4,500 per month, enough to support herself and her two young sons.

While the 35-year-old can count herself lucky to not be among the 112 that succumbed to the fire, the incident on November 24, 2012 though has left her and over 1,200 others wounded. She ended up with a broken backbone, an injury which has rendered her incapable of any strenuous work.
read more.
daily star bd

* After Tazreen fire, companies evade compensation: HRW:

New York based human rights organization Human Rights Watch said on Monday global clothing brands tied to Tazreen factory that had caught fire two years ago should immediately support full and fair compensation for workers and families of the dead.

‘Survivors of the fire at Tazreen Fashions are still suffering from their injuries and loss of income,’ HRW said in a press release. It said only two out of 16 firms linked to the factory are believed to have paid any meaningful amount of compensation to the victims.

Five companies have paid nothing, claiming the factory was making or storing their products without their knowledge or authorization. Other companies have offered undisclosed charitable donations. At least 112 workers died in the fire at the Tazreen Fashions factory on November 24, 2012, in Savar, outside the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka.

Managers had barred them from leaving by the stairs since they said it was a false alarm, survivors said. The exits were also blocked with cartons as the factory was rushing to fill an order.
Workers were badly injured as they jumped out of the upper floors of the burning factory. Hundreds continue to suffer from their injuries and cannot afford their medical treatment.
read more. & read more.read more.
NEWAGEnew  DHAKATRIBUNE HRW

* Financial support still elusive for many Tazreen fire survivors:

Today is tragic November 24. On this day in 2012, one of the most devastating fire incidents in recent memory took place at Tazreen Fashions — a garment factory — at Ashulia on the outskirts of Dhaka city.

The blaze claimed 114 lives and injured 200 workers. Many of the Tazreen survivors, out of the 200, are still traumatized and yet to join any new workplace due to their physical conditions.

A total of 111 families of the dead workers got financial support of Tk 0.7 million each while three more workers who died later are yet to get the money, sources and right activists said.

Out of the 200 injured workers, some 90 workers got the financial support worth Tk 0.1 million each, they added.

Rokeya Begum, a sewing operator of the Tazreen, jumped out of the third floor of the factory building to save herself. She survived but has been suffering from chest pain, respiratory problems and vomiting for more than last one year.

She got primary treatment as no serious problem was identified then. But after a few months, various complexities developed. She cannot continue treatment due to lack of money, she added.

Survivors and their family members alleged that the government or the BGMEA provided primary treatment immediately after the incident but no one took the responsibility for long time treatment.
read more.
FE bd

* Legal entitlement to compensation not ensured despite govt pledge:

20141124 NEWAGE
A file photo shows a floor of the Tazreen Fashions Ltd devastated by a fire incident on November 24, 2012. The government has failed to ensure in stipulated time a legal entitlement to compensation for workers in case of death and injury in workplace incident though it is a commitment under the National Action Plan. — New Age photo

The government has failed to ensure in stipulated time a legal entitlement to compensation for workers in case of death and injury in workplace incident though it is a commitment under the National Action Plan. 

Labour rights groups alleged that the government and factory owners were the main obstacles to implementation of the pledge made in the NAP. Government officials, however, said that they could not concentrate on the issue due to their focus on many other burning issues related with safety and security of workers.

Following the fire incident at Tazreen Fashions Ltd on November 24, 2012 that killed at least 114 workers and injured 200, mostly women, the government adopted the NAP. Under the NAP, the government promised to develop a tripartite protocol for compensation for the families of workers who died and injured as a result of occupational accidents and diseases.

According to the pledge made in the NAP, the tripartite protocol will include a review of the appropriateness of the level of current legal entitlement to compensation bearing in mind the concept of loss of earnings and the provisions of International Labour Organisation Convention 121.

The government also set the expected date of completion of the work by December 31, 2013. ‘Both the government and the factory owners think that if any higher amount is set as compensation it will put a negative impact on the employment,’ labour rights activist Sultan Uddin Ahmed told New Age.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

* No more delay in justice for Tazreen fire victims:

In yet another manifestation of the government’s lack of sincerity in ensuring justice for victims of the Tazreen fire that left some 113 people dead and 100 others disabled on November 24, 2012, trial of the people reportedly responsible for the fire are yet to begin.

As New Age reported on Sunday quoting the court’s additional public prosecutor, they could not complete even the pre-trial proceedings of the case as the police report on the execution of the arrest order issued on December 31, 2013 in the case was still unavailable.

It is worth noting that a judicial magistrate’s court in Dhaka took cognisance then of the charges against 13 people, including the managing director and chairperson of the factory, filed by the police in the case.

Moreover, of the 13 accused, nine are now either in jail or at large on bail.
Against the backdrop, the court ordered the police to arrest the remaining four. Although the Dhaka police superintendent claimed to have personally monitored the execution of the order, one could be forgiven to describe the failure to execute the order even in 11 months as mysterious.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

* RMG workers demand Tazreen owner Delwar’s arrest:

Garment workers on Monday demanded the arrest of Tazreen Fashions Ltd owner Delwar Hossain in connection with the devastating fire at the factory that claimed over 100 lives in 2012.

The demand was made from a protest rally held at Jurain Graveyard marking the second anniversary of the tragedy.

Garments Sramik Sangram Parishad organised the rally. Prior to the rally, tributes were paid to those fire victims buried at the graveyard.

Speakers at the rally demanded that the bail granted to Delwar Hossain be scrapped, he be arrested and exemplary punishment be meted out to him.

They also put forward some demands including ensuring safety measures at workplace, publishing the probe report of the Tazreen Fashions fire incident and taking punitive action against those found guilty over the incident through amending the Labour Act.
read more.
UNBnew

* Punish Tazreen owner, say labour leaders:

Labour leaders yesterday reiterated their demand for exemplary punishment to those responsible for the Tazreen Fashions.

The fire at the Tuba Group factory in Savar killed at least 112 people, mostly garment workers, on this day two years ago.
“The fire was not an accident. It was a murder,” said Tapon Saha, general secretary of Textile Garments Workers Federation.
The loss of lives could have been minimised, had the factory’ doors not been locked, he said at a human chain formed in front of the National Press Club to mark the second anniversary of the fire.
The Tazreen fire and Rana Plaza collapse resulted from gross violations of the labour law, said Abul Hossain, president of the association.

“It is pathetic that the government has failed to ensure proper punishment of the culprits even after two years of the incident,” he said.
They demanded exemplary punishment for Delwar Hossain, managing director of Tazreen Fashions, to discourage such criminal negligence in future.
read more.
daily star bd

* Agreement on Tazreen compensation announced:

Two years after over 120 people lost their lives trapped in the Tazreen Fashions factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, an agreement has been reached between IndustriALL Global Union and their local affiliates, Clean Clothes Campaign and C&A on a system for delivering compensation to the victims of the tragedy.

20141124 CCC demand justice TAZREEN

On November 24, 2012, Tazreen Fashions, a clothing factory supplying global clothing brands, was engulfed in flames. Trapped behind locked exits, over 120 workers died while trapped or trying to escape. 300 workers were seriously injured. For two years these workers have faced destitution and ongoing medical problems as a result of the fire.

Over recent days the parties have been engaged in ongoing negotiations, facilitated by the ILO, to agree principles for an agreement. Details of the programme will be finalised over coming days, with the hope that compensation will finally delivered.

Ineke Zeldenrust from the Clean Clothes Campaign stated: “Just prior to the second anniversary we are extremely pleased to be able to announce we and IndustriALL have reached an outline agreement with C&A on the principles of a compensation process. The system will be based on the system already developed for the Rana Plaza victims. This system covers compensation for loss of income, provision of independent medical assessments and ongoing treatment.

As part of this agreement C&A Foundation has pledged to contribute a significant amount towards full and fair compensation for Tazreen victims, in addition to those funds that have already been committed. The final details of pledge will be worked out and made public once the cost of the package has been finalised. Ineke Zeldenrust: “We welcome the positive role that C&A has played in this process, which has been instrumental in getting this agreement.”
read more. & read more.
CCC INDUSRIall

20141121  * Two Years after Fatal Tazreen Fire, Life Worse for Survivors:

November 24 marks the two-year anniversary of the deadly fire at Tazreen Fashions Ltd. in Bangladesh that killed 112 garment workers.

Since then, at least 30 garment workers have died in factory fires and 844 have been injured in 68 incidents, according to data collected by Solidarity Center staff in Dhaka, the capital. Many of the survivors and their families say they have received little or no compensation, and many survivors are unable to work again.

“Things are getting much, much worse for me,” said Shahanaz, who sustained critical injuries, including loss of vision in her right eye, while fleeing the burning building. “With all of the pain I am in, I can no longer pray while standing.”

Shahanaz is one of nearly a dozen garment workers and family members the Solidarity Center profiled last year. Solidarity Center staff in Dhaka recently visited the workers again, and found that, like Shahanaz, their health and financial situations have deteriorated.

Five months after the Tazreen fire, another 1,100 garment workers in five factories were killed and another 2,500 people were injured when the Rana Plaza building collapsed.

Millions of garment workers, up to 90 percent of whom are women, have made Bangladesh the second largest producer of apparel globally, and 80 percent of the country’s foreign exchange depends upon the industry. Garment workers have toiled for decades in hazardous working conditions with few worker rights. After the Tazreen and Rana Plaza disasters shocked the world, these worker rights violations could no longer be ignored.
read more.
SOLIDARITYCENTER

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01:01:55 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

20141028 * Union Leaders Called to Court for Questioning:

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court has summoned two prominent union leaders for questioning on Friday over charges that they incited violence and property damage at a garment worker protest in Phnom Penh in January during which military police fatally shot at least five people.

The summonses are dated October 9 and ask Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions, and Yang Sophoan, who heads the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions, to “bring any documents related to the case above if they have them.”

Mr. Chhun and Ms. Sophoan said they each received the summonses Monday and would attend the questioning session.

They have both denied any wrongdoing and claimed they were not at the protest.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

20141028 * Five Juhui workers released:

Half of the 10 people arrested on Saturday after a clash at a Kampong Cham shoe factory were released after being questioned in court yesterday, according to a union official.

“After the questioning, [the court] said they [the five released] were not involved,” said Ath Thorn, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU).

Prosecutors yesterday questioned nine of the 10 who had originally been detained after violence broke out between protesters, police and other workers from within the same Juhui Footwear factory on Saturday.
read more.
PPP new

20141027 * Kompong Cham Court Releases Five Arrested at Strike Protest:

The Kompong Cham Provincial Court on Monday released five of the 10 people who were arrested Saturday after clashes between police and about 1,000 sacked workers from the Taiwanese-owned Juhui Footwear factory.

Cambodian Labor Confederation legal officer Kim Socheat, who is representing the 10 people arrested at the Choeung Prey district factory, said that the release came after the court did not find enough proof against the five, who include workers, truck drivers and union officials.

“Deputy provincial prosecutor Chiv Chandara questioned my clients one by one today but has not charged them yet,” Mr. Socheat said by telephone. “Five among the 10 people arrested were released back home after the court did not find enough evidence to inculpate them.

“The five others were sent to be detained in custody at the provincial police station and will continue to be questioned more tomorrow,” Mr. Socheat said.
(….)

About 1,000 workers turned out at the Juhui Footwear factory on Saturday morning to protest their factory’s decision on September 16 to sack them along with 4,000 others who had ignored a court injunction to stop striking.

Juhui Footwear later rehired 3,000 of the workers but refused to rehire the other 2,000, who claim they were blacklisted due to their affiliation with the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (CCAWDU).

The protest on Saturday turned violent when Juhui Footwear administrative director Teng Sambath posted a list of 72 new hires on the factory’s front gate and riot police tried to confiscate the protesters’ audio equipment.

Licadho provincial rights monitor Khon Khoy said the violence came to a halt when a police officer fired his gun into the air twice, causing the protesters to flee.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

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20141027 * Ten held after clash:

After a garment factory clash this weekend that was the most violent since deadly protests in January, police in Kampong Cham province are holding 10 people, several of whom weren’t involved, according to unionists and witnesses.

Accounts of a melee on Saturday differ between police and the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU), the union representing many of the workers, but both sides agree that around 7am, police in riot gear were posted in front of Juhui Footwear with orders to keep 2,000 employees out.

“The workers returned to the factory after the factory announced on October 24 [they could return],” a C.CAWDU statement says. “But when the workers arrived, police forbade them, and injured workers with electric batons and shields.

Juhui’s Human Resources manager and two other high-ranking officials did not respond to phone calls or emails from the Post yesterday.

C.CAWDU president Ath Thorn said the standoff escalated when police took away a microphone and speaker from jilted workers. Then, Thorn said, police beat a woman, leading the crowd to attack authorities.
read more.
PPP new

20141027 * Ten Arrested After Clash at Shoe Factory:

Nearly two months of mounting tensions between workers and management at a Taiwanese-owned shoe factory in Kompong Cham province came to a head on Saturday as employees clashed with police, resulting in the arrest of 10 people and dozens of injuries, authorities said Sunday.

The dispute began on September 1, when more than 5,000 workers at the Juhui Footwear factory in Choeung Prey district went on strike demanding bonus pay and other benefits.

The workers protested intermittently until September 16, when the factory fired all of them for ignoring a court injunction ordering them to cease demonstrations and return to work.

The factory rehired about 3,000 of the workers later last month, but refused to rehire 2,000 of their colleagues, who claim they were black-listed because of their affiliation with the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union (CCAWDU), which led the strikes.

The factory offered the sacked unionists severance packages, which they rejected on the grounds that they had not given up their jobs.

At about 7 a.m. Saturday, some 1,000 workers gathered to demand their jobs back.

As the demonstration got underway, Juhui’s administrative director, Teng Sambath, appeared at the factory’s entrance, where he posted a list of workers who had been selected to work there. The list, however, consisted of only 72 names—all new hires—enraging the protesters.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

20141025 * 10 Cambodian workers arrested in violent wage protest:

Ten striking workers were arrested in eastern Cambodia on Saturday after more than 200 protesters burned a factory gate and hurled stones at the police, leaving eight officers injured, a local police chief said.

The violence took place at the Juhui footwear factory in Choeung Prey district of the eastern Kampong Cham province when outraged demonstrators set the factory gate on fire.

“Protesters wanted to destroy the factory and our security forces intervened, but they did not listen to us and threw gasoline and rocks at us,” district police chief Heng Vuthy told Xinhua. “Eight police officers were injured as 10 protesters were arrested in the incident.”

One of the police officers got seriously injured when gasoline hit his eyes, he said, adding that the factory gate was completely destroyed.
The police dispersed the protesters after the rally turned violent, he added.
According to Heng Vuthy, the workers have been protesting for nearly two months as the factory terminated their contracts for joining protests. However, the factory said those workers abandoned their jobs.

It was the second incident at the factory within a month. On Oct. 6, about 2,000 protesting workers stormed onto the factory ground and left at least two people injured.
Strikes for higher wages or better working conditions are common in the garment and footwear industry, which is the kingdom’ s largest foreign currency earner.
read more. & read more.
KHMERTIMES  CAMHERALD

20141027 * Labor Groups Press Ministry on New Union Registration Rules:

About 100 workers representing eight trade unions and labor associations rallied in front of the Ministry of Labor on Sunday demanding that the government relax registration requirements that they say are being used to stifle efforts to increase their memberships.

The groups—mostly members of the Cambodia Labor Confederation, whose president, Ath Thorn, has been placed under court supervision for a litany of alleged crimes—claim the Labor Ministry has created new bureaucratic blockades to their expansion since nationwide strikes and demonstrations in December and January.

“We face obstacles registering our local unions,” said Rong Chhun, who led Sunday’s rally as president of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions.

“Since late 2013, our registration at about 10 factories has become stuck because it is hard for our local unions to obtain the complex documentation they need to prove…clean criminal records,” he added.

A number of labor confederations have complained that the ministry’s new requirement that labor organizers prove a clean criminal record—by obtaining a letter from the Justice Ministry before registering a local union at a factory—is being used to prevent some of the country’s more militant unions from growing their ranks.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

20141027 * BetterFactories Media Updates 25-27 October 2014, Workers Blockade Highway in Protest of Pay and Conditions:

* To read in the printed edition of the Cambodia Daily:
2014-10-25-26 Workers Blockade Highway in Protest of Pay and Conditions
2014-10-27 Ten Arrested After Clash at Shoe Factory
2014-10-27 Labor Groups Press Ministry on New Union Registration Rules

* To read in the printed edition of the Phnom Penh Post:
2014-10-27 Malaysia workers organise
2014-10-27 Ten held after violent clash

* BetterFactories Media Updates Overview here.
BF NEW

———————-

20141025 * Workers Blockade Highway in Protest of Pay and Conditions:

20141025 CD
Traffic backs up as some 2,500 workers from the Grand Twins garment factory blockade National Road 4 in Phnom Penh’s Pur Senchey district. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

Thousands of workers from the Grand Twins International garment factory—one of two companies listed on the Cambodia Stock Exchange (CSX)—blocked a major highway leading out of Phnom Penh on Friday morning to protest for better working conditions and higher wages.

More than 5,000 workers at the factory have been striking since Monday to call for management to address 16 demands including a monthly $15 accommodation allowance and an end to forced overtime.

At least 2,500 workers—union officials said numbers were much higher—gathered on National Road 4, near Grand Twins’ factory in Pur Senchey district, at about 9 a.m. Friday for a two-hour demonstration that caused traffic jams in both directions.

Worker Phom Chantheng, 34, said she was unhappy with conditions in the factory, which produces clothing for brands including Adidas. She said the factory had changed its name from QMI to Grand Twins in 2006, which left many long-term staff worried about losing their seniority, along with the related benefits and potential severance pay.

“If the factory doesn’t solve the problems, we will keep going on strike until we can get a solution,” she said.

After about two hours, the protesting workers agreed to leave the highway for their representatives to attend negotiations with the factory.

However, Nuon Ny, president of Trade Union Cambodia Support Workers, said the meeting was called off after the two sides failed to agree on where to meet.

“We will ask for invention from the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC), the buyers and the Labor Minister,” he said.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

20141025 * Frustrated garment workers block road:

Garment workers from the  Grand Twins factory, (formerly known as the QMI factory), blocked Road No. 4 on Friday after a week of protests that had yielded no results.

About five hundred employees from a total workforce of 5700 went on strike demanding a resolution to their issues.

Vice President of the Cambodia Federation Voices of Worker Union, Khoen Namhor, said that the reason the workers blocked the road was because of the lack of progress that was being made and the employer’s refusal to enter into meaningful discussions.
The workers went on strike because the factory changed its name and didn’t confirm the workers’ entitlements accrued through seniority, he said.

Striking employees also said that they want the company to provide various monetary allowances including $1.25 for lunch, $0.50 per overtime hour, $15 per month for transportation and $10 for accommodation.
read more.
KHMERTIMES

20141025 * 10 Cambodian workers arrested in violent wage protest:

Ten striking workers were arrested in eastern Cambodia on Saturday after more than 200 protesters burned a factory gate and hurled stones at the police, leaving eight officers injured, a local police chief said.

The violence took place at the Juhui footwear factory in Choeung Prey district of the eastern Kampong Cham province when outraged demonstrators set the factory gate on fire.

“Protesters wanted to destroy the factory and our security forces intervened, but they did not listen to us and threw gasoline and rocks at us,” district police chief Heng Vuthy told Xinhua. “Eight police officers were injured as 10 protesters were arrested in the incident.”

One of the police officers got seriously injured when gasoline hit his eyes, he said, adding that the factory gate was completely destroyed.

The police dispersed the protesters after the rally turned violent, he added.

According to Heng Vuthy, the workers have been protesting for nearly two months as the factory terminated their contracts for joining protests. However, the factory said those workers abandoned their jobs.

It was the second incident at the factory within a month. On Oct. 6, about 2,000 protesting workers stormed onto the factory ground and left at least two people injured.
read more.
CAMHERALD

20141023 * More factories at risk: report:

A day after the floor of a Takeo province factory collapsed, injuring multiple staff, it was revealed that more factories could be at risk of the same fate.

“Building construction and design” is identified as the biggest risk faced by a sample of Cambodian factories whose building and fire safety were assessed by a team of experts in June, according to Jill Tucker, chief technical adviser of the International Labour Organization’s Better Factories Cambodia (BFC) program.

Preliminary results of the assessment, released yesterday, were given to BFC after the factory collapse on Tuesday. The investigation was carried out by Filipino company ECCI into “seven garment factories and two footwear factories of varying size and age”.

According to Tucker, the report identifies a lack of rebar – reinforcing steel – in the ground slab as a point of concern.
read more.
PPP new

20141023 * Inspection Gap Poses Safety Threat in Factories:

In May last year, after two workers were killed when a ceiling collapsed at the Wing Star Shoes factory in Kompong Speu province, then-Minister of Social Affairs Ith Sam Heng said ministries would “inspect the buildings of all factories in use.”

But on Tuesday, 17 months after the deadly factory collapse, the ground floor of the Chinese-owned Nishiku Enterprise factory in Takeo province caved in, injuring at least eight workers—again raising concerns about a lack of construction standards in Cambodia’s garment sector.

The continual risks posed by substandard construction work on factory buildings is highlighted in an unreleased report entitled Garment and Footwear Industry Fire and Building Safety Risk Profile, according to Jill Tucker, chief technical adviser for the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) Better Factories Cambodia program.

Ms. Tucker said the report, which assessed nine factories and was compiled by the ILO together with the International Finance Corporation, details a lack of “rebar in the ground slabs” as a common threat to workers’ safety, which Ms. Tucker said was the reason for Tuesday’s collapse.

“That’s exactly what it was,” she said of the cause of the collapse, in which 50-meter-long section of the factory floor dropped some three meters into a water basin below.

“What the report also says is the absence of formal codes and regulations from the Cambodian government may be the primary factor [allowing for poor construction],” she said.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

20141023 * Wage talks remain in deadlock:

The third day of negotiations between members of a working group trying to reach a consensus on the minimum monthly garment wage remained stagnant yesterday, as manufacturers refused to budge from their $110 offer.

Although members of the government delegation to the working group – also made up of factory and union representatives – urged employers to at least consider $120, they flatly refused, said Collective Union of Movement of Workers president Pav Sina.

“If the employers increase their offer, we will lower our demand from $150,” Sina said, referring to the amount unions have loosely agreed upon.

Ministry of Labour spokesman Heng Sour could not be reached after the meeting.

Moeun Tola, head of the Community Legal Education Center’s labour program, said he believed standing firm for the time being is a tactic manufacturers are using so that unions will accept a lesser amount in the end.

“I think it’s only the strategy of the manufacturers,” he said.
to read.
PPP new

20141023 * Garment Workers Demand Proper Working Conditions:

20141022 KHMERTIMES
Garment workers strike in front of the Ministry of Labour on Oct. 22. (KT Photo: Ven Rathavong)

Garment workers of the Xing Tai Garment (Cambodia) company are striking in demand of proper working conditions.

The workers submitted their 33-point petition to the Ministry of Labour today.
The strikes have been ongoing for six days and the workers insist that they will not return to work until their demands are met.

Worker Nhem Sopheak said that she needs more money than the roughly $1 stipend for lunch, $0.50 per overtime hour, $10 per month for transportation and accommodation and $15 per month for steady attendance.

She added that about 40 of the factory’s 800 workers are turning up for their shifts.

Mom Saron, president of the Trade Union Federation for Increasing Khmer Employees Lifestyles, said that a labor ministry representative will summon the factory’s owner to discuss the issues.
“The Labor Minister is trying to arrange the meeting with the factory owner, however he can’t release the actual date when he will resolve the issue yet,” said Mr. Saron.
to read.
KHMERTIMES

20141023 * BetterFactories Media Updates 23 October 2014, Wage talks remain in deadlock

* To read in the printed edition of the Cambodia Daily:
2014-10-23 Inspection Gap Poses Satefy Threat in Factories

* To read in the printed edition of the Phnom Penh Post:
2014-10-23 More factories at risk: report
2014-10-23 Wage talks remain in deadlock

* BetterFactories Media Updates Overview here.
BF NEW

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20141022 * Factory collapse injures four:

20141022 PPP
A security guard inspects damage at Nishiku Enterprise’s garment factory in Takeo province yesterday morning. Photo by Vireak Mai.

Four employees suffered back and leg injuries after part of the floor collapsed at a Takeo province garment factory yesterday morning.

Authorities blamed the incident – the latest to raise questions about building safety in Cambodia’s biggest export industry – on substandard construction.

Some 800 workers fled from Building B of the Nishiku Enterprise factory at about 9:30am after part of the ground floor near the entrance caved in, pinning several workers under their sewing machines and causing minor injuries, witnesses said.

“According to a primary investigation, it was caused by substandard construction,” said Som Hor, deputy chief of a military police unit in Bati district’s Putsar commune. “We have asked investigating officers to check the construction again, because the company did not follow the blueprints they submitted.”
read more & see video report.
PPP new

20141022 * 8 Workers Injured After Factory Floor Collapses:

At least eight workers sustained minor injuries Tuesday morning after the floor of a clothing factory in Takeo province collapsed, once again raising concerns about a lack of oversight of building standards in the crucial garment sector.

At the Chinese-owned Nishiku Enterprise factory—which labor monitors say produces clothes for Swedish clothing giant H&M—sewing machines and debris from the ceiling, which was pulled down by the collapsed floor, littered the bottom of a 50-meter-long and 3-meter-deep slab that dropped into a water basin below the factory floor.

The collapse occurred “because the foundation was not good enough,” said Pok Vantha, deputy director of the Ministry of Labor’s health department, who visited the factory in the afternoon. He said the ministry would launch an investigation into the incident and determine whether the company followed a proper engineering plan prior to construction.

Nishiku Enterprise employs about 1,650 people, 800 of whom work inside the building where the collapse occurred, according to factory management.

Chhun Sareth, chief of Takeo’s internal security bureau, said he also received reports that the floor buckled due to a weak foundation built on land that had become saturated with water due to heavy rainfall.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

20141022 * Advisory Group Begins Minimum Wage Talks:

A new group that will advise the committee that advises the government on the minimum wage in the country’s garment sector began talking numbers Tuesday following a meeting Monday that laid out a code of conduct for the negotiations.

The closed-door talks Tuesday included nine representatives each from the unions, factories and government, and are aimed at reaching an agreement on a new wage raise before it goes to a vote by the Labor Advisory Committee next month.

The new group includes representatives from unions that led nationwide garment sector strikes in December that temporarily crippled the industry. Factories have said a $10 raise to the $100 minimum wage would be doable, while most of the unions want at least $35 more.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

20141022 * Factory OKs only part of pay advance:

About 600 employees of a Phnom Penh garment factory were to return to work today after walking out with the demand of receiving their salaries before next month’s Water Festival.

Ginwin Industry (Cambodia) Co yesterday agreed to pay workers a portion of their wages ahead of the festival, said Toun Saren of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW).

“Workers want a salary advance this month because the Water Festival will begin a day before they are typically paid,” Saren said.
read more.
PPP new

20141022 * Thousands of Staff Protest Against Garment Factory:

Thousands of staff of the Grand Twins garment factory in Phnom Penh’s Pur Senchey district protested Tuesday claiming they had been swindled out of stipends and demanding better overtime pay, according to representatives for the workers and police.

Soy Sreymom, a worker representative who has been at Grand Twins for 11 years, said the factory had changed names in 2008, circumventing its obligation to raise stipends and pay bonuses.

“We protest to demand that the factory provide senior staff with the appropriate wages and to ask them to add $8 to our [monthly transportation stipend of] $7,” she said.

“We will keep protesting until they meet our demands. If they don’t, we will march to the Ministry of Labor.”
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

20141022 * BetterFactories Media Updates 22 October 2014, Factory collapse injures four:

* To read in the printed edition of the Cambodia Daily:
2014-10-22 Advisory Group Begins Minimum Wage Talks
2014-10-22 Thousands of Staff Protest Against Garment Factory
2014-10-22 Workers Injured After Factory Floor Collapses

* To read in the printed edition of the Phnom Penh Post:
2014-10-22 Factory OKs only part of pay advance
2014-10-22 Factory collapse in Takeo province injured four

* BetterFactories Media Updates Overview here.
BF NEW

++++++++++++++

20141021 * Report from CLEC officer at local clinic:

There are 7 injured during the collapse this morning.
CLEC

20141021 * Garment Factory Collapses, Injuring 5:

At least five women were injured after a garment factory collapsed in Takeo Province, about 35 kilometers south of Phnom Penh.

The floor of the Nishiku garment factory in Bati District of Takeo Province collapsed around 10 am, causing the people to fall into a flooded construction zone under the building, said Um Channareth, of Takeo Provincial Police.

He said the chief of Takeo provincial police went to investigate why the factory, built only three years ago, collapsed. Officers from Ministry of Labor and the International Labor Organization went to the site.

Mr. Pok Vanthat, of the Labor Ministry’s  Department of Occupational Safety and Health, said from the site that building collapsed due to poor construction and the vibration of sewing machines. He said he does not believe too much rain caused the accident.

According to Ms. Khat Sorya, who works in the factory, workers were forced back into the building after the ceiling collapsed. Then the floor collapsed.

Noun Borat, the president of the workers, said she will not dare to go back to work even if the building is repaired. She said some workers were crying after the accident.
read more.
KHMERTIMES

20141021 * At Least Four Injured in Factory Collapse:

20141021 CD
Brigadier General La Lay, Takeo provincial military police commander, points to a collapsed section of floor at the Nishiku Enterprise garment factory. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

At least four female workers were injured after the floor of a garment factory in Takeo province collapsed at about 10 a.m. Tuesday morning, with a local health official saying the young women arrived at the hospital unconscious.

Sao Chantha, director of the Bati District Referral Hospital, confirmed that four employees of the Nishiku Enterprise factory in Putsar commune had arrived at the hospital, and that the ambulance that delivered them was headed back to the factory to pick up more potential injured workers.

“When they arrived, they were unconscious and their body was cut by pieces of the building,” Mr. Chantha said.

Chhun Sareth, chief of the provincial internal security bureau, said he had received preliminary reports that the collapse occurred due to a weak foundation built on land that become saturated with water due to heavy morning rainfall.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

20141021 * 4 injured as garment factory floor collapses:

Four people were injured this morning as the ground floor of a Chinese-owned garment factory in Takeo province partially collapsed into a water-storage unit below, according to local police.

Bati district police chief Ngann Sari said the accident, which happened around 9:30am, only caused minor injuries. The four injured were sent to the district hospital.

“We are still investigating the reason why the floor collapsed,” he said.

A 20-by-40-metre water-storage area is located below the factory floor.

Nam Sorporn, Bati district deputy police chief, said a net underneath the floor helped to limit the damage, which may have been caused by faulty construction.

“The floor has collapsed in some parts while the workers were working, but it has not fully [collapsed into the water] because a net underneath firmly supported it. However, we can still initially conclude that it was caused by construction not in accordance with technical standards, or it could also have been caused by overloading,” Sorporn said.

While police said no one remained unaccounted for, a representative from the Coalition of Cambodia Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU) has claimed that 100 workers are missing.
read more.
PPP new

20141021 * Garment factory floor collapse injures 4 in Cambodia:

Four Cambodian garment workers were slightly injured on Tuesday after part of the floor in a garment factory collapsed into a pond built underneath, a local police chief confirmed.

The incident occurred at 10:00 a.m. (local time) at Nishiku Enterprise in Bati district of southern Takeo province, Nham Sary, police chief of Bati district, said.

“It is not the collapse of the factory building,” he told Xinhua over telephone, denying local media reports that the building fell down and trapped dozens of workers.
read more.
CAMHERALD

20141021 * Labour talks ‘show promise’:

The first of 10 planned negotiation sessions between union, manufacturer and government officials on the minimum wage in Cambodia’s garment sector yesterday showed promise, several who attended the meeting said.

After the meeting of the working group, which includes nine members from each stakeholder group, participants were introduced to each other and given data to consider.

“From my point of view, I think it’s good that the government has brought both parties to the table to discuss,” said Kong Athit, vice president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union.
read more.
PPP new

20141021 * Gov’t Sets Ground Rules for Ongoing Wage Talks:

The Labor Ministry laid out the ground rules for unions and factories Monday at the first meeting of a new working group charged with getting the two sides to agree on a new minimum wage for garment workers, including a condition that they address each other politely.

The ministry wants the unions and factories to agree on a recommended raise to the current monthly minimum wage of $100 in order to avoid the crippling strikes some of the unions staged after failing to win the $160 they were demanding in December.

Aiming to get the more militant unions in on the talks, the ministry announced the creation of a new working group last week made up of nine representatives each from the unions, factories and government. They are tasked with formulating a recommended raise for the Labor Advisory Committee, which will then recommend a raise to the Labor Ministry before the government makes a final decision.

The latest offer from the fac- tories was a raise of $10. Unions have been pushing for as much as $77, though some of them in recent days said they were willing to go as low as $35 or even $30.

At the end of its first meeting Monday, the new working group failed to emerge with a common figure for the new wage. But the ministry did put out a six-point list of rules on how the representatives are to comport themselves so as to keep the proceedings civil and moving apace.

“Do not use violent words or make conflict with each other,” the first point says.

The other points urge the representatives not to spread information that would cause violence or spark any “illegal” gathering, not to skip any future meetings except in the case of a debilitat- ing illness, back up all their arguments with sound reasoning and respect anyone’s request to keep a particular comment secret.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

20141021 * BetterFactories Media Updates 21 October 2014, Gov’t Sets Ground Rules for Ongoing Wage Talks:

* To read in the printed edition of the Cambodia Daily:
 2014-10-21 Gov’t Sets Ground Rules for Ongoing Wage Talks

* To read in the printed edition of the Phnom Penh Post:
2014-10-21 Labour talks ‘show promise’

* BetterFactories Media Updates Overview here.
BF NEW

20141021 * Third Transparency Report Demonstrates Improvements in Working Conditions:

The International Labour Organization’s Better Factories Cambodia (BFC)
programme today releases its 3rd online Transparency Report covering the period from July to September 2014.

The report presents working conditions for 248 of Cambodia’s garment factories.
Two of the thirteen factories included in the Low Compliance category made 31 verifiable improvements and, as a result, moved off the Low Compliance list.

Low Compliance factories are those whose performance falls two standard deviations below the mean for compliance on 52 keys issues among
factories with three or more BFC assessments.
One-fourth of the 95 factories added to the Critical Issues list made improvements on 21 basic legal requirements in anticipation of their inclusion in the report.

The total number of Critical Issues violations in this group of factories fell from 109 to 75 between July and September—a 30% improvement.
read more.
BF NEW

00:31:55 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

20141022 * Myanmar: where workers pay the price for FDI:

20141022 EQUALTIMESThe garment industry has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of foreign direct investment Myanmar.(AP/Sakchai Lalit)

On 9 October, 2014, the contents of a factory in Hlaing Tharyar, the largest industrial zone in Yangon, Myanmar, were tentatively auctioned off.

It marked the end to a labour dispute that highlighted the topsy-turvy nature of South Korean investment abroad and Myanmar’s industrial landscape.

The building was once called the Master Sports Footwear Factory. Headed by a South Korean businessman, Bang In-ho, it produced hiking shoes. One client was Kolon Industries, a South Korean textile and apparel behemoth worth US$1.31 billion.

Bang abruptly shut the factory down on 26 June and allegedly fled the country in July without paying more than 750 of the factory’s workers.

He owed one month of outstanding wages which totalled approximately 65 million kyats (US$65,500), as well as an additional 130 million kyats (US$131,000) in compensation for terminating employee contracts without notice.

Furthermore, Master Sports is accused of pressuring workers to sign an agreement that they would receive the June salary only in exchange for foregoing their compensation.

Just 58 people reportedly signed it, with most workers taking to the streets to protest the situation both in front of the factory and the South Korean embassy in Yangon.

The successful auction of the factory’s movable contents — which is believed to have yielded 280 million kyats (US$282,000) — means that the workers can now be paid using the proceeds.
read more.
EQUALtimes

 

01:01:55 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

20141003 * Factory Ordered to Close After Workers Faint:

An umbrella factory in Svay Rieng province was ordered to close temporarily on Thursday after 63 female employees fainted due to extreme heat and a lack of oxygen, provincial officials said.

Staff at the Taiwanese-owned Towa Industrial Factory in Bavet City’s Manhattan Special Economic Zone fainted en masse at about 8:30 a.m., said Ou Sothoeun, deputy director of the provincial labor department.

“After our official came to check the factory we concluded that the reason for the workers fainting is because of hot weather and not enough oxygen in the factory,” he said.

“Some workers became dizzy and vomited, which made other workers faint.” Mr. Sothoeun said factory staff was sent home as officials conducted a thorough inspection.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

20141003 * Poverty line $120, gov’t says:

20141003 PPP
Garment workers protest on Veng Sreng Boulevard in Phnom Penh last month during a campaign to raise the minimum wage to $177. Photo by Hong Menea.

Workers in Cambodia’s capital earning less than $120 per month are living below the poverty line, according to the Ministry of Planning’s own calculation.

At a September 17 workshop on the garment industry minimum wage, International Labour Organization Cambodia national director Tun Sophorn cited Ministry of Planning data that put the poverty line at $120, he said yesterday.

“One hundred and twenty dollars in Phnom Penh is the poverty line [according to the Planning Ministry],” Sophorn said, adding that the ILO was still investigating this figure.

The information comes as the Ministry of Labour’s Labour Advisory Committee prepares to set next year’s garment sector minimum wage on October 10. The current industrial minimum monthly wage is $100, putting garment workers earning minimum wage $20 below the poverty line.
read more.
PPP new

20141003 * US blamed for low wages:

The minimum wage issue took centre stage in the National Assembly yesterday, with the government arguing that if the US cut “unjust” import duties for Cambodian garments, factories could afford to pay the $177 wage demanded by unions and the opposition.

During a debate on a draft law on the control of factories and handicrafts – passed unanimously by both parties – Minister of Industry and Handicraft Cham Prasidh laid out the government’s position on the contentious wage question.

Although Prime Minister Hun Sen “wants so much” to increase workers’ salaries, even beyond $177, it is impossible because “all the factories will run away”, Prasidh told the assembly.

“If we demand too much, our rice pot will turn upside down and we will not have rice to eat,” he said, proposing that his ruling Cambodian People’s Party work together with the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party to find a solution that keeps factories alive.

Cambodia exported about $5 billion worth of garments worldwide last year, Prasidh said, but paid $500 million in import duties to the United States alone, the destination for about half of those garments.

Given the figures, the minister claimed that a relaxation of the US’ tough tax regime on garment imports would free up plenty of cash to pay workers more.

According to Prasidh, France and Britain exported some $30 billion and $40 billion worth of goods to the US last year, respectively, but paid a similar dollar amount on duties as Cambodia, a developing country.

“It is so unjust for us. It means that these days we help America with $500 million every year,” he said, adding that the government should lobby Washington on the issue.
read more.
PPP new

20141002 * Minimum wage increase will not lead to closure of factories: Sam Rainsy:

The opposition leader Sam Rainsy said that he would like to see the increase in the minimum wage of the garment workers, claiming that the increase will not lead to the closure of factories.

Mr. Sam Rainsy said the livelihood of the workers would depend on the minimum wage. And the government has an obligation to help them with the increase in the minimum wage.

“Some said that demanding the raise in minimum wage would trigger the factories to close. I think it is not right. More factors that make the factories close are corruption, under-table money, and high cost of transpiration and electricity,” said Mr. Saim Rainsy at the sideline of the parliamentary session yesterday.
to read.
CAMHERALD

20141003 * Workers, Military Police Scuffle Over Speakers:

About 100 striking workers scuffled with military police outside the Hong Kong-owned CWKH Garment factory in Phnom Penh’s Pur Senchey district on Thursday, according to union representatives and a military police official.

Tensions peaked around 8 a.m. when about 30 military police attempted to confiscate loud speakers being used by the striking workers, said Sum Sothea, a representative of the Khmer Union Federation of Workers Spirit.

“The factory called the military police to take our loud speakers and to threaten the workers to stop them protesting,” he said.
(…)
About 400 workers have been striking at CWKH since September 8, calling for the reinstatement of 14 sacked union representatives.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

20141003 * BetterFactories Media Updates 03 October 2014, Poverty line $120, gov’t says:

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

2014-10-03 Factory Ordered to Close After Workers Faint
2014-10-03 Workers, Military Police Scuffle Over Speakers

* To read in the printed edition of the Phnom Penh Post:

2014-10-03 Poverty line $120, gov’t says
2014-10-03 US Blamed for low wages

* BetterFactories Media Updates Overview here.
BF NEW

20141002 * Gov’t letter to brands ‘lacking in substance’:

A government letter that responded lukewarmly to an offer last month from eight global brands to pay more for clothes so that garment workers can earn higher wages has been met with a shrug by some worker advocates.

Dated September 26, the letter from Labour Minister Ith Sam Heng is addressed to “Representatives of Global Brands”.

It thanks them for their offer to increase the price – and volume of orders – for garments purchased from Cambodian factories, then goes on to describe the process of meetings between unions, factories and government officials leading up to the October 10 decision on the sector’s minimum wage, which will be implemented on January 1.

“We are very pleased to hear that you wish to increase your purchasing volumes and prices for our products,” Sam Heng’s letter reads. “Indeed. [sic] this is really a positive signal for Employers to consider the possibilities of increasing minimum wage.”

Advocates for higher salaries were not impressed with the vague tone of the letter.

“There’s no mention of a fair wage or living wage. It’s getting pretty ridiculous,” said Joel Preston, a consultant for the Community Legal Education Center.
read more.
PPP new

20141002 * Workers Protest Against ‘Insulting’ Mannequins:

20141002 CD cam-photo-FW-after
Protesting workers destroyed potted flowers and then threw them in a pile outside Phnom Penh’s Y&W garment factory Wednesday morning. (Mai Vathana)

About 500 striking workers from the Y&W garment factory in Phnom Penh’s Dangkao district on Wednesday destroyed potted flowers and burned tires after Chinese managers placed mannequins dressed in military uniforms outside the facility to mark China’s National Day.

The workers—1,500 of whom have been protesting since Monday over pay, working conditions and two recently sacked unionists—became enraged after factory officials placed the mannequins and flowers in front of the facility, said Kheng Phearom, a representative of the Khmer Union Federation of Workers Spirit (KUFWS).

“The workers did this because the factory took mannequins and dressed them up in the RCAF [Royal Cambodian Armed Forces] uniforms, and they believed that was an insult to the nation of Cambodia,” Mr. Phearom said. “We did not tell [the workers] to do that, they did it by themselves.”

The protesters also burned several tires before managers hurried the mannequins inside.

“This is an insult against our nation. It is not right for them to put our Cambodian uniforms over lifeless beings,” said Suong Samnang, a KUFWS representative who was fired for mobilizing workers to strike prior to last week’s Pchum Ben holiday.

“When they brought the mannequins back inside the factory, their heads fell off. What are they trying to say to us?” he said.

Long Yang, administrative director at Y&W, denied that the mannequins and potted plants were meant to offend the workers, saying they were meant to honor Chinese soldiers on a Chinese public holiday, the name of which he did not know.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

20141002 * With Wage Hike, Workers to Face Higher Taxes:

The director-general of the Finance Ministry’s tax department told union leaders Wednesday that garment workers, currently guaranteed a monthly salary of $100, need to be prepared to pay an income tax once the minimum wage increases in January.

Many of the 600,000 workers employed in the garment sector can expect to start paying a 5   percent income tax if their total monthly salary, including bonuses and allowances, gets bumped past 500,000 riel, or $125, Kong Vibol told union representatives at a workshop at Raffles Hotel.

Next week, the Labor Advisory Committee, which is composed of representatives of the government, factory owners and unions, is expected to vote on a new minimum wage. Union leaders are demanding a $77 increase while factory owners are calling for a more modest $10 raise.

Mr. Vibol explained that under the 1997 taxation law, salaried employees are obliged to pay a portion of their monthly earnings in tax depending on what income bracket they fall into.

“Today we are holding a press conference to disseminate information to all unions,” he said. “We hope that brothers and sisters can explain to workers their obligation to pay tax and contribute to build the country together.”

But the worker representatives weren’t optimistic that their members would be receptive to the news.

“We do not have enough salary to cover our living costs and now the government asks us to pay tax,” said union representative Long Sokros. “We will talk to our workers and see what they think about this.”
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

20141002 * Gov’t says no to calls to raise minimum income tax level:

20141002 PPP
A garment worker checks the stitching on an item of clothing at a factory in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district in June. Photo by Vireak Mai.

Despite calls from factory representatives and unions to review the minimum threshold for income tax, the General Department of Taxation (GDT) said yesterday it would stick to the $125 tax-free limit.

The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) and the tax department held a workshop in Phnom Penh yesterday aimed at educating factory workers on their tax obligations. The workshop comes days before a new minimum wage rise is expected to be announced.

As wages rise, a growing number of factory workers are earning a taxable rate, but attendees at the workshop called for the threshold to be raised to accommodate modern living costs.

Speaking to about 300 representatives from various unions yesterday, GDT director Kong Vibol ruled out changes to a 1997 tax law that states incomes of $125 or more are subject to taxation.
read more.
PPP new

20141001 * Unions unite across ideologies:

Independent garment unions have experienced unprecedented cooperation from pro-government unions during garment sector minimum wage talks this year, but some unionists and observers fear the congeniality is only for show.

In a stark departure from other years when the Ministry of Labour’s Labour Advisory Committee (LAC) raised the garment sector’s floor wage, the five pro-government unions on the LAC are now actively engaging with the two independent unions on the committee and concerned unions outside the process.

“We try to get consensus, because for the workers group [on the LAC] to succeed, we need to be united,” said Chuon Mom Thol, president of government-leaning Cambodian Union Federation. “When we are united, we get what we want.”

The 21-member LAC includes seven representatives from the government, seven from employers and seven from labour unions. Within the union group, two are independent and five are typically government-aligned.

In past years, pro-government unions never engaged with either of the independent unions on the LAC – the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU) and the National Independent Federation Textile Union of Cambodia (NIFTUC) – to find common ground on a wage demand, Free Trade Union secretary-general Say Sokny said.
read more.
PPP new

20140930 * 150 workers seek PM’s help to reinstate 15 representatives:

About 150 workers from CWKH Garment (Cambodia) Limited sought help from Prime Minister Hun Sen and Ministry of Labor Tuesday to reinstate their 15 representatives.

The workers came to the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training in Toul Kork district, and Prime Minister Hun Sen’s residence near Independence Monument.

One of the workers said they came to the ministry and Samdech Hun Sen’s residence because their employer fired 15 representatives by accusing them that they incited strikes.

They have protested since September 15 to demand that the 15 be reinstated, but there is no solution yet so far, the worker said.
to read.
CAMHERALD

20141002 * BetterFactories Media Updates 02 October 2014, Gov’t says no to calls to raise minimum income tax level:

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

2014-10-02 With Wage Hike, Workers to Face Higher Taxes
2014-10-02 Workers Protest Against ‘Insulting’ Mannequins

* To read in the printed edition of the Phnom Penh Post:

2014-10-02 Gov’t says no to calls to raise minimum income tax level

* BetterFactories Media Updates Overview here.
BF NEW

20141001 * BetterFactories Media Updates 01 October 2014, Unions unite across ideologies:

* To read in the printed edition of the Phnom Penh Post:

2014-10-01 Child labourer injuries rife
2014-10-01 Unions unite across ideologies

* BetterFactories Media Updates Overview here.
BF NEW

20140930 * Workers Strike Over Sacking of Unionists:

About 500 workers who have been on strike at a Chinese-owned footwear factory in Phnom Penh for the past two weeks protested in front of the Ministry of Labor yesterday asking for the government’s help in resolving the dispute.

On September 15, more than 1,000 employees walked out of Jian Le Footwear factory in solidarity with Heng Sihoeun, a National Trade Union Coalition (NTUC) representative who was fired following a change of ownership in August.

Protesters delivered a petition to a Ministry of Labor official calling for the reinstatement of Mr. Sihoeun and severance pay for workers, who were informed last month that the factory was changing its name after being sold to new owners.

“The factory was sold to another company and the name changed. However, they tried to hide this information from the workers so that they wouldn’t need to pay the workers’ severance,” NUTC president Far Saly said.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

20140930 * Worker hunger rates high: ILO:

Nearly half of Cambodia’s garment workers are anaemic, with 15 per cent considered underweight by international standards, according to data released yesterday on hunger in the industry.

The International Labour Organization’s Better Factories Cambodia (BFC) issued some baseline summary results for a study on garment workers’ health and productivity. The results shocked chief researcher Ian Ramage, research director for Angkor Research and Consulting Ltd, the analysis firm contracted for the survey.

“People just don’t have enough to eat, and that’s surprising to me for a population with a monthly salary,” Ramage said. “It is surprising and interesting and disturbing.”

The data, which show more than 43 per cent of garment workers in Cambodia are anaemic and 8 per cent “met the definition for severely food insecure”, were taken from a survey of almost 4,000 employees of 10 factories between May and June.

Ramage said the data taken from factories in Phnom Penh, Kampong Speu and Kandal provinces roughly match hunger rates in Cambodia as a whole, which is largely rural.
read more.
PPP new

* Cambodian garment workers suffer from anemia, food insecurity: study:

A new study indicated that 43. 2 percent of Cambodian garment workers suffered from anemia and 15. 7 percent of workers are underweight, the International Labor Organization (ILO) said Monday.

The study also found that garment workers spent approximately 1. 3 U.S. dollars per day on food, the ILO said in a news statement.

Anxiety and uncertainty about food supply was also found to be surprisingly high in garment workers with only a third of workers in the study meeting the definition of “food secure,” it said, adding that about 8 percent of workers met the definition for severely food insecure.

“Anemia and food insecurity can contribute to wide ranging health problems for workers,” said ILO’s Better Factories Cambodia Program Manager Jill Tucker. “Anemia often leads to chronic fatigue, concentrating difficulty and low productivity. Addressing these anemia levels will be complex, but is key to improving productivity and business outcomes in the garment sector. ”
read more.
CAMHERALD

* Poor Health, Diet Rife in Garment Sector:

More than 40 percent of garment workers have the debilitating blood disorder anemia and only one third have access to adequate food, the initial results of a new study show.

The yearlong study, funded by the International Labor Organization’s Better Factories Cambodia (BFC) program and Agence Francaise de Developpement, aims to discover the impact that just one free meal a day can have on Cambodian garment workers.

Preliminary results released Monday show that, of 3,980 workers surveyed at 10 factories, 15.7 percent are underweight, two-thirds are “food insecure”—meaning they do not at all times have access to sufficient safe and nutritious food—and 43.2 percent suffer from anemia, a deficiency of red blood cells that leads to low blood pressure, fatigue and fainting.

A report published last September by Cambodian and British advocacy groups claims that 33 percent of factory workers were medically malnourished and that each should spend $2.50 a day on food to meet their caloric needs. But this new study found that garment workers spend only $1.30 per day on food.

While the study’s findings are generally in line with the wider female population, BFC program manager Jill Tucker said she had expected the anemia figure to be lower, as those surveyed had a regular income.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

20140930 * Wanted: big trucks for a big crowd:

With the spectre of potential garment-sector unrest on the horizon and emboldened communities protesting land disputes, the National Police is buying what appear to be the authorities’ first water-cannon trucks designed specifically to control demonstrations.

And despite widespread concerns over the use of excessive force by security forces over the past year, they are making no effort to hide it.

In advertisements in yesterday’s Post and Post Khmer newspapers, the Ministry of Interior announced public bidding for two top-of-the-line Tata Daweoo water-cannon trucks “to be used against demonstration”.
read more.
PPP new

20140930 * BetterFactories Media Updates 30 September 2014, Worker hunger rates high: ILO:

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

2014-09-30 Poor Health, Diet Rife in Garment Sector
2014-09-30 Workers Strike Over Sacking of Unionists 

* To read in the printed edition of the Phnom Penh Post:
2014-09-30 Worker hunger rates high: ILO

* BetterFactories Media Updates Overview here.
BF NEW

20140929 * BetterFactories Media Updates 19-25 September 2014, Global Brands Pledge to Pay More for Garments:

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

2014-09-20-21 Global-Brands Pledge to Pay More for Garments
2014-09-24 China Factory Activity Edges Up But Employment Shrinks
2014-09-25 At UN, Subedi Calls for Independence of State Institutions 

* To read in the printed edition The Guardian :

2014-09-21 Fashion retailers agree to raise minimum wage in Cambodia

* SciDev.Net

English Newspaper
2014-09-19 Mobile phone quiz educates Cambodian factory workers

* BetterFactories Media Updates Overview here.
BF NEW

02:01:55 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

20140926 * Two lives lost in Cakung factory fire:

Two women have died in a fire that ravaged a clothing factory, PT Usi Apparel, at the Kawasan Berikat Nusantara (KBN) industrial bonded zone in Cakung in North Jakarta on Thursday.

Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Rikwanto told reporters that the bodies of the two female factory workers, 21-year-old Lien Sururoh and 20-year-old Arni Susila, were burned beyond recognition. The police relied on witness testimonies to identify the bodies.

The two bodies were taken to the Cipto Mangunkusumo General Hospital (RSCM) in Central Jakarta to be autopsied.

“Four other victims, all women, have been taken to Islam Sukapura Hospital in North Jakarta to be treated for severe burns,” he said, adding that the victims had burns on their arms, faces and bodies.
read more.
jakartapost

20140930 * BetterWork Indonesia media updates:

1. Two lives lost in Cakung factory fire. Read the full article here.
2. Wage scale will still consider minimum wage.
Read the full article here (Article is in Bahasa Indonesia)
Read the Google Translate English Version here.
3. Workers and Employer Association questioned the delay of Decent Living Needs Survey. Read the full article here (Article is in Bahasa Indonesia)
See the Google Translate English Version here

4. Formal Workers Wage is asked to be raised by 30% next year.
Read the full article here (Article is in Bahasa Indonesia)
See the Google Translate English version here
.
5. PBL works with local government to accelerate the availability of local regulation on building.  Read the full article here  (Article is in Bahasa Indonesia)
See the Google Translate English Version here.
6. ADB Cuts Growth Forecast for SE Asia; China Steady. Read the full article here.
7. Bekasi Workers Demand Rp3.1 Million Wage in 2015.Read the full article here.

BetterWork Indonesia media updates overview here.
BW indonesia

00:01:55 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

20141003 * 30% RMG factories yet to pay wages:

 About 30 per cent garment factories across the country did not pay the wage of the workers by the government set deadline that expired on Thursday.

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association leaders said that a few number of factoryowners failed to meet the government set deadline due to cash crisis, but all of them would make payment before Eid-ul-Azha.

Garment labour leaders on Thursday evening told New Age that about 70 per cent factory owners paid wages of the workers according to their commitments to the government.

Some factory owners committed to pay the dues of the workers on Friday, the labour leaders said.
The BGMEA vice president Shahidullah Azim said that almost 100 per cent of the BGMEA member factories would make payment by Sunday.
‘We had detected problems in the 27 factories that were unwilling to pay festival allowances and full wages for the month of September but all of the companies except one have already overcome their problems,’ he said.

The workers of Akik Apparels Ltd in the city have been staging demonstration for last couple of weeks as their wages for the months of August and September remained unpaid.
Azim said that the owners of the company arranged money for money for the wages of August and promised to pay the wages of September after Eid.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

20141003 * RMG owners, workers create confusion over wages and festival bonus:

Earlier, the government urged the owners to pay wages by September 28 and bonus by October 2

While the owners claim they have paid wages with festival bonus to all the workers, the union leaders allege 30% factories are yet to make the payments as the government-set deadline expired yesterday.

Earlier, the government urged the owners to pay wages by September 28 and bonus by October 2.

“All factories were able to pay the workers’ salaries by the deadlines. Only Akik Aparels failed.
However, they will also pay today,” BGMEA vice president Shahidullah Azim, told the Dhaka Tribune when asked about the union leaders’ allegation yesterday.

He said Akik would need Tk34 lakh to pay wages of August, of which Tk27 lakh was already collected.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

20141001 * Spinning mill caches fire in Gazipur:

A fire broke out at a spinning mill at West Bhurulia in Gazipur on early Wednesday.

Gazipur fire station officer Md.Shaheen Alam, said that the fire originated from an electric short circuit at the cotton storage of Afroz Spinning Mill at about 4:30am and soon engulfed the mill.
Three fire-fighting units from Gazipur fire service station rushed to the spot and doused the flame in three-hour efforts.
to read. & read more. & read more. & read more.
NEWAGEnew  UNBnew DHAKATRIBUNE FE bd

20141001 * Another Life Lost – Gazipur Factory Fire:

One life has been confirmed lost and more than 4 others injured at the fire that originated on 28 September 2014 in a yarn dyeing factory named Mega Yarn Dyeing Mills Limited in Gazipur.

The victim, Anwar Hossain, was an operator of the factory.

The fire broke out at 3rd floor of the nine-storey building in the Mega Yarn Dyeing Mills Ltd at around 3:35 AM, on information, 10 firefighting units from Savar, Export Processing Zone, Dhamrai, Headquarters and Kaliakoir stations rushed to the spot and tamed the flame around 8:00 AM in the morning, and the fire was subsequently doused by 9:00AM in the morning.
It is to be noted that this factory has been inspected by the Bangladesh Accord for Fire and Building Safety according to their public disclosure report on September 2014.
According to the Accord, the factory had 300 workers, which is of course according to our sources far less than the actual number of workers employed at the time (estimated at 500+ by workers).
read more.
RISE

20141001 * 385 factories may default on workers’ wage, bonus: industrial police:

The industrial police have identified 385 garment factories where wages and festival allowances, ahead of Eid-ul-Azha, may remain unsettled, leading to unrest among the workers.

A high official of the industrial police said they have been monitoring a total of 3,655 garment factories in Ashulia, Gazipur, Narayanganj and Chittagong, and apprehended that labour unrest might take place in some factories as owners are unwilling to pay festival allowances and wages for September.

‘We have already sent a list of 385 factories to the labour ministry last week and asked them to take necessary initiatives,’ he said Monday.
A source in the industrial police said that only 40 per cent of the surveyed factories provided festival allowances to workers by the government deadline on Sunday.
Labour secretary Mikail Shipar, however, disputed the figure provided by industrial police and the said the situation has since improved. ‘The number of at risk factories will not exceed 80,’ he said.
Shipar further said he did not foresee any major trouble in the RMG sector, though, ‘the Tuba Group situation is still problematic.’
read more. & read more.
NEWAGEnew FE bd

20141001 * Will rising minimum wage affect the RMG sector?:

Minimum wage for workers in Bangladesh garments industry is a hot button issue for both manufacturers and the Western retailers.

At the recent Harvard University Conference on “Globalization and Sustainability of Bangladesh Garments Industry”, two issues dominated the discussions: wages and workers’ safety.
The participants, while supporting the cause of workers’ rights to a decent wage for their labor, also voiced concern that the rise in the cost of production triggered by higher wage rate may put upward pressure on profit margins and jeopardize our competitive edge.

In light of these claims and counter-claims, a fair question to ask is: will raising the minimum wage affect the competitiveness of the garments industry of Bangladesh? To put the discussion in context, I will cite a recent observation in the Wall State Journal which raised the alarm, echoed by others, when the minimum wage was raised to Tk. 5,800 at the end of last year.

The Journal cautioned that the higher minimum wage “puts Bangladesh into roughly the same league as other low-cost apparel exporters such as India, Sri Lanka and Cambodia.
But factory owners here said the increase risks making the industry, a mainstay of the impoverished country’s economy, less competitive” in a story published on December 4, 2013 under the banner “Pay Raise for Garment Workers Could Hurt Competitiveness, Bosses say.” My goal here is to reassure the industry bosses and the other stakeholders that there is no reason for concern, at least in the short run.

Has “Real Wage” Really Gone Up?
read more.
daily star bd

20141001 * JS body opposes lowering minimum age for marriage:

A parliamentary body on Tuesday opposed a bill approved in principle by the cabinet seeking enactment of a law lowering the minimum age for marriage to 16 years from the existing 18 years for female.

The parliamentary standing committee on women and children affairs ministry at a meeting held at the Jatiya Sangad Bhaban discussed the move and decided that the committee members would meet the prime minister soon to know the causes of lowering the minimum age of female for marriage.
The cabinet on September 15 approved in principle the Child Marriage Restraint Bill 2014 lowering the minimum age for marriage to 16 years and 18 years for female and male respectively.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

20140930 * Tuba workers threaten tougher movement:

Tuba Group Workers Movement Committee threatened tougher movement if workers of the closed factories are not paid their dues within next 24 hours.

The warning came Monday when workers of five closed Tuba Group factories staged demonstration in front of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) headquarters in the city demanding two months’ wages and festival allowances.

“The Tuba Group workers must be paid their dues and festival allowances within 24 hours. If not, we will go for tougher movement,” said Moshrefa Mishu, coordinator of the committee.

The Tuba Group authorities have kept the units shut illegally, she said demanding wages for the month of August and September and two festival allowances.

“If the authorities cannot run the units, they should declare those shut according to the law and pay the workers accordingly,” she suggested.
to read.
FE bd

20140930 * Tuba workers issue 24-hour ultimatum to pay wage, allowance:

20140930 NEWAGETuba Group Sramik Sangram Committee brings out a procession in the capital on Monday, demanding payment of salaries and festival allowances before Eid.
— New Age photo

Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Committee on Monday issued a 24-hour ultimatum to the government and Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association to pay wages and festival allowances to the workers of five Tuba Group factories or face agitations.

The committee convener Mushrefa Mishu issued the ultimatum at a demonstration in front of BGMEA Bhaban at Karwan Bazar in the city.
Several hundred workers of Tuba Group on Monday staged sit-in in front of the BGMEA Bhaban pressing for their dues and festival allowances.

They chanted slogans and hoist red flags during the demonstration.

The workers demanded wages for the month of August and September and festival allowances for Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha. Mushrefa said that the Tuba Group owner must pay the wages to the workers for the months of August and September as factory authority kept the units shut illegally and the government also termed the closure of the factories illegal.
‘The owners will not be allowed to celebrate the Eid if the festival of the workers is ruined for non-payment of the wages and allowances,’ she warned.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

20140930 * Garment workers issue 24hr ultimatum for wages, bonus:

20140930 DHAKATRIBUNE
Workers stage a demonstration in front of BGMEA office for their wages and bonuses in the capital yesterday  

Hundreds of workers of Tuba Group take part in the programme

Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Committee, a platform of 15 trade unions, yesterday issued a 24-hour ultimatum to both the government and the BGMEA to pay wages and festival bonuses for workers of five closed factories of Tuba Group.

The ultimatum came from a siege programme in front of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporter Association (BGMEA) organised by the Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Committee.

“If the workers of the closed factories of Tuba Group are not paid their dues and festival allowances within 24 hours, we will go for a tougher movement,” Moshrefa Mishu, convener of the committee, told the programme.

Hundreds of workers of Tuba Group took part in the programme while the leaders from several federations and trade unions joining the demonstration, demanding pays by the government-set deadline.

Mishu demanded wages for the workers for the month of August and September, plus festival bonuses for Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Azha as the factories’ layoff is not valid as per the government as well as the Labour Act.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

20140930 * Tuba workers demonstration for dues:

Tuba Group Sramik Sangram Committee on Monday threatened to wage a tough movement if all dues of the workers are not paid within the next 24 hours.The Sangram Committee leaders made the threat from a rally of demonstrating workers in front of the office of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) in the city’s Karwan Bazar, according to a news agency.
to read.
FE bd

20140930 * Payment of festival allowance to RMG workers is a must:

It is although unacceptable but not surprising that almost half of the apparel factories did not pay festival allowance to their workers by the government-set deadline that expired on Sunday

Although the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association acting president’s statement that about 60 per cent of the apparel factories had paid the festival allowance and the rest of the factories would pay it by October sounds refreshing, there are reasons to not repose trust in it, as it was noticed in the recent past that most employers keep reneging on commitments and resorting to non-industrial and extraneous methods to suppress workers rights, with the government joining hands with the owners and letting exploitation and deprivation in the RMG sector continue by deploying the police.

One example will be enough to justify our observation. The Tuba Group owner could secure his bail in the case related to a fire at Tazreen Fashions Ltd, where he was managing director, and release from jail, where he landed in February 2014 after his arrest on surrender, aided by the government and the BGMEA.

The police also barged into a tuba factory on his behalf and drove out people and apparel workers who had been on hunger strike since July 28, demanding payment of their dues and the festival allowance on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr that was celebrated on July 29.

About 1,200 workers of five Tuba Group clothing factories went on demonstrations and finally on hunger strike to force the authorities to pay them their dues.
The workers passed their Eid starving on the factory premises at Badda, with their families, living in outlying districts, ill-fed or half-fed.
As evidenced in the past, many, if not most, factory owners have what could very well be termed an organic aversion to the idea of improving the standard of living of workers with substantial increase in their pay and perks.

One is, therefore, uncertain if rest of the factory owners will pay the workers their dues and the festival allowance in due time.
However, if the factory owners fail to meet the workers’ justified demands this time in accordance with the promise, it will result in violent outbursts, as had happened in the recent past.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

20140930 * Ctg garment factory fire doused:

A fire broke that out at a garment factory in Chittagong city this morning has been doused four hours after it originated.

No casualty was reported from the fire that originated at the building of Precious Apparels Limited in Dakkhin Madhyam Halishahar around 7:30am, our district correspondent reports quoting Jasimuddin, deputy assistant director of Fire Service and Civil defence, Chittagong.

On information, eight firefighting units rushed to the spot and extinguished the fire after four hours of frantic efforts.

The reason behind the fire could not be known immediately.
read more.
daily star bd

20140930 * Knitting factory catches fire in Ctg :

A fire broke out at a knitting factory in South Halishahar area under Export Processing Zone (EPZ) thana in the port city on Tuesday morning.

Fire service sources said the fire originated from an unknown place of Pressure Knitting & Apparels Limited on the fifth floor of a six-storey building in the area at about 7:30 am and it soon engulfed the entire floor.

Informed, three firefighting units from EPZ, Port and Agrabad fire service stations rushed to the spot and doused the flame after two hours of frantic efforts.

The cause of the fire and the extent of losses could not be ascertained immediately, said Jashim Uddin, deputy assistant director of Chittagong Fire Service.
to read. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
UNBnew banglanews24NEW DHAKATRIBUNE prothom FE bd

20140929 * 40% garment factories fail to pay festival allowances:

About 40 per cent of the garment factories have failed to pay the festival allowances by the September 28 deadline set by the government, according to Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).

BGMEA has kept some 1,000 factories under its monitoring over payment of wages and allowances in the country.

The BGMEA monitoring cell has got report on 612 units which revealed that 60 per cent of the surveyed factories had so far paid festival allowances.

Earlier on September 21, the government set September 28 as deadline for paying the festival allowances that ended Sunday and October 2 for paying the wages for the month of September.
read more.
FE bd

20140929 * Garment industry changes women’s roles in society:

Hardship forced Shaheda to move to the capital city with her parents and siblings more than a decade ago from Kalikapur village in Narsingdi district. She is now an operator at a unit of Urmi Group at Tejgoan Industrial Area.  

Shaheda first joined a garment factory at the age of 12 or 13 and earned only Tk 300 a month cutting thread. Now her earnings stood at TK 8,000 per month.

She has been working for 15 years in the garment factories with breaks, including her marriage. She joined back the job after the birth of her first child. During her second pregnancy period she, however, enjoyed four months of maternity leave with salary.

The job in a garment factory helps her to live in a city and send more than half of her monthly income to the family of her in-laws.
read more.
FE bd

20140930 * Buyers now focused on labour standard, building, fire safety:

The compliance issues have got multi-dimension in the readymade garment (RMG) sector of Bangladesh as the North American and European buyers have changed the conventional code of conduct and focused on worker, building and fire safety following the Tazreen Fashions fire and Rana Plaza collapse.

The major importing countries from North America, Canada and the European Union are conducting surveys through the Accord and Alliance in the RMG factories.

Participants said this at a national training programme on ‘Compliance in the RMG Sector’ organised by the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) Chittagong at its conference room Monday morning.

They said the compliance issues in the country’s RMG sector have been brought into the focus by the buyers mainly from North America, Canada and countries of the European Union for the last couple of years which has now become a vital issue.
read more.
FE bd

20140928 * Global brands team up to make Bangladeshi factories environment-friendly:

Leading apparel and footwear buyers and retailers, who source from Bangladesh, have teamed up to make the country’s factories environmentally sound as part of a global initiative.

They have come together under the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) programme, which aims to help lead the industries towards lowering discharge of such chemicals by 2020.

The ZDHC programme signatory brands include Adidas, Benetton, Burberry, C&A, Esprit, G-Star Raw, Gap, H&M, Inditex, Jack Wolfskin, Levi Strauss, L Brands, Li Ning, M&S, New Balance Athletic Shoe, NIKE, PUMA and PVH Corp.
read more.
daily star bd

20140930 * Level playing field for RMG exports:

The US should pay a portion of the excess tariffs paid by Bangladesh into a Tariffs for Standards fund

The US ambassador told a correspondents’ dinner this week that he believed Bangladesh’s RMG industry had made significant progress towards improving standards since the Rana Plaza disaster.

As the United States is the single biggest export destination for Bangladesh accounting for around US$5bn of exports, his remarks are an encouraging vote of confidence.
read more. & read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

20140930 * India’s apparel exports to rise by 10pc as Bangladesh struggles:

India’s cotton and apparel exports are set to climb by around 10 per cent this year as higher wages, political instability and concerns about workplace conditions in other producing markets including Bangladesh steer international buyers toward Indian exporters, industry officials said.

The rise in textile shipments from India — currently around 4.5 per cent of world trade — may eat into top exporter China’s 36 per cent share of the market and will be a boon for Indian textile merchants keen to exploit rising demand stemming from weak cotton prices and global economic growth.
‘My orders have increased by about 20 per cent so far this financial year. It’s a golden period for the Indian textiles industry,’ said Vijay Agarwal, chairman of Mumbai-based Creative Group, a leading apparel exporter.
Buoyed by fresh export orders, Agarwal is keen to expand his business by investing
2 billion rupees ($32.71 million) in the next year.
The main markets for Indian textiles at the moment are the United States and European Union.
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NEWAGEnew daily star bd FE bd

20141002 * Dhaka to press for mkt access, GSP revival:

US-BD dialogue

Duty-and quota-free market access and revival of the suspended generalised system of preferences (GSP) facility on the American market will be on top of Dhaka’s agenda when Bangladesh and the United States sit in Washington for a dialogue.     

Officials gave such preview of the focal talks at the upcoming US-Bangladesh Partnership Dialogue in Washington, DC, in the third week of this month,

Negotiators at the two-day dialogue, scheduled to start on October 21, will also discuss the implementation of the Bali declaration on international trade with specific reference to the benefits the least-developed countries (LDCs) are entitled to.
read more.
FE bd

20141002 * BD to emerge as next Asian tiger: Mozena :

Bangladesh will emerge as the next Asian tiger provided it meets challenges of education revolution to build up a skilled and trained workforce.

The country needs also to develop a strong physical infrastructure including Dhaka-Chittagong 4-lane highway, double tracking of Dhaka-Chittagong railway line, ensure political stability, enhance port facilities and capabilities and attain energy safety by exploring gas and importing gas and LNG (liquefied natural gas) from neighbours.
read more.
FE bd

20141001 * Amirul Haque Amin winning Human Rights award:

2015 Nuremberg International Human Rights Award – Appreciation of the Jury

On Sunday, 28 September, 2014, the jury of the Nuremberg International Human Rights Award, chaired by the Lord Mayor of the City of Nuremberg, met in the City Hall and came to the following decision concerning the eleventh award:

The award winner is Amirul Haque Amin from Bangladesh

The Award will be presented in Nuremberg Opera House on Sunday, 27 September, 2015.

The jury gave the following reasons for its decision:

Amirul Haque Amin has been fighting for workers’ rights with admirable courage. He is president and co-founder of the National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF), the largest national trade union in Bangladesh, established in 1984.
With great persistence and courage, this trade union has been fighting for the improvement of living and working conditions and thus for the dignity of workers in the export-oriented garment manufacturing industry in Bangladesh.

Numerous violations of labour rights occur in the textile and garment industry, not only in Bangladesh but in other southern countries as well. While some progress has been made, much more is needed.
Bearing in mind the devastating collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Dhaka which led to 1,135 worker fatalities and over 2,000 persons injured, the jury wants to appeal to the fashion companies whose products were manufactured in this factory and who have not yet paid any compensation.

Moreover, the jury decision should be seen as an appeal to the entire garment industry to ensure that good working practice is adhered to in all elements of the manufacturing chain.
read more & read more.
nuernberg nuernberg

20141003 * BGMEA’s ‘Bangladesh RMG 2021’ in Dec:

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association is organising a mega event in December this year aiming at preparing a roadmap to fetch $50 billion by 2021 from apparel export.

The event styled ‘Bangladesh RMG 2021’ will be held in the Dhaka for three days from December 7 to 9.
‘The major objective of organising this event is to develop an effective roadmap to help increase earnings from RMG export to $50 billion by 2021 when the country will be celebrating golden jubilee of independence,’ BGMEA said in a statement on Thursday.

According to Export Promotion Bureau, the export earnings from RMG sector crossed $30 billion-mark for the first time at the end of the past 2013-14 financial year. BGMEA expects that the earning would increase substantially in the coming years with coordinated efforts to develop further the country’s premier export earning sector.
read more. & read more. & read more.
NEWAGEnew FE bd FE bd

          THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE

20141025 * No justice in sight: 18 months on from Rana Plaza:

For many of the survivors of Rana Plaza the physical wounds are beginning to heal, but the lasting impact is just beginning to be felt.

Labour Behind the Label has been meeting survivors and families of victims of the Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh this week and is shocked and deeply saddened by the number of people who, 18 months on, are unable to find work or rebuild their lives.

Factory owners are turning ex Rana Plaza workers away, judging them as too ‘damaged’ and too much of a risk to take on,” says Samantha Maher, of Labour Behind the Label, who has been in Bangladesh this month, “it is shocking to see how defeated so many people are, especially in comparison to the other workers we met.”

In the aftermath of the terrible collapse in April 2013, much has been done to prevent another disaster and for those who were not working in one of the five factories in Rana Plaza the measures being introduced through the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Safety offer the hope of a safer future.

However, for more than 2,000 women and men who survived the collapse, compensation has not been forthcoming and 18 months after the collapse the compensation fund still needs US$20 million. The current shortfall is being blamed on the failure of leading brands like Benetton, who were sourcing from the factory, to make even an initial payment into the Trust Fund.

The significance of not receiving full payments can be felt most keenly when talking to young women who are head of households. Alongside the physical and emotional damages suffered they have no financial security.
read more.
labour behind the label

20141025 * How long must Rana Plaza workers wait for justice?:

Bangladeshi garment workers and activist
Garment workers and activists carry a mock coffin during a protest in Dhaka marking the anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse.
Photograph: Munir Uz Zaman/AFP/Getty

It was 18 months ago today, over breakfast with friends from Europe and Asia, that I first heard the news. A building had collapsed in Bangladesh and it was looking bad. The building was Rana Plaza, and that moment changed everything.

This week, the memories of that day – of those strange seconds in limbo between celebration and disaster – came flooding back as I finally made the trip to see the remains of Rana Plaza for myself.

Together with Thiru Yovel, my colleague at the Clean Clothes Campaign international secretariat, I spent the morning clambering in blistering sun over the debris of a building that had once employed more than 3,000 workers.
The full horror of what happened that day was evident in the bones and skeletons we found sticking up through the rubble.
Primark labels littered the ground along with fabric rolls and torn-up clothes. Groups of kids helped us to dig out more labels, more bones and more scraps of clothing. They pointed out the remains of a staircase and holes in the wall next door – now repaired – that were punched through by rescue workers desperate to reach the screaming victims.

As we looked around, my stomach churned with the knowledge of what had taken place that day; it was under this rubble that so many people died.

We later visited some survivors, people who are still shell-shocked by the scale of what happened to them. It was devastating to see how totally abandoned they feel. None of the workers could look us in the eye; the sense of hopelessness they expressed was painful to hear.
When I asked one worker what compensation she thought she should receive, she replied: “It doesn’t matter what I think. Our opinions don’t matter – they will never pay us anyway.”
read more.
GUARDIAN

20141003 * No further compensation for 800 Rana Plaza victims:

Around 800 people, who made compensation claims to the mass compensation committee formed by International Labour Organisation, will not receive any further compensation as the committee had judged that the claimants had not suffered any physical or mental disability. 

The committee called Rana Plaza Claims Administration on Tuesday made the decision after the Centre for Rehabilitation of the Paralysed in Savar completed thorough medical check-ups of all the injured claimants.

A total of 2,849 victims and their dependants applied for compensation to the committee.
The ILO-appointed executive commissioner of the Rana Plaza Claims Administration, Mojtaba Kazazi, told New Age on Tuesday that the 800 workers had already received Tk 50 thousand each in advance along with the rest of the claimants.

‘In addition, the Irish retailer Primark had paid each of the victims and their families Tk 45 thousand each as wage for nine months,’ said Kazazi. ‘So, they were paid Tk 95,000 [each] which should be considered as the minimum ceiling for mass compensation,’ he added. Kazazi also said that the committee on Tuesday had deposited Tk 12.7 crore to the bank accounts of 1,500 settled cases as a
first instalment – which amounts to 40 per cent of what they were due to be paid.
The second instalment, amounting 60 per cent of the total due, will be paid later.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

20141003 * Rana Plaza victims receive first installment of compensation:

The Rana Plaza coordination committee has paid the first installment of compensation to the victims of the building collapse, including those who were injured in the collapse and families of workers who were killed.

A total of 1552 members of the deceased workers’ families and 35 injured workers received the compensation.

Yesterday 127 million taka in compensation was paid into the bank accounts of the family members of the deceased and injured victims from the Rana Plaza donors’ trust fund, the international fund created for the compensation. Of this, approximately 12.58 million taka went to the families of the deceased and 1.37 million to the injured workers.

It is not known how much was given per each deceased worker. The number of family members of the workers varies and not everyone gets the same amount of money.
The payment is given based on the dependence of the children, spouses, siblings and parents on the deceased workers.

This is just part of the compensation. As all the payments have not been made fully to the fund, there are apprehensions about full payment.
So far 19.8 million dollars, equal to about 1.55 billion taka, has been deposited into the fund, that is, only 50% of the full amount. Full compensation requires 3.20 billion taka.

Syed Sultan Uddin Ahmed, member of the Rana Plaza arrangement coordination committee and assistant executive director of the Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies (BILS), yesterday said that compensation has been deposited in the bank accounts of 1587 persons. They can now withdraw the money as and when they need.

Several members of the coordination committee say that before the money was deposited into the bank accounts, the money from the prime minister’s relief fund was deducted.
Also, the majority of injured workers who have been paid are victims of major injury. All of them received assistance from the prime minister’s relief fund and so have been paid less now.
The injured workers who are to receive compensation later are relatively less injured. They haven’t received anything from the prime minister’s fund and so will receive more money in compensation.
read more.
prothom

20141003 * 1,587 Rana Plaza victims get help from ILO-managed fund:

First installment paid

Some 1,587 Rana Plaza collapse victims and their families received the first installment of their compensation from the ILO-managed Trust Fund, officials said.

A total of Tk 127.09 million was paid on September 30 through the DBBL accounts to the victims and dependents of the deceased and injured, they added.

The Rana Plaza Coordination Committee (RPCC) so far received compensation claims from 2,849 workers and their families while 581 more have been enlisted with Primark.

“It was the first installment of compensation approved by the committee,” said International Labour Organisation (ILO) Country Director Srinivas Reddy.

He, however, did not disclose the amount of the payment each victim received.

The payment was calculated according to the wages they got, expected work duration, their ages and number of dependents and level of injuries, he added.

The remaining claimants are expected to get their payment by mid-November, he said adding the amount that has been disbursed is 40 per cent of the total $40 million required amount.
read more.
FE bd

20140930 * Compensation claim deadline ends today:

The deadline for submitting claims for compensation by the victims of Rana Plaza tragedy ends today.

The victims including all those employed in the Rana Plaza and adjacent building, rescue workers or any others suffering injury can apply asking for the compensation to the Rana Plaza Claims Administration Office at Cantonment Board Office (Old), Savar Cantonment, said a press release.
Those who believe they do have a claim should contact the office on mobile phone 01733336022 to book an appointment.

No new claims will be registered after 30th September 2014, the release added.
The government of Bangladesh, BGMEA, trade unions, NGOs and brands and retailers formed the Rana Plaza Coordination Committee (CC) in September 2013 with the purpose of ensuring payments to the victims, their families and dependents for losses and needs arising from the accident.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

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23:31:55 local time map of india INDIA

20141028 * Flawed Fabric – The abuse of girls and women workers in the South Indian textile industry:

20141028 SOMO

‘Flawed Fabrics’ – a new report by the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) and the India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN) – shows that workers are still facing appalling labour conditions that amount to forced labour in the export-oriented Southern Indian textile industry.

The women and girls who work in the spinning mills of Tamil Nadu, some as young as 15, are mostly recruited from marginalised Dalit communities in impoverished rural areas.
They are forced to work long hours for low wages.
They live in very basic company-run hostels and are hardly ever allowed to leave the company compound.
The researched spinning mills have Western companies and Bangladesh garment factories among their customers, including C&A, Mothercare, HanesBrands, Sainsbury’s and Primark.

The report portrays the situation in five spinning mills in Tamil Nadu, which is a major hub in the global textile and knitwear industry: Best Cotton Mills, Jeyavishnu Spintex, Premier Mills, Sulochana Cotton Spinning Mills and Super Spinning Mills.

The research is based on in-depth interviews with 150 workers combined with an analysis of corporate information and export data regarding the companies involved. Spinning mills in this region produce cotton yarn and fabrics, both for further processing in the Indian garment industry and for export to other countries, in particular Bangladesh.
read more.
SOMO

23:01:55 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

20141002 * Labour wakes up:

The concept of safety at the workplace as a fundamental human right is slowly making its way into the ethos of a South Asian society burdened with the notion of destiny.

‘If the roof falls on your head, too bad. You were fated to die this way while at work.’ Workers and other stakeholders are now rising up against this farcical justification for the inhuman treatment of labour.
If not in Pakistan, at least in Bangladesh workers are demanding safety and stakeholders have begun to listen.

Bangladesh is taking the lead in giving higher priority to workers’ safety and the prevention of industrial accidents though it learnt its lesson the hard way: from 2005 to 2013, industrial accidents in the readymade garments sector killed over 2,000 workers and injured a higher number.
These accidents occurred due to gross violations of building safety codes and labour standards. The case is not different here.

It took Bangladesh almost a decade to evolve and implement a workable mechanism.
Today the ‘Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh’ a legally binding five-year agreement between Bangladeshi and global trade unions and MNCs is being hailed as a game changer in South Asia, the supplier of cheap labour for products to be consumed by the rich North.

The idea of the accord as a safety proposal was initiated in early 2010. After rounds of consultations among various stakeholders in Bangladesh and abroad it was signed in May 2013, just a month after the Rana Plaza collapse that killed 1,138 people.

We can learn from Bangladesh’s example to push for workplace safety.

The accord, signed by 170 MNCs, seven Bangladeshi trade union federations and three global trade unions, is governed by a steering committee with equal representation from trade union and company signatories. It specifies inspections, remediation and training under complete transparency.

Due to its three elements — legal enforceability, government support and worker empowerment — the accord is seen as a breakthrough. Under it, 800 out of 1,500 factories used by MNCs were inspected until August 2014. In another initiative, 26 US and Canadian companies have formed the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety to implement a five-year plan. By early 2014 the alliance had inspected 601 of the 700 factories used by its members.
(….)

The stories from the ground indicate significant progress in this sector in Bangladesh in working conditions and workers’ empowerment after the accord.
But what about factories producing for domestic consumption?
Also, will there be a sustainable occupational safety and health system in place in Bangla­desh after the international brands stop funding?

Meanwhile, in Pakistan it is time for stakeholders to reflect on safety issues, motivate the employers and state to stand up to the task and critically evaluate why it is the ILO that must push for a joint action plan for workers’ safety.

The writer is associated with PILER.
read more.
DAWNnew

20141001 * Minimum wages: Govt inches closer to implementing pay rise:

Like the Pakistan Peoples Party-led (PPP) government before it, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has announced plans to increase the minimum wage but neither of them has enacted the required legislation to implement the decision.

What both the PPP and the PML-N needed to do was to amend the relevant laws – Minimum Wages for Unskilled Workers Ordinance 1969 – which has gone unrevised for the last six years [since 2008].

However, earlier this week the PML-N government approved a summary submitted by the Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development (OPHRD) Division, requesting an amendment to the ordinance.

According to the minutes of a meeting available with The Express Tribune, the cabinet was informed that Employees Old Age Benefits Institution (EOBI) – an autonomous body of the OPHRD division, which provides old age, invalidity and survivor’s pension to the workers of private sector – had said it could not collect contributions from the employers/insured persons due to non-revision of schedule of the Ordinance 1969.
read more.

20140930 *  Burnt bodies:

September 11 was the second anniversary of the Baldia Factory fire in which 300 innocent people perished.

Let’s go back in time about one hundred years to March 25, 1911. In the deadliest industrial disaster in US history 146 people – mostly young women, ages 16 to 23 – die in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire under almost similar conditions.

Just like in Baldia Factory, there were no escape exits as the doors were locked to prevent workers from leaving without permission and ‘stealing’ stuff.
The fire department responded but did not have proper equipment to reach the 10th, 11th and 12th floors where the factory was located. As a result many young workers jumped to their deaths through windows.

The owners of the factory though convicted by the court, actually ended up making money as they paid $75 per deceased and recouped $400 per casualty from the insurance for the loss. Neither of the two incidents can be called an accident. It was nothing short of murder of the innocent workers due to wilful neglect, pure greed, and sheer indifference to the sanctity of human life.

Rose Schneiderman, a prominent socialist and union activist, gave a speech at the memorial meeting on April 2, 1911, “I would be a traitor to the burned bodies if I came here to talk good fellowship.
We have tried you good people of the public and we have found you wanting…We have tried you citizens; we are trying you now, and you have a couple of dollars for the sorrowing mothers, brothers, and sisters by way of charity gift.

“But every time workers come out in the only way they know to protest against conditions which are unbearable, the strong hand of the law is allowed to press down heavily upon us….Too much blood has been spilled. I know from my experience it s up to the working people to save themselves by a strong working class movement.”
read more.

20140930 * Bleak working conditions: ‘Industrial tragedies likely to keep occurring’:

20140929 TRIBUNESiddiqui highlighted the need for enforcing laws that deal with labourers, calling for pressure from international buyers to ensure the implementation of health and safety regulations. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Two years ago, 259 workers were killed in a garments factory in Baldia in the worst industrial fire in Pakistan’s history. However, the causes behind the workers’ deaths remain, with other similar incidents likely to occur in the future.

Trade unionists, social activists and lawyers expressed their concerns about the lack of action taken to redress the dangerous conditions of the country’s factory on Saturday, the second day of the three-day Sindh Labour Conference organised by Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler) at their office in Gulshan-e-Maymar.

20140929 TRIBUNE 2

“In the Baldia tragedy, it was not the fire that killed the workers but the actions and inaction of the people in charge of their safety,” said lawyer Faisal Siddiqui, comparing the incident to New York’s Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire that occurred in 1911 and claimed 146 lives.
He said that both incidents happened in similar circumstances, with the owners of both the factories giving nearly the same statements about the closure of factory doors at the time of the fires, trapping workers inside.

“People died here because the building was constructed in violation of by-laws,” he said. “It was not even registered with the labour department, so the department did not bother to inspect it.”
read more.

20140927 * Forensic agency issued with contempt notice for delaying DNA reports:

The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Friday issued contempt of court notices to the in-charge and project director of the National Forensic Science Agency (NFSA) for their failure to submit a report regarding the progress being made towards preparing reports of DNA tests conducted on the unidentified bodies of the Baldia factory fire incident within two weeks.

The court was hearing an application filed by the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler), seeking compliance with the court directive of March 12 last year that ordered the chief secretary to conduct DNA tests on the unidentified bodies prior to their burial.

The petition was filed for the constitution of a judicial commission to fix the responsibility on the people responsible for the fire incident at the Ali Enterprises which claimed the lives of 259 people on September 11, 2012, and to suggest monetary compensation for the legal heirs of the victims.

The division bench headed by SHC Chief Justice Maqbool Baqar took exception to the non-filing of report by the NFSA officials and directed them to file the report along with the explanation by October 17.
read more.

20140930 * Perilous workplace:

For long, Pakistan has had a poor track record of health and safety conditions at the workplace.

The tragic fire in a Karachi garment factory in 2012 is an eye opener in this regard; it resulted in the death of dozens of workers. Such incidents, on a smaller scale and without the casualties, are a regular feature especially during industrial production. Lethargic attitude of employers towards health safety standards is a major concern reason for the phenomenon.

Ultimately, health and safety conditions have a paramount impact upon workers’ health and ultimately upon organisational productivity.

Presently, workers are more vulnerable to health hazards due to hi tech industrial production and complex chemical processes.
While the developed world has implemented a stricter regime on health safety standards and minimised health and safety risks, developing countries still lag behind in this field.
Our industrial workforce is compelled to work under challenging circumstances lacking even basic health and safety safeguards. Local industry has no permanent positions for safety engineers and the practice is limited to a formality.

According to the ILO (International Labour Organisation) every year more than two million people die from occupational accidents and diseases in the world.
Most of this happens in developing countries like Pakistan with a very low rate of industrial growth and where most of the labour belongs to unskilled class of workers.

|The work performed in Pakistan’s industry is of semi mechanised nature with little safeguards, informal training culture, low rate of literacy and the ratio of workplace accidents is on the upward trend.
read more.

20140928 * Court orders: SHC issues contempt notices in Baldia factory fire case :

The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Friday issued contempt notices to the head of the National Forensic Science Authority (NFSA) and the in-charge of its DNA laboratory over their failure to submit a detailed report on the identification of burnt bodies from the Baldia factory fire.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice Maqbool Baqar also issued a contempt notice to the Employees Old-Age Benefit Institution (EOBI) chairperson for failing to submit a report on the payment of statutory pension to the families of the 259 workers who perished in the country’s worst industrial disaster.

The contempt notices were issued during the hearing of an application filed by Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research. In an earlier hearing, the court had directed the EOBI chairperson to file a detailed report stating how many victims’ families are getting pensions and explaining why others were not paid. EOBI authorities had also been told to ensure payment of the statutory pension to all the remaining families without any further delay.
read more.

20140930 * Solidarity committee to finalise proposals for labour laws:

A labour solidarity committee, comprising representatives of all federations and trade unions of Sindh, has been formed on the concluding day of the three-day provincial labour conference on Monday.

The committee would prepare recommendations for new labour laws or decide on adopting the federal laws delegated by the 18th amendment in the constitution.

The members of the organising committee, including Karamat Ali of the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER), Habibuddin Junaidi, Dr Kaiser Bengali, Rehana Yasmeen, Jalil Shah and others, said during a press conference at the press club that the conference was attended by the labour leaders from different parts of Sindh as well as some key trade union leaders from Balochistan, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The resolutions passed in the moot asked all the provincial governments to initiate the tripartite process before making or adopting the labour laws at the provincial levels, they said.

They also called for establishing the standing labour committees with equal representation from the government, employers and employees in each province as it was an essential requirement under the ILO convention 114.
read more.

20140929 * Labour’s rights:

“The dusty files are signs of work done in favour of the poor workers.” These comments by S. Aijaz Ali Shah (Aug 19) have prompted me to narrate the environment and conditions under which the government’s labour department operates. I have been called thrice to visit the labour department’s office in Phase II Extension of DHA, Karachi.

The writer further states: “No doubt, labour inspection is a scientific exercise carried out by grade 16 and grade 17 officers.”

The office functions in a four-storey narrow building without a lift, which appears to have been built at a low cost without consulting an architect.

Let me explain as to what type of science is involved in the inspection. Mostly inspection is carried out under the Sindh Factories Rules, 1975, framed under the Factories Act, 1934, which need drastic amendments.

The Rules cater to old times when electronic systems were not introduced. The inspectors check various types of registers such as register of adult workers (Rule 96), overtime (Rule 101), holidays (Rule 106), child workers (Rule 120), display of factory notices (Rule 121), spittoons (Rule 48) and the quality of drinking water (Rule 1).
read more.
DAWNnew

20140930 * Lack of interest: Textile policy falls way short of export target:

The Textile Policy 2009-14 has failed miserably to achieve its target of doubling exports of the country’s textile industry.

According to documents, the federal cabinet approved the first-ever textile policy in August 2009. The plan comprised short-term support actions and long-term initiatives aimed at promoting value addition on a wider scale.

The cabinet also gave the go-ahead to the financial plan worth Rs188 billion, but only managed to release Rs29 billion.

When the policy was unveiled, textile exports were touching $12 billion in 2009-10. Fast forward to 2012-13, the figure went up slightly at around $13 billion. However, the shipments were nowhere near the target of $25 billion.

The textile industry has an 8% share in the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country.
read more.

20140928 * Exports on the decline despite GSP Plus:

Pakistan has not got maximum benefit from the GSP Plus status granted by European Union in January this year, as the country’s exports are on the decline from the last five months.

Pakistan’s exports could not increased significantly due to the GSP Plus status granted by European Union from January this year mainly due to the prevailing energy crisis in the country.
The government had claimed that country’s exports would register significant increase after the GSP Plus status but it did not happen.

According to the figures of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), the country’s exports had shown increase in the first three months (January to March 2014) after receiving GSP Plus status. But, country’s exports are on the declining side in five months from April to August this year as compared to the corresponding period of the previous year.

The industrialists and exporters blamed the government for not providing uninterrupted power supply to the industries to avail the maximum benefit from the GSP plus status.
“How can the government expect to enhance the exports without providing gas and electricity to the industries”, asked a Faisalabad-based exporter while talking to The Nation. “We had already made it clear to the government that increase in exports is linked to provision of uninterrupted electricity and gas,” he added.
read more.
the NATIONnew

23:01:55 local time map of uzbekistan UZBEKISTAN

20140930 * Forced cotton pickers in Uzbekistan told to keep quiet about their cotton work:

Yet another method of preventing human rights activists from collecting accurate information on forced cotton laborers was witnessed in the fields this past weekend: Secret service employees ran ahead of activists and “advised” cotton pickers to keep silent.

Elena Urlaeva, the head of the Human Rights Alliance of Uzbekistan, experienced this new method first-hand during her monitoring activities of cotton fields near the town of Krasnogorsk in Tashkent province’s Parkentsky district on September 28.

Urlaeva reported that young men in two cars followed her from Tashkent. As soon as she would stop on the edge of a field they would run ahead and tell cotton pickers not to speak with her.
read more.
UZnews

20140925 * Why must I harvest cotton? :

I do not understand my countrymen who today go silently to gather cotton, leaving behind their beloved family, work, and creative endeavors to bend their back from morning to night in a field and even to die.

These people are teachers, medics, cultural figures, and artists. It seems to me that the farmers Uzbekistan do not have a particular interest in cotton gathering either.

To feel their dependence I would like today to put myself in the shoes of the cotton worker. And here is the question – why must I harvest cotton?

After all, there are quite a few reasons to not go to gather cotton: first, Article 37 of the national constitution prohibits forced labor. And this prohibition is reinforced by the seventh article of the Labor Codex of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

That means that, to silently go to forced labor on the orders of another person or boss is to participate in the commission of the crime. But what if this other person isn’t simply anyone but the prime minister or even the president himself, and those forced to labor are many millions of people?

And what if the very people who wrote the laws, the very same prosecutors, police, special services, and army are all aimed at you, to force you to harvest cotton? What will you do then?

Another reason for us to not harvest cotton is that this labor is uncompensated. Moreover, cotton harvesters must pay for their travel, food, work clothes, and accommodation themselves. If someone does not want to go to gather cotton, they must pay a significant amount of money for the privilege, even if they are ill.
read more.
UZnews

map of asia ASIA

20140930 * The Case Against Verbal Abuse in Garment Factories:

Evidence from Better Work

This research brief presents results of recent analysis of responses from workers and managers in Better Work factories in Indonesia, Jordan and Vietnam revealing what causes verbal abuse in garment factories.

Verbal abuse is measured by asking workers whether there in concern in their factory with the use of yelling or vulgar language, and the present research shows that such verbal abuse has negative effects on business outcomes.
The findings from this research suggest that, in addition to negatively affecting the well-being of workers, verbal abuse negatively affects worker productivity and factory profitability.
read more.
bw

LESOTHO

20141001 * Three Textile Unions Form Women’s Committee in Lesotho:

“I want to work in a safe place and have a good salary and enough rest.”

This was the testimonial from one young woman who participated in the meeting in Maseru on 24 and 25 September 2014.

The purpose of the meeting was to create an IndustriALL women’s committee in Lesotho, where about 14,000 textile workers belong to three different unions, FAWU, LECAWU and NUTEXT out of about 40,000 workers.
These unions are likely to come together soon to form one union. The textile factories belong to South African or Chinese owners.

The women identified the following issues as being ones that need attention: insufficient toilet time, blocked or locked exits, fainting, excessive targets, sexual harassment, low pay which makes some women resort to prostitution, not enough sleep, insufficient maternity leave, HIV and AIDS.
They worked on the basis of body mapping, workplace mapping, life mapping as well as visualization of dreams.

The women knew about one factory where the maternity leave went up from two weeks to 12 weeks.
It is Springfield Manufacturing, a South African-owned company. The union negotiated and started by demanding a 15% wage increase.
What they achieved was 8% plus the increase in maternity leave from 1 May this year.

Everyone agreed on this demand.
The union holds mass meetings regularly and asks workers what their demands are. There are about 1000 workers at that factory, with about 80% women.
They have some women shop stewards. Everyone at the factory is on permanent contract. T
he employer pays the maternity benefit. In the meantime they are working on having social security pay the maternity benefit.
read more.
INDUSRIall

 =================

* Note from the editor:

Due to various maintenance work there will be no regularly (almost) daily bulletin published, for a period, a while.

Unless there is breaking news, or a special event,
announced via twitter: @DressedStripped and/or the newsletter
(for those who are subscribed).
Sincere apologies, hope to see you back soon,
j.
DUCS-twitter

 

 

map of Asia

INFO:

There are UPDATES under “special overviews”:

SEE TWEETS BELOW

&

* TAZREEN Fire Part 2 20 November 2013- NOW

* The BALDIA (& Lahore) Fire September 2012 –PART 3 20121120- NOW

* Cambodian Garment Workers: Provide Basic Wage $177 20140909-now

* Minimum Wage-LIVING WAGE- PART 7: 20140824 – now

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

HEADLINES:

BANGLADESH
* Tazreen survivors stare blankly at future
* Fire ravaged their lives
* After Tazreen fire, companies evade compensation: HRW
* Financial support still elusive for many Tazreen fire survivors
* Legal entitlement to compensation not ensured despite govt pledge
* No more delay in justice for Tazreen fire victims
* RMG workers demand Tazreen owner Delwar’s arrest
* Punish Tazreen owner, say labour leaders
* Agreement on Tazreen compensation announced

20141121
* Two Years after Fatal Tazreen Fire, Life Worse for Survivors

CAMBODIA
20141028
* Union Leaders Called to Court for Questioning
* Five Juhui workers released
* Kompong Cham Court Releases Five Arrested at Strike Protest

20141027
* Ten held after clash
* Ten Arrested After Clash at Shoe Factory
* 10 Cambodian workers arrested in violent wage protest
* Labor Groups Press Ministry on New Union Registration Rules
* BetterFactories Media Updates 25-27 October

20141023
* Workers Blockade Highway in Protest of Pay and Conditions
* Frustrated garment workers block road
* 10 Cambodian workers arrested in violent wage protest
* More factories at risk: report
* Inspection Gap Poses Safety Threat in Factories
* Wage talks remain in deadlock
* Garment Workers Demand Proper Working Conditions
* BetterFactories Media Updates 23 October

20141022
* Factory collapse injures four
* 8 Workers Injured After Factory Floor Collapses
* Advisory Group Begins Minimum Wage Talks
* Factory OKs only part of pay advance
* Thousands of Staff Protest Against Garment Factory
* BetterFactories Media Updates 22 October

20141021
* Report from CLEC officer at local clinic
* Garment Factory Collapses, Injuring 5
* At Least Four Injured in Factory Collapse
* 4 injured as garment factory floor collapses
* Garment factory floor collapse injures 4 in Cambodia
* Labour talks ‘show promise’
* Gov’t Sets Ground Rules for Ongoing Wage Talks
* BetterFactories Media Updates 21 October
* Third Transparency Report Demonstrates Improvements in Working Conditions

BURMA/MYANMAR
20141022
* Myanmar: where workers pay the price for FDI

CAMBODIA
* Factory Ordered to Close After Workers Faint
* Poverty line $120, gov’t says
* US blamed for low wages
* Minimum wage increase will not lead to closure of factories: Sam Rainsy
* Workers, Military Police Scuffle Over Speakers
* BetterFactories Media Updates 03 October
* Gov’t letter to brands ‘lacking in substance’
* Workers Protest Against ‘Insulting’ Mannequins
* With Wage Hike, Workers to Face Higher Taxes
* Gov’t says no to calls to raise minimum income tax level
* Unions unite across ideologies
* 150 workers seek PM’s help to reinstate 15 representatives:
* BetterFactories Media Updates 02 October
* BetterFactories Media Updates 01 October
* Workers Strike Over Sacking of Unionists
* Worker hunger rates high: ILO:
* Cambodian garment workers suffer from anemia, food insecurity: study
* Poor Health, Diet Rife in Garment Sector
* Wanted: big trucks for a big crowd
* BetterFactories Media Updates 30 September 2014, Worker hunger rates high: ILO
* BetterFactories Media Updates 19-25 September 2014, Global Brands Pledge to Pay More for Garments

INDONESIA
* Two lives lost in Cakung factory fire
* BetterWork Indonesia media updates

BANGLADESH
* 30% RMG factories yet to pay wages
* RMG owners, workers create confusion over wages and festival bonus
* Spinning mill caches fire in Gazipur
* Another Life Lost – Gazipur Factory Fire
* 385 factories may default on workers’ wage, bonus: industrial police
* Will rising minimum wage affect the RMG sector?
* JS body opposes lowering minimum age for marriage
* Tuba workers threaten tougher movement
* Tuba workers issue 24-hour ultimatum to pay wage, allowance
* Garment workers issue 24hr ultimatum for wages, bonus
* Tuba workers demonstration for dues
* Payment of festival allowance to RMG workers is a must
* Ctg garment factory fire doused
* Knitting factory catches fire in Ctg
* 40% garment factories fail to pay festival allowances
* Garment industry changes women’s roles in society
* Buyers now focused on labour standard, building, fire safety
* Global brands team up to make Bangladeshi factories environment-friendly
* Level playing field for RMG exports
* India’s apparel exports to rise by 10pc as Bangladesh struggles
* Dhaka to press for mkt access, GSP revival
* BD to emerge as next Asian tiger: Mozena
* Amirul Haque Amin winning Human Rights award
* BGMEA’s ‘Bangladesh RMG 2021’ in Dec
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE:
* No justice in sight: 18 months on from Rana Plaza
* How long must Rana Plaza workers wait for justice?
* No further compensation for 800 Rana Plaza victims
* Rana Plaza victims receive first installment of compensation
* 1,587 Rana Plaza victims get help from ILO-managed fund
* Compensation claim deadline ends today

INDIA
20141028
* Flawed Fabric – The abuse of girls and women workers in the South Indian textile industry

PAKISTAN
* Labour wakes up
* Minimum wages: Govt inches closer to implementing pay rise
* Burnt bodies
* Bleak working conditions: ‘Industrial tragedies likely to keep occurring’
* Forensic agency issued with contempt notice for delaying DNA reports
* Perilous workplace
* Court orders: SHC issues contempt notices in Baldia factory fire case
* Solidarity committee to finalise proposals for labour laws
* Labour’s rights
* Lack of interest: Textile policy falls way short of export target
* Exports on the decline despite GSP Plus

UZBEKISTAN
* Forced cotton pickers in Uzbekistan told to keep quiet about their cotton work
* Why must I harvest cotton?

ASIA
* The Case Against Verbal Abuse in Garment Factories

LESOTHO
* Three Textile Unions Form Women’s Committee in Lesotho

======
* Note from the editor

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

For more and other (labour) news you can follow on twitter: @asearcher2