21:19:46 local time NORTH KOREA
* Gov’t to hold meeting with Kaesong firms over wages:
The South Korean government said Wednesday it will hold a round-table meeting this week with the heads of local firms operating in the Kaesong Industrial Complex to discuss how to handle North Korea’s unilateral decision to raise the wages of its workers there.
The unification ministry is scheduled to hold the meeting with the council of relevant companies at its headquarters in Seoul at 5 p.m. on Thursday, said ministry spokesman Lim Byeong-cheol. The ministry is in charge of inter-Korean relations.
“We plan to review measures regarding the recent situation,” he said at a press briefing. “Along with related government officials, Chung Ki-sup, head of the council, and about 10 other representatives will attend (the meeting).”
Another ministry official also said the meeting is intended “to share the government’s position on the matter and listen to the opinion of the firms.”
Last week, the North announced it would raise the minimum wage for its workers in the zone by 5.18 percent to $74 a month starting in March.
20:19:46 local time CHINA
20150305 * China to speed up implementation of free trade zone strategy:
China will quicken the pace of implementing the strategy of free trade zones (FTZs) and turn institutional innovation into a strong impetus for the country’s development, President Xi Jinping said Thursday.
To speed up the implementation of FTZ strategy is an important part of a new round of reform and opening-up.
China should aim for high-standard trade and investment rules, and strengthen its capability for allocating financial resources around the world and better serving the country’s economic development, Xi said.
read more. & read more.
20150303 * Foreign firms interested in FTZs:
Foreign firms have increasingly treated China as a major market instead of a manufacturing base, the American Chamber of Commerce in South China said in its 2015 White Paper on the Business Environment in China released Monday.
About 79.3 percent of participants reported that their primary business focus was providing goods or services to the Chinese market, while only 20.7 percent reported a primary focus of manufacturing for export, the paper said.
Meanwhile, 44.4 percent of participants reported interest in investing in the newly announced free trade zones (FTZs)located in South China, it said.
20:19:46 local time PHILIPPINES
20150302 * Engendering Development: the Status of Women in the Philippines:
Women make up over half of our population.
Their contribution to society has been incalculable, but disparities clearly remain between the fulfillment of their needs, on the one hand, and the services and protections afforded them by the state, on the other.
The coming celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8—originated in 1909 by Socialists in New York commemorating the 1908 strike of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union—provides us with an opportunity to celebrate some hard-won achievements, call attention to currently unresolved issues and look toward future needs and hopes of women’s lives in the Philippines.
What is the status of women and to what extent has the quality of their lives improved? What role has the government played in spurring or, at times, impeding, such developments, at least in the past fifty years?
19:19:46 local time VIET NAM
20150304 * Fire destroys 300 tonnes of cotton:
A fire that broke out yesterday afternoon lasted for 10 hours at a local company that sells cotton in the southern province of Binh Duong, destroying 300 tonnes of products.
The fire broke out at Ninh Son Company in Hoa Loi Commune, Ben Cat Town, about 2pm yesterday, but lasted till midnight.
More than 10 firefighting trucks were mobilised, but the firefighters were not able to contain the fire for several hours due to the large amount of cotton — which burns very fast — stored in the company.
The blaze affected more than 1,000sq.m of the company’s storage area. Hundreds of residents, who had rented rooms nearby, were also affected.
Nguyen Thi Phuong Trang, a representative of the Ninh Son Company, said that the 300 tonnes of cotton had been recently imported and prepared for sale in the domestic market.
The cause of the fire has not been identified yet.
20150304 * Fifty die from industrial accidents in Vietnam per month: ministry:
Vietnam sees more than 600 deaths from industrial accidents every year, which means over 50 people die from this cause across the country per month, according to the labor ministry.
These striking figures were released in a press briefing on industrial accidents and occupational diseases in 2014 held in Hanoi on Tuesday by the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids, and Social Affairs (MOLISA).
The primary cause of fatal occupational accidents was that employers had not taken measures to ensure labor safety for their employees, the ministry said, citing investigation reports.
As reported by the 63 provinces and cities across the country, 6,709 labor accidents occurred nationwide in 2014, affecting 6,941 people. Of the accidents, 592 killed 630 people.
20150304 * Weak safety practices result in high job deaths:
Workplace safety remains a serious problem in Vietnam, with either companies, workers, or both ignoring government guidelines aimed at reducing job-related injuries and fatalities.
Doan Mau Diep, deputy head of the Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs said on March 3 during Occupational Health and Safety and Fire Prevention Week, that there were 6,709 workplace accidents in 2014, involving 6,941 people, or whom 630 died as a result of injuries on the job.
read more. & read more.
20150305 * Vocational education gap exists:
Vietnam needs to improve the quality and relevance of upper secondary school and technical and vocational education and training to fill the rapid growth in medium-skill employment under the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).
The ILO/ADB report on “ASEAN Community 2015: Managing integration for better jobs and shared prosperity”, showed that structural change under the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) will drive heightened demand for different skills level, with medium-skill employment to increase the most, followed by low-skills jobs.
20150305 * Vietnamese employees now want more than just a high salary, survey says:
19:19:46 local time LAOS
20150304 * Unions warn that minimum wage rise must be applied:
Labour unions have warned employers to observe the new rule that raises the minimum wage from 626,000 kip to 900,000 kip per month.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, Lao Federation of Trade Unions and Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry recently announced that the new rule will take effect on April 1.
The ministry noted a mistake carrie d in local media, which reported that the new rule would take effect on March 1. The increase in the minimum wage is intended to enable low income earners to cope with the rising cost of living.
The Lao Federation of Trade Unions has warned workplaces to strictly observe the new rule, saying it will keep a close eye on its implementation.
The warning cam e after the union experienced previous cases when many employers reportedly refused to pay the increased minimum wage, despite the three parties having agreed on the last increase to the minimum wage in 2012 from 348,000 kip to 626,000 kip per month.
19:19:46 local time CAMBODIA
20150305 * ‘Abandoned’ workers seek factory’s sale:
After the sudden, unannounced disappearance of their factory’s owner last Friday, more than 400 garment workers at DF Fashion Apparel (Cambodia) in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district gathered at the factory yesterday, demanding back wages.
The disappearance of the Israeli national who owns DF Fashion – known to employees only as “Mr Mer” – left about 540 workers unemployed and demanding the government gut their former workplace to pay them each between $500 and $600.
“We want the Ministry of Labour to create a committee charged with selling equipment in the factory so that we can use the money to pay workers’ wages and benefits,” said Fa Saly, president of the National Trade Union Confederation (NTUC).
“We wish to give the workers what they are owed without involving the courts.”
20150304 * Fear Grips Murdered Garment Worker’s Home:
Friends and relatives of murder victim Sann Asros—whose decomposing body was found on the side of the road in Kandal province on Saturday—moved out of their apartments Tuesday for fear that her killer might return.
Sann Asros, 22, a supervisor’s assistant at the Tak Sun Enterprise garment factory in Phnom Penh, went missing on February 20, according to her father, who filed a missing persons report with police two days later. Her body was discovered on Saturday in a ditch a few meters from National Road 61 in Ponhea Leu district by a man who stopped to urinate, police said.
Police have identified the suspected killer as Sam Ol Mony, 30, Sann Asros’ neighbor at an apartment building behind the factory in Dangkao district. Mr. Ol Mony, who remains at large, also stands accused of raping and robbing the victim.
20150304 * Workers should be taught to read: PM:
At the kickoff for the National Literacy Campaign at the National Institute of Education in Phnom Penh on Monday, Prime Minister Hun Sen called on private sector employers to introduce literacy classes for their employees.
Reading classes will benefit both illiterate employees and their employers, the premier said in his speech, though some factories contacted yesterday were less than full-throated in their support for the idea.
“I want to take this chance to appeal to the private sector, including the garment industry, to take a look at our workers who do not know how to read and write, and begin literacy classes for them,” Hun Sen said.
“All workers in the public and private sectors should have a chance to learn to read.”
Meth Veasna, administrative manager at Now Corp, a Kandal province-based garment factory, said the idea for literacy classes may in fact be overly ambitious, considering that a large majority of employees at his factory have never learned to read or write.
Veasna said he will speak with his boss about the suggestion when he returns from an overseas trip, and that the factory will begin classes if they are required. However, such action would likely cut into their productivity.
“Eighty per cent of the workers in our factory cannot read, because most of them are from rural areas; we knew this when they applied for their jobs,” Veasna said yesterday.
20150304 * BetterFactories Media Updates 04 February 2015, Workers should be taught to read: PM:
* To read in the printed edition of the The Phnom Penh Post:
2015-03-04 Workers should be taught to read: PM
* BetterFactories Media Updates Overview here.
20150303 * BetterFactories Media Updates 26-27 February 2015, Workers Clash as Talks Stall in Factory Dispute:
* To read in the printed edition of the Cambodia Daily:
2015-02-26 Workers Strike, Accuse Factory Managers of Attack at Protest
2015-02-27 Workers Clash as Talks Stall in Factory Dispute
read in the printed edition Raksmei Kampuchea Daily (Khmer):
2015-02-27 400 garment workers at You Li International (Cambodia) Garment Co.,Ltd went on strike
* BetterFactories Media Updates Overview here.
20:19:46 local time INDONESIA
20150303 * Tax breaks for labor-intensive industries:
The government may make existing tax allowances applicable to labor-intensive industries in an effort to reach its 2-million-a-year job-creation target, an official with the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) said Monday.
“We really need the investment in the labor [-intensive] industries, including garment, footwear and furniture. If we don’t give [a tax allowance] to them, they [investors] may relocate to other countries,” BKPM deputy chairman Azhar Lubis said after a meeting with industry officials.
read more. & read more.
19:19:46 local time THAILAND
20150306 * Labour disputes under martial law:
Martial law has been in force in Thailand since last May 20, when it was invoked by the military, which staged a full-scale coup two days later to bring an end to months of street demonstrations and political turmoil.
While it certainly has had an effect on political protests, martial law also has ramifications for another form of social protest — labour disputes.
Under Thai labour law, workers are legally entitled to strike and employers allowed to “lock out” employees. Martial law provides the labour minister with the added power to intercede in disputes between workers and management.
The minister is authorised to prohibit workers from striking and restrict employers from locking out employees.
The minister is also authorised to appoint a third party to resolve disputes.
20150306 * Protests bill ‘flouts worker rally rights’:
A bill allowing state authorities to control public gatherings is so broad it could be exploited to stamp out legitimate worker protests, labour rights advocates say.
The measure, which is before the National Legislative Assembly (NLA), flouts a labour relations law that recognises workers’ rights to hold gatherings in pursuit of better pay and conditions, or changes in state policy, they said.
Labour groups yesterday lodged a petition against the bill, which the NLA passed at its first reading last month.
20150305 * Big labour group opposes protest bill:
A major labour organisation on Thursday came out against legislation limiting public demonstrations, saying it restricts the right of workers to lodge complaints with the government.
The Thai Labour Solidarity Committee submitted a complaint in a letter to National Legislative Assembly chairman Pornpetch Wichitcholachai.
TLSC chairwoman Wilaiwan Sae Tia said the bill, which passed its first reading in the NLA on Feb 26, curbs the rights of labour workers to hold non-political gatherings to voice their grievances and call on government to solve their problems.
“In the past, governments have failed to solve problems regarding economic hardship. Therefore, we have to call on those concerned to revise the bill. If it passes it without revision, it will make it harder for us to come out and make demands,” Ms Wilaiwan said.
18:49:46 local time BURMA/MYANMAR
20150306 * Police charge 14 garment workers as protests gather pace:
Myanmar police have charged 14 garment workers with rioting following a crackdown on a strike, state media said March 5, as authorities face increasing criticism for their handling of a series of protests.
The workers, eight men and six women, face jail if convicted. They were arrested on March 4 after blocking roads to the commercial hub of Yangon in a protest over wages, the Global New Light of Myanmar reported.
Police broke the strike by hundreds of factory workers on March 4 and most of the employees have since returned to their jobs, the report said.
Those arrested “face up to two years in prison and fines if convicted” under the Rioting Act, it added.
20150306 * Use of force not the solution to ongoing problems:
Police cracked down on about 100 workers from a Shwepyithar garment factory who were staging a protest on Wednesday by walking to Yangon City Hall from Shwepyithar Township.
During the crackdown, unidentified individuals wearing red armbands and the police arrested some workers. Most of the women protesters were asked to return home.
The authorities also threatened legal action against the protesters, who describe the crackdown as “unjust.” Law experts raise questions about such a crackdown on peaceful protesters and the involvement of those wearing red armbands.
20150306 * ‘Any Labor Dispute Will Only Be Resolved By the Parties Sitting Together’:
In recent weeks, some 2,000 workers of the E-Land Myanmar, COSTEC and Ford Glory garment factories in Rangoon’s Shwepyithar Industrial Zone went on strike to demand a raise in monthly wages from 80,000 kyats [US$78], up from 50,000 kyats.
Protests dragged as workers and factory owners failed to come to a resolution. Authorities stepped up pressure on workers, whose number eventually dwindled to a hundred, before police arrested the last remaining protestors on Wednesday.
When President Thein Sein’s nominally-civilian government took office it lifted junta-era restrictions on unionization and striking, and created laws that are supposed to regulate dispute resolution.
In January, a committee began conducting research to determine an appropriate minimum wage level for Burma, which lacks a minimum wage and has some of the lowest wages in Asia.
The Irrawaddy recently spoke to Steve Marshall, long-time liaison officer for the International Labor Organization (ILO) in Rangoon, about the protests, the state of labor dispute resolution and setting the minimum wage.
20150305 -06 * 14 Garment Workers Charged with Rioting:
Fourteen striking garment workers have been charged with rioting, police in Rangoon said on Thursday, punishable by up to two years in prison.
On Wednesday, police dispersed a sit-in of about 100 employees of the E-Land, COSTEC and Ford Glory Garment factories in the Shwepyithar Industrial Zone, after authorities thwarted their attempt to march to City Hall.
The workers had been on strike since early February, demanding a pay raise from their current 50,000 kyat (US$50) salaries to 80,000 kyats.
Striking workers received several warnings from authorities to clear the site and return to work, though several rounds of negotiations failed to produce an agreement.
read more. & read more.
20150305 * Plainclothes Vigilantes Make a Comeback in Rangoon:
Alone, they would have looked no different from ordinary men on the city streets. Together, they were mobilized and menacing.
In the last two days, two protests have been broken up with the assistance of groups of men in plainclothes, indistinguishable from the public were it not for the red cloth tied around each of their arms, emblazoned with the word “duty” in Burmese.
On Wednesday, they helped police break up the straggling remnants of a strike in the Shwepyithar Industrial Zone, during which a dozen female garment workers were detained alongside two reporters.
On Thursday afternoon they were downtown, attempting to agitate student protesters near Sule Pagoda before police moved in with batons to disperse the demonstration. In some cases, members of the plainclothes group seized and dragged protesters towards flatbed trucks, whereupon they were placed into police custody.
A photographer from The Irrawaddy saw the agents provocateurs being shepherded into City Hall, where a platoon of police officers are regularly stationed, shortly before the crackdown began.
20150305-06 * Police Arrest Protesting Garment Workers:
Police in Rangoon Division’s Insein Township arrested at least 20 striking workers on Wednesday afternoon who had begun a sit-in protest earlier in the day.
About 100 workers from COSTEC and Ford Glory garment factories in Shwepyithar Industrial Zone, who have been protesting to demand a pay rise from their employers for over a month, began a fresh sit-in protest on Wednesday morning after a planned march to City Hall was blocked by hundreds of police.
Hla Hla Htay, a striking worker from the COSTEC garment factory, said police moved on the protesters late on Wednesday, arresting at least 20 and forcing others to disperse.
On Feb. 2, about 2,000 employees of the E-Land Myanmar, COSTEC and Ford Glory garment factories began a strike to demand a raise in monthly wages to 80,000 kyat [US$78], up from 50,000 kyat.
The factories, which are owned by Chinese and South Korean firms, according to the workers, rejected the demands and offered 62,000 kyats.
read more. & read more.
20150305 * Workers, journalists detained in Shwepyithar protest:
Thirteen striking workers and two journalists were apprehended by police during a labour protest and detained in Rangoon’s Insein Township on Wednesday.
Workers from the Shwepyithar Industrial Zone were continuing their recent demonstrations calling for better pay by marching to City Hall in the former capital. Leaders of the strike from the industrial zone have previously been charged under Article 505(b) of the Penal Code.
Thirteen workers were detained on Wednesday, according to a report in state media, along with DVB’s Myo Zaw Linn and 7Day Daily’s Ko Nikki. The reporters were released last night after being held briefly, but the protestors remain in detention.
A report by state-run Global New Light of Myanmar said that locals assisted police with the dispersal of the “illegal” protest.
The journalists were taken to an interrogation facility on Kabar Aye Pagoda Road after being caught up in a clash between officers and workers at the Danyingone intersection.
“The police began manhandling the labour protesters, who resisted,” said Myo Zaw Linn, following his release.
20150305 * Myanmar authorities disperse striking industrial zone workers:
Myanmar authorities have taken action to disperse striking garment workers with Yangon’s Shwepyitha Industrial Zone as negotiation with the striking workers made no progress on settling labor dispute, a semi- official report said Thursday.
The workers from the foreign-owned E-Land Myanmar Garment Factory staging protest at the industrial zone were dispersed by the security force Wednesday near evening with about 15 protestors and two reporters including a foreigner being detained.
The two reporters were later released on warning, said the Global New Light of Myanmar.
20150305 * Myanmar police drag away protesting factory workers:
Police say they have detained more than a dozen factory workers, who were demanding higher wages and better working conditions, in a protest that follows a crackdown on students outside Myanmar’s biggest city.
The detentions came when about 100 workers tried to march from their factories into Yangon late Wednesday but were blocked by police. After some workers staged a sit-in, police dragged them away.
The protest in two industrial zones near Yangon came as police in an area 140 kilometers (90 miles) from Yangon were faced off with hundreds of students demanding education reforms.
Since the country started moving from a half-century of dictatorship to democracy just four years ago, the government has found itself grappling with the consequences of newfound freedoms of expression.
read more. & to read. & to read. & to read.
20150304 * Police disperse garment workers:
Garment workers in Shwepyitha industrial zone, Yangon, were dispersed by security police Wednesday after unsuccessful discussion with local government authorities.
The workers who demanded increasing salaries from the E-Land Myanmar garment factory staged illegal protest at the industrial zone and started marching to Yangon City Hall.
With the help of locals in the afternoon, police scattered protesters and detained 15 persons in the crowd, including two reporters from Democratic Voice of Burma and 7 Day media, who were then released for not taking part in the protest after warning them of observing media ethics when authorities are taking their duties in accordance with the law.
The remaining detainees are still under investigation by Yangon region
to read. & read more.
20150305 * Blocked workers stage sit-in protest:
Striking factory workers took to marching through Yangon yesterday after negotiations over requested salary hikes stalled yet again.
About 100 of the 1200 picketing workers set out yesterday morning from a protest camp outside E-Land Myanmar garment factory in Shwe Pyi Thar township for City Hall, where they planned to set up a second camp.
But 90 minutes into the march, 300 police blocked the workers beside the busy Danyingone junction in Insein township.
With the heavy police presence stopping them from continuing their march downtown, the workers staged a sit-in instead.
“Sitting in the protest camp isn’t enough – we will be sued soon. So we have to do this,” Ma Aye Sanda Win, a labourer from Costec garment factory, said as she sat on No 4 Main Road in Insein township, flanked on either side by police.
The march was triggered by a breakdown in talks on March 3 between workers, factory owners and the government. Rather than delivering the K30,000-a-month pay boost the workers had requested, the government told them they had three days to return to their factories or face arrest.
20150305 * Unions criticise sacking payout plan:
Worker representatives have criticised proposals to pay compensation to employees dismissed without cause or as a result of their employers’ closure as unfair. They say the rates are too low and the process too partial to employers.
Negotiations under way since 2013 between the labour ministry and representatives of labour and management are due to conclude by the end of this month, says U Thein Win, director of the Labour Affairs Department.
20150304 * Thai firms agree Dawei signing ceremony:
Two Thai construction companies are expected to sign an agreement with the Burmese government to start developing the first phase of the Dawei megaproject.
Somjet Tinnapong, managing director of Dawei Development Co, a subsidiary of Italian-Thai Development Plc, said a signing ceremony was expected this month for Ital-Thai and Rojana Industrial Park Plc.
The first phase will cover 17,000 rai of land or about 27 square kilometres at a cost of 20 billion baht, he said.
“The first phase will be suitable for light industries such as food processing, the agricultural industry, and textiles and garments. We hope such investments will help to create jobs and improve the lives of people living in the area.”
Thailand and Burma agreed in June 2013 to set up Dawei SEZ Development Co (DSEZ) with an equal shareholding and initial investment of 12 million baht, far below the 100 million proposed earlier. The company is registered in Thailand.
read more. & read more.
20150302 * Plan to collect Vat for industries operating on CMP system:
The Yangon region government plans to collect value added tax (Vat) instead of double taxation for the industries operating on CMP (cutting, making and packing) system, said Zaw Aye Maung, minister of the Rakhine Ethnic Affairs and Labour for Yangon region.
“The government is collecting double taxation for the goods produced in Myanmar. They collected tax for the imported raw materials and again collected tax when the finished products are being exported. So we have submitted a proposal to the union government to collect only value added tax for the corporations operating on CMP system,” he said.
Most of the factories especially shoe and garment factories are operating on CMP system.
18:19:46 local time BANGLADESH
20150304 * Reopening of 3 RMG factories, payment of wages demanded:
Garments Sramik Trade Union Kendra besieges Bangladesh Garment Manufactures and Exporters Association at Karwan Bazar in Dhaka on Tuesday, demanding payment of arrears of the workers of Chunji Knit Limited at Badda. — New Age photo
Labour leaders and workers of three apparel factories — Chunji Knit Limited, Success Fashion and MJ Sweater — on Tuesday demanded immediate payment of wages and reopening of the factories.
They made the demands from separate programmes in the city. Several hundred workers of Chunji Knit Limited laid siege to Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association office pressing of payment of wages for four months and reopening of the sweater factory.
Addressing the programme, the workers and Garment Workers Trade Union Centre leaders said that the owners closed the factory at North Budda unlawfully depriving more than 2,500 workers of their wages for four months.
20150305 * Accord warns of severing ties with 14 garment makers:
A global retailers’ group has warned of snapping business ties with more than a dozen local apparel makers over their failure to improve safety even after the initial inspection, insiders said.
The Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, led mostly by European buyers, has also told the government about its position regarding one factory located at Ashulia.
But the factory authority said it is not willing to do business with Accord-linked buyers while the rest 13 are taking immediate measures to allay the group’s concerns.
The move came following the Accord’s follow-up inspection in its listed factories. At the end of November 30, 2014, follow-up inspection reports (fire, electrical and structural) have been sent to 73 factories while the Accord has issued non-compliance letters to 13 factory owners.
Accord executive director Rob Wayss told the FE: “… there is an increasing possibility that Accord brands in the factory will be required to end their business relationship with the factory because the building owner and other non-Accord producing factories in the same building are unwilling to cooperate and support remediation requirements,”.
The Accord continues to work with the brands in this factory, the factory owner, and the authorities to convince the building owner about the need to execute the full remediation of the building, he said.
20150305 * Safety risks in 3 more bldgs identified:
Engineers appointed by ILO have identified safety risks in three more buildings that accommodate apparel factories and requested the official review panel to take necessary measures, officials said.
The units are Fashion Export International at Chittagong, Eraf Composite at Fatullah and Mujib Fashion at Siddhirganj, they added.
Syed Ahmed, Inspector-General of the Department of Inspection of Factories and Establishments (DIFE), also head of the panel, confirmed having received a list of three factories from the engineers.
The DIFE will review their findings shortly, he added.
20150306 * Accord, Alliance shy away from remediation commitment:
The disbursement of remediation money for garment factories flagged by Accord and Alliance remains very low, as retailers shy away from contributing to the pooled fund, industry insiders said.
Both the garment makers and retailers will be benefitted if the funds are released soon, as the remediation work is going on in full swing at the factories, said Atiqul Islam, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
“We have established transparency in our supply chain and now the time has come for both the Accord and Alliance to prove theirs. They should uphold their commitment.”
So far, only three factories — all of whom supply to one of the Alliance members, a platform of 26 North American retailers — have received funds for corrective actions.
20150305 * Survey on units using flammable chemicals begins:
Govt to identify unauthorised establishments, check workplace state
The government started a survey on factories that use flammable products and chemicals, and operate without having licence through inspecting three establishments in the Old Dhaka area on Monday.
A five-member committee, formed by the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments, inspected the three establishments that produce plastic, rubber and leather goods and found serious fire safety risks.
The committee has already served notices to the factory owners asking them comply with the labour law, government officials involved with the process told New Age.
20150304 * Draft factory inspection policy in final stage:
The government has drafted a national inspection policy outlining a number of provisions including specifying the jurisdictions and areas of responsibilities of inspectors and authorities for assessment of factories and establishments, officials have said.
Other issues relating to the core tasks of owners, requirement of tripartite meetings among the government, owners and workers to make them aware of the inspection process, strengthening coordination among the related authorities have also been put in place in the proposed policy, they have mentioned.
The draft also contains provisions on safeguarding health and workplace safety.
The proposed inspection policy is aimed at upgrading the current traditional assessment system to an international standard.
According to the officials, the proposed policy is expected to ensure modern, effective and prevention-oriented labour inspection, occupational and workplace safety and also bring all the industrial units under a comprehensive regulatory system.
20150303 * Jute mill, cotton factory gutted in 2 dists:
A jute mill and a cotton factory were gutted in separate fire incidents in Faridpur and Jhenidah districts on Tuesday.
In Faridpur, a fire broke out at a jute mill in Sadarbera area of Nagarkanda upazila in the afternoon.
The fire erupted at Firoza-Majid Jute Mills around 3:30pm and soon it engulfed the entire mill, said Shamsujjoha, assistant director of Faridpur fire service.
On information, four firefighting units from Faridpur sadar and Bhanga rushed to the spot and doused the blaze after one and half hours of frantic efforts.
The extent of losses caused by the fire could not be estimated immediately, fire service officials said.
In Jhenidah, a fire broke out in ‘Zining Cotton Factory’ in BSCIC Industrial Area of the district town around 1pm.
On information, a fire fighting unit rushed in and doused the flame after an hour.
Abdur Rouf Mollah, acting station master of Jhenidah fire station, said the reason behind the fire could not be known immediately.
20150305 * BGMEA demands pro-investment environment:
Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) president Mohammad Atiqul Islam categorically said the readymade garment (RMG) sector can reach its goal if an investment friendly environment is created.
He made the comment during a meeting with US ambassador to Bangladesh Marcia Stephens Bloom Bernicat at BGMEA building in the city on Thursday noon.
Mentioning the existing challenges in RMG sector, the BGMEA boss put emphasis on creating a business and investment friendly environment in the country.
20150305 * Use of environment-friendly technology in RMG production stressed:
Emphasising the use of environment-friendly technology in RMG production, experts at a panel discussion Monday said that it is possible to minimise the environmental impact of denim production.
They expressed the opinion that new and environment-friendly denim production techniques are sine qua non for the sustainability of the industry.
The panel discussion “Development Prospects in Denim Production – the Way Forward” was organised at a city hotel as part of the 3rd Denimsandjeans.com Bangladesh Show-2015.
The Panel Discussion was organised by the technical partner of the Denimsandjeans.com show Deutsche GesellschaftfürInternationaleZusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, which works on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), in partnership with the Government of Bangladesh.
20150305 * JS body for relocating Hazaribagh tanneries to Savar by Jun:
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Industries Ministry on Thursday suggested the government relocate all tannery factories located at Hazaribagh in the city to the Savar Tannery Estate by June 30 next.
The recommendation was made at the 7th meeting of the parliamentary watchdog held at Jatiya Sangsad with its chairman Omar Faruk Chowdhury in the chair, accepting a field visit report on the tannery estate.
The committee also recommended acquiring land surrounding the Savar Tannery Estate Project to accommodate all tanneries of Hazaribagh if necessary.
20150305 * Global standard compliance in leather sector stressed:
Speakers at a seminar Wednesday emphasized on the global standard compliance in the tannery and leather sector to grow efficiently and acceptably to all.
Global buyers now a days not only buy a product whimsically, they are ethical buyers and they want the products manufactured compliantly what consumed by them,” said S M Rezwan Hossain, Coordinator, Business Promotion Council of Commerce Ministry.
Bangladesh Tanners Association (BTA) and Business Promotion Council of Commerce Ministry organized the seminar on Importance of Leather Sector Compliance’ at Seemanto Square in the city.
Speaking as the chief guest, S M Rezwan Hossain said owners of tanneries and leather goods factories have to ensure compliance, social responsibility, labour rights and safety compliance as per the global standards.
The country’s leather sector has potential to grow as much as the readymade garments sector now, but we have to do more,” he added.
20150306 * US envoy urges garment makers to guarantee workers’ rights:
The US ambassador in Dhaka Marcia Stephans Bloom Barnicat said Thursday “effective” efforts from both the government and the industry are needed to ensure workers’ rights and safety requirements in the garment industry.
Although Bangladesh has made some progress in closing down risky factories, recruitment of labour inspectors, and trade union registration, further improvement is needed for implementation of labour law and factory assessment, the US envoy told reporters after a meeting with the leaders of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
The meeting with garment exporters was her first since taking over the responsibility as the ambassador in Bangladesh.
20150305 * US to help Bangladesh score $50b export: Bernicat:
US Ambassador Marcia Stephens Bloom Bernicat today said the United States would continue its support to boost the export of Bangladeshi readymade garments (RMG) envisaged by the government by 2021.
“We will continue to work with BGMEA to help it to reach the score US$ 50 million export by the country’s 50th anniversary,” she said after a meeting with leaders of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) at BGMEA headquarters.
Terming RMG as the jobs growth sector for Bangladesh, the US envoy said it clearly drives social change in the country as well as good environmental practices.
“I pledge my government will do all it can to help ensure you can achieve all these goals, and we think achieving all of these goals are integral for the RMG sector productivity as well as its brand worldwide,” added Bernicat.
She commented good things are already happening here as dangerous factories have already been closed, new labour inspectors have been hired, over 200 hundred trade unions have been recognized, remediation efforts are underway and the level of transparency involved specially in inspection process is laudable.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
20150305 * RMG buyers cancelling trips due to political unrest:
Several global apparel retailers have recently canceled trips to Bangladesh as political standoff continues, which analysts say could result in shift of orders to other competitors.
Over the last two months, representatives from retailers such as GAP, American Eagle, Pinkie, Okidi and Promote suspended scheduled visits, industry insiders said.
The visit suspension has created fear among local manufacturers of taking away orders from Bangladesh and shifting to competitors like Vietnam, according to them.
“It is a chilling message for the industry and the economy as well,” said Anwarul Alam Chowdhury, former president of Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
20150303 * RMG sector gives govt 20% demand for unrest ‘losses’:
Present situation a ‘national crisis’: Muhith
Textile and apparel sector leaders on Monday placed a 20-point demand to finance minister AMA Muhith including rescheduling facilities for classified loans, increasing the repayment tenure of term loans and cash incentives against the cost of Freight on Board to regain losses caused due to continuing political unrest.
At a meeting with leaders of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association and Bangladesh Textile Mills Association at the secretariat, finance minister assured to look into the demands.
Apparel exporters demanded some short-term policy support for the export-oriented sectors including continuation of the present rate of tax at source for next five years, special incentives against all kinds of export for three years, 3 per cent cash incentives for the exporters who export to EU markets considering the devaluation of Euro and supply of diesel and petrol at special rate for the transport sector engaged in transportation of export goods.
20150305 * RMG exports brave supply chain chaos:
Export earnings marked over 2.5% growth, and if the supply chain was not disrupted, export growth could have been even higher
Apparel export earnings showed 2.56% growth in the first eight months of the current fiscal year, EPB provisional data shows, despite supply chain disruptions in last two months in the wake of the countrywide political violence.
Police escort has helped the RMG exporters to a large extent to ship their products on time.
Although the RMG manufacturers claimed that they had to face setback in sending products to Chittagong for shipment due to security problem. The figures, however, showed the positive growth in export earnings.
20150305-06 * Exports rise 5% in Feb:
Exports rose 5.46 percent year-on-year to $2.51 billion in February, buoyed by increased shipment of garments, according to central bank data.
20150305 * Local RMG unit to invest $20.20m in Mongla EPZ:
M/s Moonstar Fashion Limited will invest US$ 20.20 million in the Mongla Export Processing Zone (EPZ) to establish a readymade garments industry.
In this connection, an agreement was signed between Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA) and Moonstar Fashion in the city on Wednesday, said a statement issued by the BEPZA.
20150306 * Move to rewrite industrial policy:
The government has initiated a move to revise the existing industrial policy, with special focus on privatisation and attracting foreign direct investment.
“This policy will contain a few new concepts including declaration of some fresh industrial sectors, particularly on the small and medium enterprise (SME) category,” industries secretary Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said.
He was addressing a workshop Monday at the BRAC Centre in the capital as chief guest.
BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD) in association with the RAND Corporation (USA) and University of Sussex (UK) organised the brainstorming workshop on ‘Labour Market and Growth’.
Regarding the privatisation, the secretary said the government has planned to allocate unused land for private industries in order to ensure maximum utilisation of the land.
“We’ve identified that all the state-run industrial enterprises have a vast tract of unused land. Therefore, we’ve decided to allocate the land to the private entities or foreign investors,” the secretary said.
He said the government is also working to make the state-owned enterprises profitable. “We’ve taken some measures including foreign assistance in the form of joint-venture projects to make the government enterprises ‘profitable’,” he added.
20150304 * Death of a factory:
A strange scene plays out at Bhannar Bazar, Gazipur on February 16. Probably unprecedented in Bangladesh, the junior management of a garment factory, armed with rods and sticks, pull at a union activist in full view of a foreign brand representative as well as the head of “Bangladesh Accord.”
“They would have probably beaten me up,” Kamrul Hassan of Akota Garment Workers Federation (AGFW) says of his visit to BEO Apparels, a textile supplier of German company Lidl.
The fight ends with at least 10 injured from both sides — unionised workers and factory management.
The factory shut down its operations that day.
Ulrich Bornemann the German owner announced that he would be closing that factory and a second factory, Knitex Dresses, leaving 1,300 people jobless. According to Bornemann, his companies are unable to get new orders because of a “smear campaign.”
A conflict between BEO Apparels union and the factory management has been brewing since September 2014 when the union raised safety concerns about a water boiler and demanded higher Eid bonus.
A few days later, 48 union members were sacked.
“The managers told us immediately, that this would not be possible. But they would still take a look at their accounts,” says Ariful Islam, the factory’s union president.
The factory announced bonuses a few days later.
There were no changes.
That day 12 workers went to confront the managers.
According to Bornemann, they instigated the remaining workers to stop working and locked up two management staff members.
This, he says, was why the union workers were fired.
On March 1, 200 workers came to the Accord’s Dhaka office to protest.
“We all live on these jobs – what will happen to us now?” asked an elderly woman. They are convinced that the Accord and the union conspired to shut down their factory.
“We don’t need these troublemakers and we don’t need a union,” they shout.
* Women in the Trade Union Movement:
Shahida Parveen Shikha, office secretary of Bangladesh Trade Union Center, and General Secretary of National Women Workers Trade Union Center, shares the importance of women workers joining the trade union movement, and why trade unions must develop female leadership.
She explains: I believe only trade unions can obtain the rights of women workers at the workplace.
This is why I believe that women workers should be involved in the trade union movement.
That is why I became involved in the trade union movement, and it is why I have been working to organize women workers. …
To make trade unions powerful, we have to build women leaders. We must organize women workers.
Or else we cannot build an accountable and strong trade union movement. I believe that around the world, all trade unions should involve women workers.”
read more and Listen to her full interview.
17:49:46 local time INDIA
20150304 * Government to ensure fair wages to workers: Dattatreya:
Not just minimum wages…I want fare wages,” the Labour Minister said in Rajya Sabha during Question Hour.
Labour and Employment Minister Bandaru Dattatreya on Wednesday said the government intends to ensure “fare wages” for the labourers.
“Not just minimum wages…I want fare wages,” Mr. Dattatreya said in Rajya Sabha during Question Hour.
The Minister was replying to a question on whether the government would pay heed to the demand of major central trade unions and increase minimum wages to Rs 15,000 per month from existing Rs 10,000 a month now.
Mr. Dattatreya, however, did not give any timeline.
Seeking the hike in minimum wages, the trade unions had submitted a joint memorandum to the Finance Minister in June last year and had met the Labour Minister on the issue.
20150305 * India sets its foot firm on ground to turn ‘Look East’ policy a reality:
India’s “Act East” policy is Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s revamp of the decades old “Look East” policy, which aimed to strengthen economic and strategic relations in the region.
It looks to counter China’s strategic and aggressive economic investments, much like the US’ “Pivot to Asia” policy.
To put forth this idea to ground reality, the Indian government is setting up a project development company to facilitate investment in Cambodia’s private sector by Indian firms
Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, while presenting India’s annual budget speech in parliament, said that India is looking at setting up manufacturing hubs in Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam as part of its “Act East” policy.
He also stated that the aim was to use $161,000, an initial budgetary allocation, to create a project development company that will make strategic investments in the region.
20150305 * Inspect factories regularly: minister:
Minister for Rural Industries and Labour P. Mohan made an appeal to outstation factory owners who have industrial units in the State to make inspections regularly to take stock of the working environment of their factories to prevent industrial accidents.
He was speaking at a workshop on ‘Safety Culture for Sustainable Supply Chain’, organised by the National Safety Council Tamil Nadu chapter and Directorate of Industrial Safety and Health in the city on Wednesday.
The Labour Minister pointed out the various labour welfare measures, particularly for construction workers, taken by the State Government including the construction of night shelters for workers at nine places at a cost of Rs. 106 crore, launch of 50 mobile dispensaries and 50 ‘anganwadis’ (day care centres for children).
He also launched the website of the National Safety Council and released posters on industrial safety.
20150305 * Spinning mill reopened:
It was started for Dalits during MGR’s regime in 1982
The Ramanathapuram District Cooperative Spinning Mill, which was started exclusively for Dalits during former Chief Minister’s M.G. Ramachandran’s regime in 1982 and remained defunct for the last 10 years, was reopened on Wednesday after modernisation programme at a cost of Rs.28.02 crore.
Minister for Handlooms and Textiles S. Gokula Indira inaugurated the trial run of the mills located at Achankulam in Kamudhi taluk in the presence of Minister for Sports and Youth Welfare S Sundararaj, Principal Secretary, Hanlooms and Textiles Harmander Singh, Director, Handloom and Textiles T N Venkatesh and Collector K Nanthakumar.
The mill which became defunct about 10 years ago owing to labour problem and other factors was modernised based on the suggestions given by the South India Textiles Research Association (SITRA).
Thanks to the reopening of the mills, about 200 dalits in the area would get employment.
20150304 * Textile traders distribute ayurvedic kadha to the workers for swine flu:
Looking at the massive presence of daily wagers and workers in over 150 textile markets in the diamond city, the textile traders’ groups have started a campaign to administer ‘ayurvedic kadha’ (a concoction made from ayurvedic herbs) as the preventive measure against swine flu.
The diamond city is in the grip of swine flu after 32 deaths have been reported and more than 500 people have been infected by the disease in the last one-and-a-half-month.
According to the textile traders, the textile markets in the city has more than 3 lakh workers including those lifting grey and finish fabric bundles, the cutters and sizers, tempo drivers, deliverymen etc. who are working for their livelihood.
However, some of the textile traders’ groups have tied up with the social organisations and the ayurvedic associations to get their help on distributing the ayurvedic kadha for protecting the workers from swine flu.
20150304 * Offers from ChPT fail to impress Tirupur exporters:
The Chennai Port Trust (ChPT) administration had recently extended a red carpet welcome to Tirupur knitwear exporters by offering a slew of assurances with an aim to draw at least 50 per cent of the apparel export cargo from Tirupur via Chennai port within three years.
But it looks from the subsequent response of the exporters and opinions of customs house agents/ steamer agents that the Chennai port would have to wait for many more years to achieve the said target.
At the moment, only a little over 10 per cent of the apparels exported from Tirupur are going through Chennai port with almost 70 per cent still getting shipped from Tuticorin port.
Chennai port authorities had promised to look at the possibilities of introducing a mother vessel to United States of America and also listed out various steps to reduce the transportation time for the cargoes to reach the vessels.
20150303 * Service tax hike to raise garments cost: Texprocil:
Apex textile body alleges govt has neglected the sector in the Union Budget
An increase in service tax will increase overall manufacturing cost of garments, said R K Dalmia, Chairman, The Cotton Textiles Export PromotionCouncil (TEXPROCIL).
Expressing displeasure over the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s proposal to increase service tax to 14% from existing12.36%, the apex textile body says despite textile being the highest employment generator, the government neglected the sector in the Union Budget.
20150302 * Budget no cheer for handloom weavers:
The federation has demanded increase in subsidy of yarn from 10% at present to 20% and establishment of raw material banks in each district, particularly those with high concentration of weavers
The All Odisha Devanga Mahasangha (AODM), the federation of traditional weavers in the state, has decried the Union Budget for neglecting the handloom sector.
While prime minister, Narendra Modi sent out the right vibes to encourage the manufacturing sector through his ‘Make in India’ campaign, Union finance minister Arun Jaitley has ignored this aspect and has not announced any special support to the handloom sector, said AODM president T Gopi.
Read our full coverage on Union Budget
“After agriculture, it is the handloom sector which provides the highest employment to the people. Around one million weaver families are there in the state. The handloom industries in the country, particularly in the state, need adequate support from the government. But the sector seems to have been totally ignored in the Budget”, he stated.
The federation has demanded increase in subsidy of yarn from 10 per cent at present to 20 per cent and establishment of raw material banks in each district, particularly those with high concentration of weavers.
20150305 * Workers of leather companies observe fast:
Want authorities to take steps to open units
Workers of leather companies at Ranipet SIDCO Industrial Estate and SIPCOT observed a token fast on Wednesday demanding opening of the companies.
The companies have been closed for more than a month following the accident at the Common Effluent Treatment Plant operated by Ranipet SIDCO Finished Leather Effluent Treatment Company on January 31. Ten workers were buried under toxic sludge after a wall of a Secure Landfill Facility (SLF) at the CETP collapsed.
Terming the SLF as illegal, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board had ordered disconnection of power supply to the 86 members units of the CETP and closed the companies.
20150303 * Without job, leather industry workers face the heat:
A month after the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) brought the shutters down of nearly 86 leather companies at Ranipet, the livelihood of hundreds of workers have been hit.
They have urged the district administration to consider their plight and permit re-opening of the units.
The companies, all member units of Ranipet SIDCO Finished Leather Effluent Treatment Company, faced closure following the wall collapse of a Secure Landfill Facility (SLF) at the Common Effluent Treatment Plant that killed 10 workers on January 31.
20150306 * Unseasonal rain might aggravate farm labour shortage:
A study says MGNREGA should be tweaked to address shortage
The recent bout of heavy unseasonal rain in many parts of the country could aggravate the shortage of farm labour and also push up wages, for which the Centre needs to make some structural changes like altering the provisions of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).
The provisions could be altered to include agricultural activities like weeding, irrigating, sowing, cutting and harvesting into its ambit and introduction of seasonal calendars at gram panchayat level, experts and government officials said on Wednesday.
20150305 * Cotton prices rise on CCI procurement, lower yield estimates:
Improvement in international prices has also made exports viable
Normally exports peak during December-January, which is a peak arrival season. Even buying by CCI from the open market has reduced floating stock significantly.”
* Students create natural dye out of almond leaves:
Students in the apparel and design fashion technology department of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) are projecting almond leaves as potential sources for natural dyes.
The produce from these leaves, which have a great staining capacity, is being tried on cotton fabrics as a more eco-friendly replacement to chemical dyes.
The project was recently exhibited at the Vivasaya Thiruvizha (agricultural festival). The students explained that a component called phenol gave almond leaves a staining capacity, and they were making use of this property to propose a much more safer and eco-friendly dyeing substance.
20150306 * Women entrepreneurs to get 5% extra investment subsidy in Karnataka:
Siddaramaiah lists incentives proposed in new Industrial Policy
To promote women entrepreneurs, Karnataka’s new Industrial Policy 2014-19 offers additional 5 per cent investment promotion subsidy, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has said.
Speaking after inaugurating ‘International Business Convention for Women Forging Links, Leveraging Networks’ here today, Siddaramaiah said additional financial benefits for women ranges from Rs. 5 lakh to Rs. 20 lakh.
The policy has been made investor-friendly by creating a conducive environment along with attractive incentives and concessions.
Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) industrial units promoted by women investors will get investment incentives in Zone 4 (industrially developed areas) also.
17:19:46 local time PAKISTAN
20150305 * Workers protest non-payment of salary:
Hundreds of workers of a textile mills situated near Lal Sohanra National Park on Bahawalpur-Khairpur Tamiwali Road staged a protest on Wednesday afternoon against the management over not paying their salaries for last two months.
The protesters said they and their families had reached the point of starvation but no one was ready to address their miseries, alleging that the owner and the contractor by their mutual conveyance wanted to embezzle their wages.
They told The News that the textile mills electricity was disconnected due to not paying the bills and the contractor had closed the canteen, while they had been waiting for their salary for the last two months.
20150304 * Remuneration: Government ordered to constitute board to set minimum wage:
The Peshawar High Court has directed the K-P government to constitute a board within a month to determine the minimum wages for unskilled workers working in different industrial units of the province.
A bench of Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth and Justice Muhammad Daud Khan issued the order to the government while hearing several connected petitions filed by owners of industrial units including Ferozsons Laboratories Limited, Bannu Woollen Mills and Ghazana Sugar Mills among others.
The court also suspended the earlier order of the provincial government wherein it fixed the minimum wage for labourers at Rs15,000 per month.
Qazi Ghulam Dastagir and Abdul Latif Afridi, counsels for the petitioners, informed the court that the provincial government had fixed minimum monthly wages at Rs15,000 from earlier Rs12,000.
The federal government had also fixed the salary at the lesser rate and other provinces paid the same, they contended.
Dastagir further informed the court that the provincial government had passed the Minimum Wages Act 2013 in the assembly under which this notification of an increase in the minimum salary was issued.
read more. & read more.
20150304 * Court suspends KP govt decision on minimum wage:
The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Tuesdaysuspended the KP government decision of increasing minimum wage to Rs15,000 for unskilled workers in the province.
A division bench comprising Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth and Justice Asadullah Khan Chamkani suspended the KP government decision that had increased the minimum wage to Rs15000 from previous Rs12,000.
The bench directed the provincial government to constitute minimum wage board within a month time, as under the law the board would decide the minimum wages for approval of the provincial government.
The bench was hearing a writ petition of Saif Textile Mills and other 24 industrial units of the province, which had challenged the increase in the high court.Qazi Ghulam Dastageer, lawyer for the industrial units, submitted before the bench that the Pakistan Tehreek-i Insaf-led provincial government had unlawfully increased the minimum wage of unskilled workers in the province.
20150306 * Ministry to facilitate textile industry for capacity building:
The Ministry of Textile Industry has embarked upon a plan to get on board all stakeholders to comprehensively execute the textile policy and revisit the concern of industries to facilitate them for enhancing their capacity in order to boost exports.
The meeting of Federal Textile Board (FTB) will be held soon to discuss the issues being faced by industrialists and the ministry to addresses these issues, an official of Ministry of Textile Industry said while talking to the media here on Thursday.
“Value addition is top priority of the government in textile sector to double the exports in the sector for the economic revival of Pakistan,” he said. He stressed the need for formulating a comprehensive and long-term policy adding that both the government and industry were committed to fully exploiting the potential of all related sectors of textile aiming at to boost its exports for benefit of the country.
read more. & read more.
20150304 * Textile policy: Ambitious targets require hard work, says PRGMEA:
Citing energy crisis as the primary reason behind the below-par performance of the textile industry, the Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (Prgmea) has said the government’s aim to boost textile exports from $13 billion to $26 billion by 2019 will require efforts due to the energy challenges.
Commenting on the new textile policy, Prgmea Vice Chairman Muhammad Naseer Malik, in a statement on Tuesday, called it a promising policy under the current economic circumstances and praised the government for coming up with an ambitious policy for five years (2014-19).
However, he said the government had already lost one year by delaying the announcement of the policy.
Discussing the Rs64.15-billion cash subsidy for the textile and clothing sector, he expressed the hope that, if implemented, the incentive would help in improving textile exports.
read more. & read more. & read more.
20150306 * Energy efficient tech way forward for industry: Aptma chief:
Chairman All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) S M Tanveer has encouraged textile mills to undertake energy efficiency initiatives to conserve energy and adopt sustainable practices in manufacturing textile goods meant to reach international market place.
Addressing a meeting, he said energy efficiency has become the prime priority of textile industry due to rising energy prices, increased production costs and consumer demands for environment-friendly textile products.
20150304 * Corporate results: Gul Ahmed registers 56% fall in profit:
Gul Ahmed Textile, one of the country’s largest composite textile mills, has posted after-tax profit of Rs252 million in the first six months (Jul-Dec) of fiscal year 2015 (FY15), down a significant 56% compared to Rs570 million in the same period of previous year.
Earnings per share (EPS) stood at Rs1.10 compared to Rs2.50 in the previous year.
However, the company did well in the second quarter (Oct-Dec) in which it earned Rs429 million, up 4% compared to Rs414 million in the second quarter of FY14.
20150304 * Moderate cotton buying:
Textile mill-owners continued to make moderate cotton buying at the local markets, as stable pricing outlook kept them composed to have ended up the day with buying the commodity as per their limited needs, a dealer said on Tuesday.
“Pricing outlook stays stable,” said Naseem Usman, a broker at the Karachi Cotton Exchange, adding price of prime quality cotton remained around Rs5,200 per maund (37.324 kilograms) for the last many weeks.
20150304 * Free market can lead to gross inequalities: economists:
Almost all leading economists now agree that leaving everything to the free market does not work for the overall betterment of the economy, and left on its own, can lead to gross inequalities.
“Consistently increasing inequalities would create unrest leading to political instability,” said economist Asif Ali Shahid.
He said recent happenings around the world have confirmed Adam Smith’s opinion that open market without proper regulation is barbarous.
He said in the same way leaving everything to the state deprives the society of individual enterprises, creativity, and vibrant markets.
Without the private sector, the thrust needed for growth cannot be sustained, he added.
Shahid said that by striking a right balance we could achieve the ideal goal of shared prosperity in every society.
To achieve this aim, planners would have to pay special attention to the bottom 40 percent in each society.
He said in poor countries top 10 percent have greater access to resources and wealth than the bottom 40 percent combined.
“We will have to ensure that the bottom 40 percent enjoy basic amenities of life including access to education, health, and justice,” he said, adding that this can address the inequalities in poor societies.
20150303 * ‘Pakistan third in human slavery ranking’:
Pakistan ranks third in a list of 167 countries where human slavery is most severe.
This was stated by Justice and Peace Commission Executive Secretary Hyacinth Peter here on Saturday during a consultation session on ‘Existing Laws to Stop Bonded Labour: Gaps and Recommendations’.
He said Pakistan stood third position in the Global Slavery Index (GSI).
“Any kind of slavery is illegal and inhuman. High ratio of slavery in the country is a huge matter of concern and failure of state institutions to protect the rights of labourers.
Proper implementation of minimum wages, provision of social security and access to other facilities could stop bonded labour,” he said.
He further said bonded labour was common in the brick kiln sector and majority of kilns were in Punjab. Labour laws especially Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act 1992 were not being implemented in the kiln industry and kiln owners were more powerful as compared to the state.
District Officer (Labour) Nusrat Kamal, Nadeem Parwaz, former MPA Amir Naveed Jewa, Altaf Mehmood Qurashi, former MPA Babu Nafees Ansari, Farhan Bhatti, Naeem Haroon and Sohail Javaid were among the participants who urged the government to enforce the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act 1992 as well as take all necessary steps to end the practice.
20150304 * VAW centres expected to change reporting of crimes:
The establishment of Violence against Women Centres (VAWCs) is expected to bring about a big change, says Salman Sufi, senior member of the Special Monitoring Unit on Law and Order – a separate section coordinating with the Punjab government on the issue – and the brains behind the project.
Currently, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has approved their idea of establishing these centres in Punjab’s districts along with passing the Punjab Protection of Women Against Violence Bill 2015 by March 8. However, the plan is to establish the first prototype in Multan district by December and later replicate the model in other districts, beginning with south Punjab where violence against women is higher.
The crisis centres already operating will be used instead of constructing new buildings.
“We are not going to waste extra funds in unnecessary construction,” he said. “Instead we will utilise the infrastructure that we already have and add to it if need be. The point is to bring all the departments dealing with reporting of violence against women crimes under one roof,” Sufi told Dawn exclusively.
THE BALDIA FACTORY FIRE
20150305 * Widow from 2012 Factory Fire Launches Community Petition:
Yesterday, Mrs. Shahida Parveen, a widow as a result of a 2012 tragic
factory fire in Baldia town on the outskirts of Karachi, Pakistan, launched
a community petition on the online activist website Avaaz.
Mrs. Parveen is currently campaigning to ensure that she and all the victims of the Ali Enterprises factory fire receive long-term compensation from KiK, a German
discount retailer and the main buyer from the factory.
Her petition and campaign against KiK may be eligible for a $10,000 grant, as recently announced on facebook that Avaaz members will help identify 10 campaigns to support.
On September 11, 2012, a fire ripped through the Ali Enterprises garment factory in Karachi, Pakistan, killing at least 254 people and injuring another 55 people.
The fire at the Ali Enterprises factory is now recognized as the worst industrial tragedy in Pakistan to date.
Investigations into the cause of the fire uncovered that just weeks before the fire, Ali Enterprises passed an audit on behalf of Italian social audit firm RINA, and received a SAI (Social Accountability International) 8000 certification.
Ali Enterprises received this certification despite the fact that there were no emergency exits; the windows were barred; and an entire mezzanine floor had been illegally built on.
Mrs. Parveen’s husband was among victims who burned and boiled to death in the fire.
Many survivors where forced to jump from the roof of the building, suffering significant injuries.
“God only knows what happened to my husband and all the people trapped in that factory”, states Mrs. Parveen in her petition. “I never found my husband’s body, even after months of DNA tests. He was among the unidentified bodies, which were eventually buried.” In the petition she describes falling unconscious upon hearing that her husband burned to death in the factory.
In January 2013, KiK, the main buyer (75% to 80% of goods were purchased by KiK) from the factory at the time of the fire, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) agreeing to make an initial payment to the victims and their families of US$ 1 million for immediate relief, and to negotiate a long-term compensation package with all other involved stakeholders.
Despite the existence of this signed agreement, KiK has failed to comply with the terms of the MOU.
Specifically, with regard to the provision of long-term compensation, KiK has imposed unnecessary delay in the negotiations with PILER on behalf of the victims.
The Clean Clothes Campaign is concerned that KiK is engaging in various stalling tactics in order to avoid paying long-term compensation.
Additionally, the MOU required KiK to pay a sum of USD 250,000 for future labour standard enforcement, and this also has yet to be paid.
PILER continues to support the victims’ families in Pakistan in their efforts to hold KiK accountable to the terms of the MOU in order to receive long-term compensation for all the victims and injured workers.
read more and please sign. & read more.
20150304 * Baldia factory fire: Rangers to name suspects, party:
Vowing to arrest those behind the deadly Baldia factory fire, the Rangers have claimed to identify the suspects and a political party responsible for the incident.
Meanwhile, the new Joint Investigation Team (JIT) formed to probe the tragedy has started compiling a list of the suspects, victims and informers in order to record their statements.
A meeting was held at the Rangers headquarters in Karachi on Tuesday, chaired by Sindh Rangers director-general (DG) Bilal Akbar, who expressed his concern over interference in the investigation by ‘certain elements’. The meeting was also attended by the Rangers deputy director-general, sector commanders and intelligence officials.
“During the meeting, threats to the victims’ families and the investigation officer (IO) by a certain extortionist group also came under discussion,” said a Rangers spokesperson.
20150304 * Criminals trying to affect probe, say Rangers:
Rangers said on Tuesday that a gang of extortionists was trying to influence the investigation into the Baldia factory fire.
A spokesperson for the paramilitary force said the gang was issuing threats to the case’s investigation officer and the relatives of the fire victims.
The issue of threats was discussed at a Rangers meeting presided over by the force’s director general Major General Bilal Akbar.
The Rangers deputy director general, sector commanders and intelligence officials attended the meeting.
The spokesperson said the participants of the meeting expressed serious concerns over the efforts by some elements to influence the investigation.
20150304 * Man behind Baldia fire disclosures missing: Rangers:
Suspect Rizwan Qureshi has ‘disappeared mysteriously’, it emerged a month after his disclosure to a joint investigation team (JIT) — citing non-payment of Rs200 million protection money as the motive for the arson attack on the Baldia factory — whose report was filed in court.
The development was highlighted by Pakistan Rangers at a meeting held on Tuesday to review progress in the Baldia factory fire investigation.
Though not quite explanatory, an official statement issued after the meeting, which was chaired by Rangers director general Major General Bilal Akbar, mentioned brief details of investigation findings indicating that there was a threat to the police investigation officer and the families of the fire victims.
20150303 * Attempts being made to influence Baldia fire probe: Rangers:
Sindh Rangers on Tuesday expressed concern over attempts by ‘certain elements’ to influence the investigation into the Baldia Town Factory inferno in which more than 250 workers were burnt alive.
A high-level meeting of Sindh Rangers was held here under the chairmanship of DG Rangers Major General Bilal Akbar to review Karachi’s law and order situation.
According to details, the meeting which was attended by Sector Commandos and Intelligence officials, reviewed the matter of sudden disappearance of Rizwan Qureshi, the key suspect in Baldia factory fire case.
* Hugo Boss: Luxury brand, garbage employer:
This high-end clothing brand puts up every possible barrier to union organizing at its most important production factory, in Izmir, Turkey.
Company management ruthlessly sacks key union members, and has been found guilty of this in Turkey’s High Court of Appeals.
The Turkish Union of Textile, Knitting and Clothing Industry Workers TEKSIF, an IndustriALL Global Union affiliate, has been assisting HUGO BOSS workers in Izmir to organize for over three years. The workers, the vast majority of whom earn less than the poverty threshold with long working hours, discretionary overtime and no social benefits, are seeking a living wage and a voice at work.
Whilst HUGO BOSS publically claims to uphold internationally recognized labour standards throughout its global operations, the 3,000 workers in Izmir have had their fundamental rights at work attacked by their management.
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