in the news 7-10 July 2015

23:19:54 local time map of china CHINA

20150708 * Shenzhen vows to get tough on bosses who put workers lives at risk:

The Shenzhen government has pledged to crackdown on workplace safety violators; prosecuting to the full extent of the law business owners and managers responsible for major accidents.

There were 1,361 workplace accidents in Shenzhen in the first five months of this year (a rate of nine every day), leading to 189 deaths and 436 injuries, and causing over 15 million yuan in economic losses, the city’s Deputy Mayor Zhang Hu revealed last week.
read more.
CHINA LABOR Bulletin

20150708 * China to start cotton reserves sale July 10, demand seen weak:

China will kick off sales from its cotton reserves on July 10, according to a statement from the stockpile agency, but traders warned demand was likely to be poor given the inventory available in the market and relatively high state prices, now at a premium to futures.

The September cotton contract on Zhengzhou dropped by the maximum allowed daily amount on Wednesday amid a broad commodities sell-off sparked by stock market turmoil in China.

Chinese share prices have plunged more than 30 percent since mid-June and investors are withdrawing money from commodity markets, which are more liquid than stocks and face fewer government restrictions, traders said.

That has helped push Chinese cotton futures to a significant discount to the reserves’ benchmark prices and will make state sales of fibre “a challenge”, said a trade source who declined to be identified.
read more.
TOInew

20150708 * Tomb relics spur return of silk farming:

The ancient tradition of silk farming could be revived at Turpan in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region as part of a project to restore exquisite clothing and other items up to 2,000 years old found in ancient tombs.

The silk products include handcrafted kerchiefs with flower and rhombus patterns, and handbags, and are evidence of how Turpan prospered as a key stop on the ancient Silk Road.

“The unearthing of the silk products from the tombs shows how valuable the silk trade was and how it benefited the people along the road,” said Xu Dongliang, deputy head of the Technological Protection Institute at the Academy of Turpan Studies.

Most of the clothes were used to dress the bodies in the tombs and have been damaged as the remains decayed. Experts at the institute face the difficult task of restoring the items.
read more.
CHINAORG

00:19:54 local time map of korea_n NORTH KOREA

20150709 * 2nd LD: S. Korea, DPRK to hold talks on Kaesong industrial zone next week:

South Korea and the Democratic People ‘s Republic of Korea (DPRK) agreed Thursday to hold talks about the operation of the cooperative Kaesong industrial zone next week, Seoul’s unification ministry said.

The ministry said in a statement that the sixth round of joint management committee meeting for the Kaesong Industrial Complex would be held on July 16 at the DPRK’s border town of Kaesong.

South Korea has urged the DPRK to have the joint management meeting to discuss ways of developing the factory park in a constructive manner, including issues on wage hike for DPRK workers, the ministry said.
read more.
CHINAORG

23:19:54 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

20150709 * PH textile, apparel lose US-GSP duty free privilege:

The US government has excluded textile, garment and apparel, Philippines leading exports to the US, from zero tariff privilege under its newly extended Generalized System of Preference (GSP) although it gained preferences for travel goods.

President Barack Obama signed last week the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015 (H.R. 1295), which will reauthorize the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) Program until 31 December 2017, at the same time renewing the African Growth and Opportunity Act and tariff preference programs for Haiti until 30 September 2025.

The GSP program, which is considered the U.S. largest and oldest trade preference facility, was established 41 years ago to promote economic development by eliminating duties on about 5,000 types of products when imported from 122 designated beneficiary developing and least developed countries and territories, including the Philippines.
The law will restore the GSP program effective 29 July 2015.

The program, however, excludes textile, apparel, and footwear, the Philippines second largest sectoral exports to the US market.
At the same time, the US-GSP has expanded its coverage to include some 20 to 30 specific types of travel goods and will provide for retroactive refund of all duties paid by US importers from the time the Program lapsed on 31 July 2013.
read more. & read more.
MANILABULLETIN philstarNEW

20150709 * Group demands stricter labor standard compliance system:

A labor group on Thursday asked the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to scrap its order for allegedly failing to curb abuses by employers on their workers. 
 
The Buklurang Manggagawa ng Pilipinas (BMP) said DOLE must nullify its order which creates the Labor Law System (LLCS) because it has failed to protect the welfare of laborers.
The group said certificates of compliance are being issued to employers even without the benefit of an ocular inspection.
BMP has demanded DOLE to come up with a stricter labor standard compliance system amid the recent discovery that even the controversial Torre de Manila building has not complied with labor and safety standards.
Upon visiting the site, labor law compliance officers reported that D. M. Consunji Inc Homes (DMCI), the project contractor, lacked of a full time physician and dentist and has insufficient insufficient protective gear.
read more.
philstarNEW

KENTEX

20150708 * Families of Kentex fire victims: ‘We will not drop claims’:

While 57 families have already dropped their claims against the footwear factory, some continue to reject the P151,200 settlement offer

Nearly two months since a deadly factory blaze killed their loved ones, some families of the 74 workers killed in Kentex Manufacturing Corporation in Valenzuela City vowed not to drop their claims against the footwear factory in exchange for what they considered a measly settlement.

Last month, 57 families already dropped their claims against Kentex in exchange for P151,200 ($3344).

But Ammied Rada, whose 21-year-old sister Gerly and 25-year-old brother Ericson died in the May 13 fire, said he has no plans of dropping the case against Kentex.

Hindi ko iaatras. Gusto ko makamit ang hustisya para sa mga kapatid ko,” he said on Wednesday, July 8, after a second hearing at the National Labor Relations Commission in Quezon City. (I will not drop my claim. I want to obtain justice for my siblings.)

Rada said Kentex had offered the same amount to the 5 complainants who showed up at the hearing, despite earlier demands of P7 million for the victims and P4 million for the survivors.

Rada ridiculed what he considered a paltry sum that Kentex was offering for the horrific deaths of the 74 workers, most of whom had been working in dire conditions inside the factory.
read more.
rappler

22:19:54 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

20150710 * Minimum wages likely to grow 10% next year:

The average minimum wage by region is projected to rise by just over 10% in 2016 thanks to projections of low inflation and lingering challenges for enterprises, according to the chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI).

Vu Tien Loc told reporters about the projection of regional minimum wage rises on the sidelines of a dialogue on labor and wage policies in Hanoi last Friday. The event was organized by the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs and VCCI.

Loc said Vietnam’s economy has been back to high growth this year but labor productivity has not improved and many enterprises are still struggling with difficulties.
So, employers want an average salary rise of just over 10% for 2016, the same as in 2015.

Deputy Minister of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs Pham Manh Huan, chairman of the National Wage Council, said many participants at the dialogue agreed that the minimum wage by region should not spike strongly due to slow improvements in labor productivity and the low consumer price index.

“Increases of minimum wages by region will help improve the living standards of workers but push up production costs. We should carefully calculate wage rises next year as social insurance premiums are up,” Huan said.

He added next year enterprises will have to pay additional fees for female employees and labor safety and hygiene.
Employers must bear all these fees.  

Loc said regional minimum wage adjustments are an important yet sensitive issue for both the employer and the employee and will impact on the country’s economic growth.
read more.
VNNet

20150710 * Vietnam ranks third among footwear exporters:

Vietnam ranks third among world footwear exporters in terms of value, only after China and Italy, according to the Vietnam Leather and Footwear Association (Lefaso).

The country is also among top four largest footwear producers, trailing by China, India and Brazil.

A number of free trade agreements which are likely to come into effect soon will also open more opportunities for the footwear and handbag industry of Vietnam to penetrate potential markets.

Lefaso said that after Vietnam joins the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, current taxes of 3.5-57.4% will be cut down to zero, helping footwear businesses boost their exports.
read more.
VOVonline

20150709 * Vietnam pushes state-owned enterprise privatisation forwards:

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh has ordered relevant ministries, sectors and localities take drastic measures to ensure state-owned enterprise (SOEs) reform in 2015.

He emphasized the need to clarify shortcomings of the privatisation process and determine solutions to the issues.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) issued guidelines for Government Decree 118/2014/ND-CP on increasing efficient operations of agricultural-forest companies and encouraging science-technology application and transference.
read more.
VIETNAMplus

20150708 * TPP to boost relations with Uncle Sam:

Those who assert that the secrets to the future always lie in the past have a bit of a problem when it comes to pontificating on the future of Vietnamese business with the US. In the past, the US and Vietnam have had wildly different business relationships.

But for 20 years, trade deals have had a significant catalytic effect in post war business between the two countries.

-No trade deals
There were a few bemused years between 1975-78, when US businesses did not really know how to approach Vietnam.
|Despite the recent war, American businessmen came to Vietnam as soon as 1976 to scope the possibilities (I have a Citibank prospectus touting investment in Vietnam dated 1976, demonstrating the perennial and ineffable optimism of bankers).

-Prohibition on trade
Until 1994, there was a comprehensive embargo on trade and investment with Vietnam. The result – almost no US/Vietnam business (official statistics show US imports from Vietnam of zero in 1993).

-Lifting of embargo in 1994
As the embargo was lifted in February 1994, businesses responded with a stampede to do business in Vietnam, symbolised by the instant apparition of Coca Cola, Pepsi and Freshfields in the market in Vietnam.
Vietnamese exporters also benefitted – exports to the US rose by a factor of 20 between 1994 and 2000.
But investment was difficult. Enron – having breathlessly but vainly proposed five mega prwerknemersojects to Vietnam – withdrew back to the US before collapsing.
read more. & read more.
VNNet  TUOITREnews

20150709 * “I was really stunned by the “American-style draft””:

The impact of the US-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA) has been analyzed from different angles in the mass media. In this article, part of the series about the 20th anniversary of normalization of Vietnam-US relations, VietNamNet introduces the perspective of an “insider” – Mr. Nguyen Dinh Luong, the former chief negotiator for the BTA.

Negotiations of the BTA started in late 1995. Until then, Vietnam joined ASEAN and normalized its relations with the United States in the spirit “Vietnam’s policy is to expand multi-sided, bilateral and multilateral cooperation with countries and territories, willing to be friends with all nations, peoples, striving for peace and development”.

At that time Vietnam had no guidelines for economic integration. Resolution 07 on economic integration was issued by the Politburo in November 2001, more than a year after the BTA was signed.

Vietnam, after having failed with the subsidized, centrally planned economy realized that it must accept the market economy to develop and the market economy is the product of human society, not the individual product of capitalism.

Vietnam began a process of “breaking” all the things with the color of “subsidy”, the things that were not the market economy. It was easy to destroy, but there was still a debate how to build a market economy inside the socialism.
read more.
VNNet

20150710 * Party chief meets with big US enterprises:

Vietnam will continue speeding up renovations and administrative reforms, particularly in tax and customs procedures, in order to create an attractive investment climate for foreign businesses, stated Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong.

The Party Chief attended a round-table seminar with major US enterprises in Washington D.C. on July 8 (local time) held by the US Chamber of Commerce and the US-ASEAN Business Council.

While meeting with the participating enterprises to discuss Vietnam’s economic situation and its policies to boost economic growth and intensify economic-trade-investment ties with the US, he asked for opinions related to cooperation and investment in Vietnam.

Representatives of US enterprises expressed their confidence in Vietnam’s human and natural resources potential and Vietnam-US relations prospects, especially in economics, trade and investment.

They spoke highly of the Party leader’s historic visit to the US, saying it is a new milestone in the bilateral relations.

They also believed that the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, which is currently under negotiations, will bring about numerous trade and investment opportunities for both the US and Vietnam.
read more. & read more. & read more.  & read more.
VNNet VNNews new DTI  VIETNAMplus

22:19:54 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

20150708 * Workers at Armani factory still awaiting reforms:

In June, workers at an Armani supplier factory in Phnom Penh long plagued by poor conditions erupted in cheers when they were promised reforms that included finally addressing the facility’s sweltering temperatures, seniority bonuses and long-term contracts for employees with extended tenure.

But a month later, little has changed, with reforms either half-heartedly implemented or nowhere in sight, workers said yesterday.

In a rare visit granted to the Kin Tai Garment factory in May, Post reporters witnessed workers toiling under extreme heat to produce clothes for the designer label Armani Jeans.

In a bid to keep from fainting, they had resorted to performing a traditional healing practice known as coining on one another, which involved scraping at their skin with a metal object until it was raw.
(….)

In the morning, “the temperatures inside the factory are the same as before . . . The factory turns the water sprinklers on only from 12pm to 4pm,” said Chheang Thida, leader of the in-factory union.

According to Thida, a pregnant woman collapsed at the factory just last week and has yet to return to work.
One seamstress, 28-year-old Long Na Ty, said she still regularly needs to be coined.
“Although the morning is not as hot as the afternoon, it is still too hot for us to bear,” she explained.
“We all want to talk to the factory about this, but they don’t listen to us.”
Promises of contracts and bonuses also have yet to be realised, according to workers.
(…)

Armani did not respond to a request for comment.

Joel Preston, a consultant at the Community Legal Education Centre, said Armani needed to push for real reform.

“They [Kin Tai] have promised the world to the workers on quite a few occasions, but never followed through. This is absolutely another example of that. There needs to be pressure from Armani”.
read more.
PPP new

20150708 * Putting Productivity on the Menu:

An ILO project that provides free lunch at garment factories is proving to be a hit with workers, but whether or not this 50-cent per worker “experiment” catches on will depend on factory owners and the brands they supply.  

Lunch break is over. Garment workers troop past the large metal bowls of soup and rice in the dim, crowded and covered market in Teuk Thla, and some order a last-minute meal before returning to the factory floors.

Mol Thera, 28, says her factory, Evergreen Apparel, does not offer free lunches, but like many garment workers she has heard about the lunch program.

“I think the free lunch is a good idea,” she said. “It would save time, and would be cleaner than eating outside the factory.”

Last July, eight garment factories in Phnom Penh and Kampong Speu province added free lunch to their workers’ benefits package. The list includes Bowker Garments, Dewhirst and Lucky Garments.

The free lunch program is an experiment designed by the International Labor Organization (ILO) to test how a nutritious meal can affect workers’ health and productivity.

As the garment industry seeks to improve productivity without raising costs, some of the people involved in the program say free lunches could provide the solution.

ILO researchers have spent almost a year testing workers for anemia – a common symptom of malnutrition – as well as measuring absenteeism, sick days, and the number of garments stitched. Researchers will also compare the turnover of workers at factories with free meals to factories without them, with results scheduled to be released in September.

The Cost Of Hunger
One good meal may seem unimportant, but the health issues that plague garment factory workers – such as anemia caused by malnutrition and mass fainting episodes – are often blamed on the poor quality of the food that they buy at the markets around the factories.
Workers are not the only ones who suffer, as regular sick days also hurt factory output.
read more.
KHMERTIMES

20150709 * Factory compliance up: BFC:

Cambodia’s garment factories showed a modest increase in compliance with proper labour standards this year, according to an industry report released yesterday by Better Factories Cambodia (BFC).

The analysis of 393 factories under BFC’s purview, conducted from May 2014 to April 2015, concludes that the NGO’s policy of publicly reporting findings from factory inspections – via their online transparency database – had led to improvements in several areas.

“One year of public reporting has demonstrated important improvements, amongst other . . . [compliance issues, including] severance payments, emergency preparedness and around payment of bonuses,” the report reads.

“Not all the 21 critical issues that are part of the public reporting demonstrate improvements and thus the programme will continue to measure change and work with its partners to ensure impact.”
read more.
PPP new

20150709 * Working conditions in Cambodia’s garment factories slightly improved: group:

The International Labor Organization (ILO) has found a slight improvement in Cambodia’s garment factory working conditions, although issues of overtime and occupational safety and health continue, according to its latest report released on Wednesday.

The ILO’s Better Factories Cambodia (ILO-BFC) Program report said it saw “a slight improvement in factories’ overall compliance with labor law standards.”

The findings were based on ILO-BFC factory assessment reports on 393 garment and footwear factories between May 2014 and April 2015, it said.
read more.
CHINAORG

20150709 * Working conditions in Cambodia’s garment factories slightly improved: group:

The International Labor Organization (ILO) has found a slight improvement in Cambodia’s garment factory working conditions, although issues of overtime and occupational safety and health continue, according to its latest report released on Wednesday.

The ILO’s Better Factories Cambodia (ILO-BFC) Program report said it saw “a slight improvement in factories’ overall compliance with labor law standards.”

The findings were based on ILO-BFC factory assessment reports on 393 garment and footwear factories between May 2014 and April 2015, it said.
read more.
KHMERTIMES

20150709 * Factory Compliance Good for Business, Says ILO:

Cambodia’s $5.7-billion garment sector saw “a slight improvement in factories’ overall compliance with labor law standards,” including greater commitment on the part of employers to address working conditions, the ILO’s Better Factories Cambodia (BFC) program said in its latest industry report.

The findings, which were based on the assessment reports of 393 garment and footwear factories between May 2014 and April 2015, showed a nominal improvement.

“Following a downward trend during the period 2010-2013, the overall compliance levels have gone up slightly during the reporting period,” the report said.

It said employers have shown more commitment to addressing inadequate working conditions as buyers have pressured factories to make changes.
Still, non-compliance on overtime and occupational health issues persist.
The report attributed these issues to both factory practices and supply chain pressures.
read more.
KHMERTIMES

20150708 * BFC’s latest Synthesis Report:

BFC’s latest Synthesis Report finds slight improvements in garment factory working conditions, although issues of overtime and occupational safety and health continue.
read more. download report here.
BF NEW

20150709 * Move Beyond Garments, Economists Urge:

Having positioned itself on the global radar as a low-cost labor destination for the garment manufacturers, Cambodia should work toward diversifying its industrial sector, economists say.

Faisal Ahmed, IMF resident representative in Cambodia, said the country’s stellar growth has been driven by a strong flow of foreign direct investment in recent years – about double the rate of other countries in the region.
While much of this capital is directed to the Kingdom’s booming construction sector and large-scale agro projects, a sizeable portion has gone into setting up garments and footwear factories, which contribute about 80 percent of total exports.

“Performance has been strong,” he said of Cambodia’s success in attracting FDI. “The challenge is to diversify the source of originating countries and also the kind of products.”

Narrow Economic Base
A growing dependence on garments for GDP growth has made Cambodia vulnerable to economic downturns, such as the 2008/2009 global financial crisis, which exposed the weakness of the country’s narrow economic base.
Business leaders say the industrial sector must move beyond low-skill, labor-intensive garments.
read more.
KHMERTIMES

20150512 SAY NO Cambodia

20150708-09 * #LANGO: The Last 72 Hours:

Amid mounting national and international criticism of the proposed Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organizations (LANGO), the ruling Cambodian People’s Party has expedited the schedule to pass LANGO into law by calling an extraordinary session of the National Assembly on Monday July 13th. Join LICADHO for live coverage of the main events in the week before the vote.
read more in the Live Information Stream (overview) here.
licadho

20150710 * LANGO changes ‘too little’:

20150710 PPP
People gather at Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park yesterday to protest against the controversial Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organisations.
Photo by Vireak Mai.

The government yesterday confirmed four changes to the controversial NGO law in response to widespread criticism; opponents, however, say the edits are insignificant and the legislation remains a “severe violation” of Cambodia’s constitution.

As protests over the law continued yesterday in Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park, ministers from the Justice, Finance, Interior and Foreign Ministries as well as the Council of Ministers met to revise the draft, which will tomorrow be submitted to the National Assembly’s standing committee ahead of a final vote, slated for early next week.

According to Interior Ministry secretary of state Sak Setha, the group endorsed four changes in response to Tuesday’s public consultation, which the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party walked out of in protest.

Setha said the number of required NGO founders would be reduced from five to three, while a provision barring former leaders of deregistered organisations from starting new groups would be scrapped.

The government will also tweak provisions allowing the Ministry of Interior to block applications or deregister groups if they jeopardise peace, stability and public order or harm the national security, national unity, culture and traditions of the Cambodian national society, though the changes amounted to a single word’s insertion.
read more.
PPP new

20150709 * AFWA protest letter on draft NGO and TU law in Cambodia:

Asia Floor Wage Alliance, North South Institutes and other NGO and TU submitted our rejection to Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organizations (LANGO) and Union Law.

There are ongoing protests within Cambodia, as international organisations are continuing to put pressure on the government to drop the LANGO.
@26 civil society actors had sent the protest letter to Heng Samrin, the president of the National Assembly, and other senior government officials, urging them not to pass the proposed LANGO and Trade Union law.

The letter goes on to criticize the LANGO for restricting freedom of
association. Here our final NGO protest letter to the National Assembly and ministers of Cambodia, supported by 26 NGO and trade unios.
read more.
ASFWa

20150709 * NGO law tweaks mulled:

Government officials yesterday agreed to reconsider elements of a proposed NGO law, but ruled out further public consultation on the widely criticised legislation, signalling a final vote would be held next week.

The promise to review some provisions came during the government’s first public workshop on the proposed bill since 2011 – held yesterday morning – and was later backed at a meeting between three parliamentary commissions in the afternoon, according to a government official.

Interior Ministry Secretary of State Sak Setha said the proposed Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organisations (LANGO) would be sent back to the heads of relevant ministries for further talks.

Among the provisions up for reconsideration, he said, was the need to have five founding members, the ban on minors starting NGOs, the provision barring former leaders of deregistered organisations from starting new groups and the article requiring political neutrality.
read more.
PPP new

20150709 * Opposition Walks Out of NGO Law Workshop:

CPP lawmakers and officials continued to defend their controversial draft of a proposed law aiming to regulate the country’s non-government groups at a workshop at the National Assembly on Wednesday, despite a boycott from some NGOs and the opposition, which dismissed the event as “rubbish.”
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

20150708 * After Protests, Gov’t Defends NGO Law:

After weeks of protest and debate, the draft law on associations and NGOs (LANGO) could be approved by the National Assembly as early as Monday, National Assembly spokesman Chheang Vun said yesterday.

Mr. Vun, who is also a lawmaker with the ruling Cambodia People’s Party, was unfazed by criticism of the legislation yesterday. After enduring weeks of protests, he and government officials came out swinging yesterday, arguing strongly that the new law would actually benefit NGOs.

“There is no need to be concerned about this law,” he said.

Mr. Vun said the government explained the draft law in detail to NGO leaders at a parliamentary workshop yesterday.
This workshop was boycotted by Cambodia’s two largest human rights groups, Adhoc and Licadho and by the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party. Other rights groups did send representatives, which drew about 500 participants.

Mr. Vun said he received 42 questions on the draft legislation during yesterday’s workshop.

He argued that it is normal for governments to prohibit non-governmental organizations from getting too close to political parties.
He based this claim on his research of legislation in 67 countries.
read more.
KHMERTIMES

20150708 * Crowds ‘Say No’ to LANGO:

More than 300 civil society representatives, diplomats and opposition members yesterday attended a consultation to voice concerns over the controversial draft NGO law, a parliamentary vote on which was reportedly delayed until next week.

The national consultation, organised by the Cooperation Committee for Cambodia (CCC) and held at the Cambodiana Hotel, coincided with yet another march on parliament by hundreds of opponents of the legislation.

The draft bill – which the government says is needed to regulate the sector and stop rogue operators – was again criticised for placing undue restrictions on NGOs and undermining civil society’s role in the Kingdom.

“The stance of civil society groups is still that the government needs to consult more widely, because many of the new articles in the draft deliberately curb freedom of forming NGOs, associations, freedom of assembly, and leave groups exposed to deregistration and fines,” said CCC executive director Soeung Saroeun.
read more. & read more.
PPP new Cambodia_Daily_logo

20150707 * NGOs Protest LANGO at National Assembly:

Ahead of the potentially contentious meeting between NGO representatives and government officials today about the proposed draft law on associations and NGOs (LANGO), some groups say they have been denied entry.

At a NGO forum yesterday, many civil society organizations claimed the government did not give them enough time to study or examine the law before today’s workshop, while others said they could not even get an invitation.

Preap Kol, executive director of Transparency International Cambodia, said the government announced plans to allow groups to register for a seat at the meeting. However, some NGOs were told that the National Assembly would not allow them to register, he said. Only those invited were allowed to attend, he explained at yesterday’s meeting.

Although some NGOs are boycotting tomorrow’s workshop, others say they want to attend but have not been able to do so.
read more. & read more.
KHMERTIMES CCHR

23:19:54 local time map of malaysia MALAYSIA

20150709 * TPP deal could be sealed in the next month: Australia:

Supporters of the proposed deal have said it will free up trade in the region, reduce regulation and increase job opportunities.

Australian Trade Minister Andrew Robb Thursday said a massive Pacific trade pact could be concluded in the “next three to four weeks” when the 12 nations involved are due to meet.

Expectations that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), an accord that would encompass 40 percent of global trade, would be sealed this year increased after US President Barack Obama was last month given fast-track authority by Congress to negotiate such deals.

“The critical thing was for the (US) president to get the authority,” Robb told The Australian broadsheet in an interview published Thursday.

“We are going to meet sometime in the next three to four weeks.
read more. & to read.
FREEMALAYSIATODAY MALAYonLINE

20150710 * Rights groups urge US to reconsider Malaysia’s trafficking upgrade:

Human rights groups and some US lawmakers urged the US government yesterday to reconsider plans to upgrade Malaysia from the lowest tier on its list of worst human trafficking hubs, citing a lack of evidence that Malaysia had made advances against trafficking.

The comments come a day after Reuters revealed that the US State Department plans to reverse last year’s downgrade of Malaysia in its annual “Trafficking in Persons” (TIP) report, a move that could smooth the way for a major US-led free-trade deal with the Southeast Asian nation and 11 other countries.
(…)

In May, just as Obama’s drive to win “fast-track” trade negotiating authority for his trade deal entered its most sensitive stage in the US Congress, Malaysian police announced the discovery of 139 graves in jungle camps used by suspected smugglers and traffickers of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar.

Malaysia hopes to be a signatory to Obama’s legacy-defining Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which would link a dozen countries, cover 40 per cent of the world economy and form a central element of his strategic shift towards Asia.
read more. & to read.
MALAYonLINE Mal-Insider

20150709 * US Upgrades Malaysia in Annual Human Trafficking Report:

The United States is upgrading Malaysia from the lowest tier on its list of worst human trafficking centers, US sources said on Wednesday, a move that could smooth the way for an ambitious US-led free-trade deal with the Southeast Asian nation and 11 other countries.

The upgrade to so-called “Tier 2 Watch List” status removes a potential barrier to President Barack Obama’s signature global trade deal.

A provision in a related trade bill passed by Congress last month barred from fast-tracked trade deals Malaysia and other countries that earn the worst US human trafficking ranking in the eyes of the US State Department.
read more.
jak-globe

23:19:54 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

20150709 * ILO Warns Indonesia to Invest in Skilled Labor or Lose Out:

‘Indonesian workers are among the lowest-paid in the world’

Indonesia must strengthen its labor institutions and invest in skills development, the International Labor Organization said in a report released on Thursday, with officials warning that the country should boost skill levels if it wants to benefit from regional economic integration.

In its latest Labor and Social Trends in Indonesia Report, the United Nations agency also says Indonesia should find new engines for growth as it faces economic slowdown.

“The institutions in the Indonesian labor market area are underdeveloped,” said Robert Kyloh, the ILO’s senior specialist for multilateral cooperation. “Indonesia has now reached a level of development where we should be trying to expand these institutions, like the labor inspection system, collective bargaining, and labor courts.”

The report, which focused on the theme of strengthening competitiveness and productivity through decent work, found that Indonesia’s labor market continued to expand over the 2014-15 period, with employment growing and unemployment remaining low despite highly fluid market conditions.

Estimates from August 2014 found that 121.9 million Indonesians were part of the national labor force, just over 48 percent of Indonesia’s total population of 252.7 million.

Minimum wage, or less
Wages remain a crucial issue in the Indonesian labor market, as the number of Indonesians in wage-earning jobs increased to 38 percent of the entire employed population, a significant rise from past years.

“Wage-earning employment and the wages earned during that time, have become very important factors for the Indonesian economy,” said Emma Allen, economist with ILO’s Jakarta office and author of the Labor and Social Trends report.
“As the share of people in wage employment increases, wages will begin to play a very critical role.”
read more.
jak-globe

21:49:54 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

20150710 * Unravelling the minimum wage:

A dozen young women sit on the curb outside a garment factory in Hlaing Tharyar township, holding brightly coloured umbrellas as shelter from the midday sun.

They are hoping to be allowed inside so they can apply for a job. Some already have work nearby, but they have heard the United Knitting Company is offering a relatively high rate for unskilled workers of K90,000 per month, and are hoping to switch.

The standard monthly pay for a semi-skilled garment factory worker in Yangon is K95,000, including a base wage of roughly K40,000, a bonus of around the same value, an award and several payments made at the discretion of the factory owner, according to U Thet Hnin Aung, secretary of the Tai Yi Basic Labour Organisation and a member of the Myanmar Trade Unions Federation.

“They usually pay the bonus, but there is no security. If we’re absent for one day, they can take some of these payments away,” he said.

This is likely to change at the end of next month, when a national tripartite body will finalise details of Myanmar’s first minimum wage.
On June 29, the National Minimum Wage Committee announced a provisional base wage of K3600 per day, and opened a two-month window for comment.

Since then, factory workers and owners have fervently debated this figure, with owners saying they will pay no more than K2500 and workers saying they will agree to a minimum of K4000.
Businesspeople from China and South Korea have threatened to shut their factories in Yangon if the K3600 wage is enacted, saying that costs are already high due to low productivity and poor infrastructure.

For the workers, inflation and unstable commodity prices mean they may not be able to survive on less.

On the current wage, many workers in Yangon are forced to live outside factory walls in structures built from bamboo and plastic sheeting.
Some live beside large pools of stagnant water – breeding grounds for dengue-carrying mosquitoes. Healthcare options are limited and expensive.
read more.
MMtimesnew

20150708 * Govt planning for flight of businesses from the country in response to minimum wage:

“The Myanmar government will not be able to stop business owners from leaving the country in response to the proposed minimum daily wage for labourers set at Ks 3,600 (just over US$3), but the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security will do its best to respond to problems that might rise if these people leave,” said Yangon Region National Minimum Wage Committee chairperson Zaw Aye Maung on July 7.

He also serves as Minister Labour, Employment and Social Security. National Minimum Wage Committee approved a minimum wage of Ks 450 per hour on June 29 – one of the lowest minimum wages in the world.

Although Minimum Wage Law was enacted in 2013, many protests have taken place since then that have prevented the law from being implemented.
Following the committees decision on June 29, disputes erupted between employers and employees, particularly in the garment industry.
read more.
Eleven

20150707 * Minimum wage tug-of-war goes on:

A second trade union has spoken out about the proposal for a 3,600-kyat (US$3.60) minimum wage in Burma, this time the All-Myanmar Network of Trade Unions, which has rejected the offer and called on workers to be prepared to take to the streets in protest.

Trade union leader Hla Hla said on Tuesday that workers’ groups must not back down from their initial demand of 4,000 kyat as a minimum daily wage.

Representatives of garment factories, however, say they cannot afford to pay more than 2,500 kyat as a daily wage for factory workers, and have threatened to close down operations if such salary conditions are enforced.

Speaking as a representative of the All-Myanmar Network of Trade Unions, Hla Hla said, “Nothing will happen to us if they [foreign and domestic garment firms] close down. I would like to remind fellow workers that the operators can’t just pack up and leave just because they cannot pay us the proposed minimum wage. There are regulations that require them to provide severance payments to their workers. If they refuse to do so, we’ll pursue legal channels to get what they owe us.”
read more.
dvb

21:04:54 local time map of nepal NEPAL

20150708 * Garment export to US drops:

Export of readymade garments to US market in the month of June has declined by 16 per cent because of a phase out of quota provided by the US government for readymade garments, beginning January 2005.

The decline rate of export in May was higher than June. Export of such items to US in May declined by 50 per cent, reveal statistics produced by Garment Association of Nepal (GAN). In the month of June last year, readymade garment export had declined by 46 per cent.

The declining rate of export this year has been quite less compared to last year as well as in May this fiscal year.
Readymade garment worth $ 43,59,945.94 was exported to US in June last month compared to $ 42,-04,902.01 in May this year.

There is a continuous decline in garment export, from August 2003 to June 2005 except in October 2004.
In March this year, export declined by 41 percent and 15 per cent in April 2005. There is an alarming decline of over 65 per cent in readymade garment export to Canada in June this year.
read more.
HimalayanTimesnew

21:19:54 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

20150709 * 2 burnt in city shoe factory fire:

Two workers sustained burn injuries as a devastating fire broke out at a shoe factory in city’s Kamrangir char area early Thursday. 

The burn victims are Sohel, 20 and Sagor, 21.

The fire originated from candle while worker were making shoes at 1:30am and soon spread to chemicals stored in the factory.

Later, locals and workers, in a joint effort, doused the fire and rescued two injured.
read more.
banglanews24NEW

20150710 * Police stop garment workers’ march towards PM office:

20150710 NEWAGE
Garments Sramik Trade Union Kendra rallies in front of National Press Club on Thursday demanding payment of wage, festival allowance and arrears to apparel workers before Eid ul-Fitr. — New Age photo

Police on Thursday stopped the marchers of the Garment Workers’ Trade Union Centre towards Prime Minister’s Office in front of  Kadam Fountain near Press Club.

The marchers were agitating in demand of reopening of a garment factory.
However, a team of the organisation led by its president Mantu Ghosh, was allowed to go to the prime minister’s office and hand over a memorandum.

Prior to the march, at a protest rally in front of the National Press Club, the adviser to the organisation labour leader Manzurul Ahsan Khan demanded reopening of Swan Garments Private Limited within July 10.
The Swan factory is situated at Dakkhin Khan in the city.
The owners closed the factory illegally before three months and more than 1,300 workers were suffering much without wages, he said.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

20150709 * 1300 workers of two factories demand back-pay before Eid:

Workers of two garment factories on Thursday demanded payment of all outstanding wages by July 10.

This was the main demand as workers of Swan Garments (Pvt.) Ltd. And Swan Jeans Ltd. at Mollartek in Uttara staged a rally under the banner of Garment Sramik Trade Union in front of the Jatiya Press Club.

Chaired by union president Sadikur Rahman Shamim, adviser of the Garment Sramik Trade Union worker leader Monjurul Ahsan Khan and vice-president Mahabub Alam also spoke on the occasion, among others.

President Sadikur Rahman Shamim said factory owners shut down these two factories last April 10 without prior notice, which he termed completely illegal.

He said as a result more than 1300 workers and their family members in these two factories are living miserable lives.
read more.
UNBnew

20150708 * RMG workers’ rally for salary-bonus:

20150708 NGWFbd
Today’s program demanding festival bonus and other dues by NGWF
On twitter: NGWF ‏@NGWF_BD

Jatiya Garments Shramik Federation arranged a rally demanding payment of due wages by July 10 and Eid bonus by July 14.

The demonstration was held in front of National Press Club Wednesday morning.

Jatiya Garments Shramik Federation, Bangladesh Garments Shramik Karmachari Federation, Ekata Garments Federation, Garments Shramik Sanghati Federation and Bangla Garments Shramik Federation jointly arranged the program and later brought out a procession.

Workers leaders Comrade Qamrul Ahsan, M Delwar Hossain, Kazi Mohammad Ali, Qamrul Hasan and Sahida Akhtar, among others, attended the rally, chaired by Amirul Haque Amin.

Amirul Haque Amin pressed the demand to pay due wages of all readymade garment workers by July 10 and the Eid-ul-Fitr bonus, equivalent to the basic salary, by July 14.
read more. & read more. & read more.
banglanews24NEW UNBnew  prothom

20150709 * Pay RMG workers wages by July 10: CPB, BSD:

Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) and Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal (BSD) called on Wednesday upon the readymade garment (RMG) owners to pay wages, arrears and festival bonus of the workers before July 10, reports UNB.

In a joint statement, CPB president Mujahidul Islam Selim and BSD general secretary Khalequzzaman noted that the owners of the factories show various excuses for not giving arrears and bonus ahead of Eid.

If any unwanted situation emerges in the country for the failure of the owners to pay the arrears and festival bonus of workers before July 10, the owners will have to take the responsibility, the statement added.
to read.
FE bd

20150709 * LABOUR UNREST BEFORE EID : Surveillance on RMG industry enhanced:

The government on Wednesday ordered law enforcement agencies to enhance surveillance in the industrial belts of Dhaka, Gazipur, Narayanganj and Chittagong to preempt possible labour unrest over nonpayment of wages and festival allowances in the export-oriented readymade garment industry ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr.

An inter-ministerial meeting on law and order chaired by state minister for home Asaduzzaman Khan at the secretariat also asked police to keep the labour leaders in the apparel sector industry under watch so that they could not create any trouble in the labour intensive areas of Ashulia, Savar, Gazipur and Narayanganj over payment of wages and allowances before the Eid festival, said officials
who attended the meeting.

‘We have asked the readymade garment industry owners to pay wages by July 10 and festival allowances before the Eid vacation so that the workers can enjoy the religious festival of the Muslims with their families in remote village homes,’ Asaduzzaman told a press briefing after the meeting.

He said the factory owners were asked to declare Eid holidays in phases from July 14 to check onrush of passengers on highways, railways and waterways just a day before the Eid, which is likely to be celebrated on July 18.

‘The law enforcement agencies would remain vigilant so that none can create trouble in the industrial areas before Eid,’ the junior minister added.
(…)
The labour leaders were demanding festival allowances by July 5 and wages by July 10 so that workers could go shopping timely for celebrating Eid.

Over 350 factories in Dhaka, Ashulia and Gazipur were reportedly identified as problematic where labour unrest may erupt centering nonpayment of wages and festival allowances ahead of Eid.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

20150708 * RMG workers to go on Eid holidays in phases:

Garment workers will go on Eid holidays in phases from July 14 to avoid heavy pressure of vehicles on highways ahead of the upcoming Eid-ul-fitar.

The decision was taken at a coordination meeting held at Home Ministry on Wednesday with State Minister for Home Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal where representatives of BGMEA, BKMEA and BTMEA were present.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, the junior home minister said thousands of workers will leave Dhaka and its adjoining districts before Eid day for their native villages to celebrate the festival which will create a sever traffic congestion on the highways.

To avert such situation, we requested the factory owners of special industrial belt in Dhaka, Gazipur, Naryangonj and Chittagong  to allow Eid holidays to their workers from July 14  in phases.
read more. & to read. & read more.
UNBnew dailyboserverbd bdnews24

20150710 * Aleem jute mill workers stage demo in Khulna:

Workers of state-owned Aleem Jute Mills brought out a procession with wooden sticks protesting the government’s decision to privatise the mill at the mill gate in Khulna on Thursday.

They threatened non-stop movement including rail and road blockade and siege to administrative offices in Khulna if arrear wages, salaries, Eid bonus are not paid by July 14.

Earlier, leaders of CBA and non-CBA Oiykko Parishad of state-owned jute mills and Aleem Jute Mill privatisation resistance committee jointly organised a meeting on Wednesday at Khalishpur Sramik Bhaban to intensify their movement particularly for realising their demands.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

20150710 * IFC teams up with Prime Bank, others for safer RMG sector:

International Finance Corporation, a World Bank wing, is set to provide Bangladeshi banks with $50m and form partnerships with leading international buyers to make Bangladesh’s garment industry safer for workers.

This is IFC’s first deployment of long-term financing to Bangladeshi banks, says an IFC press release.

Under the programme, the IFC will provide $10m each in financing to five Bangladeshi banks which will allow the participating banks to increase lending to garment factories specifically to improve their structural, electrical and fire (SEF) safety infrastructure.

Prime Bank Limited has already signed up to the initiative, and four other Bangladesh banks are expected to follow in the coming weeks.

In addition, the IFC signed separate cooperation agreements with the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety (Alliance) and the Accord on Fire Safety and Building Safety in Bangladesh, who represent dozens of the world’s leading garment brands.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

20150708 * IFC gives $50m for factory upgrades:

The International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, has announced a programme to make Bangladesh’s garment industry safer for workers, providing $50 million to five local banks and forming partnerships with leading international buyers.

This is IFC’s first deployment of long-term financing to Bangladeshi banks, according to a statement. The initiative comes as many factories have found it difficult to access the capital needed to make the improvements necessary to meet buyers’ standards.

The IFC fund is separate from the WB’s $300 million low-cost loans announced last month for private sector firms, including those from garment, footwear and light engineering sectors.
(…)

The IFC signed separate cooperation agreements with the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, and the Accord on Fire Safety and Building Safety in Bangladesh which represent dozens of the world’s leading garment brands.

The two organisations will assist garment factories to undertake the safety upgrades and monitor compliance.
(…)

Ellen Tauscher, independent chair of Alliance, said providing long-term loans to factory owners to undertake and implement remediation is an ongoing effort and the joint initiative will allow for a wider group of factory owners to have access to financing.

Rob Wayss, executive director of Accord, said the IFC remediation financing programme is an important contribution to the Accord’s ongoing efforts to ensure necessary remediation at inspected factories and meets an express request of the local industry.

“Accord is pleased to be working with the IFC in supporting factories, particularly the smaller and medium sized ones, who are in need of this type of affordable long-term financing” Wayss also said.
read more. & read more. & read more.
the DAILYSTAR new 2015 NEWAGEnew prothom

20150709 * Export to US continues to slow:

Bangladesh export growth including that of the readymade garment to the United States market continued to slow.

The US is a second major destination of Bangladeshi garment products after the EU market.

According to the latest Export Promotion Bureau data, the country earned $5.29bn from RMG exports to the US in fiscal year 2014-15 with 2.85% up from the previous year’s  $5.14bn.

But the data showed the continuous fall in growth in last two years.
In FY2013-14 the RMG exports to US rose by 2.9%, sharply down from 10.31% in FY2012-13.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

20150707 * B’desh earns $124.73b from RMG exports :Tofail:

Bangladesh earned US Dollar 124.73 billion by exporting readymade garments over the last six and a half years, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said on Tuesday.

“Bangladesh earned US Dollar 124.73 billion by exporting readymade garments to 140 countries of the world from January, 2008-2009 to May, 2014-2015,” he said in reply to a question raised by treasury bench member Didarul Alam (Chittagong-4).

Responding to another question raised by ruling party lawmaker Enamul Haque (Rajshahi-4), the commerce minister said the government has taken various plans to reduce Bangladesh’s trade gap with India, China and Pakistan.

Tofail said India allowed duty-free access of all Bangladeshi products except tobacco and narcotics products from November 9, 2011 following the steps of the Bangladesh government to boost trade with India.

He said the efforts for removing duty and non-duty barriers through discussion at different time and levels are underway. “Steps have been undertaken to get duty-free access of a huge number of goods from other SAARC countries under the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA),” Tofail said.
read more. & to read. & to read.
dailyboserverbd newsbangladesh FE bd

20150708 * RMG export growth slumps to six-year low:

Bangladesh’s readymade garment exports displayed the poorest performance in six years with 4.1% rise in the just-concluded fiscal year while the country’s overall export growth also slumped to 13-year low.

The RMG sector earned $25.49bn in the just-concluded fiscal year compared to $24.49bn in the previous year.

However, the country’s largest export industry fell 5.20% short of export target which was set at $26.89bn, said Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data released yesterday.

The knitwear export totalled $12.43bn, up by 3.13% from the previous fiscal’s $12.05bn.

The woven products earned $13.06bn with 5% growth over the previous year’s $12.44bn.

“We set a target of around $27bn, but political unrest failed us to reach it. If the situation was peaceful, the earnings would stand at $28bn,” said BGMEA vice president Shahidullah Azim.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

20150708 * Garment exports grow 4pc, but miss target:

Garment exports grew 4.08 percent to $25.5 billion in fiscal 2014-15, according to data from the Export Promotion Bureau.

Knitwear exports increased 3.13 percent year-on-year to $12.42 billion while woven shipments grew 5 percent to $13.06 billion in the immediate-past fiscal year.

Export earnings from the apparel sector were 5.24 percent below the annual target of $26.9 billion.

Over 80 percent of the country’s export earnings come from the garment sector, which was able to reach its target of annual export earnings once—in 2013-14—in the last four years.
read more. & read more.
the DAILYSTAR new 2015 NEWAGEnew

20150710 * Cotton output up 5.47pc in FY 15:

Hybrid seeds, modern tech help boost production

The country produced a record of 0.152 million (1.52 lakh) bales of cotton in the just-concluded fiscal year (2014-15), marking a 5.47 per cent growth as compared to the previous year’s production.

In the FY 2013-14, the country produced about 144,616 bales of cotton from 41,498 hectares of land.

“The production was higher in the last fiscal because cotton was cultivated on more land with the introduction of high technology and hybrid seeds,” said Dr. Farid Uddin, Executive Director of Bangladesh Cotton Development Board (BCDB).

According to BCDB data, 152,534 bales of cotton were produced from about 42,700 hectares of land which were brought under cotton cultivation in the last fiscal (2014-15). Only 42,380 bales of cotton were produced from 28,707 hectares of land just seven years ago (2007-08).

“During the last season, farmers grew cotton on more lands and used hybrid seeds than the previous year and they yielded good output,” said BCDB chief executive.
(…)
Bangladesh usually imports cotton from neighbouring India, central Asia, the USA, Brazil, Australia and Africa.
“But outsourcing is not always smooth and very often puts big impact due to fluctuation in cotton prices in the international market,” said an official of Bangladesh Textiles Mills Association (BTMA).
read more.
FE bd

20150710 * EU invites BD to join new GSP certification system test:

The European Union (EU) has invited Bangladesh to join the testing of new system for certification of origin of goods for GSP (Generalised System of Preferences) which is slated for execution in January, 2017, officials said.

Before implementing the new system called ‘Self certification of origin’, the EU wants to test it by a pilot project involving a number of beneficiary countries.
The interested countries will be allowed to use and test the system from second half of this year as the project starts, they added.

A senior official at the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) told the FE that Bangladesh had already prepared database of textile sector exporters which now needs to be synchronised with the EU database.
read more.
FE bd

20150708 * Trans Pacific Partnership and garment export:

Whenever any of our major trade partners contemplates a free trade agreement or special trade preferences for countries that are exporters of apparels, an alarm is raised that such an agreement would adversely impact on the export of apparels from Bangladesh.

There was considerable unease when the European Union (EU) granted generalised system of preferences (GSP)+ trade privileges to Sri Lanka in 2005 and later to Pakistan in 2013.

A great deal was said about the adverse impact of the privileges on Bangladesh’s apparel export to the EU.
But belying the predictions, the export of apparel from Bangladesh to the EU grew by 2.8 times during the period 2005-14.
Recently, the USA has moved to conclude a free trade agreement namely, Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement, with eleven Pacific Rim countries including Vietnam.

Since Vietnam is the second largest exporter of apparels to the USA, which happens to be the largest single country market for apparels of Bangladesh, the prospect of Vietnam receiving duty-free access to the USA has predictably raised an alarm among concerned people.

With China in decline, Vietnam is already the most dynamic exporter of apparels to the USA.
If it gets duty-free access, it can accelerate the increase in its US market share. Bangladesh being hobbled by high tariffs will be unable to match the competitive strength of Vietnam, and hence lose out – so the argument goes.
read more.
FE bd

TAZREEN 2

20150709 * TAZREEN FIRE: Charge framing deferred:

A Dhaka court on Wednesday deferred to August 13 the hearing in the framing of charges against Tazreen Fashions managing director Delwar Hossain and 12 others for the fire at the apparel factory at Ashulia that killed at least 112 workers on November 24, 2012.

Dhaka district and sessions judge SM Quddus Zaman passed the order after defence counsels sought time for the hearing saying they lacked preparation and their senior counsel was busy in two other sensitive cases.

Public prosecutor Khandaker Abdul Mannan also told the court that he needed time to scrutinise large volume of documents of the case.

Rights activists decried delay in the trial as they gathered on the court premises demanding a quick disposal of the case.
Earlier on June 16, the court posted for Wednesday the hearing taking cognisance of the charge sheet.

Police filed a case with Ashulia police station on November 25, 2012 accusing 15 staff of negligence leading to murders.

Another case was filed against Delwar and 30 others on May 29, 2013 with Dhaka Chief Judicial Magistrate’s Court by Abdul Matin, brother of missing victim Rehana.
Later, the two cases merged into one.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

20150709 * TAZREEN CASE:

Another Dhaka court yesterday fixed August 13 for hearing on charge framing against 13 people, including Tazreen Fashions Ltd chairman and its managing director, in a case filed over the devastating fire that killed 112 workers and injured many others in November 2012.   
to read .
the DAILYSTAR new 2015

20150708 * Tazreen Fashions fire charge-framing deferred to Aug 13:

The framing of charges in the case over the death of more than 100 workers in Tazreen Fashions Factory fire has been deferred.

Dhaka’s District and Sessions Judge M Kuddus Zaman granted a defence plea seeking time on Wednesday and fixed Aug 13 for the charge-framing.

One of the defence lawyers, Abu Bakar Farhad, filed the petition seeking time saying his colleague was busy with another case and would not be able to attend hearing.

At least 111 workers died and 104 injured in the devastating fire at the Tuba Group’s factory in Savar on Nov 24, 2012.

A case was filed against Tazreen Fashions Managing Director Delwar Hossain and his wife Mahmuda Akter Mita, the chairperson of the firm, and several other officials.
read more. & read more.
bdnews24 DHAKATRIBUNE

RANAPLAZA tekst

20150709 * Court orders arrest of six fugitives over Rana Plaza building construction:

A Dhaka court has admitted charges in a case over illegal construction of Rana Plaza building at Savar and issued arrest warrant for six people running from the law.

The court on Wednesday did not, however, accept the charge-sheet in the murder case filed over the incident since four government officials have been named.

Law requires government clearance for initiation of legal proceedings against public servants of certain categories.

Dhaka’s Senior Judicial Magistrate Shahinur Rahman set Aug 18 to take cognisance of the charge-sheet, subject to approval by the authorities.

Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Assistant Superintendent Bijay Krishna Kar on June 1 pressed charges in the court of Dhaka’s Chief Judicial Magistrate in the two cases.
read more.
bdnews24

20150709 * Arrest warrants against Rana’s mother, five others:

A Dhaka court yesterday issued a warrant for the arrest of six people, including Rana Plaza owner Sohel Rana’s mother, in a case filed for violating building code in connection with the factory collapse incident.

Dhaka’s Senior Judicial Magistrate Md Shahinoor Rahman passed the order after accepting the charge sheet against 18 people including Sohel Rana. The court also asked the Savar police to submit a report before it by August 18.

The wanted accused are Rana’s mother Marjina Begum; and Savar municipality’s Chief Executive Officer Uttam Kumer Roy, former engineer Mahbubur Rahman, Urban Planner Farzana Islam; and Md Mahbubul Alam and Nantu Contractor.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

20150709 * Court accepts charges against owner, 17 others:

A Dhaka court yesterday took cognisance of the charge against Rana Plaza owner Sohel Rana, his father Abdul Khaleque and 16 others in one of the two cases filed over the collapse of the nine-storey building that left 1,136 people dead.

The court issued a warrant for arrest of Rana’s mother Marzina Begum and five others as they have been absconding since the case was filed on April 24, 2013.  Sohel Rana is in jail while his father is out on bail.

They were charged with violation of building codes when constructing the building that housed several garment factories.

The court also asked Savar police to submit the report on execution of the order by August 18.

The court fixed the same date to decide whether it would accept charges against Rana and 40 others in another case filed over the killings.

The court also asked the labour and housing and public works ministries for permission, by August 18, to include four government officials in the charge sheet in the kiling case.
to read .
the DAILYSTAR new 2015

20150709 * Sohel Rana, parents, 16 others indicted:

A court in Dhaka on Wednesday indicted 18 people, including building owner Sohel Rana, his parents, five government officials and two elected representatives, for breaching building construction law, which led to the Rana Plaza disaster.

The senior judicial magistrate, Md Shahinur Rahman, asked the authorities to arrest six of 18 accused for not appearing in the court.

The senior judicial magistrate also asked two ministries — the LGRD and Co-operatives, and Labour — to issue approvals to charge four government officials in another case filed for homicide and criminal conspiracy.

The judicial magistrate set August 18 for the next hearing over the government approval in the murder case, while it would also hear on the implementation of the arrest order.

In the case filed under Building Construction Act , the court issued arrest warrants against Rana Plaza owner Sohel Rana’s mother Marjina Begum, the then Savar municipality’s chief executive officer Uttam Kumar Roy, the then Savar municipality’s engineer Mahbubur Rahman and its urban planner Farzana
Islam, businessman Md Mahbubul Alam, Rezaul Islam and Nantu Contractor.

The two accused are now in jail while the remaining 10 are now out on bail in the case.
The court on the day also did not accept the charge sheet in the murder case, in response to an application filed by the prosecution.

Twenty-four accused are absconding while four, including Sohel Rana, are now in jail and 13 accused are out of jail on bail in the case.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

20150708 * Court accepts chargesheet under BNBC:

A Dhaka court on Wednesday took the chargesheet of a case under the Bangladesh National Building Code (BNBC) for Rana Plaza collapse.

Senior Judicial Magistrate of Shahinur Rahman passed the order after holding a hearing earlier in the day.

The court also fixed August 18 as the date for hearing on acceptability of another chargesheet of murder case in the same incident.

Besides, the court issued arrest warrants against six accused who are currently fugitives.

On June 1, IO (investigation officer) of two cases of Rana Plaza collapse incident senior ASP of Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Bijoy Krishna Dhar submitted two chargesheets under BNBC and murder act.

A total of 42, including parents of Rana Plaza owner Sohel Rana, were made accused in the two chargesheets.
read more. & read more. & read more.
banglanews24NEW FE bd prothom

20150708 * Arrest warrant against Rana’s mother, 5 others:

A Dhaka court has issued arrest warrant against six people, including Rana Plaza owner Sohel Rana’s mother, in a case filed under the Building Construction Act.

Dhaka Session Judicial Magistrate Mohammad Shahin Rahman passed the order on Wednesday afternoon, accepting the charge sheet in the case.

Sohel’s mother Morzena Begum, former chief executive officer of Savar municipality Uttom Kumar Rai, former engineer Mahbubur Rahman and three others have been named in the warrant.

The court fixed August 18 for the submission of the execution report of the arrest warrant.

The court did not accept the charge sheet submission regarding the murder case filed over the incident of Rana Plaza collapse as the names of four accused were not included in it.

The names were not included in the charge sheet as the ministry concerned did not give permission to include the names of the accused government officials in the charge sheet.

The court also ordered the ministry concerned to give the permission to include the names of the accused government officials in the charge sheet.
read more. & read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE NEWAGEnew

20150707 * Textile industry certificates more for show than safety:

BSCI complaint on TÜV Rheinland’s audit report for Rana Plaza manufacturer

Certificates attesting to safety and working conditions in the textile industry are good for a corporation’s image but are of little use to those working in global production and supply chains.

This was made all too clear by the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory complex in Dhaka, Bangladesh, which killed more than 1,130 people. German technical inspection company TÜV Rheinland audited the Phantom Apparel Ltd. production facilities just a few months before the catastrophe.

The German certification company failed to address building safety and construction flaws and a number of other problems were not raised in its report.

TÜV Rheinland was appointed as auditor by a member of the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI).
The BSCI is a corporate platform based in part on the standards of the International Labor Organization (ILO) and is supposed to monitor and improve safety and working conditions in production countries.

The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), FEMNET and the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC), medico international and the Activist Anthropologist Collective from Bangladesh have submitted a joint complaint to the BSCI.
The organizations are calling on the BSCI to disclose the audit contract as well as the reports on Rana Plaza by TÜV Rheinland and others and to overhaul the approach of inspection reports.

“The certificates don’t tell us much. Consumers need to know exactly what is monitored,” says Miriam Saage-Maaß, head of the Business and Human Rights program at ECCHR.
“But above all: we need to be able to hold the certification companies and the bodies that commission them liable for their actions.”

To date none of the companies involved have taken legal responsibility for the Rana Plaza catastrophe.
“When disasters happen in the textile industry, producers, buyers and traders like to hide behind certificates of safety and working standards to dodge responsibility,” says Gisela Burkhardt, chairperson of FEMNET, a member of CCC.
read more.german report.
sauber

20:49:54 local time map of india INDIA

20150709 * ‘Labour conference will deliberate on minimum wages’:

Union Minister for Labour Bandaru Dattatreya on Tuesday stated that the trade unions’ demand to fix minimum wages at Rs.15,000 per month would be discussed at length at the 46{+t}{+h}session of Indian Labour Conference (ILC) to be held at Delhi on July 20 and 21.

He told reporters that the meet would discuss minimum wages and other important issues as part of the two-day deliberations.
State Labour Ministers, representatives of the central trade unions, employers and Union Government officials would attend the meeting, he stated.

The demand of trade unions to fix minimum wages at Rs.15,000 per month would figure prominently at the meet, Mr Dattatreya said, adding that social security of workers and implementation of labour laws would be debated at length.

He further stated that 989 employment exchanges across the country were being upgraded and modernised as National Career Counselling Centres.

Known as “Labour Parliament” of the country, the ILC will also discuss labour law reforms proposed by the Centre, including the Industrial Disputes Act.
to read.
THEHINDU

20150709 * Minimum Wages Hiked for Scheduled Workers:

Minister for Labour and Employment Bandaru Dattatreya has announced a hike in floor level minimum wages for all the scheduled workers in the country from Rs 137 to Rs 160 because the skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers from across states have different minimum wages and were often a subject of dispute.

After a two-year stagnation when the minimum wage stayed pegged at Rs 137, this new rule is effective from July 1.
But it appears that for the minimum wage slab to be really effective across all the various job categories — be it repairing parts or making matches — several reforms are needed.
It seems labour reforms are the need of the hour, given the Labour Ministry’s supposed good news.
(…)
The minimum wage implementation, which he opines is already sub-par in the state, could worsen in the light of a loophole in the Child Labour Act amendment which allows children to be a part of these home-based industries like making matches and beedi.
read more.
New-Indian-Express-Group

20150708 * Fix minimum wages to Rs.15,000: CITU:

B. Mallesh of Industrial Committee, the Centre for India Trade Unions (CITU) has demanded the State government to fix Rs. 15,000 as minimum wage for the workers in industries.

Led by CITU, a large number of workers held dharna in front of the Deputy Commissioner of Labour (DCL) office in the district headquarters on Tuesday.

“There are 1,315 industries spread across the district and many industries are not implementing minimum wages. Some companies force workers to work for more than 12 hours,” he alleged.
He warned that a huge dharna would be held at the Commissionarate on July 10.
to read.
THEHINDU

20150707 * Centre levels the field, hikes national minimum wage floor to Rs. 160/day:

But trade unionscry foul, say many States are paying higher amount

To ensure uniform minimum wages across the country, the Centre has hiked the national floor level from Rs. 137/day to Rs. 160/day with effect from July 1.
Trade unions, however, said the move does not “make sense” as many States, such as Kerala, are already paying a much higher amount.

Meanwhile, Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya has written to all the Chief Ministers urging them to take necessary steps to ensure that minimum wage rates of all scheduled employments are not below the national floor of Rs. 160/day, a Labour Ministry statement said on Tuesday.
read more.
THEHINDUBUSINESS

20150707 * Government Hikes Minimum Wage to Rs. 160 a Day:

After a gap of two years, the government today hiked the minimum wage for workers by Rs. 23 to Rs. 160 a day.

The increased wages will be applicable from July 1.

In a statement, Minister of State for Labour and Employment Bandaru Dattatraya said the decision to revise upwards the National Floor Level Minimum Wage (NFLMW) has been taken in view of the increase in retail inflation for industrial workers.

“National Floor Level Minimum Wage has been revised upwards from the existing Rs. 137 to Rs. 160 per day with effect from July 1, 2015,” the release said.
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ndtv et

20150707 * National Floor Level Minimum Wage Enhanced From Rs.137 To Rs.160 Per Day W.E.F. 01.07.2015:

National Floor Level Minimum Wage (NFLMU) has been revised upwards from existing Rs. 137/- to Rs. 160/-per day w.e.f. 01.07.2015.

In a letter written to all the Chief Ministers and LGs today, Shri Bandaru Dattatraya, the Minister of State(IC) for Labour and Employment has urged to take necessary steps for fixation/revision of the minimum rates of wages in respect of all scheduled employments in State/UT not below the NFLMW of Rs. 160/- per day w.e.f. 01.07.2015.

The Minister has also emphasized to ensure implementation of various provisions of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 so that the objective of ensuring Minimum Wages to workers is fulfilled.

While reviewing the movement of CPI-IW during April 2014 to March 2015 over the period April 2012 to March 2013, it was observed that the average CPI-IW has risen from 215.17 to 250.83, he said.
Accordingly, the NFLMW has been revised upwards from existing Rs. 137/- to Rs. 160/-per day w.e.f. 01.07.2015.

In order to have a uniform wage structure and to reduce the disparity in minimum wages across the country, National Floor Level Minimum Wage (NFLMU) is fixed which also requires to be revised from time to time on the basis of rise in Consumer Price Index for Industrial Workers (CPI-IW).
The NFLMU was last revised from Rs. 115/- to Rs. 137/- per day with effect from 01.07.2013.
to read.
businessstandard

20150709 * Reset labour relations:

NDA’s moves on labour laws are the right direction

Both industry and trade union representatives should welcome the reported proposals to introduce a provision in the draft labour code making it mandatory for factories to recognise a trade union as the “principal bargaining agent” for settling a dispute or engaging in a discussion with employers.

This provision, together with a formally specified threshold of 10 per cent of workers or 100 workers (whichever is less) for union registration, is likely to impart a more robust structure to labour relations, currently bedevilled by a multiplicity of trade unions and arbitrary managements.

Other suggested reforms should also be taken forward.
For example, the draft Labour Code on Industrial Relations Bill 2015 would correct serious legacy problems.
It would loosen retrenchment laws by raising the decades-old threshold for government intervention from 100 workers to 300.
read more.
businessstandard

20150708 * Mandatory recognition for trade unions likely:

In a first, factories across the country might soon have to compulsorily recognise a trade union as a representative of its workers and engage in dialogue with it in case of a dispute.

Sources said the Union labour ministry had proposed a trade union in a factory be empowered as the ‘principal bargaining agent’ for settling a dispute or engaging in a discussion with employers.
The union would be treated as a representative of the workers in the respective organisation based on membership, after a verification drive, ministry sources said.

 “A trade union that gets a majority support of the workers in a factory will be deemed the sole bargaining agent. In case there is no majority, those with a prescribed percentage of support will be recognised.This is to ensure trade unions with limited support in an establishment don’t become a trouble for employers,” a senior labour ministry official said on condition of anonymity.This is important in case a factory has multiple trade unions.
In many factories in the country, workers are associated with various trade unions and there have been many cases in which unions have protested against non-recognition by the management.
read more.
businessstandard

20150709 * Labour conference to be held on July 13:

The Union ministry of labour and employment will hold the Western Regional Labour Conference in Gandhinagar on July 13.

State labour and employment minister Vijay Rupani said, “Union labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya and labour ministers of five Western Region states will participate in the conference. Chief minister Anandiben Patel will chair the conference.”

“Issues related to unorganized workers, labour protection, strict enforcement of labour welfare law, ILO guide of the line to comply with several different issues will be discussed at the conference,” he said.
to read.
TOInew

20150708 * Demand for removing wage cap for bonus likely on ILC agenda:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the 46th Indian Labour Conference scheduled on July 20-21

At present, the employees employed on wage or salary of up to Rs 10,000 per month are entitled to bonus under the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965.

It is proposed under an amendment bill of the Act to increase the cap to Rs 20,000 per month.

Stakeholders however want the ceiling removed altogether.

As far as improving compliance by the small units is concerned, the government has drafted Small Factories (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Services) bill. The proposed law exempts factories with less than 40 workers from 14 major labour laws.

However, Upadhyay said: “The meeting of the Standing Labour Committee which sets the agenda for ILC will meet on July 10 to finalise the agenda.”

Removal of wage ceiling for payment of bonus and exempting small and medium units from obtaining licence to operate are the issues that may be part of the agenda for discussion at the 46th Indian Labour Conference (ILC) to be held this month.
read more.
businessstandard

20150708 * Indian labour conference on July 17:

Amid trade unions’ strong protest against certain proposed amendments in labour laws, the government will hold the 46th Indian Labour Conference (ILC) to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on July 17.

“Government will convene a two-to-three-day-long conference from July 17. The Prime Minister will inaugurate the conference,” a source said.
This conference is significant in view of ongoing protests by trade unions against the certain proposed amendments that are part of the NDA government’s labour reforms for improving ease of doing business to give a push to the ‘Make in India’ initiative.

The unions have strongly opposed some of the amendments that include norms related to easing retrenchment, lay-offs and closure of units provision and forming unions under the proposed New Industrial Relations Code.
read more.
THEHINDU

20150709 * Indian synthetic yarn industry reels under Chinese gloom:

Export potential to China drops sharply due to dwindling economy and the recent market crash

With the Chinese economy dwindling further, export potential for synthetic yarn in the Indian industry has fallen sharply again.

China, which imports synthetic yarn from India to convert it into fabric and garment, has seen production being cut drastically.

“The recent market crash in China has a lot to do with bleak outlook of domestic production in almost all sectors, including textiles.

Units in China have been cutting down on production due to decline in the world’s buying capacity for textiles.
This has resulted in synthetic yarn exports, especially that of texturised yarn, falling steeply,” said Jayesh Pathak of Bombay Yarn Traders Association.
read more.
businessstandard

20150709 * TN spinning industry to make compact yarn, go global:

The local spinning industry is preparing to make compact yarn and compete in the global market.

Sources told BusinessLine that compact yarn manufacture is not new to Tamil Nadu mills. “There are at least 38 lakh spindles with compact attachment.

But this is low when compared to the State’s total spindleage,” one of them said.

A majority of the existing compact retrofits is understood to be of German make. This situation is expected to change with members of Indian Texpreneurs Forum (ITF) signing a trial order with a Chinese manufacturer, H-Fang, for cost-effective compact technology.

D Prabhu, Secretary, ITF, told BusinessLine that the forum members have placed an order with H-Fang for compact retrofits on 50,000 spindles in 37 mills in the first phase.
“After the trial run, we intend to extend this to another 10 lakh spindles,” he said, adding, “The mill sector can enjoy both – cost advantage and better service – through this proposition.”
Gao Yong, General Manager of H-Fang, recalled his visit to some six textile mills in this part of the country 8 years back.
At that time, the textile machineries installed in the mills here were better than those in China.
Now, China has leapfrogged technology wise; mills in China produce compact yarn, solo and slub yarn, and melange yarn, but mills here remain where they were then.”

Export to China
He however pointed out that China is looking to India for import of yarn of 60 counts and below.
read more.
THEHINDUBUSINESS

20150708 * Spinning mills to opt for consortium buying of compact retrofits:

The spinning industry in this region is preparing to make compact yarn and compete in the global market.

Industry sources told Business Line that compact yarn manufacture is not new to Tamil Nadu mills. “There are at least 38 lakh spindles with compact attachment. But this is low when compared to the state’s total spindleage,” the source said

A majority of the existing compact retrofits is understood to be of German make. This situation is expected to change with members of Indian Texpreneurs Forum (ITF) signing a trial order with a Chinese manufacturer H-Fang for cost effective compact technology.

D Prabhu, Secretary, ITF told Business Line that the Forum members have placed an order with H-Fang for compact retrofits on 50,000 spindles in 37 mills in the first phase.
“After the trial run, we intend to extend this on another 10 lakh spindles,” he said, adding “the mill sector can enjoy both – cost advantage and better service through this consortium, volume buying proposition.”
read more.
THEHINDUBUSINESS

20150710 * Project report ready for effluent treatment plant:

A detailed project report (DPR) for the proposed Rs.150-crore common effluent treatment plant (CETP) for textile processing units spread across three southern districts is ready.

The CETP, to be set up under the Integrated Processing Development Scheme of the Union government, will have capacity to treat six million litres of water per day, of which around 90 per cent will be recovered and reused.

The system will also recover used salts for reuse by the dyeing and bleaching units. The facility will adopt Zero Liquid Discharge Technology, according to KR. Gnanasambandan, consultant for the special purpose vehicle (SPV), Southern Districts Textile Processing Cluster Private Limited, formed for relocating over 200 micro and small textile processing units under the Private Industrial Estate Scheme.
read more.
THEHINDU

20150708 * Sick handloom units to be revived: Kistappa:

Telugu Desam MP and party’s handloom weavers’ wing president Nimmala Kishtappa has blamed former Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy for the current plight of weavers’ societies in the State.

Addressing a meeting of handloom weavers’ society here on Tuesday, the MP said that late Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy during electioneering had promised to write-off weavers’ loans but it was not implemented even after 1,000 weavers committed suicide in the undivided Andhra Pradesh then.

Telugu Desam MP blames former Chief Minister YSR for the plight of weaver societies
to read.
THEHINDU

20150709 * India losing cotton market share as prices remain high:

Industry body says removal of duty will increase consumption

India is losing its market share in cotton and man-made fibre (MMF) categories, as most of the products are made of coarse count yarn and MMF prices are at least 25 per cent higher than rates prevailing in competing countries, say textile industry sources.

High duty
Urging the Centre’s immediate intervention for improving India’s stance in the global market, the Indian Texpreneurs Federation (ITF) pointed out that of the total 864 textile and apparel commodities traded in 2012, India’s share was less than 1 per cent in at least 317 commodities.

“This is because of the high duty structure on MMF and basic customs rate,” says D Prabhu, Secretary, ITF.

The Federation has appealed to the State Textile Department to take up this issue with the Centre.

Dispelling fears that any sop extended for synthetic fibres would affect cotton growers in the country, he said, “Cotton consumption is on the rise and removal of duty (on MMF) would tend to increase cotton consumption further as demand for cotton-blended fabric is growing exponentially.”
read more.
THEHINDUBUSINESS

20150709 * Spinning mill ‘dupes’ Odisha’s cotton farmers of Rs 4.5 crore:

Cotton farmers have lodged a complaint at Sundargarh Sadar police station, accusing a spinning mill owner of duping them of Rs 4.5 crore.

According to the FIR, agent of Ashoka Multiyarn Mills Limited Rabindra Joshi entered into an agreement with 486 farmers of Balangir district to buy cotton at Rs 4,100 a quintal.
The farmers were asked to leave the cotton bags at Om Organic Limited at Kantabanji, Balangir.

Joshi had reportedly told them that he would lift the cotton after clearing their payment.
But he did so without making the full payment.
They contacted the authorities of Om Organic Limited, but failed to get a satisfactory reply. Joshi too kept dilly-dallying things.
read more.
TOInew

20150709 * Cotton farmers, seed firms wait for monsoon to revive:

Prolonged dry spell after initial showers causing concern; slack sales in North

Cotton farmers and seed firms are waiting anxiously to see if the monsoon will revive in the next few days.

A long dry spell after the initial showers last month is causing concern, reminding farmers of similar spells that spoiled their party last year.

Loss in output
“We were so hopeful at the beginning of the season. But now we are a bit worried. The crop needs a crucial shower in the next 4-5 days. Any delay will result in a production loss of 60-70 per cent,” Rama Rao, a farmer in Warangal said.

Cottonseed firms report slack sales in the North, particularly in Punjab and Haryana, where farmers shifted to pulses and paddy following not so encouraging returns.
read more.
THEHINDUBUSINESS

20150709 * Eight farmers committed suicide in nine months in Raichur:

Crop loss and the burden of loan led them to take the extreme step

Eight farmers have committed suicide in just nine months in Raichur district owing mainly to a crisis in the farm sector.

Most of these suicides are reported from irrigated villages in Sindhanur taluk.

The latest victim was 40-year-old Basappa Shille from K. Basapur village in Sindhanur taluk. He hanged himself at his house on Monday after he was unable to repay a loan of Rs. 4 lakh.

It all began when 28-year-old Sabanna from Ragalaparvi village in Sindhanur taluk committed suicide on November 5 last year. Crop loss and the burden of loan led him to take the extreme step. He had taken Rs. 3 lakh as loan from SyndicateBank and was unable to repay it owing to crop loss.

Worsening situation
The situation worsened this year with the suicide of 60-year-old Ramesh Naik from Ramanal village in Deodurg taluk on February 27.
He lost the cotton and chilly crops on his three acres of land due to scarcity of water and was unable to repay Rs. 5 lakh taken as private loan.
He hanged himself on a tree near his field.
read more.
THEHINDU

20150709 * Sowing at 50%; rain delay worries farmers:

The heavy rains in the last week of June led to increased sowing across the state. As a result, sowing in about 50% of the 85.53 lakh hectares of land in which farming takes place, had been completed.

Unlike last year, there has been more sowing of groundnut than cotton this year.

According to figures released by the agriculture department, sowing of groundnut has been completed in 11.47 lakh hectares of land.

This is 83.77% of the total 13.70 lakh hectares in which groundnut is usually sown.

There is usually more sowing of cotton in terms of percentage but, this year, sowing of groundnut has been 7% more than that of cotton.
Cotton is usually sown in 27.27 lakh hectares but this year it has been sown only in 20.91 lakh hectares, i.e., 76.70% of the total area.
read more.
TOInew

20150708 * India moves to gauge gains of a free trade pact with Eurasian union:

Sets up study group; a pact could lead to both commercial and strategic gains, says official

Moving swiftly on its decision to consider a free trade agreement with the newly formed Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), India has initiated the process of setting up a joint study group (JSG) to study its feasibility.

“The Commerce Ministry has sent out notes to all the ministries and departments concerned asking them to send their inputs on the areas the JSG should examine. An FTA with EEU makes both economic and strategic sense for us,” a ministry official told BusinessLine .

New Delhi hopes to make strong gains in areas such as pharmaceuticals, textiles, agriculture and energy as well as attract investments in its infrastructure sector, the official added.
read more.
THEHINDUBUSINESS

20:49:54 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

20150710 * Economic reforms and attack on labour:

Response to Pathfinder Foundation’s rejoinder- By Collective for Economic Democratisation

We welcome the response by the Pathfinder Foundation on June 30, 2015 to our critique of its economic blueprint on June 24, 2015, both published in Daily Mirror, as a vigorous and informed debate on economic reforms is important, especially with the upcoming parliamentary elections.

In recent times, there has been little critical discourse on the neoliberal direction of our country and one of the reasons for the formation of our voluntary non-funded collective of researchers and activists formed two years ago, is to further conversations on political economy, to democratise economic decision-making and to support people’s struggles for social justice.

Our response to the Pathfinder Foundation focuses on three themes.

The first pertains to the question of inequality and the need to ensure redistribution of revenues and productivity gains for the benefit of all.

Our second theme will be to critique the proposed labour reforms advocated by the Pathfinder Foundation and the pro-business economic establishment in this country, which amounts to an attack on labour.

Finally, our third theme will focus on going beyond the Pathfinder Foundation’s continued emphasis on “fiscal consolidation” and “financial market development”, which overlook global challenges to financialisation.
read more.
daily mirror

20150708-09 * Sri Lanka clears confusion over renewed US GSP facility:

Sri Lanka has been a beneficiary of the United States Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) tariff facility for over a decade and the program has been renewed after a lapse of nearly two years, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said today.

The Foreign Ministry, clarifying the recent reports, which quoting Deputy Foreign Minister Ajith Perera said that improvements in Sri Lanka’s human rights situation led to the US reinstating the GSP tariff concession to Sri Lanka, said Sri Lanka has always been a beneficiary while the GSP program did not receive the authorization from the US Congress and lapsed in 2013.

The US GSP programme, designed to promote economic growth in developing countries, requires authorization by the U.S. Congress periodically.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mahishini Colonne explained that on 31 July 2013, the GSP authorization, which is required to be renewed periodically by the US Congress, had lapsed.

As a result, US imports entering the US after that date, which were previously eligible for duty-free treatment under the GSP programme, became subject to regular, normal-trade-relations rates of duty.
read more. & read more.
colombo slgov

20150709 * Sri Lanka exports to US on steady rise – Ministry:

Sri Lanka’s exports to the United States are US are increasing at an accelerated phase and the renewal of the US Generalized Preference System facility in June is boosting the island nation’s export development efforts, the Ministry of Commerce and Industries said.

Last week the US Department of Commerce announced that the US President signed into law HR 1295 on June 29, 2015 re-authorizing the US GSP Programme until 31 December 2017, providing preferential duty free entry into US market for nearly 5000 products from 122 designated beneficiary countries and territories, including Sri Lanka.

US importers are eligible to claim the import duty paid by them for the eligible products under the US-GSP Programme during the lapse in GSP coverage from 31 July 2013 with retrospective effect.
Accordingly, Sri Lankan exporters too gain duty free access for eligible products under the US GSP programme for that period.
read more.
colombo

20:19:54 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

20150709 * Crisis in textiles industry: Facts and fiction (1):

“There’s no sacred cow,” warns the government that is having serious bearings on the export. The government may not treat us as sacred cows, the textile exporters argue, but it must stop milking us without providing any fodders.

Textile industry is the largest employer in private sector.

All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) holds that such insensitive official approach may lay off thousands of the workforce employed in heavily labour intensive industry.
In case such apathy continues to roast the goose, the time is not far away when most of the industries will go out of the business and thus rocking the boat of tens of thousand hapless employees.
The contentions of the government and of the industry are poles apart.

Since it involve the fate of thousands of labourers and workers it will be important to (1) whether industry crisis call is propelled by facts or is meant to seek more concessions;
(2) how industries in our regions are behaving;
(3) what is efficiency level of industrial concerns; and
(4) how the situation can be improved.
read more.
thenewspk

20150710 * ILO, Pakistan in partnership on textile labour law compliance:

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Government of Pakistan represented by the Federal Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development and the Provincial Department of labour, Punjab have signed a Letter of Understanding to support the Public Private Partnership on Labour Law Compliance in the textile sector in Faisalabad.

The PPP was signed between the ILO and the Pakistan Textiles Exporters Association earlier in February this year.
The Letter of Understanding (LOU) includes a framework to support coordination
between Federal and Provincial Governments with the Textile Industry on effective compliance with Labour Laws.

An inter-ministerial coordination mechanism which includes the Ministry of Textiles and the Ministry of Commerce is also in place to oversee the implementation of the intervention which will target 2010 industrial units in Faisalabad over the next three years.
In 2015, ten industrial units will benefit from the initiative with a progressive roll out.

The intervention will also focus on bridging industry with international buyers to enhance compliance through advocacy and dissemination of good practices resulting from the intervention.

Sikandar Ismail Khan, Secretary, Federal Ministry of Overseas Pakistani and Human Resource Development (OPHRD) said that, “The Textile sector is the backbone of Pakistan’s economy and the Government of Pakistan will support all interventions to ensure good industrial relations in this sector in light of the countries GSP Plus status”.
read more.
NATIONnew

20150709 * Govt, traders meet halfway on 0.6% withholding tax rate:

The government and  business community reached an agreement on Thursday on the contentious issue of charging 0.6% withholding tax, providing a face-saving way for both parties.

The agreement is a win-win situation as traders have agreed to come into the tax-net in return of getting 0.3% reduction in the rate besides availing a three-month window to file the income tax return.

“It has been unanimously decided that the government will halve the withholding tax rate to 0.3% till September 30,” Finance Minister Ishaq Dar announced.
The government will promulgate an ordinance in the next 48 hours to give effect to the changes.
read more.

20150709 * Business community demands immediate withdrawal 0.6% levy:

Talks between the government and business community reached a deadlock on Wednesday after Finance Minister Ishaq Dar refused to accept the demand to either abolish 0.6% withholding tax on banking transactions or at least suspend the levy until an agreement was reached.

The representatives of industrialists and traders met with government officials in an effort to convince them to withdraw the tax, which had been levied on all banking transactions valuing more than Rs50,000 conducted by non-filers of tax returns with effect from July 1.
read more.
daily times PK

20150708 * Latest tax measure: Holding protests against withholding tax:

Asia’s largest yarn market in Faisalabad was shut down on Tuesday, protesting against the government’s decision to charge 0.6% withholding tax on every banking transaction valued at over Rs50,000.

Most markets in Faisalabad, the country’s third largest city, remained closed as part of a campaign to lodge their protest on the government’s decision and urge it to withdraw the recently-imposed tax.

The Pakistan Textile Exporter Association (PTEA) also took part in the campaign.

The association complained that sales tax officials were harassing them by exploiting Sections 38 and 40-B of Sales Tax Act. These sections authorised the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to have access to manufacturing premises and appoint officials to monitor production lines.
read more.

20150708 * 0.6% withholding tax on bank transactions: Lahore traders strike to demand tax withdrawal:

A majority of the city’s markets remained closed on a call of Anjuman-e-Tajran to protest 0.6% withholding tax on all types of bank transactions – amounting to Rs 600 per Rs 100,000.

All the major markets of the provincial capital, including Shahalam Market, Mall Road markets, Hall Road, Brandreth Road, McLeod Road, Lytton, Akbari Mandi, Anarkali, Ferozpur Road, remained closed in support of the strike call.

However, food markets opened in the evening to make preparations for the opening of fast.
The markets gave a deserted look with banners displayed there inscribed with various slogans in support of their demand to withdraw 0.6 per cent withholding tax immediately.
read more. & read more. & read more.
daily times PK DAWNnew

20150708 * Agreement on labour inspectors’ training signed:

20150708 TRIBUNE
‘Improvement imperative to keep Pakistan’s textile sector attractive internationally’. PHOTO: TRIBUNE FILE

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the embassy of the Netherlands signed here on Tuesday an agreement to train labour inspectors and improve working conditions of labourers.

During the three-year project “Strengthening Labour Inspection Systems for International Labour Standards Compliance in Pakistan,” efforts will be made to strengthen institutional mechanisms for effective labour inspections and enforce the law on labour inspections.
Steps will be taken for legislation on labour standards as it is one of the requirements of the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) Plus.

Speaking at the agreement signing ceremony, Secretary of overseas Pakistanis and human resource development, Sikandar Ismail Khan, said that although the subject of labour had been devolved after 18th Amendment, the federal government was helping the provincial governments in strengthening the labour administration system.
read more.read more. & read more. & read more.
DAWNnew PAKOBSERVERnew2 thenewspk

20150709 * Country may miss cotton sowing target:

The country has missed cotton sowing target by about 10 percent and is unlikely to achieve cotton target of 15.49 million bales set for the current season (2015-16), official sources revealed.

Sources in the Ministry of Textile Industry told Business Recorder that due to unprecedented rains during the early cotton sowing season and low cotton price, the wheat harvest was prolonged and resultantly there was a significant decline in cotton sowing.
Further, the recent heatwave led to shedding of cotton flowers while now standing water may kill cotton plants.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

20150709 * PCGA condemns murder of its member:

Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) has strongly condemned the murder of a senior member of PCGA, owner of Al-Qaim Cotton Ginning Factory Uch Sharif Khawaja Sajid Raza and demanded immediate arrest of the killers.

Khawaja Sajid Raza was kidnapped on January 22, 2015 for ransom from his factory and he was killed on June 16, 2015.
The police did not try to recover him from the clutches of the kidnappers.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

20150708 * PCGA for immediate withdrawal of WHT:

Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) urged upon the government to immediately withdraw the imposition of 0.6 percent withholding tax (WHT) on all banking transactions for non-filers, as it would discourage banking transactions, promote non-banking and cash transactions and would lead to harmful consequences for the economy.

Acting Chairman of PCGA Ramesh Lakl, Vice Chairman Punjab Rao Sadruddin, Ginner group’s chairman Haji Muhammad Akram, Shehzad Ali Khan, Ex-Chairman Sheikh Muhammad Saeed, Haji Muhammad Ibrahim ,Suhail Ahmed Haral, Mian Mehmood Ahmed, Amanullah Qureshi, Mukhtar Ahmed Baloch, Mahesh Kumar, Rana Abdul Sattar and other members of Central Executive committee said the government has imposed advance adjustable income tax at 0.6 percent on all banking transactions of over Rs 50,000 in a day for non-filers in a bid to compel them to become filers.

However, They apprehended that this decision would lead to many complications in the economy as it would cause a drop in bank deposits, promote the culture of cash transactions, affect the profit margins of taxpaying businessmen and enhance turnover tax for the filers.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

20150709 * Bilateral ties: Don’t think emotionally in trade with India, says Pasha:

Former finance minister and renowned economist Dr Hafeez Pasha has said that Pakistan should give trade incentives to India on items that are being imported from other countries, especially from China.

“We should think strategically, not emotionally, on trade issues,” he said. “Giving duty concessions to India on items that we import from China under the Free Trade Agreement will create competition between the two countries for the Pakistani market. This will economically benefit Pakistan.”

He further said that the global economy is in recession and bilateral trade is diminishing, however, in Pakistan’s case the scenario is worse as its imports are increasing more than exports and recently, the country has started importing items that had never been imported before.

“India’s exports to Pakistan have reduced 19%, whereas Pakistani exports to India have also witnessed a cut of 9% this year,” said Pasha. “Similarly, cotton yarn exports to China, which have witnessed a massive increase in previous years, have also observed a decrease of 20%.”
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There are updates under ‘special overviews’:

* Minimum Wage-LIVING WAGE- PART 9: 20150525-now
&
* Philippine footwear Factory fire Part 2 20150701-now

HEADLINES:

CHINA
* Shenzhen vows to get tough on bosses who put workers lives at risk
* China to start cotton reserves sale July 10, demand seen weak
* Tomb relics spur return of silk farming

NORTH KOREA
* 2nd LD: S. Korea, DPRK to hold talks on Kaesong industrial zone next week

PHLIPPINES
* PH textile, apparel lose US-GSP duty free privilege
* Group demands stricter labor standard compliance system
* Families of Kentex fire victims: ‘We will not drop claims’

VIET NAM
* Minimum wages likely to grow 10% next year
* Vietnam ranks third among footwear exporters
* Vietnam pushes state-owned enterprise privatisation forwards
* TPP to boost relations with Uncle Sam
* “I was really stunned by the “American-style draft””
* Party chief meets with big US enterprises

CAMBODIA
* Workers at Armani factory still awaiting reforms
* Putting Productivity on the Menu
* Factory compliance up: BFC
* Working conditions in Cambodia’s garment factories slightly improved: group
* Working conditions in Cambodia’s garment factories slightly improved: group
* Factory Compliance Good for Business, Says ILO
* BFC’s latest Synthesis Report
* Move Beyond Garments, Economists Urge
* #LANGO: The Last 72 Hours
* LANGO changes ‘too little’
* AFWA protest letter on draft NGO and TU law in Cambodia
* NGO law tweaks mulled
* Opposition Walks Out of NGO Law Workshop
* After Protests, Gov’t Defends NGO Law
* Crowds ‘Say No’ to LANGO
* NGOs Protest LANGO at National Assembly

MALAYSIA
* TPP deal could be sealed in the next month: Australia
* Rights groups urge US to reconsider Malaysia’s trafficking upgrade
* US Upgrades Malaysia in Annual Human Trafficking Report

INDONESIA
* ILO Warns Indonesia to Invest in Skilled Labor or Lose Out

BURMA/MYANMAR
* Unravelling the minimum wage
* Govt planning for flight of businesses from the country in response to minimum wage
* Minimum wage tug-of-war goes on

NEPAL
* Garment export to US drops

BANGLADESH
* 2 burnt in city shoe factory fire
* Police stop garment workers’ march towards PM office
* 1300 workers of two factories demand back-pay before Eid
* RMG workers’ rally for salary-bonus
* Pay RMG workers wages by July 10: CPB, BSD
* LABOUR UNREST BEFORE EID : Surveillance on RMG industry enhanced
* RMG workers to go on Eid holidays in phases
* Aleem jute mill workers stage demo in Khulna
* IFC teams up with Prime Bank, others for safer RMG sector
* IFC gives $50m for factory upgrades
* Export to US continues to slow
* B’desh earns $124.73b from RMG exports :Tofail
* RMG export growth slumps to six-year low
* Garment exports grow 4pc, but miss target
* Cotton output up 5.47pc in FY 15
* EU invites BD to join new GSP certification system test
* Trans Pacific Partnership and garment export
TAZREEN FACTORY FIRE:
* TAZREEN FIRE: Charge framing deferred
* TAZREEN CASE
* Tazreen Fashions fire charge-framing deferred to Aug 13
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE:
* Court orders arrest of six fugitives over Rana Plaza building construction
* Arrest warrants against Rana’s mother, five others
* Court accepts charges against owner, 17 others
* Sohel Rana, parents, 16 others indicted
* Court accepts chargesheet under BNBC
* Arrest warrant against Rana’s mother, 5 others
* Textile industry certificates more for show than safety

INDIA
* ‘Labour conference will deliberate on minimum wages’
* Minimum Wages Hiked for Scheduled Workers
* Fix minimum wages to Rs.15,000: CITU
* Centre levels the field, hikes national minimum wage floor to Rs. 160/day
* Government Hikes Minimum Wage to Rs. 160 a Day
* National Floor Level Minimum Wage Enhanced From Rs.137 To Rs.160 Per Day W.E.F. 01.07.2015
* Reset labour relations
* Mandatory recognition for trade unions likely
* Labour conference to be held on July 13
* Demand for removing wage cap for bonus likely on ILC agenda
* Indian labour conference on July 17
* Indian synthetic yarn industry reels under Chinese gloom
* TN spinning industry to make compact yarn, go global
* Spinning mills to opt for consortium buying of compact retrofits
* Project report ready for effluent treatment plant
* Sick handloom units to be revived: Kistappa
* India losing cotton market share as prices remain high
* Spinning mill ‘dupes’ Odisha’s cotton farmers of Rs 4.5 crore
* Cotton farmers, seed firms wait for monsoon to revive
* Eight farmers committed suicide in nine months in Raichur
* Sowing at 50%; rain delay worries farmers
* India moves to gauge gains of a free trade pact with Eurasian union

SRI LANKA
* Economic reforms and attack on labour
* Sri Lanka clears confusion over renewed US GSP facility
* Sri Lanka exports to US on steady rise – Ministry

PAKISTAN
* Crisis in textiles industry: Facts and fiction (1)
* ILO, Pakistan in partnership on textile labour law compliance
* Govt, traders meet halfway on 0.6% withholding tax rate
* Business community demands immediate withdrawal 0.6% levy
* Latest tax measure: Holding protests against withholding tax
* 0.6% withholding tax on bank transactions: Lahore traders strike to demand tax withdrawal
* Agreement on labour inspectors’ training signed
* Country may miss cotton sowing target
* PCGA condemns murder of its member
* PCGA for immediate withdrawal of WHT
* Bilateral ties: Don’t think emotionally in trade with India, says Pasha

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Convention on the Rights of the Child
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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
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