in the news 10- 16 January 2015


13:09:50 local time map of china CHINA

20150114 * 3 Chinese convicted in factory fire that killed 7 in Italy:

Three people of Chinese descent have been convicted of manslaughter in connection with a factory fire which left 7 Chinese migrants dead in Italy in 2013.

The Chinese part-owner of the factory, along with two of the factory’s managers, has been sentenced to multi-year terms behind bars.
The Italian owners of the factory are being tried separately.
Tiziano Veltri is a lawyer who represents victim’s family.

“The victims’ relatives have lost their loved ones, and they are workers and people from the countryside. It’s not been easy for them to deal with the Italian justice system.”

The courts have determined the factory’s fire exit was blocked by piles of flammable fabric, something the defense disputed.
The three defendants have also been convicted of exploiting clandestine labor and failing to use proper safety measures.
to read.

20150116 * Uniqlo pledges to improve factory conditions in China:

Japanese clothing giant Uniqlo on Thursday pledged to improve working conditions at its Chinese suppliers and beef up monitoring following claims that the firms were putting employees at risk.

The chain’s parent company Fast Retailing said it was ushering in changes after the Hong Kong-based Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM) released a study this week that said factory conditions were unsafe and workers were mistreated.

“Respecting human rights and ensuring appropriate working conditions for the workers of our production partners are top priorities for Fast Retailing, and in this we are completely aligned with SACOM,” said a statement issued Thursday.

“Fast Retailing has urged swift action against the factories on the issues identified in the SACOM report, and we will cooperate fully with them to ensure that improvements are made.

“Together with third parties, including auditors and NGOs (non-governmental organisations), we will check progress within one month,” it added.
read more.
daily star bd

20150115 * Uniqlo promises to improve life for workers at its factories in China:

Fast-fashion giant Uniqlo has pledged to improve the working conditions at its suppliers in China, after a report detailed workers were subjected to unsafe, harsh treatment at two factories in southern China.

According to the report from the Hong Kong-based Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour, workers put in extremely long hours for below-average salaries in the manufacturing-heavy province of Guangzhou. Unsafe working conditions included floors covered in sewage, high temperatures that sometimes caused workers to faint, and poor ventilation. Workers were also docked pay for making mistakes at work.

Uniqlo’s parent company, Japan’s Fast Retailing Co, released a statement today saying that it has called on the factories to increase working holidays for employees, institute protective clothing, and better monitor air quality in their plants. The statement also said that the factories were being asked to eliminate fines against workers, and establish workers’ unions.
read more.

20150114 * Uniqlo criticized for links with unsafe factories:

Japanese clothing giant Uniqlo came under fire yesterday for buying supplies from Chinese factories accused of putting workers at risk in unsafe conditions, with sewage on the floor, extremely high temperatures and poor ventilation.

The claims made by a Hong Kong-based human rights group come as the apparel chain pursues aggressive expansion plans in a bid to challenge international brands like Zara, H&M and Gap.

Uniqlo, a unit of Fast Retailing Co, said that while it had “different views on some of the issues” in the report, it had opened an investigation and acknowledged the probe by Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM) “found several problems.”

SACOM accused the clothing firm, known for its cheap chic clothing basics, of buying from two suppliers in Guangdong Province that made employees work long hours for low pay in unsafe conditions.

The group, which carried out its investigation between July and November, said the Uniqlo suppliers also had a tough management style and did not allow workers to voice their concerns.

“The factories have neglected work safety, putting workers at risk,” it said.

“Uniqlo as the key buyer of these two factories has violated its commitment to corporate social responsibility,” SACOM said in a statement.

The group said one employee worked up to 14 hours per day, ironing between 600 and 700 shirts, for wages of 0.29 yuan (5 US cents) per shirt.
read more. & to read. & to read.

20150112 * Uniqlo’s Hong Kong-listed suppliers ‘putting workers lives in danger’:

20150112 SACOM
A protest in Uniqlo’s store in Festival Walk, Kowloon Tong, after claims were made about the brand’s suppliers. Photo: David Wong

Firms manufacturing products for Japanese fashion brand accused of substandard working conditions and endangering employees’ health

Major Hong Kong-listed suppliers to Japanese fast fashion brand Uniqlo have been accused of risking the health and lives of their migrant workers with substandard factory conditions.

An investigation by Hong Kong-based labour rights group Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (Sacom) into the factories, owned by Pacific Textiles and Luen Thai and based on the mainland, found a series of failings.

Issues at a Pacific factory in Panyu , Guangzhou and Luen Thai factory in Dongguan included excessive working hours, a lack of personal protective equipment and employees working in hot temperatures.
read more.

20150111 * [Statement] Clean Clothes from UNIQLO now! UNIQLO should improve the working conditions of the suppliers in China immediately!:

[Statement] Clean Clothes from UNIQLO now! UNIQLO should improve the working conditions of the suppliers in China immediately! 

Today, we are at the UNIQLO store in Festival Walk to launch our latest investigative report on the working conditions of UNIQLO’s suppliers in China, and to protest against UNIQLO for its failure to closely monitor the suppliers closely, thus harming the labour rights of Chinese garment workers.

From July to November in 2014, with the support of Tokyo-based international organization Human Rights Now (HRN) and local labour organization Labour Action China (LAC), SACOM investigated two suppliers of UNIQLO in China, namely Pacific Textiles Ltd (1382.HK) (hereafter Pacific) and Dongguan Luen Thai Garment Co. Ltd. (hereafter Luen Thai) which belongs to Luen Thai Holding Ltd.(0311.HK). Both factories lack occupational health and safety protection for workers. UNIQLO as the key buyer of these two factories has violated its commitment to corporate social responsibility: Making the world a better place! On the contrary, the workers’ lives are deeply affected by all kinds of exploitation and threats in their working environments.

Here are the key findings:
1. Long working hours and low basic wages
An iron worker from Luen Thai told us that he works 13-14 hours a day so he can iron 600-700 pieces of shirts, but the piece rate of each shirt is only 0.29 RMB . In peak season, he irons 900 pieces of shirts in one day and sometimes works on Sunday. To make ends meet, workers must work for long hours. The numbers of overtime working hours at Pacific and Luen Thai are 134 hours and 112 hours respectively. Some workers from Pacific are asked to sign the “voluntary application for overtime work”. The application states that the overtime work is 119.5 hours. Labour Law Article 41 stipulates that the work time to be extended shall not exceed 36 hours a month. Worse still, the overtime pay on the weekend is miscalculated at Pacific—only 150% of the basic wage instead of 200%. At Luen Thai, the overtime work record on Sunday and the overtime work in excess of 100 hours are recorded manually on paper instead of on the computer system –raising suspicion that factories might thus be avoiding getting checked by the social auditors for the workers’ working hours.

2. High risk and unsafe working environment
The factories have neglected work safety,
putting workers at risk: extremely high shop floor temperatures, dirty sewage flowing all over the floor, unsafe facilities, poor ventilation with dense cotton dust filling the air, irritating smells and high risk of electricity leakage are posing serious risks to workers’ health and safety. Because of the high shop floor temperatures, topless workers put the heavy pigments into the hot dyeing tent without wearing any protective gear. We also saw a number of workers falling down from the chairs while handling the knitting machines .

3. Harsh management style and punishment system
Fines are heavily used as a way to control product quality and to manage workers. At Pacific, 41 types of punishments include fines.

4. Unrepresented workers
General workers from these two investigated factories have no effective platform to express their concerns. At Pacific, the chairperson of the union is the director of the administrative department, a situation which violates Article 6 of the Measures for the Election of the Trade Union Chairman of an Enterprise and Article 7 of the Measures of Guangzhou Municipality on Implementing the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Trade Unions. In the case of Luen Thai, the trade union is absent, while the existing workers’ committee group and employee relations department in the factory are ineffective in facilitating workers to express their concerns.

We are deeply disappointed with the above findings. Given its current good business performance, we believe that both the factories and UNIQLO are capable of providing a decent working environment to their workers.

We demand that Fast Retailing:
read more.

20150109 * The talent highland of ecological textile industry:

The opening ceremony for the construction of talent highland of Ningxia ecological textile industry was held in Ningxia Ecological Textile Industrial Demonstration Park-Helan Park on December 26th.

The construction of cotton spinning and chemical fiber talent highlands, as well as the cashmere, flax and special fiber talent highlands had been started in Helan Park, Lingwu Park and Wuzhong Litong Textile Industrial Park respectively. The employees of ecological textile industry in Ningxia are predicted to reach 50,000 by 2020.

According to the Implementation Plan of Construction for Ningxia Ecological Textile Industry Talent Highland, Ningxia will give an overall consideration and push forward the construction of all kinds of qualified personnel from ecological textile industry. Helan Park will focus on the talents of combed yarn and luxury fabrics, while Lingwu Park concentrates on the talents of cashmere finish machining and cashmere yarn and Litong Textile Industrial Park pays attention to the talents of high-end yarn and home textiles.
read more.

13:09:50 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

20150108 * P16,000 minimum wage urged to avert more hunger, deprivation:

“Wages take decades to adjust but the prices of Meralco, gas, water, increase often, just like that.” – Kadamay-NCR

The minimum wages in the Philippines have never seen significant increases for years yet beginning the first week of 2015, a sizable chunk of this wage is to be eaten up by increases in prices of services. Complaints greeted the price hikes but Malacañang tried to downplay it.

Still, protests are happening and protesters are vowing to launch some more as they urged the public to support the campaign for a substantial national wage increase. On Wednesday (Jan. 7), workers and employees from a network called “All Workers’ Unity” held a walkout protest in various locations in Metro Manila to press for the implementation of a National Minimum Wage amounting to P16,000 monthly. The group launched the campaign for national minimum wage late last year. Since 1989, there is practically no more minimum wages in the country, as the government started to fix hundreds of so-called minimum wage rates.
read more.

20150116 * PH garments exports to see increase by at least 15pc this year:

With Philippine’s recent inclusion in the European Union’s new generalized system of preferences (GSP+), garments manufacturers expect their export earnings to increase by as much as 15 percent this year, said the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc.

The granting of GSP+ status to the Philippines will allow local companies to export more than 6,200 product lines at zero duty. These include some of the country’s most important exports such as textiles and footwear.

According to Robert Young, president of the Foreign Buyers Association of the Philippines (FOBAP), local garments and hard goods sectors were among those that would benefit from the GSP+ scheme as it would also cover footwear, garments and handicrafts.

This means more business, more exports, more production and more labor generation for the Philippines.

Young identified Germany and France as the biggest buyers of Philippine handicrafts, while the United Kingdom favored children’s dresses that were made in the country.
read more.

12:09:50 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

20150113 * S.Korea firm to sue workers for loss-causing strike:

Striking workers at a South Korean-invested firm in HCM City will be sued for losses caused to the company.

Some 800 workers at Carimax Sai Gon Ltd. Co. went on strike January 3 after the company declined to pass on a mandated rise in minimum wages.

Company officials said on January 12 that workers who failed to carry out their duties for five consecutive days would be sacked and sued for losses incurred by the company.

Carimax said trade union intervention had failed to resolve the strike.

The government decreed last year minimum wages would rise by VND250,000-400,000 (USD11.9-USD19) a month, depending on region, from January 1, 2015.
read more.

20150110 * Hundreds strike for minimum pay rise:

20150110 DTI
Workers strike at Carimax Saigon Company

Nearly 800 workers at Carimax Saigon Company in HCMC are in the seventh day of a strike over the company’s failure to pass on a mandated pay rise.

The government decreed last year wage would rise by VND250,000-400,000 per month depending on region, from January 2015, with employers barred from removing bonuses.

But on December 27, the board of directors at Carimax said that because of losses, the pay rise would be determined according to each worker’s attitude, capability and experiences.

It also declared the Tet bonus would be 90% of a worker’s monthly wage, but if workers went on strike, the company would consider cancelling the bonus.
Workers went on strike on January 3, with no agreement reached after 15 rounds of negotiation.

“The company’s required output and productivity are impossible to meet,” one striking worker said. “It’s like outright refusing our minimum wage raise.”
read more.

20150114 * Vinatex to invest $71 mln in Quang Nam complex:

The Viet Nam Textile Group (Vinatex) will build a fiber-weaving-dying and garment complex in Que Son District in the central province this year, costing VND1.5 trillion (US$71 million).

Deputy General Director of the group, Tran Van Pho, said yesterday that the complex was part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Vinatex and the province two years ago.

“The complex is an intensive investment project in the central region, in preparation for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). It is built to provide material for boosting the textile and garment industry in Quang Nam, Da Nang and other neighbouring coastal central provinces,” Pho said.

“The complex is expected to earn VND1.7 trillion ($81 million) in revenue per year in the first phase of construction, contributing VND35 billion to the provincial budget and 2,000 jobs,” he said.
read more. & to read. & to read. & read more.
VNNet VNNews new VIETNAMplus VOVonline

20150112 * Businesses in Binh Duong seek 45,000 unskilled workers :

Enterprises in Binh Duong province, one of the southern region’s economic centres, need to recruit over 45,000 unskilled workers in 2015 to meet their production demands in garment, footwear and wood manufacturing fields.

According to the province’s employment centre, more than 21,000 unskilled jobs were available during its first job exchange session on January 11, offering a monthly salary of 4-5 million VND (235 USD).
read more.

20150112 * Textile, garment firms expect buoyant growth:

The upcoming signing of a raft of free trade agreements, both bilateral and multilateral, between Vietnam and other nations and organisations will have a positive impact on the performance of the local textile and garment industry, the Vietnam Investment Review (VIR) says.

Accordingly, since late 2014 the sector’s major players such as Phong Phu, Nha Be, Thai Nguyen and Hung Yen garment companies said they had already signed export orders lasting through most or all of the year.

Chairman of Hung Yen Garment Nguyen Xuan Duong was quoted as saying export orders are not a concern for the company as it had already signed export contracts with major customers through the end of the third quarter.

Last year Hung Yen Garment eyed a 16 percent hike in total export value to 350 million USD, and now expects even better results this year thanks to more favourable export conditions.

Another industry leader, Ho Chi Minh City-based Nha Be Garment Corporation (NBC) revealed that is had signed export orders through the end of the year.
read more. & read more.

20150109 * Vietnam targets $28.5b from garment, textile exports in 2015:

Vietnam’s garments and textile sector has set a target to earn US$28.5 billion from export in 2015, $4.0 billion more than last year, according to the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association.

In 2014, the country earned $24.5 billion from export of garments and textiles, posting a 19 per cent year-on-year rise, local Vietnam News reported on Thursday.

Of the total value, garment and textile exports to the United States hit $9.8 billion, to Japan with $2.7 billion, and to South Korea with $2.0 billion.
read more. & read more.

20150108 * Garment makers import more materials:

Vietnam spent 15.8 billion USD last year to import materials for the garments and textiles sector, posting a 16 percent year-on-year increase.

Data from the Ministry of Industry and Trade showed that the imported materials include cotton, fibre and fabrics.
Of these, cotton imports were pegged at 743,000 tonnes, increasing 28 percent over 2013, with a total value of 1.4 billion USD. Imported cotton prices last year were 1.95 USD per kilogram, 3 percent lower in comparison with the previous year.
read more.

20150107 * Garment firm targets 115 mln USD revenue in 2015:

The Garment 10 Corporation has set its annual revenue of 2.45 trillion VND (over 115 million USD) for 2015, 12 percent higher than that of the last year, said Director Nguyen Thi Thanh Huyen.

During the first days of this year, all employees working at the firm’s headquarters in Long Bien district, Hanoi, have worked hard to complete batches of goods for export to Japan, the US and the European Union.

Le Tien Truong, General Director of the Vietnam Textile and Garment Corporation noted that in order to take advantage of the Free Trade Agreements with the Republic of Korea and the Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan Customs Union that will be signed in early 2015, officials and workers of the company need to further promote their creativeness so as to improve labour productivity and competitiveness of goods, which will help win major orders.

In 2014, the corporation enjoyed 2.18 trillion VND in revenue. It earmarked a lot of money for improving its productivity, bringing a sustainable growth to the firm.-VNA
to read.

12:09:50 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

20150115 * Manhattan factory strike returns to the streets:

Thousands of people at a Kampong Cham province garment factory reignited a strike yesterday, protesting the factory’s refusal to reinstate three fired union representatives, one of those representatives said.
Protests began last month, but there was a brief respite on January 7 and 8 when workers came in for shifts so they could collect wages, said Chorn Theang, a dismissed employee and factory president of the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions (CATU).
Roughly 3,000 people returned to the street outside the factory yesterday morning, said Theang, who was one of 107 people fired last year for demonstrating. All but three CATU leaders were rehired.
read more.
PPP new

20150114 * Attacked unionist suspects factory:

Police are still searching for suspects after an alleged attack on a Free Trade Union (FTU) leader in Kampong Speu last month, while union officials are pointing the finger at the management of the factory they were attempting to organise.

Two men on a motorbike pulled up alongside Choub Sok Leap, president of the newly formed FTU branch at Hirota (Cambodia) Garment, as she walked with her niece after her shift at about 6pm on December 17, Sok Leap said yesterday.

Wielding an iron bar, one of the helmeted men jumped off the motorbike, striking Sok Leap in the head, before jumping back on and speeding away with the driver of the bike.

“One man carried a long iron bar, jumped off the motorbike and hit me in the head, causing bleeding, and then they left the scene,” Sok Leap said. “No one could recognise them, because they got away too quickly.”

Management at Hirota were unhappy with the introduction of FTU to the factory in November, FTU official Ry Sithynet said yesterday.
read more.
PPP new

20150114 * Garment Factory’s Concessions End Strike:

About 1,000 workers at a Takeo province garment factory who have been on strike since Monday are due to return to work today after negotiations between union representatives and the factory wrapped up successfully Tuesday.

As workers rallied outside the gates of the Chinese-owned CS Gold Way Textile (Cambodia) Co. Ltd. on Tuesday morning, factory management agreed to all of their 29 demands with the exception of a $15 monthly transport allowance and $20 attendance bonus, which they set at $9 and $10 respectively.

The factory also agreed to scrap compulsory overtime and to pay pregnant women 50 percent of their usual salary during their last trimester, when they do not work, instead of the full amount sought by workers.
read more.

20150115 * Workers set to get EdC deal:

State energy provider Electricite du Cambodge (EdC) has announced that it will set a lower fixed price for garment workers residing in Phnom Penh, following complaints of homeowners charging impoverished workers exorbitant amounts per kilowatt.
EdC plans to charge 610 riels ($0.15) per kilowatt for electricity consumed by garment workers who use under 50 kilowatts a month, said director-general Keo Rattanak during a press conference on Tuesday at company’s headquarters in the capital.
The decision came after a directive from Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday to reduce high electricity costs for workers, who are being charged anywhere between 1,000 to 2,500 riels ($0.25 to $0.62) per kilowatt.

“The EdC teams will work with workers directly and through this measure, I think garment workers will get a better living,” Rattanak said.
To implement the plan, Rattanak added that the company will invest around $2 million to create new electrical connections in each garment workers’ rented space, and then charge them directly for electricity in order to bypass any potentially illicit schemes
read more.
PPP new

20150113 * High Confidence in Cambodian economy:

Confidence in the Cambodian economy remains high despite lower garment exports and regional turmoil overshadowing growth in the country’s tourism industry, according to new analysis by Mantis BV.

“The Cambodian economy has grown resiliently in the past and we expect real growth of about 7 percent to persist in the near and medium term…. buoyed by strong investment and construction spending,” the risk forecasting firm said in its January 2015 update.
“Prospects remain positive and we expect garment orders to rebound, once garment strikes calm down on account of recent wage hikes. Similarly, we expect tourism arrivals to return to growth on the back of calming regional tensions.”

Garment Sector Reports Drop in Strikes
Cambodia’s $5.5-billion garment industry saw a significant drop in both the number of strikes and work days lost due to labor action in 2014, industry data shows.

The Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC), which represents more than 500 of the country’s garment exporters, reported that there were 108 strikes in 2014, down from 147 one year earlier. The number of lost work days fell about 40 percent last year, from 889,000 in 2013 to 513,000 in 2014.
read more in BUSINESS BRIEFS.

20150113 * Dewhirst management ‘intimidated’ workers:

Management of an English-owned garment factory yesterday refused a request by union officials to meet to negotiate a possible end of a strike that started on Thursday.

Employees at Por Sen Chey district’s Dewhirst (Cambodia) Co, Ltd yesterday showed up for their shifts, but refused to work, employee Mean Sophyreak said.

Managers intimidated many trying to protest outside the factory, he added. “The factory [managers] threatened to cut our wages if we did not work,” Sophyreak said.

Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union legal officer Sean Yoth said that earlier, management declined a request to negotiate, primarily about employees’ demand they earn a minimum monthly wage of $138, rather than the new mandated figure of $128. Dewhirst officials couldn’t be reached yesterday.
read more.
PPP new

20150112 * Wage hike not high for some:

Garment workers earning the minimum wage will soon receive a $28 per month raise, but striking employees at a Phnom Penh factory, who earned more than the legal base pay, argue that they should receive a proportional salary hike.

Protests started on Thursday at Du Horse garment factory in the capital’s Por Sen Chey district. When the monthly minimum wage was $100 last year, the lowest paid employees at the factory earned $110.
Therefore, strikers reasoned, management should continue paying workers $10 over the $128 minimum put into effect at the start of the year, said Mean Sophyreak, a Du Horse employee.
“For the new minimum wage, the government approved an additional $28 to our wages, so we should receive $138 per month,” said Mean Sophyreak, a member of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU), which is leading the strike. “But the company announced they would cut $10 from our normal wage before the raise, so we refused.”
Moeun Tola, head of the labour program at the Community Legal Education Center, said yesterday he saw both sides of the issue.
“[A strike] is a little bit over-reactive,” Tola said yesterday. “For sure, I understand [that to] the worker who already gets $110 … and now gets $128 while [workers who earned $100] get $128, it’s not fair for you.”
Better collective-bargaining systems between unions and factory management could help avoid strikes such as this one, Tola said.
read more.
PPP new

20150112 * PM Says Workers’ Salaries Must Rise:

Prime Minister Hun Sen said that all the factories must raise the salaries of their workers as he spoke at the inauguration ceremony of the Russey Chrum Krom hydro-electric dam on Monday in Koh Kong province. The new dam will help keep the price of energy in Cambodia down.

“All the factories that will pay lower prices [for electricity] than before (…) should use its benefits from the lower price of electricity to increase the salaries of its workers,” he said.

He went on to say that investors want to know about the development of two factors in a country – the price of energy and the minimum wage.
If there is no reliable prediction of these two costs the investor will be hesitated to invest in the country.
to read.

20150112 * Garment Factories Report Major Drop in Strikes:

20150112 CD
Striking garment factory workers demonstrate outside the Labor Ministry in Phnom Penh in December 2013 amid a series of escalating protests for a minimum wage of $160 per month. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

Both the number of strikes and the number of lost work days in Cambodia’s $5.5-billion garment industry decreased significantly last year after peaking in 2013, according to the latest industry figures.

The country’s crucial but volatile garment sector suffered an unprecedented number of strikes in 2013, based on figures collected by members of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC), which represents the sector’s more than 500 export factories.

But according to GMAC’s latest figures, the number of strikes fell by more than 25 percent, from 147 in 2013 to 108 in 2014. The number of lost work days fell by even more, from 889,000 to 513,000, a decrease of about 40 percent.

The figures do not include the 15 days of nationwide strikes that brought much of the industry to a halt in late December 2013 and early January 2014.
read more.

20150114 * Transparency in Cambodia’s Garment Sector Working Conditions:

In 2014, Better Factories Cambodia began a new programme publicly naming garment factories alongside their labour conditions with the aim of accelerating factory improvements.
In 2013, significant improvements were made in Factory A* in Phnom Penh,
Cambodia. 38 out of 47 violations related to labour rights were rectified in areas
that had been non-compliant with laws and standards over several years.The factory had been assessed thirteen times by Better Factories Cambodia’s (BFC) monitors over a period of more than 10 years. The onset of BFC’s transparency programme provided an incentive for the factory to implement many positive changes in anticipation of the factory’s conditions being publicly disclosed.
read more.

20150115 * BetterFactories Media Updates, 15 January 2015, Workers set to get EdC deal:

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

2015-01-15 Workers set to get EdC deal
2015-01-15 Union calls for higher pensions for teachers

* BetterFactories Media Updates Overview here.

20150114 * BetterFactories Media Updates 14 January 2015, PM Wants Lower Price for Thrifty Power Users:

* To read in the printed edition of the Cambodia Daily:
2015-01-14 PM Wants Lower Price for Thrifty Power Users
2015-01-14 Garment Factory’s Concessions End Strike

* To read in the printed edition of the Phnom Penh Post:
2015-01-14 Attacked unionist suspects factory

* To read in the printed edition Raksmei Kampuchea (Khmer):
2015-01-14 Garment workers living in rented rooms are to pay lower electricity costs
2015-01-14 Workers at Orient International Enterprise go on strike to seek for 15 demands

* BetterFactories Media Updates Overview here.

20150112 * BetterFactories Media Updates 12 January 2015, Garment Factories Report Major Drop in Strikes:

* To read in the printed edition of the Cambodia Daily:
2015-01-12 Garment Factories Report Major Drop in Strikes

* To read in the printed edition of the Phnom Penh Post:
2015-01-12 Wage hike not high for some

* BetterFactories Media Updates Overview here.

13:09:50 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

20150114 * Indonesia Tops Southeast Asia Luring New Factories, Survey Shows:

Indonesia will attract more new factories than any other Southeast Asian nation over the next few years, a survey of 75 manufacturers showed, bolstering President Joko Widodo’s drive to revitalize the economy.

Manufacturers plan to build 54 new plants in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy by 2019, a 68 percent increase that will allow Indonesia to overtake Malaysia and Thailand with 133 factories in total, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit survey sponsored by Baker & McKenzie and CIMB Group Holdings. The companies all currently produce goods in the region.

Joko, known as Jokowi, has overhauled fuel subsidies to free up budget funds for infrastructure, pledging to spur investment and boost an economy growing at the slowest pace since 2009. Many companies are starting to implement their expansion plans in Indonesia after last year’s election that brought the president to power, said Mochamad Fachri, a lawyer with Hadiputranto, Hadinoto & Partners, Baker & McKenzie’s member firm in Indonesia.

“They believe that the transfer of power has been successful” and the government has shown its commitment to reforming public finances by changing fuel subsidies, he said, referring to the law firm’s clients. “Therefore, the timing is good for putting these expansion plans in place.”
read more.

11:39:50 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

20150109 * Protesting workers demand wage increase:

The workers from Yess candy factory and Myanmar York garment factory on January 6 staged protests demanding an increase in basic wages.

The workers said they staged the protests because they have not been given wage increases.
In December, 2014, more than 1,000 workers from the garment factory demonstrated demanding increase in wages.

“I’ve been working here over 8 years. My basic salary is Ks 31,000 per month. Overtime charge is Ks.315 per hour. My total salary is only Ks 90,000. It is very little for a worker of eight years. Besides, the salary for the new workers are very low compared with other factories. That’s why we are protesting,” said Wai Phyo of Yess Candy Factory.The Yess factory produces more than 30 brands of candy.
to read.

10:54:50 local time map of nepal NEPAL

20150109 * JTUCC demands social security:

The Joint Trade Union Coordination Centre (JTUCC) has demanded the immediate introduction of a new Labour Act and Social Security Fund Act.

The centre which comprises of 11 trade unions affiliated to different political parties organised a press meet and shared the decisions of its recent third conference. As per the decision, the centre is to launch pressure group to ensure the rights of Nepali workers in the new constitution.

Newly elected Chairman of the centre, Bishnu Rimal, said there were nearly two million workers affiliated to the centre. It aims at raising pressing issues labourers in Nepal face.

The centre has demanded the implementation of the minimum wage law by employers which has been reviewed by the parliament this fiscal year.
to read.

20150113 * Nepal’s garment exports surge 46.3% in 2013-14:

20150113 VINATEX

The exports of readymade garments from Nepal increased by a sharp 46.6 per cent to Np Rs 5.604 billion (US$ 55.266 million) in financial year 2013-14 that ended on July 15, 2014, compared to exports of Rs 3.824 billion made during the previous fiscal, according to the figures released by the Trade and Export Promotion Centre.

Woollen carpet exports, too, grew by 30.5 per cent to Rs 7.384 billion during the last fiscal, over Rs 5.660 billion worth of exports made in financial year 2012-13, the data showed.

The exports of cotton, polyester and other yarns earned Rs 6.434 billion for Nepal during the period under review, up 10.3 per cent year-on-year, while fabric exports grew at 4.7 per cent year-on-year to Rs 5.653 billion.

Similarly, exports of woollen and Pashmina shawls from Nepal increased by 29.4 per cent year-on-year to Rs 2.821 billion during the fiscal year, as per the data.
read more.

11:09:50 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

20150116 * Fire at Savar jhut godown:

A jhut (garment factory wastes) godown was gutted as a fire broke out in the godown at Jamgora Kathaltola in Ashulia area today.

Witnesses said the fire broke out in a jhut godown owned by Abdul Malek around 8:00am and soon engulfed the whole godown.

On information, two firing fighting units from DEPZ fire service rushed to the spot and brought the blaze under control after half-an-hour.
Fire Brigade sources said the fire might have originated from electric short circuit.
to read. & read more. & read more. & read more.
daily star bd UNBnew banglanews24NEW FE bd

20150116 * 25 jute mills shut down in two years:

Decline in demand for jute bags abroad

About 25 jute mills – both small and large — were shut down over the last two years following decline in the demand for jute-made bags in the international market, millers said.

They also feared that without diversification of products and implementation of the mandatory use of jute bags locally, all the country’s jute mills would be sick in near future.

Fifteen big and 10 small jute mills were closed down in the past two years as the demand for jute-made bags was very poor against their supply in the global market, said the millers.

Even the millers have cut the prices to attract foreign buyers but they are not getting desired response from them, they said.
read more.
FE bd

20150114 * Mirpur Jhut godown fire doused:

The fire which was broken out at a Jhut (scrap of fabrics from garment industries) godown in capital’s Mirpur-10 area on Wednesday noon was doused.

After an effort of 1.15 hours, 10 firefighting units brought the fire under control.
Vajon Sarkar, a duty officer of fire service, confirmed dousing the fire.
Confirming about the incident, Vajon Sarkar said a total of 10 firefighting units have rushed to the spot and doused the flames.
The cause of the blaze could not be known immediately after the incident.
No causalities, however, were reported in the incident while the report was filed.
to read. & see photoreport. & read more.
Print demotix FE bd

20150114 * Fire at Mirpur Jhut godown doused:

20150114 DAILYSTAR
Fire fighters trying to douse the fire that breaks out at jhutpatti in Mirpur of Dhaka Wednesday afternoon. Photo: STAR/ Ridwan Adid Rupon

A fire broke out at a jhut (scrap of fabrics from garment industries) godown in Mirpur-10 of Dhaka this afternoon.

10 firefighting units rushed to the spot and doused the flame by 4:00pm.
The fire originated at the godown, locally known Jhutpatty, around 2:08pm, an official of Fire Service and Civil Defence told The Daily Star. He however could ascertain the reason behind the blaze.
The losses of the fire are yet to be estimated.
read-see more video report. & read more.
daily star bd banglanews24NEW

20150114 * Fire at Mirpur jhut godown:

A godown of jhut (garment scraps) was gutted by a fire that broke out in Mirpur Jhutpatti area in the city on Wednesday.

Officer-in-charge of Pallabi Police Station Ziauzzaman said the fire originated at the warehouse in the area about 2:08pm and spread around soon.
On information, 12 firefighting units rushed in and brought the fire under control around 3:40pm.

However, the origin of the fire could not be known immediately.

Meanwhile, a three-member probe committee, headed by Assistant Director (Planning and Force) of Fire Service and Civil Defence Nurul Islam, has been formed to look into the fire incident.
The two other members are of the panel are Deputy Assistant Director Mamun Mahmud and Senior Station Officer of Mirpur Fire Station Abdul Arefin.
The committee has been asked to submit its report within seven working days.
to read. & read more. & read more. & read more.

20150115 * “Seeing tremendous gains in life safety”:

Brad Loewen, chief safety inspector at the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, speaks of challenges and wins for the factory safety inspections.

By September last year the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh had carried out more than 1,500 factory inspections, identifying more than 80,000 safety issues. Out of a total of around 4 million workers in the garment industry in Bangladesh, the Accord covers around 2,1 million.
see interview – video.

20150114 * NEW: Banglaccord Brochure: An introduction to the Accord:

The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh (the Accord), signed on
may 15th 2013, is a five year independent, legally binding agreement between apparel brands and retailers and trade unions designed to build a safe and healthy Bangladeshi Ready made Garment (RmG) Industry.The agreement was created in the immediate aftermath of the Rana Plaza building collapse that led to the death of more than 1100 people and injured more than 2000.
read more.

20150116 * EU urged to import more products from BD:

Bangladesh requested the European Union (EU) on Thursday to import more products so that the country could become a middle-income one by 2021.  

The request was made at a meeting between the Textiles and Jute Minister Emaz Uddin Pramanik and the EU Ambassador to Bangladesh Pierre Mayaudon at the minister’s Bangladesh Secretariat office on the day.
read more.
FE bd

20150112 * Government wants to talk with US about duty-free access of RMG:

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said the government would discuss with the United States about duty and quota-free access of Bangladeshi garment products under the Bali decisions of WTO.

The discussion could be held at a next WTO meeting, he  told reporters yesterday after a meeting of the high-level committee on reviewing and monitoring of World Trade Orgainsation activities.

Commerce Minister presided over the meeting, attended, among others, by Commerce Secretary Hedayetullah Al Mamoon ndc and Additional Commerce Secretary and head of WTO cell in the ministry Amitava Chakrabarty.

“We are working to prepare a road map to realise the benefits of WTO’s Bali decisions. We will talk about intellectual property rights issue at February 5 and 6 meetings of WTO on trade related intellectual property rights in Geneva,” Tofail said.
read more.

20150110 * Owners-workers’ row delays rules forming:

Formulation of rules to implement the amended labour law is getting delayed, following disagreements between the representatives of owners and workers over a number of issues relating to definition and outsourcing of workers, and their share in companies’ profit, sources said.

Besides, both the sides are yet to reach a consensus on the issues like functioning of the workers’ welfare fund, disputes over implementation of some provisions of the amended labour law with regard to formation of safety committees and their jurisdiction, they said.

However, labour leaders have alleged that the government is dillydallying over formation of the rules, protecting the owners’ interest. Formulation of the necessary rules is urgent to implement the country’s labour law, they said.
read more.
FE bd

20150112 * Govt mulls amendments to fire fighting rules:

The government has put on hold the fire prevention and fire fighting rules 2014 to make some changes in its provisions following the demand from the apparel makers, officials said.

The decision was taken at a meeting held at the ministry of home recently with State Minister for Home Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal. Representatives from Fire Service and Civil Defence (FSCD), Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), labour and commerce ministries and leaders from the apparel sector’s apex bodies – BGMEA and BKMEA – attended the meeting.

The meeting formed a committee and asked them to put forward their recommendations for necessary amendments to the rules within next two months after consulting with all stakeholders, said a source who attended the meeting.

“A decision has been taken to put on hold the fire prevention and fire fighting rules 2014 until necessary amendments are made,” Siddique Ullah Bhuiyan, joint secretary of the home ministry, told the FE.
read more.
FE bd

20150111 * Fire fighting guidelines suspended on RMG owners’ objection:

The government has agreed in principal to halt the implementation of Fire Fighting and Protection Guidelines 2014, after three months of its gazette notification, facing reservations from garment factory owners.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the home ministry on January 8 at the secretariat in the capital.
Earlier, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association voiced their reservations about the guidelines to the ministry and Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil Defence.

The garment sector leaders claimed there were some inconsistencies in the guidelines and that implementation of the guidelines would harm the sector.
Without any discussion with the industry the government issued gazette notification of the guidelines, they lamented.
The government had formulated the Fire Fighting and Protection Guidelines after nine years of the enactment of Fire Fighting and Protection Act 2003 and issued gazette notification on September 18, 2014.
read more.

20150116 * Garment makers meet retailers abroad as blockade lingers:

Some apparel retailers have cancelled their scheduled flights to Dhaka due to a political upheaval and asked their suppliers in Bangladesh to meet them abroad to wrap up work orders.

Industry insiders fear a reduction, cancellation and shift of work orders to other countries due to political tensions. The country has already witnessed 15 days of a nonstop blockade.

Garment makers or their representatives are travelling to Hong Kong, China, India, Thailand and European nations, spending thousands of dollars, to attend the meetings that were initially planned to take place in Dhaka. They will have to count losses from discounts to buyers and expensive air shipments to maintain the strict lead-time set by the retailers, according to industry people.
read more.
daily star bd

20150114 * Global RMG buyers, retailers worried over political turmoil:

Global garment buyers and retailers are concerned about sourcing of their apparel products from Bangladesh due to the political impasse and uncertainty that has already seriously affected the whole supply chain, industry insiders said.

Some of them had postponed their scheduled visit to Dhaka while many others are choosing an alternative place outside the country like Bangkok, Hong Kong and New Delhi to negotiate their orders over security concern, they added.

They said that buyers are very much scared over the ongoing political turmoil and they (buyers) appeared to be losing their confidence whether Bangladesh would be able to make timely shipments.

Though the manufacturers are going abroad for negotiating orders, the buyers may cut volume of orders and shift the orders to other countries, garment makers fear.

“A Canadian buyer who was scheduled to visit Dhaka recently has now chosen Bangkok to negotiate his next business order due to the ongoing unstable political situation,” Md Shahidullah Azim, managing director of Classic Fashion Concept Ltd told the FE.
read more.
FE bd

20150114 * RMG back in trouble as political unrest deepens:

‘The blockade that began on January 4 has already wiped off Tk4,50 crore of readymade garment sector’

Bangladesh’s garment manufacturers and exporters yesterday said the industry is in a deep trouble again due to latest spate of political unrest.

The pain had no sooner come than fading away effect of Rana Plaza tragedy and political unrest in 2013.

“The blockade that began on January 4 has already wiped off Tk4,50 crore of readymade garment sector,” Atiqul Islam, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), told a press briefing in Dhaka yesterday.
read more.

20150113 * Blockade hurting RMG sector: BGMEA:

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association on Monday warned political parties not to make businessmen hostage to their political squabbles and urged them to solve the political deadlock immediately through dialogue.

‘If the garment business shifted from Bangladesh due to political reasons, leaving millions of people jobless, entrepreneurs will not bear the responsibility,’ the BGMEA president Atiqul Islam said in a  press conference at the association headquarter in the city.

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association on Monday urged the political parties to solve the deadlock immediately through dialogue as the ongoing nationwide blockade is hurting businesses badly.
The trade body claimed business of Tk 450 crore in the readymade garment sector have been interrupted in the last couple of days due to the blockade. Atiq urged political parties to declare the readymade garment sector and its forward and backward linkage industries, and export import supply chain, free from strike or blockade.
The base of the readymade garment industry is image of the country, as the sector depends on international buyers.
The buyers have already started to express their concern over the current political unrest, he said.
read more.

20150116 * Garment expo a big hit with RMG sector:

In a boost to the readymade garments (RMG) sector in Bangladesh, three international shows on apparel machinery, fabrics, garment accessories and packaging are being exhibited at one place.

Garment Accessories and Packaging Expo-2015 (GAPEXPO), the four-day exhibition that began on Wednesday, boasts of 300 companies from 30 countries, including China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, which are exhibiting more than 3,000 products on RMG. The organisers said the expo has made it easier for local garment unit owners and investors to see the brand products with advanced technology brought by international exhibitors.

“It is a great opportunity for the owners and investors who are related with the garments industry to grab their desired product very easily as international exhibitors are showcasing global technologies at their door step,” said Nandagopal K, director of ASK trade, one of the organisers of the expo.
read more.

20150113 * Garment exporters count losses as blockade lingers:

The sector lost Tk 450cr in last 12 days

Garment exporters yesterday urged politicians to find a solution to the ongoing political impasse as the nationwide transport blockade cost the industry Tk 450 crore in the last 12 days.

“Keep the sector alive. Please, ensure a safe supply chain, resolve the current deadlock and guarantee congenial business climate,” said Atiqul Islam, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association or BGMEA.

“Otherwise, it will not be possible for us to shoulder this burden,” he told reporters at a media briefing at his office at the BGMEA headquarters in Dhaka.

Islam said since the blockade began, some factories have been forced to go for air shipments to supply products to buyers on time; many others have faced financial damages because of discounts, order cancellations and deferred payments.
read more.
daily star bd

20150115 * Garment accessories lobbyists seek cash incentive:

Industries minister Amir Hossain Amu said Wednesday apparel accessories and packaging makers will get plots at BSCIC estates or the planned garment park on a priority basis.

He also pledged to extend necessary policy support to help boost the accessories and packaging segment.

The minister’s promise came in response to a demand from the Bangladesh Garment Accessories Packaging Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGAPMEA) at the inaugural ceremony of a four-day fair being held in the city.

President of BGAPMEA urged the government to provide land for setting up an institute and testing laboratory for capacity build-up and cash incentive and stimulus package to help the garment accessories and packaging sector thrive.
read more.
FE bd

20150111 * Cotton crafts make 25,000 self-reliant:

The cotton crafts value chain programme of the “Samridhhi” project has created sustainable employments for 25,000 extremely poor people, mostly distressed women, making them self-reliant in the northern region.

The project beneficiaries have been earning well through mini garment cotton crafts, handloom and embroidery works to lead solvent life as well as contribute to the rural uplift and economy.

Three regional offices of HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation under the project have been assisting the beneficiaries since 2010 in the northern region with financial assistance of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

Under the project assistance and cooperation between private sectors and local entrepreneurs, various value chain systems, including cotton crafts, have developed opportunities for sustainable jobs and income generation activities locally.
read more. & read more.
daily star bd FE bd

20150115 * Expo shows strength in garment industry’s backward linkage:

An international fair of garment accessories and packaging industries began in Dhaka yesterday to bring into focus the country’s strength in backward linkages that have helped build a strong local apparel sector.

Over 300 companies from 30 countries are showcasing their products at the four-day GAP EXPO 2015 in over 600 stalls at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the capital.
Bangladesh Garment Accessories Packaging Manufacturers and Exporters Association or BGAPMEA organised the fair.
The expo provides an international platform for the members of the association to display their latest products and latest collections to garment exporters and buying houses, said Rafez Alam Chowdhury, president of BGAPMEA, in the opening ceremony.
read more.
daily star bd

20150110 * Govt assessing performance of privatised jute, textile mills:

Move to get back the sick ones

The government is assessing performance of privatised jute and textile mills in a bid to get back poor performing ones from the private sector, sources said.

A committee, that was formed last month with the joint secretary of ministry of Textile and Jute Rezaul Quader as its head, has already started evaluating the financial and operational health of the divested mills.

The report will have to be placed to the authority concerned within a month, they said.

A total of 38 jute mills were privatised in 1983. Of them, 25 mills remain closed since long due to financial constraints. Besides, the privatisation of 15 textile mills started in 1977. Now three textile mills are operating and 12 remain closed, said millers.

“We are working to evaluate the performance of those mills. Our task is to prepare a report on the mills and after that the authority concerned will decide what will they do,” Mr Rezaul Quader told the FE declining to explain in details.
read more.
FE bd

20150115 * US retailers again call for GSP re-launch:

American clothing retailers once again urged the Obama administration to renew expired and expiring trade programmes such as the Generalised System of Preferences for the sake of supporting trade-based jobs in the US.

“Not only do lapses in these programmes destroy US jobs and impose costs on US businesses, but they also cast doubt into US leadership on trade,” the American Apparel and Footwear Association said in a letter to the US House of Representatives.
The US government suspended the GSP scheme for all countries in July, 2013.
During a review of US trade policy at the World Trade Organisation last month, these concerns were cited by a number of AAFA’s trading partners, the letter said.
read more.
daily star bd

20150112 * B’desh loses more ground in US apparel market:

RMG exports plummet by 3.5pc in Jan-Nov

The country’s apparel exports to the US market in the 11 months of 2014 fell by 3.50 per cent to  $4.48 billion against $4.65 billion in the same period of 2013 due to sluggish demand for apparel in the market and compliance issue in Bangladesh.

In the period, Vietnam and India — the main competitors of Bangladesh — gained more space in the US  market.
Export earnings of Vietnam from garments in the January-November period to the US market increased by 14.58 per cent to $8.59 billion.
India’s textile and garment exports rose by 6.58 per cent to $6.20 billion in the first 11 months of 2014 while the garment exports increased by 5.73 per cent to $3.16 billion.
read more.

20150112 * Textile gains on high exports:

The textile sector gained 1.5 percent to stand at Tk 9,160 crore in market capitalisation yesterday, compared to the previous day, thanks to steady growth in exports last year.

Textile exports rose 5.78 percent year-on-year to $24.6 billion in 2014. The price earnings ratio of the sector stood at 19.4, where the average market PE was 15.51.

The PE ratio is a valuation of a company’s current share price compared to its per-share earnings. A lower PE means investment is less risky.

The positive vive in garment exports led investors to inject fresh funds into the sector, said IDLC Investments.

Some fundamentally good stocks from the sector, like Envoy Textiles, Matin Spinning Mills, Saiham Cotton Mills, Saiham Textile Mills, Square Textile and Malek Spinning Mills, have PE ratios ranging between 7-15, which means the share price of the companies are lucrative for further investment, the investment bank said.
read more.
daily star bd

20150109 * Garment exports on the mend:

Despite great odds, garment exports last year rose 5.78 percent year-on-year to $24.6 billion, by virtue of retailers’ increasing willingness to shift orders from China.

Some $24.6 billion worth of garment products were exported in 2014 in contrast to $23.5 billion the year before, according to the Export Promotion Bureau.

Furthermore, there appears to be an uptick generated towards the end of 2014: in December, Bangladesh shipped $2.33 billion of garment items, up from November’s $1.94 billion.
read more.
daily star bd

20150108 * The stellar rise of a garment maker:

Ananta Jalil, the businessman-turned-actor, plans to create 1,500 jobs in 2015

When he joined his family business in 2001, it was a small export-oriented garment company. But with a decade of hard work, Ananta Jalil has transformed his AJI Group into a leading name in the apparel sector.

It was in 1996 when his elder brother set up a small apparel unit in Mirpur. It had a workforce of 400 and used to make shirts for European buyers.

The garment sector was booming when Ananta joined business. “Garments were selling like hotcakes at that time,” the 36-year-old told The Daily Star in an interview recently.

The company was shifted to Hemayetpur in Savar in 2004 as part of an expansion plan. “We thought we would not be able to expand our business if we remain within the capital city,” Ananta said.

But success did not come overnight. He was involved in the family business while studying business management and fashion design in the UK. He had to maintain regular contacts with buyers and make arrangements for their visits to Bangladesh.
read more.
daily star bd

20150108 * Cotton use to grow 4pc on higher demand:

Bangladesh’s cotton consumption will rise 4.08 percent in fiscal 2015-16, riding on higher demand from local spinners and foreign investors in the textile sub-sector, the London-based Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) forecasts.

Consumption will increase to 1.02 million tonnes despite poor safety standards, mainly due to a shift in investment in the textile sector from India and China, the EIU said. This is the first time that cotton consumption will cross the one million tonne mark.

The EIU is the research and analysis division of the Economist Group that owns the Economist newspaper.

“Cotton consumption in Bangladesh will increase if the investment proposals in the textiles sector from aboard are really implemented here,” said Jahangir Alamin, the immediate past president of Bangladesh Textile Mills Association.
read more.
daily star bd

20150107 * RMG exporters fear losing orders again as politics heat up:

Police to escort shipping goods between Dhaka and Chittagong during blockade programme

Bangladesh’s readymade garment exporters are worried of losing work orders with the country’s politics entering into another wave of unrest over national election.

They say international buyers usually place most of their orders in this part of the year.

“Usually, most orders come during this period. But if political unrest persists, the buyers will be concerned about security. The sector would be the loser,” BGMEA director Md Moshiul Azam Shajal told Dhaka Tribune.
read more.

20150107 * RMG: Strengths to look for:

The RMG sector of Bangladesh has set itself an export target of $50 billions by 2021.

The target appears slightly ambitious and quite a few people are sceptical about its attainability. In the backdrop of pronounced scepticism of some quarters, the wisest thing would be to remove the existing road blocks and facilitate the smoothening process towards achieving the target.

We understand, to achieve a target of this magnitude in only seven years, will require a steady growth of around 13 per cent in export income per year. Bangladesh exported readymade garments worth $ 24.5 billions during the last financial year. A growth of 13 per cent in one year means an increase by $3.25 billions.

Export income mainly comes from the USA and the European countries. Canada is also a big market. But the economies of the developed countries have not been able to come out of the recent recession as yet.

There is a continuing sluggish trend in growth. Therefore, it may not be possible for the developed countries to reciprocate by buying more or paying more.
read more.
FE bd

20150114 * Ensuring total safety in RMG factories:

The readymade garment (RMG) sector has proved to be a boon for Bangladesh. It is the mainstay of the country’s economy, facilitating sustained 6.0 per cent plus gross domestic product (GDP) growth over the years.

It has provided millions of jobs within the industry and among those connected with backward linkages. Bangladesh already has a strong foothold in the world’s apparel market and we hope this will enable us to grow in the coming years.

Our vision is to increase global market share of Bangladesh’s RMG industry from the current 5.0 per cent to 8.0 per cent by 2021.
This requires increase in our exports to about US$ 50 billion.  Many may consider this to be over-optimistic but for Bangladesh’s RMG industry, this is an achievable goal.
That the industry has come of age is demonstrated by the manner in which it has handled the tragic industrial accidents.  Despite all the adverse publicity, RMG exports’ growth during the last fiscal year (FY) 2013-2014 was 13.8 per cent.

On the occasion of the Dhaka Apparel Summit 2014, the president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) told a press conference on December 06 that the country would reach US$ 50 billion RMG export when it will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its independence in 2021.
He hoped that the RMG industry’s global market share would rise from the current 5.0 per cent to 8.0 per cent by 2021 to fetch US$ 50 billion earnings.

So what is to be done to realise the dream of exporting garments worth US$ 50 billion? Time has come for rethinking and there is no alternative but to ensure ‘Total Safety’ (a new concept) in apparel industry.
‘Total safety’ means the way of ensuring workers’ safety through combined initiatives of ergonomics, chemical safety management, globally harmonised system (GHS), hazard identification and risk assessment (HIRA), restricted substance list (RSL), occupational safety and health (OSH), real time risk assessment (RTRA) and fire safety with matrix model theory.
Only market diversification and duty-free market access would not draw global buyers’ attention to the sector. Global buyers have said time and again that they would not import clothes stained with blood of workers.

In most cases, our factory owners are tackling workers’ safety and compliance issues and taking corrective measures on buyers’ pressure.
Most of the workers know their rights and the ILO declared child labour-free RMG units in 1995.
At the same time, Accord fire safety and building integrity and Alliance for Bangladesh workers’ safety have said, in the field of safety, Bangladesh’s RMG has improved a lot.
But there is a long way to go in case of ensuring workers’ total safety.
read more.
FE bd

20150116 * Kathak depicts Bangladesh RMG workers’ story:

A German choreographer has tried to depict the scenario of the exploited ready-made garments workers of Bangladesh with her dance theatre production, Made in Bangladesh.

Choreographer and also theatre director Helena Waldmann used Kathak to narrate the stories of the thousands of RMG workers who are being exploited by the international clothing industry, reports India based

More than 1,100 RMG workers died in Rana Plaza collapse in Savar on April 24, 2013. Much before Rana Plaza collapse, felt the need to tell the stories of the workers to the world.

She began interviewing factory workers in 2010 and after four years, Waldmann is ready to tell the stories with the help of her best known language– dance.

Made in Bangladesh, is about the lives of the lowest rung of labourers in mass-production factories – the pressure and monotony of their work, their suffering and aspirations.

Waldmann makes fascinating connection between the sewing machines and the classical Indian dance form of Kathak.

She said: “I have de-constructed Kathak for this show, taken out its lyrical aspects and the bells on the feet. I am using the footwork and arm work as a tool to talk about exploitation.”
read more.

10:39:50 local time map of india INDIA

20150115 * Seventeen school children rescued:

Were being used as labourers in a cotton plantation by their teacher

Seventeen children, who were being used as labourers in a cotton plantation by their teacher in Rayagada district of Odisha, were rescued during a joint raid by the authorities of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), the police and Childline.

Meanwhile, basing on the complaint of the CWC and Rayagada District Child Protection Officer (DCPO), the education department has suspended the erring teacher, Baburao Himrika.
All the rescued children were from an upper primary school at Matikana village under Rayagada block of the district, where Baburao used to serve. They were of 12 to 14 years of age and were studying in classes VI and VII. Out of them 13 were girls and four were boys.

Speaking to The Hindu , the Rayagada DCPO, Ramesh Nayak said during the raid made on Tuesday, all these students were found to be working in the cotton plantation of the teacher Baburao.
According to the children, the accused had forced them to bunk classes and work in his field for money.
They had been promised Rs.100 per day.
Their parents were thinking they were attending school. This teacher was taking these children to his cotton field from the school by an auto-rickshaw at the start of school hours and was getting them back to school in the afternoon.
read more

20150115 * “Tirupur textile park will worsen pollution’’:

The Vellore Citizens Welfare Forum (VCWF) has opposed the move of the Central government to set up a textile park in Tamil Nadu, particularly in Tirupur on the grounds that the cluster would aggravate the already serious problem of pollution caused by the dyeing units in Tirupur.

Referring to the news item titled, `Centre to set up 15 more textile parks’ which appeared in The Hindu dated January 10, 2015, P.S. Subrahmanian, honorary secretary of the forum said in a statement that Tirupur, Coimbatore and other places where dyeing and bleaching units are located are highly polluted by the effluents discharged from them. There are hundreds of such units generating highly toxic effluents which are polluting water bodies and particularly the Cauvery River and its tributaries.

Agricultural lands damaged
Thousands of hectares of agricultural lands have been damaged badly and agricultural production has been greatly reduced as per the finding of the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University and the Loss of Ecology Authority.

The VCWF stated that the textile industry has not been able to check the pollution and the level of total dissolved solids (TDS) in the Noyyal River, which had increased to a level between 7000 ppm (parts per million) and 11,000 ppm as against the limit of 2100 ppm fixed by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board.
read more.

20150115 * Start procuring cotton: SIMA tells government:

The Southern India Mills’ Association has appealed to the Union Government and the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) to start procuring cotton at the minimum support price in the State.

Association chairman T. Rajkumar has said in a press release that Tamil Nadu was expected to produce six lakh bales of cotton this year.
The market price of seed cotton in the State was lower than the support price now and arrivals were expected to pick up soon.
The CCI has procured about 50 lakh bales, mostly from Telangana.
It was expected to procure nearly 100 lakh bales of cotton this year (October 2014 to September 2015) at the support price from the cotton growing centres.
read more. & read more.

20150115 * ‘Simplify licensing scheme’:

The Cotton Textiles Export Promotion Council (TEXPROCIL) has appealed to the Union Government to simplify the “Advance Licesing Scheme”, which provides duty exemption to exporters.

Council chairman R.K. Dalmia, in a press release here has said that exporters were facing problems under the scheme in achieving the stipulated 15 per cent value addition, proving the link between export and imported products and advance authorisation.
to read.

20150113 * Major fire accident at ginning mill in Medak:

Major fire broke out at a ginning mill at Yerraram in Andol mandal of Medak district on Monday evening.
The police had to rope in about seven fire engines from nearby places to douse the fire.

According to the police, the fire broke out at Vaibhav Muruga ginning mill, suspected to be generated from a hot box being used in the ginning process, and spread within no time.
The officials pressed into service seven fire engines and controlled the fire.
It was estimated that about 30,000 quintals of cotton was burnt down resulting in huge loss and the exact loss was yet to be estimated.
to read.

20150113 * Large amount of textile material and machinery gutted in Surat fire:

Fire officials took more than 8 hours to control and douse the fire that erupted in Hojiwala Industrial estate building located on Sachin-Palsana road on late Monday evening.

Four storey building named Cambey, an embroidery unit housed large amount of machinery, gray material and other stock.
The unit is owned by a person named Jagdish Boghara.
No loss of life was reported but large amount of material and machinery was gutted in the fire that started on the ground floor due to short circuit but spread fast on all four floors due to inflammable material storage.

VK Tiwari, fire officer from Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) fire department who rushed to the spot with his team of other 18 people said, “120 x 50 four storey building located on road no 9 near Gate 2 of Hojiwala estate had machinery on the ground floor.
On the second floor, piles of gray material was stored along with some embroidery and twisting machines whereas it had bundles of other textile related material stored on the third floor. We were able to save machines of the ground floor but machines of the upper floors were gutted with material as fire had spread very quickly.”
read more.

20150113 * Govt’s decision to impose entry tax on yarn puts industry in a dire straits:

The Punjab government has apparently decided to impose Non-Vatable Entry Tax on yarn being brought in from other states, including Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and New Delhi.

As there were repeated requests and memorandum coming from spinners in the state asking to either reduce VAT on yarn manufactured in the state or impose restrictions on import of yarn from other states.

However, the textile and hosiery industry claim that levying of entry tax on yarn brought from other states would put a major impact on the industry in Ludhiana as they will be forced to purchase yarn from the local industry in Punjab that has 6% VAT on it.

Industry leaders have held talks with minister for industry and commerce Madan Mohan Mittal recently urging that such a tax should not be levied.

The Punjab Spinners Association manufacturing yarn had formed a steering committee last year that demanded that the state government should try to save the local yarn manufacturers.

Dinesh Lakra, president of Laghu Udyog Bharti, Punjab, said that the state government had decided to impose a Non-Vatable Entry Tax on yarn being imported from other states and this had been conveyed to them through meetings with senior officials and the minister concerned.
read more.

20150113 * India’s apparel production grows at 19.8% in Nov ‘14:

The industry group ‘Wearing apparel; dressing and dyeing of fur’ has shown the highest positive growth of 19.8 per cent, among the 22 industry groups (as per 2-digit NIC-2004) in the manufacturing sector, according to the quick estimates of Index of Industrial Production (IIP) with base 2004-05 for the month of November 2014, released by the Central Statistics Office of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India.
‘Textiles’ category showed a growth of 5.8 per cent in November 2014, according to the IIP, compiled using data received from 16 source agencies, including the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) and the Office of Textile Commissioner.
read more.

20150109 * ‘Textile sector should scale up production facilities’:

The textiles sector has to scale up its production facilities, particularly in the fabric and garment sector, according to Prem Malik, Chairman of the Confederation of Indian Textile Industry (CITI).

“Consolidation and integration of production facilities in the textile industry need urgent attention.
For achieving economies of scale and attracting foreign direct investment, we need to scale up our production facilities, particularly in fabrics and garment sector, both of which are dominated by sub-optimal sizes at present,” he said.
Inaugurating the 9{+t}{+h}edition of TexFair 2015, an international textile machinery, spares and accessories expo at the Codissia Trade Fair Complex, he said, “We have a lot to do.
Our share in fabric and apparel exports is just 4 per cent while China has a 44 per cent share. We need to diversify into newer product categories such as manmade fibres (MMF).”

MMF accounts for about 30 per cent of our total fibre consumption compared to around 70 per cent in global markets, he said. He said the domestic textile industry would be able to treble its total revenues to $350 billion by 2025 if it diversified to new product categories.
to read.

201501010 * Centre to set up 15 more textile parks:

Minister of State asks State governments to send their proposals

With the Union Ministry of Textiles looking to establish a minimum of 15 textile parks across the country, Santhosh Kumar Gangwar, Minister of State (Independent charge), has asked State governments to send their proposals for setting up the parks.

“The textile industry has good prospects for the economy and employment opportunities. We have been asking the help of the State governments to improve the industry,” he told reporters on the sidelines of an international conference at VIT University here on Friday.

Textiles is a very important sector but has been ignored in the last 10 years.
“The previous government, in the budget, had announced the setting up of a textile cluster in Tamil Nadu for which we will be coming here. I am also going to hold talks with officials,” he added.

Noting that there is plenty of scope in technical textile all over the country, he said the government has allotted Rs. 400 crore for technical textile in the north east region.
“We can do more in this field. We are asking every State government to participate in the textile park bids,” he said.
read more. & read more.
THEHINDU ynfxlogo

20150109/12 * Garment industry faces payment crisis:

Players expand arbitration committee to 15 members from 4

The readymade garment industry is facing a huge payment defaults by bulk buyers with the prolonged economic slowdown affecting retail sales.

The Clothing Manufacturers Association of India (CMAI) has expanded its arbitration committee to 15 members from four, so that it can provide representation to every sector of the industry.

In addition, a group of 80 volunteers has been formed to monitor the situation. These volunteers represent garment industrial estates and garment clusters. The Association has also called for a meeting of wholesalers, distributors, agents and retailers to discuss the issue in Mumbai on Tuesday.

CMAI President Rahul Mehta said the normal payment cycle, which was used to be between 30 and 60 days, has now extended to six to eight months, leading to a payment crisis in the garment industry. In some extreme cases, the buyers even disappeared without making payments.

Most garment manufacturers wait up to 18 months to recover their legitimate dues before moving the arbitration committee of the CMAI, he said.

The apparel industry is estimated at about Rs. 2 lakh crore, including export of Rs. 80,000 crore. Garment companies do not have control on their receivables as the industry is quite scattered, involving retailers, distributors and agents.
read more.

20150115 * Cotton yarn spinners in doldrums due to sluggish demand:

All hopes on China’s import quota which may be announced in next few weeks

The cotton yarn manufacturers who made a fast buck due to rally in domestic and international markets last year are in doldrums due to sluggish demand and compressed prices.A sharp decrease in price of raw cotton in domestic market this year compared to last year failed to cheer the yarn makers as buyers of cotton yarn are procuring yarn at a negotiated prices.  But the industry is projecting a revival before the end of January as China (the single largest buyer of Indian cotton yarn) is likely to announce its import quota.
The Managing Director of Oswal Group, J L Sharma, informed that margins were cut by 40% to 50% depending upon the product mix. “We cannot underutilize capacities as spinning is a round the clock process and we have keep our workers engaged. Spinners are creating inventories in the hope of revival in demand”, he added.
read more.

20150112 *  Slowdown in China, cotton glut may deal Indian farmers a hard knock:

India is likely to face a cotton glut this year.
The surplus, however, will be of little comfort to suicide-prone and highly indebted farmers, who stare at a sharp drop in earnings – prices are already down 14% compared with last year.

The crisis has to do with a slowdown in China, which is forecast to slash by half the amount of cotton it will import this year, most of it from India.

“Exports could see a remarkable fall. Although prices currently show some improvement on a month-on-month basis, average prices of cotton are already about 14% lower than a year ago,” said VN Saroja, CEO of Agriwatch, a commodities firm.

The United States department of agriculture (USDA), in a global report, said it expected up to 47% fall in Indian cotton exports.

The glut is expected despite a projected drop in India’s output due to a bad monsoon. A partial drought could result in a crop of about 40.2 million bales (of 170 kg each) in 2014-15, lower than the previous year’s 40.7 million bales, according to the Cotton Association of India.
Even Gujarat, a major producer with better irrigation facilities, could see a dip in output.
Battling a slowdown in its textile sector, China is likely to slash imports by half this year, scaring major producers such as the US, Brazil and Uzbekistan.
But these countries are less dependent on China than India, which exports heavily to the Communist neighbour since it started a programme to build a national cotton reserve.
read more.

10:09:50 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

20150116 * Textile millers decry 10-hour outages:

The Water and Power Ministry has been adding to myriad of problems already being faced by the Punjab-based textile manufacturers, by cutting electricity supplies to their factories 10 hours a day despite clear-cut instructions from the prime minister to the contrary.

“Textile mills on independent feeders are being hit hard, as these units have been forced to close down two shifts and lay-off a large part of workforce,” said All Pakistan Textile Mills Association Chairman SM Tanveer here on Thursday.

He deplored short sightedness of the Ministry of Water and Power for not facilitating the Punjab-based textile industry. On the other hand, as the European Union has extended the GSP Plus facility to Pakistan’s textile exports, the present energy crunch would not allow any advantage to be reaped in shape of enhanced exports.
read more.

20150116 * Punjab-based textile industry energy woes: Ministry, Discos adding to mills’ miseries: APTMA:

Chairman APTMA SM Tanveer has lamented the unilateral subjection of 10 hours electricity load shedding daily to the Punjab based Textile Industry.

Textile mills on independent feeders are to be hit hard, as these units have been forced to close down two shifts and lay-off a large part of workforce.

He said that the Ministry of Water and Power and DISCOs were flouting the clear-cut directions of the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for zero load shedding for Punjab-based textile industry.

He deplored short sightedness of the Ministry of Water and Power for not facilitating the Punjab-based textile industry.

On the other hand, as European Union (EU) has extended GSP Plus facility to Pakistan’s textile exports, the present energy crunch will not allow any advantage to be reaped in shape of enhanced exports.
read more.

20150114 * Punjab textile mills lay off workers: Continuous short energy supply forcing closure of shift: APTMA chief:

Chairman APTMA S M Tanveer has expressed deep concern over continuous short supply of electricity and gas to the Punjab-based textile mills since the last three weeks resulting into closure of one shift to lay off workers.

He deplored that the Punjab based textile industry operations are in distress due to short supply of both electricity and gas.

At present, he said, the Punjab’s textile mills are getting six hours a day gas supply and 16 hours a day electricity supply, leaving the industry with a mismatch of two hours a day and halting mills’ operations to run below capacity to the extent of one shift.
He said the textile industry due to energy supply suspensions has been unable to produce goods meant for export or for use to produce value added products.
read more. & read more. & read more.

20150115 * Textile export to Italy increases: envoy:

Italian ambassador Adriano Chiodi Cianfarani said his country the ninth largest exporter and 14th largest exporters of Pakistan has assisted Pakistan in energy projects worth of Rs14 billion and also offered technical assistance to overcome energy crunch.

He said textile exports of Pakistan to Italy have increased after Generalised System of Preferences plus status and it would be further improved with the passage of time. Exchanging views with acting President Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) Humayun Parvez at Chamber he said both countries should explore other sectors to enhance bilateral trade volume.
read more.
daily times PK

20150115 * Govt takes various measures to improve cotton crop:

Government has taken various measures to improve cotton production including Cotton Leaf Curl Virus (CLCV) resistance varieties being tested for release to enhance cotton production as CLCV was the largest hindrance to cotton maximisation.

Sources in Ministry of Textile Industry said CLCV developed by Pakistan Central Cotton Committee (PCCC) and other public and private research system was being tested for release.

The PCCC is conducting farmers training programmes to influence cotton growers to bring more area under cotton right before the sowing of cotton starts. Efforts are being made to maximise area under cotton out of 200,000 acres in Gomal Zam command area in D I Khan Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
read more.
daily times PK

20150114 * Textile exporters seek release of Rs50bn stuck up tax refund:

Pakistan’s textile industry has been looking forward to a full refund of export tax rebates as early as possible as the delay in releasing the outstanding tax and duty drawback could further erode sector’s ability to export and also squeeze their profitability, industry officials said on Tuesday.

Officials said the government is yet to clear refunds worth Rs50 billion for textile exporters under the duty drawback scheme, accumulating till October 2014.

“Only value-added textile sector exporting units had an accumulated pending refund of about Rs30 billion during last year,” said an official of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma).
read more.

20150114 * Cotton market: buying by spinners, mills restricted on dearth of market moving factors:

Strong buying by mills and spinners remained restricted on dearth of market moving factors, dealers said on the cotton market on Tuesday.

The official spot rate was unchanged at Rs 4,950, dealers said. In the ready session, nearly 10,000 bales of cotton changed hands between Rs 4450 and Rs 5200, they said.

The seed cotton in Sindh was available at Rs 1800 and Rs 2400, in Punjab rates were at Rs 1800 and Rs 2800, they said. According to some analysts, mills and spinners finalising deals of best quality in expectations of revival of activities. Cotton analyst, Naseem Usman said that local exporters and mills were expecting to attend Heimtextil, the world biggest trade fair for the textile.
They were hoping to get better response from the European Union countries.
read more.

20150110 * Quaid-i-Azam Apparel Park to be made success: Shahbaz:

The chief minister says Pakistan, especially Punjab, has special expertise in the textile and garments sector and a plan has been evolved to establish the state-of-the-art Quaid-i-Azam Apparel Park with the investment of billions of rupees in Punjab where modern facilities will be provided to the investors, workforce, and textile and garments industry.

Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said it was his dream to make the park the most modern park of South Asia which would be materialised at every cost, says a handout.

He said this during a meeting with a delegation of International Investors Group of textile and garments sector, on Friday. Besides the textile and garments sectors, prospects of cooperation in the project of Quaid-i-Azam Apparel Park were also discussed during the meeting. Provincial ministers Raja Ashfaq Sarwar and Muhammad Shafiq, Adviser on Health Khwaja Salman Rafiq, MPA Dr Ayesha Ghaus Pasha, the chief secretary and the inspector general of police were also present.
read more.

20150110 * APTMA demands non-stop power supply to save jobs of Punjab-based workers:

All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) urged Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif to save jobs of hundreds and thousands of Punjab-based textile workers by directing DISCOs to ensure uninterrupted power supply to textile mills.

APTMA Chairman S M Tanveer said power supply to Punjab-based textile mills was suspended over the last two days and the mills were left with no option but to close down two shifts and lay-off textile workers.

Punjab-based textile industry is operating in very difficult times through a combination of electricity and gas, despite serious cost-ineffectiveness due to inordinate tariff rates.
However, suspension of power supply over the last two days as a result of the third countrywide blackout during the last 30 days has restricted the Punjab-based textile mills to rely upon just six hours a day gas supply on Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited network.

Resultantly the majority of Punjab-based textile mills have opted for shutting down two shifts a day instead of continuing 24/7 operations and save jobs of workers.
He said the industry operations in Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO) region, in particular were highly disrupted and majority  of mills were unable to meet
export orders.
read more. & read more. & read more.
daily times PK BUSINESSRECORDER thenewspk

20150110 * Textile sector: IIG team, chief minister Punjab discuss cooperation:

Chief Minister Punjab Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif held a meeting with a delegation of International Investors Group of textile and garments sector, here on Friday.

Besides textile and garments sectors, prospects of co-operation in the project of Quaid-e-Azam Apparel Park were also discussed during the meeting.

Provincial Ministers Raja Ashfaq Sarwar, Muhammad Shafiq, Advisor Health Khawaja Salman Rafiq, Dr Ayesha Ghaus Pasha MPA, Chief Secretary, Inspector General Police and senior officials were also present on the occasion. The delegation included Senior Vice President International Investors Group David Love, Senior Vice President Ms Liz O’Neil, Vice President Ms Anne Madison and other officials.

The CM said that Pakistan is an agrarian country and produces best cotton. Pakistan especially Punjab has special expertise in textile and garments sector. He said that a plan has been evolved for the establishment of state-of-the-art Quaid-e-Azam Apparel Park with the investment of billions of rupees in Punjab where special and modern facilities would be provided to the investors, workforce, textile and garments industry.
The Chief Minister said that it is his dream to make apparel park the most modern park of South Asia which will be materialised at every cost.
read more.

20150110 * To avert tragedies: Industrialists urged to invest in fire fighting sector:

The deputy chief fire officer, Syed Imtiaz Afzal, urged industrialists on Friday to invest in the sector of fire fighting so that it could become equipped enough to handle any emergency situation.

Elaborating on the mechanism, Afzal said that if each industrial area contributes to the sector with two fire tenders or equivalent funds each year, there will be no big tragedies ever in the city.

“Four well-equipped fire stations should be set up in each industrial area,” he said. “Currently, the fire department, with a total 22 fire stations, possesses 59 fire tenders of which only 37 are in working condition, three snorkels of which only one is functional.”
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20150110 * Disaster in waiting: Fire protection rules yet to be enforced:

The civic authorities have failed to enforce the fire prevention rules they had formulated for the capital city three years ago.

The much-hyped set of fire prevention rules, widely praised by the city managers at the time of its promulgation in 2011, still awaits enforcement.

Due to absence of fire prevention measures in place, the federal capital recorded 91 fire incidents alone at public, commercial and industrial buildings during 2014, according to statistics released by the CDA’s Emergency and Disaster Management (E&DM) wing.

Though no loss of life reported due to timely response by the wing, but these fires caused substantial financial losses.

During the year in review, 38 fire incidents, mostly small-scale, were reported at different public buildings, 41 at commercial and 12 at industrial buildings.
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20150115 * Bed wear export grows less than one percent:

The country’s export of bed-wear grew less than one percent during July to December, 2014-15, to $899.731 million, as textile manufacturers blamed the government’s disinterest for the stagnation.

According to Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, bed-wear export posted a $7.916 million increase in July to November, 2014-15, from $891.815 million in July to November, 2013-14.

However industry officials called upon the Commerce Ministry and Textile Ministry to dedicate a bit of their interest to the ailing sector to increase the growth. In term of volume, bed-wear export showed a growth of 2.37 percent to 136, 260 metric tons in July to November, 2014-15, up from 133,110 metric tons in July to November, 2013-14.
read more.

20150108 * Textile industry: Millers seek action against yarn dumping:

ll Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) Chairman SM Tanveer has asked the Ministry of Commerce to take action against an abnormal rise in dumping of Indian cotton yarn in Pakistan that is putting viability of the domestic textile industry at stake.

In a statement, Tanveer said import data suggested that Indian exporters had dumped 26,000 tons of cotton yarn in 2013-14 and around 17,000 tons in 2012-13. The dumping reached 2,500 tons per month during July-November 2014.

“A 100% rise in dumping of Indian yarn necessitates immediate remedial measures from the Ministry of Commerce,” he added.
read more.

20150112 * PJMA calling for immediate attention of the govt:

As overall exports, consumption and production of jute is facing a gradual drop the Pakistan Jute Mills Association (PJMA) Secretary General Muhammad Younus has called for the immediate attention of the government.

The Association demanded that the government must introduce mandatory packaging acts like many regional countries to back the industry.

According to the data compiled by the industry, the production of jute (hessian, sacking, and others) in the country is almost stagnant at 101,722 tons in 2013-14 compared to 103,957 tons a decade ago in 2003-04 after touching record 137,411 tons in 2008-09.
read more.

20150112 * Circles of colour and light:

20150112 theNEWS

The sight is like that of any other ordinary marketplace.
The hub of Pakistan’s bangle industry, Hyderabad Choori Market, has however some other peculiar features – long interconnected narrow street ways crowded with more than 1,500 glass bangle shops and people engaged in motley of subtle refining jobs.

“You see everyone here is doing some work,” a shop owner Zamiruudin says. “We can’t bear the expenses if not everybody contributes a little,” he adds, while brushing gold water on a few bangles hanged on three fingers of his left hand.

Located adjacent to a congested thoroughfare of Nishat Chowk, these shops are not just selling glass bangles to buyers coming from within and outside the country they also are cottage units where skilled labours give the ornament of personal beauty a finishing touch.

A glass bangle is ready to fancy up a lady hand after going through 25 to 30 hands.

“You can say at least 30 steps…some of them require a hand touch on every single bangle millions in numbers,” says the veteran Zamiruddin- in late 60s, associated with this profession since his childhood.

The bangle market is only adding value to the glass wristlet that has undergone rigorous handiworks in the hand of mostly womenfolk living in the city’s Liaquat Colony, Mohammadi Colony, Latifabad and Khuda Ki Basti, and around its neighbourhood settlements like Tandola Yar and Tando Jam.

It is estimated that approximately 0.6 million people connected to this profession are now residing in Hyderabad or its outskirts. Not all of them are descendents of Ferozepur migrants. But, many of them had ancestors in the neighbouring India.

Once an epitome of fashion for every lady of Indo-Pak region, the glass bangle is losing charm among the womenfolk in Pakistan because of the availability of a wide range of substitutes in a variety of hue and colours.
Bangles are now available in plastic, metal, ferrous and silver.

Women of yesteryears found it a misdemeanour to not wear glass bangles while at home, at a marriage ceremony or a religious festival. In India, the belief was common that the glass bangle invited prosperity and good luck.

A visit to a factory in the industrial area bears out his candid remark. The production unit has a jumbled look with workers using both hands and machineries to produce spring-shaped ring.
Today’s unit may have solely one distinction compared with the old production and that is electric-powered cylindrical rod (called balen in vernacular) rolling constantly to give a round shape to hot glass liquid pouring atop.

These factories gather raw materials composed of wastages of glass bottles of all shape and types – mainly liquor bottles – to melt them in an oven run on gas.
A maund of material is priced in the range of Rs25 and Rs400.

Khan says the quality of input is not good, dubbing it as a reason for the second-rate output.

The poor working condition may be another reason for this. Workers say they are satisfied since they are getting good wages between Rs450 and Rs700. They, however, seem indifferent to the dire risks the job poses to their health and life.
read more.


20150114 * SHC seeks Baldia factory fire probe reports:

The Sindh High Court directed the additional prosecutor general on Tuesday to submit within a week reports of the investigation conducted into the massive fire at a factory in Baldia Town in 2012.

The orders came on an application filed by the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research seeking the transfer of the case’s investigation officer and an expeditious trial.
Piler and others had filed a petition for the formation of a judicial commission that would fix the responsibility on those responsible of the tragedy at the Ali Enterprise factory wherein 289 people had lost their lives. The petitioners also want the commission to suggest the amount of compensation money for the heirs of the victims.

Their counsel, Faisal Siddiqui, submitted in the application that the investigation officer, Jehanzaib Khan, was conducting himself impartially and delaying the proceedings of the trial.

He alleged that the officer was benefiting the accused and despite a lapse of two years had not even framed charges against them.

He asked the court to direct the home department and the IGP to appoint a senior police officer to investigate the case and direct the trial court to conclude the proceeding within six months.

Safety measures
In an identical matter, the court gave three weeks’ time to the Sindh Industrial Trading Estate, the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, the labour department, the health secretary, the industries ministry and others to submit reports on the fire safety measures taken at public and private buildings.

The petitioner, Raah-e-Raast Trust chairman Agha Syed Attaullah Shah, had submitted that the civic agencies were guilty of criminal negligence for not ensuring fire safety steps at the city’s buildings.
read more.

20150113 * SHC asks spy agencies to submit reports on Baldia factory fire:

he Sindh High Court (SHC) directed on Tuesday the chiefs of various intelligence agencies to submit reports, if any, on the Baldia factory fire that killed 259 workers in September 2012.

The Inter-Services Intelligence, Military Intelligence, Intelligence Bureau, Federal Investigation Agency and the paramilitary force have been asked to submit their reports within two weeks.

These directions came after the additional attorney general informed the judges that these agencies have failed to provide any investigation report in response to the letters he wrote to them.
The bench was hearing identical petitions seeking a judicial inquiry into the causes of the worst industrial disaster in the country’s history, action against the owners of Ali Enterprises factory and prompt payment of compensation to the victims’ families.

During Tuesday’s proceedings, assistant prosecutor general Muntazir Mehdi said that DIG Sultan Khawaja is currently supervising the investigation, in pursuance of the court order passed earlier.

The investigation reports have been compiled and will be filed within a week, he informed, requesting the court allow more time. The two-judge bench gave him one week.

An SHC official submitted a report that 400 of the 1,200 legal heirs have already been given their compensation cheques. The cheques for the remaining 800 heirs will be delivered within 15 days, he assured. Disposing of the Nazir’s report, the bench ordered him to submit a detailed report containing the names of the legal heirs after they receive the cheques.

The additional director of the Employees Old-Age Benefits Institution, Arshad Iqbal Rajput, said that the legal heirs of 214 deceased have been paid compensation. He produced a list, showing cases of 15 persons are being processed, while eight claims have been rejected. The matter of payment to 13 claimants, who are underage, is also pending so far, he added.
read more.


20150115 * Industrial Court Reinstates 2,000 EPZ Workers:

THE Industrial Court in Mombasa yesterday directed the reinstatement of more than 2,000 EPZ workers following a consent between the employers and employees.

Judge Onesmus Makau gave the directions after the two parties agreed to issue new contracts to the workers and allow the staff to join a union.

Makau told Mombasa Apparel EPZ that employees have a constitutional right to be members of a union and their remittance should be paid to the union without fail or delay.
He said no employee should be victimised for being a union member.

The workers had on January 12 moved to court complaining that their employer had unlawfully chosen to lock them out of their work stations for being members of a union.
read more.

20150115 * Union rights victory at Ashton Apparels in Kenya:

Over 7,000 workers returned to work on 15 January after an eight-day of strike action. The action was the result of the dismissal of 120 workers from Ashton Apparels after they joined the Tailors and Textiles Workers Union (TTWU).

The wildcat strike broke out in the Kenyan city of Mombasa on 5 January when workers from several factories owned by Ashton Apparel EPZ Ltd demanded the reinstatement of 120 unionised workers. These workers found that they had been made redundant upon returning from their Christmas leave.
They also want the company to recognise TTWU.

“The company has been violating labour laws by denying workers their constitutional rights to join the union of their choice and victimizing employees who have voluntarily joined the union,” said TTWU General Secretary, Joel Chebii.
The company has also refused to sign a recognition agreement with TTWU and deduct union dues from the union members’ wages.
read more.


20150116 * Etur Textile all set to export its product in Europe and American markets:

Etur Textile, the Turkish textile manufacturer operating one of the largest textile factories in Ethiopia having conducted successful trial exports to Algeria and Morocco is going to start exporting its products in European and American markets.

Adil Basoglu, board member and executive director of Etur, explained that the textile factory has fully embarked on production and it will soon start exporting its products to larger overseas markets. The company aims to become the biggest exporter in the nation.

Basoglu said that they have moved to Ethiopia to become more productive and help out the countries vision in the sector. Hiring more than 800 employees, the factory has stepped up its production to start export in full capacity.
read more.


20150111 * Bahrain textile sector’s next focus to get TPL extended to remain viable:

Bahrain’s textile industry has got a temporary relief with the extension of a key clause under the 10-year-old US-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement (FTA) as the industry’s representative from Bahrain have succeeded to convince the US authorities that the date was incorrect since the programme was not initiated until August 2006, and therefore the 10-year programme should be set to expire on July 31, next year and not December 31 this year.

Before, the expiration date had been listed as December 31 this year. Garment firm MRS Fashions’ executive director Harinder Lamba announced that the US government has issued a notice correcting the date of termination of the ‘tariff preference level’ (TPL) in its record.
Lamba, however, said that this was not a new benefit, the TPL needed to be extended for an additional 10 years for Bahrain-based textile manufacturers to remain viable which exports $200 million worth of goods to the US market.
read more.


20150113 * A Moldovan garment worker earns just £95 a month:

In October 2014 we joined LBL’s activist partner organisations from around Europe at the Fit for Fair Conference in Chisinau, Moldova; a multi-national project to raise awareness of the poor labour conditions employed in manufacturing for the multi-billion dollar sportswear industry.

It was an incredible three days with discussions, shared learning, talks with Moldovan politicians and even a visit to a garment factory! I was really privileged to meet so many people passionate about solidarity in the garment industry and was definitely something I would never have experienced without being part of the LBL family.

This is the 2nd of the 3 year project, bringing together five partners representing five different countries; Germany, Moldova, Romania, Slovakia and the UK (us!).
Lucy and myself were invited as ‘multipliers’; people who had learned about the campaign and joined in spreading the word, through volunteering as regional co-ordinators for Labour behind the Label.

It was fantastic to learn about the amazing work the partners were doing and the innovative ways they were finding to fight for fairer wages, such CIR’s Association of Critical Shareholders; a group of Adidas shareholders who donated their shares for a day so that human rights organisations could attend and speak at the AGM.
It was also a fantastic chance to share progress of the #ALLIN campaign, especially the inspirational story of Cambodian union leader Eam Rin and her UK speaking tour earlier in the year.

One of the biggest highlights was a visit to a garment factory located in central Chisinau. Most of us had never seen an actual garment factory before so we weren’t sure what to expect.
We had already been told that the factory had contracts with many big European brands, reminding me of the victims of collapsed factories in Bangladesh, like Rana Plaza where Labour Behind the Label and factory workers are still fighting for fair compensation.
read more.
labour behind the label



map of Asia


For the latest news see tweets below and @DressedStripped (on twitter).

There are UPDATES under “special overviews”:

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


* 3 Chinese convicted in factory fire that killed 7 in Italy
* Uniqlo pledges to improve factory conditions in China
* Uniqlo criticized for links with unsafe factories
* Uniqlo’s Hong Kong-listed suppliers ‘putting workers lives in danger’
* [Statement] Clean Clothes from UNIQLO now!
* The talent highland of ecological textile industry

* P16,000 minimum wage urged to avert more hunger, deprivation
* PH garments exports to see increase by at least 15pc this year

* S.Korea firm to sue workers for loss-causing strike
* Hundreds strike for minimum pay rise
* Vinatex to invest $71 mln in Quang Nam complex
* Businesses in Binh Duong seek 45,000 unskilled workers
* Textile, garment firms expect buoyant growth
* Vietnam targets $28.5b from garment, textile exports in 2015
* Garment makers import more materials
* Garment firm targets 115 mln USD revenue in 2015

* Manhattan factory strike returns to the streets
* Attacked unionist suspects factory
* Garment Factory’s Concessions End Strike
* Workers set to get EdC deal
* High Confidence in Cambodian economy
* Dewhirst management ‘intimidated’ workers
* Wage hike not high for some
* PM Says Workers’ Salaries Must Rise
* Garment Factories Report Major Drop in Strikes
* Transparency in Cambodia’s Garment Sector Working Conditions
* BetterFactories Media Updates, 15 January
* BetterFactories Media Updates 14 January
* BetterFactories Media Updates 12 January

* Indonesia Tops Southeast Asia Luring New Factories, Survey Shows

* Protesting workers demand wage increase

* JTUCC demands social security
* Nepal’s garment exports surge 46.3% in 2013-14

* Fire at Savar jhut godown
* 25 jute mills shut down in two years
* Mirpur Jhut godown fire doused
* Fire at Mirpur Jhut godown doused
* Fire at Mirpur jhut godown
* “Seeing tremendous gains in life safety”
* EU urged to import more products from BD
* NEW: Banglaccord Brochure: An introduction to the Accord
* Government wants to talk with US about duty-free access of RMG
* Owners-workers’ row delays rules forming
* Govt mulls amendments to fire fighting rules
* Fire fighting guidelines suspended on RMG owners’ objection
* Garment makers meet retailers abroad as blockade lingers
* Global RMG buyers, retailers worried over political turmoil
* RMG back in trouble as political unrest deepens
* Blockade hurting RMG sector: BGMEA
* Garment exporters count losses as blockade lingers
* Garment accessories lobbyists seek cash incentive
* Cotton crafts make 25,000 self-reliant
* Expo shows strength in garment industry’s backward linkage
* Govt assessing performance of privatised jute, textile mills
* US retailers again call for GSP re-launch
* B’desh loses more ground in US apparel market
* Textile gains on high exports
* Garment exports on the mend
* The stellar rise of a garment maker
* Cotton use to grow 4pc on higher demand
* RMG exporters fear losing orders again as politics heat up
* RMG: Strengths to look for
* Ensuring total safety in RMG factories
* Kathak depicts Bangladesh RMG workers’ story

* Seventeen school children rescued
* “Tirupur textile park will worsen pollution’’
* Start procuring cotton: SIMA tells government
* ‘Simplify licensing scheme’
* Major fire accident at ginning mill in Medak
* Large amount of textile material and machinery gutted in Surat fire
* Govt’s decision to impose entry tax on yarn puts industry in a dire straits
* India’s apparel production grows at 19.8% in Nov ‘14
* ‘Textile sector should scale up production facilities’
* Centre to set up 15 more textile parks
* Garment industry faces payment crisis
* Cotton yarn spinners in doldrums due to sluggish demand
* Slowdown in China, cotton glut may deal Indian farmers a hard knock

* Textile millers decry 10-hour outages
* Punjab-based textile industry energy woes: Ministry, Discos adding to mills’ miseries: APTMA
* Punjab textile mills lay off workers: Continuous short energy
* Textile export to Italy increases: envoy
* Govt takes various measures to improve cotton crop
* Textile exporters seek release of Rs50bn stuck up tax refund
* Cotton market: buying by spinners, mills restricted on dearth of market moving factors
* Quaid-i-Azam Apparel Park to be made success: Shahbaz
* APTMA demands non-stop power supply to save jobs of Punjab-based workers
* Textile sector: IIG team, chief minister Punjab discuss cooperation
* To avert tragedies: Industrialists urged to invest in fire fighting sector
* Disaster in waiting: Fire protection rules yet to be enforced
* Bed wear export grows less than one percent
* Textile industry: Millers seek action against yarn dumping
* PJMA calling for immediate attention of the govt
* Circles of colour and light
* SHC seeks Baldia factory fire probe reports
* SHC asks spy agencies to submit reports on Baldia factory fire

* Industrial Court Reinstates 2,000 EPZ Workers
* Union rights victory at Ashton Apparels in Kenya

* Etur Textile all set to export its product in Europe and American markets

* Bahrain textile sector’s next focus to get TPL extended to remain viable

* A Moldovan garment worker earns just £95 a month

latest tweets (& news)

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

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

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

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

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