in the news 14-17 February 2015

our clothing kills

20150214 * Benetton faces pressure over Rana Plaza victims’ fund:

Italian fashion brand Benetton is facing renewed pressure to contribute to a compensation fund for victims of the Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza factory disaster in which more than 1,100 people died, reports The Guardian.

Almost 1 million (10 lakh) people have signed a petition on Avaaz, the campaigning site, calling on the Italian company to contribute $5 million into a fund backed by the International Labour Organisation, a UN agency.
read more.

20150213 * Pressure for Rana Plaza victims’ fund:

Campaigners call on Italian fashion brand to contribute $5m to ILO-back fund as the second anniversary of Bangladeshi garment factory disaster nears
Benetton is facing renewed pressure to contribute to a compensation fund for victims of the Rana Plaza factory disaster in which more than 1,100 people died.

Almost 1 million people have signed a petition on Avaaz /, the campaigning site, calling on the Italian fashion company to contribute $5m (£3.25m) into a fund backed by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), a UN agency.

Two months before the second anniversary of the collapse of the Bangladeshi factory complex , where clothes were being made for Benetton and a number of other brands including Britain’s Primark, the fund remains $9m short of the $30m required to fully compensate victims and their families.
So far 5,000 people – injured workers and families of the deceased – have received only 40% of the money due to them.
There is enough in the pot to ensure they get 70%.
read more.


14:49:19 local time map of china CHINA

20150216 * China’s workers get ready for another Year of the New Normal:

On the surface at least, there is not a lot for China’s workers to celebrate this New Year: The economy is, by Chinese standards, barely crawling along, factories, coal mines and construction projects are closing down, and those workers who can stay employed are likely to see their income decline as overtime payments and bonuses dry up.

The last time things were this bad was in early 2009, in the immediate aftermath of the global economic crisis. At that time many workers were willing to just shrug their shoulders and accept their fate.
But that is no longer the case today. Over the last six years, China’s workers have grown in strength, organizational ability and determination.
They have faced pushback from employers as well as local government officials and the police but this has only strengthened their resolve.

The recent arbitration case in Foshan, in which 35 factory workers filed a complaint claiming illegal dismissal, is just the latest in a catalogue of incidents in which workers have refused to bow to employers’ intimidation tactics and have asserted their rights under the law.
Other workers have been detained for leading worker protests, only to emerge from jail as fully-fledged labour activists.

Workers feel they have more to lose now.
read more.

20150217 * Imports of cotton dip as textiles struggle:

Farmers pick cotton at Zhangzhuang village in Neihuang county, central China’s Henan province, Oct 9, 2013. [Photo/Xinhua]

Cotton imports slid 44.9 percent year-on-year to 161,200 metric tons in January, highlighting the challenges that domestic textile manufacturers face in a weak world market, said trade experts.

He Jingtong, a professor of international trade at Nankai University in Tianjin, said that slack global market conditions have hit China’s labor-intensive industries, especially garment and textile production, as well as shoes, toys and furniture.

All these exports slumped in January, underscoring the nation’s fast-fading advantage in some of the sectors it once dominated.

Exports of garment and yarn products fell 12.4 and 7.6 percent to 96.86 billion yuan ($15.5 billion) and 59.47 billion yuan, respectively.
Shoe exports declined 10.8 percent to 34.88 billion yuan, according to the General Administration of Customs.

Even though the US economy stabilized, it could not offset “lethargic demand from the European Union, Japan and many emerging economies”, said He.

Orders for garment and yarn products from developed markets have been dwindling since mid-2011.
Though many Chinese manufacturers are now less dependent on developed markets, exports are still the mainstay of their businesses, which are dominated by original equipment manufacturing.
read more.
ChinaDAILY new

13:49:19 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

20150214 * Incentive policies necessary to develop support industry:

More support should be given to several key industries to help add value and increase the localisation ratio of exports, the Industry and Trade Department of HCM City has said in a new report.

The department urged the city to develop incentive policies for support industries, especially for engineering, electronics and garments, and encourage local enterprises to use domestic technology, machinery and materials.

To help businesses, the department said it had provided capital, business space, IT application and re-investment for new technology.
In the near future, the city plans to give priority to increase exports that have special advantages, including high value-added and high-technology exports.
For two labour-intensive industries, shoes and textiles and garments, most workshops have been moved to rural areas where industries can take advantage of the supply of labourers.
read more. & read more.
VNNews new VIETNAMplus

13:49:19 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

20150217 * Strikers accuse management of using shock weapon:

Hundreds of workers at a new factory in Kampong Speu province continued yesterday to strike for better working conditions after one of their colleagues was allegedly struck with an electroshock weapon on Friday by their Chinese boss.

About 200 workers from Hor Ling Factory protested in front of the facility, located in Kong Pisei district’s Snam Krapoeu commune, over the attack against 29-year-old stock manager and translator Chouk Phally.

According to Phally, the attack happened on Friday after he was ordered to deliver some stock to Phnom Penh but forgot to take all of it.

When he returned to the factory, his female boss, a Chinese national, dismissed him.

“She got angry when I went to ask for my salary. She ordered the factory gangs to drag me out and tried to provoke me to use violence against her, but I did nothing. Then she used a shocking device to shock me in the stomach and this made me fall unconscious,” he said.

After the attack, Phally said he filed a complaint with the local authorities demanding $3,000 in compensation from the factory.

Other workers, who corroborated Phally’s story, said they have been on strike since Saturday to demand that their bosses admit to the attack.
read more.
PPP new

20150217 * Bavet Factory Ordered to Close After Mass Faintings:

The Svay Rieng provincial labor department on Monday ordered a Taiwanese-owned garment factory to temporarily close and improve its ventilation after more than 100 workers collapsed in two separate mass faintings in recent days.

Ou Sothoeun, deputy director of the provincial labor department, said 63 workers collapsed Friday and another 41 on Monday, prompting the government to order the You Li International factory in Bavet City to cease operations for the time being.

“We came to investigate at the factory and see the real situation. There are a few reasons [for the fainting]. It is because of hot weather and a lack of oxygen,” he said.

In both cases, Mr. Sothoeun said, one female worker vomited due to inhaling fumes from glue being used in production of the clothes, causing hysteria among other employees around her.

“We told the factory to stop production temporarily and wait for the situation to get better. We will send medical staff to observe [the factory],” he said.
read more.

20150217 * Bavet town factory sees 40 more pass out:

More than 100 factory workers have fainted since Friday at You Li International Garment Ltd in Svay Rieng province’s Bavet town. Union officials are blaming the blackouts on chemical odours at the factory.

Forty workers passed out on the job yesterday, and more than 60 fainted on Friday, said Chheng Chhoan, secretary-general of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers.

“No one got seriously [ill], because the factory sent them to the hospital on time,” he said.

The factory will close down for a day to allow Buddhist monks to perform a blessing, according to Chhoan. Food and music will be available to make the workers more comfortable, but Chhoan did not know what will be done about the chemical fumes. The factory plans to resume normal operations on Wednesday.
read more.
PPP new

20150216 * Scores of Workers Collapse in Bavet City:

More than 60 workers collapsed at the You Li International garment factory in Svay Rieng province’s Bavet City on Friday morning due to chemical odors and sewage gases, a union leader said on Sunday.

The 61 workers began fainting en masse after one worker fell to the floor in the Taiwanese-owned factory that exports underwear to Japan, said Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers.

Mr. Sina said the workers collapsed shortly after a protective chemical was sprayed on clothing in the factory.

“There were two causes: First, an environmental problem—the odor from drains going from the toilet,” he said.
“The second cause was the odor of the chemical substances used to protect the clothes.”
read more. & read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo CHINAORG

20150214 * Workers faint en masse:

More than 60 garment workers fainted yesterday at a factory in Svay Rieng’s province’s Bavet district, police said.

One female worker fainted and others rapidly followed en masse at the You Li International (Cambodia) Garment, Ltd site, deputy district police chief Hun Savorn said, citing witness reports.
The provincial environmental department said it was caused by chemical odours.
to read.
PPP new

20150214 * Rainsy Touts Rent Law Plan to Garment Workers:

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy toured industrial zones in Phnom Penh on Thursday to tell workers about a new bipartisan plan to draft a law obliging landlords to keep their rental rates in line with inflation.

With the CNRP playing a central role in igniting garment worker protests that temporarily crippled the sector in late 2013 and early 2014, Mr. Rainsy has since taken credit for a raft of government policies aimed at alleviating the financial burden on the garment factory workforce.

The proposed rent control law is meant to protect workers from having their rents raised every time there is a salary increase—a common practice among landlords that occurred again last month when the minimum wage in the garment industry was raised from $100 to $128.
read more.

20150217 * BetterFactories Media Updates 17 February 2015, Bavet town factory sees 40 more pass out:

* To read in the printed edition of the Cambodia Daily:
2015-02-17 Bavet Factory Ordered to Close After Mass Faintings

* To read in the printed edition of the Phnom Penh Post:
2015-02-17 Bavet town factory sees 40 more pass out
2015-02-17 Strike continues after alleged taser incident

* BetterFactories Media Updates Overview here.

20150216 * BetterFactories Media Updates 16 February 2015, Scores of Workers Collapse in Bavet City:

* To read in the printed edition of the Cambodia Daily:
2015-02-16 Scores of Workers Collapse in Bavet City

* BetterFactories Media Updates Overview here.

14:49:19 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

20150217 * Smuggled apparel costs  local manufacturers Rp 11 trillion:

Rampant distribution of smuggled clothing nationwide, comprising both new and used items, has resulted in an annual potential loss of nearly Rp 11 trillion (US$880 million) for domestic manufacturers, business associations estimate.

Domestic consumption of clothing in the market of 250 million people reached Rp 154.3 trillion last year, out of which Rp 93.35 trillion was supplied by local producers and Rp 48.02 trillion from imports, according to Trade Ministry data cited by the Indonesian Textile Association (API).

There was a mammoth gap of Rp 10.95 trillion derived from unknown imports, which were unregistered in official statistics — or in other words, smuggled — API secretary-general Ernovian G. Ismy said.

“This has caused a significant loss in market share for the local garment and textile industry. In particular, used clothes [imports] have badly affected our small and medium enterprises,” Ernovian told reporters in a press briefing on Monday.

Ernovian further urged the government to take firm action against the illegally transported clothing, including secondhand apparel.
read more.

13:49:19 local time map of thailand THAILAND

20150217 * Migrant children as young as 11 found working in factories in Tak province:

At least three textile and electronics factories in the western province of Tak were found to be using immigrant child labourers aged under 15, according to Labour Ministry official Peerapat Pornsirilertkit.

The Labour Protection Act of 1998 prohibits the hiring of minors under 15, and offenders face up to a year in jail and/or a Bt200,000 fine.Peerapat told a Bangkok seminar that the first national plan to combat the worst form of child labour would be concluded soon.The results would be analysed to formulate a policy and a second national plan for fiscal years 2015-2020.So far, the department had assigned two special task-force teams – comprising soldiers and officials – to solve child-labour issues, he said.
They found that at least three Tak factories had hired children from Myanmar aged 11-14.
Two textile factories had hired two underage kids and an electronic-parts factory three kids, he said. Officials were also watching two other suspect factories.
read more.

13:19:19 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

20150216 * Myanmar workers awaken to claim their rights:

Govt, employers urged to address labour rights issues if Myanmar is to become manufacturing hub of Asean

The easing of economic sanctions by Western countries in 2012 brightened the prospect that Myanmar would expand its non-resource exports through the expansion of its manufacturing sector.

However, experts warned that the turning Myanmar into a new manufacturing hub would be possible only when the government and employers, local and foreign, properly addressed several labour rights issues.

As the curtain has been raised and more foreign companies have set up production facilities in the country in recent years, Myanmar workers’ knowledge of labour rights has expanded, warned an activist who has witnessed a stronger desire among workers to form labour unions.

“Before, most of the workers had no idea about labour rights. We cannot say if labour rights have improved to meet international standards during this government’s term. But we cannot deny that many workers understand the importance of forming labour unions and move to establish them in many different areas,” said Eai Shwe Sinn Nyunt, founder of Labour Rights Defenders and Promoters (LRDP).
Minimum wage
According to the lawyer, most workers demand an official minimum wage; clean water and sanitation; transport shuttle services; and a line of communication with managers and supervisors to settle disputes.
Setting the minimum wage could be the best way to end ongoing disputes, she said.

“The authorities have delayed the decision on minimum wage, saying it has to take into consideration many issues to avoid unnecessary problems. I guess they are afraid of price hikes.
Businesses may take this opportunity to raise goods prices, and this will also hurt workers.
Even when the minimum wage is set, it will remain difficult for workers to make ends meet,” she said.

“We encourage them if they undertake their tasks systematically.
We are also helping those who want to form labour unions.
We have been providing short-term trainings to employees working for factories and businesses in Yangon, Mandalay and Bago regions since June last year.
To date, we have trained more than 10,000 workers,” he said.

Yet, some workers still resort to protest.

On February 9, more than 2,500 workers from four garment factories in Shwe Pyi Thar Industrial Zone staged a joint protest.
The companies are E-land Myanmar, Ford Glory Garment, Red Stone Garment, and Costec International joined the protests. Ford Glory is owned by a Chinese businessman, and Red Stone is a Japanese venture, while the other two factories are run by Korean businesspeople.
All the workers were on streets demanding salary increases and better working conditions.
read more.

20150213 * K5000-a-day proposed for minimum wage:

Workers should receive at least K5000 for an eight-hour day, say people who responded to researchers gathering data for the government’s minimum-wage enquiry.

Anything else would cause hardship, respondents said.
But many experienced workers with long service records receive much less, researchers heard — and some labour representatives expect much more.

The government has commissioned a cost-of-living survey that began work last month in order to help the government decide the level at which to set the minimum wage in each state and region.

“According to our survey, an inexperienced worker should get K5000 per eight-hour day. If not, it would be definitely hard for their daily life,” said U Ko Ko Naing, a workers’ representative who participated in data collection Yedashe township, Bago Region.

The survey will be based on the daily living expense of households in a total of 108 townships throughout the country.

MTUF vice president U Tun Wai said survey results from Yangon’s Shwe Pyi Thar township indicated the daily rate should be at least K5000, and as high as K8500, not counting bonuses.
read more.

12:49:19 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

20150217 * Bangladesh to grab spotlight at HK meeting on garment:

Global retailers will focus on safety standards and compliance in Bangladesh’s garment sector at the sourcing trend meeting in Hong Kong in mid-March.

Rick Darling, executive director of government and public affairs of Li & Fung, the world’s largest supplier of clothes and toys to retailers, will present a keynote paper on these issues at the meeting on March 16, organisers said in a statement.

SourceTrends is an annual event for apparel and footwear brands, manufacturers, retailers, agents and suppliers. This year, Bangladesh is on the radar for the Tazreen Fashions fire and Rana Plaza building collapse.

American Apparel and Footwear Association, American Chamber of Commerce, Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America, SGS, Oeko-Tex, Business Social Compliance Initiative, Sustainable Fashion Business Consortium and Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production are organising the meeting.

Every year, retailers, brands and manufacturers from all over the world attend the meeting to discuss updates on safety standards, compliance and future plans in apparel and footwear sectors.
read more.
daily star bd

20150217 * RMG operator course in Narsingdi:

The three month-long Readymade Garments Sewing Machine Operator (RMG-SMO) Piloting course for the poor, under-privileged and disabled women under Competency Based Training and Assessment (CBT&A) which began at Narsingdi Polytechnic Institute from January 1, is progressing satisfactorily.

Department of Technical Education under the Ministry of Education with the assistance of ILO is implementing the course with the object of reducing poverty from the country by creating employment opportunities for the poor, under-privileged and disabled women to make them skilled garment workers.
read more.
FE bd

20150217 * Farmers ruined, RMG exporters unscathed: Muhith:

The country’s farmers are the worst victims of the continuous blockade, while it has hardly affected exporters of the readymade garments, said finance minister AMA Muhith on Monday.

Shipment of RMG exports remains unscathed, he said, while talking to reporters after a meeting with members of the Bangladesh International Arbitration Council at his secretariat office.
The RMG exporters, however, face an image crisis, he admitted.
read more.

20150216 * Muhith: RMG sector faced no big loss:

The country’s readymade garment sector has not incurred any big loss due to the ongoing nationwide transport blockade and general strikes, claimed Finance Minister AMA Muhith.

The minister said: “The RMG sector of the country does not face any big loss due to the ongoing agitation programmes enforced by the BNP-led 20-party alliance.”

However, he admitted that the image of the industry has been affected due to cancellation of orders and delays in shipments.

Muhith made the statement while talking to journalists after holding a meeting with the representatives of International Arbitration Centre at finance ministry auditorium on Monday.
read more.

20150215 * garment makers in trouble:

The apparel sector has been going through a difficult time for the ongoing political unrest.

Factory owners are counting losses every day due to work order cancellations, discounts for shipment delays, expensive air shipment and transport fares, and vandalism.
Owners run their factories below capacity and will soon face a production shortfall due to a dearth of raw materials.
Also, retailers are cutting trips to factories and slashing orders. With all these bad things happening, sector people say they might not be able to reach the $50-billion export target by the end of 2021.
read more.
daily star bd

20150214 * Tripartite move for inspection being barred due to political deadlock:

Ensuring RMG workplace safety, labour standards 

The ongoing factory assessment and its post-inspection monitoring under the joint initiative of Accord, Alliance and govt-ILO for ensuring workplace safety and labour standards in the country’s RMG sector are facing hurdles due to the current political deadlock, sources said.

The engineering teams could not move to the factories over security concern, they added.

The Accord has recently hired three engineering companies — Arup, Woosun, and Hughes — to conduct its initial assessment in 200 more garment factories that were added to its list after completion of its initial assessment in September last.

Factories that were added by the signatory companies to the Accord’s factory list after August 15 last year remained outside initial inspection purview.

“Due to current political unrest this programme is slower than planned,” said the EU based retailers’ initiative Accord in its monthly update adding that its engineers have reduced their schedule of initial inspection visits each week.
read more.
FE bd

20150217 * Metal factory catches fire at Savar:

A fire broke out in a metal factory in Ashulia area here on Monday night.

Fire service officials and witnesses said the fire erupted from an electric short circuit at a cotton go-down inside ‘Bismillah Metallic Industry’ at Baruipara bus stand around 10:30pm and it soon engulfed the entire factory.

On information, two fire fighting units rushed in and doused the blaze after one hour of frantic efforts with the help of local people.
Two people sustained minor injuries while extinguishing the fire.
The extent of losses from the fire could not be assessed immediately.
to read.

20150213 * Gazipur jhute godown catches fire:

A fire broke out at a jhut godown in the city’s Nolzani area on Friday night.

Fire service officials said the fire originated at the godown adjacent to ‘Perfect Sweater’ in the area around 11pm.
On information, two fire fighting units rushed to the spot and doused the blaze after half an hour of frantic efforts.
The cause of the fire could not be ascertained immediately.
A portion of the jhut stacks in the godown was burnt by the fire.
to read.

20150214-15 * BB to form $500 million fund for export sector:

Bangladesh Bank (BB) will set up a $500 million fund to help boost export sector, with special focus on textile and readymade garment industries.

Governor Dr Atiur Rahman on Saturday made the announcement during a discussion saying that the central bank would form the Export Development Fund (EDF) if all stakeholders offer their active cooperation to it.

The governor was speaking at a seminar on “Access to Finance: Environmental Sustainability in the Textile Sector’, organised by the Policy Research Institution (PRI) in the capital city.
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BSSnew FE bd INDEPENDENT daily star bd DHAKATRIBUNE ynfxlogo

20150215 * Traders threaten tougher move:

Blasts near BGMEA hunger strike venue

Stakeholders in the country’s textile and garment sector threatened on Saturday a tougher move, if the ongoing political stalemate does not come to a peaceful end immediately.

“Don’t force us to take to the streets with all of our workers paralysing the whole country,” said Md Atiqul Islam, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), at a token hunger strike programme in front of the BGMEA headquarters in the city.
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FE bd daily star bd NEWAGEnew DHAKATRIBUNE

20150214 * Businesses slam bomb blast at hunger-strike prog:

Leading trade bodies, including the FBCCI, on Saturday strongly condemned the crude bomb blast during their peaceful hunger-strike programme in front of BGMEA Bhaban in the city.

They demanded the arrest and exemplary punishment of those involved in the attack describing the act as ‘attack on the entire business community.’

“We strongly condemn it. We think it’s an attack on the entire business community,” President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) M Atitul Islam told UNB after the crude bomb blast.
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UNBnew banglanews24NEW DHAKATRIBUNE daily star bd BSSnew bdnews24
FE bd

20150217 * GSP return still an uphill task:

The government has to strive hard to get back GSP facility in the US market anytime soon, given the strong reservations among stakeholders on labour fronts, a diplomatic communication from Bangladesh mission said.

The communication made from the Bangladesh mission in Washington DC past week strongly suggested the ministries of commerce, labor and foreign affairs undertake deeper reforms on labour rights and labour rules in an effort to restore the trade privilege.
The mission’s senior officials held a meeting last month with representatives of international labor affairs bureau of department of labour, USTR, ILO and AFL-CIO to pursue the issue of getting back the generalised system of preference and get the feedback from the stakeholders.
read more.

20150217 * Bangladesh can improve its labour rights, but so can the United States:

20150217 DAILYSTAR labour-rights

Recently, the Office of the United States Trade Representatives (USTR) called on the government of Bangladesh to improve on its labour rights, and in particular to allow for increased unionisation before it would consider restoring trade benefits.

In Bangladesh, it now seems to be increasingly accepted that unionisation or some worker constituted collective will help to improve workplace standards.
Of course, labour advocates have been arguing this for years, but Rana Plaza provides a tragic reminder that unions play a critical role in improving workplace safety and labour rights.
Therefore, freedom of association has been a key criteria in Bangladesh’s review on trade benefits. This is a welcome development.

While the US can use its trade stick to exact improved labour rights by suspending GSP it should also use its own legal, political and economic tools to make US employers and multinational companies compliant in enforcing its own labour laws and protect trade union activities both in the US and abroad.
If this is not done, any efforts made by local and well-meaning garment owners in Bangladesh will be thwarted as US companies export labour injustice and continue to depress working conditions for workers in the US and maintain a supply chain that pays garment workers here sweatshop wages.

Economists rightly attribute the widening gulf between rich and poor in the US to the decline in unionisation.
The working conditions in Bangladesh’s garment industry, and the widening wage gap in the US present a unique opportunity for labour advocates across the Atlantic to make a strong, revived, coordinated fight for trade union rights.
read more.
daily star bd  LAW attheMARGINS

12:19:19 local time map of india INDIA

20150214 * Labour dept plans managment, union talks to bolster relations:

Taking serious note of the violence by factory workers in Gurgaon’s manufacturing hub of Udyog Vihar on Thursday, the state labour department has decided to hold meetings and seminars to improve relations between labour unions and management so as to prevent repetition of such an incident in future.

Nearly 1,000 industrial workers went on a vandalism spree from factory to factory, damaging machinery, burning cars and bikes and smashing furniture. The violence was sparked by a rumour that a fellow worker, who was allegedly thrashed by a manager and guards at a garments manufacturing unit for reporting late, had died.

Additional labour commissioner, Gurgaon division, RC Bidhan, told TOI on Friday that though the Udyog Vihar incident was not related to labour unrest, but still “the department is alert and measures will be taken to provide industry-friendly environment for entrepreneurs”.

“In this case, management or workers’ unions did not approach the labour department, otherwise the issue would have been resolved and the violence could have been prevented,” he said.
read more.

20150215 * Second arrest in Gurgaon’s Udyog Vihar violence:

A day after arresting a security guard of a garment factory, whose alleged thrashing of a worker and subsequent rumours of his death kicked off a riot by over 1,000 industrial workers in Udyog Vihar, police arrested one of the rioters on Saturday.

Santosh Kumar, who is from Nawada, Bihar was arrested from Udyog Vihar on Saturday morning.
He was produced before a city court and was sent to a two-day police remand for interrogations. Cops said they are expecting vital leads in the case from him.
read more.

20150214 * Guard accused of beating worker held:

Police on Friday arrested a security guard of a garment factory, who had allegedly thrashed a worker whose rumoured death kicked off a rampage by over 1,000 industrial workers in the manufacturing hub of Udyog Vihar on Thursday.

A police official said that the security guard, Anil Kumar, a native of Najafgarh in Delhi, has been arrested, for allegedly beating up Samichand, a quality checker at garments factory Gaurav International, as he reportedly came to work 10 minutes late on February 10 after two days of absence.

“We have arrested the guard for thrashing the garment factory worker. We are interrogating him to determine if others were involved in the incident,” Rajesh Kumar, ACP (crime) of Gurgaon Police, said. The Gurgaon Police also staged a flag march in the area.
“The situation is under control. We conducted a flag march and cops kept a strong vigil to prevent any untoward incident,” said inspector Sube Singh, the SHO of Udyog Vihar police station.
read more.

20150216 * 40 industries listed for stepping up CSR activities:

With the government giving focus on partnerships in development, the district administration has come out with a list of nearly 40 major industries in Nellore district for stepping up their activities under the corporate social responsibility (CSR).

These industries have been actively engaged in the thermal power generation, ports, edible oils, refined vegetable oils, textiles, steel, wind power, biomass, batteries, footwear, sponge iron and so on.

The district officials have started discussions with the managements of the respective industries to take stock of their social responsibility activities so far and their future initiatives.
read more.

20150215 * Gujarat Govt plans textile university in Surat:

Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel on Sunday announced setting up a textiles university at the proposed smart city- DREAM City near Surat.

She was speaking at the foundation stone-laying ceremony of the 2,000-acres Diamond Research and Mercantile (DREAM) City here.

“For skill development in the textile industry, another important industry in Surat after diamonds, we are planning to set up a textile university in Surat,” Patel said in her address.
read more.

20150214 * ‘Over 100 units in Tirupur not in PF scheme’:

Over 3,000 persons, employed in 100-plus textile units, schools and other establishments in Tirupur district, were found not enrolled under the Provident Fund scheme, during the checks conducted in the current fiscal, according to Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) Enforcement Officer Albert Raj.

“In all the cases, the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) contribution was collected from the errant employers. In addition , interests on the arrears and ‘damages’ for the violations were levied from them,” he told The Hindu on the sidelines of an awareness campaign on new amendments in EPF rules which the EPFO conducted at South India Hosiery Manufacturers Association hall here.

Assistant Provident Fund Commissioner A.K. Rahman said that any organisation with a minimum of 20 employees should register their establishment under EPF Act and remit the Provident Fund contributions.

“All the employees in such organisations, except the apprentices and those drawing a salary of above Rs. 15,000 (basic pay plus dearness allowance) at the time of first appointment, should be enrolled in the PF scheme,” he said.

The EPFO officials had initiated a campaign to educate the hosiery sector workers about the new amendments in the EPF rules.

“The subscribers, who have been allotted the universal account number (UAN), should expeditiously link their bank account, Aadhaar card and PAN card details to the UAN,” Mr. Rahman said.
to read.

20150216 * Ignoring US demand, India to continue sops for textile exporters:

Says it has until2018 to withdraw the incentives

In a major relief for textile exporters struggling to maintain their share in an uncertain global market, India has decided to continue with export sops for the sector in the new fiscal and, probably, the following two years as well.

This is despite the US demanding that such incentives be done away with immediately.

Washington argues that New Delhi no longer qualifies to give such concessions under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules as it attained export competitiveness in the textile sector eight years back.

With India sticking to its stand, the Centre will not feel compelled to withdraw export incentives for the textile sector while announcing the Budget (for 2015-16) or the Foreign Trade Policy.

While not willing to withdraw the sops right away, the Commerce and Textile Ministries have, however, started working on alternative schemes that are WTO compliant, so that export sops for the sector can be replaced over the next three years.

Phase-out period
“The US has been claiming that we need to stop our export sops for the textiles sector from 2015, but we believe that our phase-out period ends in 2018. We will stick to our deadline,” a Commerce Ministry official told BusinessLine .
read more.

20150214 * Maharashtra to set up special textile park to create eco friendly textile:

Consortium of Green Fashion, a unique programme was organised jointly by School of Fashion Technology and Nirmala Niketan College of Home Science on 9th February at Birla Auditorium, Churchgate, Mumbai. Chandrakant (Dada) Patil, Textile Minister, speaking at an industry event, announced that Maharashtra government is planning to set up a special textile park to create eco-friendly textile and lend special assistance for establishing such industries.

He urged the students pursuing fashion design to conduct more research with a view to increasing implementation of such eco-friendly initiatives.
He also emphasized that cultivating cotton in an eco-friendly manner using natural manure and conserving natural resources are the need of the hour.
He also noted that ‘Recyle, Reuse and Reduce’ should be the key objective while creating any design.
read more. & read more. & read more.

11:49:19 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

20150217 * Minimum wage policy yet to be implemented:

The bureaucratic bottlenecks have resulted in delay in the implementation of the minimum wage policy announced by the government two years back.

District social welfare officer Jaffar Khan told Dawn on Monday that at present the minimum wage in all the government offices was Rs11,000 as against the notification issued in the last budget by the government fixing the minimum salary at Rs15,000.

He said that the departmental heads were responsible to pay workers according to the government announcement, but regretted that poor workers, especially those working in the private sector were paid meager salaries.
read more.

20150216 * Garment industry: A $25b reason to fight militancy:

20150216 TRIBUNE
Unlike other export industries, garment industry thrives on close interactions with western designers. PHOTO: AFP

 As an entrepreneur, I have been serving Pakistan and Bangladesh’s garment industry with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) implementation services for 15 years.

My work took me from Karachi to Dhaka, every month for nine years. During these years, I watched my Bangladeshi clients post a nine-fold growth, build new manufacturing units, buy out smaller units or add more buildings to their existing facilities.
At the same time, I also saw most of my Pakistani customers contract and shut down.

The dichotomy of growth trajectories taken by the garment industry in both countries, tragic as it is for us, must be well understood.

Out of the 25 largest factories operating in Pakistan in 2001, less than seven remain in business today.
Sadly, my customer list reads more like an obituary. In most cases, the owners were seasoned, hard-working and honourable business leaders, no better or worse than their Bangladeshi counterparts.

The latter reached $27.1 billion of garment exports last year, from a lowly $3 billion in 2001. We went down from $3 billion to $1.8 billion.
Our failure to stem the tide of militancy emerges as the single most decisive reason.

Comparison with Bangladesh
Our growth trajectory should have been at least better than Bangladesh’s. Unlike Bangladesh, we grew our own cotton, produced our own yarn and manufactured our own finished fabrics.
Bangladesh imported them from India, China and Pakistan at a greater cost – more than enough to offset 30% cheaper labour advantage that it held.

Our infrastructure of highways and ports still remains decades ahead of Bangladesh’s while our energy crisis remains no worse than Bangladesh’s own.
But none of these advantages over Bangladesh could overcome the threat posed by out-of-control jihadists in the country.
read more.

20150217 * Sustainable growth & productivity: Textile ministry set to introduce new legislation:

The Ministry of Textile Industry is all set to introduce new legislation, pending for last six years to undo multiple overlapping laws and ordinances, it is learnt.

Official sources revealed to Business Recorder that work on the final draft of the proposed Act has already been completed in consultation with industry stakeholders, which would be submitted to the Law Division for vetting soon.

The proposed Act would be discussed in the upcoming textile policy board meeting after which it would be sent to the Law division.
Federal Textile Board has been restructured and notified to facilitate the textile sector stakeholders.
The platform will be used to monitor the implementation of Textile Policy (2014-19), including rationalisation of cess/surcharges applicable to the textile value chain industry and its exports, utilisation.
read more.

20150216 * Textile minister underscores need for value-addition:

Federal Minister for Textile Industry Abbas Khan Afridi said Pakistan produces over 13 million bales of cotton and by converting one million bales to $ 2 billion value-added items the country could achieve the envisaged target of $ 26 billion in five years under the new textile policy (2014-19).

Afridi made these remarks in Aaj TV”s “Paisa Bolta Hai”.

Javed Balvani, Chairman Pakistan Apparel Forum (PAF), concurred and averred that textile export earnings can jump phenomenally if conversion of per cotton bales to value added textile products, is enhanced.
Balvani said that Bangladesh converts one million bales of cotton to value added items and fetches about $6 billion through exports, against Pakistan which converts one million bales to bring in only $1.16 billion by marketing value-added textiles items.
read more.

20150215 * Chitrali Patti losing ground to factory made cloth:

The cottage industry of hand loomed Chitrali Patti is on decline owing to the emergence of factory-made cloth which is cheaper and finer than the hand-made cloth.

The coarse cloth made of sheep wool, known for its attractive look and durability since long, was also a source of sustenance for a large number of families till 1970s.

With the passing of time, the people of Chitral switched over to other professions and livestock keeping registered a sharp decrease. Keeping livestock has a direct effect on the Patti industry as it provides wool, the main ingredient of the product.
The Chitrali Patti is an identity of this remote area as it has been named after the district.
A sizeable number of Chitralis in Peshawar established a bazaar for trading this commodity in late 1940s when the Hindu and Sikh traders migrated to India after the partition of sub-continent.

Every village, small or large of the district, used to have a number of looms for weaving Chitrali Patti to supply cloth to the market in Peshawar.
The industry provided jobs to thousands of people, both men and women, directly or indirectly when the employment sector was narrowly based.
Till last decade, Chitrali Patti had no competitor in the market but it started to face a tough competition in the market in the form of power loomed industry based in Lahore and Swat.
read more.

20150215 * Plan to increase textile exports:

Textile industry has evolved a comprehensive strategy to increase cotton-based textile exports in the next five years.

The proposed new measures include formulation of a new policy as well as restructuring of institutions dealing with cotton to promote availability of better cotton for the value-added sector in the textile value chain.

Currently, there is a strong fibre base of 13 million bales of cotton in Pakistan which is almost stagnant for the past few years.

Cotton and administrative control of the Pakistan Central Cotton Committee (PCCC) was given to the textile industry in 2011 after devolution of the ministry of food and agriculture.

Official documents show that the ministry of textile industry has already started work on the first Ginning Institute of Pakistan in Multan and is actively pursuing implementation of Cotton Standards Act with the help of provincial governments.
read more.

20150215 * UNIDO to focus on SMEs for sustainable development:

UNIDO will continue to work for inclusive and sustainable industrial development in Pakistan with major focus on SMEs, said United Nations Industrial Development Organisation Director General Li Yong while addressing the project beneficiaries and business community at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI).

He visited the chamber to get input from SMEs for developing strategies to support project which could enhance inclusive, sustainable and environmental friendly growth. “UNIDO is looking for partners to do something significant for economic growth and prosperity of Pakistan.”
read more.

20150217 * Gas suspension: PTEA urges Prime Minister to take immediate notice:

Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) has urged Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to take immediate notice of gas suspension to Punjab-based textile industry.

Sohail Pasha Chairman and Rizwan Riaz Saigal, Vice-Chairman of PTEA said that there is a complete supply chain disruption due to gas supply cut to the Punjab-based textile mills, causing uncertainty about meeting the foreign commitments.

A short supply of energy has already hit 35 percent of existing capacity and brought the textile industry exports down by $30.4 million during first half of current fiscal, they added.
read more.

20150216 * Stagnant cotton output:

The International Cotton Advisory Committee has painted a grim picture of Pakistan’s cotton, saying the output may plunge 9% in the new season owing to persisting ‘lack of enthusiasm’ among the farmers.

The farmers are not getting right prices for their produce for some time and this has compelled many of them to plant wheat instead of cotton this year.
Abandoning cotton crop is a worrisome development.
One may note that the government used to fix minimum support price for phutti in the past but stopped doing so for to move towards the free market for commodity trading.
It did resum the support price in October last but for a selective few, not across the board.
read more.

20150215 * Pakistan has tabled a policy to increase cotton based textile exports:

Currently in Pakistan there is a strong fibre base of 13 million bales of cotton which is almost stagnant for the past few years.

To increase cotton based textile exports in the next five years, Pakistan textile industry has planned out a comprehensive strategy.

The proposed new measures include formulation of a new policy as well as restructuring of institutions dealing with cotton to promote availability of better cotton for the value-added sector in the textile value chain.

To improve standardisation of cotton and ginning sector, implementation of Cotton Control Act is imperative.
In addition, cotton standardisation and clean cotton with reduced contamination levels will be facilitated through upgradation of ginning machinery, for which the ginning sector has already been included in the long-term finance facility (LTFF) of the central bank.

The government will pursue better cotton initiative which was introduced in Pakistan by WWF-Pakistan and funded by the EU.
read more.

20150217 * Leather industry: Pakistan lags behind regional players:

20150217 TRIBUNE
Despite being an export earner, the sector had a trivial share in the global trade of value-added goods and products. PHOTO: PPI

The value-added leather sector needs to seize the opportunity and further develop to become an even greater export earner for Pakistan, suggested the head of European Union Cooperation Delegation to Pakistan, Bernard Francois.

He was speaking at an orientation workshop held in connection with the Mega Leather Show 2015, arranged by the EU-funded Pakistan Leather Competitiveness Improvement Programme (PLCIP) under the EU’s Trade Related Technical Assistance Programme.

The aim of the programme is to introduce Pakistan’s leather industry to the international community and donors and invite them to the leather show, which will be held from March 6 to 8 in Lahore.
read more.

20150213 * Govt working to form leather export council:

Federal Minister for Commerce Engr Khurram Dastagir Khan on Thursday informed leather exporters that the government is working on formation of Leather Export Council (LEC).

In a meeting with officials and members of Pakistan Tanners Association (PTA) here, the minister assured that PTA will enjoy prominent position in LEC and the Association’s input will be duly sought at every step.

“We will try to have a focussed dialogue on the leather industry’s issues through this council,” he said adding that in next annual budget, PTA proposals would be given due weightage.
However, he advised, the Association should short list and prioritise its proposals/demands to gain swift response from the concerned government quarters.
read more.

20150213 * Civil society demands effective implementation of labour laws:

Various civil society organizations has demanded that Punjab government ensure the implementation of labour laws in order to address during a provincial dialogue on “Labour Issues, Bounded Labour and Role of Labour Courts in Justice Provision” arranged by Citizen’s Commission for Human Development (CCHD) in collaboration with DAI under EDACE Project.

While participants of dialogue has adopted a unanimous resolution by demanding the Government of Pakistan must bring the culprits involved in Baldia Town Karachi incident in court of Justice as soon as possible to build the confidence of millions of workers of current justice system.
It was also agreed by all participants that a forums comprising Government officials, NGOs and trade union representatives to work jointly to influence Labour Department to create worker-friendly environment.
read more.
daily times PK


20150217 * Prosecutor in Baldia factory fire case steps down:

Special prosecutor Shazia Hanjra separated herself from the Baldia Town case and sent a written notification in this regard to the Sindh government on Monday.

Hanjra confirmed to Dawn that she has submitted her resignation to the Ministry of Law. A private practicing lawyer, Hanjra was appointed special public prosecutor for the Baldia Town factory fire case on behalf of the state.

Also read | Baldia factory fire: Victim families’ hope for justice fading away

Hanjra said investigating authorities had not been cooperating with her and that Investigating Officer (IO) Sub-Inspector Jehanzeb had given a no objection certificate to the factory owners’ bail application. She added that the IO had still not given her a copy of investigation documents.

The prosecutor expressed her concerns regarding the delay in the case and said that the Sindh High Court’s directives were not being followed by the government and that was due to the lack of cooperation by the investigation officer.
read more.

20150216-17 * Special public prosecutor in Baldia factory fire quits:

Advocate Shazia Hanjra has quit from representing the state as special public prosecutor in the Baldia Town factory fire case.

The lawyer separated herself from the case after writing a letter to the law ministry.It is learnt that Hanjra was not provided due security as no police personnel was deployed for her protection.

It is further learnt that Hanjra was not satisfied with the process of the trial on the part of the prosecution as the Investigation Officer (IO) had not yet provided her the entire information and written reports regarding the investigation into the Baldia Town
factory case.
read more. & read more.
thenewspk thenewspk

20150216 * Baldia factory fire: Special public prosecutor resigns as police refuse to help:

The Baldia factory fire case suffered another setback when the special public prosecutor assisting the court in the fire case resigned citing lack of cooperation from the police investigator.

In 2012, Shazia Hanjrah, a practicing high court lawyer who works with the law firm owned by Pakistan Peoples Party’s Farooq H Naek, was appointed by the provincial law department as a special public prosecutor to assist the trial court in a case against the owners of Ali Enterprises.

“I have sent my resignation to the provincial law and home departments, the prosecutor general and Sindh IG,” said Hanjrah while talking to The Express Tribune on Monday.

Around 259 men and women died in the fire at Ali Enterprises on September 11, 2012 located in the Baldia industrial neighbourhood. A case was lodged against the factory owners, Abdul Aziz Bhailla and his sons, Arshad and Shahid, and their employees.

Hanjrah had been associated with the case for two years and blamed her resignation on lack of cooperation from the police investigator in the high-profile case, which is still pending trial.
“For a successful trial in any criminal case, there needs to be complete cooperation between the prosecutor and investigating officer. It is a must,” she said.
“The police official investigating the case was not sharing any material regarding the investigation with me from day one.”
read more.

20150217 * Those involved in the Baldia factory fire will be given exemplary punishment:

During the briefing on a JIT report on the Baldia Town factory inferno, the prime minister is reported to have expressed his displeasure over non-completion of challan and directed the IG to complete investigation as soon as possible.

The incident, he said, was a big tragedy and the families of people killed were awaiting justice. Those involved in the crime would be given exemplary punishment.
read more. & read more. & read more.
DAWNnew thenewspk

20150216 * Baldia: losing focus:

Revelations from a joint interrogation report which surfaced last week allegedly linking 2012’s Baldia Town factory fire to an MQM worker — suggesting the building was deliberately set on fire due to non-payment of extortion money — have expectedly kicked up a storm.

But political point-scoring threatens to take the focus away from the 258 victims of the tragedy, pushing the narrative in another direction.

As the counsel for the victims pointed out on Friday, the statement of the suspect that has caused the uproar forms only one paragraph of the JIT report; the document filed with the Sindh High Court last week did not offer extensive details about the fire tragedy.

In fact, the suspect was picked up in connection with a separate case and made the comments about the fire in passing, and, in the words of the counsel, “based on hearsay”, as the individual was not a witness to the blaze, nor did he take responsibility for it.
It is also true that interrogation reports such as these are basically recorded statements of a suspect; no judgment is passed about their veracity — that is for investigators to establish. Moreover, the Baldia factory case currently pending with a trial court is a separate murder case.

But if it is true that the factory was set ablaze to punish the owners for not paying extortion money, then this horrific crime needs to be investigated and taken to its logical conclusion.
read more.

20150215 * ‘JIT report diminishes owners’ responsibility’:

Almost seven months back the death toll from the Baldia factory inferno rose to 260 as Nazia Ameera Bibi, one of the injured of the incident, quietly died in the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre’s cardio ward.

But it was only recently that her name was taken at a press conference held by a labour rights organisation. Otherwise her name is still counted amongst the injured.

Her brothers Muhammad Zahid and Muhammad Shahnawaz, and brother-in-law Shahzad Ali also worked at the same factory and by what they described as “sheer luck” survived the incident.

Speaking to Dawn over the phone, her younger brother Zahid, 25, said Nazia and Shahzad Ali were both thrown out of the window after the fire engulfed the first floor. “I still remember everything clearly,” he began. “And every time I think about it, I feel suffocation and nausea.”
read more.

20150215 * PILER holds press conference on Baldia fire incident:

PILER and other labour-supporting organisations have been perusing the Baldia factory fire incident since it happened on September 11, 2012.

The recent news about Joint Interrogation Team (JIT) report about one of the accused, Muhammad Rizwan Qureshi, is in media has created some confusion and ambiguities regarding the case.

These news and comments on the JIT report has pushed to the background the main issue relating to lack of health and safety facilities at the industries, which was the main cause of a large number of deaths in Baldia factory fire incident and everybody is discussing the JIT report and involvement of an accused belonging to a political party.
We still consider the owners and management of the Ali Enterprises responsible for the incident and hope that the trial of the main case in the lower judiciary would be completed soon.
The honourable Sindh High Court has already ordered for completion of the case within one year.
We wish to put forward the following facts of this case to understand the situation.

It is important to clarify various aspects of the Joint Interrogation Team (JIT) Report of one, Muhammad Rizwan Qureshi, submitted by the Pakistan Rangers (Sindh) in CP No. 3318 of 2012, which is a Petition dealing with the Baldia factory fire case.
read more.
daily times PK

20150215 * Baldia factory fire hearing adjourned due to absence of owners:

The additional district and sessions judge for district West adjourned the hearing of Baldia factory fire case on Saturday on the request of owners of the Ali Enterprises, Abdul Aziz Bhaila and Shahid Bhaila, who did not appear in court and requested to be exempted from the hearing.

Judge Noshaba Qazi, acting presiding officer of the trial court, allowed the pleas of owners and directed the Investigation Officer (IO) of the case to provide copies of all witness statements to the accused.

The attorneys for the accused requested the court to allow a month’s time to go through the statements of witnesses.

When asked by the court, the IO stated that there were 900 witnesses and it was not possible for him to provide all of the copies to the accused but Judge Qazi paid no heed to his excuses and asked him to ensure the provision of all documents as directed.
read more.

20150215 * ‘Delaying tactics’: Baldia fire witnesses rise to 950:

Three years on, the Baldia factory fire case has yet to reach the indictment phase as the police failed to record the statements of a dramatically increased number of witnesses.

Investigation officer (IO) SI Jahanzeb told a district and sessions court on Saturday that there were around 950 prosecution witnesses and most of their statements have yet to be recorded. At the time of the submission of the chargesheet, the police had submitted a list of only 301 witnesses. Under Section 161 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), the police must examine all the witnesses of a case.

Expressing her displeasure, additional district and sessions judge (West) Naushaba Kazi directed Jahanzeb to complete all due procedures by the next hearing on February 22 so that copies of the statements can be provided to the accused. Copies were supplied to the accused but the defence counsel complained that the documents were incomplete.
read more.

20150215 * Baldia factory fire case: JIT report still not filed in trial court:

The report of a joint investigation team submitted to the Sindh High Court by a Rangers official blaming the Muttahida Qaumi Movement for the horrifying Baldia Town factory fire was not brought on record during a sessions court hearing on Saturday.

The JIT report was submitted to the SHC on Feb 6. It quoted Rizwan Qureshi as disclosing that a deliberate arson attack had been carried out by the MQM on the factory over non-payment of protection money.

On Saturday, the case was fixed before Additional District and Sessions Judge (west) Naushaba Kazi for the supply of prosecution papers to the suspects as required under Section 265-C (supply of statements and documents to accused) of the criminal procedure code.

However, the investigating and prosecuting agencies as well as the complainant side did not bring the JIT report on record of the trial court even on Saturday.

The court came down heavily on the investigation officer (IO) of the case for failing to file statements of witnesses in the case.
read more.

20150215 * Culprits in factory fire to be taken to task: PM:

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that the people involved in the Baldia Town factory fire would be taken to task no matter which political party they are affiliated with.

Addressing a meeting of the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors on Saturday, Mr Sharif said he had received the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) report on the matter and needed more information. He said the report “has caused a stir in Karachi, but we will not demoralise our institutions because of it”.

He said Karachi was returning to normality due to the operation which started there in 2013. The government would not relent till the city was cleared of outlaws, he added.
read more. & read more.

20150214 * Losing focus?: JIT report has pushed away the focus of Baldia case, PILER :

The organisations working to secure compensation for the families of the Baldia factory fire victims feel the joint investigation team (JIT) report shifts the focus of the case.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler) executive director Karamat Ali said that the focus of their petition was to rally for proper emergency exits and safety equipment for factory workers. He felt that the JIT report, which places the blame of the fire on an activist of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, shifts the focus of their case.

Piler is a co-petitioner in the Sindh High Court petition on the Baldia factory fire along with the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum and the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. Representatives of both these organisations were also present at Friday’s press conference.
read more.

20150214 * JIT report has only a paragraph on Baldia factory fire: victims’ counsel:

Counsel for the Baldia Town factory fire victims, Faisal Siddiqi, said on Friday that the much-hyped joint interrogation team’s (JIT) report was in fact about a case of possession of arms by the suspect Rizwan Qureshi.

The counsel said at a press conference at the Karachi Press Club organised by the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler) that the report contained the suspect’s confession to the crimes he had committed and only a paragraph on the factory fire.

“The suspect accused that a political party is responsible for burning down the factory. But his statement is based on hearsay. Not once did he mention either he was a witness to [the tragic incident] or took responsibility for the fire,” said Mr Siddiqi.

Executive director of Piler, Karamat Ali, said: “Three inquiries were conducted in the factory fire case. The first by a committee of police officers, the second by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the third was a judicial inquiry by a judge of SHC. All three looked into and rejected the extortion [being the prime reason behind the fire]. But the cause that came up time and again was the lack of precautionary measures at the factory.”

For instance, he said, it did not change facts on the ground that the factory’s doors were locked from outside which the management was found guilty of as it feared theft of merchandise.
read more.

20150214 * JI terms Baldia factory fire ‘blackest incident’:

The Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) has termed the Baldia Town factory fire ‘the blackest incident in the history of the country’.

Addressing a press conference along with the affected families of Baldia Town incident at Idara-e-Noor Haq on Friday, JI city chief Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman opined that peace in Karachi could not be restored unless the government and national security institutions took decisive action against “the terrorist activities of the MQM”.
read more. & read  more.
thenewspk DAWNnew


20150213 * US has market for Zimbabwean textile products but demands quality:

United States has a high demand of textile products and the markets also demand high quality products.

Zimbabwe can export its textile products if their products meet the United States’ standards. Zimbabwean textile industry needs to explore the prolific United States market as it bids to recover its former lustre, according to a US trade specialist.

Trade between Zimbabwe and the US has declined in recent years, with local exports to America totalling $34 million in 2013 compared to $91 million in 2001.
The country imported $60 million worth of goods from the US in the comparative period, up from $31 million.
read more.


* 5 reasons why we need the right to strike:

The fundamental right to strike is under attack from employers and governments at the International Labour Organization (ILO), which sets global standards on labour rights. 

Eliminating this human right would have serious repercussions on us all.

Here are five key reasons why we need the right to strike:

  1. Striking is a last resort but sometimes the only tool for workers to protect themselves.
  2. To avoid being at the complete mercy of employers.
  3. To give more of a balance between worker and employer power.
  4. Without it, more and more governments will ban industrial action and punish people who dare to strike.
  5. Most strikes are over pay and better working conditions. Without the threat of strike action, corporations will be able to make bigger profits, while working conditions will get worse.

Making a stand
On 18 February, ahead of a key ILO meeting on the right to strike from 23-25 February, unions and workers around the world will be protesting to safeguard this fundamental right.

Employers’ groups and certain governments are challenging the long-accepted belief that ILO Convention 87 on Freedom of Association, which is ratified by 153 countries, up-holds the right to strike.

The workers’ group and unions worldwide want the matter referred to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) but there are several government members that oppose it.

They are:
read more.

* Nike’s Manufacturing Factories:

A data story between gender wage equality, emerging markets and workers’ rights

Nike has manufacturers in almost every area of the world, according to its official data .
There are only some exceptions: Russia, most of Africa and the of the Middle East appear to be completely free from Nike factories.

Only 18% of the factories are in North America, Europe or Japan. More than half of all Nike’s factories are concentrated in Emerging Markets.
This number rises to 70% when considering only footwear factories.

Producing in emerging markets has its benefits, of course. These countries attract more and more multinational companies, as they offer more competitive environments to cheaply manufacture products.
According to the Wall Street Journal, “in China, some provinces have raised minimum wages to more than $200 a month, while in Bangladesh the government sets the minimum wage for entry level garment workers there at less than $37 a month”.

And when the low minimum wage is coupled with the extremely poor level of workers’ safeguards, safety requirements and legal controls, the local manufacturers can easily attract multinational companies looking for maximize profit from production costs.
After the series of deathly incidents in Bangladeshi garment manufacturing plants, Nike has cut down on the number of contracts with local factories.
But despite this step, it Nike still mainly centers its production in countries with low workers’ rights protection, as the following chart shows.
read more (plus graphics).


20150214 * Leicestershire textile firms seek govt funds to relocate production back to UK:

Leicestershire county officials have teamed up with counterparts in Manchester making all efforts to obtain Government cash worth up to £19 million to help rejuvenate the industry by acquiring new hi-tech machinery,

which would allow textile manufacturers to relocate production from China, the Indian subcontinent and North Africa.

Textile firms are looking to tap into a multi-million pound funding scheme to bring more knitwear production back to Leicestershire, a the county’s textile industry suffered thousands of job cuts in the mid to late 1990s and early 2000s as scores of manufacturers switched production to lower-cost overseas locations.

Now, a combination of increasing living standards in developing countries, transport costs and a call for more British-made products from consumers has made UK production attractive again.

Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) is looking to secure further cash to help textile firms after using up a £21 million allocation from RGF, helping almost 200 firms create 1,800 jobs.
read more.



map of Asia

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

And there are updates under ‘special overviews’:

* The BALDIA (& Lahore) Fire September 2012 –PART 4 20150113- NOW

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


Our clothing kills
* Benetton faces pressure over Rana Plaza victims’ fund
* Pressure for Rana Plaza victims’ fund

* China’s workers get ready for another Year of the New Norma
* Imports of cotton dip as textiles struggle

* Incentive policies necessary to develop support industry

* Strikers accuse management of using shock weapon
* Bavet Factory Ordered to Close After Mass Faintings
* Bavet town factory sees 40 more pass out
* Scores of Workers Collapse in Bavet City
* Workers faint en masse
* Rainsy Touts Rent Law Plan to Garment Workers
* BetterFactories Media Updates 17 February
* BetterFactories Media Updates 6 February

* Smuggled apparel costs local manufacturers Rp 11 trillion

* Migrant children as young as 11 found working in factories in Tak province

* Myanmar workers awaken to claim their rights
* K5000-a-day proposed for minimum wage

* Bangladesh to grab spotlight at HK meeting on garment
* RMG operator course in Narsingdi
* Farmers ruined, RMG exporters unscathed: Muhith
* Muhith: RMG sector faced no big loss
* garment makers in trouble
* Tripartite move for inspection being barred due to political deadlock
* Metal factory catches fire at Savar
* Gazipur jhute godown catches fire
* BB to form $500 million fund for export sector
* Traders threaten tougher move
* Businesses slam bomb blast at hunger-strike prog
* GSP return still an uphill task
* Bangladesh can improve its labour rights, but so can the United States

* Labour dept plans managment, union talks to bolster relations
* Second arrest in Gurgaon’s Udyog Vihar violence
* Guard accused of beating worker held
* 40 industries listed for stepping up CSR activities
* Gujarat Govt plans textile university in Surat
* ‘Over 100 units in Tirupur not in PF scheme’
* Ignoring US demand, India to continue sops for textile exporters
* Maharashtra to set up special textile park to create eco friendly textile

* Minimum wage policy yet to be implemented
* Garment industry: A $25b reason to fight militancy
* Sustainable growth & productivity: Textile ministry set to introduce new legislation
* Textile minister underscores need for value-addition
* Chitrali Patti losing ground to factory made cloth
* Plan to increase textile exports
* UNIDO to focus on SMEs for sustainable development
* Gas suspension: PTEA urges Prime Minister to take immediate notice
* Stagnant cotton output
* Pakistan has tabled a policy to increase cotton based textile exports
* Leather industry: Pakistan lags behind regional players
* Govt working to form leather export council
* Civil society demands effective implementation of labour laws
* Prosecutor in Baldia factory fire case steps down
* Special public prosecutor in Baldia factory fire quits
* Baldia factory fire: Special public prosecutor resigns as police refuse to help
* Those involved in the Baldia factory fire will be given exemplary punishment
* Baldia: losing focus
* ‘JIT report diminishes owners’ responsibility’
* PILER holds press conference on Baldia fire incident
* Baldia factory fire hearing adjourned due to absence of owners
* ‘Delaying tactics’: Baldia fire witnesses rise to 950
* Baldia factory fire case: JIT report still not filed in trial court
* Culprits in factory fire to be taken to task: PM
* Losing focus?: JIT report has pushed away the focus of Baldia case, PILER
* JIT report has only a paragraph on Baldia factory fire: victims’ counsel
* JI terms Baldia factory fire ‘blackest incident

* US has market for Zimbabwean textile products but demands quality

* 5 reasons why we need the right to strike
* Nike’s Manufacturing Factories

* Leicestershire textile firms seek govt funds to relocate production back to UK

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