in the news 21-24 February 2015

04:36:48 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

20150220 * Tondo textile firm goes up in flames:

Fire razes the PAC-Asia textile company on Antonio Rivera St. in Tondo, Manila. (photo by Gel Francisco, here.

20150220 * Fire hits textile warehouse in Manila:

A fire believed caused by an electrical short circuit razed a warehouse in Manila’s Tondo district before dawn Friday.
The fire started past 4 a.m. and reached the fourth alarm by 5 a.m., radio dzBB’s Luisito Santos reported.
The fire was contained as of 11 a.m., GMA News’ Lei Alviz reported on GMA News TV’s Balitanghali.
No one was initially reported injured.
Initial investigation showed the fire started at the second floor of the warehouse on Antonio Rivera Street.
The warehouse is believed to store children’s items such as toys, the report said.
A separate report by GMA News’ Vonne Aquino on GMA News TV’s News TV Live said firefighters were still trying to battle the blaze at the Philippine National Railways compound past 7 a.m., and were trying to keep it from spreading to other structures in the compound.
On the other hand, dzBB’s Carlo Mateo said the PNR’s operations remained normal as of Friday morning.
Investigators suspect the fire stemmed from an electrical short circuit.
They said the items inside the warehouse are to be delivered to malls.
to read  + video.

20150221 * Factory fire:

Firemen battle a blaze at a textile plant on Antonio Rivera street in Tondo, Manila, on Friday. DANNY PATA here.

20150221 * textile factory fire:

In the Manila blaze, the single-storey warehouse of Ran Properties Corporation located at 1613 A. Rivera St. In Tondo caught fire at about 4:32 a.m. yesterday, firefighters said.

Estimated damage to property was placed at P5 million.

Warehouse security personnel spotted smoke emanating from inside the storage facility and promptly sought assistance from the Manila Fire Department, according to Superintendent Jaime Ramirez.

The warehouse is adjacent to the Tutuban shopping mall and the tracks and offices of the Philippine National Railways.

“It did not hamper the operations of the trains because it was not yet operational when the fire began. When a huge smoke billowed on top of the warehouse, the train’s operation remained unaffected,” Ramirez added.

Flames continued to billow for several minutes before it was declared under control at 5:06 a.m.

Investigators are probing the cause of the incident although initial findings indicate electrical wiring problems.
to read.

03:36:48 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

20150223 * Vietnam’s wages very low compared to other countries:

The average wage of workers in Vietnam is twice that of teachers in Africa, but only equivalent to 78% of the salary of cleaners in Thailand, according to a report from CNN.

On the global level, the average salary is about $19,188 per year. In Vietnam, the average wage of workers is more than VND45 million ($2,112) per year, equivalent to about 27% of the world average.

The report also shows that workers in some developed countries such as the US, South Korea and Germany are entitled to significantly higher preferential treatment than the rest of the world.

The average wage in the US is $42,966 per year. In South Korea and Germany, the figure is $40,791 and $38,910, respectively.

Compared with Southeast Asian countries, the average salary of Vietnam ranks 6th, after Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines.
read more.

20150222 * Local textile firms short of funding:

20150222 VNNet
Vinatex, the largest textile and garment producer in the sector with nearly 100 member companies and contributing about 15 per cent of annual export value.

Vinatex, the largest textile and garment producer in the sector with nearly 100 member companies and contributing about 15 per cent of annual export value, has little capital compared to FDI companies.

Thus, while foreign companies had expanded production of materials, domestic companies could not, Truong said.

He pointed out that big manufacturers owned by Vinatex such as Phong Phu Joint Stock Company, Viet Tien Company and May 10 Company had small amounts of equity with VND700 billion (US$33.3 million), VND200 billion ($9.5 million) and VND100 billion ($4.76 million) respectively,
read more.

20150223 * Footwear sector takes steps into New Year:

A successful 2014 and the promise of bigger export opportunities has given the domestic leather and footwear industry the confidence to set a US$14 billion export target for this year.

Phan Thi Thanh Xuan, General Secretary of the Vietnam Leather and Footwear Association (Lefaso), told Vietnam News that the new target marks a year-on-year increase of 15%.

She said last year was a successful year for the industry, with its presence in 47 global markets seeing the total leather, footwear and handbags exports rise 22.5% over 2013 to US$12.74 billion, accounting for 8.5% of the nation’s total export turnover.

Impending Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will attract new investments into Vietnam’s leather and footwear industry, she said.
read more. & read more.
VOVonline VIETNAMplus

20150221 * Growth expected in textile, footwear export turnover:

Several Vietnamese companies have received full orders for textile products by the end of the first quarter of this year, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

The ministry said that some large firms have also received orders for delivery by the end of the second quarter.

In January, the textile and apparel export turnover was expected to be 1.9 billion USD, a 1.2 percent increase year-over-year.

The output of textile products has increased, compared with January 2014. The production of textiles made from natural fibres is estimated to rise by 9.7 percent to reach 25.2 million sq.m, while that of synthetic-fibre and man-made-fibre textiles will see a 14.8 percent boost to touch 61 million sq.m.
read more.

20150214 * Over 60 percent of Japanese firms plan to expand in Vietnam:

More than 60 percent of Japanese businesses plan to expand their future operations in Vietnam, according to a survey conducted by the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO).

The figure was revealed at a seminar in Ho Chi Minh City on February 12.

Managing Director Yasuzumi Hirotaka said Japanese firms based in Vietnam hope to receive more active support from the Vietnamese Government; close to 70 percent of the firms specifically expect the host to simplify customs clearance formalities and push forward with reform programmes.

Despite the improvements in the Vietnamese investment environment, half of the surveyed Japanese enterprises consider the increasing labour cost and complicated administrative and tax procedures to be the major risks they face.
read more. & read more


03:36:48 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

20150224 * PM takes to stump on legal limit to overtime:

Prime Minister Hun Sen broached the long-running issue of excessive overtime worked by garment factory employees in a speech yesterday, in what at least one analyst saw as a possible play for garment worker support.

During his commencement speech at the National University of Management, the premier appealed to factories in Cambodia’s garment and footwear sector to only allow employees to work two hours overtime per day, in accordance with the Labour Law.

“Please be careful, the law allows for only two hours [per day] of overtime work,” Hun Sen said. “The workers, especially the female workers, need to work overtime in order to get more money, but please understand that this poorly affects their future.”

With a base salary of $128 per month, workers in Cambodia’s largest export industry are typically forced to work more than the Labour Law’s maximum overtime hours just to make ends meet, said Joel Preston, a consultant for the Community Legal Education Center (CLEC).

“[Excessive overtime has] always been a huge problem, I think it’s endemic,” Preston said.
read more.
PPP new

20150224 * Workers Collapse en Masse at Kandal Factory:

More than 60 female workers fainted on the job at a shoe factory in Kandal province’s Ang Snuol district on Monday morning, a worker representative and a Labor Ministry official said.

The representative, Lieng Da, said that 62 women passed out after seeing a pregnant worker faint at the Taiwanese-owned Grand East Footwear International factory.

“First the pregnant woman fainted and then the rest of the workers fainted,” Mr. Da said.
“The fainting was caused by the hot temperature of the factory, which did not have enough fans and extractor fans, resulting in a strong chemical odor in the factory.”
read more.

20150223 * Fifty Faint After Machine Catches Fire at Shoe Factory:

About 50 female workers fainted at a shoe factory in Kompong Chhnang province Saturday when an embossing machine burst into flames, causing smoke and fumes to fill part of the plant, a union official said Sunday.

Yin Sokhom, deputy president of the Free Trade Union at the Long Lead factory in Samakki Meanchey district’s Sethei commune, said the machine caught fire at about 1 p.m. on Saturday.

“It caused a lot of smoke…and the workers choked on the smoke mixed with the odor of burning cloth,” Mr. Sokhom said, adding that 29 workers fainted just after the fire was extinguished while about 20 others passed out about 15 minutes later.

The union leader said most of the women were sent to the district referral hospital or local clinics Saturday, but would return to their stations today.
read more.

20150223 * Fire, faintings: Workers to return after two days off:

Most employees at a shoe factory where more than 40 workers – including two pregnant women – fainted on Saturday afternoon will return to work today.

However, the 44 workers who fainted will be allowed to remain at home, with pay, until Wednesday, said Sun Meng, administration chief at Long Let Co, Ltd, where the faintings occurred.

Meng said yesterday that fumes from a drying kiln fire, which occurred due to an electrical malfunction, likely caused workers to faint. The factory was closed until this morning.

“Apart from fabric kiln fires, there are not serious damages [to the factory],” Meng said yesterday. “This morning, all workers will be back to work as usual except the 44 people who fainted, who are allowed to have two days off without skimming their wages and bonuses.”

Provincial Free Trade Union representative Nem Saran said yesterday he hoped the factory learned its lesson, after forcing employees to continue working after the fire on Saturday, despite the fact that noxious fumes from the burned material lingered in the workplace.
to read.
PPP new

20150222 * Mass Fainting in Shoe Factory:

More than 60 workers in the Long Lead footwear factory in north Cambodia’s Kampong Chhnang province collapsed on Saturday afternoon for fear of an electric fault, a local police chief said.

“Over 60 workers fainted after an electric fault broke out in a workplace and triggered fears among workers,” said Duong Hong, police chief of Kampong Trolach district, where the incident occurred. “They got nervous and tried to make their way out of the factory, which resulted in mass fainting.”

The ill-fated workers were sent to hospitals soon after the incident and no one was in serious condition, he said, adding that workers’ poor health was blamed for the fainting.

According to the website of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia, the factory employs 1,405 workers.
read more.

20150222 * Cambodia’s Garment Industry Rollercoaster:

News for the vital industry has been decidedly mixed of late.

Travel in any direction from Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital, and it is not long before you reach the clothing and footwear factories.

Lining the national highways, these buildings – often resembling warehouses in both size and architectural merit – house up to 600,000 workers, predominately young women.
Time your trip for the beginning or end of a shift, and the sight of thousands of these women crammed into open top cattle trucks starkly highlights both the youth of the workers, and the huge numbers involved in this industry.

The importance of the garment industry to Cambodia’s economic output is clear: $5.7 billion in clothing and footwear was exported last year, and is a major factor in the country’s official zero percent unemployment rate.
Yet despite this it can sometimes feel as if garment workers never catch a break. Stories featuring the Kingdom’s seamstresses in the past few years have covered mass fainting, mass strikes, and the police shooting of five workers. Indeed, positive stories are hard to find.

In the past few months, though, there have been a number of developments.
read more.

04:36:48 local time map of malaysia MALAYSIA

20150223 * Fire Razes Furniture, Shoe Factories:

A furniture factory and shoe factory located in the same premises in Mergong near here were destroyed in a fire this afternoon, incurring losses estimated at RM1 million.

The son of the furniture factory onwer, Teoh Boon Sin, 30, said no workers were inside the factory during the fire as it was closed for Chinese New Year holiday last week and would resume its operations this Wednesday.

“All goods in the two factories, in operation for 10 years, were charred including two lorries parked inside the factory.

“Coincidentally, I was passing the area and saw lots of smoke. I immediately went to the scene and was surprised to see my father’s factory was burning,” he told reporters at the scene.

Alor Setar Fire and Rescue Department acting chief Md Noor Daud said they rushed at the scene 10 minutes after receiving a call at 12.07 pm and brought the fire under control at 12.48 pm.
The cause of the fire was still being investigated, he said.
to read.

03:06:48 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

20150224 * Myanmar’s negotiation continues for settling labor dispute:

Myanmar authorities have been continuing to sponsor negotiations between foreign employers and striking workers to settle labor dispute in factories in Yangon’s industrial zones.

However, action will be taken against those who break the law and instigate for disturbing the rule of law, said a statement on Tuesday from the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security.

Foreign employers have demanded the government to provide protection for their factories to safeguard operation, the statement said, warning that the move of blocking entrances of some factories by the striking workers has reached above of the existing law.

“Some factories in Shwepyitha and Hlaingtharya industrial zones are facing to be blacklisted as their production has stopped for about two weeks due to labor strike as from Jan. 28,” the statement said.

Although the majority of the striking workers has reached agreement with their employers during the negotiation and have returned to work, some workers are still conducting sit-in protest outside one of the garment factories, the statement added.

Last week, Myanmar police force took legal action against the month-long labor strike staged by 2,000 workers from three foreign- invested garment factories in Shwepyitha industrial zone in north of the city demanding better pay.
read more.

20150221 * Police break up striking garment workers in Shwepyithar:

Several protesting workers from the E-Land Myanmar Garment factory in Shwepyithar Industrial Zone 2 were injured when they clashed violently with police on Friday evening.

Striking workers said the injuries were caused when police tried to forcibly remove dozens of workers who were blocking access to the factory. It is unknown whether the police sustained casualties.

Police also moved in to disperse and arrest striking or boycotting workers who were staging sit-ins at other factories in the Shwepyithar industrial estate, located some 15 kilometres north of Rangoon. Strike leaders were reportedly taken to the local police station.

Striking workers from the E-land Myanmar Garment, Ford Glory Garment, Costec International, and Han Jen Textile and Garment factories have been holding industrial action for the past two weeks, demanding pay increases from basic salaries of 30,000 kyat (US$30) per month to 60,000 kyat a month.
They are also calling for: casual daily workers to get the same labour rights as permanent workers; an increase in salary for workers once they complete one year on the job; and the participation of labor unions in the drawing up of industrial regulations.
read more.

20150221 * Myanmar police takes legal action against month-long labor strike:

Myanmar police force has taken legal action against a month-long labor strike staged by workers from three foreign-invested garment factories in Shwepyithar industrial zone in north of the city, local reports said Saturday.

The government warned of removing striking workers in Shwepyithar industrial zone who have blocked the entrance of the foreign-invested factories over the last three days.

About 2,000 workers from at least three garment factories — Costec International , Ford Glory and E-land Myanmar demanded more payment which meet ASEAN standard since early this month, the reports said.

There is no successful outcome from series of negotiation between the employers, the workers and the Labor Ministry.

Labor strike leaders and about 30 workers were arrested during the strike, the reports said.
read more.

20150220 * Thousands of Garment Workers Strike in Rangoon:

20150220 IRRAWADDY
Employees of the Tai Ye Shoe Factory camp out in Rangoon’s Hlaing Thar Yar Township demanding higher wages, Feb. 19, 2015. (Photo: Sai Zaw/ The Irrawaddy)

Thousands of Rangoon’s factory workers this week vowed to continue a strike until they receive a pay raise, following warnings from the divisional government not to cause public upset.

About 2,000 employees of several factories in Shwepyithar Township began their strike on Feb.2, demanding that their monthly wages be raised from 50,000 kyats (US$50) to 80,000 kyats.

Employees of the E-Land garment factory met on Tuesday with Rangoon Division Chief Minister Myint Swe for a fourth round of negotiations, but they declined his offer to ensure that the company implements a raise of $12, less than half of the increase employees had demanded.

“We want our basic pay to increase by 30,000 kyats,” said striking worker Khin Myo Oo, speaking to The Irrawaddy shortly after the meeting. “They only want to give us 12… We can’t negotiate, so we will continue our strike.”

On the day of the negotiations, the divisional government issued a public statement declaring that legal action would be taken against employees or employers that “harm peace and rule of law,” specifying that violence and protests that “counter” the law would be punished.
The statement said the striking workers were obstructing gates near the factories, preventing those who wanted to go to work from doing so and blocking deliveries.
read more.

02:36:48 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

20150224 * RMG workers laid siege to BKMEA office:

20150224 FE
RMG workers laid siege to BKMEA office on Monday, protesting police action on workers of an apparel unit at Adamjee EPZ in Narayanganj.
— Focus Bangla
FE bd

20150223 * 110 factory inspectors asked to learn labour laws:

Garment workers seen busy sewing clothes at a Dhaka factory. The mantaining of workers rights is a much-discussed issue now after several deadly accidents  

State Minister for Labor and Employment Mujibul Haque Chunnu has asked the newly appointed factory inspectors to acquire adequate knowledge about the existing labour laws for protecting workers’ rights.

“It is your responsibility to protect the workers’ rights,” he said while addressing an orientation programme of 110 newly appointed inspectors in the city yesterday.

Speaking as chief guest, the state minister said: “Your prime task is to acquire knowledge religiously to perform your due job patiently in cooperation with the workers and owners.” Labour and Employment Secretary Mikail Shipar asked the inspector not to hinder investment while implementing labour laws.

“The development of a industry will depend on your performance and you have to keep in mind that law is not to hinder investment and to create any obstacle,’’ said Shipar.

The factory inspectors were appointed in the wake of two incidents like Rana Plaza building collapse and Tazreen Fashion fire incident and you have to work hard to avert this kind of accident in future, he said.

“In the past, we’ve seen that the factory inspectors don’t have enough knowledge about the labour laws, which left the factory owners in trouble,” said Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) Former First Vice President Mohammad Hatem, pointing at the roles and responsibilities of the inspectors.
read more. & read more.

20150223 * Labour inspectors should protect interest of workers, owners:

State minister says at their orientation

Labour inspectors should play their role in such a way that the interest of both workers and owners is protected, State Minister for Labour Mujibul Hoque Chunnu said on Sunday.

“It is the duty of the inspectors to look after the interest of the workers. But you should have patience in exercising your power, you can’t misuse them,” he said at the orientation programme of the newly-appointed labour inspectors.

Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) organized it at Bangladesh Institute of Administration and Management (BIAM) auditorium in the capital.

After the Tazreen blaze and the Rana Plaza collapse, the government took a move to appoint additional 200 inspectors. As part of the move 110 of them have so far joined DIFE.

The minister said many owners are not aware of proper implementation of the labour law. During inspection of any factory, the inspectors should give them time to rectify, if there is any shortcoming regarding workplace safety.
read more.
FE bd

20150223 * BD needs to do more on workers’ rights: US report:

Bangladesh needs to do more to improve workplace safety and ensure workers’ rights in line with the GSP Action Plan and Sustainability Compact, a recent special report of the US government says.

According to the report, progresses are being made in areas like amendments to the labour law, union registration, hiring of some inspectors, inspection of factories and website listing of garment factories.

“Despite these improvements, much work remains to be done to implement the GSP Action Plan and Sustainability Compact and improve workers’ safety and respect for their rights.”
read more. & read more.
FE bd ustr

20150221 * ‘Access to RMG jobs lowers BD girls’ early marriage risk’:

Access to jobs in ready-made garment (RMG) factories can improve the lives of young Bangladeshi women, especially by motivating them to stay in school and lowering their likelihood of early marriage and childbirth, according to a new research by University of Washington (UW).

The new research, funded by National Science Foundation, mentioned that the collapse of Rana Plaza in April 2013 that killed more than 1,100 people put the RMG industry into a harsh spotlight and drew attention and concern of human rights groups.

“But amid the hardships, there is a quiet upside to factory work for many Bangladeshi women,” it opined.

UW economist Rachel Heath and co-author A Mushfiq Mobarak of Yale University School of Management studied data on school enrolment as well as marriage and childbirth outcomes from 1,395 households in 60 Bangladeshi villages in 2009.
read more.
FE bd

20150224 * Bangladesh a top choice for Japanese investors: survey:

20150224 DAILYSTAR

Most Japanese firms operating in China choose Bangladesh as the second best investment destination after India due to lower production costs here, according to a survey by Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro).

Due to sluggish operations and struggle for expansion of business in China, firms are expanding their operations mainly in Bangladesh, India, Vietnam and Thailand.

Some 71.7 percent Japanese-affiliated firms in China want to expand their operations in Bangladesh, with 78.2 percent favouring India, 66 percent Vietnam and 60.9 percent Thailand, according to the official trade and investment promotion agency of Japan.

Jetro that has been conducting such surveys since 1987 took opinions of 10,078 firms from 20 countries. It also directly interviewed the chief executives of the firms between October and November last year to conduct the survey — A survey of Japanese Affiliated Firms in Asia and Oceania for the Year 2014.

Bangladesh is offering the lowest worker wage levels among its competing countries. Workers’ wages in the manufacturing sector in Bangladesh is $100 a month, while Cambodia has the second lowest wages at $113, according to the survey.
read more. & read more about Jetro survey here &  FY 2014 suvey-pdf. here. (for wages: pages 66-70)
daily star bd JETRO

20150224 * RMG units resort to cost-cutting measures to compensate for losses:

Ongoing political turmoil

Many apparel makers are now resorting to cost-cutting measures to compensate for the losses that have been thrust upon them by the ongoing prolonged and disruptive political programmes, industry insiders said.

One of the handy measures they have, allegedly, chosen is the downsizing their workforce. Some of the owners have also decided to cut a few other expenditures including one on corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Owners of a number of apparel units have expressed their fear that they may not be in a position to pay the wages to their workers if the current political troubles persist further.

They have claimed that the buy orders have declined even up to 50 per cent, in some cases, while the sector has already suffered a 25-30 per cent production loss over the last 45 days.

Some factories located in Malibagh, Khilgaon, Mirpur, Savar, Ashulia and Narayanganj terminated a good number of workers during the last two months, alleged labour leaders.

Sirajul Islam Rony, president of Bangladesh National Garment Workers Employees League alleged that each day there were two to five incidents of worker termination, especially in the capital city.

“While work order has been declining on the one hand, our cost of doing business has gone up on the other. And the situation has forced the manufacturers to compensate for their loss in various forms,” Md   Hatem, former vice president of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) told the FE.
read more.
FE bd


20150224 * Benetton agrees to donate to Rana Plaza Trust Fund:

Benetton, a leading Italian fashion brand, has agreed to contribute to the Rana Plaza Trust Fund to compensate the factory collapse victims, nearly two years after the industrial disaster that killed more than 1,100 workers.

The move came after more than one million people signed a petition on a campaigning site – Avaaz, and following pressure from rights groups, such as Clean Clothes Campaign and Labour Behind the Label.

“We are pleased to announce step two of United Colors of Benetton’s engagement for the victims of the Rana Plaza tragedy of April 2013,” the company said in a statement issued on Friday.

In step one, within one month of the tragedy, Benetton immediately launched its own support programme in partnership with the Bangladesh-based global NGO – BRAC – to support 280 victims and family members.

Step two will be a further contribution, the company said, adding that this time it will be done through the Rana Plaza Trust Fund, which has been established in the meantime.

Benetton explained that ‘an independent third party is working to define the principles of its fair and equitable share of compensation, since till date; it has not been possible to set forth such principle for any brand.’
read more.
FE bd

02:06:48 local time map of india INDIA

20150224 * Power loom workers demand relaxation:

Demanding that handloom items notified as reserved items should be allowed to be produced in power looms, members of Powerloom Workers Association staged a demonstration near Collectorate here on Monday.

The members said that there were around 5,000 power loom units in the district through which over 50,000 families earned their livelihood.

Stating that silk saris were not allowed to be produced in power loom, officials from the State Handloom Enforcement Wing, Salem Zone, raided the units and damaged the materials and also threatened the workers.

Upgraded looms
The officials failed to inspect the upgraded looms where these items were produced, they claimed.
read more.

20150221 * Child labourers rescued in Coimbatore:

Police personnel from the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit along with Childline and Child Protection wing officials conducted surprise checks across the city on Friday and rescued 13 children, including two girls, who were employed in goldsmithies, shops and godowns.
Textile mill
Besides this, officials of National Child Labour Project (NCLP) rescued five child workers from a textile mill here on Thursday night.

According to an official of NCLP, all five are girls aged less than 15.
While four of them are from Karnataka, one is from Tamil Nadu.
The NCLP is likely to file a complaint against the mill with the police on Saturday as the girls have alleged that they were threatened and not treated properly at the mill.
Decisions on rehabilitating the children and action against the employer are likely to be taken on Saturday, the official added.
read more.

20150221 * Talks with weavers fail:

The talks held to end the weavers’ indefinite strike in Komarapalayam failed. The weavers said the strike will continue till the wages are revised.

The weavers want an increase in wages by 30%.

Over 3,000 handloom weavers in Komarapalayam were on strike from February 2. The fabrics produced by them are exported to Malaysia, Singapore, and Middle East countries.

The weavers are paid between Rs. 1,250 and Rs. 1,500, based on the type of fabrics and the type of work.
They said that wage was not raised in the last four years.
read more.

20150220 * ViBGYOR expresses solidarity with workers:

Government policies that deny workers the right to organise should be opposed, a mini-conference organised on the fourth day of the ViBGYOR festival of international short and documentary films has said.

Almost all important struggles in the history of Kerala were started by workers. However, the new policies of the government were aimed at attacking the rights of the workers to organise, said social activist K. Venu.

Workers in the unorganised sector were the most affected by the changes in industrial polices, said social activist and documentary maker Amudhan. Such changes in industrial policies were meant for strengthening the industrial co-operation with western counties, he added.

The festival expressed solidarity with the on-going ‘sitting protest’ by women workers of a textile firm in Thrissur.
read more.

20150221 * Hosiery manufacturers upset over PTOA’s demand:

Talks fail to resolve the issue; next round of talks on Feb. 24

Hosiery manufacturers in Tirupur knitwear cluster sounded upset over the sudden demand of Power Table Owners Association (PTOA) members, who own around 2,000 knitwear stitching units, for higher job work charges and their decision to stop working.

A talk held between the PTOA members and South India Hosiery Manufacturers Association (SIHMA) on Friday evening could not resolve the issue as the PTOA asked for a 20 per cent hike in sewing charges from the present rates which the hosiery manufacturers did not agree.

South India Hosiery Manufacturers Association sources told The Hindu that the demand for raising the job work charges by the PTOA member units could not be justified considering that the three-year agreement on stitching charges signed by hosiery manufacturers and power table unit owners expire only April 16, 2016.
read more.

20150221 * Toe line or face music, leather units told:

The district administration has warned leather industries in Vellore of stern action if they fail to adhere to rules and regulations.

With the recent accident at the common effluent treatment plant (CETP) at Ranipet SIDCO Industrial Estate that killed 10 workers sounding the wake-up call for officials, Collector R. Nanthagopal on Friday convened a meeting with owners of leather industries and management of CETPs to ensure safety of workers.

He said that owners should work with sense of responsibility to prevent loss of lives due to lack of safety in the future.
The district administration will take stringent action in case of violations.
read more.

20150222 * Cotton farmers protest against sudden drop in price:

Decrease in a week will hurt them badly, they say

The cotton farmers staged an agitation in front of the Konganapuram branch of the Tiruchengode Agricultural Producers Cooperative Marketing Society in protest against the sudden drop in the price of cotton on Friday.

Since cotton did not fetch good price at the weekly auction on Friday, the farmers suddenly resorted to an agitation.

They said that the price of a kg of cotton had dropped by Rs. 10, from Rs. 48 last week to Rs. 38 yesterday.
The decrease within a week would badly hit the farmers, they complained and alleged that the fall was mainly due to the syndicate formed by the traders.
read more.

20150214 * Organic cotton textile park in Maharashtra:

Increasing use of Bt cotton has reduced cultivation of organic cotton, which is considered eco-friendly

To promote organic cotton cultivation in India, the government Maharashtra is setting up a first-of-its-kind specialty textile park in the state.

Announcing the decision, Textile Minister Chandrakant Patil, said, “The government of Maharashtra is committed to promoting eco-friendly textile products. We will erect special textile parks for the creation of eco-friendly textiles and the government of Maharashtra will lend special support for establishing such industries.”

Increasing use of Bt cotton has reduced cultivation of organic cotton, which is considered eco-friendly.
According to reports, cultivation of Bt cotton has covered over 95 per cent of overall acreage in India and Maharashtra is no exception.
read more.

20150222 * Mill worker mourns relentless campaigner:

A few kilometres away from Breach Candy hospital where Kolhapur activist Govind Pansare breathed his last, one of Mumbai’s former mill workers mourned the death of a man he had once known in his youth.

Now in his late 60s, Jyotiba Jyotgonde, who once worked in Mumbai’s textile mills, grew up in a village in Kolhapur district.
A farmer’s son, he recalls attending meetings in the neighbouring taluka where Pansare was invited as a speaker.
“The meetings were on a variety of issues, like a problem on the field, or an issue regarding sugar. We would love to listen to Pansare speak.
His speeches were so good that everybody who listened to him would feel happy. He always fought for the rights of the poor.
We loved listening to him. He had a great way of speaking and of explaining things. He was a very good listener, too,” says Jyotgonde.

He recalls Pansare visiting his school in the village and talking to both teachers and students over how things were going with them.

Much like Pansare who battled the system and campaigned for the causes he believed in, Jyotgonde too was involved in social movements as a textile worker. He was a part of the textile workers’ movement in the 1980s, braved police lathi-charges in Lalbaug and was even jailed during protests. He was a part of the 1982 textile workers’ strike in Mumbai.

Pansare reminds the former mill worker of an era of social movements where people cared for the lives of others.
read more.

02:06:48 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

20150222 * Wage hike talks begins this week:

Wages Boards of the private sector are to commence negotiations this week to finalize on their salary increase, Commissioner General of Labor, Herath Yapa told The Nation Gain last week.

Accordingly, 44 Wages Boards belonging to various private sector organizations are expected to conduct a series of meetings commencing on February 27.

Cabinet Spokesperson, Dr. Rajitha Senaratne on Thursday (19) addressing a media briefing stated that the National Labour Council had agreed to increase salaries of private sector employees parallel to the public sector increase.

Accordingly, the Minister had stated that it was agreed to increase private sector salary wages by 15% to 35% while increasing the minimum salary level to Rs. 10,000.

Herath stated that a time frame cannot be given for the discussions to arrive at a final decision.
to read.

01:36:48 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

20150224 * Textile exports rise 10%:

Exports of textile and clothing surged to $1.207 billion in January 2015 compared to $1.095bn a year ago, an increase of 10.23 per cent, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics data showed on Monday.

The growth in export proceeds rebounded after witnessing a negative growth of over 6pc in Dec 2014, thanks to improved supply of gas and electricity to the sector.

During July-Jan 2014-15, the exports of textile and clothing witnessed a nominal increase of just 1pc.

Product-wise details show that exports of low value-added products, such as cotton yarn, was up by 24.17pc; yarn other than cotton yarn 89.53pc; tents 51.06pc and made-up textile excluding towels by 17.04pc.
read more.

20150224 * Textile exports up 1% in 7 months:

The textile exports from the country increased by one percent during the first seven months of current fiscal year against the exports of same period of last year.

The overall textile exports during July-January (2014-15) were recorded at $8.096 billion against the exports of $8.016 billion during July-January (2013-14), according to Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).

The textile products that witnessed increase in trade included yarn other than cotton yarn export of which increased by 24.86 percent, by going up from $20.987 million this year.

Exports of knitwear also increased by 10.19 percent from $1.306 billion last year to $1.44 billion this year while the exports of bed wear increased by 0.08 percent from $1.254 billion to $1.255 billion.
read more. & read more.
daily times PK PAKOBSERVERnew2

20150223 * Textiles Ministry seeks funds for 8 projects from PSDP budget:

Ministry of Textiles is seeking funding for eight new projects in the PSDP budget for the 2015-16, whereas financing for two ongoing projects of more than Rs 1560 million is also proposed to be included in the next year budget.

The ministry has asked Rs.58.67 million for the monitoring and management of BT resistant in cotton bollworms.
|The project has been approved and the objective of the project is to detect the occurrence of the resistance to BT toxin and develop resistance management strategies.

The second project is cotton as relay crop in standing wheat for enhancing productivity of both the crops.
This project has been approved and Rs. 15.20 million has been asked for the enhancing area and productivity of the cotton and wheat crops through relay cropping system.
read more.

20150221 * Knitwear industry: PHMA urges FBR to clear ST refund cases:

Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PHMEA) has urged the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to immediately clear the sales tax refund cases to bailout the knitwear industry which is currently facing severe liquidity crunch.

PHMEA Chairman North Zone Usman Jawwad told media that an amount of 12 billion rupees of exporters is stuck up with the government.

“If this amount is released, it would help improve financial structure of the industry,” he added. PHMEA former chairman Shahzad Azam Khan also spoke on the occasion.
read more.

20150221 * EU delegates meet to discuss development in Punjab, Pakistan:

Pakistan has strong and friendly relations with the countries of European Union.

A representative delegation of European parliament called on Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Friday to discussion matters of mutual interest, strengthening of economic and trade relations and promotion of cooperation in skill development, health, education and other sectors.

Shahbaz at the meeting told the EU delegates that Pakistan’s textile exports had increased by one billion dollars after the country was granted GSP Plus status, which has left a positive impact on national economy.
read more.

20150220 * GSP Plus Textile industry for making best use of facility: APTMA chief:

Chairman APTMA S M Tanveer has said the textile industry of Pakistan is focused on making the best use of GSP Plus facility from the EU, which is an evident from the fact that country’s exports to EU have increased by 29 percent during January to November 2014.

He was speaking after welcoming the Ms Jean Lambert, Chair, Green/European Free Alliance and EU Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark along with other members of the mission at the APTMA Punjab office.
He said Pakistan’s textile industry, on a fair trading basis, is one of the most competitive in the world.
The garment industry is energised, and is looking for new avenue. However, productivity of garment industry is comparatively low, and thus requires assistance from the EU.
He proposed that the master trainers can train our trainers for improvement in productivity.
read more.

20150222 * Textile producers: ‘Hopeless’ Punjab industry rues energy crisis:

20150222 TRIBUNE
Many exporters believe that this may not be possible with the current situation of energy supply to a much larger province, which covers 70% of this sector.

The energy-deprived business community of Punjab is starting to vent their frustration publicly over the 18th Amendment signed back in 2010.

The stakeholders of the textile sector are left with no choice but to show hopelessness over the conditions. Even big players of the industry believe there is no future due to disparity between provinces.

Even after the announcement of the new textile policy 2014-19, which has targeted to double textile exports to $25 billion from current $13.5 billion, many exporters believe that this may not be possible with the current situation of energy supply to a much larger province, which covers 70% of this sector.

“The plan of doubling textile exports to the EU after the GSP Plus scheme is nothing more than a dream,” said Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers and Exporters Association Chairman Usman Jawwad. “We just have to ask this simple question: is there enough energy supply to double the exports?”

The GSP Plus window has increased the flow of orders to the hosiery sector, but they cannot utilise their production capacity mainly due to shortage of electricity and gas.
read more.

20150222 * Textile industry: gas supply still restricted to four hours:

Gas supply to the captive power plants of Punjab based textile industry is yet restricted to four hours a day due to drop in mercury during recent couple of days.

The Punjab based textile millers were quite hopeful of increase in gas supply to their captive plants to eight hours a day, equal to winter supply. However, sudden drop in temperature due to rains delayed the move by the SNGPL.

It may be noted that Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif had taken special notice on the call of APTMA and ensured resumption of gas supply to the Punjab based textile mills on February 19, which was suspended on February 9.
Chairman APTMA S M Tanveer has already expressed his gratitude to the CM Punjab for his timely intervention and saving jobs of thousands of textile industry workers in the province.
to read.

20150222 * Work hard: Trade a matter of exchange based on competitiveness:

Dear textile tycoons of Pakistan,

When I arrived in Islamabad last week, a quarter of newspapers’ front pages was covered with appeals to Turkey to give zero-duty status to Pakistani textiles. I am now responding to these appeals.

I would like to start by narrating history. In 1990, Turkish textile exports were half that of Pakistan at around $1.4 billion, when your country was exporting textiles worth $2.6 billion. By 2000, when Pakistan’s textile exports were $4.5 billion, Turkey was still behind at $3.6 billion.

However, by 2010, our exports touched $9 billion, while Pakistan’s could not cross $8 billion. In 2012, our exports were 25% higher than Pakistan. This has continued. We have taken 25 years to come at this stage. Our total exports now are more than $210 billion, up from $57 billion in 1998. Today, Pakistan’s total exports hover around $25 billion.

When I read your advertised appeal to me to allow duty-free status under the GSP Plus scheme to your products, I was astonished. Turkey did not use such special status to achieve the current level of progress. We worked hard. We designed better products and produced more.

You wrote that the “award of the GSP Plus status to Pakistan will not be a big burden on Turkey but indeed be a boost to Pak-Turkish trade.” This status has been awarded to Pakistan more than a year ago by the European Union, but I understand that this has not tremendously helped its textile exports. Pakistani textile exports have fluctuated around $700-800 million a month in the last six months instead of showing any spike.

Energy shortages:
read more.


20150223 * Probe ordered against SSP for covering up Badlia JIT report:

The Karachi Baldia Town factory inferno case has taken a new turn after it transpired that a senior police official covered up the final Joint Investigation Team (JIT) report despite having received it in June 2013.

Reliable sources told Online that Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Nasir Aftab received the final JIT report of the factory fire in June 2013, but he deliberately concealed it from police high-ups, thus providing an easy escape for the suspects behind the episode.

Officials of Sindh Police, Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), Intelligence Bureau (IB), Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and Rangers had compiled the JIT report before submitting it to SSP Aftab.

Police sources said that had the JIT report been forwarded to the police high-ups on time, the main suspects behind the heinous crime could have been apprehended before they were produced before a court with the JIT report.
read more.
daily times PK

20150222 * Court issues non-bailable arrest warrants of IO on Baldia Town factory fire:

An Additional District and Sessions Judge West Noshaba Qazi issued non-bailable warrants for arrest of an investigation officer (IO) Sub-Inspector Jahanzaib over his absence in hearing of Baldia Town factory fire case.

The court also ordered stopping payment his salary for not appearing before court during hearing.
Baldia Town case came up for hearing on Saturday. The court expressed resentment over non-appearance of IO before it and remarked the IO has committed contempt of court and as to why contempt of court notice be not issued to him.
The court ordered report in respect of medical certificates of culprits be presented before it on next hearing.
The counsels told court factory owners could not appear being ill and their attendance in court would be ensured on next hearing. Prosecutor Shazia Hinjra told court she has rescued from this case.
read more. & read more. & read more.
daily times PK  DAWNnew

20150221 * Possible outcome of fresh Baldia fire probe:

Fresh investigation into 2012 Baldia factory fire may get more hype in the media and in the political circles with the passage of time, but the chances of the families of 258 victims getting justice look bleak.

It is premature to say what direction the new probe will take, but certainly we may see new accused, new evidences, new witnesses and new trial, which may take months or even years.
At the very outset, the new case direction must have brought a sigh of relief to the factory management, including its owner, his son, manager and other staff, who were cited as the accused in the case.

So, the immediate beneficiaries are not the workers but the factory owners.
It is yet to be seen if they will remain accused in the fresh probe or become witness. What will now be the status of the case pending with the Karachi sessions court? Will the state withdraw its case against the accused, who are already on bail?

What about the list of 950 prosecution witnesses submitted to the court?
Will there be a fresh FIR of the case?
What about the evidences already on court record like forensic or chemical, which would be crucial for the fresh trial?
read more.

20150222 * Arrest warrant out for Baldia factory fire case investigator:

A court on Saturday issued a non-bailable warrant for the arrest of the investigation officer in Baldia Town fire case.

Additional District and Sessions Judge (West) Noshaba Kazi has taken notice of a statement by Advocate Shazia Hanjra, who had resigned as the key public prosecutor, claiming that the IO had not extended his cooperation and not provided her with written investigative reports on the case.
The court took serious note of the absence of the IO and fixed March 7 as next date of hearing.
read more.

20150221 * Baldia factory fire: Court issues arrest warrant against investigation officer:

The Karachi City Court issued on Wednesday a non-bailable arrest warrant against Investigation Officer Inspector Jahanzaib for not appearing before the court in the Baldia factory fire case, Express News reported.

The owner of the targeted Baldia garment factory was also not present during the hearing.
As a result, the court adjourned the hearing till March 7 and ordered police to ensure that the owner appears before the court next time.
Earlier, On February 16,  Special public prosecutor for the case, Shazia Hanjrah, had resigned.
read more.

20150221-22 * Baldia factory fire suspects should be hanged publicly: Altaf Hussain:

Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain appealed on Saturday to army chief General Raheel Sharif for a fair investigation into the Baldia factory fire case, Express News reported.

The MQM chief asked the army chief to constitute an investigative team comprising of military officers to probe the deadly blaze which killed more than 259 factory workers.
“A special chowk (roundabout) should be formed where those responsible for the fire should be hanged,” Altaf further said.
Earlier, the Rangers placed the blame of the Baldia factory fire on the MQM in a report submitted to the Sindh High Court (SHC) on Friday.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
NATIONnew thenewspk


20150223 * African attire textile project set up by group of skilled women in Gweru:

In Zimbabwe there are very few locals skilled in design of traditional costumes apart from a few specialist outlets in the capital city.

Taking advantage of the continental trend, a group of skilled women in Gweru have set up a thriving textiles project known as Temash Exclusive Centre, that specializes in the design and production of African attire as it is an instant hit business enterprise for many West African countries, where the clothes are made with colours representing various tribes and considered essential at traditional events.

The ladies import the fabric from countries like Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Egypt, Nigeria and Ghana and use their professional skills to design top class outfits for children and adults of both sexes.

Temash Exclusive Centre, the premises on sixth street have become the single largest point where individuals, institutions and safari companies throng for supplies of the outfits.
Their project is the only one where designs of special foreign fabrics like Mama Africa, Egypt Batik, Diamond Wax and Polytop can be found. Local makes like Poly-cotton, Fleece and Mandy are also available.

The ladies have acquired heavy industrial machinery after having just started with small-holder machines.
Scattered sewing notions like threads, pieces of cloths, fasteners such as zippers, buttons, and snaps, needles and pins and seam rippers confirm to any visitor that the place is a hive of activity.
read more.


20150220 * Leicester garment workers paid below minimum wage and facing ‘serious labour rights issues’ – report:

A report into working conditions in the Leicester garment industry has found workers being paid below the minimum wage and breaches in health and safety standards.

The research, carried out by the University of Leicester for the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), also found an absence of employment contracts and poor enforcement of labour regulations and standards.

The report said the industry had seen the “emergence of new business models that are competitive in a globalised industry” and “integrated into global supply chains”, while the average size of a garment manufacturer in the UK had fallen by more than 60 per cent over the past two decades. In 2013 82 per cent of firms employed less than 10 people.

The report said “sourcing and purchasing practices as well as product and labour market regulations have in many ways resulted in a new, very different industry which is dominated by small firms, fragmented supply chains, a largely vulnerable workforce and the absence of enterprise-level industrial relations and worker representation”.
read more.


map of Asia

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

There are updates under ‘special overviews’:

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

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


* Tondo textile firm goes up in flames
* Fire hits textile warehouse in Manila
* Factory fire
* textile factory fire

* Vietnam’s wages very low compared to other countries
* Local textile firms short of funding
* Footwear sector takes steps into New Year
* Growth expected in textile, footwear export turnover
* Over 60 percent of Japanese firms plan to expand in Vietnam

* PM takes to stump on legal limit to overtime
* Workers Collapse en Masse at Kandal Factory
* Fifty Faint After Machine Catches Fire at Shoe Factory
* Fire, faintings: Workers to return after two days off
* Mass Fainting in Shoe Factory
* Cambodia’s Garment Industry Rollercoaster

* Fire Razes Furniture, Shoe Factories

* Myanmar’s negotiation continues for settling labor dispute
* Police break up striking garment workers in Shwepyithar
* Myanmar police takes legal action against month-long labor strike
* Thousands of Garment Workers Strike in Rangoon

* RMG workers laid siege to BKMEA office
* 110 factory inspectors asked to learn labour laws
* Labour inspectors should protect interest of workers, owners
* BD needs to do more on workers’ rights: US report
* ‘Access to RMG jobs lowers BD girls’ early marriage risk’
* Bangladesh a top choice for Japanese investors: survey
* RMG units resort to cost-cutting measures to compensate for losses
* Benetton agrees to donate to Rana Plaza Trust Fund

* Power loom workers demand relaxation
* Child labourers rescued in Coimbatore
* Talks with weavers fail
* ViBGYOR expresses solidarity with workers
* Hosiery manufacturers upset over PTOA’s demand
* Toe line or face music, leather units told
* Cotton farmers protest against sudden drop in price
* Organic cotton textile park in Maharashtra
* Mill worker mourns relentless campaigner

* Wage hike talks begins this week

* Textile exports rise 10%
* Textile exports up 1% in 7 months
* Textiles Ministry seeks funds for 8 projects from PSDP budget
* Knitwear industry: PHMA urges FBR to clear ST refund cases
* EU delegates meet to discuss development in Punjab, Pakistan
* GSP Plus Textile industry for making best use of facility: APTMA chief
* Textile producers: ‘Hopeless’ Punjab industry rues energy crisis
* Textile industry: gas supply still restricted to four hours
* Work hard: Trade a matter of exchange based on competitiveness
* Probe ordered against SSP for covering up Badlia JIT report
* Court issues non-bailable arrest warrants of IO on Baldia Town factory fire
* Possible outcome of fresh Baldia fire probe
* Arrest warrant out for Baldia factory fire case investigator
* Baldia factory fire: Court issues arrest warrant against investigation officer
* Baldia factory fire suspects should be hanged publicly: Altaf Hussain

* African attire textile project set up by group of skilled women in Gweru

* Leicester garment workers paid below minimum wage and facing ‘serious labour rights

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