in the news 17- 20 March 2015

map of asia ASIA

20150319 * What the fashion industry looks like after 4 years of Detox:

10% of the global retail fashion industry is committed to eliminating toxic chemicals. But without you, this would’ve been zero.

This is what hundred of thousands of people can do when they are united in the belief that beautiful fashion should be made free from hazardous chemicals – and most importantly, when they have the courage to take action.

So today, Greenpeace East Asia can finally reveal the second instalment of the Detox Catwalk, an online platform charting the progress made by 18 committed companies down the runway to Detox. Is your favourite fashion label a Detox Leader?
read more. & read more.

20150318 * Detox: How Fashion Is Cleaning Up Its Act:

“Detox: How Fashion is Cleaning Up Its Act” documents the voices of everyone from fashion companies, academics, NGOs, local communities and fashionistas – and shows how global PeoplePower is pushing the industry to kick its toxic addiction.
see video.

05:42:00 local time map of korea_n NORTH KOREA

20150318 * S. Korean businessmen calls to restrain anti-DPRK leaflets spread:

South Korean businessmen running factories in the Kaesong Industrial Complex on Wednesday called for the South Korean government to restrain the scattering of leaflets against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to resolve the issue on a wage hike in the inter-Korean factory park.

A group of about 10 South Korean businessmen traveled to the DPRK’s border town of Kaesong, where some 120 South Korean firms are operating factories and hiring around 53,000 DPRK workers, earlier in the morning.

Their visit came after the DPRK unilaterally notified South Korea of raising the minimum wage for DPRK workers in the Kaesong industrial zone from 70.35 U.S. dollars to 74 dollars starting from March. The March wage will be paid on April 10.

“If the anti-DPRK leaflets scattering is restrained, the wage issue on the Kaesong industrial complex will be easily resolved,” Chung Ki-sup, chief of the council for South Korean firms operating factories in Kaesong, told reporters before heading to Kaesong.
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04:42:00 local time map of china CHINA

20150320 * Denim Blues:

The Chinese city of Xintang, known as the world’s jeans capital, is home to an industry tainted by labour rights abuses.

What does it take to produce a pair of jeans?

101 East travels to the Chinese city of Xintang, known as the jeans capital of the world, and exposes a dirty, dangerous industry.

We find workers risking their health while sandblasting jeans, a controversial process that makes denim look fashionably worn but which causes irreversible damage to workers’ lungs.

We witness the devastating destruction the denim industry is wreaking on the environment.

Several big-name brands, including Levi Strauss, have pledged to end sandblasting, but this undercover investigation reveals that the harmful practice continues in China, putting workers’ lives at risk.
read more & see full videoreport.
ALJAZEERA 101aljazeera

20150318 * Thousands walk out at running shoe factory:

Dispute follows decision by firm that supplies Nike to transfer workers to different plant

Thousands of workers at a factory operated by Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings, the world’s largest sports shoe maker, have gone on strike over proposed changes to production arrangements, the company said on Wednesday.

The Taiwan-based manufacturer produces footwear for global brands such as Nike and adidas.
Between 2,000 and 3,000 workers are protesting at a factory in Guangdong province that makes shoes for international companies, said Jerry Shum, the firm’s Hong Kong-based investor relations director. He would not identify the brands that are supplied by the plant.

“The company is in control of the situation and expects it to be resolved in a few days,” Shum said.
He added that the dispute, by workers who comprise between two and three percent of Yue Yuen’s total workforce in China, has so far made no impact on the company’s production schedule.
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20150318 * 200 workers protest after manager fled in S China:

More than 200 workers from a clothing factory gathered in front of the local government building in Dongguan City of Guangdong Province on Wednesday, local authorities said.

The Jundi clothing factoryworkers went back to work on March 14 after the Spring Festival holiday to find the factory gates locked and all the equipment gone.
The manager of the factory was also missing, according to a worker surnamed He from the central Hunan Province.

Staff from the local social security department told the workers that their premiums had not been paid by the factory for over five months.
The workers also claimed not to have received their salary for last month.

The workers asked the government to help them get their salaries, insurance and redundancy payments.
to read.
people rood

20150319 * Business as usual in Guangdong’s factories after the New Year Holiday:

Nearly 95 percent of Guangdong’s roughly ten million migrant workers have returned to the province after the Spring Festival break, the provincial human resources and social security bureau announced yesterday.

A total of 9.67 million migrant workers had returned by 15 March, about the same level as last year, and employee numbers in 80 percent of Guangdong’s enterprises had already reached or exceeded pre-holiday levels.

The bureau spokesman stressed that despite the economic downturn and decline of manufacturing, the labour market in the province was basically balanced with about 400,000 more jobs available than the number of people looking for work. The overall ratio of jobs available to job seekers was now 1.09, the spokesman said.

Job seekers at a recruitment centre in Dongguan
The spokesmen did however concede that many smaller enterprises were in difficulty and that there was a serious mismatch between the jobs employers need to fill and the jobs employees want to do.

Worker discontent over wage arrears, low wages and social security quickly returned to pre-holiday levels as well. CLB’s Strike Map has already recorded 20 strikes and worker protests in the province in the three weeks since the end of the New Year holiday.
read more.

20150318 * China’s labour groups need to be in line with the needs and demands of workers:

The veteran labour lawyer and advocate for collective bargaining Duan Yi has called on China’s labour groups to work together to better serve the interests of China’s workers.

In a speech to workers and labour activists in Guangdong earlier this month, Duan discussed the evolution of the workers’ movement in China and the role of civil society labour organizations in that movement.

He argued that it was the workers who set the agenda and that it was therefore up to China’s labour groups to follow that agenda.
The various, predominately small-scale, labour organizations in Guangdong needed to be better coordinated, he said, in order to counteract the current imbalance of power in labour relations, which was weighted heavily in favour of the employer.

In the future, he said, labour groups would also have to find some way of cooperating with local governments, whose primary concern in labour disputes at present is the maintenance of social stability.
Duan Yi also touched on the thorny issue of foreign funding for Chinese civil society organizations.
He argued that labour groups should accept the funding on offer but only on condition that their primary allegiance to China’s workers is not weakened or compromised as a result.
read more.

20150319 * Li Ning posts 3rd straight year of losses:

Li Ning Co Ltd, China’s best known sports apparel company, posted its third straight year of losses in 2014 but the company’s founder said he was confident that they would turn a profit starting from 2015.

It posted a net loss attributable to equity holders of 780 million yuan (126 million US dollars), compared to 391.5 million yuan loss in the year ago period.
read more.

20150320 * Bizarre fashion show appeals for green life in Chongqing:

20150320 PEOPLECN
People present garments made of waste metal buckets during a garment show held by a company in Chongqing, southwest China, March 19, 2015. [Photo:]

A bizarre fashion show presented garments made out of metal buckets, bottles, paper and general garbage waste at a farm in southwest China’s Chongqing municipality Thursday.

More than 1,000 people took part in the show and displayed the creative garments made of waste materials.
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people rood CHINAORG

04:42:00 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

20150319 * Aquino made wage regionalization worse – KMU:

Continuing its condemnation of the meager P15 wage hike approved by the Metro Manila wage board, national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno said today that the regionalization of wages was made worse under Pres. Noynoy Aquino.

Citing an infographic published by last May 1, 2014, the labor group said the minimum wage in Metro Manila is already low but the minimum wage levels in regions outside Metro Manila are even lower, and the gap between Metro Manila’s minimum wage and that of other regions has increased under Aquino.
read more.

20150319 * P15 ‘insulting’ wage hike in NCR fails to appease restive workers:

The P15.00 ($0.34) increase in workers’ daily wage is not even enough to cover for the increase in fares in the country’s train systems.
It’s not enough to cover for the rising prices of basic commodities, especially food items, and rising payments for basic services,”

Rea Alegre, spokesperson of broad workers’ group All Workers’ Unity (AWU), described the P15 ($0.34) wage hike approved by the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board last Tuesday, which will take effect mid-April for Metro Manila workers, as too sparse that it is insulting; the timing too is suspect.

“This is as insulting as the previously announced P238 to P268 ($5.32 to $5.99) wage rate increase in Caraga Region, which also allows companies and industries to give workers coupons instead of an actual wage increase.
Workers need immediate relief and a National Minimum Wage, in the amount of P16,000 ($357.60) monthly, not alms.”
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20150318 * P15 wage hike insulting, won’t stop protests vs. Aquino – KMU:

National labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno condemned today the Metro Manila wage board for implementing a P15.00 wage hike, saying the amount is insulting to the country’s workers and won’t stop protests against Pres. Noynoy Aquino.

The labor group said the wage hike, which was approved by the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board last Tuesday and will take effect mid-April, is too meager compared with the amount needed daily by a workers’ family to live decently.

“If Aquino thinks this wage hike will weaken workers’ protests calling for his resignation, then he is sorely mistaken.
This meager wage hike is insulting to workers and does not address the government’s and big capitalists’ attacks against the minimum wage,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.
read more.

03:42:00 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

20150319 * Vietnam – on the road to a living wage:

With a systematically rising minimum wage, Vietnam is well on its way to achieving a living wage.
But collective bargaining and labour relations with foreign companies remain a challenge.

In January 2015, the Vietnamese government raised the minimum wage by 15 per cent to US$ 145 per month. This was a result of research and a consultation process through a tripartite National Wage Council.

According to studies, the minimum wage now covers 75 per cent of living costs, and increases will continue in the coming years. Reaching a living wage is a priority for the government and the trade unions, as well as a key global campaign of IndustriALL.

On a recent visit to Vietnam, IndustriALL General Secretary Jyrki Raina, said:
“With a systematic tripartite minimum living wage program, Vietnam sets a good example to other countries in Asia for boosting purchasing power, economic growth and creation of new jobs.”

Vietnam’s National Union of Textile and Garment Workers is preparing an application to join IndustriALL. The situation in the sector highlights the structural difficulties that the unions are trying to solve.

The Textile and Garment Workers’ Union represent 120,000 workers, but there are more than 3 million workers in the booming textile, garment, shoe and leather industry. At the moment, the VGCL provincial and city organizations organize workers in foreign-owned enterprises and joint ventures.

A number of foreign investors refuse the respect workers’ rights, which led to almost 300 strikes in 2014.
read more.

20150320 * Vinatex to build factory complex:

The Viet Nam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex) will commence the construction of a factory complex in the central Quang Nam Province on March 25, reports

Spread over 20ha in Que Son District, the VND1.14 trillion (US$53.5 million) project will include a fibre factory that will produce 4,600 tonnes of products per year, a textile and dyeing factory with a 5,000 – tonne annual capacity, and Huong An garment factory with 20 knitwear production lines, which will produce 20 to 25 million products per year.

Vinatex will also build a factory that will treat 5,000cu.m of wastewater per day to serve the production needs at the complex.
read more.
VNNews new

20150318 * Garment exports surge by 18%:

Garment exports in January and February posted an 18 percent year-on-year increase to 3.4 billion USD, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) said.

The surge has made the achievement of this year’s export target of 28 USD to 28.4 billion a strong possibility.

The United States remained the largest export market for the Vietnamese garments and textiles industry, accounting for 8.4 percent of the country’s market share. It was followed by Japan and the Republic of Korea.

This year’s exports to the US market are forecast to reach 11 billion USD, representing a 13 percent jump from the previous year.

Meanwhile, the European Union (EU) continued to be a key market for Vietnamese garments and textiles, considering that the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) would come into effect in the future.
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20150318 * Vietnam becomes largest leather hiking shoes exporter in RoK:

Vietnam has surpassed China to become the biggest exporter of leather hiking shoe to the Republic of Korea (RoK) with a market share of 42.9 percent, according to a report released by Korea Customs Services on March 18.

The report also stated that RoK’s leather shoe imports are tending to taper off as lighter fabric hiking shoes are favoured by most consumers.
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VIETNAMplus VOVonline

03:42:00 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

20150319 * Garment Industry seeks enforce labor rights law:

Human Rights Watch has wrote a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen and demanded that Cambodia’s government should improve enforcement of its labor law to remedy rights violations in the garment industry.

It should improve coordination between different ministries to ensure that all garment factories are registered and regularly monitored by labor inspectors.
Nisha Varia, Women’s Rights Advocacy Director at Human Rights Watch said,
“We welcome more transparency around government measures to hold factories accountable, but the government should also publicly disclose the names of factories, the labor rights violations found, amount of fine imposed on each factory, and whether it was actually paid by the factory.”
to read.

20150318 * GMAC slams sample size in HRW report:

Nearly a week after Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report detailing systemic labour rights abuse in Cambodia’s garment sector, the country’s garment manufacturers association fired back, criticising the study’s methodology and alleged omissions.

On its Facebook page, the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) posted a statement yesterday saying that HRW’s report included interviews with just a small sample of the Kingdom’s garment workers.
The group also takes issue with the NGO’s failure to mention allegedly disruptive and unlawful conduct by labour union officials.

“As described in the [HRW report’s] methodology, the research team interviewed only 270 workers – equivalent to only 0.038 per cent of the 700,000 workers in our industry,” GMAC’s statement reads.
read more.
PPP new

20150317 * Garment Workers Want Safer Commutes:

Garment workers travel to work by remork moto at Chak Angre Krom.
KT Photo: Jonathan Ponnetier

Factory workers increasingly object to the dangerous transport they have to use in their daily commutes to garment factories.

Their concern is underlined by figures from the National Social Security Fund: 73 fatalities and more than 4,700 injures in 2014. And countless more injuries are believed to go unreported.

Contrary to public perception that garment workers often live near their factories, Ath Thun, head of the Cambodian Labor Confederation, says 60 percent of all garment workers have a long way to travel from home to factory.

“It is not safe for garment workers when the companies build in the city,” he said. “The roads are bad.  Traffic laws are not enforced. The drivers have no code of conduct and no driving licenses.”

To reduce accidents, Ath Thun calls for traffic law enforcement and the use of trucks driven by licensed drivers.
read more.

20150319 * BetterFactories Media Updates, 17-18 March 2015, Strike over unionist’s dismissal:

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

2015-03-17 Strike over unionist’s dismissal
2015-03-18 GMAC slams sample size in HRW report

* BetterFactories Media Updates Overview here.

03:42:00 local time map of thailand THAILAND

20150319 * Call to revisit stance on Trans-Pacific Partnership:

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is an integrated-market policy option that the government should start to look at more seriously, according to business directors and the adviser to the Thailand Development Research Institute.

They argue that this would be a wise move, not least because the immediate economic benefits of the upcoming Asean Economic Community (AEC) will be much less than many companies think.Wiwan Tharahirunchote, director and adviser to the Thai Financial Planners Association, said each sector would be impacted differently if the Kingdom were to join the TPP, and she urged the government to revisit the TPP idea since circumstances had changed since it was last officially considered.
read more.

20150313 * Thai Factory Workers Dance on the Job in New Video:

Suayden, a young woman from rural Thailand, moves to Bangkok and gets a job at a factory. Soon, she develops back pain and other job-related injuries that make it too painful to work.

So what should she do?

She joins with co-workers to ask the boss for improved work stations—but not before dancing through the factory to catchy pop music.

“Suayden” is featured in a new high-energy video by the Confederation of Industrial Labor of Thailand (CILT), part of the new confederation’s outreach to nonunionized workers.

Jamming together in the fluorescent-lit factory, Suayden and her co-workers sing:

“Working in da same plant, we understand, we hold our hands.

Go tell the boss when work’s not right, when work’s too long, when work’s too tight.

Working in da same plant, we understand, we hold our hands.

Go tell our friends when work’s not right, when work’s too long, when work’s too tight.”

After the boss improves working conditions, the plant makes more money—and so do the workers.

CILT, an affiliate of IndustriALL global union, formed in 2013 as part of Thai workers’ efforts to revitalize the trade union movement. It represents some 153,000 workers in the electronic and electrical appliances, auto, steel, chemical, rubber, materials, paper, textile, garment, leather, oil, gas and electricity in Thailand.
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03:12:00 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

20150319 * Judge closes courts for labour activist hearings:

Journalists and colleagues of labour activist Ko Thu Zaw Kyi Win were yesterday barred from sitting in on his first court appearance since being arrested for incitement on March 4.

Ko Thu Zaw Kyi Win was detained in Shwe Pyi Thar township following a crackdown on protesting garment workers on March 4. He is facing a charge under section 505(b) of the Penal Code, which carries a potential two-year jail term.

The court’s legal officer has submitted a request to the regional court to shift the case to Yankin or South Okkalapa townships for security reasons.

The judge at Shwe Pyi Thar is yet to make a decision on the request, which is opposed by the defendant because it would make it hard for his family to attend court.

The decision to close the court at yesterday’s hearing was condemned by Ko Thu Zaw Kyi Win’s lawyer, Ko Nay Lin Aung.
read more.

20150318 * Burma Garment workers deserve support too:

On March 4 – one day before civilian thugs were employed to violently quash student activists gathered at City Hall – a similar scene took place at Yangon’s Shwe Pyi Thar Industrial Zone.

The protesters in that incident were striking garment-factory workers. As would be repeated at the student protest the following day, hired civilian men, decked in red armbands bearing the word “duty”, broke up the protest, apparently at the instigation of the authorities.

According to a spokesperson for the garment workers, those who were arrested were “violently beaten” in the process. Those beaten and arrested at Shwe Pyi Thar were calling for a minimum working wage of K60,000 a month (US$60).

Those arrested remain in detention more than a week later – along with three activists arrested during an earlier wage protest.

Given the high-profile role that students have played in Myanmar’s pro-democracy movements, it is natural that their recent campaign – and the authorities’ brutal response – should capture the public’s imagination at home and abroad.

Articulately expressed youthful passion for democracy and human rights makes for a narrative that is easy for an international audience to relate to.

But while the aggressive crackdown on the protesting students raises important questions about the government’s commitment to democratic reform, the treatment of the factory workers should also be seen as a key test.
read more.

20150319 * Government go-slow on minimum wage panned:

A union leader has urged the government to speed up its consideration of the minimum wage, warning that delay could bring more industrial unrest. U Aung Lin, chair of the Myanmar Trade Unions Federation, said yesterday that the government should try to finalise the matter by April, four months earlier than planned.

His call has received significant support, with U Maung Maung Win, a lawyer and member of the government’s labour Arbitration Council, describing wages as the “fundamental cause” of recent protests and strikes in industrial zones.

“The government should start setting the minimum wages, instead of collecting surveys all the time. It’s just delaying the process,” he said.

U Ye Naing Win, a member of the Cooperative Committee for Trade Unions, said setting the minimum wage would be beneficial for both employers and workers.

“For employers, it will reduce labour disputes and they will know exactly what their labour costs will be, rather than costs increasing whenever there is a protest,” he said.
read more.

20150319 * Wacoal to set up factory in Myanmar:

Lingerie maker Wacoal Holdings Corp said Thursday it will set up a production base in Yangon, the fifth country for Wacoal to have such a base in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations region.

Wacoal will establish Myanmar Wacoal Co, capitalised at about 480 million yen (130 million baht) in Yangon’s Thilawa special economic zone, later in March to cope with increasing labour costs at its mainstay plant in Thailand.
read more.

02:42:00 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

20150319 * 51 RMG workers’ families get insurance cheques:

Family members of 51 ready-made garment (RMG) workers, who died during duty, received cheques of their group-insurance money on Wednesday.

Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor handed over the cheques at a function, held at the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) headquarters in the capital.

BGMEA president Md. Atiqul Islam presided over the programme. BGMEA second vice-president S M Mannan (Kochi), vice president Md. Shahidullah Azim and vice president (finance) Riaz Bin Mahmud were, among others, present on the occasion.
to read. & read more. & to read. & read more.
FE bd UNBnew newsbangladesh

20150314 * Garment workers being infected with tuberculosis:


Country`s ready-made garment workers are being infected with tuberculosis, a fatal infectious disease, said experts at a workshop in the capital Dhaka on Saturday.

Tuberculosis is closely linked to both overcrowding and malnutrition.

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has identified a total of 2,317 workers infected with TB, from 2009 to February 2015. Of them, 1,190 workers have been freed from the disease.
The rest of the workers have been taking treatment.

The workshop was held at a local restaurant with the participation of some 75 general managers and production managers of the garment factories situated at Rampura, Malibagh and adjoining areas in the capital.

The BGMEA has introduced laboratory facilities to detect tuberculosis among workers at 11 health centres.

Tuberculosis typically attacks the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body.
It is spread through the air when people who have an active TB infection cough, sneeze, or otherwise transmit respiratory fluids through the air.
Most infections do not have symptoms, known as latent tuberculosis.
read more.

20150318 * EU buyers disqualify 1 RMG factory, warn 13 more:

Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, a platform led by the European brands and retailers, on Monday announced a local apparel making company disqualified for producing cloths for the Accord signatory due to noncompliance.

The Accord also issued warning letters to another 13 factories where remedial works for ensuring safety were not satisfactory.

The EU retailers group in their discloser said recently Accord engineers identified serious fire safety lapses in Mega Chois Knitwear Ltd located at Ashulia and asked the authority to evacuate the building temporarily for necessary remedial works, but factory owner refused.

‘The safety concerns were of such an extent that the building was determined unsafe for production and occupancy until such time that urgent remedial measures were completed,’ the Accord said.
According to the findings, the factory has only one exit for over 600 employees which created an extremely unsafe situation.
read more.

20150320 * B’desh seeks support from foreign partners for RMG sector:

Foreign minister AH Mahmood Ali on Thursday said the RMG industry and the government are determined to bring in changes whatever might be necessary for its further development, and sought support from foreign friends and partners.

‘Some important constraints are there for which Bangladesh requires support from friends and partners,’ he said.
The foreign minister was addressing a high-level conference on ‘RMG Industry and
Beyond: Bangladesh – Framing the Future’ arranged at the initiative of the Danish government at a city hotel.

Commerce minister Tofail Ahmed, Danish minister for trade and development cooperation Mogens Jensen, state minister for labour and employment M Mujibul Haque Chunnu, BGMEA president M Atiqul Islam, Shirin Akhter, MP, business leader Syed Nasim Manzur, Roy Ramesh Chandra, ILO country director
Srinivas B Reddy and Netherlands ambassador in Dhaka Gerben Sjoerd de Jong, among others, spoke at various sessions of the conference.

The foreign minister mentioned that contemporary Bangladesh RMG and textile sector is in the throes of transformation. ‘In the process, our younger workforce has demonstrated their skills, adaptability and diligence. Our entrepreneurs has weathered challenges and ventured into new lands and areas.’
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20150320 * Foreign minister says buyers take it all from Bangladesh:

20150320 * Tofail urges buyers to raise RMG prices:

Danish minister focuses on compliance issues

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed urged foreign buyers and retailers on Thursday to raise the prices of ready-made garments (RMG) products while sourcing apparels from Bangladesh to help address compliance issues in the country’s RMG industry.

“Since Rana Plaza collapse, a lot of progress has taken place in the country’s RMG sector over the past two years in ensuring fire safety, workers’ rights and workplace environment,” said the minister.
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FE bd   banglanews24NEW

20150320 * Danish minister calls for more focus on worker rights:

Bangladesh has progressed a great deal in workplace safety and labour rights in the garment sector after the Rana Plaza building collapse in 2013, Danish Minister for Trade and Development Cooperation Mogens Jensen said yesterday.

Textile production in the country has now changed and is getting a better environment, and at the same time, business is improving as well, Jensen told reporters at the Westin Hotel in Dhaka.
But there should still be more focus on worker rights and working conditions in order to get a real sustainable condition all over the country, he added.
read more.
the DAILYSTAR new 2015

20150319 * Danish minister says Rana Plaza tragedy was a game-changer:

The Rana Plaza building collapse has been a “game changer” for Bangladesh, the Danish minister for trade and development cooperation says.

Morgen Jensen extolled the progress made by the Bangladesh garment sector after the worst-ever building collapse.

“Nowhere in the world have we seen multi-stakeholder collaboration on a scale like this in order to improve standards in a national industry,” Jensen said on Thursday speaking at a high-level conference on RMG sector.
read more.

20150319 * BD, Denmark ink deal on RMG workers’ security:

Bangladesh and Denmark on Thursday signed an agreement under which Denmark will provide assistance to ensure RMG workers’ security and improve the health sector.

Secretaries of Labour Ministries of the two countries signed the deal at a high-level conference on readymade garment sector in the capital city.
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20150318 * RMG Sector Reform: BD with its friends set new standards:

Visiting Danish Minister for Trade and Development Cooperation Mogens Jensen on Wednesday said Bangladesh has come a long way since the Rana Plaza disaster, but there is still a way to go.

“The country, the international community and the RMG sector have set new standards and introduced new forms of cooperation, which have not previously been seen anywhere in the world,” he said mentioning that Bangladesh is already framing the future.

The Danish Minister made the remark ahead of a high-level conference on ‘RMG and Beyond’ which will be held in the city on Thursday.
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UNBnew FE bd  FE bd

20150318 * Towel makers get lifeline after hike in ‘Jhut’ prices:

The government has hiked export prices of ‘Jhut’, in a move that will offer lifeline for scores of terry towel makers, while boosting supplies for spinning mills, a top export official said.

Garment ‘Jhut’ becomes a major raw materials for terry towel industry and a section of textile mills after beingprocessed.

The decision was taken at a recent meeting, where export prices of a tonne of coloured ‘Jhut’ has been re-fixed at US$ 235 from its existing rate of $140.
read more.
FE bd

20150319 * First-ever global cotton summit in Dhaka:

A two-day international cotton summit will begin tomorrow at Radisson Hotel in Dhaka in a bid to improve relations between buyers and suppliers of the product.

Styled as “Global Cotton Summit Bangladesh  -2015,” the event is first of its kind in the country, being organised jointly by Bangladesh Cotton Association (BCA) and Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA).

Textiles and Jute Minister Mohammad Imaj Uddin Pramanik is expected to inaugurate the summit, said the organisers at a press conference yesterday.

The organisers said the cotton suppliers and buyers had been engaged in disputes because of problems related to weight, quality and LC opening.
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DHAKATRIBUNE the DAILYSTAR new 2015 banglanews24NEW

20150320 * 476 factories vanish after duty-free imports:

A total of 476 factories, mostly in the readymade garment sector, have simply vanished after enjoying duty-free facility in import evading around Tk 726 crore in duties, a survey of the Customs Bond Commissionerate, Dhaka said.

The CBC of the National Board of Revenue on Monday published the list of the factories after conducting physical inspection of all export-oriented factories under the bonded warehouse facility provided by the government.

The CBC has already suspended import-export activities of those companies and asked all customs houses not to allow any imports and exports in the name of those companies, a top official of the CBC New Age on Thursday.
‘We are going to take legal action, including recovery of evaded taxes against the managements of those firms for violating the conditions of bond licences,’ he said.
read more.

20150318 * Foreign garment makers to get benefit for raw materials import:

To be barred from investing in EPZs

The government has tagged three conditions to provide utilisation declaration (UD) certificate to foreign-owned garment factories, allowing them to bring raw materials without paying duties, officials said.

To obtain the UD certificate, the foreign readymade garment (RMG) units will have to follow Bangladesh’s wage structure, have to export goods only to the countries from where the investment has been made, and those factories will have to remain outside the export processing zones (EPZs), they added.

The decision was taken at a recent inter-ministerial meeting at the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) with its Senior Secretary Hedayetullah Al Mamoon in the chair.
read more.
FE bd

20150320 * Protest prog withdrawn as KEPZ MD goes:

The Korean EPZ authority withdrew its managing director Brigadier General (retired) Hasan Nasir Wednesday following a meeting with local administration and local people.

Following the negotiation, the protesters who had been demanding removal of KEPZ MD Hasan Nasir withdrew their agitation movement Wednesday, sources said.
read more.
FE bd

20150318 * Deadlock at KEPZ over locals’ protest:

Production in factories and different development works in the Korean Export Processing Zone (KEPZ) were completely suspended on Tuesday after local protesters, backed by influential quarters, lay siege to its entry gates.

People said workers were stopped from entering the factories at KEPZ gate-1, Doulatpur by Baro Uthan UP chairman Didarul Alam and his men, gate-2, Boirag by Boirag UP chairman Noyab Ali and his men, and gate-3, Marine Academy by Anwara Upazila female vice chairman Mariam Begum and her supporters as well as some workers sacked earlier by the authority.

They launched a showdown with motorcycles and rounded the EPZ, creating panic among KEPZ staff, security personnel and workers, officials said.

“All sorts of administrative activities and production in factories are suspended, as our workers could not enter the KEPZ area this morning,” a senior official told the FE on Tuesday.
read more.
FE bd

20150317-18 * Fire breaks out at CEPZ’s courier services zone:

A fire at the courier services zone of Chittagong Export Processing Zone (CEPZ) gutted valuables of five international courier services Tuesday.

Divisional assistant director of Chittagong Fire Service Yeahia Akter said the fire broke out around 11:45 am and it spread around soon.
On information, 11 fire-fighting units rushed in and brought the blaze under control after one and a half hours of frantic efforts.

Abul Mansur, officer-in-charge of EPZ police Station, said the fire damaged valuables of courier services — Aeromax, UPS, FedEx, DHL and TNT.
Besides, the dormitory of BEPZA was also damaged by the fire, they said.

However, no one was injured in the fire incident.
The extent of damage caused by the fire could not yet be ascertained.
to read. & read more. & read more. & read more.

20150319 * H&M to take aggressive buying approach for Bangladesh:

Global retailer H&M is going to pursue an aggressive approach to buy more readymade garments from Bangladesh.

“We have aggressive growth plan [for Bangladesh],” H&M Senior Executive Johan Stellansson told a workshop on multi-stakeholder engagement on water resources management in Bangladesh at a city hotel yesterday.

If Bangladesh wants to export $50 billion worth of readymade garment products by 2021, it needs aggressive implementation plan, he said. Private sector operators like H&M will play a facilitating role in this regard.
read more.

20150319 * Surge in textile IPOs in capital mkt in 3 yrs:

Sixteen textile companies raised more than Tk 12.15 billion from the capital market in three years, ending in February, 2015.

The listed textile companies are likely to be the majority, in terms of their number, in the capital market soon if the companies awaiting the regulatory approval are listed.

They also hailed the textile companies’ move to raise funds from the capital market as they need it to make their business alive in the long run.
read more.
FE bd

20150320 * Int’l TUs urge EU to suspend BD’s trade privileges:

Slow execution of Sustainability Compact

Six international trade union (TU) bodies have called upon the European Union (EU) for taking steps, including partial suspension of trade privileges of Bangladesh, over slow progress in implementing the Sustainability Compact.

In a joint letter to the European Commission (EC) these TUs alleged that anti-union repression in garment sector is on rise while Bangladesh government has failed to implement labour law reforms.

“We think it is time for EU to take a bolder position and take steps to determine whether a partial suspension of trade privileges is in order.
Without stronger signals from EU, we fear that the government of Bangladesh will halt any progress, knowing full well that they will face no economic consequences for their intransigence,” said the joint letter, signed by representatives of the six organisations.

On March 09, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and ETUC, along with Global Union Federations UNI and IndustriALL and their European regional bodies, have jointly urged EC to step up action, as anti-union repression in Bangladesh increases and multinational companies in the garment sector hold off from contributing to the fund, leaving families of victims destitute.
read more.
FE bd

20150320 * Outlining the US GSP suspension:

Book Review

The United States of America (USA) has suspended the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), a trade preference for several goods from Bangladesh, one and half years back.

The immediate reason behind suspending the GSP privilege for the South Asian country was poor working condition in the country’s ready-made garments (RMG) factories.
The Rana Plaza disaster, killing more than 1,000 labourers, in April 2013, eventually drove the Obama administration to opt for suspending the trade facility.

Since then, it has taken the proportions of a nagging crisis for Bangladesh in terms of trade, and also politics.
The bilateral relations between Bangladesh and the USA became a little ‘strained’. Although the Bangladesh government has positively responded to the US-offered 15-point action plan to improve work environment and factory condition as well as for stressing workers’ welfare, more things need to be done.
read more.
FE bd

20150317 * Unprecedented Turnaround at Jeans Plus:

For the First Time, Over 1,000 Workers Have Won Their Legal Rights!

Just a week ago, young woman workers were slapped and punched for failing to meet their excessive production goals at Jeans Plus.

Workers were forced to toil seven days and 100 hours a week. Pregnant women were routinely fired and thrown out of the factory.

Now for the first time, Jeans Plus will receive Fridays—their weekly holiday—off.
Jeans Plus management has also committed that pregnant women workers will receive their full maternity benefits as stipulated under Bangladeshi law.
read more.

20150319 * Student Action with Workers, UNC still don’t see eye to eye:

Although UNC representatives said the meeting was not between SAW and the chancellor, Folt was present alongside four other administrators to discuss the licensing of UNC-logoed apparel.

“We reiterated the University’s decision to require licensees that make UNC-logoed apparel in Bangladesh to sign the Accord,” Matt Fajack, the vice chancellor for finance and administration, said in a statement.

The University announced on Feb. 5 that it would require all licensees that produce UNC apparel to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh.

For several months, SAW has been asking UNC to cut ties with the VF Corporation, which has not signed the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, but instead formed the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety and moved its manufacture of UNC apparel outside of Bangladesh.
read more.

20150318 * Rana Plaza survivor and others arrested at Children’s Place headquarters:

Nearly 30 demonstrators, including a survivor of the Rana Plaza building collapse, were arrested on 12 march 2015 after organizing a peaceful protest at Children’s Place headquarters in New Jersey.

The protestors were there to ask the company to pay compensation to victims of the Rana Plaza factory collapse, the deadliest disaster in the history of the garment industry.

Children’s Place was one of the major brands sourcing from Rana Plaza at the time that it collapsed, killing 1,138 workers and injuring another 2,500. 18-year-old Mahinur Begum, a former garment worker who was nearly killed in the collapse, was at Children’s Place to demand full and fair compensation for herself and her coworkers.

Rather than listen to this brave survivor and her colleagues, Children’s Place called police and had the peaceful demonstrators arrested. It is the latest callous act from a company that has refused to take responsibility for the deplorable human rights violations occurring in its supply chain.
read more.



20150317 * Call for providing follow-up support for Rana Plaza victims:

Discussants at a programme on Monday stressed the need for providing the physically challenged people of the society with rehabilitation, training and job facilities.

They also called for follow-up support for 525 Rana Plaza victims, who have been trained in various trades with help from different organisations, including German GIZ and Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP).

The observations were made at a view-exchange meeting on ‘paving the way for economic inclusion of persons with disabilities’ held at the CRP in the city.
read more.
FE bd

20150318 * Rana Plaza fund is a broken promise:

15 retailers yet to pay pledged contributions

Fifteen retailers and brands that have committed to contributing to the Rana Plaza Trust Fund for the victims are yet to pay, even after two years have passed since the deadly industrial disaster claimed the lives of 1,138 workers and injured many more.

A total of 29 western retailers and brands used to buy garments from the five factories housed in the unauthorised, sprawling Rana Plaza building in Savar, about 30 kilometres from Dhaka.

“The activities of the fund are still on. We are working with stakeholders to collect and disburse funds to the victims,” said Srinivas B Reddy, country director of International Labour Organisation.

The Rana Plaza Claims Administration (RPCA) had previously estimated the size of the fund at $40 million, which was later cut down to $30 million, due to poor responses from the retailers and brands. The available fund now stands at $21 million, including the $2.49 million from the prime minister’s relief fund.

In a meeting on December 17 last year, the Rana Plaza Coordination Committee (RPCC) reviewed the estimate of the fund and reset the figure, according to Rana Plaza Arrangement, a website for information on Rana Plaza fund disbursement.
read more.
the DAILYSTAR new 2015

02:12:00 local time map of india INDIA

20150320 * Unions hailed for joint fight for labour rights:

Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president V.M. Sudheeran has hailed the joint fight by various trade unions against moves to amend labour laws to serve the interests of corporate business groups.

As the ruling parties at the Centre are trying to dilute labour laws to please influential corporate business houses, leading trade unions such as the INTUC, CITU and BMS had decided to join hands to oppose the moves to infringe upon the rights of labourers, he said.
read more.

20150320 * Textile industry compiles data on skill development requirement:

It will be immediately sent to Textile Sector Skill Council

Through a massive e-initiative, different stakeholders of the textile industry here are compiling details pertaining to skill development requirements in different segments of the textile production chain for the three financial years so as to avail of funds from the Union Government for skill enhancement.

The data will be immediately sent to ‘Textile Sector Skill Council’ (TSC), a body under the aegis of National Skill Development Corporation, which, in turn, would forward the details to the Union Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.
read more.

20150318 * Tirupur exporters urge PM to expedite FTA with EU:

Tirupur Exporters’ Association (TEA) has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to expedite the process for finalising a free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union.
A requisition letter has been sent to the Prime Minster requesting him to expedite for implementation of FTA with EU and also initiate the discussion in this line during his visit to the EU by next month, TEA president A Sakthivel said in a press release.
The garment sector has been advocating for early implementation of the FTA with its traditional market, the EU, as this will help in making inroads in the market share of competing countries since Indian garments will become at par with Bangladesh once these are made duty-free, Sakthivel said.
read more.

20150317 * Apparel exports may touch $16.5 billion in 2014-15:

The target likely to be missed due to several factors such as lack of adequate sops as well as international market conditions

Lack of adequate sops and overall dull market, apparel exports may miss the earlier target of $ 17.25 billion in the country.

According to industry sources, as against the target of $17.25 billion, apparel exports worth $16.50-16.75 billion is being anticipated.

“The target may be missed due to several factors such as lack of adequate sops as well as international market conditions.
For instance, the European market has not been so bullish as far as apparel exports from India are concerned,” said an Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) official on condition of anonymity.

In the month of February alone, the industry saw an 8 per cent growth as against the expected 12-15 per cent growth.
This is also because exporters reduced capacity to take orders amidst zero interest subvention and other export oriented incentives.
read more.

20150320 * TS drops proposal to impose VAT on textiles:

The Telangana State Federation of Textile Associations (TSFTA) on Thursday said the State government had dropped the proposal to impose Value Added Tax (VAT) on sarees and textile products, subsequent to its appeal.

Commercial Taxes Minister Talasani Srinivas Yadav gave this assurance when a delegation from the Federation explained to him the problems that such a levy would result in, including harassment of traders, TSFTA president Ammanabolu Prakash said.
read more.

20150317 * Surat increases export by 200% of MMF fabrics to Pakistan:

Surat, the country’s biggest manufacturer of man-made fabric has increase its export of (MMF) fabrics to Pakistan by 200 percent since 2011-12, a welcome development considering the hassled relations between the two countries.

According to Synthetic and Rayon Textile Export Promotion Council (SRTEPC), total export from India to Pakistan from April 2014 to January 2015 witnessed 20 percent increase at Rs 2,400 crore compared to the same period in previous year .
The fabric export to Pakistan is predicted to touch Rs 3,000 crore by the end of this financial year.

Mostly Muslims and Sindhi and Punjabi Hindus, exported dress materials, saris, fabrics worth Rs 1,300 crore to Karachi, Peshawar and Lahore via Mumbai, Delhi, Dubai and Bangladesh from April 2014 to January 2015-an increase of 30 percent over previous year as per Surti traders.

While the export of fabric to the USA and UAE has remained unchanged at $500 million and $400 million per annum respectively, to Pakistan it has witnessed a phenomenal growth from $169 million in 2012-13 to $400 million in 2014-15. Interestingly, 60 percent of it was exported from country’s biggest man-made fibre industry in Surat.
read more.

20150319 * CITU plans stir on May 12:

The CITU will stage an agitation in all district headquarters in the State, pressing for various demands, including better wages to tannery workers, on May 12, CITU State general secretary Sukumaran has announced.

Addressing the 73rd annual general body meeting of Tannery Workers’ Association here on Wednesday, he said the minimum wages for tannery workers should be fixed as Rs.15,000.
More than 50,000 workers had been working for meagre wages in tanneries in seven districts. Safety measures at work sites were very poor.
The government did not take any steps to implement labour welfare laws and neglected the problems of labourers, he charged.

The general body appealed to the government to establish an integrated tannery industrial complex in Dindigul and an ESI hospital.
to read.

20150319 * Ranipet sludge tragedy case: Firm pays 75 lakh relief:

Ranipet SIDCO Finished Leather Effluent Treatment Company has deposited 75 lakh compensation with the state government, the southern bench of the National Green Tribunal was informed on Wednesday.

A part of the amount was used for paying compensation to the families of ten workers killed when a storage tank of the effluent treatment plant run by the company collapsed earlier this year.

Special government pleader Abdul Saleem said the state government has sent a communication saying the executive committee member of the plant has handed over the compensation amount and it has been deposited in a bank account created for the purpose.
An unauthorised storage tank of the sewage treatment plant, which catered to tanneries in the industrial estate in Ranipet, collapsed on January 31.
Ten workers were buried alive under the toxic sludge that gushed out.
read more.

20150318 * Leather industries: UP leads labour productivity chart:

Uttar Pradesh has emerged as India’s leading state with highest per-capita labour productivity worth over Rs 15 lakh in factories of leather and leather products in the country as of financial year 2011-12, despite having second highest share of about 14% in total number of such factories across India, according to a just concluded ASSOCHAM study on leather industry.

“Besides, UP is also leading in terms of per-factory employment as on an average each leather factory in the state provides employment opportunity to about 101 workers,” according to an analysis based on study titled ‘Leather & leather products sector in India: Strategy to facilitate exports,’ conducted by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).
read more.

20150320 * Drought hits cotton crop:

Farmers in Uppilliyapuram and Thuraiyur blocks are the worst affected

Scarcity of water for irrigation has hit the cotton growers in Uppilliyapurm and Thuraiyur blocks in the district this season, with the plants withering away in the scorching sun.

A number of farmers in these two blocks complain that poor realisation of rain had brought down the formation of bolls and consequent yield this season.
read more.

20150319 * Textiles Ministry proposes cap on exportable amount of cotton:

Union Budget 2015-16 suggested building a long term reservoir of cotton for domestic industry

The Ministry of Textiles proposes to put a limit on the amount of exportable cotton per year and a 10% duty on the export of cotton over and above this exportable surplus.

According to official sources, it was a budget suggestion so as to build a long term reservoir of cotton for the domestic industry.

“Even if the cotton production is high this season, it is no so every year. With a ceiling put on the amount over and above which cotton can be exported, domestic demand cotton users will be assured of the supply situation.”
read more.

02:12:00 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

20150319 * EU trade delegation to arrive in Sri Lanka next week to discuss GSP Plus:

A high level trade delegation of European Union will arrive in Sri Lanka next week to commence discussions on regaining the EU’s GSP Plus trade concession.

As bilateral trade with EU crossed the US$ 5 billion mark for the first time in 2014 and after months of speculation and vibes on the coveted GSP Plus, EU has announced on 18 March the actual recovery process will commence in Colombo as early as next week.
read more. & read more.

01:42:00 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

20150319 * Labour law reform:

Labour laws are meant to regulate the relationship between employers and workers in which the interests of both sides are safeguarded.

Employers have to ensure that the place of work is safe, hygienic and airy, and that the workers are not exposed to health hazards.
The salary and perquisites drawn by the workers and the terminal benefits should be sufficient to enable them to meet their own and their family’s needs.

Where entrepreneurs are concerned, the labour laws should help them operate their businesses with a clear vision of their statutory rights and obligations and protect them against undue interference from government officials or the subversion of discipline by the workforce.

Once employers fulfil their obligations under the law, they expect reciprocal commitment and cooperation from their employees.
Regrettably, such a critical sphere of legislation that affects both the national economy and people’s welfare, has been totally neglected by successive governments for the last more than two decades.

During this period a number of commissions were formed by the governments with the primary motive of simplifying and consolidating the labour laws and introducing a one-window operation related to welfare laws in which the employers had to pay monthly contributions to the government.
read more.

20150318 * Cabinet to discuss labour policy:

Punjab Minister for Labour and HR, Raja Ashfaq Sarwar has said that Punjab’s first ever labour policy will be the top agenda item in the next cabinet meeting and will be adopted throughout the province immediately after being approved by cabinet.

Home-based workers policy and legal framework for protection of HBWs in Punjab is our top priority and they will be given social security benefits, registration, financial grants and other facilities as admissible under the law.

He said that during a meeting with Sangeeta Rana Thapa, Deputy Representative and Uzma Quraesh Program Coordinator of UN Women Pakistan here today. Secretary Labour Eshrat Ali, Ms. Hooria from UN Women Pakistan, Director HBWs Project Dawood Abdullah and other were present on this occasion.
read more.
daily times PK

20150319 * APTMA rejects inclusion of unaccounted for expenses in FPA for January:

All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) has rejected the incorporation of unaccounted for expenses in the Fuel Price Adjustment for the month of January 2015.

While participating the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) hearing on Wednesday, the APTMA representative stated that the Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA) has shifted a burden of about Rs 2 per unit to the consumers under the head of transmission losses (Rs 1.86 per unit) and an accumulative cost of about Rs 10 on account of test energy delivered by the Guddu and Nandipur power stations.
read more.

20150318 * Falling exports worry Aptma:

All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) has expressed its concern over 30 per cent decline in basic textiles particularly fabric exports in quantitative terms this fiscal year.

In a press statement, Aptma Chairman S.M. Tanveer said the high cost of doing business and overvalued currency were hampering textile exports by and large.
Over 21pc increase in rupee’s value against the euro in last six months hit the exports hard as 35pc textile exports were destined to the European Union.

The erosion of competitiveness had nullified the benefits of GSP+, the statement said.
The Aptma chairman urged the economic managers to take care of the situation and ensure remedial measures at the earliest.
to read.

20150318 * ‘High cost of business, overvalued currency hampering textile exports badly’:

Chairman APTMA S M Tanveer has said that the high cost of doing business in Pakistan and overvalued currency is hampering textile exports badly.

He said the textile exports are showing a stagnant trend during the ongoing financial year 2014-15. There is a serious decline in exports of basic textile around 30 percent, in particular, fabric in quantitative terms.

He further said free fall of euro against Pak rupee by over 21 percent in short span of six months, has added fuel to the fire, as 35 percent of Pakistan’s textile exports are destined to the EU region.
Tanveer said the textile exporters are facing troublesome situation, as proceed value has reduced fast due to the currency differential.
The textile exporters need an urgent support to get out of messy situation, he added.
read more. & read more.


20150318 * Baldia case: warrant out for suspect:

A sessions court on Tuesday issued non-bailable warrant for the arrest of Rizwan Qureshi, who has been on bail in half a dozen cases, again after his guarantors sought time to produce him in court.

Qureshi, who along with his accomplices, has been charged in an illicit weapon and five murder cases, made the headlines in recent weeks when the Pakistan Rangers filed a joint investigation team (JIT) report before the Sindh High Court during the hearing of a petition about the Baldia factory fire case.

The murder and illegal arms cases were fixed for evidence of prosecution witnesses before the additional district and sessions judge, Tariq Mehmood Khoso, who is conducting the trial in the judicial complex in the central prison.
read more. & read more. & read more.
DAWNnew  thenewspk


20150319 * President Obama Launches $150 Million Textiles-Innovation Competition:

President Barack Obama announced Wednesday a $500 million plan to strengthen American textile manufacturing and innovation.

The U.S. Department of Defense is spearheading a competition for manufacturers, universities, and nonprofits to establish a new manufacturing hub for revolutionary fibers and textile technologies.
Private-sector resources are expected to match the $75 million federal investment dollar for dollar.
The proposed Revolutionary Fibers and Textiles Manufacturing Innovation Institute, part of a planned National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, aims to “ensure that America remains at the leading edge of fiber science,” the White House says in a statement.
to read. & read more.
ECOUTERRE Fibre2fashion


* Zimbabwe govt grants 1 year rebate to clothing and textile industry:

At the time when Zimbabwean clothing sector is facing stiff competition from cheap imports that have flooded the market, making locally manufactured clothing uncompetitive.

The government has granted a one-year rebate to the clothing and textile industry which will allow 52 manufacturers to import textile materials duty-free.

Rebate is an amount paid by way of reduction, return, or refund on what has already been paid or contributed.

The Ministry of Finance granted a one-year reprieve ending December 2015 as part of efforts to boost the operations of local producers, according to statutory Instrument 32 of 2015 cited as Customs and Excise (Clothing manufacturer) rebate Regulations gazetted on March 6,
read more.


20150309 * Uganda: Six Dead in Crest Foam Factory Fire:

Fire this morning gutted Crest Foam mattress factory in the Kampala suburb of Ntinda, destroying property worth millions of shillings.

The cause is not yet established but Police spokesperson Fred Enanga told local TV that it may have been short-circuit.
The Police fire brigade had managed to extinguish the fire by 1pm. Six people have been confirmed dead.
to read.

20150309-10 * Crest Foam mattress factory up in flames:

20150309 MONITOR
Fire on Monday morning gutted Crest Foam, mattress company. Photo by Maurice Mugisha Monitor.

The fire which ravaged the Crest Foam mattress Factory in Kampala on Monday resulted in the injury of one who was rushed to the Mulago Hospital, reports the Daily Monitor.

However according to reports five people died in the fire which started at 9am and it is alleged that the fire started due to an electrical shot circuit.

Police are unable to confirm any details at this point in time.

It was difficult for the fire brigade to contain the fire as it had already engulfed some of the factory when they arrived.
read more. & read more.
news24uganda DailyMonitor

20150310 * Statement on the Crest Foam Factory Fire:

Preliminary findings are that Crest foam factory is not registered with the Ministry of Gender, Labour & Social Development contrary to S.40 and 41 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, No. 9 of 2006.

1. Yesterday Monday, 9th March 2015 at 9:30am fire gutted a factory of mattresses in Ntinda, Strecher Road, where lives were lost and property destroyed. This is unfortunate incident the nature of which could have been prevented if the Occupational Safety and Health Act, 2006 was being followed at the Factory.

2. The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development is mandated under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, No. 9 of 2006 to ensure that all public and private workplaces adhere to workplace safety and health measures.

3. The Occupational Safety and Health Act, 2006, Section 40 requires the Commissioner for Occupational Safety and Health to keep a register of all workplaces in the country and persuant to this, all workplaces in the country have to be registered with the Ministry where an assessment is done to ensure clean bill of safety and health of the workplace.
read more.

20150311 * Fire leaves Crest Foam factory in $2 million loss (Uganda):

It is estimated that at least Shs6 billion worth of investment could have been destroyed in a fire that razed Crest Foam mattress factory’s storage and production facilities on Monday.

According to the human resource manager, Mr Paul Beinomugisha, the fire that engulfed the mattress factory, located at Ntinda Industrial Area, has also rendered more than 100 factory workers unemployed.

Mr Beinomugisha told Daily Monitor that the extent of damage, especially on the storage and production area which is the heart of the factory’s operation, was immense.

He said: “This investment is about Shs6 billion; that is only an estimation.”

Even when the police is done with its investigation, the factory workers, who are about 120, will remain unemployed until the factory resumes production.

Mr Beinomugisha said: “Workers will be at home as there will be no work for some time.”

He said stores where finished goods are kept and the production area were completely destroyed by the fire, believed to have started at around 10am in the morning.

At least six people, believed to be casual workers, were burnt beyond recognition in a fire that reduced Crest Foam factory storage and production facilities to ashes, police said on Monday.
read more.

20150311 * Management of Crest Foam mattress factory summoned:

20150311 redpepper
Photo by RedPepper.

Management of the Crest Foam mattress Factory has been summoned by the Minister of Relief and Disaster, Hillary Onek to report to the police to answer for the cause of the fire that happened on Wednesday morning, reports the Red Pepper.

The fire took the lives of six employees and injured many.
Minister Onek found a few disparities that have not only avoided the fire but reduced the amount of casualties and damages.

He explained to police that management were negligent enough to have welding taking place in the same place the mattresses were kept which contain bi-products of petroleum.
read more. & read more.
news24uganda redpepper

20150311 * Uganda: Crest Foam Bosses Face Jail:

The proprietors of the burnt Crest Foam factory could be jailed if investigations reveal that they breached the 2006 Occupational Safety and Health Act.

The Ntinda-based factory caught fire on Monday and officials say a one-year jail term cannot be ruled out.
Benon Kigenyi, the acting under-secretary in the ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, was critical of the firm’s fire-preparedness.
He complained about inadequate fire response systems, escape routes and chemical safety systems.

“Investigations are still ongoing and we cannot state with precision, at this time the penalties we shall impose.
However, if the factory has contravened the act, the proprietors face a one-year imprisonment, monetary fine or ultimate closure of the enterprise,” Kigenyi told journalists at the Uganda Media Centre, adding that the architectural drawings for the mattress factory were not approved by the commissioner, contrary to Section 42.
read more.

20150311 * DNA Tests Conducted to Identify Factory Fire Victims:

Jacob Oboth-Oboth, the MP for West Budama South in Tororo District, where five of the victims hailed from, said they are anxious to get their identities to enable them go ahead with the burial. The MP said they will pursue compensation for the victims later.

Relatives of the six workers who perished in a fire at Crest Foam mattresses factory in Kampala are still converging at the Government Analytical Laboratory to provide DNA samples to help in their identification.

The six were found in the factory store at the time of the tragedy which occurred on Monday. They were burnt beyond recognition.

Caesar Wani, a half-brother to one of the victims, Lawrence Mulindwa, said by close of business last evening, DNA samples had not yet been taken from ay of them, although they were still waiting at the Laboratory.  More relatives are expected this morning.
read more.

20150316 * FDC Wants Onek Prosecuted Over Crest Foam Factory Fire:

John Kikonyogo, the FDC Information secretary says the role of the disaster minister is to prevent such calamities from happening.

The Opposition Forum for Democratic Change-FDC wants Hillary Onek, the Minister of Disaster Preparedness prosecuted for negligence over the Crest Foam Factory fire.

At least six people lost their lives on Monday last week after fire started in the factory stores.

Shortly after the incident, Hillary Onek, the Minister of Disaster Preparedness called for the arrest of the Crest Foam Factory managers for alleged failure to put in place safety measures. However, FDC says the minister should be charged for failing to ensure the safety of Ugandans.
read more.

20150316 * Uganda mattress factory fire claims six:

The bodies of six casual workers were found after a fire was put out on Monday 9 March 2015 in a locally-owned mattress factory in Kampala, Uganda.

“We have been assured that there will be an intensive investigation into the deaths of these workers,” said Catherine Aneno, General Secretary of Uganda Textile Garments Leather and Allied Workers Union (UTGLAWU).

Despite having signed a recognition agreement with Crest Foam in 2009, the company has refused to negotiate with UTGLAWU, which is affiliated to IndustriALL Global Union. In Uganda members only pay dues once a bargaining agreement has been reached with the company.

“We have met with the Minister of Labour and told him how uncooperative the company has been with the union in the past,” reports Aneno, who also expressed concern for the 250 workers at the factory.
“Workers have been sent home with no information on what is to happen to their jobs, so we are organizing them; having them sign updated membership forms and calculating what is due to them should the company close.”
read more.



map of Asia

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

There are updates under ‘special overviews’:

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

* TAZREEN Fire Part 2 20 November 2013- NOW

* Minimum Wage-LIVING WAGE- PART 8: 20150302-NOW


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* GMAC slams sample size in HRW report
* Garment Workers Want Safer Commutes
* BetterFactories Media Updates, 17-18 March

* Call to revisit stance on Trans-Pacific Partnership
* Thai Factory Workers Dance on the Job in New Video

* Judge closes courts for labour activist hearings
* Burma Garment workers deserve support too
* Government go-slow on minimum wage panned
* Wacoal to set up factory in Myanmar

* 51 RMG workers’ families get insurance cheques
* Garment workers being infected with tuberculosis
* EU buyers disqualify 1 RMG factory, warn 13 more
* B’desh seeks support from foreign partners for RMG sector
* Foreign minister says buyers take it all from Bangladesh
* Tofail urges buyers to raise RMG prices
* Danish minister calls for more focus on worker rights
* Danish minister says Rana Plaza tragedy was a game-changer
* BD, Denmark ink deal on RMG workers’ security
* RMG Sector Reform: BD with its friends set new standards
* Towel makers get lifeline after hike in ‘Jhut’ prices
* First-ever global cotton summit in Dhaka
* 476 factories vanish after duty-free imports
* Foreign garment makers to get benefit for raw materials import
* Protest prog withdrawn as KEPZ MD goes
* Deadlock at KEPZ over locals’ protest
* Fire breaks out at CEPZ’s courier services zone
* H&M to take aggressive buying approach for Bangladesh
* Surge in textile IPOs in capital mkt in 3 yrs
* Int’l TUs urge EU to suspend BD’s trade privileges
* Outlining the US GSP suspension
* Unprecedented Turnaround at Jeans Plus
* Student Action with Workers, UNC still don’t see eye to eye
* Rana Plaza survivor and others arrested at Children’s Place headquarters
* Call for providing follow-up support for Rana Plaza victims
* Rana Plaza fund is a broken promise

* Unions hailed for joint fight for labour rights
* Textile industry compiles data on skill development requirement:
* Tirupur exporters urge PM to expedite FTA with EU
* Apparel exports may touch $16.5 billion in 2014-15
* TS drops proposal to impose VAT on textiles
* Surat increases export by 200% of MMF fabrics to Pakistan
* CITU plans stir on May 12
* Ranipet sludge tragedy case: Firm pays 75 lakh relief
* Leather industries: UP leads labour productivity chart
* Drought hits cotton crop
* Textiles Ministry proposes cap on exportable amount of cotton

* EU trade delegation to arrive in Sri Lanka next week to discuss GSP Plus

* Labour law reform
* Cabinet to discuss labour policy
* APTMA rejects inclusion of unaccounted for expenses in FPA for January
* Falling exports worry Aptma
* ‘High cost of business, overvalued currency hampering textile exports badly’
* Baldia case: warrant out for suspect

* President Obama Launches $150 Million Textiles-Innovation Competition

* Zimbabwe govt grants 1 year rebate to clothing and textile industry

* Uganda: Six Dead in Crest Foam Factory Fire
* Crest Foam mattress factory up in flames
* Statement on the Crest Foam Factory Fire
* Fire leaves Crest Foam factory in $2 million loss
* Management of Crest Foam mattress factory summoned
* Uganda: Crest Foam Bosses Face Jail
* DNA Tests Conducted to Identify Factory Fire Victims
* FDC Wants Onek Prosecuted Over Crest Foam Factory Fire
* Uganda mattress factory fire claims six

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