in the news 27-31 March 2015

20:15:49 local time map of china CHINA

20150330 * Foreign clothing brands fail quality tests:

Italian luxury brand La Perla has failed the most quality tests among all the brands of imported clothes in China in 2014, the country’s quality watch dog said in a report on Monday.

66 batches of cargo imported to China in 2014 by La Perla, the luxury Italian women’s clothing company specializing in lingerie, failed 24.24 percent of the tests it was subjected to, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said in a report on Monday.

American clothing manufacturer American Apparel came second in the ranking of international brands that failed the most quality tests, while Italian fashion brand Cavalli came third.
read more.
ChinaDAILY new

20150330 * Innovate or face going down pan of history:

Forget luxury handbags, diamond watches and haute couture, the latest must-have item to capture the imagination of Chinese consumers is… a Japanese toilet seat.

But this is no ordinary toilet seat. For the press of a button by the user reveals its bidet-esque properties — unleashing a jet of warm water.

Seen as emblematic of good hygiene and a good lifestyle, Chinese tourists traveling to Japan have been snapping these water jet toilet seats like crazy, despite them being bulky and heavy.

While lucky purchasers may feel flushed with success, controversy has followed, as many of the toilet seats were revealed to have actually been manufactured or assembled in China.
(…)
The steep rise of labor costs is a big concern for businesses. Wu conducted a survey years ago of franchise businesses, such as McDonalds and Metersbonwe — a homegrown casual wear brand — and found that frontline employee wages had risen by 11 to 13 percent over five years. In contrast, to remain competitive, businesses couldn’t afford to let prices of finished products grow at the same rate.
(…)

The advent of customizing makes life harder for traditional retail merchandisers. They prospered in the past by playing the card of what Wu called “information asymmetry.” In traditional forms of commercial activity, consumers had no way of knowing the production costs of their purchases or getting around the middlemen who profit from complex supply chains.

An item of clothing that sells for 100 yuan (US$16) on a wholesale garment market could fetch a price a dozen times higher by the time it has made its way to a department store, said Wu.
read more.
SHANGHAIDAILY

20:15:49 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

20150327 * Aquino’s wage hike call hypocritical – KMU:

National labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno said today that Pres. Noynoy Aquino was just being hypocritical when he called on employers last Friday to increase wages, saying the chief executive has just implemented a meager P15.00 adjustment in the minimum wage in Metro Manila.

The labor group said Aquino’s statements, made at a convention of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc., that limiting wages could reduce the economy and that increasing wages could boost the economy, run counter to his measures on wages in the past five years.

KMU also said the president’s appeal would amount to nothing because telling capitalists, especially the biggest ones who employ the most workers, to increase wages is like calling on pigs to fly.
read more.
KILUSANG MAYO UNO

20150327 * Wage workers get an increase:

The Department of Labor and Employment announced last week that its Regional Board has approved a P15 increase in the wage of minimum wage workers in the National Capital Region. 

It will benefit around 12.5 percent of private-sector workers in Metro Manila – 587,000 employees. The remaining 87.5 percent – 4.1 million workers – are not affected as they are already paid above the prescribed rate.

As may be expected, national labor groups have called the increase “too meager” compared to the amount needed by a worker’s family to live decently. The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) had asked for a P136 increase but the government approved only P15, saying this was what employers can absorb.
read more.
tempo

19:15:49 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

20150331 * New social insurance rule sparks worker strike in Ho Chi Minh City:

Tens of thousands of workers at a Taiwanese-owned company in Ho Chi Minh City have gone on strike over the past several days to object to a new rule that restricts them from getting lump-sum social insurance allowance payments.

The strike began on March 26 and has continued with the participation of nearly 90,000 workers of Pou Yuen Vietnam Co. Ltd., a maker of sport shoes and garments for export in Binh Tan District, Vietnamese media said.
read more.
TUOITREnews

20150330 * Striking workers block HCMC road:

20150330 THANHNIENews
Thousands of workers pouring into the road, climbing on an overpass in Tan Tao Industrial Zone, Ho Chi Minh City, during a wildcat strike to demand for the right to severance pay. Photo: Trung Hieu

Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City’s Binh Tan District said Monday morning they are trying to clear a street blocked by thousands of workers from a nearby Taiwanese-owned factory striking for the right to severance pay. 

The strike, which began on March 26, gathered momentum Monday, PouYuen Vietnam Company Limited officials said.

The situation worsened further after a district-level representative of the workers spoke with them in a vain effort to calm them down.

The workers marched around the footwear and leather firm situated in the Tan Tao Industrial Zone before pouring out into nearby roads, climbing an overpass and completely blockading the area.
read more. & read more.
THANHNIENEWS new reuters

20150329 * Healthcare urged for female workers:

20150329 VNNet

Huynh Cao Hai, deputy head of the Dong Nai Province’s Health Department, said he planned to encourage all factories in the province to offer reproductive healthcare services for female workers, especially those with a large number of female workers.

This is very vital to ensure their health,” he said.

Speaking at a workshop held yesterday on empowering female migrant workers, Hai said a project initiated in 2013 by the NGO, Marie Stopes International Viet Nam, had benefited women working in five footwear factories in the province.

The main objective of the three-year project to “advance the social and economic empowerment of female migrant workers” through gender-sensitive initiatives in Binh Duong and Dong Nai provinces, where many factories are located.

The pilot programme also emphasises corporate social responsibility of Vietnamese factories.

The women have been offered check-ups, healthcare for pregnant women, information about reproductive system diseases and contraceptive methods.

Information about labour and equity law has also been provided to the women.

At a few of the factories, obstetricians and midwives were recruited to work at health clinics in order to provide better sexual and reproductive healthcare to their female workers.

Hai said that he would encourage other factories with a large number of female workers to hire obstetricians and midwives for their health clinics.

The project is also being carried out in Binh Duong Province at four factories.

After two years of implementation in the two provinces, more than 230,000 workers have had access to essential sexual reproductive healthcare services.
read more. & read more.
VNNet VNNews new

20150330 * Vinatex to build textile and garment complex in Quang Nam:

The Viet Nam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex) has begun construction of a textile and garment factory complex in the central province of Quang Nam on March 25, 2015.

The textile and garment complex project is spread over 20 hectares in Que Son district and built at a cost of 1.14 trillion dong (approximately US$ 53.5 million).

The project includes a fibre factory with a capacity to produce 4,600 tons of products annually, a textile and dyeing factory with annual capacity of 5,000 tons and a garment factory with 20 knitwear production lines with capacity to manufacture 20 to 25 million pieces per year.
read more.
VINATEX

19:15:49 local time map of laos LAOS

20150330 * Businesses looking to hire large foreign workforce:

Businesses and project operators have asked for permission to hire a large number of foreign workers to fill job vacancies, a senior government official has said.

From September 2014 to March 2015, the government has approved requests by various projects and businesses to hire 40,690 foreign workers of various nationalities, according to the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare.
(…)
The garment sector will require the large st number of workers at an estimated 9,900, followed by construction with 5,500, while the furniture production sector requires about 5,000 people.
read more.
vtt_3

20150327 * Labour experts assess value of decent work programme:

A nationwide programme to ensure the provision of decent work in Laos has made progress but its effectiveness has yet to be determined, a programme participant has said.

Supported by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, Federation of Trade Unions FTU) and the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI), a meeting took place in Vientiane on Wednesday to review the implementation of the Decent Work Country Programme for Laos over the past year.

“The programme has focused mainly on organising activities but has not yet assessed the outcomes,” Deputy Director General of the ministry’s Department of Planning and Cooperation, Mr Chomyaeng Phengthongsawat, told the meeting. The Decent Work Country Programme for Laos was launched in February 2012 by the tripartite constituents – the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, FTU and LNCCI – along with ILO and the Ministry of Planning and Investment.
read more.
vtt_3

20:15:49 local time map of malaysia MALAYSIA

20150330 * As GST kicks in, call to rescue Malaysia from low-wage rut:

As wage earners brace for higher spending under the goods and services tax (GST) that takes effect on Wednesday, they will feel the brunt of decades of Malaysia’s economic policies which have kept wages low and local industries uncompetitive.

Low wages have not helped the government improve its revenue, as only 1.7 million Malaysians pay income tax out of a workforce of 12 million, and Putrajaya is seeking to increase earnings with the broad-based consumption tax.

But low wages are the legacy of Malaysia’s industrialisation policy, which has long focused on making the country a low-cost, low value manufacturing hub.
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Mal-Insider MY sinchew BERNAMA

20:15:49 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

20150328 * Rupiah decline double-edged sword for garment industry:

Garment manufacturers in the country view the rupiah’s depreciation as both an engine for growth and a threat, with some experiencing slowdowns last year and others recording a stronger performance.

Publicly listed fashion retailer and garment manufacturer PT Trisula International saw its net profits slump by 30.9 percent to Rp 24.42 billion (US$1.87 million) last year from Rp 35.39 billion in 2013.

The firm’s revenues increased by 5.19 percent year-on-year (yoy) to Rp 746.8 billion last year, but the fall in the rupiah against the US dollar led to an increase in its operating costs.
The rupiah lost around 15 percent of its value against the greenback last year.
read more.
jakartapost

19:15:49 local time map of thailand THAILAND

20150328 * Garment exporters look for new markets to replace traditional destinations:

With the gloomy outlook for key export markets, Thai garment manufacturers have struggled to find new markets in Asia and some countries in Europe, while focusing more on channelling trade in sportswear and uniforms through poorer neighbouring countries that still have tariff privileges.

At the 33rd edition of the “Export Garment Fair”, a three-day event in Bangkok that kicked off yesterday, exporters shared similar views that they would have to look for new markets, as volatile exchange rates have caused difficulties for their trade in traditional markets, mainly in the European Union.

Thavorn Kanokvaleewong, president of the Thai Garment Manufacturers Association (TGMA), said China, countries in Europe outside the euro zone, and Asean markets could fit the bill, since they have high demand and relatively stable currencies.

“With its rising cost of labour, China has to import more garments.
Emerging Asean countries are also seeing increased demand for garments,
and Thailand is one of major suppliers to those countries.
read more.
theNATIONnew

18:45:49 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

20150331 * Labour council members call for tougher penalties after employers flout rulings:

Without the fear of a prison sentence, employers will continue to ignore the decisions of Yangon Region’s Arbitration Council for labour disputes, a tribunal member warned yesterday.

Ko Ye Naing Win, the labour representative on the council, said the fear of imprisonment would ensure greater compliance with the rulings.

He spoke as the Yangon Regional minister for labour, U Zaw Aye Maung, said stiff penalties were in store for employers who spurned the council’s judgments. Instructions to companies to rehire dismissed staff were often ignored, he said. “We must impose strict penalties on those who do not comply,” he added.
(…)

One garment factory owner whose labour force went on strike last month, and who requested anonymity, said he did not want to rehire “troublesome” workers even when ordered to do so.
read more.
MMtimesnew

20150330 * Hacking the SEZ:

Like many other Southeast Asian countries, Myanmar has much to offer in terms of natural resources and opportunities for growth and development.

It is currently one of the most burgeoning economies in Southeast Asia and has introduced many incentives to compensate for its lack of proper infrastructure.

As discussed in the previous article, Myanmar introduced the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) law in 2014 to support its three SEZs: namely, the Kyaukpu SEZ, the Thilawa SEZ and the Dawei SEZ.

The SEZ law provides companies (manufacturing and non-manufacturing alike) located in a SEZ with certain tax and non-tax incentives.

Just to recap, these incentives include a five-to-eight year corporate income tax exemption (i.e. tax incentive) and the ability to obtain stay permits for a company’s non-local employees (i.e., non-tax incentive), among others.

In order to apply for an SEZ permit, a foreign investor will first have to contact an SEZ Development Official and discuss the investor’s business and land requirements.
Assuming that the required land is available, and that the SEZ Development Official decides that the investor’s business is eligible for an SEZ permit, the investor can begin by signing a Reservation Agreement with the SEZ Development Official and by paying a sizable Reservation Fee for the land.
read more.
theNATIONnew

20150328 * Japan’s Wacoal Could Be First Apparel Firm in Thilawa SEZ:

Japanese underwear manufacturer Wacoal Holdings Corp. may become the first firm to open an apparel factory in the Thilawa Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

The new Japanese-backed SEZ just outside of Rangoon is set to open in June. So far, garment manufacturers who have looked at setting up in the there have ended up opening factories elsewhere.

News agency Kyodo reported that Wacoal would this month establish a firm in Burma named Wacoal Myanmar Co to pave the way for the opening of a factory making brassieres.
The report put the company’s decision to move into its fifth Asean country down to rising labor costs in Thailand.
read more.
IRRAWADDY

18:00:49 local time map of nepal NEPAL

20150328 * Govt to give special facilities to SEZ employees:

The Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Bill, which will be tabled in the upcoming session of parliament, will give special facilities to employees working at industrial units set up at SEZs.

Officials of the Ministry of Industry (MoI) say the Bill allows SEZ Authority to set separate minimum wage for employees working in industries in SEZs.

They say the minimum wage for SEZ workers will not be lower than minimum wage fixed for other workers.
“The law has tried to treat employees in a special work to make SEZ more important,” Yam Kumari Khatiwada, spokesperson of Ministry of Industry, said.
read more.
myREPUBLICA

20150327 * Tax breaks promised to factories set up in SEZ:

Factories established in Special Economic Zones (SEZ) will get special treatment with respect to tax and fees. The SEZ bill, which was endorsed by the Cabinet’s bill committee a few days ago, contains a number of tax exemptions for enterprises set up in the industrial districts.

According to the SEZ bill, industries set up inside the SEZ will not have to pay income tax for five years from the date they start commercial production.
They will then get a 50 percent income tax exemption for the next 10 years if at least 60 percent of the raw materials they have used are of domestic origin. Companies not meeting this requirement will get a 50 percent tax waiver for the next five years.
read more.
EKANTIPUR

18:15:49 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

20150327 * Compressor blast at city factory kills 2:

Two workers were killed and two others injured as a compressor exploded at a dyeing factory in the city’s Kadamtali area on Friday night.

The deceased were identified as Delwar, 45, and Sohag, 25, while the injured are Zillur, 30, and Musa, 25. Sources at Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) said the compressor at ‘Evergreen Dyeing Factory’ went off with a big bang around 9:30pm, leaving four workers injured critically.
The injured were taken to the DMCH where doctors declared Delwar and Sohag dead around 10:15pm, according to a news agency.
to read. & read more. & read more.
FE bd banglanews24NEW bdnews24

20150328 * RMG workers run amok in Naraynaganj (over fellow’s death):

Agitated garment workers blocked the Dhaka-Chittagong highway on Saturday after one of their fellow-workers was run over by a bus in Naraynaganj.

The highway at Sonargaon Upazila was blocked for two hours and several vehicles were damaged during the agitation, a news agency reported.
Additional Superintendent of Police Md Zakaria said that a bus ran over Aman Ullah, 27, who worked at ‘Chaity Garments’, around 8am at Tribardi area.

According to witnesses the bus fell into a ditch after the accident, leaving ten passengers injured.
Irate workers set fire to bus before blocking the highway and damaged at least ten vehicles parked at a nearby garage.

Workers hurled brickbats at police when they intervened. Law-enforcers had to fire blank shots to disperse the agitators.
Traffic later resumed on one of the busiest highways in the country after two hours of interruption.
to read. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
& read more.
FE bd NEWAGEnew   DHAKATRIBUNE  UNBnew bdnews24 prothom
the DAILYSTAR new 2015

20150330 * Training women to take leadership roles in Bangladesh unions:

In December 2014, TUC Aid began a programme with the National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF) in Bangladesh to develop women trade union leaders by running a series of training sessions for new female members and organisers.

Women make up the majority (85%) of workers in the garment industry in Bangladesh.  They frequently face harassment by male supervisors, particularly those who are in a trade union. There is a lack of women in leadership positions in Bangladesh trade unions which makes it more difficult for women to bargain for their rights at work.

The programme aims to encourage women to take leadership roles in their unions through  two stages of training:

  • Stage 1 training which provides new trade union members with information on the role of the unions in defending their employment rights and how they can play an active role in the union
  • Stage 2 training for union organisers on collective bargaining.

Both stages of training have been designed to increase confidence of female trade union members to bargain with managers for decent rights at work.
read more.
tuc

20150330 * Yet more discrimination against workers:

The apparent misuse by the government of Section 324 of the Bangladesh Labour Law 2006, which enables it to give exemptions in ‘public and national interest’ to an owner or worker from abiding by certain sections other than that related to child labour or maternity leave, is indeed unfortunate.

According to a New Age report on Saturday, using the provision, the government has already given exemptions to six multinational companies, all export-oriented garment factories, all sugar mills, two foreign quick rental power companies and a local company from different sections involving labour compliance.

As a result, workers there now either have to work beyond the stipulated 10 hours a day or do not get fixed lunch break or even get deprived of weekly holidays. Moreover, the owners are able to avoid obligations to follow local and international laws and social compliance audit, something that might have allowed them to exploit the workers at their will.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

20150329 * Multinational cos, RMGs enjoy special exemptions:

LABOUR COMPLIANCE

A number of multinational companies and export-oriented garment factories are enjoying special exemption from certain provisions related to labour compliance in Bangladesh Labour Act.

These exemptions include maximum working hours in a day and over the week, whether workers have fixed lunch break and weekly holidays.
Labour leaders complained that these companies were using the exemption from workers’ welfare-related sections of the law to engage workers in work for longer hours and to avoid obligations to follow local and international laws and social compliance audit.

Labour secretary Mikail Shipar said the ministry gave the waivers every six months through gazettes, on the basis of reports prepared by inspectors of the department of inspection for factories and establishments.
‘Inspectors recommend such waivers to curtail production costs at the factories.’
‘Workers’ approval is also taken for recommendations,’ the secretary said.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

20150331 * More low-cost fund sought from Alliance for small RMG factories:

Garment factory owners on Monday sought more low-cost financing from the North American retailers’ group for the remediation work of the small and medium factories.

In a meeting with high officials of Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety and factory authorities Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association vice-president Shahidullah Azim said a good member of factory owners had been suffering from fund crisis and the remediation work in their units were being progressed slowly.
‘I will request the Alliance to arrange more fund as the remediation work is very costly and small and medium factories could not bear the cost,’ he said.
The BGMEA arranged the meeting with the Alliance and factory authorities after getting a list of 110 factories that did not conduct Detailed Engineering Assessment in their factory buildings as per recommendation made by Alliance inspection teams.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

20150330-31 * 110 faulty RMG units delaying engineering assessment:

Alliance seeks BGMEA intervention

As many as 110 readymade garment factory owners are delaying detailed engineering assessment in their units suggested by inspection teams despite their factories were detected with structural flaws, the North American retailers’ group has alleged.

The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety has recently sent a list of the 110 readymade garment factories to the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and sought its intervention to expedite the remediation process.

A BGMEA official, however, told New Age that the DEA in the factories were delaying due to various reasons including slower pace of engineering farms and lack of available fund.

He said out of 110, more than 20 factories had already conducted the DEA and some of the units had been asked for resubmission of the reports as their assessment failed to meet the Alliance standard.
An official of Alliance said the factories got time for 2-9 months to conduct the DEA but their owners were yet to take any initiative.
read more. & read more.
NEWAGEnew FE bd

20150329 * 60 RMG factory owners asked to come under inspection process:

The government’s factory inspection department on Wednesday asked over 60 garment factory owners to come under the government- and International Labour Organisation-led safety inspection process as they have been showing their unwillingness to let conduct checking in their units.

The factory owners will have to face legal action if they fail to pay heed to the order, Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments inspector general Syed Ahmed told New Age on Saturday.

‘We have issued letters to the non-cooperative factory owners asking them to come under the inspection programme immediately. If they do not comply with the DIFE direction, the government will take legal action against them,’ he said.
The DIFE also handed over a list of 666 factories to its inspectors to scrutinise the contact information and another list of 508 units to verify whether the factories were closed.
On March 12, the ILO informed the government that the safety assessment attempts went unsuccessful in 1,236 garment factories due to non-cooperation of their owners and inconsistency information including factory location and contact numbers.

According to the ILO list, contact information of 666 factories was incorrect, the authorities of 62 factories were non-cooperative to conduct inspections and the authorities of 508 units claimed that their factories remained closed.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

20150331 * RMG exporters set eye on flourishing home market:

Fashion wear finds Tk 200b domestic consumption

Leading exporters of readymade garments now set their sights on the domestic market as local consumption of global-class wear holds a great potential, industry-insiders said.

Data available with the apex trade body in the clothing sector show the domestic market size of apparel products at around Tk 200 billion where the local brands could avail less than 10 per cent share. Locally manufactured apparels having no brand value now occupy the most part of the domestic market.

Local makes of clothing are gaining popularity in the domestic fashion industry as youths are getting attracted largely to homespun global-quality products.
read more.
FE bd

20150329 * Garment safety drive hits bump:

The government has started investigating the issues surfaced over non-cooperation from some garment units and inconsistencies in information about factories, hindering the safety drive under the national initiative, officials said.

The Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) has issued letters to the management of apparel factories allegedly for not cooperating with ILO-appointed engineers on inspection of fire, electrical and structural safety, they added.

The DIFE has also directed its inspectors to verify the information about factory location or address, contact number and ‘closure’ of a good number of units.

Earlier, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in a March 12 meeting informed the National Tripartite Committee that they found incorrect information on contact numbers of about 666 factories on the list provided by Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA).

It also alleged that the authorities of at least 62 factories didn’t cooperate in conducting safety inspections on the units while the authorities of 508 factories claimed that their units remained closed.
read more.
FE bd

20150329 * Study: RMG jobs help lower child marriage rate:

The life of a Bangladeshi garment factory worker is not an easy one, but the new research by the University of Washington (UW) suggests something else.

The new study indicates that access to such factory jobs improves the lives of young Bangladeshi women, motivating them to stay in school and lowering their likelihood of early marriage and childbirth.

The April 2013 collapse of a commercial garment factory building that killed more than 1,100 people thrust the industry into a harsh spotlight and brought attention and concern from human rights groups.

But amid the hardships, the new findings show that there is a quiet upside of the factory work for many Bangladeshi women.

Economist Rachel Heath of the University of Washington and co-author A. Mushfiq Mobarak of the Yale University School of Management studied data on school enrollment and marriage and childbirth outcomes from 1,395 households in 60 Bangladeshi villages in the year 2009.

The study released last month found that girls between 12 and 18 years old who have lived in the proximity of a garment factory for about six years — the average time studied — were 28% less likely to be married than those living in villages in the same district that were not close to a factory.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

20150327 * Social impact bonds for factories in Bangladesh?:

The two main initiatives established in response to the 2013 Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh, where nearly 1,200 garment workers lost their lives from a factory collapse, are wrestling with a critical question: Who should pay for the work needed to ensure basic factory safety standards in Bangladesh?

It turns out that the global economy has enough financial assets, yet funds don’t always flow in the areas where they are needed.
The global debt market is around $78 trillion and growing.
Every week, an average of $100 billion in investment-grade bonds are issued. There is a huge push to access this debt market for all sorts of pressing financing needs, including combating climate change.

At the same time, governments and public-private partnerships are also applying bond proceeds to achieve various humanitarian and social outcomes.
For example, so-called vaccine bonds have raised more than $4.5 billion since 2006. More recently, municipalities in the UK and the US are experimenting with social impact bonds to reduce recidivism in prisons, improve foster care, and tackle homelessness. The backdrop for these experiments is the broader social impact investment movement.

Dhaka bonds, anyone?
The Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety (the Accord) and the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety (the Alliance) are working to improve the building and fire safety of Bangladeshi garment firms.
According to a Guardian post by Sarah Labowitz of the Centre for Business and Human Rights at NYU’s Stern School of Business, an average cost of factory upgrades is estimated by the Alliance to be around $250,000 per factory.
Since the total number of factories recognised by various brands comes to about 1,800, the upgrades could cost $400 million for those identified factories alone.
read more.
the DAILYSTAR new 2015

20150327 * Textile manufacturing deciding factor in unrest:

Widespread violence across Bangladesh will soon enter its third month, extending a stranglehold on the economy that has cost the country billions.

The world’s second-largest ready-made garments exporter, Bangladesh began the year courting investment to diversify its manufacturing base, currently focused on textiles, to include low-end electronics and automobile assembly.
But opposition political forces led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party began an extended campaign of social unrest following the anniversary of last year’s disputed Jan. 5 elections.
The unrest jeopardizes the growth the national economy and textile industry have experienced in recent years.
read more.
prothom

20150328 * Exporters hit by euro fall to get spl cash stimulus:

The government moves to provide special cash stimulus to the exporters who mainly send their products to Europe amid continuous depreciation of the euro, officials said.   

Besides, the prolonged political turmoil on the home front is also cited as factors affecting the country’s external trade.

The ministry of finance (MoF) took a decision Monday to dole out the affected exporters who have been exporting their commodities amid erosion of the euro value in the wake of wake of what is seen as eurozone syndrome in the world economy.
read more.
FE bd

20150329 * Tk 42b RMG stocklot builds up on turmoil:

Readymade garments (RMG) worth Tk 42 billion (4,200 crore)  have become stocklot due to the ongoing political troubles marked by frequent hartal and blockade, according to the research cell of the apparel exporters’ association.

The apparel exporters missed the shipment deadlines fixed by several global business partners resulting in the buildup of the stocklots worth Tk 42 billion, according to the BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association).

“The apparel industry is seriously affected by the political turmoil and countrywide blockade”, Md Shahidullah Azim, vice president of the BGMEA, told the FE.
read more.
FE bd

20150330 * Apparel makers seek manual-auto mix in customs count of exports:

Country’s apparel traders seek to retain the manual system alongside automated one until efficient realtime update of export data is ensured in the electronic export mechanism.

They noted that the relevant data are not being uploaded instantly by the customs or the central bank after export processing.
As such, the exporters fear, fully automated export system could delay shipment of goods.
read more.
FE bd

20150329 * BR to build container depot in Gazipur for RMG:

Bangladesh Railway would build an Inland Container Depot in Gazipur to facilitate the transportation of readymade garment production directly from the factories in the district to the port city of Chittagong.

Railways secretary (acting) Md Mansur Ali Sikdar told UNB that the ministry has decided to construct ICD at Dhirashram, Gazipur so that the RMG owners can be attracted to use the railway service in sending their consignments to Chittagong.
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NEWAGEnew the DAILYSTAR new 2015 UNBnew

20150330 * Cotton hedging is need of the time:

20150330 DAILYSTAR
For cotton imports, Bangladesh should now practise hedging to take benefit from the rising consumption of the fibre.

Bangladesh should practise hedging for cotton imports, as the consumption of the fibre is on the rise and so are the trading risks, said industry insiders.

Hedging is a strategy designed to reduce the risks of adverse price movements in an asset. A hedge usually takes the form of a transaction in one market or asset in order to offset possible losses in another.

For example, a company might buy a foreign exchange option to protect itself against the risk of fluctuations in spot currency rates; or, an importer or processor of a commodity may sell futures contracts to offset losses if prices fall.

“Hedging is a good option for us as our volume of cotton import is on the rise as a result of higher demand from garment makers,” said Jahangir Alamin, the immediate past president of Bangladesh Textile Mills Association.
(…)

He went on to cite the case in 2010 when cotton prices reached its peak of $2.5 per pound. Bangladeshi importers had to source the fibre at the price but the prices of garment items did not increase.

Given this bitter experience, the government has been trying to sign agreements with India and Uzbekistan for guaranteed supply of cotton.
But the agreements are yet to be signed due to difficult conditions laid out by the supplying countries.
read more.
the DAILYSTAR new 2015

20150331 * Tanneries face hard time as leather exports decline:

Tanneries are facing a critical moment in overcoming the crisis facing the industry with regard to rejected as well as declining export orders and processing, due to a number of factors eroding the country’s third largest export sector.

The tannery sector’s contribution to the exchequer from exports has nosedived to USD 671.21 million in the last seven months from a target of USD 1397.28 million.
This sharp fall can be attributed to domestic turmoil, slowdown of world economy, fall in oil prices and the Euro, acceding to industry sources.

“We’re suffering losses from all corners. We’re being forced to pay workers from our own capital, while our bank returns and payments coming from the leather skin markets of Pabna and Natore are being withheld,” Haji Iliasur Rahman, owner of a tannery, told The Independent.
read more.
INDEPENDENT

20150329-30 * BD needs to improve investment climate, infrastructure: UK:

The United Kingdom has said Bangladesh needs to improve its investment climate, infrastructure and the skills of its labour force to grow and absorb the two million new entrants into the labour force each year, reports UNB.

“While the garment sector will always remain important, diversifying into other sectors is also necessary,” said Mark Lowcock, UK Permanent Secretary for the Department for International Development (DFID). He emphasised  the improved infrastructure, investment climate and the skills of its labour force.

Talking to the news agency, Mr Lowcock said the garment sector plays an important role in the economic development of Bangladesh.

About delay in compensation process, the top British bureaucrat said it is of vital importance that the victims of Rana Plaza are ‘adequately compensated’ in a timely manner.

“We’ve used every opportunity to call on UK companies to take responsibility and contribute to the Rana Plaza Trust Fund. This has included the Westminster Debate on 30 April, repeat Ministerial visits to Bangladesh, communications around the Rana Plaza anniversary, and various meetings with retailers and buyers,” he said.
read more. & read more.
FE bd dailyboserverbd

20150331 * Time to use WTO multilateral forum:

20150331 DAILYSTAR

LAW UPDATE: GSP TRADE DISPUTE

The US suspended Bangladesh from its Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) scheme on 27 June 2013, following concerns over poor labour conditions particularly after the horrific collapse of Rana Plaza.

The US Presidential proclamation confirmed that the suspension has been effectuated because Bangladesh is not taking appropriate measures to afford internationally recognised workers rights in the country to meet the statutory eligibility criteria of labour rights.

Later on both the countries entered into bilateral negotiation to reinstate the preferences, where US has conditioned the restoration of GSP on fulfilling the Plan of Actions consisting of 16 requirements.
USTR, the US administrative body in its GSP Review of Action Plan (January, 2015) acknowledged the progress in some sectors and also urged for further compliance with worker rights issues.

Bangladesh has been trying to resolve the GSP dispute through negotiations for almost last two years, but which presently seems to be an ineffective means for the country to get the preference back.
So it is the high time to challenge the unilateral suspension of GSP program under WTO laws, so far both the countries are WTO members.
GSP as a corner stone of Special and Differential (S & D) treatment has become part of WTO laws in 1979 (The Enabling Clause).
read more.
the DAILYSTAR new 2015

20150330 * Benetton family sells stake in World Duty Free:

The Benetton family has sold its controlling stake in World Duty Free to Switzerland’s Dufry Reports BBC.

The deal creates the world largest travel retailer, with a market share of 25% and projected annual sales of $9bn (€8.3bn; £6bn).

Dufry is paying €10.25 a share for the 50.1% stake, valuing the group at €3.6bn.
read more.
UNBnew

FACEBOOKPAYUPLOGO

    THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE

20150329 * Rana Plaza collapse: RMG factory owner denied bail:

The High Court today denied bail to Aminul Islam, owner of a garment factory housed in Rana Plaza building that collapsed in 2013, in a corruption case.

The HC bench of Justice Quamrul Islam Siddique and Justice Amir Hossain returned the bail petition of Aminul to his lawyer.

Aminul was owner of Phantom Apparels Ltd, an RMG factory housed in Rana Plaza building in Savar which collapsed on April 24, 2013 killing 1135 people.

During today’s proceedings, ACC lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan told the court that there are specific allegations against Aminul of establishing his garment factory on two floors in the Rana Plaza building.

RMG factories cannot be established in any commercial building as per existing law, the ACC lawyer said.
read more.
the DAILYSTAR new 2015

20150329 * HC rejects bail plea of owners of factories housed in Rana Plaza:

The High Court on Sunday rejected a bail petition filed by Aminul Islam, one of the three owners of four garment factories which were set up in Rana Plaza which collapsed in April 2013.

The vacation bench of Justice Quamrul Islam Siddiqui and Justice Amir Hossain refused Aminul’s bail petition moved by Supreme Court lawyer AM Amin Uddin.
Aminul, chairman of Phantom Apparels Ltd was among 17 others charged with corruption for erecting the 10-storied Rana Plaza building illegally and using the commercial space on industrial purpose. The building had an approval for five-storie.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

20150325 * Justice and factory fires:

It was an inferno whose flames exposed the scourge of global inequality, the vast chasm between those who wear global designer brands and those who manufacture them.

On April 24, 2013, the largest fire in the history of Bangladesh ravaged the Rana Garment Factory located on the outskirts of Dhaka. Over 1,100 people died in the blaze and more than 2,000 were injured.

When investigations were conducted, it was found that the factory was under contract to supply garments for many well-known, including designer, manufacturers. Included in the list were the Italian manufacturer Benetton, the Spanish brand Mango, the American Wal-Mart Corporation and many others.

Life for the garment workers who worked in Rana Plaza and the scores of other garment manufacturing establishments dotted across Bangladesh has never been easy.

Even before it burned down, the workers who toiled within it saw interminably long working hours, which stretched on some days from eight in the morning to three the next morning.

In the case of Rana Plaza, those who did survive were left with injuries that prevented them from working in the sorts of hours and conditions that they had endured earlier.

There was talk of compensation for the victims but the fund and parameters of how the victims would be compensated could not be agreed on until late 2013. The Rana Plaza Arrangement, developed under the auspices of local Bangladeshi groups and the International Labour Organisation, resulted in a process in which the relatives of those killed in the fire, and those who were injured, could claim reparation from the companies.

The Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund, developed via the Rana Plaza Arrangement, was given the task of collecting money from the international companies that had been using the plaza to source their merchandise.
This, unsurprisingly, proved difficult, with many manufacturers, including ones that were making whopping profits in multi-million dollar amounts, delaying and avoiding making contributions to the $40 million sum that was required to compensate the many victims.
As Max Strasser wrote in Newsweek, a whole year after the incident only half the 28 companies had put aside anything at all for the fund. Things improved with time, however, with the help of international advocacy.
read more.
DAWNnew

17:45:49 local time map of india INDIA

20150331 * CITU opposes amendments to labour laws:

The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) on Monday urged the State government to do away with the amendments made to labour laws at fag end of Assembly session.

The amendments were detrimental to the interests of working class and were intended to protect capitalists, said CITU State general secretary M. A. Gafoor.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr. Gafoor said the State government had a false notion that industry would flourish if working class were suppressed. The government amended the labour laws without a second thought.
“Not less than 80 p.c. of the working class will become bonded labour with the amendment to the Industrial Disputes Act.
The government amended 25K of the Act facilitating factory managements to appoint and dismiss workers at will,” he said.
read more.
THEHINDU

20150329 * ‘Change in labour laws detrimental to workers’:

Indian Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU) strongly opposed the Centre’s labour policies, alleging that those were detrimental to the workforce in places such as Srikakulam where industrial development was gaining momentum.

In its district conference held at NGO home here on Saturday, the IFTU discussed the recent developments and government polices pertaining to industrial sector.

IFTU general secretary K. Polari, vice-president M. Venkateswarlu accused the Centre of adopting anti-labour policies by amending the laws enacted three decades ago to protect workers from exploitation.

“The current policies have given job security issues a miss. With relaxations in the labour laws, many industries are not keen on implementing PF, gratuity, bonus and other statutory obligations,” said Mr. Polari. CPI (ML) New Democracy leader Tandra Prakash expressed concern over the violation of labour laws in many industries located in Pydibhiamavaram.
read more.
THEHINDU

20150331 * Textile processing cluster coming up:

“Facilitated by MADITSSIA, it will be the biggest cluster in Tamil Nadu”

A textile processing cluster, facilitated by MADITSSIA, is coming up near Kariyapatti in Virudhunagar district at a cost of Rs. 250 crore.

Southern districts textile processing cluster private limited, promoted by around 400 family-run textile manufacturers of Madurai, Sivaganga and Virudhunagar, will have 36 state-of-the art bleaching and dyeing units, at Pottakulam and Thamaraikulam villages, off Kariyapatti.
read more.
THEHINDU

20150330 * Textile park to be set up in Bathinda: Harsimrat:

Union food processing industries minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Saturday said that Centre had sanctioned a textile park for Punjab and it would be set up in Bathinda, cotton hub of the state, she said.

The minister is Lok Sabha MP from Bathinda.

Without giving names of private players who could be invited to set shops in the park, Harsimrat said that the Union government would give Rs 40 crore for constructing the park. The foundation stone of the textile park would be laid in the next couple of months.

The cotton growers would get better returns for their produce with commissioning of the textile park and it would create employment opportunities for hundreds of people, she said, adding that private players running the park would be asked to provide employment opportunities to more women and a hostel would be constructed in its premises for them.
read more.
TOInew

20150329 * Focus of Maharashtra’s new textile policy on generating employment:

State Textile Minister Chandrakant Patil told the Legislative Assembly that the new textile policy would be unveiled soon that will address issues of high electricity tariff and also include measures such as cotton-to-garment-manufacturing at a single point for setting up textile units.

The focus of new textile policy would be also on setting up textile parks in Vidarbha and Marathwada. It’s not only expected to reduce farmer suicides but also generate employment.

Cooperative minister Chandrakant Patil said that as part of the new policy, they have demarcated 250 acres of land in Amrawati for the textile park, for which a firm from Tamil Nadu has shown interest.
Their policy is cotton-to-garment in one place.
By doing this, they will save transport cost and generate jobs.
It will increase the rate of cotton and generate jobs for children of farmers, they won’t need to go elsewhere looking for employment.
read more.
ynfx

20150328 * Union govt announced Rs.430 crore Geo textile production project for NE region:

The Union Minister of State for Textile Santosh Kumar Gangwar during the laying of foundation stone for first ever modern Apparel and Garment Manufacturing Centre in Gangtok, Sikkim on 25 March 2015 announced a Rs.430 crore project for production of the Geo-textiles in the North Eastern region.

Geo-textiles, also called filter fabrics, are permeable fabrics which, when used in association with soil, have the ability to separate, filter, reinforce, protect, or drain.

These textiles are made from polypropylene or polyester and come in three basic forms: woven (resembling mail bag sacking), needle punched (resembling felt), or heat bonded (resembling ironed felt).

The Geo-textile will be very helpful in protecting the infrastructure like roads, especially in the regions like the North East which receive excessive rain.
read more.
ynfx

20150330 * Talk by Chaumtoli Huq at SIDE:

SIDE with Rashmi Munikempanna is investigating the production of the precarious body, within a broader framework of how working and non-working lives are organized in the current economic climate. 

Chaumtoli Huq is giving a talk at SIDE in relation with this investigation.
see video. & read more.
side side

17:45:49 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

20150330 * Sri Lanka’s apparel exports readying to cross US$ 5 billion:

Within a day after Sri Lanka and the European Union (EU) held discussions in Colombo to reinstate the sought after GSP Plus trade concession to boost Sri Lanka’s apparel exports, another coveted technical breakthrough has been extended to Sri Lanka through a surging EU economy, Ministry of Industry and Commerce said in a statement.

This support stream connects not only to Lanka’s finished apparels but even its manufacturing core itself-opening along with it a new market destination even beyond EU- called as the next economic supermodel of the world, according to the statement.

During a meeting with the Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen on March 25 at the EDB in Colombo, Ms. Nesli Almufti, the Stockholm based Trade Policy Advisor of Swedish Government’s National Board of Trade-Open Trade Gate has informed the Minister of the opportunity.
read more.
colombo

20150329 * ‘Lanka needs to improve human and labour rights record’:

Reinstating GSP Plus

The European Union delegation which began discussions on reinstating the GSP Plus trade concessions to Sri Lanka has called upon the government to turn commitment to reality in adhering to the United Nations conventions.

“We want Sri Lanka to improve its record on human and labour rights, good governance and environmental concerns to be eligible for the new GSP Plus trade concessions,” EU Ambassador to Sri Lanka, David Daly told a media briefing last week.

In 2010, the EU withdrew the preferential trade concession granted to Sri Lanka due to its failure to implement UN conventions.

The former regime dismissed charges that it failed to comply with the eligibility criteria. Sri Lanka’s poor human rights and governance record were the main reason for the removal of the trade concessions. Beneficiary States are mandated to comply with the 27 UN conventions on human rights, good governance, environmental protection and labour rights.

Around 170 countries benefited from the former GSP Plus scheme.
read more.
SUNDAY OBSERVER

20150330 * ‘Regranting GSP+ to SL hinges on resolution of rights issues’:

Focusing on the EU withdrawal of the GSP+ concession to Sri Lanka and its consequences, EU ambassador to Sri Lanka David Daly said regranting GSP + hinged not only on Tshirts or fishing rights, but on also factors such as human rights protection, labour rights sustenance and upholding of the Rule of Law locally.

He was speaking recently at a National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka convened forum on trade between Sri Lanka and the European Union. Representation from the business community in Colombo was quite substantial.
read more.
island

20150328 * Sri Lanka seeks to regain GSP+ :

Sri Lanka held talks with a delegation from the EU Trade Working Group this week in Colombo, aimed at regaining the preferential trade tariff, GSP plus, the Sri Lankan government said.

“Sri Lanka and the EU discussed issues related to promoting bilateral trade and investment. In particular they started the process that may lead to the re-admission of Sri Lanka to the status of GSP+ under the European Union’s new GSP regulation.
They also discussed bilateral matters related to investment facilities, import duties and fishery exports from Sri Lanka to the EU,” read a joint statement issued after the discussions which took place on March 24.
read more.
tamil_guardian

20150328 * Extend GSP+ to FTA : JAAF:

Sri Lanka’s garment industry umbrella body – the Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) says that while GSP+ tariff concession will assist the industry in the short-term, the long-term desire of the industry is to elevate the trade relations to that of a Free Trade Arrangement (FTA) as it will provide stable long-term market access with predictability.

Addressing a six-member EU delegation at a working luncheon held last week, Chairman of JAAF, Azeem Ismail, stated that the industry is very much eager that the restoration of GSP+ to Sri Lanka will take place as early as possible and hopefully, by the end of this year as the GSP+ tariff concessions enjoyed by the industry from 2005 to 2010 had helped the trade to move in the right direction.
read more.
theNATION SL

17:15:49 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

20150329 * Minimum wage:

The long-delayed process to raise the minimum wage in Sindh as promised in the last budget provides a window into the careless way the concerns of the poor are handled by the state.

First of all, it was not necessary to allow the process of issuing a notification to take so long. Two separate notifications have been sent, by two departments, creating confusion about the status of the announcement.

The first notification went out in December, and the second in March. The lack of coordination between various departments of the Sindh government that this shows is startling, and industrialists now have an opportunity to take advantage of the confusion and refuse to pay the higher minimum wage till the matter is clarified.

But bureaucratic incompetence aside, the minimum wage — upon which the majority of workers in the country depend for their livelihood — also raises important issues for other provinces.
read more.
DAWNnew

20150330 * Minimum wages:

By virtue of the 18th Amendment, the labour legislation was devolved to the provinces.

One of the purposes of devolution was to make working of this sensitive and critical sphere of legislation more efficient and user-friendly.
Provincial legislators can now amend labour laws to meet the needs of both entrepreneurs and workers employed in industrial and commercial establishments. However, they were also expected to exercise those powers in the overall interest of the country.

Although workers tend to move and settle at places where they get ample employment opportunities, they also migrate from one province to the other due to personal and other reasons.
As a result, the respective provincial governments should have this much coordination amongst them that some commonality is maintained in matters of industrial relations and the wage structure.

It is unfortunate that the governments of Punjab and Balochistan started using it as an opportunity for political point-scoring and expediency.
They fixed the minimum wages for workers at Rs9,000 a month. effective July 1, 2012, while it was Rs 8,000 in Sindh and KP.
read more.
DAWNnew

20150328 * Govt urged to amend labour laws:

The government should get amended outdated labour laws promulgated almost century ago and bring it in conformity with ILO Conventions ratified by the Government of Pakistan Since the majority of industrial workers are being denied the implementation of the said laws.

These demands had been raised in a national conference held at Bakhtiar Labour Hall, under the aegis of All Pakistan Workers Confederation (Regd) which was presided over by Ms. Rubina Jamil, President of the Confederation. Hundreds of trade unions representatives belonging to the various industrial and commercial organizations participated from allover the country and addressed the conference. Veteran Trade Union Leader Khurshid Ahmad, General Secretary of the Confederation presented the report of the activities of the confederation.
to read.
NATIONnew

20150330 * Faisalabad’s home textiles in trouble:

20150330 DAWN
Domestically, exporters have run up large losses owing to rupee’s revaluation and higher-than-regional energy prices. -Reuters/File

A majority of home textiles producers from Faisalabad are in trouble.

A combination of global and domestic developments has compelled some to shut their shop and others to significantly cut their production, as overseas shipments of most home textiles has continued to slump over the last one year.

Globally, depreciation of the euro and the crisis in the eurozone, as well as the fall in international cotton prices have adversely affected Pakistan’s export of home textiles and finished fabrics.

Domestically, the exporters have run up large losses owing to the rupee’s revaluation and the higher-than-regional energy prices and their shortage.

“The trouble began a year ago when the government forced the rupee to appreciate and cotton prices fell, causing massive inventory losses for the manufacturers,” noted Sheikh Ilyas Mahmood, the chief executive officer of Dawood Exports, during a visit to his factory in Faisalabad last week.
read more.
DAWNnew

20150329 * Garment industry torn over several impediments:

20150329 TRIBUNE
Comparing the country to Bangladesh, Malik said that Bangladesh produces no cotton, allows duty-free import of all kind of raw material, which has pushed its value-added textile exports to $26 billion, while Pakistan has yet not been able to cross $4.5-billion mark. PHOTO: AFP

Global recession, power and gas outages, internal security concerns, high cost of production and the increase in energy cost are contributing towards impeding growth in the garment industry.

These reasons were given by Muhammad Naseer Malik, vice chairman of Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) North Zone.

He attributed rupee depreciation, persistent increase in inflation and competition from India and China to the steady decline in growth of the industry –textile and garments.

“Law and order problems have forced buyers to abstain from visiting the country, similarly, local exporters are also unable to travel abroad for effective marketing of their products,” he said.

“The heavy duty on import of textile raw material in Pakistan forces garment makers to use cotton as the core input,” he added.

Comparing the country to Bangladesh, Malik said that Bangladesh produces no cotton, allows duty-free import of all kind of raw material, which has pushed its value-added textile exports to $26 billion, while Pakistan has yet not been able to cross $4.5-billion mark.
read more.

20150330 * Value-added textiles: Seasonal pickup in demand expected to propel exports:

Value-added textile exports have not only remained robust in the first eight months (Jul-Feb) of the current fiscal year but they are expected to continue to perform in a similar fashion on the back of seasonal demand, say industry officials and analysts.

Exports of value-added textile sub-sectors such as knitwear, bed wear, garments and home textile have recorded growth in the range of 5% to 14% from July 2014 to February 2015, providing a vital cushion for the otherwise stagnant overall textile exports.

Leading textile composite mills believe shipments are likely to go further up because of continuous stability in the rupee’s value against the dollar for the past few months.
read more.

20150331 * Imports in Mar 2013: APTMA to get major relief:

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has assured All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) to issue condonation of textile mills against sales tax on cotton imported during March 1-18, 2013 to clear their amount of sales tax paid as input tax in their subsequent tax period.

Sources told Business Recorder here on Monday that the APTMA has conveyed the decisions to the FBR taken during a meeting between the association and FBR Chairman Tariq Bajwa held at the FBR House. The issuance of sales tax condonation by the FBR to the textile mills in past period of 2013 has been decided in the said meeting.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

20150331 * Textile exporters highlight issues hindering exports:

Textile exporters have termed the over valuation of the rupee, high utility costs, Rs 70 billion working capital withheld by the government due to delayed refunds, as well as growing fear of a recession in the European Union (EU) as primary factors for decline in exports.

Chairman Pakistan Apparel Exporter Javed Balwani said that Karachi, which contributes 50 per cent to total exports, is facing a law and order situation.
In addition loadshedding has been relatively higher compared to the previous year and so was shortage of water in the city.
There was no respite for industrial sector in terms of rising electricity and water costs as well as that of other inputs.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

20150328 * Exporters say industrial wheel not spinning:

Textile exporters in Faisalabad have opposed the proposed increase in load-shedding for industries and urged the government to shelve its outages plan to bring the economy out of stagnation.

Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) Chairman Sohail Pasha, expressing extreme concern over the rising power shortfall, said, “Gas and electricity are the basic fuels of the industry; our production has already gone down 50% due to the gas suspension.

“It is sheer injustice that instead of controlling line losses and making arrangements to stop electricity theft, the authorities are busy worsening the situation,” he remarked.

Pakistan is endowed with plenty of renewable energy resources like wind and solar, which still remain untapped, highlighted Pasha, adding that, “Adoption and deployment of renewable energy resources can play a significant role towards power generation.”
read more.

20150331 * Value-added textile sector without gas for last 2 weeks:

The industry in Punjab, except spinning sector, is without gas for the last two weeks, besides facing power loadshedding of around six to eight hours.

The SNGPL had committed to provide at least 25 per cent gas to the garment sector but even this limited quantity of gas was not ensured, as the industry on Ferozepur Road, Kotlakhpat industrial area, Township industrial estate, Quaid-e-Azam Industrial Estate and industrial clusters on Multan Road are not getting gas supply for last about two weeks along with suspension of power supply of over 6 hours.

Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) vice chairman Malik Naseer said that the garment industry in Punjab was becoming uncompetitive within Pakistan due to prolonged power loadshedding and complete gas supply suspension while there was smooth gas and power supply in other provinces.
read more.
NATIONnew

20150329 * MoW&P & textile industry: lack of liaison causing production losses:

The lack of liaison between the Ministry of Water and Power (MoW&P) and the textile industry is causing production losses since power distribution companies are least bothered about sharing information with the industry on power-cut schedules.

The sources claimed they had repeatedly urged the ministry officials to keep them updated on the power supply schedules but of no use since the latter considered it their insult of developing liaison with the industry.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

20150329 * PTEA slams proposed power cut plan for industries:

Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) has opposed the proposed plan of increase in power loadshedding for industries.

Criticising the proposed power loadshedding plan for industries, Chairman PTEA Sohail Pasha and member Rizwan Riaz Saigal in a statement on Saturday have expressed extreme concerns over the rising electricity loadshedding and urged the government to take war footing measures to overcome this situation as it has created new threats to the future survival of industries and the overall economy.
read more. & read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER NATIONnew

20150328 * Textile sector lauds Karachi operation:

PBEA says action against criminals created positive effect on business as country heading towards right direction

Lauding Karachi operation, the textile industry has demanded that in order to revive dying industry of the country, law enforcement agencies should carry out action against all criminals across the board.

The ongoing Karachi operation has created a positive effect on the business, and we are heading towards the right direction, but the action should be taken against every criminal, no matter, which party he belongs, there should be no blue eyed persons or organisations or political party, every criminal should be wiped off, said Shabbir Ahmed, office bearer, Pakistan Bedwear Exporters Association.
The law and order situation of the cosmopolitan was very bad, till few months back, if you are riding a car, you are afraid, that someone will kidnap you for ransom, even people avoid taking calls in public, that someone will snatch your mobile, but now things are gradually becoming better, Ahmed said.
read more.
NATIONnew

20150329 * Benefiting from GSP Plus status: government urged to resolve pending issues: PTA:

The leather sector cannot benefit from the duty-free access to EU market under Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) unless the government resolves the long time pending issues including slapping a ban on livestock export, refund stuck-up claims, resolves energy crisis, etc.

Chairman, Pakistan Tanners Association (PTA) South Zone, Hamid AZahoor while demanding complete ban on export of livestock said that contrary to the huge potential of leather products, exports of the  leather industry have remained stagnant at 1.22 billion dollar for the last six years, insisting that just a bit of support from the Ministry of Commerce can push exports to 3 billion dollar in three years and make the industry the second biggest after textiles.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

       THE BALDIA FACTORY FIRE

20150330 * Baldia factory fire investigation: Past deadline, JIT has not even decided on composition yet:

The provincial government had constituted a new Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to investigate the 2012 Baldia Town factory fire incident on the orders of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

The latter had called for a reinvestigation during the apex committee meeting held at the Governor House in Karachi last month.

The newly-formed JIT was tasked to complete its investigations and present a report within 30 days. The deadline may have already passed but not only has the JIT not started investigations, even its composition has not been finalised yet.

In the latest development, the police department has removed the investigation officer of the case, Inspector Jahanzaib of the SITE-B Section police station, from the new JIT. He had been investigating the case from day one. He has been replaced by SP Sajid Sadozai.

The new JIT was commissioned by the prime minister as the earlier report, prepared and submitted to the Sindh High Court by an earlier JIT, had blamed the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) for the incident.
The party had, however, denied any involvement and termed the charges ‘fictitious’ and ‘biased’. It had also demanded a reinvestigation of the incident.
read more.

17:15:49 local time map of uzbekistan UZBEKISTAN

* Dr. Farhod K., 43-year old physician at a village medical clinic in Qashqadaryo Region:

In this issue of “Stories of Forced Labour,” we present an interview with a  physician at a village medical clinic. Interviewed November, 2014.

Farhod: At the beginning of the year [2014], they announced that we will work at the cotton fields. We pick cotton every year. Since cotton harvesting is every year in September, we all understand when it will be.

UGF: When were you sent to the cotton fields?

Farhod: The first group left on September 8. Three or four days later, we had a break. Everyone from our medical station had to go to harvest cotton.
Only one to two doctors were left at the clinic on pro-forma duty.
The rest went to work in the fields. We did not have enough people to work in shifts; therefore, we had to pick cotton from the beginning to the end of the season.
When the last of us were returning it was snowing, the end of October. Doctors from our clinic were picking cotton for a month and a half.

UGF: Was cotton picking obligatory for everyone?
read more.
UGF

+++++++++++++++++++++

 IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

GLOBAL

20150327 * Increase factory transparency- HRW urges German clothing brands:

German apparel and footwear brands should promote workers’ rights in their global operations by publicly disclosing the factories producing their products, Human Rights Watch said on Friday.

Supply chain transparency through public disclosure would demonstrate a brand’s commitment to ensuring good working conditions for workers throughout their operations including in Bangladesh, said the US rights body.

‘German clothing brands should promote respect for worker rights and safety by making their global supply chains transparent,’ said Wenzel Michalski, Germany director at Human Rights Watch.
(…)
For the report, Human Rights Watch examined labour practices in factories producing products for Adidas, Armani, Gap, H&M, Joe Fresh, and Marks and Spencer, among others.

Many factories in Cambodia repeatedly issued short-term contracts beyond the two-year limit to avoid paying workers maternity and other benefits, and to intimidate and control them, it said
(…)
‘Such transparency also allows brings to light the factories are authorised — and not authorised — to produce clothes for a particular brand.

Brands’ suppliers sometimes subcontract their work to other factories that subject workers to dangerous or abusive conditions without authorisation and without the brands’ knowledge.
Supply chain transparency helps monitoring groups alert brands to these situations so they can be addressed,’ it said.

The lack of transparency was evident following the collapse of Rana Plaza complex in Dhaka on April 24, 2013 that housed a number of garment factories, killing more than 1,100 workers and injuring thousands more, it mentioned.
Unions and labour rights groups gathered brand labels of the clothes produced in the destroyed factories from the rubble, and demanded that those brands contribute to the compensation fund for the victims and support broader reform measures, the rights body said.
(…)
Workers have also alleged that KiK had production in the Tazreen, a Bangladesh factory that caught fire in November 2012, killing 117 workers,’ said the Human Rights Watch.
According to the Clean Clothes Campaign, in December 2012 KiK acknowledged having produced garments in Tazreen, and on April 2013, KiK joined with a number of other brands in pledging to pay funds into a compensation fund for victims of the Tazreen fire, it mentioned.

The families of victims of a factory fire that killed 262 persons at the Ali Enterprises factory (*) in Karachi, Pakistan, in September 2012 have brought a lawsuit against KiK in German courts alleging that the company’s garments were being produced in the factory at the time, and seeking compensation, it said.
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NEWAGEnew HRW prothom FE bd newsbangladesh

( (*) Ali Enterprises factory = Baldia factory.)

18:15:49 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

20150327 * Brands’ lack of transparency kept BD RMG problems unaddressed: HRW:

The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has observed that the lack of supply chain transparency by the brands was a key reason for not addressing the problems at Rana Plaza before the catastrophe happened.

“Brands’ lack of supply chain transparency was a key reason why the problems at Rana Plaza were not addressed before the point of catastrophe,” said the New York-based rights watchdog in an article published in its website on Friday.

The HRW also noted that unions and labour rights groups gathered brand labels of the clothes produced in the destroyed factories from the rubble, and demanded that those brands contribute to the compensation fund for the victims and support broader reform measures.
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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 6 20150324- now

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

HEADLINES:

CHINA
* Foreign clothing brands fail quality tests
* Innovate or face going down pan of history

PHLIPPINES
* Aquino’s wage hike call hypocritical – KMU
* Wage workers get an increase

VIET NAM
* New social insurance rule sparks worker strike in Ho Chi Minh City
* Striking workers block HCMC road
* Healthcare urged for female workers
* Vinatex to build textile and garment complex in Quang Nam

LAOS
* Businesses looking to hire large foreign workforce
* Labour experts assess value of decent work programme

MALAYSIA
* As GST kicks in, call to rescue Malaysia from low-wage rut

INDONESIA
* Rupiah decline double-edged sword for garment industry

THAILAND
* Garment exporters look for new markets to replace traditional destinations

BURMA/MYANMAR
* Labour council members call for tougher penalties after employers flout rulings
* Hacking the SEZ
* Japan’s Wacoal Could Be First Apparel Firm in Thilawa SEZ

NEPAL
* Govt to give special facilities to SEZ employees
* Tax breaks promised to factories set up in SEZ

BANGLADESH
* Compressor blast at city factory kills 2
* RMG workers run amok in Naraynaganj
* Training women to take leadership roles in Bangladesh unions
* Yet more discrimination against workers
* Multinational cos, RMGs enjoy special exemptions
* More low-cost fund sought from Alliance for small RMG factories
* 110 faulty RMG units delaying engineering assessment
* 60 RMG factory owners asked to come under inspection process
* RMG exporters set eye on flourishing home market
* Garment safety drive hits bump
* Study: RMG jobs help lower child marriage rate
* Social impact bonds for factories in Bangladesh?
* Textile manufacturing deciding factor in unrest
* Exporters hit by euro fall to get spl cash stimulus
* Tk 42b RMG stocklot builds up on turmoil
* Apparel makers seek manual-auto mix in customs count of exports
* BR to build container depot in Gazipur for RMG
* Cotton hedging is need of the time
* Tanneries face hard time as leather exports decline
* BD needs to improve investment climate, infrastructure: UK
* Time to use WTO multilateral forum
* Benetton family sells stake in World Duty Free
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE:
* Rana Plaza collapse: RMG factory owner denied bail
* HC rejects bail plea of owners of factories housed in Rana Plaza
* Justice and factory fires

INDIA
* CITU opposes amendments to labour laws
* ‘Change in labour laws detrimental to workers’
* Textile processing cluster coming up
* Textile park to be set up in Bathinda: Harsimrat
* Focus of Maharashtra’s new textile policy on generating employment
* Union govt announced Rs.430 crore Geo textile production project for NE region
* Talk by Chaumtoli Huq at SIDE

SRI LANKA
* Sri Lanka’s apparel exports readying to cross US$ 5 billion
* ‘Lanka needs to improve human and labour rights record’
* ‘Regranting GSP+ to SL hinges on resolution of rights issues’
* Sri Lanka seeks to regain GSP+
* Extend GSP+ to FTA : JAAF

PAKISTAN
* Minimum wage
* Minimum wages
* Govt urged to amend labour laws
* Faisalabad’s home textiles in trouble
* Garment industry torn over several impediments
* Value-added textiles: Seasonal pickup in demand expected to propel exports
* Imports in Mar 2013: APTMA to get major relief
* Textile exporters highlight issues hindering exports
* Exporters say industrial wheel not spinning
* Value-added textile sector without gas for last 2 weeks
* MoW&P & textile industry: lack of liaison causing production losses
* PTEA slams proposed power cut plan for industries
* Textile sector lauds Karachi operation
* Benefiting from GSP Plus status: government urged to resolve pending issues: PTA
THE BALDIA FACTORY FIRE:
* Baldia factory fire investigation: Past deadline, JIT has not even decided on composition yet

UZBEKISTAN
* Dr. Farhod K., 43-year old physician at a village medical clinic in Qashqadaryo Region

GLOBAL
* Increase factory transparency- HRW urges German clothing brands

BANGLADESH
* Brands’ lack of transparency kept BD RMG problems unaddressed: HRW

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