in the news 7-10 April 2015

13:49:54 local time map of china CHINA

20150408 * China Voice: Labor relations improvement signals human rights progress:

The Chinese government’s latest assertion on workers’ rights may bode well for the country’s vision of a harmonious society and its course of improving human rights protection.

In a guideline published Wednesday, the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) and the State Council said improving labor relations is an urgent task as the country is undergoing major economic and social changes with diversifying employee appeals and increasing labor disputes.

The words came just as China is locked in an economic “new normal” state of slow growth – the country’s leadership has vowed to change the country’s economic structure, which is long led by exports and massive state-directed investments, into one more responsive to the growing needs of a consumer-driven society.

Harmonious labor relations thus are of vital pertinence to the country’s healthy economic development and make up a key cornerstone for the CPC’s position as the ruling party.
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XINHUAnet ChinaDAILY new

20150408 * China issues guideline to improve employee welfare:

China will implement reforms to improve employee welfare and better the wage payment system, the central government announced Wednesday.

Improving labor relations is now an urgent task as the country is undergoing major economic and social changes with diversifying employee appeals and increasing labor disputes, according to a guideline released by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council.

China will take steps to improve the wage payment system to make sure employees are paid timely and in full.
Pilot programs will also be enacted to offer guaranteed financial support for arrears of wages to protect the interests of rural migrant workers, who are often the victims of unscrupulous employers, the guideline said.
read more.

20150407 * Worker activism is now the new normal as strikes and protests erupt across China:

China Labour Bulletin’s Strike Map logged record numbers of strikes and worker protests in the first quarter of this year, with a total of 650 incidents compared to 569 in the previous quarter.*

As is often the case, worker activism reached a peak just prior to the Lunar New Year, with workers desperate to get paid before the holiday.
The rate of worker activism prior to New Year’s Day on 19 February was actually about double that for the remainder of the quarter, with 9.44 incidents per day compared with 4.56 incidents per day on average since 20 February.
However, it is important to note that the level of post-New Year activism was still on a par with that of the fourth quarter in 2014.

In the pre-New Year period, more than half (52.5 percent) of all worker protests were in the construction industry, while manufacturing accounted for 22 percent. In both industries, actions were driven overwhelmingly by the non-payment of wages.
Workers blocked roads, staged sit-ins in their work places, and protested at government buildings in a bid to get paid.
read more.

20150409 * The warriors of cotton:

Zhou Hau’s film, Cotton, screened for the first time in India, revealed another side to China and its willingness to acknowledge its shortcomings

One morning, hours before the crack of dawn, hordes of women set out into the cotton fields in Xinjiang in China.

As they travelled, darkness enveloped them and there was only the sound of the motor of the truck carrying them.
They had reached Xinjiang only the previous day after travelling for 58 hours by a train that was full to the gills.
Leaving their children behind with their husbands, they undertook this cumbersome journey because, during the next two months, they would earn valuable money by picking cotton from the rich fields in this province – money they can send home.

Images of these women jostling for space inside the truck on their way to the field, of them singing songs in praise of their tough lives, merrily on the train and then trying to get some sleep, sharing blankets in their dingy, overcrowded bunkers at night leave an indelible mark as one watches Zhou Hau’s film, ‘Cotton’.

The women appeared as warriors, fighting a war against poverty. While they were deeply aware of their plight, they were also proud of the fact that they can fend for their families.

It took Zhou Hau nine years to produce this film. He released it last year and Vikalp Bengaluru screened it for the first time in India at Everest theatre as part of Doc@Everest, recently.

In a sense, ‘Cotton’ is a universal film about workers’ plight.
The harsh conditions that they have to work in, the low pay and the fact that they are used as cheap labour are aspects of the working class in many countries, especially in South Asia.
The film maps the entire production cycle of textiles starting from a farmer family that harvests cotton to these women who pick cotton from the fields to the ones spinning thread to make fabric to finally, those who make jeans and sell them. Across the cycle, women are mostly employed in these factories and fields.
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14:49:54 local time map of korea_n NORTH KOREA

20150408 * ROK, DPRK reconfirm differences in wage hike for economic zone:

South Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) reconfirmed their different positions on wage hike for DPRK workers in the Kaesong industrial zone during Tuesday contact, Seoul’s unification ministry said on Wednesday.

Unification Ministry spokesman Lim Byeong-cheol told a press briefing that the first inter-Korean contact over the wage increase issue was held in Kaesong between South Korea’s management committee for the factory park and the DPRK’s General Bureau for Guidance to Central Special Economic Zone Development.

During the contact, both sides failed to reach any compromise over the wage hike.
read more.

13:49:54 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

20150408 * ‘Upcoming textile policy to address skilled workers’ shortage’:

Textiles Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar said on Tuesday that the issue of scarcity of skilled workers will be taken up in the upcoming textile policy aimed to address critical concerns of the sector while plans for textile parks are going ahead.

“Unfortunately, in this country we have more engineers but there is woeful shortage of skilled people,” Gangwar said on the sidelines of an event organised by Ficci here.

He said that his ministry is ensuring that work on 20 textile parks is expedited and the technology upgradation plan given a fillip through an investment of Rs.4,000 crore.

Gangwar said his ministry has approved a scheme to set-up an apparel and garment centre for northeast India in Nagaland which will augment entrepreneurship and create a pool of skilled workers in the region.
read more.

12:49:54 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

20150409 * Front leader urges protection of workers’ rights:

President of the Vietnamese Fatherland Front (VFF) Nguyen Thien Nhan has called on relevant agencies to strengthen the enforcement of the social insurance law to protect workers’ legitimate rights.

He made the request on April 8 at a meeting of an inter-agency inspection panel comprised of the VFF, the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL), the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA), the Government Inspectorate and the Vietnam Social Insurance Agency (VSIA).

A VGCL report finds that as of September 2014 more than 5,200 enterprises in the four provinces of Hung Yen, Bac Giang, Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Tien Giang evaded paying contributions worth VND520 billion (US$23.9 million) to the social insurance fund.

The reports also finds other violations of the social insurance law in a number of enterprises based in these four provinces and points out that there was no close collaboration between State agencies in the enforcement of the social insurance law.
read more.

20150409 * Workers show signs of food poisoning:

Workers from the Star Fashion Company Ltd in the Chuong My Industrial Zone, Ha Noi were hospitalised yesterday after experiencing symptoms of food poisoning.

Six workers were taken to hospital on Tuesday, while 101 more were admitted yesterday after experiencing stomach-aches, nausea and diarrhoea, said director of Chuong My Hospital General, Dang Tran Chien.

The city’s Food Safety Department has started an investigation into the cause. . — VNS
to read.
VNNews new

20150410 * Binh Dinh exports more garments and timber:

Some key Binh Dinh export commodities recorded substantial surges in value and volume compared to last year, especially in the garment and timber product sectors, said Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Industry and Trade Vo Mai Hung.

The province earned nearly US$22 million worth from exported garments (up 34.4 per cent) and shipped abroad $18.03 million worth of eucalyptus woodchips (up 30 per cent), $3.86 million of construction stone (up 33 per cent), and $34.7 million of timber (up 6.7 per cent).
read more.
VNNews new

20150407-08 * Foreign investors scampering for a share in garment industry:

A series of foreign direct investment projects in the garment sector will be started in the central region of Vietnam over the next months.

Some of the more outstanding projects include the Delta Galil fiber-dyeing and garment plant, the Onewoo garment plant and the Tam Thang textile-garment and dyeing plant.

Delta Galil Industries Ltd, an Israel-based apparel manufacturer and distributor, is currently completing procedures to start construction of the Vietnam Delta Galil fiber-dyeing and garment plant in the second quarter.

In January, the Binh Dinh Provincial People’s Commiittee approved Delta Galil Industries Ltd to construct a plant on the total area of 18,000 square metres with the total investment capital of $13 million. At present, the construction project has completed the site clearance and base design phases and is ready to move forward.
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Vir VNBusinessTIMES

20150409 * Indian textile sector says Vietnam a collaborator, not a rival:

The Indian and Vietnamese textile and apparel industries are more complementary than competing in nature, and so co-operation would result in a win-win situation, the Synthetic and Rayon Textiles Export Promotion Council of India has said.

Srijib Roy, the SRTEPC’s director, said: “India is the second largest producer of polyester and viscose filament yarn and cotton in the world. It is also the fourth largest producer of viscose staple fibre and stands sixth in acrylic staple fiber globally.”

On the other hand, despite achieving impressive growth in garment and textile export, Vietnam relied heavily on imported raw materials.

Vietnam had imported more than US$440 million worth of textile products from India during the financial year ending March 2014, with the main items being polyester viscose and synthetic fabric, polyester wool fabric, and polyester filament yarn.
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VNNet VNNews new VOVonline

20150409 * EU, Viet Nam work to finalise trade deal:

The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations between Viet Nam and the European Union (EU) requires continuous efforts from both sides, said the European Parliament’s President of the Committee on International Trade, Bernd Lange, in Ha Noi yesterday.

The agreement is currently in its final round of negotiation which is expected to last until June.
read more.
VNNews new

20150408 * European Parliament assesses Vietnam’s readiness for FTA:

The European Parliament has assessed Vietnam’s level of readiness to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU), Chairman of the European Parliament’s International Trade Committee Bernd Lange told a press conference in Hanoi on April 8.

As a continuous process that requires efforts of both sides, the FTA talks between Vietnam and the European Union is now in the final stage and will last through this June, he said, noting that the 12th negotiation round, the latest one, concluded this March.
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20150408 * PM pushes for signing of Vietnam – EU free trade deal:

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has pushed for the signing of the Vietnam – European Union free trade agreement (FTA) in mid-2015, describing it as a key milestone to lift bilateral ties.

The leader made the request while meeting Chairman of the European Parliament’s International Trade Committee Bernd Lange in Hanoi on April 7.

Dung hailed Lange’s visit on the occasion of the 25 th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties and the final stage of the FTA negotiations. The European Parliament plays a key role in the FTA adoption, signing and enforcement monitoring.
read more.

20150407 * ASEAN Apparel, Footwear Entrepreneurs Eye Global Supply Chain:

Experts from multi-national companies met with 65 entrepreneurs ranging from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday, April 7, 2015.

The entrepreneurs were originated from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam.

The meeting was held to discuss ways these entrepreneurs can integrate their businesses into the global supply chain and improve product competitiveness, especially in the garment and footwear sectors.
The United States-ASEAN Business Alliance for Competitive SMEs (Business Alliance) collaborated with ASEAN and Vietnam’s Agency for Enterprise Development (AED) in organizing this event.

“Focused specifically on garment and footwear, participating ASEAN entrepreneurs will certainly gain the much needed skills and knowledge from the leading companies to meet the increasingly complex needs of today’s consumers in the region,” said Nguyen Van Tuat, Director of the Assistance Center for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises in the South, AED.

Although the expanding and integrated regional and global economies have opened up new opportunities, it has also intensified competition among enterprises and industries.
Stronger economics have also resulted in more prosperous and more sophisticated consumers who continue to demand products with better quality, design, and safety, along with environmental sustainability values and social equity in sourcing, production, consumption and disposal.
read more.

20150410 * Vietnam garment, footwear SMEs should improve supply chain management: workshop:

Vietnamese small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in leading industries, like garments and footwear, should upgrade their capacity in supply chain management to raise the added-value of their products, local and foreign experts said at a recent workshop in Ho Chi Minh City.

As Vietnam has signed, or is finalizing, trade pacts with many foreign partners and economic blocs, upskilling their capacity in supply chain management will help foster their competitiveness, the experts commented at the workshop on supply chain readiness training and garment and footwear sectors on Tuesday.

The event, co-organized by the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council and the U.S. Agency for International Development, was the first activity in a series to be conducted to help 30 SMEs in the two industries in Vietnam, Myanmar, and Cambodia grasp opportunities for integration and development, the organizing board said.
read more.

* Better Work Research Brief: Working Conditions, Productivity and Profitability – Evidence from Better Work Vietnam:

The paper summarized in this brief contributes strong evidence supporting the business case for better working conditions.

Recent research from the Better Work impact assessment in Vietnam demonstrates profitability of garment factories increases as working conditions improve.
The boost in profitability is driven by increased productivity among workers in better working environments, and the financial benefit accrued by the factory from this productivity improvement is shared with workers in the form of higher wages.
read more.

20150409 * Vietnam – 90,000 workers strike over social security:

A weeklong strike at a Taiwanese owned factory in Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam, producing for among others Nike and Adidas has come to an end after the government agreed to hold off suggested changes to the social insurance coverage.

90,000 workers went on strike after the Vietnamese government suggested changes to the social insurance coverage, starting next year.
The changes would mean that workers would lose the possibility of a one-time immediate payment when leaving a job for whatever reason; instead they would be paid a monthly allowance at retirement age.

The retirement age in Vietnam is 55 for women and 60 for men.

According to the suggested new law workers have to accumulate 20 years of social security payments to be eligible to a retirement pay after having reached the retirement age.
If 20 years are not accumulated they will still receive the lump sum, but only after having reached the retirement age.

Most of the workers in the garment or electronic companies work long hours, up to 50-60 hours per week.
In the workers’ own estimates they will not be able to accumulate more than 20 years of payment, as they will return to their villages once they have acquired enough funds for a life there.
There is also a distrust in the Social Security Fund to make the future payments.
read more.

13:49:54 local time map of malaysia MALAYSIA

20150408 * Minimum Wage Offence: Officer Jailed After Company Failed To Settle Fines:

A Human Resource officer has to serve 51 months behind bars after his security firm failed to settle the RM20,400 fine for violating the minimum wage order involving six of its workers.

Syarikat Elite Group Sdn Bhd represented by the officer pleaded guilty before Magistrate Aina Azahra Arifin to 17 counts of underpaying the six security guards.

The charges framed under Section 43 of the National Wages Consultative Council 2011 (Act 732), carries a fine of not more than RM10,000 if convicted.
read more.

13:49:54 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Can Indonesia’s 50 Cent-an-Hour Workers Mimic China’s Success?:

As the sun lowers into the Java Sea, Asep Saefullah and his friends sit by a pond among the rice fields near his village in Indonesia, chatting, smoking clove cigarettes and fishing.

Not for much longer. Work has begun on an industrial park with a power station and water treatment plant that will create as many as 190,000 jobs.
It’s part of a grander plan to turn this stretch of coastline on the island of Java into an export city, with a container port and a highway to the capital, Jakarta.

This is Indonesia’s shot at recreating the success of Shenzhen, the marshy village in southern China that became the heart of that nation’s industrial expansion in the late 1990s.
Now China is too expensive for many factories, and industries that poured money into cities from Shenzhen to Shanghai for two decades are looking for somewhere with lower costs and lots of cheap workers.

Footwear and Furniture
The investments are already beginning to show. Central Java’s exports of textiles, footwear, furniture and other goods have risen 46 percent over the last four years, according to the local investment board.
read more.

12:49:54 local time map of thailand THAILAND

20150409 * FTI rejects call for wage increase:

The business sector has rejected a proposal to raise the minimum daily wage above 300 baht, saying an increase would have adverse effects on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Up to 100,000 companies could be put out of business by rising labour costs, it is claimed.

Vallop Vitanakorn, vice-chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), said it was not a good time to increase the daily wage as it would increase production costs at a time when the economy had not fully recovered.
read more.

20150409 * Feasibility study on minimum wage:

The Ministry of Labour has launched a feasibility study into five options for raising the minimum wage next year and this study would be ready for government deliberation in May.

Labour permanent secretary Nakhon Silpa-archa, also a chairman of the minimum wage committee, said the panel had insisted that the Bt300 daily minimum wage be maintained until the end of 2015.

According to the labour panel, more than 6,000 workers from 223 companies based in 12,229 locations received |daily wage at less than Bt300, hence the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare will take legal action against these employers.
Violators of the minimum wage regulation face a maximum six-month jail term and/or a fine of Bt100,000.
to read.

20150410 * LRC touts Labour Court plan:

The Law Reform Commission (LRC) will propose separating the Labour Court from the Courts of Justice.

LRC chairman Kanit na Nakorn has signed his name endorsing the proposal to be submitted to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) chairman and the National Reform Council (NRC) chief.

Many labour cases involve a relationship of inequality between employers and their employees, the LRC says.

This justifies the need for a separate court.

Many rulings also have a big impact on the public, it added.

Since the numbers of such cases are rising, they are now being processed slowly, which means those involved do not receive swift justice, the LRC said.
to read.

20150410 * Footwear market out of step:

Industry misses target as exports take a dive

Thailand’s footwear industry expects to see flat growth this year, due largely to falling exports as demand from major importers remains weak, the chairman of the footwear club under the Federation of Thai Industries said yesterday.

Mingpant Chayavichitsilp said the industry, worth 40 billion baht a year, expects to miss the target of 3% growth set earlier. The industry, which relies heavily on export markets, has been hit by a drop in demand, especially from the European Union and the United States.

“The economic slowdown in the US and the EU, our major markets, has had an adverse impact on the Thai footwear industry as consumers now spend less money on shoes annually,” he said.

The local footwear industry relies heavily on exports, with the international market representing 90% of sales, and domestic sales accounting for the remaining 10%.
read more.

12:19:54 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

20150408 * Workers continue protest after inadequate wage offer:

20150408 ELEVEN
Workers protesting in front of the SUMEC garment factory.

Disgruntled workers from the SUMEC garment factory in Yaytarshay Township, Yayni City, Bago State, continued to protest  in front of the factory after their employer offered inadequate pay raises.

“The employer has raised our salaries Ks 3,000 per month, which is Ks 100 per day, and he said if we are not happy with what the raise, we can leave the factory,” said labour leader Pyae Sone Aung.

“We asked for a Ks 60,000 minimum wage, but the raise they offered is far below that,” he continued.

The garment workers currently receive a minimum wage of between Ks 15,000 and Ks 35,000 per month. About 700 wokers decided on April 4 to strike when the Union parliament approved a bill to increase public servants’ basic salaries to Ks 120,000 per month.
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Eleven theNATIONnew

20150407 * SUMEC workers vow to protest until wage demands met:

Disgruntled workers from the SUMEC garment factory in Yaytarshay township, Yayni City, Bago State, will continue striking until their demands for a basic salary of Ks 60,000 per month are met.

The garment workers currently receive a basic salary of between Ks 15,000 and Ks 35,000. They decided to strike when the Union parliament approved a bill to increase public servants’ basic salaries to Ks 120,000 per month.

The workers issued a total of 13 demands, including an increase in their basic salaries, on April 4. When the workers met the company’s management on April 6, the workers’ demands were not met.

“We will continue protesting until we get the wage amount we asked for.
The factory manager Dr Khin Maung Aye said to us that not even 6 kyats will be increased, let alone 60,000.
If they would prefer to shut down the factory rather than increase our salaries, that is up to them. As for us, we will keep m going until all workers receive the appropriate amount,” said labour leader Pyae Sone.
The workers in the factory mainly hail from nearby villages and rural areas.
read more.

20150408 * Myanmar drafts new companies act:

Myanmar is drafting a new companies act in a bid to replace the century-old one and the new draft law will be submitted to the next parliament session for approval, official media reported Wednesday.

In conjunction with the Asian Development Bank, the new law is being developed by the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA) and business people and the public are being invited to provide input on modernization of the new legislation.

“The Myanmar Company Act 1914 requires major changes,” Chris Hughes, managing partner of multinational law firm Baker and MeKenzie, told a consultation meeting, adding that its reform is as important as the modernization of the investment law.
read more.

20150406 * Textile and garment industry targets US $2 billion export income:

Workers at the South Bay Garment Factory in Hlinethaya Industrial Zone check quality of the factory’s production that will be exported to Japan.
Photo: Aye Min Soe

Myanmar’s textiles and garment industry has set an export earnings target of US $2 billion for the 2015-2016 fiscal year, the sector’s national trade body said Monday.

With the foreign component of investment in the sector rising to 90 percent, the industry created more than 100,000 job opportunities in fiscal 2014-2015, according to the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association.
The textiles and garment industry is one of seven sectors targeted for expansion under the country’s new National Export Strategy.
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globalnewlightMyanmar newsbangladesh NEWAGEnew

11:49:54 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

20150409 * Fire at CEPZ footwear factory:

A fire broke out at a footwear factory in Chittagong Export Processing Zone (CEPZ) on Wednesday night.

Assistant Director of Fire Service of Chittagong zone Mohammad Yahiya said the fire erupted at the Korean factory at road-3 of the EPZ around 10:15 pm.

On information, three fire-fighting units rushed in and doused the blaze after 45 minutes of frantic efforts, he said.
No casualty was reported in the incident.
The reason behind the fire could not be known immediately.
to read. & to read.

20150409 * 26 houses burnt in Savar fire:

At least 26 houses were burnt in a fire at RMG workers’ colony in Nishchintaopur of Ashulia in Savar on Wednesday afternoon.

Two fire units of Dhaka Export Processing Zone brought the fire under control in an hour’s efforts.
DEPZ officer Abdul Hamid, quoting local people, said the fire originated in a tin-shed house of the area about 2:00pm and soon it engulfed the adjacent 25 houses.
The extent of damage was huge because villagers did not try to douse the blaze in fear of being electrocuted, he said, adding that the loss caused by fire could not be estimated immediately.
to read.

20150407 * 20 RMG workers fall sick after drinking water:

The ailing workers of Aman Graphic Sweater factory have been admitted to Enam Medical College and Hospital

At least 20 workers have fallen sick after drinking water at a garment factory in Hemayetpur area of Savar.

The ailing workers of Aman Graphic Sweater factory have been admitted to Enam Medical College and Hospital on Tuesday morning.

Factory workers said about 20 workers fell ill shortly after they drank water at their workplace in the morning.
read more.

20150410 * Workers of a readymade garments (RMG):

20150410 FE
Workers of a readymade garments (RMG) unit holding a protest rally in front of the National Press Club Thursday demanding payment of their arrear wages and reopening of closed factory.
— FE Photo.
FE bd

20150410 * Injured garment workers to get support:

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) teamed up with For-Bangladesh, a Germany-based NGO, to provide treatment to garment workers injured in factory accidents.

BGMEA and For-Bangladesh Association on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding in this regard at a city hotel. BGMEA President Md Atiqul Islam and FOR-Bangladesh President Hasnat Mia inked the agreement on behalf of their respective organizations.
BGMEA Second Vice President SM Mannan Kochi and Professor Dr Heinz-Herbert Homann, one of the leading surgeons (plastic, burn and hand surgery) of Germany, among others, were present at the signing ceremony.
to read.
FE bd

20150409-10 * Online registration system for trade unions launched:

An online registration system for trade unions and trade union federations has officially been launched by the Department of Labour (DoL) with support from the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Workers wishing to register new unions are now being encouraged to apply online, according to an ILO media release.

The system is currently hosted on the website of the Department of Inspections for Factories and Establishments at , although it will be switched over to the DoL website in the near future.

Paper-based submissions will also still be accepted in order to maximise the ability of worker groups to make applications.
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UNBnew FE bd

20150410 * RMG manufacturers making extra efforts to recoup losses:

Respite from violence helps importers regain confidence

With the country’s political situation showing a respite from violence, apparel makers are now making extra efforts, including enhancing their interactions with global buyers and sending business missions abroad to help recoup their business losses caused due to the recent turmoil, industry insiders said.

The readymade garment (RMG) sector leaders in a recent meeting apprised the top retailers about the country’s latest political development and assured them of ensuring smooth supply of products in the coming days, they added.

However, the global buyers have also expressed their willingness to increase their sourcing from Bangladesh, sector leaders said.

“Now we are increasing our communication with our global buyers explaining the present situation through emails, phones and meetings,” Reaz-bin-Mahmood, vice president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) told the FE Thursday.
read more.
FE bd

20150409 * Where can RMG go next?:


The now multi-billion dollar readymade garment industry is currently passing through a critical juncture, as conspiracies both at home and abroad are being hatched in the sector. 

The overall performance of apparel exports in the last year compared to previous years has not been that different.
The growth rate has been around 9% over the previous year, which is slightly lower than the past five years’ average of around 12%.

This drop can be attributed to several factors likes the cancellation of the US generalised system of preferences (GSP), the Rana Plaza tragedy, political instability, the energy crisis, and discriminatory treatment by some major global buyers and various propaganda about factory diseases.

Bangladesh’s apparel exports have been concentrated to two major destinations — the EU and North America.
The share of our apparel export to markets other than EU and North America was 6.88% during the 2008-09 fiscal year, which had increased to 14.71% in 2013-14.

From June 2013, the US suspended Bangladesh’s trade benefits under the GSP program that made Bangladeshi (barring RMG) products ineligible for duty-free treatment. Now is the time to diversify our export destinations, and the oil-established Middle Eastern countries can be a future destination for us.
read more.

20150408 * Export earnings from US, Germany continue to slide in 9 months:

Country’s export earnings from US and Germany continued to slide while the earnings from China, India and Japan witnessed a moderate growth in the first nine months of current financial year 2014-15.

Experts and exporters said that the negative export growth to the two major markets, the US and Germany, was part of a regular trend in last few months but the rate of sluggishness has decreased in the markets.
read more.

20150408-09 * Apparel export surges in Jan-Mar as it defies tumult:

Income from exports of apparel products recorded a significant growth in the first three months of this calendar year, despite the prolonged political turmoil, the government data showed.

Export of apparel products in July and August 2014 witnessed a 0.07 and 4.23 per cent growth compared to that of the same period in 2013.

But export receipts fell by 2.06 per cent and 9.69 per cent in next two months-September and October—while it bounced back in November with 9.71 per cent growth in the same year.
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FE bd the DAILYSTAR new 2015 DHAKATRIBUNE banglanews24NEW

20150407 * Garment export to US market rises:

Bangladesh garment sector has returned to a positive trend in the US market this year after the sector experienced a drastic fall in export since February last year.

However, the sector registered 2.82 percent growth in the US market in the second month of the year.
Bangladesh exported garment items worth $ 906 million in the last two months this year.

A total of 367 million square meter of fabrics were exported in the same period which marked a growth of 1.53 percent.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh got back in the positive course in a time when the US has cut down garment import from other countries.
read more.

20150409 * Bangladesh pays more for cotton yarn imported from India than China:

This is further to the story Spun yarn exports volume from India up in February, prices down published on 7 April.

Although China was the largest importer of Indian spun yarns, especially cotton yarns, it paid much lower than the second largest importer, Bangladesh. This review covers the export of spun yarns from India presented in YnFx Fibre and Yarn Exports – India report, March 2015 a monthly report.

During February 2015, India exported 53.3 million kg of all kinds of spun yarns to China and 14.9 million kg to Bangladesh.
Of these, 53.2 million kg and 13.2 million kg were cotton yarn, respectively and values were US$140 million for China and US$41 for Bangladesh.
read more.

20150410 * Economic zone developers, investors to get 10yr tax break:

Govt approves incentive package

Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority has approved an incentive package including tax holiday for 10 years for economic zone developers and investors in the zones, officials said.

At a meeting with prime minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair on February 18, the governing body of BEZA approved the package to attract developers and investors to the country, they said.

The prime minister is the chairman of the BEZA Governing Board. According to the approved package, mostly related to income tax, customs duty and value-added tax, economic zone developers will get 8 types of benefits while investors in the zones will get a total of 26 facilities.
read more.

20150410 * Korean co to invest in Mongla EPZ:

A South Korean Company will invest $8.0 million in Mongla Export Processing Zone to set up a factory mainly to make leather products, the zones regulator said.

The company namely Masters Leather Limited has plan to produce 1.72 million pieces of  ladies and men handbag, luggage and travelling bag, book cover, pencil case and holder, hand phone case, leather apron and leather cushion, a statement issued by Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA) said.
Some 2,038 people will be employed in the unit, it said. BEPZA and the Masters Leather Limited signed an agreement Thursday at BEPZA Complex in this regard.
read more. (2nd item).
FE bd

20150409 * One-fifth RMG units still outside assessment plan:

Safety issues at non-member plants ignored

One-fifth of the country’s garment factories still remain outside the ongoing assessment programme, launched by Accord, Alliance and NTPA, putting overall safety compliance at stake, industry insiders said.

They claim that apparel-sector apex bodies were putting the blame on the government while the latter is dillydallying to bring these units under a regulation even nearly two years after the collapse of Rana Plaza.

According to Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE), at least 800 out of 3,743 garment factories are neither members of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) nor Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA).

Accord and Alliance have already assessed some 1,700 units while the rest of the factories ranging from 1,500 to 2,000 which remain outside the purview of Accord and Alliance inspection programmes are supposed to be assessed by a joint initiative of the government and International Labour Organisation (ILO) under National Tripartite Plan of Action (NTPA).

But only BGMEA and BKMEA member factories are being assessed by the government-ILO joint project, overlooking the safety issues in the non-member units, insiders said.

Without having affiliation with any of the two apex bodies, most of the 800 factories are involved in subcontracting. However, industry insiders claimed that the number of such factories could be much higher.
read more.
FE bd

20150407 * Accord publishes status overview of factories submitted to Govt of Bangladesh:

Accord Overview of Review Panel Cases

This page provides information on factories covered by the Accord that were submitted to the Review Panel.

The Review Panel was established through the Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE) led National Plan of Action.
It was established for inspections performed by the National Effort, the Accord, and the Alliance which lead to engineers’ determinations that a building evacuation or suspension to operations is required.

In cases of Accord inspections which identify immediate and critical danger due to weaknesses in the structural integrity of the building, the Accord Chief Safety Inspector requires Accord companies to ensure the factory owner evacuates the building and stops Accord company production until it is determined the building is safe for re-occupancy.
The CSI simultaneously requests the MoLE Inspector General to convene the Review Panel and to order the evacuation of the building until additional strength testing has taken place or immediate remedial measures are taken.

In order to overturn the initial production suspension / evacuation recommendation of the inspecting engineers, a unanimous decision of the team of four Review Panel engineers must be reached.
The four Review Panel engineers are made up of one Accord engineer, one Alliance engineer and two engineers of the Government of Bangladesh/Bangladesh University of Engineering Technology (BUET).

The Accord is working with owners, brands, and labour in these Review Panel cases in the three critical areas of: expediting remediation, ensuring wages are paid to affected workers, and verifying employment of affected workers is maintained.
This is very challenging work but the Accord is working earnestly to obtain credible and verified information from brands, labour, owners, and through our own efforts to ensure the provisions of the Accord are being upheld.
read more.

20150409 * Build confidence to keep RMG growing:

RMG growth shows sector’s resilience. End unrest to keep orders flowing

We do not underestimate the damage done to the economy by blockades and violent political disputes.

The opportunity costs suffered by the RMG sector through buyers postponing visits and falls in orders are incalculable.

It is still possible, however, to see considerable potential for the country’s leading export industry to continue to grow and provide valuable manufacturing jobs.
read more.


20150410 * Impunity undermining justice:

It has been three years since the tortured body of labour organiser Aminul was discovered in Ghatail, Tangail, about 100 km away from his work place in Ashulia. He was abducted a day before and was last seen with one Mustafizur, a resident of the area. 

Aminul, 39, was a plant-level activist, organiser of the Bangladesh Centre for Workers’ Solidarity (BCWS) and leader of the Bangladesh Garments and Industrial Workers’ Federation.
For his union activities he incurred the wrath of the local industry leaders, Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority (BEPZA) and the police administration. On occasions he was detained by the authorities and was subjected to torture.

In 2010, the registration of his organisation, the BCWS, was revoked. It was subsequently restored the following year. His colleagues note that prior to his killing, Aminul was fearful of his life, his movement was under constant surveillance and his cell phone tapped.
His family and workmates firmly believe that Aminul was liquidated for his labour activities, and BEPZA and a particular intelligence agency are responsible for his abduction, torture and subsequent murder.

Aminul’s killing created a furor in various quarters.
Labour and rights activists and organisations both at home and abroad were aghast with the killing, and demanded impartial investigation and immediate action against the perpetrators.

Initially a fair degree of progress was made in the inquiry.
Within months the Detective Branch (DB) identified Mustafiz as a major suspect. He was found to be a non-working employee of a hospital run by the BEPZA, receiving a monthly salary of Tk 7500.

The Investigating Officer of DB, Humayun Kabir, unearthed Mustafiz’s links with three officers of the National Security Intelligence.
Before the case was fully uncovered, in November 2012 it was handed over to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for unknown reasons.
The Investigating Officer of the case was changed three times.
The police submitted the charge sheet to the court in November 2013.
To the dismay of the family and the group ‘Justice for Aminul’, the investigation report was fraught with inconsistencies and failed to address some of the most pertinent questions.
read more.
the DAILYSTAR new 2015

* Three Years Later…:


A sewing machine and a dozen colorful threads still give hope and strength to labour leader Aminul Islam’s family, to survive.

“He left nothing for our family,” cries Islam’s wife Husne Ara. She works relentlessly around the clock, trying to ensure meals and tuition fees for her children. “He might be a hero for garment workers but we are suffering immensely.”

According to Husne Ara, her husband was not killed because of any political fallout, at least this is what she believes.
She says that Islam never felt safe and always wanted the children to move safely to madrasahs.
Most of the time he stayed away from home, and they could not speak over the phone properly.
“He feared it was tapped,” says Hosne Ara. “Even in the middle of the night he received arbitrary phone calls from the intelligence,” she says.

A few months after the killing, investigations by the Detective Branch (DB) unearthed Mustafizur’s connection with three National Security Intelligence (NSI) officials — Aminul Islam, Lutfur Rahman, Mamunur Rashid.
Garment worker activists believe that Mustafizur, who was last seen with Aminul Islam before his abduction, was an aide to the NSI.

In fact, Humayun Kabir from the DB, also the investigative officer in charge of the case learned about Mustafizur’s connections on June, 2012.
However, before the DB could break into the case further, it was moved to the CID for further investigation, on November 2012.
read more.
the DAILYSTAR new 2015

* 3 Years Later, No Justice for Slain Garment Worker Leader:

Three years after the torture and murder of garment worker union leader Aminul Islam, his killers have not been brought to justice.

The AFL-CIO and eight other global global labor rights organizations have written to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on the anniversary of his murder to demand his killers be located and prosecuted.

Aminul, 39, disappeared on April 4, 2012, and his body was found a few days later with signs of torture.
He was a plant-level union leader at an export processing zone in Bangladesh, an organizer for the Bangladesh Center for Workers’ Solidarity (BCWS), and president of the Bangladesh Garment and Industrial Workers Federation’s (BGIWF) local committee in the Savar and Ashulia areas of Dhaka.

Despite international outcry, including a U.S. congressional hearing and then U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s call for justice in the case, Aminul’s murder has gone unsolved.
He had sought to improve the working conditions of some 8,000 garment workers employed by Shanta Group, a garment manufacturer based in Dhaka.
read more.


20150410 * ACC okays cases against Sohel Rana’s parents:

Rana’s father Abdul Khalek owned assets worth around Tk10.25 crore, while his mother Morzina owned wealth worth around Tk6.68 crore

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has approved filing of two cases against Rana Plaza owner Sohel Rana’s parents on charge of illegally accumulating wealth worth around Tk17 crore.

The decision came at the anti-graft body’s regular meeting at its headquarters in Segunbagicha, Dhaka yesterday, ACC Public Relations Officer Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya confirmed to the Dhaka Tribune.

He said the ACC found proof during a primary investigation that Rana’s father Abdul Khalek owned assets worth around Tk10.25 crore, while his mother Morzina owned wealth worth around Tk6.68 crore, both allegedly having acquired the fortune through illegal means.

An ACC official, seeking anonymity, told the Dhaka Tribune that in 10-12 years, Rana became owner of two high-rise commercial buildings in the capital – one is the collapsed Rana Plaza, the other is Rana Tower, both in Savar.
read more. & read more. & read more.

11:19:54 local time map of india INDIA

20150410 * AFT workers hold dharna:

They urge the management to operationalise the mill immediately.

The workers affiliated to various trade unions of Anglo French Textile (AFT) Mills on Thursday conducted a demonstration demanding the management to operationalise the mill immediately.

Last week, All Trade Unions’ Action Committee of AFT Mills had decided to conduct a series of agitation to insist their demands. Under its president and AITUC leader V.S. Abishegam, the workers conducted the demonstration in front of AFT main gate urging the Chief Minister N.Rangasamy to recommence the operations of mill immediately as he had promised in the Legislative Assembly.

They also said the management should disburse gratuity and other benefits to those who had retired from service and opted for VRS.

As per the recommendations of Dr. Chenna Reddy committee, the mill should be modernised with financial assistance from the Union Government.

The trade unions said the Union Territory government should obtain Rs.500 crore from the Union Government to modernise and run the mill successfully. Meanwhile, Former Member of Parliament and AIADMK functionary M.Ramadass has proposed to integrate all textile related units under the Pondicherry Textile Corporation (PTC) for revival of the AFT mill.
read more.

20150407 * India: Pensions for all:

Will a new social security net be able to save millions living below the poverty line in the world’s largest democracy?

Many low-income earners in India rely on their children and families to support them in retirement.

The government has announced its intention to launch a new pension initiative for these workers. It is noble in the extreme in that it is a social security initiative which does not exclude society’s poorest.

It is not the first though. Previous governments have tried to create similar programmes. But fiscal experts warn the costs of running it successfully could significantly impact the national budget.
read & see more.

20150409 * Weavers’ society workers protest:

The workers of the Pondicherry State Weavers’ Cooperative Society (PONTEX) on Wednesday conducted a demonstration urging the Government to disburse salary dues and to meet other demands.

The government had set up the Pondicherry State Weavers’ Cooperative Society (PONTEX) to provide a livelihood to these people.

PONTEX workers’ union Honorary President T.Murugan said the workers have not been paid salaries for last six months. The authorities should ensure uninterrupted supply of yarn to the weavers.

They also said the government should issue an order for enabling supply of handloom products under various government schemes.
to read.

20150409 * CITU to hold meetings for protection of workers’ rights:

The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) strongly deplored the amendments to various labour laws, including Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 and Contractor Labourers Act, 1970, alleging that both Union and the State governments were taking steps to suppress the labourers and their rights \to benefit corporate sector.

CITU State general Secretary M.A. Gafoor said that his union would organise meetings from April 20 to May 20 in all the districts to garner support of all sections for the protection of workers’ rights. He addressed workers and CITU activists in Pydibhimavaram, Srikakulam district on Wednesday.

He alleged that Narendra Modi government was mounting pressure on all the State governments to amend the existing laws to help corporate sector.
“The State government recently amended many laws without discussion in the Assembly. It will be detrimental to the interests of entire workforce of the State. The CITU will create awareness about the government’s move with its month long conclaves,” Mr. Gafoor said.
read more.

20150408 * Police suspect foul play in March fires at textile mills:

Is significant decrease in the polyester yarn prices triggering incidents of fire in textile mills and godowns?

This is what the fire department and the police are investigating after eight major fire incidents in the city between March 15 and March 31.

Market sources said that the polyester yarn prices have decreased by almost 30 per cent in the last couple of months following fall in crude oil prices and dwindling demand of polyester fabrics across the country.
However, those who had bought polyester yarn at high rates anticipating higher prices, faced huge losses.

“There have been eight fire incidents in March month alone. However, not a single incident of fire was reported in April.
It needs to be investigated as to why the fire incidents occur only in the month of March before the end of financial year.
Fire incidents occurred at godowns full with huge quantity of polyester yarn and grey fabrics,” said a police officer seeking anonymity.
read more.

20150408 * Concern expressed over delay in appointing audit firm:

Industrialists and different stakeholders in the textile industry have voiced their concern over the delay in the appointment of audit firm to Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (TUFS).

Prabhu Damadaran, secretary of Texpreneurs Forum, pointed out that the issue of appointing the audit firm had been pending for the past eight months even though the tenders were floated to identify the firms.
“We have represented to the Union Government that the delay in the commencement of the functioning of the audit firm has made the textile sector SMEs suffer due to delays in payment of subsidy under TUFS.
read more.

20150407 * Inventory up by 30% for Surat textile industry on low demand:

Economic slowdown coupled with liquidity crisis in the market has led to subdued demand for textile products from the city

The Surat-based textile industry is witnessing an aggravated over supply situation with demand for textile products has been more or less stagnant since last six months. Inventories at textile units have risen by 20-30 per cent, say players.

According to industry sources, economic slowdown coupled with liquidity crisis in the market has led to subdued demand for textile products from the city. Moreover, reduced demand has resulted in buyers keeping less stock with themselves leading to higher inventory for textile makers in Surat.
read more.

20150410 * Gadkari to hold meets for textile zone, Mihan-SEZ:

Union minister for transport, shipping, waterways and city MP Nitin Gadkari is now setting his focus on development of the region in a big way.

On Friday, he has convened a special meeting at Amravati to fine-tune plans for developing a textile zone located in Nandgaonpeth area of Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC). It will be followed up on Sunday with the first meeting of the newly set up task force for completing Mihan-SEZ project.

Gadkari, who is touring Kochi, is expected to reach Amravati on Friday for the meeting to be held in Amravati divisional commissioner office at 7pm.
Textile secretary Sunil Porwal and top officials of the National Textile Corporation would also be present.

Gadkari is lending full support for developing a textile zone in Nandgaonpeth where MIDC has earmarked 49 hectares for it.

Big private players have already started work there and now it is proposed to relocate there four National Textile Corporation (NTC) Mills – Indu Mills, Poddar and Tata Mills from Mumbai and one unit from Barshi in Solapur district.
read more.

20150409 * Govt to re-introduce technology upgradation fund for textiles:

Onus of funding the sector is likely to be put on the states where factories exist

The Union government is to re-introduce the Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (Tufs), perhaps for at least 10 years, in the new textile policy, scheduled to be out by month-end.

In the revised policy, the onus of funding the sector is likely to be put on the states where factories exist.
“We have increased states’ share in central taxes to 42 per cent from 32 per cent earlier. So, we are looking to introduce Tufs with some tweaks; states might be asked to fund it.
We are looking for a long-term policy, for at least 10-15 years. However, a final decision is yet to be taken,” said Sanjay Kumar Panda, secretary, ministry of textiles, here on Thursday.
read more.

20150409 * National workshop on textiles organized in Surat with the aim of making SITP more effective:

The Ministry of Textiles, in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Make in India’, has organised a two-day national workshop in Surat today. The workshop is aimed to help Scheme for Integrated Textile Parks (SITP) more effective.

SITP wants to fill infrastructure gap in the textiles and apparel industry. It seeks to do this by encouraging the industry to set up greenfield industrial parks with partial capital grant support from the ministry.

The two-day programme will feature experience sharing by SPVs of successful textile parks and representatives of state governments on successful interventions by states.
read more.

20150409 * New Textile Policy to Lay Roadmap For Next 15 Years:

A new textile policy is on the anvil  and it will lay the roadmap for the sector for the next 15 years, a top government official said.

“The textile sector is the second largest industry sector after agriculture to create employment opportunities in the country.
The new textile policy is on the anvil and it will lay the roadmap for the sector for the next 15 years,” Union Minister Santosh Gangwar said after inaugurating the 4th International Exhibition – Technotex 2015 here.

The minister said that there would be a lot of opportunities in the textiles industry and that Technotex would prove a milestone.
“This year, India’s technical textile business is close to Rs 1 crore. In contrast, the international market stands at Rs 17 lakh crore,” he said adding that it is a “sunrise” sector.
The minister also said that development of cotton growing areas where farmers have been committing suicide, is a priority with government.
read more.

20150408 * Textiles policy to address key issues: Gangwar:

The new National Textiles Policy is expected to address many critical issues facing the sector and steps like labour reforms, skill upgradation and faster customs clearances will help manufacturing become globally competitive, according to media reports quoting union minister Santosh Gangwar.

An expert panel constituted by the government last year had submitted the draft of the new policy, which aims to achieve US$ 300 billion exports by 2024-25 and create additional 35 million jobs by attracting investments.
read more.

20150410 * Dyeing units found letting effluents:

The Tirupur-unit of Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board has caught four dyeing units in Tirupur knitwear cluster for violation of zero liquid discharge norms while treating effluents generated in the dyeing process.
Official sources told The Hindu that these authorised dyeing units which were having individual effluent treatment plants (IETPS), were found discharging effluents, which is violation of the court directive which stipulated adherence to zero liquid discharge norms, during the recent checks.
“We have sent a report to the Board’s head office requesting issuance of directions to close the four dyeing units for violating the court order,” sources added.
to read.

20150409 * Repo rates: Tirupur knitwear sector feels let down:

Knitwear industry here feels let down by the Reserve Bank of India as the apex bank decided to keep the short-term bank rates same in the latest monetary policy statement.

The RBI had kept the ‘repurchase rate’ under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) at 7.5 per cent and decided to maintain the cash reserve ratio of the scheduled banks unchanged at 4 per cent of net demand and liability based on “an assessment of current and evolving macro-economic situations”.

“For small and medium enterprises dominated cluster like Tirupur, the cost of funds is a vital element for capacity expansion and for meeting working capital requirements.
With repurchase rate still on higher side, the borrowers are forced to pay high equated monthly instalments while repaying the bank loans,” M. Veluswamy, a prominent apparel exporter and chairman of Confederation of Indian Industry (Tirupur district council), pointed out to The Hindu.
read more.

20150407 * Mills want CCI to start sale of cotton through e-auction:

CCI had temporarily suspended sale of cotton due to which several textile mills ran short of quality cotton as it was not available in the open market

Mills in south India have urged the Union textile minister to direct the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) to immediately commence selling of cotton through e-auctions.

The association has sought liberalisation of credit norms for e-auctions considering the current financial crisis facing the spinning mills was due to the glut in the yarn market, and a delay in getting subsidies and pending dues from states.
read more. & read more. & read more.

20150410 * India will need 119m more skilled workers:

Around 119 million additional skilled workforce will be required by 24 sectors such as construction, retail, transportation logistics, automobile, and handloom by 2022, says a government report.

According to the skills gap report commissioned by National Skill Development Corporation, most of the sectors except agriculture will require more skilled workforce in the next seven years.
read more.

10:49:54 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

20150409 * Fire burns down cloth factory in Karachi:

Unexpected fire in cloth factory located in Site area of Karachi burnt down clothes worth millions of rupees whereas twelve cars of fire brigade are trying to control the fire, Dunya News reported on Thursday.

According to details, the sudden fire engulfed the whole factory reducing the goods to ashes.

The workers tried to extinguish the fire under self-help but in vain however, fire brigade teams reached the scene and are still engaged in quenching the fire.

According to fire brigade staff, the fire has been brought under control to a considerable extent whereas the reason behind the fire is likely short-circuit.

No life loss has been reported yet.

On the other hand, fire also erupted in another cloth factory in New Karachi area, gutting down clothes worth millions of rupees however no life was claimed in the incident.
to read.

20150409-10 * Karachi towel factory fire extinguished:

A towel factory located in the Site area of Karachi caught fire on early Thursday morning, Samaa reported.

According to our correspondent, the fire erupted due to short-circuit but nobody was injured as workers were not present at the time.

Rescue officials said that more than 13 firefighting vehicles put out the fire and now cooling process is underway.
to read. & read more.
samaa thenewspk

20150408 * SC seeks report on non-payment of minimum wages:

The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday sought reports from all the four provincial labour secretaries regarding the volume of complaints received pertaining to non-payment of minimum wages and measures taken so far in this regard.

A two-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, was hearing a suo moto notice about the payment of minimum wages by the federal and provincial governments.

Faiz and Mudasir Naqvi had filed the petition under Article 184(3) of Constitution.Additional Advocate General Balochistan informed the court that they have law of minimum wages and there is six months imprisonment for not implementing it.
He said that the Welfare Workers Funds had issued notification of minimum wages of Rs12,000.
read more.

20150410 * Energy woes: Level-playing field urged:

Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA), North Zone has demanded that a level playing field be provided in Punjab with regard to energy supply at par with other provinces.   

PRGMEA North Zone’s Senior Vice Chairman Muhammad Naseer Malik, in a statement issued here Thursday, lamented that the garment industry in other provinces were enjoying smooth gas and power supplies, whereas the same industry was facing prolonged load-shedding in Punjab.

“Because of the poor law and order situation and shortage of electricity and gas, factories are unable to timely deliver whatever limited orders they managed to secure from foreign buyers.
read more.

20150410 * 100 units may be shut down anytime soon: APTMA chief:

Chairman All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) S M Tanveer has said that as many as 100 textile mills are vulnerable to viability issue and seriously considering of closing down operations soon.

He said around 20 textile mills have already shut their doors on work force due to loss of competitiveness oozing out of real exchange appreciation and high cost of doing business.

According to him, majority of the textile mills are considering slashing down work force by reducing mills’ operations to two shifts a day.

He said the APTMA has been agitating against declining trend in textiles and clothing exports in the recent past, submitting to the government for an early intervention to arrest the fall.
read more.

20150409 * Aptma for restoring textile sector’s viability:

APTMA Chairman S M Tanveer has said as many as 100 textile mills are vulnerable to viability issue and seriously considering of closing down operations sooner rather than later.

He said some 20 textile mills have already closed down operations in the country due to loss of competitiveness oozing out of real exchange appreciation and high cost of doing business.
According to him, majority of the textile mills are considering slashing down work force by reducing mills’ operations to two shifts a day.
read more.

20150408 * Textile exports fall:

All-Pakistan Textile Mills Association Chairman S.M. Tanveer has said that the textile industry of Pakistan has lost its viability against regional competitors and it is no more competitive in the international market.

“Our textile and clothing exports are declining and are stagnant since February last. Thus textile mills are becoming sick units and are closing down one after the other,” the Aptma chief said.

He warned that the situation may lead to serious repercussions on the farm sector, the entire textile value chain and eventually the workforce.
read more.

20150408 * Textile industry loses viability: Aptma:

Chairman APTMA S M Tanveer has said the textile industry of Pakistan has lost its viability against the regional competitors and it is no more competitive in the international market place.

He said a latest study by the GHERZI/IBA has revealed that the manufacturing of 20s and 30s single cotton yarn is around 15% cheaper in India due to various factors availability of raw material of better quality and yield.

The production efficiencies are higher due to the latest machinery replacement under the TUFS scheme at almost zero interest rate.
Furthermore, he said, all the production factors including energy availability at affordable tariff, cheaper finance, lower wages and productive workforce are well in place there.
read more. & read more.

20150408 * Value-added textile sector, spinners at loggerheads:

The value-added textile sector and spinners, two powerful lobbies, are testing the nerves of policy makers in Islamabad over the issue of cotton import.

Both sides are putting up their cases forcefully to convince the government to support their position. While leaders of value-added textile sector are seeking withdrawal of 5 per cent duty on import of cotton yarn, the spinners lobby All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) strongly opposes it.
read more.

20150410 * China plans to shift part of $300b textiles to Pakistan:

Pre-feasibility studies already done for establishing industrial zone in Pakistan | Govt must ensure safety of Chinese investors for plan’s successful implementation

China is seriously planning to shift part of its $300 billion textile industry to Pakistan, in coming years.

This was revealed by one of the Pakistani delegates, who returned to Pakistan on Thursday after eight days official visit to China.
After spending more than one week and meeting senior government officials and Chinese businessmen, I can surely say that China is very serious and it is working out a plan to shift textile industry to Pakistan, in coming years, official said.

In this regard, Chinese bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited, ICBC and Pakistani Habib Bank have already carried out studies to establish an industrial zone in Pakistan.

During the briefings Chinese bank representatives told us that they have already done pre-feasibility studies in Gwadar, Pind Daden Khan and Bahawalpur areas, to find an appropriate place to establish 5000 acres industrial zone, he said.
read more.

20150408 * Major breakthrough in textile exports to China likely:

Pakistan is expected to not only get a major breakthrough in textile exports to China, but also opening of first Pakistani bank’s branch is also on the cards.

A Pakistani delegation consisting of Secretary Ministry of Textiles Amir Khan Marwat and Director Kanwar Usman is on visit to China, and theses breakthroughs have been signaled by the Pakistani delegation.

The agenda of Pakistani delegation is to hold meetings with the Chinese government on free trade agreement between the two countries.
read more.


20150407 * Team records employees’ statements in Baldia Town factory fire:

A probe team recorded statements Baldia Town garment factory’s employees to understand causes of fire.

Team inspected the entire place after recording employees’ statements. The new investigative team has formally started investigating. SSP East Pir Muhammad Shah, SP Site Sajid Sadozai and other officials of security agencies visited Baldia Town.
According to the sources, statements of four of the gatekeepers have so far been recorded. New investigative team had been set up after report of previous Joint Investigative Team.
Rizwan Qureshi had said Baldia Town factory did not catch fire as an accident but he alleged extortion mafia of MQM had set it on fire.
to read.
daily times PK


* Ethiopian textile sector turning into priority area for investment:

The textile industry is the largest manufacturing industry in Ethiopia.

There are a number of state-owned and private textile and garment factories. The industry contributes the lion-share of employment in the manufacturing sub-sector. Ethiopia is rightly christened as the ‘Bangladesh of Africa’.

Under the Growth and Transformation Plan, “production of textile and garments” besides leather products, cement industry, metal and engineering, chemical, pharmaceuticals and agro-processing are priority areas for investment.

The Ethiopian government has asked the country’s Investment Commission to guide prospective investors through every step of the way as a large domestic market and an increasing number of skilled workers are turning Ethiopia into an investment destination.

As far as textiles and clothing are concerned, spinning, weaving and finishing of textiles from the raw material to the production of garments are there for the taking for investors.
read more.


20150409 * New H&M sustainability report lacks evidence to back up claims:

20150409 CCC

Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) is today calling on H&M to show evidence to back up its ‘fair living wage’ claims, following the release of a new
Sustainability Report.

The campaign says that making marketing capital from workers’ poverty with little evidence of change is unethical and stands to slow down progress in the industry.

H&M, whose brand emblazons the Guardian’s ethical fashion pages and boasts
a ‘conscious collection’ range, launched their roadmap to a living wage in 2013.

The Swedish clothing giant has committed to paying 850,000 textile
workers a ‘fair living wage’ by 2018, but the latest sustainability report, released today, contains no real figures to show progress towards this goal.

Carin Leffler from the Clean Clothes Campaign said: “Despite announcing
partnership projects with the ILO, education schemes alongside Swedish
trade unions, and fair wage rhetoric aplenty,
H&M has so far presented disappointingly few concrete results that show progress towards a living wage.
H&M are working hard on gaining a reputation in sustainability, but the results for workers on the ground are yet to be seen.”

Athit Kong, Vice President of the Cambodian garment workers’ union C.CADWU
spoke out about his perception of H&M’s ‘fair living wage’ project:
“H&M’s report does not accurately reflect the reality on the ground in Cambodia or
Bangladesh and their PR rings hollow to workers who are struggling everyday
to feed their families.
A ‘sustainability’ model that is put forth and
wholly controlled by H&M but is not founded in genuine respect for organized workers and trade unions on the ground is never going to result in real change for H&M production workers and only serves as a public relations façade to cover up systemic abuse.”

Clean Clothes Campaign’s further criticisms of the H&M wage scheme include
the lack of a figure to define their living wage commitment and the brand’s
choice is to start their wage pilot projects in factories where they own
100% of the output.
Carin Leffler said: “Factories where buyers have this level of direct power don’t exist in 99% of the global garment industry, so H&M is unlikely to be able to upscale their ‘learning’.
Any kind of credible wage pilot project needs to have defined benchmarks and include clear and time-bound plans for making progress happen in all factories, not just the few.”

Clean Clothes Campaign are calling on H&M to prove that there is a will to
action behind their talk.
They are calling on the brand, as a first and immediate step, to directly negotiate a better wage for Cambodia with the national union caucus and personally sign an enforceable brand agreement with them, alongside other brands, committing to raise the wage to a living wage level for all workers, as well agree on time-bound and swift implementation measures.

Ms Leffler added: “H&M must put pen to paper. This means: a public living
wage benchmark to know and show where the wage hike should ultimately lead
to, a more detailed strategy with time-bound benchmarks on how to scale up
learnings across the entire supply chain of H&M, detailed and transparent
reporting and publically account of progress made, and enter into direct
negotiation in Cambodia in order to reach an enforceable brand with the
national union caucus.”

“H&M are good with words. We challenge them to follow up with the figures.”
read more.

20150407 * Living Wage Portal is online! Garment industry can start taking steps towards paying living wages now:

Living wages: obstacles and their solutions-
It’s abundantly clear: Garment Workers need higher wages.

Fair Wear Foundation works to uncover and overcome, one by one, the many obstacles that prevent garment workers from earning a living wage.

Most consumers want garments made by workers who are paid a living wage. Research shows that payment of living wages does not have to lead to much higher prices. In most cases, the relatively small cost increase could be absorbed by the profit margins of the brand.
And many consumers are willing to pay a little bit extra to ensure their garments are made fairly.

So why are consumers unable to buy ‘living wage garments’? And what is happening in this market to block what seems like a pretty simple ask?

This is the question this portal – and FWF’s work on living wages more generally – sets out to address.
read more.



map of Asia

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

There are updates under ‘special overviews’:

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


* China Voice: Labor relations improvement signals human rights progress
* China issues guideline to improve employee welfare
* Worker activism is now the new normal as strikes and protests erupt across China
* The warriors of cotton

* ROK, DPRK reconfirm differences in wage hike for economic zone

* ‘Upcoming textile policy to address skilled workers’ shortage’

* Front leader urges protection of workers’ rights
* Workers show signs of food poisoning
* Binh Dinh exports more garments and timber
* Foreign investors scampering for a share in garment industry
* Indian textile sector says Vietnam a collaborator, not a rival
* EU, Viet Nam work to finalise trade deal
* European Parliament assesses Vietnam’s readiness for FTA
* PM pushes for signing of Vietnam – EU free trade deal
* ASEAN Apparel, Footwear Entrepreneurs Eye Global Supply Chain
* Vietnam garment, footwear SMEs should improve supply chain management: workshop
* Better Work Research Brief: Working Conditions, Productivity and Profitability
* Vietnam – 90,000 workers strike over social security

* Minimum Wage Offence: Officer Jailed After Company Failed To Settle Fines

* Can Indonesia’s 50 Cent-an-Hour Workers Mimic China’s Success?

* FTI rejects call for wage increase
* Feasibility study on minimum wage
* LRC touts Labour Court plan
* Footwear market out of step

* Workers continue protest after inadequate wage offer
* SUMEC workers vow to protest until wage demands met
* Myanmar drafts new companies act
* Textile and garment industry targets US $2 billion export income

* Fire at CEPZ footwear factory
* 26 houses burnt in Savar fire
* 20 RMG workers fall sick after drinking water
* Workers of a readymade garments (RMG)
* Injured garment workers to get support
* Online registration system for trade unions launched
* RMG manufacturers making extra efforts to recoup losses
* Where can RMG go next?
* Export earnings from US, Germany continue to slide in 9 months
* Apparel export surges in Jan-Mar as it defies tumult
* Garment export to US market rises
* Bangladesh pays more for cotton yarn imported from India than China
* Economic zone developers, investors to get 10yr tax break
* Korean co to invest in Mongla EPZ
* One-fifth RMG units still outside assessment plan
* Accord publishes status overview of factories submitted to Govt of Bangladesh
* Build confidence to keep RMG growing
* Impunity undermining justice
* Three Years Later…
* 3 Years Later, No Justice for Slain Garment Worker Leader
* ACC okays cases against Sohel Rana’s parents

* AFT workers hold dharna
* India: Pensions for all
* Weavers’ society workers protest
* CITU to hold meetings for protection of workers’ rights
* Police suspect foul play in March fires at textile mills
* Concern expressed over delay in appointing audit firm
* Inventory up by 30% for Surat textile industry on low demand
* Gadkari to hold meets for textile zone, Mihan-SEZ
* Govt to re-introduce technology upgradation fund for textiles
* National workshop on textiles organized in Surat with the aim of making SITP more effective
* New Textile Policy to Lay Roadmap For Next 15 Years
* Textiles policy to address key issues: Gangwar
* Dyeing units found letting effluents
* Repo rates: Tirupur knitwear sector feels let down
* Mills want CCI to start sale of cotton through e-auction
* India will need 119m more skilled workers

* Fire burns down cloth factory in Karachi
* Karachi towel factory fire extinguished
* SC seeks report on non-payment of minimum wages
* Energy woes: Level-playing field urged
* 100 units may be shut down anytime soon: APTMA chief
* Aptma for restoring textile sector’s viability
* Textile exports fall
* Textile industry loses viability: Aptma
* Value-added textile sector, spinners at loggerheads
* China plans to shift part of $300b textiles to Pakistan
* Major breakthrough in textile exports to China likely
* Team records employees’ statements in Baldia Town factory fire

* Ethiopian textile sector turning into priority area for investment

* New H&M sustainability report lacks evidence to back up claims
* Living Wage Portal is online! Garment industry can start taking steps towards paying living wages

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