in the news 17-21 April 2015

18:05:34 local time map of china CHINA

20150416 * China’s growing labour movement offers hope for workers globally:

The growing labour movement in China, as fragmented and repressed as it is, offers hope for workers everywhere as an example of organising and protecting themselves against incredible odds.

Independent labour organising and independent trade unions are banned and workers do not have the legal right to strike. But millions of workers have organised autonomously and staged “wildcat”, or unofficial, strikes, with the main union charged with representing Chinese workers either absent or side-lined in recent industrial actions.

In fact, Chinese workers most often organise without any help from the main Chinese union: the powerful All-China Federation of Trade Unions.

The world’s largest trade union
Founded on May Day 1925, the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) is the only legal trade union federation in China and, with a membership of 280 million in 2014, the world’s largest.

ACFTU branches are compulsory and union membership automatic in many companies.
This inflates its membership, even though many branches exist without the awareness of employees.
And “members” don’t exercise any democratic control over ACFTU affiliates.
In fact, the ACFTU serves mainly as an extension of the Chinese state, which appoints the union’s top leadership.
|Its provincial and municipal leaders also simultaneously retain government positions.
Hardly any union leader has prior experience of labour organising.

From work units to wildcat strikes
In the Mao era from 1949 to late 1970s, workers were organised into work-units, which provided education, housing and pensions to workers and their families. Many workers were entitled to lifetime employment.
They were not won by the union, which acted to distribute benefits and encourage production.
Disparities still existed and workers organised protests by themselves, most notably by apprentices and temporary workers during the Great Leap Forward of 1956-1957 and again at the height of the Cultural Revolution of 1966-1967.

China’s embrace of market reforms since the late 1970s has thoroughly transformed conditions for workers.
As the reforms gradually dismantled the welfare regime of the work-units and opened up the private sector for domestic and foreign investment, workers were left largely to fend for themselves.

However, the ACFTU failed to protect state-sector workers from mass redundancy and migrant workers from low wages, excessive overtime and employment insecurity.
Private companies routinely ignored labour regulations, and industrial accidents were commonplace. As a result, labour disputes shot up dramatically in the 1990s.
read more.
the CONVERSATION

20150420 * 7 trends that will shape China’s supply chain:

20150420 CHINAorg
Workers at a clothes factory. [File photo]

Mergers among traditional manufacturers predicted

Traditional Chinese manufacturers are losing their original appeal, as labor costs increases.
Deloitte expects strong market contenders to enhance their investments on automation and push up productivity.

High-quality production will be the key, said the report, adding that the Internet-driven reform could be a life or death challenge to the manufacturers, driving them to focus on innovation and customer services.
read & see more.
CHINAORG

20150420 * Documentary ‘Cotton’ records workers’ hardships:

At a special screening on Saturday in Beijing, the director of the award-winning independent documentary film “Cotton” said he is trying to help society advance step by step by recording the true stories in the film.

The film, funded by the charitable nongovernmental organization Oxfam since 2007, is about the true stories of “made in China.” Zhou’s film follows the lives of the people who worked in the industrial chains behind the manufacture of one simple set of clothes.

Many of the people in the film are still living a hard working-class life with little respect from society.
In this feature, Zhou specially profiles a farmer, a cotton picker and workers in cotton factories, all of whom represent the unseen labor behind China’s cotton industry.
read more.
CHINAORG

ez grijs

20150421 * Industrial park to boost Beijing’s creative industries:

Beijing plans to build an industrial park in the city’s outskirts in an attempt to boost its creative industries, local authorities said.

“China Creative City”, to be established in Yizhuang Economic and Technology Development Zone in southeastern Beijing, will help creative start-ups with research and development before their products enter mass production, said Yang Zhiyong, Secretary General of the China Creative Industry Alliance.
read more.
XINHUAnet

20150421 * Curbs on foreign investment cut for four FTZs:

China has cut the number of restrictions on foreign investment for new pilot free trade zones in Tianjin, Guangdong and Fujian and also for the zone in Shanghai.

Assistant Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen said on Monday all such zones will implement a unified and friendlier business environment for foreign investment.

To increase transparency, the central government has made public a “negative list” of foreign investment applicable to the four zones. For the Shanghai zone, the number of restricted items on the list has been cut to 122 from 139 last year.

A master plan has been unveiled for the zones in Tianjin, Guangdong and Fujian and the development plan for the Shanghai zone has been upgraded to create a wider platform for economic reform and opening-up.
read more.
ChinaDAILY new

20150420 * Detailed plans for four PFTZs announced:

With the aim of deepening its reform and opening up strategy, China announced detailed plans for pilot free trade zones in Tianjin, Guangdong and Fujian, as well as a new developing plan for the existing China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zoneon Monday.

Eager to further enhance the country’s economic growth, the Ministry of Commerce, the four provincial and municipal governments, and other government agencies worked out plans for the four pilot free trade zones which were approved by the central government.

To further open up China to trade, the central government has made public a negative list for foreign investment applicable in the four PFTZs, a list in which restrictive items have been cut to 122 from 139 since the 2014 negative list which applied to the Shanghai PFTZ, an indication that there will be greater openness and transparency in all the PFTZs.

Background information of China’s Free Trade Zone
China officially launched the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone on Sept 29, 2013 to explore new ways for the nation to open up, to transform government functions and promote economic restructuring.

A Free Trade Zone (FTZ) refers to an area within which goods can be imported, processed and re-exported without the intervention of customs authorities.
read more. & read more.
ChinaDAILY new CHINAORG

20150420 * China To Launch Three New Free-Trade Zones:

China will launch three new free-trade zones on Tuesday, official media said Monday, building on a project that began in Shanghai to much fanfare but has so far undershot expectations.

The free-trade zones (FTZs) will be opened in the southern province of Guangdong, the northern port of Tianjin and the eastern province of Fujian, reported the website of the People’s Daily, the ruling Communist Party’s mouthpiece.
Each will cover around 120 square kilometers (46 square miles), the State Council, China’s cabinet, said.
read more. & read more. & read more.
KHMERTIMES people rood ChinaDAILY new

19:05:34 local time map of korea_n NORTH KOREA

20150421 * S. Korea to punish firms who bowed to North’s wage pressure:

20150421 DUNYAnews
The North’s proposal would increase the average monthly sum the South pays for each worker.

South Korea said Tuesday it would punish three factory owners for bowing to North Korean pressure in a wage dispute over workers at the Kaesong joint industrial zone.

The North unilaterally announced in February a wage hike for the more than 50,000 North Korean workers employed by South Korean firms operating in Kaesong, just north of the inter-Korean border.

South Korea demurred, insisting that under a previous accord, employment conditions in the zone could only be adjusted with the agreement of both sides.

As the row intensified, the Seoul government ordered the firms not to yield to pressure, but the South s Unification Ministry said three companies had paid the increased wage.

“They will face administrative punitive action for complying with North Korea s unilateral demand,” a ministry official told AFP.
(…)
The South Korean firms in Kaesong get cheap labour on top of preferential loans and tax breaks from their government, which also effectively underwrites their investment.
read more.
dunyanews

20150417 * S.Korea, DPRK still in deadlock on wage hike for economic zone:

South Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is still in deadlock on the issue for wage hike of DPRK workers in the joint industrial complex in the DPRK’s border town of Kaesong.

Unification Ministry spokesman Lim Byeong-cheol told a press briefing on Monday that there is no change in the government’s stance that South Korean companies running factories in Kaesong should pay monthly wages at the current level, reiterating that the DPRK made a unilateral decision to raise wages in violation of the inter-Korean agreement.

The DPRK revised labor regulations on the Kaesong industrial complex in November 2014 without consultations with South Korea, notifying the South side of its decision in late February.

Under the revision, the minimum wage for DPRK workers in Kaesong will be raised from 70.35 US dollars to 74 dollars starting from March.
The March wage should be paid by April 20.
read more. & to read.
GLOBALTIMES CHINAORG

20150417 * Kaesong entrepreneurs face overdue wages for N. Korean workers:

Kaesong companies distrust ROK government since 2013 dispute: Businessman

Kaesong Industrial Complex companies are facing arrears over wages for North Korean workers in the complex as the inter-Korean standoff regarding the pay raise issue continues.

Though the payday for Kaesong workers began April 10, none of the companies paid the wages due to the unsettled pay raise issue between Pyongyang and Seoul. North Korea earlier this year unilaterally raised the minimum wage for Kaesong employees by 5 percent without consulting the South, which Seoul has insisted is unacceptable.

“None of the companies are known to have paid the wages and there is no specific response from the North yet,” the spokesperson of the Ministry of Unification said in a regular briefing on Monday.

A Kaesong business owner also confirmed that none of the companies have paid the wages due to the inter-Korean standoff regarding the pay issue.

“We’re stuck in a dilemma,” the business owner told NK News on condition of anonymity. “The North wouldn’t accept it if we gave them wages like we used to (before the raise) and the government wouldn’t allow us to pay them with the raise.”
read more.
NKnews

17:05:34 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

20150421 * Labourers’ role key to socio-economic success:

The strengthening role of workers and trade unions are key factors to the success or failure of the nation’s socio-economic development strategy to tackle poverty, Vietnamese and European experts stressed at the Viet Nam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS) and Naples University L’Orientale’s workshop yesterday.

The workshop is part of the ongoing project, “Strengthening the role of workers and trade unions,” which began in 2012 with the support of the European Union to develop recommendations for policies regarding employee rights.

The programme was designed to enhance the capacity of Vietnamese trade unions, to supervise and understand worker circumstances, to raise awareness about workers’ rights and provide legal support to workers.
read more. & read more.
VNNews new VIETNAMplus

20150421 * Q1 textile, garment exports fail to meet high expectations:

20150421 VNNews
Late last year, the textile and garment industry expected to raise its textile and garment production by 20 per cent in order to boost the sector’s export value by $4 billion to $28.3 billion this year. — VNA/VNS Photo Danh Lam

Though exports for textile and garments in the first quarter (Q1) reached US$4.75 billion, industry insiders said the figure was worse than forecast, the Hai quan (Customs) newspaper said.

Late last year, the textile and garment industry expected to raise its textile and garment production by 20 per cent in order to boost the sector’s export value by $4 billion to $28.3 billion this year.

The Vice Chairman of the Viet Nam Textile and Garment Association Pham Xuan Hong said exports to the industry were often optimistic during the first and last months of the year. However, exports in the first quarter of this year were slow.
read more. & read more. & read more.
VNNews new DTI VOVonline

20150419 * Important trade pacts to be signed in 2015:

20150419 VNNet

Free trade agreements (FTAs) between Viet Nam and the Eurasian Economic Union, the Republic of Korea (RoK) and the European Union (EU) will be signed in 2015.

This was announced by the Minister of Industry and Trade, Vu Huy Hoang, at a conference held in Ha Noi on Thursday.

Hoang said the FTA between Viet Nam and the EU was likely to be inked in June, while the agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan might fructify at the end of May or in June at the latest.

Viet Nam and the RoK intend to sign a trade agreement on May 5.

Negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement are also expected to conclude by the end of this year, the minister said, adding that his ministry was preparing to begin negotiations on another FTA with Israel.

Speaking at the conference, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh, who is also the Head of the Inter-sector Steering Committee for Economic International Integration, requested ministries and sectors involved to speed up the integration process.

Opportunities
Vietnamese enterprises need to work together to seize opportunities and overcome challenges that will arise from existing and future free trade agreements, economic experts said at a conference held in HCM City yesterday.

Viet Nam has signed and is negotiating several free trade agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, EU-Viet Nam FTA and Viet Nam-Korea FTA, which will bring great opportunities for domestic firms but more challenges, according to senior economist Le Dang Doanh.

The EU-Viet Nam FTA, which is expected to sign this year, will help increase Viet Nam’s exports to the EU bloc by 30-40 per cent.

Exports of many kinds of Vietnamese goods, particularly textiles and garments, are expected to see a strong increase after the TPP is signed.
read more. & read more. & to read.
VNNet VNNews new DTI

20150417 * Vietnam, Thailand team up to form supply chains:

It is quite possible that Vietnam could become the fastest growing economy in ASEAN over the next few decades and Thai businesses want to join forces and get a front row seat at the table.

The Thai Garment Manufacturers Association (TGMA) recently revealed the formation of a business council with leading representatives of Vietnam’s business community to explore and advance business relations between the two nations.

The goal of the council is to create a solid and viable supply chain network of individuals and organisations with a common interest in initiating and spear-heading expanded trade and investment with other nations around the globe.

One of its initial focal points is on strategies to shore up the garment and textiles industry. Vietnam’s strategic location with its perch on vital shipping routes and its young hardworking workforce are good preconditions for this.
read more.
VOVonline

20150417 * A Race to the Bottom: Trans-Pacific Partnership and Nike in Vietnam:

20150417 globallabourrights

Nike is truly the canary in the coal mine, pointing us to what unfettered “free trade” looks like, and what the world will look like under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).   

In the year 2014, Nike produced over 365 million pairs of athletic shoes, while at the same time refusing to make a single sneaker in the United States.  Meanwhile, they are making these shoes at a tremendous profit while paying their overseas workers pennies.

In fact, Nike’s largest production center is Vietnam, where more than 330,000 workers, mostly young women, toil in 67 factories making goods for Nike.  Everyone knows that Nike shoes do not come cheap, selling in the U.S. from $60 to $120 to well past $200.

It is common that Vietnamese workers have no legal rights.  Nor has Vietnam ratified the United Nations Conventions on freedom of association and the right to organize.
read more.

17:05:34 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

20150421 * Pass the union law: Hun Sen:

A controversial statement released by Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday calls for the quick passage of a trade union law, which union advocates say violates international labour conventions.

The statement, which was signed on April 10 but distributed this week, was released ahead of International Labour Day on May 1. It emphasises the need to protect unionised workers’ rights being trampled, including by unions themselves, but advocates warn that legislation may have the opposite effect.

“[We must] keep strengthening the freedoms of unions . . . and prevent discrimination toward unions,” the premier’s letter says. “[We must also] avoid illegal implementations of unions, which do not serve the mutual interests of the workers and employers.”
read more.
PPP new

20150421 * Workers return from holiday to closed factory:

More than 100 workers at a Phnom Penh garment printing factory protested yesterday after they returned from the Khmer New Year holiday to find their workplace shuttered.

The locked doors of Meanchey district’s Fu Kuy factory, which employs more than 120 people, were management’s only indication to workers of its bankruptcy and closure, said Ly Veng, president of the firm’s branch of the Workers Union Federation.

“Closing without issuing notice makes it difficult for workers, it means they will lose benefits and job seniority,” Veng said yesterday. “We ask the ministries concerned in the matter to take care of this.”
read more.
PPP new

20150420 * Hun Sen reiterates policy to increase wage for workers, civil servants:

Prime Minister Hun Sen reiterated government policy to increase wage to $160 a month for factory workers and at least $250 a month for civil servants by 2018.

His comment was made during a meeting yesterday with around 3,000 factory workers at the Koh Pich Center.
The pledge was welcomed by Unions and Associations which previously held series of protests to demand wage hike for workers.

Yang Sophorn, President of the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions (CATU), said that she accepted the government position this time, but she thought that the increase hasn’t met the workers’ demands.
read more.
CAMHERALD

20150420 * Labour day: Unions, CPP promote factory ties:

About 3,000 union representatives, teachers and senior officials from the ruling Cambodian People’s Party gathered at a ceremony on Koh Pich yesterday to mark the 129th International Labour Day – as well as to bolster support for the ruling party, one official noted.

The gathering – which was part celebration and part meeting – was presided over by Prime Minister Hun Sen, who called for players in the Kingdom’s industrial sector to improve living and workplace conditions for workers.

“Samdech Prime Minister has appealed to all of us to perform good deeds for workers in order to gain support from them,” said Chuon Mom Thol, head of the pro-government Cambodia Union Federation (CUF), which participated in the meeting.
read more.
PPP new

20150421 * Minister lays out garments’ impact:

Labour Minister Ith Sam Heng said on Sunday that Cambodia’s garment sector, a key driver of economic growth, currently had 1,087 garment and footwear factories, spending a combined $1 billion on wages per year.

“In addition, the garment and footwear industries generate about 2 million indirect jobs, such as house rentals, food sales and transportation,” Sam Heng was reported as saying by news agency Xinhua.

Sam Heng’s statement, made at a conference in Phnom Penh, reiterated the importance of garments to the Kingdom’s economy, with $5.7 billion of garments being exported last year. Footwear exports added another $33.84 million, with the total making up around 80 per cent of the country’s exports.

Ken Loo, secretary general of the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia, said estimating the total number of garment factories was difficult due to high turnover in the sector.

He said factories did not always inform GMAC when they closed down nor were they upfront about the reasons why they had left.

“Similarly, when factories close they don’t necessarily inform the Ministry of Labour,” he said.

According to Loo, GMAC currently has 565 garment factories and 38 footwear factories, all of whom are exporters, while the Ministry of Labour’s numbers are higher as they include non-exporting factories as well.
read more.
PPP new

20150419 * Cambodia has 1,087 garment, shoe factories with 700,000 workers: minister:

20150419 KHMERTIMES
A typical scene in a Cambodian garment factory. (Photo: Reuters)

Cambodian Labor Minister Ith Samheng said on Sunday that the country’s garment and footwear industries, the kingdom’s largest foreign currency earner, are comprised of 1,087 factories with 700,000 direct jobs.

“These factories have spent more than 1 billion U.S. dollars on wages per year,” he said during a meeting with about 3,000 workers and civil servant representatives.

“In addition, the garment and footwear industries generate about 2 million indirect jobs, such as house rentals, food sales and transportation,” Samheng said.
read more.
KHMERTIMES

18:05:34 local time map of malaysia MALAYSIA

20150421 * Russia, ASEAN States May Sign Free Trade Deals – Vice-Premier:

Russia and member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) may sign free trade agreements, using a deal between the post-Soviet trade bloc and Vietnam as an example, Russia’s TASS news agency reported Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich as saying on Monday.

Dvorkovich is heading the Russian delegation at the World Economic Forum on East Asia in Jakarta.

By late 2015, the ASEAN Economic Community is expected to come into operation. This association envisages the creation of a common market for the region’s ten key countries comprising Indonesia, Thailand, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and the Philippines, the Russian vice-premier said.

“This only facilitates our relations because we can agree in a quicker regime on common rules of the game. Others (other countries) may follow our agreement with Vietnam.
read more.
BERNAMA

18:05:34 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

20150420 * Sritex, Tokopedia Shorlisted on WEF’s Global Elite Companies:

20150420 JAKARTAGLOBE
Textile company Sritex operates a plant in Sukoharjo, Central Java. (JG Photo/Ali Lutfi)

Sri Rejeki Isman, one of the largest garment manufacturers in Indonesia known as Sritex, and Tokopedia, a local online marketplace, made it to the shortlist of the World Economic Forum’s Global Growth Companies for the East Asian region.

The forum recognizes Global Growth Companies, or GGCs, as “fast-growing companies with the potential to become global economic leaders,” WEF said in a statement on Monday.
read more.
jak-globe

20150420 * Sritex set capital expenditure of US$245mn to increase production capacity:

Sri Rejeki Isman Textile (Sritex) a leading vertically integrated textile and garment company plan to operate the new plant rayon (fiber) worth US $ 250 million or equivalent RP 3.2 trillion with a capacity of 80 thousand tons per year by next year which will reduce imports of raw materials by 30 percent.

This will be the third rayon factory in Indonesia after PT Indo Bharat Rayon and PT Pacific Viscose.

According to Iwan, a factory covering an area of 100 hectares has been built over the last 1.5 years with an investment of US $ 250 million.
In addition, the plant is planned to have a capacity of 80 thousand tons per year is the 12th factory-owned companies, all located in Karanganyar, Central Java.
read more.
ynfx

16:05:34 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

20150420 * Hundreds of workers of two garment factories:

20150420 FE
Hundreds of workers of two garment factories of Swan Group staged demonstration in front of BGMEA Bhaban in the capital on Sunday, demanding reopening of the units and payment of their arrears. — Focus Bangla
to see.
FE bd

20150420 * RMG workers besiege BGMEA Bhaban protesting at closure of factories:

Several hundred workers of two apparel factories at Dakshmin Khan laid siege to Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association headquarters at Karwanbazar on Sunday protesting against sudden closure of the factories and demanding payment of the dues.

Workers of Swan Garments and Swan Jeans staged the protests at about 11:00am under the banner of Garments Workers’ Trader Union Centre as their factories were suddenly shut down on April 10 without notifying them.

The workers alleged that the owner of the factories, Tobi Hone, a Hong Kong national, was leaving Bangladesh on April 10 after selling machineries and other equipments and closing down the factories without paying workers’ dues.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

20150420 * Jute mill workers stage agitations for 5pt demands:

Nearly 10,000 permanent and casual workers of nine state-owned jute mills in Khulna-Jessore industrial belt brought out a procession on Sunday from Platinum Jubilee Jute Mill at Khalishpur under the banner of CBA and Non-CBA Oikya Parishad pressing for five-point demands.

They announced eleven-day programmes for their demands. The programmes will end on April 24 through a rally at Khalishpur.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

20150419 * JS sub-committee to probe job cuts by Bata Shoe:

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour and Employment Minister on Sunday decided to form a sub-committee to probe  the job cuts by Bata Shoe Company.

The decision came at the 7th meeting of the Standing Committee at the Parliament Secretariat, held with its chairman Munnujan Sufian in the chair.
Besides, the Standing Committee recommended preparing a policy on domestic workers.
read more.
UNBnew

20150420 * Where do we stand 2 years after Rana Plaza?:

Improving Working Conditions in the Ready-Made Garment Sector (RMGP) Programme In Bangladesh

In recent years the Bangladesh RMG sector has witnessed a number of industrial accidents including the fire at Tazreen Fashions and the collapse of Rana Plaza which claimed the lives of over 1,200 workers.

The ILO Programme on Improving Working Conditions in the Ready-Made Garment Sector has been developed to support the National Tripartite Plan of Action on Fire Safety & Building Integrity and commitments made by the Government of Bangladesh to improve working conditions and workers’ safety in the RMG industry.
read more.

20150420 * Female garment workers not much aware of sexual, reproductive health:

Most of the female workers in the country’s readymade garment (RMG) sector are not much aware about sexual and reproductive health, according to a study.

This was revealed at the dissemination seminar of the study, organised by SNV Netherlands Development Organisation at BGMEA Bhaban in the city.

SNV Netherlands Development Organisation has been jointly working with Bangladesh Garment Manufactures & Exporters Association (BGMEA) under ‘Working with Women’ project to ensure SRHR (sexual and reproductive health rights) among the female workers of RMG sector.

Speaking at the programme, BGMEA vice president Reaz-bin-Mahmood said female workers in the RMG sector know very little about sexual and reproductive health because most of them are not literate.

Besides, female workers in the sector are shy in nature so that they avoid consulting about reproductive health issues with others, he added.
read more.
UNBnew

20150420 * Call to address RMG workers’ reproductive health:

Betterment of lives of low-income group is what we all want.
But due to huge gap in communication, we haven’t been able to make a big impact

The reproductive health and rights of RMG workers remain uncared for and are yet to be addressed properly in order to boost their productivity, speakers said at a seminar yesterday. 

They said social barrier, inadequate treatment facility and service-providing agency, plus uncongenial working environment tell upon  the reproductive health of the garment workers, particularly women,

The speakers observed that apart from those issues, the unwillingness of women garment workers to go for health care services is also largely responsible for them to lag behind.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

20150420 * Most RMG workers brought under healthcare:

Most of the country’s export-oriented readymade garment (RMG) factories brought their workers under the health care facility, sector insiders said on Sunday at a programme.

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) vice president Reaz-Bin-Mahmood said 98 per cent RMG factories ensured medicare for their workers and employees.

He was speaking at a seminar on “Sexual & Reproductive Health & Right for Female Garment Worker (SRHR)” organised by SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, held at BGMEA office in the city. He said the industry owners are providing more time for the training of the workers on health care issues.

Paul Stevens, Country Director, SNV Bangladesh, said, “Betterment of the lives of the low-income population is what we all want.”
to read.
FE bd

20150418 * Garment factory official robbed of Tk 426,000:

Muggers snatched Tk 426 thousand (4.26 lakh) from a garment factory official after beating him mercilessly at Miabazar on the Dhaka-Chittagong highway in Chauddagram upazila on Thursday.

Sohrab Hossain Likhon, general manager of CD Acrylic Garments of Dragon Group, said Samaruzzaman Samrul, an official of the garment factory, withdrew Tk 426 thousand from the Miabazar branch of South East Bank in the afternoon for distribution of salary of workers.
read more.
FE bd

20150421 * Rising demand for low-cost denim offers a boon for BD:

Brands, retailers shifting factories from China

A growing demand for denim worldwide and its rising production cost in China have created a new opportunity for Bangladesh, mainly due to its cheap labour.

A large number of brands and retailers including G-Star, Dior, H&M, Tommy Hilfiger, Inditex and Levis have already established their production bases here in Bangladesh while a few more are now planning to explore the potential of the country.

Score is one of the companies that want to expand its production in Bangladesh along with its major manufacturing units in China, Turkey and India.

“We are now planning to explore Bangladesh which is becoming important all over the world,” Jan Peters, owner and managing director of Score told the FE last week.

“The world is always looking at prices and China is becoming more expensive,” he said adding “Bangladesh offers good price and also taxes are low to buy merchandise from the country.”
read more.
FE bd

20150418 * Looming crisis of skills:

Is Bangladesh ready to turn vast human resources into skilled workforce adding to increased productivity in mills and factories or in any other economic ventures?

Efforts in this regard have so far been lop-sided, only limited to decisions and speeches.
As a result, most of workers in the country remain where they are: an unskilled labour force serving as a drag on the economy.
Even Japanese investors have taken note of this.

Happily, the government is working on development of economic zones and special economic zones in different parts of the country.
Foreign investors have shown great interest in setting up industrial units aiming at producing exportable goods.
But where will these units get skilled workers to match with modern technology the foreign investors are supposed to bring in?
read more.
FE bd

20150420 * HC asks for risky RMG factories list:

The High Court (HC) ordered Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) to submit the list of risky readymade garment (RMG) factories in city.

The HC also asked Savar Thana officer-in-charge (OC) to submit the progress report about the cases filed over Rana Plaza tragedy on April 26.

A bench comprising Justice Mrza Hossain Haidar and Justice Abdur Rob on Monday noon passed the order after the hearing of its interim order and writs filed by several rights organizations.
read more.
banglanews24NEW

20150419 * Workplace safety to ensure a better future for apparel sector:

Bangladesh’s garment industry is moving forward, aiming to reach an export target of $50 billion by 2021, when the country will celebrate its golden jubilee of Independence.

In fiscal 2013-14, the apparel industry exported goods worth $24.49 billion, the amount being 81.16 percent of the country’s total export earnings.

However, let’s take a moment to look back. The Rana Plaza building collapse was a tragic incident in the history of the country’s garment industry. Before that, there was the Tazreen Fashions accident in 2012. These incidents remind us of how a lack of safety can take the lives of so many, and account for the loss of machinery, buildings and other assets.

However, the industry is undergoing a transformation as these incidents made all the stakeholders aware of the significance of safety issues.

As the industry is labour-intensive, thousands of families depend on the incomes of garment workers. Meanwhile, the materials used in garment factories are flammable. So, all the parties associated with the industry want to ensure safety. Sufficient safety equipment reduces the rate of accidents.

Two aspects are notable while talking about safety — one is building and fire safety and the other is workers’ safety.
(…)
To sum up, we can say that ensuring safety for the workers and workplace is a continuous process.
The government, foreign stakeholders, and garment entrepreneurs are performing their duty.
At the same time, we need safety awareness among the workers as well.
read more.
the DAILYSTAR new 2015

20150419 * BGMEA to seek tax-free import for garment village factories in budget:

The readymade garment exporters want tax-free import facilities of construction materials and safety equipments to be used to establish factories in the proposed garment village.

The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association is going to place a set of budget proposals to the National Board of Revenue for the next fiscal year 2015-16 which include increasing the period of reduced rate at tax at 10 per cent up to next five years.
‘We will also place the recommendations for the continuation of source at tax at 0.30 per cent up to next five years,’ BGMEA vice-president Shahidullah Azim told New Age on Saturday.
(…)
RMG makers will seek special fund in the budget so that entrepreneurs can avail low-interest loan for establishing compliant factories.
The pre-budget discussion with the NBR is scheduled to be held on April 26.
Azim said that the government allowed duty-free import of safety equipments but due to imposing VAT at the rate of 15 per cent on the items the prices became higher.

He also said that they would seek special incentives for exporters of European Union as the exporters were facing losses in the eurozone due to depreciation of the euro by around 22 per cent over the few months.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

20150419 * BGMEA wants VAT-free safety equipment import:

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) wants Value Added Tax-free import of safety equipment for the next five years.

The apex trade body of the clothing industry will place a set of recommendations for the fiscal year 2015-16 at a pre-budget meeting with the National Board of Revenue set to be held on April 26, BGMEA Vice-President Shahidullah Azim told the Dhaka Tribune.

If the government withdraws VAT on import, it will help RMG sector ensure safety and security by installing safety equipment as per the requirement of global retailers, said Azim.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

20150417 * BanglaAccord Monthly Update April 2015:

Inspections
Initial inspections new factories: Since the beginning of 2015 we have conducted initial inspections for fire, electrical and structural safety at over 150 recently listed factories. Factories are only inspected by the Accord if listed by an Accord signatory company.

Total factories inspected: More than 1250 factories have now been inspected by the Accord.
The Accord is also sharing inspection reports with the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety to avoid duplication of inspection of common factories.
In the last weeks we began reaching out to Alliance-inspected factories and the Accord companies in those factories to ensure a Corrective Action Plan is in place.
The Accord and Alliance are sharing reports from follow up inspections throughout the remediation process at joint factories.

Follow-up inspections: The Accord is continuing follow-up factory visits to monitor and verify corrective actions. 362 factories have had fire, electrical and structural follow-up inspections and their CAPs are being updated on the Accord Inspection Reports & CAPs page.

Remediation
The Accord has received 950 CAPs developed by factories with support from signatory companies and has posted over 500 online.
CAPs will now be published online when the Accord Chief Safety Inspector (CSI) and his team of engineers have technically approved them.
These CAPs will later be updated to indicate the financial plan for remediation is in place when the Accord receives this confirmation from the lead brand and factory.

Worker Participation
OSH Committee Pilot Programme: The Accord is inviting company and labour signatories to nominate factories to participate in this pilot programme. The pilot will include both factories with and without a registered trade union. Nominated factories will be advised in the coming weeks and the Accord and signatories will organise meetings at each factory to introduce the pilot plans to the management team.

Complaints Mechanism: The Accord has received complaints from workers at 25 factories related to safety issues. The Accord is working with the signatory companies, factory owners, complainant workers and unions to obtain details and clarification on the complaint allegations and status of the inspected factory.
read more.
ACCORD

20150420 * North American buyers to work together with BD RMG cos:

North American buyers on Sunday expressed their willingness to work together with the country’s apparel makers to help address some existing challenges of the local garment industry aiming to boost their sourcing from Bangladesh, officials said.

They expressed the keenness at a meeting with leaders of the local apparel makers at a city hotel.

Canada Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CanCham) arranged the meeting titled “RMG Meet UP” discussion on “Journey to the Next Milestone: Strategy for the RMG Sector.”

The CanCham initiated the informal meeting to arrange quarterly basis between the country’s apparel makers and its North American buyers to facilitate identify and address the industry challenges and thus boost the RMG export there.
read more.
FE bd

20150421 * Centre of excellence for RMG sector takes off today:

A one-stop centre of excellence meant for upgrading both labour and product standards of the country’s apparel industry gets off to a formal start today (Tuesday).      

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has set up the Centre of Excellence for Bangladesh Apparel Industries (CEBAI).

Industry leaders said it is conceived as a one-stop service centre where all skill solutions through skills- and needs-based training will be provided for the stakeholders.

“The CEBAI will ensure professional research-based development that has become a prerequisite for planned growth and sustenance. In other way, it would develop a robust network base for the industry,” BGMEA president Md Atiqul Islam told the FE about their initiative for further enhancing the quality of the industry’s world-standard apparel products.
read more.
FE bd

20150420 * Canada: the next big buyer of garment:

Canada will be a key garment export destination for Bangladesh in achieving the $50 billion overseas sales target by the end of 2021, Canadian High Commissioner Benoît-Pierre Laramée said yesterday.

Currently, Bangladesh is the second largest garment exporting nation after China with shipments of $24.5 billion in the last fiscal year.

“Canada has been providing support to Bangladesh to develop workers’ skills and improve working conditions in the sector for higher export of garment items,” Laramee told a group of journalists at the first RMG Meet Up, a regular discussion by the Canada Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CanCham) with leading North American retailers and garment exporters at Westin Hotel in Dhaka.
read more.
the DAILYSTAR new 2015

20150420 * Post-Rana Plaza initiatives and sustainability of the RMG sector:

The tragedy that took place on April 24, 2013 in a suburb of Bangladesh, a few miles away from the capital, became a global tragedy.

Though unsafe working condition is a problem in several low income and developing countries, the Rana Plaza disaster received worldwide coverage not only because of the enormity of the casualty, but also due to its global linkages. Rana Plaza, where five readymade garments factories were housed which supplied clothes to many brands and retailers in Europe and North America, drew global attention as interests of both domestic and international stakeholders were stitched in the same thread.

The factory owners, the government, buyers, workers and consumers – they are all part of the value chain of this industry and have a claim on it.

Two years on, the RMG industry has experienced several positive changes, though ironically, at the cost of more than 1100 lives and about 2400 wounded souls and bodies.
Following the incident, the labour law of the country has been amended and the right to form trade unions in the factory has been approved.
read more.
the DAILYSTAR new 2015

20150420 * RMG set to march ahead despite past tragedies:

The readymade garment (RMG) industry in Bangladesh has grown over a few decades to become the second largest in the world.

The sector is now the key driver of the economy and the country’s development. By 2013, there were approximately five thousand factories in the country. The RMG exports earned $24.5 billion in fiscal year 2013-14 accounting for over 80 per cent of the country’s export earnings.

Thirty years of experience and reputation in garment manufacturing has led to the present status of Bangladesh in RMG.
The factories have ensured international standard quality and are now adopting environment-friendly and green concepts.
There have been rapidly developing backward linkage industries such as washing, dyeing, finishing, embroidery etc.
The factories have been versatile in producing different types of apparel products.

The country’s vision is now to increase the RMG industry’s global market share from the current 5.0 per cent to 8.0 per cent by 2021.
This requires increasing our exports to about US$ 50 billion.
Now let’s see the worldwide forecast about competitiveness of Bangladesh’s RMG.
read more.
FE bd

20150418 * Ensuring efficient water use in industries:

The Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has set an ambitious target for the textile sector to reach US$50 billion exports by 2021.

Similarly, the leather sector expects that relocation of tanneries to the Savar Industrial Estate could boost their export revenues from $1.0 billion to $5.0 billion in the next five years. All these targets are achievable if policies are favourable to address structural deficiencies so that efficient use of resources is ensured.

Development of export industries and increase of production, with strong impacts on environment and especially on water resources, are now the concerns.  Experts have agreed that in order to maintain long-term impact on the economy and continuing operation of heavy industries in such a small land, water resources have been posing a challenge.

Water resources governance needs supporting actions, among others, for maintaining health of communities in and around production areas.
read more.
FE bd

* SECRET CAMERA RECORDINGS REVEAL BENETTON MANAGERS DEFENDING CHILD LABOUR IN BANGLADESH:

Social Media Pitch: Made in Italy: Secret camera recordings reveal Benetton managers defending child labour in Bangladesh.

Summary:
Secret camera recordings show that Italian clothes maker Benetton uses suppliers who still employ child labour in Bangladesh.

A RAI 3 television investigation has revealed that months after the collapse of garment factories in Rana Plaza where over 1100 people died, serious health and safety measures have still not been addressed including locked factory gates which can be deadly in the event of a fire.
The report shows that Benetton, one of Italy’s best known clothing brands, continues to flout good practice in Bangladesh and its managers defending the use of child labour.

Details: Presa Diretta journalists travelled to Bangladesh to investigate how the garment industry works in Bangladesh.
Using a secret camera, they filmed Benetton country manager saying that

1. Child labour would be sanctioned by “missionaries”.
2. Child labour is only what happened in Italy 50 years ago
3. Benetton only signed up to improve conditions because of public opinion.
4. Benetton knew all along that they were producing in Rana Plaza despite the initial denial

The film also reveals that top category factories where Benetton produces clothing have extremely unsafe working practices including locked gates – a practice known to be responsible for scores of deaths in the history of Bangladeshi garment factories.

The journalists talked to workers who remain without compensation months after the disaster and live very difficult lives – physically, psychologically and financially.
The journalists were attacked during the course of making the documentary when they were mistaken for foreign buyers by workers running away from police fire.

Union officials and workers told the journalists how they are subject to harassment by hired thugs and the police and that establishing rights for the ordinary worker is extremely difficult.
read more.
rai3

ez grijs

20150419 * Govt to set up special economic zone, RMG industrial park: Tofail:

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed on Sunday categorically said an industrial park with 250 readymade garment (RMG) factories would be established to attract foreign investment in the country.

The commerce minister came up with the assertion while talking to journalist after a meeting with Chinese Ambassador in Dhaka Ma Mingqiang at his secretariat office.

In response to a question, the minister said no specific area has been selected yet for the special economic zone but a suitable place will be chosen soon.

Tofail said now there are some 17 economic zones in Bangladesh and the Special Economic Zone for China will be chosen from those.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
newsbangladesh FE bd FE bd the DAILYSTAR new 2015

20150419 * China to set up RMG industrial park in Munshiganj:

Industries Minister Tofail Ahmed today said China made a big investment proposal as the country wants to expand trade and commerce with Bangladesh.

He also said China would ink a deal with Bangladesh soon to provide duty free access to Bangladeshi products in its market.

The minister passed the remarks after a meeting with Chinese ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jun at his secretariat office.

Tofail said Bangladesh would provide necessary facilities to China in economic zones to set up the industries.
read more.
BSSnew

20150418 * Broadening bonded facility to BSCIC zones suggested:

Export-oriented enterprises in seven industrial parks under the cottage industry corporation should enjoy duty-free imports of raw materials, a core group has suggested.

The industrial estates in Rajshahi, Pabna, Sirajgonj, Kustia, Tangail, Narshingdi and Comilla under the Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) should be declared bonded areas, which the group says can attract local and foreign investment.

The government in November 2013, headed by vice-chairman of EPB had formed a 12-member core group to make suggestions and way forward for the country’s textile sector to speed up export activities.

The members of the committee are representatives from the central bank, National Board of Revenue (NBR), Bangladesh Foreign Trade Institute (BFTI), Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), Bangladesh Terri-towel and Lilen Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Bangladesh Specialised Textile Mills and Power Loom Industries Association, BGMEA, BKMEA, BTMA and Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).

“Our textiles sector is facing different types of difficulties after Rana Plaza collapse and Tazrin incidence, which forced us to rethink the facilities given to the exporting sectors,” vice chairman of EPB, Suvashis Bose told the FE.
read more.
FE bd

    THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE

20150421 * 50 claims made by Rana Plaza victims still remain unresolved:

Nearly 50 claims made by the Rana Plaza victims are yet to be resolved, although two years have already elapsed since the tragic incident, according to the data released on Monday.

Rana Plaza Claims Administration (RPCA) said 2,839 out of total 2,871 claims received from injured workers, dependants of the deceased and missing workers have so far been reviewed.

The remaining 32 claims and plus approximately 20-30 additional deceased claims are yet to be filed.

A press release issued on Monday said the remaining claims will be included in the final instalment.

It said the Rana Plaza Coordination Committee (RPCC) till April 8 made payment of Tk 760 million against these claims to the injured workers and family members of the deceased and missing workers.
read more.
FE bd

20150421 * RMG workers, labour leaders demand highest punishment of Sohel Rana:

Garments workers and labour leaders on Monday demanded highest punishment of Sohel Rana, owner of Rana Plaza at Saver which collapsed in April 2013, killing over 1,000 people, mainly female RMG workers.

From a human chain at front of National Press Club in the capital, they claimed the government intentionally was delaying the trial process even around two years after the tragic incident.

Bangladesh Garment Sramik Sanghati organised the programme marking two years of the incident.
The organisation also held programmes at several places including in front of Rana Plaza at Savar, Narayanganj and at front of Chittagong Press Club.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

20150420 * 70% of Rana Plaza compensation payments complete:

A total US$ 30 million, after the deduction of amounts received from Prime Minister Welfare fund, is required for full payment of compensation to the Rana Plaza injured workers and the family members of deceased and missing workers, said the International Labour Organization (ILO) on Monday.

That includes claims of New Wave Bottom workers paid separately by Primark, as well as long term medical care and allied costs for injured workers. The estimated amount also includes an estimation of potential supplementary payments.

So far, the amounts either received in the Trust Fund or spent otherwise for the benefit of Rana Plaza workers and expected to be recognized as contribution to the Trust Fund total approximately US$ 24 million, it said.
(…)

On April 8, the Rana Plaza Claims Administration has made available approximately Tk 31 crore to eligible claimants.

Payments were made to injured workers, dependants of the deceased and missing workers of Rana Plaza building collapse.

Tk 31 crore, which is approximately 30% of total awards, was paid out through Dutch Bangla Bank accounts to 2968 eligible claimants, including 2277 dependants from deceased workers, 282 dependants of missing workers and 409 injured workers.

The above payment is in addition to 40% payment of all awards after deduction amounting to approximately BDT 29.40 crore which was paid through Dutch Bangla Bank accounts to 2,770 eligible dependants of deceased and missing workers and to injured person in five separate installments from September to December 2014.

In addition, approximately Tk 15.50 crore was paid through bKash as initial payment to injured workers, dependants of the deceased and missing workers as well as non-injured workers on 23 April 2014.

These payments are authorized by the multi-stakeholder Rana Plaza Coordination Committee, and paid out of the Trust Fund set up for the purpose of providing compensation to the Rana Plaza injured and the families of the deceased and missing workers.
read more. & read more. & to read.
UNBnew RANAPLAZA arragement INDEPENDENT

20150420 * Rana Plaza collapse: HC seeks progress report on trial proceedings:

The High Court today directed the officer-in-charge of Savar Police Station to submit a progress report before it by April 26 on the trial proceedings of the cases filed over the incident of Rana Plaza collapse that killed 1,135 people in April 2013.

While hearing a suomoto rule, the court ordered Rajdhani Unnayan Kartipakkha (Rajuk) to submit a report on vulnerable buildings in the capital before it on that day.
read more.
the DAILYSTAR new 2015

20150420 * Human remains found in Rana Plaza debris:

Police recovered human remains from Rana Plaza debris on Monday morning just four days before the second anniversary of tragic building collapse that claimed 1,137 lives and injured scores.

Police sources said several urchins found the remains when they were looking for iron rods in the rubbles.

Being informed by locals, police took the remains for DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) test, the sources added.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh Garment Sramik Sanghati staged demonstration and held a protest rally in front of Rana Plaza site where workers demanded exemplary punishment to the culprits and equal compensation to the victims.
to read. & read more.
banglanews24NEW NEWAGEnew

20150419 * Compensation still eludes victims:

Academics, labour leaders and lawyers on Saturday urged the government to amendment the Bangladesh Labour Act, 2006 claiming that the act was not labour-friendly.

They said this at a roundtable conference organised by Bangladesh Garments Sramik Sanghati at Dhaka Reporters Unity, marking two years of Rana Plaza collapse at Savar in April, 2013.

They also demanded that a compensation policy should be formulated for properly compensating the victims.
Oil, gas national committee member secretary Anu Muhammad said the government should define accident and killing.

Dhaka University teacher AH Ahmed Kamal said overcoming the existing situation in the RMG sector was possible if people would raise their voice and start movement against the government and other responsible authorities.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

20150419 * Compensation still eludes Rana Plaza victims:

Donations, offered mainly by global retailers, have overshadowed the issue of ensuring compensation to the surviving Rana Plaza workers and the families of their deceased colleagues.

The issue was raised yesterday by the Bangladesh Garment Sramik Sanghati (BGSS), which said that the money handed over to the workers and families of the dead workers by the Rana Plaza Donor Trust Fund came from both public and private sectors as donations and not as compensation that workers are legally entitled to.

The organisation, citing the Rana Plaza Arrangement, said nowhere in the English version of the ‘Rana Plaza Agreement Terms and Conditions of Donor Trust Fund’ does it contain the word compensation.

Instead, there is a mention of the words ‘financial support’. There is also no mention of compensation in payment letters, sent by Rana Plaza Claim Administration to the victims. The letters of payment receipts contain the words grant, it said.

“So, it is clear that the Rana Plaza victims are not getting any compensation,” said Taslima Akhter, coordinator of the BGSS while presenting a paper at a discussion at Dhaka Reporters Unity.
read more.
the DAILYSTAR new 2015

20150418 * Benetton doubles compensation for Rana Plaza victims:

Benetton Group has announced that it has contributed $11,00,000 to the Rana Plaza Trust Fund, doubling the sum recommended in an independent assessment of its contribution by PwC and endorsed by WRAP, an NGO focused on social compliance through global supply chains, the Italy-based fashion brand said at a news release on Friday.

In fact Benetton’s payment of $11,00,000 follows a previous payment of $5,00,000 made through BRAC, before the Rana Plaza Trust Fund was established, said the release.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
NEWAGEnew prothom FE bd INDEPENDENT

20150418 * Benetton to pay $1.1m into Rana Plaza trust fund:

Italian fashion retailer Benetton announced yesterday that it would pay $1.1 million into an international fund to compensate victims of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh two years ago in which 1,138 people died.

Benetton, which initially denied using any firms located in the nine-storey factory complex which workers and local journalists had warned was unsafe before it collapsed with thousands of people inside, said it was donating double the amount advised by experts.

“We have decided to go further to demonstrate very clearly how deeply we care,” Benetton Group chief executive Marco Airoldi said in a statement.

Benetton commissioned experts at consulting firm PwC to estimate how much it should contribute to an international compensation fund based on the level of its commercial association with the Rana Plaza, which collapsed on April 24, 2013.
(…)

The payment follows more than a million people signing a petition on the campaigning website Avaaz urging Benetton to contribute to the compensation fund that was put into place eight months after the disaster.

“Benetton is not giving nearly enough to ease the death and suffering their clothes have caused, but a million people forced them to reverse two years of refusing to pay any compensation,” Avaaz’s Campaign Director Dalia Hashad said in a statement.

“This sets a precedent for global brands everywhere: when workers die, you cannot walk away. All eyes are now on holdout companies like Carrefour, JC Penney, Walmart, and The Children’s Place to step up and fill the funding gap so all victims get what they need and deserve,” she added.
read more.
the DAILYSTAR new 2015

20150417 * CCC believes Benetton’s 1.1 million USD contribution insufficient:

One week before the second anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster, with the compensation fund still at a shortfall, global actions begin

Today marks one week until the two-year anniversary of the worst industrial accident to ever hit the garment industry, when the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh came crashing down.

The Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) and its trade union allies and partners are marking the second anniversary of disaster, with a global call to action, demanding that the Rana Plaza survivors and victims’ families immediately receive the full compensation they are entitled to; and that all apparel brands and retailers doing business in Bangladesh sign the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety.

Despite the growing urgency, brands continue to postpone payments to the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund, or make payments that are clearly insufficient to bridge the gap. Additional payments are necessary to fill the current $8.5 million shortfall in the Fund, which would then ensure that the survivors and victims’ families of the Rana Plaza tragedy receive full compensation.
To date claimants have only received 70% of what they are owed, with further payments indefinitely delayed as a result of the current shortfall.

This morning Benetton announced paying 1.1 million USD into the Fund, after a massive campaign calling upon them to pay 5 million.
“Benetton had a real opportunity to emerge as a leader and prove that their pledges of empathy, understanding, and care for the welfare of the victims were not just some PR spin. Unfortunately, the true colours of Benetton are now revealed”
says Ineke Zeldenrust from the Clean Clothes Campaign.
read more.

20150417 * Reactive Statement: Benetton pays $1.1 million into Rana Plaza compensation fund:

Following news that Benetton will pay $1.1 million into the ILO-administered Rana Plaza compensation fund, UNI Global Union and IndustriALL Global Union – the two global unions campaigning for fair and just compensation on behalf of the victims – issued the following statement:

UNI Global Union General Secretary Philip Jennings said: “We are deeply disappointed with Benetton’s contribution. This is a token step and we appeal to them to do better. We will continue our efforts for Benetton to increase their contribution.

“They have been ill-advised by their hired consultants to take the low road. This is about people’s lives and is not a time for discount policies.
(…)

IndustriALL General Secretary Jyrki Raina said: “Although every cent counts and brings us closer to providing a future for the victims, Benetton had the opportunity to take leadership for the sector and close the darkest chapter of its history for once and for all.

“The people who died in Rana Plaza were the people that made the United Colours of Benetton. We believe that a contribution of $5 million would show respect to the sacrifice that they made.”
read more. & read more.
INDUSRIall  UNIglobalUNION

20150417 * Avaaz response to the announcement of Benetton on compensation for Rana Plaza victims:

** Pushed by one million citizens, Benetton pays compensation to survivors of Rana Plaza disaster ***

Days before the second anniversary of the worst garment worker disaster in history, Benetton’s CEO Marco Airoldi is set to announce that his company will contribute $1.1m USD to the Rana Plaza victims in Bangladesh.

Benetton’s announcement follows a public campaign by more than one million members of the civic group Avaaz, which moved the company to support survivors and their families after two years of refusals.

Dalia Hashad, Avaaz Campaign Director, said:

Benetton is not giving nearly enough to ease the death and suffering their clothes have caused, but a million people forced them to reverse two years of refusing to pay any compensation.
This sets a precedent for global brands everywhere: when workers die, you cannot walk away.
All eyes are now on holdout companies like Carrefour, JC Penney, Walmart, and The Children’s Place to step up and fill the funding gap so all victims get what they need and deserve.
read more.
AVAAZ

news release:
20150417 * Benetton Group Doubles Compensation for Rana Plaza Trust Fund Recommended by Independent Assessors:

Therefore the Total Contribution to Rana Plaza Victims Amounts to USD 1,600,000
Benetton Commits on Factory Standards by Applying the Principles of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety to Global Suppliers 

Benetton Group announces that it has contributed USD 1,100,000 to the Rana Plaza Trust Fund, doubling the sum recommended in an independent assessment of its contribution by PwC and endorsed by WRAP, an NGO focused on social compliance through global supply chains.

In fact Benetton’s payment of USD 1,100,000 follows a previous payment of USD 500,000 made through BRAC, before the Rana Plaza Trust Fund was established.
read more.
prn

20150418-19 * Rana Plaza: rallies in Bangladesh as victims await compensation:

In runup to second anniversary of factory disaster, victims and trade unions say there is still $8m shortfall in $30m fund

The second anniversary of the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh, in which more than 1,100 people died, is to be marked by demonstrations organised by survivors and trade union groups.

Rallies and tributes will take place on Friday 24 April, at the site where the clothing factory – which supplied garments to western retailers including Primark, Benetton and Matalan – once stood, as well as in the centre of Dhaka.

“We will organise a human chain in front of the national press club, then we will place flowers at the Rana Plaza site and at the graveyard,” said Kamrul Anam of the IndustriALL Bangladesh Council.
“Two years have gone and the victims and their families have not got their compensation, so they are anxious the brands and buyers pay their contribution. That’s why all the union groups are seriously annoyed,” said Anam.
(…)

Taherul Islam, of the Bangladesh Occupational Safety, Health and Environment Foundation (OSHE), said there have been some improvements in working conditions since the disaster, including the legally binding agreement of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety by brands and trade unions.
“The Accord Alliance is trying to find local shortcomings in the buildings, for fire safety.
But many issues related to health and safety remain,” he said, urging western companies that use suppliers from Bangladesh to press for better conditions.

Support programmes have been set up by national and some international NGOs to provide survivors with vocational training and give their children educational support, but disorganisation between various initiatives is a cause of confusion and frustration among some workers, said Islam.

Twenty victims have been invited to a face-to-face consultation with stakeholders at a meeting on Wednesday organised by OSHE to try to clarify the status of compensation and rehabilitation for survivors.
read more. & read more.
guardian the INDEPENDENT uk

20150419 * Rana Plaza: a lesson forgotten?:

Two years on from the Rana Plaza disaster in Dhaka, Bangladesh where a factory collapsed killing over 1100 workers, what has changed in the global rag trade?

Are workers safer?
Are wages fairer?
Are we as consumers any more willing to pay a higher price for our clothes to ensure that the one in six of us who work in the global clothing sector have a decent life?
Or is the throw-away culture, in which a $1 t-shirt is bought, worn and chucked away in no time, here to stay; and with it a business model that locks in a race to the bottom?
We speak to a factory owner from Dhaka, a fashion deisgner and the man responsible for drawing up the new rules intended to make life better and safer for the people making our clothes.
listen to radio program.
bbc

15:35:34 local time map of india INDIA

20150419 * Settle power loom workers’ wage revision issue amicably: CPI (M):

The Communist Party of India (Marxist), urged the State Government to take effective steps for settling the power loom workers’ wage revision dispute amicably.

The power loom was a major industry in Namakkal district involving a large number of workforce. The wage accord is finalised once in two years in Pallipalayam and Komarapalayam, the two major power loom weaving centres.

The previous two-year wage accord for the Pallipalayam workers expired on February 28 and for the Komarapalayam workers on March 31.

Petitions submitted
The workers’ unions have already submitted petitions seeking 75 per cent wage increase.

As the issue could not be settled through talks so far, the Pallipalayam workers have given strike notice and the Komarapalayam workers are already on strike. The strike has led to loss of production and economic crisis in the industry.
The striking workers, too, were suffering from severe strain due to loss of wages, a resolution adopted at the Namakkal district committee meeting of the party held here recently said.
read more.
THEHINDU

20150420 * Unemployment, root cause of social unrest: trade union leader:

The root causes of social unrest in many parts of the world were acute unemployment, especially youth unemployment, and income disparity, said Noriyuki Suzuki, general secretary, International Trade Union Confederation – Asia Pacific (ITUC-AP), on Friday.

Inaugurating the 33rd triennial convention of the Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS) here, Mr. Suzuki said that poverty eradication programmes, barring a few exceptions, had not made much impact and unemployment was assuming alarming proportions everywhere.
Absence of decent work in their home countries was forcing people to go abroad in search of livelihood.
India’s impressive growth rates had not translated into decent job creation.
After decades of globalisation and financial meltdown in developed countries, there was no qualitative improvement and inequality was prevailing within and across countries, Mr. Suzuki said.
read more.
THEHINDU

20150420 * Modi, Naidu on same page to dilute labour laws: CITU:

Centre of Indian Trade Union State general secretary M.A. Gafoor on Monday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu were on the same page to bring about drastic changes in labour laws at the behest of corporate lobby.

The former MLA told The Hindu on the sidelines of the State council meeting of CITU here, a day after conclusion of 21st national congress of CPI (M) that both of them were bent upon keeping the corporates in good humour by converting ‘Make in India’ into ‘loot in India’ campaign.

Mr. Gafoor said that in the name of ‘Make in India’ foreign investors were being encouraged in core sectors and several orders were being placed for importing high-value equipment and finished products for defence and other sectors.

In a scathing attack on the anti-labour policies of the Centre and the State, he said that Mr. Modi was now proposing to take away 80 per cent of industrial workers out of the purview of labour enactments by denying them provident fund and ESI facility and increasing maximum working hours from eight hours a day.
read more.
THEHINDU

20150418 * HMS leader sees labour consolidation:

“NDA government keen on protecting corporate interests”

Sustained attempts of the Modi government to amend labour laws in favour of employers had resulted in consolidation of workforce in the country, said Harbhajan Singh Sidhu, general secretary, Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), on Friday.

Addressing the 33{+r}{+d}triennial convention of HMS here, Mr. Sidhu said that the NDA government, which came to power with loud assurances for betterment of common people, was engaged only in protecting the corporate interests.

It brought about a series of amendments to labour laws like Factories Act, Industrial Disputes Act, Trade Union Act, Apprenticeship Act and Contract Workers’ Act without discussing issues of organised labour with trade unions.

This was in violation of International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions and hence all national trade unions had decided to work together under a Joint Action Committee.
read more.
THEHINDU

20150417 * Trade unions should focus on improving workers’ condition:

Stating that informal economy (unorganised sector) accounted for more than 90% of employment in India, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Congress (ITUC-Asia Pacific) today said trade unions should focus on launching struggles to improve the condition of workers.

Inaugurating the 33rd Triennial Convention of the Hind Mazdoor Sabha here, Noriyuki Suzuki said, “The trade unions cannot ignore the overwhelming majority of toiling masses.”

Workers in informal economy work long hours for low wages and were by and large left out of the purview of the Social Protection Scheme, he said, adding, unemployment was a major problem faced by the people in India.
read more.
businessstandard

20150419 * Multi-stakeholder initiative planned for textile sector:

About 20 non-governmental organisations met here on Friday and Saturday and planned to form a multi-stakeholder forum – including manufacturers, government officials and overseas buyers – to ensure safety and welfare measures for women workers in textile and clothing units in the State.

Representatives of some of the NGOs told presspersons here on Saturday that buyers, manufacturers, trade unions, experts, voluntary organisations and the Government can work together to address some of the issues related to employment of women workers in textile mills and garment units.

They will focus on safety of workers, wages, welfare measures and mobility.
read more.
THEHINDU

20150418 * Efforts on to revive Komalapuram spinning mill:

Rs. 20 crore needed to re-launch facility; over 350 persons to get jobs

If all goes to plan, the Komalapuram Spinning and Weaving Mills could be buzzing with activity yet again after several years.

The government is mulling over the possibility of reviving the operation of the public sector company located at Komalapuram, near here.

The unit was launched as Kerala Spinners Limited as a subsidiary of a private entity in 1964.
Later on, the company suffered losses and was illegally shut down in March 2003. The company was declared as a sick unit by the government in 2006.
The unit was formally taken over by the government in November 2011 and was handed over to the Kerala State Textiles Corporation Ltd. (KSTC) The company, rechristened as Komalapuram Spinning and Weaving Mills, was subsequently inaugurated by former Finance T.M. Thomas Isaac in February 2011.

However, the operation of the unit has not taken off owing to certain legal hurdles.
read more.
THEHINDU

20150419 * Textile mills in Telangana seek govt help for cotton supplies:

Seek at least 50,000 bales a day through the e-auction route

Textile mills in Telangana say they require at least 50,000 bales of cotton a day to be allocated through e-auction at reasonable market prices to be bailed out of the troubled times.

In a representation, their association has urged the State Government, the Ministry of Textile and Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) to come to the rescue of this labour and capital-intensive industry, which employs thousands of rural woman workers.

The large number of spinning and textile mills in Telangana are in trouble due to the unfair trade practise adopted by CCI, which is not offering sufficient cotton to them. This has resulted in huge price increase in the commodity, making the total textile industry unviable.
read more. & read more.
THEHINDUBUSINESS ynfx

20150419 * Good response to cotton auction:

The cotton auction at the Konganapuram branch of the Tiruchendur Agriculture Producers Cooperative Marketing Society held on Friday and again on Saturday has evoked good response.

About 12,000 bags of cotton were auctioned for Rs. 2 crore at the society on Saturday and about 11,000 bags for Rs. 1.80 crore on Friday.
(…)

The farmers from the districts of Salem, Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri, Namakkal and Tiruvannamalai had brought the stock. Following good response, cotton auction will be held for the third consecutive day on Sunday too, the Society sources told The Hindu .
read more.
THEHINDU

20150420 * Symbol of handloom sector’s struggle:

A secluded village which came to the fore during the pre-Independent days when khadi and charakha gained currency, Badanavalu, which is close to Nanjangud, is once again symbolic of another ongoing struggle: to revive the fortunes of handloom in India.

The village is the seat of a satyagraha inherent in which is not only the struggle for the survival of handloom but the concepts of sustainable living and development. he Badanavalu satyagraha has been launched as the sector has taken a hit with the government favouring power looms for procuring fabrics which will affect the livelihood of lakhs of weavers.
read more.
THEHINDU

20150419 * CETP tragedy: TNPCB officials bail plea dismissed:

The Principal District and Sessions Judge (PDJ), R.V.R. Deenadayalan, on Saturday dismissed the bail plea of suspended Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board officials P. Kamaraj, former District Environmental Engineer, Vellore and M. Muralidharan, former Assistant Environmental Engineer, Vellore.

The two were arrested under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 on charges of having accepted bribe from the management of the Ranipet SIDCO Finished Leather Effluent Treatment Company Limited (RSFLETCL) which is running the Phase-I Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) in the SIDCO  Industrial Estate in Ranipet for refraining from taking action against the management for the
irregularities committed by it, which included unauthorised construction of the Secure Land Fill (SLF) within the premises of the CETP.

Their arrest was a sequel to the arrest of the Managing Director and other functionaries of RSFLETCL in the wake of the death by drowning of 10 workers sleeping in an adjoining tannery when the wall of the SLF containing the toxic slurry in the CETP collapsed resulting in the flooding of the adjoining
tannery with the slurry on January 31.
read more.
THEHINDU

20150421 * Exporters need more policy support:

The recent foreign trade policy has some positives.
However, inverted duty structure is a cause for bother

India’s Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) 2015-20 sets an ambitious target of $900 billion in merchandise and services export by 2020.

Which means, exports of goods and services must grow at CAGR of over 15 per cent in the next five years to double from its current levels of $ 450 billion.
The new FTP seems to be guided by the following considerations: keeping tabs on how much money goes out on account of export incentives given the fiscal constraints; WTO obligations to phase out export subsidies; linking the FTP to the Make in India initiative; and improving FTAs utilisation in trade.
read more.
THEHINDUBUSINESS

20150421 * ‘Demographic dividend’ is not a given:

If India is to replace China as a labour-intensive manufacturing hub, human capital has to be nurtured

Browsing Indian economic news on the internet and watching it on the television can be a surreal experience.

Economic news in India is dominated by ups and downs in the share market, minutiae about winners and losers of changes in taxation rates and subsidy policies, visionary statements of people in power about India’s potential growth rate, to name some.
Discussions about unemployment, which shapes debates about the state of the economy in the UK, my country of residence, are remarkably low-key.
read more.
THEHINDUBUSINESS

ez grijs

20150421 * ‘Over 50% of land acquired for SEZs between 2006 and 2013 lie unused’:

Much is being said about the new land acquisition law and the amendments proposed by the NDA government to make it easier for industry and public-private partnership projects.

However, a study carried out by Comptroller and Auditor General last year on land acquired by the Centre between 2006 and 2013 – the period during which UPA was in power — reveals that a land mass as big as thrice the size of Noida was acquired under the Special Economic Zone policy but more than half of it had not been put to use.

The CAG study, part of its performance audit report tabled in Parliament last year, said ever since the notification of the SEZ Act, land covering 60,375 hectares or roughly 600 sq km has been acquired, out of which only 28,488 hectares became operational till last year.

The study finds that 31,886 hectares allotted to SEZs had not been put to use, which constituted 53% of total land acquired by the government though the approvals and notifications that date back to 2006.

West Bengal and Odisha did not use at least 96% of the land acquired for this purpose. Maharashtra had idle SEZ land of up to 70% of what was acquired, and best performers Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh had the figures at 48%.
read more.
TOInew

20150420 * Indian farmers rally against easing land bill:

Tens of thousands of flag-waving farmers rallied in India’s capital yesterday to protest a government plan to ease rules for obtaining land for industry and development projects.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said existing rules, established in 2013 to protect land owners from land grabbing and forced relocation, were creating obstacles that were spooking investors. He and industrial leaders say the rules should be simplified to entice foreign business and boost manufacturing in India.

Rights activists, labor unions and many among India’s hundreds of millions of farmers say the changes effectively trample the rights of the poor. They accuse Modi of catering to corporate interests.

“With the single-minded agenda of kneeling before the corporates … this government has shown that it simply does not care for the poor and toiling people, for our land, agriculture and nature,” the National Alliance of People’s Movements said in a statement.
read more.
SHANGHAIDAILY

20150421 * Weaving park gets award:

Palladam Hi-Tech Weaving Park, which is one of the first projects that came up under the Scheme for Integrated Textile Parks and received Rs. 22.17 crore grant from the Centre, has been recognised by the Union Ministry of Textiles for its “outstanding performance”.

Chairman and Managing Director of the park M. Senthilkumar has said in a press release that Union Minister for Textiles Santhosh Kumar Gangwar gave away the award at the “Make in India” Programme held in Surat recently.

The park has 90 weaving sheds and 400 shuttleless looms and the total investment in the park is to a tune of Rs. 360 crore, the release added.
to read.
THEHINDU

15:05:34 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

20150421 * Textile exports decline 16pc in March:

Exports of textile and clothing witnessed a negative growth of 16.23 per cent to $1.033 billion in March 2015 from $1.233bn in the same month last year, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics data showed on Monday.

The fall was witnessed for the second consecutive month, after posting a positive growth of 10.23pc in January 2015.

During the first nine months (July-March) of 2014-15, the exports of textile and clothing also witnessed a negative growth of 1.57pc.
read more.
DAWNnew

20150420 * Procurement– a hard problem for manufacturing industry:

The home textile sector, garment and towel manufacturers; all three operate under a philosophy called the ‘make-to-order manufacturing strategy.’

Together, they account for more than $10 billion of Pakistan’s exports to European and North American customers and more than 50% of the country’s total exports. They operate much like an ‘a la carte’ restaurant where each meal is prepared fresh to serve each customer’s unique culinary demand.

Large western retailers, to whom this industry sells, rely on their sophisticated software to sift through the retail data coming live from thousands of their retail outlets. The software determines which designs are selling and which ones are not.

This demands continuous inputs from designers and their procurement staff. The former modify their designs while the latter keep fine-tuning the re-order quantity of merchandise being sourced from the country.
read more.

20150421 * PTEA opposes proposed merger of textile ministry:

Textile exporters have strongly opposed the proposed merger of textile ministry into commerce ministry terming it a negative move which would hurt the pace of growth in textile exports and would push textile industry on back gear.

These apprehensions were expressed by the chairman Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) Sohail Pasha and vice chairman Rizwan Riaz Sehgal here on Monday.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

20150419 * Protest: PHMA against merger of textile ministry:

In a bid to protect the textile ministry, Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PHMA) Chairman Usman Jawaad has urged the government not to merge the ministry of textile with any other.

In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister, Jawaad urged that any such suggestion by others should be snubbed with political force.

According to Jawaad, a separate textile ministry was established after several years of struggle. Keeping in view this industry’s contribution to the gross domestic product, national economy export earning and employment, it plays a significant role in the economy.

“Many countries, including our neighbour India, have a separate textile ministry.”
read more.

20150418 * FCCI for focussing on all sectors for exports under GSP Plus to EU:

GSP Plus has played a vital role in the restoration and strengthening of Pak Economy, however, we have to fulfill the conditionalties of International Conventions and Protocols to avail from this facility on sustained and permanent basis, said Nadeem Allahwala, Senior Vice President, Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

Taking part in a Penal Discussion here today, he said that war against terror has inflicted a colossal loss to the national economy.
EU realizing the importance of Pakistan as front line country against war on terror, offered GSP Plus status to it from January, 2014.
As a result Pakistan was allowed duty free exports to the EU member countries.
read more.
thePIONEER

20150419 * PHMA chief concerned at threats to status of MINTEX:

Chairman Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PHMA) Usman Jawaad strongly condemned the possible merger of Ministry of Textile Industry (MINTEX) with another ministry, saying that it would damage the textile sector of Pakistan.

In a letter written to Prime Minister of Pakistan, he has demanded of averting any such move by the vested interest elements.
He said that a separate MINTEX was established after years’ long demand and struggle of the textile sector, keeping in view the quantum and significance of this industry as well as its contribution towards GDP, national economy, export earnings and the employment it is providing to the largest number of workers.
read more. & read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER NATIONnew

20150419 * PCGA says 11 percent increase in cotton output:

The Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) fortnightly report shows that around 1,48,63,963 cotton bales were sourced to the country”s ginners by April 15, 2015, which shows an increase of 11 percent than last year when ginneries received 1,33,90,788 bales.

PCGA Chairman Hafeez Anwar briefed journalists on Saturday about seed-cotton (phutti) arrivals, sales and unsold stock of cotton. He said that 1,39,53,063 cotton bales were sold to textile units and exporters bought 4,75,174 bales.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER NATIONnew DAWNnew thenewspk

20150418 * Fire prevention PHMEA holds training:

Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PHMEA) in collaboration with Smeda and BFZ organised a one-day training programme on fire prevention and safe handling of chemicals to enhance the knowledge of industry.

In this training programme, different companies participated and learned about types of fire, how to prevent fire and if in case of accident how to control it.
to read.
BUSINESSRECORDER

20150420 * Leather export down by 1.63% in eight months:

The leather sector has registered a decline of 1.63 percent in its export during the first eight months of the ongoing fiscal year, while regional countries of China, India and Bangladesh registered increase of 4, 18 and 32 percent, respectively, in their leather exports.

Chairman, Pakistan Tanners Association (PTA), Muhammad Musaddiq, expressed concern over downward trend in leather exports despite GSP Plus status and asked the government to take measures for containing decline in exports of the value-added leather industry.

He said that major hurdles of the dwindling leather industry, which needs preferential attention for its revival, are depreciation of the local currency and increase in the cost of doing business.
read more.
NATIONnew

201504120 * Suggestion: A fairer Pakistan with women-only workplaces:

What do Asma Jahangir, Bapsi Sidwa, Hadiqa Kiyani and Shaheed Benazir Bhutto have in common? All of them attended women’s-only colleges – and sometimes women’s-only schools as well. Add Hillary Clinton, Nancy Reagan, Madeleine Albright, Jhumpa Lahiri, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy but, the list remains endless.

Regardless of their fields, these women went on to achieve significant worldly success therein. There are numerous studies, in America at least, that indicate women who study at women’s-only institutions are more accomplished than those from co-ed colleges.

These women are just more comfortable in their own skin – pun unintended.

Imagine extrapolating this optimistic environment.

Counterparts, not copies
Women have been around, well, as long as men have. Yet, the flux and transitioning around women’s participation is just as fiery today.

The reality is that women and men are different. Redundant as this statement seems, few find it politically palatable. Equitable; counterparts – but not copies.

Maybe, it’s that corporate structures and their emerging organograms – that this article is anchored around – are still new in the span of human history. For these historically nascent structures, and beyond, may we humbly suggest the following — women to have their own spaces.

Controversial as it may sound, as a global woman-citizen who’s empowered by any definition, I can certainly say this.

Protected participation: safety first
Protected this inclusion of women must be.
Around 53% women were bold enough to say that “a strictly enforced sexual harassment policy was their top concern”, according to the Gender Diversity in Corporate Pakistan Report 2013.
read more.

20150421 * Pakistan, China launch economic corridor:

Nawaz says corridor will transform Pakistan into a regional hub and give China a shorter and cheaper route for trade with Asia, Middle East and Africa

China and Pakistan launched a plan on Monday for energy and infrastructure projects in Pakistan worth $46 billion, linking their economies and underscoring China’s economic ambitions in Asia and beyond.

China’s President Xi Jinping arrived in Islamabad to oversee the signing of agreements aimed at establishing a China-Pakistan Economic Corridor between Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea and China’s western Xinjiang region.

The plan, which would eclipse US spending in Pakistan over the last decade or so, is part of China’s aim to forge ‘Silk Road’ land and sea ties to markets in the Middle East and Europe.
read more.  & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
& read more.
daily times PK thenewspk NATIONnew ARYnews
DAWNnew

20150421 * ‘Government should ink business visa relaxation accord with China’:

Pakistan Ready-made Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association has welcomed Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Pakistan, demanding that the authorities also sign a deal of the visa relaxation with several other important agreements.

Association Chairman Ijaz Khokhar said the premier should personally take interest to ink an agreement with China to remove the visa restriction since the local businessmen are presently facing serious issues on the release of visa for China.
read more. & read more. & read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER PAKOBSERVERnew2 thenewspk

       THE BALDIA FACTORY FIRE

20150419 * Families of Baldia factory:

fire victims assured of German company’s support

Families of the Baldia factory fire victims’ were assured of the German company KiK Texitilien’s, the main client of the factory, support for provision of justice as well as compensation money by a six-member delegation of the German South-Asian Parliamentary Group on Friday.

German Ambassador to Pakistan Dr Cyrill Nunn, Consul General of Germany in Karachi Dr Tilo Klinner and Consul and Deputy Head of Mission Mr Hans-Jürgen Paschke also accompanied the delegation.

The assurances came after Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) Executive Director Karamat Ali announced to pursue a case against the German company after it retracted from the initial agreement of providing long term compensation to the families.

Ali while welcoming the assurances informed of the German company’s agreement regarding the compensation to be paid to the victims’ families. “As a first step, the KiK Textilien provided $1million for immediate compensation,” which he said was disbursed by a judicial commission formed by the SHC on PILER’s request.
read more.
thenewspk

20150419 * Baldia factory fire: German lawmakers assure support to grieving families:

* Delegates say Germans are worried about condition of workers in Pakistan

A delegation of German lawmakers on Friday assured grieving families of people who lost their lives in Baldia Factory of their support to justice and compensation from German buying company KiK Textilien, main buyer of garment products from Ali Enterprises.

A six-member delegation of German-South Asian Parliamentary Group of German Parliament (Bundestag) currently on a friendship visit to Pakistan led by Niels Annen, an MP of Social Democratic Party of Germany, was keen to meet representatives of victims’ families as well as representatives of trade unions in Pakistan.

(…)
PILER Executive Director Karamat Ali said after incident, German buying company entered into an agreement with PILER victims’ families.

As a first step, KiK Textilin provided $1 million for immediate compensation for victims’ families.
PILER requested Sindh High Court to disburse amount through a judicial commission and court formed a commission headed by a former judge of the Supreme Court.

The procedure of verification was quite lengthy and commission took about a year to determine legal heirs of victims, thus entire amount was disbursed through Commission.
Besides victims’ families, the injured workers also received compensation from that money, he added.
He pointed out KiK adopted delaying tactics to provide long-term compensation to family, as earlier it had agreed in written accord.

“Keeping in view attitude of KiK, we have decided filing a case against KiK under German laws,” he said. He requested German parliamentarians to provide assistance in this regard.
read more.
daily times PK

map of asia ASIA

20150417 * the Australian Fashion Report:

It’s been two years since the fatal Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, an event which saw the lives of 1,100 factory workers tragically cut short and is now recorded as the second worst industrial accident of all time.
The event sparked the collective conscience of consumers, retailers, investors and governments to know more about the people producing our clothes and how they are treated.
The 2013 Australian Fashion Report, released in the wake of the accident, helped to shed some light on these questions by assessing the efforts of companies to protect workers in their supply chain from exploitation and the egregious practice of modern slavery, awarding each company grades from A to F.
This report updates and expands that research, adding an additional 18 companies representing over 91 brands.
Of the companies researched in our last publication, a remarkable two thirds have improved their labour rights management systems, 100% now have codes of conduct (up from 85%) and the number of companies that actively engaged with the research process has increased from 54% to 94%.
read more and download the report here.
baptistworldaid

20150417 * Australian fashion brands named and shamed over sweatshops:

Two years on from the deaths of more than 1,100 workers a new report exposes the brands that are failing to address the issue of exploitation.
Read The Weekly’s full investigation into sweatshops.

Major fashion brands including Industrie, David Lawrence and Marcs have been named and shamed for failing to prevent the exploitation of the workers who make their clothing in sweatshop conditions.

The Australian Fashion Report 2015 – which was released today – grades 219 of our most popular clothing brands on how well they trace overseas suppliers and establish systems to prevent modern slavery and unfair conditions being imposed on workers.

Low-cost brands Valley Girl, Lowes, Best & Less do not fare well either.

However, it isn’t all bad news.
Two years on from the Rana Plaza garment factory collapse, which killed more than 1,100 Bangladeshi workers making clothing for Western fashion brands, some companies are scoring “A”s for their performance.

Major high street chains Cotton On, Zara and H&M all got an A-.

The report determined cheaper labels such as Ally Fashion and Valley Girl and luxe brand Anthea Crawford all scored an F.
Wherever you shop, chances are at least some of the clothes in your wardrobe come from Bangladesh.
read more.
Women's weekly

20150417 * Do you know the naked truth about what you’re wearing?:

It’s Australian Fashion Week, and the media’s focus is on the glitz and glam of the fashion industry. Few like to ask where the clothes come from or the conditions in which they’re made, however. Life Matters takes a look at the release of the Australian Fashion Report, which rates Australian clothing brands’ standards of production from farm to factory.

Whether fashion is your passion or not, you probably know which designer or company created the clothes you’re wearing. Few of us, however, know where the fabric came from or whether the worker who stitched the hems received a living wage.

With Australian Fashion Week drawing to a close, Baptist World Aid has released their Australian Fashion Report, which aims to shed light on working conditions of the people who make the clothes Australians wear.

The first Australian Fashion Report was released in the immediate aftermath of the catastrophic Rana Plaza collapse, the factory fire which killed over 1,100 Bangladeshi garment workers, and found that most of Australia’s major brands failed in terms of policies, transparency, monitoring and training, and workers’ rights at all three stages of production: raw materials, textiles production and cut-make-trim manufacturing (CMT).
read more.
ABC au

TANZANIA – TURKEY

20150418 * Turkish business delegates show interest to invest in Tanzania agricultural and textile sector:

The business delegate from Turkey who visited Tanzania recently expressed interest in investing in Tanzanian agriculture, textile, constructions and automobile spare parts sector.

This was informed by the Alliance of Businessmen and Industrialists of Tanzania and Turkey (ABITAT). The ABITAT is also an official representative of the Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists of Turkiye (TUSKON) here in the Tanzania. TUSKON conducts several trade bridges every year that links all of its members.
read more.
ynfx

LESOTHO

* Making Waves:

“I didn’t really know what peer education was in the beginning and I wasn’t interested” says Rethabile Nkokana, who works in a footwear manufacturing company in Maputsoe, Lesotho.

Rethabile has been a HIV peer educator since 2008. This role consists of providing education on HIV and health issues, promoting condom use, counselling, and organising peer education mobilisation activities.

She continued: “When I first joined, we were encouraged by the factory nurse. I don’t know what she saw in me but she really persuaded me and said I had the potential to be a good peer educator”.

She says that she was able to convince other people to test before she was ready herself. Eventually she did her own test and encouraged her in-laws and their rural community to test by giving them information and dispelling myths about HIV. She said that these villagers now test twice a year and discrimination against people who are perceived to or live with HIV has also gone down.

“After seeing devastation and people dying, both in the factory and some of my relatives, I had a new conviction to work hard and save lives. We have come really far from where we started” says Rethabile.
read more.
bw

GLOBAL

* Solving the mystery of Aminul Islam in Bangladesh &
Has the time for Sumangali come and gone in India?:

In the Behind The Thread radio-podcast:

NEWS ROUND-UP:
A quick around the world journey of the most current stories from the global garment industry.

AMINUL ISLAM:
In this episode of Behind The Thread, we talk with Ananta Yusuf of The Daily Star in Bangladesh about the 3-year investigation into the 2012 death of noted labor activist Aminul Islam, why it has taken so long, and how his family is taking the search for justice into their own hands.

On April 5, 2012, authorities in Bangladesh found the body of prominent labor leader and union activist Aminul Islam on the side of a road north of Dhaka.
Three years later, the investigation into his death remains unsolved, with his widow and family setting out on their own quest for justice.
Ananta Yusuf, writer with The Daily Star newspaper, takes us inside the case.

SUMANGALI:
Plus, Indian human rights activist takes us behind the scenes into the ages-old Sumangali scheme and looks at whether or not its time has come and gone.

Sumangali translates to “happily married woman” in the Tamil language, though in reality, it is an age-old labor practice in India that some say has been used as justification for forcing young girls to work in abusive situations.
Indian human rights activist M.A. Britto takes us inside the world of Sumangali and helps us separate fact from fiction.
listen the radio-podcast.
behindthethread

20150420 * Who’s Really Paying for Our Cheap Clothes?:

Can the fast fashion industry ever truly be sustainable?

Earlier this month, H&M released its 110-page Conscious Action Sustainability Report, its 13th annual review of its green practices and efforts towards fair wages within its factories.

Although many of its figures and initiatives are commendable (e.g. its in-store recycling program brought in around 13,000 tons of clothing; it aims to use 80 percent renewable electricity by year’s end; it’s inspecting more textile suppliers in order to improve working conditions), environmental and social advocates have pointed out some of the report’s inconsistencies.

First, Quartz shed light on the Swedish fashion giant’s use of cotton. While the company is the world’s number-one user of organic cotton, only 13.7 percent of the cotton H&M uses is organic.
As we mentioned before, cotton is one of the most toxic crops in the world.
The Organic Consumers Association says that cotton uses more than 25 percent of all the insecticides in the world and 12 percent of all the pesticides.
Cotton is also incredibly water-intensive.
The World Wildlife Fund says it takes 20,000 liters of water to produce one kilogram of cotton—the equivalent of a single T-shirt and a pair of jeans.

And although Greenpeace East Asia called H&M one of its leaders in their Detox Catwalk report last month for eliminating toxic perfluorinated chemicals in its products and banning the use of endocrine disrupting APs/APEOs and phthalates during manufacturing, the whole buy-and-discard mentality of fast fashion has been called into question.

As Quartz pointed out, H&M manufactures at least 600 million items annually for its 3,200 stores around the world, and that’s not even including its thousands of subsidiary brand stores, such as COS.
The fashion chain also plans to open a net total of 400 new H&M stores and nine new online markets this year alone.

Fast fashion and e-commerce have presented people with more shopping choices than ever before, in turn causing more waste as more and more clothes are being discarded for new items. In fact, the average U.S. citizen tosses around 70 pounds of clothing and other textiles a year.
read more.
ecowatch

* Workers in Asean: A race to the bottom again?:

The Asean region is about to enter one of its most ambitious integration schemes with the launch of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) in December.

Despite the partial nature of the economic integration, it will significantly transform interactions between member countries.
As the deadline approaches, concerns arise not only on whether Asean members are ready, but also on whether plans of regulating specific issues proposed under Asean social initiatives will stall further after the establishment of the AEC.

This is particularly true with regards to Asean’s effort to come up with a legally binding instrument to protect the rights of migrant workers under the Asean framework.

Although Asean achieved a milestone with the 2007 Cebu Declaration for the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers, negotiations stalled in 2008.
Preparations under the AEC have shifted the focus toward an Asean legally binding instrument for migrant workers’ protection.

This condition is particularly important given AEC’s support of freer movement of skilled labour that will shift skilled jobs away from countries, deepening the gap in skills among Asean members.
The establishment of the AEC has been agreed upon by Asean members since 2003 under Asean’s Vision 2020, which implied that the AEC would start in 2020.
read more. & read more.
theNATIONnew jakartapost

 

 

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

HEADLINES:

CHINA
* China’s growing labour movement offers hope for workers globally
* 7 trends that will shape China’s supply chain
* Documentary ‘Cotton’ records workers’ hardships
EZ (economic zones):
* Industrial park to boost Beijing’s creative industries
* Curbs on foreign investment cut for four FTZs
* Detailed plans for four PFTZs announced
* China To Launch Three New Free-Trade Zones

NORTH KOREA
* S. Korea to punish firms who bowed to North’s wage pressure
* S.Korea, DPRK still in deadlock on wage hike for economic zone
* Kaesong entrepreneurs face overdue wages for N. Korean workers

VIET NAM
* Labourers’ role key to socio-economic success
* Q1 textile, garment exports fail to meet high expectations
* Important trade pacts to be signed in 2015
* Vietnam, Thailand team up to form supply chains
* A Race to the Bottom: Trans-Pacific Partnership and Nike in Vietnam

CAMBODIA
* Pass the union law: Hun Sen
* Workers return from holiday to closed factory
* Hun Sen reiterates policy to increase wage for workers, civil servants
* Labour day: Unions, CPP promote factory ties
* Minister lays out garments’ impact
* Cambodia has 1,087 garment, shoe factories with 700,000 workers: minister

MALAYSIA
* Russia, ASEAN States May Sign Free Trade Deals – Vice-Premier

INDONESIA
* Sritex, Tokopedia Shorlisted on WEF’s Global Elite Companies
* Sritex set capital expenditure of US$245mn to increase production capacity

BANGLADESH
* Hundreds of workers of two garment factories
* RMG workers besiege BGMEA Bhaban protesting at closure of factories
* Jute mill workers stage agitations for 5pt demands
* JS sub-committee to probe job cuts by Bata Shoe
* Where do we stand 2 years after Rana Plaza?
* Female garment workers not much aware of sexual, reproductive health
* Call to address RMG workers’ reproductive health
* Most RMG workers brought under healthcare
* Garment factory official robbed of Tk 426,000
* Rising demand for low-cost denim offers a boon for BD
* Looming crisis of skills
* HC asks for risky RMG factories list
* Workplace safety to ensure a better future for apparel sector
* BGMEA to seek tax-free import for garment village factories in budget
* BGMEA wants VAT-free safety equipment import
* BanglaAccord Monthly Update April 2015
* North American buyers to work together with BD RMG cos
* Centre of excellence for RMG sector takes off today
* Canada: the next big buyer of garment
* Post-Rana Plaza initiatives and sustainability of the RMG sector
* RMG set to march ahead despite past tragedies
* Ensuring efficient water use in industries
* SECRET CAMERA RECORDINGS REVEAL BENETTON MANAGERS DEFENDING CHILD LABOUR IN BANGLADESH
EZ (economic zones):
* Govt to set up special economic zone, RMG industrial park: Tofail
* China to set up RMG industrial park in Munshiganj
* Broadening bonded facility to BSCIC zones suggested
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE:
* 50 claims made by Rana Plaza victims still remain unresolved
* RMG workers, labour leaders demand highest punishment of Sohel Rana
* 70% of Rana Plaza compensation payments complete
* Rana Plaza collapse: HC seeks progress report on trial proceedings
* Human remains found in Rana Plaza debris
* Compensation still eludes victims
* Compensation still eludes Rana Plaza victims
* Benetton doubles compensation for Rana Plaza victims
* Benetton to pay $1.1m into Rana Plaza trust fund
* CCC believes Benetton’s 1.1 million USD contribution insufficient
* Reactive Statement: Benetton pays $1.1 million into Rana Plaza compensation fund
* Avaaz response to the announcement of Benetton on compensation for Rana Plaza victims
* Benetton Group Doubles Compensation for Rana Plaza Trust Fund Recommended by Independent Assessors
* Rana Plaza: rallies in Bangladesh as victims await compensation
* Rana Plaza: a lesson forgotten?

INDIA
* Settle power loom workers’ wage revision issue amicably: CPI(M)
* Unemployment, root cause of social unrest: trade union leader
* Modi, Naidu on same page to dilute labour laws: CITU
* HMS leader sees labour consolidation
* Trade unions should focus on improving workers’ condition
* Multi-stakeholder initiative planned for textile sector
* Efforts on to revive Komalapuram spinning mill
* Textile mills in Telangana seek govt help for cotton supplies
* Good response to cotton auction
* Symbol of handloom sector’s struggle
* CETP tragedy: TNPCB officials bail plea dismissed
* Exporters need more policy support
* ‘Demographic dividend’ is not a given:
EZ (economic zones):
* ‘Over 50% of land acquired for SEZs between 2006 and 2013 lie unused’
* Indian farmers rally against easing land bill
* Weaving park gets award

PAKISTAN
* Textile exports decline 16pc in March
* Procurement– a hard problem for manufacturing industry:
* PTEA opposes proposed merger of textile ministry
* Protest: PHMA against merger of textile ministry
* FCCI for focussing on all sectors for exports under GSP Plus to EU
* PHMA chief concerned at threats to status of MINTEX
* PCGA says 11 percent increase in cotton output
* Fire prevention PHMEA holds training
* Leather export down by 1.63% in eight months
* Suggestion: A fairer Pakistan with women-only workplaces
* Pakistan, China launch economic corridor
* ‘Government should ink business visa relaxation accord with China’
THE BALDIA FACTORY FIRE:
* Families of Baldia factory
* Baldia factory fire: German lawmakers assure support to grieving families

ASIA
* the Australian Fashion Report
* Australian fashion brands named and shamed over sweatshops
* Do you know the naked truth about what you’re wearing?

TANZANIA-TURKEY
* Turkish business delegates show interest to invest in Tanzania agricultural and textile sector

LESOTHO
* Making Waves

GLOBAL
* Solving the mystery of Aminul Islam in Bangladesh &
Has the time for Sumangali come and gone in India?
* Who’s Really Paying for Our Cheap Clothes?
* Workers in Asean: A race to the bottom again?

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