in the news 24-28 April 2015

20:35:34 local time map of china CHINA

20150424 * China issues new regulations to protect workers at risk of occupational disease:

New regulations on occupational health check-ups, which go into effect on 1 May, could give workers in hazardous professions greater protection from occupational disease as well as the legal tools they need to ensure that employers, hospitals and local governments respect workers’ interests.

Occupational disease is a huge problem in China with an estimated six million workers suffering from the deadly lung disease pneumoconiosis.
Many other workers are routinely exposed to radiation, chemical toxins and heavy metals.
All too often, these workers are unaware of their disease until it is too late because they never once had a medical check-up as required by law.
read more.
CHINA LABOR Bulletin

20150426 * China-led research team sequences cotton genome:

A joint biological research team led by Chinese scientists has completed genome sequencing of cultivated upland cotton, a new breakthrough in cotton genome studies.

The research sequenced and assembled the genome (AtDt) of gossypium hirsutum, an important fiber crop cultivated worldwide, providing insights into the genomic evolution of the cotton, the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) said on Saturday.

The results will not only support multiple areas of cotton study but also speed up seed selection, said Li Fuguang, one of the researchers.

The research was completed with the combined effort of scientists from several organizations, including Peking University, BGI-Shenzhen, Wuhan University and Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center under the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
to read. & to read.
CHINAORG SHANGHAIDAILY

21:35:34 local time map of korea_n NORTH KOREA

20150427 * S.Korea struggles to resolve wage issue with DPRK in economic zone:

South Korea is struggling to resolve the wage hike issue with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) for workers employed by South Korean companies in the Kaesong industrial complex as the DPRK-proposed deadline went by last week.

Unification Ministry spokesman Lim Byeong-cheol told a press briefing Monday that the South Korean side plans to consult with the DPRK on the wage increase issue though detailed schedules had to be fixed yet.

Lim said the government will make utmost efforts to have consultations with the North side, with its focus on the written guarantee that the DPRK called on South Korean companies running factories in Kaesong to sign.

The row over the wage hike came as the DPRK unilaterally decided in February to raise minimum wage for DPRK workers in the inter-Korean factory park in Kaesong, just north of the inter- Korean land border.
read more.
GLOBALTIMES

19:35:34 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

20150428 * Crooked bosses steal workers’ wages:

Hundreds of workers have lost months of wages and insurance protection after their employers disappeared, leaving them without pay or jobs, with authorities struggling to curb what is perceived to be a growing problem.

On April 17, 300 workers at Outdoor Co. in HCM City discovered their bosses had closed operations without informing them, disappeared with their wages and not paid their insurance.

The workers approached authorities to intercede, after which the owners promised to make good with unpaid wages.

But at Bach Hop Co., workers discovered the owners had disappeared owing them three-month wages, and had not paid more than VND500m worth of insurance. of insurance. Authorities had been unable to find the owners.
read more.
DTI

(Bach Hop Co. LTD. Manufacturing Technologies is a fabric textile and garment manufacturer located in District 12 of Ho Chi Mihn city in Vietnam)

20150427 * Workers refuse dormitories in City:

Managements of many industrial parks and export processing zones in HCM City have built dormitories for employees, but only a small fraction of the workers choose to stay in these places.

According to the HCM City EPZ Authority (HEPZA), 14 dormitories have been built at eight IPs and EPZs since 2006 to provide accommodation for around 18,000 employees.
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VNNews new VOVonline

20150427 * Vietnam, EU speed up FTA negotiations:

Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang and European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom sought to boost Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations during their working session in Kuala Lumpur on April 25. 

The meeting was held on the sidelines of the 26th ASEAN Summit in Malaysia.

They touched upon the final package of the negotiations involving market opening alongside management rules and regulations concerning intellectual property rights.

Hoang urged the EU to create favourable conditions for Vietnam’s key export products, for example, textile and garment, footwear, farming goods and seafood, to enter its markets. He also committed to opening doors for European enterprises in Vietnam.
read more. & read more.
DTI VIETNAMplus

20150426 * India eyes $300mn garment-textile industrial park near Ho Chi Minh City:

India is planning to establish a US$300 million industrial park specializing in garment and textile material production near the southern Vietnamese economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City, local media quoted a senior leader of the Synthetic and Rayon Textiles Export Promotion Council of India (SRTEPC) as saying earlier this month.

“It is the efforts of Indian companies to take the initiative of the Trans-Pacific Partnership [TPP] trade deal which will offer a boost to the local garment and textile industry,” Vinod K. Ladia, chairman of the SRTEPC, said at the Indian Textile Exhibition 2015 (Intexpo) at the Tan Binh Exhibition and Convention Center in Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City.

According to Ladia, the new industrial park will focus on producing products related to textile and fabric materials.

It will also accommodate manufacturers making products for large orders for Indian exports to Vietnam in the fields of healthcare, household appliances, and furniture.
read more.
TUOITREnews

19:35:34 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

20150428 * Management reaches deal with strikers:

About 150 striking workers from a Japanese-owned garment factory in Svay Rieng province yesterday ended a nearly 10-day work stoppage after marching to the provincial hall and negotiating with factory officials.

Workers at Nissey Factory in the Bavet Special Economic Zone made 16 demands, including an end to forced overtime and allowing workers to eat lunch at the factory, worker representative Pich Khemara said.

Nissey workers had previously filed a petition to the provincial hall for assistance but to no avail, Khemara added.

“We filed a petition once, but they turned a deaf ear . . . So we had to file it one more time to remind officials at provincial hall”.

When the group marched on the hall and filed the petition yesterday, officials summoned employees and employer representatives to hash out their dispute.
read more.
PPP new

20150427 * Garment Association Re-Elects Chairman, Approves Term Limit:

The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) re-elected Van Sou Ieng as chairman—a position he has held for nearly two decades—at its annual general meeting on Saturday but approved a new two-term limit on the two-year post.

GMAC Secretary-General Ken Loo said the 25-member executive committee was also voted on and saw an additional member added to make sure the association’s European-owned factories were fairly represented. All but six of them were on the committee already.

“The committee is analogous to the board of a company,” Mr. Loo said. “It has all the power to decide the direction of GMAC.”

It has been a tumultuous two years for Cambodia’s $6-billion garment export industry, which contributes about a third of the country’s gross domestic product.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

20150427 * Kingdom to export crocodile skins:

Cambodia will export 1,000 crocodile skins to France next month in a pilot project that, if successful, will look to increase the sale of skins to the EU, according to a Siem Reap crocodile farmers association representative.

Sen Rith, deputy president of the Association of Cambodian Crocodile Farm Development to Siem Reap and owner of a crocodile farm in the province, said Cambodian skins were gaining preference with international buyers due to the Kingdom’s record of protecting wild crocodiles and only using farmed crocodiles.

“They are interested to buy crocodile skins from us because our skins are softer,” he said.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
PPP new XINHUAnet KHMERTIMES CAMHERALD

20150425 * BetterFactories Media Updates, 24 April 2015, Union Asks Embassy to Investigate Factory:

* To read in the printed edition of  the Cambodia Daily:
2015-04-24 Union Asks Embassy to Investigate Factory

* To read in the printed edition of  the Phnom Penh Post:
2015-04-24 Union asks Japanese to examine ‘assaults’

* BetterFactories Media Updates Overview here.
BF NEW

20:35:34 local time map of malaysia MALAYSIA

20150427 * After minimum wage talks fail, workers union places last hope in Najib:

Consultative Council could not come to a consensus on a new minimum wage for private sector employees, the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) is banking on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to fix the ceiling rate at RM1,200 per month.

MTUC secretary-general N. Gopal Kishnam said the council failed to agree on an acceptable sum for an increased minimum wage despite holding three meetings.

“We now hope the prime minister will make an announcement in his Labour Day message to fix the minimum wage at RM1,200 until the end of next year,” Gopal Kishnam told The Malaysian Insider.

He hoped that the government would also compel employers to pay another RM300 per month as a cost of living allowance (Cola).

“Employers will have no choice but to pay once the government has made its stand,” Gopal Kishnam said, adding that he believed that the Human Resources Minister would have briefed the Cabinet on what transpired at the council.
read more.
Mal-Insider

20150427 * MTUC’s May Day wish: RM1,200 minimum wage:

Union turns to Prime Minister Najib Razak to make its wish come true on Friday.

Talks on a new minimum wage have failed after the National Wages Consultative Council had met for the third time and the unions were now turning to Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) secretary-general N Gopal Krishnam said they want the government to fix the minimum wage at RM1,200 per month and are hoping Prime Minister Najib Razak would announce it on Labour Day this Friday.

The minimum wage for private sector workers was set in January 2013 at RM900 for Peninsular Malaysia and RM800 in Sabah and Sarawak. It must be reviewed every two years under the Minimum Wages Order 2012.
read more.
FREEMALAYSIATODAY

20:35:34 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

20150427 * Police Expect Up to 170,000 Labor Day Protesters in Jakarta:

‘We have no intention to topple the government,’ union leader says

More than 170,000 workers are expected to join Labor Day rallies on the streets of Jakarta this year , the chief of National Police has said, while a Jakarta Police spokesman cited a far lower estimate.

“Just like the previous years, they [the workers] will be gathering at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle, the National Monument [both in Central Jakarta] and Bung Karno Stadium [in Senayan, South Jakarta],” the chief of National Police, Gen. Badrodin Haiti, said on Monday after a meeting with labor union representatives.
(…)
Andi Gani Nena Wea, president of the Confederation of All-Indonesia Workers Unions (KSPSI), said the main focus of the rallies would be to demand higher wages and the elimination of the outsourcing system.
read more. & read more.
jak-globe XINHUAnet

19:35:34 local time map of thailand THAILAND

20150427 * Somyot’s appeal:

The campaign website has been quiet for a while in response to the pressure put on local activists. We are now focussing on the 30th April 2015 which is the 4 year anniversary of Somyot’s incarceration.

We ask you to send an email to the Thai Supreme Court requesting that Somyot’s appeal be heard.
read more.
4YEARS

20150427 * 4 long years: send your letter of support today:

Please submit this letter to librarianbangkokprison@yahoo.co.uk and we will submit directly to the Thai Supreme Court.

Thai Supreme Court
Bangkok, Thailand

Dear Sirs,

I am writing to you in connection with the continued detention of Somyot Prueksakasemsuk who has been serving a prison sentence for the last four years.

A longtime campaigner for labour rights and democracy, Somyot has been in jail since April 2011 on lèse majesté charges..
He is charged only with the “publication and dissemination” of two articles in the journal Voice of Thaksin, of which he was the acting editor but not the legal publisher.
The charge sheet alleges that he thereby “dared to defame, insult, or threaten His Majesty King Bhumipol Adulyadej of the Kingdom of Thailand”.
Throughout this process he has been denied a fair trial and right to bail.
read more.
4YEARS

20150427 * Update from Thailand Part 1:

The 30 April will mark the fourth anniversary of the deprivation of freedom of the red-shirt political magazine editor, sentenced to 10 years in jail for articles he did not write. His wife has been very supportive and has become an active campaigner against Article 112.

It has been four years since he was detained on 30 April 2011.

There are probably few editors in modern history who have been arrested and detained for ten years for articles they did not write. The court of first instance found him guilty under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, known as the lèse majesté law, for publishing two articles he did not write. The appeal court confirmed the verdict.

This is part of the verdict from the Court of First Instance:
read more.
4YEARS

20150427 * Update from Thailand Part 2:

This is the transcript of an interview carried out by Prachatai news with Somyot’s wife, Joop, on International Women’s Day.

Several international organisations have been actively campaigning for Somyos and freedom of expression, but are there organisations in the country engaged in this, such as labour or media organisations? There has been some argument about whether he qualifies as a member of the media or not. Do they consider Somyos’ case at all?

Actually, this [campaign] should have started at the domestic level first, but the situation is not like that, because in Thailand, organisations differ greatly in terms of ideas and they do not stick to [democratic and human rights] principles either. The imprisonment of people who produce books or media for example is not right at all on principle.
Therefore, if every organisation stuck to its principles, they should have started movements or campaigns against this.
However, in Thailand Somyos was prejudged as being linked to Thaksin and his magazine as being sponsored by Thaksin because its title was ‘Voice of Thaksin’. He therefore deserved to be prosecuted and punished.
read more.
4YEARS

20150427 * Exporters face an array of problem, want help:

Thai exporters have relayed various problems to the Commerce Ministry – chiefly non-tariff barriers, labour issues, and their low competitiveness – and have called on the government to help them solve the problems promptly warning that Thai shipments will continue to slump.

They said action was needed to give Thai shipments a competitive edge over rivals.
(…)
In the industry sector, most Thai shipments have taken a hit after losing tax privileges when the EU cut the Generalised System of Preferences for Thai products early this year.

Many industries have faced a shortage of labour, higher production costs, and production moving to other countries.
read more.
theNATIONnew

19:05:34 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

20150425 * Speaker demands minimum wage:

The Speaker of the Lower House, Thura Shwe Mann, told the Ministry of Labour to set a minimum wage as quickly as possible at a meeting with employers and employees from Hlaingthaya industrial zone held at Kanaung Hall, Yangon, on April 24. 

The deputy minister for labour, employment and social welfare, Win Maw Tun, said a draft of the minimum wage bill would be released at the end of May.

There were five levels to set for a minimum wage: one for the entire country, another for states and regions, a level for different types of work, like garment and industrial labour, another according to the skills involved and one according to the priority of work, said Win Maw Tun.
read more. & read more.
Eleven MIZZAMA new

20150425 * Speaker tells workers to find better way to approach superiors:

No one could give Parliament orders, Lower House Speaker Thura Shwe Mann told a meeting of workers and business owners in Hlaingthaya Township on April 24.
A representative of workers submitted a letter which included calls for amendments to the 2011 Labour Organisation Law and the Settlement of Labour Dispute Law.
Although what they suggested was good, there were weaknesses in their letter, Thura Shwe Mann said, adding that the workers needed a better way of approaching someone who was superior to them.
“We cannot amend the law or reconsider it as they have said. The Speaker cannot promise amendments. We will consider whether the law can be amended. No one can put pressure on the Parliament,” he said.
read more.
Eleven

18:35:34 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

20150427 * Seven women apparel workers injured in police firing in N’ganj:

Police firing on apparel workers’ sit-in injured 15 women apparel workers in Fatullah of Narayanganj on Sunday.

Among the injured, seven sustained bullet wounds, said workers and doctors.
They were taken to Khanpur General Hospital.

Garments Sramik Trade Union Narayanganj district unit president MA Shahin said some 400 workers of Jabbar Fashion Garments in East Isdair of Fatulla were staging a sit-in in demand of their outstanding salaries on Sunday morning in front of the factory, which was shut down without prior notice on April 16.

At about 9am, police asked the protesters to leave the place, triggering a heated exchange among them.
At one stage, police started charging batons and firing gunshots on the protesters, leaving at least 15 injured.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

20150426 * Workers in Khulna to block highways April 29:

Workers of state-owned jute mills of Khulna-Jessore industrial belt have decided to put up barricades on highways and railways from 10:00am till 12:00 noon on April 29 to press home their five-point demand. 

The decision came from a rally held Friday afternoon at Khalishpur.
Their five-point demand include payment of dues and benefits, allocation of fund in the next budget to buy raw jute, payment of twenty per cent dearness allowance, removal of corrupt officials and formation of wages commission board for workers.
to read.
NEWAGEnew

20150427 * 100 RMG workers hospitalised:

Over one hundred workers of a garment factory were hospitalised as they fell sick after drinking the factory’s tap water at Nolam in Ashulia on the outskirts of the capital on Sunday morning.

The management of Global Attire Ltd, which owns the factory, suspended operation of the factory for the day after the incident.
The sick workers were admitted to different local hospitals and clinics, including Gonoshasthyakendra Hospital in Nabinagar of Ashulia, said MA Karim Rana, head of human resources and administration and complaints department of the factory.
read more. & read more.
NEWAGEnew the DAILYSTAR new 2015

20150426 * 100 Ashulia RMG workers fall sick after drinking water:

Some 100 workers fell sick after drinking water at a garment factory at Nalam in Ashulia area here on Sunday morning.

Sources said the workers of Global ATR Limited factory fell sick as they drank water from the supply line of the factory in the morning.
Later, the ailing workers were admitted to Ganasastho Kendro Hospital.
The production manager of the garment factory refused to make any comment to journalists.
to read.  & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
& read more.
UNBnew  the DAILYSTAR new 2015 DHAKATRIBUNE INDEPENDENT newsbangladesh dailyboserverbd
FE bd

20150428 * Alliance starts fresh inspection at listed RMG units after quake:

Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety has started fresh inspection at its listed garment factories following the complaints from the workers immediately after the Saturday’s earthquake.

The Alliance is mindful of the impacts an earthquake of the magnitude of 7.8 that hit Kathmandu can have on structures like ready-made-garment (RMG) factories in Bangladesh, the North American buyers’ brands initiative said in a statement.

“Fresh inspections must now be executed to ensure the structural safety of factories, and we have assembled a team of structural engineers, led by our Chief Safety Officer, to visit each building where there is a concern within the next 48 hours,” it added.
read more.
FE bd

20150427 * Quake prompts Alliance to go for fresh inspections:

The North American brands and retailers’ group has decided to conduct fresh inspections of their listed readymade garment factories to ensure the structural safety of the units after an earthquake and its aftershocks jolted the country on Saturday.

The platform, Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, has assembled a team of structural engineers to visit each building where there is a concern.

The Alliance in a news release on Sunday said the earthquake and its aftershocks should be taken as an indication of just how difficult it could be to ensure the structural safety of buildings in an earthquake zone.

Although the Alliance has not seen immediate damage at their listed readymade garment factories in Bangladesh, the initiative think that does not mean that those buildings are structurally sound following the aftershocks.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

20150427 * Three bldgs closed, quake-panicked RMG workers injured in scramble:

Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) closed three buildings on Saturday in Narayanganj finding workers’ safety at risk, officials said.

The three buildings that accommodated more than a dozen factories mainly produced apparel products including hosiery, knitwear and shirt collars for the local market.

“We have closed the buildings due to cracks found there. It might have occurred due to the earthquakes,” DIFE Inspector (Narayanganj) Farhana Kabir told the FE.

Being informed by Police that the buildings tilted, the DIFE with concerned magistrate sealed the three buildings, she said adding there was also existence of cracks.

One building at the holding number 65/14, Nayamati, Narayanganj, housed about 16 factories, she said adding most of them did not even have a name and they produced hosiery and other products.

When asked she said the factories were announced closed immediately after the earthquake and they could not get detailed information about the remaining two buildings-holding number 65/20 and 65/22.
read more.
FE bd

20150426 * Over 200 RMG workers injured during quake:

More than 200 workers of at least 15 garment factories in Savar have been injured while trying to leave their workplaces during the earthquake that jolted the country on Sunday afternoon.

The injured workers have been admitted to local clinics and hospitals.

Ashulia Industrial Police Director Mustafizur Rahman told the Dhaka Tribune that the panic-stricken workers were injured while rushing out of their factories.

Following the incident, most of the garment factories in Savar have been declared closed for the day.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

20150426 * Tremor panic hits RMG production:

An earthquake that jolted the country just past Saturday noon hampered production in about 50 per cent readymade garment factories across the country, said industry people.

The authorities in many factories had to suspend their operations as their workers, who rushed out of the factories for safety, did not come back in the consequence of the tremor aftershock, they said.
A day after the second anniversary of shocking Rana Plaza building collapse that killed scores of garment workers the quake sent a shockwave among the factory employees.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

20150425 * 1-3 dead, 100 injured in Savar:

A worker died and about 100 people, mostly women, were injured when a stampede broke out at an apparel factory in Karnapara area of Savar, outskirts of capital Dhaka, on Saturday noon as earthquakes created panic there.

Of the inured, 20 people were in critical condition, said physicians. Neither the deceased nor the injured could be identified immediately.

Sources said that panic griped among the workers of Al Muslim Group when the quake jolted the country around 12:11pm.

As several thousands workers tried to escape the building altogether, leading to break out a stampede that left nearly 100 people injured.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
banglanews24NEW DHAKATRIBUNE FE bd dailyboserverbd

20150425 * Two die, many injured as quake hits Bangladesh:

A moderate tremor rattled Dhaka and other parts of the country leaving two women dead and more than hundred people injured and buildings leaned slightly Saturday noon.

A number of 30 to 40 workers of an apparel factory, Natal International, located at Ishwardi Export Processing Zone were also injured and fell sick as they were moving hurriedly to come out from the factory building.
Most of them took primary treatment from Ishwardi Upazila Health Complex. A crack was found in the factory during the quake and it sparked panic among them, victims claimed.
Md Ruhul Amin, general manager of Ishwardi EPZ denied the claim.
(…)
In Savar, at least 60 workers were hurt while rushing out from an apparel factory.
The injured were taken to the nearby clinic while 52 of them were admitted to Enam Medical College Hospital.
Witnesses said panic gripped among one thousand workers in the 10-storey building of Al Muslim Group at Ulail when the tremor shook the building.
Rozina, a worker of the factory, said,‘They were rushing towards the exit as they thought their building was going to collapse.’
Later, around 500 hundred workers of the factory blocked the Dhaka-Aricha highway for an hour as rumour of death of a worker spread out among them.
(….)
In Comilla, at least 43 workers of an apparel factory were injured while they attempted to get out of the factory building being panicked in Comilla EPZ.
read more.& read more.& read more. & read more. & read more.
NEWAGEnew the DAILYSTAR new 2015 newsbangladesh bdnews24 BSSnew

20150425 * Japan to make earthquake resistant RMG units:

Japan government has taken an initiative to make vulnerable building of the country’s garments factories safe for the RMG workers through conducting retrofitting, a technology to make vulnerable building jolt resistant,
reports BSS.

“Japanese technology and experience to make building earthquake resistance can help Bangladesh to strengthen its vulnerable RMG buildings for avoiding any tragic incident like Rana plaza in future,” Senior Representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Hiroyuki Tomita said at a seminar in the capital yesterday.
read more. & read more.
INDEPENDENT NEWAGEnew

20150425 * JICA to provide assistance for making vulnerable RMG buildings safe:

The Japanese government has taken an initiative to make vulnerable building of the country’s garments factories safe for the RMG workers through conducting retrofitting, a technology to make vulnerable building jolt resistant.

“Japanese technology and experience to make building earthquake resistance can help Bangladesh to strengthen its vulnerable RMG buildings for avoiding any tragic incident like Rana plaza in future,” Senior Representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Hiroyuki Tomita said in a seminar at a city hotel on Saturday.
read more. & read more. & read more.
UNBnew dailyboserverbd FE bd

20150427 * Five RMG workers suffer burn injuries in factory fire in Gazipur:

Five workers suffered burn injuries as a fire broke out in a readymade garment (RMG) factory at Palli Bidyut in Chandra area in Kaliakoir upazila on Monday morning.

Three of the five injured were identified as Fazlu, Rehena, Yasin.
Fire service officials said the fire broke out in the compressor room of Tory Fashion Ltd. of at Palli Bidyut around 6am and engulfed another room of the factory later on.

On information, two firefighing units from Kaliakoir Fire Station rushed to the spot and brought the flame under control after an hour of frantic effort.
The five workers suffered burn injuries as they were asleep in the room.
The injured were admitted to the burn unit of Dhaka Medical College and Hospital (DMCH).

The reason behind fire could not be known immediately.
read more.
UNBnew

20150426 * Up to 150,000 Bangladesh workers lost jobs after Rana Plaza safety overhaul:

Some 220 garment factories have shut down in Bangladesh with the loss of up to 150,000 jobs after the collapse of Rana Plaza shone a light on unsafe working conditions in the ready-to-wear industry, triggering a wave of inspections, according to a report on Saturday.

More than 1,100 workers were killed when the building collapsed in 2013, creating urgent demands for global retailers to do more to ensure the safety of their workers in Bangladesh, the world’s second biggest garment exporter after China.

Since then, the $24 billion industry has been in the throes of a massive safety overhaul, with more than 2,000 of 3,500 exporting factories inspected by the government or as a result of retailer-led initiatives.
read more. & read more.
ARYnews prothom

20150426 * 12,000 workers killed in Bangladesh in 9-yrs:

According to International Labour Organization (ILO) some 12,260 workers were killed and 17,183 injured in accidents in their workplaces in Bangladesh from 2005 to 2014.

Another 288 workers were died in the January-February of 2015, it added.

Assistant director of Occupational Safety, Health and Environment Foundation (OSHE) of Bangladesh M Omar Faruq on Sunday disclosed the information at National Press Club ahead of World Day for Safety and Health at Work on April 28.

M Omar Faruq addressed a seminar, organized by OSHE, on building a preventive culture of safety and health at workplaces on the day.

Highlighting the findings of ILO, Omar Faruq said around 6,400 workers around the globe sustain injuries at everyday; of around 2.3 million workers, who die every year, two million die in diseases.

“Around 313 million accidents occur due to scarcity of safety measures; 160 million workers fall sick. These cause four percent loss of world’s GDP,” he added.

He further said 8.7 percent contributions in Bangladesh’s economy come from unofficial institutions which do not have enough overseeing measures of safe working environment and health safety.
read more.
banglanews24NEW

20150424 * Not even a single factory fully safe yet: IndustriALL:

Bangladesh still cannot claim that even one of its 4,000 active garment factories is 100 percent safe two years after the Rana Plaza disaster, a global labour group said yesterday. 

“It is an unacceptable reality that not a single factory can yet be called 100 percent safe,” said IndustriALL Global Union on the eve of the second anniversary of the country’s worst-ever industrial disaster.

In a statement, it said important progress has been made but the fact that remediation works are behind schedule — with some over six months behind — is a serious problem.

The Geneva-based group called upon the garment industry to show that it has the leadership to stay the course and change the global supply chain permanently.

“The global garment industry needs to show to its consumers that it has learned its lesson and is able to move on to addressing another burning question: the poverty wages paid to workers.”

IndustriALL also rued the lack of funds needed to compensate the injured workers and the dependants of the deceased.
read more.
the DAILYSTAR new 2015

20150424 * Garment industry’s struggle not over yet two years after Rana Plaza tragedy:

RMG industry sees some good initiatives for workers’ safety, but not enough

As the dawn breaks, shanties surrounding the garment factories on the outskirts of the capital wake up.

Within an hour or so, footpaths and streets swarm with young female workers marching towards their factories.

To many the sector is a symbol of pride and hope.
Sadly to some others, it is a symbol of disgrace and source of despair.

Pride because the sector brings home $25 billion in export earnings and employs 44 lakh poor people on top of giving a solid boost to women’s empowerment.

Disgrace because its poor safety measures and working conditions, aimed at exploiting abundant cheap labour, have led to repeated deaths inside factories violating workers’ basic rights.
The collapse of Rana Plaza, which claimed lives of 1,134 garment workers on April 24 two years ago, bears testimony to this.

Trade unions have termed the Rana Plaza disaster “mass industrial killing” for forcing workers to work in the faulty building where a crack was noticed the day before.
read more.
the DAILYSTAR new 2015

20150425 * Fair progress after tragedy:

RANA PLAZA, TWO YEARS ON

Bangladesh has made significant progress in workplace safety since the Rana Plaza building collapse two years ago, as a result of broader reforms undertaken by the government and international communities, analysts and industry insiders said.

“The country needs a continuation of the momentum in improvements so that no more tragedy like the Rana Plaza incident takes place,” said Srinivas B Reddy, country director of International Labour Organisation.

The Accord, a platform of 190 retailers — mainly European, and Alliance, another platform of 26 North American retailers and brands, have already completed preliminary inspections of 2,087 factories in September last year and found more than 98 percent of the factories safe.

Only 29 factories were closed after the inspections. “Bangladesh needs to own the workplace safety improvement as the foreign inspection agencies will leave the country after 2019,” Reddy said.

The government has also inspected 650 out of 2,000 factories, which are not members of the Accord and Alliance, under an ILO managed project to address structural, fire and electrical safety issues.
read more.
the DAILYSTAR new 2015

20150426 * USAID to stand beside Bangladesh’s workers:

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced a three-year Worker Empowerment Program in Bangladesh to support labour rights, union organizing, and women’s empowerment in the ready-made garment sector.

The announcement coincides with the second anniversary of the Rana Plaza garment factory collapse in Dhaka that killed over 1,100 workers and injured over 2,500.
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UNBnew FE bd INDEPENDENT the DAILYSTAR new 2015 DHAKATRIBUNE newsbangladesh

20150425 * EC, US urge govt to frame rules for labour act:

The European Commission (EC), the US government and the US agencies concerned have called for immediate framing of necessary rules for implementation of Bangladesh Labour Act in line with the international standards.

In a joint statement, they also suggested enactment of legislation on export processing zones (EPZs) to ensure that workers inside the zones enjoy rights commensurate with those outside the special areas.

“We urge the government to issue – without further delay – the implementing rules for Bangladesh Labour Act, consistent with the international labour standards,” said the joint statement, issued on the EC official website on April 24.
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FE bd UNBnew INDEPENDENT bdnews24

20150424 * Another tragedy or poor conditions could force EU to revisit EBA:

The European Union (EU) has alerted Bangladesh that it could revisit Everything But Arms (EBA) if another tragedy like Rana Plaza takes place or even just the continuation of poor conditions for workers.

“Another tragedy, or even just a continuation of today’s poor conditions for workers, could also force the European Union to revisit Everything But Arms,” said EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström.

She was addressing a conference titled ‘Remembering Rana Plaza: What Next’ at the European Parliament in Brussels to mark the second anniversary of the Rana Plaza clothing factory disaster. Jean Lambert, member of the EP and chairperson of the delegation for relations with South Asia was also present.

Bangladesh’s export earnings currently stand at above $30 billion, half of which comes from the EU. EU’s ‘Everything But Arms’ arrangement was born in 2001 to give all LDCs full duty- free and quota-free access to the EU for all their exports with the exception of arms and armaments.
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UNBnew the DAILYSTAR new 2015 NEWAGEnew bdnews24

20150424 * Never forget. Build a better future for all RMG workers:

Redouble efforts to build a better future for the millions who work in the RMG sector

Today marks two years since the Rana Plaza disaster which  killed 1,135 workers and injured over 2,500 people.

It is important we remember victims and offer solidarity to the families of the bereaved. All practical efforts to raise funds to rehabilitate survivors must be supported.

The anniversary also provides a chance to redouble efforts to build a better future for the millions of Bangladeshis who work in the RMG sector.

Official government efforts and the Accord and Alliance stakeholder safety initiatives have made considerable progress with inspecting factories and identifying areas for improvement. Renewed attention has also been given to labour rights issues and the minimum wage was raised after a long hiatus.
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DHAKATRIBUNE

20150425 * Diversification a must to make footwear competitive:

Keystone report recommends

The footwear sub-sector in leather sector requires special attention, given the rising demand of footwear in global market and the value chain advantages, a think tank says.  

In its 11th issue, Keystone Quarterly Review said leather industry is the largest in earning foreign exchange after RMG but with export share of only 4.29 per cent of the country’s total exports. In the world leather market, it accounts for a mere 0.56 per cent of export share.

“Footwear export value is projected to rise to US$820 million by FY2019-20, while export of leather and other leather goods alone is likely to cross US$1 billion in export value in FY2017-18,” the review says.
read more.
FE bd

20150424 * Amu asks owners to relocate tanneries on schedule:

Industries minister Amir Hossain Amu Thursay urged the tannery factory owners to relocate their industrial units to the tannery industrial estate in Savar within the stipulated time, reports BSS.

“They would be forced through legal process to relocate their factories, if those are not shifted within the stipulated time,” he said speaking at a meeting with tannery owners, construction firm representatives and officials concerned at Savar tannery industrial estate.
read more.
FE bd

* Rights Watch: AVOID ANOTHER RANA PLAZA? Augment democracy for workers:

As we approach two years since the horrific Rana Plaza tragedy where over 1100 workers lost their lives, and countless others are surviving under miserable conditions without employment or meager source of support, the question that remains: How do we avoid another Rana Plaza? 

We have to increase democracy for workers both in the workplace and in their government.  Had there been a union at the factories at Rana Plaza, workers may have opted to refuse to work that day.
Had there been more elected representative reflecting the interests of labor in the Government of Bangladesh, then, we would have better labour laws to protect efforts by workers to organize.

If consumers abroad were mobilised to lobby their own governments to regulate their multinationals, then global brands may be held legally accountable for their failure to create safe workplaces based on their business model of seeking cheap labour.
Democracy demands that citizens have an active say in decisions and policies that affect their lives.  In Bangladesh, workers need democracy at their workplace, and in their government.

Unions are a form of democratic governance at the workplace.  While we espouse democracy for civil society, it is curious how even the best meaning is virulently opposed to unions often citing violence and corruption as the reason.
(…)

Since Rana Plaza, there has been a focus on the Accord and Alliance, two international workplace safety programs as the focal point of advocacy to improve workers’ rights.
While these programs are helpful to improve factory conditions, they will not completely address safety without fully engaging workers or creating structures that empower workers to address safety issues themselves.
My research has shown that workers are not aware of these programs, and have not been fully engaged in them. 
This is a huge shortcoming for these programs.    

Moreover, while consumers abroad have been mobilised and engaged to support the Accord, they have not pushed to lobby their own governments to change the ways their own companies do business in Bangladesh.

Democratic, including electoral and governmental spaces, have not been activated internationally around Rana Plaza.

When asked about avoiding Rana Plaza, it is not surprising that workers uniformly demand unions in every factory.  
They demand that global brands source from factories that have worker elected and constituted unions.
If factories provide wages aligned with workers’ living costs as well as essential benefits like health care this will address some quality of life concerns that often result in high social costs for workers’ families.
In essence, what workers want is greater say over their workplace lives, which can translate to an improved quality of life.
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the DAILYSTAR new 2015

    THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE

20150427 * RMG owners urged to help Rana Plaza victims’ children:

Speakers at a programme in the district have slammed the ready-made garment owners for not playing due role for the sake of the children who lost their father or mother in the Rana Plaza disaster that claimed 1,135 lives on April 24, 2013.

The participants made the statement in an event titled “Sishu Conference” hosted by Sishu Palli Plus at Tengra village in Sreepur upazila yesterday, where the children who are being benefited from the organisation were present as well.

Speaker Md Saifur Rahman, Sreepur social welfare officer, said whereas the country’s RMG owners, who have become rich by dint of the labour of the workers, have remained indifferent to the suffering of the children, in this regard many foreigners including British national Rob Jenkinson have come forward with their helping hands.
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DHAKATRIBUNE

20150428 * Rana Plaza victims sue retailers, government in US court:

Wal-Mart, JC Penney, The Children’s Place and the government of Bangladesh have been sued by the victims and the families of the victims of the Rana Plaza collapse.

The lawsuit, filed in the federal court in Washington, claims the retailers and the government were aware of the unsafe working conditions.

When the eight-story building collapsed on April 24 two years ago, over 1,100 people were killed and about 2,515 people were injured.
“Defendants knew, or with the exercise of reasonable diligence, should have known, that the Rana Plaza facility was not safe for human habitation,” said the lawsuit filed with the US District Court for the District of Columbia on Thursday.

The Bangladesh government breached its duty to its citizens by failing to properly inspect the building, failing to ensure compliance with local construction standards and failing to ensure the safety of factory workers, the lawsuit states.

Retail defendants breached their duty to workers in the building by failing to implement standards and oversight mechanisms designed to ensure the health and safety of workers who manufactured clothing for their stores, it added. According to the complaint, the retailers profit from the system of sourcing through subcontractors.
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the DAILYSTAR new 2015

20150426 * Retailers among Wal-Mart sued in US court:

Two years after Rana Plaza collapse in Savar, outskirts of Dhaka that killed more than 1,100 people and injured about 2,500, the victims’ families filed a lawsuit in US federal court in Washington Friday against Wal-Mart Stores Inc and other U.S.-based companies that sourced out their products from the Rana factory.

The plaintiffs claim that the retailers knew “that Bangladesh factories had an extremely poor record of workplace safety standards and industrial building standards, including garment factories.”

The Rana Plaza, a factory where cheap clothing was produced for big Western companies, was reduced to slabs of concrete not because of an earthquake or a terror attack, but due to poor construction and lack of oversight.

Therefore, many rights groups believe that the companies that used the factory for their supplies were responsible for the tragedy. The plaintiffs allege that the Bangladeshi government and the global retail companies that did business in the factory were both responsible for the collapse of the building.
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20150426 * Victims’ struggle on to rebuild life:

a day that the survivors of Rana Plaza collapse find too difficult to forget as the day turned their world upside down.

The horrifying memories of the building collapse still haunt them. They are now passing their days in misery and hardship.

Many survivors are still struggling to rebuild their lives as they are not given the financial support they were promised. Many received financial assistance from the government, NGOs, charities and social organisations, which turned out to be inadequate to run the families.

Halima Begum was a sewing machine operator at New Wear Style on the seventh floor of Rana Plaza. She was working on the floor when the building caved in on the fateful day. She survived, but her right leg and left hand were fractured.

Halima’s life is full of struggle and pain.
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the DAILYSTAR new 2015

20150425 * LEST WE FORGET:

Rana Plaza after two years

Rana Plaza collapsed on the morning of a hot summer day, on April 24, 2013. Officially, 1100 workers died but the true total is much higher, probably closer to 1400 or 1500.

The difference is on account of the ‘missing’ workers, of the bodies never found or those that lacked documentation as workers.
Around 1300 workers died immediately or soon after rescue.
While rescue operations continued till May 11, three quarters of the survivors rescued were found in the first two days.

Ninety percent of bodies recovered, after their identities were established, were handed over to their families for the last rites. Unidentified bodies were taken care of by the state.
The rescue operators, the government and police soon lost interest in searching further for bodies.

After May, systematic efforts to explore the site for human remains were discontinued.
There were attempts to bulldoze the site, to erase all memory of the crime scene as quickly as possible.
While officially endorsed forensic processes were short-lived, street urchins and garbage collectors continued to find evidence of the unfound – skulls and other human remains – at the site for many months on.

The Rana Plaza saga is not over, however!
This second anniversary is a occasion to remember those who lost their lives, to raise the question of the ‘missing’, to ensure the rights of the survivors , and to think hard about the crying need for reforms.
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the DAILYSTAR new 2015

20150425 * Victim families yet to forgive, forget the pains two years after Rana Plaza tragedy:

Anjuara Begum made her way through a crowd with small steps towards the piles of the debris-strewn disaster site in Savar.
She stopped before a pool of rainwater accumulated in a pit.

Kneeling down, she dipped one of her fists in the greenish water and touched her face with the wet palm. Anjuara mumbled; her eyes brimmed with tears. Her cry soon turned into howl as a woman tried to take her away from the edge of water.

“Here, here my son Hridoy has died… bury me here. My son, my jewel is around here,” she cried, holding tightly a piece of concrete rubble.

Like Anjuara, family members and relatives of Rana Plaza victims shed tears as they gathered the disaster site yesterday with photographs and related documents of their loved ones.
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20150425 * Rana Plaza collapse 2nd anniversary commemorated with pains:

Demonstrations staged in Bangladesh and elsewhere in world commemorating the second anniversary of Rana Plaza building collapse on Friday demanded the government and foreign retailers to compensate and rehabilitate the affected workers immediately.

Labour leaders and affected workers and their families also urged the retailers to pay up the compensation they had promised for the Rana Plaza Donor Trust Fund.

The victims and affected families expressed disappointment at the delayed investigation into the cases filed following the worst industrial disaster in the country’s history.

They also called on the government to declare April 24 as a mourning day.
According to Clean Clothes Campaign, the tragic day was remembered
across the world, especially in Finland, Belgium, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Turkey, Australia, Spain, Italy, Pakistan and the United States.
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NEWAGEnew

20150425 * Two years of Rana Plaza tragedy- Anniversary observed:

Different organizations, rights groups, stakeholders observed the second anniversary Friday of the tragic Rana Plaza collapse to commemorate those who lost their lives in the largest ever industrial disaster.

On April 14, 2013, a nine-storied building that housed five garments factories collapsed in Savar leaving at least 1,138 dead and 2,515 injured.
Family members, survivours and workers’ organisations gathered in front of Rana Plaza in the morning to remember the victims.

They staged a demonstration and demanded punishment of the perpetrators of the disaster.
Dhaka district Deputy Commissioner Tofazzal Mia and Dhaka district Police Super Habibur Rahman placed bouquets at the place of devastated Rana Plaza in the morning.

Many hospitals opened camps in front of Rana Plaza to provide free treatment to the people injured in the disaster.
The local administration deployed law enforcing agency personnel in the area to avert untoward incidents.

Various workers organisations formed human chain and demonstrated in front of Press Club demanding Rana Plaza victims’ compensation and justice for the dead and injured.
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FE bd

20150425 * Apathy written all over:

In two years since Rana Plaza collapsed, the action that the government has taken about the compensation for the families of deceased workers and for the wounded, the investigation of the cases filed against people and quarters responsible for the disaster and other relevant issues only betrays the incumbents’ insincerity towards the poor working class people.

The building, which housed five clothing factories, collapsed on April 24, 2013, leaving at least 1,130, mostly female apparel workers, dead; there have also been 2,500 others workers maimed and grievously wounded.
A review of two years of action that the government initiated points to, as New Age reported in four pieces on Friday, nothing of worth for the victims, deceased or alive, and their families in terms of their sustenance, medical considerations included, and rehabilitation.

Part of the government action, along with international efforts, concerning worker safety in the apparel sector, however, gets going beyond the public eye which, often embroiled in mismanagement and decisions taken in favour of the apparel factory owners, sometimes hog the headlines.

The government action in furthering the sustenance of the victims and their families by way of compensation and rehabilitation and in stopping the recurrence of such disasters in future by way of speedy and fair trial of the people responsible is hardly visible.
In two years, the victims or their families have not been paid the compensation in full; there are cases that the victims are still unaware of the amount they would receive in damages. As for trial and investigation in about a dozen cases, nothing appears to have so far progressed.
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NEWAGEnew

20150424 * Joint statement on 2nd anniversary of the Rana Plaza:

The text of the following statement was released by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry; High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini; U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez; EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility Marianne Thyssen; U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman; EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström; U.S. Agency for International Development Acting Administrator Alfonso E. Lenhardt; and EU Commissioner in charge of International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica.

“Today we mark the passage of two years since the tragic collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Dhaka, Bangladesh, that claimed over 1,100 lives and injured many more.  We join the people of Bangladesh in mourning those who lost their lives and remain mindful of the difficult struggle for those who survived.

In the aftermath of the Rana Plaza collapse, the European Union, the United States and the International Labor Organization (ILO) joined with Bangladesh to undertake a series of significant commitments to foster respect for fundamental labor rights and ensure worker safety and health in the garment sector.
The Partners announced the Sustainability Compact for Bangladesh – a statement of principles and commitments designed to bring about a lasting transformation in the sector.

Today, on the commemoration of the Rana Plaza collapse, we take note of the progress that has been made, but also the urgent work that remains.

Over the past two years, the government of Bangladesh has amended its Labor Law to strengthen certain aspects of freedom of association, collective bargaining and occupational health and safety; recruited and begun training a significant number of new factory inspectors; started fire and structural safety assessments and begun posting online factory safety information; established a hotline to report labor concerns; and since January 2013, registered approximately 300 new trade unions.
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20150424 * Families of 104 missing Rana Plaza workers to get help:

The government has initiated moves to give assistance to the families of 104 workers who remain untraced even two years after the Rana Plaza building collapse.

Labour Secretary Mikail Shipar told reporters on Thursday that the Global Donors Trust Fund had been informed about the status of the 104 missing workers.

“A list has been forwarded. The Trust will give assistance to these families,” he said.

“At present, it does not have sufficient funds. The assistance can be given once organisations that have promised money make their contribution,” Shipar further said.
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bdnews24

20150424 * With tears survivors show anger:

Tearful and angry survivors of the Rana Plaza disaster gathered at the factory site on Friday to protest against poor compensation on the two-year anniversary of the tragedy that claimed more than 1,100 lives.

About 2,000 survivors, some on crutches, and families of victims held hands in a show of solidarity at the ruins of the factory complex which imploded in 2013 in one of the world’s worst industrial disasters.

From early morning, the crowd, many clutching photos of loved ones, gathered at a makeshift memorial at the site to protest a range of concerns including poor factory safety standards and a lack of compensation.

“I only got one million taka ($12,900) from the prime minister’s fund, but nothing from the trust fund created to help the victims,” Rehana Akhter, whose leg was amputated after she become trapped under tonnes of debris, said.
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prothom

20150424 * They still come, shed tears:

Sajeda Begum was weeping in an abandoned corner of the Savar bus stand, holding in her hand a photo of her daughter Khaleda Akter.

She sobbed inconsolably, unable to speak.
Sajeda came from Gopalganj. She has been looking for her daughter for two years.

The place where she stood had a nine-storey building two years ago. Her daughter used to work in that building.
Along with hundreds of others, Khaleda was buried under the debris when the building collapsed on Apr 24, 2013. She was neither found among the survivors nor the dead.
Sajeda comes to the place every Apr 24.
Shedding tears in front of the debris is now her only solace.
read more.
bdnews24

20150424 * Tears and anger as survivors mark Bangladesh factory disaster:

Tearful and angry survivors of the Rana Plaza disaster gathered at the factory site Friday to protest against poor compensation on the two-year anniversary of the tragedy that claimed more than 1,100 lives.

About 2,000 survivors, some on crutches, and families of victims held hands in a show of solidarity at the ruins of the factory complex which imploded in 2013 in one of the world’s worst industrial disasters.

From early morning, the crowd, many clutching photos of loved ones, gathered at a makeshift memorial at the site to protest a range of concerns including poor factory safety standards and a lack of compensation.

“I only got one million taka ($12,900) from the prime minister’s fund, but nothing from the trust fund created to help the victims,” Rehana Akhter, whose leg was amputated after she become trapped under tonnes of debris, said.

The trust fund was set up by retailers and labour groups in the wake of the tragedy.

“I can’t now work. I need expensive medicines and I have a family to look after,” the 24-year-old told AFP, supporting herself with a crutch, at the site in Savar outside the capital Dhaka.
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BangkokPostNEW

20150424 * Workers call for maximum punishment to people responsible for Rana Plaza collapse:

Different organisations of apparel workers on Friday iterated their demands including the maximum punishment for people responsible for collapse of Rana Plaza including its owner Sohel Rana after two years of the deadliest workplace disaster.

On the morning of April 24, 2013, the eight-storey Rana Plaza, which had housed five clothing factories, a shopping mall and a bank, came crashing down, leaving at least 1,135 people dead, mostly female apparel workers and about 2,000 injured.

After the disaster, the police filed a case against Sohel Rana, and the owners of the five clothing factories housed in the building.
The workers demanded to declare April 24 as the state mourning day for garments workers, compensating the victims’ families with at least Tk 48 lakh that equals to lifelong earning to the deceased, missing and permanent disabled workers, rehabilitation for the injured workers and arrangement of treatment for them, to ensure security in work places, and to build colony for the workers and a memorial on the place of deadly incident by forfeiting the property of Rana Plaza.
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NEWAGEnew

RanaPlaza compensation

20150426 * Rana Plaza Donor Trust Fund receives commitments for $3 million more:

The Rana Plaza Claims Administration on Saturday hoped that the remaining compensation amount will be paid to the Rana Plaza survivors and the families of victims, as early as possible, as the Donor Trust Fund received commitments for another $3 million in contributions.

With the new pledge of $3 million, the current total of the fund stands at $ 27.3 million, according to the Rana Plaza Claims Administration.

Out of $27.3 million, Donors Trust Fund have so far received $14 million from brands, direct payments to beneficiaries under the coordinated scheme at $ 8.78 million, and funds committed in written pledges but not yet received at $ 4.56 million, according to the Rana Plaza Claims Administration.

In a press briefing, the executive commissioner of the Rana Plaza Claims Administration Mojtaba Kazazi said that as of April 24, 2015, the claims administration has made a total of $9.85 million payments to injured workers, dependants of the deceased and missing workers of four garments factories housed in Rana Plaza, except New Wave Bottoms.
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20150426 * Rana Plaza victims paid 70pc of Tk 1.26b compensation funds:

Trust Fund seeks $3.0m more in aid

Victims of the Rana Plaza collapse have been paid 70 per cent of the $16.4 million or Tk 1.26 billion aid funds while the Trust Fund seeks $3.0 million more to dole out.

A spokesman said Saturday the total amount the Rana Plaza Trust Fund stood at $27 million, including the payments received from the Prime Minister’s Office and foreign retailer Primark.

The amount is inclusive of a latest commitment of $3 million in contribution to the fund.

However, he said, there is still a shortage of $3.0 million from the estimated requirement of $30 million to compensate the victims and their families.

“Good news is that we have got commitment of getting more $3.0 million,” Executive Commissioner of the Rana Plaza Claims Administration (RPCA) Dr Mojtaba Kazazi said, without naming the contributors.
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FE bd

201504245 * Union leaders demand proper compensation:

Several RMG trade union leaders yesterday urged the government, buyers and garment owners to ensure proper compensation to the survivors and family members of the deceased in the Rana Plaza collapse.

They also demanded forming a fund with contribution from the government, buyers and the owners to bear the educational expenses of victims’ children.

The union leaders made the call at separate rallies and human chains, formed by several Ready-Made Garments (RMG) federations to observe the second anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse yesterday in front of the National Press Club.

National Garment Workers’ Federation President Amirul Haque Amin demanded formation of a fund to bear the educational expenses of the victims’ children as they lost their parents.
He also urged the government, garment owners and buyers to take necessary measures to rehabilitate and provide treatment facilities to the survivors.

Bangladesh Textile-Garment Workers’ Federation urged the government to take effective measures to ensure compensation and demanded punishment of culprits responsible for the disaster. It also urged to set a compensation standard.

“Sohel Rana, owner of the Rana Plaza building, did not get punishment even after two years of the building collapse, rather he is staying in jail in luxury,” said Hazera Sultana, Member of Parliament, who took part in the rally.
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DHAKATRIBUNE

20150424 * Two years’ gain: Neither compensation, nor justice:

The terrible day of losing thousand souls has come again after two years. The greatest industrial disaster ever that set the record of highest deaths in a single day.

I convey my sympathy to those who lost their lives, those who are critically injured and bed-ridden, and those who are still in search of their near and dear ones.

After two years, the issue of compensation to the families of victims and injured is still unsettled.
We have heard that a number of affected workers and relatives of the victims were donated disorderly by the owners, government, foreign buyers and other organisations, but it was also learnt that some were given $68,300 while some $5,100.

Moreover, no accurate data is available about who were given what amount on what considerations. It was not explained on what considerations some were given $5,100 and some $68,300.

A section of citizens is trying to offer this donation as compensation, without giving no explanation in this regard.

According to Sections 19 and 151 of the existing Labour Law of Bangladesh and as per Fifth Schedule, if any worker dies due to workplace injury, he/she would be compensated with $1290, and if any worker becomes permanently disable due to workplace injury, he/she would get $1,610 as compensation.
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newsbangladesh

20150424 * Compensation claims mark Rana Plaza anniversary:

Different labour organisations on Friday marked the second anniversary of the Rana Plaza tragedy with holding protest rallies and forming human chains demanding compensation for the victims.

Many of the families are yet to be compensated while some of the culprits responsible for the building collapse have not been brought to book as yet.
In one of the biggest industrial tragedies in modern world history, the Rana Plaza collapse killed more than 1100 people, mostly workers of the country’s major export-earning readymade garments sector.

Labour union leaders and activists gathered at the site of the Rana Plaza in Savar on Friday morning, remembered their colleagues and expressed their anger.
“Rana Plaza collapse was not mere accident.
It was a carnage. So, the culprits must be punished,” Emdadul Haque, president of Rana Plaza workers’ union, told a rally there.
read more.
prothom

20150424 * Workers’ organizations demand compensation to victims:

Different workers organizations have demanded that compensation be paid to the victims of the Rana Plaza building collapse.

The demand was made in seperate human chain rallies held in front of the National Press Club in the capital on Friday making the second anniversary of the tragedy.

Combined Garments Workers’ Federation, Bangladesh Progotisheel, Sramik Federation,  Sramik Oikya and Bangladesh Sangjukta Sramik Federation have formed the human chains.
read more.
dailyboserverbd

20150424 * Fair compensation to victims demanded:

Some two years have already been passed since Rana Plaza building collapse tragedy, which claims 1,137 lives and injures scores, worker associations are still demanding fair compensation to the victims.

To press for their demands, leaders and activists of different worker associations staged demonstrations and formed human chains in front of National Press Club in city Friday to mark the second anniversary of Rana Plaza tragedy.

Sammilito Garments Sramik Federation, Sramik Okya, Bangaldesh Sangjukta Sramik Federation, and Bangladesh Progressive Garments Workers Federation separately formed the human chains there.

Addressing the protest program, Sammilito Garments Sramik Federation president Nazma Akter said that lots of innocent workers have turned into dead bodies due to factory owners’ and government’s negligence and huge profits.

Kamrun Nahar Rana of Bangladesh Progressive Garments Workers Federation, addressing another protest program, demanded adequate compensation and assistance for Rana Plaza tragedy victims.
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banglanews24NEW

20150424 * Call for Rana Plaza victims’ compensation:

20150424 DAILYSTAR
Hundreds of people gather at the Rana Plaza collapse site in Savar, where over a thousand were killed in the worst workplace disaster of the world two years ago, forming human chains and holding protest programmes on April 24, 2015. Photo: Star

Garment workers’ rights bodies today called for immediate compensation of Rana Plaza victims and swift punishment for the culprits behind the world’s biggest workplace disaster.

– “Mark Apr 24 as mass worker murder day”

– Call to declare Apr 24 RMG mourning day

– Masses pour in at Rana Plaza collapse site

– Human chains, protest rallies held

The calls were placed on the second anniversary of Rana Plaza collapse, world’s worst workplace disaster, that killed over 1,100 people and injured double as many others.

Demonstrators at the site in Savar held protest rallies or human chains demanding punishment of the culprits to blame, including the building owner Sohel Rana.

Among those workers’ rights groups demonstrating at the collapse site were: Garment Workers Trade Union Centre, Garment Workers Federation, Bangladesh Garments and Industrial Federation and Garment Sromik Oikyo Forum.
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the DAILYSTAR new 2015

comments punt

20150428 * Making the workplace safer -It’s everybody’s responsibility:

Dostoevsky in his novel The House of the Dead wrote:“The degree of civilisation in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.”

In my opinion, the metric of measuring the level of economic civilisation of a country can be ascertained by entering the places where workers work and live. The Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh reminds us that a workplace for a garment worker can be worse than a prison.

In my research, I often depict Bangladesh as the text-book example of a labour-abundant country with a comparative advantage in labour-intensive products such as garments. In about three decades, Bangladesh has managed to become the second largest exporter of garments, employing more than four million workers.
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20150428 * A paradigm shift in garment industry:

Success stories are always full of sweet and sour events since achievements do not come on a silver platter.

What could be a better example of this than our garment industry?

The industry that emerged as a small non-traditional sector in export in the late 1970s has now become crucial to our economy as the main source of export earnings and employment generation. Beginning its journey with only 130 workers and export earnings of $12,000, it is now a $25-billion sector that employs around 4.4 million people, 80 percent of whom are women.

Now we are the second largest apparel exporting country in the world and the sector has been contributing to the economy with export earnings, employment generation, women empowerment and poverty alleviation for the last 35 years.

Was the sector’s journey rosy? The answer is a simple no. It has faced a number of challenges, including child labour issues, multi-fibre arrangement phase-out, and global recession.
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the DAILYSTAR new 2015

20150426 * Not a good sign for apparel sector:

The implementation and formulation of rules and regulations of the labour act is a key requirement to the establishment occupational health and safety committees.

But even two years after the amendment to labour law, rules and regulations are yet to be finalised.
As New Age reported on Friday, the speakers at a programme commemorating on Thrusday the second anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster rightly said that the implementation of the labour law and elimination of unfair labour practices were essential for ensuring worker rights and a healthy condition for workers.

Under pressure from various rights organisations, at home and abroad, especially since the collapse of Rana Plaza, which killed at least 1,130 people and injured more than 2,000, mostly workers of the five apparel factories housed in the building, the government in 2013 amended the labour law, easing the process of registration for trade unions in the apparel sector.

The Labour Act 2006, which apparently recognises trade unions in apparel factories, had some loopholes that allowed the owners to foil any attempt to form trade unions in their factories.
For example, whenever owners came to know of any attempt to form trade unions in their factories, they would terminate the service of the initiators.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

20150424 * Has the Rana Plaza Disaster Really Changed the Garment Industry?:

On second anniversary of the collapse of Rana Plaza, a disaster that killed 1,138 garment workers and injured thousands more in Bangladesh, one question appears to be on the mind of commentators, journalists, politicians and activists alike: Two years on, what has really changed?

The answer is relatively simple: not that much.
Workers are still earning poverty wages, union organisers are still being threatened and attacked, and workers and their families are still are awaiting full compensation.

Of course, to suggest nothing at changed at all would not be entirely true.
The efforts carried out by the Accord of Fire and Building Safety have transformed the process of building inspections in Bangladesh, ensuring that almost 2,000 factories have been checked by inspectors who are properly qualified to assess how safe these workplaces really are.

In turn, the existence of the Accord has really raised the bar on safety inspections overall in Bangladesh, with other initiatives, including the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety and the government itself having to improve their own programs—at least in the technical process and in the practice of ensuring these reports are made publicly available.

This isn’t an insignificant achievement in an industry that had turned a blind eye to the existence of death trap factories for over a decade.

As groundbreaking as this is—although it’s shocking that the concept of using qualified people to assess building safety is actually a groundbreaking idea in the 21st century—is it really enough to be regarded as the beginning of truly systematic change?

While some advances have been made, we must not oversell them as the transformative change that we really need.

The Accord was designed not simply as an inspection program, but has, at its heart, a set of principles that challenge some of the root causes of safety issues: transparency, the right for workers to refuse dangerous work and challenge health and safety breaches without fear of reprisal, and a change in the buying practices of the big brands whose business models have been driving a rapid race to the bottom.

While some advances have been made on transparency, progress on improving worker empowerment, the development of joint buyer and factory owner financing agreements, the provision of support for workers who would inevitably lose their jobs when unsafe factories had to close, and the stabilizing of orders within company supply chains has hardly begun.
read more.
ECOUTERRE

20150425 * Rana Plaza: Mourning and Meaning:

Leading up to the second anniversary of Rana Plaza factory building collapse, I was thinking of what to write.

Each time, I sat down to pen something I was reminded of the immense, heart wrenching pain of workers and their families.

My mind failed me, and all I could do was to sit with the pain, to feel the intensity, the truth of which I would never know.
The death toll was 1,138, and over 2,500 were injured.
Just five months before Rana Plaza, in the Tazreen Fashions factory,  112 workers were killed and others injured.

Behind each number is a story: a mother who lost her daughter, a child who has lost his mother, and a wife who has lost her husband.
I tried to imagine their faces through the photos carried by their loved ones.
I want to sit with this feeling and images.  Only then, can I feel the urgency that something needs to be done.
I fear with the passage of time, that urgency that something needs to change drastically in the garment industry, may pass.

The factories at Rana Plaza that supply global brands revealed not only the exploitative working conditions of multinational corporations, but the level of our inhumanity.
There are so many demands to be made, and so many issues to raise regarding the fact that not much has changed in the two years, efforts to raise and distribute compensation to victims remain a challenge, and efforts by workers to improve their working conditions through unions are still thwarted.
Economic violence is an abstract concept, and so is corporate human rights abuses, yet, they are fatal to the lives of working people and their children.

This morning, at the site of the Rana Plaza collapsed, I bore witness to the impact of that violence.  We are in mourning.  We are in anguish.  We need to collectively feel that heart-wrenching pain.  So, I felt that I would write about mourning and share my observations through my camera lens.
read & see more.
LAW attheMARGINS

18:05:34 local time map of india INDIA

20150427 * Government to amend Child Labour Prohibition Act;new norms may allow below 14 to work in select setups:

In a controversial labour reform, the government plans to push through an amendment to the Child Labour Prohibition Act in the current session of Parliament, which will allow children below the age of 14 to work in select family enterprises if it doesn’t hamper their education.

The bill will retain the proposal of a complete ban on child labour in any organisation, big or small, as proposed by the previous government, a senior labour ministry official told ET.
“The cabinet will positively take up the amendment to the Child Labour Act this week,” the official said. It will be tabled in Parliament soon after.

A draft provision in the Child Labour Prohibition Act says the prohibition will not apply if children are helping the family in fields, forests and home-based work after school hours or during vacations, or while attending technical institutions. The new norm will also apply to the entertainment industry and sports except the circus, a proposal by the labour ministry says.

Children between 14 and 18 years will not be allowed to work in hazardous industries.
read more.
TOInew

20150427 * Power loom workers in Pallipalayam begin indefinite strike:

With failure of talks over wage hike, power loom workers in Pallipalayam began their indefinite strike on Sunday.

There are more than 20,000 power looms in Pallipalayam in which over 15,000 families are employed.

Wage hike
Demanding additional wage hike of 25 per cent, power loom owners and workers have announced indefinite strike from April 26.
A meeting was earlier organised at the District Collectorate on Saturday in which textile manufacturers, power loom owners and workers participated.
read more.
THEHINDU

20150428 * Maharashtra govt plans to amend labour laws:

Will promulgate ordinance in a month, introduce bills in monsoon session

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government proposes to amend the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, and the Contract Labour Act, 1970. The government also proposes to incorporate a provision for a five-fold compensation in the new ordinance.

The government plans to promulgate an ordinance in this regard within a month and subsequently move the Bills in the state legislature during the monsoon session, slated for July. A consultation process will be launched to get stakeholders on board.
(…)
The official said the ordinance will be promulgated by end of May or early June and later Bills will be tabled in the monsoon session of the state legislature.  According to the official, the government has proposed to increase compensation to five times instead of three times as mooted by the Congress-NCP government to the workers following the amendments to these two laws.
(…)
A senior minister recalled that the government on January 30 had set up a six-member committee to suggest amendments to the existing laws. The committee had looked into about 20 various labour Acts and rules and regulations and recommend amendments.

Other major Acts that were looked into included the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, the Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act, 1970 and rules, the Building & Other Construction Workers’ (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996, the Interstate Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979, the Factories Act, 1948,
read more.
businessstandard

20150426 * Labour Ministry to push three bills for Cabinet approval:

Ministry seeks to boost Make in India with laws on small factories, PF and child labour

In a bid to push labour reforms to improve ease of doing business and boost the ‘Make in India’ programme, Labour Ministry will push three bills for Cabinet approval next week including on small factories, provident fund and prohibition of child labour.

The Ministry is keen on introducing these bills — Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Amendment Bill, Small Factories (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Services) Bill, 2014 and Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Amendment Bill — in the ongoing Budget session.

The Lok Sabha session is scheduled to conclude on May 8, while Rajya Sabha will transact business till May 13.

“Labour Ministry will try to push these three important bills related to small factories, EPF and child labour in the ongoing Budget session. These bills will be placed before Cabinet next week,” a senior Labour Ministry official said.
read more.
businessstandard

20150425 * Honour wage pact: Collector:

District Collector V. Dakshinamoorthy has asked textile manufactures in Komarapalayam not to violate the wage agreement reached on April 20.

Workers in Komarapalayam were on an indefinite strike for a month. At the meeting on April 20 with textile manufactures, power loom owners, and workers, an agreement was reached wherein manufacturers would provide an additional charge of 20 per cent which the owners would pay to their workers.

The strike was later withdrawn. As manufactures were refusing to pay the 20 per cent raise, an indefinite strike would again begin on April 26.

If manufactures violated the agreement, action will be taken against them, the Collector said.
Complaints can be lodged with Tiruchengode Revenue Divisional Officer, and Tiruchengode Deputy Superintendent of Police for initiating legal action, he said.
to read.
THEHINDU

20150426 * TN textile exporters seek separate export policy:

Textile industry stakeholders in Tamil Nadu have impressed upon the Government the need for setting up a Textile Board in the State and a separate export policy in line with the Foreign Trade Policy of the Centre for the State.

These were among the 10-point suggestions put forth by knitwear garment exporters in Tirupur for possible incorporation in the new Textile Policy of Tamil Nadu.

Sharing details of a textile stakeholders’ meeting organised by the State Government to discuss issues related to the textile sector ahead of unveiling the new textile policy, B Shanmugasundaram, who represented TEA, said establishment of a Textile Board with government and industry association representatives would strengthen the focus towards development of the textile industry in the State.
read more.
THEHINDUBUSINESS

20150427 * International seed day: farmers promote use of patent-free seeds:

The movement against monopoly of patented seeds is gaining traction in the State, with hundreds of activist-farmers forming a loose network to propagate the use of indigenous crops and promote the use of patent-free seeds.

The issue of patent-free seeds came to the fore during the International Seed Day observed on Sunday by the Millet Network of India (MINI). K.N. Ramachandra, convenor of MINI, cautioned against the use of genetically-modified crops and said suicides by cotton farmers would extend to the entire agricultural sector if the current free-ride of corporates on farming continued.
read more.
THEHINDU

20150425 * Take benefit of the new textile policy, Minister tells industrialists:

‘The focus is on strengthening the sector to generate jobs’

Calling upon industrialists to take benefit of the new textile policy of the State government, Minister in-charge of the district Dinesh Gundu Rao has offered government support for those who come forward to set up an textile cluster here.

Inaugurating a divisional-level workshop organised by the Department of Handlooms and Textiles and the Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and Industry here on Friday, he said the new textile policy focussed on strengthening the textile sector, generating employment opportunities and promoting exports.
It was left to the stakeholders to take maximum benefit of the policy, he said.
read more.
THEHINDU

20150425 * Tanners in legal battle with Bengal govt:

Tanneries operating at the Calcutta Leather Complex near Bantala have taken the state to court.

The problem has arisen over a proposal to allocate an additional 40 acres to information technology companies in the facility that was primarily set up for leather units and allied businesses.

The government had, in 2006, allowed the firm managing the complex to allot 130 acres to the IT industry.

According to CLCTA secretary Imran Ahmed Khan, of the 1,100 acres in CLC, 332 acres were supposed to be given to tanners.
However, only 202 acres were allotted to them, with the remaining 130 acres being handed to the IT industry. At present, the only IT unit functioning there is that of Cognizant Technologies, while the rest are yet to set up offices.
read more.
TOInew

18:05:34 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

20150424 * Trade union leaders in Sri Lanka seek meeting with President:

A group of 100 trade union leaders in Sri Lanka led by the head of the National Trade Union Center (NTUC), K.D. Lalkantha has sought a meeting with President Maithripala Sirisena.

The meeting has been requested by the trade union leaders for the 29th of this month to discuss long standing issues related to the working masses in the country.

Lalkantha said that as the country prepares to celebrate International Labor Day, it is important for the government headed by President Sirisena to provide solutions to several key issues faced by the working masses.

“We have requested for a meeting with the President to give him five demands of the working masses and we seek a response from him on these issues on May 1st,” the NTUC Leader said.
read more.
colombo

17:35:34 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

20150428 * Power loom workers protest load shedding:

Hundreds of factory workers and owners of power looms on Monday staged a demonstration against unannounced power load shedding.

The protesters carried banners and placards. They gathered in front of Faisalabad Electric Supply Company (FESCO) headquarters on Canal Road and blocked it for several hours.

Council of Loom Industry Owners and Power Looms Association chairman Mirza Shafiq Ahmad led the protest sit.

Speaking on the occasion, Shafiq said the power loom sector had been deprived of power supply for 16 to 18 hours a day over the last few weeks.

He said workers had been facing a great deal of difficulties because most industrial units were closed.

“People are also unable to pump water for domestic use,” he said. “If power supply to the industrial sector is not restored, power loom workers will protest across the country.”
read more.

20150427 * Workers demand a minimum of Rs25,000 monthly wage:

The Sindh Hari Mazdoor conference held here on Sunday called for fixation of minimum wages at Rs25,000 per month, cut in defence spending and increase in health and education budgets.

The conference jointly organised by the National Trade Union Federation (NTUF), the Home-Based Women Workers Association and the Sindh Agriculture General Workers Union raised workers’ issues and urged the government to meet their demands.

It urged the government to abolish the third party system of hiring workers, ensure issuance of appointment letters and put in place health and safety precautions at workplaces and labour inspection system in factories.
read more.
DAWNnew

20150426 * ‘Outdated machinery impacting textile exports’:

Besides shortage and high cost of energy, the inability of the textile sector to upgrade its technology has battered the competitiveness of the industry against neighbouring economies that are regularly adding efficient machinery, experts have suggested on Monday.

A textile mill operating on 2004-05 technology with 25,000 spindles employees 500 workers and consumes 2.6 MW power to produce yarn, said Gohar Ejaz the group leader All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA), however, latest spindles added by Indians, Chinese and Bangladeshis produce more yarn and operate with only 200 worker and need 1.5 MW power for full operation.
“With power and labor cost higher than India and Bangladesh is it possible for our mills to compete globally?” he wondered.
Successive governments in Pakistan formulated textile policies in consultation with textile players but never implemented them in letter and spirit while India spent on the textile sector that has boosted its exports, he said.

To encourage technical upgrades India provided $3.5 billion from 2007-12 under technology upgradation fund granting 5.0 percent interest subsidy on the import of new machines and many other incentives for handloom, textile parks, and human resource development.
read more.
thenewspk

20150426 * Depreciating Euro causes steep fall in textile exports:

While expressing deep and serious concerns over the alarming fall of 16 per cent in textiles and clothing exports in the month of March due to depreciating Euro, the central body of APTMA has constituted a task force to deliberate upon the gravity of situation, which is squeezing fast the viability of the industry by and large and impacting its exports negatively.

The APTMA task force on “sustainability and way forward” has a strong representation of all sub-sectors including spinning, weaving, processing, home textiles, knitwear, woven garments, towels and synthetic textile.

The central body has given mandate to the central chairman APTMA S M Tanveer along with Gohar Ejaz as co-chairman of the task force to hold deliberations on the factors behind the prevailing alarming situation and suggest the way forward in terms of viability and sustainability of the industry.
read more.
NATIONnew

20150426 * Task force formed: Aptma expresses concerns over 16%fall in exports:

The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) has voiced its serious concerns over the alarming fall of 16 percent in textile and clothing exports in March and set up a task force to discuss the gravity of the situation.

The force on ‘sustainability and way forward’ has a strong representation of all sub-sectors including spinning, weaving, processing, home textiles, knitwear, woven garments, towels and synthetic textile.

The central body has given mandate to central chairman SM Tanveer and co-chairman Gohar Ejaz to hold deliberations on the factors contributing to this situation and suggest the way forward in terms of viability and sustainability of the industry.

Aptma spokesman said the force would formulate a strategy document to restore viability of the textile industry and undertake investment initiatives to achieve a double-digit growth.
The spokesman also said economic managers and concerned ministries would be approached to secure enabling environment for sustainability and growth in domestic and the global market place.
read more. & read more. & read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER daily times PK  DAWNnew

20150426 * Wheat crop, rains delay cotton planting:

A prolonged wheat crop coupled with heavy rainfall and harsh winter this season has delayed early cotton sowing in some parts of the agriculture mainland of the Punjab, sources said on Saturday.

They added that the farmers in Punjab failed to sow cotton seeds, which are generally used in March for early production, due to rainfall and harsh winter.
This failure would also lead to a nominal cut of 250,000 bales in the cotton production next season.

“Early crop is sown in February and March, but farmers in most parts of the Punjab are still harvesting the winter wheat crop,” said Mukhtar Ahmad Khan, a former chairman of Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association.
read more.
thenewspk

       THE BALDIA FACTORY FIRE

20150427 * Baldia factory fire: Reinvestigation taking place as new IO appears in court:

The Baldia factory fire case took another twist on Saturday, as a new investigation officer (IO) turned up in court.

SP Sajid Sadozai appeared before the trial court, submitting that he was the new case IO, appointed for a reinvestigation last month by the relevant authorities. The move came when the case was about to reach the indictment process, as copies of all the prosecution-related documents had been supplied to the accused.

When the additional district and sessions judge V of District West, Naushaba Kazi, asked the newly appointed IO about the completion of the reinvestigation on his part, Sadozai replied that he could not provide her with a timeframe.

The IO also moved an application seeking possession of the computers of the Ali Enterprises factory owners and employees, which was approved by the judge.
read more.

20150426 * Police seek computer record of Baldia factory employees:

A sessions court was informed on Saturday that reinvestigation was being conducted in the Baldia garment factory fire case.

The industrial unit owner, Abdul Aziz Bhaila, and his two sons Arshad Bhaila and Shahid Bhaila, general manager Mansoor and three gatekeepers Fazal Ahmed, Arshad Mehmud and Ali Mohammad were arrested for the killing of over 250 workers in the factory blaze in September 2012.

During a previous hearing, the court had asked the prosecutor to inform it whether a reinvestigation was ordered after the defence counsel pointed it out during the proceedings.

Read: New Baldia factory fire probe team takes spy agencies on board

When the case came up for hearing before additional district and sessions judge (west) Naushaba Kazi on Saturday, SP Sajid Sadozai turned up and informed the judge that the reinvestigation was ordered last month and he was appointed the new investigating officer of the case.
read more.
DAWNnew

map of asia ASIA

20150427 * ASEAN, EU aim for free trade pact:

Southeast Asia and the European Union (EU) agreed on Sunday to take steps toward resuming stalled talks on a free-trade agreement between the two regions.

The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the EU had launched negotiations in 2007, but broke them off in 2009 amid disagreements largely centering on European concerns over ASEAN member Burma’s human rights record.

“Senior officials of ASEAN and EU will meet towards the end of the year to take stock and explore the way forward and report back to the ministers,” the two sides said in a joint statement.

The statement was released in Malaysia following discussions between delegations on the sidelines of ASEAN’s annual diplomatic gathering, hosted this year by ASEAN chair Malaysia.

“The EU is committed to have a region-to-region free-trade agreement,” European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom told reporters after the talks.
read more.
dvb

GLOBAL

20150428 * ILO chief calls for culture of prevention in workplace:

International Labor Organization (ILO) director general Guy Ryder highlighted on Monday the importance of building a culture of prevention on occupational safety and health in light of World Day for Safety and Health at Work which takes place on April 28.

In a statement issued on Monday, the ILO chief said that more than 313 million workers suffer non-fatal occupational injuries every year, which equates to 860,000 people being injured on the job on a daily basis.

Ryder added 6,400 people die from an occupational accident or disease every day, amounting to 2.3 million deaths each year.
read more.
CHINAORG

20150424 * On World Day for Safety, Health at Work, calls for urgent action:

Ahead of World Day for Safety and Health at Work, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and hazardous substances and wastes, Baskut Tuncak, urged the global community to do more to protect workers from exposure to hazardous substances and chemicals.

“Every minute, a person dies from exposure to toxic substances at work. In addition to deaths directly linked to toxic substances, 2.3 million workers around the world suffer from occupational accidents and work-related diseases every year.
We should, and can, stop this preventable disaster,” the expert emphasized.

“Workers and their families are often invisible victims, paying too high a price for many of the comforts and conveniences of modern society,” said Tuncak.

Recent projections by the UN Environment Program (UNEP) indicate that production and use of chemicals around the world are set to increase dramatically in the next five years, requiring increased vigilance of businesses and governments to protect workers from hazardous substances, according to a message received here from Geneva.

Toxic substances present a huge occupational risk for workers in virtually every industrial sector, including mining, manufacturing, construction and agriculture.

These toxic substances can cause cancer, damage the reproductive and nervous systems, or cause other adverse effects that may not be visible for years, if not decades, after exposure.

“Under international human rights law, States have an obligation to realize the right to safe and healthy working conditions. Workers who may be exposed to hazardous substances have the right to be properly informed, trained and protected.

Workers also have the right to refuse to work in toxic environments, which should be guaranteed without fear of reprisal,” stressed the independent human rights expert.

“Workers whose rights have been violated have a right to an effective remedy under international human rights law,” Tuncak said. “Unfortunately, workers who are harmed by hazardous substances are often unable to access an effective remedy. Prevention and precaution are essential to protecting workers’ rights.”
read more.
UNBnew

 

 

map of Asia

HEADLINES:

CHINA
* China issues new regulations to protect workers at risk of occupational disease
* China-led research team sequences cotton genome

NORTH KOREA
* S.Korea struggles to resolve wage issue with DPRK in economic zone

VIET NAM
* Crooked bosses steal workers’ wages
* Workers refuse dormitories in City
* Vietnam, EU speed up FTA negotiations
* India eyes $300mn garment-textile industrial park near Ho Chi Minh City

CAMBODIA
* Management reaches deal with strikers
* Garment Association Re-Elects Chairman, Approves Term Limit
* Kingdom to export crocodile skins
* BetterFactories Media Updates, 24 April

MALAYSIA
* After minimum wage talks fail, workers union places last hope in Najib
* MTUC’s May Day wish: RM1,200 minimum wage

INDONESIA
* Police Expect Up to 170,000 Labor Day Protesters in Jakarta

THAILAND
* Somyot’s appeal
* 4 long years: send your letter of support today
* Update from Thailand Part 1
* Update from Thailand Part 2
* Exporters face an array of problem, want help

BURMA/MYANMAR
* Speaker demands minimum wage
* Speaker tells workers to find better way to approach superiors

BANGLADESH
* Seven women apparel workers injured in police firing in N’ganj
* Workers in Khulna to block highways April 29
* 100 RMG workers hospitalised
* 100 Ashulia RMG workers fall sick after drinking water
* Alliance starts fresh inspection at listed RMG units after quake
* Quake prompts Alliance to go for fresh inspections
* Three bldgs closed, quake-panicked RMG workers injured in scramble
* Over 200 RMG workers injured during quake
* Tremor panic hits RMG production
* 1-3 dead, 100 injured in Savar
* Two die, many injured as quake hits Bangladesh
* Japan to make earthquake resistant RMG units
* JICA to provide assistance for making vulnerable RMG buildings safe
* Five RMG workers suffer burn injuries in factory fire in Gazipur
* Up to 150,000 Bangladesh workers lost jobs after Rana Plaza safety overhaul
* 12,000 workers killed in Bangladesh in 9-yrs
* Not even a single factory fully safe yet: IndustriALL
* Garment industry’s struggle not over yet two years after Rana Plaza tragedy
* Fair progress after tragedy
* USAID to stand beside Bangladesh’s workers
* EC, US urge govt to frame rules for labour act
* Another tragedy or poor conditions could force EU to revisit EBA
* Never forget. Build a better future for all RMG workers
* Diversification a must to make footwear competitive
* Amu asks owners to relocate tanneries on schedule
* Rights Watch: AVOID ANOTHER RANA PLAZA? Augment democracy for workers
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE:
* RMG owners urged to help Rana Plaza victims’ children
* Rana Plaza victims sue retailers, government in US court
* Retailers among Wal-Mart sued in US court
* Victims’ struggle on to rebuild life
* LEST WE FORGET
* Victim families yet to forgive, forget the pains two years after Rana Plaza tragedy
* Rana Plaza collapse 2nd anniversary commemorated with pains
* Two years of Rana Plaza tragedy- Anniversary observed
* Apathy written all over
* Joint statement on 2nd anniversary of the Rana Plaza
* Families of 104 missing Rana Plaza workers to get help
* With tears survivors show anger
* They still come, shed tears
* Tears and anger as survivors mark Bangladesh factory disaster
* Workers call for maximum punishment to people responsible for Rana Plaza collapse
Rana Plaza compensation:
* Rana Plaza Donor Trust Fund receives commitments for $3 million more
* Rana Plaza victims paid 70pc of Tk 1.26b compensation funds
* Union leaders demand proper compensation
* Two years’ gain: Neither compensation, nor justice
* Compensation claims mark Rana Plaza anniversary
* Workers’ organizations demand compensation to victims
* Fair compensation to victims demanded
* Call for Rana Plaza victims’ compensation
Rana Plaza comments:
* Making the workplace safer -It’s everybody’s responsibility
* A paradigm shift in garment industry
* Not a good sign for apparel sector
* Has the Rana Plaza Disaster Really Changed the Garment Industry?
* Rana Plaza: Mourning and Meaning

INDIA
* Government to amend Child Labour Prohibition Act;new norms may allow below 14 to work in select
setups
* Power loom workers in Pallipalayam begin indefinite strike
* Maharashtra govt plans to amend labour laws
* Labour Ministry to push three bills for Cabinet approval
* Honour wage pact: Collector
* TN textile exporters seek separate export policy
* International seed day: farmers promote use of patent-free seeds
* Take benefit of the new textile policy, Minister tells industrialists
* Tanners in legal battle with Bengal govt

SRI LANKA
* Trade union leaders in Sri Lanka seek meeting with President

PAKISTAN
* Power loom workers protest load shedding
* Workers demand a minimum of Rs25,000 monthly wage
* ‘Outdated machinery impacting textile exports’
* Depreciating Euro causes steep fall in textile exports
* Task force formed: Aptma expresses concerns over 16%fall in exports
* Wheat crop, rains delay cotton planting
THE BALDIA FACTORY FIRE:
* Baldia factory fire: Reinvestigation taking place as new IO appears in court
* Police seek computer record of Baldia factory employees

ASIA
* ASEAN, EU aim for free trade pact

GLOBAL
* ILO chief calls for culture of prevention in workplace
* On World Day for Safety, Health at Work, calls for urgent action

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