in the news 28 April – 1/5 May 2015

UPDATE: Pakistan -Karachi garment factory fire:

17:09:28 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

20150505 * Two firemen, six women among 18 injured in garments factory fire:

As the International Firefighters Day was marked across the globe, two officials of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation’s (KMC) fire department were among the 18 people injured when a blaze erupted at a garments factory in Metroville, SITE on Monday.

The fire erupted at Valika Textile Mills, situated within Site-A police station, around 11 in the morning and the leaping flames eventually spread to the chemical warehouse situated next to it.

With added fuel from the chemicals, the fire spread rapidly and its thick black flames made it hard to breathe in the area. Goods worth millions of rupees were reduced to ashes.

According to officials of KMC’s fire brigade department, initially six fire tenders arrived at the site, however, when the fire couldn’t be contained aid was called in from all over the city.

A total of 20 fire tenders of the KMC, and two more, one each of the Karachi Port Trust and Defence Housing Authority were utilised in dousing the fire.

Due to the burning of chemicals stored in the warehouse, the fire brigade officials termed it a third-level blaze.

Chief fire officer Ehtesham disclosed to The News that out of the 20 fire tenders, a few were empty and did not have any water. It was learnt that none of the snorkels could reach the site because they weren’t in working condition. There was one bowser as well, but it too was bereft of any fire extinguishing material.
read more.
thenewspk

20150505 * Pointing fingers: Hundreds of workers lose jobs as factory burns down:

Fire can be devastating — for the families of the victims who are scarred for life, for the owners of the ravaged property and for those whose very livelihoods are connected, directly or indirectly, to the destroyed workplace.

On Monday, nearly 500 labourers, both men and women, lost their livelihoods when a fire gutted a garment factory in Site.
At least eight people, including five female workers, narrowly escaped from being burnt alive.

The ground-plus-two-storey textile mill, located near Valika Chowrangi in Site, caught fire while hundreds of workers were busy inside.
Smoke spread inside the building, creating panic among the workers, most of whom managed to escape. However. eight people, including five women, were trapped inside, sustaining minor injuries before being rescued.
They were taken to a nearby hospital, from where they were released after receiving first aid.

“I have five children with my wife and also support my elderly parents,” said Qasim Khan, one of the workers, adding that he was the sole breadwinner in his family. “It was already difficult for me to live on my limited salary. What will I do now, without a job? There is a massive shortage of jobs in the market.”
read more.

20150505 * Fire safety at factories remains an unresolved issue:

Two prominent rights organisations, in their recently published reports, had expressed their concerns over the poor conditions of the occupational health and safety in the industrial sector in the country, particularly in Karachi.

A fire at a garment a factory in SITE on Monday corroborates their apprehensions on the issue of precautions and safety equipments at workplaces.
At least 16 factory workers, six of them women, and two firefighters, were injured in the blaze.

The factory in the SITE area is not far from Baldia Town, where a fire in a garment factory, Ali Enterprises, in September 2012, considered to be the country’s worst industrial mishaps, killed over 250 people and injured many others.

In a report, the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler) had demanded that the government should ensure efficient labour inspection mechanisms in the provinces.
“Occupational safety and health, the core element of a decent work environment, remains the lowest priority of the stakeholders despite the rising incidences of work related injuries, diseases and fatalities in recent years,” it was stated in the report.

The Baldia Factory Fire also did not compel the state officials and the employers to devise a comprehensive plan for prevention of industrial accidents, it was observed.
read more.
thenewspk

20150505 * Raging fire hinders rescue efforts as factory workers help themselves:

ll you had to do to reach the factory in flames in the SITE area on Monday was let the jet black smoke clouds guide you. They could be seen from afar.

“The fire started early, around 9am. I was preparing breakfast for myself then. Suddenly something smelt very different and I thought I had burnt my breakfast, which really wasn’t the case. Then I saw smoke along with yarn flakes flying around like sparks coming out from behind there,” Akhtar Mohammad, a guard at one of the godowns, pointed to behind the buildings on his lane. “That was when I raised alarm,” he said.

But the fire tenders and water tankers, which arrived shortly afterwards, despite several trips, were finding it very difficult to control the flames that soon spread to adjoining godowns and factories.

“It took a while to bring in the heavy equipment that could break the godown gates and wall for the fire tenders to reach there and by that time the fire had spread,” he explained.

“There was utter panic and confusion here, as workers of all the godowns and factories ran for safety. Some of the women fainted but it looked more like they were having fits of hysteria rather than experiencing suffocation,” said another eyewitness Mohammad Younus.

“Around 800 people work here but it is good that all of them had not yet arrived as it was still early when it all happened. So there was no loss of life,” he added.

Meanwhile, the godown owners who had arrived at the scene tried without success to salvage their property. Most of the material stored in the godowns was polyester yarn, which couldn’t be saved.
(…)
District Commissioner Mohammad Ali Shah, who was present there with his team, said the fire started at Nama Textile Mill’s godown where polyester yarn was stored.
“At the moment, it doesn’t look like a short-circuit, as there was no power connection in the godowns. It could be the result of plain carelessness on the part of workers or owners. But we are looking into what could have caused the fire,” he told Dawn.
read more.
DAWNnew

20150504 * 13 workers caught in Karachi garment factory fire:

Thirteen factory workers, including two women, were caught in a garment factory fire in Karachi’s SITE area, Express News reported Monday. 

Initial reports revealed that the fire was caused by a short circuit and sources confirmed that the fire has now spread extensively, making it difficult for fire tenders to bring it under control.

Read: Baldia factory fire: Retailer comes under fierce criticism

Fire brigade services arrived at the garment factory thirty minutes after they were given notice of the incident, and a spokesperson for the fire brigade confirmed that 10 fire tenders were currently working to bring the fire to a halt.

Heavy smoke and fumes from the fire however, have made it difficult for fire tenders to enter the factory.

The injured were shifted to a local hospital for immediate medical assistance and rescue officials have declared it a third-degree fire.

The owner of the textile mill is present at the site, however, was unavailable for comments.
read more. & read-see more. (video report). & read more. & see more.
  dunyanews paktodaynew samaa

20150504 * Nine injured in Karachi factory fire:

Fire broke out at a site factory near Waleeka Chowrangi in Karachi, burning nine people.

At the moment, nine fire brigades are battling with the flames. Among the nine people who are burned, five of them are women. Injured were shifted to a local hospital for treatment.

DC West informed that all workers inside the factory premises were rescued. Rescue officials and firefighters termed it as a third degree fire. As the fire surrounded the entire factory, an additional fire tender was called in from KPT.

Karachi Commissioner stated that Sui Gas’s manpower and machinery were also called for. In order to break the walls and penetrate the factory, machines have been brought in. Commissioner Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui also stated that DC West was monitoring the situation at hand.
to read. & read more. & read more.& read more.
NATIONnew thenewspk ARYnews PAKOBSERVERnew2

20150504 * Garment factory catches fire in Karachi:

20150504livenewspak
KARACHI: A garment factory caught fire in the Site area of the city near Valika Hospital on Monday.

Several people including women have been injured in the third degree fire as fire tenders from across the city are rushing to Site to control the blaze.
read more.
geonewslogo

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20:09:28 local time map of china CHINA

20150429 * China is set to lose manufacturing crown:

20150429 THANHNIENews

The cheap, young labor and strategic location of Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos are set to draw increasing numbers of manufacturers to Southeast Asia, which will eventually displace China for the title of “world’s factory.”
The transformation will be part of the rise of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to become the “third pillar” of regional growth after China and India, ANZ Bank economists led by Glenn Maguire reckon.
By 2030, more than half of 650 million people in Southeast Asia will be under the age of 30, part of an emerging middle class with high rates of consumption.
read more.
THANHNIENEWS new

20:09:28 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

20150501 * 25,000 workers gather for Labor Day protest:

Around 25,000 workers will troop to Manila today to hold their Labor Day protest to voice out their frustrations on the government’s failure to resolve widespread unemployment and poverty in the country.

In a statement, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, together with the labor coalition, Nagkaisa, announced that they will assemble in Welcome Rotonda in Manila this morning before proceeding to Mendiola near Malacañang.
read more.
tempo

201504230 * Labor Day to be marked by protests by different workers’ groups:

A day before Labor Day, the biggest labor groups in the Philippines expressed intense dissatisfaction with the Aquino government over the unresolved problems of joblessness, low wages and high prices.

The labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno and the All-Workers Unity are calling for Aquino’s resignation, citing his “crimes” to the Filipino workers and people.
They said Mary Jane Veloso is just the latest addition to names designating his crimes.
The others include the DAP (Disbursement Acceleration Program), Yolanda, and Mamasapano, said Lito Ustarez, KMU vice president.
read more.
bulatlat_tagline

201504230 * UP Diliman supports call for P16,000 national minimum salary:

The University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) community under the banner of All Workers’ Unity – UPD expressed full support for the call to peg the national minimum wage of all workers at P16,000 (US$358) a month.

Faculty members, researchers, employees, drivers, vendors, residents and UPD officials led by Chancellor Michael L. Tan shared a solidarity breakfast at the UPD Quezon Hall this morning.
The “budget meal” of half cup of rice, half fried egg, dried fish (tuyo) and a cup of weak coffee symbolizes how families of Filipino workers cope with poverty and hunger due to meager wages.
read more.
bulatlat_tagline

201504230 * ILO urges government to focus more on decent and productive jobs:

The International Labor Organization (ILO) has urged the Philippine government to focus more on decent and productive jobs in order to foster inclusive growth following the important gains in the labor market in recent years.

In its latest report, Philippine Employment Trends 2015, the ILO noted that the Philippine economy has experienced relatively high economic growth rates in recent years, reaching 7.2 percent in 2013 and 6.1 percent in 2014.

The report also highlights that vulnerable employment, a measure of the quality of employment, declined from 43.5 percent in 2008 to 38.3 percent in 2013. Likewise, poverty rate among all Filipino workers saw a modest decline to 21.9 percent in 2012 from 22.9 percent in 2006.
read more.
MANILABULLETIN

19:09:28 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

20150429 * Work starts on $7m garment plant:

The Viet Nam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex) yesterday began construction of its new garment production plant in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Bac Lieu.

Covering 4.2ha in the provincial Tra Kha Industrial Zone, the plant, valued at more than VND150 billion (US$6.94 million), is slated for completion in October, creating 2,000 local jobs.
to read in BUSINESS IN BRIEF 29/4.
VNNet

19:09:28 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

20150501 * Peaceful Workers’ Day rallies take place in Phnom Penh:

This morning, in celebration of International Workers’ Day, marches and rallies were held at three sites around Phnom Penh.

One group of around 500, representing amongst others, garment workers, farmers, and informal sector workers marched and rode in tuk-tuks from the Olympic Stadium to the Ministry of Labour where they delivered a statement calling for greater respect for workers’ rights.
(…)
Another group of around 1,000 workers gathered at the National Assembly. The group listened to speeches and made several demands including for an increase in the minimum wage to $177.
At Freedom Park another group of over 500 workers held a rally and listened to speeches on worker conditions, the minimum wage and freedom of expression.
read more.
licadho

20150501 * City Hall Says No to Marching on Labor Day:

With unions planning at least three major rallies—including two marches—in Phnom Penh to mark Labor Day on Friday, City Hall has said that it will only allow workers to rally in Freedom Park, promising to “take action” if they attempt to bring their demonstrations onto the streets.

Three groups of unions are planning separate demonstrations involving thousands of members this morning to demand better conditions for workers and to call on the government to halt the drafting of a controversial Trade Union Law, which labor advocates fear will be used to selectively suppress unions that the government does not like.

Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, said his union and five others would hold a 4,000-person-strong rally at Freedom Park; Sar Mora, president of the Cambodian Food and Service Workers Federation, said his union would join nine others with about 2,000 workers for a march beginning at Olympic Stadium; and Ath Thorn, president of the Cambodian Labor Confederation, said about 7,000 workers would march from Wat Botum.

“We will hand our petition to the National Assembly…to ask to them to ensure decent wages for workers and to improve conditions,” Mr. Thorn said.

“We do not want the government to have a union law because it would restrict union rights,” he said, adding that the petition would also call on the government to arrest Chhuk Bundith, the former governor of Bavet City who shot into a group of protesting workers in 2012, and to drop charges against union leaders involved in protests early last year that were crushed during a wave of violent state suppression.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

20150501 * Cambodia must find new path to protect garment workers:

May Day marks a perfect time for the Cambodian government to embark on a new chapter on labour rights in the garment sector.

Officials can show the world in very concrete ways that their commitment to transparency and accountability is real and here to stay.

The move towards greater transparency has already begun. In March, for the first time in years, the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training provided annual information to the public about the number of factories it inspected in 2014 and the number of fines it imposed.
The disclosure was imperfect but a good beginning.
Further such disclosures, including the number of factories inspected, labour rights violations found, fines imposed, and whether they were actually collected, will allow the public to see what the ministry is doing.

Cambodia’s garment workers produce clothes that are sold by the world’s leading brands. Yet many endure poor working conditions and discriminatory practices. Tracing the path of a garment from a small subcontractor factory in Cambodia to a larger export factory to retail stores around the world is difficult.
These supply chains exist in the shadows, with little transparency.
read more.
PPP new

20150430 * As China Costs Rise, Factories Relocate to Cambodia:

Foreign manufacturers eager to wean themselves off their dependence on China are rushing in to set up operations in Cambodia, leveraging the country’s low-cost labor and investor incentives to produce apparel, automobile electrical parts, cell phone components and even polished diamonds.

Chan Sophal, an economist and spokesman of the Cambodian Economic Association, said rising labor and operational costs in Asia’s largest economy are bringing an influx of foreign-owned factories to Cambodia and creating fresh opportunities to diversify the Kingdom’s manufacturing sector.
He said foreign companies with existing operations in China are relocating factories or establishing new plants in Cambodia, where labor and operational costs are “two to three times less” than in China.

“Many companies operating in China have chosen to set up factories in Cambodia because the labor costs are lower here and there are tax concessions for exporting products to Europe, Japan, etc.,” Mr. Sophal said.

Shifting Supply Chains
The past decade has seen seismic shifts in Asian manufacturing. In the early 2000s, Western manufacturers facing strong union movements and rising operational expenses on home soil relocated their factories en masse to China to benefit from lower costs.
|But driven by a rapidly growing middle class, China has become increasingly prosperous in recent years and factory wages have quadrupled since 2005.

Rising operational costs in Asia’s industrial heavyweight are forcing global retailers to search for new low-cost manufacturing destinations.
Increasingly, they are finding their way to Asean nations – particularly Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia – which offer low-cost, youthful workforces for their production platforms.
read more.
KHMERTIMES

20150429 * GMAC Commits to ‘Compliance’ for Labor Day:

To mark International Labor Day on May 1, the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) said they were committed to “maintaining a high level of labor and social compliance.”

In a press release, GMAC claimed Cambodia “continues to be recognized as a pioneer in setting standards for labor and social compliance and the ground breaking initiative of linking trade to labor standards is currently being emulated by other apparel-producing countries all over the world.”

Their statement comes as numerous reports documenting the widespread rights abuses of GMAC and other factories have been released by a variety of human rights groups.
read more.
KHMERTIMES

20150428 MosesA dinner of Cambodia garment worker. Rice $0.25, soup $0.35
by

20:09:28 local time map of malaysia MALAYSIA

20150501 * MTUC Sarawak has wish list for May 1:

Collective bargaining has become nothing more than collective begging as the government pursues anti-union policies.

MTUC Sarawak has come up with a 20-point wish list under eight categories viz. ; minimum wage; minimum retirement age; cola (cost of living allowance) and high cost of living; more liberal trade union laws; foreign workers; corruption; and unemployment insurance.

MTUC Sarawak Secretary Andrew Lo identified liberal trade union laws as the key to resolving the woes facing workers in the country. “The New Economic Model (NEM) calls for the creation of a high-income nation for everyone.”

“You cannot have a high-income nation if wages remains stagnant by making it easier for employers to sack workers and reduce the influence of trade unions.”

As a result, he added, collective bargaining has become nothing more than collective begging. “We must amend the labour laws to offer greater protection to workers and their unions.”
read more.
FREEMALAYSIATODAY

20150430 * Union Leaders Must Play More Active Role To Enhance Employee Marketability:

Leaders of employee unions must play a more active role to enhance employee marketability, says Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot Jaem.

He said it could be done by supporting the government’s efforts in terms of knowledge-based competence development, skills and expertise in a particular field.

“In addition, the employee unions must help to create a community of knowledgeable and multi-skilled workers,” he said when launching the Trades Union Convention 2015 here Thursday.

Also present were Human Resources Deputy Minister Datuk Ismail Abd Mutallib, ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Saripuddin Kasim, Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs) president Datuk Azih Muda and Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) president Mohd Khalid Atan.
read more.
BERNAMA

20150429 * May Day ban ‘unacceptable, unnecessary nuisance’, says Sabah DAP:

The court order to stop a May Day rally in Sabah by the police was “totally unacceptable and unnecessary”, Sabah DAP said today after two of its lawmakers were named and banned from the proposed venue.

The state chapter’s Deputy Chairman Stephen Wong said that the “act of nuisance” disrespected democracy and the freedom enjoyed by the public, and was a move to oppress and suppress ordinary folks from speaking up.

“Is that really necessary and to get court order injunction? Why is the police so afraid of people assembling peacefully?,” asked Wong in a statement.

The court order was issued on April 27 in response to Sabah Bersih 2.0’s planned gathering of 10,000 people in the town field on May 1 which was rejected by local authorities.
read more.
MALAYonLINE

20:09:28 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

20150430 * National scene: Unions to announce labor party on May Day:

A group of labor unions is planning to declare a new political party after a May Day rally on Friday.

“The party will consist of alliances, groups, unions and other forms of citizen movements,” said Ilham Syah, the chairman of the Preparatory Committee of the All-Indonesia United Workers Confederation (KP-KPBI), on Thursday.

He also claimed that the rally, which commemorates the international Labor Day, would this year be the biggest protest in years with a total of 178,000 people joining.

The protest will demand the repeal of a regulation stipulating a salary raise only once in five years and another on outsourcing.
read more.
jakartapost

20150430 * Workers to Voice Rejection against Removal of Strike Right:

Jakarta Workers Forum head Muhammad Toha said workers’ unions in the capital would voice their rejection against the removal of the workers’ right to go on strike on their planned rallies on May Day.

Muhammad said the right was stipulated in the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention No. 87 Year 1948 and No. 98 Year 1949. “The scrapping of this right is highly in favor of the interests of major corporations,” he told Tempo on Wednesday, April 29, 2015.

According to Muhammad, the workers’ right for a strike was an instrument of negotiation and a response they can draw on against possible injustices by employers and to fight for their welfare.

Besides against the right’s removal, he said, laborers in the capital would also voice rejection against the salary payment scheme of every two to five years and the lingering outsourcing issues.
read more.
tempo-eng

19:09:28 local time map of thailand THAILAND

20150501 * Call to hike minimum wage:

Labour groups demand Bt360 a day from January 2016; poll shows sharp rise in the debt of low-income earners

Labour leaders have demanded an increase in the country’s minimum wage to Bt360 per day from the current Bt300 along with better welfare and other benefits.Speaking yesterday at a press conference ahead of Labour Day today, Wilaiwan sae-Tea, the chairwoman of Thai Labour Solidarity Committee (TLSC), said the tripartite Labour Wage Committee expects the wage raise to be finalised in October this year so that it would be effective in January 2016, as a New Year’s gift to all workers.
read more.
theNATIONnew

20150501 * Govt to boost workplace safety:

The government has vowed to boost safety standards in workplaces, saying it is considering treating work-safety promotion as a national agenda item to mark Labour Day today.

Speaking after chairing a meeting on promotion of workplace safety chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwon, Labour Minister Gen Surasak Karnjanarat said a master plan has been drawn up to bring about a better quality of life for workers by improving safety standards where they work.
read more.
BangkokPostNEW

20150430 * Free Somyot: 4 years in jail for ‘insulting the king’:

Today it has been four years since Thai editor and labour rights activist Somyot Pruksakaemsuk was arrested and imprisoned in Thailand, based on the lèse majesté law.
CCC is concerned for his health and calls for his immediate release.

The abuse of the lèse majesté law to silence media and bloggers has intensified since the military coup in May 2014. It seriously undermindes the freedom of expression and threatens all Thai-citizens. Somyot needs to be released immediately.

Let our voices be heard and sign the petition here.

Somyot has worked with the CCC on numerous campaigns and Urgent Appeal cases.
The charges against Somyot stem from two satirical articles, written by someone else, in the now-defunct magazine Voice of Taksin (Voice of the Oppressed), of which Somyot was the editor.
Article 112 of the Criminal Code stipulates that “Whoever defames, insults or threatens the King, Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent, shall be punished with imprisonment of three to fifteen years.”
However, just before his arrest, on 28 April 2011, Somyot had publicly launched a petition calling for the removal of lèse majesté from the Thai criminal code.
read more.

20150429 * Bail denied so far:

SIGN PETITION HERE

Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, a pro-democracy and labour rights activist in Thailand, was detained four years ago on April 30, 2011, just days after he initiated a peaceful campaign to collect 10,000 signatures to seek a parliamentary review of Thailand’s draconian lèse-majesté law (Article 112 of the Thai Criminal Code), which has been used to undermine freedom of expression.

In January 2013, Somyot was convicted and sentenced by the Bangkok Criminal Court to 10 years’ imprisonment under Article 112.
His conviction triggered an avalanche of condemnation and statements of concerns from the United Nations, the European Union, the United States, and numerous international, regional and domestic media outlets, human rights groups and trade unions.
(…)
By April 30, 2015, Somyot will have spent four years behind bar, during which all 16 of his bail applications were rejected.
Somyot suffers from gout and hypertension and there are serious concerns that the medical treatment he is receiving at Bangkok Remand Prison is not adequate.

During his incarceration, Sukanya Prueksakasemsuk has campaigned tirelessly for her husband’s release and was herself subjected to arbitrary detention at the hands of the Thai military following the coup in May 2014.
Thailand’s human rights situation has seriously deteriorated since the May 2014 coup.
In its decision on Somyot’s final appeal, the Supreme Court of Thailand has an opportunity to reverse this repressive trend by upholding the basic rights to freedom of expression and liberty of the person.
The signatories of this petition urge the Supreme Court of Thailand to
1. Immediately release Somyot on bail; and
2. Expedite the appeal process, with a view to ensuring Somyot’s eventual unconditional release
read more.
4YEARS

18:39:28 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

20150501 * Activists defy union leaders, government on May Day march:

Labour groups are making good on earlier threats to join with other protest movements by staging a mass May Day march today, despite requests from the government and a prominent union not to demonstrate.

Factory workers, farmers, land-grab protesters, student activists and monks will jointly picket through Yangon, starting in Bo Sein Hman field and ending at Kyaikkasan sports ground.

“We will make 10 demands during the march. These points affect all of us,” said U Htay, a member of the Labour Affairs Action Network and a labour representative on the Arbitration Council, which works to resolve disputes between workers and employers.
read more.
MMtimesnew

20150428 * Employers, Workers Far Apart in Minimum Wage Negotiations:

20150428 IRRAWADDY
Workers from the Myue & Soe Garment factory stand during a protest for a salary increase in front of the Mayangone Township labor office in Rangoon on Sept. 7, 2012. (Photo: Reuters / Soe Zeya Tun)

Tripartite discussions between Burma’s Ministry of Labor, workers’ representatives and factory owners in recent days have revealed wide differences of opinion about the country’s future minimum wage, which will be determined in the next few months.

Sai Khaing Myo Tun, a workers’ representative on the tripartite National Committee on Minimum Wage, said workers’ organizations are demanding about 4,000 kyats (about US$4) for an 8-hour work day, excluding welfare benefits, overtime and bonus payments.
The workers representatives set out their demands during a meeting with Minister for Labor, Employment and Social Security Aye Myint on Sunday.

Dozens of employers met with the minister on Saturday and garment factory owners, one of the largest sources of industrial employment in Burma, demanded a 1,500 kyat minimum wage for an 8-hour work day, according to a Rangoon-based factory owner, who asked not be named.

He said garment factory employers had demanded the 1,500 kyat wage due to the labor-intense production process in the sector, adding that the owners of other type of factories, such as wood-processing factories, were willing to accept a minimum wage of 3,000 kyats per day.
read more.
IRRAWADDY

20150429 * Myanmar adds new factory per week as textile sector booms:

The international textile sector has discovered Myanmar. Low wages, plentiful labour and an image problem in neighbouring Bangladesh after the 2013 Rana Plaza building collapse have all boosted the emerging country’s chances.

Yangon- Green collars piled to one side, white polo shirts to the other – the young woman handles them with practised ease, creating a precise seam with her humming sewing machine.The garment in making then goes to the next station, where her co-worker applies a strip of green tape to the short sleeves.
A fan rotates the warm air where 400 women labour eight hours each weekday day – four on Saturday – in the Shweyi Zabe textile plant on the outskirts of Yangon.”One new factory opened every week in 2014,” Khine Khine Nwe, the secretary of the Myanmar Garment Makers Association (MGMA), tells dpa.There are currently 200,000 workers in more than 300 factories. Neighbouring Bangladesh has around 4,000 textile factories.

“In 10 years we want to have 3,000 factories,” she says.
The aim is to increase exports from the current US$1 billion a year 10 times over and to provide a million jobs.
And investors are answering the call.
Chinese, Taiwanese and South Korean companies are flooding into the country.

Shweyi Zabe’s boss Aye Aye Han complains that the competition is luring her workers away by offering a couple of dollars more.
The country is benefiting from the waning star of neighbouring Bangladesh, where the collapse of the Rana Plaza textile factory with more than 1,000 fatalities two years ago drew attention to poor working conditions in garment factories.
(…)

But there is a long way to go.
Estimates put Myanmar productivity at half that of China, where production rates are high, but so are wages.
The Verisk Maplecroft consultancy says labour costs are lower in Myanmar than anywhere else in the world.
Clothing companies like Gap, H&M and Adidas are already producing here.
read more.
theNATIONnew

20150429 * Myanmar next best destination for international textile sector:

Low wages, plentiful labour and an image problem in neighbouring Bangladesh have all boosted Myanmar’s chances.

The international textile sector has discovered Myanmar as next best destination as there are currently 200,000 workers in more than 300 factories. Neighbouring Bangladesh has around 4,000 textile factories.

Khine Khine Nwe, the secretary of the Myanmar Garment Makers Association (MGMA), said that one new factory opened every week in 2014. In 10 years they want to have 3,000 factories.
The aim is to increase exports from the current US$1 billion a year 10 times over and to provide a million jobs.
And investors are answering the call.
Chinese, Taiwanese and South Korean companies are flooding into the country.
read more.
ynfx

18:09:28 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

20150429 * Fire at factory in Old Dhaka:

A fire at a factory in the capital’s Old Dhaka area has destroyed goods worth Tk 1 million.

The fire broke out at the second floor of a house in Nababpur’s Rothkhola More area around 7:30 am on Wednesday.
Fire Service control room officer Shahzadi Sultana said four units of the fire service department tamed the blaze within half an hour.

The factory used to produce imprints and designs for children’s clothes and shoes, said the owners, ‘Rashid’ and ‘Abul’.
Rashid said no one was hurt…
read more.
bdnews24

20150501 * Only 40 sectors out of 100 under minimum wage framework:

The government has so far fixed minimum wages for workers of only 40 sectors while a large number are working in manufacturing industries, service and other sectors.

The Minimum Wage Board under the ministry of labour and employment declared minimum wages for workers in 40 private sectors since 1983 out of 100 which have employed millions of workers.

A large segment of the workforce, mostly from the informal sectors, remains outside the purview of the minimum wages, as most of them have no trade union rights, labour directorate officials, trade unionists and rights activists said.
read more.
FE bd

20150501 * ‘Nobody cares about them’:

With labour law largely ignored, workers continue to face abuse; May Day today

Except for a handful few, most of the country’s workers do not enjoy the rights as per the labour law. Even those who are claimed to be covered by the law see only partial implementation of their rights, according to labour rights experts.

There are 5.76 crore workers in Bangladesh as per the latest official statistics. Hardly 20 percent of them enjoy privileges stipulated in the law, said Syed Sultan Uddin Ahmmed, assistant executive director of Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies.

“The rights of even the workers covered by the law are not fully implemented,” he told The Daily Star yesterday.

“Most workers still toil more than 12 hours a day. They don’t have identity cards. They don’t get fair wages, pension and housing and health benefits. Nobody cares about them, unless there is an international pressure,” he observed.

Against this backdrop, Bangladesh observes the International Workers’ Day, also known as May Day, today through different programmes organised by the government, labour rights organisations and workers’ platforms.
The day is a government holiday.
(…)

The heart-wrenching incident is a glaring example of failures of all stakeholders in ensuring workers’ safety.
The government agencies did not enforce building laws, factory owners did not pay heed to safety concerns and international buyers did not bother much about the working conditions in the factories manufacturing products for them.

The country has progressed a lot in improving workplace safety since the collapse, as the government and private sector entrepreneurs have taken a lot of positive initiatives, according to the International Labour Organisation.

But two days before the second anniversary of Rana Plaza collapse, US-based Human Rights Watch said while changes to some labour laws since the incident, including provisions easing the union registration process, have facilitated registration of new unions, still fewer than 10 percent of garment factories in Bangladesh have unions.
read more.
the DAILYSTAR new 2015

20150501 * Labour rights matter for everyone:

It is an occasion to take stock of efforts and improve fundamental rights relating to employment

Today’s May Day public holiday is celebrated to mark International Worker’s Day.

It is an occasion to take stock of efforts around the world to protect and improve fundamental human rights relating to employment.

For Bangladesh, the Rana Plaza disaster has served as a watershed moment to improve working conditions and draw more attention to labour rights. It has rightly focused huge attention on improving factory safety in the  RMG industry.

While the chain of events which led to the disaster includes poor compliance with safety standards, exacerbated by the relentless downward price pressures of the global garment supply chain, we must never forget that the death toll was so high on the day because ordinary workers felt so unempowered that they were easily forced to return to work in a building that had been officially declared unsafe by local authorities.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

20150501 * May Day and worker woes:

Bangladesh joins many other countries across the globe in celebrating May Day with fanfare today.

The celebrations are to commemorate the workers who embraced martyrdom at the Haymarket Square of Chicago in the United States of America on May 4, 1886 during their movement for eight-hour workdays.

Relevant government authorities are set to hold programmes such as seminars and symposia on the day, while various organisations, political, cultural and labour, have planned to organise colourful rallies and processions.

It is expected that, apart from the significance of the day, issues like labour rights, workplace safety will take centre stage at all these programmes.

It is important definitely important to take stock of the conditions of workers’ lives and rights on the occasion. Incidentally, the workers, who sacrificed their lives at Haymarket Square, belonged to the apparel sector.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that the condition of workers at many of the country’s apparel factories that constitute the largest industrial sector is hardly different from that of the former.

The existing labour law stipulates 10-hour workday for a worker going against the spirit of May Day.
Besides, there are ample cases in which employers forced their workers to work even up to 16-17 hours, that too, in many cases, paying little for the extra work.

Worse still, in the absence of effective trade unions mainly attributable to the flawed labour law, workers have no option but to accept the situation.

One can in this connection refer to the current conditions of the families of the victims of the Rana Plaza collapse on April 24, 2013, which claimed more than 1100 workers’ lives and left many others injured, and its survivors.
While all of them are yet to receive the promised compensation money in full, around 55 per cent of the survivors are waiting for the government and the apparel owners’ association to fulfil their promise of proper rehabilitation.
read more. & read more.
NEWAGEnew  FE bd

20150430 * VIDEO: Bangladesh Trade Union Center President Discusses Global Labor Solidarity:

On the occasion of May Day, I am sharing a clip from an interview with Dr. Wajidul Islam, President of the Bangladesh Trade Union Center where he discusses the importance of global labor solidarity.

He encourages all trade unions from all countries to come together and fight for workers rights.
Solidarity helps local unions strengthen their own labor movement and it helps strengthen the capacity of unions to work around the world.
One way he suggests showing solidarity is to create solidarity networks bilateral (US-Bangladesh), regionally and also globally.
Listen to his interview.
LAW attheMARGINS

20150430 * May Day to be observed Friday:

The historic May Day will be observed on Friday in the country as elsewhere across the world with a pledge to establish the rights of workers.

The May Day, also known as International Workers’ Solidarity Day, commemorates the historic uprising of working people in Chicago, USA, at the height of a prolonged fight for an eight-hour workday.
The day is a public holiday.

The Labour and Employment Ministry will bring out a colourful rally on Friday on this occasion.
Newspapers will publish supplements while radio and television channels air special programmes.

President Abdul Hamid in a May Day message said coordinated efforts of entrepreneurs, owners and workers are needed for building a strong and rich economy. “I hope all will come forward for establishing rights and ensuring the welfare of the working class,” he added.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in her message, expressed the hope that both owners and workers will put in their best efforts to boost production in their factories through maintaining good relations between them.

She mentioned that her government has implemented various programmes for the welfare of workers and improving their living standard.
read more.
UNBnew

20150501 * Khaleda urges workers to join movement for democracy:

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party chairperson, Khaleda Zia, on Thursday said democracy had been ‘exiled’ from the country and urged the working class people to join the struggle for establishing a democratic society based on equality and social justice.

In a message on the eve of May Day to be observed today, she said,
‘Democracy has been exiled from Bangladesh. Democratic customs and institutions have been destroyed and rights of people of any class and profession are not secure.’
read more.
NEWAGEnew

20150430 * President, PM for better worker-owner relations:

President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today greeted the toiling masses across the world, including Bangladesh on the occasion of historic May Day.

In separate messages on the eve of the day, they expressed solidarity with the working class people and stressed good worker-owner relations for development of the country.

In his message, the President called for establishing good worker- owner relations, ensuring fair wages and safe and congenial workplace and enhancing skills of workers.
read more.
BSSnew

20150501 * Workers’ welfare foundation limps without fund:

The government has taken virtually no initiative to institutionalise Bangladesh Workers’ Welfare Foundation into an entity, by providing manpower or enhancing its fund.

ince the formation of the foundation in 2006, the government has made no contribution to the fund and has not designed an organogram to hire manpower to collect contributions from public companies and the private sector.

A joint secretary of the labour ministry functions as ex officio director general of the foundation who depends on inspectors of the department of inspection for factories and establishments to collect contribution from 23,579 business entities registered with the department.
read more. & read more.
NEWAGEnew the DAILYSTAR new 2015

20150427 * EU resolution on the 2nd anniversary of the Rana Plaza:

The European Parliament,
–  having regard to the EC-Bangladesh Cooperation Agreement of 2001,
–   having regard to its previous resolutions on Bangladesh, in particular those of 14 January 2014(1), 21 November 2013(2) and 14 March 2013(3),
–       having regard to the updated OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises of 2011,
–  having regard to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights,
–   having regard to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work,
–  having regard to the United Nations Global Compact on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption,
(…)

A.     whereas on 24 April 2013 1134 people were killed and hundreds were injured when the Rana Plaza building in Savar, Bangladesh, collapsed;

B.     whereas at least 112 people died at the Tazreen factory fire, in the Ashulia district, Dhaka, Bangladesh, on 24 November 2012 and 289 people perished in a blaze in Karachi, Pakistan, in September 2012;

C.     whereas at least six people have died and more than 60 were injured after the roof of a partially built cement factory recently collapsed in Bangladesh;
(…)

1.      Regrets the existing USD 9 million shortfall in the total needed to pay compensation for the Rana Plaza disaster; calls on the international brands responsible, the Government of Bangladesh and representatives of the Bangladesh industry to take immediate steps to address this shortfall;

2.      Notes that compensation for the Tazreen fire is now being negotiated on the same basis of the Rana Plaza arrangement; strongly regrets the ongoing delays and calls for compensation to be delivered in a timely manner;

3.      Regrets that the survivors and relatives of victims of the fatal fire at the Ali Enterprises textile factory (*) in Karachi (Pakistan), which killed 260 people, are still waiting for compensation from a leading European clothing retailer;
read more.
EUparl

(*) = Baldia factory fire.

20150429 * Accord assessing garment factories after quake:

A European-led retailers’ group is conducting an impact assessment on 200 ‘vulnerable’ garment factories with which it does business after tremor hit the country, people familiar with the situation said.

The earthquake, which struck Nepal Saturday, also affected Bangladesh, with a series of tremors being felt in Dhaka as elsewhere in the country.

The Accord assessment is aimed at determining if the factories that are producing garment items for its affiliated companies have been structurally affected by the quake.

“All 11 Accord structural engineers are in the field doing immediate impact inspections at approximately 200 factories, deemed structurally most vulnerable from our initial inspections,” executive director of Accord Rob Wayss told the FE.
read more.
FE bd

20150501 * ILO moves to launch injury insurance for garment sector:

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has moved to introduce employment injury insurance scheme in Bangladesh in view of rising number of factory accidents in recent times, officials said.

The move came after the deadly Rana Plaza collapse and Tazreen Fashions fires in the garment industry killed more than 1,200 workers, exposing the vulnerabilities of workers, they said.

The insurance scheme, at the first stage, is aimed at covering workers of readymade garment industry (RMG), which will later be expanded into other factories, said a labour ministry official.
read more.
FE bd

20150430 * Give insurance coverage to all factory workers: ILO country director:

Bangladesh should launch the National Employment Injury Insurance Programme to bring all factory workers under insurance coverage, said Srinivas B Reddy, country director for International Labour Organisation.

At present, only 25 workers of each factory enjoy insurance benefits — and they are chosen randomly. But under the proposed programme, all workers will be included.

The insurance, which will be mandatory for all factories, will cover health, unfortunate death and other workplace accidents, and factory owners will need to pay less than Tk 60 as premium for each worker every month.

“We have to learn from the faults of the Rana Plaza. We have to integrate the workers with the national system. We have to look to the future,” he told The Daily Star in an interview.
read more.
the DAILYSTAR new 2015

20150430 * Expedite process to introduce Nat’l Employment Injury Scheme : ILO:

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) asked Bangladesh government to expedite the process for introducing National Employment Injury Scheme to provide financial support to workers after industrial accidents and hazards.

‘Our attention should now turn to establishing a National Employment Injury Insurance Scheme for Bangladesh,’ Guy Ryder, director general of the ILO, said in a letter to state minister for labour and employment M Mujibul Haque on April 23.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ‘agreed to develop such a scheme’, he claimed in the letter.
(…)
He also noted that the draft Export Processing Zone Labour Act, 2014, ‘unfortunately’ did not comply with the ILO Conventions and Recommendations.
The DG also called upon the government to provide additional financial support to the victims of Rana Plaza disaster and the families of the deceased.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

20150430 * Garment exporters want revision of rules for tax at source:

Garment makers yesterday called upon the National Board of Revenue to collect 0.3 percent tax at source on 10 percent of their profits from exports, instead of overall profits.

The NBR now collects source tax at 0.3 percent on overall profit on apparel export by an individual company in a year, which was introduced in the current budget, scrapping the previous provision of 0.8 percent tax on 10 percent of profit.
read more. & read more.
the DAILYSTAR new 2015 DHAKATRIBUNE

20150430 * BB to launch $350m loan scheme for manufacturers:

20150430 NEWAGE
A file photo shows an employee working in a textile factory in Dhaka. Bangladesh Bank is likely to introduce a refinance and pre-finance scheme worth $350 million for new manufacturing units.— New Age photo

Bangladesh Bank is likely to introduce a refinance and pre-finance scheme worth $350 million in September this year, under which clients will get loans in dollars from banks and non-bank financial institutions on long-term basis to set up new manufacturing units or expand the existing ones.

The central bank will introduce the scheme by taking assistance of $300 million from the International Development Association, a concern of the World Bank, a BB official told New Age on Wednesday.
The BB will provide $50 million to build the fund.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

20150429 * Exporters oppose pvt quality control centre for RMG items:

Garment exporters have strongly opposed a decision of the National Board of Revenue permitting a private organisation to set up a quality control centre for inspecting the quality of apparel products before shipment.

The revenue board on April 5 permitted Ispahani Summit Alliance Terminals Ltd to set up a special bonded warehouse and the quality centre.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association in a letter to the NBR demanded for withdrawal of the permission for the sake of export of RMG products.
Exporters also blamed that the revenue board took the decision to facilitate a vested quarter to run monopoly business in the sector.
A high official of the revenue board, however, told New Age on Tuesday that the permission was given on the basis of buyers’ requirement as they were showing reluctance to send their quality control team to Bangladesh on security reasons and to reduce costs.
Some international buyers appointed the ISATL, a joint venture of Alliance Holdings Ltd, MM Ispahani Ltd and Summit Group, for conducting quality control inspection and for doing other activities including packing for shipment, he said.
The joint venture has the backing of the high ups of the Awami League-led government, sources said.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

20150501 * Dhaka wants Beijing to give import licence to retailers:

The government has worked out a plan to minimise trade gap with China, a senior trade official said.

The plan includes persuading China to give import licences to Chinese retailers, issue multiple visas to Bangladeshi businessman and arrange visits of increased Chinese trade delegations.

It also includes seeking Chinese help in establishing fashion institutes in Bangladesh, local infrastructural development and taking part in increased international fairs held in China.
(..)
President of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) A. K. M. Salim Osman said if the recommendations are implemented, garment exporters would be able to increase exports, since China is importing clothes from different countries across the world.

“China does not issue import licenses to the retailers, if the government can convince China to issue import license to them, then import from Bangladesh to that country will increase significantly,” he added.
read more.
FE bd

20150429 * Apparel accessories makers seek UP facility:

Local apparel accessories makers have urged the government to allow the apex grouping to issue Utilisation Permission.

“We’ve urged the government to give us the authority to issue UP for our members,” Rafez Alam Chowdhury, president of Bangladesh Garment Accessories and Packaging Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGAPMEA, told the FE.
read more.
FE bd

20150430 * No retrenchment of BJMC workers: JS body :

The parliamentary standing committee on Jute and Textiles Ministry on Thursday recommended refraining from retrenching workers of Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC).

The committee also recommended timely allocation of money to BJMC for jute procurement.
The recommendations came from a meeting of the committee held at the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban with its chairman Saber Hossain Chowdhury in the chair.

The committee sought cooperation of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) and the parliamentary standing committee on Finance Ministry in allocation in the coming budget for jute and its related sectors.
to read.
UNBnew

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.
(…)

My interviews with garment workers during the summer of 2014, reveal several facts:
a)  garment workers are not aware of their rights under the current labour laws;
b) although the number of registered labour unions in the garment sector increased, harassment of workers for union activities continues to persist (only pro-government labour unions have been allowed to operate);
c) many workers are unaware of the health centres operated by the BGMEA;
d) some workers  “voluntarily” work even if they are sick;
e) unexpected medical expenditures pose a serious burden for some garment workers; and
f) some garment workers often purchase basic consumer goods from local stores on credit often at higher than regular prices.

My visits to places where some Bangladeshi garment workers live and work evoke the scenes and themes depicted by  Charles Dickens of 19th century England.
read more.
the DAILYSTAR new 2015

20150428 * This Is What Happens When a Garment Factory Employee Requests Safe Working Conditions:

On Sunday John Oliver dropped a massive truth bomb on anyone still refusing to think about the reason H&M can sell a dress for $4.95 and take designs from sketch to shelves in just three weeks.

Here’s a hint: it’s appalling work conditions and child labor. But we already knew that. The scary thing in 2015 — two years after the collapse of the Rana Plaza sweatshop in Bangladesh, which killed 1,100 garment workers — is not that sweatshops still exist, but that we’re so desperate to ignore the plight of overseas workers because ERMAGHERD EMOJI LEGGINGS.

Luckily the conversation is getting louder. Initiatives like last week’s Fashion Revolution Day urge us to start thinking about where our clothes are coming from buy turning our tags inside out.
But it’s something we should be talking about more than once a year or once a viral video, because it’s not a conversation that the people employed to make our clothes can have on their own behalf.

Just look what happens in the below clip from new documentary The True Cost. In the clip we meet 23-year-old Bangladeshi woman Shima Akhter, who is one of almost 4 million garment workers in the country and earns less than $3 a day making clothes in dangerous conditions.
read & see more.
styleite

20150424 * Two Years After Factory Collapse, Fashion’s Front Line Still Hopes for Safety:

Many workers in Bangladesh haven’t seen the improvements in working conditions that they were promised. For one of them, any changes will be too late.

On the list of tragedies that have befallen industry in Bangladesh over the past two years, the death of Anwar Hossain scarcely registers.

International observers, diplomats, local NGOs, factory owners, the multinational corporations that hire them to produce clothing for stores from New York to Milan—hardly anyone remembers the fire at Mega Yarn Dyeing Mills Ltd. that began in the early morning hours of Sept. 28, 2014.
Yet the death in that fire of the machine operator Hossain, who was 26, offers a window into a seldom-viewed segment of fashion’s supply chain.

Two centuries ago, Bangladesh was the global leader in textiles, producing a dazzling array of dyed-and-printed fabric that was sought after across the oceans then and hangs in museums today.
But with the nation at 144 of 187 on the U.N. Development Programme’s Human Development Index, its government faces pressure to deliver economic growth and for nearly two decades has been promoting the nation as a place where clothing brands could come to find cheap labor.
Today it’s the world’s second-largest producer of ready-made garments. (What China is to electronics, in other words, Bangladesh is to clothes.)
Clothing that’s designed in Europe or the U.S. is assembled from mostly imported cloth into many of the items found on the racks at H&M and Zara.
(…)

Despite evidence that conditions in the factories were dangerous—Rana Plaza wasn’t the first in Bangladesh to collapse, and Tazreen wasn’t the first fatal fire—little was done to improve matters until after the disasters at Tazreen, where clothes for the U.S. Marines and Walmart were made, and Rana Plaza, home to four local companies also making clothes for Western brands.

The accord, prompted by that 2005 collapse, didn’t draw much enthusiasm in its first several years of existence.
But after Rana Plaza’s shoddy concrete pillars gave way beneath the floors and factory equipment that had been illegally added to the building, several major European brands, including most that sourced from Rana Plaza, joined the union-designed pact.
The accord shoulders its members with some liability: Parties are compelled to pay for inspections to ensure that the local businesses they contract with don’t force employees to work in unsafe conditions.
They also must ensure that problems found in factories are fixed.
Companies that do not abide can be sued.
(…)

Garment factories in Bangladesh often produce clothes for several brands. So on Aug. 28, 2014, the other pact, the accord, sent inspectors from another Western verification company, Hughes Associates, to poke around Hossain’s workplace.

Hughes’ report was not dissimilar to CCRD’s. It found storage areas not separated by fire-rated constructions. Some construction work was underway, but fire safety precautions were still minimal: No automatic sprinkler systems were present, elevator shafts were unsealed, and so on.

In other words, in the nine months since the prior inspection of Mega Yarn, the alliance had apparently done little to make the facility fire safe.
read more.
takepart

    THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE

20150501 * Loblaw hit with $2b lawsuit over Rana Plaza collapse:

A Toronto law firm is seeking $2 billion in damages from Loblaw Companies and its Joe Fresh clothing line in a proposed class action lawsuit related to the Rana Plaza building collapse that killed more than 1,100 workers in 2013, reports Financial Post.

Filed two days before the two-year anniversary of the Rana Plaza catastrophe, the April 22 notice of action filing came a day before a similar action was filed in the District of Columbia court against retailers including Walmart, The Children’s Place and JC Penney, the Toronto-based newspaper says. These retailers were among the 29 manufacturers who had clothing made in the building.

“It was known to [the defendants] prior to April 24, 2013, that Bangladesh factories had an extremely poor record of workplace safety standards and industrial building standards including garment factories, that there had been a recent history of very serious accidents and collapses at garment factories in Bangladesh in the period immediately preceding the collapse at Rana Plaza,” says the statement of claim filed in Ontario Superior Court by plaintiff law firm Rochon Genova LLP.

The notice of action also names Loblaw’s parent company George Weston Ltd, wholly owned Loblaw subsidiary Joe Fresh Apparel Inc, and the US, France and Bangladesh branches of Bureau Veritas Consumer Products Services Inc, a company hired by Loblaw to perform inspections and audits of textile and garment factories.

“We believe that this claim is without merit and intend to vigorously defend our position,” Loblaw spokesman Kevin Groh said in an emailed statement. “We hope this claim does not distract from the positive work Loblaw has done and continues to do in respect of this tragedy,” the newspaper quoted Groh as saying.

Loblaw has directed $5 million to voluntary relief efforts related to Rana Plaza, Groh added. “We hope this claim does not discourage others from making similar contributions.”
read more.
the DAILYSTAR new 2015

20150430 * Class action suit seeks $2 billion from Loblaw, Joe Fresh over 2013 Bangladesh garment factory collapse:

A Toronto law firm is seeking $2 billion in damages from Loblaw Cos. and its Joe Fresh clothing line in a proposed class action lawsuit related to the 2013 Bangladesh garment factory collapse that killed more than 1,100 workers.

Filed two days before the two-year anniversary of the Rana Plaza catastrophe, the April 22 notice of action filing came a day before a similar action was filed in the District of Columbia court against retailers including Walmart, The Children’s Place and J.C. Penney, which were among the 29 manufacturers who had clothing made in the building.
read more.
financialpost

RanaPlaza compensation

20150429 * Rana Plaza: Global day action pushes brands to pay:

The Rana Plaza Global Day of Action on April 24 pushed brands to contribute several millions for the survivors of the Rana Plaza factory collapse.

A last minute initiative secured additional donations to the Rana Plaza compensation fund, but despite this US$2.7 million is still needed. Clean Clothes Campaign calls on brands to fill the remaining funding gap by May Day.

To commemorate the second anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster, thousands of campaigners took action, demanding that all brands sourcing from Bangladesh fill the current funding gap in compensation, and sign the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety.
Major events and demonstrations in at least 20 countries worldwide called on Benetton, Mango, Inditex and other high street labels to make sure Bangladesh workers get the US$30 million they need.

The Global Day of Action included such events as a mass demonstration in Bangladesh, a concert of sewing machines in Italy, events outside stores including Mango, JC Penney, Zara, and Walmart in the US, and a flashmob outside stores in Germany and Belgium.
Thousands more showed their support online, through facebook messages, sharing solidarity photos and tweets.

The urgency and need for full compensation grows with each passing day.
Many survivors have had to use their entirety of their compensation payments to date on medical fees and are living in abject poverty, awaiting the final installments.
To date, claimants have only received 70% of what they are owed.
read more.

20150430 * Rana Plaza – a last push to close the compensation gap:

24 April marked the second anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh. After intense campaigning from global unions and other stakeholders, the Rana Plaza compensation fund lacks US$2,7 million to reach the US$30 million needed for the victims and their families. 

On 24 April 2013, more than 1,100 workers were killed and thousands more were injured in an industrial homicide which opened the world’s eyes to the conditions in garment factories.

Two years after the deadly building collapse, the Rana Plaza compensation fund is still missing US$2,7 million from the targeted US$30 million.

IndustriALL Global Union general secretary Jyrki Raina says:
“Let us now close one of the most shameful chapters in the history of the garment industry and move on. The multi billion-garment industry has the resources. We call upon all leading brands to end the funding crisis.”
read more.
INDUSRIall

20150430 * Rana Plaza two years on: progress but no hiding from massive task ahead:

On 24 April it will be two years since the Rana Plaza collapse, killing more than 1,100 workers and injuring thousands more.

The labour movement and its NGO partners are calling on the garment industry to show that it has the leadership to stay the course and change the global supply chain permanently.

The compensation fund is still missing US$6 million out of the targeted US$30 million needed to compensate the victims and it is an unacceptable reality that not a single factory can yet be called 100 per cent safe.
Global union leaders are calling on the industry to show that it has courage and leadership to turn this page and move on.

UNI Global Union General Secretary Philip Jennings said:
“It’s outrageous that families who lost their mothers and breadwinners have still not been fully compensated because a group of multinationals cannot find it in their hearts or deep pockets to pay the US$6 million missing from the compensation fund. All brands need to join forces to end the funding crisis by closing the funding gap and stepping up the remedial work on factories.”
read more.
UNIglobalUNION

20150430 * Children’s Place to give $2m to Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund:

The Children’s Place has pledged to contribute $2 million to the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund to compensate the victims of the factory disaster that killed over 1,135 people. 

The Children’s Place, in a statement on Monday, said it would make a $2-million contribution to help the trust fund meet its goal of raising $30 million for the injured and victims’ families.

Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund is very close to reach its much-needed $30 million, which would be $29.5m after realisation of the Children’s Place fund. According to the coordination committee, the fund already received $27.5m as of April 24.

On April 23, Children’s Place – working with International Labour Organisation (ILO) – convened a conference call of major brands and retailers in an attempt to fill the funding gap by the second anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster, said Clean Clothes Campaign.
(…)

‘We have been calling on brands to work together to collectively resolve the funding crisis for months, and we welcome the initiative of The Children’s Place in doing so now,” said Sam Maher of the Clean Clothes Campaign.

There remains hope that brands and retailers will continue to step up and make additional contributions in order for entirely making up the fund of $30 million, the amount required to provide the survivors and victims’ families as compensation, said Maher.

Walmart has for months been delaying any further donation, claiming that the Alliance would instead be making a significant payment, Maher said, adding that with only $2.7 million left, the Alliance is presented with a unique opportunity to finally close the gap by making good on its promise by May Day and there is no excuse for any further delay.”
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

20150429 * Rana Plaza victims sue Bangladesh govt, Wal-Mart, JC Penney:

The government of Bangladesh, Wal-Mart, J.C.Penney and The Children’s Place have been sued by victims and families of victims of a garment factory collapse that killed more than 1,000 people two years ago.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Washington, claims the retailers and the government were aware of the unsafe conditions, according to US media.

When the eight-story building collapsed on April 24, 2013, 1,129 people were killed and about 2,515 people were injured. Many of the people were women and children.

“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 Thursday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

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 said.

Retail defendants breached their duty to workers in the building, the lawsuit claims, by failing to implement standards and oversight mechanisms designed to ensure the health and safety of workers who manufactured clothing for their stores.
to read.
DHAKATRIBUNE

20150429 * Rana Plaza – a last push to close the compensation gap:

24 April marked the second anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh. After intense campaigning from global unions and other stakeholders, the Rana Plaza compensation fund lacks US$2,7 million to reach the US$30 million needed for the victims and their families. 

On 24 April 2013, more than 1,100 workers were killed and thousands more were injured in an industrial homicide which opened the world’s eyes to the conditions in garment factories.

Two years after the deadly building collapse, the Rana Plaza compensation fund is still missing US$2,7 million from the targeted US$30 million.

IndustriALL Global Union general secretary Jyrki Raina says:
“Let us now close one of the most shameful chapters in the history of the garment industry and move on. The multi billion-garment industry has the resources. We call upon all leading brands to end the funding crisis.”
On the anniversary people all over the world manifested the need for a changing garment industry.
(…)
Towards a living wage
Since the collapse, progress in making Bangladeshi garment factories safer have been made, using the legally binding Bangladesh Accord.

However, with the remediation process currently behind schedule and an increasingly anti-union approach from factory owners and the government, the struggle for garment workers in Bangladesh is not over.
Jyrki Raina says that brands and factory owners have to be part of the solution, working together with IndustriALL.

“Important progress has been made. Now the garment industry needs sustainable jobs with living wages, safe conditions and reasonable working hours.
For that there needs to be bargaining structures in place where brands pay a bit more to enable living wages for the millions of workers in countries like Bangladesh, Cambodia and Myanmar.”
read more.

17:39:28 local time map of india INDIA

20150501 * A bleak Labour Day for unions as govt makes it harder to form one:

According to a proposal by the Union labour ministry, 10 per cent of the employees or 100 workers will be needed at least to form a trade union

Barely a week after trade unions across the country celebrate the Labour Day, the National Democratic Alliance government will meet workers’ and industry representatives on May 6 to discuss proposals to make forming unions tougher and union activities more rule-bound.

The proposals to be discussed also include a change in Labour law provisions to disallow protests in office premises or at houses of managers under certain circumstances including when conciliation process is under way.
Labour Day is celebrated today in different parts of the country to commemorate the enforcement if defined working hours per day and other rights of workers.

West Bengal, with a long tradition of trade union movement, celebrates it with a holiday declared by the state government.
According to a proposal by the Union labour ministry, 10 per cent of the employees or 100 workers will be needed at least to form a trade union.

Now it takes seven members to form a union irrespective of the size of the establishment.
Only employees will be allowed to form unions and in the unorganised sector two outside officials can become members of a union.
read more.
businessstandard

20150501 * The dawn of the flexible workforce era:

With increasing emphasis on productivity and efficiency, the contract staffing model is gaining ground

Economic volatility is a reality today and organisations need to be more flexible to accommodate market changes.

The staffing market in India is already large considering the population in the labour pool and is poised for rapid growth. In the years to come, Indian staffing market will be the largest in the world.

According to industry reports, the temporary workforce is likely to account for 10 per cent of India’s formal sector employment by 2025. India has one of the largest flexi staffing workforce numbers in the world, next only to China and the US.

As formal sector employment numbers increase with several policy-related initiatives of the government, the size of the temporary workforce will further increase.
And looking at the optimism in the economic activities (flexi staffing market is poised to grow 10 to 15 per cent YoY), India can very well beat other countries with the sheer size of temporary staff employed in the organised sector within the next decade.
read more.
THEHINDUBUSINESS

20150430 * AFT mill unions demand terminal benefits:

The All Trade Unions Action Committee of Anglo French Textiles mill on Wednesday urged the Puducherry Government to immediately disburse pension, gratuity and other benefits to over 900 workers and staff who had retired from June 2011.

In a release, AITUC president V.S. Abishegam said the AFT management was planning to introduce a Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) for workers with the help of Rs.20 crore grant-in-aid sanctioned by the government.

The trade union leaders wanted the government to begin operations in the A and B units of the mill which had been closed since 2011.
read more.
THEHINDU

20150430 * Forum begins to study factors ailing textile sector:

With rising bad loans becoming a concern for the textile industry, Texpreneuers Forum has commissioned a study to identify the factors that ail the textile sector. The forum has engaged Credit Rating Information Services of India Limited (CRISIL) for the purpose and the interim report is expected to be ready within a week.

“The interim report of the study will be handed over shortly to the Union Government to reiterate the demands of the textile sector here for getting various incentives including the coverage of interest subvention scheme for yarn and fabrics exports too apart from the garments, says Prabhu Damodaran,
secretary of the forum.
read more.
THEHINDU

20150430 * Formation of mini-clusters commences in Tirupur:

It is to improve profitability of textile units

An ambitious project to improve profitability and competitiveness of textile units in Tirupur knitwear cluster has taken off with the formation of five mini-clusters of units and availing of Government funds to implement some of the progressive industrial practices followed in Japan.

T. R. Vijayakumar, coordinator of Tirupur Thozhil Pathukappu Kuzhu, which is facilitating the implementation of the project, told The Hindu that each mini-cluster had 10 homogeneous units involved in identical activities of the garment production processes.

“Four of the mini-clusters formed comprise garment production units and the remaining cluster has textile printing units,” he said adding that a few more mini-clusters comprising knitting units would soon be constituted.
Each of the clusters now had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the
Quality Council of India and MSME Ministry to get the employees of the units trained for lean manufacturing practices that were followed in industrial units in Japan.
read more.
THEHINDU

20150430 * Cotton yarn: Demand hopes push capacity additions:

The textile industry in India has an overall installed capacity of 50 million spindles. About 10-15 mn spindles more are being expected in the next one year

Despite an oversupply situation for now, the textile industry is planning spinning capacity additions, in anticipation of a pick-up in demand from both the domestic and export markets for cotton yarn.

Currently, it has an overall installed capacity of 50 million spindles. And, 10-15 per cent more is expected to be added in the next one year.

“So long as cotton from India carries export demand, there won’t be any saturation in spinning capacity.  Which is why the industry anticipates revival in domestic and export demand for yarn, which has led to plans for capacity expansion,” said D K Nair, secretary-general of the Confederation of Indian Textile Industry.
read more.
businessstandard

20150430 * Textiles Ministry seeks export sops for yarn, fabric sectors:

Bats for inclusion of garments among sectors to be extended interest-rate subsidy

The Textiles Ministry has demanded sops for the yarn and fabric sectors, which it says were ignored in the five-year Foreign Trade Policy announced early this month.

It has also made a case for inclusion of garments in the interest subvention scheme being finalised by the Commerce Ministry to help the sector compete with Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, which get favourable access to developed markets.

“Officials from the Textiles Ministry have already held preliminary discussions on the matter with officials in the Commerce Ministry and the Directorate General of Foreign Trade.
We have forwarded all the complaints that we had received from the industry. The Secretaries from the two ministries are also in touch,” an official told BusinessLine.
read more.
THEHINDUBUSINESS

20150430 * Have Indian spun yarns become competitive?:

Export volume of spun yarns from India continue to grow in March 2015, while prices retreated compared to their year ago levels.

At this price level, it appears that spun yarns made in India have become globally competitive, particularly of cotton.
The fall in prices reflect the decline in raw fibre cost in India.

In March 2015, Cotlook ‘A’ index fell 29 per cent YoY, while global benchmark the US Cotton futures declined 33 per cent. Cotton was 24% cheaper in Pakistan and 30 per cent down in China.
read more.
ynfx

20150429 * India open doors to Chinese and EU’s PTA, drops anti-dumping probe:

India has dropped anti-dumping investigation against China and the European Union for import of purified terephthalic acid, thus opening up doors for non restricted import.

Shipments of purified terephthalic acid from China to India have resumed following the revocation. It is learnt that about 25,000-30,000 ton of purified terephthalic acid has been booked from China for April heading towards India, an Indian trade source said in mid April.

Provisional anti-dumping duties on imports from China, the European Union, South Korea and Thailand were imposed by India in July 2014 following allegations of dumping of PTA.

Major PTA producers of China, Zhejiang Yisheng Petrochemical and Hengli Petrochemical have shipped some 15,000-20,000 ton to India for April, and export volumes are anticipated to be increased for May, reports said.
read more.
ynfx

20150430 * Damage to cotton crop sends farmers into distress:

Unseasonal rains during summer for the past few weeks has left cotton cultivation in dire straits as the crop was unable to withstand the surplus water stagnant in the fields in some parts of Tiruvarur district.

Due to the rains, the three-month-old crop was submerged fully and reportedly drove a debt-ridden farmer Rajaraman, 37 of Valangaimaan in Tiruvarur district to commit suicide a couple of days back.
The incident has prompted farmers’ association to demand compensation and cover them under National Crop Insurance Programme.

Despite being described as the rice bowl of Tamil Nadu, farmers in the delta districts including Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Trichy, Perambalur are engaged in cotton cultivation which requires less amount of water.
Though cotton cultivation was one of their choices of crop, the area
of cultivation of the cash crop increased over the years as the paddy farmers frustrated with poor income caused by multiple factors, including irrigation water scarcity preferred crops, which need less water and fetch good income.
read more.
TOInew

20150430 * Govt steps in to help cotton growers, industry:

Allows Maharashtra State Coop to undertake MSP operations

The Centre on Wednesday approved plans to financially help the ailing cotton sector, which has been hit by higher production and lower prices, and declining exports.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) also approved additional support to meet the anticipated losses in disposal of the crop procured by Cotton Corporation of India (CCI).

Further, it gave ex-post-facto approval to the Maharashtra State Co-operative Cotton Growers Marketing Federation Ltd (MSCCGMFL) to undertake minimum support price (MSP) operations as a sub-agent of the CCI, the government’s nodal agency for procurement of cotton at MSP.
read more.
THEHINDUBUSINESS

20150430 * CCEA okays extra funds to reimburse losses on cotton sale:

The government today approved additional financial support to reimburse “anticipated losses” in disposal of cotton being procured by the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) during 2014-15.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), in its meeting held today, allowed the Maharashtra State Co-operative Cotton Growers Marketing Federation Ltd (MSCCGMFL) to procure cotton as a sub-agent of the CCI.

CCI is the government’s nodal agency for procurement of cotton at the minimum support price (MSP).
Cotton MSP was fixed at Rs 3,750 per quintal for medium staple and Rs 4,050 per quintal for long
staple for the year 2014-15.
read more.
et

20150430 * Minimum support price for cotton increased by Rs.50:

Taking note of the distress to cotton growers from fall in cotton prices, the Centre, on Wednesday, announced a hike of Rs.50 per quintal each in the minimum support price of medium- and long-staple cotton for 2014-15. It authorised the Maharashtra State Co-operative Cotton Growers Marketing Federation to undertake MSP operations.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also decided to restore the cuts in MSP for procurement of sub-standard wheat from farmers, who had suffered crop damage in rain and squall hit States.
read more.
THEHINDU

20150430 * Indian raw cotton export falls 41% in 2014-15:

India’s export of raw cotton during 2014-15 (Apr – Feb 2015) declined by 41.32 per cent in quantity terms and 46.60 per cent in value terms compared to the corresponding period of 2013-14, according to a government statement.

As exports account for a substantial share of India’s production of cotton, the decline in exports has resulted in a surplus for the domestic market and has impacted the cotton growers.
Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) has undertaken large MSP operations in all cotton growing states, commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman informed the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.
read more.
Fibre2fashion

17:39:28 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

20150501 * World May Day today: 17 May day rallies in Colombo:

The UNP’s May Day rally will be held under the theme “A country of united people” at the Campbell Grounds in Borella under the patronage of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha stated that the SLFP May Day Rally will be held under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena at the Hyde Park Grounds.

Meanwhile, JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayaka stated that the JVP May Day Rally will be held at the BRC grounds.
read & see more.
hirunews

20150430 * Sri Lanka’s trade union leaders say President failed to grant an appointment to discuss workers’ issues:

President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena has failed to respond to a request made by 100 trade union leaders of the Marxist party Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) affiliated National Trade Union Center (NTUC).

Head of the NTUC, K.D. Lalkantha wrote to the President last week seeking an appointment on Friday (May 1) to present five demands of the working masses that the government should respond.

When inquired, Lalkantha said the trade union leaders have not been granted an appointment for a meeting.

“Even an acknowledgement to letter has been not been sent by the President’s office,” the trade union leader and JVP politburo member said.
read more.
colombo

20150430 * Sri Lanka’s new rulers confident of regaining GSP Plus next year: Harsha de Silva:

Sri Lanka’s new administration is confident about retrieving the GSP plus trade concessions by mid or late next year, Harsha de Silva, Deputy Minister of policy planning and economic development said.

“We are trying to get GSP plus back and I am very happy to report to you that we had very productive discussions in Brussels and with the EU (European Union) political leadership,” De Silva said on Wednesday.
“By late this year or early next year we hope to get the ball rolling in this regard and by mid or end of next year we are very confident of getting the GSP plus back,”
“These are the concessions that our exporters have been waiting for a long time.”
read more.
LankaBusiness

17:09:28 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

20150501 * PILER launches report on status of labour in country:

* Report aims to facilitate role of civil society as a watchdog of human rights related to work and work places
* PILER executive director says that social security facilities are not available to all workers

The Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) launched its report Status of Labour Rights in Pakistan: Year 2014 on Thursday at the Karachi Press Club.

Senior journalist Zubeida Mustafa, PILER Executive Director Karamat Ali, author of the report, Zeenat Hisam, and Zulfiqar Shah spoke on the occasion. PILER, a resource centre, engaged with labour issues for the last 33 years, has undertaken to review the changing trends and the factors significantly impacting the workers’ lives and the terms and conditions of work.
The workers’ struggles to counteract negative forces are also documented.

The report aims to facilitate the role of civil society as a watchdog of human rights related to work and work places.
The present report is the fourth in the series and covers the year 2014.It is a modest attempt to present an overview of the status of labour in the country.

The first section of the report, based on secondary research, gives an overview of the socio-economic and political context, human development indicators, legislative development, labour market indicators and the existing terms and conditions of employment.

The second section presents a collection of 12 research articles, case studies and analyses of trends and issues related to labour and employment.
The issues include the GSP Plus status and its potential, impact of economic policies on labour, labour legislation after the 18th Amendment devolution to the provinces, interaction of economic growth and labour legislation, changing land tenure system and the status of agricultural workers, and the status of implementation of the law on sexual harassment at workplace.
(…)
PILER Executive Director Karamat Ali said this report is not about the labour who work in factories, but about all workers in all fields.
The report has highlighted the conditions of the workers.
read more.
daily times PK

20150501 * What befell the protectors of the workforce:

Today, dozens of trade union associations and labour wings of political parties will mark the 129th International Labour Day by organising several gatherings and rallies across the city.

Leaders and trade union activists believe that working conditions of labourers in Pakistan still border on the deplorable, mainly due to the weakening of the trade union movement of yesteryears.

A report issued yesterday by the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler) suggests that there are 1,209 registered trade unions in the country with a total membership of 245,383, meaning that less than one percent of the labour force are unionised workers.
(…)
Trade unions are legal entities formed to protect the interests of workers and prevent discriminatory and unfair labour practices.
The constitution of Pakistan, as well as International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions and United Nations declarations, all allow workers the right to form their associations or unions.

read more.
thenewspk

20150501 * ‘Govt has done nothing for labourers’:

Punjab PML-Q general secretary Ch Zaheeruddin Khan has said due to anti-workers policies of the government, people belonging to all walks of life including traders, workers, farmers, clerks, doctors, paramedical staff and nurses are protesting on Friday (today).

He expressed these views while addressing the PML-Q Labour Wing convention in connection with World Labour Day at the Muslim League House on Thursday.
read more.
thenewspk

20150501 * Govt believes in dignity of labourers: Nawaz Sharif:

Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has said that government believes in the dignity of labour and understands that a prosperous workforce can enable Pakistan to compete in a globalized market environment.

We believe that workers and employers are partners in the production process and their coordination and cooperation is essential for industrial peace harmony and for full utilization of their energies for socio economic development of the country the Prime Minister said in his message on the occasion of Labour Day (May 1).
read more.
thenewspk

20150501 * Labour Day: Workers urged to unite in the struggle for their rights:

Change is not possible without the participation of workers and labourers in the struggle for securing their rights, Jawad Ahmed, founding president of the International Youth and Workers’ Movement (IYWM), said on Thursday.

He was addressing a rally held to mark the Labour Day at the Charing Cross. The IYWM, the Labour Welfare Federation of Pakistan (LWFP), the Pakistan National Trade Unions’ Federation and the Kissan Ittehad members participated in the rally.
read more. & read more.
thenewspk

20150501 * Message on Labour Day: President Mamnoon for empowerment of working class:

President Mamnoon Hussain has said that all claims of development remain meaningless until the vulnerable working class is emancipated and empowered.

In his message on Labour Day, the president said a contented and satisfied labour force is central to the production cycle and national development.
read more. & read more.
daily times PK thenewspk

20150501 * Lahore City observes World Labour Day today:

International Labour Day will be marked across Pakistan and in the provincial metropolis on Friday (today) with trade union bodies, workers confederations, and civil society organisations expected to stage major rallies for the rights of labourers.

Notably, the much delayed Punjab Labour Policy of 2014 is also expected to be announced by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on this pivotal day in the history of labour movements.
read more.
thenewspk

20150501 * PML-Q for Rs20,000 minimum wages:

The PML-Q has demanded of the government to fix Rs20,000 minimum wages.

The PML-Q leaders adopted seven resolutions at the PML Labour Wing convention held at the Muslim League House here on Thursday in connection with the Labour Day.

It demanded that a quota should be fixed for the labour class in all government residential schemes. Besides, labour colonies should be built across Punjab to provide them roof.

It said a new labour policy should be framed in consultation with the representatives of labour organizations.
read more.
DAWNnew

20150501 * Millers to stage sit-in in Faisalabad on 5th:

After failure of talks with the Faisalabad Electric Supply Company (Fesco) regarding reduction in loadshedding duration, representatives of the Industry and Powerloom Owners Association have announced staging a sit-in at Chowk Abdullahpur on May 5.

The powerloom owners said that the millers and their workers would take part in the sit-in and vowed to continue their protest till the acceptance of their demands, which included maximum four-hour daily loadshedding.
During the PPP regime, the loadshedding duration was six hours, but now the PML-N government had increased the duration to 10 hours, they added.
to read.
thenewspk

20150501 * Call to improve health, safety at workplaces:

Women workers in the informal sector make a huge contribution to the national economy, therefore, they deserve work benefits and recognition as workers as a matter of right and not a favour by the government.

This observation was made at the one-day convention of women workers organised by an NGO under the USAID-supported Gender Equity Programme (GEP) on Thursday.
The convention titled Raising Demands for Women Workers brought different stakeholders together to discuss future course of action.
read more.
thenewspk

20150429 * Prevention of accidents, deaths at workplace highlighted:

The working class on Tuesday observed International Workers Memorial Day to highlight the importance of prevention of accidents and deaths of labourers at workplace, particularly in mines and electricity, textile, engineering, chemical and construction and transport sectors.

Representatives of constituent trade unions of All Pakistan Workers Confederation (APWC) from all over Punjab gathered at Labour Hall to renew their pledge to continue creating awareness among employees and employers about the significance of a safe and healthy workplace.

The representatives said matters pertaining to labour should be viewed as social issues while labour leaders should visit heirs of victims of industrial accidents to see whether the promises of payment of compensation or provision of employment to kin of victims were fulfilled.

They said absence of effective labour inspection, rising poverty and unemployment, contract system and non-implementation of minimum wages had ruined the traditional precautionary mechanism.

Scores of people worked at premises but without documents of the factory and subsequently no rights.
Workers were being exploited in the name of meeting export orders and were not even allowed to go home at night when the employer gets a big order.
read more.
DAWNnew

20150430 * Textile exports saw 16.23pc decline in March:

Expressing grave concern over a 16 percent decline in the textile exports in March, Pakistan Yarn Merchants Association has demanded emergent measures to boost exports.

Talking to news persons, Central Chairman Khalil Qaisar Shamas Guccha and Zonal Chairman Muhammad Akram Pasha pointed out that in March 2015, the textile exports declined by 16.23% against same month of previous year. Giving details they said that exports of cotton declined by 29.36% in value terms and 12.99% in quantity.
read more.
NATIONnew

20150430 * PYMA concerned over decline in textile exports:

Expressing grave concern over 16 percent slide in textile exports in March, Pakistan Yarn Merchants Association (PYMA) has demanded emergent measures to boost exports of the country.

Talking to media persons here on Wednesday Central Chairman Khalil Qaisar Shamas Guccha and Zonal Chairman Muhammad Akram Pasha pointed out that in March 2015 the textile exports declined by 16.23 percent against the same month of previous year. Giving details, they said that exports of cotton declined by 29.36 percent in value terms and 12.99 percent in quantity.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

20150430 * Official meets APTMA chief, others:

Federal Secretary Textile Muhammad Amir Khan Marwat visited the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) on Wednesday to discuss issues relating to viability of textile industry and way forward.

Central Chairman APTMA S M Tanveer, Chairman APTMA Punjab Sheikh Muhammad Akbar, along with APTMA members, welcomed him at the APTMA Punjab House.

Chairman APTMA told him that keeping in view the alarming drop of 16 percent in textile industry exports during the month of March; a task force has been constituted on sustainability of the industry and to suggest way forward to the government.
He said task force was going to suggest the government that it should either reduce the cost of doing business or bring the rupee at the real value to bring the textile industry out of woe.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

20150430 * Aptma assured of textile issues resolution:

Federal Secretary Textile has assured the textile association that he will take up textile issues with relevant quarters in order to boost textile exports, a statement said on Wednesday.

Central Chairman All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) S M Tanveer, in a meeting with the Federal secretary textile Amir Khan Marwat, said keeping in view the alarming drop of 16 percent in textile exports during the March, a task force has been constituted on sustainability of the industry and to suggest a way forward.
read more.
thenewspk

20150429 * ‘PTA members filing 100pc tax returns’:

Pakistan Tanners Association (PTA) members are filing 100 percent income tax returns, Association Chairman Muhammad Musaddiq said in a statement on Tuesday.

Leather sector of Pakistan comprises four integral parts, including finished leather (tanners) represented by the Pakistan Tanners Association (PTA), leather garments represented by the Pakistan Leather Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PLGMEA), leather footwear represented by Pakistan Footwear Manufacturers Association(PFMA) and leather gloves represented by Pakistan Leather Gloves Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PGMEA).

He said the Pakistan Tanners Association members have national tax numbers (NTN) certificates and are filing 100 percent of their obligations by paying one percent income tax on export proceeds through banks, besides paying other taxes such as sales tax, advance tax, income tax at the import stage, customs duties, excise duties etc, on a regular basis.
read more.
thenewspk

GLOBAL

* April 28 – Unions Make Work Safer!:

28 April is the International Commemoration Day for Dead and Injured Workers. The day is also known as Workers’ Memorial Day, the Day of Mourning, or World Day for Safety and Health at Work.

Most importantly, it is a day for unions to renew their commitment to safety and health at work.

Controlling exposure to toxic substances is one theme that global unions have chosen to emphasize in 2015.
Of the hundreds of thousands of chemicals in industrial use, we have substantial knowledge of the health effects of only a small percentage; and suspect that many unidentified killers are among the rest.
read more.
INDUSRIall

20150430 * Protecting a tangled workforce’:

Bangladesh is one of seven countries in Asia, from where Gap Inc sources most of its clothing products worth $16 billion a year at the consumers’ end.

Thus, Guardian online reports, the giant company is responsible for “protecting the tangled workforce” – roughly 1 million in approximately 900 factories in China, India, Vietnam, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Indonesia.

Although the report titled “Protecting a tangled workforce that stretches across the world”, it most dealt with the cases in Bangladesh.

Gap led an industrywide campaign in response to horrific workplace accidents and safety improvements are underway, the report observed. It still described the garment sector as risky place to do business and a dangerous place to work.
read more.
prothom

* Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Fashion:

Trendy clothes are cheaper than ever.

That sounds great for the people who buy them, but it’s horrible for the people who make them.

” the problems in the garment  industry are not since yesterday…”
see video.
lastweek

Funny?…

20150501 * Special mayday show looking at workers and citizen activism:

In the Behind The Thread radio-podcast:

In this episode of Behind The Thread, we honor May Day by looking at the lives of workers and ways that ordinary citizens can become activated.

Better Work Vietnam has released a study saying that happy, content workers are more productive.
We talk to Dr. Arianna Rossi for more information.

Also, Fairtrade International says it is developing a textile standard for the entire supply chain from farm to fashion.
We’ll talk with Elisabeth Bystrom, one of the leaders of the effort, to see how this standard will stand out from the rest.

Also, Chamtouli Huq of Law at the Margins looks at how consumers can push their elected leaders to push for better working conditions both at home and around the world.
listen the radio-podcast.
behindthethread

 

 

map of Asia

Next bulletin will be published Thursday 7 May,
unless there is breaking news or a special event.

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

There are updates under ‘special overviews’:

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

HEADLINES :

PAKISTAN
* Two firemen, six women among 18 injured in garments factory fire
* Pointing fingers: Hundreds of workers lose jobs as factory burns down
* Fire safety at factories remains an unresolved issue
* Raging fire hinders rescue efforts as factory workers help themselves

* 13 workers caught in Karachi garment factory fire
* Nine injured in Karachi factory fire
* Garment factory catches fire in Karachi

CHINA
* China is set to lose manufacturing crown

PHLIPPINES
* 25,000 workers gather for Labor Day protest
* Labor Day to be marked by protests by different workers’ groups
* UP Diliman supports call for P16,000 national minimum salary
* ILO urges government to focus more on decent and productive jobs

VIET NAM
* Work starts on $7m garment plant

CAMBODIA
* Peaceful Workers’ Day rallies take place in Phnom Penh
* City Hall Says No to Marching on Labor Day
* Cambodia must find new path to protect garment workers
* As China Costs Rise, Factories Relocate to Cambodia
* GMAC Commits to ‘Compliance’ for Labor Day
* A dinner of Cambodia garment worker

MALAYSIA
* MTUC Sarawak has wish list for May 1
* Union Leaders Must Play More Active Role To Enhance Employee Marketability
* May Day ban ‘unacceptable, unnecessary nuisance’, says Sabah DAP

INDONESIA
* National scene: Unions to announce labor party on May Day
* Workers to Voice Rejection against Removal of Strike Right

THAILAND
* Call to hike minimum wage
* Govt to boost workplace safety
* Free Somyot: 4 years in jail for ‘insulting the king’
* Bail denied so far

BURMA/MYANMAR
* Activists defy union leaders, government on May Day march
* Employers, Workers Far Apart in Minimum Wage Negotiations
* Myanmar adds new factory per week as textile sector booms
* Myanmar next best destination for international textile sector

BANGLADESH
* Fire at factory in Old Dhaka
* Only 40 sectors out of 100 under minimum wage framework
* ‘Nobody cares about them’
* Labour rights matter for everyone
* May Day and worker woes
* Bangladesh Trade Union Center President Discusses Global Labor Solidarity
* May Day to be observed Friday
* Khaleda urges workers to join movement for democracy
* President, PM for better worker-owner relations
* Workers’ welfare foundation limps without fund
* EU resolution on the 2nd anniversary of the Rana Plaza
* Accord assessing garment factories after quake
* ILO moves to launch injury insurance for garment sector
* Give insurance coverage to all factory workers: ILO country director
* Expedite process to introduce Nat’l Employment Injury Scheme : ILO
* Garment exporters want revision of rules for tax at source
* BB to launch $350m loan scheme for manufacturers
* Exporters oppose pvt quality control centre for RMG items
* Dhaka wants Beijing to give import licence to retailers
* Apparel accessories makers seek UP facility
* No retrenchment of BJMC workers: JS body
* Making the workplace safer -It’s everybody’s responsibility
* This Is What Happens When a Garment Factory Employee Requests Safe Working Conditions
* Two Years After Factory Collapse, Fashion’s Front Line Still Hopes for Safety
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE:
* Loblaw hit with $2b lawsuit over Rana Plaza collapse
* Class action suit seeks $2 billion from Loblaw, Joe Fresh over 2013 Bangladesh garment factory
collapse
Rana Plaza compensation:
* Rana Plaza: Global day action pushes brands to pay
* Rana Plaza – a last push to close the compensation gap
* Rana Plaza two years on: progress but no hiding from massive task ahead
* Children’s Place to give $2m to Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund
* Rana Plaza victims sue Bangladesh govt, Wal-Mart, JC Penney
* Rana Plaza – a last push to close the compensation gap

INDIA
* A bleak Labour Day for unions as govt makes it harder to form one
* The dawn of the flexible workforce era
* AFT mill unions demand terminal benefits
* Forum begins to study factors ailing textile sector
* Formation of mini-clusters commences in Tirupur
* Cotton yarn: Demand hopes push capacity additions
* Textiles Ministry seeks export sops for yarn, fabric sectors
* Have Indian spun yarns become competitive?
* India open doors to Chinese and EU’s PTA, drops anti-dumping probe
* Damage to cotton crop sends farmers into distress
* Govt steps in to help cotton growers, industry
* CCEA okays extra funds to reimburse losses on cotton sale
* Minimum support price for cotton increased by Rs.50
* Indian raw cotton export falls 41% in 2014-15

SRI LANKA
* World May Day today: 17 May day rallies in Colombo
* Sri Lanka’s trade union leaders say President failed to grant an appointment to discuss workers’
issues
* Sri Lanka’s new rulers confident of regaining GSP Plus next year: Harsha de Silva

PAKISTAN
* PILER launches report on status of labour in country
* What befell the protectors of the workforce
* ‘Govt has done nothing for labourers’
* Govt believes in dignity of labourers: Nawaz Sharif
* Labour Day: Workers urged to unite in the struggle for their rights
* Message on Labour Day: President Mamnoon for empowerment of working class
* Lahore City observes World Labour Day today
* PML-Q for Rs20,000 minimum wages
* Millers to stage sit-in in Faisalabad on 5th
* Call to improve health, safety at workplaces
* Prevention of accidents, deaths at workplace highlighted
* Textile exports saw 16.23pc decline in March
* PYMA concerned over decline in textile exports
* Official meets APTMA chief, others
* Aptma assured of textile issues resolution
* ‘PTA members filing 100pc tax returns’

GLOBAL
* April 28 – Unions Make Work Safer!
* Protecting a tangled workforce’
* Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Fashion
* Special mayday show looking at workers and citizen activism

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