19:02:54 local time CHINA
20150521 * Flying the flag for products ‘Made in China’:
Tonglu County in East China’s Zhejiang Province is home to more than 600 textile companies, with most original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs, for international labels.
Some of these companies have now begun to branch out and create their own labels, offering the same quality and craftsmanship as that of global brands. However, for many this is proving an uphill battle.
CCTV reporter Zhang Nini talked to some of the companies trying to change people’s perceptions of the term “Made in China”
read & see more.
20150515 * Textile sector faces huge tech challenge: Report:
Although the Chinese government has pledged to use Internet technology to upgrade manufacturing industry, there is a huge gap between the desire of the authorities and reality in the textile industry, said a report released on Friday by the China National Textile and Apparel Council.
The council surveyed 103 textile and apparel enterprises in Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Hubei, Fujian and Guangdong provinces from January to March.
The survey dealt with cloud computing, information security protection and intellectual property protection, said Liang Xiaohui, the main designer of the survey, and deputy chief economist of the China Textile Information Center, a department of the council.
“The three issues are central to the transformation of the Chinese textile industry, and they are interconnected,” Liang said.
The report found that only one enterprise out of 103 said it was well aware of the applications of the cloud computing.
Privately owned textile and apparel enterprises have a stronger desire to improve their production efficiency through cloud computing techniques than State-owned enterprises and foreign firms.
But they are more sensitive to the huge initial investment required.
“Private enterprises are very interested in introducing robots to their workshop, because of the mounting pressure from rising labor costs,” said Qiao Yanjin, director of the information center.
“The textile and apparel industry is already a leader in China in the field of transformation and sustainable development. Their difficulty shows the challenge facing the overall restructuring of China’s manufacturing sector.”
20:02:54 local time NORTH KOREA
20150520 * N. Korea slams South over wage row at Gaeseong complex:
North Korea rebuked South Korea on Wednesday for refusing to raise wages for North Korean workers at their joint industrial park, claiming that the North has a legal right to decide the issue.
The North’s criticism came as it rescinded its approval of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s planned visit to the Gaeseong Industrial Complex this week.
Many expected the U.N. chief’s trip to help resolve stand-offs between the two Koreas, including the wage row at the complex, where about 53,000 North Korean workers are employed there by 124 South Korean firms.
South and North Korea have been embroiled in a drawn-out dispute following North Korea’s unilateral decision to hike wages by 5.18 percent for its workers. Seoul has rejected the North’s move, saying that the North violated a 2004 agreement that calls for the two sides to set wages together.
20150518 * Seoul proposes talks with Pyongyang over wage row:
North Korean workers sew clothes in factory owned by a South Korean company at the Joint Industrial Park in Kaesong just a few hundred metres north of the demilitarized zone that separates the two Koreas. Photo by BangkokPost.
The spokesman said the joint committee meeting should be held urgently to resolve issues of mutual concern
South Korea’s unification ministry on Monday confirmed that it has offered to hold talks on the management of an inter-Korean economic zone, including the ongoing wage hike row for North Korean workers.
The Kaesong industrial zone, launched in 2004 and jointly managed by the two Koreas, has been seen as one of the key symbols of inter-Korean economic cooperation. Some 120 South Korean companies with 53,000 North Korean workers are operating in the park, Xinhua news agency reported.
19:02:54 local time PHILIPPINES
* For an Overview and Updates PHILIPPINE Shoe Factory fire:
click here: Philippine footwear Factory fire 20150513-now
* Kentex, DOLE blamed for poor factory conditions:
Members of the militant Kilusang Mayo Uno troop to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Manila as they question working conditions at the Kentex Manufacturing factory that allegedly led to the death of 72 people.
Poor safety conditions are suspected as one of the reasons behind the high number of casualties in the fire.
20150521 * For promoting ‘killer workplaces,’ Baldoz told to resign, face probe:
A day after the 7-hour factory fire in Kentex slippers factory in Valenzuela, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz echoed its company lawyer’s claims that Kentex is “certified compliant” with labor standards and occupational health and safety standards.
A week later, after 72 people were confirmed trapped and killed in the no-fire exit, no-fire drill and no-fire alarm factory, and with relatives and survivors telling the media of labor standards violations by Kentex management, labor groups noted Baldoz’s change of tune.
“It would be foolish to believe the Labor Department’s claim that Kentex violated labor and safety standards after their inspection,” said Joselito Ustarez, vice-president of labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), one of the groups that immediately conducted a fact-finding mission in the gutted factory and among the survivors.
20150521 * Why labor groups want DOLE chief to resign:
Labor groups want Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz to resign as DOLE resumes its probe into last week’s fire at the Valenzuela factory of Kentex Manufacturing.
20150521 * Labor group challenges business sector to speak on Kentex tragedy:
The labor group Partido Manggagawa (PM) today challenged the business sector to speak on the fire at Kentex Manufacturing Corp. that killed at least 72 people, almost all of whom were factory workers and many of whom were women.
“Compared to the prominent role of employers in support of the controversial Bangsamoro Basic Law, they are noticeably absent in the calls for justice and reform in the wake of the tragic Kentex fire.
Would Jaime Zobel de Ayala and Manny Pangilinan link up arms with labor leaders to call for jailing the immoral owners of Kentx and the criminalization of workplace safety violations?,” asserted Judy Ann Miranda, PM secretary general.
Yesterday, PM together with labor groups affiliated to the coalition Nagkaisa! trooped to the Kentex factory to hold a site inspection and spray paint the gutted factory and nearby establishment with the message “Sweatshop ito: NAKAMAMATAY!” The action was part of PM’s campaign to seek justice for the Kentex workers and demand labor reforms.
20150521 * Factory workers victims not just of fire, but of govt’s ‘anti-worker policies’ – Anakbayan:
The 72 workers who died in a fire last week at the footwear factory of Kentex Manufacturing Corp. were victims not just of an accident that could have been prevented, but of the government’s “anti-worker policies” as well, the youth group Anakbayan said in a statement Wednesday.
“The 72 Kentex workers who died are not merely victims of a fire accident; they are the victims of the current Aquino’s anti-worker pro-capitalist government. Aside from the Kentex management, the Aquino administration and DOLE who are creating and implementing anti-worker policies should also be accountable,” Anakbayan national chairperson Vencer Crisostomo said in a statement.
The group lamented the contractual status of many of the Kentex workers, with reports saying they received only P220 a day, way below minimum wage.
At the House committee hearing into the incident on the same day, Bureau of Fire Protection and Department of Labor and Employment officials attested to the lack of, among other things, regular fire drills, a sprinkler system, and a fire alarm system in Kentex when assessed the safety of the factory at different times last year.
20150521 * Photos affirm painful truth for fire victims’ families:
For now, it’s the closest they could get to a painful closure.
The families of the 72 workers who died in last week’s Valenzuela City factory fire were shown photos of personal belongings recovered from the May 13 inferno, enabling some of them to confirm their loss ahead of the DNA test results.
A teary-eyed Irenea Pohanes slowly raised her hand when a slide showing a watch and necklace engraved with a woman’s name was flashed on a screen. Yes, she said, they belonged to her 20-year-old niece Jerlyn Calago.
“I don’t know what to say and think when I saw them,” Pohanes later told the Inquirer on Wednesday during the gathering of the families at City Hall, where the local government also handed out additional cash assistance at P83,300 each.
20150521 * DOLE knew Kentex hired illegal subcontractor, says lawmaker:
A lawmaker accused the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) of being lenient in its issuance of a compliance certificate to Kentex Manufacturing Corp., the owner of the slipper factory where 72 people were killed during a seven-hour fire on May 13.
House labor and employment committee chair Davao City Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles said that DOLE issued a compliance certificate despite knowing that Kentex had declared that it had only 46 employees when it actually subcontracted almost 200 workers from the CJC Manpower Services, which was not registered with DOLE.
20150520 * Review of labor laws eyed following fatal factory blaze:
The Senate committee on labor and employment is now mulling a review of the country’s occupational safety and health policies in the wake of the tragic factory fire in Valenzuela City that killed at least 72 workers.
Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, acting chairman of the Senate panel, said the committee is also looking into the possibility of updating the country’s labor laws in order to give it more teeth against business and manufacturing companies violating the law.
In a related development, a Catholic prelate believes the Department of Labor and Employment is also responsible for the factory fire that claimed the lives of the factory workers.
“The labor department (Department of Labor and Employment) said Kentex Manufacturing Corp. passed the Labor Law Compliance System just last year and yet, initial reports after the fire immediately found pertinent labor violations of Kentex,” Angara said referring to the rubber slippers factory that was engulfed by flames last May 13.
20150520 * Labor: 40-year-old code needs updating:
The Department of Labor Employment on Tuesday said it will push for the amendment of the 40-year old Labor Code of the Philippines to update and meet the current labor situation which have been seen as inadequate and ineffective to protect the workers in the country.
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said that for over forty years since it was approved by executive fiat, the Labor Code of the Philippines has not been subjected to revision, except for piecemeal amendments.
“There were attempts to introduce omnibus amendments, but the process was long and difficult, hence impractical,” Baldoz said.
The Labor chief had created a Tripartite Labor Code Reform Committee in 2011 through A.O. 375, which set out to review documents from earlier initiatives, along with development plans, including the Philippine Labor and Employment Plan, 2011-2016.
“Our approach to modernize the Labor Code is to advocate for priority legislation. I think this is feasible. I think it is working,” she said.
The proposed the new measures include as follows:
20150519 * Task force reenacts events that allegedly led to the Valenzuela factory fire:
The Inter Agency Anti-Arson Task Force on Tuesday had the welder, whose activities allegedly started the Valenzuela City factory fire that killed 72 people, reenact his actions just prior to the fire breaking out, GMA 7 news program “24 Oras” reported.
The welder’s activities allegedly set fire to a stack of stored chemicals, with the fire eventually gutting the entire factory.
However, the welder’s legal counsel, Atty. John Caluso, insisted that his client’s activities were carried out with the approval of the factory management’s, Kentex Manufacturing’s, approval.
read & see more.
20150519 * Palace bats for criminalization of occupational safety violations:
Malacañang on Tuesday urged lawmakers to criminalize violations on occupational safety laws even as the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said it would look into the possible occupational safety and health standards (OSH) violations of Kentex Manufacturing Corp., which may have contributed to the large number of fatalities recovered from its factory in Valenzuela City when it was razed last week.
Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said there is a need to update the occupational safety laws, noting that its last enactment was in 1978. “Napakahalagang pairalin iyong kaligtasan ng mga manggagawa sa ating mga pagawaan [It is important to ensure the safety of our factory workers],” Coloma said in a radio interview Tuesday.
20150518 * Task force to crack down on sweatshops sought:
“In the light of the tragedy that befell our fellow workers in Kentex, we believe that it now becomes imperative to verify employer compliance with all existing labor laws and safety standards, fire and building structure standards and to determine compliance with all other city requirements for the issuance of business permits and operational licenses,” the group said.
20150518 * Valenzuela to inspect 1,675 factories in 21 days:
Four audit teams will go around Valenzuela City in the next 21 days to inspect the work and safety standards in 1,675 factories.
Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian said 1,675 factories in Valenzuela will undergo auditing if they are following fire safety, building, occupational and safety, and business permit standards.
“The target is 80 sites per day. The target is to do the audit in 21 days,” he said.
Some 72 workers died in a fire that gutted a footwear factory in Valenzuela City last Wednesday.
20150517 * PHL pushes job safety laws after deadly factory fire:
Philippine officials called Sunday for criminal penalties for factory owners who violate safety standards days after a deadly fire at a footwear plant claimed 72 lives.
Occupational safety standards were adopted by the Asian nation in 1978 but lack teeth because parliament has failed to pass a law imposing penalties against violators, Labour Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said.
“I (can) not overemphasise its importance — and the timeliness of our plea to our lawmakers — in the light of accidents in our workplaces, some of which have injured and claimed the lives of our workers,” she said in a statement.
read more. & read more.
20150517 * In wake of deadly shoe factory fire in Manila, UN urges global action to make workplaces safe:
The International Labour Organization (ILO), in a statement issued in the wake of this week’;s deadly shoe factory fire in the Philippine capital, noted “often such accidents are preventable” and offered its assistance to improve safety and health conditions in the workplace.
“I was greatly saddened by the news of the deaths of dozens of workers in the shoe factory fire in Manila,” ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said. “On behalf of the International Labour Organization (ILO), I extend my condolences to the bereaved families and share in their sorrow.”
“Once again, we find ourselves mourning workers whose lives have been cut short as a result of workplace accidents,” Mr. Ryder said. “Often such accidents are preventable.”
20150519 * CCC calls for investigation after factory fire Philippines:
Clean Clothes Campaign calls on the government of the Philipines to carry out a full and detailed investigation into the circumstances surrounding a fire at a Manila slipper factory, which killed at least 72 workers on May 13th 2015.
The fire, which is believed to be the worst factory fire to hit the Philippines, broke out after sparks from welding equipment, being used to fix an outside roller door, came into contact with highly flammable chamicals, which were stored nearby.
Workers were trapped on the second floor of the building, unable to escape from windows that were covered in bars and chicken wire. The heat of the fire made identification of bodies exttremely difficult and at least 20 workers remain unaccounted for.
The factory, Kentex Manufacturing Incorporated, was located in Valenzuela City and was producing rubber slippers for sale and distribution in the Philippines.
The families of the victims of factory fire in the Philippines have formed the Justice for Kentex Workers Alliance, and are resolved to fight for their loved ones.
CCC is also demanding that the government prosecute those responsible for the deaths and provide full compensation to the families of those killed and injured. Finally, CCC supports calls from labour rights groups for the government to compel factory inspections to be carried out by qualified inspectors independent from the industry itself.
20150516 * Employers urge two-tiered wage system:
Employers have urged the immediate nationwide roll-out of a two-tiered wage system wherein employees and enterprises share in the productivity gains of the business replacing the yearly minimum wage setting.
Edgardo B. Lacson, president of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP), said in a speech at the 36th National Conference of Employers in Pasay City that the Department of Labor and Employment’s two-tiered wage system should be ready for implementation after a successful piloting in the Calabarzon area.
“Mandating an increase in minimum wage without any link to productivity is not conducive to more investment and business growth,” Lacson said in his speech at the opening of the NCE on Thursday with the theme “The Ultimate Challenge: Creating More Wealth, Creating More Jobs.”
18:02:54 local time VIET NAM
20150521 * Labour productivity key to sustainable development:
Vietnamese workers rank high in ASEAN skills competitions, but its labour productivity remains lower than other countries, Nguyen Anh Tuan of the Vietnam Productivity Institute told Ha Noi Moi newspaper.
Tuan said t he country’s labour productivity has increased by 3.5 percent annually since 2005, reaching about 74.3 million VND (3,500 USD) per labourer, according to recent statistics.
However, data from 2012 showed Vietnam’s productivity was about one fifteenth that of Singapore, one ninth of Japan’s, one seventh of the Republic of Korea’s and one third of Thailand’s.
Acdording to the official, labour productivity is affected by two factors: capital power and total factor productivity (TFP). TFP in economics is also called multi-factor productivity – the strengthening of investment capital in production and business activities.
So, infrastructure and transport construction will help boost labour productivity.
20150521 * Labour safety spotlighted at Hanoi workshop:
The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and Better Work Vietnam held a workshop in Hanoi on May 20 to promote the implementation of international standards on labour hygiene and safety.
- Labour shortages hold back Vietnam’s logistics industry
- US business shares labour experience with Vietnam
- Foreign countries turn to Vietnam to ease labour shortages
Participants said Vietnam has promulgated legal documents in the field, helping to create an important legal framework to protect the health, rights and interests of workers.
Meanwhile, the National Week on Occupational Health and Safety – Fire and Explosion Prevention has drawn more attention from workers.
Vietnam has built its law on occupational safety and hygiene (OSH) and gained experience from other countries worldwide to draft regulations in line with international practices and conventions.
The country has joined the International Labour Organisation (ILO)’s Convention 155 on occupational health and safety; Convention 187 on national labour safety; Convention 184 on labour safety in agriculture; and, most recently, Convention 187 on the promotion framework of occupational safety and health.
However, some shortcomings still lie ahead; for example, the technical documents on labour hygiene and safety have yet to be updated, while the insurance policy for labour accidents and occupational diseases addresses the consequences without suggesting means of prevention.
20150518 * Foreign textilers moving ahead of FTAs with their production facilities in Vietnam:
Foreign textile and garment firms to enjoy a zero percent import tax rate under the commitments of free trade agreements (FTA) such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, the EU-Vietnam FTA, and the South Korea-Vietnam FTA are moving is full swing with plans to build production facilities in ahead of FTAs in Vietnam.
Nguyen Duc Tiep, deputy head of the Quang Ninh Provincial Investment Promotion Agency’s Investment Promotion Division, said that Hong Kong’s Texhong Group is nearing completion of its second production factory worth over $200 million located within the $953.6 million, 3,300 hectare Hai Ha Industrial Park,. It is also under the group’s construction.
With the park and factory likely to come into operation within the coming months. Texhong is calling upon many fabric and textile investors from Hong Kong to invest into the park and supply materials for its two factories, Tiep said
Texhong’s first textile factory was worth over $200 million, has already been operating at the province’s Hai Yen Industrial Park for several years. The Group plans to build a power plant at the park to supply sufficient power to the textile and garment factories there.
20150517 * Textilers move in ahead of FTAs:
Foreign textile and garment firms are reeling out new investments in anticipation of upcoming free trade agreements.
Nguyen Duc Tiep, deputy head of the Quang Ninh Provincial Investment Promotion Agency’s Investment Promotion Division, told VIR that Hong Kong’s Texhong Group is nearing completion of its second production factory which is worth over $200 million. The complex is located within the $953.6 million, 3,300 hectare Hai Ha Industrial Park, which is also under the group’s construction.
“The park and factory will likely come into operation within the coming months. Texhong is calling upon many fabric and textile investors from Hong Kong to invest into the park and supply materials for its two factories,” Tiep said, adding that Texhong would build a power plant at the park to supply sufficient power to the textile and garment factories there.
The group’s first textile factory, also worth over $200 million, has already been operating at the province’s Hai Yen Industrial Park for several years.
Another Hong Kong-backed firm, Black Peony, is planning to build a $100 million jean cloth production facility in this park.
“Foreign textile and garment firms want to enjoy a zero per cent import tax rate under the commitments of free trade agreements (FTA) such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, the EU-Vietnam FTA, and the South Korea-Vietnam FTA,” Tiep said.
The textiles, clothing, and footwear sectors will benefit hugely from the EU-Vietnam FTA when the import tariff is reduced to zero per cent, down from the existing 10 per cent.
They currently comprise 30 per cent of Vietnam’s overall merchandise exports, and a massive 50 per cent of Vietnam’s overall exports to the EU.
20150520 * Vietnam-EU trade deal broadens opportunities for enterprises:
The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) will create ample opportunities for enterprises from both sides, heard a talk on the deal held in Flamand, Belgium on May 19.
Vietnam’s dynamic economy will open up great opportunities for foreign investors, especially enterprises from the EU, stated Deputy Director General of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Trade Mauro Petriccione, who is also Chief Negotiator for the EU.
He said that during negotiations, Vietnam and the Europe have reached agreements in wooden furniture, services, investments, tariffs, government purchasing, competitiveness and sustainable development.
For his part, Vietnamese Ambassador to Belgium and Head of the Vietnam Mission to the European Union Vuong Thua Phong said that the EVFTA will bring Vietnam and the EU a stable business climate while fuelling economic growth for both sides.
20150515 * European Parliament backs EU-Vietnam FTA:
The European Parliament (EP) advocates the signing of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) to since it benefits Vietnam, the EU and other Southeast Asian nations, executives of the EP’s International Trade Committee (INTA) have said.
During a reception for a Vietnamese delegation of the National Assembly’s Committee on External Relations led by its Vice Chairperson Ngo Duc Manh in Brussels, Belgium on May 12, INTA Chairman Bernd Lange and Vice Chairman Jan Zahradil hailed Vietnam’s reputation in the international arena, highlighting the country’s position as a gateway to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The two INTA leaders spoke of Vietnam’s significant economic achievements, socio-political order and security, saying these have created impetus for foreign investment in the country.
20150518-20-21 * Vietnam enterprises must be ready for trade barriers abroad, self-defense at home: experts:
Vietnamese firms must be ready to face more trade remedies at home and abroad as the Southeast Asian country is integrating further into the world’s economy, with numerous trade deals with foreign trade partners already signed or about to be clinched, foreign and local experts said at a recent workshop in Ho Chi Minh City.
While trade liberalization has opened up world trade to freer competition, more measures blocking market access on the grounds of unfair pricing by exporters have appeared recently, the experts said, further explaining these are called trade remedy actions, part of a series of trade barriers erected to protect a specific industry of a country from dying out due to cheaper imported goods.
Those trade barriers will be a challenge for Vietnamese firms when they export their products to many markets worldwide, especially the U.S. and EU, they said.
Vietnamese companies have to stand firmly to defend themselves at home as well because of the rising inflow of imported goods following trade deals their country signed or will sign with its partners, delegates said at the “Vietnam in a Borderless World of Trade: Opportunities and Challenges” workshop on Friday.
Getting used to it
One morning, as usual, you walk into your office and start your computer to check your email, only to find a message: your company is officially facing an anti-dumping probe from a specific export market.
You will be shocked, wondering why this is happening to your firm, but by that time all formalities for the lawsuit have been completed, and you have no choice but to find ways to cope with it.
This is a story narrated by American expert Matthew McConkey, a partner at the Washington-based law firm Mayer Brown, at the event.
In a borderless world of trade, trade remedies will become more popular and businesses will find that they may unexpectedly get stuck in such circumstances, which seem to appear from nowhere, McConkey said.
As a result, in the course of expanding the market overseas, Vietnamese companies will have to master the international law on trade, especially trade remedies, and be willing to pursue such lawsuits to protect their rights.
read more. & read more. & read more.
Concerted efforts have been made by Vietnam to fully implement commitments under the World Trade Organisation (WTO)’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), it was revealed at a conference held in northern province of Lao Cai province on May 18.
In his opening remarks, Vu Ngoc Anh, Deputy Director General of Vietnam Customs, said that the agreement contains provisions for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods.
He highlighted that it also sets out measures for effective cooperation between customs departments and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues.
read more. & read more.
20150520 * Vietnam preferred as destination for manufacturers: survey:
Standard Chartered Bank has said Vietnam is emerging as the most preferred destination for companies planning to move production out of China, Vietnamese local newspaper Saigon Times Daily reported Wednesday.
The bank’s global research team said in a recent report that China is shifting away from a growth model based on low manufacturing wages and is increasing automation as it moves up the value chain. This is opening up opportunities for low-cost manufacturing regions like the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Vietnam is poised to be among the biggest beneficiaries of China’s move up the manufacturing value chain, cited by more than one-third of respondents of its latest survey.
Lower wages, a young and educated workforce and geographical proximity to China make Vietnam an attractive destination, particularly for more labor-intensive manufacturing segments.
In addition, Vietnam is regarded as an attractive consumer market thanks to its fast-growing middle class and increasingly affluent population.
“Our clients have consistently picked Vietnam as their top alternative destination to China over the past three years. In 2015, 36 percent of respondents who preferred to move manufacturing out of China said they would move to Vietnam, 25 percent chose Cambodia and 10 percent each chose Bangladesh and Indonesia,” the report said.
read more. & read more.
20150518 * Thousands of workers run for workplace safety and health:
Over 4,500 workers from garment and textile factories in Binh Duong and surrounding provinces participated in a run in support of workplace safety and health on May 17 in southern Binh Duong province.
The event was held by Better Work Vietnam, a partnership between the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), in collaboration with the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour.
It was intended to strengthen the relation between workers, employers, clients and the community and raise awareness of occupational safety and health, notably the importance of a healthy eating habit, in the apparel industry.
There are about 350 garment and textile and footwear factories across the country. South Vietnam, including Binh Duong province, is home to 430,000 workers, 80 percent of whom are female.
A recent survey of workers at some clothing factories revealed that there are a large number of garment workers suffering from lack of nutrition due to unhealthy dietary habits such as skipping breakfast. Diarrhoea and respiration diseases are common diseases among them.
to read. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
18:02:54 local time CAMBODIA
20150521 * Families mourn victims of van crash:
Eighteen identical piles of food and drink sat next to 18 empty chairs at Svay pagoda yesterday morning. Each would soon be occupied by a relative of one of the people killed in Tuesday’s deadly crash just 15 kilometres away.
Before the ceremony to hand over the gifts of rice, noodles, tinned fish and water, two of the 18 killed would be cremated on the Svay Chrum district pagoda’s grounds.
Mov Chap had only been working at the Kingmaker factory for three months when the minivan she took to work every day was demolished by a speeding passenger bus, killing her and 14 others on the spot.
Three more would later die receiving treatment.
A sobbing procession of friends and relatives accompanied her simple coffin to the clay-walled structure in which she would be cremated.
But the worry is far from over for this family. Two more of Mey Sath’s daughters were also in the van, and among those rushed to the capital for emergency treatment.
“Please let my two daughters in Phnom Pen recover soon,” she said, while relatives supported her in the chair where they had seated her.
As the women and children left Son Sorn’s cremation, 50 metres away, family members began to take their seats next to the gift parcels the Red Cross had assembled.
Sitting in one of the chairs was Phorng Sakhourn, 50. She lost her 23-year-old daughter, her daughter-in-law and a second cousin in the crash.
Her daughter’s husband was also in the van, and is currently lying badly injured in a hospital bed in Phnom Penh.
20150521 * Court Charges Bus Driver Over Deadly Garment Worker Crash:
The Svay Rieng Provincial Court on Wednesday charged the bus driver who slammed into a van full of garment workers, killing its driver and 17 passengers, with unlicensed driving and careless driving causing death.
Prosecutor Hing Bunchea said that Le Van Tung, 43, a Vietnamese national, faces two to five years in jail if convicted for his role in the deadly crash that killed 18 and left 21 others injured in Svay Teap district on Tuesday.
20150520 * Svay Rieng crash kills 18:
It was a wonder any of the 39 workers packed into the minivan had survived.
The entire left side had been torn away by a speeding bus, and was now propped up with a bamboo pole. Inside, blood-stained shoes and a crushed lunchbox spewing scarlet-tinted rice served as a chilling illustration of a normal workday that turned to tragedy before it even started.
At least 18 of the van’s occupants were killed and more than a dozen seriously injured, after they were struck head on by a bus in Svay Rieng province yesterday morning.
The workers had been travelling along National Road 1 near the border between Svay Tiep district and Kampong Ro district at about 6:20am when the incident occurred. District police said two construction workers were also injured in the collision.
Speaking from her hospital bed in Svay Rieng Provincial Hospital, Uk Sakhorn, 31, said she had been sitting in the front row alongside three others and the driver when the crash happened. Despite her obvious pain, Sakhorn said she was one of the least affected.
“I sat next to the passenger door and the bus hit the opposite side. I always sit in the same place, so I survived. It was very crowded. The driver was thrown out of the van,” she said. “I was one of the luckiest.”
According to Welsh, authorities should accept full liability for the incident.
“The Labour Law in Cambodia does say that there is liability for factories and for the government; this should be categorised as a workplace accident,” he said.
“[It’s] completely unacceptable in an industry that generates $6 billion a year and can’t guarantee the safety of the workers.”
* Head-On Crash Kills 17 Factory Workers, Driver:
Seventeen garment workers and a driver died Tuesday morning when a bus rammed into an overloaded, 15-seat van carrying them and 21 others to work in Bavet City, officials said.
Duch Kahnaroth, a Svay Teap district police officer at the scene of the crash, said the accident occurred at about 7 a.m. and that 14 of the workers died at the crash site on National Road 1. Three more died of their injuries later in the day, while all 21 other passengers were injured.
Thousands of garment workers risk their lives every day traveling to and from work, cramming into overloaded vans or standing upright in the back of flatbed trucks, because they cannot afford to pay for safer transport.
“They’re not able to travel with dignity,” said Mr. Welsh. “It’s the greed of the industry and the lack of money the workers have. It’s unacceptable.”
Mr. Welsh said garment workers receive a stipend of $10 per month on top of their wages, which start at $128. “It’s absolutely not adequate,” he said.
20150519 * 18 Garment Workers Killed in Crash, Official Says:
Eighteen garment workers were killed and 21 injured Tuesday morning when the van they were traveling in on their way to work in Svay Rieng province crashed with a tourist bus, according to an Interior Ministry official.
“There are 18 who died, seven seriously injured…and 14 with minor injuries,” said Run Rathvesna, chief of the Interior Ministry’s public order department. “They are at three hospitals: Chi Phu referral hospital, Svay Rieng hospital, and another clinic.”
Svay Rieng provincial military police chief On Soeung said the driver of the bus, which was operated by the 15 SH Transport company, was arrested after sustaining minor injuries in the crash in Svay Teap district.
Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, said the garment workers were members of his union and that at least five remained in a serious condition Tuesday morning.
“Five victims are now receiving urgent medical treatment at Chi Phu referral hospital in Bavet City,” he said.
20150519 * killed in horrific accident in Eastern part province:
At least 17 people were killed and 22 others were injured this morning when a bus collided a pickup truck carrying garment workers to work in Kampong Ro district, Svay Rieng, an eastern province, said police report.
The bus heading Vietnam from Phnom Penh overtook another car on the right side of the road before it crashed into the truck, leaving over 17 workers dead at the spot, said a witness.
In the first quarter of 2015, 610 people were killed and 1,139 others were wounded on the roads across the country, according to police report.
20150519 * Bus Slams Head-on into Van, Killing 18:
At least 18 people died and nearly two dozen were injured when a tourist bus from Vietnam slammed into a van full of garment workers in Bavet city, Svay Rieng province, early Tuesday morning.
The tourist bus was heading west toward Phnom Penh on National Road 1 when it tried to overtake another vehicle. The bus collided head-on with a van, killing its driver and 17 garment workers on board. Twenty-one other workers were injured, nine of them seriously. Two of the nine injured were airlifted to Calmette Hospital in Phnom Penh.
The collision took place 115 km east of the capital. None of the bus passengers were seriously injured in the collision.
Chieng Am, Svay Rieng’s governor, said the van was carrying 38 women to work in a factory in the Manhattan Special Economic Zone, an industrial park on the Cambodian border, 80 kilometers east of Ho Chi Minh City.
“The bus was trying to overtake another vehicle, when it hit the van coming in the opposite direction,” said Mr. Am. “The bus driver was responsible for the dangerous maneuver and its aftermath.”
“We arrested the [Vietnamese] bus driver and sent him to the provincial police station for legal processing,” he said, adding that he rushed to the scene of the accident with provincial authorities. The injured were sent to the Svay Rieng referral hospital, the Chi Pou hospital and to Phnom Penh.
The van driver was an independent agent and was not employed by the garment factory or sub-contracted by a taxi company, he said. The bus belonged to a Phnom Penh-based fleet that transports passengers between the capital and Vietnam.
Prime Minister Hun Sen paid his condolences Tuesday morning, noting that the number of traffic accidents is increasing. He appealed for everyone to work together to reduce traffic fatalities.
read more. & update.
20150519 * At least 18 killed in crash:
At least 18 workers have now died in the wake of a deadly Tuesday morning collision in Svay Rieng that saw a speeding bus collide with a van loaded with garment workers.
Lieutenant Gen. Ron Rothveasna, director of the Ministry of Interior’s order department, said that the death toll had grown from 16 after two critically injured passengers had died in hospital. More than 20 were also injured.
Svay Rieng provincial governor Chieng Am said the incident happened at about 7am as the van traveled to the Manhattan Special Economic Zone in Bavet. Sixteen workers were declared dead at the scene, including 14 women and two men.
Am said that eight other workers, six women and two men, had been seriously injured, while 14 others received slight injuries and were taken to the provincial hospital.
“It is the biggest ever accident to happen in my province,” said Am, who added that the bodies of victims had already been claimed by family members. “I think the number of deaths will increase as it hopeless for those in critical condition.”
Am said that the bus driver, employed by the Sun Hour Company, has been arrested and two seriously injured workers sent to Phnom Penh.
According to Am, the provincial Cambodian Red Cross has thus far donated 400,000 riel ($100) to each family of the victims and the provincial hall has contributed another 200,000 riel ($50) each.
read more. & read more.
20150519 * Hun Sen pays his condolence to horrific accident:
Prime Minister Hun Sen expressed his shock and paid condolence to the victims and their respective families to the horrific accident in Kampong Ro district, Svay Rieng, an eastern part province.
His deputy Prime Minister Men Sam An already departed to the scene, he added in the graduation ceremony of the students of the Royal Phnom Penh University held this morning.
Hun Sen called the public to respect the current land traffic law.
“If we have only 50% or up to 90% of people respected the law, the road will not be safety, unless all together respect”, he underlined.
The horrific accident happened at 6:45 am between Phnom Penh-Vietnam bus and a pickup truck and killed 17 people and 22 others were injured.
20150521 * Crash details all too familiar:
The circumstances that led to Tuesday’s deadly accident in Svay Rieng province – a driver’s decision to turn his vehicle into potential oncoming traffic to pass a slower-moving motorist – would be familiar to anyone who has taken a bus, van or taxi on one of Cambodia’s national roads.
The consequences – 18 dead, and more seriously injured when the bus tore through a crowded passenger van – are familiar as well. Of 2,226 fatal road accidents last year, 11 per cent were related to vehicles illegally passing others, said Sovanratnak Sao, technical officer on road safety for the World Health Organization in Cambodia.
And buses have been of particular concern in recent years. In 2013, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport issued warnings to four bus companies for having an excessive number of crashes resulting from negligence.
And despite promises in the interim to crack down on such fatal accidents, those who ply Cambodia’s roads regularly said that tragedies like Tuesday’s are the result of an inattention to other motorists among drivers that borders on routine.
20150521 * ILO seeks to address transport risks for Cambodian workers:
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has called for measures to address the risk Cambodians face travelling to work following a horrific accident in Svay Rieng Tuesday.
In a statement released late Wednesday, the ILO office for Cambodia, Laos and Thailand said it “heard with great sadness of the death of 19 workers and severe injury of over 20 workers” in the accident between a bus and a van.
“The ILO extends its deepest sympathy to the families and dependants of those killed and injured, knowing that,
for many, the pain of their loss will be made worse by the uncertainty that will come from the loss of household income earned by a loved-one.
“This loss of life is yet another reminder of the risks that thousands of workers face every day in simply making their journey to work,” the statement said.
20150520 * ILO’s statement on the death of Cambodian workers in a road accident:
The ILO Country Office for Thailand, Cambodia and Lao People’s Democratic Republic heard with great sadness of the death of 19 workers and severe injury of over 20 workers in a road accident in Cambodia’s Svay Rieng province on
The victims were commuting to their places of work, mainly in garment factories and construction sites, when their commuter van was in collision with a bus.
The ILO extends its deepest sympathy to the families and dependants of those killed and injured, knowing that, for many, the pain of their loss will be made worse by the uncertainty that will come from the loss of household income earned by a loved-one.
This loss of life is yet another reminder of the risks that thousands of workers face every day in simply making their journey to work.
According to a report by the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training National Social Security Fund, in 2014, 73 workers died and 789 were seriously injured while commuting to their workplace.
Such risks can and should be promptly addressed.
Tackling this problem calls for action in a number of areas, so co-ordinated and comprehensive measures that bring together a number of national stakeholders are necessary.
These include a review of regulations and enforcement in the transport sector, the payment of adequate transport allowances to workers, and safety campaigns that target transport providers as well as passengers.
The important provisions that are covered by the National Social Security Fund in terms of compensation for work-related fatalities and accidents need to be applied across economic sectors for the families of those that lost their lives and for the injured.
The ILO, as always, stands ready to support national stakeholders to effectively protect workers’ safety.
20150518 * Exports to US fall 6% in first quarter:
Cambodian exports to the US, one of the Kingdom’s biggest export destinations, fell 6 per cent in the first quarter, as the Cambodia continues to diversify its export destinations beyond the EU and US.
According to data from the US Department of Commerce, Cambodia exported goods worth $725 million during the first three months of 2015, compared with $771 million in the same period last year.
The data did not specify the details of the goods that have been exported to the US, but the past export reports have shown that shipments were largely garment products.
Kaing Monika, deputy secretary general of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC), said the drop in exports to the US was not due US market problems.
While exports to the US dropped, Monika said, the EU’s market share has continued to grow and is currently more than 40 per cent of garment exports from the Kingdom. In contrast, the US share has dropped from 75 per cent five years ago to just below 30 per cent.
20150518 * after lunch:
This is where garment workers taking their nap after lunch.
17:32:54 local time BURMA/MYANMAR
20150519 * Owner of Costec garment factory refuses to let workers return to work:
Approximately 100 workers from the Costec garment factory who went on strike to raise their salaries accepted the decision of the labour tribunal commission to return to work within 30 days of the end of the strike.
Both parties were given the option to appeal the decision within seven days.
20150518 * The new sweatshop of Asia?:
Foreign clothing companies are licking their lips as they seek to set up shop in Myanmar, Asia’s new investment opportunity.
Since President U Thein Sein’s government came into power in 2011, there has been a drive to encourage foreign companies to set up a manufacturing base in the country to help pump life into the economy, bring much needed employment, and to introduce and upgrade expertise.
On the face of it, foreign clothing manufacturers can help provide a win-win situation, where the companies make money and workers and the country benefit.
In theory. The garment sector may be “in the starting blocks” and “showing real potential,” as the head of the German fashion association, Thomas Ballweg, recently told DPA news service, but the events of May Day last week were a reminder that all is not well, despite efforts by the government and business players to talk up the industry.
On that holiday for workers, the number of protesters on the streets in Yangon calling for a minimum wage was only in the hundreds, but they echoed a growing theme among those working on the factory floor making garments – pay and conditions leave a lot to be desired.
Raising your voice, however, may have a price.
Anger has been voiced by some workers over the detention of two trade union leaders, Naing Htay Lwin and Myo Min Min, who work in garment factories in Yangon. Myo Min Min is the chairperson of the Garment Factory Workers Organisation in Shwepyithar, and Naing Htay Lwin works for the Ford Glory Garment Factory.
The two men helped spearhead a protest over pay and working conditions in their factories.
As they highlighted, an average garment worker gets paid only 43 US cents [K430] an hour.
To make ends meet, the workers typically have to do two days overtime, meaning they often work a full seven days a week.
Workers have demanded an increase of US$1 a day so that they can better support their families.
However, both men were arrested for organising protests calling for a pay rise of $1 a day.
They were picked up for protesting without permission, and their supporters say they were also falsely accused of advocating violence during protests.
They remain in Insein Prison awaiting a trial that could put them in prison for up to three years.
The garment workers continue their protests calling for a pay rise and the release of their protest leaders.
20150518 * National Unity Party promises to take up factory workers’ cause:
The National Unity Party is trying hard to woo the factory workers’ vote.
The party yesterday held a labour rights forum in Yangon’s Shwe Pyi Thar Industrial Zone where members pledged their solidarity and support for the workers’ cause.
Politicians yielded the floor and lent their ear to union leaders and worker representatives, who used their day off to press the party on the minimum wage, a labour protection law and healthcare.
Among the scores of issues and gripes discussed at the open forum, one thing was clear: Myanmar workers are demanding better protection of their rights.
“There are so many issues to talk about with labour rights but the basic point is that the laws protecting workers are weak. So, whatever we demand, it won’t matter until the laws are reviewed,” said Myanmar Trade Unions Federation member Ko Naw Aung, who was among the hundreds of workers at the discussion.
20150518 * PROFILE: Myanmar the new union frontier:
As of January 2015, IndustriALL counts two trade unions from Myanmar among its members. In a country where unions have only been legal since 2012, organizing and training are crucial in building worker power.
Unions: Industrial Workers Federation of Myanmar (IWFM) and the Mining Workers Federation of Myanmar (MWFM)
Myanmar is under transition from a military junta, which seized power in 1962. A constitutional referendum in 2008 allowed for general elections in 2010, and since then the government has launched a number of democratic and economic reforms. In 2012 trade unions became legal, and union leaders in exile were allowed to return to the country.
So far in 2015, the IWFM has increased its membership from 3,500 to 5,000. The IWFM has almost 7,000 members and is aiming for 20,000 at the end of 2015.
Khaing Zar Aung is Assistant General Secretary of IWFM, as well as treasurer of CTUM. She became involved in the trade union movement in 2007, while working in garment factories on the Thai-Myanmar border.
Leaving school at 16 to help support her seven siblings, Khaing Zar Aung got a job in a textile factory in Myanmar by lying about her age. When the employer fired her for being under-age (the legal working age in Myanmar is 18), Khaing Zar Aung found work in the factories on the other side of the border in Thailand.
There, she was working alongside children as young as 13 and 14 who wanted to go back to school.
Minimum wage on its way
At the moment there is no set minimum wage in Myanmar.
The average salary is around US$100 per month, with big sectoral differences. Apart from the basic wage, a living allowance, overtime bonus, attendance bonus, skill bonus, and finally a sum depending on the length of employment is added.
Overtime requires an extra 12-16 hours per week, in addition to the 44-46-hour working week.
“Our members are fighting for a living wage,” says Khaing Zar Aung. “The salary is so low that the workers are suffering – we demand basic wages and proper working hours.”
17:02:54 local time BANGLADESH
20150516 * Lessons of Rana Plaza still not learned: UN expert group :
The United Nations Working Group on business and human rights on Friday said “the lessons of the Rana Plaza disaster have still not been learned.”
The experts’ warning comes after a new tragedy in the global garment industry involving the death of more than 70 factory workers in a fire in a shoe factory in Manila this week, according to a message received here from Geneva.
“The tragic death of factory workers, mainly women, is a stark reminder of the urgent need for action to protect workers in the garment industry, despite of the Bangladesh Accord for Fire and Building Safety, created two years ago, on the same date as the Manila shoe factory fire,” said Michael Addo, who currently heads the expert group.
The collapse of the Rana Plaza building with more than 3,000 garment workers inside in 2013 was a wake-up call for action by governments, trade unions and industry to address systemic human rights issues in the garment sector.
“This week’s factory fire in Manila must strengthen our resolve to call for action to prevent such accidents from taking place,” Addo noted.
The Bangladesh Accord is a legally binding agreement which has been signed by over 150 corporations from 20 countries, global and local trade unions, NGOs and workers’ rights groups.
The Rana Plaza disaster also led to progress, supported by the International Labour Organization, on labour law reform, labour inspection, workplace safety and compensation for injuries to take steps to strengthen inspections of working conditions in factories.
Government efforts have been undertaken in collaboration with the Accord and with another initiative, the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, led by 26 mainly North American companies.
Under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, states have the primary duty to protect human rights against abuses by business actors.
Fulfilling this duty requires the state to enact, and enforce in practice, legislation and regulations to ensure that businesses respect human rights.
Companies also have a responsibility to respect human rights, which means taking necessary actions to prevent and address any human rights harm with which they may be involved.
This includes risks to the rights of workers in their own operations and along global supply chains.
“We urge states and the business community to be more pro-active to ensure safe working conditions for workers in the garment and textile industry, to avoid a continuous repetition of these preventable tragedies,” he stressed.
20150520 * Jute mills workers observe hunger strike for 5-point demand:
Several thousand of workers of nine state-owned jute mills of Khulna-Jessore industrial belt observed hunger strike for six hours starting at 10:00am on Tuesday to press home their five-point demand.
The workers wearing shrouds sat in front of Aleem Jute mill at Atra industrial belt of Khulna city as part of an 18-day movement under the banner of CBA and non-CBA Oikya Parishad.
They are agitating for allocation of adequate fund to keep going production of the state-owned jute mills, payment of their wages and other financial benefits, payment of 20 per cent dearness allowance, exploring markets both at home and abroad for selling jute products and removal of corrupt officials and employees to make administration of the mills transparent.
Oikya Parishad convener Md Sohrab Hossain said that government must take positive move for implementation of Anti Polythene Act–2010 and also for implementation of Jute Goods Act–2002.
20150518 * Police halts garment workers’ march towards labour ministry:
Police intercepted a march of garment workers towards the labour ministry at the secretariat in the capital on Sunday.
They were going to besiege the labour ministry protesting at illegal closure of Swan Garment factory, a job place of over 1300 workers, and demanding their due payments.
Over 1000 employees of Swan Garment factory gathered in front of the National Press Club in the city under the banner of Garment Workers Trade Union Centre in the afternoon and held a protest rally demanding immediate payment of their dues and reopening of the factory.
The speakers at the rally alleged that the factory authorities closed it on April 10 without any prior notice and without paying their dues.
As a result, over 1300 workers became jobless and they were passing their days in utter hardship, they said.
They also said they urged the government and Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association to resolve the problems but none paid heed to their problems.
20150517 * Workers’ demo in front of secretariat:
Nearly five hundred workers staged demonstration in front of the secretariat in city Sunday, demanding the payment of their dues.
Led by the leaders of Bangladesh Garment Worker Trade Union Centre, workers of Swan Garments Factory of the city’s Dhakkhinkhan area have taken poison there since 12:20pm on the day.
Prior to that, they formed a human chain in front of National Press Club, and protested the owners’ decision of shutting down the factory without prior notice.
Moreover, they demanded payments of their 4-month dues.
20150517 * Chunnu assures RMG workers of solving problem:
State minister for labor and employment Mujibul Haque Chunnu assured Swan garments workers of solving the existing problems within two days.
Bangladesh Garment Worker Trade Union Centre general secretary Jolly Talukdar said after getting the assurance the workers left the secretariat in city around 2:15 Sunday.
But the workers leader threatened that the workers will press home their demand if the state minister does not fulfill his promise.
Earlier in the day, nearly five hundred workers staged demonstration in front of the secretariat, demanding the payment of their dues.
20150514 * Workers of North Badda garment factory rally for wages:
Workers of a garment factory at North Badda owned by Chunji Knit Ltd staged a rally on Thursday, demanding payment of all outstanding salaries.
The demand came under the banner of the United Federation of Garments Workers (UFGW) at Jatiya Press Club.
Workers alleged they are owed four months’ salaries. They also alleged that the management is mounting pressure on them to leave the factory forgoing their due salaries and other benefits.
Workers also alleged lawmaker AKM Rahmatullah, MP, is the owner of the building and the garments is widely known as ‘Rahmatullah garments’ in the locality.
20150517 * Yangone factory catches fire:
Storeroom of Yangone’s apparel factory caught fire at Chittagong Export Processing Zone (CEPZ) in the port city on Sunday morning.
Ten fire fighter vehicles of three units struggled about four hours to douse the blaze.
Agrabad Fire Service and Civil Defence assistant director Mohammad Yahia told bagnlanews that the fire originated at the fourth floor of the factory due to short-circuit around 3:45am.
read more. & read more.
20150516 * 10 hurt in Gazipur RMG factory fire:
Ten workers were injured as a fire broke out at a garment factory in Safipur area of Kaliakoir upazila on Saturday afternoon.
Fire service sources said the fire erupted at the fabrics stock of ‘Mahmud Denim’s Limited’ in the area around 3:15pm.
On information, two fire fighting units from Kaliakoir rushed in and brought the fire under control after an hour of frantic efforts.
20150515 * Garment factory catches fire in Gazipur:
A fire broke out in a garment factory at Tongi Bazar in the city on Friday morning.
Fire service sources said the fire originated from an electronic short circuit on the 5th floor of the six-storey building around 11:30 am and soon engulfed the whole floor.
On information, three fire fighting unit rushed to the spot and doused the flame after an hour of frantic efforts.
The extent of loss caused by the fire could not be ascertained immediately.
to read. & to read. & to read
20150520 * Western retailer groups warn 37 apparel makers of severing ties:
Failure to address safety concerns blamed
Two western retailer groups – Accord and Alliance – have warned 37 local apparel makers of severing business ties with them for their failure to timely address safety concerns in line with Corrective Action Plans (CAPs), industry insiders said.
After initial inspection, both the groups conducting follow-up assessment in their respective listed factories have identified those units where the remedial work is not satisfactory and issued non-compliance letters, they added.
The Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, led mostly by European buyers, warned some 28 out of 224 factories where it carried out follow-up inspections (fire, electrical and structural) till February 2015.
But the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, another group led mostly by North American buyers, issued non-compliance letters to some nine units after it found the remedial work there unsatisfactory, people involved with the process said.
“If no action is taken following this letter and the Accord doesn’t see adequate progress, the signatory companies in the factory will need to invoke the provisions of the Accord related to non-compliance with required remediation,” according to a recent report posted on the Accord’s website.
“Such provisions include termination of business relations and public disclosure of non-compliance on the Accord website,” it warned.
20150519 * Accord warns 28 RMG factories of cutting business ties:
Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, a platform led by the European brands and retailers, has warned of cutting business relations with 28 factories for their failure to make satisfactory progress with the remediation work.
In a recent report, the Accord said that they have sent a total of 224 follow-up inspection reports (fire, electrical and structural) to the factory, related company signatories and union signatories.
Out of 224 factories, Accord issued non-compliance letters for 28 where remedial works for ensuring safety were not satisfactory.
According to the Accord aggregate report, the engineers of the platform generated a detailed report and updated the Corrective Action Plans under the follow-up inspection and the detailed report was sent to the factory, related company signatories and union signatories.
‘In cases where the Accord engineers are not satisfied with the remediation work of the factory, the Lead Engineer issues a non-compliance letter to the factory, the company signatories and labour signatories,’ the Accord said.
If the factories do not take any action following the letters and the Accord does not see adequate progress, the signatory companies and the factory will be required to invoke the provisions of the Accord related to non-compliance with required remediation.
20150517 * Garment factories now safer after inspections:
Rob Wayss, Accord’s executive director, says as they complete two years in Bangladesh
Safety in the garment sector has improved over the last two years as factory owners started implementing the corrective actions plans recommended by the engineers of two foreign inspection agencies — Accord and Alliance.
“Factories in Bangladesh producing garments for Accord signatory companies have become safer,” said Rob Wayss, Accord’s executive director for Bangladesh operations.
“Safety hazards identified through our inspections are being remediated and will ultimately be completed.
There is a lot of work remaining to do to complete the remediation work but progress has been made and this has made factories safer.”
After the Rana Plaza building collapse, nearly 200 retailers and brands, mainly European, formed the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh on May 13, 2013 to ensure workplace safety and improve worker rights in the garment sector.
The engineers of Accord, a legally binding five-year agreement, formally started factory inspections on February 20 last year and completed preliminary inspections in September.
Through two batches of initial inspections — one in Feb-Sept of 2014 and the other in Jan-April of 2015 — Accord has inspected 1,286 factories for fire, electrical, and structural issues, Wayss said in an email interview as they completed two years in Bangladesh.
The number does not include the approximately 250 factories producing for both Accord and Alliance brands which the Alliance inspected, he said.
“For these factories we are not doing initial inspections but are developing CAPs (corrective action plans) and monitoring and verifying remediation based on the findings from the Alliance conducted inspection.”
20150518 * Banglaccord Monthly Update May 2015:
Bangladesh Accord newsletter for signatories, factories and other parties interested in the Accord’s factory safety programme.
All factories listed with the Accord by signatory companies have now had their initial fire, electrical and structural inspections.
The Accord is focusing on follow-up factory inspections to monitor and verify remediation progress. 400 factories have had fire, electrical and structural follow-up inspections and their Corrective Action Plans (CAPs) are being updated on the Accord Inspection Reports & CAPs page.
Following the tragic earthquakes in Nepal in recent weeks, the Accord has been investigating the impact on factories of the aftershocks in Bangladesh.
In this message to factories, the Accord advises how to investigate the impact of the earthquake and asks factories to inform the Accord of any concerns.
In addition, the Accord has received numerous calls from workers concerned about the earthquake impact and set up a dedicated team to investigate workers’ concerns.
Fortunately there seems to be very little damage to garment factories in Bangladesh. In three cases, the factory buildings required temporary evacuation.
20150517 * BGMEA asks Tofail to make Accord ‘compliant’:
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association urged the government to make the Accord, a factory safety initiative of the retailers, follow the land’s law in its activities.
BGMEA President Atiqul Islam made the call in a letter on May 9 to Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed.
“We urged the government to look into the matter. Many factory owners alleged that the Accord was crossing its jurisdiction and even sometimes threatened to declare factories non-compliant,” said a BGMEA high official referring to the letter.
He said the Accord tried to force them to follow its own laws beyond the country’s laws.
“As I told you before, Accord is creating problems for some factories and even threatens to declare them non-compliant. It is to destroy the business of the exporters,” the official alleged.
20150516 * Govt urged to take steps on Accord activities beyond its purview:
Accord, a platform of European Union (EU) retailers, is involved in wrongdoing with a number of the country’s apparel factories, industry insiders alleged.
Besides, the EU entity is getting involved in labour management issue to create problems with the factory management and engaging in some activities beyond the purview of worker safety, they also alleged.
The platform is also threatening to declare some factories ‘non-compliant’ which is destroying export business, they added.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has made a written complaint against the Accord and sent it to Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed to look into the issue seriously and take appropriate measures to keep the platform’s activities under the country’s law, the association sources said.
20150517 * Unionism still restricted in garment sector:
DITF finds associations in only 1.0% apparel factories
Only one per cent out of the garment factories surveyed by the DIFE has trade unions (TUs) while 55 per cent of them even don’t have any participation committees, officials said.
Nearly two years have already elapsed since the labour law has been amended with simplifying the procedures for forming trade unions at garment factories.
The Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) inspectors visited some 643 factories during the period between January and March in 2015.
Of the factories surveyed, 356 are the members of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and 129 are the members of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) while 158 others don’t have any affiliation with either of the two trade bodies.
According to the report, only three factories (1 per cent) associated with BGMEA and two factories (nearly 2 per cent) affiliated with BKMEA have TUs. But non-member factories surveyed by DIFE have no TUs.
But still there is allegation that workers are being harassed, threatened, beaten and terminated by the factory management when they try to form trade unions.
Labour leaders admitted that although the situation has changed a little bit compared to that of two years back, there are still impediments to forming unions.
Non-cooperation from owners, fear to lose jobs and some legal complexities including requirement for 30 per cent workers to form unions are major reasons for less number of unions in the country’s ready-made garment sector that employs some 4.0 million workers.
“Workers cannot freely organise on the factory premises during lunch break or after work to have their representation while the authority’s power to terminate workers mainly discourage union formation,” Amirul Haque Amin, president of National Garment Workers Federation, claimed.
The government has allowed trade unions and participation committees in the garment factories due to pressure especially from international community, not from workers, labour leaders alleged.
20150517 * No first aid facility in 35% of RMG units:
DIFE survey finds
Thirty-five per cent of the readymade garment factories in the country lack first aid facility and required equipment for the purpose, according to a recent survey conducted by the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments.
The survey conducted in 643 apparel factories in the January-March period found that 67 per cent of the factories did not serve accident-related notice while 46 per cent of them did not maintain safety record books and safety boards.
A labour rights activist said that the government survey proved that the existing labour law was not effective in the garment sector and in reality workers remained hapless.
‘A large number of workers has been deprived of health care support in their workplace as the government survey stated that there was no first aid facility in 35 per cent of garment factories,’ Roy Ramesh Chandra, secretary general of industriAll Bangladesh Council, told New Age.
The survey report reflected the level of implementation of the existing law and improvement of the workers’ rights in the garment sector, he said.
‘Now, the government should take responsibility of implementing the labour law in the industrial sector as it is proved that factory owners are not respectful to laws,’ Ramesh said.
According to the survey report, 356 of the 643 factories surveyed are affiliated with the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, 129 are members of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association and 158 are not affiliated with any trade body.
20150518 * Non-compliant apparel factories need to be streamlined:
The findings of the January-March survey of 643 apparel factories by the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments point to a reality that different labour rights organisations have consistently clamoured about but the government as well as the associations of the apparel factory owners have generally been in denial of.
According to the survey, as quoted in New Age on Sunday, 35 per cent of the factories lack any first aid facility although the labour law categorically says that every factory and establishment shall have first appliances and facilities ‘with the contents prescribed by rules’.
Moreover, also in breach of the law, 67 per cent of the factories do not serve accident-related notice, 46 per cent do not maintain safety record books and safety boards, 44 per cent do not have any safety committee and 31 per cent do not have any provision for maternity leave and allowance.
20150518 * Garments workers’ skill development:
The opening of the Centre of Excellence for Bangladesh Apparel Industries (CEBAI) last month was a defining moment in the country’s readymade garments industry so far as its productivity and creation of skilled and semi-skilled workers through market-responsive training are concerned.
Though belated, the project taken up by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) in association with the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), retailer H&M and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) holds great prospect in the wake of increasing demand for diversified and high-end readymade garment (RMG) products in the traditional and new markets.
The challenges thus posed cannot, observers hold, be met by the existing level of skills and expertise. Industry insiders are of the opinion that in order to meet the growing global demand and achieve the garments export target of $50 billion by 2021, the country will need 3.5 million skilled and semi-skilled workers in the next seven years.
20150517 * RMG warehouses looted killing night guard in Savar:
Robbers looted two warehouses of readymade garments (RMG) factory killing a night guard at Bashundhara in Baipail area of Ashulia early Sunday.
The deceased was identified as Abdul Sattar,50, a resident of Raimpur village in Mahadebpur upazila of Naogaon district.
The deceased’s son Amanul Haque said a gang of armed robbers broke open the gate of the two warehouses of businessmen Jahangir and Majibar in Sania Market of the area in the dead of night.
At one stage, the robbers tied up the hands and legs of Sattar and strangulated him to death as he tried to resist them.
read more. & read more. & read more.
20150519-20 * Regaining GSP requires further strengthening of labour rights:
US Ambassador in Bangladesh Marcia Stephens Bloom Bernicat noted that her government has recognized the significant improvement that Bangla-desh RMG sector has made in improving workers’ safety since the Rana Plaza collapse, but said regaining Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) requires further strengthening of labour rights and working environment.
She made the comment when FBCCI President Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed wanted to know about regaining GSP of the Bangladeshi products to US market while speaking as the chief guest at the ‘Annual General Meeting: 2014’ of International Business Forum of Bangladesh (IBFB) at a hotel in the capital yesterday.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
20150518 * US envoy willing to lobby Congress for garment tariff cut:
The US ambassador in Dhaka Sunday expressed her willingness to pursue the cause of tariff reduction for Bangladesh’s apparel products with the Congress, junior labour minister said.
“The US ambassador has told us that she will submit a report to the congressmen for reducing the tariff on Bangladeshi made apparel products,” state minister for labour Mujibul Haque told the reporters after a meeting with Marcia Stephens Bloom Bernicat at his secretariat office in the city.
At the meeting, the junior minister raised the issue of GSP (generalised system of preferences), a trade benefit for which Bangladesh is no longer eligible.
20150521 * Revisiting export subsidies:
It may sound strange that half of the cash incentives provided to the export-oriented sectors of the economy is virtually eaten up by the readymade garment (RMG) industry.
However, one must not also ignore here the reality about the overwhelming presence of the RMG sector in the country’s economy.
This sector far outshines all others in terms of productivity, employment, backward linkages and exports.
With its whooping 75 per cent share in the country’s total exports, the RMG sector counts rather too heavily when it comes to government facilitations by way of incentives.
Nevertheless, it remains to be seen whether feeding a single voracious sector is a well-guarded proposition or not.
20150519 * Rationale for a hike in tax rates for RMG sector:
Tax resource mobilisation in Bangladesh has been unsatisfactory and much lower than that of other countries at a similar stage of economic and social development.
With the limited sources of tax revenue (mainly value added tax or VAT domestic and income tax) and gradual reduction in import-based revenue, it has become more essential for the government to increase its tax base and areas of revenue generation.
Despite being the most dynamic and profitable sector of Bangladesh, it is a fact that the readymade garments (RMG) sector remains the most under-taxed one. The export basket of Bangladesh is dominated by RMG, accounting for almost 80 per cent of its total export earnings.
By taking advantage of an insulated external market under the provision of Multi-Fibre Agreement (MFA), complemented by the right support policies at home, it attained a high profile, in terms of foreign exchange earnings, exports, industrialisation and contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) within a short span of time.
20150516-17 * RMG export subsidy to be cut, hints Muhith:
Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Friday hinted that the export subsidy to the country’s highest export earning sector ready-made garment (RMG) will see a reduction.
“In our budget, the export subsidy is Tk 2,000 crore. The RMG sector logically gets its lion share… but the sector has already got momentum. Now time has come to get back return from the RMG industry,” he told a pre-budget discussion in the capital.
Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) arranged the discussion meeting titled ‘Budget 2015-’16: Selected Analytical Studies’ at BIDS conference room in the afternoon. BIDS Director General KAS Murshid chaired the discussion.
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20150516 * Higher source tax on RMG export proceeds likely:
Finance Minister AMA Muhith hinted at raising the existing rate of tax collected at source on export proceeds of the apparel sector as he Friday consulted the development researchers of a public sector think-tank on the upcoming budget fundamentals.
“This is high time to realise more revenues from the country’s largest export-earning sector. A large amount of revenue will come if the existing tax at source on export receipts is fixed at 0.8 per cent from the existing 0.3 per cent,” he said.
Mr Muhith was speaking as the chief guest at a budget discussion organised by the state-owned BIDS at its office in the city at the height of the pre-budget consultation process.
20150515 * Small garment factories of Syedpur demand SAFTA certificate:
More than 300 small garments factories of Syedpur are demanding SAFTA certificates to export their products to the South Asian countries of India, Nepal and Bhutan particularly to the north eastern region of India.
President of Syedpur Small Garments Owners Association Akhter Hossain Khan contacted this correspondent and expressed that according to the existing export policy EPB under Ministry of Commerce issue SAFTA certificates only to the member factories of BGMEA and BKMEA.
20150519 * Foot-dragging over tannery relocation continues:
The environmentalists’ call on the government to forcibly relocate all the tanneries on the banks of the river Buriganga at Hazaribagh to Savar quickly does not come as a surprise as several deadlines for shifting them had already been missed.
The government’s decision to extend the project for relocation of the tannery industry to Savar by more than six years is also not a bit surprising either; after all, the project had remained tangled in a row over installation of a common effluent plant since its inception.
As New Age reported on Monday, Paribash Bacaho Andolan, a group of environmentalists, revealed their findings on Thursday about the progress after paying a visit to the Tannery Estate at Savar.
20150519 * Demand for govt action against tannery owners:
Green activists in the city on Sunday demanded that the government take legal action against tannery owners if they fail to relocate their tanneries by June, reports UNB.
It will not be possible to introduce the central effluent treatment plant (CETP) of tanneries in Savar by June 2015 due to slow progress of construction wor. The tanneries cannot be relocated from Hazaribagh to Savar by this time anyway, they told a press conference.
Poribesh Bachao Andolon (POBA) organised the press conference at its office after a recent visit to Hazaribagh tannery estate.
According to a Poba report released in March this year, about 21,000 cubic metres of untreated toxic waste is released every day from the Hazaribagh tanneries into the Buriganga river.
20150519 * HRW deplores health hazards from toxic tanneries:
Child labour as well as environmental and health hazards in tanneries will be the same even if the industry is relocated from Hazaribagh unless Bangladesh strictly enforces related laws, observes Human Rights Watch.
There is a rare chance today for accountability for the massive health problems caused by Bangladesh’s toxic tanneries, the New York-based rights organisation said yesterday.
The High Court has summoned the secretary to the Ministry of Industries to explain failure to relocate around 150 leather tanneries out of Hazaribagh, a heavily populated residential neighbourhood of the capital, says in a media release issued by the HRW.
“Residents of Hazaribagh slums complain of illnesses such as fevers, skin diseases, respiratory problems, and diarrhoea caused by extreme tannery pollution in the air, water and soil,” the international rights watchdog states.
20150519 * Only tannery relocation not enough : HRW:
Human Rights Watch (HRW) said relocation of tanneries from city’s Hazaribagh to Savar is not enough for compliant production unless Bangladesh gets serious about enforcement of laws on child labour and occupational and environmental health dangers in the industry.
“Even if the government moves all the tanneries out of Hazaribagh, child labour and occupational and environmental health dangers in the industry will not go away unless Bangladesh gets serious about enforcement of laws,” the New York-based rights watchdog said in a dispatch published on Sunday ahead of a hearing by the Bangladesh’s High Court.
20150518 * Bangladesh tanneries: HRW gives bleak outlook:
On May 19 there’s a rare chance for accountability for the massive health problems caused by Bangladesh’s toxic leather tanneries, said Human Rights Watch.
The country’s High Court has summoned the secretary of the Ministry of Industry to explain that ministry’s failure to relocate 150 or so leather tanneries out of Hazaribagh, a heavily populated, and heavily polluted, residential neighborhood of the capital city, Dhaka, said in a media release issued by the HRW today.
‘Residents of Hazaribagh slums complain of illnesses such as fevers, skin diseases, respiratory problems, and diarrhea, caused by the extreme tannery pollution of air, water, and soil,’’ the international rights watchdog stated.
The High Court is entirely justified in demanding the government explain why the relocation process has dragged on for so long.
Fourteen years after the court ruled that the government had to ensure the tanneries installed adequate means to treat their waste, the ministry has only delivered a string of broken promises: the Dhaka Tannery Estate, a relocation site 20 km west of Dhaka, was initially supposed to be ready in December 2005, then December 2006, then June 2010, then June 2012, then December 2013.
The ministry will almost certainly miss its current deadline of June 2015, the release read.
read more. & read more. & read more.
* THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE:
20150521 * ACC sues Sohel Rana:
The Anti Corruption Commission on Wednesday registered a case against Sohel Rana, the owner of collapsed Rana Plaza in Savar, for allegedly accumulating wealth illegally.
ACC deputy director Mahbubur Rahman filed the case with Ramna Police Station in the capital, ACC public relations officer Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya said. On April 2, 2015, the commission sent a notice to a senior jail superintendent of Kashimpur Jail in Gazipur where Rana remained detained to convey the message to him (Rana) that the ACC asked him to submit his wealth statement to it within
Although Rana is in prison now, his wife submitted an application to the ACC seeking time extension to submit the wealth report, but the commission rejected the plea and it gave approval on May 18 for lodging a non-submission case against Rana.
20150521 * Rana Plaza owner sued for ill-gotten wealth:
* Owns 5-storied residential building * Built 2 commercial buildings
The Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) Wednesday filed a case against owner of Rana Plaza for allegedly amassing wealth in illicit way.
ACC deputy director Mahbubur Rahman filed the case with Ramna Police Station in the city, the commission’s spokesperson Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya told the FE.
Rana hogged spotlight after the deadly factory building collapse on April 24, 2013 that killed 1,129 people and leaving around 2,515 injured. The complex housed a number of garment units.
The commission sent a notice to a senior jail superintendent of Kashimpur Jail in Gazipur on April 2, 2015, to convey the message to Sohel Rana that the ACC asked him to submit his wealth statement to it within ACC-stipulated time.
Although Rana is in prison now, his wife submitted an application to the ACC seeking time extension to submit the wealth report, but the commission rejected the plea and gave approval on May 18 for registering a non-submission case against Rana.
20150520 * ACC sues Rana Plaza owner on charge of accumulating illegal wealth:
The Anti Corruption Commission on Wednesday registered a case against Sohel Rana, the owner of Rana Plaza, for allegedly accumulating wealth illegally.
ACC deputy director Mahbubur Rahman filed the case with Ramna Police Station in the capital, ACC public relations officer Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya said, reports United News of Bangladesh.
On April 2, 2015, the Commission sent a notice to a senior jail superintendent of Kashimpur Jail in Gazipur where Rana remained detained to convey the message to him (Rana) that the ACC asked him to
submit his wealth statement to it within ACC-stipulated time.
Although Rana is in prison now, his wife submitted an application to the ACC seeking time extension to submit the wealth report, but the Commission rejected the plea and it gave approval on May 18 for lodging a non-submission case against Rana.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
& read more. & read more.
20150520 * Rana sued for not reporting wealth:
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) today sued Sohel Rana, owner of the collapsed Rana Plaza, for his failure to submit wealth statement within the stipulated time.
“The case was field with Ramna Police Station following commission’s approval as he did not submit accounts of his movable and immovable property,” said ACC Deputy Director Mahbubul Alam, who filed the case.
The graft watchdog sent a notice to Rana through Kashimpur jail authorities asking him to submit his wealth report but he did not respond, the ACC official added
“Rana could seek seven days more but he neither submitted the report nor sought time,” the deputy director said.
According to law, the respondents have to submit account of their all movable and immovable property within seven days after receiving a notice.
Earlier on May 15, 2013, the ACC’s probe body investigating how Sohel Rana amassed his wealth submitted its report recommending the commission asks for Rana’s and his father’s wealth statements.
16:32:54 local time INDIA
20150521 * Govt seeks help from textile industry to curb child labour:
Surat’s textile industry may be contributing over 40 per cent of the man-made fabric demand in the country, but what is lesser known is the unfortunate reality of the rampant child labourers working in weaving, embroidery, zardoji units and even in the textile markets.
To curb this evil practice of child labour, the labour department has sought help from the textile industry.
The civil society organization working in the sector estimate that number of child labourers engaged in city’s textile industry was over 50,000. Despite of frequent raids in the textile market and the textile units the menace is far from over.
A meeting of labour department officials and textile industry stakeholders was held at the New Textile Market (NTM) on Tuesday to coin out ways and means to eliminate child labour from the industry.
20150521 * Women to be allowed in factory night shifts in Maharashtra:
The management of the units would have to ensure the security of women in the night shift
The Maharashtra government on Wednesday set the ball rolling on labour reforms.
It decided to amend the Factories Act, 1948, to encourage growth of small-scale industries (SSI). Women employees in these industrial units would be allowed to work between 7 pm and 6 am.
The management of the units would have to ensure the security of women in the night shift.
Nearly 14,300 SSI units would be freed from inspector raj and about 190,000 new jobs are expected to be created in the state, with this move.
20150521 * Exclusive transportation:
Labour Commissioner D.S. Vishwanath said the department will soon launch an exclusive transportation service for women workers in the unorganised sector, especially garment workers.
He said it will likely take off in 2 weeks.
20150519 * Govt.’s recent concern for women working in garment factories:
Labour Dept. has started distributing iron supplements to them
Of late, the government has been more concerned about the issues of women working in various garment factories in and around Bengaluru.
The Department of Labour has started distributing iron and folic acid supplements to 3.5 lakh women workers to tackle anaemia.
According to a recent survey, an approximate 65 per cent of the women in garment sector suffer from anaemia. Over 11 lakh supplements had been distributed among them so far, Minister of State for Labour P.T. Parameshwara Naik said.
Similarly, they will get free transport facility shortly. This scheme was envisaged to address the alleged ‘sexual harassment’ faced by women workers in the hands of private transport operators.
“The scheme will be launched immediately after gram panchayat elections, probably in the first week of June,” Mr. Naik told media persons here on Monday. The scheme will be extended to Mysuru division in the second phase. It has been decided to extend the facility to all women working in garment sector across the State in the third phase.
Managements have agreed to bear the approximate transportation cost of Rs. 1,050 per employee. Labour Department and Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation have identified routes for plying buses regularly.
20150516 * 51 rescued kids brought to Patna:
Fiftyone Bihari child labourers rescued in Jaipur by a voluntary organization, Asangatith Kshetra Kamgar Sangathan, were brought here on Saturday morning by the state labour resources department with the help of the voluntary body.
An official said the department would ensure rehabilitation of all the 51 children and ensure inclusion of their names in the list of beneficiaries of Indira Awas Yojana.
The rescued children used to work in various bangles and garment factories in Jaipur.
They had long working hours, stretching up to 12 hours, and were poorly paid.
They used to get food three times and most of them slept at their workplaces.
20150521 * Campaign launched for education of girls:
Under the auspices of the Tirupur Peoples Forum, a sensitization campaign on “safe employment and promotion of girl children’s education” was organised at Manapparai near here on Wednesday.
The campaign aims at improving the plight of girls and women workers attached to the textile and garment industries and for enhancing their socio-economic condition.
20150519 * Nearly 100 activists slam move to legalize child labour in family firms, call it ‘retrogressive’:
Nearly 100 child rights activists have protested against the Centre’s move to allow children under 14 years to work in family enterprises terming the move as “retrogressive.” In a letter to PM Narendra Modi activists have described the amendments to the child labour law as “double-speak.”
“This is an astonishingly retrogressive amendment to Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act 1986 (CLPRA), reversing several decades of efforts by child rights activists, by legalizing exploitation of children through work, and invisibilizing child labour.
It contravenes the equitable right of all children to childhood and their entitlements to live a life with dignity as guaranteed by the Constitution of India, several legislations and the UNCRC to which India is a signatory,” the letter said.
20150520 * Power loom workers begin indefinite strike:
Power loom workers began their indefinite strike in Pallipalayam after the promised wage as per the new pact was not paid to them.
Power loom owners and workers were demanding increase in wages for many months now and were on indefinite strike since April.
The district administration conducted tripartite meeting with textile manufactures, power loom owners and workers and a new wage pact came into force from April 25, 2015.
Accordingly, manufacturers of lungis should provide an additional charge of 20 per cent to the owners who would in turn pay it to workers.
Also, manufacturers of RG varieties should provide an additional charge of 24 per cent to the owners, who would pay additional 20 per cent to workers. Hence, the strike was withdrawn and workers were back to work.
However, it is said that workers were not paid the additional 20 per cent wages. The workers have decided to meet the Collector.
20150521 * Firms with 10 workers might have to pay provident fund:
Govt will have the power to reduce contribution of employers in factories with 10-20 workers from 12% to 9% towards EPFO
The labour ministry has proposed easier provident fund rules for small establishments.
Establishments with at least 10 workers might have to pay provident fund, with the employer contributing nine per cent of a worker’s salary.
At present, provident fund is mandatory in establishments hiring 20 people or more, and employees and employers contribute 12 per cent each of a worker’s salary.
20150518 * Legislating social change:
Making child labour illegal without addressing root causes will drive it underground
The Centre’s move to amend the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2012, which makes it illegal to employ children under the age of 14 in any kind of labour, commercial work or paid employment, but allows children to be employed in family business, hereditary occupations or family farms, entertainment and sports — with the proviso that this can happen only outside of school hours — is a good example of the morass that policymaking can get into when one attempts to legislate social change without addressing the underlying issues.
In the first place, the amendments became necessary so that the existing child labour law did not come in conflict with the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, that had made education a fundamental right for all children in the age group of 6-14 years.
Activists have been quick to lambast the move, claiming that by exempting certain types of work, the Act will give legal sanctity to the use of child labour. They point out that a bulk of child labour is in any case employed in ‘home’ businesses, ranging from farming to traditional handicrafts, beedi rolling, gem cutting and polishing, jewellery making, or petty shops and eateries.
They also argue that the law will further weaken education for girls.
Poverty is the principal driver of child labour around the world and any meaningful attempt at reducing this must necessarily focus on addressing subsistence constraints first.
A balanced approach, which ensures at least minimum social security to poor families, while ensuring that education becomes a realisable right by creating adequate infrastructure, will achieve the objective without criminalising parents compelled by poverty to put their children to work.
20150518 * Gujarat’s approach to labour law reforms different from Centre’s:
State hasn’t proposed easing of rules for retrenchment without permission
The Narendra Modi-led central government’s take on labour law reforms and the stance of the prime minister’s home state of Gujarat on the issue seem to be at variance with each other.
The state government has proposed a slew of measures but doesn’t want to increase the limit for the number of workers an industry must have to be able to retrench without prior official permission (under the Industrial Disputes Act). Gujarat’s proposals also differ from those of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, both ruled by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Gujarat, though, has eased “hire and fire” provisions in special investment regions like the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), National Investment and Manufacturing Zone (NIMZ), export-oriented industrial establishments and some other economic zones.
“The relations between industry and workers have been cordial. There have hardly been instances of strikes or lockouts,” reads the statement of objects and reasons of the labour laws (Gujarat Amendment) Bill, 2015, which the state has sent for the Centre’s approval.
20150517 * Trade unions prepare to confront govt. on reforms:
BMS joins other unions; talkswith Ministers fail
A more capital-friendly set of labour laws is deemed necessary by the Centre for an upswing in the manufacturing sector but its political cost may add to the woes of the Narendra Modi government during its first anniversary celebrations.
A meeting on Friday night between 11 central trade unions and three Union Ministers, failed to reach an agreement over a charter of demands that predates the Modi government.
The discussions have been complicated by the Centre’s move to restrict trade unionism, lower wage standards and make it easier for companies to lay off workers.
20150516 * 11 trade unions plan strike on 26 May:
20150515 * 3 ministers hold talks with central unions on labour reforms:
The government has fielded three union ministers—Bandaru Dattatreya, Piyush Goyal and Dharmendra Pradhan –to pacify central trade unions which are up in the arm against the proposed changes in labour laws and pushing for their 10-point agenda.
The Centre convened a meeting of representatives of 12 trade unions after they called a national convention for direct action, including a strike on May 26, coinciding with the first anniversary of the Narendra Modi government.
At the meet, trade unions lodged a strong protest against some of the proposed amendments to labour laws saying these “unilateral” reforms by the government are ‘anti-worker’.
The union leaders said it is quite possible that all central trade unions may decide to go on strike at the national convention.
“This government is not giving any heed to labour issues. Two of the ministers came late. They are not dealing with labour issues,” said Centre of Indian Trade Union (CITU) President A K Padmanabhan.
20150520 * No court relief for Sanganeer textile units:
The Rajasthan High Court on Tuesday stuck to its earlier order directing the Pollution Control Board to close down all polluting textile units working without a no-objection certificate (NOC) in the Sanganeer block.
Effluents from these units have been polluting the Draviyawati river (Amanisha Nulla) and ground water in the area. The earlier order of the court was given on March 26 in which it had ordered all polluting textile units to close down with immediate effect.
The court of chief justice Sunil Ambwani and V S Siradhana while hearing a PIL by P N Mandola on the encroachment and pollution of the Draviyawati river on Tuesday said the issue of setting up of a common effluent treatment plant (CETP) was pending for the past 12 years after the high court had given direction in this regard on March 2003 but no effort was made to comply with the order.
The court said it cannot not give more time and the polluting industrial units have to be shut down immediately.
20150520 * Hub of textile industries in the making:
Krishna district is emerging as a hub for textile industries with a total of investment of nearly Rs. 415 crore already made by 12 enterprises in the last few years and more projects are in the offing, going by the number of inquiries being made with the District Industries Centre (DIC).
The DIC attribute the trend to the proximity of the district with Guntur which is a major source of raw material.
The upland areas of Krishna district have so far been the favourite of the textile companies, which cannot afford to set up their units in the deltas areas due to their exorbitant costs.
20150519 * Textile reinforced concrete gets industry boost:
Five months after Ahmedabad Textile Industry’s Research Association (Atira), along with Instut fur Textiltechnik-RWTH Aachen (ITA), Germany set up Innovative and Green Building laboratory – IGB lab for testing and display of Textile Reinforced Concrete (TRC), top companies like L&T and Godrej have approached Atira for collaborations for their upcoming projects.
While L&T wants to build jaali structures and houses for its officials using TRC, Godrej Group is in talks for various projects.
Textile reinforced concrete is a type of reinforced concrete in which the usual steel reinforcing bars are replaced by textile materials. Instead of using a metal cage inside the concrete, this technique uses a fabric cage inside the same.
Atira is also going to order Rs 3.5 crore bi-axially warp knitting machine from Germany to enhance the capability of IGB lab.
Also the Union ministry of textiles has sanctioned Rs 3.9 crore for TRC testing and awareness. Initially, Atira had also worked with Ultratech Cement for the testing of TRC made products in Indian conditions.
20150520 * Apparel and Garment Making Centre to come up in Tripura:
An Apparel and Garment Making Centre is all set to come up at Agartala; the foundation stone for the same was laid by Shri Santosh Kumar Gangwar, Hon’ble Minister of State for Textiles (I/C), Government of India and the Chief Minister of Tripura, Shri Manik Sarkar, on 20th May, 2015.
A Silk Processing and Printing Unit was also inaugurated on the occasion, by the Union Textiles Minister and the Tripura CM. The project cost is Rs. 3.41 crore.
20150519 * Foundation stone laid for Apparel & Garment Making Centre in Assam:
The foundation stone for an Apparel and Garment Making Centre at Paschim Borgaon, Guwahati was laid by Shri Tarun Gogoi, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Assam and Shri Santosh Kumar Gangwar, Hon’ble Minister of State for Textiles (I/C), Government of India on 19th May, 2015.
Addressing the gathering, the Union Textiles Minister said that Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given special attention to the Ministry of Textiles, with special focus on states in the North Eastern Region.
The Apparel and Garment Making Centres are being opened in every state in the region, as part of the landmark initiative announced by the PM in Nagaland, on 1st December, 2014.
20150519 * Interest subvention for spinning industry, needed: Study:
While it is generally believed that the textile spinning sector is more organised and does not need much support, the highlights of a study by CRISIL (Credit Rating Information Services of India Limited) notes that “without interest subvention, the financial stress on spinning mills would continue and intensify in the case of small and medium sized units that account for a major share of the installed capacity.
This in turn would have a deleterious effect on cotton offtake from ginners and end up hurting India’s cotton farmers.”
Texpreneurs Forum, which had engaged Crisil to conduct the study, submitted this interim report to the powers-that-be at the Centre last week.
Returning to his hometown and sharing the study with Business Line, Prabhu Damodaran, Secretary Texpreneurs Forum, said “this is only an interim report.
The Government is keen to understand how the industry can become sustainable in the long run without such intervention.
The task has been assigned to CRISIL. A holistic report would be prepared and submitted to the Government within the next 6 to 8 weeks.”
20150518 * ‘Spinning sector needs export interest subvention’:
Credit rating agency Crisil has suggested the need for export interest subvention for spinning textile sector, according to media reports.
As per the interim report, prepared based on the request of Texpreneurs Forum, a copy of which was presented to the Commerce Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman last week, rising NPA levels in textile, falling EBITDA and net margin (majority of the mills in net loss) and fall in credit rating showed the reality.
20150517 * Financial health of spinning mills on the downside: CRISIL:
Report submitted to Commerce Ministry by the Texpreneurs Forum
An interim study report on the ailments that bother the textile sector, prepared by Credit Rating Information Services of India Limited (CRISIL), has highlighted the need for immediate extension of interest subvention to spinning mills in the wake of weakening financial position and reduced cash flows.
The said report was submitted to Commerce Ministry this week by the Texpreneurs Forum, formed of different stakeholders in textile industry here, which engaged CRISIL for the study.
“CRISIL study took stock of the conditions of the spinning sector across the country so as to make the report comprehensive,” Prabhu Damodaran, secretary of Texpreneurs Forum, told The Hindu .
One of the major findings is that nearly 80 per cent of the 750 surveyed spinning mills in the country for the study have a low non-investment grade rating that could deny them any scope of further borrowings from banks.
“It means that the financial health of mills have been deteriorating and non-performing assets (NPA) rising,” Mr. Prabhu Damodaran pointed out.
20150516 * Now, textile trucks to Maharashtra will have armed guards:
Now, the trucks carrying textile goods from Surat to Maharashtra will have armed security guards onboard. This decision by transporters follows spurt in thefts on stretch between Bardoli and Vyara on the national highway (NH) 6.
As per an estimate, over 200 transport trucks have been looted with goods valued at over Rs 80 lakh in the past two months. Every night around two to three trucks are targeted by thieves on the Bardoli-Vyara highway.
20150519 * Apparel exporters’ body AEPC demand interest subsidy:
Apparel exporters’ body AEPC today demanded interest subsidy scheme among other things to boost exports.
Apparel Export Promotion Council of India (AEPC) Chairman Virender Uppal said exports grew by 9.24 per cent in April this year but it was 13.4 per cent in April 2014.
He said free trade agreement with European Union and Canada would help in mitigating “the duty disadvantage suffered by India vis-a-vis our competitors like Bangladesh, Cambodia, Vietnam, Pakistan etc. in the major markets“.
20150518 * India, China agree to exploit complementarities in textile:
20150520 * Pollution board proposes closure of textile park:
The Kolhapur office of the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has proposed closure directives against the Metro Hi-tech Cooperative Textile Park at Kagal Hatkanangale Five Star MIDC, after it found gross irregularities in the way the firm treats effluents.
MIDC is one of the newest industrial parks in the district, set up for attracting more business activities.
MPCB had received a complaint a week ago from a local village, Kasaba Sangav, near the park alleging that the industry was releasing untreated effluents into canals connecting the Doodhganga river. The river is a tributary of the Krishna river, which enters Karnataka.
20150520 * Burning of industrial waste in open on the rise in city:
It seems the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) and Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) have been turning a blind eye to the industrial units including powerlooms and dyeing mills located in Pandesara GIDC and other industrial areas that violate pollution norms by burning the industrial waste in the open ground.
The incidents of burning of the industrial waste including plastic has become a common phenomenon in and around the industrial estate located at Pandesara, Udhna, Sachin, Limbayat, Udhna-Magdalla and Katargam.
Huge quantity of industrial waste including waste polyester fabrics, plastic drums, plastic bobbins, polythene bags, chemical drums, wastage dyes and chemicals and yarn are dumped in the open ground and burnt.
20150519 * Discussion on Revival of Handloom and Increasing Earning of Handloom Weavers:
A discussion on revival of handloom, with particular focus on increasing earning of handloom weavers, was held at 6 PM on 17th May, 2015; all main stakeholders from Government, industry and civil society participated.
The meeting was organized by the Office of Development Commissioner (Handlooms), Ministry of Textiles, at India International Centre, New Delhi.
Shri Alok Kumar, Development Commissioner (Handlooms) initiated the discussion by apprising the gathering of the challenges faced by handloom weavers; however, he expressed optimism regarding the future of the sector. Dr. S.K. Panda, Secretary (Textiles), Government of India, made a detailed presentation on the subject; he asserted that concern for the handloom weavers should guide all interventions of state and non-state actors.
He outlined the context in which the handloom weavers operate, and the various policy interventions that Government of India has been making in order to improve the earning of handloom weavers.
20150518 * Shining naturally: Atira’s solar loom to spin khadi:
Soon your khadi kurta will be solar-powered.
The traditional handloom technique is set for major makeover, with the Ahmedabad Textile Industry’s Research Association (Atira) developing solarpowered handloom which will not only put less strain on weavers but will also help in increasing the production manifold.
The association is also developing solar electric power-operated Ambar Charkha for khadi sector.
Atira has developed light weight composites-based handloom with solar power-operated Microcontroller-based Dobby selection system for khadi sector.
“The light weight and eco-friendly looms will be made by replacing woodmetal parts by composite materials thus reducing the weight by almost 50%.
A solar power-operated micro-controller based dobby selection system will be attached to the handloom so that productivity of weaving fine fabric could be improved,” said R M Sankar, principal scientific officer, Atira.
There are around 30 lakh handlooms in India which produce around 20,000 varieties of products.
The solar-powered lightweight handloom aims to increase the productivity from 5-6 metres per day per handloom to 9-10 metres per day per handloom.
“Since the new handloom will help in producing fine fabric, the weavers van get at least 3-4 times the price per meter of fabric,” added Sankar.
16:32:54 local time SRI LANKA
20150520 * Free Trade Agreement: Pakistan, Sri Lanka could enhance trade to $2.7b:
Pakistan and Sri Lanka have the potential to increase bilateral trade over six times from the current $380 million to $2.7 billion by just effectively utilising their Free Trade Agreement (FTA), a study has revealed.
The Pakistan Business Council (PBC), a not-for-profit research-based business advocacy forum that represents Pakistan’s 47 largest businesses, conducted the study titled “An assessment of the Pakistan-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement”.
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16:02:54 local time PAKISTAN
20150520 * Call to end workers’ exploitation:
There is a dire need for creation of job opportunities for Home Based Workers (HBWs) and other women in informal sector, introduction of liveable wages for them, policies that support the informal sector and skills training for women worker so that they can find better employment.
Besides, women workers should also have access to public transport and direct access to market so that they can get good price for their products.
The role of middleman shall also be redefined and the system of contracts be introduced to end exploitation of workers in informal sector.
According to a press release issued here Tuesday, these recommendations were made at the “Dialogue on Informal Economy: Its existence and evidence based issues” organised by an NGO on Tuesday.
The dialogue managed with the support of UN Women brought stakeholders together so that they could discuss the trends in the job market, especially women, and find out reasons why most of the jobs had shifted to the informal job market.
At the event, the NGO shared the findings of researches conducted by academia and itself on issues of informal economy and HBWs.
The participants said they were there to find possible ways of intervening with the Punjab government on these issues.
Besides, they said, they would have to identify means for protecting women in the informal economy and to find possible ways to combat the challenges they faced.
20150517 * Helpless, hapless home-based workers:
Numerous consultations and seminars by different stakeholders for over a decade has yet to yield positive outcomes. Even a policy for home based workers at the national and the provincial level has not been adopted by the government(s).
Although, policies have been prepared but their approval is long awaited.
The helpless home-based workers who had been hoping for uplift in their working conditions are watching the whole exercise in futility.
Home based workers comprises 71.4 percent females and 29.6 percent males who are deprived of minimum wage of Rs12,000 as prescribed by the government of Pakistan.
It has been estimated in a study that the earnings of female and male workers respectively are Rs 2,116 and Rs 5,550 monthly.
According to the survey carried out by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the homes based workers in rural areas account for 67.2 percent and rest are from the urban areas. As per the labour laws they are not able to have the right to organise and bargain collectively, have equality in treatment as well as access to social security, old age benefits and other workers welfare programmes.
20150518-19 * Two workers killed, one injured as factory elevator breaks down in Karachi:
At least two workers were killed and one injured on Monday when an elevator broke down in a garment factory located in SITE area of Karachi, Express News reported.
The deceased succumbed to their injuries on their way to the nearby hospital.
Sources from the Chippa Welfare sources told that the dead were identified as Rashid and Asghar, while the injured – who is in critical condition – is named as Adnan.
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20150517 * Education vouchers: Rs500m to educate children of widows, labourers:
The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government, under the Education Voucher Scheme, has allocated a fund of Rs500 million to provide educational opportunities for the children of labourers and widows.
This was shared by Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, according to a handout issued on Sunday. Under the scheme, the provincial government would provide a voucher to parents which would enable the schools they enroll their children in to receive a fixed amount to cover tuition fee.
The initiative will benefit 35,000 children: 20,000 primary, 10,000 middle and 5,000 high school students.
20150518 * Crisis deepens in the textile sector:
Is Pakistan’s textile and clothing industry headed for a perfect storm? Factory owners across the textile supply chain say it has already hit one.
The high cost of doing business, energy shortages, aging machines, myriad of taxes on exports, influx of smuggled and imported textiles and clothing in the domestic market, absence of institutional support, rising exchange rate, raw material shortages, and the divide between policy and its implementation have eroded the economic viability of their business both at home and abroad.
“Pakistan is no longer in the race for a bigger share in the global textile business. Even our domestic market has been stolen from us by China and India. We’re just struggling to survive and save our jobs,” muses Gohar Ejaz, a textile business leader.
“It is painful to see factories built by three generations facing an imminent threat of extinction on a very large scale because of the government’s policies.”
Around one quarter of the total installed capacity across the textile chain has already shut down, mainly because of the energy crunch and rising costs.
The production capacity impairment in the spinning sector — at 30pc — is estimated to be higher than the industry’s average.
20150517 * Pak plans anti-dumping duty on B’desh textile chemical:
National Tariff Commission of Pakistan has initiated proceedings to impose anti-dumping duty on import of hydrogen peroxide from Bangladesh, commerce ministry officials said.
They said that the NTC had already issued a notice of initiation on April 28 and invited the interested parties to attend hearing on the issue.
‘Bangladesh Tariff Commission on behalf of the government and exporters will become parties in the hearing and fight against the allegation of dumping the product as the allegation is not true,’ a senior official of the commerce ministry told New Age on Monday.
20150515 * No respite from exploitation of social protection institutions:
Institutions of social and labour protection have been neglected by the incumbent government as well as its predecessors.
Whereas, the labour market regulation raises concern relating to its scope, coverage, implementation and enforcement that lacks conformity with international labour standards ratified by the Government of Pakistan.
A Supreme Court (SC) bench headed by Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali and comprising Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa and Justice Mushir Alam passed a judgment on March 17, 2014 declaring the 238 appointments made by the past regime in the Employees Old Age Benefit Institution (EOBI) as void.
According to reports, EOBI is plagued with mismanagement, corruption while being a haven for politically influenced employment despite the fact that an ex-chairman has been sent to jail for his involvement in activities contravening the EOBI laws.
20150520 * Policy dialogue: ‘IMF should consider labour market in its advice’:
When advising the federal government on fiscal and monetary policies, international financial institutions should factor in the impact of their recommendations on domestic labour market, public policy expert Raheemul Haq said on Tuesday.
He was speaking at a discussion titled Dialogue on Informal Economy: Existence and Evidence-based Issues.
Haq, who is affiliated with the Centre of Public Policy Studies at Forman Christian College, said policies on international trade, money supply and demand, and taxation were formed in the country in consultation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other international bodies.
He said when implemented in the country these policies impacted the domestic labour market as well. However, he said, their impact on labour market was not taken into consideration by the IMF or the government.
She said her research showed that women who earned a living and contributed to the household finances were better placed compared to others to influence domestic decisions.
She presented the findings of her research on HBWs in the footwear industry. She said most of the women were unaware of the government-run technical education and vocational training centres. “Only one of my 200 respondents had received training from a government facility,” she said.
She said most of the HBWs worked over 14 hours a day and earned between Rs1,500 and Rs9,400 a month. She said three per cent of her respondents had studied up to the high school level.
She added that more than half were illiterate.
20150520 * Women’s role in institutions made compulsory: minister:
Provincial Minister for Excise & Taxation, Law and Finance, Mujtaba Shuja-ur-Rehman has said that women representation has been made compulsory in all government institutions, autonomous boards, development and research centres and 25,000 women have got right of representation under the law.
He said the government was extending the all-out effort to provide purposeful and professional modern education to students to make them useful citizens.
He said the Punjab government was making efforts to improve governance, establish the rule of law, ensure merit based and transparent recruitment, creation of one million jobs per year and ensure transparent and accountable governance.
20150519 * Protection of women at workplaces stressed:
Provincial ombudsman’s office Director General Syed Abdullah Shah said on Monday that Sindh had taken the lead by establishing the office of ombudsman for protection against harassment to women at workplaces.
Addressing a seminar at Sindh University held as part of an awareness campaign organised by the provincial ombudsman’s office and later speaking to reporters on Monday, the DG said the administration of this office was working independently and impartially to ensure protection to women at their workplaces.
20150519 * Call to change mindset for women empowerment:
Women constitute approximately 50 percent of our population still they are least in the public sphere, particularly the young women because the male-dominated society is biased towards women.
A truly empowered woman can make wonders. She is more dedicated, harder working, more creative and more devoted to the cause.
What really required is a fundamental change in our social attitudes towards women.
A massive effort is required to make both men and women aware of the need and the benefits of women’s empowerment for a better future of Pakistan.
20150515 * Network of woman workers launched:
The district-level network of woman workers was launched in the provincial metropolis on Thursday to protect their legal rights and improve working condition for them.
A non-governmental organisation, Aware Girls, launched the Working Women Network. It would be expanded to provincial and national level.
The vice-president of Women Chamber of Commerce, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Iqbal Banu, Deputy Director of Labour Department, Hidayatullah, representatives of NGOs, domestic, home-based and factory workers attended the launching ceremony of the network at the Archives Hall.
20150521 * Textile, clothing exports fall 1.21%:
Pakistan’s exports of textile and clothing fell by 1.21 per cent in 10 months of the current fiscal year from a year ago.
Export proceeds of textile and clothing fell to $11.281 billion in July-April 2015 from $11.420bn over the corresponding period of last year, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics data showed.
On a monthly basis, nominal growth of 2.94pc was witnessed in April 2015. In the last couple of months, exports of textile and clothing witnessed a negative growth.
Export of low value-added products dipped by 7.50pc; cotton cloth 10.98pc; art, silk dropped by 12.02pc and other textile material 0.11pc. Raw cotton export witnessed a steep decline of 26.22pc during the months from a year ago.
20150520 * Budget proposals: APBF asks govt to invest in energy, law and order:
Stress on investment in energy solutions and enforcement of law and order topped the proposals presented by the All Pakistan Business Forum for the federal budget 2015-16 to the Finance Ministry and Federal Board of Revenue.
Promoting foreign direct investment (FDI), increasing the share of direct taxes in revenue and lowering the slab of indirect taxes would help achieve key economic targets set for the next fiscal year, said APBF President Ibrahim Qureshi.
The APBF budget proposals cover recommendations, including proposals to motivate investors, broaden tax net through documentation of economy, simplify tax system and reorganise the FBR and many industry specific proposals.
20150516 * Textile ministry to launch new vocational training programme soon:
Ministry of Textile Industry will launch a new vocational training programme to train 120,000 men and women over five years to boost manufacturing sector in the country.
The training would ensure the skills required in value added sector such as garment and made ups etc.
Sources in the Ministry on Friday said to facilitate textile sector, the government has already approved Textiles Package and important initiatives included introduction of an expeditious refund system and a fast track channel for manufacturers-cum-exporters, whereby Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) would dispose of all their pending sales tax refund claims within three months, if not earlier.
20150516 * High cost of business :‘Textile industry unable to compete in international market’:
APTMA chairman says textile exports are likely to take nosedive if govt does not resolve adverse situation
All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Chairman SM Tanveer has said that alarming fall in the exports of textile products is a proof of the fact that high cost associated with doing business has made the industry unable to compete in the international market place.
Among the major factors, he said, are serious liquidity crunch due to pending refunds, unprecedented burden in shape of electricity tariff, innovative taxes and levies, duties, surcharges and system inefficiencies on industry, besides the over-valued exchange rate of rupee.
He said the textile industry refunds under the heading of sales tax, income tax and DLTL (drawback of local taxes and levies) worth Rs 160 billion are lying pending with the government. Thus industry funds are being held in-ordinarily leading to serious liquidity crunch for the industry, he added.
20150515 * Social, economic survey: UN report praises govt for economic upturn:
Economic growth of Pakistan is expected to improve in the coming years, partly due to government’s major efforts to address electricity shortages and other infrastructural bottlenecks, says UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) 2015 survey.
“There is an urgent need to make this growth more inclusive and broad-based by spreading its benefits to all parts of the country and segments of society,” said former chief of ESCAP Macroeconomic, Policy and Analysis Section Dr Hussain Malik while addressing the launch of the ESCAP Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2015 on Thursday.
20150521 * APTMA, APCNGA protest levy of GIDC:
All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and All Pakistan CNG Association KP Wednesday protested the imposition of Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) on natural gas and demanded immediate review of the legislation in this regard.
To protest the imposition of GIDC and passage of the GIDC Imposition Bill, the owners of the textile mills association along with the labourers of the units staged demo on Sher Shah Soori Road near Peshawar Press Club (PPC).
The protesters led by central vice chairman, Sikandar Kuli Khan and provincial vice chairman, Taimoor Shah were chanting slogans against the imposition. Addressing the protesting labourers, vice chairman APTMA, KP chapter said that the levy of GIDC will increase the cost of production of textile sector leaving the units will no option other than closure and rendering thousands of workers unemployed.
20150520-21 * Supreme Court verdict on GIDC hits textile industry: APTMA:
All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) South Punjab Chapter Muhammad Anees Khawaja said on Tuesday that the situation arising out of the Supreme Court verdict on Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) has panicked the textile industry across the value chain.
Talking to media men here in the light of the statement of APTMA made in an emergent meeting to discuss implications of GIDC on the industry.
Anees Khawaja said the textile industry is already facing a crisis-like situation because of the high cost of liquidity constraints.
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20150518 * Textile industry should not be burdened with GIDC: APTMA:
Chairman All Pakistan Textile Mills Association, S M Tanveer has said that the situation arising out of the Supreme Court verdict on Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) has panicked the textile industry across the value chain.
The statement was made in an emergent meeting held at APTMA Office Karachi to discuss implications of GIDC on the industry, which was also attended by Amanullah Kassim Sr. Vice Chairman APTMA, Nadeem Maqbool, Asif Inam, Imran Maqbool, Jamil Qasim, Saleem Shakoor, Naveed Ahmed, Khurram Inam and others.
20150517 * APTMA panicks over SC verdict on GIDC:
All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Chairman SM Tanveer said on Saturday that the situation arising out of the Supreme Court verdict on Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) has panicked the textile industry across the value chain.
The statement was made in an emergent meeting at APTMA Office to discuss implications of GIDC on the industry. APTMA Senior Vice Chairman Amanullah Kassim also attended the meeting.
The chairman said the textile industry is already facing a crisis-like situation because of the high cost of liquidity constraints.
“The emerging situation on GIDC and its implications would add salt to the wound and the industry would be burdened further in the absence of liquidity flow,” he added. The chaiman briefed the meeting that the textile industry refunds, worth Rs 160 billion, are already lying pending with the government.
20150516 * High cost of doing business hitting textile exports hard: APTMA chief:
All Pakistan Textile Mills Association Chairman SM Tanveer has warned that an alarming fall in textile products’ exports was a proof of the fact that the high cost of business had made the industry unable to compete in international market.
He said, “Among the major factors are serious liquidity crunch due to pending refunds, unprecedented burden in shape of electricity tariff, innovative taxes and levies, duties, surcharges and system inefficiencies on industry, besides the over-valued exchange rate of the Pakistan rupee.
The textile industry refunds under the heading of sales tax, income tax and DLTL worth Rs 160 billion are lying pending with the government.
20150515 * US company keen to set up 6,000MW plant:
A high-level business delegation representing M/s American Ethane Company and General Electric Pakistan visited Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry led by Ambassador Javed Malik, special envoy to prime minister of Pakistan and showed interest to set up 6000MW gas-powered plant in Pakistan to help it in overcoming the energy crisis.
Speaking at the occasion, Ambassador Javed Malik said the government is giving high priority to enhancing power production by exploiting all available options and the prime minister of Pakistan was personally monitoring all such activities.
He said good policies of the present government were yielding good results as many international investors were visiting Pakistan to explore investment opportunities.
He said the purpose of bringing US business delegation to ICCI was to provide them an opportunity of direct interaction with Pakistani counterparts and explore possibilities of business matchmakings.
20150515 * Govt urged to consult unions on privatisation:
LESCO workers ended their protest against privatisation on Thursday.
According to a statement issued by the All Pakistan WAPDA Hydro Electric Workers Union (CBA), a demonstration was held in front of the LESCO headquarters.
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan secretary general IA Rehman and Awami Workers’ Party chairman Abid Hassan Minto addressed the protesters.
“It is a constitutional obligation of the state to ensure provision of basic needs including electricity, transport, education, health and employment.
The workers are essential stake holders in public utilities.
The government has a duty to consult representative trade union instead of taking unilateral decisions on privatisation of electricity companies,” they said.
20150517 * Avoiding complex procedures: Pakistan at forefront of WTO agreement:
During the ninth World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference held in Bali in 2013, WTO members including Pakistan concluded the Trade Facilitation Agreement which was part of the WTO’s Doha Development Agenda in 2001. It took 14 years for WTO members to reach a consensus, which, according to trade professionals, is a landmark achievement.
Why did the international community think it important to conclude a multi-lateral agreement to facilitate trade when customs tariffs globally were going down?
According to the United Nation Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), global trade is still encumbered with complex procedures and transactions that involve numerous parties, require lengthy documents and has to comply with multiple and overlapping regulatory procedures.
The UNCTAD has estimated that the compliance cost for traders to meet these requirements could be more than the incidence of customs duty paid on imports of goods.
20150517 * Dar meets Pak-China Investment Company delegation:
The Pak-China Investment Company Ltd (PCICL), delegation met Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here and presented him an update on fiscal performance of the company.
The delegation informed that at the end of December 2014, the total assets of the company were recorded as Rs 20.008 billion and the total liabilities stood at Rs 7.059 billion.
The net profit was recorded at Rs 469 million.
Finance Minister Dar on this occasion was also presented a proposal about the appointment of new managing director.
The minister thanked the delegation for the update on company’s fiscal profile.
He said the proposal regarding appointment of the new MD would be accorded due consideration.
Pak-China Investment Company Ltd was established in July 2007 in pursuance of a joint venture agreement between Government of Pakistan and China. \
20150517 * China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: Lines of development – not lines of divide:
Pakistan today stands at a crossroad where it can utilise all resources and benefit from the Economic Corridor or squabble on its provincial divide.
While the latter would most definitely result in further division of an already torn up country, a resolution to the conflict – where the government resolves differences – would lead to uncountable benefits for the current and future generations.
However, both China and Pakistan do not have the luxury of time.
As part of its long-term planning, China has framed three corridor routes to overcome a greater security challenge in the South China Sea in shape of possible blockade of Sea Lane of Communications at the point of Straits of Malacca during conflict times.
Any blockade may stop 80% of Chinese imported energy supplies from the Middle East and West Africa. It also wants to develop western hinterlands by heavily investing in these regions.
20150515 * A corridor to a new era:
Pakistan and China are in a mutually advantageous relationship since a long time.
The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between China and Pakistan signed in 2006 has made China the largest supplier of goods to Pakistan and in the past decade trade from China to Pakistan has increased eight times.
Recently signed Sino-Pak agreement, to make China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), across, will give more opportunities to Pakistan and China to benefit from each other’s resources and further strengthen and deepen their economic and strategic ties.
The economic corridor, across 3000km, will facilitate China with a short land route access to the warm waters of Arabian Sea which will reduce its dependence on the longer routes of Indian Ocean. It will connect the port of Gawadar, in proximity with Iranian border, with China’s Xinjiang which is closer to the Arabian Sea than Shanghai.
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20150518 * Budget priorities: Govt to jettison 100 projects to make room for corridor:
Caught between the desire to keep its commitments to the International Monetary Fund and to Beijing, the finance ministry will likely shut down 100 so-called ‘less important’ development projects in a bid to create the fiscal space for the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
“CPEC and energy projects are the top priority of the government and we will allocate at least Rs250 billion in coming budget to avoid delays,” said Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal on Thursday.
However, the closure of over 100 projects will create a fiscal space of only Rs20 billion, leading some to question the wisdom of abandoning such projects midstream.
20150514 * Post-GSP Plus: EU team reviews progress on social standards:
In a follow-up to the grant of Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) Plus status to Pakistan, a delegation of the European Commission visited the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) office.
The delegation reviewed the benefits of the facility and the progress made so far on the application of social standards related to labour and environmental laws.
European Commission Trade Office Director General Marc Vanheukelen led the team along with European Union Acting Ambassador Stefano Gatto.
Aptma Punjab Chairman Sheikh Muhammad Akbar welcomed the delegation and stated that textile exports had started showing improvement in the EU market due to the GSP Plus facility.
20150515 * EU trade office team visits APTMA to review benefits of GSP facility:
A delegation of the European Union trade office of generalised system of preferences (GSP) program led by Director General Marc Vanheukelen and Acting EU Ambassador HE Stefano Gatto visited All Pakistan Textile Mills Association to review the benefits of GSP plus facility to Pakistan and the progress done on implementation of social standards related to labour and environment laws.
APTM A Punjab Chairman Sheikh Muhammad Akbar welcoming the delegation said that the textile exports have started showing progress in the EU market because of the generalised system of preferences plus facility.
Pakistan textile exports increased by 24 percent in volume and 30 percent in value terms from January to December 2014 in apparel products.
But the growth pattern does not commensurate with the potential of the industry due to productivity constraints, particularly the energy.
However, various solutions for the availability of energy at regionally competitive tariff are being worked out by the government and the industry as well.
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THE BALDIA FACTORY FIRE:
20150517 * New prosecutor in factory fire case to be appointed:
A sessions court on Saturday directed the provincial law department to appoint a special public prosecutor in the Baldia Town factory fire case.
The owner of ill-fated industrial unit, Abdul Aziz Bhaila, and his two sons Arshad Bhaila and Shahid Bhaila, general manager Mansoor and three gatekeepers have been booked in the tragic incident in which over 250 workers lost their lives in September 2012.
Additional District and Sessions Judge (west) Naushaba Kazi directed the law secretary to appoint a special public prosecutor as the case could not proceed without a prosecutor.
The hearing was adjourned till June 6.
20150517 * Baldia Factory Fire: Govt yet to appoint prosecutor:
Despite the lapse of three months, the government has yet to appoint a prosecutor to assist the trial court in the Baldia factory fire case.
Shazia Hanjrah, the special public prosecutor given the assignment, had detached herself from the case in February, citing the lack of cooperation of the investigators days after a joint interrogation report changed the trajectory of the case.
Irked by the delay, the additional district and sessions judge V of District West, Naushaba Kazi, approached the law department on Saturday, directing the authorities to appoint the state’s counsel by the next hearing on June 6.
Neither the newly-appointed investigation officer SP Sajid Sadozai nor the suspects appeared before the court for Saturday’s hearing.
However, they, through their counsels, pleaded to condone their absence.
20150517 * Baldia Factory Fire Case: Non-bailable warrants issued for Qureshi:
For the fourth time, a district and sessions court issued on Wednesday non-bailable arrest warrants for suspected target killer Rizwan Qureshi.
The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) worker has been absconding since a joint investigation team (JIT) report quoted him telling the ‘inside story’ of the Baldia factory fire in January.
According to the report submitted by the Rangers to the Sindh High Court, the fire at Ali Enterprises started over the orders of MQM’s senior officials. It shifted the trajectory of the case, which was earlier seen as an accident, to a terrorism act, prompting the authorities to carry out a re-investigation.
The newly appointed judge at the judicial complex court inside the central prison also issued warrants for the suspect’s guarantors, who have reportedly gone in hiding after appearing before the court only once.
* Bid Appeals Tribunal for Kwa Zulu Natal’ judgement:
Non-compliant laundry company loses tender, Great Victory for SACTWU and decent jobs
The Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU) is pleased to announce that a company in Kwa-Zulu Natal has lost the appeal it made after it was not awarded a tender to manufacture bed linen and patient clothing that would be supplied to various hospitals in KZN.
It lost its appeal to the Bid Appeals Tribunal, which ruled that it was a requirement for a company to be compliant with bargaining council conditions, including registration with bargaining councils. In summary:
The bid appeal committee of KZN Treasury has ruled in favour of a hospital tender won by Kingsgate Clothing. This tender award was challenged early this year by a non-compliant company on the basis of price. The KZN ruling defends the fact that labour compliance matters in government tender work.
This is a victory for compliance promotion.
The appeal started in the awarding of tenders to Kingsgate, Indabenhle and Amandletokozo for them to supply linen and patient clothing to hospitals in KZN, LSS Laundry and Supplies, trading as Indlovu Manufacturers.
These tenders were advertised in the Government Tender Bulletin in April last year, the outcome of both tenders were then published in December last year. Indlovu Manufacturers then challenged the awards in December 2014 based entirely on price, it claimed that it offered the lowest price and should have been awarded the tender.
* ILO: Precarious Work Rises, Incomes Fall around the World:
More than 60 percent of workers worldwide, predominantly women, are in temporary, part-time or short-term jobs in which wages are falling, a growing trend that is fueling global income inequality and poverty, according to an International Labor Organization (ILO) report released today.
“This report reveals a shift away from the standard employment model, in which workers earn wages and salaries in a dependent employment relationship vis-à-vis their employers, have stable jobs and work full time,” the report states. Further, “labor incomes constitute the main source of income inequality.”
Although the incomes of permanent workers are relatively stable, the percentage of such workers is declining globally—and as few as 20 percent of workers are in permanent jobs in regions such as sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
Many of these precarious jobs are in the informal economy, which includes market vendors, day laborers, pedicab drivers and domestic workers.
In fact, domestic workers, most of whom are women, represent 3.6 percent of wage employment worldwide, the report says.
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* Fair Trade for the Global Garment Industry:
The collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh two years ago may have horrified consumers in the West, but the working conditions it exposed hardly are an anomaly in the global garment industry.
Low wages, long hours, unsafe buildings and inadequate regulations are the norm. Even as the industry’s profits grew worldwide, in countries like Bangladesh, Honduras, Mexico and Cambodia real wages for garment workers declined from 2001 to 2011.
The industry is dominated by the same Western labels selling in the same Western markets. These brands deliberately source their products from factories in poor countries with inadequate labor laws and weak health and safety regulations; it’s cheaper that way.
In fact, the big brands reap billions of dollars chasing the lowest production costs they can find, moving from one country to another when those costs rise too much. This creates a perpetual race to the bottom, in which workers’ rights are squeezed by the factories that employ them and by the governments that supposedly oversee those factories.
Major brands sometimes claim they want to improve local working conditions but cannot. This is disingenuous. While it is true that they do not own, or even manage, the factories they source from and that they do not write the laws of sourcing countries, they have tremendous leverage over both.
Take Cambodia. Its economy is dominated by the garment industry, which accounts for at least 80 percent of the country’s total exports — some $6 billion a year, according to government estimates, generated by about 600 factories that hire mostly women, generally young and uneducated.
H&M, Gap, C&A, Marks & Spencer and Walmart lead production, selling mostly to consumers in the United States and the European Union under structured trade preferences favoring imports from developing countries.
Cambodia is sometimes touted as a model for the global industry, partly because it was the first major garment producer to be monitored by the International Labor Organization. Over the past two years, however, workers there have struggled, sometimes at great risk to themselves, to obtain fair wages and decent working conditions.
In 2013 the minimum wage in Cambodia was about $80 per month, even though a government commission had determined that a “living wage” in the garment sector should be about $157-$177.
In late December that year, the government, still ignoring its own findings, announced that as of April 2014 the new minimum wage would be $95 (and would gradually be increased to $160 by 2018).
Within days it raised the figure to $100, but garment workers, led by independent trade unions, had already gone on strike.
They shut down all factories for a week.