in the news 2-5 June 2015

18:39:25 local time map of china CHINA

20150604 * Obama: China may join TPP:

US President Barack Obama on Wednesday suggested that China could eventually join a nascent trans-Pacific trade pact, raising the prospect of an accord spanning much of the globe.

With talks nearing completion for the 12-member Trans-Pacific Partnership, Obama hinted that the leaders of the world’s second largest economy could jump on board.

“They’ve already started putting out feelers about the possibilities of them participating at some point,” he told Marketplace, a radio program.

Although China’s membership does not appear to be imminent, Obama’s comments raise the prospect that the trans-Pacific deal could be a building block for a broader agreement.

The deal includes large economies like Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Canada and Australia and a similar US-European Union accord is also being discussed.
read more. & read more.
BangkokPostNEW UNBnew

18:39:25 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

20150605 * Valenzuela fire inspection to affect 12,000 workers:

At least 12,000 workers will be affected by the closure of business establishments in Valenzuela City, labor coalition Trade Union Congress of the Philippines-Nagkaisa (TUCP-Nagkaisa) said on Friday.

Alan Tanjusay, the group’s national spokesperson, said that the number could balloon if Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian would continue with his plan to shut down businesses that failed to comply with fire safety requirements.

“Rather than immediate closure, we suggest that erring and non-compliant companies should be given at least 10 days to correct themselves.
Unless, Mayor Gatchalian does have immediate alternative plans to provide jobs to those thousands of workers who might be affected by his closure plan and prevent a massive problem, we recommend that he be rational at this time,” Tanjusay said.
read more.
philstarNEW

20150605 * VIDEO | Valenzuela City gets stricter on fire safety; 63 Kentex victims identified thru DNA:

In order to prevent a recurrence of the fire that left 72 people dead in Valenzuela City last month, the local government will strictly implement next week its “No Fire Safety Inspection Certificate, No Business Permit” policy. 

It means that seven days from now, business establishments in Valenzuela City that fail to present a fire safety inspection certificate (FSIC) will face closure and revocation of their business permits unless they comply with the city ordinance passed on Thursday.

According to the LGU data, there are currently 15,775 registered businesses but only 2,667 have FSICs.

Aside from its firefighting duties, the Bureau of Fire Protection is also charge of inspecting establishments for fire safety. It said compliance with the city ordinance would be doable within two months but the 7-day deadline given by the Valenzuela government would need additional BFP personnel.
read more.
interaksyon

20150605 * Kentex officials assailed in P136K offer for waivers:

Officials of Kentex Manufacturing Corp., the owner of the sandal factory where 72 workers died in a tragic fire last May 13 in Valenzuela City, were assailed yesterday by a militant labor group for offering a “measly” P136,000 each to the families of the victims and survivors in exchange for waiving legal claims.

Kilusang Mayo Uno chairman Elmer Labog condemned the offer, saying Kentex officials “are showing just how little they value the lives of the workers.”

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) had earlier said Kentex and its illegal sub-contractor, CJC Manpower Services, must pay the company’s 99 workers at least P7.8 million in underpaid wages.

This is aside from the monetary benefits due the workers, like overtime pay, night shift differential, 13th month pay, holiday pay, vacation and leave pay, refund of cash bond, and other emoluments, including social security benefits.

Labog called on the affected families to reject the Kentex offer.
read more.
MaLAYAbusiness INSIGHT

20150604 * Special DOJ team builds up factory fire raps:

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has given a special panel of prosecutors 30 days to determine whether or not there are enough evidence to merit the filing of criminal and administrative cases against people behind the Kentex factory fire which left 72 workers dead last month.

In a department order released on Wednesday, De Lima said the panel, which she created partly upon the instructions of President Aquino, would be composed of State Prosecutors Roberto Lao, Olivia Torrevillas and Ma. Cristina Barot as well as State Counsels Margarette Robles, Consuela Corazon Pazziuagan and Dioxenos Sulit.

The team was tasked to review the reports of the Inter-Agency Anti-Arson Task Force (IATF) and Department of the Interior and Local Government, and other official reports on the fire in relation to the Revised Penal Code, Republic Act No. 9514, or the Revised Fire Code, Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Revised Administrative Code, Civil Service Law and Local Government Code, among other regulations.
read more.  & read more.
INQUIRER new  tribune

20150604 * 63 of 72 Valenzuela City fire victims identified:

The Philippine National Police crime laboratory identified within 15 days 63 of 72 bodies that were recovered in the May 13 Valenzuela City factory fire, making the DNA identification process “one of the fastest in history.”

In a meeting with Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian on Thursday, Senior Supt. Emmanuel Aranas of the PNP crime laboratory said 60 of the victims were known through DNA test by the PNP scene of the crime operations (Soco) disaster victim identification (DVI), while the remaining three victims, including the company owner’s son, were easily identified.

At least 72 individuals died in a seven-hour fire that gutted the factory of Kentex Manufacturing Inc. in Barangay (village) Ugong. The fire was said to have started when spark from a welding work landed on highly-flammable materials stored inside the factory.

The crime laboratory deputy director said 26 of the bodies recovered were males, while 37 were females. Police earlier collected DNA samples from the relatives of the victims through a buccal swab or gently scraping inside the mouth.
read more. & read more.
INQUIRER new philstarNEW

20150604 * KMU hits Kentex for waiver offer to victims:

National labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno condemned today the capitalists of Kentex Manufacturing, Inc. for asking the families of the victims as well as the survivors of the fire that gutted the company’s factory to sign waivers surrendering their right to file charges in exchange for a meager amount.

The labor group said that it has been informed by the victims’ families and the survivors that since last Tuesday, the Kentex management has been approaching them to offer P136,000 in exchange for their signatures to a document that waives all their legal claims in relation to the factory fire.

“The capitalists of Kentex are again showing just how little they value the lives of workers. We condemn them for taking advantage of the economic hardships faced by the victims’ families and survivors in order to make the latter waive their right to file charges,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.
read more.
KILUSANG MAYO UNO

20150604 * Aquino is selective in call for accountability over Kentex fire – KMU:

In his press conference today, Pres. Noynoy Aquino was being selective in his call for accountability over the Kentex factory fire. He is being selective in hinting at going after the capitalists of Kentex Manufacturing, Inc. and the local government of Valenzuela City.

Among those who are most responsible for the death of many workers were sitting in front of him during his press conference: Sec. Rosalinda Baldoz of the Department of Labor and Employment and Sec. Mar Roxas of the Department of Interior and Local Government.

Baldoz should be held responsible because her agency granted Kentex a certificate of compliance in relation to occupational health and safety standards and general labor standards a few months before the factory fire.
Roxas should be held responsible because the Bureau of Fire Protection, an agency under his watch, allowed Kentex to operate despite the factory’s non-compliance with fire safety standards and failed to notify the city government of Valenzuela of the said non-compliance.
read more.
KILUSANG MAYO UNO

20150603-04 * Kentex probe results up for review:

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima  on Wednesday formed a special panel of prosecutors   whose job is to review the findings of an inter-agency task force that investigated the Kentex factory fire in Valenzuela City that killed 72 people last May 13.

In Department Order No. 402, De Lima designated six prosecutors who will assess and evaluate the recommendations and evidence gathered in the report of   Inter-Agency Anti-Arson Task Force (IATF) composed of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine National Police and National Bureau of Investigation.

The members of the panel include Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Roberto Lao, Assistant State Prosecutors Olivia Torrevillas and Ma. Cristina Barot, and State Counsels Margarette Robles, Consuelo Corazon Pazziuagan and Dioxenos Sulit.
(…)

De Lima has ordered the panel to build the cases and   “assess and evaluate the available documentary, testimonial, and object evidence so far gathered in the investigation and provided by the investigating agencies, and determine the sufficiency of the same in the filing of the appropriate criminal and administrative cases.”

“After all the necessary and available evidence is completed and reviewed, the panel shall identify the specific criminal and administrative offenses to be charged and the specific private individuals and public officials who shall be charged therewith, with an enumeration of the evidence to be used for each case against each individual, and whether the same shall be filed with the appropriate public prosecutor of the NPS or the Office of the Ombudsman or any other appropriate body,” De Lima said, in her order.
read more. & read more. & read more.  & read more.
& read more. & read more. & read more.
ManilaSTANDARDtoday interaksyon MaLAYAbusiness INSIGHT INQUIRER new
tempo GMAnews tribune

20150603 * Inspection teams to be dispatched to factories:

Hundreds of inspection teams from local government units and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) will inspect factories in Metro Manila to enforce safety standards and prevent tragedies similar to the slippers factory fire that killed 72 people in Valenzuela last month.

The teams were created as Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II met with Metro Manila mayors and other local government officials yesterday afternoon in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

“Starting on Monday, there will be abbreviated inspection, wherein inspection teams will check existence of automatic sprinklers, fire exits, so on and so forth. In a month the inspection will be completed,” Roxas told reporters during a briefing after the meeting with the mayors.
read more.
philstarNEW

20150603 * Militant group lambasts Noy for absolving DoLE of any responsibility in Kentex fire:

Militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) yesterday slammed the Aquino government for its selective justice system as the group noted President Aquino seems to have no interest in holding Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) officials accountable for the deadly factory fire last month.

Bayan, in a statement, said Aquino seems to be only interested in going after the Kentex Manufacturing management and Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian while protecting his own allies at the labor department.

“Aquino must know that it was the Department of Labor and Employment that issued a labor compliance certificate to Kentex on Sept.14, 2014, supposedly after an inspection by the government agency,” it said.
“Kentex was cleared by DoLE to have complied with occupational health and safety standards. Yet now, DoLE is suddenly without any liability?” the group added.
read more.
tribune

20150602 * Aquino’s tack on Kentex fire deaths ‘selective political gimmickry’ – labor, women’s groups:

“It appears that Aquino broke his silence on the issue more than two weeks after the factory fire to take a swipe at political adversaries at the local level and whitewash the accountability of Labor Sec. Rosalinda Baldoz and Local Government Sec. Mar Roxas for the factory fire.”

Various groups and labor institutions expressed disappointment over President Aquino’s belated report and response on the Kentex factory fire tragedy.

Labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) found Aquino “selective” in his calls for accountability over the Kentex factory fire, saying the president dished out calls for accountability yet failed to include the guiltiest parties in his Cabinet.

After the government concluded its investigation, President Aquino held a press conference June 1, more than two weeks after the fire that recorded an official death toll of 72.
Aquino hinted at going after just the capitalists of Kentex Manufacturing, Inc. and the local government of Valenzuela City.
The latter, through Valenzuela City mayor Rex Gatchalian, immediately reacted against it, claiming they are just abiding by the Bureau of Fire Protection’s recommendations.
read more.
bulatlat_tagline

20150602 * SSS eases procedures for benefit claims of Kentex fire victims:

The Social Security System on Monday said it would relax its rules to fast-track the processing of death and funeral benefits for the victims of the fatal seven-hour fire that hit a slipper factory in Valenzuela City last May 13.

In a statement, SSS said it already had the official list of victims of the fire that killed more than 70 employees of Kentex Manufacturing, Inc., which the agency said it would use as basis for processing and approving claims.

“The master list from the city government of Valenzuela will serve as the death certificate of the 74 victims so we will start processing funeral and death claims,” said Jose Bautista, senior vice president of SSS NCR Operations Group.
read more.
INQUIRER new

20150602 * Unions urge labor standards in reassessment of Metro Manila factories:

A coalition of labor unions urged President Aquino yesterday to include labor standards among the factors to be reviewed in the reassessment of 300,000 factories in Metro Manila.

In a statement, Nagkaisa, said it has reason to believe the companies, which violate the provisions of the Fire Code, will also most likely not respect the labor rights of its workers.

“We strongly believe that Philippine factories and establishments are not only fire traps.
They also operate as sweatshops that by and large violate labor rights,” Nagkaisa said.

Last Monday, Aquino ordered the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) to inspect around 300,000 factories in the National Capital Region (NCR) after it was proven that 23 other factories around the factory of Kentex Manufacturing Corp. in Valenzuela City did not follow the necessary fire regulations.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) also confirmed Kentex violated the labor rights of its employees.
Seventy-two workers died on 13 May, 2015 after the factory of Kentex was razed.
Nagkaisa said that a tripartite task forces composed of labor stakeholders should accompany BFP in conducting its assessment to ensure the covered establishments also comply to provisions of the LaborCode.
Nagakaisa is composed of 49 labor groups, including the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), the country’s largest labor organization.
to read.
MANILABULLETIN

17:39:25 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

20150604 * Sexual harassment turns increasingly sophisticated at Vietnam workplaces:

Several Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper readers, including a man, have shared their experience of being victimized by sexual harassment in the workplace. 

Their stories speak volumes of how sophisticated and discreet ploys used to sexually harass employees have grown.

Sexual pestering is no longer restricted to male employers or colleagues openly caressing female workers.

The offence has extended into verbal sexual harassment involving the use of words, comments, suggestions and sexually explicit or implicit invitations which are made by scheming male superiors or colleagues.

Non-verbal sexual harassment is also rife, with assaulters adopting gestures, looks, glints, body movements, images, tools, text messages, email and other means for sexual purposes.

Offenders these days tend to devise elaborate schemes, patiently stalk and slowly entice their unwary “prey” into their traps.

Many victims divulged they find it considerably harder to protect themselves and fight against these highly “skilled” attackers.

Victims’ stories:
read more.
TUOITREnews

20150605 * Female workers paid FDI pittance:

20150605 VNNews
A female worker at Hansae Viet Nam Co Ltd in HCM City. Female labourers faced many difficulties in finding housing, educating children and accessing health services. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vu

Female labourers working in foreign-invested enterprises receive an average monthly wage of VND5 million (US$229), much lower than that of male labourers and their peers in domestic companies.

This was revealed at a workshop held on Wednesday in southern Dong Nai Province to review a survey on income and living conditions for female migrants in FDI enterprises.

The survey was conducted in October and November last year in northern Bac Ninh Province, Dong Nai Province and HCM City. In each locality, researchers examined 13 enterprises, including 10 FDI and three non-FDI enterprises that were exporting garments, textiles, footwear and seafood products to the European Union.
read more.
VNNews new

20150603 * Difficulties facing migrant female workers: survey:

Female labourers working in the foreign—invested (FDI) sector received an average monthly wage of 5 million VND (233 USD), below that received by the opposite sex and their peers working for domestic companies.

The finding was unveiled at a workshop held in southern Dong Nai province on June 3 which reviewed the outcomes of a survey on income and living standards of migrant female workers.

The poll was conducted in northern Bac Ninh province, southern Dong Nai province and Ho Chi Minh City since late 2014. In each locality, the research team questioned 13 exporters to the EU operating in apparel, fisheries, footwear and food processing.

According to the survey, access to safety equipment for women working for FDI companies was 10 percent lower than those for local female workers.
read more. & read more.
VIETNAMplus VOVonline

20150603 * Garments, footwear on export high:

20150603 VNNews
Workers make clothes for export at the Garment Factory No 2. The textile and garm-ent industry saw high growth in production and export in the first five months of this year, earning the country $8.11 billion in exports.— VNA/VNS Photo Tran Viet

Textile and garment industries, as well as leather and footwear, recorded high growth in production and exports during the first five months of this year.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade reported on Monday that in the first five months of this year, the textile and garment industry produced 118.2 million sq.m. of natural fibre (a year-on-year increase of 2.3 per cent), 287.1 million sq.m. of synthetic and artificial fibre (a year-on-year surge of 1.8 per cent), and 1.21 billion units of cloths (a year-on-year surge of 2.3 per cent).

During the first five months, the industry gained a year-on-year increase of 8.4 per cent in export value to US$8.11 billion, including $1.65 billion recorded in May.

The export orders of textile and garment enterprises remained positive in the second quarter, with 62 per cent of total enterprises producing cloths marking an increase in export orders against the first quarter, the ministry noted.

The Viet Nam Textile and Apparel Association said from early this year until now, foreign investors had been promoting investments in the textile and garment sector in Viet Nam to exploit the business opportunities that have emerged following free trade agreements such as the TPP, Viet Nam-EU FTA, and Viet Nam-South Korea FTA.
According to the FTAs, Viet Nam’s textile and garment sector will gain the most from many tariff lines reducing to zero.
read more. & read more.
VNNews new SAIGON-GPdaily

20150602 * Vietnam attends 104th International Labour Conference:

A delegation of Vietnamese senior executives attended the 104th session of the International Labour Conference (ILC) of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Geneva, Switzerland on June 1.

Ambassador Nguyen Trung Thanh, Head of Vietnam’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other international organisations in Geneva, joined the Vietnamese delegation to the event, which attracted representatives from governments, employers and employees from 180 member countries and territories of the ILO.

The two-week conference will focus on the realisation of the 2015-2016 ILO Programme and Budget, the transitions from the informal to the formal economy and the implementation of strategic social security objectives.
read more. & read more.
VIETNAMplus VOVonline

20150603 * Vietnam to benefit most when TPP reached this year: US Assistant State Secretary:

The realization of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement later this year will benefit all member countries, especially a small economy like Vietnam, said a senior U.S. official during his recent visit to Ho Chi Minh City.

The U.S. government has prioritized the TPP as one of the most important objectives to achieve within the remaining term of President Barack Obama, Charles H. Rivkin, Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs, said at a press meeting at the American Center in the southern city last Friday.

The TPP is a proposed regional free trade agreement aimed at eliminating tariffs and lowering non-tariff barriers that is being negotiated by 12 countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

The countries include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam, which collectively contribute almost half of global output and over 40 percent of world trade, according to the Office of the United States Trade Representative.
read more.
TUOITREnews

20150603 * FTA opportunities, challenges are equal: official:

Opportunities and challenges arising from free trade agreements (FTAs) between Vietnam and partner countries will present themselves equally, an official remarked a press conference in Hanoi on June 3.

The signing of FTAs affords opportunities to exporters, importers and consumers as Vietnam expands its export markets, said Deputy Head of the Finance Ministry’s International Cooperation Department Ha Duy Tung.

The country has reached 10 bilateral and multilateral FTAs, including the recently-signed Vietnam–Republic of Korea (RoK) and Vietnam–Eurasia Economic Union deals.

In his view, lowered import duties on raw materials will stimulate production and churn out products at competitive prices, offering customers more choices of imported and home-grown items.
read more.
VIETNAMplus

20150603 * FTAs demand trade rule awareness:

The need for businesses to learn the import and export regulations in different markets has only become more important as Viet Nam signs a slew of free trade agreements (FTAs), experts say.

So far, the nation has inked nine FTAs, most recently with the Republic of Korea and the Eurasia Economic Union. Other new-generation FTAs are also under negotiation, including one with the European Union and the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty with 11 other nations.

FTAs offer a host of opportunities for Viet Nam’s economic sectors, especially trading, given many tax and investment incentives, said Nguyen Thi Thu Trang, Director of the WTO Centre at the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI).
read more.
VNNews new

20150602 * Vietnam firms should be more active as FTAs take effect: insiders:

Businesses need to pay heed to regulations in their import and export markets to optimise opportunities brought about by free trade agreements (FTAs), as a number of such deals have been or are to be signed, according to insiders.

Vietnam has inked nine FTAs, most recently with the Republic of Korea and the Eurasia Economic Union. Other new-generation FTAs are also under negotiation, including the pact with the European Union and the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.

FTAs offer a host of opportunities for Vietnam ’s economic sectors, especially for trading activities, given the provision of many tax and investment incentives, said Nguyen Thi Thu Trang – Director of the WTO Centre at the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) at a workshop in Ho Chi Minh City on June 2.
read more.
VIETNAMplus

20150602 * European media hails trade deal between Vietnam and EAEU:

The free trade agreement (FTA) signed between Vietnam and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) marks Vietnam’s deepened integration into the international market, the Euro Presse Image highlighted on June 1.

The FTA is the first deal the EAEU, including Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan, has inked with a third side, according to the Euro Presse Image.

The trade deal will help the EAEU expand trade and investment ties with Southeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific region, the article cited Viktor Khristenko, Chairman of the Board of the Eurasia Economic Commission.

Meanwhile, Vietnam, an ASEAN member, will serve as a bridge linking the EAEU and the ASEAN, assisting the union in extending its affiliation with the ASEAN Community, a 600 million-strong market with a GDP of 2.5 trillion USD.
read more.
VIETNAMplus

17:39:25 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

20150605 * Report slams ‘impunity’:

Amnesty International has today called on the government to break the “cycle of human rights violations and impunity” that it says has plagued the Kingdom in recent years.

In its report Taking to the Streets, the human rights NGO explores incidents of violence and injustice that have flown in the face of international and domestic laws over the “tumultuous period” of the past two years, during which people were injured, killed and even disappeared during protests.

The report “documents how not a single official or member of the security forces has been held to account for the often brutal repression of protests in Cambodia, including around the disputed 2013 elections”.

Taking to the Streets highlights what it calls a “pattern of violations: the imposition of arbitrary restrictions on freedom of peaceful assembly; the unnecessary and excessive use of force by security forces policing assemblies; a culture of impunity surrounding human rights violations committed in the context of assemblies; and the use of the judiciary to harass those who organize and participate in assemblies.”
read more.
PPP new

20150604 * Taking to the streets: Freedom of peaceful assembly in Cambodia:

This report reveals a pattern of human rights violations in the context of assemblies: the imposition of arbitrary restrictions on freedom of peaceful assembly; the unnecessary and excessive use of force by security forces; and the use of the judiciary to harass and imprison those who organize and participate in them.

A culture of impunity surrounds human rights violations committed in the context of assemblies, with not a single official or member of the security forces held to account for the often violent repression of protests in Cambodia.

“After they beat me on the back I became like a dead fish. They held me in a standing position and then jumped and gave me a hard kick in the chest.
Then they were all standing around me in order to block photographs from journalists. They made a circle, with me in the middle, and punched and
beat me some more.”

Yong Sok Chea, a 17-year-old garment worker arrested and beaten by gendarmes on Veng Sreng Street, Phnom Penh on 2 January 2014

At the end of 2013, a series of demonstrations erupted in Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh, culminating in late December in several mass protests over disputed national election results and calls for a higher increase in the minimum wage paid to garment workers.
Supporters of the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP), the main opposition party, converged with thousands of striking workers and other disaffected groups. Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Phnom Penh to demand changes to Cambodia’s political, social and economic status quo.
read more. & the pdf report: 20150604 AI- Cambodia Report
amnesty-international new
20150512 SAY NO Cambodia

20150603 * Transported Like Pigs: Cambodia’s Garment Makers Risk Death Just to Get to Work:

Early one morning in mid-May, 39 people, mostly garment factory workers, crammed into a 15-seat minivan in Cambodia.

It was a journey they made every day, traveling from their rural community in the southeast of the country to a sprawling industrial zone about 20 miles away, where they made clothes for various major western brands.

Except this time, they didn’t make it to work. Less than an hour after they set out, a speeding tourist bus pulled out of the opposite lane and smashed into the van head on, killing 15 of those on board instantly.
Three more died within hours and another died in intensive care a few days later.

The dead, mostly young women, served as a grim illustration of the perils faced by the half a million people employed in Cambodia’s garment trade, which generates an estimated $6 billion per year.
While the exploitative conditions and dire safety standards in the southeast Asian clothing industry have been much publicized, what workers have to do to get to and from the factories is actually more dangerous than anything they undergo while they are inside them.

Factory workers earning just a few dollars a day have little choice but to pile into minivans or flatbed trucks often driven by unlicensed drivers on dangerous roads, every morning and night.
A study released earlier this year by the Cambodian Ministry of Labor’s National Social Security Fund reported 73 garment workers died in crashes during their commutes last year, a near 10 percent rise on the 67 killed in 2013.
read more.
VICE

20150603 * Opposing Unions Compete for International Support on Draft Law:

Two opposing camps of unions representing a large share of the country’s roughly 700,000 garment workers handed in petitions this week to the U.S. Embassy and others asking for their support on a controversial draft union law during a visit to the country from a U.S. labor envoy.

Unions that support the law, which would set the rules for forming unions and level penalties at those that break the rules, handed their petition to the U.S. and European Union embassies in Phnom Penh on Monday.
Those against the law submitted their petition to the two embassies Tuesday, as well as to the Labor Ministry and the National Assembly.
(…)

“We welcome this draft law,” said Chuon Mom Thol, president of the Cambodian Confederation of Trade Unions and an adviser to the Labor Ministry. “As the first article says, the goal of this law is to reduce the large number of unions and to make unions stronger.”

The country’s garment factories have long complained that there are far too many unions representing their employees, making it exceedingly difficult to negotiate with them and reach lasting deals with their workers.
(…)
“Even without setting a number, it is already hard to create a local union, especially an independent union,” said Ath Thorn, president of the largest independent union in the country.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

20150603 * Strike impact ripples: GMAC:

The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia and the management of a Phnom Penh factory where workers have been on strike for some two weeks issued a statement yesterday alleging that the strike action’s repercussions could negatively affect the industry as a whole.

In the joint statement, GMAC offers its “full legal and spirit[ual] support to” Macao-owned M&V International Manufacturing Ltd, while calling for the timely intervention of the government to prevent “bad situations”.

“Strikes against the legal procedures which was [sic] led by at least 13 unaffiliated union federations and at least 4 affiliated unions in M&V … have seriously damaged and affected the economic situation of the company and caused a negative impact to the garments sector,” the statement reads.

GMAC secretary-general Ken Loo yesterday said that the statement was released to call attention to the fact that unions did not follow legal procedures before going on strike, with the M&V action exemplifying a culture of illegal strikes that degrades Cambodia’s reputation.

However, Moeun Tola, head of the labour program at the Community Legal Education Center, yesterday said he believed GMAC was attempting to rally support for draft legislation on trade unions currently under consideration by the government.
Many unions and labour activists fear the legislation could curtail their activities and damage workers’ rights.
(…)

The strike at M&V – where workers’ main demands include fairly typical calls for 2,000 riel ($0.50) per day for lunch, higher wages and $15 per month for transportation – is not especially large or damaging to Cambodia’s garment industry, Tola said.
read more.
PPP new

20150603 * BetterFactories Media Updates 03 June 2016, Opposing Unions Compete for International Support on Draft Law:

* To read in the printed edition of  the Cambodia Daily:
2015-06-03 Opposing Unions Compete for International Support on Draft Law

* To read in the printed edition of The Phnom Penh Post:
2015-06-03 Strike impact ripples: GMAC

BetterFactories Media Updates Overview here.
BF NEW

20150602 * BetterFactories Media Updates 01 June 2015, Driver Charged With Injuring Truckload of Garment Workers:

* To read in the printed edition of  the Cambodia Daily:
2015-06-01 Driver Charged With Injuring Truckload of Garment Workers

BetterFactories Media Updates Overview here.
BF NEW

20150601 * BetterFactories Media Updates, 30-31 May 2015, Garment Industry Under Scrutiny in New Film:

* To read in the printed edition of  the Cambodia Daily:
2015-05-30-31 Garment Industry Under Scrutiny in New Film
2015-05-30-31 Ministry Hits Back Over Union Law

BetterFactories Media Updates Overview here.
BF NEW

17:09:25 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

20150605 * Workers consider Supreme Court writ:

More than 150 fired workers from a Yangon garment factory have threatened to petition the Union Supreme Court to get their jobs back, after the national Arbitration Council overturned a decision by the Yangon council ordering their former employer to take them back.

The 158 workers from the Costec garment factory in Yangon’s Shwe Pyi Thar Industrial Zone were fired after going on strike for a K1000-a-day pay rise in January.

They submitted their case to Yangon Region Arbitration Council, which ordered Costec to rehire them. The factory appealed the ruling, however, and on May 28 the national Arbitration Council ruled against the workers because they had been given the opportunity to return to work between February 4 and 6 but turned the offer down.

As a result, the employer does not have a responsibility to rehire them, the council said. It also cited financial problems at the factory as another reason.

The workers say they will ask the council to reconsider the case and if it refuses they will submit a writ of certiorari to the Union Supreme Court in Nay Pyi Taw in order to have the decision reviewed.

Worker Ma Kyal Sin said the workers believed that the council had been unfairly influenced by their employer to overturn the decision by the Yangon council.
read more.
MMtimesnew

20150605 * President promises to set minimum wage:

The government will propose a minimum wage this month, President U Thein Sein has announced. After a 60-day period for comments and objections, the government will then set the minimum wage in advance of the elections, he said.

The president set out the timetable in a letter to parliament yesterday.

Following extended discussions around the country between representatives of management and labour, with input from foreign experts, a final coordination meeting will be held to settle on a proposed minimum wage.

The Minimum Wage Law was enacted in 2013. The ministries concerned were due to appear before the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw yesterday to explain what steps they have been taking over the past two years to implement it.

The Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security has formed committees to set minimum wages in each state and region, hold seminars, and conduct cost-of-living surveys. It has also compiled suggestions and recommendations in respect of the minimum wage.

However, it has been widely criticised for failing to set a minimum wage sooner. In January 2014 it promised to set the minimum wage by the end of the year, but missed this deadline.
read more.
MMtimesnew

16:24:25 local time map of nepal NEPAL

20150605 * Labour shortage hits businesses:

Multiple businesses, including the construction sector that is vital for rebuilding, are facing acute shortage of workers in  the aftermath of the devastating earthquake.

From general workers to masons in construction and garment workers in export-oriented industry, every business is dealing with short supply of labour.

A huge number of workers, including Indians who had left Nepal in thousands after the temblor of April 25, are yet to return due to fear of repeated aftershocks. Hence, Nepali workers are in high demand for reconstruction activities at the local level, according to contractors.
read more.
HIMALAYAN

16:39:25 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

20150604 * Labour rules in the offing:

Labour leaders fear rules will choke trade union activities

The first ever labour rules of the country are in the offing, leaving certain important clauses of Bangladesh Labour Act ambiguous and addressing many of the disputes in which labour leaders and employers remained embroiled so far.

Both labour leaders and entrepreneurs have welcomed the government’s clear stance on the appointment of workers making mandatory registration of contractors and requiring them to provide all benefits to the outsourced workers.

Ambiguity in this regard has been manipulated for years by some employers depriving the workers of their due benefits.
But both labour leaders and entrepreneurs have raised objections to the government’s decision of cutting 0.03 per cent against the open letter of credit from the bank to create a separate fund for 100 per cent export-oriented factories.

The entrepreneurs are willing to deposit 0.03 per cent against the LC to the fund but they want key positions in the management that will handle the fund when both the government and the labour leaders want that the government remain at the helm of the fund management.

The labour leaders also want that the profit-making export-oriented companies contribute 0.05 per cent from their profits to the government’s Workers’ Welfare Fund as per the Workers Welfare Foundation Act.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

20150604 * Body drafts rules on labour law implementation:

Welfare fund for workers proposed

The Tripartite Consultative Committee (TCC) finalised on Tuesday the draft rules on implementation of the labour law by addressing some thorny issues.

The issues include formation of safety committees, payment of workers’ benefit during factory relocation and creation of a welfare fund for export-oriented sectors, according to State Minister for Labour Mujibul Haque Chunnu.

“The rules will be published in a gazette on nod of the cabinet and vetting from the law ministry,” he told reporters after the TCC meeting held at his Secretariat office on the day. The minister is head of the TCC.
read more.
FE bd

20150604 * Draft rules of amended Labour Act 2013 approved:

The Ministry of Labour and Employment has approved the draft rules of amended Labour Act 2013, keeping a provision of depositing 0.03% of export value to the workers’ welfare fund.

Sate Minister for Labour and Employment Mujibul Haque Chunnu made the announcement at a media briefing after the Tripartite Consultative Committee (TCC) meeting with representatives from the government, owners and labour at his secretariat on Tuesday.

The approved draft would be sent to the Law Ministry for vetting to publish as gazette, said Mujibul. The rules would be implemented after the publication of gazette, he said.

As per the draft rules, the owners of export-oriented industry including the apparel sector will contribute 0.03% of export value to the workers’ welfare fund, of which 50% will be kept for export-oriented sick industry and 50% will be used for the well-being of workers, said the state minister.

As per the current export value of $24.5bn, the owners’ contribution to the welfare fund would be Tk72 crore, which would amount to Tk150 crore in 2021 when the export value is expected to be $50bn.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

20150602 * Bangladesh finalises labour policy:

The government has finalised the new labour policy two years after amending the labour law.

The tripartite advisory council, formed with representatives of the industry owners and workers, finalised the policy at a meeting on Tuesday, State Minister for Labour Mujibul Haque Chunnu said.

The Bangladesh Labour (Amendment) Bill, 2013, was passed in Parliament on July 15 that year.

The government made changes to the law after facing global criticism over the deadly fire at Tazreen Fashions factory and collapse of Rana Plaza.

Demands for the labour policy had been made since the enactment of the Act.

In March last year, the government reconstituted the 62-strong advisory council with 20 representatives of the industry owners and 20 of the workers.
read more.
bdnews24

20150605 * Aleem Jute Mills workers demand PM’s intervention:

Workers of state-owned Aleem Jute Mills on Thursday submitted a memorandum to the prime minister Sheikh Hasina through the deputy commissioner of Khulna requesting her immediate intervention to stop privatisation of the jute mill.

The deputy commissioner, Md Golam Mostafa, received the memorandum around 11:00am on behalf of the prime minister from convenor of the privatisation resistance committee Md Abdur Rashid.
Submission of the memorandum to the prime minister is a part of fresh six-day programme for their ongoing movement against privatisation of the state-owned jute mill.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

20150604 * City factory catches fire, 9 units working:

Fire broke out at a cotton factory in Shikkatuli area of Bangshal in old Dhaka area on Thursday noon.

Originated around 2:00, the fire soon engulfed the entire factory.
On information, nine fire fighting units rushed to the spot and trying to bring the flame under control.
Fire Service and Civil Defense duty office Manir Hossain confirmed the matter to banglanews.
to read.
banglanews24NEW

20150605 * 1 injured in Dhaka shoe factory fire:

A man sustained burns in a fire at a footwear factory in the city’s Bangshal area on Thursday.

The injured was identified as Nazimuddin, 50; he was admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
Fire service headquarters control room duty officer Bhojon Kumar said the fire broke out at the factory at Sikkatoli under Bongshal Police Station at about 2:00pm.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

20150604 * Footwear factory catches fire in city:

A fire broke out in a footwear factory in the city’s Bangshal area on Thursday.

Sources at Fire Service Control Room said the fire erupted in the factory at Sikkatoli under Bongshal Police Station around 1:50pm.

On information, nine fire fighting units rushed in and doused the blaze after half an hour of frantic efforts.
It could not be ascertained immediately what caused the fire.
to read.
UNBnew

20150602 * 1 (-2) die in Gazipur road crash, angry workers block highway:

An unidentified woman has been killed after a bus ran over her near Gazipur’s Konabarhi area.

Angry garment workers from nearby factories blocked the Dhaka-Tangail highway for about half an hour.

Konabarhi Highway polices SI Saiful Islam said the accident occurred around 7am Tuesday near the Tushka Garments in Konabarhi.

The body of the woman, about 30 years old, is yet to be identified. Police suspects she was a garment worker in a local factory.
read more. & read more. & read more.
bdnews24 DHAKATRIBUNE FE bd

20150604 * Errant garment factories face action:

The government has decided to take stern action against the garment factories that would fail to conduct structural, fire and electrical assessment under the national initiative, officials said.

However, they said the authorities are yet to take any concrete decision on the garment factories, not affiliated with either Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA).

The number of such factories ranges from 700 to 800.

The Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) on June 01 issued a circular, available on its website, which said listed garment factory assessment under the national initiative would end on July 30 next.

“Punitive action including stop of factory production will be taken against the factory authorities that will fail to conduct inspection,” said the circular.
read more.
FE bd

20150604 * Export tax rises to 1%:

Finance Minister AMA Muhith in his budget speech today proposed an increase of tax at source for all export sectors to 1 percent.

Muhith said considering special circumstances last year, the tax rates on export proceeds of readymade garments and all other export items was reduced to 0.30 percent and 0.60 percent respectively.

“Our textile and garments industry including other export items are enjoying various incentives. The aforementioned tax benefits were allowed for just one year,” Muhith said.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
the DAILYSTAR new 2015 FE bd NEWAGEnew DHAKATRIBUNE

20150604 * Apparel source tax raised:

Source tax in the apparel sector is to be raised to 1.0 percent from the current 0.3 percent in the proposed budget.

Finance Minister AMA Muhith describes this as the “final tax liability” for all export sectors, bdnews24.com reported.

He proposed this two-and-half-time hike while presenting budget for the 2015-16 fiscal on Thursday.

He said the tax rates on export proceeds of RMG (readymade garments) and other export items were being slashed to 0.3 and 0.6 percent respectively for one year.
read more.
FE bd

* Tell PVH not to cut and run from union supplier in Bangladesh!:

Petition Background:

Apparel giant PVH has decided to cut and run from unionized factories in Bangladesh, resulting in potential forced layoffs of nearly 1,300 workers.

PVH’s actions will have negative consequences not just for the workers of the Global Trousers factory, but for thousands of workers throughout Bangladesh.
read more.
usas

ez grijs

20150604-05 * 100 economic zones to be set up in 15 years:

20150604 DAILYSTAR

The government has set an ambitious target of setting up 100 economic zones in the next 15 years, said the finance minister in his budget speech today.

These zones will increase Bangladesh’s exports by $40 billion and create employment of one crore people, Finance Minister AMA Muhith expressed his hope.

Bangladesh cannot avail big investments from countries like Japan, China, South Korea and India for want of land.
read more. & read more.
the DAILYSTAR new 2015 FE bd

20150604 * RMG park construction starts in Sept:

Chinese firm submits feasibility report to govt

The government will start construction of a RMG industrial park in Munshiganj in September, as the Chinese construction firm concerned submitted its feasibility report to the government on Tuesday.

“We hope to start construction work of the proposed garment industrial park at Baushia in Munshiganj from September,” Ministry of Commerce senior secretary Hedayetullah Al Mamoon told the FE.

Earlier, the Chinese firm – Orient International Holding Company – handed over the feasibility study report to the government for building the ready-made garment (RMG) industrial park at a cost of US$ 2.3 billion.

President of Orient International Tang Xiao along with a delegation of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) handed over the report to Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed at his secretariat office on the day.

The move for building the park is a joint venture initiative of BGMEA and the Chinese government.
read more.
FE bd

20150603 * Largest RMG city being set up in Gazaria:

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed categorically said that the largest readymade garment (RMG) industrial park will be established in Gazaria of Munshiganj district.

Recently, China offered to set up a city of apparel manufacturing units in Bangladesh.
The minister said a memorandum of understanding (MoU) will be signed soon between Bangladesh Garment Manufactures and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and China’s Orient International in this regard.

The industrial park or RMG city will be located in Baushia union under Gazaria upazila, 37 kilometre (km) from Dhaka city.
The park will have 300-500 plots for RMG units.
read more. & read more.
FE bd DHAKATRIBUNE

RANAPLAZA tekst

20150604 * No more delay in Rana Plaza case trials:

The Criminal Investigation Department finally pressed charges against 41 people in the case of the Rana Plaza collapse that left at least 1,137 people dead and more than 2,000 wounded or maimed.

The investigators also pressed charges in the other case, filed in connection with the breach of the building construction code that had caused the collapse, against 18 others, 17 of whom are also named in the charge sheet of the building collapse case.

But what is worrying in the process is the inordinate delays, about two years and a month as the eight-storey building, which housed five clothing factories, a shopping mall and a bank collapsed on April 24, 2013 and the charges were pressed on Monday.

Such a delay does not only delay the dispensation of justice but can also leave the chance for influences of various sorts to creep into the process and, thus, making space for perpetrators to slip unpunished.

This, however, is expected not to happen in this case as the minister of state for home affairs, exactly a year after the incident, in April 2014 said that the police were taking time so as to submit accurate charge sheets.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

16:09:25 local time map of india INDIA

20150604 * Power loom job working units to strike:

Owners of the power loom job working units in the district have decided to close down their units on June 13 as mark of protest against the sudden cut in job work charges given by the textile units for the production of fabrics.

R. Velusamy, president of the Tirupur District Power loom Job Working Units Owners Association, told The Hindu that the job working charges were raised by 27 per cent in 2014 as per the agreement reached upon between the job working units and the textile units that give job works for production of fabrics.

“But, the job work charges have been suddenly slashed recently by the textile units to the tune of 20 per cent, which has affected the viability of our member units,” he said. The strike would be held from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on June 13
to read.
THEHINDU

20150605 * CM should drop Chinchanasur, say weavers:

Taking serious exception to the Rs. 20 crore loss to the Karnataka Handloom Development Corporation and holding Textiles Minister Baburao Chinchanasur responsible for it, weavers have urged Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to drop the Minister from the Cabinet.

Addressing presspersons here recently, vice-presidents of the Akhila Karnataka Kaimagga Nekarara Sangha N.J. Malavade and Vittappa Gorantli and other office bearers alleged that it was because of the meddling by the Minister that the handloom corporation had suffered such a huge loss.

Misappropriation
They said it was because of the Minister that misappropriation of funds had taken place in the ‘madilu’ kit order and in the scheme of supply of uniforms by powerlooms.

“Because of the misappropriations and mismanagement, handloom workers have not got work and are being pushed to the streets,” Mr. Malavade said.
read more.
THEHINDU

20150604 * Trade union to press for HRA:

The CITU-affiliated Baniyan and General Workers Union, one of the major trade unions in Tirupur knitwear cluster, is planning to intensify its demand for introduction of house rent allowance (HRA) component in the textile workers’ wages.

Migrant workers
“House rentals are going up through the roofs at a high pace in Tirupur and the predominant migrant workers in the cluster are finding it difficult to afford accommodation costs without the house rent allowance,” pointed out C. Moorthy, the president of Baniyan and General Workers Union.

According to the trade unionists here, the unions and workers have been asking for house rent allowance in the talks held to revise the wage pacts on the past occasions.

“But on each time, the textile association representatives have been promising the issuance of such perks from the next agreement period onwards without subsequently fulfilling the promises,” said Mr. Moorthy.
read more.
THEHINDU

20150604 * Scrap excise duty, say synthetic textile firms:

The industry body for synthetic textiles has requested the Textiles Ministry for a break from excise duty on domestically-produced synthetic yarn, which it says is losing market share to cheaper imported yarn from China, Vietnam and Bangladesh.

Anil Rajvanshi, Chairman, Synthetic and Rayon Textiles Export Promotion Council, met Union Textile Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar earlier this week to make a case for scrapping the excise duty.

In a letter later submitted to the Ministry, Rajvanshi said that the Indian “manmade fibre industry is passing through a tough phase as the substantially high excise duty provides edge to Chinese producers to dump polyester fibres in India.”
read more.
THEHINDUBUSINESS

20150604 * Industries welcome removal of power cut:

High Tension (HT) power consuming industries in the region have welcomed the announcement of the State Government regarding withdrawal of 20 per cent power cut for these industries.

Welcoming the announcement, president of Tamil Nadu Electricity Consumers Association D. Balasundaram has said in a press release that the association hoped the current financial year would be completed without re-imposition of power restrictions on industries as several additional power generation facilities are coming into operation.
(…)
The restriction and control measures should be removed permanently to facilitate sustainability of the textile mills in the long run.
read more.
THEHINDU

20150604 * Repo rate cut fails to cheer knitwear cluster:

Reserve Bank of India’s decision to cut the key policy repo rate by 0.25 per cent did not cheer the capital intensive Tirupur knitwear cluster as a majority of the banks did not pass on the benefits of two earlier cuts made this year .

Even though almost all the public sector banks registered huge profits during the 2014-15 financial year, the lending rates were cut only by a very few banks subsequent to the cuts in repo rate made on January 15 and March 4.

“What is the point in exulting after the RBI announcement on rate cut if the banks are not ready to correspondingly reduce the lending rates?
read more.
THEHINDU

20150603 * Delayed monsoon to cut area under paddy, boost cotton: M Prabhakara Rao:

Interview with President, National Seed Association of India

A substantial shift in cropping pattern towards cotton and pulses is expected in the ensuing kharif season influenced by market factors and monsoon uncertainties, according to Mandava Prabhakara Rao, president of the National Seed Association of India (NSA), an umbrella organisation of the Indian seed companies. 

“We expect the cotton acreage to be all-time high or at the record high levels of 12.5 million hectare (ha) sown last year. Also, a decline of two to three million ha in paddy area is likely this year,” he says.

Rao, who is also the managing director of Hyderabad-based Nuziveedu Seeds Limited (NSL), shared with B Dasarath Reddy the seed industry’s perspective on how the kharif is going to pan out. Excerpts from an interview:

What would a delayed monsoon mean to the seed industry?
read more.
businessstandard

20150603 * As readymades rule, emporiums hang by a thread:

There used to be a time when tailoring and embroidery were taught in school. Children used to know to make different stitches and if a shirt button came off, they would put it back in a minute.

Over four decades ago, the famed thread emporiums opened up to cater to the demands of tailors and those learning their cross stitches and knots.

D. Pandian of Vani Thread Emporium on L. B. Road Adyar started his business in 1979, selling threads for trousers and blouses, buttons, needles and embroidery frames.

“I used to work with a cloth merchant in Mandaveli and they used to sell these items as a side business. On realising the demand for such items, I started my shop in Adyar.
And though it was difficult in the beginning and I faced a loss in the middle somewhere, over time, I had my own customers in tailors, most of whom I still retain” he explains.

However, the demand for tailoring needs did not last for long as people turned towards readymade garments.
“My shop is a one-man show and so I open at 1.30 p.m. and work till 11 p.m. My daughters are into other professions and this shop will remain only till I can work,” explains Mr. Pandian, who also does a bit of tailoring to survive.
“I employ a few tailors. They are entirely dependent on me,” he adds.
read more.
THEHINDU

15:39:25 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

20150605 * Powerloom owners allege extortion money demands by ‘labour leader:

The owners of power-loom units on Jhang Road, including Sidhar, Dhandara and Seven-mile have alleged that some “labour leaders” are demanding monthly extortion money and threatening them of dire consequences if they failed to meet their demands.

The owners have brought the matter into notice of City Police Officer Afzaal Kausar, demanding action against such elements.

However, Labour Qaumi Movement (LQM), a body working for powerloom workers’ rights, alleged the allegations were part of the owners’ plan to silence workers’ demand for better wages.

Requesting anonymity, some power-loom owners told Dawn that their representatives had met the CPO a couple of days ago and informed him about the threats being hurled at them by some “labour leaders”.
read more.
DAWNnew

20150604 * Karachi inferno: firefighters run out of water:

A fire engulfed a garments factory in Karachi on Wednesday evening, and continues to challenge the firefighters today, according to a local media outlet.

Earlier, an apparel making unit near Saba Cinema in New Karachi industrial area caught fire, which turned into a third-degree blaze as the fire brigade took their time reaching the site as usual.

Later, the inferno spread to a neighbouring factory as the fire tenders taking part in the operation ran out of water.

According to latest reports, the administration of Sakhi Hassan Hydrant has been directed to refill the fire tenders and bowsers so that they can continue the operation.
to read.
paktodaynew

20150603 * Fire erupts at Karachi garments factory:

A fire erupted at a garments factory in Karachi, devouring goods worth millions of rupees, ARY News reported.

The blaze initially erupted at first floor of the factory, located in sector 16-B of New Karachi, and later it engulfed to the entire building.

According to sources, the fire intensified owing to delayed arrival of fire fighters at the spot. The reasons of the fire could not be known as yet.

Commissioner Karachi Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui said at least 10 fire tenders were busy extinguishing the blaze, however he added that more fire fighting vans were required.

He ordered opening of closed hydrants so fire fighting operation could not be interrupted.
to read. & read more.
ARYnews pakistantimes

20150604 * Karachi blaze goes wild as firefighters run out of water:

A blaze that engulfed a garments factory here on Wednesday evening continues to challenge the firefighters, Samaa reported.

Earlier, an apparel making unit near Saba Cinema in New Karachi industrial area caught fire, which turned into a third-degree blaze as the fire brigade took their time reaching the site as usual.

Later, the inferno spread to a neighbouring factory as the fire tenders taking part in the operation ran out of water.

At the moment, the crews are waiting for the water bowser while the die-hard fire is going wild.

According to latest reports, the administration of Sakhi Hassan Hydrant has been directed to refill the fire tenders and bowsers so that they can continue the operation.
read more.
samaa

20150603 * Fire engulfs two towel-factories in New Karachi:

A fire broke out at a towel-factory in New Karachi on Wednesday evening, engulfing all three floors of the building.

Fire tenders that initially arrived to put out the fire ran out of water creating problems. The fire spread from the effected building to another towel-factory next door.

In order to control the situation fire tenders from all over Karachi have been summoned.
This is a developing story and will be updated periodically.
to read.
thenewspk

20150603 * Karachi: Fire in towel factory could not be controlled after 5 hours:

20150603 DUNYAnews
Fire started at 7pm in bushes near factory which spread due to thunderstorm and captured the factory

A towel factory in New Karachi Industrial Area caught fire on Wednesday which could not be controlled even after 5 hours despite all the efforts of fire brigade.

The fire started at 7pm in the bushes near the factory which spread due to thunderstorm and captured the factory building. Fire brigade reached the area and tried to control the fire but have not succeeded so far. Fire was declared of third degree and more fire tenders were called from the nearby areas.

According to the residents of area, the fire could not be controlled because fire brigade reached the area late and fire captured two buildings of the factory.
10 vehicles of fire brigade were trying to control the fire but water of many vehicles finished which disturbed the rescue operation.
Municipal Corporation officials also reached the area after the news of fire.

Assistant Commissioner New Karachi Arshad Wahid said that the pumping station of Industrial Area’s fire station is out of order that is why the fire brigade is bringing water from other areas and they are facing difficulties.
to read. & read more.
dunyanews thenewspk

20150604 * Fire damages two factories in New Karachi:

A Category III badly damaged two towel-making factories in New Karachi on Wednesday.

The blaze broke out in a factory in the evening, and soon engulfed all three floors of the building.

After some time, 10 fire tenders arrived to put out the fire, but they soon ran out of water. As they returned to fetch more water, the fire spread to the adjacent towel-making factory. Fire tenders from all over the city had been called to the scene.

However, some fire engines had already gone to extinguish a blaze in a godown in Banaras Colony and in electricity wires in another part of the city.

It took the firemen several hours to put out the blaze, which reduced goods worth millions of rupees to ashes.
The authorities are investigating to ascertain what caused the fire.
to read.
thenewspk

20150604 * Karachi factory fire put out after 5 hours:

A fire broke out at a towel factory in New Karachi has been put out after hectic efforts of more than five hours.

More than 10 fire tenders and a snorkel took part in dousing the fire, engulfed all three floors of the building.

The fire brigade officials had declared it a third category fire.

Fire tenders that initially arrived to put out the fire ran out of water creating problems. The fire spread from the effected building to another towel-factory next door.

In order to control the situation, fire tenders from all over Karachi were summoned.
to read. & read more.
geonewslogo LiveNewsPakistan

20150604 * Up In Flames: Fire erupts in towel factory:

A blaze broke out at a towel factory near Zikria Masjid in New Karachi Industrial Area on Wednesday evening.

Dozens of employees were busy working inside the multi-storey building of Saeed Towel Factory when the fire erupted.

A fire department spokesperson said that the cause of the third-degree inferno had yet to be ascertained, adding that the gusts of wind had caused the fire to spread to another neighbouring factory.
Meanwhile, DSP Irshad Bhutto said that no loss of human life was reported since the factory had been evacuated immediately. He added that the nearby factories had also been evacuated.
to read.

20150604 * Human resource: ‘Labour policy draft lacks enforcement mechanism’:

The biggest problem with labour laws and policies in our country has always been the lack of implementation, says Khalid Mahmood of the Labour Education Foundation.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Mahmood says that the draft of the latest Punjab Labour Policy fails to address this aspect. “We have seen and experienced earlier the problem where workers have been given the right to unionise. Owners do not let them. Unions exist only on paper. Most often, workers are too intimidated by owners to unionise,” he says.

The same problem has been highlighted by Chaudhry Nasim Iqbal, the Pakistan Worker’s Federation (PWF) Punjab region president. He says that the new labour policy has been drafted keeping in mind the GSP Plus status awarded to the country by the European Union.

“It addresses child labour, gender equality and bonded labour.
However, the problem lies with the implementation framework.
Take, for example, the tri-partite labour conference that will be constituted under the policy. It will have representation of the government, unions and owners in a policy dialogue.
This clause has been a part of previous labour policies. It was never implemented,” he says.
read more.

20150603 * Ebad assents to Sindh Workers Welfare Fund Act:

Sindh Governor Dr Ishrat-ul-Ebad Khan on Tuesday signed the Sindh Workers Welfare Fund Act 2014 to be enforced throughout the province with immediate effect.

The act is aimed at providing the establishment of the Workers Welfare Fund, for which the government would constitute a board of official members.

The board would consist of a chairperson, three members of the Sindh Assembly, who would be nominated by the speaker, three members from employers on the recommendation of the industrial associations and one representative each from the health department, the education department, the industries department, the works and services department and the revenue board.

The labour department minister would be the chairperson of the board.
The board would appoint a secretary, who would be its chief executive officer.
to read.
thenewspk

20150605 * Standing committee recommends zero sales tax on textiles:

Standing Committee on Textile Industry in a letter to Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman has recommended zero sales tax for the value-added textile sector in the upcoming Federal Budget 2015-16.

MNA Khawaja Ghulam Rasool Koreja, standing committee on textile chairman, in his letter sent on Wednesday has referred to his discussion with the FBR chairman on sales tax increase from two percent to five percent.
He said, “The committee unanimously recommended zero percent sales tax on the entire supply chain of the value-added textile export sector as prevailed prior to March, 2013.”
read more.
thenewspk

20150605 * Mills, ginners keep on the sidelines ahead of budget:

Main participants kept on the sidelines on the cotton market ahead of federal budget for 2015-16, dealers said on Wednesday.

The official spot rate was inert at Rs 5400, dealers said. In the ready session, only 1400 bales of cotton sold at Rs 4600, they said. Commenting on the present trend in the market, cotton analyst, Naseem Usman said both buyers and sellers were preferred to be sideline ahead of budget.

In the meantime, he said that some buyers were also not interested in new deals as it is most likely that new crop may start arriving at the end of June. But the ginners were keen to sell unsold cotton as much as they can sell, he added.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

20150605 * KCA urges government not to impose ST on raw cotton:

Amin Hashwani, Chairman, the Karachi Cotton Association has expressed great concern over the intention of the government to impose sales tax on raw cotton in the federal budget 2015-16 in order to generate its revenue.

The KCA has always strongly opposed the proposal to impose sales tax on raw cotton, as it discourages production and inhibits the smooth flow of exports and runs counter to the laid down government policy of encouraging cotton trade in the country.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

20150603 * Textile machinery import down by 52.48% in April:

Pakistan’s import of textile machinery plummeted to $31.721 million in April 2015, down by 52.48 percent, the government statistics said.

Fall in textile machinery import stands at $35.033 million in April 2015 from $66.754 million in April 2014, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics said.

The country imported $367.846 million of textile machinery during July-April 2014-15 which was lower by over 25 percent or $125.517 million as compared to the machinery import of $493.363 million in July-April 2013-14.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

20150604 * Protection to PSF: Textile mills cannot compete in manmade fibre products:

20150604 TRIBUNE
Viscose staple fibre, which was not being manufactured locally, should be allowed to be imported at zero customs duty. PHOTO: FILE

Highlighting some of the pressing issues of the textile sector, All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) Acting Chairman Wisal Monnoo has said that the industry lacks the capability to fully compete in manmade fibre textile and clothing products due to the protection provided to local polyester staple fibre (PSF) manufacturers.

“At present, 6% customs duty and 6% import incidental together with local PSF manufacturers’ margin make PSF available at around 20% price differential,” he said.

“The textile industry is predominately cotton-based with an odd fibre mix – 80% cotton and 20% manmade fibre against the global average of 70% manmade fibre and 30% cotton.”
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20150603 * Aptma seeks zero duty on polyester fibre:

The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) on Wednesday urged the government to bring down import duty on polyester staple fibre (PSF) to zero.

In a press release, Aptma acting chairman Wisal Monnoo said that all imports of specialty fibres including acrylic be allowed at zero per cent import duty enabling the industry to diversify its product base.

He further said that imports of viscose staple fibre, which is not being manufactured locally, should also be allowed at zero per cent customs duty.

“The country’s textile industry is unable to compete in man-made fibre (MMF) textile and clothing products owing to the protection extended to local PSF,” the Aptma office bearer said.
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BALDIA tekst

20150603 * Tortured to death: Political worker killed in police custody:

A worker of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Waseem Dehlavi, was tortured to death by police personnel at the Aziz Bhatti police station on Wednesday. The post-mortem report confirmed that Waseem died due to cardiac failure resulting from a head injury.

Meanwhile, a murder case has been registered against the personnel at their own police station on the orders of Sindh IG Ghulam Haider Jamali.

Dehlavi, a father of three and an employee of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board, was arrested along with two of his brothers during a raid at his house in Muhajir Camp, Baldia Town, on Tuesday morning.
“Police personnel in plain clothes barged into our house and arrested them in front of the entire neighbourhood,” said his teary-eyed widow outside the hospital.
“No inquiry committee can return my husband.
The perpetrators should be killed in the same manner that they killed my husband.”

Shortly after Dehlavi’s death, the police released his two brothers.
The brothers too accused the police of torturing Dehlavi and them too, after they were failed to give them a hefty amount of bribe. “Until Dehlavi  was alive, we were hardened criminals and were accused of being involved in the Baldia factory fire and other crimes,” said Dehlavi’s brother, Adil. “If they were right, why did they release us now?” he questioned.
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thenewspk

15:39:25 local time map of uzbekistan UZBEKISTAN

* Uzbek police brutalize human rights monitor Elena Urlaeva:

Police in Uzbekistan arrested and brutalized human rights monitor Elena Urlaeva on Sunday, May 31, as she was documenting systematic, government-organized forced labor in the country’s cotton fields.

The Cotton Campaign demands justice for Elena Urlaeva and calls on the United States government, European Union and international institutions engaged with Uzbekistan on labor and agricultural issues, particularly the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the World Bank, to cease further engagement unless authorities in Tashkent allow human rights activists to carry out their important and completely legal monitoring work.

“I have never experienced such humiliation in my life, said Elena Urlaeva, head of the Human Rights Alliance of Uzbekistan.
“The police were laughing and enjoying humiliating me.”

On May 31, Ms. Urlaeva documented the Uzbek government’s forced mobilization of teachers and doctors to clear weeds from cotton fields near the city of Chinaz in Tashkent region.
Kindergarten teachers told her that the mayor had ordered the schools to send them to weed the fields.
Urlaeva also photographed 60 physicians pressed into work in the cotton fields by representatives of the city hall.
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GLOBAL

* ‘Ethical Fashion’ Champions Marginalised Artisans from South:

“Work is dignity,” says Simone Cipriani. “People want employment, not charity.”

With that in mind, Italian-born Cipriani founded a programme in 2009 called the Ethical Fashion Initiative (EFI) that links some of the world’s top fashion talents to marginalised artisans – mostly women – in East and West Africa, Haiti and the West Bank.

Now a flagship programme of the International Trade Centre, a joint agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Geneva-based EFI works with leading designers such as Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood to facilitate the development and production of “high-quality, ethical fashion items” from artisans living in low-income rural and urban areas.

The EFI says its aim is also to “enable Africa’s rising generation of fashion talent to forge environmentally sound, sustainable and fulfilling creative collaborations with local artisans.” Under its slogan “not charity, just work”, the Initiative advocates for a fairer global fashion industry.

This year, for the first time, the EFI is collaborating with the most important international trade fair for men’s fashion, Pitti Immagine Uomo, to host designers who represent four African countries.
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IPS

MAURITIUS

* Mauritius – learning to organize in the supply chain:

IndustriALL Global Union affiliates in Mauritius met to discuss ways to organize in the garment industry supply chain.

Union leaders and workers in export processing zones in Mauritius took part in the joint IndustriALL/FES workshop on 27 to 29 May.

Garment workers have the lowest minimum wage in the country, and IndustriALL affiliates reported long working hours with an obligatory overtime of ten hours per week.

Participants also relayed the difference in treatment between local and migrant workers, which is illegal under national legislation.

Most textile and garment factories are located in the country’s Export Processing Zone, where trade unions do not have access to the plant to organize workers. Hence less than 5 per cent of the 60,000 workers are unionized.

Mauritius has ratified the International Labour Organization’s Convention number 87 on the right to freedom of association and organize, but it is not implemented. Participants agreed that the law needs amending to force freedom of association in export processing zones.
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INDUSRIall

LESOTHO

* Lesotho unions merge:

IndustriALL Global Union affiliates organising predominantly in Lesotho’s textile and garment sector merged on 31 May to form a new union, the Independent Democratic Union of Lesotho (IDUL). 

Bargaining power in Lesotho has deteriorated significantly over a decade as splinter unions has emerged, competing with each other for membership.
As a result individual union membership has remained below the threshold for recognition in many factories.
This situation has benefitted employers but has resulted in the erosion of real wages against inflation, so that workers are barely able to survive on their earnings.

Lesotho affiliates Factory Workers Union (Fawu), Lesotho Clothing and Allied Workers Union (Lecawu) and National Union of Textile Workers (Nutex) recognised that the only way to engage government and employers on a living wage would be to build unity amongst workers.
They have been engaging their membership to build support for a merger whilst working together over the last two years, supported by IndustriALL and its Swedish affiliate IF Metall.

On 31 May the new constitution was unanimously adopted by the 92 delegates at the inaugural congress. Newly elected President Leticia Mohobelo, appealed for unity to be maintained amongst textile and garment workers in Lesotho.
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INDUSRIall

map of asia ASIA

* WikiLeaks Offers $100,000 Bounty for Copies of Asian Trade Pact Pushed by Obama:

Whistleblower website WikiLeaks offered a $100,000 bounty for copies of a Pacific trade pact that is a central plank of President Barack Obama’s diplomatic pivot to Asia on Tuesday.

WikiLeaks, which has published leaked chapters of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiating text before, started a drive to crowdsource money for the reward, just as US unions launched a new push to make the text public.

“The transparency clock has run out on the TPP. No more secrecy. No more excuses. Let’s open the TPP once and for all,” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said in a statement.

Nine hours after the campaign was launched, WikiLeaks’ website was showing $25,835 pledged by more than 100 people.

The text of the TPP, which is still under negotiation and would boost the flow of goods between 12 nations from Japan to Chile, is a classified document. The US Trade Representative has increased availability of the text to lawmakers, but critics complain there is still not enough oversight.

Union group AFL-CIO led a march on the USTR office in Washington to demand to read the text, but said it found the doors locked.
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jak-globe

* TPP, the largest trade deal ever, is being drafted in secret:

Demand transparency and a halt to negotiations now!

Don’t let corporations hijack another trade deal!

Corporations are trying to manipulate the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement—a free trade agreement being negotiated right now that would be bigger than NAFTA—to increase their power over the global economy, so they have a say in everything from your rights at work to the prices of your prescriptions and the safety of your child’s toys.

Send a message to your Trade Minister – Show us the text!
read more.
  EQUALtimes

 

 

map of Asia

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

There are updates under ‘special overviews’:

* 24 April 2013 THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE Part 6 20150324- now
&
* Philippene footwear Factory fire 20150513-now
&
* The BALDIA (& Lahore) Fire September 2012 –PART 4 20150113- NOW
&
* Minimum Wage-LIVING WAGE- PART 8: 20150302-NOW

HEADLINES:

CHINA
* Obama: China may join TPP

PHLIPPINES
* Valenzuela fire inspection to affect 12,000 workers
* VIDEO | Valenzuela City gets stricter on fire safety; 63 Kentex victims identified thru DNA
* Kentex officials assailed in P136K offer for waivers
* Special DOJ team builds up factory fire raps
* 63 of 72 Valenzuela City fire victims identified
* KMU hits Kentex for waiver offer to victims
* Aquino is selective in call for accountability over Kentex fire – KMU
* Kentex probe results up for review
* Inspection teams to be dispatched to factories
* Militant group lambasts Noy for absolving DoLE of any responsibility in Kentex fire
* Aquino’s tack on Kentex fire deaths ‘selective political gimmickry’ – labor, women’s groups
* SSS eases procedures for benefit claims of Kentex fire victims
* Unions urge labor standards in reassessment of Metro Manila factories

VIET NAM
* Sexual harassment turns increasingly sophisticated at Vietnam workplaces
* Female workers paid FDI pittance
* Difficulties facing migrant female workers: survey
* Garments, footwear on export high
* Vietnam attends 104th International Labour Conference
* Vietnam to benefit most when TPP reached this year: US Assistant State Secretary
* FTA opportunities, challenges are equal: official
* FTAs demand trade rule awareness
* Vietnam firms should be more active as FTAs take effect: insiders
* European media hails trade deal between Vietnam and EAEU

CAMBODIA
* Report slams ‘impunity’
* Taking to the streets: Freedom of peaceful assembly in Cambodia
* Transported Like Pigs: Cambodia’s Garment Makers Risk Death Just to Get to Work
* Opposing Unions Compete for International Support on Draft Law
* Strike impact ripples: GMAC
* BetterFactories Media Updates 03 June
* BetterFactories Media Updates 01 June
* BetterFactories Media Updates, 30-31 May

BURMA/MYANMAR
* Workers consider Supreme Court writ
* President promises to set minimum wage

NEPAL
* Labour shortage hits businesses

BANGLADESH
* Labour rules in the offing
* Body drafts rules on labour law implementation
* Draft rules of amended Labour Act 2013 approved
* Bangladesh finalises labour policy
* Aleem Jute Mills workers demand PM’s intervention
* City factory catches fire, 9 units working
* 1 injured in Dhaka shoe factory fire
* Footwear factory catches fire in city
* 1 (-2) die in Gazipur road crash, angry workers block highway
* Errant garment factories face action
* Export tax rises to 1%
* Apparel source tax raised
* Tell PVH not to cut and run from union supplier in Bangladesh!
* 100 economic zones to be set up in 15 years
* RMG park construction starts in Sept
* Largest RMG city being set up in Gazaria
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE:
* No more delay in Rana Plaza case trials

INDIA
* Power loom job working units to strike
* CM should drop Chinchanasur, say weavers
* Trade union to press for HRA
* Scrap excise duty, say synthetic textile firms
* Industries welcome removal of power cut
* Repo rate cut fails to cheer knitwear cluster
* Delayed monsoon to cut area under paddy, boost cotton: M Prabhakara Rao
* As readymades rule, emporiums hang by a thread

PAKISTAN
* Powerloom owners allege extortion money demands by ‘labour leader
* Karachi inferno: firefighters run out of water
* Fire erupts at Karachi garments factory
* Karachi blaze goes wild as firefighters run out of water
* Fire engulfs two towel-factories in New Karachi
* Karachi: Fire in towel factory could not be controlled after 5 hours
* Fire damages two factories in New Karachi
* Karachi factory fire put out after 5 hours
* Up In Flames: Fire erupts in towel factory
* Human resource: ‘Labour policy draft lacks enforcement mechanism’
* Ebad assents to Sindh Workers Welfare Fund Act
* Standing committee recommends zero sales tax on textiles
* Mills, ginners keep on the sidelines ahead of budget
* KCA urges government not to impose ST on raw cotton
* Textile machinery import down by 52.48% in April
* Protection to PSF: Textile mills cannot compete in manmade fibre products
* Aptma seeks zero duty on polyester fibre
THE BALDIA FACTORY FIRE:
* Tortured to death: Political worker killed in police custody

UZBEKISTAN
* Uzbek police brutalize human rights monitor Elena Urlaeva

GLOBAL
* ‘Ethical Fashion’ Champions Marginalised Artisans from South

MAURITIUS
* Mauritius – learning to organize in the supply chain

LESOTHO
* Lesotho unions merge

ASIA
* WikiLeaks Offers $100,000 Bounty for Copies of Asian Trade Pact Pushed by Obama
* TPP, the largest trade deal ever, is being drafted in secret

latest tweets (& news)

Convention on the Rights of the Child
Universal Declaration of Human Rights

I wonder who they are
The men who really run this land
And I wonder why they run it
With such a thoughtless hand

What are their names
And on what streets do they live
I'd like to ride right over
This afternoon and give
Them a piece of my mind
About peace for mankind
Peace is not an awful lot to ask
    David Crosby

I wonder who they are
The people who are buying these clothes
I'd like to know what they've paid for it
How much the makers have paid for this
Fairer income is not an awful lot to ask
Better working conditions is not an awful lot to ask
    A. Searcher

For more and other (labour) news you can follow on twitter: @asearcher2