in the news 16-19 June 2015

map of asia ASIA

20150616 * New Findings on Conditions Across Walmart’s Garment Supplier Factories in Cambodia, India and Indonesia:

Walmart is not just a retailer; it is the largest private employer in the world and dominates the global supply chains of nearly every consumer product.

Such a large and complex supply infrastructure also means that Walmart is able to conceal the exploitation of the workers who create those thousands of products.
This study will focus on one such product – garments, one of the oldest and most globalized commodities.

The study will cover three of the six major countries that supply to Walmart: Cambodia, India, and Indonesia.

The study focuses specifi cally on Walmart because of its role as the world’s largest retailer, its reputation for keeping costs at a mini- mum, and its trendsetter status in the global garment industry.
read more in pdf: 20150609 Walmart Supply Chain Report.
ASFWa jobswithjustice sld-india LIPSsedane CLEC

20150619 * Asean to assume China’s role as low-cost manufacturing:

ASEAN is poised to become Asia’s next low-cost manufacturing powerhouse as wages in China’s Pearl River Delta (PRD) factory belt continue to creep up. As China sees waning wage competitiveness, Asean stands to gain, with its lower costs and abundant supply of labour over the next 20 years.

Asean’s high rate of GDP growth and rising household affluence means companies relocating from the PRD could capture a share of a large and growing consumer market.The latest survey conducted by Standard Chartered shows that manufacturers in the PRD – spanning nine cities in China’s Guangdong Province and accounting for 27 per cent of Chinese exports – continue to face persistent labour shortages and rising wages.
As a whole, Asean has strong and varied manufacturing capabilities – from low-cost factories in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Indonesia, to mixed manufacturing and electronics in Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines, and high value-added production in Singapore.
read more.

02:55:47 local time map of china CHINA

20150616 * Workers at Fast Retailing supplier strike over move:

Hundreds of workers are on strike over a relocation plan at a factory in southern China that supplies to clothing brand Uniqlo, labor rights groups said on Tuesday.

The workers at the factory of Shenzhen Artigas Clothing & Leatherware Co began the strike on June 8, Alexandra Chan, project officer of Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM), told Reuters. They are also demanding that some employees who have been dismissed be rehired, she noted.

Shenzhen Artigas Clothing is part of Hong Kong-based Lever Style Inc, which supplies garments to several leading global brands, including Armani Exchange and Calvin Klein.
Lever Style has been shifting manufacturing from China to Vietnam and other factories in Southeast Asia over the past several years, its executives have been quoted in media reports as saying.

The management of the Shenzhen factory was not immediately available for comment. Officials from Lever Style in Hong Kong were not immediately available for comment, while its chairman and chief executive, Stanley Szeto, did not immediately reply to an e-mail request for comment.

Fast Retailing, the owner of Uniqlo brand, confirmed that some workers at the garment factory are on strike, although it did not provide numbers.

“While we are in the process of confirming the facts related to the strike, we have requested the management of Lever Shirt Co to discuss this matter with the workers and reach a peaceful resolution,” Fast Retailing said in an e-mailed statement.

Major manufacturers have been moving some of their production away from southern China to inland or to other Asian countries such as Vietnam as labor and production costs escalate.
read more.

20150617 * Backgrounder: China’s free trade agreements with other countries:

China and Australia signed a free trade agreement (FTA) in Canberra on Wednesday.

The Chinese government considers FTAs as a way to further open up to the outside world and speed up domestic reforms, an effective approach to integrate into the global economy and strengthen economic cooperation with other economies, as well as an important supplement to the multilateral trading system.

The following are the FTAs signed between China and other countries:

In November 2004, China and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) signed the Agreement on Trade in Goods that entered into force in July 2005.

In January 2007, the two sides signed the Agreement on Trade in Services, which entered into effect in July of the same year. In August 2009, China and ASEAN signed the Agreement on Investment.

In November 2006, China and Pakistan inked the FTA that took effect in July 2007. In February 2009, the two countries signed the Agreement on Trade in Services of the China-Pakistan FTA.

In November 2005, China and Chile signed the FTA that entered into force in October 2006. In April 2008, the two countries inked the Supplementary Agreement on Trade in Services of the FTA.

In April 2008, China and New Zealand signed the FTA that entered into force in October of the same year. Covering such areas as trade in goods, trade in services and investment, the agreement is the first FTA between China and a developed country.

China and Singapore signed an FTA in October 2008. Under the agreement, the two countries will accelerate the liberalization of trade in goods on the basis of the Agreement on Trade in Goods of the China-ASEAN FTA and further liberalize the trade in services.
read more. & to read.

20150615 * China’s trade unions to reach more migrant workers:

The Chairman of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) Li Jianguo said unions at all levels should provide better services for the migrant workers on Monday.

The trade unions must enhance their publicity among the migrant workers and include as many migrant workers into the unions as possible, Li said at a plenary meeting of the presidium of the ACFTU.

The ACFTU meeting was held to review the work of the first half of the year and lay out the assignments for the second, according to a statement from the ACFTU.

By the end of 2014, the number of migrant workers in China stood at about 274 million, one-fifth of the country’s population.

Li urged the trade unions to focus on grassroots and have a clear-cut stance on protecting the legitimate rights and interests of the workers.
to read.

02:55:47 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

20150618 * Kentex owners sued:

The family members of fire victims in Valenzuela factory sued the owners of Kentex Manufacturing Corporation and CJC Manpower Services before Valenzuela Prosecutor’s Office on Wednesday.

Among the individuals to face case of reckless imprudence resulting to multiple homicide and physical injuries are Kentex President Viato Ang; General Manager Ongkin Guan; board of director members Jose Tan, Charles Ng and Mary Grace Ching; and CJC Manpower Services owner Cynthia Dimayuga.

“’Yung tulong na naibigay wala na medyo ubos na rin, pinipilit naming na mabigyan talaga ng hustisya ‘yung dalawa,” said family victim who lost two members, Ammied Rada, in an ABS-CBN interview.

On top of the cases filed by 51 fire victims’ kin, these owners will also face labor cases filed by the survivors such as violation of Republic Act 6727 or Wage Rationalization Act due to minimum wage and non-compliance to required holiday pay and overtime pay to the workers.
read more. & see video report.
philstarNEW ABS CBN

20150617 * Two more bodies believed trapped in gutted Kentex factory:

Investigators will return to the fire-gutted Kentex slipper factory in Valenzuela City to look for two more bodies believed to be still buried in the debris, a police official said Wednesday.

According to Senior Supt. Emmanuel Aranas, deputy chief of the Philippine National Police’s Crime Laboratory, two families have sought assistance in locating the bodies of two workers who might have also been trapped in the factory during the May 13 incident.

“The local government of Valenzuela City was told of the two more bodies that are not retrieved yet,” Aranas said. “They then informed the Crime Laboratory about it.”
read more.& read more.

20150617 * Families of factory fire victims sue Kentex owners:

The families of some of the victims in the deadly fire that hit the slippers factory of Kentex Manufacturing Corp. last May 13 have sued the owners of the firm.

They filed charges of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide and physical injuries against Kentex president Beato Ang, general manager Ongkin Guan, and board of directors members Jose Tan, Charles Ng and Mary Grace Ching before the Valenzuela City Prosecutor’s Office on Wednesday.

Also included in the criminal complaint was Cynthia Dimayuga, owner of CJC Manpower Services, a sub-contractor of Kentex.

The complainants also filed charges for violating Republic Act (RA) No. 6727 or the Wage Rationalization Act for not following the minimum wage and not providing the required holiday benefit package and overtime pay to the workers.
read more.

20150616 * Kentex owners sued despite money offer:

Saying they were not interested in the settlement offer made by Kentex Manufacturing Inc. at P136,000 per victim, 12 families who lost relatives in the May 13 factory fire sued the firm’s owners on Tuesday.

“I just want justice for my son,” Marilyn Yco, the mother of one of the victims, 24-year-old Frederick, said as she added: “Those who are liable must be held accountable.”

The 12 families were among the 47 people who filed a criminal case of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide or physical injuries against the slipper manufacturer and CJC Manpower Services—the company’s manpower supplier—in the Valenzuela City Prosecutor’s Office. The complainants also included survivors and workers displaced by the factory fire which left 72 people dead.

Both firms were also charged with violating the labor code, wage rationalization regulations and the Social Security System law.
read more.

20150616 * Kentex trying to create bandwagon-effect for settlement – KMU:

National labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno condemned the capitalists of Kentex Manufacturing, Inc. for the latter’s claim that relatives of 30 out of the 72 victims of the factory fire have decided to settle and not file charges against the company.

KMU said the capitalists of Kentex are merely trying to create a bandwagon-effect for a settlement among the victims’ families, are taking advantage of economic hardships being faced by the families, and are offering a meager amount.

“We seriously doubt the Kentex management’s claim about the number of families who have agreed to settle. We believe that it is publicizing a high number in order to try to create a bandwagon effect for settlement,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.
read more.

20150613 * [Justice for Kentex workers!] Safe workplaces for Filipino workers! Junk contractualization!:

Today, we mark one month of the Kentex factory fire which killed more than 72 workers by calling for justice for the victims and survivors and for all Filipino workers.

We are also calling for safe workplaces for Filipino workers and for the junking of contractualization. We vow to respond to the worst factory fire in Philippine history with a most resolute struggle for justice.

We are revolted that our quest for justice has been met by Pres. Noynoy Aquino with an attempt to whitewash the accountability of top officials of national government agencies.

A tragedy of this scale should have meant the voluntary resignation of the said officials, but Aquino is seeing to it that Labor Sec. Rosalinda Baldoz and Interior and Local Government Sec. Mar Roxas will keep their posts. Aquino’s pronouncements and actions show us that we have to fight hard for justice for the victims and survivors of the Kentex factory fire.
read more.

20150619 * After Kentex fire, textile factory fails Valenzuela City safety checks:

A textile factory in Valenzuela City became the first establishment to be shut down after City Hall launched fire safety checks after the deadly May 13 Kentex factory fire.

Stentex Corp. in Barangay (village) Malanday was ordered closed Thursday as local officials enforced the so-called “No FSIC, No Business Permit” policy. FSIC stands for Fire Safety Inspection Certificate.

To mark the factory for closure, a sign with the photos of Bureau of Fire Protection director Chief Supt. Ariel Barayuga and city fire department officer-in-charge Senior Supt. Wilberto Rico Neil Kwan Tiu was posted on the Stentex gates.

About 40 employees may be affected by the factory’s closure, the Inquirer learned. More than 100 establishments in Valenzuela face shutdown for not having FSICs, City Hall earlier said.
to read.

20150618 * Group: 99% of factories near Kentex violate labor laws:

Around 99 percent of factories in Valenzuela City which are near or around the razed Kentex factory violate labor laws, according to labor coalition Nagkaisa.

In a media briefing in Quezon City, the group said that this was the finding of the inspection of factories in Valenzuela conducted by tripartite task force, consisting of representatives from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Nagkaisa and National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC).

The task force’s goal was to verify employer compliance with all existing labor laws in the light of Kentex factory fire tragedy that killed 72 workers.

The surprise inspections were carried out by 19 teams beginning ,June 8, 2015 or twenty six days after a deadly fire destroyed Kentex.

After five inspection days, Nagkaisa found out that 99 percent of an initial 42 establishments around the Kentex factory in Barangay Ugong and in other factories in other barangays Valenzuela City have systematically violated the general labor and basic occupational health and safety standards.

Majority of those inspected establishments showed employers do not comply with the current mandated daily minimum wage of P481 and do not remit their employees’ Social Security System, PhilHealth and Pag-ibig premiums, Nagkaisa said.

Most of the workers interviewed by the inspectors also were susceptible to underpayment of wages and benefits because they do not know how to compute their overtime pay and other work benefits, the group added.
read more.

20150618 * More Valenzuela firms face closure:

More commercial establishments near Kentex Manufacturing Corp. face closure for violating fire safety and labor regulations, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) reported yesterday.

After a week of inspecting factories in Valenzuela, TUCP said, 90 percent of the establishments surrounding the footwear factory were found violating labor laws.

TUCP is set to make public today the list of non-compliant factories and other findings during its joint inspection with the Department of Labor and Employment.

After a fire gutted the Kentex factory and killed 72 workers, President Aquino ordered concerned government agencies to undertake massive inspections of all commercial establishments in Valenzuela.
to read.

01:55:47 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

20150617 * Vietnam holds int’l seminar to protect child rights:

Vietnam held an international seminar on abolishing harmful activities towards children on June 16, on the sidelines of the 29th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC).

The event, which drew representatives from 40 countries, international agencies and non-governmental organisations, was to carry out the country’s commitments in connection with its bid for HRC membership.

Speaking at the event, Ambassador Nguyen Trung Thanh, Head of Vietnam’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations and other international organisations in Geneva, highlighted efforts made by nations to protect women and children’s rights through implementing relevant international conventions.
read more.

20150618 * More than half of Vietnamese dissatisfied with their salary: survey:

Up to 54 percent of employees in Vietnam are not satisfied with their current salary, according to a new survey from the recruitment firm VietnamWorks.

Up to 54 percent of employees in Vietnam are not satisfied with their current salary, according to a new survey from the recruitment firm VietnamWorks.

Most of employers in the country have not been able to assess salary benchmark data to determine the best pay for their current employees and candidates, said the survey of 204 employers in June.

Up to 55 percent of questioned companies said they prefer to base their salary level on the pre-set salary budget, and 62 percent find it wise to determine salary through direct negotiation.

According to another VietnamWorks survey of 6,000 employees in 2014, 36 percent of respondents said their monthly salary were under VND6 million (US$285), and 32 percent from VND6-9 million.
read more.

20150617 * Eurasian trade deal promising:

20150617 VNNews
Workers on a production line at an export garment and textile establishment in central Ha Tinh Province.— VNA/VNS Photo Tran Viet

The Vietnam-Eurasian Economic Union Free Trade Agreement signed on May 29 is expected to offer ample opportunities and tough challenges to Vietnamese businesses.

According to the agreement, Vietnam will have great opportunities to sell strong products to the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), encompassing Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, and Kyrgyzstan. Aquatic products, garments, and leather will be the key beneficiaries of the deal as they enjoy zero per cent tariff.

Dang Phuong Dung, Vice President and Secretary General of the Vietnam Textile Association (VITAS), said that before signing the free trade pact with the EEU, Viet Nam had an average export value of about US$17 million in garment products to each member countries of the union, accounting for 2 per cent of the total national export value of textile and garment, partly due to high tax rates for imported garments to the countries.
read more.
VNNews new

20150619 * US$300 mil credit package to promote India-Vietnam garment cooperation:

The Indian Government has officially kicked off the preferential credit package of US$300 million to promote India-Vietnam garment cooperation.

The credit package will help Indian businesses develop factories in Vietnam, and promote concerned Vietnamese businesses to expand cooperation with Indian partners.

It will support Vietnam’s garment and textile businesses to develop material sources and implement weaving and dyeing projects.
read more.

20150617 * EEU trade deal brightens Vietnam’s trade horizon:

The Vietnam-Eurasian Economic Union Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed on May 29 is expected to offer vast opportunities for businesses operating in Vietnam’s garment and textile industry.

Vietnam Garment and Textile Group (Vinatex) director general Le Tien Truong said exports for the industry will most likely jump exponentially once the trade pact comes into full force.
read more. & read more.
VOVonline DTI

20150618 * Cotton imports grow strongly:

Enterprises in Vietnam spent US$712 million importing 447,000 tons of cotton in the first five months of this year, up 35.2% in volume and 8.9% in value compared to the same period last year.

The volume included 105,000 tons of cotton worth US$166 million, growing 39.1% in volume and 8.9% in value, Vietnam Television (VTV) reports, citing figures of the Vietnam Textile and Garment Association (Vitas).

Vitas said cotton imports were higher than shipments of other materials used by apparel producers in the country in January-May. The import price of cotton in the period went down by 19.6% year-on-year to US$1,593 a ton.

In the year to May, Vietnam had imported 326,000 tons of fiber worth US$638 million, rising 11.2% in volume and 3.5% in value over the first five months of last year.
The import price of fiber was US$1,954 a ton, down 6.8% year-on-year.

Vitas projected cotton imports would continue to surge in the third quarter of this year as local apparel companies need more material to turn out products to meet higher demand of importers.
Some 62% of local apparel firms reported orders in this quarter have grown over 10% against the first quarter of this year.

Vietnam posted textile and garment exports of almost US$24.5 billion, increasing nearly 16% compared to 2013, according to a report by the Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex). Vietnam’s major export markets were the United States, Europe, Japan and South Korea.

Apparel exports in the first five months of this year went up 8.7% year-on-year to US$8.11 billion, according to the General Department of Customs. Apparel shipments in May alone were US$1.65 billion, up 0.8% year-on-year.

Vinatex expects Vietnam to export US$28-28.5 billion worth of textile and garment products for this year.
to read in BUSINESS IN BRIEF 18/6 (16th item).

20150619 * EU FTA to unlock green-growth:

The free trade agreement being negotiated between Vietnam and the EU is expected to encourage businesses to reform and update technology, an important factor in promoting green growth in the country, according to the deputy chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee.

Tat Thanh Cang, speaking at a briefing organised by EuroCham and its Green Growth Sector on June 18 in HCM City, said that Vietnam should target green growth to ensure sustainable development.

“In Vietnam, green growth mainly includes sustainable production and consumption, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, greening business activities business via environmentally-friendly advanced technologies, building sustainable infrastructure, and reforming economic instruments,” Cang said.
read more. & read more.
VOVonline VIETNAMplus

01:55:47 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

20150616 * Child Garment Workers Not A Problem, Minister Says:

The labor minister said Tuesday there were so few underage workers in the garment industry that “we can count them on our fingers,” but a unionist and an NGO countered that child labor was still rife in the country’s smaller garment factories.

Speaking to reporters after an industrial relations conference at the InterContinental Hotel in Phnom Penh, Ith Sam Heng, the minister, conceded that child labor was an issue in the agriculture and fishing industries, but claimed that the government had nearly eradicated the illegal practice in garment factories.

“It has been found that there were only a few cases and we can count them on our fingers,” Mr. Sam Heng said. “There were only four to 10 cases.”

He added that in most of these cases, the underage workers lied about their age in order to get a job.

Ath Thorn, head of the country’s largest independent garment workers union, said that because the country’s larger factories are subject to significant oversight from the government and the International Labor Organization, it was difficult for them to hire underage workers.

However, he said, many of the larger factories sub-contract to smaller factories that are poorly, if ever, inspected.

“Small factories have hundreds of cases [of child labor] because government inspection is weak,” he said. “There is poor implementation of the law, so when they go inspect the factory, the factory knows in advance.”

Moeun Tola, head of the Community Legal Education Center’s labor program, said not enough was being done to prevent factories from hiring underage workers using fake documents.
read more.

20150616 * Garment Workers Again Target $177 Minimum Wage:

Garment workers protest last year for a minimum monthly wage of $177. KT Photo: Chor Sokunthea

Cambodia’s garment workers will renew their campaign for a monthly wage of $177 next month, when talks start for a new minimum wage, labor leaders said yesterday.

The demand for a 38 percent hike from the minimum monthly of $128, which came into effect in January, is not tied to productivity increases. Instead, Ath Thorn, head of the Cambodian Labor Confederation, says unions will base demands on research that indicated workers need between $150 and $177 to remain above the poverty line in Phnom Penh.
His union confederation will also push for the minimum wage to apply to other sectors.

This year, they will negotiate with government officials keen to win garment worker support in the 2017 elections. Labor Ministry officials have met with workers from industries in what some call a “charm offensive.”

At the same time, global brands that buy garments from Cambodia are facing increased pressure to do more to protect the welfare of workers in poor countries.

The head of UN’s Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights in Cambodia welcomes this trend.
“In Cambodia, as elsewhere, the businesses that have accepted their human rights responsibilities throughout their supply chains have unfortunately been the exception rather than the rule,” said Wan-Hea Lee, the OHCHR Representative.

Global Brands Weigh In
Global Brand H&M told Khmer Times they are prepared to pay more for clothing from Cambodia so that workers here receive living wages.

“We take a positive view of wage increases,” said Anna Eriksson, a spokesperson for the Swedish brand. “We want suppliers to pay their textile workers a fair living wage, and we are prepared to pay the prices so the supplier can do so.”
Representatives for Levis and Adidas echoed this view.
read more.

20150619 * ANZ backs manufacturing to move up the value chain:

As Mekong Basin economies increasingly move into to higher-skilled production, Cambodia also looks set to step up the value chain as long as its government sustains the effort, according to ANZ’s latest Mekong Quarterly Outlook.

The report said that Asian countries have traditionally “cascaded up” value chains, with poorer nations in the region attracting low-skilled industries such as garments which have been driven out by higher wages in other countries.

While Cambodia’s economy has benefited from the migration of garment factories from places like Thailand, the Kingdom’s comparative advantage of cheap labour has not changed much over the past decade, according to the report.

“Cambodia’s industrial sector lacks diversity, with a narrow focus on garments and food processing where the level of sophistication adopted is still low. Most manufacturing activities are still family-based and lack the capacity to compete in the international market,” the report read.

Of the five countries included in an ANZ metric – Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Thailand – Cambodia had the highest comparative advantage when it comes to low-margin, labour-intensive sectors like garments and footwear production.
read more.
PPP new

20150512 SAY NO Cambodia

20150619 * Union Law ‘close to finished’:

Ministry of Labour officials said this week that a controversial draft trade union law is “90 per cent” complete and they are now waiting for inter-ministerial review of the language before they submit it for approval.

The finalised version of the law looks set to be submitted to the Council of Ministers by the end of the month, Labour Ministry spokesman Heng Sour said yesterday. They had previously expected the draft legislation to appear before the Council of Ministers in May.

“It could not be finalised in May, so we expect it to be complete in June, maybe in a couple of weeks,” Sour said. “I think it will not take long for it to be published.”

If the Council of Ministers approves the law, he added, it will then go before the National Assembly and Senate for debate and possible ratification.

Independent union leaders and civil society organisations have complained about the ministry’s exclusion of their views in the drafting process. The latest version of the legislation non-government stakeholders have seen – which was obtained by Human Rights Watch – is about eight months old.
Kong Athit, vice president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union, yesterday said that the law would diminish union rights.
read more.
PPP new

20150618 * EU diplomat welcomes Cambodia’s disputed draft NGO bill:

Outgoing ambassador of the European Union to Cambodia Jean-Francois Cautain on Tuesday welcomed the Cambodian government’s decision to establish a law on Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Associations, according to a Cambodian government official.
Cautain expressed his welcome during a farewell meeting with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh capital, Kao Kim Hourn, minister attached to Prime Minister Hun Sen, told reporters after the meeting.
“Ambassador Cautain said that because Cambodia is a sovereign state, the country can decide on this NGO law,” he said, adding that Cautain just suggested that the law continue to support legal NGOs so that they can continue their activities.
read more.

20150617 * New Draft Law on Associations and NGOs Reaffirms Culture of Control:

The draft Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organizations (LANGO) obtained in June 2015 will establish mandatory registration for all domestic and international associations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), criminalizing all activities by unregistered membership organizations.

The requirement to register appears all encompassing and could be interpreted to apply to all organizations from grassroots groups and community based organisations up to major international organizations.
Mandatory registration could have a particularly severe impact on the freedom of association of grassroots groups and community based organizations.
read more.

20150617 * NGO law pilloried by UN expert:

As the controversial draft NGO law finally reached the National Assembly yesterday, a UN rights expert became the latest to heap criticism on the proposed legislation, saying it proved that it was “not meant to serve the sector” but to “control it”.

Chheang Vun, a member of parliament with the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, confirmed that the draft Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organisations (LANGO) had been received by the National Assembly’s Permanent Commission.

After a meeting of the commission’s members, he said, the draft will soon be sent to one of the National Assembly’s “expert commissions” for review. When the review is complete, the Permanent Commission will decide whether to approve the law and set a date for parliament to officially vote on it.

“It is still an ongoing process within the National Assembly before we give it approval,” Vun said.

CNRP lawmaker Um Sam An, a member of the Legislation Commission, said he had not yet seen a copy of the draft law, so was unsure if any issues were likely to be found in the review.
read more.
PPP new

20150617 * Draft NGO Law Reaches National Assembly:

The draft of a controversial law proposing to regulate the country’s sprawling NGO sector has arrived at the National Assembly, where a spokesman said it would likely be put up for public discussion before a vote.

NGOs, who fear the ruling CPP will use the law to silence its critics, had hoped that the government would discuss the draft before it reached parliament.

The Council of Ministers, however, endorsed the draft on June 5. But it held off on sending it on to the National Assembly in order to make a few changes, including the removal of a pair of articles, one of which would have limited the share of their budgets that foreign NGOs could spend on overhead to 25 percent.

On Tuesday, Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said the updated draft was sent to the Assembly last week.

“Now the law is in the hands of the National Assembly, so it’s parliament’s prerogative to decide,” he said. “The government hopes the National Assembly will pass it soon.”
read more.

02:55:47 local time map of malaysia MALAYSIA

20150617 * Government Has No Plans To Fix Minimum Wage According To Categories:

The government has no plans to implement different minimum wages based on work experience or seniority, type of industry or the size of a business, and nationality.

Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot said this was not suitable as the government’s stand on the minimum wage policy was to fix a floor wage in the private sector and not establish overall wages.

“The ministry via the National Wages Consultative Council (MPGN) had conducted a study and is of the view that implementing different minimum wages is unsuitable,” he said in reply to a question from Normala Abdul Samad (BN-Pasir Gudang) in the Dewan Rakyat, here, today.
read more. & to read.
BERNAMA malaysiatimes

20150616 * Dewan Rakyat passes amendment to Human Trafficking Bill:

The Dewan Rakyat today passed the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants (Amendment) Bill 2015, without any amendment.

Despite facing a barrage of questions, specifically following intrusions into the national territorial waters, including armed kidnapping in Sabah and the influx of Rohingya refugees and Bangladesh illegals, the bill did not face a hard time to garner the votes of the members of parliament.

Earlier, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, when winding-up the debate on the bill, said the ministry would reinforce the intelligence unit to curb any criminal activity and intrusion at Malaysia’s borders.

He said Malaysia used to be among the countries in the world with the best intelligence units during the 1960s and 1970s.
“However, when the communist threat receded in 1989, we stood down (the) intelligence (network).
“Many facilities which the (police) Special Branch should have, were cut by the government on the basis there was no need to have a super intelligence unit anymore, at that point in time,” he added.
read more.

02:55:47 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

20150618 * Workers’ groups demand immediate pension scheme decision:

Labor unions have called on President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to issue an immediate government regulation on pension schemes to ensure it is disseminated among employers and workers before the four occupational social security programs are officially launched at the end of this month.

Indonesian Prosperous Labor Union (KSBSI) chairman Mudhofir said the President risked violating law no 40/2004 on the national social security system and law no. 24/2011 on social security providers, which require the government to launch the occupational accident benefit program, old-age risk benefit program, pension program and death benefit program on July 1, 2015.

“The four programs must be officially launched on July 1 but the government regulation on the pension program has not been issued. It should have been issued one year before the law takes effect,” he told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.
read more.

01:25:47 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

20150617 * Strike called off at shoe factory:

20150617 MMTIMES
Tai Yi workers stage a sit-in in front of the company’s shoe factory in Hlaing Tharyar township yesterday. Photo: Supplied

In the latest phase of a long-running industrial dispute, hundreds of workers at the Tai Yi footwear factory staged a two-day sit-in outside the plant in Hlaing Tharyar township on June 15 and 16. The workers are protesting against the dismissal of two activists from the factory’s union.

Though the sit-in ended with the onset of rainy weather, the union has plans for further action, including the possibility of a sit-in on the factory floor.

“We have to think of the long-term health of our members. Our action will continue inside the factory,” said Ma Nwet Yi Win, one of the fired workers.

“We decided the workers should enter the factory, but they will not be working,” she added.

Ma Nwet Yi Win and Ma Moe Wai were dismissed by the factory manager on May 29 for being absent for three days without approval.

Ma Moe Wai said she had taken medical leave from May 26 to 28, for which she had produced a prescription from the social welfare department clinic. She also says she tried to call the factory but could not get through, and the manager had visited her at the clinic while she was sick with a fever.

“They’re not firing me because I was absent without leave, but because I am active in the union,” she said, adding that workers are entitled to six days’ emergency leave.

“I have not received any compensation. We are not protected by the law,” she said.
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20150616 * Soft-glove Stockholm Syndrome:

Foreigners often fail to recognize that in economic and governance terms Myanmar looks much more like an African state than the next Vietnam

Earlier this year, the US-ASEAN Business Council published a report that detailed 12 “Practical, Quick and Effective” recommendations for improving the business environment for foreign investors.

The recommendations varied from the practical (“make licensing processes clear” and guidelines “for the fair use of” religious symbols and “temple imagery”) to the quaintly non-laissez-faire (a request for state regulation of the advertising industry in order to eliminate the “discriminatory rates” charged to foreigners).

One investment banker who works regularly in Myanmar and has met some of the cabinet ministers (who responded on condition that he wouldn’t be quoted by name) said that while he agreed with many of the recommendations, in the prevailing environment they were variously “not going to happen”, “wishful thinking” and “fantastical”.
The recommendation to “fully empower local banks to approve transactions” provoked this reaction from a corporate investigator: “Are you kidding me? The banks can barely function and they’re all money laundering houses.”

The US-ASEAN Business Council’s effort is perhaps symptomatic of a willful effort on the part of foreigners in Myanmar (businessmen, UN agency staff and diplomats) to recognize the genuine but modest reforms of the last four years as much more substantial than they actually are and to assume much greater capacity for further improvement than any evidence on the ground would suggest—a condition that veteran Swedish Myanmar-watcher Bertil Linter describes as “soft-glove Stockholm Syndrome.”

Stockholm Syndrome is a psychological phenomenon in which hostages come to identify with their captors. It is named after an abortive bank robbery in Stockholm in 1973 that metastasized into a six-day hostage crisis.

“Burma’s luckier than most countries in Africa,” a western commercial attaché told me way back in 2004.
“Instead of having the Central African Republic and Congo as neighbours, it has China, Thailand and India”
(he didn’t regard proximity to Bangladesh as quite such a great advantage).
Yet Myanmar’s geographical advantage obscures the fact that in many other respects, the country more closely resembles a messily emergent state in Africa than Asia’s next economic tiger.
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00:55:47 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

20150616 * Garment workers want salaries, bonuses by 20 Ramadan:

Garments Workers Trade Union on Monday placed a demand before the garment factory owners to pay the salaries and Eid bonuses of the workers within the 20th of Ramadan.

The workers’ rights organisation came up with the demand at a human chain programme arranged in front of the Jatiya Press Club.

General secretary of the organisation Kazi Ruhul Amin said the owners should pay the salaries and Eid bonuses to the workers earlier so that they can observe the joyous occasion satisfactorily.

Referring to the garment workers as the most deprived segment in the entire industrial sector, he said every year the RMG sector owners start dilly-dallying whenever it is time to pay the workers prior to Eid.
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20150619 * Workers’ broom procession protesting privatisation drive:

Workers of Alim Jute Mills in Khulna yesterday bring out broom procession in the town protesting against the government’s plans to privatise the industry

Workers of state owned Alim Jute Mills in Khulna brought out a broom procession yesterday protesting against the government’s plans to privatise the industry.

Sources said under the banner of Privatisation Resistance Committee, the workers brought out the procession from in front of the mill in the morning.

Later, they blocked the Khulna-Jessore Highway causing serious sufferings to the commuters.

A meeting was also held on the premises of the mill where workers’ leader Abdus Salam Jamaddar, Syful Islam Mintu, Sarder Abdul Hamid, Mujibur Rahman Makbul, Abbas Ali, Iqbal Hossain, Sheikh Zakaria, Anwar Hossain, Abed Ali , Redowan Hossain Bahar, Babul Reza, Akbar Ali, Hafez Abdus Salam and Rafiqul Islam.

The speakers threatened the government that they would paralyse Khulna city if the authorities concerned did not cancel their decision about privatising the mill immediately.

The government announced privatising the Alim Jute Mills about four months

According to the Dhaka Tribune reports on 22 May, a cash crunch hit nine state-owned jute mills in Khulna and Jessore regions, with the workers demanding that money be allocated to purchase raw jute.
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20150618 * Half of employed people earn less than $1 a day:

Around 50% employed people of Bangladesh earn less than $1.25 per day – the worst situation in the region, according to a new book launched yesterday.

Analysts opined that this happened as most employees could not get fair remuneration in line with their works, causing inequality between the reach and poor.

They also lamented that confusing data on employment generation in the Labour Force Survey 2010 has created difficulties for job-led economic growth – much needed for sustainable economic development.
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20150618 * Ministry seeks Tk 7.0b to pay workers, procure jute:

The Ministry of Textiles and Jute (MoTJ) has sought an allocation of Tk 7.0 billion urgently to avoid existing labour dissatisfaction at the mills under the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC), officials said.

The ministry has also asked for finance support to procure raw jute, they said.

The BJMC recently wrote a letter to the secretary of the MoTJ seeking the allocation urgently. The MoTJ has requested the finance division for allocation of the fund.

The mills under BJMC have been facing severe financial problems. Labourers of the mills did not get their salaries for three weeks.
Besides, festival allowance will have to be paid to the workers before the Eid ul-Fitr. So, some Tk 2.0 billion is needed in this connection, sources concerned said.

The labourers are passing their lives in difficulty due to financial crunch.
As a result, dissatisfaction have been arisen among the workers.
They are observing different programmes like demonstrations, processions and strikes demanding their due salaries, the sources said.
read more.
FE bd

20150619 * Exporters for re-fixing:

source tax at 0.30pc Seven-point demand placed

Country’s exporters on Thursday made a seven-point demand including re-fixation of source tax at 0.30 per cent and extension of the timeframe for the existing 10 per cent income tax up to June 2019.

Their other demands included withdrawal of the proposed 1.0 per cent duty on capital machinery import, providing special export incentives for European market and special refinancing scheme for small and medium garment factories to facilitate their relocation and remediation or retrofitting of their units for better workplace safety.

“If the proposed hike in source tax comes into effect, it will further slow down the growth of the country’s export sectors and we will lose our competitiveness in the global market,” President of Exporters Association of Bangladesh (EAB) Abdus Salam Murshedy said while speaking at a post-budget press conference at the BGMEA headquarters in the city.
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20150618 * Exporters urge govt to lower tax at source for RMG exports:

Exporters in Bangladesh have asked the government to keep the tax at source on readymade garment exports at 0.3 percent.

President of the Exporters Association of Bangladesh (EAB) Abdus Salam Murshedi expressed his interests at a press conference on Thursday.

Finance Minister AMA Muhith has proposed in the 2015-16 FY budget to raise the tax at source on export of readymade garments to one percent from the present 0.3 percent.

Exporters Association has also raised objections to proposed at-source tax increase for other exports.

Murshedi said at the conference, “The increase will adversely affect the current flourishing export scenario.

“That is why we are requesting (the government) to bring down the tax at source to 0.3 percent for all exported goods.”
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20150617 * Govt going to dig out reasons for export decline, target failure:

Sits with stakeholders tomorrow to find solutions

The government moves to fix the factors behind the failure in attaining export target and, in some cases, reduction of export of goods despite various incentives being given for a boost, officials said.

Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) authorities will sit with major exporters tomorrow (Thursday) to hear their views over the export fall, failure to attain the set target and the steps needed for a recovery from the slowdown.

Sources said the EPB board of management noticed that during the July-December period of fiscal year 2014-15 several sectors had failed to attain export target. Exports from some sectors have gone down from the previous year’s mark.

The board in a recent meeting decided to identify the reasons through consultation with the exporters and trade experts and take steps to get over the problems.
read more.
FE bd

20150619 * IndustriAll, UNI concerned over Muhith’s remarks:

Two global trade unions have expressed their grave concern over the recent observation of Finance Minister AMA Muhith on the Accord’s activities, saying such remarks would send a ‘negative’ signal to the buyers thus undermining the ongoing workplace safety initiatives.

Citing media reports, the unions said the finance minister in a recent meeting with the leaders of BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association), BKMEA (Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association) and BTMA (Bangladesh Textile Mills Association) characterised the Accord as a ‘noose for the apparel industry’.

“The message that your government sends to factories through their representative organisations, and through the media, are influential.
Sending a negative message about the operations of the Accord that has the effect of delaying or undermining essential factory safety improvements is not in the interests of the government, the industry or the workers,” they said on Thursday in a joint letter to the finance minister which is also available on their websites.

“The easiest response for the brands to this situation would be to walk away and look for safer countries to produce in,” the two unions – IndustriAll Global Union and UNI Global Union – said.
read more.
FE bd

20150618 * Global unions denounce comments made by Bangladesh Finance Minister:

Global union federations IndustriALL and UNI have strongly denounced comments made this week by the Bangladesh Finance Minister.

The unions say Mr Abul Maal Abdul Muhith’s comments criticizing the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety and describing it as a ‘noose’ around the neck of the garment industry are wholly irresponsible.

“Your remarks wrongly accuse the Accord of seeking to hold back Bangladesh’s progress, when the reverse is true.
As your government is well aware, the Accord came into being in response to the collapse of Rana Plaza, when it became evident to the world, and specifically to garment brands, that the safety of garment workers in Bangladesh could not be guaranteed.”

More than 1,100 people were killed and 2000 more injured when the Rana Plaza garment factory complex collapsed in April 2013.

“The easiest response for the brands to this situation would be to walk away and look for safer countries to produce in.
Instead, IndustriALL and UNI negotiated the Accord with more than 200 brands sourcing from Bangladesh, in order to demonstrate their commitment to the industry in Bangladesh by working with the factories to make them safe,” continues the letter.

“The minister’s remarks are inaccurate and irresponsible. The Accord is a positive game changer for the Bangladeshi garment industry and his comments put at risk its future sustainability,” said Philip Jennings, UNI secretary general.

The Minister reportedly made the comments at a meeting of garment industry employer associations. He claimed that the confidence of the brands in the Bangladesh garment industry has already been won and therefore the Accord should cease its operations.

This could not be farther from the truth. The danger for the Bangladeshi garment industry is not over and the factories are not yet safe.

In their letter to the Minister, Jyrki Raina and Philip Jennings call on the Minister to stop sending negative messages to factories that could have the effect of delaying or undermining essential factory safety improvements.

IndustriALL and UNI have also written to BGMEA President Atiqul Islam to take issue with comments he made at the same meeting, and were subsequently reported in the media, describing the Accord as a ‘big problem’ for Bangladesh’s readymade apparel industry.
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20150617 * Misdirected bashing?:

Initially it was the leaders of the country’s apparel sector.
Of late two key ministers have joined them in the act of bashing the two international platforms — the Accord and the Alliance, formed following the collapse of the Rana Plaza in April 2013 to help the Bangladesh apparel industry in maintaining the minimum safety standards.  

Commerce Minister Mr. Tofail Ahmed has been critical of the Accord in particular in the past few weeks.

But the criticism coming from Finance Minister AMA Muhith about both the platforms last Monday by any measure was a little bit hard. In all likelihood the parties — International Labour Organisation (ILO), major retailers and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), involved in the operations of the platforms — might find the criticism hard to digest.

“They (Accord and Alliance) were welcomed to help us to attain buyers’ confidence, but their activities have now become a noose for apparel industry. They are exercising the extra sovereign power”, Dhaka newspapers quoted the finance minister as saying during his meeting with the apparel sector leaders last Monday.

“It is like Bangladesh has grown up too much. Now it is time to stop it. It’s an attitude of charging batons. I will settle it with a very strong message”, Muhith said.

President of the Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) Atiqul Islam had spoken before the finance minister and made lots of complaints about the two international coalitions.
The content of his speech might have gotten the finance minister’s adrenalin going.

What has actually gone wrong? Should not the international action platforms ask the industry owners to ensure minimum safety standards in their factories?

In fact the safety standard in apparel industry has improved since the launch of the initiatives by the government, the Accord and the Alliance.

According to the latest technical status report of the Bangladesh Sustainability Compact comprising Bangladesh, the European Union (EU), the USA and the ILO, significant progress has been made by three initiatives — the government, the Accord and the Alliance — in inspecting the RMG factories for structural integrity, fire and electrical safety.

A total of 652 factories were inspected under the national initiatives until March 2015. The Accord inspected 1291 factories and the Alliance 613. The number of factories closed following assessment stood at 32.

The Bangladesh Sustainability Compact was also born following the Rana Plaza tragedy.
The process of remediation of factories is now on in line with the recommendations of the assessing authorities. But some factories have been facing difficulties in arranging funds for remediation. The action platforms have been helping some of the factories by arranging buyers who are interested to buy products at higher rates.

Certainly there have been some improvements in the safety situation in the apparel factories since the Rana Plaza strategy.
The presence of the Accord and the Alliance has helped the process going.
However, the country’s RMG owners or the BGMEA or the like should not overlook the safety of their workers in the overriding interests of promoting sustainable growth of the sector.
Hundreds of workers must not be the victims of factory collapse of fire incidents.

Going by the intention expressed by the Alliance or the Accord, it is somewhat difficult to believe that they, by their activities, would cause diversion of export orders from Bangladesh to any other country.
They are committed to uphold the safety and welfare of the apparel sector workers.
So, they are unlikely to do anything that would hurt the interest of the workers.
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FE bd

20150616 * Bangladesh clothing industry accuses European buyers’ alliance Accord of interference:

Bangladesh Garment Manufactures & Exporters Association (BGMEA) has accused European buyers of interference in the apparel factories.

BGMEA President Atiqul Islam made the allegation at a meeting with Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Monday.

The industry lobby met Muhith to press for reconsidering several budget proposals for the 2015-16 financial year regarding taxation for the sector.

Islam labelled Accord a ‘big problem’ for Bangladesh’s readymade apparel industry.

He said it was supposed to look into factory building’s security, fire safety and working condition but it was now interfering in internal management matters.

“Factory owners have the legal right to appoint and suspend workers,” he said.

“A factory suspended six workers on rational grounds but Rob Ways was forcing the factory to keep them.”

Ways heads Accord in Bangladesh.

Islam also alleged that Ways was an ‘agent’ of the US trade union AFLCIO.

“Accord and Alliance are insisting on changing the electrical wiring of all factories with wires that can withstand fire for two hours.”
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20150618 * Bangladesh denim: Big opportunities:

The global brands and retailers are forecasting that Bangladesh would soon become a major player in the global denim market.

Bangladesh is now turning into a major source of denim products as international retailers attracted by cheaper prices place higher volumes of denim-based work orders.

At present Bangladesh is the third largest denim exporter to the US after Mexico and China with an 11.3 per cent market share, according to the US department of commerce.
On the other hand, the global denim market will cross $65 billion in the next four to five years.
Denim entrepreneurs of Bangladesh are facing serious problems at the moment but huge opportunities are there for increasing export of denim products.
To take advantage of the expanding global market of denim, we need to take some steps.
read more.
FE bd

20150616-17 * Dutch minister opens seminar on cleaner production of textiles in city:

Lilianne Ploumen, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, The Netherlands, opened a seminar on cleaner production measures in textiles industries here in the capital on Tuesday.

The seminar, titled, ‘Sustainable Wet Processing’, was organised under a joint-initiative by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Solidaridad.
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UNBnew FE bd

20150618-19 * Chinese investors ready to relocate industrial units, says FBCCI chief:

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) will get a big boost over the next few years as many Chinese investors consider relocation of their industries to Bangladesh.

A 35-member delegation from the capital of Sichuan, Chengdu, is visiting Bangladesh on June 25 to see the opportunities and the benefits of the relocation of their enterprises, said President of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) Abdul Matlub Ahmad, according to BSS.

Talking to the news agency Wednesday on his way back from Kunming to Dhaka after attending two major trade and investment events in China, the FBCCI president said southwestern China’s province is now encouraging their investors to relocate their industries.
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20150617-18 * Bangladesh worried over US Trade Bill:

Bangladesh has expressed concern over the US trade bill on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) apprehending that LDC like Bangladesh would lose its competitive edge in the American market due to preferential treatments to the trans-pacific partners.

Bangladesh Ambassador to the United States Mohammad Ziauddin expressed the concern in seperate meetings with  US Congressmen Brad Sherman (D-California) and Tom Marino (R- Pennsylvania) at the Capitol Hill on Monday and Tuesday respectively, said a press release issued by the Bangladesh Embassy in US.
At this juncture, to encourage the women empowerment and socio-economic growth partner, the US should grant preferential market access (duty free and quota free) for Bangladeshi products as accorded to other developing countries of the Sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean and reinstate the GSP facilities for Bangladesh, he added.

Responding to Congressman Brad Sherman, the Ambassador informed  that the international community should persuade Myanmar to take back the Rohingyas from the southern part of Bangladesh.

He said Bangladesh cannot afford to host such a large number of refugees inside her territory.
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ez grijs

20150617 * Govt plans to set up eight more economic zones:

The government is planning to set up eight more economic zones in the country aiming to attract both local and foreign investments, boost exports and create employment for thousands of people, officials said.

The primary selection committee has recently approved eight sites for new economic zones covering an area of about 3,000 acres, they added.

The committee is expected to give its nod to additional seven proposals in its next meeting to be held on June 23.

“Industries in our country have been flourishing in a scattered manner in absence of proper plans,” Paban Chowdhury, Executive Chairman of Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA), told the FE.
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FE bd


20150617 * Charge framing in Tazreen fire case on July 8:

A Dhaka court yesterday fixed July 8 for the charge framing hearing against 13 people accused in two cases filed over the deadly fire at the factory of Tazreen Fashions, including its Managing Director Delwar Hossain.

Judge SM Quddus Zaman of Dhaka District and Sessions Court fixed the date after taking the charge sheet into cognisance in the cases.

The court also issued arrest warrant against fugitives in the cases – Engineer Mahbubul Morshed, Production Manager Mobarak Hossain Manju, Factory Manager Abdur Razzak and Quality Manager Shahiduzzaman.

The other accused are Delwar’s wife and Tazreen Fashions Chairman Mahmuda Akhter, Manager (admin) Dulal Uddin, Store in-Charges Hamidul Islam and Al Amin, Security In-Charges Al Amin and Anisur Rahman, guard Rana and loader Shamim Miah.

According to the charge sheet, Delwar and Mahmuda constructed the building following a faulty plan with the help of the accused engineer and illegally used the ground-floor walkway as a warehouse.

There was no fire exit in the factory, although a provision of the labour law stipulates that there must be two exits in every factory.

The factory was built a mile away from the main road, making it very difficult for fire service vehicles to enter the factory compound.
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20150617 * Charge hearing against Delwar, wife on July 8:

A Dhaka court on Tuesday posted for July 8 the hearing in framing of charges against 13 accused including Tazreen Fashions managing director Delwar Hossain in two cases filed for fire at the apparel factory that killed at least 112 workers.

The Dhaka district and sessions judge, SM Quddus, passed the order taking cognisance of the charge sheets in the cases.

The court also issued warrants for the arrest of ‘fugitive’ accused engineer Mahbubul Morshed, production manager Mobarak Hossain Manju, factory manager Abdur Razzak and quality manager Shahiduzzaman.

The other accused are Delwar’s wife Mahmuda Akhter, also Tazreen Fashions chairperson, manager (admin) Dulal Uddin, store in-charges Hamidul Islam and Al Amin, security in-charges Al Amin and Anisur Rahman, guard Rana and loader Shamim Miah.
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20150616 * Tazreen fire: Court accepts chargesheet against Delwar, 12 others:

Charge-framing hearing to start July 8

A court here on Tuesday accepted the chargesheet against 13 people, including Tazreen Fashions Managing Director and owner Delwar Hossain, in a case filed over the devastating fire in the garment factory that claimed over 100 lives in 2012.

Taking cognisance of the chargesheet, Judge of the District and Session’s Court SM Kuddus Jaman also fixed July 8 for staring charge-framing hearing against the 13 accused.

Eight of the accused, now on bail, were present at the court during the hearing on Tuesday while another detained accused was also produced.

The rest four –- factory engineer M Mahbubul Morshed, its manager Abdur Razzak, quality manager Shahiduzzaman Dulal and production manager Mobarok Hossain Manju — remained absconding.

At least 112 people were killed and over 200 others suffered injuries in the devastating fire that raged through the Tazreen Fashions at Nischintapur in Ashulia on the outskirts of capital Dhaka on November 24, 2012.
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00:25:47 local time map of india INDIA

20150617 * Govt’s labour reforms remove shield for workers: ILO:

The ILO has invited various central trade unions to come to its office on Thursday to make a position paper incorporating their views

The International Labour Organization (ILO) has flayed some of the recent labour reforms proposed by the Narendra Modi government, saying these would take away a chunk of workers from the protection of basic laws.

As the trade unions’ confrontation with the government is set to escalate, the ILO is helping them prepare a position paper on the recent labour law reforms, industrial relations and industry development.

“For some time now, a concerted campaign by the government was on to create an impression that nearly 40 central and nearly 150 state labour laws were redundant.
The labour reforms, trade unions have voiced, are aimed at making hiring and firing simpler and they are not devised to protect labour,” said a draft concept note sent by the ILO to the central trade union leaders recently.
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20150617 * Labour laws for hiring contract workers likely to be relaxed:

To increase the ease of doing business, the government is proposing a relaxed set of labour laws for hiring contract workers, providing greater flexibility to companies.

A proposal on the same may soon be taken to the Cabinet.

“The proposal is ready and can be presented in the Cabinet very soon. And after that the related bill can be presented in the upcoming monsoon session,” a Labour Ministry official said. The government is seeing labour law reforms as a key to creating jobs and encouraging investment, the official said.

“The government’s central idea is to create jobs and encourage investment. And labour reforms are seen as one of the factors to facilitate ease of doing business as well as to bring in flexibility,” the official said.
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20150618 * Apparel industry recovers Rs. 400 crore from defaulters:

Negotiations on to recover Rs. 1,000-1,500 cr, says industry body

The garment industry, which is reeling under severe cash crunch, has recovered Rs. 400 crore in last three months from retailers who had defaulted on payment due to weak demand.

The Clothing Manufacturers’ Association of India has formed a separate committee to negotiate with retailers and recover the dues.
The Association has also formed a system to alert the members on the credit profile of buyers so that they do not fall prey to wilful defaulters.

Rahul Mehta, President, CMAI, said the recovery committee of the association has taken up long-pending cases and negotiating to recover Rs. 1,000-1,500 crore.

The growth in garment sector was hit by economic slowdown and demand for electronic items growing with attractive offers from e-commerce websites, he said, at a function to announce the 61{+s}{+t}National Garment Fair starting on June 29.
The largest-ever fair is expected to attract 780 brands and 40,000 retailers over three days.
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20150617 * More focus, policy changes can double garment export: Texpreneurs Forum:

India can easily double its garment export volume immediately and in the long run, with more focus and fundamental policy changes, according to Texpreneurs Forum, a city-based textile industry body.

In large-volume export segment, garments are the second best-performing sector after pharma, averaging 10 per cent growth over the last few months, Texpreneurs Forum Secretary Prabhu Dhamodaran told PTI.

Referring to export data on garment released recently, he said the industry “should not be content” with the current growth rate since China’s export volume in textile clothing stood at around Rs 1,70,000 crore.
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20150617 * Nothing much to cheer in export of ready-made garments:

The just released data shows that the ready-made garment exports from the country have grown both on sequential and on year-on-year basis.

However, the growth did not cheer the apparel sector stakeholders much as the country still is lagging behind in production of apparels made of man-made fibres.

As per the latest data that came out on Tuesday, Rs. 10,007 crore worth of ready-made garments in total were exported from the country in May this year which was 10.5 per cent more when compared to April this year on a sequential basis.
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20150617 * Textile mills seek reduction of VAT on yarn:

Textile mills in the State have appealed to the State government to reduce the Value Added Tax (VAT) on yarn to two per cent from the existing five per cent.

According to the chairman of Southern India Mills’ Association, T. Rajkumar, while the Central Sales Tax (CST) is two per cent, the VAT is five per cent.
Therefore, weaving and garment units in the State are able to get cotton at lower rate from other States compared to the yarn produced by the mills in Tamil Nadu.

Of the 4,000 million kg of yarn produced in the country every year, 1,800 million kg is from Tamil Nadu.
The annual requirement of yarn by the weaving and garment units is nearly 900 million kg.
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20150617 * Focus is on skills:

Even smaller units are going in for TRAINING ACTIVITIES for their workers

One area that is seeing new initiatives, innovative models and even creation of facilities in any sector is skill development.

Be it textiles, construction, plumbing, foundries or general engineering, there is a need for skilled workers and hence this is becoming an area of focus.

Though training of workers is not a new concept, skill development councils are expanding their activities and both, Government agencies and private industrial associations, are assisting individual industries take up training programmes for new and existing workers.
The industries provide hands-on training and thus get workers on a regular basis and the participants in these programmes are able to upgrade their skills even if they change job.
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20150618 * Apparel sector sees positive purchase trend this year:

With initial showers remaining good, the domestic apparel sector may see a turnaround in coming months

Domestic apparel industry is set to revive in the ensuing winter season due to overall improvement in buying sentiment following favourable monsoon rainfalls this season.

After over six months of subdued trend between October and April, buying sentiment improved in domestic apparel sales in May and continuing since then. With initial showers remaining good, the domestic apparel sector may see a turnaround in coming months.
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20150618 * Do not reduce order placed: weavers tell government:

The Salem and Tiruchengode Range Handloom Weavers Cooperative Societies Employees Union urged the Cooptex to take steps to procure the entire stock of silk and cotton varieties from primary handloom weavers cooperative societies.

The Cooptex should come forward to clear the entire arrear of payment for the stock procured from the primary weavers cooperative societies with immediate effect.

A resolution was adopted at an integrated handloom industry protection consultation meeting held in the city recently.

Another resolution stated that more than 2,000 pedal handlooms are functioning in Salem — Tiruchengode range and are involved in the production of dhoti and uniforms.
The government should come forward to provide full production programme to all these handlooms without discrimination from June.
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20150618 * HC rejects manufacturers’ plea to roll back cut in Bt cotton seed rates:

The seed manufacturers lobby suffered a set back on the legal front when the high court rejected its plea against a state government decision to reduce prices of Bt cotton seeds.

Prices of this genetically modified seeds are regulated by state governments in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana though it is a free regime in other parts of the country.

Maharashtra reduced the rates by Rs100 for a pack of 450 gram seeds, bringing it to Rs830 last week.
This had left the seed-makers miffed and they filed a petition in the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court. However, a divisional bench comprising of justice Bhushan Gavai and justice Indira Jain turned down the petition in the third hearing.

The Seed Industries Association of Maharashtra had pitched high profile lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi in this case.

Seed makers contended that they may face closure due to the price reduction. The court has, however, observed that despite several notices the manufacturers did not submit data on their cost of production to the state government when demanded earlier.
The move to bring down the rates was initiated by the previous government itself but could not be implemented as the election code of conduct came into force.
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20150617 * HC verdict on Bt seeds price hike today:

The Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court on Tuesday kept a plea filed by Seed Industries Association of Maharashtra for delivering interim order on Wednesday.

The petitioners, including Dr Shaligram Wankhede, moved the judiciary for directives to Maharashtra government for hike in maximum sale price of Bt-I and Bt-II cotton seeds.

During the last hearing, justice Bhushan Gavai and justice Indira Jain had sought reply from respondents – state agriculture secretary, commissioner (Agriculture) and director of Pune-based Agriculture Input and QC/Licensing Authority.
They also directed the authorities to keep their original files ready for perusal.
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20150616 * Cotton sowing begins in Vidarbha:

After an anxious wait for the rains, cotton growers in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra– which has been experiencing good showers since a week– are back in their fields and have started sowing operations for the cash crop.

According to government officials, cotton growers are the first to set out for work in this season as it is a long duration crop and now they have water at their disposal.

Since cotton is a cash crop and major produce in the black soil in the region, the growers start sowing anticipating rains in early June and this year too, a large number of farmers commenced sowing operation well in time and fortunately rains also arrived, Dr Archana Kadu, the Agriculture Officer told PTI.
read more.

20150617 * High Court revokes property registration of Bhajrang Jute Mill:

20150617 theHINDU
The Bhajrang Jute Mill premises in Guntur.- Photo: T. Vijaya Kumar

Mill workers protesting against the arbitrary manner in which the management of Bhajrang Jute Mill entered into a property development agreement with a Hyderabad-based realty firm, had their first victory after the Stamps and Registration Department cancelled the registration of the property pending with the department.

The order was challenged by the Jute Mill management in the High Court, and in a directive on Tuesday, the HC directed the Department of Stamps and Registrations, Guntur, to complete the assessment of properties within two weeks and submit a report.

District Registrar K. Srinivasa Rao told The Hindu on Tuesday that the registration pending with the department had been cancelled after the land owner failed to furnish the exact details of the property, including property on the mill premises. The management quoted the value of the property spread over 7.79 acres in prime locality at Pattabhipuram at Rs. 35 crore after it assessed the market value at Rs. 12,000 per square yard, the prevailing market value.

“It is a moral victory for the mill workers, as they have been waging a spirited fight against the management. We will continue to press for the cancellation of the deal by the management against the wishes of the workers.
The struggle was being supported by all parties,’’ said Jute Mill protection committee president Lella Appireddy.
read more.

20150619 * Case against leather factory for manual scavenging:

The police have registered a case against a leather factory in Bommanahalli for forcing labourers to manually clean an underground drainage line and a manhole.

Two labourers had got into a manhole and were working with their bare hands on Thursday afternoon. It triggered a protest by a social activist, Ramesh, who objected to manual scavenging and tipped off the local police.
Meanwhile, the factory management allegedly sent the two workers away.
read more.

20150616 * Tannery owners seek monitoring date extension:

Tannery owners of Kanpur Nagar have demanded to extend the monitoring date fixed by the Central and state pollution control boards.

A delegation of tannery owners association met advocate general Veer Bahadur Singh on Saturday and lamented that due to closure of their units between February to June, machines of their plants were not in running condition and they need more time for repair and renovation work.

Moreover, from this week Ramzan were also going to begin.
Therefore, it would be not fit to ask them for monitoring, they pleaded.
At the meeting with the advocate general, the association delegates said that most of the tanneries were busy in cleaning and maintaining the plants.
Moreover, treatment plants were not running properly, therefore monitoring should be extended, they said.
read more.

20150611 * Building trust in Tamil Nadu’s garment sect:

Trust and confidence; these two words are so important to our work within Tamil Nadu’s garment and textiles sector.

Tamil Nadu, southern India, holds a noteworthy place in the world’s history of garment and textiles production. Cotton has been spun, woven and dyed in the Indus Valley since the 5th millennium BC.
Today, the sector has the potential to help lift rural women out of poverty and provide them with a means to earn and control their own income.
But good employment practices do not exist within all parts of this sector.
Many of the workers are young women from the Dalit group, who are at the lowest tier of Indian society and vulnerable to abuse and exploitation from unscrupulous employers.

We’re working with our members and stakeholders to catalyse positive change in this sector through activities that empower young women workers, strengthen industrial relations, build community awareness and support legislative reform.

Our Worker Peer Group project forms an important part of our work, engaging local mills and garment factories who value their reputations as employers and are keen to play a leadership role. W
e’re working with the HERProject to deliver educational modules and leadership skill-building sessions to workers within these mills and garment factories.
read more.

23:55:47 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

20150616 * Workers reject Rs 1,000 increase in wages:

The Pakistan Textile Workers Federation and the Punjab Trade Unions Federation have rejected the federal and Punjab budgets.

Addressing the general body meeting of the two federations here on Monday, Haji Abdul Jabbar, Maroof Khan, Muhammad Ali Alvi, Muhammad Bashir Shakir, Khalid Mehmood Khan, Rana Ghulam Muhammad, Muhammad Imran and Shah Muhammad Khan said that Rs 1,000 increase in wages of workers was unacceptable to them.

They demanded the federal and provincial governments announce adequate increase in the workers’ wages otherwise they would be forced to stage demonstrations.
to read.

20150618 * ‘High inflation forces women, children to work’:

The government can increase the minimum wage of labour to Rs 20,000 if all the political leaderships practically show labour-friendly attitude as a labourer is not getting even Rs 9,000 wage.

These views were expressed by the discussants at the Jang Economic Session on ‘how to ensure implementation of minimum wage’. The panelists were Dr Qais Asalm, Huma Aziz, Robina Jameel, Mumtaz Moghal, Azeem Bari and Manzor Malik while hosted by Sikindar Lodhi.

Dr Qais Asalm said the labour force was an asset of Pakistan while availability of basic civic amenities was their right.
He said that ensuring basic facilities to labour force should be the top priority of the political parties more than their slogans and manifestos.
He called for active role of labour courts to resolve labour issues.
He suggested an increase in the minimum wage to 15,000 per month while this should also be implemented on non-skilled labour.

Huma Aziz said every political party gave slogan of Rooti, Kapra aur Makan but none of them ever initiated any practical step towards it.
She said the government should introduced employment schemes for the workers rather than making them dependent on loans.
She believed that implementation of minimum Rs 13,000 wage would be helpful to resolve the economic issues.
read more.

20150617 * Workers’ welfare: ‘Govt committed to ending child labour’:

Provincial Minister for Population Welfare Begum Zakia Shahnawaz said on Tuesday the government was taking steps to check child labour.

“Child welfare centres have been set up where children are provided formal and vocational education,” she told a national conference on child labour. The event was held under the aegis of the University of Management and Technology.

Global Youth Ambassador Mian Zaryab Arif, former foreign minister Sardar Aseff Ahmed Ali and Senator Sardar Mohsin Leghari were also present.

The minister said 215 million children all over the world were forced to work. Of them, she said, only one per cent had access to education.

Shahnawaz said that according to the National Child Labour Survey, a large number of children less than 14 years of age were forced to work.
She said a high population growth rate was the major reason for child labour.
“If we succeed in controlling population, we can check child labour. Ending child labour is a responsibility for all of us.”
read more.

20150617 * Rs610m for labourers’ welfare: minister:

Punjab Labour and Human Resource Minister Raja Ashfaq Sarwar has said the Punjab government has allocated Rs 610 million with an increase of 11.3 percent of the previous year for the welfare of labourers.

He said the substantial increase in the budget reflects priorities of the Punjab government for the promotion of labour-friendly initiatives including social security and elimination of child labour.

In a statement, Raja Ashfaq Sarwar said compiling of provincial data about child labour and timely completion of ongoing mega projects are new targets of the department.

He said Labour Market Information System and Resource Centre will be set up with a cost of Rs 65 million. He said a huge amount of Rs 50 million has been allocated in the budget for provincial child labour survey.
read more.

20150617 * Spinners, mills evince fresh buying interest:

Fresh buying interest among the mills and spinners seen on the cotton market on Tuesday, which helped to improve the volume of business, dealers said.

The official spot rate was down by Rs 50 to Rs 5400, dealers said.
In the ready session, around 2000 bales of cotton finalised between Rs 4400 and Rs 5600, they said.
Seed cotton prices in Sindh were same at Rs 2600-2700 and in Punjab rates were at Rs 2800 and Rs 2900, they said.
read more.

20150618 * Post-budget concerns of PRGMEA: ‘20-30 percent of working capital struck in tax refunds’:

Manufacturers say budget should have done much more to stimulate investment in garment sector

In their post-budget concerns, the Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association has said that the growth of the sector is greatly hampered by the huge amount of GST refunds stuck with the Ministry of Finance, as 20 to 30 percent of the working capital of most of its members remained stuck in refund cases.

The Zonal Managing Committee (North Zone) PRGMEA met under the Vice Chairman Naseer Malik on June 10, 2015 to discuss and analyse the impact of the budget 2015/16 on the garment sector specially exports under the backdrop of the GSP plus scheme granted by the European Union.
Following were the unanimous concerns raised by the managing committee.

They said budget should have done much more to stimulate investment in the garment sector as this is a sector that can generate enormous employment.
For example as per the industry demand the importation of fabrics for re-exports as garments should have been made easier as the current DTRE scheme is too cumbersome for the factories to use it and enhance exports and diversify their product range.
The Chinese manufacturers are shying away from investing in Pakistan as they wish to import their own fabrics and make products for export for which fabrics are not available in Pakistan, for example, men’s suiting.
read more.
daily times PK

20150618 * Stuck-up capital shelves garment sector projects:

The value-added textile sector is facing a serious financial crisis because up to 30 per cent of the working capital of most of the garment units is stuck up with the Federal Board of Revenue, curtailing growth and shelving their capacity enhancement projects.

These views were expressed by the Zonal Managing Committee (North Zone) of PRGMEA which met with Vice Chairman Muhammad Naseer Malik in the chair to discuss the impact of the budget 2015-16 on garment sector.
PRGMEA vice chairman said that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) still withholds more than Rs13 billion under the Drawback on Local Taxes and Levies (DLTL) claims and about Rs17 billion general sales tax under the refund claims, causing immense problems to the cash-starved industry.

He said that the budget should have done much more to stimulate investment in the garment sector as this is a sector that can generate enormous employment.
read more.

20150617-18 * Powered up: Bara’s silk looms whir back to life after six years:

Several silk power looms which had been shut for the last six years in Bara, Khyber Agency reopened on Wednesday. Khyber Agency’s industry had come to a grinding halt in 2009 when the scourge of militancy engulfed the region.

According to a handout, Governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan was present at the occasion, accompanied by MNA Nasir Khan Afridi, MNA Shah Jee Gul Afridi, former minister Malik Waris Khan Afridi, Brigadier Jawad, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chamber of Commerce President Fawad Ishaq and others.

The governor met factory workers and pledged government support for bringing the area’s historic textile industry back to life.

Mehtab said the reopening of factories was evidence that the government’s writ cannot be challenged any longer.
“Over 6,000 people directly suffered due to the closure of these factories. It is time to give back to those who sacrificed for the country’s sake,” he said.
read more. & read more.

20150617 * Technical textile resource centre being set up in NTU:

First Technical Textile Resource Centre (TTRC) is being established in National Textile University (NTU) to provide technical support for the development of this important and potential sector of textile, said Dr Arshad Ali, Rector NTU.

He was addressing a seminar arranged jointly by FCCI and Ministry of Textile on the ‘Technical Textile’ here on Monday.
|This seminar was also attended by Ms Neelofur Hafeez, Joint Secretary Ministry of Textile.
Participants belonging to industry and academia also attended the seminar.
read more.

20150616 * Cotton harvest starts in Sindh:

Supplies from the new cotton harvest have started coming into the markets in Sindh in small quantities and are expected to gain pace in the coming weeks, traders said on Monday.

They said farmers have started harvesting early crop of cotton for new season 2015-16 in lower Sindh; and it will take another one-month to pick matured phutti (seed cotton) from farms in other part of the country.

“Two ginning factors {one each} in Sindh and Punjab have prepared 350 bales from the early crop,” said Naseem Usman, a broker at Karachi Cotton Exchange, adding picking for the crop was started a few days ago.
read more.

20150619 * Coal import : PTEA urges govt to withdraw duty increase:

20150619 TRIBUNE
The move will nullify efforts to use coal as alternative energy source.

The textile exporters have rejected the increase in import duty on coal from 1% to 5% and have urged for its immediate withdrawal as this would nullify the government’s positive initiative to use coal as an alternative fuel.

Representatives of textile exporters’ body, PTEA Chairman Sohail Pasha and Vice Chairman Rizwan Riaz Saigol termed the move unrealistic and expressed grave concern over it.
“This kind of action would jeopardise government’s initiative in fetching investment in alternative energy projects,” they said.

Textile industry in Punjab is in the grip of severe energy crisis, and the growing shortage has affected almost one-third of the country’s textile manufacturing capacity. It is also adversely hitting its reputation as a credible supply source.
read more.

20150619 * APTMA chief criticises power suspension:

All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Chairman SM Tanveer has termed the power supply suspension from 7pm to 3am to the textile industry during Ramazan as “ironical”, saying the industry has altogether rejected such an imprudent decision.

“Instead of doing so, the government should suspend the power supply for 24 hours to the textile industry and save 1,500 megawatts,” he said.
“The government should also advice the labour of textile industry to stay at home and spend time in prayers during Ramazan.”
read more.

20150618 * APTMA censures power surcharge, demands zero rating:

All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA), while censuring the tariff rationalization surcharge, has demanded zero rating electricity as it cannot share the burden of system inefficiencies.

Chairman APTMA S M Tanveer said the electricity tariff for the textile industry has been raised to Rs14.5 per kilowatt hour from Rs9 per kilowatt hour in May 2013. The average electricity tariff of textile industry in the region is not more than Rs10 per kilowatt, he added.
read more. & read more.
thenewspk NATIONnew

20150618 * APTMA slams raise in power tariff:

All Pakistan Textile Mills Association Chairman SM Tanveer has said the cash bleeding and liquidity constrained export-oriented textile industry will never sustain the burden of system inefficiencies built in electricity tariff in the shape of surcharges including Neelum Jhelum, debt retirement, equalisation and additional surcharge, presently renamed as “tariff rationalisation surcharge”.

He said the electricity tariff for the textile industry had been raised to Rs 14.5 per kilowatt hour from Rs 9 per kilowatt hour in May 2013.
“The average electricity tariff of textile industry in the region is not more than Rs 10 per kilowatt,” he added.
read more.

20150617 * ADB postpones approval of $400m energy loan:

The Asian Development Bank has postponed the approval of the second $400 million tranche of a $2 billion loan for energy sector reforms due to the government’s inability to meet many of the preconditions that it had promised to deliver on before the lender’s most recent board meeting, local media sources stated.

As of now, the Board of Directors of the Manila-based lending agency will not take up Pakistan’s case for approval of a $400 million loan in its June 29 meeting, according to officials at the Finance Ministry.
The ADB’s decision to defer the approval deals a blow to the government that has been making claims of progress on the energy front.
read more.

20150617 * Chinese company to set up 1,400MW coal power project:

The Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB) on Tuesday approved the Thar coal-based Power Generation Project of 1,400 Megawatts (MW) to be set up at Thar by Shanghai Electric Group Company of China.

This is the second Thar coal-based power project approved by the PPIB Board, first being 660MW Engro Power Project, said a press release.
read more. & read more.
daily times PK

23:55:47 local time map of uzbekistan UZBEKISTAN

20150616 * Ban Ki-moon: Uzbekistan Must Do More to End Forced Labor:

Labor and human rights groups are applauding a statement by United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who said during a recent visit to Uzbekistan that more must be done now to address “the mobilization of teachers, doctors and others in cotton harvesting, and prevent the maltreatment of prisoners.”

On June 5, dozens of labor and human rights organizations, including the Solidarity Center, sent a letter to Ban Ki-moon urging him to raise the issue of forced labor in which the government requires teachers, doctors and others to pick cotton each fall.

During each fall harvest, Uzbekistan’s government forces teachers, doctors and other health care professionals to pick cotton.
At least 17 people died and numerous others were injured during last year’s harvest.

Workers were forced to toil long hours picking cotton in unsafe and unhealthy working conditions that often included no access to clean drinking water.
Students receive little or no education and medical care is inaccessible for weeks until the harvest is completed.
read more.

20150616 * Uzbekistan intends to increase supply of cotton and other raw materials to China:

Uzbekistan intends to increase the supply of raw materials to China in the medium term. It was announced by Minister of Finance Rustam Azimov at the Sino-Uzbek business forum in Rizhao on June 15, reports Rueconomics.

Azimov claimed that Uzbek side is ready to the further development of supply of fertilizer, cotton, natural gas, uranium concentrate, rare earth and base metal, including other products necessary for the fast-growing economy of the country.

According to Azimov the trade turnover between China and Uzbekistan increased by 5 times for the last six years and it was worth $4.7 billion in 2014. He claims that the reason of such growth was implementation of long-term agreements on trade with strategic goods which was signed in 2019.

In addition, Uzbekistan is interested in further diversification and development of trade, joint production and realization of production including on the market of developing countries.
to read.


20150618 * Mauritius keen to increase textile and apparel exports in high-end niche markets abroad:

Mauritius after a successful display at the recently-concluded Source Africa trade fair, pan-African most important textile, clothing and footwear trade event on the global calendar is keen to increase textile and apparel exports in the overseas market this year.

The country’s national trade promotion agency Enterprise Mauritius led a major delegation of textile and apparel manufacturers at the show, which was held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from 9-11 June 2015.

The event promotes African manufacturers to both regional and international decision makers, with the aim to increase market share for the continent as well as develop regional trade between African countries.
read more.


20150615 * Honduran Workers Win Unions at 3 Plants, Get Pact at 4th:

Apparel workers in Honduras formed unions at three factories in recent days with the Central General de Trabajadores Honduras (CGT) and its apparel federation FESITRATEMASH, in a huge victory for workers seeking to improve their basic livelihoods.

Some 9,000 workers at the Canadian-owned Gildan apparel factories in Choloma, San Pedro Sula and Villanueva make T-shirts, sweatshirts and sweatpants. Gildan recently surpassed Fruit of the Loom as Honduras’s largest private-sector employer.

“With the organization of these unions we the workers now have a voice on the job and a mechanism to negotiate over the conditions of work at Gildan,” says Nahun Rodriguez, President of the SITRAGAVSA union at Gildan Villanueva.

Meanwhile, apparel workers at a Fruit of the Loom factory in Villanueva, Honduras, and their CGT-affiliated union SITRAMAVI last week negotiated a first collective bargaining agreement covering 1,200 workers. The workers cut and sew T-shirts and sweatshirts.

The union organizing  at the Gildan factories further expands the membership of CGT and FESITRATEMASH, which represent workers at four Fruit of the Loom factories, and is a significant step forward for apparel workers employed by major multinational apparel brands in the country’s export processing zones.

Honduran labor laws meant to protect workers from the health and safety risks posed by textile factory work are rarely enforced, and there is a severe shortage of factory inspectors who can investigate the working conditions of the hundreds of maquilas—many of them sweatshops.

The majority of clothing and textile workers are women who face particular challenges in the workplace, including sexual harassment, denial of maternity leave and forced pregnancy tests during the job application process.

Last fall, a Solidarity Center delegation to Honduras found the level of rights violations, repression of activists and economic hardship experienced by millions of workers “overwhelming.”
read more.


20150616 * Hugo Boss must address rights abuses at Peruvian supplier:

IndustriALL Global Union is calling on luxury clothing brand, Hugo Boss, to urgently intervene at its Peruvian textile supplier Topy Top over allegations of worker rights violations and union busting. 

In a letter to Hugo Boss CEO, Claus-Dietrich Lahrs, IndustriALL urges the multinational to ensure that Topy Top reinstates sacked unionists and stops terminating the short-term contracts of unionized employees.

The use of export sector short-term contracts by Peruvian textile and garment suppliers not only violates international labour standards and Hugo Boss’s own code of conduct, it also makes it impossible for workers to organize and defend their rights.

The company also dismissed 12 union members, five of whom enjoy immunity from dismissal.

Albujar has been an outspoken critic of the exploitation of short-term contracts and a staunch defender of worker rights at the company. It is not the first time Topy Top has tried to get rid of him.

He is now facing four alleged offences all of which he denies.

IndustriALL Global Union, together with its affiliate FNTTP, is demanding that Hugo Boss ensures:

* Reinstatement of the 12 union affiliates, including the five workers under judicial protection

* Reinstatement of union leader Huber Amed Albujar

* Topy Top explores all alternative measures prior to conducting layoffs in response to economic needs

* Full support for the respect of freedom of association at Topy Top’s plants, and that the
short-term contracts of unionized employees are not terminated.
read more.


* ILO calls for greater protection of all workers:

Changes in the world of work are challenging labour protection of workers, particularly those in temporary or precarious work.

Last week, at the International Labour Conference in Geneva, the Committee on Social Protection presented conclusions to better respond to these deficits in the workplace. 

The Committee for the Recurrent Discussion on Social Protection (Labour Protection) said that although some advances have been made in minimum wage systems, working hours, health and safety, and maternity protection, too many workers lack adequate social protection.

The discussion was informed by a report prepared by the International Labour Organization (ILO), Labour Protection in a Transforming World of Work, which paints the new challenges that workers are facing.
New technologies and globalization have led to different business models that have created fresh barriers to the exercise of the freedom of association. Collective bargaining coverage has declined.
Labour protection regulations have been questioned under the pretext that they have a negative effect on employment.
read more.




map of Asia

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

There is an update under ‘special overviews’:

* 24 April 2013 THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE Part 6 20150324- now
* Philippene footwear Factory fire 20150513-now


* New Findings on Conditions Across Walmart’s Garment Supplier Factories in Cambodia, India and Indonesia
* Asean to assume China’s role as low-cost manufacturing

* Workers at Fast Retailing supplier strike over move
* Backgrounder: China’s free trade agreements with other countries
* China’s trade unions to reach more migrant workers

* Kentex owners sued
* Two more bodies believed trapped in gutted Kentex factory
* Families of factory fire victims sue Kentex owners
* Kentex owners sued despite money offer
* Kentex trying to create bandwagon-effect for settlement – KMU
* [Justice for Kentex workers!] Safe workplaces for Filipino workers! Junk contractualization!
* After Kentex fire, textile factory fails Valenzuela City safety checks
* Group: 99% of factories near Kentex violate labor laws
* More Valenzuela firms face closure

* Vietnam holds int’l seminar to protect child rights
* More than half of Vietnamese dissatisfied with their salary: survey
* Eurasian trade deal promising
* US$300 mil credit package to promote India-Vietnam garment cooperation
* EEU trade deal brightens Vietnam’s trade horizon
* Cotton imports grow strongly
* EU FTA to unlock green-growth

* Child Garment Workers Not A Problem, Minister Says
* Garment Workers Again Target $177 Minimum Wage
* ANZ backs manufacturing to move up the value chain
* Union Law ‘close to finished’
* EU diplomat welcomes Cambodia’s disputed draft NGO bill
* New Draft Law on Associations and NGOs Reaffirms Culture of Control
* NGO law pilloried by UN expert
* Draft NGO Law Reaches National Assembly

* Government Has No Plans To Fix Minimum Wage According To Categories
* Dewan Rakyat passes amendment to Human Trafficking Bill

* Workers’ groups demand immediate pension scheme decision

* Strike called off at shoe factory
* Soft-glove Stockholm Syndrome

* Garment workers want salaries, bonuses by 20 Ramadan
* Workers’ broom procession protesting privatisation drive
* Half of employed people earn less than $1 a day
* Ministry seeks Tk 7.0b to pay workers, procure jute
* Exporters for re-fixing
* Exporters urge govt to lower tax at source for RMG exports
* Govt going to dig out reasons for export decline, target failure
* IndustriAll, UNI concerned over Muhith’s remarks
* Global unions denounce comments made by Bangladesh Finance Minister
* Misdirected bashing?
* Bangladesh clothing industry accuses European buyers’ alliance Accord of interference
* Bangladesh denim: Big opportunities
* Dutch minister opens seminar on cleaner production of textiles in city
* Chinese investors ready to relocate industrial units, says FBCCI chief
* Bangladesh worried over US Trade Bill
* Govt plans to set up eight more economic zones
* Charge framing in Tazreen fire case on July 8
* Charge hearing against Delwar, wife on July 8
* Tazreen fire: Court accepts chargesheet against Delwar, 12 others

* Govt’s labour reforms remove shield for workers: ILO
* Labour laws for hiring contract workers likely to be relaxed
* Apparel industry recovers Rs. 400 crore from defaulters
* More focus, policy changes can double garment export: Texpreneurs Forum
* Nothing much to cheer in export of ready-made garments
* Textile mills seek reduction of VAT on yarn
* Focus is on skills
* Apparel sector sees positive purchase trend this year
* Do not reduce order placed: weavers tell government
* HC rejects manufacturers’ plea to roll back cut in Bt cotton seed rates
* HC verdict on Bt seeds price hike today
* Cotton sowing begins in Vidarbha
* High Court revokes property registration of Bhajrang Jute Mill
* Case against leather factory for manual scavenging
* Tannery owners seek monitoring date extension
* Building trust in Tamil Nadu’s garment sect

* Workers reject Rs 1,000 increase in wages
* ‘High inflation forces women, children to work’
* Workers’ welfare: ‘Govt committed to ending child labour’
* Rs610m for labourers’ welfare: minister
* Spinners, mills evince fresh buying interest
* Post-budget concerns of PRGMEA: ‘20-30 percent of working capital struck in tax refunds’
* Stuck-up capital shelves garment sector projects
* Powered up: Bara’s silk looms whir back to life after six years
* Technical textile resource centre being set up in NTU
* Cotton harvest starts in Sindh
* Coal import : PTEA urges govt to withdraw duty increase
* APTMA chief criticises power suspension
* APTMA censures power surcharge, demands zero rating
* APTMA slams raise in power tariff
* ADB postpones approval of $400m energy loan
* Chinese company to set up 1,400MW coal power project

* Ban Ki-moon: Uzbekistan Must Do More to End Forced Labor
* Uzbekistan intends to increase supply of cotton and other raw materials to China

* Mauritius keen to increase textile and apparel exports in high-end niche markets abroad

* Honduran Workers Win Unions at 3 Plants, Get Pact at 4th

* Hugo Boss must address rights abuses at Peruvian supplier

* ILO calls for greater protection of all workers

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