13:37:27 local time CHINA
20150712 * Chinese textile industry may be affected as US and Vietnam push for TPP:
China’s export industries, the textile sector in particular, may possibly be affected as the US and Vietnam join hands in pushing the trade partnership.
Vietnamese Communist Party chief Nguyen Phu Thong held talks on July 7 at the White House with US president Barack Obama covering the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the 12-nation free trade plan that Obama hopes to implement as a legacy of his two-term presidency.
In TPP negotiations, the US insists on the “yarn forward” principle applied to the textile trade, which requires that only fabric produced from yarn made by a TPP country will qualify for duty free status.
The US is negotiating the TPP with eleven countries which include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
According to the analysis, in line with the “yarn forward” principle, the US might ask Vietnam to reduce textile imports from China.
Although there remains differences in their respective views about state enterprises, environmental protection and labor standard laws, trade relations between the US and Vietnam have continued to grow.
20150713 * Call for action after Chinese factory collapse:
The Clean Clothes Campaign expresses sadness and anger at the news of a tragic loss of life at a shoe factory that collapsed in east China last Saturday,
(20150704) and sends its heartfelt condolences to all the families affected.
Latest reports suggest that between 6 and 14 workers were killed when the Jieyu Shoe Factory in east China’s Zhejiang Province collapsed on Saturday, 5 July.
56 workers were in the shoe factory working when the four story building crumbled.
Over 30 suffered serious injuries, and local fire and rescue teams are continuing to excavate the rubble to uncover bodies.
The final cause of the building’s collapse is unclear, but large and heavy water tanks had been installed on the roof of the building and news sources have suggested that this could have contributed.
We urge all those connected to the factory to work together to provide compensation, lost wages and medical treatment to those families and individuals affected by this tragic incident.
20150713 * Global petition: Strongly urging Uniqlo to resolve the labour dispute in the Artigas factory in China:
Uniqlo is one of the fastest-growing fashion brands of the last decade. The brand has 1,621 stores around the globe.
In China alone, it has experienced explosive growth, opening nearly 400 stores in just a few years. Uniqlo products are well-known for low prices, trendy looks and high functionality.
However, 70% of them are made by Chinese garment workers who work long hours every day under dismal working conditions.
Regrettably, Uniqlo, as the biggest Asian garment brand with plenty of resources and knowledge, refuses to fulfil its corporate social responsibility, repeatedly turning a blind eye to the malpractices of its supplier Hong Kong-owned Lever Style Inc.
These malpractices include allowing Shenzhen Artigas Clothing and Leather (hereinafter Artigas), the factory managed by Lever Style Inc., to shut down its factory by secretly removing equipment and machines while denying severance payments and the payment of social insurance in arrears to affected workers.
We as labour rights concern groups have been keeping close watch on this case and are very disappointed and angry at how Uniqlo is handling the issue.
read more and please sign.
13:37:27 local time PHILIPPINES
20150710 * Harassment of unionists, activists shows real state of workers – KMU:
Joining public-sector unionists in filing petitions for protection under the writ of amparo and writ of habeas corpus before the Supreme Court this morning, national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno said that the intensifying harassment of unionists and activists exposes the real state of the country’s workers.
The labor group said that the escalating harassment of unionists and activists, both in the private and public sectors, weeks before Pres. Noynoy Aquino’s last State of the Nation Address or SONA highlights the wholesale violation of workers’ rights which occurred under the chief executive’s five years in office.
“The harassment of unionists and activists is just the latest in the series of violations of workers’ rights that intensified under Aquino.
It shows the repression that workers face in asserting their basic rights when it comes to wages, job security and union rights,” said Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general.
20150710 * Unionists harassed at big Cavite garments factory:
Workers who are building a labor union at the biggest garments factory at the Cavite economic zone in the town of Rosario are complaining of harassment and interference by management.
One worker of Faremo International Inc. has already filed a formal complaint for harassment, unfair labor practice and illegal suspension.
“Despite alleged reforms initiated by the Department of Labor and Employment in the wake of the International Labor Organization High Level Mission in 2009 to investigate extra judicial killings of unionists and violations of the freedom of association, union busting and management interference in the workers right to organize is a reality in the Cavite ecozone and beyond,” asserted Rene Magtubo, Partido Manggagawa (PM) national chair.
PM organizers are assisting the Faremo workers in the exercise of their right to unionize.
The workers started forming a union in May this year and by late June management had reacted by harassing active unionists and intimidating other workers against joining.
More than a dozen workers were interrogated individually in management offices, asked to stop the unionization effort and offered money in return for “voluntary resignation.”
Some four workers were forced in this way to resign.
20150713 * On the 2nd Month of the worst factory fire in the PH: Tragedy of Kentex Workers, a tragedy of every Filipino contractual worker:
Today marks the second month of the worst factory fire in the country, leaving at least 74 dead workers who were trapped inside the factory floor.
An independent fact-finding mission that was conducted by labor NGOs and unions showed major violations in the basic occupational health and safety (OHS) standards of Kentex.
However, beyond the non-compliance of the basic OHS standards inside the workplace showed a long list of other basic labor standards violation by the Kentex management, the most glaring is rampant contractualization.
“The violation on basic labor standards of Kentex did not end in their OHS violations that instantly took the lives of the 74 workers. Slowly and gradually, the lives of workers in Kentex were siphoned by non-payment of minimum wage, benefits, and social security, and rampant contractualization,” said Anna Leah Escresa-Colina, the Executive Director of the Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research, Inc. (EILER).
EILER was part of the independent Fact-Finding Mission that gathered information from the survivors and families of victims.
Members of the Fact-Finding Mission later facilitated the formation of the Justice for Kentex Workers Alliance which is a broad campaign network of organizations and families of the victims and survivors.
“Majority of the victims and survivors of the Kentex factory were hired as contractuals. They were piece-rate, agency-hired, and casuals. Contractualization was so rabid in Kentex that 65% of its total workforce was on temporary employment,” added Escresa-Colina.
The Philippine Constitution provides that every worker has a right to security of tenure. Unfortunately in Kentex, even if workers had been hired from one year to 17 years, they remained contractual.
20150711 * Ombudsman dared: Go after Baldoz, Roxas over Kentex fire:
File charges against top DOLE, DILG officials over Kentex factory fire.
This was national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno’s challenge to Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales after she claimed that she is “apolitical” and suspended both Makati Mayor Junjun Binay who belongs to the opposition and former Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima, an ally of the president.
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz and Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, both allies of the president, are among government officials that families of the victims and the survivors of the Kentex fire tragedy sued before the Office of the Ombudsman last June 8.
“We dare the Ombudsman to use her powers for the benefit of Filipino workers. Filing charges against Baldoz, Roxas and other top officials over the Kentex factory fire would show that she is ‘apolitical’ in a way that is significant to workers,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.
The labor leader also reacted to news reports that the Department of Labor and Employment has already forwarded to the Department of Justice criminal charges against the capitalists of Kentex.
12:37:27 local time VIET NAM
20150713 * VN climbs footwear ladder:
Viet Nam is now the third largest exporter of footwear in the world, and it can increase its exports further by using opportunities provided by free trade agreements.
Phan Thi Thanh Xuan, general secretary of the Viet Nam Leather, Footwear and Handbag Association (Lefaso), said Viet Nam was the world’s fourth largest footwear producer, after China, India and Brazil, but it had the third largest value of exports, after China and Italy.
Vietnamese footwear has been shipped to 50 overseas markets, and the country is the second largest footwear exporter to the United States, the European Union and Japan, Xuan said.
Also, Vietnamese handbags have been exported to 40 countries and territories.
read more. & to read.& to read.
20150711-13 * Unions can help guest workers:
The role of trade unions should be enhanced to protect guest workers, a conference held by the Viet Nam General Labour Confederation (VGLC) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Ha Noi said at a workshop on Friday.
A report released by the VGLC said about 70 per cent of guest workers were from rural areas and had low vocational skills and experience.
This created high risks in their jobs.
The workshop was told that many Vietnamese workers who paid substantial sums to receive jobs abroad had to return home before scheduled time and fell into debt.
read more. & read more.
20150711 * Viet Nam to gain from regional FTAs:
Ha Bac Export Garment Joint Stock Company in Bac Giang Province exports garments to the US market. — VNA/VNS Photo Tran Viet
Viet Nam would gain substantially from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which is still under negotiation, a workshop heard in HCM City yesterday.
Pham Binh An, director of the HCM City WTO Affairs Consultation Centre, said that 10 ASEAN countries and six countries with which ASEAN has existing free trade agreements (Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, India and China) were negotiating the content of the RCEP, which may be finalised by the end of this year.
RCEP would create the world’s largest trading bloc, he said.
It would be a comprehensive, high-quality economic cooperation model and would remove barriers to establish a favourable environment for investment and trade activities in the region, he said.
Unlike the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), RCEP focuses primarily on trade, including trade in goods, and trade in services and investment.
TPP also includes provisions on public purchases and intellectual property, for example.
20150714 * Exporters lack tariff knowhow:
Vietnamese exporters are not making use of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) opportunities as many of them do not know how to claim priority tariffs from FTAs.
- Vietnamese businesses updated on Vietnam-EAEU FTA
- Vietnamese firms should prepare for Vietnam-EAEU FTA
- Business knowledge of FTAs limited
Bui Kim Thuy, deputy head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Foreign Trade Agency, said that Trade in Goods Agreements, which reduce or eliminate tariffs to zero per cent on schedule, was the most important component of an FTA.
Thuy spoke last week at a forum held by Vietnam Plastics Association in collaboration with Enterprising Fairs India Pvt Ltd.
The importance of the rule of origin (ROO) is to identify whether import goods can be eligible for tariff concessions, to keep a rational balance between “trade facilitation” and “fraudulence prevention”, and to rate the use of FTA benefits from each of the FTA parties, she said.
20150711 * Vietnam-US economic ties have grown quickly since BTA:
Since the normalisation of relations 20 years ago, economic relations between Vietnam and the US have developed strongly in many sectors, and are expected to grow even further in the future, especially after the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is signed.
- Bright prospects for trade surplus with the US
- Shrimp exports to the US skyrocket
- Bright prospects for food and beverage exports in the US
The Vietnam News Agency talked to several experts about this issue.
* Hoang Anh Tuan, Director of the Institute for Foreign Policy and Strategic Studies, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Over the last 20 years, relations between Vietnam and the US have grown rapidly in many areas. The ties between the two countries were normalised in 1995, but at that time, it was initially in the diplomatic arena. Ties in other fields had not yet developed.
However, the picture is different now. US officials have said that they have not seen economic ties with any country in the world develop as fast as they have with Vietnam in the last 15 years since they signed the bilateral trade agreement (BTA).
Trade value between the two countries has increased from US$850 million in 2000 to US$40 billion in 2014.
The US is the seventh largest investor in Vietnam.
read more. & to read.
20150713 * What do US investors want in Vietnam?:
US investors are interested in at least four areas in Vietnam, said Mr. Pham Viet Muon, former Vice Chair of the Government Office, an organizer of Vietnam’s investment promotion conference in the US on July 1-5.
The event, themed “My Vietnam – Your investment destination” took place in New York City from July 1- 5 with the purpose of strengthening US investors’ confidence in development potential of the Vietnam market.
The event hosted by the State Securities Commission (SCC) and the Vietnam Ministry of Finance in collaboration with US partners was designed to create a substantive dialogue channel helping US businesses and investors better understand the situation in Vietnam and the Government’s renewal policies toward building a comprehensive and extensive partnership in the financial sector for the benefit of both countries.
Those in attendance included Finance Minister Dinh Tien Dung, the head of Vietnam’s Permanent Representative Delegation to the UN, Ambassador Nguyen Phuong Nga, Marc Mealy, Vice President for Policy of the US-ASEAN Business Council, the Harbinger Foundation President, along with 150 Vietnamese businesses and over 160 US business representatives.
– Which fields of investment in Vietnam are interested in by US investors, especially billionaires?
20150713 * US firms at the right time:
More investment opportunities will be available for American investors as Vietnam has been working hard to improve the country’s business environment.
Minister of Finance Dinh Tien Dung recently presided over a conference in New York to demonstrate the wealth of investment opportunities in Vietnam.
Nearly 170 US investors, including large-scale organisations like JP Morgan Asset Management, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley Investment Management, as well as three US billionaires, were impressed by Vietnam’s rapid growth and abundance of prospects in the local financial market.
The raft of the US investors who attended the conference, according to AIA Vietnam general director Wayne Besant, illustrated the great interest of US investors in Vietnam.
In the last decade, Vietnam’s economy has reached an average growth rate of 6.4 per cent a year, putting it in the top three Asian countries in terms of growth. Inflation has been kept under control, and Vietnam is expected to accomplish a seven per cent growth rate once again.
What has impressed the US investors and other foreign investors even more is a new regulation that removes the cap on foreign ownership, allowing foreign investors to liberally buy stakes at all listed companies in Vietnam, with exceptions in some sectors restricting foreign investment.
12:37:27 local time CAMBODIA
20150713 * Unions suggest changes to law:
Members of 30 independent and government-leaning labour unions and labour advocacy groups met yesterday to discuss aspects of a draft trade union law they want altered, and strategies for accomplishing the changes.
The nearly 200 participants gathered in Phnom Penh’s Russey Keo district, where they focused on about 30 of the draft legislation’s 91 articles, to bring the much-criticised law more in line with international standards, said Ath Thorn, president of the Cambodian Labour Confederation.
“Seventy per cent of the draft bill is taken from the existing Labour Law, and about 30 per cent of it is new restrictions, which were written to satisfy employers regarding issues they have raised,” Thorn said yesterday.
“That is why we are concerned that this law may severely damage trade unions in Cambodia.”
Articles in question include one that stipulates unions must garner support of 20 per cent of a workplace before forming a union or opening a union chapter, one that exempts workplaces with less than 27 employees from allowing union formation and several that place penalties, including jail time, for holding strikes that have not been sanctioned by the government, Thorn said.
20150714 * Family of Factory Worker Killed On Job Agrees to Compensation:
The family of a worker who was killed Friday in Phnom Penh in a workplace accident at a factory that supplies fashion giant H&M has accepted a payment from factory bosses and will not file a complaint with police, officials said.
Chea Saroeun, 35, died after a wood-chipper at the C Square Garment Finishing Co. Ltd. factory in Chroy Changva district malfunctioned, sending its metal cover flying across the room and hitting him in the head, according to Prek Liep commune police chief Meach Sary.
“The machine for grinding wood went wrong, so it caused the cover of the machine to fly toward him while he stood putting the wood into the machine about 3 meters from it,” said Mr. Sary. “[It] flew and hit his neck and he died immediately,” he added.
Commune chief Preap Mony blamed the death on a “careless person” whose job it is to oversee the machine and said the factory had paid $3,000 in compensation to Chea Saroeun’s family.
“[The family] did not file any complaint because the family acknowledged it is an accident. The family agreed with the factory; therefore, there was no complaint,” Mr. Mony said.
“It is a careless person who was in charge of the machine, because they knew it was broken but they still let people work on it,” he added.
Moeun Tola, a program director for the Community Legal Education Center, called on H&M both to compensate the victim’s family and to do more to protect the workers who produce its garments.
“H&M have to compensate for the family and also they need to improve the occupational system in their workplace. The boiler operator needs to be well trained and there needs to be enough personal protection equipment,” Mr. Tola said.
20150713 * Factory worker killed by exploding machine:
An employee at a Phnom Penh garment finishing factory that supplies to clothing giant H&M was killed when shrapnel from a machine that exploded struck him in the head.
Chea Saroeun, 35, an employee of C Square Garment Finishing Co Ltd, in the capital’s Russey Keo district, was working at a machine that grinds wood on Friday, said Meach Serie, chief of police in Prek Liep commune, where the factory is located.
The machine helps power a furnace that creates steam for clothes to be steam-washed before they are sold.
An explosion at about 6:20pm on Friday sent the machine’s cover flying, fatally hitting Saroeun in the right side of his head, Serie said.
“The victim’s body was brought to his family by officials from the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), which has also offered them 4 million riel [about $1,000] for funeral costs,” Serie said yesterday.
20150714 * Assembly passes LANGO:
The National Assembly yesterday passed the controversial NGO law, amid a boycott by the opposition and street demonstrations against the widely criticised legislation.
After almost four hours of speeches commending the legislation and criticising their absent opposition counterparts, 68 Cambodian People’s Party lawmakers voted at about 12pm to send the Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organisations (LANGO) to the Senate.
Outside, a beefed-up security presence kept protesters from descending on the National Assembly.
A force of more than 100 security personnel, armed with shields and batons, blocked a peaceful march of some 300 people who had gathered at nearby Wat Ounalom to march on parliament.
read more. & read more.
20150714 * Top concerns:
Domestic and foreign associations or NGOs must register with the government to work.
If they fail to do so, local groups face fines of around $2,500 while foreigners can be evicted. In both instances, staff face further criminal prosecution.
“It is going to criminalise the freedom of association and assembly.”
The law’s vague definitions of NGOs and associations could be used as a catchall to target any association of people, no matter how small or informal, Panha said.
“Working groups, community based organisations, platforms, neighbourhood clubs . . . they can all be interpreted as NGOs.’’
The Interior and Foreign ministries have total discretion over the registration process and can deregister groups who contravene the law.
Groups can be blocked or deregistered if their activities jeopardise peace, stability and public order or harm national security, unity, culture or traditions.
“They can target any NGO if they don’t like them.’’
Registered groups are required to remain “politically neutral” or face deregistration.
“NGOs do a lot of advocacy for human rights and democracy; the government can interpret this as political and terminate groups.”
20150713 * NGO law passes:
The National Assembly today passed the controversial NGO law, amid a boycott by the opposition and street protests against the widely-criticised legislation.
After four hours of speeches commending the legislation and criticising their absent opposition counterparts, 68 ruling party lawmakers voted at about 12pm to send the law on associations and non-governmental organisations (LANGO) to the Senate.
During the session, Interior Minister Sar Kheng moved to allay widely-expressed concerns that the law would be wielded to crack down on civil society and inhibit freedom of speech, and questioned the basis of such concerns.
“This law is based on the Cambodia Constitution and international norms,” Kheng said.
“This is to ensure legal protection for associations and non-government organisations. I cannot understand why some other foreign countries are also against this law. We have prepared this law based on their laws. Why can they have [such a law] and Cambodia cannot?”
Opponents include hundreds of NGOs, the United Nations, the United States and the European Union.
They cite mandatory registration, onerous reporting requirements, provisions stating groups must be politically neutral and the government’s unchecked power to block registrations and dissolve groups as among their concerns.
20150713 * CPP Passes NGO Law Amid Opposition Boycott:
The CPP’s 68 lawmakers unanimously pushed a controversial NGO law through the National Assembly on Monday morning without debate and without the opposition, whose 55 members boycotted the session in protest over legislation they say the government will use to stifle dissent.
The U.S., U.N. and European Union have joined hundreds of local and international NGOs in opposing the law, which would force all non-government groups to register with the state and gives ministries the power to shut down organizations on vague grounds.
They have branded the law unconstitutional, and fear the government will wield its new powers against its critics.
The version the lawmakers voted on did make a few concessions to the critics. An article that would have barred anyone whose NGO application was rejected from ever applying again was removed.
20150713 * Cambodia passes controversial NGO law:
Cambodia’s parliament Monday passed a controversial law regulating non-governmental organisations, despite a boycott by opposition lawmakers and street protests by activists who say it will hinder their ability to operate.
Cambodia is home to some 5,000 NGOs, many of whom provide key services in the impoverished country.
The new legislation says that all domestic and international NGOs must report their activities and finances to the government. Failure to comply could result in fines, legal action, bans and “other criminal punishment”.
NGOs can also be disbanded if their activities “jeopardise peace, stability and public order or harm the national security, national unity, culture, and traditions of Cambodian society”.
“Nothing is perfect. People have the right to criticise,” Interior Minister Sar Kheng said, adding that the legislation had been 20 years in the making and would offer ‘light touch’ regulation for the country’s thousands of NGOs.
All 55 opposition parliamentarians boycotted the vote on the legislation, known as the Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organisations (LANGO), but the bill was passed with unanimous support from lawmakers from Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party.
20150713 * Cambodia passes law to regulate NGOs despite concerns:
News by Xinhua
The National Assembly of Cambodia on Monday adopted a draft law on Associations and Non- Governmental Organizations (NGOs) despite a boycott from the opposition lawmakers and protests.
All 68 lawmakers from the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), including Prime Minister Hun Sen, approved the bill by raising hands, as the 55 lawmakers from the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) boycotted the session.
read more. & to read.
20150713 * Cambodia passes law to regulate NGOs despite concerns:
News by Reuters
Cambodia passed on Monday a contentious law to regulate non-governmental organisations (NGOs) which government critics fear will be used to muzzle opposition.
All 68 members of parliament from the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) backed the law while the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party boycotted the assembly session, saying the public had not been consulted and the bill should be dropped.
Thousands of riot police were outside parliament in the capital, Phnom Penh, to keep back hundreds of protesters waving banners and balloons calling for the law to be scrapped.
20150713 * Hundreds protest as National Assembly debates LANGO:
At 8 o’clock this morning over 500 monks, farmers, land rights activists, unionists, tuk-tuk drivers, youth, students, and NGO staff gathered at Wat Ounalum in Phnom Penh to protest the proposed draft Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organisations (LANGO) and the draft Trade Union Law.
The group marched towards the National Assembly to join 200 NGO representatives who plan to hold a press conference there, but have been blocked several hundred meters away by police and security guards.
The marchers are continuing their peaceful protest at the barricade.
20150713 * Government, Groups Brace For Vote on NGO Law:
With CPP lawmakers expected to pass a highly controversial law regulating NGOs and associations Monday, City Hall said Sunday that it would use “many measures” to ensure that protesters are not able to rally outside the National Assembly.
Municipal spokesman Long Dimanche said the hundreds of people planning to protest Monday against the law would not be allowed near parliament during a plenary session scheduled for the morning, which the opposition CNRP has vowed to boycott.
“We cannot allow the rally because the top leaders are having a meeting,” he said. “We will provide protection and make a good environment for the lawmakers, politicians, people and government to do their daily work.”
20150712-13 * Cambodian opposition lawmakers to boycott parliamentary session on NGO draft bill:
The opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) announced Sunday that its 55 lawmakers will boycott a parliamentary session on Monday, which is scheduled to debate and pass a draft law on Associations and Non- Governmental Organizations (NGOs).
“All CNRP lawmakers will boycott a parliament’s plenary session on July 13, 2015, which is stated for the adoption of the draft law on Associations and NGOs,” said a party’s statement.
The statement called on the parliament to scrap the government- proposed draft bill, claiming that it would put pressure and impose restrictions on the freedoms of associations and NGOs.
The opposition declared its boycott after the parliament announced Friday that it would hold a plenary session on July 13, 2015 to debate and pass the draft bill.
read more. & to read.
20150711 * Liberal International President Critical of LANGO Law:
With the National Assembly set to deliberate on the Draft Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organizations (LANGO) on Monday, the President of Liberal International, Juli Minoves, has promised to bring the issue up with the EU parliament.
During a Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) press conference on Saturday morning, Mr. Minoves pledged to take immediate action on Cambodia’s controversial LANGO draft.
“This project to control associations is against any principle of democracy. I will take two actions on the issue today,” he announced.
20150711 * EU warns NGO law could cost $700m:
The European Parliament yesterday passed a resolution urging Cambodia’s government to scrap the proposed NGO law, saying the Kingdom could lose $600-700 million annually in development projects if the legislation is passed.
It stated the Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organisations could see the country lose up to $700 million in development projects, due to budgeting restrictions.
The resolution urged Cambodia’s government to allow more time for consultation and recognise the legitimate and useful role played by civil society, trade unions and the political opposition.
to read. & read more.
13:37:27 local time MALAYSIA
20150713 * Malaysia-EU FTA discussions still on track:
The Malaysia-European Union (EU) Free Trade Agreement (FTA) initiative is proceeding on track with discussions having resumed recently.
EU Ambassador to Malaysia Luc Vandebon said the recent meeting between the Minister of International Trade and Industry (Miti) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed and European Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Maelstrom in Brussels, Germany, is evidence of this.
“(During the meeting), they (Mustapa and Maelstrom) explicitly said that both sides are still very keen on getting this (Malaysia-EU FTA) negotiations going.
“Their staff at the working level have been tasked to look at the difficult issues, what compromises need to be made and then report back,” he told Bernama at a briefing on EU-ASEAN relations here today.
13:37:27 local time INDONESIA
20150713 * Greater Jakarta: Death toll in Mandom factory fire reaches six:
Another victim who suffered from burns during a fire at publicly listed cosmetics factory PT Mandom Indonesia in Bekasi, West Java, died on Sunday, bringing the total number of casualties to six.
“This morning, we received news that a victim, identified as 21-year-old Febriyani, died with burns over 50 percent of her body,” Mandom Indonesia president director Muhammad Makmun Arsyad said on Sunday.
20150711 * Gas Leak Allegedly Causes Fire at Mandom Factory:
The Jakarta Police continued its investigation into a fire that took place at PT Mandom Indonesia’s production facilities in Bekasi on Friday, July 10, 2015.
The incident had caused 50 employees sustained burn injuries and 5 others died.
Jakarta Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Muhammad Iqbal said the fire razed production room at spray division. Iqbal said that there was gas used in the production process in the room.
“The fire was allegedly triggered by gas leak in the room,” Iqbal said on Friday, July 10, 2015.
20150710 * Mandom factory fire kills 5, injures 50:
Fire engulfed the publicly listed cosmetics factory PT Mandom Indonesia in the MM2100 Industrial Area in Bekasi, West Java, on Friday morning, killing five workers and injuring 50 others.
Bekasi Regency police spokesperson First Insp. Makmur has confirmed that the blaze occurred at around 9:30 a.m. and eight fire trucks deployed by Bekasi Regency Fire Agency extinguished it within an hour.
“Five workers died in the fire and 50 people needed to be treated for burn injuries,” Makmur said during a telephone call on Friday.
All of the victims, Makmur said, were factory workers because the incident happened during working hours.
Makmur said that the five bodies were yet to be identified as they were burned beyond recognition. One of the five bodies was taken to Bekasi Regency General Hospital (RSUD) and the other four to the National Police Hospital in Kramat Jati, East Jakarta.
Meanwhile, the 50 injured victims were taken to Hermina Grand Wisata Hospital, Permata Bekasi Hospital and Mitra Keluarga Hospital in East Bekasi.
read more. & read more.
12:07:27 local time BURMA/MYANMAR
20150714 * Foreign garment firms could face legal action:
Garment factories threatening closure over proposed minimum wage adjustments could face legal action if they fail to obey official procedures, warned Burma’s Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Welfare.
The warning comes after the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association said in late June that around 30 Chinese and 60 South Korean-operated factories would shut down operations if the minimum wage of 3,600 kyat (US$3.00) per day proposed by the government-led National Committee for Minimum Wage is approved.
The labour ministry responded by saying foreign investors working in Burma should be aware of employment laws in the country.
20150713 * Protesting workers demand K4000 wage:
Over 200 workers from 15 different factories at the Hlaing Tharyar industrial zone demonstrated yesterday in favour of a K4000 minimum wage, up K400 from the government-backed amount already rejected by factory owners as too expensive.
The National Committee on the Minimum Wage – which includes ministries, employers and labour organisations – proposed last month to set the daily standard at K3600 (US$3.20), a figure which provoked the predictable string of criticism from both factory workers and bosses. Union leaders pressed for a higher amount, while employers complained the figure would shutter their business and undermine the industry.
Yesterday, the deadline to lodge objections to the proposed minimum wage, factory workers queued into lines at 7am for a government-approved march against the proposed minimum wage. Some held signs and shouted slogans in favour of the K4000 (US$3.50) minimum.
“I have already sent my objection to the National Committee,” Ko Aung Aung, a demonstrator from YES candy factory told The Myanmar Times.
He said his current earnings, K45,000 per month plus a bedroom and daily meal provided by the factory, are not enough to cover his basic expenditures such as transportation, a cell phone and clothes.
While the workers were permitted by the township administration to protest, they were told they could not use two banners brought along: “Do not recognize K3600 as the minimum wage” and “the campaign [for K4000] must be achieved”.
“I have no idea why the administration denied us those banners,” said U They, a lawyer and leader of the All Myanmar Workers Union Network, adding that their point was made without the prohibited signs.
20150713 * Protesters demand Ks4,000 wage:
Some 500 factory workers staged a protest in favour of a Ks4,000 minimum wage in Hlaingthaya Township, Yangon Region.
The officially sanctioned protest started at Meekhwet Market and marched towards Hlaingthaya government offices.
“We demand more than Ks3,600 a day. We want Ks4,000. We have submitted a petition to Parliament. The employers said they would not change the previous pay. The protesters urged workers not to be afraid,” protester Hla Hla said.
“We know the suffering of workers. The minimum is not enough for us. The prices of commodities are going up day by day. We want the government to consider the situation of workers. We want a minimum wage of Ks4,000,” said Cho Cho San, a sweet factory worker.
The national parliamentary minimum wage committee fixed the level at Ks3,600 a day on June 29.
20150713 * Workers protest for higher minimum wage in Yangon:
Over two hundred workers rallied in Yangon Sunday for a higher minimum wage despite a warning by factory owners that the demand might put them out of business according to an Associated Press report on 12 July.
The workers were protesting in a northern suburb of the city demanding the daily minimum wage of 4,000 kyat ($3.54) instead of the 3,600 kyat ($3.18) proposed by the National Minimum Wage Committee last month following negotiations between the government, employers, and employees.
20150712 * Garment industry bosses urged to adopt proposed minimum wage on trial basis:
The government has suggested that both employers and employees agree to the adoption of a proposed minimum wage on a trial basis in an attempt to break the deadlock between both sides over the issue.
Union Minister for Labour, Employment and Social Security U Aye Myint told reporters on Sunday that the proposed minimum wage of K 3,600 per day set by a national-level body is a suitable rate given the current situation of the country, saying the law allows both sides to amend the wage in the future if it does not work well.
Myanmar garment factory owners on 2 July unanimously voted against the minimum wage of K3,600 for an eight-hour day and pledged to send their objections to the National Minimum Wage Committee within two weeks.
20150712 * Myanmar workers demonstrate for higher wage:
Some 250 workers shout slogans during a protest asking for a minimum wage of 4,000 kyat (120 baht) a day, in Yangon on Sunday. (AFP photo)
Several hundred workers in Myanmar have staged a peaceful demonstration to demand that a new daily minimum wage be set higher than proposed.
The factory workers protesting Sunday in a northern suburb of Yangon, the country’s largest city, want the daily minimum wage to be set at 4,000 kyat (120 baht) rather than the 3,600 kyat proposed by the National Minimum Wage Committee last month following negotiations between the government, employers and employees.
The current daily minimum wage is 3,000 kyat.
Factory owners say a wage hike will affect their ability to operate, and some Chinese and Korean-owned garment factories have threatened to shut down if it is implemented.
20150712 * Industrial zone workers in Myanmar stage demonstration for higher wages:
Hundreds of workers in Hlaingtharya Industrial Zone in Myanmar’s Yangon staged demonstration Sunday in demand of designating higher minimum daily wages as 4,000 kyats (about 3.62 U.S. dollars).
Myanmar’s National Minimum Wage Committee proposed on June 29 a negotiable minimum 8-hour daily wage of 3,600 kyats (about 3.27 U. S. dollars) for all workers in the country after conclusion of one year’s coordination between the government, employers and labor representatives.
The committee comprising ministerial representatives, employers and labor organizations also invited feedback from the public on its recommended minimum daily wage for workers, setting a deadline for July 13 for the feedback submission to be further forwarded to the parliament for final adoption.
While up to five workers’ federations and one trade union agreed on the government-set rate, Myanmar’s garment entrepreneurs objected the proposed rate which is to be raised from 2,500 kyats offered, arguing that if the government rate is finally adopted, then their factories will be forced to close down in September.
20150711 * Manufacturers asks for government mediation regarding minimum wage:
Business owners from the garment and manufacturing industries have asked for government meditation between the Labor Ministry, the manufacturers and the workers in regards to a minimum wage at a meeting held on 10th July at the Garment Manufacturers Association.
The meeting, which barred the entry of all news media, was specifically organized by the Garment Manufacturers Association and attended only by manufacturers to further discuss the current situation, according to SoeHtun, a business owner and a member of the association.
“We, the business owners, feel that the government should also get involved in the equation, instead of just dialogues between the workers and us.
For example, how will the government subsidize us if we agree on the Ks 3600 minimum wage deal?
How about Tax Holidays or will they support SMEs more?
What about reducing costs of transporting goods such as reducing the toll fee for Bayintnaung bridge or even free of charge?
If compromises can be reached, there will no longer be any need for the workers and the business owners to clash.
The employees will be happy while the employers will also be happy since they will be getting back something in return” said SoeHtun.
20150713 * Govt announces minimum compensation rates for terminated workers:
The Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security issued a statement July 3 that establishes a minimum amount of compensation for fired workers.
According to the statement, compensation must range between the value of half a month and 13 months of wages.
According to the statement, which was signed by Labour Minister Aye Myint, workers will be compensated according to their most recent paycheck.
A worker with at least 6 months of service but less than a year will be paid half a month’s wages;
between one and two years gets a full month’s wages;
between two and three years gets a month and a half of wages;
between three and four years gets three months’ wages;
between four and six years gets four months’ wages;
between six and eight years gets five months’ wages;
between eight and 10 years gets six months’ wages;
between 10 and 20 years gets eight months’ wages;
between 20 and 25 years gets 10 months’ wages;
and workers with over 25 years of service receive 13 months’ wages as compensation upon their termination.
The ministry’s decision has been seen as a step toward resolution in the tensions between workers and employers in Myanmar in recent months.
11:37:27 local time BANGLADESH
20150711 * Cotton, jute godown catches fire in Gazipur:
A fire broke out at a godown of jute and cotton on Sonali Tobaco road near Tongi Police Station in the city on Saturday.
Fire service officials said the fire erupted at the godown in the area around 7:30m.
On information, three fire fighting units rushed to the spot and doused the blaze with the help of local people after half an hour of frantic efforts.
The origin of the fire could not be identified yet.
20150713 * Swan RMG workers demand wages but owner still untraceable:
Workers of Swan Garments hold a sit-in in front of National Press Club in Dhaka on Monday, demanding arrears and Eid bonus. — New Age photo
With Eid imminent, workers of Swan Garments (Pvt.) Ltd and Swan Jeans Ltd on Monday demanded payment of all outstanding wages of three months from April-June immediately.
Their calls are likely to fall on deaf ears however, as the factories ceased their operations on April 10 with the owner, a Hong Kong national, fleeing the country three days later.
Workers of the two RMG factories at Mollartek in Uttara staged a rally for the second day as part of their non-stop movement started from July 12, protesting owner’s exploitation and suppression of the workers under the banner of Garment Sramik Trade Union in front of the Jatiya Press Club.
Noted economics professor of Dhaka University MM Akash, Union President Ruhul Amin, Sadikur Rahman Shamim, and on behalf of the workers Parul, spoke on the occasion. Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) president Mujahidul Islam Selim, general secretary Syed Abu Zafar Ahmed, Bazlur Rashid Firoz expressed their solidarity with the demand of the workers by taking part in the rally.
Professor MM Akash wondered how owners can be so cruel as they took labour from workers for three months but did not pay them.
Observing that the workers are not begging, rather demanding their due rights to wages, he said when the whole country is engaged in shopping for Eid, workers of these two factories don’t have money to buy their food.
read more. & to read.
20150713 * RMG workers stage protests:
Workers of Swan Garments Limited observe a sit-in in Dhaka on Sunday demanding payment of three months’ arrears, festival allowance and reopening the factory. — New Age photo
Apparel workers staged protests in the capital on Sunday demanding immediate reopening of two apparel factories and payment of the wages, dues and festival allowance to the workers before Eid-ul-Fitr.
Workers of KL Fashion Ltd staged demonstration in front Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association building at Karwan Bazar, while Swan Garments workers began a nonstop sit-in in front of the National Press Club.
KL Fashion workers said that the management closed down the factory on July 6 without any notice or payment of the wages and allowances.
The workers staged protests in front of the factory at Badda, but neither got any result nor could reach the management.
The workers started gathering in front of the BGMEA building at about 11:00am on Sunday demanding payment of wages and allowances before eid.
They also demanded termination benefits as per the Bangladesh Labour Act.
The agitating workers, however, withdrew their sit-in at about 2:00pm as the BGMEA officials assured that the wages and allowances would be paid Tuesday.
Bangladesh Garment Workers Employees League president Sirajul Islam Roni told new Age that the BGMEA officials threatened workers that they would take action against the workers if they staged the sit-in in front of the association building.
20150713 * Police keep Moshrefa Mishu ‘confined’ to home all-day:
Demanding four months’ arrears and Eid bonuses, Swan Garment workers stages a sit-in under the banner of “Garment Sramik Trade Union Kendra” before the capital’s Jatiya Press Club yesterday. Police allegedly prevented Moshrefa Mishu, president of Garments Sramik Oikya Forum, from leaving her house to join the protest. Photo: Star
Allegedly to prevent her from attending a demo
Police allegedly prevented garment workers’ leader Moshrefa Mishu from leaving her house yesterday morning to join a protest in front of the capital’s Jatiya Press Club and kept her confined throughout the day.
Mishu, the president of Garments Sramik Oikya Forum, was intercepted by a police team at the entrance of her Kalabagan residence around 10:00am when she was leaving for a sit-in, organised by Swan Garment workers demanding four months’ arrears.
“I was advised by police to watch TV or read books at home and to avoid all sorts of commotion,” Mishu told The Daily Star.
She added that several policemen stayed at the entrance of her house throughout the day and prevented her from going anywhere.
“My constitutional right to be able to go out of the house was violated,” she said.
20150712 * RMG workers stage demo in Ctg over wages:
About 500 workers of Scissor Apparel (Extension) demonstrate on Saturday at Nasirabad in the port city demanding payment of their wages.— Focus Bangla
Workers of a readymade garment (RMG) factory demonstrated on the busy Sholashahar-Oxygen Baizid Bostami Road on Saturday demanding payment of their wages.
About 500 workers of Scissor Apparel (Extension) came out of the factory at around 2:30 pm on Saturday and later took to the street in front of Bangladesh Tea Board head office at Nasirabad causing a severe traffic congestion on the road.
Hundreds of transports carrying passengers and cargoes had remained stranded on both sides of the road for about one and a half hours until the Industrial Police and Chittagong Metropolitan Police (CMP) from the Baizid Bostami police station intercepted and convinced them to withdraw the siege.
Babul Banik, Officer-in-Charge of Baizid Bostami police station, said they talked with the management of the factory and the management said the wages would be paid Sunday.
Workers said that the government instructed the garment factories to pay off wages of the workers by July 10, but the management of the RMG factory did not pay heed to that.
20150712 * RMG workers blockade road for wages:
Over a thousand of workers of a ready-made garment of the port city put up barricades on a road in Nasirabad area in the port city on Saturday afternoon demanding their arrears.
Workers of Scissor Apparels Ltd demanding their arrears blockaded the road in front of Bangladesh Tea Board around 2.00pm.
The barricade disrupted vehicular movement on the road, causing severe traffic congestion in the area.
Later, the workers went back to work after being assured of the wages, police said.
20150711 * Industrial Police fearing unrest at 70 RMG units:
Industrial Police authorities are apprehending labour unrest in about 70 garment factories over non-payment or partial payment of wages and bonus ahead of the upcoming Eid-ul-Fitr festival.
They have termed those factories vulnerable.
The Industrial Police strengthened special monitoring over those factories by deploying additional forces by dividing them into 10 zones.
“We have deployed additional forces after grouping the factories in 10 zones around the city,” said inspector of Industrial Police Intelligence Arifur Rahman.
Of the vulnerable factories, 59 are in the woven sector and the rest are in the knitwear sector.
Apart from keeping a close watch on 75 vulnerable factories, the police have also kept an eye over some 70-80 factories which over to pay off the workers’ wages and other dues between 15th and 25th of the month of Ramadan.
20150713 * Garment workers agitate in Ctg after assault on fellow:
Workers of a readymade garment (RMG) factory demonstrated on the busy Sholashahar-Oxygen Baizid Bostami Road today after a supervisor assaulted a worker of the factory.
The workers of Glory Garments of Sunman Group demonstrated inside the factory at around 1:00 pm and later took to the streets in front of Bangladesh Tea Board head office at Nasirabad causing severe traffic congestion on the road.
Hundreds of transports carrying passengers and cargoes on both sides of the road were stranded for about half an hour. Industrial Police and Baizid police of CMP (Chittagong Metropolitan Police) brought the situation under control.
The police said the workers protested assault on one of their colleagues by Abdul Mannan, supervisor of Glory Garments, but have withdrawn the siege after the police detained Mannan.
Meanwhile, workers of Alpha Garments, another unit of the Sunman group, lay siege on the general manager of the factory at Kalurghat heavy industrial area demanding wages and Eid bonus.
20150709 * TUC Aid and NGWF programme trains over 500 women workers in organising and labour rights in Bangladesh:
The TUC Aid programme with National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF) in Bangladesh has trained over 500 women workers in the last 6 months in organising skills and their rights at work in order to develop them as future union leaders.
Women make up the majority (85%) of workers in the garment industry in Bangladesh.
They frequently face harassment by male supervisors, particularly those who are in a trade union.
There is a lack of women in leadership positions in Bangladesh trade unions which makes it more difficult for women to bargain for their rights at work.
67% of NGWF members (34,037) are female while 17 out of 30 members of the Central Executive are female including the Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer.
NGWF have now completed a series of training sessions which created awareness amongst new trade union members of the role of unions in defending their employment rights, how they can play an active role in the union as organisers and develop confidence amongst female trade union members to play a more active role in their union.
20150712 * BGMEA to quit Alliance:
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has decided in principle to quit the board of the Alliance for Bangladesh Workers Safety.
The decision was taken at a board meeting of the BGMEA held yesterday at its headquarters in the city yesterday.
“The BGMEA will not stay in the steering committee of the Alliance. If the BGMEA stays at the committee, it cannot talk against the Alliance as per the agreement,” a BGMEA director told the Dhaka Tribune asking not be named.
“As the BGMEA represents the RMG sector, it will talk about it and place any demands of the sector, but if it is not possible, why we should stay with the committee,” he said.
The BGMEA board gave consent to the decision and its president Atiqul Islam would resign from the steering committee in a day or two, another meeting source told Dhaka Tribune.
“We have discussed the issue in the board meeting on our stance to exit from the steering committee of the Alliance,” BGMEA vice president (finance) Reaz Bin Mahmood said.
Reaz said: “We will discuss with the government about what to do about making progress in the remediation works.”
Besides, a BGMEA director said they had broadly discussed the issue of financing by the IFC to implement corrective action plans outlined by the Accord and Alliance to upgrade safety standards.
The Alliance has brokered a first-of-its-kind agreement with the International Finance Corporation to help suppliers finance factory repairs through credit facility.
Earlier, in June the Alliance expressed its concern over the recent comments made by Finance Minister AMA Muhith and BGMEA regarding the activities of the north American RMG retailers’ group.
read more. & read more.
20150711 * Govt plays go-between to bridge gap of Accord-Alliance with RMG makers:
The activities of Accord and Alliance, two groups of western retailers of Bangladesh’s readymade garments, are now under government’s close observation to lessen further misunderstanding between them and the apparel makers, officials said.
According to government high-ups, though the decision-makers did not formally issue any letter/instruction, they, in principle, have decided to monitor all activities of the two global groups working for addressing problems in the industry against the background of some major incidents.
A high official, preferring anonymity, said the government took the decision having received objections from different apparel makers on activities of the two groups.
Senior secretary of the ministry of commerce (MoC) Hedayetullah Al Mamoon told the FE Thursday that they are working together with the two groups of international buyers so that if any complexity is created, the governed can know it instantly and go for next course of action through discussion with them.
“Presently, we are looking into the matter.
There are not many problems in their respective activities as there were previously.
They (Accord and Alliance) are now carrying out their duties within their jurisdiction,” he said.
Last May, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) made a written complaint against the Accord to Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed to look into the issue seriously and take appropriate measures to keep the platform’s activities under the country’s law, an association source said.
He said the Accord got involved in labour-management issue to create problems with the factory management and engaged in some activities beyond the purview of worker safety. The platform also threatened to declare some factories ‘noncompliant’,
He also said the Accord tried to influence workers of some factories to communicate with labour leaders and participate in trade union.
“But the Accord is not supposed to do this.”
20150712 * COST- FREE FACTORY INSPECTION : BGMEA urges ILO to extend time by two months:
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association has requested the International Labour Organisation to extend the time frame for completing cost-free factory inspection by two more months.
In a letter to ILO programme manager (RMG sector) Tuomo Poutiainen, the BGMEA on Monday said that if the safety inspection at the readymade garment factories led by the government and the ILO ends by July 31, some factories would remain out of the assessment due to Ramadan and other unavoidable
‘As such, to complete inspection of the remaining factories, we feel that the inspection time should have to be extended up to September 30,’ the BGMEA said in its letter.
The BGMEA requested the ILO to extend the time frame for the completion of inspection after having discussion with the labour ministry.
After missing several deadlines, the ILO had set July 31 as the final deadline for the completion of the safety inspection and announced that after the deadline factory owners would have to bear the cost of safety assessment at their units.
The ILO had missed the previous deadlines due to non-cooperation from some factory owners and inconsistency in information given about factory locations and contact numbers.
20150714 * First garment factory building retrofitted against earthquakes:
Japanese experts teamed up with local engineers to make a garment factory in Ashulia more earthquake-resistant by systematic retrofitting.
DK Knitwear, a unit of DK Group, carried out the retrofitting with $850,000 in soft loans. “We are confident about structural safety as the factory was constructed as an industrial building,” said Syed AQM Zahid, managing director of DK Knitwear.
The retrofitting works will have a positive impact on Bangladesh’s garment sector as workers are suspicious of and panicky about any issues they come across, Zahid said.
The retrofitting initiative, taken in Bangladesh for the first time, aims to help boost the garment sector’s resistance to earthquakes-related disasters, Japan International Cooperation Agency said.
20150713 * Weak RMG factory retrofitted into earthquake-resistant building:
A garment factory in Ashulia has been retrofitted into an earthquake-resistant building.
A Japanese expert with local engineers conducted the systematic retrofitting construction work in DK Knitwear Ltd – this is for the first time a structurally weak factory building in Bangladesh converted with Japanese retrofitting technology, says a JICA press release.
Retrofitting is a technology that could be used to make a vulnerable building earthquake resistant without demolishing it and usually it costs 30% to 40% of the new construction cost of the targeted building.
20150713 * Ashulia RMG unit retrofitted by Japanese experts, local engrs:
Japanese experts, along with the local engineers, have conducted systematic retrofitting construction work at a garment factory in Ashulia to turn the unit into an earthquake-resistant one for ensuring safety of the workers.
DK Knitwear Ltd, a sister concern of DK Group, has taken the initiative to conduct the retrofitting through a soft loan of 850,000 US dollar provided by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Retrofitting is a technology that helps turn a vulnerable building earthquake resistant without demolishing it. Usually it costs 30 to 40 per cent of the new construction cost of the targeted building.
According to JICA, after the tragic incident of Rana Plaza, the Japanese government initiated the project titled “RMG Sector Safe Environment Project” by creating a Tk 1.00 billion fund with the Bangladesh Bank for financing the RMG (readymade garment) owners so that factory buildings turn safe for the workers.
20150713 * Accord signs co-operative agreement with International Finance Corporation to provide $50 million of loans for RMG factory safety improvements:
The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh is an unprecedented legally-binding agreement between more than 200 global garment brands and retailers and 2 global unions and their national RMG affiliates, covering more than 1500 garment factories.
Inspections for fire, structural, and electrical safety have been conducted at all of these factories. Corrective action plans (CAPs) are developed to identify safety hazards at each factory which need to be remediated, how, and by when. Executing remediation at the inspected factories is an enormous task and requires significant resources.
The IFC program, which will provide $50 million in affordable terms loans to help fund RMG factory safety remediation, is an important contribution to ensuring that required safety remediation from Accord inspections is completed and in a timelier manner.
The IFC safety remediation loans program will be implemented with 5 Bangladesh partner banks.
The Accord will contribute $250,000 to the initiative.
The Accord will train the IFC partner banks on Accord inspections and CAPs and share information on remediation monitoring & verification of beneficiary factories.
20150713 * The garment sector must not face the fate of jute industry:
The jute growers, jute industry and the jute industrial workers were once the driving force of our economy.
The same role is now being played by the garments industry and garment workers in our economy.
If we look back to the origin of the garment industry we shall have to start with Reaz Garments which in 1969 presented on behalf of the then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) its product – shirts – to the three astronauts, Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin and Michel Collins who for successfully completing the first human Moon mission were invited to this country in 1969.
Afterwards Reaz Garments first exported garments in 1978 to Europe.
Since then lot of water has flowed down the river Buriganga, and Reaz Garments is no more there.
But now Bangladesh has emerged as the second largest exporter of apparels in the world market.
20150714 * State jute mills run out of steam:
Over-staffed BJMC can’t buy jute in time for fund dearth
The survival of Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation, which operates 26 mills and employs more than 60,000, is at stake as the mills are running at half of their capacity due to non-availability of raw jute and funds.
The biggest problem the state-owned company has been facing for years is that it cannot buy raw jute in time. When the government disburses funds, the market price of jute increases 40-50 percent from the peak season of July-August.
The jute-harvesting season has already started, but Humayun Khaled, chairman of the BJMC, said the company would not be able to buy any of it now, whereas the private mills would be piling it on.
“If I had the money in my hand, I would have bought as much jute as I can,” he said.
What costs Tk 500 crore now would cost at least Tk 700 crore in October-November.
“We are running our mills at half of their 700 tonnes-a-day capacity for want of raw jute.
We are also missing out export opportunities in the Chinese market.”
20150713 * Revamping jute industry:
The long-awaited balancing, modernisation, rehabilitation and expansion (BMRE) of the state-owned jute mills are all set to become a reality at long last.
Belated though, the move to revamp nearly two dozens of the mills of the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) under a deal with China sounds good, and as reports say, efforts are in place to get the works done in a reasonably short time.
The government is thus set to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China soon.
Under it, China will provide soft loans at 1.5 per cent rate of interest to execute the BMRE and the amount of such loans will be repayable over a period of 20 years.
This, no doubt, should inject fresh air into the country’s jute industry, not just for its own sustenance but also for the benefit the nation can reasonably hope to gain from it.
20150711 * Govt to sit with labour leaders after Eid:
Reopening Adamjee Jute Mills
The government will sit with labour leaders after the Eid-ul-Fitr to find ways to reopen the closed Adamjee Jute Mills-2, officials have said.
The ministry of textiles and jute is now set to take measures for reopening the jute mills, the largest in Asia, a high official of the ministry told the FE. The ministry was working on the issue, he added.
The mill was closed as per suggestions of the World Bank during the last BNP-led four-party alliance government.
Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan also dropped a broad hint at such a move on Friday at a discussion held in the city marking the 14 years of closure of the Adamjee Jute Mills.
The Adamjee Jute Mills Chalu Sangram Parishad (AJMCSP) organised the event.
“I have talked about the issue with the ministry of textiles and jute. There will be a meeting of the minister and the state minister for jute with labour leaders to discuss the issue,” Shajahan Khan said at the discussion at the National Press Club.
20150714 * Govt lowers cash incentives for apparel, leather exports:
The government has reduced the cash incentive to 4 per cent from 5.25 per cent for apparel products export and 12.50 per cent from 15 per cent for leather goods export for the fiscal year 2015-16.
A Bangladesh Bank circular issued on Monday said the government also decreased the additional cash incentive for small and medium industries of the textile sector to 4 per cent for the FY16 from 5 per cent for the FY15.
A BB official told New Age on Monday that the export-oriented local textile sector enjoyed the cash incentive as an alternative to duty bonds and duty drawbacks.
20150714 * Garment exports to US on the rise:
Garment exports to the US, the country’s single largest export destination, rose 7.09 percent year-on-year in the January-May period on the back of a rebound in the American economy.
Bangladesh exported $2.32 billion worth of garment products to the US in the first five months of the year, according to data from the US Department of Commerce.
The development will assuage the nerves of many, as garment exports to the US experienced negative growth almost all throughout 2014 as a repercussion of the Rana Plaza building collapse.
Garment exports to the US declined 3.17 percent year-on-year to $4.64 billion during the January-November period of last year.
20150712 * Exports to US, Europe record substantial rise:
The country’s merchandise shipments to key North American and European destinations increased substantially in the just concluded fiscal year (FY), 2014-15, compared to those in the previous fiscal, 2013-14.
Except Germany and Canada, which marginally failed to attain the progress, exports to all other countries experienced a sizeable growth during the period despite the Eurozone crisis sweeping across the EU countries.
According to data, released by the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), export earnings from the US, the largest export destination for Bangladesh goods, witnessed a 3.57 per cent growth last fiscal.
Exports to the US totalled US$ 5.783 billion last FY, which was 18.54 per cent of the country’s total export earnings during the period.
The amount was $ 5.583 billion in the previous fiscal (2013-14).
read more.(detailed overview of exports to various countries).
20150712 * Enhancing RMG exports to US:
It is a piece of good news that Bangladeshi garment exporters, after facing a long downward trend, will have a positive market scenario in the US for the first time after Rana Plaza collapse and Tazreen Fashions fire in 2013.
This has boosted morale of Bangladeshi garment manufacturers. The total exports to the US increased by about 2.98 per cent in FY 2014-2015.
The US clothing fashion industry association has said the American market now offers both opportunities and problems for Bangladesh.
In 2015, in order to make US fashion industry benchmarking study, the textile and clothing sector in various brands, importers, wholesale and retail merchants in the US were interviewed.
It was found that the US is the biggest market for woven products and is still leading with US$ 2.9 billion products in July-March period of 2013-2014 year. In spite of the GSP issues, the US knitwear market is also growing at a moderate rate.
Bangladesh is still popular with US consumers as a source of readymade garments.
Forty-two per cent of the respondents taking part in the study said they will increase in the next two years the volume of purchase of garments from Bangladesh.
20150714 * GM cotton on trial:
Bangladesh yesterday began greenhouse trial of a genetically modified (GM) cotton variety imported from China.
The GM cotton seeds imported from Hubei Provincial Seed Group Company are infused with genetic traits taken from a soil-dwelling bacterium – Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) – that effectively fights bollworm, a harmful caterpillar responsible for damaging cotton yields.
Confirming launch of the Bt cotton trial yesterday at the greenhouse facility of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (Bari) in Gazipur, Cotton Development Board (CDB) Executive Director Dr Md Farid Uddin told The Daily Star that once they take the GM variety to the farmers it would revolutionise the country’s cotton industry.
Industry sources said typical synthetic pesticides have become increasingly ineffective in fighting cotton bollworm, thereby causing crop losses of up to 20 percent. Cotton growers’ expenditure on pesticides accounts for 40 percent of the total production costs.
Bari Biotechnology Division Head Dr Dil Afroza Khanom told this correspondent that once the greenhouse trial completes successfully by December this year, the Bt cotton will see a field trial within the Bari compound in the next season and then trials for its adaptability will begin at a regional level in the following season.
Dr Farid expects that the GM variety should be available in the hands of cotton growers once all the trials are done in three years’ time.
“Bt cotton has the potential to increase the yields up to 20 percent and enhance fibre quality of cottons as those are not attacked by the bollworms,” said Dr Farid.
In January last year, Bangladesh joined the GM-crop cultivating nations by introducing Bt brinjal, the first GM food crop in South Asia. Currently, GM varieties of rice and potato are in the pipeline as well. But if cotton trials go well, it will be the second GM plant in the country.
20150712 * GM COTTON : Trial cultivation from tomorrow:
The ministry of agriculture starts planting genetically modified cotton seeds in greenhouse conditions tomorrow, a senior official told New Age.
Genetically modified cotton seeds would be planted in greenhouse conditions at the premises of Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute under the supervision of Cotton Development Board, said CDB executive director Md Farid Uddin.
Senior officials from BARI, CDB and the Department of Environment
would witness the planting.
In April, the government imported one kg of genetically modified cotton seeds from China, said officials.
‘On July 13, we would start trial planting of genetically modified cotton seeds in a greenhouse at BARI premises after fulfilling bio-safety rules,’ said Farid.
Scientists from CDB and BARI would continuously monitor the results and collect data over the next six months from July to December, he said.
On completion of the trial cultivation and scientific assessment, he said, genetically modified cotton seeds would be provided to farmers for commercial cultivation.
To meet the growing domestic demand for cotton, he said, CDB decided to gradually increase cotton acreage.
20150713 * RANA PLAZA APPAREL FACTORY AUDIT : Complaint submitted to BSCI:
Rights groups on Saturday submitted a complaint to Business Social Compliance Initiative about an audit report on a Rana Plaza apparel factory carried out by a German certification company saying that the company did not address building safety or construction defects.
The European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights, FEMNET, Campaign for Clean Clothes, Medico International and Activist Anthropologist Collective in Bangladesh jointly filed the complaint.
The complaint said that German technical inspection company TUV Rheinland audited Phantom Apparel Ltd housed in Rana Plaza just a few months before the building collapsed but the company failed to acknowledge the shortcomings.
The organizations called on Business Social Compliance Initiative to disclose the audit contract as well as the reports on Rana Plaza by TUV Rheinland and others and to renovate the approach of inspection reports.
In a release, the head of the Business and Human Rights programme at ECCHR Miriam Saage-Maab said that ‘The certificates don’t tell us much. Consumers need to know exactly what is monitored.’
11:07:27 local time INDIA
20150714 * Don’t change list of hazardous work: Satyarthi:
Nobel laureate and child rights’ activist Kailash Satyarthi said here on Monday that the list of hazardous activities and industries where children were not allowed to work should not be changed.
He was speaking at the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, where he also interacted with a group of children.
Mr. Satyarthi welcomed the recent changes to the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, that slaps a fine of Rs.50,000 on those engaging children under the age of 14 years in any kind of work.
The Bachpan Bachao Andolan founder said the government shouldn’t tinker with or prune the hazardous activities and industries list as it will defeat the purpose of the amendment.
20150713 * TUs call for fight against ‘anti-labour’ policies:
The Centre for Indian Unions, along with other central trade unions, including the BJP-led Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, will launch a protracted struggle against the ‘anti-labour’ policies of the Governments led by the BJP and the TDP at the Centre and in the State respectively, according to CITU state General Secretary M.A.Gafoor.
Both the Government were hell bent upon pursuing ‘corporate-friendly’ economic policies and all out to suppress the rights of the toiling masses, former CPI(M) MLA Mr. Gafoor told reporters on conclusion of a two-day the preparatory CITU State executive committee meeting for the general strike on September 2.
‘Right to strike is the birth right of the working class and we will not accept the Centre’s proposal to impose fine on labourers resorting to strike’, he added.
The unions would launch a relentless campaign to press for ending disinvestment in public sector units and scrap contract employment system, he said.
20150713 * Centre trying to undermine trade union movement: CPI leader:
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government ís aggressively and unilaterally moving ahead to undermine trade union movement and take away the rights of the workers, senior Communist Party of India leader Gurudas Dasgupta said on Sunday.
Dubbing the one-year-old Narendra Modi government as “non-performing” and “hopeless”, Mr. Dasgupta said it was living on “gimmicks”.
Accusing the BJP government of favouring the corporates, both domestic and foreign, Mr. Dasgupta told reporters here that the number of rich in the country was on the rise on the one hand and poverty was rising on the other.
20150711 * ‘Labour parliament’ will see effort to get trade unions to back reforms:
To take trade unions on board over proposed labour reforms, the Union labour ministry has decided to discuss the proposed labour law amendments at the two-day Indian Labour Conference (ILC) scheduled to begin on July 20.
The agenda for the conference, to be addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will include labour law amendments proposed or implemented by the Centre or state government and amendment to the Bonus Act.
The meet will also take up the issue of social security for workers both in organized and unorganized sectors, employment creation and review on implementation of recommendations from earlier conferences.
The agenda was decided by the standing labour committee, chaired by Union labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya.
20150710 * Labour law amendments on agenda of Indian Labour Conference:
The NDA government’s labour reforms which drew flak from trade unions will be part of the agenda for discussion at the 46th Indian Labour Conference (ILC) scheduled later this month.
The decision to include proposed labour law amendments in the agenda for discussion at the conference was taken here in a meeting of Standing Labour Committee headed by Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya.
“The 11 central trade unions had proposed to discuss labour law reforms in the 46th ILC scheduled between July 20-21. The committee has decided to put the labour law amendments on the agenda for discussion in the ILC,” All India Trade Union Congress Secretary D L Sachdev told PTI.
20150711 * Indian Labour Conference to discuss govt’s labour law changes:
The agenda will be labour law amendments, amendment to the Bonus Act, social security for workers and international migrant workers
Accepting trade unions’ demands, the Union labour ministry on Friday decided to take up the proposed labour law amendments at the two-day Indian Labour Conference (ILC) scheduled to begin on July 20.
The standing labour committee, chaired by Union labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya, met in New Delhi to decide the agenda of the ILC. It would be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The agenda would be labour law amendments, amendment to the Bonus Act, social security for workers and international migrant workers, employment creation and review on implementation of recommendations from earlier conferences.
20150714 * Equipping women with entrepreneurial skills:
Over 1,500 women in Puducherry to benefit
From the newly formed ministry to a new national policy on skill development and entrepreneurship, the Union government has taken up a renewed focus on skill development.
On July 15, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to formally launch a slew of schemes and programmes in line with the government’s Skill India mission to equip 40.2 crore people by 2022.
In Puducherry, the Labour Department has set about a target of equipping more than 1500 women this year with skills in embroidery work, doll making, detergent and disinfectant-making, jewellery-making, textile printing, agarbatti and candle-making, vegetable and food processing, and offering beautician courses through its Special Skill Development Training Programmes for Women.
20150713 * Textile factory owners, four docs booked:
The district crime branch registered a case against nine people, including four doctors, for cheating a 21-year-old employee of a textile manufacturing unit.
P Kannan of Melarangiyam near Tirupuvanam in Sivaganga district was working with Sunrise textile in Viradhanoor in the district.
He lost his fingers in an accident in June, 2014.
The firm had allegedly promised to pay him Rs10 lakh as compensation and had urged him not to file a police complaint.
Kannan believed the words of the company owners and his supervisors and signed a few papers.
But he has reportedly not been given the compensation money for more than a year now. Irked over this, he filed a complaint with police.
Police said he was admitted to a private hospital near Mattuthavani bus terminal for treatment.
The doctors should have immediately intimated the police but had not done so.
A cheating case was registered against the company owners, three supervisors, four doctors and a public relations officer of the hospital.
20150713 * Textile mills hit by drop in demand for yarn:
With the market slowing down for yarn and prices remaining low, compared to the production cost, for the last six months textile mills in the region are hit, says the South India Spinners’ Association.
Association president C. Varadarajan said in a press release that the mills were unable to repay the bank loans, and would be forced to shut down if the situation did not improve.
Textile units in the State also had to pay higher value added tax (five per cent) compared to central sales tax (two per cent).
20150713 * August 7 likely to be observed as Handloom Day:
Come August and a new chapter to the Indian handloom Industry is likely to be added, as Banarasi Vastra Udyog Association has urged the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, to declare August 7 as Handloom Day.
The day commemorates, the beginning of Swadeshi Movement in 1905 whereby a movement for promotion of Swadeshi goods was started by Indian freedom fighters during the freedom struggle.
A letter in this regard has already been written to the PM who has agreed to the proposal. A delegation of the Association will meet the PM and textile ministry officials after July 16 in Delhi, where a meeting has been scheduled, after which a formal declaration is expected to be made.
We had submitted a similar demand before Minister of State of Textiles , Santosh Gangwar on his visit to Varanasi in May,” says Ashok Dhawan, patron of the Association.
20150712 * Leather, Textile Exports Likely to Face Fallout of Greece crisis:
Minister of State for Finance, Jayant Sinha on Saturday reiterated the Union government’s stance from a possible Greece fallout with the possibility of some volatility in the capital markets in India with marginal impact on the country’s economy as a whole.
Speaking to Express, Sinha however qualified his statement saying that sectors with high exposure to the European market “will see an impact”.
Tamil Nadu’s vital export industries – Leather and Textiles – fall into this category with the European Union being one of the largest export markets, and any decline in the strength of the Euro will likely see an already unfavourable situation worsen.
20150712 * Project report ready for effluent treatment plant:
A detailed project report (DPR) for the proposed Rs. 150-crore common effluent treatment plant (CETP) for textile processing units spread across three southern districts is ready.
The CETP, to be set up under the Integrated Processing Development Scheme of the Union government, will have capacity to treat six million litres of water per day, of which around 90 per cent will be recovered and reused.
The system will also recover used salts for reuse by the dyeing and bleaching units.
The facility will adopt Zero Liquid Discharge Technology, according to KR. Gnanasambandan, consultant for the special purpose vehicle (SPV), Southern Districts Textile Processing Cluster Private Limited, formed for relocating over 200 micro and small textile processing units under the Private Industrial Estate Scheme.
20150710 * HVPN imposes RS 85-lakh penalty on garment units for power theft:
They were found indulging in theft of power by using a total of 118 kilowatt of direct load
The enforcement wing of Haryana Vidyut Prasaran Nigam Limited (HVPN) has imposed a penalty of about Rs 85 lakh on the dye and garments printing units in Dheeraj Nagar, Kheri-kalan sub-division in Faridabad district.
They were found indulging in theft of power by using a total of 118 kilowatt of direct load.
It has also been decided to lodge First Information Report against the erring consumers, Informed the official spokesperson.
20150712 * Textile mills go in for Chinese machinery:
Demand for fabric made from compact yarn increasing globally
The demand for compact yarn is increasing gradually and textile mills in the region are going in for compact spinning machinery and attachments, according to industry sources here.
Tamil Nadu has 24 million spindles and this includes close to one lakh spindles with attachments for compact spinning or compact spinning machinery. A handful of spinning mills have gone in for bulk production of compact yarn too. There are domestic, European and Chinese manufacturers who supply machinery and attachments.
Earlier, compact yarn was used by companies making shirt material. Now, even hosiery units use compact yarn. It is a value-added product and in the comings years, its demand is expected to go up, say the sources.
It is estimated that in the next seven to eight years, about 30 per cent of the yarn produced will be compact yarn.
With slowdown and several other factors affecting textile mills in the region for the last two years, textile mills are not going in for major investments.
11:07:27 local time SRI LANKA
20150712 * Democracy, labour rights and parliamentary elections:
A year ago, on July 4, the late Bala Tampoe led a walkout of the trade union leaders in the National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC).
In a statement signed a month later by Tampoe and four other trade union leaders, they explained the reasons for their walkout to the Minister of Labour saying it was as a result of the failure to implement a series of agreements spanning many years.
First, was the failure to implement in law, the State guarantees given in the “National Workers’ Charter of Sri Lanka, for the protection of fundamental rights of workers in respect of freedom of association and the right to organise and bargain collectively.”
Next, they listed three matters of importance to workers;
“(i) to eliminate the employment of workers for regular work through labour contractors (‘manpower’ agencies), and to make their true employers, whose businesses they are actually employed, legally liable for their rights in employment;
(ii) failure to publish in the Government gazette the unit value of the Cost of Living Index, and
(iii) to amend the EPF Act and to rectify inadequacies in it, and to prohibit the speculative investment of the huge funds accumulated in the EPF in the share market as well as the settlement of the issue concerning non-payment of terminal benefits to certain state plantation workers and staff over a long period of time.”
Contrary to perceptions created by employers and pro-business think-tanks that labour has a free run, the reality facing organised labour is that even the agreements and guarantees provided by the State are not implemented.
And if that were case under the authoritarian Rajapaksa regime, there has been no movement on any of these issues facing labour, close to six months after the democratic change of regime.
Labour rights are often a critical barometer of the state of democracy in a country.
10:37:27 local time PAKISTAN
20150712 * Safe environment: Provinces’ input sought on workplace safety bill:
The Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan (LJCP) is seeking input from all four provinces on a proposed legislation dealing with occupational safety and health (OSH).
Hearing a suo motu case following the death of labourers in stone-crushing units, the Supreme Court’s Justice Jawwad S Khawaja had directed the commission to frame a draft for OSH.
Named ‘Occupational Safety and Health Bill 2015’, the draft seeks to prevent occupational hazards and to promote a safe and healthy working environment adapted to the physiological and psychological needs of all employees.
20150714 * New opportunities for textile industry:
New approaches to sustainability, introduced at a series of BASF seminars in Lahore and Faisalabad, will help create opportunities for Pakistan’s textile industry.
By addressing international expectations for consumer safety, resource saving and climate protection, textile specialists can further develop export markets and keep in line with the latest industry developments, said a press release from BASF.
The textile sector in Pakistan is vital to the country’s economic development, accounting for 38 percent of industrial employment, 8 percent of Gross Domestic Product, and 55 percent of total exports.
Conformity with international textile sustainability standards is therefore essential to the overall development of the textile industry.
20150714 * Unfriendly socio-economic environment: PTEA seeks government’s intervention:
Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) has sought government’s intervention as textile industry has lost its viability against the regional competitors; our textile exports are at a comparative disadvantage in respect of production costs in the region.
Talking to newsmen here on Monday, Sohail Pasha, Chairman Pakistan Textile Exporters Association said that due to inefficient and unfriendly socio-economic environment, the cost of doing business in Pakistan has escalated enormously due to intermittent raise in the prices of raw materials and production inputs rendering our exports uncompetitive in international market.
20150714 * Pak share in world textile market drops to 1.8p%:
Pakistan, during last five years, has added only 1.02 million spindles while its neighbouring countries like China added further 35.29million spindles, India 14.2 million and Bangladesh 1.98 million spindles in their textile sector.
Comparing the results of first five-year textile policy 2009-14 with India’s 11th five-year plan 2007-12, the value-added textile industry representatives said that implementation of country’s first ever textile policy 2009-14 with outlay of Rs.188 billion was implemented just 15% which results in 0% growth in textile exports, only 1 million spindle addition, no new jobs created and world market share dropped from 2.2% to 1.8%.
On the other hand, India’s 11th five year plan 2007-12 with outlay of Rs.140 billion was implemented 115%, bringing 76% increase in exports, 14 million spindle addition, creation of 16million direct jobs and increase in world market share from 3.5% to 5%.
20150712 * Crisis in textile industry: Facts and fiction (II):
In the first article appeared on July 9 of this two-part series on textile crisis, adverse impact of the energy crisis on textile industry and the official indifference towards burning issues came under discussion.
These factors, it was argued, has resulted in significant gradual decline in export of the textiles and closure of manufacturing units.
We also drew a comparison of the incentives being offered to textile industry in China and India and how far the situation has adversely placed Pakistan as against regional competitors.
Discussion was not only focused the industry but also the uncertain future of huge work force employed by the textile sector facing existential crisis.
It was also explained the crisis is not confined to the spinning sector. Instead, it can impact others sectors such as cotton growers as well as value-added industry.
If the first article was a problem statement, this piece will suggest remedial steps required in order to arrest the crisis.
Let me begin with the official stance that is explained in June the government’s Letter of Intent with the IMF of June 15 this year.
In it, the government took credit of withdrawing the subsidy on power. It has been a consistent policy of the government to withdraw any concession and nail down employments available to poor people pushing them further below the abject poverty line.
20150714 * Textile industry abandons proposed legislation:
The Ministry of Textile Industry has reportedly abandoned the proposed legislation “textile industry development, promotion and standard Act” which was aimed at overriding multiple laws and ordinances under its administrative control, it is learnt.
Official sources told Business Recorder that work on important issues regarding textile policy, proposed textile bill and Export Development Fund (EDF) has almost come to a standstill.
Senior officials said the absence of a full-time minister and a lack of direction whether or not it should be merged with commerce ministry are some of the major reasons behind the poor state of affairs in the ministry.
According to sources, work on the final draft of the proposed Act, pending for last six years, was completed early this year in consultation with other stakeholders of the industry.
The proposed legislation was ready to be submitted to the Law Division for vetting. However, about seven months have passed but it is yet to be sent to the Law division.
20150714 * Garment makers urge govt to cut business costs:
The Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (Prgmea) on Monday urged the government to take measures to lower business costs in the textile sector to the level of regional competitors.
Prgmea Chairman Ijaz Khokhar in statement said that Pakistan’s textile exports were once close to those of neighbouring countries like India but in recent years they have not been able to maintain this degree of competitiveness.
He added as per the regional comparison of cost of doing business, it was evident that Pakistan’s high wages and power tariffs were creating hurdles for smooth business.
20150714 * PRGMEA for bringing production cost at par with regional competitors:
The Pakistan Ready-made Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) has urged the government to bring the cost of doing business at par with regional competitors.
Association Chairman Ijaz Khokhar and Vice Chairman Naseer Malik, in a joint statement said on Monday, “Pakistan’s textile exports are close to those of India few years ago. But with a five percent industrial growth rate in our neighbouring country, its annual textile exports have crossed $33 billion mark mainly because of conducive policies.”
China added further 35.29 million spindles, while India added 14.2 million and Bangladesh 1.98 million in the textile sector during 2008-13, they added. “In Pakistan, only 1.02 million spindles were added in five years.
20150712 * Ominous Greece debt crisis likely to dent textile exports:
Greece’s default on its sovereign debt is likely to cascade into a full-blown currency crisis that may spell trouble for the textile sector in Pakistan, given it is one of the biggest trading partners of the European Union (EU).
BMA Capital Securities analyst Jehanzaib Zafar said the reports of Greece defaulting on its debt have started looming on the horizon.
He said that Euro (EUR), which has shed 15% against Pakistani rupee over the last 12 months, has resulted in a depressed demand as the foreign imports by EU customers become expensive.
Weakening demand from Euro zone in the backdrop of looming Greece debt crisis is likely to dent exports prospects for the country and region, he added.
20150712 * Incentives in textile sector to boost exports to $26b:
The incentive of Rs. 64.15 billion cash subsidy to textile and clothing sector under textile policy would boost exports to $ 26 billion by 2019.
The package announced under the policy (2015-19) carries special duty-drawback rates, duty exemption on plants and machinery, subsidy on long-term loans and also development subsidies.
Finance Division will provide Rs.40.6 billion over five years for duty drawback, technology up-gradation and brand development etc. while another Rs. 23.5 billion will be provided for skill development, dedicated textile exhibitions, establishment of world textile centre, weaving city, incubators, apparel house, and mega textile awards.
Official sources said around 120,000 persons will be trained through skill development programme and 50 small companies from the sector will be picked each year for next three years for government support.
The proposed measures will promote value-addition and generate employment for more than 5 million people.
On the performance of textile industry, the sources said it is the most important manufacturing sector of Pakistan and has the longest production chain with inherent potential for value addition at each stage of processing, from cotton to ginning, spinning, fabric, dyeing and finishing, made -ups and garments.
They said the sector contributes nearly one-fourth of industrial value-added, provides employment to about 40 percent of industrial lab or force, and consumes about 40 percent of banking credit to manufacturing sector.
20150712 * Textile sector”s share drops to 1.8 percent: wrong policy brings value-added sector to brink of disaster: PAF:
Pakistan textile sector remained at a disadvantage position with respect to energy supply, input cost, subsidies, machinery import and value addition as compared to other regional competitors and its share in the world market has dropped from 2.2 to 1.8 per cent during last five years.
In a letter written to prime minister and finance minister, Pakistan Apparel Forum (PAF), complained that something is `terribly” wrong in the policy that has brought the sector on the verge of collapse.
“This vital sector faces immense problems and hurdles which must be removed to pave the way for smooth and efficacious working of units in this sector and for boosting its exports in the best interests of the nation,” the PAF added in its letter.
20150713 * Free Trade Agreements: Pakistan constrained by several factors:
Pakistan’s trade diplomacy efforts are centred on seeking a level playing field for its core export products in the market of its trading partners.
The thrust has been to address tariff and non-tariff measures so that the private sector can gain market access and compete in these markets.
The World Trade Organization (WTO), in one of its trade policy reviews of Pakistan, noted that “the proliferation of preferential arrangements elsewhere have increasingly penalised Pakistani exporters; this left the government no option but to negotiate with them to neutralise these disadvantages and maintain world trade shares”.
Pakistan has so far concluded bilateral trade agreements with Sri Lanka, Malaysia and China. It is also a member of SAARC Free Trade Area (SAFTA) where members have committed to eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers for intra-regional trade.
20150711 * Looking to take advantage: Chinese company acquires 12.7% stake in Masood Textile Mills:
A Chinese company has acquired 12.7% shares in Masood Textile Mills in a privately negotiated deal, members of the Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) learned on Friday.
Zhejiang Xinao Industry, Tongxiang City, has bought 7.6 million shares of Masood Textile Mills, according to the company’s stock filing.
The deal follows a similar privately negotiated deal carried out in December last year when another Chinese company, Shanghai Challenge Textile, acquired 24.3% shares in Masood Textile Mills.
* VIDEO: Worker to Worker Dialogues: Building Grassroots Global Labor Solidarity Networks:
In an earlier post, Crushing Greed: Building Transnational Labor Solidarity, I suggest that we are at a key political and organizing moment so as to create a grassroots based transnational global solidarity network that is based on worker to worker links. I write:
The growth of social justice organizations in the South Asian immigrant community coupled with the renewed labor movement provides the grassroots infrastructure and capacity for immigrant workers in the United States to show clear and unequivocal solidarity with workers in Bangladesh and globally.
Capacity building and strengthening those organizations’ infrastructure will be the foundation necessary to build up any grassroots led, transnational solidarity movement.
It is not enough to acknowledge this organizing moment, but we need to devote resources to building the capacity of immigrant workers organizations in US and labor organizations in the global south to build the infrastructure for this grassroots, global solidarity movement.
After spending ten months in Bangladesh researching the labor conditions in the garment industry and meeting with key leaders in the broader labor movement there, I return to New York City convinced in the importance of worker to worker dialogue as a beginning step to capacity building efforts.
Using my research from the past ten months, and in collaboration with documentary filmmaker Mohammed Romel, I am working on a documentary project that seeks to highlight ways workers in Bangladesh are organizing themselves to improve their working conditions.
The documentary project titled Sramik Awaaz: Workers Voices is structured in an interview format and intends to to elevate the voices on the ground from labor leaders in the garment industry.
Through this project, I had the opportunity to interview garment worker union leader Anju Begum. Listen to a clip of her interview.
read & see more.
* A living wage is a human right, for all men and women, all around the world:
Compared to the cost of living in Europe, life is not expensive in Bangladesh, in Indonesia or in Cambodia. But living there in 2015 on a wage of €50, €82 or €100 a month is IMPOSSIBLE. (Yes, even in Asia!)
A living wage is a human right, for all men and women, all around the world.
I join the call of the workers to enforce this right.
I call companies and political decision makers to undertake concrete action.
- I call on garment brands and companies to implement concrete, measurable initiatives within their supply chains to guarantee a living wage for all garment workers.
- I call on the governments of the countries of production to fix the minimum wage at the level of a living wage.
- I call on European governments to implement a regulation forcing companies to assume their responsibility regarding the impact of their practices on the respect for human rights in their supply chains.
I am sending this garment back for its living wage defect and I want a living wage now for the person who made it!
read more and please sign!