12:18:29 local time BANGLADESH
20150719 * Fire at Savar factory under control:
The fire that broke out at a footwear factory at Ashulia in Savar has been brought under control.
A total of 14 units of fire service extinguished the fire at the Akij Footwear at around 8:00pm after around 3-hour effort, said sources at the Fire Service and Civil Defence.
However, no casualty was reported in the fire because there was no worker during the ongoing Eid vacation, said Fire Service and Civil Defence director (operation) Major Shakil. But, the tin-shed factory has been already collapsed.
read more. & read more.
20150719 * Footwear factory at Ashulia catches fire:
A fire broke out at a factory of Akij Footwear at Narasinghapur at Ashulia on the outskirts of the capital on Sunday afternoon.
Fire service officials said the fire originated on the first floor of the two-storey iron structure around 5:30pm.
On information, 14 firefighing units from Dhamrai, Savar, Abdullahpur and EPZ areas rushed to the spot and doused the blaze after two and a half hours of frantic efforts around 8:10pm.
Fire Service and Civil Defence deputy director Shakil Khan told UNB that the fire might have been caused from an electric short-circuit on the first floor of the factory where leather goods, highly inflammable chemicals, resins and other footwear manufacturing materials were kept.
read more.& read more. & read more.
20150719 * Akij Footwear factory at Savar catches fire:
Akij Footwear factory At Narsinghapur of Savar caught fire at about 6:00pm on Sunday.
Ten fire fighting units rushed to the factory and were trying to douse the fire till 8:15pm, said Dhaka Export Processing Zone station of the Fire Service senior station officer Abdul Hamid.
No casualties were reported as the factory was closed because of Eid holiday.
Factory manager (administration) Shamsuzzaman said that there were finiched products and machineries, but no chemical, in the factory.
Fire fighters said that scarcity of water was hampering the fire fighting.
They said that they were yet to establish the cause of the fire.
to read. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.& read more.
14:18:29 local time CHINA
20150715 * UNIQLO must act to support Artigas workers:
UNIQLO, one of Asia’s biggest fashion brands, has come under fire this month after one of its Chinese supplier factories, Artigas Clothing and Leather, denied workers severance and social insurance payments, and shut down without notice.
The brand stands accused of repeatedly turning a blind eye to the malpractice at the supplier following strikes in February and allowing owners to secretly remove equipment and machines, denying severance payments and social insurance owed in arrears to affected workers.
20150715 * Activists rally at Uniqlo shop:
The demonstration held at the Causeway Bay shop. RTHK photo: Christy Leung
Labour union members and rights activists held a demonstration at a Japanese clothing store in Causeway Bay in support of striking mainland employees in one of the store’s suppliers.
Workers at Artigas – a mainland factory producing clothes for Uniqlo – have been on strike for more than over payment disputes.
Kwan Liang,the project officer of a NGO called Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour, urged Artigas hold dialogue with the workers as soon as possible.
The activists also distributed flyers to shoppers.
20150715 * Economic data points to recovery but China’s workers are yet to benefit:
China’s economic growth appears to be stabilizing, in line with government expectations, but there is little evidence that conditions for workers in China’s troubled industries are improving.
China’s GDP grew at exactly 7.0 percent (year-on-year) in the second quarter of 2015, with the strongest growth seen in the service sector. Industrial output meanwhile rebounded to 6.8 percent in June, its fastest rate in four months.
However, initial indications in July are that many industries are still struggling and that it is the workers who are feeling the biggest impact.
Of the 67 strikes and worker protests recorded on China Labour Bulletin’s Strike Map in the first 12 days of this month 48 (72 percent) were directly related to the non-payment of wages.
On just one day, 2 July, there were protests over wage arrears by more than 1,000 workers at a state-owned textile plant in Dezhou, iron workers in Qinghuangdao, employees at a mining and smelting company in Linyi, and theme park employees in Nanchang, as well as demonstrations by construction workers in Nanchang, Chengdu and Mianyang.
20150715 * Six in ten Chinese workers suffer chronic diseases: survey:
Nearly 60 percent of Chinese employees suffer from chronic diseases, with work-related stress being the leading health risk, according to a new survey.
The data comes from the Chinese Employees Health Condition and Medical Benefits Report 2015, produced by PingAn Health Insurance and the Horizon Research Consultancy Group.
It includes six months of interviews with 499 Human Resources managers and 2,099 employees, covering eight industries across 15 cities.
Chinese workers are an average 5.7 years older than their real age interms of vitality, the report says.
Cervical spondylosis, abnormal wear on the cartilage/bones of the neck, and in somnia are a mong the tophealth troubles for many employees.
The survey also found that more than a quarter of workers see a doctor three times a year, although most are usually allowed only one to four days of sick leave, which means that many of them work while ill.
Nearly 54 percent of companies fail to remind employees of their health conditions on are gularbasis, and 24 percent do not follow up after health checks.
20150714 * China starts acrylic fiber anti-dumping investigation:
The Ministry of Commerce (MoC) on Tuesday began looking into allegations of the dumping of acrylic fiber imported from Japan, the Republic of Korea and Turkey.
The MoC will try to determine whether the imports have damaged domestic producers’ interests and if their interests have been affected, the ministry said in a statement.
The investigation started on July 14, the statement said.
Acrylic fibers are widely used in the clothes manufacturing sector.
15:18:29 local time NORTH KOREA
20150717 * Koreas discuss Kaesong row:
North and South Korean officials on Thursday opened rare talks over a protracted wage dispute at the jointly operated Kaesong industrial zone in the North.
The two sides have been mired in a months-long row over wages at the Kaesong estate, just 10 kilometers over the border in North Korea,
with Pyongyang insisting on unilaterally imposing a pay rise for its workers.
Seoul had insisted that any wage change must be a joint decision.
North Korea last week agreed to reopen a joint committee in charge of running the industrial park for the first time in more than a year to discuss the wage dispute.
20150716 * S. Korea, DPRK meet in Kaesong to discuss wage issue:
Delegates of South Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) met Thursday in the DPRK’s border town of Kaesong to discuss issues, including a wage hike for DPRK workers hired at the namesake factory park.
Five South Korean delegates crossed the inter-Korean land border to the Kaesong industrial zone, kicking off the first talks with DPRK counterparts in more than a year, according to Seoul’s Unification Ministry. The talks began at about 10 a.m. (0100 GMT).
After a five-month hiatus in operation of the factory park, Seoul and Pyongyang agreed in August 2013 to launch the joint management committee for the Kaesong industrial complex and hold the committee meeting regularly.
During the meeting, the two sides are expected to discuss the wage hike issue. Seoul and Pyongyang have been in deadlock on the wage hike for DPRK workers in Kaesong.
Under the revision, the DPRK raised minimum wages for workers in Kaesong from $70.35 to $74, topping the growth ceiling of 5 percent agreed upon by an inter-Korean agreement.
read more. & read more.
20150716 * South Korean delegates head for talks on Kaesong wage row:
North Korean employees work at a factory of a South Korean-owned company at the Kaesong joint industrial zone on December 19, 2013
A South Korean government delegation on Thursday left for North Korea for rare talks over a protracted wage dispute at the jointly operated Kaesong industrial zone in the North.
The two sides have been mired in a months-long row over wages at the Kaesong estate, just 10 kilometres (six miles) over the border in North Korea, with Pyongyang insisting on unilaterally imposing a pay rise for its workers.
Seoul had insisted that any wage change must be a joint decision.
North Korea last week agreed to reopen a joint committee in charge of running the industrial park for the first time in more than a year to discuss the wage dispute.
“We will discuss pending issues for the sake of the normal development of Kaesong industrial zone,” said Lee Sang-Min, a senior Unification Ministry official who heads the South’s delegation at the joint committee.
“We will do our best to produce good results,” he told journalists before the five-member delegation left for Kaesong.
The industrial estate, a joint enterprise between Pyongyang and Seoul, hosts around 120 South Korean firms employing some 53,000 North Korean workers.
14:18:29 local time PHILIPPINES
20150715 * 2 months after Kentex fire| Workers demand policy change, justice:
“Justice is what we want.”
Two months after the Kentex factory fire in Valenzuela, survivors and relatives of those who perished have been joining protest actions of various workers groups, still demanding justice.
Making an appeal to the public, Michael Lazarte, coordinator of Justice for Kentex Workers Alliance, said, “Don’t be taken in by the deception of Kentex management. Don’t let them trample all over us yet again.”
“Contrary to what the Kentex management wanted to appear, we are bent on demanding justice,” Lazarte emphasized.
He said their fight is now in the cases they have filed with the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC); in the administrative and criminal cases they have filed at the Office of the Ombudsman, and in the criminal cases they have filed at the Valenzuela Regional Trial Court. All of these are not yet resolved.
But Kentex’s legal counsel has previously made much of the news that some of the survivors had accepted their P151,000 ($3,343) offer of compensation. In exchange, the survivors have supposedly agreed not to pursue the cases against Kentex Manufacturing Corp.
20150714 * Wanted: CJC Manpower Services:
CJC Manpower Services, the service agency that was hired by slipper maker Kentex Manufacturing Inc., is nowhere to be found.
Letters from the National Labor Relations Commission to the service agency’s address in Meycauayan, Bulacan have been bouncing back.
Efforts by families of the victims and by the survivors of the Kentex factory fire to find out the service agency’s address have come to naught.
The service agency’s buildings in Barangay Mapulang Lupa, Valenzuela City are already closed.
News reports say that 31 out of the more than 72 workers who died in the Kentex factory fire were employed by CJC Manpower Services.
News reports detail the service agency’s numerous violations of the law according to senior labor laws compliance officer Dante M. Regala who inspected the service agency last May 15.
The service agency’s disappearance does not augur well for efforts by the victims’ families and the survivors to hold it accountable for grave violations of safety and general labor standards.
We are calling on the public to help us and the Justice for Kentex Workers Alliance to find out the address of the owners of CJC Manpower Services.
13:18:29 local time VIET NAM
20150717 * Minimum wage to go up 17%:
The Viet Nam General Confederation of Labour has submitted plans to increase the minimum wage by 16-17 per cent in 2016 to the National Salary Council. — Photo International Labour Organisation
The Viet Nam General Confederation of Labour (VGLC) has submitted plans to increase the minimum wage by 16-17 per cent in 2016 to the National Salary Council.
If the plan is approved, each minimum wage level for all four of the country’s wage zones will increase from VND350,000 to VND550,000 (US$16-25).
“To put forth the increase proposal, VGLC performed studies and took into account economic forecasts, like a five per cent increase in the Consumer Price Index, 6.5 per cent economic growth and 3-3.5 per cent rise in social labour productivity,” said VGLC Vice Chairman Mai Duc Chinh.
The proposed monthly minimum wages are VND3.65 million ($168) for Zone 1, a VND550,000 ($25) hike; VND3.2 million ($145) for Zone 2; VND2.8 million ($127) for Zone 3; and VND2.5 million ($113) for Zone 4.
read more. & read more. & read more.
20150716 * Investors pour billions of dollars into garment industry in anticipation of TPP:
Billions of dollars of foreign direct investment have poured into the textile and garment sector in anticipation of great opportunities to be brought by the TPP Agreement (Trans Pacific Partnership), which analysts warn will put pressure on Vietnamese businesses and the entire economy.
While FDI to Vietnam has fallen significantly in the first six months of 2015, the FDI poured into the textile & garment sector increased sharply.
At least $1.12 billion out of the $5.58 billion worth of capital registered went into the sector.
One of the three largest projects was capitalized at $660 million, the highest ever in the field.
The $660 million project, in a yarn factory in Dong Nai province, was registered by an investor from Turkey.
The others include a $300 million project registered by a British investor in HCM City and a $160 million project in Tay Ninh province by a Hong Kong investor.
Prior to that, Vietnam licensed three large projects to investors from China, including $400 million textile & garment complex in Nam Dinh province, $300 million in Quang Ninh province and $200 million in Hai Duong.
20150716 * Vietnam’s textile export growth slows:
Vietnam’s textile exports since the beginning of the year reached $12 million, for growth of 9 per cent compared to the same period last year, according to Vietnam Textile & Apparel Association (VITAS).
But this is the lowest growth recorded for the last three years, it added, and well down on the 19 per cent recorded for the same period of last year.
Only 27.5 per cent of the $12 million came from domestic firms, with foreign-invested firms accounting for the vast majority.
The textile industry has faced many difficulties this year, with smaller orders coming from regular markets such as Japan and the EU. Orders are still being placed but most are still small, meaning the situation is likely to continue.
Although the US market is showing some positive signs it cannot compensate for declining orders from Japan and the EU.
20150716 * Vietnam textile export reach $12 mn till now, lowest growth recorded:
Vietnam’s textile exports has reached $12 million, growth of 9 percent compared to the same period last year, this is the lowest growth recorded for the last three years, well down on 19 percent recorded for the same period of last year, according to Vietnam Textile & Apparel Association (VITAS).
Textiles are a major export of Vietnam which is targeted at $27 million to $27.5 million for this year. In 2014 textile exports had reached $24 million.
Out of the $12 million export achieved so far, only 27.5 percent came from domestic firms, with foreign-invested firms accounting for the vast majority.
Although the US market is showing some positive signs it cannot compensate for declining orders from Japan and the EU.
The textile industry has faced many difficulties this year, with smaller orders coming from regular markets such as Japan and the EU.
Orders are still being placed but most are still small, meaning the situation is likely to continue.
20150714 * Businesses confused about new regulations in Vietnam:
The business registration division of the HCM City Planning and Investment Department has been overloaded for several days answering questions about new procedures to set up new businesses under the amended Enterprise and Investment Laws which took effect one week ago.
A businessman told reporters that the procedures had not improved as expected.
Article No 29 of the 2014 Enterprise Law stipulates that there is need to write down business fields in business registration certificate.
However, the businesspeople said the provision can only help ease business registration agencies’ works, while businesses cannot benefit from this.
In fact, when registering, enterprises have to enumerate all of their business fields and then declare the encoded fields.
20150717 * Looming FTAs drive cotton rush:
Statistics from the Ministry of Industry and Trade showed that total investment of FDI in the country was US$5.49 billion for the first half of the year. Of this, the investment in the garment and textile sector was $1.12 billion. — Photo ccci
Several domestic and foreign-invested cotton projects are rushing to begin operating in anticipation of competing across borders after Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) go into affect.
Statistics from the Ministry of Industry and Trade showed that total investment of FDI in the country was US$5.49 billion for the first half of the year.
Of this, the investment in the garment and textile sector was $1.12 billion.
Notably, two of the largest FDI projects in the period sought to build cotton and fibre factories, including Hyosung Dong Nai fibre production plant financed by Turkey with an investment of $600 million, along with the $160.8 million Lu Thai cotton factory.
20150717 * 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.
According to the General Department of Customs, the value of the leather, footwear and handbag industry’s exports reached $5.84 billion in the first five months this year, up 16.8 per cent from the same period last year.
20150716 * FTAs bear both opportunities and challenges for footwear sector:
The signed and pending free trade agreements (FTAs) will not only provide benefits for the Vietnamese footwear and bag sector, but also a number of challenges due to export goods now requiring clear information on product origin, a conference in Ho Chi Minh City heard on July 15.
In the past five years, the Vietnamese Government has actively negotiated FTAs with numerous countries, with most of them impacting significantly on the development of the footwear sector, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and FTAs with the European Union and the Eurasian Economic Union.
According to the Deputy Head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Import-Export Department Tran Thanh Hai, the footwear sector will be a priority during the negotiation process since it is one of Vietnam’s three key exports to the EU and the US.
20150715 * Leather, footwear products showcased in Ho Chi Minh City:
A wide range of domestic and international leather products and footwear are on display at more than 600 booths in Ho Chi Minh City from July 15-17.
The 2015 Shoes & Leather Vietnam is being organised for the 17th time by the Vietnam Leather, Footwear and Handbag Association (Lefaso Vietnam).
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
13:18:29 local time CAMBODIA
20150717 * Workers to march as talks stagnate:
Hundreds of workers at garment factories demonstrated in front of the Ministry of Labour yesterday, as talks between factory officials and employee representatives remained deadlocked.
Collective Union of Movement of Workers president Pav Sina, who has been helping unaffiliated staff at Akeentex Pte Ltd in Phnom Penh to negotiate their demands, said yesterday that about 500 employees demonstrated outside the ministry while he attended the meeting inside.
“The meeting did not resolve anything,” Sina said yesterday.
“We are going to march to the National Assembly tomorrow if an agreement is not reached today.”
20150715 * Striking garment workers march to ministry:
About 100 striking workers from a Phnom Penh garment factory yesterday delivered a letter to the Ministry of Labour, asking for intervention in their industrial dispute.
Workers at Akeentex Pte Ltd walked off the job last week, after management refused to meet nine demands workers called for, said Suth Chet, a Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW) representative at Akeentex.
The employees’ conditions include three months’ salary for workers on maternity leave, an end to forced overtime and the right to unionise freely.
In addition to those who marched to the Labour Ministry, a total of about 1,000 employees demonstrated in front of Akeentex’ branches in Por Sen Chey and Meanchey districts, Chet said.
20150715 * CPP Lawmaker Visits Factory After Protest:
After about 200 workers protested in Phnom Penh on Tuesday morning, a CPP lawmaker said she traveled to a Chinese-owned garment factory in Kandal province to lobby management to rehire seven workers, including six who say they were fired earlier this month for taking part in a small protest.
The unrest at the SixPlus garment factory began on July 7 when a worker named Oeurn Piseth was dismissed after deciding to leave a “factory friendly” union and join another union, according to Hun Muny, a member of the Cambodian Labour Union Federation.
“At first, the unionist quit another factory-friendly union and joined mine after he realized that the union didn’t help the workers at all,” said Mr. Muny, adding that six other workers were fired for joining Mr. Piseth in protest outside the factory.
20150716 * Garment Worker Killed in Crash; Three Injured:
A garment worker was killed and three others seriously injured on Tuesday when a truck carrying them home from work was hit by an overloaded dump truck in Phnom Penh’s Pur Senchey district, police said Wednesday.
Kantork commune police chief Aun Teng said the victims were all between the ages of 20 and 30 and traveling home from the Evergreen Industrial factory in the back of one of the notoriously dangerous open-roofed trucks that ferry most of the country’s hundreds of thousands of garment workers to and from their jobs.
“It happened at 6:20 p.m. yesterday evening, when a dump truck collided with the left side of the workers’ truck on National Road 4,” he said. “One worker died and another three were seriously injured.”
Mr. Teng said the vehicles were sent to the municipal traffic police headquarters, along with both drivers, who remain in detention for questioning.
read more. & read more.
20150717 * ILO Hopes to Inform Wage Talks With New Quarterly Bulletin:
In the inaugural issue of its bulletin on Cambodia’s $5.8-billion garment industry, the International Labor Organization (ILO) said Thursday that business remained strong on the back of rising exports despite a 28-percent hike to the sector’s minimum wage in January.
But the figures also show inflation increasingly eating away at how much those wages can buy.
The bulletin comes out just as the government, garment factories and unions are starting negotiations over next year’s minimum wage for the sector, a process that has previously lacked reliable figures, said ILO wage specialist Malte Luebker.
At Thursday’s launch of the quarterly in Phnom Penh, Mr. Luebker recalled the rebuke of one technocrat during a wage workshop here in April.
“He was saying, ‘Well, you keep on telling us that we should use data in negotiating the minimum wage, but we don’t have data, so we can’t do that. So why are you telling us that we should use data?’ And that’s obviously a fair point. If you don’t have data, you can’t rely on data and factual information in negotiations around wages,” he said.
20150716 * Garments Do Well Despite Wage Increase: Report:
Cambodia’s garment and footwear sector is performing well, despite industry worries that minimum wage increases would make the country less competitive, a new International Labor Organization bulletin reported yesterday.
Exports in the first quarter hit $1.48 billion, a nearly 8 percent increase over the first quarter of 2014. Growth is driven by strong demand by the European Union, which has overtaken the US as Cambodia’s main garment importer.
“The growth of the industry compares favorably against predictions that the new minimum wage level… would lead to a collapse of export volumes,” the ILO wrote in the report.
The bulletin, entitled “Labor Standards in Global Supply Chains,” is a new quarterly publication published by the ILO using data from the Ministries of Commerce and Labor, the National Institute of Statistics, and the Cambodia Investment Board.
The goal is to make more information available to labor and employers in future negotiations, according to Malte Luebker, senior regional wage specialist for the ILO.
The organization does not take sides in the current debate to raise Cambodia’s monthly minimum wage for garment workers to $177, a 38 percent hike over the current level.
20150715 * ILO launching new garment newsletter:
The International Labour Organization (ILO) on Thursday will launch a news bulletin focusing on Cambodia’s garment and shoe sector, aimed at providing data for Cambodian policymakers during annual minimum wage talks.
ILO officials intend on releasing the newsletter four times per year, in tandem with quarterly reports on the industry, Matthew Cowgill, an ILO chief technical adviser on labour standards in global supply chains, said yesterday.
“It covers issues such as exports, factory openings and closings, wages, growth . . . basic statistical information on the Cambodian garment and footwear sector,” Cowgill said.
20150716 * Growth continues for Cambodia’s garment and footwear sector:
Cambodia’s garment and footwear sector has continued to perform solidly, with exports growing by 10.6 per cent over the year to the first quarter of 2015.
The number of factories operating and the number of workers employed in the industry have also grown, according to the ILO’s new Bulletin on Cambodia’s garment and footwear sector launched today in Phnom Penh.
The Bulletin reviews the performance and progress of Cambodia’s garment and footwear sector using up-to-date official data, with a focus on exports, wages, employment, factory openings and closures and newly approved foreign direct investment.
It will also be a vital resource for participants in the upcoming review of Cambodia’s minimum wage for the garment and footwear sector.
“The minimum wage is a topic of critical importance in Cambodia.
The government, unions, and employers all committed in June 2014 to a minimum wage review process that is evidence-based and takes into account a range of social and economic factors.
The ILO hopes that this Bulletin will help the key actors in the world of work to have an informed discussion and constructive negotiation,” said Mr Maurizio Bussi, Officer-in-Charge of ILO Country Office for Thailand, Cambodia and Lao PDR.
According to the Bulletin’s first edition, Cambodia’s garment and footwear sector now employs some 600,000 workers, whose wages have risen significantly over the past two years.
Meanwhile, the number of factories operating in the sector has reached a record number of 640 in March 2015, compared to 528 factories in late 2013.
The growth of the industry compares favourably against predictions that the new minimum wage levels of $100 (effective 1 February 2014) and $128 (as of 1 January 2015) would lead to a contraction of export volumes with direct implications on employment levels.
Mr Bussi noted that “workers and their unions are understandably concerned to ensure that wages are adequate to meet the needs of workers and their families.
On the other hand, it is also vital that the impact of the minimum wage on enterprises, productivity, competitiveness and employment is taken into account.
This Bulletin presents information about a range of factors of interest to all the social partners.”
“The ILO does not take, or recommend, a specific minimum wage level for Cambodia. Instead, we are responding to a request to provide technical advice and assistance to the tripartite stakeholders on the basis of sound analytical work anchored to national data” said Mr Bussi.
The ILO intends to release new issues of the Bulletin on a roughly quarterly schedule.
read more in: 20150716 ILO Cambodia Garment Bulletin Issue 1.
20150717 * Senators eye boycott on LANGO:
Amid mounting international criticism of the National Assembly’s recent passage of a controversial new law regulating NGOs, 11 Sam Rainsy Party senators announced yesterday they will take a page from the CNRP playbook and also boycott the upcoming vote on the bill.
In a letter sent by ranking SRP senator Kong Koam, dated July 16, the party argues that the nation’s NGOs have faithfully followed the nation’s constitution, making the law unnecessary, adding that it would in fact cripple government effectiveness and infringe on needed services.
“If the Senate still includes this law into its agenda . . . members of the Sam Rainsy Party will not participate,” Koam said. “
20150717 * UN Expert Urges Senate to Reject NGO Law:
U.N. human rights expert Maina Kiai on Thursday urged Cambodia’s Senate not to pass a controversial NGO law that the National Assembly approved this week, warning that the legislation could have “disastrous” effects.
The law would require all non-government groups, save the smallest community organizations, to register with the state and file regular activity and financial reports.
Critics fear the CPP will use vague provisions to muzzle its critics.
20150714 * Civil Society Calls On Senate to Reject LANGO:
We, the undersigned civil society groups, condemn the Cambodian People’s Party’s unanimous approval yesterday of the repressive and unnecessary Law on Associations and Non-Government Organizations (LANGO) and call on the Senate to reject the law.
The vote at yesterday’s extraordinary session of the National Assembly is a catastrophic development for civil society in Cambodia and is a major step in the government’s wider campaign to undermine democracy and restrict citizens’ rights and freedoms.
“In voting for LANGO, the ruling party has silenced the free voice of Cambodians,” said Naly Pilorge, LICADHO Director. “The government’s decision to force through LANGO will be devastating for all civil society and is clearly intended as a tool to suppress dissent and establish total control over citizens before the next elections.”
The government has demonstrated a complete disregard for the Cambodian Constitution, international law, and extensive condemnation by civil society, the opposition party, citizens and the international community, including stark warnings from the European Union and the United Nations.
The draft law approved yesterday was the latest of many attempts by the government to target civil society and undermine opposition to its rule.
The approval of LANGO at the National Assembly demonstrates that the government will stop at nothing to tighten its grip over Cambodian society and suppress legitimate dissent.
14:18:29 local time MALAYSIA
20150716 * M’sia-Turkey FTA to take effect after four years of talks:
The Malaysia-Turkey Free Trade Agreement (MTFTA) will come into effect on Aug 1, after almost four years of intense negotiations between the two countries that began in May 2010.
International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said in a statement that both countries would eliminate and bind duties on 70% of the tariff lines upon entry into force of FTA.
“After a period of eight years, duties will be reduced/eliminated for almost 86% of tariff lines,” he said.
Key exports to Turkey comprise textiles and clothing, chemicals and chemical products, palm oil, manufactures of metal, rubber products, electrical and electronic (E&E) products.
Imports from Turkey include textiles and clothing, machinery appliances and parts, iron and steel products, chemicals and chemical products, other agriculture produce, electrical and electronic products.
read more. & read more. & read more.
13:18:29 local time THAILAND
20150714 * Thai unions campaign for minimum wage increase:
IndustriALL Global Union affiliates in Thailand are campaigning alongside unions in all sectors to increase the national daily minimum wage from US$ 8.8 to US$ 10.6.
Unions are also opposing a plan to return to a regional structure with minimum wage varying from between provinces.
The rate was increased from 215 baht in 2013 by the previous Yingluck Shinawatra government. The current trade union demand of a 20 per cent is based on the recent high increase in workers’ cost of living.
Trade unions pushing the campaign are members of the Thai Labour Solidarity Committee (TLSC). IndustriALL affiliates are involved through the Confederation of Industrial Labour of Thailand (CILT), and the Confederation of Thai Electrical Appliances, Electronic Automobile and Metalworkers (TEAM).
On 9 July the TLSC and all its affiliates conducted coordinated action around Thailand, simultaneously presenting petitions to provincial governors to demand support for the wage increase and to maintain the national minimum wage system.
12:48:29 local time BURMA/MYANMAR
20150716 * Minimum wage plan prompts hundreds of complaints:
Workers protest against the proposed K3600 minimum wage in Yangon on July 12. (Aung Myin Ye Zaw/The Myanmar Times)
The deadline for objections over the government-proposed minimum wage elapsed this week with an outpouring of complaints, according to the Yangon Region Committee on the Minimum Wage.
After 18 months of negotiation punctuated by strikes and protests, the government on June 29 proposed a K3600-a-day minimum wage and opened a 14-day window for lodging any complaints over the amount.
More than 200 factories from the Shwe Pyi Thar and Hlaing Thar Yar industrial zones, as well as 21 labour unions, submitted objections to the amount. Employers, largely from foreign-owned garment factories, suggested the minimum wage would be unsustainably high and will force them to close down.
Unions harangued the government from the opposite end of the spectrum, holding out for the K4000-a-day wage they have been lobbying for since the beginning of the year.
20150716 * Global brands laud minimum wage proposal:
Dozens of major global brands have thrown their weight behind Myanmar’s proposed minimum wage, calling for guaranteed pay rates as a means of promoting investment in the country’s garment industry and lifting the living standards of its workers the Global New Light of Myanmar reported on 16 July.
Both the Ethical Trading Initiative and the Fair Labour Association, comprising companies sourcing from, or considering investing in, Myanmar, expressed their support for the minimum wage in letters to the Union Minister for Labour, Employment and Social Security and the Chair of the National Committee on the Minimum Wage.
The Fair Labour Association counts sportswear giant Adidas and outdoor clothing manufacturer Patagonia among its members, while the Ethical Trading Initiative includes international retail heavyweights Tesco, H&M and Gap Inc.
read more. & read more.
20150716 * International brands support minimum wage, say watchdogs:
Two international labour watchdogs simultaneously released statements on Wednesday, pledging support for the Burmese government’s proposed minimum wage of 3,600 kyat (US$3) per day.
The Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) and the Fair Labor Association (FLA) claim to have the backing of 17 major international manufacturers, including sportswear giant Adidas, clothing retailer Gap Inc, as well as Tesco, H&M and Patagonia.
In separate letters to Burma’s Ministry of Labour, the ETI and FLA urged the government to resist a request for an exemption to the minimum wage from the country’s garment manufacturers.
“FLA affiliates commit to a standard of fair compensation that is incompatible with the proposal to exempt garment workers from the country-wide minimum wage,” said Jason Judd, FLA’s vice president of programs.
20150715 * ETI supports calls for new Myanmar minimum wage to apply to garment sector:
ETI and its members support international calls for Myanmar’s new minimum wage to be applied countrywide.
We have articulated this stance in a letter to the Myanmar government, urging it to resist the request for an exemption from the country’s garment manufacturers.
Our letter was sent on behalf of ETI member companies that are currently sourcing from Myanmar, or considering investing in the country, and wish to see garment sector growth being underpinned by the provision of decent employment for Myanmar workers.
On 29 June, Myanmar’s government announced a new minimum wage of 3,600 Kyat (approx $3.21/day), following a year of consultation with unions and employers.
This proposed rate represents a compromise between what industry groups were calling for ($2,500 Kyat) and unions ($4,000 Kyat) were calling for.
Last Thursday, Myanmar’s garment factory owners unanimously voted against the proposed minimum wage, which has been broadly welcomed by trade unions.
20150715 * Union leaders abstain from court hearing:
Two labour union leaders arrested during strikes in February refused to appear for their court hearing yesterday, hoping the act of defiance would reveal what they allege is a sham trial, as well as rampant abuses in the garment sector.
Dozens of former colleagues and labour union members came out to support the gesture.
Defendants Ko Myo Min Min and Ko Naing Htay Lwin are fighting charges in three different townships for allegedly protesting without permission, participating in a riot, intending to disturb public order and failing to follow protest procedures.
At yesterday’s hearing for violating section 19 of the peaceful protest code – failure to abide by the permitted protest – both defendants were transported from the jail to the Shwe Pyi Thar Township Court, but refused to go inside.
According to the union leaders, at each of the hearings they have attended for the section 19 violation over the past three months, the judge only provided the day for the next hearing, rather than holding any trial proceedings.
Several of the defendants’ former colleagues at the South Korean-owned E-Land Myanmar garment factory said they decided to attend the trial after 55 labour union members were fired en masse on July 12.
According to the former workers, the factory boss told them they had disobeyed workplace rules and offered compensation, which they declined as they intend to demand the jobs back. If the case is not reconciled at the township labour office, the workers said they will submit the case to the Dispute Settlement Board for Yangon Region.
“As soon as the government established the compensation rate for firing [workers], our boss fired us. The compensation is like a tool for bosses,” said former E-Land worker Ko Kyaw Lwin Oo. “We want our jobs back because otherwise the union formed by our leader Ko Naing Htay Lwin will be destroyed.”
20150715 * Garment industry should accept minimum wage:
Myanmar girls work in a garment factory at Hlaing Thar Yar Industrial Zone in Yangon, Myanmar, 10 July 2015. Photo: Lynn Bo Bo/EPA
The Myanmar government has advised garment bosses to agree to a proposed national minimum wage on a trial basis local media reported according to the fibre2fashion website on 14 July.
Representatives of garment manufacturers have condemned the suggestion that they pay workers at least Kyat 3,600 ($3.20) for an eight-hour day, with about 30 threatening to shut down factories.
But Myanmar labour minister U Aye Myint was quoted in the state-backed Global New Light of Myanmar as saying that the amount was suitable “given the current situation of the country”.
12:18:29 local time BANGLADESH
20150717 * Garments Sromik Trade Union Kendra brought out a procession:
Garments Sromik Trade Union Kendra brought out a procession after sit-in programme in front of the National Press Club in the city on Thursday, demanding payment of three months’ salary arrears and Eid bonus of Swan Garments.
— Focus Bangla.
20150716 * Countrywide rallies for Swan Garment workers today:
Workers of Swan Garments Limited hold sit-in in front National Press Club on Wednesday demanding payment of arrears, reopening the factory and withdrawal of cases filed against them. — New Age photo
Workers would hold rallies in industrial areas across the country today pressing for immediate payment of wages for three months and festival allowance to the workers of Swan Garment Private Limited.
The Communist Party of Bangladesh and the Socialist Party of Bangladesh will observe countrywide rallies today to express solidarity with the Swan workers.
The two political parties and Garments Sramik Trade Union Centre announced the programmes at a rally in front of the National Press Club where politicians, academics and labour leaders expressed solidarity with the movements of the Swan workers, who continued their continuous sit-in for the fourth day.
The management closed the factory three months ago without any notice and payment compensation, workers alleged.
Labour leader Manzurul Ahsan Khan called on the government to resolve the crisis immediately.
Socialist Party of Bangladesh general secretary Khalequzzaman said that the government cannot avoid the responsibility for resolving the crisis.
Politicians Zonayed Saki, Faiezul Hakim, Azizur Rahman, labour leaders Shahidullah Chowdhury, Mantu Ghosh, RM Ruhul Amin, Joly Talukder and others addressed the rally.
20150715 * 29 eminent citizens express solidarity with workers of Swan Garments:
Twenty-nine eminent citizenson Wednesday came up with a joint-statement to express their solidarity with the demands of the workers of Swan Garments and Swan Jeans for getting their wages and festival bonus before Eid-ul-Fitr.
The 29 citizens are – professor emeritus Serajul Islam Choudhury; Eminent journalist and cultural activist Kamal Lohani; National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports convener Engineer Sheikh Mohammad Shahidullah; language movement veteran Col (Rtd) SD Ahmed; Dr Shafiuddin Ahmed; Prof MM Akash; AN Rasheda; Prof Ashrafuzzaman Selim; Prof Dr Mohammad Abu Sayeed; Prof Azizur Rahman; Dr Mohammad Tanzimuddin Khan; Emtiaz Mahmud; Prof Samina Lutfa; Zubaida Nasreen Kona; Dr Kazi Roqibul Islam; Engineer Nimai Ganguly; Dr Tanuz Kanti Dey; Avinu Kibria Islam; Altaf Parvez; Pavel Partha; Parvez Alam; Dr Salma Chowdhury; Dr Moyna Talukdar; MA Aziz Miah; Maria Hossain; Sheikh Abdus Salam; Rebeka Sultana; Anurag Chakma; Naima Nigar; and Mohammad Nuruzzaman.
Workers of Swan Garments (Pvt.) Ltd and Swan Jeans Ltd have been demonstrating from July 12 demanding payment of all outstanding wages of three months from April-June before Eid-ul-Fitr.
Their calls are likely to fall on deaf ears as the factories suspended their operations on April 10.
The owner, a Hong Kong national, fled the country three days later.
to read. & to read.
20150716 * Sorbodoliyo Garments Sromik Oikya staged a demonstration:
Sorbodoliyo Garments Sromik Oikya staged a demonstration in front of the National Press Club in the city on Wednesday, demanding withdrawal of a false case against workers leader Amirul Haque Amin.
— Focus Bangla
20150717 * No salary for workers in 50 RMG factories:
More than 250 readymade garment factories did not paid festival allowances to its workers even on Thursday, the last workin day before Eid-ul-Fitr, while at least 50 factories did no pay wages for the month of June.
Hundreds of garment workers on Thursday took part in a sit-in and demonstration in Dhaka and Chittagong demanding their arrears before Eid.
The workers of the Swan Garment continued their sit-in at Dhaka for the fifth day while workers of Anwara Garments at Chittagong barricaded a road in Bayezid-Khulshi area in the port city demanding wages and allowances.
Labour leaders said that about 200 factories, those that are affiliated with the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufactures and Exporters Association, failed to pay festival allowances up to Thursday eveining.
20150717 * Garment workers paid in full before Eid, BGMEA claims:
Garment owners yesterday completed the payments of salaries and bonuses to workers ahead of Eid.
Atiqul Islam, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, in a press conference yesterday said all members of the association, except for Swan Garments, have paid the workers.
Islam said the labour ministry has taken charge of the Swan Garments issue.
The owner of Swan Garments, which employs about 1,300 people, has been absconding the last few months.
Situated at the capital’s Mollartek, the factory has remained shut since April.
Over the last few days, some Swan workers have been demonstrating in front of the National Press Club in the capital for prompt payment of all dues from April to June.
It is impossible to pay the workers of Swan Garments before Eid as the factory owner remained traceless in the last few months, said Mikail Shipar, labour secretary.
20150717 * Most RMG units paid Eid bonus, wages up to June:
BGMEA chief tells media
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has said around 95 per cent readymade garment (RMG) factories enlisted with it and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) have paid Eid bonus to the workers until Wednesday.
“We’re happy to inform you that 95 per cent factories have paid Eid bonus and 99 factories have paid wages of June to their workers. So, we hope workers will be able to observe the festival in a joyous mood,” BGMEA president M Atiqul Islam said at a press conference.
The BGMEA organised the press conference to let the media know about garment industry’s labour situation in its conference room on Thursday.
Mr Islam said: “Rest of the garment factories are supposed to pay the bonus to the workers by tomorrow (Friday),” he said at the press conference.
20150716 * (200) – 300 RMG units yet to pay dues:
Industrial police and the apparel makers’ body found nearly 300 readymade garment (RMG) factories, mostly the sub-contracting ones, vulnerable to violence as they were yet to pay wages and bonuses to their workers.
Sources at the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and the Industrial Police (IP) said they kept nearly 450 such factories under their watch until Tuesday.
Of them, 150 factory owners in the meantime agreed to clear their workers’ dues by Thursday (today).
But the remaining 300 factories were yet to manage funds for paying the wages and bonuses of their workers, industrial police sources said.
They were expected to pay the dues by July 14 as agreed in a tripartite meeting earlier.
Both the BGMEA and the police authorities were in negotiation with the factory owners to ensure payment of the wages and bonuses.
read more. & read more.
20150715 * Payment of workers’ wage, allowance before Eid demanded:
Leaders of Ganasanghati Andolan on Tuesday called on the government to ensure that workers get wage and festival allowance before Eid-ul-Fitr.
They made the call at a rally in front of National Press Club in the capital.
Chief coordinator of the organisation Zonayed Saki said workers in some mills and factories were yet to get their wage and festival allowance.
He called on the garment factory owners to pay the basic wage as festival allowance.
20150715 * About 50% RMG factories fail to pay festival allowances:
A number of readymade garment factory owners did not pay wages and festival allowances to their workers even on Tuesday, in breach of their commitment, creating uncertainty about whether these garment workers will get their dues and festival allowances before Eid-ul-Fitr.
Leaders of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufactures and Exporters Association at a meeting with the state minister for labour and employment M Mujibul Haque on July 2 had committed to pay workers’ wages within July 10 and festival allowances by July 14 before Eid-ul-Fitr.
Labour leaders said that as of July 14, most of the garment factories cleared wages but more than 50% of factories did not pay festival allowances to the workers.
They urged the government to take legal action against the factory owners for breaching of their commitment to ensure wages and allowances to the workers before Eid.
The BGMEA, however, said that at least 97% of its member factories have so far cleared wages and 69% cleared festival allowances to their workers.
The president of National Garment Workers Federation, Amirul Haque Amin, on Tuesday told New Age that most of the garment factories paid wages but many factories were yet to clear festival allowances to the workers.
He urged the government to take action against the factory owners who failed to pay wages and allowances to the workers in time.
20150715 * BGMEA: 97% member factories pay wages for June:
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association claimed that 97% of its members had paid wages to the workers for the month of June and 69% of them given festival bonus.
However, the union leaders said more than 200 factories were yet to make the June payments while 350 factories didn’t give any festival bonus.
On July 2, State Minister for Labour and Employment Md Mujibul Haque Chunnu asked the garment manufacturers to pay June wages by 10th July and festival bonus by 14th July.
20150716 * State and the Legal System Fails Bangladesh Workers Time and Time Again:
In August of 2014, when I arrived in Dhaka, robust mobilization was underway by garment factory workers of Tuba Group.
Delwar Hossain, the owner of Tuba Group was the same owner of Tazreen Fashions where a fire resulted in the death of at least 112 workers in November 2012.
At that time, I met with and interviewed workers on their struggle for wages due which I wrote about in an earlier post.
I argued that the Tuba Group workers struggle revealed a need for a sustained labor movement in Bangladesh.
What was promising of the Tuba Group workers mobilization was that it brought together a cross section of worker organizations, civil society activists and academics to lend their support to workers demand.
Yet again, we see the activism of garment workers from Swan Garments and Swan Jeans.
In April 2015, the owner of Swan Garments and Swan Jeans reportedly abruptly closed the factory without paying workers their due wages.
Since then, workers have not received their pay and have been mobilizing to pressure the government to either reopen the factory or pay their owed wages.
Bangladesh’s labor movement has seen these episodic demands for wages in the garment sector, and often, these sporadic protests are seen as a failures of a movement to take hold.
The sustainability of a labor movement in an environment of political and economic repression is challenging.
Analyzing these mobilization efforts solely based on the outcomes of the demands is narrow, and fails to appreciate organizing power of workers.
That workers still flood the streets demanding what they are legally entitled to knowing the injurious consequences of protesting suggests an intuitive demand for justice undergirds the movement.
Each of these mobilization efforts helps to organize workers, and the key is to connect and build on each of these efforts strategically.
Of course, whether these mobilizing moments build up to a larger movement in the garment industry remains to be seen.
The protests also reveal the limitations in effectiveness of the safety programs like the Accord and Alliance in yielding compliance with labor rights.
Swan Garments and Swan Jeans are listed among the group of factories covered and assessed by the Accord.
In 2012, it was reported to have had a fire just two days after the fatal fire at Tazreen Fashions.
Given all the resources that go into factory inspections to create a safe workplace, the reoccurring problems that workers face is payment of their legally owed wages.
The efforts to create safe workplaces and the mobilization for wages often appear to be on parallel tracks.
Workers have not been actively engaged in the safety initiatives, although it impacts their lives.
However, actions for mobilization show an active and courageous workforce often being assaulted beaten by the police.
How is it that two key issues for workers which should be part of a set of demands are bifurcated.
20150714 * Chittagong clothing factory workers lock up manager, demonstrate for unpaid salary:
The protest took place at the ‘Masud Fabrics’ factory in the city’s Andarkilla on Monday morning, said industrial police’s Inspector Arifur Rahman.
He said Manager Sukumar Chowdhury was kept in confinement since the morning until police went there around 12pm and secured his release.
The workers let him go after they were promised that the factory management would take immediate measures to pay their dues.
Later, factory officials sat with BGMEA representatives to reach an understanding with the workers, said Rahman.
“BGMEA’s representatives are here. The owner too has been asked to come to the factory. Decisions will be taken about the payment of outstanding salaries and wages in the meeting.”
Quoting the agitating workers, the police inspector told bdnews24.com that the factory was yet to give them the overtime and other allowances since May and salaries of June.
20150716 * Jute workers worry over unpaid wages before Eid:
Workers of nine jute state-owned mills in Khulna are facing uncertainty over whether they will be paid their outstanding wages before Eid-ul-Fitr as Eid vacations starts from July 17.
They said they were frustrated as they got no assurance from mill officials concerning the overdue salaries.
The upcoming Eid will bring no joy for families of more than a thousand workers who have not yet been paid by factories they work at.
Member Secretary of CBA-Non CBA Oikya Parishad SM Zakir Hossain said the textiles and jute minister assured early in July that all overdue wages would be paid before Eid but the workers are still awaiting payments.
“The workers will be forced to stage a sit-in from Khalishpur to Rajghat industrial area if no decision is made by today,” he said yesterday.
20150715 * Khulna jute mill workers abstain from work over arrears:
The production of all nine state-owned jute mills in Khulna and Jessore remained suspended on Tuesday as agitating workers and employees abstained from work for indefinite period to press home their five-point demands which include payment of all arrear wages, Eid bonus and other financial benefits.
The CBA and Non-CBA Oiykko Parishad took the decision after holding a meeting held at 1:00pm at Khalishpur Sramik Bhaban.
Leaders of CBA and Non-CBA Oiykko Parishad of nine state-owned jute mills of Khulna and Jessore threatened to lay siege not only to administrative offices but also to all staff quarters of the mills.
Meanwhile, workers and employees of state-owned Aleem Jute mills besieged their administrative building around 10:00am.
20150715 * Soaring cotton consumption and GM seeds:
Cotton consumption in the country has been rising about six to eight per cent a year since 2005 to meet the rising demand of the booming readymade garment industry. In the process,
Bangladesh has emerged as the second largest importer of raw cotton after China. In 2004-05, the country imported three million bales of raw cotton.
As Bangladesh garment exporters are contemplating to reach the goal of exporting $50 billion mark by end of 2021 – and if this becomes possible – raw cotton’s present consumption of about 7.0 million bales would be double by then.
Bangladesh produces only about 150,000 bales of raw cotton locally which is a fraction of total consumption level at over 6.0 million bales.
In fact, the industry sources inform, they have the capacity to consume about 10 million bales of cotton annually to meet the local demand even now if proper supply of electricity and gas is ensured. Bangladesh imports raw cotton from the United States, India, Uzbekistan and quite a few African countries.
The industry sources say that local spinners and weavers have the capacity to meet 90 per cent demand for raw materials of the knitwear sub-sector and 40 per cent demand of the weaving sub-sector.
There are now quite a few entrepreneurs who have the financial capability and willingness to invest in setting up composite textile industry to meet even the higher quality fabrics locally, but are discouraged by the overall investment and political situation.
TRIAL CULTIVTIVATION OF GM COTTON: Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture has reportedly undertaken a controversial decision to go for trial cultivation of genetically modified (GM) cotton seeds in greenhouse conditions in the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) under the supervision of the Bangladesh Cotton Development Board (CDB).
Cultivation of any GM seed of any agricultural product is controversial all over the world.
A big controversy has broken out in both social and mainstream media about the cultivation of GM seeds in neighbouring India.
The American seed company Monsanto, which has developed GM cotton seeds and holds their patent rights, is active in India.
20150717 * RMG export growth to new markets declines:
Country’s ready-made garments (RMG) exports to non-traditional markets recorded a marginal growth in the just-concluded fiscal (2014-15).
The industry insiders have termed it an alarming sign for the country’s apparel sector.
According to sources, the country’s apparel products are losing their edge in the emerging markets to their competitors, namely Vietnam, Cambodia, India and Pakistan, as many of the buyers cut back their orders because of political unrest, safety and other compliance issues.
20150715 * Export to US sees 2.23% growth in July-May:
Export earnings from the USA, the largest export destination for Bangladesh goods, witnessed a 2.23 percent growth during the first 11 months (July-May) of the last fiscal (2014-15), mostly due to good performance of the RMG sector.
Bangladesh exports to the USA totalled $ 5,197.57 million in the first 11 months (July-May) of fiscal 2014-15 compared to $ 5,084.07 million during the corresponding period of the previous fiscal (2013-14).
The amount represents 18.47 percent of the country’s total export earning during the period.
read more. & read more.
20150715 * Two years since Rana Plaza: why the Accord and the Alliance are all the more relevant:
Following the devastating collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh in April of 2013, which claimed the lives of 1,129 people, two historic initiatives were launched by the world’s major apparel brands: the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh (“the Accord”) and the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety (“the Alliance”).
Both initiatives seek to establish mechanisms for preventing fire and safety hazards.
These initiatives are all the more relevant now as increasing international attention focuses on meaningful change in the apparel sector.
During the Spring 2015 semester, the Corporate Social Responsibility Clinic at the Leitner Center for International Law and Justice undertook a review of these two mechanisms to identify structural differences and similarities between them, and to assess the current status of inspections and implementation measures at the supplying factories of some of the major signatory brands.
A FACTORY COLLAPSE AND AN INDUSTRY UNDER SCRUTINY
Ready-made garments (RMG) is the largest industry in Bangladesh, comprising nearly 50 percent of the nation’s economy, according to a report by the Institute of Developing Economies.
Approximately 4 million workers work in the RMG industry, 80 percent of whom are women.
Through their work, they indirectly support 40 million people, which is approximately a quarter of the entire national population.
A typical RMG factory worker may earn about $1,176 dollars per year for six 10-hour work days per week for 300 days a year.
This is after the 77 percent wage increase in 2013.
Due to a lack of land space and high population density, garment factories are typically built one upon the other, and in some cases, in former swamp areas.
With multiple factory owners sharing the same building, structural weakness tend to be overlooked—highly stressed columns and cracks in beams often go unnoticed.
It was in this backdrop that the multiple garment factory complex Rana Plaza, housing five workshops and 2,000 workers, collapsed on April 24, 2013.
Even before the Rana Plaza incident, fire and safety hazards were common in Bangladesh factories.
For example, a fire at Tazreen Fashions killed 112 workers in November 2012.
Responding to this, the Ministry of Labour and Employment of Bangladesh, in a joint effort with the International Labor Organization (ILO), coordinated the adoption of the National Tripartite Plan of Action on Fire Safety and Structural Integrity in the Ready-Made Garment Sector in Bangladesh, which was signed by the government, employers and workers.
20150716 * Economic zone investors to get 10-year tax holiday:
The government has offered a lucrative incentive package for investors and developers of the country’s economic zones.
The investors will get a 10-year tax holiday while 12-year tax holiday was approved for the developers. National Board of Revenue has published two separate statutory regulatory orders on July 12 offering tax benefits to developers and investors.
The investors will get complete tax exemption on their income from the economic zones for first three years and will enjoy the gradually reduced rates for next seven years.
As per the SRO, they will get 80% exemption in fourth year, 70% in fifth year, 60% in sixth year, 50% in seventh year, 40% in eighth year, 30% in ninth year and 20% in tenth year of their commercial operation.
Investors in high-tech parks will also get the same benefits. After elapse of tax holiday, investors will get exemption of dividend tax.
20150717 * RANA PLAZA COLLAPSE CASE : FIDH, Odhikar welcome factory inspectors’ prosecution:
The International Federation for Human Rights and its member organisation in Bangladesh, Odhikar, on Thursday said prosecution of the government appointed factory inspectors in connection of Rana Plaza collapse was a positive step.
In a joint statement, they said that the government should move ahead with the cases to ensure accountability for violations of the workers’ rights in Bangladesh.
On 1 June 2015, police filed charges against 42 people for their role that let to collapse of the building in April 2013 which killed over 1130 readymade garment factory workers and injured more than 2000.
FIDH and Odhikar urged the industrial police to end harassment of workers’ representatives and allow them to exercise their rights.
They also urged factory owners to pay pending salaries and bonuses to all workers.
11:48:29 local time INDIA
20150715 * Move to amend Child Labour Act opposed:
Noted activists called on supporters of child rights across the State on Tuesday to send postcards to parliamentarians asking them not to pass in the Parliament an amendment to the Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation (CLPR) Act.
One of the Bill’s provisions allows for children under-14 years of age to assist families in non-hazardous work, which is being contested.
The activists met under the banner of ‘Campaign against Child Labour’ to explain that the proposed amendment can be misused.
They said in the garb of assisting families, children could be exploited by employers, particularly in professions like embroidery, carpet weaving and other professions which are increasingly being outsourced from workshop or factories, to homes.
“The proposed amendment will undo all the work that has been done in abolishing child labour. There cannot be any compromise in child rights,” said Prof. Shantha Sinha, former chairperson National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR).
Several NGOs in AP and TS are part of the national campaign. Tuesday’s gathering was part of discussions planned at State level.
The speakers explained to the volunteers representing various voluntary organisations that the amendment will defeat the bill’s purpose, which is harmonise to CLPR with Right to Education (RTE).
They argued that letting children work before or after school hours, when there is no system to monitor such work, will eventually lead to children dropping out of schools.
20150715 * ‘Stop employing children below 18 years of age’:
Campaign Against Child Labour (CACL), a group of non-governmental organisations, suggested to Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour to make employment of children below 18 years in all occupations illegal.
The group has presented a memorandum to Rajya Sabha MP P.Kannan, Member, Standing Committee on Labour, in this regard.
National Democratic Alliance Cabinet has approved the amendments to Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986 to prohibit employment of children below 14 years in all occupations and processes with a few exemptions. The Bill may be tabled during this Monsoon Session of the Parliament which starts on July 21.
20150716 * CITU Calls For New Industrial Policy in Pondy:
The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) has urged the government in a resolution to come out with a new industrial policy to attract industries to the UT and check the shifting of existing ones to other States.
In another resolution, the trade union urged the government to take steps to renovate and modernise the AFT and Swadeshi textile mills, and provide employment to the unemployed youth.
The CITU also demanded protection to small vendors, who sell goods on the road side to eke out a living.
The CITU wanted the government to ensure a minimum wage of `15,000 for the workers in the UT.
20150716 * Reforms spur unions into coercive action:
Trade unions complain they were not sufficiently consulted when government proposed a series of labour law reforms
India’s national trade unions, which had maintained an unusually low profile in the past several years and had remained near-dormant, seem to have suddenly woken up.
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s series of labour law proposals seems to have galvanised them into action.
In spite of their different political affiliations, they are joining hands to unanimously protest the proposed changes.
“Our actions are resulting in fruitful reactions from the government,” said BN Rai,
general-secretary, Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh.
After constant pressure from the trade unions, the Union government had to organise the Indian Labour Conference (ILC) after two years.
AK Padmanabhan, President, Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) said the trade unions had suggested four items to be included in the conference agenda, including discussion on labour law reforms, and all of them were taken on board.
The conference, to be held on July 20 and 21, will coincide with the beginning of the Monsoon session of parliament where the government is expected to push for several labour law Bills.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will likely deliver an inaugural speech.
The trade unions maintain they are united in their protest.
“All the trade unions, including the BMS, have sufficiently reacted, and we will continue to run our campaigns together in future. There is a greater unity in the trade unions today compared to the past,” said Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) chief Sanjeeva Reddy.
WHAT HAS UPSET THE TRADE UNIONS
* Trade unions complain they were not sufficiently consulted when government proposed a series of labour law reforms
* Retrenchment norms eased and those related to trade unions tightened in the Industrial Relations Bill
* Trade unions fear chunk of workers will be thrown out from basic labour laws with implementation of Small Factories Bill
* Government, in the guise of curbing ‘inspector raj’, is diluting factory inspection norms
*Union labour ministry decided to invest five per cent in equity instruments – exchange traded funds (ETFs) – this year
* NDA government brought a proposal related to easing rules to hire ‘fixed-term’ workers (for a specific period) back on the table on industry demand
20150715 * Jaitley committee to meet trade unions on July 19:
The panel will discuss the 10-point charter of demands of the trade unions before the ILC is held on July 20-21
An inter-ministerial panel led by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is likely to meet the trade unions to hear their demands on July 19, a day before the Indian Labour Conference (ILC).
The panel will discuss the 10-point charter of demands of the trade unions before the ILC is held on July 20-21.
As a result, the government’s meeting with industry and trade unions to give final shape to the industrial relations Bill has been postponed after the ILC.
20150715 * India faces serious skills crunch:
As the government is set to launch the World Youth Skills Day on Wednesday, here is a reality check: There was just two percent growth in employable skills in the engineering sector last year.
The situation was worse in polytechnics as not even one-third of the students could match the benchmark levels, according to the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC).
Nearly 61%, as per 2013 report, employers surveyed in India blamed insufficient skills that prevented them from filling vacant positions in their companies.
20150716-17 * Synthetic spinners to cut down production:
Textile mills that make synthetic yarn in the State will stop production for two days a week for a month as prices for synthetic yarn have fallen in the last five months.
Secretary of Indian Texpreneurs Federation Prabhu Damodaran and co-ordinator of its synthetic spinners group Naresh Devaraj told presspersons here on Tuesday that this was a decision taken by the mills at a meeting here on Tuesday, as there was a fall in demand and prices for the yarn.
It will be reviewed after two weeks.
The State has 40 lakh spindles that make synthetic yarn (about 40,000 tonnes a month) and supply mainly to weavers in Ichalkaranji, Bhilwara, Malegaon and Bhiwandi.
20150715 * Spinning mills to be shut during weekends to arrest plunging prices:
With losses mounting following the sharp fall in prices, textile spinning mills, which produce blended yarn including polyester cotton by using synthetic material, have decided to shut their units during the weekends.
“There has been a huge fall in yarn prices in the past few months due to poor demand. We are incurring losses of Rs 15-20 per kg (for yarn),” said Naresh Devaraj, coordinator, Indian Texpreneurs’ Federation (ITF), Synthetic Spinners’ Group.
“Our immediate aim is to reduce the losses,” he stated.
The stoppage of production during the weekends would result in a 25%-30% reduction in output, which mills hope would be able to reverse the continuing fall in prices.
The decision to close the units during weekends was taken at a meeting of the managing directors of nearly 90 mills organised by ITF here on Tuesday.
Prices of 56’s count polyester cotton yarn, which was ruling at Rs 190 per kg (ex-mill), is now quoting at around Rs 158 per kg.
Mills in the state account for nearly 90% of the supply of fine count yarn to upcountry markets, ITF officials said. Spinning mills, which usually have 7-20 days production as stock, have seen it increase to 40-60 days following the poor off-take of yarn.
read more. & read more.
20150716 * Vietnam’s Eximbank to handle India’s $300 million textile loan:
Each loan carries a 10-year span and an interest rate of 2% per annum
Vietnam’s Eximbank will disburse any loans under India’s $300 million credit for projects which use Indian-made equipment with value of up to 75% of the project’s total investment, the Vietnamese government’s website reported.
Each loan carries a 10-year span and an interest rate of 2% per annum, the website cited a Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association report as saying.
Textile and garment exports are Vietnam’s second-biggest cash earner after phones and accessories.
20150714 * Financial support:
Applications have been invited for financial support extended by the government to first generation entrepreneurs under the New Entrepreneur-cum-Enterprise Development Scheme (NEEDS) in Tiruchi district in the current financial year.
All economically viable manufacturing and service activities would be eligible to be funded under the scheme, subject to appraisal by the banks or the TIIC.
Food processing, rice mills, engineering industries, readymade garment manufacturing, electronics, and other manufacturing and service sector projects such as BPOs and medical transcription could be promoted under the scheme. Applications should be submitted at the District Industries Centre before July 15, Collector K.S.Palanisamy said in a press release.
20150714 * Dry spell wilts crops, stokes food inflation concerns:
Farmers in India run the risk of planting too much, too fast in the current monsoon season as an unexpected dry spell starts to wilt crops across the country, raising fears of lower yields and surging food prices in a mostly impoverished nation.
Food prices are a political hot potato in India, where more than a quarter of its population of 1.2 billion people live on a mere 74 cents or less per day. In fact, high food prices have already pushed the country’s June consumer inflation to an eight-month high.
That is why the ongoing dryness in central, western and southern India — key producing regions for cotton, soybean, corn, sugarcane, pulses and rice — is a big cause for worry.
20150717 * Farmer ends life in Ballari:
Even as the crackdown on moneylenders continued here for the second day on Thursday, E. Ningappa (42) a small farmer, committed suicide by hanging himself after he was unable to bear the crop loss.
He was worried about loan repayment too.
According to the police, Ningappa owned 2.73 acre of dry land and had obtained Rs. 30,000 as loan from Pragathi Krishna Gramin Bank in 2009.
Due to crop loss, he was unable to repay the loan. Unable to bear the stress, he became an alcoholic.
This year, he cultivated cotton and incurred losses as per a complaint lodged by his wife, Mahadevakka.
Meanwhile, the police raided the premises of moneylenders in Hirehadagali and Sirigeri villages in the district after complaints were lodged against them for charging exorbitant rates of interest.
In a raid conducted on the house of Balekai Shetty in Hirehadagali village, the police found an accounts diary, promissory notes, blank cheques and Rs. 11.63 lakh in cash. Balekai Shetty has been arrested.
11:48:29 local time SRI LANKA
20150714 * Sri Lankan apparel industry witnesses 9.8 percent growth rate 1Q of 2015:
Sri Lankan apparel industry has witnessed 9.8 percent growth rate as strong demand was sustained from the EU and the USA in the first quarter of 2015. The apparel export to the US and EU increased by 8.8 percent and 10.9 percent respectively.
Over the year 2014-15 the total apparel exports from Sri Lanka accounted for 89 percent to the US and EU.
Textured Jersey Lanka PLC (TJL), Sri Lankan leading textile manufacturer said that the company is also directly impacted by demand from domestic apparel manufacturers and foreign retailers.
Knit garment exports from Sri Lanka increased by 11.7% while exports of woven apparel increased by 7.1% in 2014 calendar year.
The knit manufacturing segment is showing growth potential, with many countries looking at Sri Lanka as a potential manufacture for this range of garments.
The industry growth and TJL’s own customer portfolio being predominantly US and European based, strategically positions TJL to leverage its capabilities to ensure a strong growth trajectory.
20150713 * Coalition builds against Ansell, a world leader in harming workers:
An expanding coalition of unions is demanding that Ansell live up to its slogan Ansell Protects.
The Australia and U.S. headquartered Ansell manufactures gloves, condoms and specialty suits.
“Ansell says it’s a global leader in protection solutions. That’s a bitter irony in light of how it’s harming workers around the world,” stated IndustriALL Assistant General Secretary Fernando Lopes.
Ansell is currently fighting a war of attrition in court against three hundred primarily poor, female Sri Lankan workers the company terminated for going on strike at its one of its glove factories.
“The terminated workers and their families are suffering extreme financial and emotional distress.
Many have trouble finding other jobs and believe they’ve been blacklisted. Two have already died without receiving justice,” stated TCFUA National Secretary Michele O’Neil.
“We say no to dirty Ansell gloves, sullied by a record of extreme worker abuse,” added CFMEU National President Tony Maher.
11:18:29 local time PAKISTAN
20150716 * The neglected: ‘Consider women, poor’s views when making budget’:
The federal and provincial governments should prepare their budgets in view of the considerations of women and income-poor households, Dr Qais Aslam, a professor of economics at University of Central Punjab, said on Wednesday.
He was speaking at a seminar organised by HomeNet Pakistan to review federal and Punjab government budgets for 2015-2016 for allocations to the informal sector of the economy.
Dr Aslam said budgets were prepared by the bureaucracy without consultation with the civil society comprising non-government organisations, media, lawyers and other working people.
He said the provincial government had set the minimum wage at Rs13,000 but there was no mechanism put in place to ensure its implementation in the informal sector.
He lamented that the government had yet to approve a policy on home-based workers (HBWs) in the province.
NGOs who work with HBWs estimate their number in the province to be more than 56 million.
20150716 * ‘Include all stakeholders in budget-making’:
Speakers at a seminar urged the government to include stakeholders in the budget-making process to ensure maximum utilisation of resources for the betterment of common man.
The seminar on National and Provincial Budget 2015-2016 arranged Wednesday by an NGO reviewed national and provincial budgets for the ongoing fiscal year and what they offered to the marginalized sections of society including working women in informal sector.
A detailed review of the federal and provincial budgets was offered by renowned economist Dr Qais Aslam who briefed the audience the budgetary allocations respective governments had made, their priority areas and the sectors they had neglected altogether.
It was also pointed that budget-making exercise was exclusive domain of bureaucrats, and other major stakeholders including civil society organizations, lawyers, media, workers, etc. were not taken onboard.
Dr Qais said though there were huge allocations for different sectors the fate of around 56 million HBWs was still hanging in the balance.
He said the government had announced a minimum wage of Rs 13,000 but there was no mechanism in place to ensure its payment in the informal sector.
He said he had remained part of the minimum wage board and found that the government was helpless in this regard.
20150717 * Textile sector: Identifying causes for low exports:
Pakistan Apparel Forum (PAF) Chairman and Chief Coordinator Value Added Textile Forum Muhammad Jawed Bilwani has urged the government to look into why the country’s industrial base, especially textile sector, is shrinking.
“Two years ago, the then textile minister announced constituting a committee to resolve all major issues faced by the exporters, but it has not materialised as yet,” he said in press release.
He said if the government wanted Pakistan to turn into a trading state then it should clearly take concrete steps towards its materialisation rather than making vague claims of supporting the sector.
20150717 * Alarming: Pakistan’s exports plunge to 4-year low:
Pakistan’s exports have plunged to a four-year low of $23.9 billion in the recently ended financial year – missing the target by $3.1 billion and tattering the much-trumpeted ‘Vision 2025’ that promises six times increase in exports in the next 10 years.
The country exported goods worth $23.9 billion during the last financial year 2014-15, which were $1.3 billion or 4.9% less than the previous fiscal year, reported the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) on Thursday.
All Pakistan Textile Mills Association – the representative body of the exporters – has already announced to shut their factories, as they argue that doing business was no more profitable due to unprecedented level of taxation and high energy prices.
20150717 * Textile industries facing difficulties: Bilwani:
It is really a great irony that while the government is pushing to increase exports, the harassed and greatly burdened are not only facing short supply of these most essential inputs,
Gas, Electricity and Water but also to add fuel to the fire, tariff of all these most essential inputs are highest than those of our regional competing countries, greatly increasing cost of doing business in Pakistan and creating insurmountable difficulties for our exporters to compete in the Global market, lamented Muhammad Jawed Bilwani, Chairman, Pakistan Apparel Forum and Chief Coordinator, Value Added Textile Forum.
20150716 * Textile industry losing market:
Around 10 percent devaluation of rupee against US dollar and high electricity cost have put Pakistan’s textile sector uncompetitive in the region on exports front and if no immediate corrective measures are taken, it is feared the industry may die down.
In order to resolve the lingering problems of textile sector, Federal Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir Khan constituted a committee headed by Secretary Commerce and comprising textile and Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) tycoons to come up with national action plan which will be presented before Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for seeking approval in order to boost dwindling exports.
20150716 * APTMA submits proposal for restoration of textile industry:
A delegation, led by All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Chairman SM Tanveer, submitted a seven-point proposal for viability of textile industry to Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan on Wednesday.
The delegation members included Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) Chairman SM Munir, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) President Mian Muhammad Adrees and FPCCI Vice President SM Naseer, while the commerce secretary was also present.
The APTMA chairman said, “The seven-point proposal included zero rate regime for textile industry, extension of long-term finance (LTF) scheme for ginning and spinning industry, exports refinance facility to the entire textile value chain on deemed export basis including spinning and weaving sub-sectors, announcement of 5% export incentive to capture non-traditional markets, special electricity tariff for textile industry, zero customs duty on import of yarn in China from Pakistan under revision of FTA and strengthening of domestic commerce by introducing tariff measures for countering informal trade and dumped imports.”
20150716 * Dastgir forms committee to redress impediments in textile exports:
Federal Minister for Commerce, Engineer Khurram Dastgir Khan has constituted a committee headed by Secretary Commerce, Muhammad Shahzad Arbab to bring about a policy action plan to redress the impediments confronted by the textile industry in increasing its exports.
A statement issued by the Ministry of Commerce here Wednesday said that the committee was comprised on representatives of Ministry of Textile Industry, All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) and Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI).
The Committee will present its recommendations in the next month, which will be forwarded, to the Prime Minister for swift decisions in order to reverse the declining trend in Pakistani exports.
This was decided during a meeting chaired by the Minister for Commerce with the representatives of APTMA, which was also attended, by CEO Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, S.M. Muneer and President FPCCI Mian Muhammad Idrees.
APTMA apprised the Minister about the multifarious issues faced by the domestic textile industry which have rendered the industry uncompetitive viz-a-viz the regional competitors. APTMA proposed to bring about a level playing field for Pakistani textile producer as the regional competitors are heavily subsidizing and supporting their textile industry.
20150716 * Textile industry: Commerce minister constitutes committee for exports:
Keeping in view the declining trend of Pakistan’s textile export, Federal Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir has constituted a high level committee to bring about a ‘Policy Action Plan’ to redress the impediments confronted by the textile industry in increasing its exports.
The committee will present its recommendations in the next month which will be forwarded to the Prime Minister for swift decisions in order to reverse the declining trend in the country’s exports.
This was decided during a meeting chaired by Dastgir with representatives of APTMA,Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) Chairman S M Muneer and FPCCI President Mian Muhammad Adrees.
APTMA Chairman S M Muneer, talking to The Express Tribune, said that he had a detailed two-hour long meeting with the minister regarding exporters’ issues across the country due to which mills were rapidly shutting down and which was to have serious implications on the country’s economy.
read more. & read more. & read more.
20150716 * Appointment of textile minister likely:
The Prime Minister”s Office has reportedly vetoed the recommendation of the Cabinet Committee on Restructuring (CCoR) for merging the textile ministry with the commerce ministry, it is learnt.
The CCoR meeting held on March 27, 2015 and chaired by federal minister for finance Ishaq Dar, had recommended and proposed to club textile division and commerce division together under an umbrella of commerce ministry.
The proposal was sent to the prime minister and even after the passage of about four months, no decision has been taken.
Sources said there was immense pressure from the textile industry stakeholders, including value-added and spinning, to resist the proposal at every forum which forced the government to reconsider the matter.
“The Prime Minister”s Office has told us that soon a full-time textile minister will be appointed to run the affairs of the ministry,” a senior official of the textile ministry said.
20150715 * Textile troubles:
Only a government totally divorced from sanity would want to harm the textile sector — the backbone of our economy — the way the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) claims it is.
Pakistan’s textile industry contributes 8.5 per cent to the GDP and employs over 40 per cent of the manufacturing sector workforce — around 15 million people. Pakistan is the fifth-largest producer of cotton, with the third-largest spinning capacity in Asia after China and India, and contributes five per cent to the global spinning capacity.
At present, there are 1,221 ginning units, 124 large spinning units and 425 small units which produce textile products. Besides, the spinning industry being the sole consumer of cotton, sustains the largest cash crop of Pakistan.
Aptma’s main concern appears to be the recent hike in the power tariff, which has climbed to Rs14 a unit after the government increased duties on electricity by Rs4 a unit.
This increase is said to translate into an additional burden of Rs200 million a day on the textile industry — or Rs72 billion every year. On the other hand, power tariffs in all regional economies are said to be lower than 10 cents a unit.
Aptma claims that against Pakistan’s textile exports of $13 billion, the textile industry will be paying an additional $1 billion on new power and energy taxes imposed in the 2015-16 budget.
As a result, global buyers are said to be shifting to cheaper suppliers from competing economies.
20150715 * F’abad textile unit: non-bailable warrants of arrests issued against directors:
The Special Judge Customs Lahore has issued non-bailable warrants of arrests of all directors/manager of a textile unit of Faisalabad.
It is learnt that the court has also issued directions to the investigation officer Afzal Malik, Assistant Commissioner Regional Tax Office Faisalabad to arrest all accused and produce before the special court till July 30, 2015.
The textile mill falls within the jurisdiction of the RTO Faisalabad.
According to reliable sources, raids are being conducted for the arrest of all accused nominated in FIR No 08/2915 in the tax fraud case of Rs 265 million. Earlier all petitions were dismissed by the Lahore High Court Lahore and pre-arrest bails were cancelled by the Special Judge Customs Lahore.
The directors of the unit are suspected to be escaped abroad.
20150715 * Preferential access boost Pakistani textile and clothing exports to Europe:
Pakistani textile and clothing exports to Europe have surged since it was granted preferential access to EU markets.
Preferential access has been provided to Pakistan in the form of the EU’s GSP+ scheme, according to the latest issue of Textile Outlook International from the global business information company Textiles Intelligence.
This provides its exporters with duty-free access to the EU over a period of ten years, and gives the industry in Pakistan a clear advantage over several important competitors, including the textile and clothing industries in India, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and, not least, China.
The surge in exports to Europe was already ostensible in data for Pakistan’s 2013/14 financial year, which ended on June 30, 2014.
Figures show that Pakistan’s clothing exports to Italy surged by 30.9%, exports to Belgium by 27.0%, exports to Spain by 25.5%, exports to the UK by 18.9% and exports to France by 18.8%.
20150717 * PCGA up the ante against ‘illegal tax’:
Rejecting 0.3 % withholding tax on bank transactions, the Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) declared on Thursday to join hands with the traders in their movement against what they declared as cruel and illegal tax.
The decision was made during a meeting of the executive committee of PCGA and the acting Chairman Ramesh Lal announced it. The meeting was also attended by the Chairman of Ginners group Haji Muhammad Akram, Vice Chairman Rao Sadaruddin,…
It demanded for immediate withdrawal of relaxation in Cotton zone policy and cancel the licences of sugar mills established in core cotton zone.
20150715 * Call for labour law parity:
Academics have urged Asean leaders to improve labour protection laws to meet international standards.
They said stronger laws are needed to protect migrant workers from being abused when the Asean Economic Community (AEC) is launched by the Asean Community (AC) at the end of the year.
Speaking at a seminar on labour protection under the AEC, Sunee Chairos, the Law Reform Commission’s vice-president, suggested Asean member countries roll out labour laws with the same standards.
This would help ensure migrant workers in their countries were treated fairly to a uniform standard, she said.
“The law has to be based on criteria of the International Labour Organisation (ILO),” Ms Sunee said. “No matter what country migrants work for, they must be fairly protected under the same law to prevent them being exploited by employers.”
* “So we exist”: A photo exhibition shedding light on workers in the shadows:
On the occasion of the conference on ‘Regulating for Decent Work’ from 8-10 July 2015, the ILO is hosting an exhibition by Bangladeshi photojournalist Ismail Ferdous.
The photo exhibition “So we exist” tells the stories of people in unreachable communities around the world working in fields such as construction and the leather industry.
It also depicts the aftermath of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, labour migration in the Persian Gulf and modern-day slavery in Central America and South East Asia.
A child works in hazardous conditions in the leather industry. Hazaribag, Dhaka, Bangladesh. © Ismail Ferdous
A woman worker arranges the processed leather pieces in a field so they can dry. Hazaribag, Dhaka. A large number of women work in the leather industry in Bangladesh. © Ismail Ferdous
20150714 * New ILO handbook on Education for the Unions:
The Bureau for Workers’ Activities (ILO-ACTRAV) has just published a new handbook which addresses “Educating for Union Strength”.
In this interview, the ACTRAV Senior Programme Officer for Asia and the Pacific, Ariel Castro explains the issues surrounding the topic of education in the world of work, for the trade union movement in particular.