19:36:03 local time CHINA
20150717 * Remembering the sacrifice of Shenzhen factory worker Zhou Jianrong:
Today marks the first anniversary of the tragic death of Zhou Jianrong, a 49-year-old worker at the GCL Footwear factory in Shenzhen.
Zhou jumped from the top of a four-storey workshop on the morning of 17 July 2014, soon after learning that she and several other colleagues had been fired in retaliation for their activism.
To mark the occasion, a group of workers and labour activists known as China Labour World (中 国劳工界) issued a statement commemorating Zhou’s sacrifice and calling on China’s workers to overcome their difficulties through determined and unified collective action. Their statement is translated below.
19:36:03 local time PHILIPPINES
20150719 * DOLE grants livelihood to 113 Kentex fire victims:
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Regional Office delivered livelihood grants to 113 workers and dependents of the victims of fire disaster in Kentex Manufacturing Corporation in Valenzuela City.
DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz on Wednesday commended DOLE-National Capital Region following Regional Director Alex Avila’s report on the livelihood awarding.
“The livelihood awards consisted of jigs and tools that the recipients could use to help them recover from the tragedy,” Avila said in his report to Sec. Baldoz.
The livelihood award is apart from the liabilities that will be paid by Kentex, the worker’s employer.
The grants provided by DOLE Regional Office include P10,000 worth of home-based livelihoods such as rice trading, carinderia, frozen food trading, patis and dishwashing making, sari-sari store, dress-making, buy and sell, burger stand, street food vending and welding intended for the bereaved.
20150719 * Kentex fire victims’ kin get to choose DOLE aid:
More than a hundred survivors and relatives of the victims of the Kentex slipper factory fire in Valenzuela City are receiving livelihood assistance worth P10,000 each from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), which allowed them to choose the type of aid package they wish to get.
Jessie Sabungan, who lost her son to the seven-hour blaze that claimed 74 lives on May 13, requested a sewing machine, which she hopes to take home to her native town of Marabut, Samar province.
Sabungan was part of the first batch of 35 beneficiaries who received aid from DOLE’s National Capital Region office on July 15 at the barangay hall of Ugong, Valenzuela City.
She was in Samar when she heard about the Kentex fire, but realized only later that her son was among the fatalities.
This was because he was previously employed in another factory and then transferred to Kentex “without my knowledge,” lured by the higher pay of P480 per day, she said.
18:36:03 local time VIET NAM
20150719 * VCCI Chairman speaks about minimum wage hike plan:
Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vu Tien Loc spoke to Thoi Bao Kinh Te (Vietnam Economic Times) about plans to increase the minimum wage in 2016.
* What do you think about minimum wage levels?
The adjustment of minimum wage is very important to both employers and employees, and plays an important role in the country’s current economic growth.
Adjusting the minimum wage should be done if it can ensure two factors are met: raising incomes and improving living conditions for workers, as well as maintaining companies’ competitiveness and sustainable development of the economy.
20150719 * Agencies still unable to solve minimum-wage issue:
Every year, the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) and relevant agencies discuss the minimum wage increase, but both businesses and workers have not seen benefits.
In late July, the National Wage Council, comprising representatives from MOLISA, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Vietnam Labor Federation, will convene a meeting to discuss the adjustment of minimum wages for 2016, before a report will be submitted to the government in October.
Chu Van An, deputy general director of Minh Phu Seafood Group, complained that the rapid minimum wage increases in recent years have seriously affected the seafood exporters’ competitiveness.
An said Minh Phu’s 15,000 workers now can receive pay of VND5-5.3 million a month, which is nearly double the required minimum wage.
Therefore, the minimum wage increase will not bring any benefits to workers and businesses, while it will do harm because it will push essential goods’ prices up by 20-30 percent.
Meanwhile, the minimum wage increase will make businesses suffer, because they will have to pay more for insurance premiums and other expenses.
In 2015, as the minimum wage has increased by 15 percent over 2014, the total expenses Minh Phu pays for social, healthcare and unemployment insurance premiums has risen by 35 percent.
Truong Van Cam from the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (Vitas) noted that since 2010, fees relating to laborers increased once every two years.
And if the regional minimum wage increases again, this will be far beyond enterprises’ capacity.
20150721 * Foreign textile & garment enterprises expand as domestic firms shrink:
The demand from Vietnam’s key export markets has decreased significantly, while the dollar has appreciated sharply, causing textile and garment export growth to slow down.
- Foreign investors eye Vietnam’s textile industry ahead of free trade pact
- Local authorities reconsider textile & garment projects
Vietnam’s textile and garment export turnover has reached US$12 billion this year, which represents a modest increase of 9% in comparison with the same period last year, a 3-year low, and much lower than the 19% growth rate last year.
More foreign owned factories
Vinatas reported that the number of foreign invested garment & textile factories has been increasing dramatically as foreign investors have been flocking to Vietnam to take full advantage of the free trade agreements (FTAs) of which Vietnam is a member.
20150721 * Garment exports to the US likely to hit US$11 billion:
The US is the biggest importer of Vietnamese garment products, according to Dang Phuong Dung, Vice President of the Vietnam Garment and Apparel Association (Vitas).
- Foreign textile & garment enterprises expand as domestic firms shrink
- Garment firms queue up for TPP tariff incentives
- US$300 mil credit package to promote India-Vietnam garment cooperation
Garment exports to the US have increased rapidly from zero to US$9.8 billion over the past two decades. With current robust growth, it is likely to reach US$11 billion this year.
Particularly, the export revenue may double after the signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Dung forecast.
20150720 * Footwear exports up 18% in H1:
Viet Nam earned more than US$7.35 billion from exporting footwear and handbags in the first half of 2015, a year-on-year increase of 18%, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Of the figure, the footwear and handbags contributed US$5.9 billion and US$1.45 billion, up 16% and 27% against the same period last year, respectively.
Viet Nam ranked fourth among the largest footwear exporters in terms of quantity (after China, India and Brazil) and took the third position in terms of value (after China and Italia).
20150720 * India finances US$300 million to promote VN’s garment:
The Indian Government officially started the preferential credit of US$300 million to boost its garment cooperation with Viet Nam, according to the Viet Nam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS).
India will finance textile and apparel projects in which its equipment and services make up 75% of the value of the projects.
The loan will be extended to 10 years with the interest rate of 2%.
20150720 * Textile, apparel exports to TPP markets skyrocket:
Vietnam’s textile and apparel exports to countries negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement in the first five months of this year increased 69.66 percent compared to the same period last year.
The majority of the exports were sent to the US with over 4 billion USD, equivalent to nearly 50 percent of the total earnings, marking a 53 percent increase year on year.
It was followed by Japan and Canada with export values of 1 billion USD and 207 million USD, respectively.
According to the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association, the sector’s export turnover in the first six months was 12.18 billion USD, up 10.26 percent compared to the same period last year.
The industry is expected to bring home 28 billion USD this year.
read more. & read more. & to read.
20150718 * BTA, TPP: important deals to strengthen Vietnam-US trade:
The signing of the Vietnam-US bilateral trade agreement (BTA) in 2001 marked the start of booming trade between the two countries, which hit US$35 billion by the end of 2014 from only US$1.51 billion in 2001.
read more. & read more.
20150718 * Vietnam Ambassador pitches TPP in Washington DC:
Vietnam Ambassador to the US Pham Quang Vinh recently attended the 48th meeting of the Emergency Committee for American Trade (ECAT) in Washington DC.
- Vietnam, US look to early conclusion of TPP negotiations
- Seminar addresses benefits of the TPP
- Vietnam willing to work for early TPP negotiation completion
Speaking at the conference, Vinh highlighted the sound relations of Vietnam and the US, especially singling out trade and investment relations and the significance of the trans-pacific partnership (TPP) for Vietnam.
In the context of the 20th anniversary of Vietnam-US diplomatic ties, Vinh recounted important landmarks and achievements in the two nations’ relations over past decades.
Trade has increased 70 fold to US$36 billion over the past twenty years he said, adding that currently, the US is the largest export market of Vietnam and the seventh largest foreign investor with investment of US$13 billion.
18:36:03 local time CAMBODIA
20150721 * Workers at Puma Supplier Rally Outside Court:
About 200 employees of the Akeentex garment factory, which supplies sportswear giant Puma, rallied outside the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday morning against a court injunction ordering them to return to work after 11 days of striking, according to a union representative.
Following their threat to burn a banner bearing Puma’s logo on Friday over the terms of their contracts with the Malaysian- and Singaporean-owned factory in Meanchey district, the workers Monday gathered outside the court at about 10 a.m., demanding Puma’s intervention and requesting that the court revoke its injunction.
“We came to the Phnom Penh court because we wanted Judge Pech Maren to suspend the injunction,” said Preap Munysovann, an official for the Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW).
Mr. Munysovann added that the injunction states that his union incited the workers to strike, block roads, make loud noises and threaten workers who want to return to work—all of which he denied.
He said the workers requested his union’s help a day after their strike began on July 9.
20150721 * Workers protest court injuction:
Days after Phnom Penh Municipal Court issued an injunction ordering striking workers at a Phnom Penh garment factory to return to work within 48 hours, strike supporters demonstrated outside the court yesterday.
Judge Pich Maren released the return-to-work order on Thursday, after Akeentex Pte Ltd, where workers at their Meanchey and Por Sen Chey district branches walked off the job about two weeks ago, filed a complaint to the court.
“[The Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW)] officials must stop activities such as provoking workers, bringing speakers in front of the factory and blocking the factory’s entrance and the road in front of it,” part of Maren’s order reads.
20150720 * Striking Garment Workers Target Puma:
Striking workers from a factory that makes Puma brand garments rallied yesterday against a back-to-work order.
Roughly 200 garment workers from Akeen Tex Pte., located in western Phnom Penh’s Canadia Industrial Park, protested the order as they marked the second week of their strike.
“Puma brand needs to give a solution to workers,” read signs held up by the striking workers, overwhelmingly women.
On Friday, the Municipal Court told the workers to go back to their jobs, saying they had rioted during a protest July 9.
“I joined this gathering because the court also accused us of doing illegal riots by blocking public roads,” said Ly Mey, one of the garment workers. “We did not block the road as accused. We just sat outside the factory and refused to work.”
20150720 * Rainsy tells FTU to push for $180:
Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) president Sam Rainsy yesterday told unionists that his party supports a minimum wage increase in the Kingdom’s garment industry to $180 per month in 2016.
Speaking to more than 100 Free Trade Union (FTU) representatives from about 60 factories at FTU’s headquarters in Phnom Penh, the opposition party leader said that the current minimum wage of $128 per month does not meet garment workers’ living expenses.
“One hundred and twenty-eight dollars is not enough for our workers,” Rainsy said. “So please demand $180 per month, and I, Sam Rainsy, president of the CNRP, will support all of you in trying to achieve a minimum wage of at least $180 per month.”
Ministry of Labour spokesman Heng Sour could not be reached for comment.
Workers in the garment sector this year received a $28-per-month minimum wage raise a year after negotiations sparked a national strike in the industry, and after the CNRP threw its weight behind unionists’ demands in the wake of the disputed 2013 elections.
20150718 * Workers Threaten to Burn Banner of Brand:
About 200 workers from a factory that supplies sportswear giant Puma delivered a petition to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s cabinet on Friday calling attention to their demands that five-year employment contracts be replaced by one-year contracts, a union leader said.
Workers from the Malaysian- and Singaporean-owned Aketenex factory in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district have been striking for nine days, according to a union representative.
They handed their petition to Pal Chandara, a member of the prime minister’s cabinet, in Wat Botum Park at around 9:30 a.m. on Friday.
“We are requesting that the factory director terminate the five-year contracts and pay [a $70 bonus] to the workers at the end of each year,” said Sut Chut, an official at the Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW).
“If there is no intervention from Hun Sen’s cabinet or the Labor Ministry, we will carry a banner of Puma brand and burn it,” he said.
20150721 * Union President Chea Mony to Be Welcomed Into CNRP:
Chea Mony said Monday that he would fulfill a longtime ambition and join the CNRP when he relinquishes his position as head of the Free Trade Union (FTU), which was formed in 1996 by his slain brother Chea Vichea and opposition leader Sam Rainsy.
FTU officials have not said when a vote might be held to replace Mr. Mony, who took over as president shortly after Chea Vichea was assassinated in 2003, but the CNRP’s chief whip said the labor leader would be welcomed by the party.
Earlier this month, Mr. Mony said he was taking a break from his FTU responsibilities to pursue his own interests brokering land deals for foreign firms looking to set up factories. On Monday, he said the tedium of union work had inspired him to take on new responsibilities.
“In fact, in my heart, I have wanted to join the party for a long time, but there were no names coming forward [to lead the FTU], so I just continued,” he said.
20150720 * Chea Mony Vows to Step Down as Union Chief:
After 11 years as president of the Free Trade Union, Chea Mony said Sunday that he would not seek re-election as head of one of the country’s largest unions, which launched Cambodia’s labor movement nearly two decades ago.
Mr. Mony announced his decision at the FTU’s Phnom Penh headquarters Sunday morning to 141 union members representing 60 factories in five provinces.
“I will not stand for president anymore because the rules clearly state that the president can serve two [three-year] terms,” Mr. Mony said by telephone Sunday evening.
“I have stood as president for 11 years already, and this is against the rules.”
Mr. Mony was overwhelmingly elected president of the FTU in 2004, about six months after Chea Vichea, his brother and the union’s founder, was assassinated in Phnom Penh.
read more. & read more.
20150720 * Five Arrested Over Anti-NGO Law Leaflets:
Authorities in Phnom Penh arrested and released five activists on Saturday for handing out leaflets urging residents to “Say No” to a pending NGO law that critics fear will be used to muzzle critics of the ruling CPP.
The bill was approved by the National Assembly’s CPP lawmakers a week ago amid a boycott by the minority CNRP and is awaiting a vote in the Senate, which the ruling party also controls.
At about 8 a.m. on Saturday, some 50 activists started marching southwest from the Night Market on Phnom Penh’s riverside, handing out the “Say No” leaflets at other markets they hit along the way.
20150719 * NGO Law Set To Pass Senate This Week:
The contentious law on associations and NGOs will likely pass the Senate this week, after it is reviewed tomorrow and Wednesday opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) senator Kong Korm said yesterday.
This will occur despite another warning late last week from a UN expert who said the legislation could have “disastrous” effects, a warning that Council of Minister’s spokesman Phay Siphan dismissed as insulting to Cambodians.
“They are our development partners, not our masters,” he told Khmer Times. “What other country do they use such language with? It is insulting. We are not children,” Mr. Siphan said.
Mr. Korm said that his party would boycott debate on the legislation in the Senate, as it did in the National Assembly on July 13.
“The National Assembly submitted the law to Senate on July 15. Commission four and Commission six of the Senate are reviewing it. If nothing changes, on July 21 or 22 the Senate will review the law,” Mr. Korm said.
The two commissions he referred to focus on issues related to national defense and the interior, and the judiciary and legislation, respectively.
20150718 * Five activists held after handing out anti-LANGO stickers:
Five women are currently being held in Phnom Penh’s 7 Makara police station after being arrested during a peaceful anti-LANGO (Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organisations) event this morning.
The event began at 8.30 at Phnom Penh’s night market when around 50 people gathered to hand out “Say NO to LANGO” stickers and fliers in some of the city’s main shopping areas.
Shortly after 10 o’clock, when the group had reached O Russei Market, security guards and police arrived to prevent the group going any further.
They then arrested the five women, four land rights activists from Boeung Kak community and one from Borei Keila.
Having been held at the O Russei 2 commune police station for around two hours, they were then escorted through the streets by police to their current location.
They have been told that they must wait for the arrival of Phnom Penh city governor Pa Socheatvong.
19:36:03 local time MALAYSIA
20150719 * MTUC wants employers to emphasis safety at workplace:
The Malaysian Trades Union Congress has urged employers to strictly abide by the provisions in the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994 to prevent workplace accidents and deaths of employees.
MTUC deputy secretary-general A. Balasubramaniam said employers should give priority to safety at the workplace as the current focus of most employers appeared to be meeting the production schedule or construction target.
“Safety at the workplace is one of the fundamental rights of workers. The Department of Occupational Safety and Health under the Human Resources Ministry should ensure that Section 15 of the OSH Act is strictly enforced.
“Department officials must make it a point to conduct regular inspection of workplaces as the safety of workers must be the primary concern,” he told Bernama.
18:06:03 local time BURMA/MYANMAR
20150717 * Minimum Wage Gathers Support From Abroad:
International labor groups and multinational companies this week urged the government and recalcitrant garment manufacturers in Burma to accept a daily minimum wage of 3,600 kyats (US$3.20), a proposal put forward by the National Minimum Wage Committee late last month.
The US-based Fair Labor Association (FLA), a coalition of labor rights groups around the world and 17 affiliated companies, including global apparel provider Adidas Group and shoe manufacturer New Balance, sent a letter to the Ministry of Labor this week urging garment factory owners in Burma to drop their demand that the industry be exempted from the pay regulation.
The statement advised the Ministry of Labor not to heed warnings made by trade associations that a minimum wage for Burma’s garment workers of 3,600 kyats would discourage international investment, and that rather “brands committed to paying living wages in their supply chain would be encouraged to source from Myanmar, rather than deterred.”
“Our concern is that any exemption negotiated for the garment industry would lead to hundreds of thousands of garment workers not having a wage that meets their basic needs,” the letter reads.
Another organization promoting labor rights internationally, the Ethical Trading Initiative, added its voice to those supporting the nationwide application of the minimum wage on Wednesday.
17:21:03 local time NEPAL
20150721 * Remove labour rights from fundamental rights, says FNCCI:
The Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry ( FNCCI ) on Monday asked the Constituent Assembly ( CA ) to remove labour rights from the list of fundamental rights in the new constitution as it could undermine employer interests.
Clause 39 of the draft constitution has categorized labour rights as a fundamental right. It states that workers will have the right of appropriate labour practice, and that every labourer will have the right to get appropriate remuneration, facility and social security.
“Every labourer will have the right to open trade unions, participate in them and hold collective bargaining with the employers,” it says.
The private sector has voiced fears about the possible misuse of the provision regarding labour rights .
“If the right is treated as a fundamental right, labourers could file a petition against their employers, and the state is liable to protect the right. This will create a dubious situation,” said the FNCCI in its recommendations submitted to CA Chairman Subas Nembang on Monday.
17:36:03 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. & 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.
20150721 * Swan workers yet to get paid:
Defying rainfall all throughout the day, over 100 workers of Swan Garments (Pvt) Ltd staged a sit-in in front of the capital’s Jatiya Press Club for the ninth day yesterday demanding four months’ wage arrears and Eid bonus while the government is yet to resolve the issue though the factory closed three months back.
“The government and owners remain indifferent even though workers passed Eid day here. It proves that they have no responsibility,” said Ruhul Amin, general secretary of Garment Workers’ Trade Union Centre, which brought the workers together.
He was addressing a press briefing there. A statement of the union released afterwards said the factory, situated in Mollartek, closed on April 10 without any prior notice, leaving nearly 1,300 workers in uncertainty.z
“None of the rules relating to closure has been followed. As a result, we are forced to continue our movement,” it read, adding that the union had earlier sought the intervention of the government and Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
“None have come up so far to relieve the sufferings of workers who are in hardship,” said Ruhul.
The union accused the government of dilly-dallying over the issue by making promises in the last three months.
He said the company owner died and the successor needed a succession certificate from the court to sell off assets and pay the workers.
“It will take time. They (workers) should wait for at least for a month,” he said.
The union announced continuing the sit-in and organising demonstrations in front of the DIFE headquarters and Islami Bank Bangladesh, Swan’s lender.
Meanwhile, the World Federation of Trade Unions, based in Athens, expressed solidarity with the workers and urged the authorities to immediately clear arrears and bonus.
20150720 * Solidarity to the Workers of the Swan Garment in Bangladesh:
Swan Garment factory is one of the factories which are situated in Dhaka city, capital of Bangladesh.
This Factory is owned by a Chinese owner.
Around 1300 workers worked in this factory, among them 80% are young women. On last 10 April the owner, all of a sudden, declared the closure of the factory, without giving the salaries and other benefits due to the workers.
The workers, with their struggle, forced the the owner to give them the salary of the month of March and he promised to give other financial benefits which are due to them, but until now he didn’t.
Now the Workers have been continuously sitting day and night, even amidst heavy rain, in front of the National Press Club by the side of one of the main roads, at the center of the city.
The government is ignoring the protest and the stage of workers and does not take any step to meet the most genuine legal demand to pay the arrears.
20150720 * Bangladesh Garment Workers Supplying Aldi Left Penniless – July 2015:
On April 10, the Bangladeshi garment factories, Swan Garments and Swan Jeans, closed without notice and without providing termination payments to their more than 1300 workers as required by law.
Since then, the workers have been without wages or work.
The factories made clothing for a number of retailers, including Aldi and Walmart.
The factories made products for signatories to the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety (The Accord) and the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety (The Alliance).
“While the Accord has led to some improvements in factory safety in Bangladesh”, Colin Long, spokesperson for Australia Bangladesh Solidarity Network (ABSN) and Victorian Secretary of the National Tertiary Education Union, said, “we are finding that worker livelihoods are increasingly under threat from illegal closures, under-payment of wages and increased working hours and production targets.
The Swan closures are, unfortunately, symptomatic of a growing trend of intensified exploitation and rip-offs of worker entitlements in Bangladesh”.
20150719 * Swan workers vow tougher movement:
Workers of Swan Garment continued their sit in programme for the 8th consecutive day on Sunday in front of the National Press Club, demanding the wages of three months and festival allowance.
Garment trade union leaders at a rally, organised by Garment Workers Trade Union Centre, vowed to announce tougher movement to press the demands of the 1,300 workers of the factory.
20150718 * Swan workers continue sit-in on Eid Day:
Workers of Swan Garment Private Limited continue their sit-in in front of the National Press Club for the seventh day on Saturday, the day of Eud-ul Fitr.
About 1,300 workers of the apparel factory took to the street for wages for three months and festival allowance as the management closed the factory three months ago without any notice and compensation, workers said.
20150717 * Swan Garment workers to continue sit-in on Eid Day:
The workers of Swan Garment Private Limited will continue their sit-in on Saturday, the Eid-ul-Fitr day, in front of the National Press Club for their wages for three months and festival allowance.
Garment Sramik Trade Union Centre general secretary Kazi Mohammad Ruhul Amin, on Thursday at a briefing the sit-in venue made the announcement.
The workers would not refrain from their movement until their demands were met, Ruhul Amin said.
About 1,300 workers of the Swan apparel factory took part in the sit-in for the sixth day on Friday.
The management closed the factory three months ago without any notice and compensation, Ruhul Amin said.
Organisation president Mantu Ghosh, joint general secretary Joly Talukder, central leader Manzur Moin and others were present.
to read. & read more.
20150721 * 31 sick textile mills get 5-10 yrs to repay debts:
The owners of 31 private-sector textile mills have been given five to ten years to repay their debts to two state-owned banks and one financial institution as they reported sick, officials said.
The Ministry of Finance (MoF) recently gave necessary directives to Agrani Bank, Bangladesh Development Bank Ltd and the Investment Corporation of Bangladesh (ICB) for the time extension following recommendations made by the Ministry of Textiles and Jute.
Officials said these textile mills have been languishing for years failing to make good business. They failed to repay the loans and interests thereon for a long time being victims of global economic recession.
20150720 * Accord Monthly Update July 2015:
We have increased the pace of follow up inspections in recent months thanks to additional engineers joining our staff and minimal disruption to scheduling.
Over 650 Accord covered factories have now had at least one follow up visit to verify remediated issues and check work in progress. The latest progress of each factory can be viewed on the Accord’s Inspection Reports & CAPs page.
Some follow-up inspections result in new findings which are added to the Corrective Action Plans and published on the Accord website.
The Accord will be verifying the remediation of these new findings.
The Accord asks all factories and signatories to contact the Accord immediately with any safety concerns in factories in order for the Accord to prioritise a follow-up inspection.
Accord & IFC announce new finance programme for RMG factory safety: the Accord is delighted to be working with the International Finance Corporation to offer a finance programme which will enable factories to access favourable terms loans from partner banks in Bangladesh. Read more in this statement.
We will soon issue a briefing for factories and company signatories on how to access these loans.
A more general guide to finance for remediation is also available.
20150721 * French dev agency proposes greening garment industry:
France’s development agency AFD has proposed making Bangladesh’s readymade garment (RMG) industry green while ensuring factory safety and standards of products, officials said.
They said the French donor Agence Française de Développement (AFD) has come forward with its proposal for making the $25-billion-industry green and has recently placed the proposal with the Ministry of Commerce (MoC).
“The French donor agency wants to conduct a study on the RMG factories. After getting study report, it is likely to provide some financial support to the RMG factories for improving their standards,” the MoC official told the FE.
17:06:03 local time INDIA
20150718 * Child labour Bill to be taken up in Monsoon session:
Bill proposes blanket ban on employment of kids below 14 years across all industries, except family-run businesses
The government will give a push to its labour law reforms by introducing the child labour amendment Bill in the upcoming Monsoon session of the Parliament.
“The child labour amendment Bill will be introduced in the upcoming Parliamentary session. Since it was tabled in the Rajya Sabha in 2012, it will be taken up in the Upper house first,” said a senior labour ministry official.
20150721 * Differences persist, unions firm on strike:
Prime Minister has not given any assurance: trade unions
Differences between government and trade unions over labour reforms proposals persisted on Sunday and unions threatened to go ahead with their nation-wide strike on September 2 in support of their demands after a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi failed to make any headway.
The assertion by the unions came on the eve of the 46th Indian Labour Conference to be addressed by Mr. Modi on Monday, where government, trade unions and industry would come face to face to discuss various issues including government’s labour reforms.
The Prime Minister, during a tea meeting with the Central trade union leaders, heard their views on various economic policies and labour related laws.
Emerging from the meeting, trade union leaders said the Prime Minister had not given any assurance and hence they would go ahead with their strike in support of their 12-point charter of demands.
Divergent views on contract labour
Earlier, the union leaders held extensive discussions on labour issues with the inter-ministerial panel headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
20150721 * BJP-backed union decries government’s labour reforms:
All trade unions stick to call for nationwide strike on September 2
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday tried to rope in dissenting trade unions for pushing labour reforms. However, the PM faced opposition from even the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-affiliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS).
In Modi’s presence, BMS leader B N Rai criticised the Centre and the Rajasthan government for initiating “unilateral” reforms.
Trade unions decided to stick to their decision of holding a nationwide strike against these reforms on September 2.
Inaugurating the 46th Indian Labour Conference (ILC) here, Modi said, “We are holding regular dialogues with labour organisations and going ahead in a tripartite forum. We need to simplify the complexities of the past. We will be able to do this only with workers’ consent.”
The Union labour ministry is clubbing 44 labour laws into five codes. Also, it has proposed several changes to labour laws; this has been strongly opposed by trade unions.
The PM’s comments, however, drew flak. “The government has taken some wrong decisions, which will affect labour adversely. The recommendations of the previous labour conferences have not been implemented; (there are) unilateral changes to the Apprentices Act and (in) allowing Rajasthan to amend labour laws,” said Rai, president of BMS.
20150721 * Shun disruptive tactics: Jaitley tells trade unions:
Finance Minister makes it clear that industrial unrest will impact job security
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday said that jobs would come under threat if investments were blocked and cautioned trade unions to desist from entertaining ideas harmful to economic activity.
Addressing the 46th Indian Labour Conference, a day after a ministerial panel headed by him failed to break the logjam with trade unions over labour reforms the Modi government proposes to roll out, Mr. Jaitley said that the safety of workforce cannot be ensured without an increase in economic activity.
The government proposes to take steps to make it easier for companies to do business so that job creation gets a boost.
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20150720 * Differences Over Labour Reforms Persists, September 2 Strike Stands:
Differences between government and trade unions over labour reforms proposals persisted today with unions threatening to go ahead with their nation-wide strike on September 2 in support of their demands after a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi failed to make any head way.
The assertion by the unions came on the eve of the 46th Indian Labour Conference to be addressed by Modi tomorrow where government, trade unions and industry would come face to face to discuss various issues including government’s labour reforms.
The Prime Minister, during a tea meeting with the central trade union leaders, heard their views on various economic policies and labour related laws but gave no assurance to them on issues raised by unions.
“The Prime Minister heard the views of the trade union leaders on various issues of interest to workers, including in areas related to economic policy, and related laws,” an official statement said.
Emerging out of the meeting, trade union leaders said that Prime Minister had not given any assurance and hence they would go ahead with their September 2 nation-wide strike in support of their 12-point charter of demands.
20150720 * Changes in labour laws with concurrence of trade unions: Modi:
The govt has set up a high-level inter-ministerial committee under Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to hold discussions with the unions on issues concerning labour
With labour reforms facing stiff resistance from trade unions, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said changes in the laws will be carried out through consensus and in consultation with them.
Inaugurating the 46th Indian Labour Conference here, he said “changes in the labour laws will be made with the concurrence of the unions and the consultation process will continue”.
The government has set up a high-level inter-ministerial committee under Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to hold discussions with the unions on issues concerning labour.
The committee held its first meeting yesterday during which host of labour related issues were discussed.
20150720 * Modi inaugurates 46th Indian Labour Conference:
“If we want to move ahead, we need to give opportunities to our youth. Giving opportunities to apprentices is the need of the hour.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday inaugurated the 46th Indian Labour Conference, asserting it was essential to respect the dignity of labour.
With labour reforms facing stiff resistance from trade unions, Modi today said changes in the laws will be carried out through consensus and in consultation with them. He said “changes in the labour laws will be made with the concurrence of the unions and the consultation process will continue“.
The government has set up a high-level inter-ministerial committee under Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to hold discussions with the unions on issues concerning labour.
The committee held its first meeting yesterday during which a host of labour-related issues were discussed.
20150720 * Labour laws need to be changed, but with consensus, says Prime Minister:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said labour laws need to be changed but with consensus.
“A dialogue with labour organisations began yesterday (Sunday). I am confident that solutions will be found.
The country cannot be happy if labourers are unhappy,” the Prime Minister said in his inaugural address to the 46th Indian Labour Conference, which began here on Monday.
Modi’s statement comes in the backdrop of labour law reforms facing stiff opposition from labour organisations, who have given a call for a country-wide strike on September 2 on a 12-point charter of demands.
The Prime Minister said there was a thin line dividing the interest of industry and industrialists, government and nation, and labour and labour organisations.
Unions not pleased
However, labour organisations, which had a dialogue with the inter-Ministerial group on Sunday over their demands on privatisation, disinvestment and higher minimum wages, among others, said these were nothing more than “pious words”.
“The country’s youth need jobs, not apprenticeships,” said AR Sindhu of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions.
20150720 * Will carry out labour reforms through consensus: PM:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said the government will carry out labour reforms through consensus with the labour organizations.
“Changes in labour laws will be attempted through consensus building with labour organizations,” PM said on Monday at the inauguration of 46th session of Indian Labour Conference.
“Talks with labour organizations on labour reforms are on. I am confident that solutions to be found,” he said.
20150719 * Sparks may fly at ILC meet over labour law reforms:
Trade unions say they will protest against certain proposed labour law amendments that will dilute social security of workers
Amid strong opposition by trade unions against certain proposed amendments to labour laws, the two-day long 46th Indian Labour Conference is likely to witness a stormy session on these issues tomorrow.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the conference on July 20 and dedicate the National Career Service (NCS) portal to the nation and launch health reforms of the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation of India (ESIC) on the occasion.
“The 46th Session of the Indian Labour Conference is being held on July 20-21, 2015 in New Delhi. The Prime Minister will inaugurate the conference… (He will) dedicate National Career Service (NCS) Portal and launch ESIC 2.0 Reform Initiatives,” an official release said.
20150719 * PM Modi to meet delegates of central trade unions today:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to meet 21 delegates of central trade unions on Sunday ahead of the 46th Indian Labour Conference (ILC).
He would be meeting with the delegates will be significant in view of the ongoing protests by trade unions against the certain proposed amendments that are part of the BJP-led NDA Government’s labour reforms for improving ease of doing business.
The Prime Minister will also be inaugurating the two-day Labour Conference on Monday.
He will also launch the reform initiatives of Employees’ State Insurance Corporation of India (ESIC).
20150720 * Textiles body wants export sops extended to all knitted fabrics:
The Cotton Textiles Exports Promotion Council (Texprocil) is surprised that the Centre has excluded certain knitted fabrics for concession under the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme.
Knitted fabrics with HS (Harmonized System) Code 6006, which covers most of the knitted fabrics including those with lycra, were left out in the list of items covered for export benefit.
Knitted fabric with lycra are value-added products that are used widely in garments.
The Director General of Foreign Trade had announced a new list of textile items eligible for export sops, last week.
While welcoming the decision to include exports of cotton fabrics – woven and knitted – to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka under the MEIS, RK Dalmia, Chairman of Texprocil, said the decision would play a major role in boosting fabric exports to both countries as they are strong in garmenting and India is known for fabrics.
20150718 * Weavers devise strict rules to curb payment defaults:
Rising number of defaults in the textile markets has forced powerloom weavers to devise a new way of doing business in the market.
At least 2,000 powerloom weavers from Sachin GIDC and Hojiwala Estate have unanimously decided not to enter into any business deal with merchants who do not provide valid references of traders from respective markets in the city.
Now, fabric merchants and traders will have to furnish valid references of prominent traders from the market to purchase unfinished fabrics from the weavers.
Moreover, the weavers will collect bio-data of traders operating from rented premises in the textile markets.
The traders operating from rented shops will have to provide references of shop owners as well as two other traders having shops in the same market.
The final verification of the details submitted by the traders will be cross-verified by a committee of Sachin Weavers’ Welfare Association (SWWA).
20150718 * In Raigarh hamlet, this woman self-help group weaves livelihood:
Skilled in weaving fabric, this self-help group (SHG) not only generated employment for ten women, but also inspired eight other SHGs to work as independent groups in village Panchdhar of Raigarh district.
Meet members of Bamleshwari Women’s Group (BWG), who used their home-grown talent to establish a successful venture.
Their journey began in 2005 from a small room, where they would weave sarees, shawl and other dress material. With a dream to have an own start-up, they began with a meager contribution of Rs 30 each.
After reaping savings from profits, the group bought first weaving machine for Rs 10,000.
They would work on turns.
But working on one machine neither satisfied their passion nor leveraged their efficiency.
Hence, they decided to buy another machine in 2009 by taking loan from Chhattisgarh ‘Mahila Kosh’ (CMK)-a loan scheme operated by women and child development department.
20150719 * 100 textile mills closed in first weekend shutdown:
Nearly 100 textile spinning mills, which produce blended yarn including polyester cotton by using synthetic material, stopped work across the state on Saturday.
The move follows the decision by the Indian Textpreneurs’ Federation (ITF), Synthetic Spinners’s Group’s decision to shut their units during the weekend following the sharp fall in yarn prices. This was the first weekend the mills were closed following the decision.
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.
20150719 * Synthetic spinners stop production:
Due to fall in yarn prices
As many as 82 textile mills that make synthetic yarn in the State stopped production on Saturday, as part of the decision taken at a meeting of the synthetic spinners group of Indian Texpreneurs Federation here recently.
According to Naresh Devaraj, co-ordinator of the group, nearly 17 lakh spindles had stopped production. By not operating the units on Saturday and Sunday, supply of nearly 10 lakh kg of yarn to the market will come down.
The mills had decided to do so as prices for synthetic yarn had fallen sharply in the last five months.
The workers in these mills took up maintenance and pending work on Saturday.
20150718 * Transport service for garment factory employees:
Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy told the Legislative Assembly on Friday that the government was taking steps to provide dedicated transport service for women working in garment factories in various cities and towns in the State.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah would soon launch a major initiative with a dedicated service of 100 BMTC buses for women working in garment factories in Peenya and other industrial areas in and around Bengaluru city.
According to a source, the 100 buses will be pressed into service in 64 routes. The launch of the service has been deferred owing to enforcement of the model code of conduct for BBMP elections in the city.
20150720 * Powerlooms devouring handspun Kota Doriya market:
A Kota Doriya saree is woven in 20 days, after ten or more hours of gruelling work in non-ventilated, dimly-lit rooms.
It needs intricate weaving with perfect synchronizing of mind and eye. The end product ranges between Rs 2,000 to Rs 10,000 while a sari made on powerloom is one fourth that price.
Powerlooms have slowly “killed handlooms since the last 40 years,” said LC Baheti, president Laghu Udyog Council of Kota. “Cheaper versions of doriya from Banaras and Surat have replaced the handloom one.
Remunerations are not at par with the labour involved in weaving Kota Doriya sarees, resulting in a vanishing art and artisans. With the number of artisans working on looms dwindling, the handloom doriya will become extinct in the coming years,” said LC baheti.
“I work from seven in the morning till seven in the evening but it’s impossible to sustain oneself by weaving Kota Doriya alone, because we earn an average of Rs 700 per person per week,” says Yasmin.
Today, only women learn this art as they can’t go out to work.
20150720 * Survey: Even among skilled workers joblessness is high:
The NDA government has retooled the UPA’s skill upgrade plans for India and announced a more detailed, though slightly less ambitious, programme.
The new target is to get 400 million Indians skilled by 2022. This would plug the “skills gap”, the government feels, and lead to more people getting better jobs. But, will a better skill set ensure jobs for millions?
The experience till now has not been very encouraging. Among those who got formal training in an institution like Industrial Training Institute (ITI) or other Skill Centers, the unemployment rate was high – at 14.5% – compared to 2.6% overall, according to a survey by the Labour Bureau in 2014 and released this year.
20150720 * Manufacturing sector growth declines in July: SBI-index:
India’s manufacturing sector growth declined both in terms of month-on-month as well as yearly basis in July, an SBI research report said, adding that the June IIP numbers may continue to be weaker.
The yearly SBI Composite Index, an indicator for manufacturing activity in the country, for July declined to 49.7 from 53.2 in June 2015.
The Monthly Index also declined from 47.0 in June to 46.7 this month.
20150719 * India, Pakistan trade talks may resume after national security advisers meet:
Tension between the two nations over recent ceasefire violations signals rough road ahead
The India-Pakistan trade dialogue, stalled for over two years following brutal killing of soldiers at the Line of Control in January 2013, could start immediately if the national security advisers of the two countries hold their planned meeting.
“The negotiating teams from both sides are ready to re-start our talks as soon as we get the green signal.
Trade officials have been informally meeting from time to time to go over the remaining work programme on trade liberalisation and we know exactly where to pick up the threads from,” a Commerce Ministry official told BusinessLine .
20150720 * Cotton growing States top in farm suicides:
Bankruptcy or indebtedness, family problems main reasons for farmers’ deaths
Cotton growing States continue to top the list of farmers’ suicides in 2014 too. The five States of Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh, which grow the bulk of the fibre , witnessed 4,773 out of the of 5,650 suicides by farmers.
Small and marginal farmers formed majority of the deaths.
About 73 per cent of all suicides (4,095) occurred in this category, hinting at the severe stress faced by the farmers in this segment.
20150720 * Maharashtra sees 1,300 suicides by farmers in only 6 months this year:
As the farm crisis rocks the state assembly, there is no escaping the fact that the despair in Maharashtra’s countryside is only deepening.
The farmer suicide count in the six-month span from January to June this year stood at 1,300 cases, the state’s revenue department figures show.
So in just six months this year, the farmer suicide toll has already touched 66% of the 1,981 cases recorded in the entire year of 2014.
The figure has also crossed the 1,296 cases recorded in the state during the 12-month span of 2013.
Significantly, the cotton belt of Vidarbha—from where chief minister Devendra Fadnavis hails—continues to report the highest number of farmer suicides. As many as 671 cases are from this region.
This accounts for slightly more than half the number of farmer suicides so far.
20150719 * 50 suicides in 15 days:
Is it falling prices? Is it a glut in production? Or are farmers just falling into debt because of aspirational spending? Whatever the reason, Karnataka is again facing the spectre of rising suicides
Krishna, 32, a farmer in Singamaranahalli, about 30 km from Hunsur in Mysuru district, consumed pesticide and died in the first week of June.
The sesame farmer with three acres of land could not survive the debt trap he was in.
He had defaulted on repayment to a local cooperative bank, fallen into the clutches of moneylenders, the water table had dropped, and his borewells had run dry. Having lost all hope of repaying the loans, he decided to end it all.
In the last fortnight alone, 50 farmers have committed suicide in Karnataka.
The State Agriculture Minister Krishna Byre Gowda admits “it is alarming”.
What is puzzling is that cases of farmer suicides had actually dropped over the last two years and have now suddenly begun to increase from mid-June onwards.
17:06:03 local time SRI LANKA
20150718 * What does US GSP renewal offer Sri Lankan exporters?:
President Obama signed the ‘Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015’on 29 June 2015 authorizing the renewal of the US GSP scheme, almost 2 years after it expired.
The scheme, instituted in 1974 and renewed periodically is designed to promote trade in developing countries.
It provides exporters of 122 countries duty free access to the US market for selected products.
There have been many renewals (6 so far since year 2000) and as highlighted in a recent article, the last was the eighth time in a period of 30 years that the scheme expired without being renewed.
The latest round of concessions is expected to come into effect on July 29th this year.
Sri Lanka as one of the beneficiary countries would no doubt benefit from the renewal of the GSP scheme but to what extent?
And to what extent were the concessions utilized before? What’s the stability of the scheme? This article takes a brief look at what’s on offer.
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16:36:03 local time PAKISTAN
20150721 * Incentives in textile sector to boost exports to $26b:
The incentive of Rs. 64.15 billion cash subsidy to textile and clothing sector under textile policy would boost exports to $ 26 billion by 2019.
The package announced under the policy (2015-19) carries special duty-drawback rates, duty exemption on plants and machinery, subsidy on long-term loans and also development subsidies.
Finance Division will provide Rs.40.6 billion over five years for duty drawback, technology up-gradation and brand development etc. while another Rs. 23.5 billion will be provided for skill development, dedicated textile exhibitions, establishment of world textile centre, weaving city, incubators, apparel house, and mega textile awards.
Official sources said around 120,000 persons will be trained through skill development programme and 50 small companies from the sector will be picked each year for next three years for government support.
The proposed measures will promote value-addition and generate employment for more than 5 million people.
20150721 * Government to increase textile exports to $26 billion:
The government has prepared a plan to increase textile exports from the existing 13billion dollars to twenty-six billion dollars in the next five years.
Under the plan, special incentives would be given to small and medium enterprises.
New schemes and initiatives will also be launched to increase usage of information communication technology, Radio Pakistan reported on Sunday.
The plan envisages making the textiles sector compliant with labour and environment rules and conventions domestically and internationally.
20150718 * APTMA chairman presents 7-point programme:
All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Chairman SM Tanveer has said he has presented Federal Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir with a seven-point programme to take the textile industry out of crisis like situation.
He said the textile industry has witnessed unprecedented decline in exports, both in volume and value terms.
Textile industry has not taken any investment initiative since last six years and consequently has lost any possible technological edge viz. competitors in international market place. For the sake of restoration of viability of textile industry, he said the association had submitted short- and long-term proposals.
He said his association had urged the minister to ensue zero rating for the export-oriented textile industry from all incidentals of taxes, duties, surcharges, levies and Cess by providing drawbacks in the form of DLTL against exports at five percent on yarn, five percent on fabrics and five percent on made ups/garments.
20150721 * Trade bodies seek proposals to enhance exports:
After realizing that there was something wrong in its policies that have kept the exports stagnant during the past two years, the government has sought proposals from trade bodies for all sectors to enhance exports.
The government seems to have realized that all matters concerning exports should be resolved by the commerce ministry sparing the exporters from pleading their cases with the finance ministry, water ministry, petroleum ministry and power ministry.
For that reason, the commerce minister met trade bodies including All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) and other high officials of the commerce ministry including Chairman Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP).
Chairman APTMA S M Tanveer said, “We have been running from pillar to post to resolve our refund issues, zero taxation on exports, power and energy woes and various facilitations provided to the exporters by competing regional economies.”
20150721 * Stagnant exports:
When the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics announced that the country’s exports had touched a four-year low, amounting to $23.9 billion during the recently-concluded fiscal year, not a lot of eyebrows were raised.
Like most of its targets — some more ambitious than the others — the government missed this one too, by a margin of $3.1 billion.
While regional peers increase their share in global trade, Pakistan’s exports have remained stagnant, a fact that was admitted by the country’s latest economic survey.
While the GSP Plus status — that granted Pakistan duty-free access to the European Union (EU) — should have helped the country increase its overall exports, the economic survey admitted that it came “at the cost of other markets”. Pakistan’s share in global trade remained at 0.15 per cent, even though its exports to the EU increased by 21 per cent.
One wonders why there is a tendency to boast about the country’s GSP Plus status in official circles if it has only meant that exports to other markets have been marginalised.
It is clear that Pakistan does not have the potential to increase its exports to the EU without exporting less to other countries.
* Strategies for the Improvement of Working Conditions within Global Supply Chains:
3-4 September 2015
Grave fire and construction hazards in the workplace, extreme working hours, inadequate pay, gender based violence and restrictions on trade union rights as well as violence against trade unionists are all part of the everyday reality of global supply chains.
These conditions have been the subject of increased political and societal debate
since the fire disasters in Pakistan and Bangladesh in autumn 2012 and the Rana Plaza catastrophe in Bangladesh in spring 2013.
Trade unionists and civil society actors are taking action in a variety of forms in production countries, in consumer states and on the international level in an effort to improve working conditions in global supply chains.
* International Conference: Transnational Labour Rights Activism across Asia and Beyond:
Institute for Social Movements, Ruhr-University Bochum (Germany)
17 – 18 September 2015
The conference aims to bring together a group of international renowned researchers as well as early stage career scientists to discuss and bring forward a highly policy-relevant research theme that has not received sufficient attention in current scholarship: transnational labour rights activism.
We see the following characteristics as core features of transnational labour rights activism:
(a) coordination and conflict between trade unions and NGOs
(b) combination of insider and outsider strategies (institutionalized and non-institutionalized politics)
(c) multiple targets and complex boomerang patterns
While there are many conferences and publications on the governance of global supply chains, transnational private regulation or cross border trade unions cooperation, there is no systematic overview on how different types of labor rights organizations (trade unions and NGOs) coordinate and struggle across Asian and non-Asian countries for improving working conditions in Asian suppliers.
* EU and US in process of negotiating TTIP may create opportunities for textile and clothing sector:
The European Union and the United States, two of the biggest economies in the world are going far beyond what has been done previously in any agreement except the EU’s single market.
They are in the process of negotiating the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a key bilateral trade agreement intended to further integrate the two economies.
The two economic entities, which together account for around a third of world trade and half of world GDP, are already deeply integrated.
Though in the long term it will have wider implications for the global macroeconomic dynamics, the agreement concerns bilateral trade between the European Union and the United States. This bilateral trade, which in 2011 accounted for 4.4 per cent of global trade, has declined sharply in this century.
Since over half of all goods traded between the European Union and the United States are traded freely with no tariffs, the agreement is likely to have little to no direct impact for many sectors of the economy.