n the charred bones of the Tazreen Fashions Ltd. factory, the labels and logos—sewn and printed in scarlet and royal blue—beckon from the ashes. Even in ruins, there's no missing that these T-shirts and jeans were intended for U.S. stores and shopping carts, designed as bargains too good to pass up, or stocking stuffers just in time for the holidays and in just the right size.
But a week after the blaze outside Bangladesh's capital killed 112 workers, a glaring question remains unanswered: How, exactly, did brands worth fortunes end up in such a place? And what does the odyssey that brings them to market across thousands of miles say about the everyday economics most consumers take for granted?
The late-November tragedy was entirely predictable and preventable. There are lessons to be learnt. Bangladesh should reduce its dependence on the garment sector; regulate operations; ensure proper inspections; and prosecute and punish manufacturers—however well-connected—for treating their workers as disposable.
Activists expressed outrage over Singapore's crackdown on bus drivers from China who staged the island’s first industrial strike in 26 years to demand better pay and conditions. Singapore deported 29 drivers back to China, while one driver was sentenced by a court for six weeks in jail, following a two-day work stoppage last week at state-linked transport firm SMRT, declared illegal by the Singapore government. Four other arrested drivers, who have been remanded for a week, are expected to be produced in court tomorrow, with each facing a maximum one-year jail term and a possible S$2,000 (HK$12,718) penalty if found guilty of involvement in the strike.
SEOUL, Nov 27 (Reuters) - Samsung came under renewed criticism from a rights group on Tuesday for illegal work practices at its Chinese suppliers, a day after the South Korean electronics giant admitted excessive overtime and fines for employees in China.
A number of foreign companies have been accused in recent years of improper labour practices in China, seen as a cheap source of labour for their production lines.
New York-based China Labor Watch (CLW) said employees at one of Samsung's suppliers sometimes worked up to 16 hours a day, with only one day's rest a month.
Samsung Electronics Co, the world's largest maker of cell phones and televisions, said on Monday a review of 105 of its Chinese suppliers - involving more than 65,000 employees - found illegal work practices, but said the companies involved would be given two more years to change their ways.
The audit followed allegations by CLW in August that seven children younger than 16 were working in one of Samsung's suppliers in China.
Samsung said the audit had found no evidence of child labour.
It did, however, concede several instances of inadequate practices, such as overtime hours in excess of legal regulations and the imposition of a system of fines for tardiness or absence.
Besides conveying our deepest condolence and concerns to all victims, Asian Transnational Corporations Monitoring Network (ATNC) is calling for an immediate action from the Bangladeshi government and international clothing brands following the deadly fire at the factory of Tazreen Fashions on late Saturday, 24 November 2012.
At least 112 deaths are confirmed and hundreds of workers injured when they jumped from high windows in order to escape the smoke and flames. These killed and injured workers made clothes for Hong Kong-based Li & Fung on behalf of various international brands, such as C & A, Carrefour, KIK and Walmart.
Li & Fung is one of the largest apparel sourcing companies in the world. Regrettably, this multinational enterprise has a poor track record of not respecting labour rights for many years. Despite the company’s vow to comply with their codes of conducts and corporate social responsibility throughout the production and sourcing process, injustices and deadly accidents continue to happen. Before this deadly factory fire inBangladesh, a Turkish garment factory called Hey Tekstil which produced for Li & Fung was also found of having an outbreak of workers’ protest this year. Hundreds of workers, who are owed more than 4.7 million euro, protested at Li & Fung office inIstanbulto demand for compensation. However, the compensation is yet undone. Adding more wounds to workers, theBangladeshfire once again revealed the negligence and irresponsibility of Li & Fung in upholding labour rights.
Li & Fung and the international buyers such as Walmart and C & A have an undeniable responsibility in compensating the workers. Let us be clear. Playing a blame game with other parts of the supply chain is in violation of the UN Business and Human Rights guidelines. All the companies concerned should uphold their due diligence and their obligation to mediate.
1. Li & Fung and other international buyers of Tazreen Factory should pay full and fair compensation to the victims and their families.
2. Li & Fung and other international brand companies should be obliged to comply with national and international health and safety measures, whichever is a higher standard, in a serious manner through their annual audit on the health and safety standards.
3. The manufacturers as well as the international brand companies should ensure all the supply-chain factories are manufacturing under the satisfactory working conditions where both national and international health and safety standards are strictly not violated. Any improvements should be carried out.
4. The Bangladeshi Government to set up an independent and transparent body to investigate the causes of this fire and to examine whether there is any ongoing negligence in failing to comply with both national and international health and safety standards to garment factories. The Government should take appropriate legal action to prosecute when necessary. Also, this body should look into the redress for all victims.
Should there be any enquiries, please contact the spokesperson of ATNC, Mr. Jason Chan on +852 2815-9003 or email at email@example.com.
National Garments Workers Federation Central Office : 31 / F Topkhana Road. Dhaka-1000 Mailing : G.P.O Box : 864, Dhaka, Bangladesh Phone : 7160110, 01911 340268, Fax : 88 02 7171711, E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org Date : 27.11.2012
Factory owners, Government, Buyers and BGMEA should take effective step so that in future not a single garment worker has to die in factory-fire. We do not want to see such incident, which workers return to their home as dead body after they came to work. So, the garment factories should be developed as ‘safe workplace’. Factory owners, Government, Buyers and trade union organizations should work together for this. NGWF leaders this today.
They said this while addressing a garment workers gathering—before black & red flag mourning & protest procession—organized by National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF) to protest the killing of 125 workers in Tazreen Garment factory-fire at Ashulia & to pay tributes to the deceased workers and demanding greater compensation (as per definition of loss of earnings) to deceased workers families, necessary medical treatment to injured workers and developing garment industry into safe workplace. The program was held at 12:00noons in front of National Press Club in Dhaka city. More than 1,000 garment workers took part in the program.
The program was presided over by NGWF President Amirul Haque Amin. The rally was addressed by Workers Party (WP) President Rashed Khan Menon MP, WP General Secretary Anisur Rahman Mallick, WP Polit Bureau member Fazle Hossain Badsha MP, SKOP Coordinator Dr Wazedul Islam Khan, Bangladesh Juba Moitree General Secretary Sabbah Ali Khan Collins, Bangladesh Garment Workers Unity Council Coordinator M Delowar Hossain, NGWF Gerneral Secretary Ms Saifa Parveen, Vice-President Md Faruk Khan, Ms Sultana Akter, Md Kabir Hossain and Md Rafiq, among others. The speakers told the rally that the 125 garment workers, who died in Tazreen Garment fire, died due to negligence of the factory owners. So, this nothing but killing of workers in owner’s negligence. They demanded immediate trial & punishment the factory owner for the responsibility of this killing.
At the rally the NGWF announced a 7-point charter of demands, which is follows:
1) Family of the each of the deceased workers should be paid greater compensation as definition of loss of earnings. Responsibility of paying this compensation lies with the factory owner, multinational companies, who were sourcing from the factory, government and BGMEA.
2) Urgent arrangement of necessary medical treatment to injured workers.
3) Punishment of the persons, including factory owner, responsible for the fire incident after identifying the perpetrators of the offense through conducting a neutral enquiry.
4) The whole garment sector in Bangladesh should be developed into ‘safe workplace’. Factory owners, buyers, government and labor organizations should work together for this.
5) Ensuring unhindered trade union right and CBA facilities for the garment workers.
6) Implementation of law of the land, including Labor Law, in garment industry.
7) Suppressing, in iron hand, any move by any quarters to destabilize the country using the garment sector.
Meanwhile, 1) NGWF brought out a black-flag mourning procession on 25.11.2012 to express grief at the death of 125 garment workers in Tazreen Garments fire. 2) On 26.2012 NGWF, Bangladesh National Committee (BNC) & Bangladesh Garment Workers Unity Council (BGUWC) another black flag mourning procession was took out in Dhaka city for Tazreen Garment fire deaths. Besides, NGWF is maintaining contacts with the families of the dead workers and injured workers.
Thousands of Bangladeshi workers blocked the streets of a Dhaka suburb Monday, throwing stones at factories and smashing vehicles, as they demanded justice for at least 112 people killed in a garment-factory fire that highlighted unsafe conditions in an industry rushing to produce for major retailers around the world. Another fire broke out in a multi-story garment factory in a Dhaka suburb on Monday, but a fire department official said the blaze was under control and there were no immediate reports that anyone had died in the latest blaze.
Together with the unions in the Asia Pacific region, IndustriALL Global Union will put pressure on governments to properly enforce national laws on health and safety issues in general and on fire safety in particular. IndustriALL Global Union demands that:
Governments must play a critical role in long-term, sustainable change by updating laws and implementing regulations, improving factory inspections, and establishing the tripartite framework necessary for appropriate relations between employer and labour stakeholders. Factory owners and operators must commit to facilitate and support a continuing cycle of safety management based on ongoing dialogue between management and trade unions or worker elected representatives. Brand owners and retailers must verify that the factories they use comply with applicable safety standards and must ensure that their pricing and sourcing practices make this feasible.
Since 2006, at industrial parks in the southern province of Binh Duong, the discrimination against workers from Thanh Hoa, Nghe An and Ha Tinh has become pretty strong, causing many difficulties for the laborers from these central provinces.
About 20 members of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) held a protest outside the Singapore Consulate in Hong Kong yesterday in what it said was a show of solidarity with the 171 China bus drivers who held an illegal strike in Singapore last week - an act Singapore's labour movement described as "regrettable".
The union called on the Singapore Government to reinstate the 29 drivers who were repatriated and to drop the charges against the five who are detained. Of the five drivers charged for their involvement in the illegal strike, 38-year-old Bao Feng Shan was jailed six weeks after he pleaded guilty on Monday.
While there's nothing to prevent companies from going overseas for cheap labor, their presence should elevate life abroad, not debase it. When Apple is linked to a Chinese factory where multiple suicides are attributed to working conditions, and Wal-Mart, Sears and Disney are linked to a fatal fire eerily like one 101 years ago in America, it suggests a race to the bottom.
It is not only possible to realize savings while ensuring that workers are taken care of, it's a minimal obligation -- and American consumers should demand no less.
Thousands of workers marched on foreign embassies in Jakarta on Wednesday in the latest labor protest demanding the end of Indonesia’s controversial contract worker laws.
The demonstrators massed at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle Wednesday morning before marching to the South Korean and Japanese embassies in protests against Korean tech-giant Samsung and Japanese carmaker Toyota. Labor unions accused both companies of using contract workers in a process locally referred to as "outsourcing."
“We’re going on a long march to the Korean Embassy because Samsung employs many workers with the outsourcing method,” president of Confederation of Indonesian Trade Union (KSPI) Said Iqbal said.
The union planned to hold a rally outside the Japanese Embassy before moving to the National Police headquarters to protest the arrest of demonstrators, Said said.
Under Indonesia's outsourcing system, employees are contracted to work for a company by a third-party agency. Although they work alongside regular employees, outsourced workers often lack access to health care, holiday pay and pension funds.
SINGAPORE — Singapore responded to its first strike in nearly three decades with riot police and strident official criticism of the disgruntled Chinese immigrant workers, highlighting strains from an influx of foreign labor.
YANGON, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Police in Myanmar have arrestedsix leaders of the latest protest against the planned expansionof a Chinese-run copper mine, with opposition leader Aung SanSuu Kyi planning...
The huge global appetite is yielding billions in revenue for Indonesia and Malaysia, the world’s first- and second-largest producers of palm oil. But environmental and human rights activists warn that the boom is doing irreparable damage to rare biodiversity and accelerating the effects of global warming, with no concern for long-term social costs.
They add that indigenous people are being pushed off their ancestral land to make way for plantations staffed by tens of thousands of migrant workers, who are often denied health care and education services. Many families that have labored for decades still do not have the legal documents that would grant them and their children basic rights.
The laborers and their children “are invisible; they have no future. They just work and work and work,” said Alison Neri, the director of a social welfare organization that assists Indonesian migrants in eastern Malaysia.
The toll is most acutely felt in Borneo, the Southeast Asian island shared by the two countries that’s home to one of the oldest rain forests on Earth and humankind’s closest relative, the orangutan.
According to a new study, oil palm plantations over the past two decades have cleared about 6,200 square miles of primary and logged forested lands. Palm oil deforestation and hunting have combined to cut Bornean orangutan populations down to 54,000, half the total of the 1980s, according to environmental groups. At this rate, some predict the iconic animal could be extinct within a matter of years.
Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s largest maker of TVs and mobile phones, said an internal audit of suppliers in China found “inadequate practices” that include employees working more overtime than allowed by law.
A fire engulfed a garment factory in Bangladesh that manufactured garments for Li & Fung Ltd., killing at least 120 workers and raising concerns about working conditions at plants that manufacture goods for the Hong Kong-based sourcing giant.
Recently, employers in big cities have latently boycott laborers coming from the three central province of Thanh Hoa, Nghe An and Ha Tinh. In HCM City, the largest city in Vietnam; this situation is no exception.
Ho Chi Minh City has 15 export processing zones (EPZs) and industrial parks (IPs) with hundreds of companies. Each year more workers from other provinces flock to the city to find job. However, in recent time many businesses have latently "avoided" workers from the three above provinces. Consequently, thousands of workers from these provinces have become jobless.
In Linh Trung 2 EPZ in Thu Duc District, Ho Chi Minh City, each month tens of companies recruit thousands of workers but the refuse to use laborers from Thanh Hoa, Nghe An and Ha Tinh.
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