Complaints by security guardsComplaints by employees of the Kalibur Security Services in Linden, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) have led to Labour officials being called in to address and investigate the Service’s divisional management.Employees, contracted through the office of the Regional Democratic Council (RDC), have aired numerous concerns over alleged on-the-job ill-treatment by the Linden management, including the indiscriminate firing of employees. The issues received more attention at the weekend when an employee was allegedly fired for “being pregnant” on the job.She later told this publication she was instructed that she was “off the job” after confirming her pregnancy. The 20-year-old mother of one has since been reinstated following the meeting with Labour officials at the RDC in Linden late last week.Regional Chairman Renis Morian noted at a meeting of the Council that he summoned Labour officials after receiving several complaints.Additionally, this publication spoke to several employees who voiced their concerns. One of those employees alleges that the Linden management does not grant employees sick leave, and they are not even allowed to call in sick.There are also allegations that the management is not making payments to the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) on behalf of employees. Additionally, there are complaints of employees having to undergo drill training without pay.The employees said they have reported the issues to the local Labour officer in Linden and the office of the RDC.Meanwhile, Municipal Councillor Lennox Gasper has called for the employees to be treated fairly, as he noted that he has also received numerous complaints.The Councillor, constituency representative of the area where the female security guard was raped, said the alleged treatment of workers is “unacceptable”, and called for massive intervention.“Several reports would have reached me with regards to the indiscriminate firing of persons for frivolous things…ever since the issue of the rape, everyone has to wear pants, regardless of religious standings, and failure to do so, they’re fired. It’s as if they’re using this whole firing thing as a yardstick to whip the people…I think it’s very unfair”, the Councillor said.He added that such treatment of employees will not be tolerated by the local administration, and called on the security service to provide radio sets to employees and to look after their interests, including the right to be part of a Workers Union. “It’s disrespectful! It’s inhuman! And this practice must stop,” the Councillor iterated.
Some people were pleased with the enforced use of public transport over the month-long EcoMobility World Festival in Sandton. For others it meant traffic jams and loss of income. But the general sentiment was that it was a good idea and got people thinking. The Sandton CBD has been closed to cars for the duration of the month-long EcoMobility World Festival, which ran through October. (Image: South African Tourism) • Sandton goes car-free for a month • Frank and honest: the Women On Sex web series • The SABR provides breast milk to babies in need • Active citizenship in South Africa at a healthy level • South Africa’s women in politics Ray MaotaThe Sandton CBD has been closed to cars for the duration of the month-long EcoMobility World Festival, which ran through October.People were encouraged to use public transport, cycle and walk. This had both positive and negative effects on people; others were indifferent to it.The eco-mobility festival had clear links with Johannesburg’s long-term growth and development strategy, Joburg 2040. The blueprint envisions the metro as a smart city, which is an environmentally friendly city created out of a combination of concepts and technologies. These include the enhancement of energy efficiency, and water and waste management, coupled with the conservation of resources.“The festival will demonstrate to the world that an eco-mobile future is possible and that public transport, walking and cycling can be accessible, safe and attractive,” Johannesburg Executive Mayor Mpho Parks Tau said at its launch.“We want to close off certain streets in Sandton, our second largest CBD, to car traffic and instead use these lanes for public transport, walking, cycling and other forms of eco-mobility during the entire Transport Month.”The people have spokenIn the heart of the Sandton CBD, Mack Ndlhovu, a driver for Mzansi Cabs, had harsh words for EcoMobility month.“This has been a bad month for me,” he said. “The frequency of my clients has decreased because of this. I think they are staying away from Sandton. I grew up cycling everywhere and I think you can’t force people to do such; it has to be their choice.”Traffic had been worse than usual during the month, Ndlhovu said. Also, that the city spent so much money on this while students had no money for fees saddened him.Jerri Mokgofe, a well-known blogger and photographer, was less critical. “I haven’t been negatively or positively affected by it,” Mokgofe said. “I still think it would have had a better impact if people were schooled on its effects before it was introduced.“Another thing is, I think we are too quick to adopt international, American, European things when we are not ready in terms of infrastructure.”Humphrey Letsapa, who works at Sandton City, the shopping mall in the heart of the district, said: “For me it has improved the time I spent in a taxi because of the separate lanes for public transport so it has been a good month.“It has also helped us a lot in terms of alternatives to motorised transport. It is also good for the environment and I’m all for it in the future.”Another metred taxi driver, Vukani Gasa, said the month had been very problematic. “Metre taxis are also public transport but they have been taking our cars out of the dedicated public transport lanes.” Gasa drives for Gautrain Metre Taxis.“This has had a negative impact on the business with the street closures because I end up taking an hour going to a place it usually takes 10 to 15 minutes. I still charge a base price but it takes longer for me and it’s not viable.”Louis Tshakaone, a young entrepreneur, said: “It hasn’t done much of a difference in terms of traffic when using the car but when I used buses or tuk-tuks it was a breeze to move around Sandton.“I think people need to be educated on the positives of using non-motorised vehicles or public transport and this will work. For now I still believe this was thrown at us and more work (was) needed on educating the society on its benefits.”It seems the people of Sandton are open to new ways of getting around, but their common gripe has been infrastructure that will get them to comfortably leave their cars.
A day after a student alleged he was “stripped naked” and “filmed” inside a room at a reputed college here, West Bengal Education Minister Partha Chatterjee on Sunday said “strict action” would be taken against anyone found involved in the act. The video clip of the incident, which went viral on social media, showed the student pleading for mercy at St Paul’s Cathedral College even as he was forced to remove his clothes in front of a group of people. Mr. Chatterjee, who received a written complaint from the student on the matter, told reporters that anyone found involved in the misdeed would bear consequences. “If the allegations were found to be true in the inquiry report of the college, the government will show ‘zero tolerance’ to such misconduct,” he said.Upcoming festival The first-year student, who claimed to be a member of the Trinamool Congress Chhatra Parishad (TMCP) unit of the college, told media on Saturday that he was subjected to torture by some senior members of the students’ wing on May 17 when he inquired about the expenses incurred for arranging an upcoming festival in the college.
Kids wear is not a small business anymore. Driven by huge demand from brand conscious children, the Indian kidswear retail market is expected to touch Rs 58,000 crore by 2014, according to retail consultancy firm Technopak Advisors.At present, the size of kidswear market in India is estimated at about Rs 38,000 crore – accounting for 25 per cent of the total Indian apparel category.”This segment, which is split into kidswear and school uniforms, is expected to reach Rs 58,000 crore by 2014,” Technopak’s recent report ‘Trends in India’s Domestic Fashion Market’ says.Growing at the rate of 17 per cent, this is one of the most attractive categories, according to the report. The report tracks children in the age group of three to 13 years.Technopak highlights increased media exposure, double-income parents and peer pressure as the reasons for children becoming more fashion and brand conscious.Kids are aware of branded goods and have started asking for exclusive products, the report says.Brands are also realising the potential of this market and are increasing their presence in this segment, it adds.In April 2009, the Mahindra Group launched Mom & Me stores to tap into this segment. Exclusive children’s brands, such as Gini & Jony, Lilliput and Catmoss, have also expanded their presence exponentially in the last two to three years.These brands are developing categories such as infant wear, kids’ formal wear, kids’ ethnic wear, swim wear and casual wear, along with a wide range of other merchandise for children.Even a brand like Reebok, which focused on adults till now, launched the ‘Reebok Juniors’ concept store last year to tap into this segment. It has started offering apparel, footwear, accessories and sports equipment for children in the age group of four to 14 years.Gini & Jony started their Freedom Fashions stores, which offer licensed products from brands like Reebok and Levi’s, along with their own products.Even premium brands, such as Tommy Hilfiger, Allen Solly and Puma, are not far behind and are now including more kids’ product and accessories.Childrens’ fashion shows, organised by these brands, is not a new concept. Lilliput started this trend and Catmoss roped in Darsheel Safary, of Taare Zameen Par-fame, to walk the ramp for its collection.Courtesy: Mail Today advertisement