This was in the news on-line, today, 18 april 2012

UZBEKISTAN
* Stop Forced and Child Labor in the Cotton Industry of Uzbekistan!
Government of Uzbekistan Continues to Silence Human Rights Defenders,
Despite Release of Prominent Uzbek Human Rights Defender:
According to Uznews.net, human rights activist Alisher Karamatov was
released on 12 April after completing six years of a nine-year prison
term.
The torture suffered by Mr. Karamotov and nearly simultaneous detention
of other Uzbek human rights defenders indicates the gravity of human
rights abuses by the Government of Uzbekistan.

The GOU silencing its citizens, whose voices flicker as a spark of
democracy in a state of repression, ensures continued human rights
abuses, including the state controlled forced labor and forced child
labor in the cotton industry.

more at:
http://www.cottoncampaign.org/2012/04/17/government-of-uzbekistan-continues-to-silence-human-rights-defenders-despite-release-of-prominent-uzbek-human-rights-defender/

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CHINA
* Fashion houses ‘need to clean up their act’
Some top brand names may be contracting river polluters as suppliers.

The fashion industry is no longer as glamorous as it may appear and by
wearing a pair of jeans you may have contributed to the pollution of
China’s rivers.
“For ordinary consumers, it’s hard to know how many polluting companies
there are behind each of the popular fashion brands,” said Li Li, the
founder and director of EnviroFriends, a Beijing-based environmental
organization.

more at:
http://www.chinadailyapac.com/article/fashion-houses-need-clean-their-act

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* Ministry: Goal for foreign trade growth can be achieved:
China’s better-than-expected trade growth in the first quarter signals
an improving environment for the second quarter and full-year trade
growth of 10 percent, the Ministry of Commerce said on Tuesday.
Foreign trade expanded 7.3 percent in the first quarter, reflecting many
factors including slack overseas demand, rising domestic costs and
trade friction, Shen Danyang, spokesman for the ministry, told a
regular news conference.

more at:
http://www.china.org.cn/business/2012-04/18/content_25172782.htm

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* Tell me a story:
Sister and brother designing duo Kay and Jing Wong
tell Rebecca Lo in Hong Kong how they incorporate a playful narrative
into every one of their ready-to-wear pieces under the label Daydream
Nation.
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” Helen Keller’s
philosophy is thoroughly embraced by Kay and Jing Wong (right), the
creative force behind Hong Kong fashion label Daydream Nation.
Founded in 2006 by the sister and brother team, it is a quirky,
whimsical brand that is easy to wear.
Every piece in a collection is tied together with a story, and bits of
that narrative show up in details such as appliqus, patterns and cuts
that allude to a bigger picture.

more at:
http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/culture/2012-04/16/content_15058393.htm

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PHILIPPINES
* PHL strikes blow for migrant women workers:
The Philippines, striking a blow for migrant women workers, has urged
oil-rich member-countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to
adopt measures that would speed up the repatriation of women workers
during crises, particularly household service workers (HSWs) who are
most vulnerable to physical and sexual abuses.
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz raised the matter on Tuesday at the
opening of the two-day Abu Dhabi Dialogue-II  (ADD-II) that gathers
labor-sending countries like the Philippines, India, Bangladesh and
Indonesia and labor-receiving countries belonging to the GCC.

more at:
http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/home/top-news/25968-phl-strikes-blow-for-migrant-women-workers

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VIET NAM
* Market economy best for Vietnam, says poll:
The majority of Vietnamese people prefer a market economy to an
alternative economic system, according a survey released on April 15 in
Ha Noi.
The poll was conducted from August to October last year by the Vietnam
Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the World Bank.

more at:
http://www.asianewsnet.net/home/news.php?id=29680&sec=2

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* Support for struggling businesses:
The Government is applying a series of measures in an attempt to help
companies survive the prolonged economic crisis, including adjustments
in taxation, interest rates on bank loans, administrative procedures
and capital sources.
From January 1 to March 21, at least 2,217 enterprises closed and 9,726
enterprises stopped operation before scheduled, an increase of 6 per
cent compared with the same period last year, according to a report
from the Government.

more at:
http://english.vietnamnet.vn/en/business/21198/support-for-struggling-businesses.html

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* Taiwan, S. Korea may reject Vietnamese workers:
South Korea and Taiwan are considering limiting entry to Vietnamese
workers since the number of runaway Vietnamese workers who overstay
their visas to work illegally in these countries has increased
steadily, Vietnam’s Overseas Labor Management Department has warned.

more at:
http://english.vietnamnet.vn/en/society/21298/taiwan–s–korea-may-reject-vietnamese-workers.html

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* Police search for absconding Chinese owners of shoemaking factory:
Hai Phong City Police are searching for two Chinese men, owners of a
shoemaking company in Kien Thuy District, who have allegedly fled
without paying salaries to 52 workers.

more at:
http://www.thanhniennews.com/index/pages/20120414-two-chinese-men-probed-for-owing-workers-salary.aspx

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* Sectors face restructuring axe:
A just released general economic restructuring scheme gives priorities
to the development of seven sector groups until 2020.
Composed and completed by the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the
scheme will be submitted to the Standing Committee of the National
Assembly this week. (…)
The scheme document said: “The development of seven sector groups will
involve sharpening competitive advantages and at the same time
gradually replacing some industries which use a huge volume of
labourers such as textiles and garments, leather and footwear, and wood
and wooden furniture.”

more at:
http://www.vietnamnews.com.vn/Economy/223638/sectors-face-restructuring-axe.html

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THAILAND
* Lots of work to go around:
Impact of higher minimum wage seen as minimal and talk of companies
moving to take advantage of cheap labour is overdone, says Manpower
chief.
While some critics say the new 300-baht daily minimum wage will
backfire as companies relocate or fire workers to save costs,
ManpowerGroup, one of the world’s leading recruitment agencies, says
the effects are not likely to be that dramatic.

Unemployment is absolutely not going to be a problem for the
foreseeable future, says Simon Matthews, ManpowerGroup’s country
manager for Thailand and the Middle East.
“Our clients [in Thailand] are still increasing production, continuing
to invest, opening new facilities, and so on,” he said.
” At the moment, I don’t see a major challenge on unemployment. Perhaps
some of the smaller factories might have some challenges, but companies
that employ 5,000 to 6,000 are still continuing to invest and increase
production.”

more at:
http://www.bangkokpost.com/business/economics/289243/lots-of-work-to-go-around

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* Shift of workers to public sector seen:
There is likely to be a flow of people with a bachelor’s-degree
education or lower from the private sector to the state sector, as
the income gap between the two is expected to widen as the minimum
salary level at state agencies increases, according to the Thailand
Development Research Institute.
Worawan Chandoevwit, research director for the TDRI’s human resources
and social development programme, said a study by the institute also
finds that the current average income throughout the working life of
those employed in the private and state sectors, and whose education is
bachelor’s level or lower, is appreciably different if they work
outside Bangkok.

more at:
http://www.nationmultimedia.com/business/Shift-of-workers-to-public-sector-seen-30180151.html

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CAMBODIA
* Walmart intervention sought at Thai factory:
A large North American union has called on US retail giant Walmart to
take immediate action against one of its seafood suppliers in
Thailand accused of holding Cambodian workers in debt bondage while
barely providing them with enough money to eat.

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union has waded
into the ugly dispute between the Phatthana Seafood factory, its
migrant work force and the Cambodian recruitment firm that sent many of
them there.

more at:
http://www.phnompenhpost.com/index.php/2012041855630/National-news/walmart-intervention-sought-at-thai-factory.html

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* ADB says new industries contribute to robust economic outlook:
The Asian Development Bank said Wednesday that new manufacturing
industries in Cambodia were contributing to the country’s robust
economic outlook over the next two years.
In its annual Asian Development Outlook, gross domestic product (GDP)
was forecast to grow 6.5 percent this year and 7.0 percent next year,
down from 6.8 percent in 2011.

more at:
http://www.thecambodiaherald.com/cambodia/detail/1?page=13&token=ZjM3NjM3MGZmMzAxNGVjZmJmOWU5ZjRkYmFmYTY3

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* Cambodia’s stock market officially starts trading with one company
joining:
Cambodia’s stock market April 18 began operating share trading in its
history as the country hopes it will boost further economic growth.
Phnom Penh Autonomous water authority is one company listing for this
trading.
The authority earned million US dollars from its business
each year. South Korea controlled 49 per cent of 100 per cent in
Cambodia’s stock exchange.

more at:
http://thesoutheastasiaweekly.com/?p=4023

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+ ATTACHED from BetterFactories:

1. ADB says good staff a priority.gif
2. Nike seeks investigation of mass fainting incidents.gif
3. Peabody puts banned film back in spotlight.gif
4. Nike representatives discuss faintings cause with factory.gif
5. Unions fo form committee to focus on minimum wage.gif
6. SEZ triple shooting case to be sent to judge.gif

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SINGAPORE
* ‘Lower-income so underpaid, 50% rise wouldn’t hurt’:
Responding to concerns that his “shock therapy” solution to plug the
income gap would risk jobs as pay hikes outstrip productivity gains,
Professor Lim Chong Yah has a simple riposte – Singapore’s lowest-paid
workers have been so “grossly underpaid”, they should indeed be paid
according to their productivity contributions.

The economist’s recent suggestion to raise the wages of those earning
below $1,500 by 50 per cent over three years – while applauded by
individuals – has been met with grave reservations from other quarters,
including from ministers such as labour chief Lim Swee Say.

more at:
http://business.asiaone.com/Business/News/Story/A1Story20120417-340362.html

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* Time for wage reform in Singapore – Yay or Nay?
A tiny country with shining skyscrapers. An Asian tiger, an economic
miracle. When most people think of Singapore, that’s what comes to
mind. But underneath all that sparkle lies a widening gap between
Singapore’s rich and poor.

more at:
http://asiancorrespondent.com/80604/wage-shock-in-singapore-yay-or-nay/

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* Employment Act to be reviewed this year:
This will likely lead to update of laws, expanded coverage to more PMEs.
The labour movement has finally got through to the government in its
push for a review of the Employment Act.
“MOM (Minister of Manpower) will review the Employment Act this year,”
Minister of State for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin said yesterday at a
seminar on his ministry’s workplan for 2012.
The review, expected to be done with unions and employers, is likely to
lead to moves to update labour laws and expand the scope of the
Employment Act to cover more professionals, managers and executives
(PMEs).

more at:
http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/premium/top-stories/employment-act-be-reviewed-year

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BANGLA DESH
* Bangladesh’s exports to EU reach new record:
Bangladesh’s exports to the European Union (EU) in 2011 reached
a new record with earnings of 8.5 billion euro (About US$ 11 billion).
This has exceeded the previous record in 2010, when Bangladesh exports
to the EU had been 5.5 billion euro, of which about 87 percent
consists of readymade garments.
A release of the EU today said the huge increase in exports was
possible owing to the relaxation of rules of origin for Bangladesh that
entered into force from January 2011.

more at:
http://www.thebangladeshtoday.com/economy.htm

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* Textile mills urge NBR to continue tax holiday:
Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) has urged the government to
continue tax holiday facilities for textile industries, because what
they said, the global competition is eroding Bangladesh’s competitive
edges.
The textile mills owners also urged the government to firmly maintain
assessing income tax at the rate of 15 per cent and not imposing other
taxes and levies.

more at:
http://www.theindependentbd.com/business/finance/105232-textile-mills-urge-nbr-to-continue-tax-holiday.html

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* HC asks five garment units not to dump waste in farmlands:
The High Court yesterday directed the managements of five readymade
garment factories at Ashulia in Savar not to dump any waste on
agricultural lands and water bodies.

The units on the outskirts of nDhaka are Mozart Knitting and Dyeing
Industries, Kajal Garments, Nasirullah Cotton Mills, Apparels Village
and Simtex Industries.
Delivering a verdict on a writ petition filed on the basis of a report
published in The Daily Star, the court also directed the Department of
Environment (DoE) to monitor whether the five factories dump wastes and
pollute the environment in the area in any manner.

more at:
http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=230607

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* BGMEA seeks business-friendly NBR initiative:
President of Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters
Association (BGMEA) M Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin on Tuesday sought
business-friendly initiatives from the National Board of Revenue
(NBR) to boost the readymade garments export.
“The RMG sector is in crisis due to Eurozone crisis and the sector now
sees negative growth.
The Eurozone crisis may prolong…so, bad days are ahead,” he told
journalists at the NBR.

more at:
http://www.unbconnect.com/component/news/task-show/id-74108

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* Child malnutrition still high:
Despite a ‘slight’ decline in the last four years, preliminary results
of Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey (BDHS) show child
malnutrition still remains high.
The findings released on Tuesday in Dhaka also ‘shocked’ experts as the
‘vital’ vitamin-A intake fell from 88 percent four years back to 62
percent, apparently due to low campaign coverage.

more at:
http://www.bdnews24.com/details.php?id=222640&cid=13

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INDIA
* US, EU cry foul over India’s ban on cotton exports:
India’s ban on cotton exports has been questioned by US, EU and Canada
at the World Trade Organisation, but India has said that its actions
fully complied with multilateral trade rules that allowed temporary
restrictions on imports.
The countries also raised concerns about the methodology used by India
to classify marginal farmers and calculate domestic support to
agriculture in a recent meeting of the WTO’s committee on agriculture
in Geneva.

more at:
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/foreign-trade/us-eu-cry-foul-over-indias-ban-on-cotton-exports/articleshow/12710646.cms

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* CCI to buy 1mn bales of cotton from Gujarat:
Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) would buy one million bales (1 bale =
170 kg) of cotton from Gujarat, particularly from Saurashtra region.
The decision was taken at a strategic meeting of top officials of CCI
and Union Textiles Ministry held in Rajkot city of Gujarat. Textiles
Ministry, which has resolved to create a buffer stock of cotton for
textile industry in the country, has directed CCI to buy one million
bales of cotton from Gujarat at a rate of Rs. 900 per maund (1 maund =
20 kg) for best quality cotton.
more at:
http://www.fibre2fashion.com/news/textile-news/newsdetails.aspx?news_id=110146

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* India’s over all exports cross $300bn in 2011-12:
Dr. A Sakthivel, Chairman of Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) of
India, complimented Shri Anand Sharma for crossing the trade target of
US $ 300 billion during 2011-12. Shri Sakthivel gave all credit to Shri
Sharma and termed it a ‘big big achievement’.
(…)
Shri Sakthivel in his letter said, “On behalf of US $ 13 billion
garment exporting community and 60 lac workers, who have contributed
day and night in garment manufacturing and exporting, I once again
thank you for your blessings”.

more at:
http://www.fibre2fashion.com/news/apparel-news/newsdetails.aspx?news_id=110148

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* Textile cluster project starts functioning in Ludhiana:
The work for setting up a textile cluster project under Industrial
Infrastructure Upgradation Scheme (IIUS) of the Department of
Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce &
Industry, has completed and the cluster has become fully operational at
Ludhiana, located in the north Indian state of Punjab.

more at:
http://www.fibre2fashion.com/news/textile-news/newsdetails.aspx?news_id=110158

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* Italian textile machinery imports jump 19%:
The Indian textile industry increased its investment in textile
machinery from Italian suppliers last year, making the country is the
second largest market in the world for textile machinery imports.

more at:
http://www.just-style.com/news/italian-textile-machinery-imports-jump-19_id114061.aspx?lk=dm

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* Indian garment exporting community survives despite sluggish market
conditions:
Indian garment exports to the US has touched a figure of $13 billion
in FY12 despite an economic slowdown. The overall exports from India
in FY12 has touched $300 billion.

more at:
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/foreign-trade/indian-garment-exporting-community-survives-despite-sluggish-market-conditions/articleshow/12701833.cms

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* Put every child in school:
You are privileged. You can read this page.
But it has to be more than a privilege.
It has to be every child’sright.

The 2011 Census suggests that about a fourth of India is illiterate.
But the real number of people who can actually read and write is even
lower.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) says there are 45 million
children of school-going age in India who don’t go to school but have
to work.
Of those who enroll in school, many drop out because their
families are simply too poor to keep them there.
This needs to change.
Today, Hindustan Times starts that effort.

more at:
http://www.hindustantimes.com/news-feed/Chunk-HT-UI-YouReadTheyLearn-TopStories/Put-every-child-in-school/Article1-842243.aspx

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PAKISTAN
* Pakistan welfare scheme shows signs of success:
Clutching photocopied ID cards in bony fingers, a roomful of Pakistan’s
poorest women sit on gray plastic chairs and wait in silence for
something many have never experienced: a little bit of help from the
government.
It comes in the form of a debit card that is topped up with the
equivalent of $30 every three months, enough to put an extra daily meal
on the table, buy a school uniform or pay for medical treatment in a
country where soaring food and fuel costs are hurting millions
who already live hand-to-mouth.
The program is something of a success story for a government widely
seen as corrupt and inefficient, as well as for international donors
that help implement and fund it.
But the very need for the scheme highlights the poverty stalking a
country whose stability is seen as
key to the fight against Islamist extremism.

more at:
http://asiancorrespondent.com/80621/pakistan-welfare-scheme-shows-signs-of-success/

map of Asia

UZBEKISTAN
* Stop Forced and Child Labor in the Cotton Industry of Uzbekistan!

CHINA
* Fashion houses ‘need to clean up their act’
* Ministry: Goal for foreign trade growth can be achieved
* Tell me a story

PHILIPPINES
* PHL strikes blow for migrant women workers

VIET NAM
* Market economy best for Vietnam, says poll
* Support for struggling businesses
* Taiwan, S. Korea may reject Vietnamese workers
* Police search for absconding Chinese owners of shoemaking factory
* Sectors face restructuring axe

THAILAND
* Lots of work to go around
* Shift of workers to public sector seen

CAMBODIA
* Walmart intervention sought at Thai factory
* ADB says new industries contribute to robust economic outlook
* Cambodia’s stock market officially starts trading with one company
joining
+ ATTACHED from BetterFactories

SINGAPORE
* ‘Lower-income so underpaid, 50% rise wouldn’t hurt’
* Time for wage reform in Singapore – Yay or Nay?
* Employment Act to be reviewed this year

BANGLA DESH
* Bangladesh’s exports to EU reach new record
* Textile mills urge NBR to continue tax holiday
* HC asks five garment units not to dump waste in farmlands
* BGMEA seeks business-friendly NBR initiative
* Child malnutrition still high

INDIA
* US, EU cry foul over India’s ban on cotton exports:
* CCI to buy 1mn bales of cotton from Gujarat
* India’s over all exports cross $300bn in 2011-12
* Textile cluster project starts functioning in Ludhiana
* Italian textile machinery imports jump 19%
* Indian garment exporting community survives despite sluggish market
conditions
* Put every child in school

PAKISTAN
* Pakistan welfare scheme shows signs of success:

latest tweets (& news)

Convention on the Rights of the Child
Universal Declaration of Human Rights

I wonder who they are
The men who really run this land
And I wonder why they run it
With such a thoughtless hand

What are their names
And on what streets do they live
I'd like to ride right over
This afternoon and give
Them a piece of my mind
About peace for mankind
Peace is not an awful lot to ask
    David Crosby

I wonder who they are
The people who are buying these clothes
I'd like to know what they've paid for it
How much the makers have paid for this
Fairer income is not an awful lot to ask
Better working conditions is not an awful lot to ask
    A. Searcher

For more and other (labour) news you can follow on twitter: @asearcher2