* The trial of Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, well known editor
and long time labour rights activist, resumes in Bangkok and will
continue until 4 May.
Somyot was arrested on 30 April 2011 following publication in his
magazine of two articles which the authorities claim offended the
country’s ruling monarch. He was accused of lèse majesté, a crime that
carries up to 30 years of imprisonment, and has been refused bail on
eight separate occasions.
More & Please sign at:
* Killing of Mr. Aminul Islam:
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint
programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and
the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent
intervention in the following situation in Bangladesh.
Description of the situation:
The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources, including
Odhikar, of the killing of Mr. Aminul Islam, a 41 year-old leader of
the Garments and Industrial Workers’ Federation and a staff member of
the Bangladesh Centre for Workers Solidarity (BCWS).
* Sluggish exports dim growth prospects in Bangladesh: IMF
A woman works in a garment factory in Dhaka. The textiles and clothing
industry, the biggest export earner, faces a slowdown.Photo: AFP.
Bangladesh’s economic growth will slow down to 5.9 percent in the
current fiscal year, largely due to falling exports and sluggish
investment, the International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday.
* Workers at Telenor India press job security:
Hundreds of employees of Norwegian telecom giant Telenor’s Indian
mobile venture took to the streets Wednesday to demand preservation of
their jobs after a court scrapped the company’s phone licences.
* Global top retailers eying garments from Bangladesh:
The global top retailers are now eying to source garments from
Bangladesh as EU’s ‘Tally Weijl’ is planning to set its liaison
office in Dhaka for direct sourcing, officials said.
The leading international fashion label shifted its liaison office to
Dhaka from China to get cost effective but quality products, garment
* Fashion houses ‘need to clean up their act’:
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
“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
* Rising clout helps Chinese firms’ ODI:
China’s economic clout will help its companies as they increase their
outbound investment, participants told a forum yesterday in Shanghai.
“The world is set to see more investment from China by both state-owned
enterprises and private companies,” Xu Sitao, global forecasting
director for China at the Economist Intelligence Unit, said at the
Chinese Outbound Investment Event 2012.
* Solid Foundation:
The Chinese economy remains on solid footing, though a string of
economic indicators have brought back talks of a downturn.
* China to ensure migrant workers timely paid in three years:
The Chinese government said Tuesday it would strive to basically sort
out wage arrears for rural migrant workers within three years.
Qiu Xiaoping, deputy head of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social
Security, said as the economic reform deepens, there are growing
difficulties and challenges to build up a harmonious relationship
between employees and employers.
He said at a meeting on labor relations that the ministry would keep
records of the employers, improve the supervision, and carry out more
campaigns to help the unpaid workers.
The ministry will also make efforts to make 80 percent of the small
businesses sign and honor the legitimate labor contracts.
* Chinese textile boom has degraded environment: Report
Five Chinese grassroots environmental organizations, which include
the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPEA) and Friends
of Nature and other Chinese environmental campaigners, have come up
with a report “Clean up the Fashion Industry”.
The report says that 46 domestic and global apparel brands are being
supplied by Chinese textile firms that do not adhere to the country’s
* Most Filipinos have no bank accounts—BSP survey:
About 8 of 10 heads of Filipino households do not have any bank
accounts, and most do not have enough cash saved up for emergencies.
* Young RP population means labor explosion coming — BSP survey:
The country has a young population, with an age distribution of
household members showing 21.5 percent were 5 to 14 years old, while
those who were about to retire or were close to compulsory retirement
(aged 55 to 64) and the elderly (65 years old and over) accounted for
6.9 percent and 5.4 percent of the household members, respectively, at
the time of the survey indicating a significant increase in the
country’s labor force over the next decade, Bangko Sentral ng
Pilipinas’ (BSP) maiden Consumer Finance Survey showed.
A much bigger number of young people could enter the labor force every
year compared to the number of older people who leave the labor force
working age group, according to the survey.
* Garment makers review strategies:
The domestic textile and garment industry needs to devise new measures
to realise its development plan for the 2010-15 period, the Viet Nam
Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS) has said.
The deputy general secretary of VITAS, Nguyen Van Tuan said yesterday
at a conference held by EU-Viet Nam MUTRAP and the Viet Nam Chamber of
Commerce and Industry that one of the biggest problems facing the
industry is the reliance on import materials.
* Laos scarred by secret war:
In Laos people continue to be injured by bombs dropped during the
About 80 million lay on the ground waiting for their victims, but bomb
clearance teams are trying to get to them first.
On Phonsavath’s 16th birthday a bomb blew his hands to pieces and
caused him to go blind.
He was walking home from school when his friend picked up a rusty bomb,
the size of a tennis ball, from the side of the road.
Curiosity got the better of him, and he attempted to open it, but it
exploded in his hands.
His story mirrors thousands of others and is a permanent reminder of
how although the Vietnam war ended nearly four decades ago, its
remnants remain across South East Asia, especially in Laos, the world’s
* Labourers flocking to provinces paying higher wage: FTI
The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) is concerned about labour
shortage in many provinces that have not yet increased the daily
minimum wage to Bt300 as labourers are flocking to the seven provinces
that have already raised the daily wage.
* Child beaten, tied up for scrap metal hunt:
Oddar Meanchey provincial court officials plan to summon the owner of
an ice factory who, along with his employees, allegedly hit and tied up
a 9-year-old boy he accused of picking up scrap metal outside his
Anlong Veng district factory last week.
Provincial prosecutor Koy Kanya told the Post yesterday that he decided
to investigate the case after seeing pictures provided by a local
“It looks like … an abuse of the child’s rights. If he did wrong or
stole something, the owner has to send him to the police. They should
not [take the law into their own hands],” he said, adding that he will
first talk to the child and his parents.
The boy’s mother, who declined to be named, said yesterday that she
does not plan to sue the factory owner as she fears it will turn into a
problem for her family.
“I don’t want to file a complaint or demand compensation from the
factory owner,” she said, but added that she is angry they beat her son.
* Workers flee Thai factory, cross border:
About 30 Cambodian workers illegally crossed back into the country
yesterday after fleeing the Phatthana Seafood factory in Thailand, an
NGO spokesman said.
Huy Pich Sovann, programme officer at the Cambodian Legal Education
Centre, said the company had begun handing back passports to workers.
* No domestic silk sent to EU market this year:
Handicraft exports to international markets, especially shipments to
Europe, had plummeted this year as disposable incomes in Western
economies shrank, industry insiders said yesterday.
Lun Yeng, executive director of the Federation of Associations of Small
and Medium-Sized Enterprises of Cambodia, said handicraft exports had
dropped by as much as 70 per cent, primarily because Europeans had
stopped spending on non-essential items.
* Maids in Malaysia remain missing:
At least four maids sent to Malaysia by a recruitment company shuttered
by the Ministry of Labour last year are still missing, while a former
recruit had suffered a mental breakdown since returning, family members
and advocates said yesterday.
* No. 1 employment gripe: Bosses prefer foreigners:
Complaints that employers prefer foreigners over locals have for the
first time topped the list of grievances that Singaporeans have over
unfair employment practices.
The Tripartite Alliance for Fair Employment Practices (Tafep) – a fair
employment watchdog – also received more than double the number of
complaints in total last year compared to a year ago.
‘Concerns over fair opportunities for Singaporeans emerged as the top
issue in 2011 for the first time,’ Tafep said in its annual report
released on Wednesday.
The top three types of complaints – numbering 277 in total – were over
nationality, language and race, and age. This compares to 115
complaints in 2010 – mostly on language and race, as well as age.
Tafep was set up in 2006 by the Singapore National Employers
Federation, the National Trades Union Congress and the Ministry of
Manpower (MOM) to promote fair employment practices.
* 5 textile processing units dismantled:
Five textile dyeing and printing units in Periyasemur area on the
outskirts of the city have been dismantled by the District
Environmental Monitoring Committee for allegedly discharging untreated
effluents into water sources and for operating without proper licence.
* Low cotton stocks likely this season:
The current cotton season (October 2011 to September 2012) is expected
to end with just about 25 lakh bales of stock as against 39 lakh bales
* Indian menswear retailer Turtle to double EBOs in FY13:
Turtle Limited, one of India’s fastest growing menswear companies,
plans to double its number of existing exclusive brand outlets
(EBOs) from 55 to more than 100 in the next 12 months.
* ICP opens at Wagah border; to aid Pak textile exports:
A new Integrated Check Post (ICP) has been opened at Attari Wagah
border between India and Pakistan. This historic step is expected to
boost trade between India and Pakistan through the land route.
* Lady health workers take protest to another level:
Protest by Lady Health Workers (LHWs) took a dramatic turn on Wednesday
when some of them tried to set themselves on fire. One of them was even
successful and received ten per cent burn injuries.
But this is not the first time that the protesters have attempted
In a previous protest in Lahore, the protesters tried a similar move,
but then too, the timely intervention of police saved precious lives.
Lady Health Workers have been coming out for protests against
non-payment of salaries and government’s failure to regularise their
services for months all over the country and seem to have reached their
They demanded that 130,400 members of the LHW programme be regularised
and their salaries paid.