* Report: Women’s low status puts Asia’s future in peril:
The 2 billion women living in Asia are still paid less than men for
similar work and are extremely underrepresented in top leadership
positions, even in wealthy countries such as Japan, according to a
report issued Thursday.
The Asia Society survey on women’s status in health, education,
economic activity and political leadership urges improvements to ensure
the region benefits fully from its underused pool of human talent.
While the status of women varies widely from country to country from
one category to the next, overall, “to continue in this direction would
put in peril Asia’s many achievements,” said the report, compiled by
Astrid S. Tuminez, a professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public
Policy in Singapore.
Limits on female employment cost the region $89 billion a year in terms
of lost productivity and human resources, the report said, citing
United Nations data.
Overall, based on various measures – the report also uses data from The
Economic Forum and other sources – the gender gap was narrowest and
women’s leadership strongest in New Zealand, Australia, the
Philippines, Sri Lanka and Mongolia.
The gap was widest in Pakistan, Nepal, India, South Korea and Cambodia.
* WB: Improvements needed in safety nets:
At least 60 percent of people in developing countries lack effective
safety net coverage, as these nations struggle to protect their
citizens from the impacts of global financial volatility and food and
fuel price hikes, according to a new World Bank (WB) data released in
* The more businesses struggle, the more lamentable position they’re
The more businessmen lose, the worse losers they became. They tried to
resume business from the very beginning, hoping to regain their capital.
VK Garment Company in district 12 of HCM City, which was once a
well-known company with 3000 workers, now also has to struggle to
survive. The difficulties rushed down in mid 2011, when the company
could not obtain orders, which led to the production stagnation.
* FTI wants delay in wider minimum wage:
Businesses are urging the government to evaluate the impact of the new
300-baht daily minimum wage already in force in seven provinces,
including Bangkok, and they plan to ask for a delay of the nationwide
plan to January 2014 instead of next January.
Payungsak Chartsutipol, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries
(FTI), said the government should wait five or six months to see how
businesses are adapting before it implements the hike in the remaining
provinces next year.
* Pakistanis seen relocating textile manufacturing to Cambodia:
Pakistani investors plan to relocate textile manufacturing units to
Cambodia because of Pakistan’s energy crisis and government
indifference, the Business Recorder reported Friday.
The report by the Pakistani financial daily said the investors were in
touch with a Cambodian ministry to reach an agreement on setting up the
first manufacturing unit.
* Ex-Governor Charged Over Shooting:
The former governor of a Cambodian city was charged Thursday with
causing “unintentional injury” to three female factory workers after
being the lone suspect in a shooting incident that had drawn the
intervention of Prime Minister Hun Sen.
* Shooting in Bavet at PUMA supplier ‘unintentional’:
Chhouk Bandith, the deposed Bavet town governor accused of shooting a
woman through the chest and injuring two others during a garment
factory protest, was yesterday charged with causing “unintentional
injuries”, a court official said.
Pech Chhoeut, director of Svay Rieng provincial court, said the
investigating judge had charged Chhouk Bandith over the February
shooting at Kaoway Sports factory, a supplier to PUMA, after receiving
his case from provincial prosecutor Hing Bun Chea.
“Chhouk Bandith was charged with causing unintentional injuries,” Pech
Chhoeut said before declining to say whether an arrest warrant would be
More than 6,000 workers from four factories in the Manhattan special
economic zone protested outside the factory on February 20, demanding
higher wages and better working conditions.
* Workers demand four be sacked:
More than 300 workers took to the street outside the SH factory in the
capital’s Por Sen Chey district yesterday to demand better working
conditions and the sacking of four employees.
Lay Sokha, a worker representative and vice-president of the Free Trade
Union at the factory, in Choam Chao commune, said demands included that
management fire two administration officers and two sewing line
leaders, that it pay workers a $10 monthly transportation allowance, a
$10 incentive bonus and a basic salary of $70.
“All workers have vowed to strike in front of the company until there
is a resolution.”
* Cambodians at Thai factory win passports:
A protracted struggle for freedom at a seafood factory in southern
Thailand has all but ended, with hundreds of migrant workers from
Cambodia finally regaining their passports yesterday.
…it’s only the money that counts, not the people….(j).
* Flexible workspaces can help firms save money:
Businesses in Singapore can be more competitive and cost-effective if
they cut down on fixed workspaces.
“Paying for office space you don’t need does not provide a working
environment that is interesting and cost-effective,” said Mr Filippo
Sarti, Regus chief executive officer for the Asia-Pacific.
In a survey released this month by Regus, which specialises in
providing flexible workspaces, 54 per cent of the firms here cited
paying for unnecessary office space as the main reason for “corporate
distress” during an economic downturn.
The survey that forms the Regus Business Confidence Index covered
16,000 owners of small and medium-sized businesses internationally,
including in Singapore.
* Tangerang garment workers strike for higher wages:
Thousands of workers at a garment factory in Tangerang went on strike
to demand a Rp 200,000 increase in monthly wages.
“Our wages only ended up being raised by Rp 30,000. That’s a
meaningless change. It might as well have never happened,” said Abdul
Rohim, a tailor who has worked at the company, PT Starnesia Garment,
for two years.
“As a result of that small wage rise, we’re being asked to put together
40 clothes in 30 minutes, instead of the usual 28 in 30,” he said on
* Garment makers oppose FDI in apparel sector:
Garment makers yesterday expressed their reservation about the inflow
of foreign direct investments in apparel and textile sectors as they
said local players are strong enough to cater to customers worldwide.
* BGMEA for quick relocation of RMG factories:
Apparel manufacturers on Thursday sought immediate government steps to
implement the proposed ‘Garment Industrial Park’ at Bausia in Gajaria
upazila of Munshiganj to relocate RMG units from the capital and
“Overall situation in the capital is gradually deteriorating…planned
relocation of RMG units outside Dhaka is a must to ease traffic
congestion and ensure habitable environment in the capital,” BGMEA
President M Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin said during a meeting with
Industries Minister Dilip Barua at the latter’s office.
The BGMEA (Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association)
leader sought government initiative to set up four similar Garment
Industrial Parks in the country for the planned growth of the RMG
* Fast Fashion inches up:
As Elle enters the country with its fast fashion range, a look at the
market for this concept here. Is India ready for a faster costume
Fabrice A. Plaquevent, CEO, Lagardere Active Enterprises, the company
that owns the world’s best selling fashion magazine, Elle, says he
under-estimated India’s retail potential.
“Seven years ago, when I came to India, I was looking only at the
wholesale opportunity. I missed the retail end completely,” he rues.
* Ready-made garments among top FY exports:
Ready-made garments were among India’s leading export sectors during
the last financial year, according to preliminary figures released by
the Ministry of Commerce.
During the fiscal year that runs from April 2011 to March 2012,
shipments of ready-made garments, yarns and fabrics rose 18% to US
Cotton yarn and fabric made-ups climbed 17.4% year-on-year to US$7.2bn,
exports of man-made yarns and fabrics were up 18.5% at US$5.1bn, and
leather rose 22.5% to US$4.2bn.
Observers expect overall textile and apparel exports for the year to be
around $30bn, up from $27bn a year ago, after softer demand in Europe
was offset by a weaker rupee and strong orders from the US.
* Pakistani perspective: Life at a dhobi ghat: