This was in the news on-line, today, 22 may 2012

 CHINA

21:01:31 local time map of china  * Xingquan secures RM400m sales at Fujian sales fair:

Xingquan International Sports Holdings Ltd secured sales orders of RMB826mil (RM400mil) for its Gertop brand of shoes, apparels and accessories at a recent sales fair Quanzhou, Fujian Province in China.                                                                               It said on Monday the sales orders at its recent Autumn/Winter 2012 sales fair was 4.6% higher than a year ago.                                                                                                The sales fair, which features new designs, was attended by 32 regionaldistributors for 26 provinces in China.                                                                                                Xingquan chairman and CEO Wu Qingquan said the good response from customers at the sales fair reinforced their confidence in its Gertop brand as a outdoor casual wear brand.                                                                                                                             “I am pleased to report that we continue to see healthy growth in orders especially for shoes and apparels,” he said. to read.

* C.banner to get fund:

Chinese shoe retailer C.banner International Holdings said Monday it has secured investors to help fund its expansion.                                                                         Hong Kong-listed C.banner said it would issue 189.02 million yuan ($29.9 million) in convertible bonds to MouseeDragon LP, China Consumer Capital Fund and China Champion Holdings.                                                                                          MouseeDragon is managed by Mousse Partners, a New-York based private investment firm controlled by the family that owns Chanel Inc. to read.

21:01:31 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* Foreign businessmen say wage hike will turn off investors:

Foreign businessmen are against any new increase in wages for Filipino workers, saying this will hurt the country’s efforts to attract foreign investments.

“The Philippines is slowly catching the attention of foreign investors who can bring investment and jobs to the country. We are already at a disadvantage with higher wages .With any further upward adjustment, the Philippines shall lose in the investors search for investor-friendly locations and therefore will be unable to create more new jobs,” the Joint Foreign Chambers of the Philippines, said in a statement.

“It can be argued that millions of actual and potential jobs have been lost as a result. For example in the once-strong footwear and garment sector, hundreds of factories have closed in the face of competition from economies where labor costs are lower, such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, China and Vietnam,” the Joint Foreign Chambers said.
It cited data on daily and monthly wages in selected Asian countries from the National Wages and Productivity Commission as of April 30:
1. Cambodia daily $2.03, monthly $61.00
2. Vietnam daily $2.22-$3.17, monthly $66.57-$95.09
3. Indonesia daily $3.03-$5.54, monthly $90.95-$166.07
4. China daily $4-$7.89, monthly $119.97-$236.78
5. Thailand daily $7.11-$9.60, monthly $213.18-$288.08
6. Philippines (NCR) daily $9.19-$10.06, monthly $275.63-$301.85
The foreign businessmen also blamed high wages for the low levels of foreign direct investments in the Philippines.  read more.

(note : “Foreign businessmen say wage hike will turn off investors”. They say that in every country!! j.)

* Legislated minimum wage scares investors:

The Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) expressed apprehension over any move by Congress to increase workers’ minimum wage, saying this will drive potential investors away. The JFC instead rallied behind a two-tier wage system, which is being introduced as part of labor-sector reforms by the Philippine government, with the support of the International Labor Organization.

In  “Position Paper on the Minimum Wage Increase” signed by the presidents of JFC member-organizations, the group urged the Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Boards to implement the two-tier wage system as soon as possible.                               JFC said it believes that setting wages through legislation is “unnecessary” and should be avoided, apparently referring to a proposed measure in the House of Representatives filed by Party-list Rep. Rafael Mariano seeking a P125 across-the-board wage increase. (…)                                                                                                                                JFC is composed of the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Inc., Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce Philippines Inc., Canadian Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Inc., European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Inc., Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Philippines Inc. and Korean Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Inc. read more.

20:01:31 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Major firms cut costs to stay afloat:

As many as 83 major companies and four banks in Vietnam have registered to cut their operational costs by some US$624 million (Bt19.58 billion) in a bid to stay afloat during the economic downturn, the Finance Ministry said.                                           The companies have announced their intent to cut management costs by $144 million as well as other expenses such as raw materials and energy by $451 million, accounting for 24.7 and 75.3 per cent of the total savings, respectively. (…)                                      Other firms followed such as Viet Nam National Garment and Textile Group with 1.1 trillion dong; Electricity of Viet Nam with 1.8 trillion dong; House and Urban Development with 125 billion dong and Viet Nam National Shipping Lines with 105 billion dong. read more.

* Firms urged to ready for EU pact:

Experts have urged domestic enterprises to change the structure of products exported to the EU market to enjoy more benefits when the Viet Nam-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) goes into effect.

The two negotiating parties have completed preparations and begun formal negotiations on an FTA that was expected to bring benefits to both sides, said Tran Ngoc Quan, deputy director of the EU Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade.(…)                                                                                                                   Speaking at the conference, EU Minister Counsellor Jean Jacques Bouflet, a representative from the EU delegation in Viet Nam, said Viet Nam’s key areas such as textiles, fisheries and leather shoes would have more opportunities to boost exports, thanks to lower import tariffs that are expected to be imposed by the EU by that time. read more.

* Poverty gives children nowhere to turn:

It is 9.45p.m. A hot summer night. There is no empty table left at the Beo Beer Restaurant on Ha Noi’s Thai Thinh Street. Fourteen-year-old Nguyen Van Dat, an employee of the restaurant is breaking his back to push a customer’s motorbike, two times bigger than him, into the parking lot. The skinny boy then runs inside to get food and beer to serve the tables of customers. (…)

Nguyen Trong An, deputy head of the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs’ Child Care and Protection Department says, “Most of child labourers have to endure long working days of over six hours a day. However, they are paid on average VND500,000 ($23) per month, equivalent to half of the minimum wage for a legal labourer working eight hours a day as regulated by the Government.”

The latest report by the ministry shows that 73 per cent of child labourers are between the ages of 10 and 14, 17 per cent between the ages of 15 and 17 and 10 per cent between 6 and 9.

He says many are involved in dangerous jobs such as collecting waste in industrial parks, collecting rubber sap in rubber forests, working in mines, textile and garment factories or plastic production workshops where they come into direct contact with toxic chemicals.  read more.

* Italian entrepreneurs explore VietNam prospects:

The biggest incoming delegation of around 50 Italian entrepreneurs, in particular small-and-medium sized enterprises (SMEs), will come for the first time to Viet Nam to understand the investment and market opportunities at the “Enterprise Partnerships for Development” workshop held in HCM City on Thursday.

The event is aimed to provide an opportunity to Italian entrepreneurs to understand the potential of Viet Nam as a market and investment destination, and to start exploring concrete opportunities of business partnerships through direct and tailored meetings with selected Vietnamese industries and institutions in the textile and clothing, footwear and leather products, and furniture sectors. read more.

* Vietnam reviews measures to boost cotton output:

In spite of favourable soil and weather conditions available for growing cotton, Vietnam’s cotton output meets just 1.5 percent of the local textile and garment industry’s demand, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Ho Thi Kim Thoa said.

Vietnam’s domestic textile and apparel industry requires around 400,000 tons of cotton per year, against which the country produces a meagre 5,000 tons of cotton on 12,000 ha of land. read more.

20:01:31 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Ageing workforce hits industrial-sector productivity, says TDRI report:

The industrial sector’s labour force is ageing, adversely affecting productivity, said Srawooth Paitoonpong, a senior researcher at the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI). Srawooth said his studies between 1991 and 2010 found changes in the workforce’s age, gender and educational make-up.                                             There were 38.1 million labourers in 2010, 7.8 million working in the industrial sector.                                                                                                                          The number of workers in the manufacturing sector was 5.4 million, with the rest in construction, waterworks and other utilities, he said in his study, released by TDRI yesterday, he said. read more.

20:01:31 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Factory allegedly hires thugs to hurt strikers:

A garment factory in the capital’s Meanchey district yesterday denied hiring a group of 10 “gangsters” to beat and injure workers as they protested.

Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union (C.CAWDU) official Ney Bunthoeun said a gang of thugs hired by Haiyun garment factory bosses injured a union official and a worker as 500 employees lobbied to have six C.CAWDU representatives reinstated.

“They dismissed our union factory leaders. They don’t want C.CAWDU to be created in the factory, so workers went on strike on May 17,” he said, adding he had been attacked and another worker had been hit in the head with a walkie-talkie. read more.

Garment factory workers protest in Kandal province’s Ang Snuol district on Saturday. Photograph: Vireak Mai.

* Women in upper union positions vital:

Femal union leaders in the garment industry – where women constitute 90 per cent of the work force – are effective at bargaining for better working conditions, but their voices aren’t being heard in a union landscape dominated by men, a labour expert said yesterday.

Veasna Nuon, co-author of Building Unions in Cambodia: History, Challenges, Strategies, said even in factories where women are elected as union leaders, they are often unable to effect much change because bargaining usually takes place further up the union chain, where men hold most positions of power.

“In terms of union representation, there are more women at a lower level,” he said.  read more.

Garment workers make athletic apparel at a factory in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district last year. Photograph: Will Baxter-Phnom Penh Post

* Demonstrations Renew in Capital as Campaigning Continues:

Two demonstrations—one of factory workers and one of displaced city residents—were held on Monday, as the different groups sought to use the June 3 commune elections as another chance to have their grievances heard.                                                        Angry residents of the Boeung Kak lake and Borei Keila development projects said they have yet to see an acceptable solution to the forced evictions that have become hallmarks of development projects in the two Phnom Penh neighborhoods. (…)

Meanwhile, nearly 1,000 garment workers led by the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union held a peaceful demonstration in Phnom Penh, demanding better salaries and working conditions.

The demonstration blocked a major Phnom Penh boulevard for about 20 minutes, but no violence was reported. Officials said they had not deployed riot police, but that police were on the scene to help resume the flow of traffic.

Workers of the SL Garment Factory in Stung Meanchey district said they want supplements to their income for housing, transportation and meals, on top of their minimum wage salaries.  read more.

19:31:31 local time map of myanmar MYANMAR

* Factories set deadline for workers:

THE owners of two factories in Hlaing Tharyar Industrial Zone have set a May 21 deadline for some 1300 striking employees to return to work.

Daw Su Sandar, the manager of garment factory Myanma Pearl, said the factory’s owner, Daw Sandar Aung, had agreed to most of the striking workers’ demands and those that did not stop demonstrating by May 21 would be fired. read more.

* Myanmar workers get rights to strike:

Silenced for decades under military rule, Myanmar’s workers are now daring to speak out to demand better pay and conditions after a new law gave them the rights to strike.

Workers in the country formerly known as Burma are already testing their new-found power with a string of walkouts, emboldened by legislation that is considered among the most progressive in the region.

Hundreds of employees from three garment factories at Yangon’s Hlaing Thar Yar Industrial Zone went on strike last week demanding improved working conditions, picketing outside the plants.

Clapping and chanting, they showed none of the fear that would have accompanied such open defiance in the past, when businesses held all the cards in a system defined by cronyism and intolerance of opposition.  read more.http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=235124

 * Myanmar workers embrace new strike right:

Increasing Labor Unrest                                                                                          Myanmar is one of the poorest countries in the world and despite hopes of an economic revival as it opens up to foreign investment, job opportunities are still scarce and people face rising consumer prices.                                                                                         The protester at Hlaing Thar Yar said workers wanted a cost of living allowance of 30,000 kyats (about US$37) a month, which would bring her total monthly salary to around US$100, including overtime.                                                                            Her employer had agreed to a US$12 allowance, but “we are not satisfied with that,” she said.                                                                                                                       The firm said in a statement that workers who had not agreed to its offer by May 18 would be considered to have “resigned by their own will” — a deadline ignored by the strikers. read more.

* Low wages spark labor strikes in Myanmar:

With lowest wages in the region, workers in factories established with foreign investment in Myanmar go on strike due to extremely low wages in 2012. read more.

* Myanmar workers embrace new power to strike:

Silenced for decades under military rule, Myanmar’s workers are now daring to speak out to demand better pay and conditions after a new law gave them the right to strike, reports AFP.
Workers in the country formerly known as Burma are already testing their new-found power with a string of walkouts, emboldened by legislation that is considered among the most progressive in the region.
Hundreds of employees from three garment factories at Yangon’s Hlaing Thar Yar Industrial Zone went on strike last week demanding improved working conditions, picketing outside the plants.
Clapping and chanting, they showed none of the fear that would have accompanied such open defiance in the past, when businesses held all the cards in a system defined by cronyism and intolerance of opposition.
“If they want to sack us, they will have to fire all 800 workers” at her factory, said one 26-year-old employee who told AFP she was not afraid of losing her job, although she was reluctant to give her name.
“If they don’t increase the money, we will continue protesting,” she added, saying she was paid around $60 a month.
The new legislation, approved by the country’s reformist President Thein Sein to replace the repressive 1962 Trade Unions Act, was prepared with the help of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). read more.

* Burma nears former record in garment export earnings:

Garment export amounted to about US$ 770 million in 2011, approaching the record figure of $829 million in 2001, the highest annual earning, the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association (MGMA) said last week.
The Japanese market accounted for the biggest share of export, earning $348 in 2011, compared with $183 million in 2010, said the Street View News.
The South Korean market brought in $232 million in 2011, compared with $124 million in 2010.
There are nearly 150 garment factories in Rangoon, Burma’s largest city and former capital. read more.

19:01:31 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

* 24-week maternity leave for RMG workers will increase birth rate: BGMEA

Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association has said that introduction of 24-week maternity leave, instead of 16 weeks, will encourage higher birth rate negating population control in the country.
The association also proposed introducing 12 weeks or 84 days of maternity leave for female workers in the garments industries to keep pace in production in the sector.
In a recent statement, the BGMEA, the apex body of the garments makers and exporters, said that they had recently submitted their opinion on maternity leave to the labour ministry for consideration.
In their opinion, BGMEA said that the industry had been contributing to birth control in the country since 1980s as female workers felt discouraged to take children in order to continue in their jobs. read more.

* BGMEA rationale betrays its gender insensitivity:

BGMEA rationale betrays its gender insensitivity
THE argument put forth by the Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association against the introduction of a 24-week of maternity leave — that it would encourage higher birth rate and thus negate population control — beggars belief, defies reason, smacks of sexism and is, above all, obnoxious.                                              According to a report front-paged in New Age on Monday, in its opinion on maternity leave, conveyed recently to the labour ministry for consideration, the apex organisation of RMG manufacturers and exporters claimed that the apparel industry had been contributing to birth control in Bangladesh since the 1980s as female workers felt discouraged to have children in order to continue in their jobs.                                   The suggestion seems to be that women workers, who constitute 80 per cent of the workforce in the RMG industry, need to be kept in tight leash; otherwise, they will gleefully give birth to children and thus contribute to population boom.

Simply put, in the eyes of the BGMEA bigwigs, women seem to have two roles — either produce readymade garments or produce children. Such a view is an affront to women RMG workers in particular and women in general because it likens women with machine. read more.

* Textile industry owners demand uninterrupted power, gas supply:

Textile industry owners and textile engineers on Sunday demanded fund allocation in national budget for 2012-13 for the project of setting up coal-based power plants to ensure  uninterrupted power and gas supply for textile  industries. read more.

* Govt to fund training for garment workers:

The commerce ministry plans to start training for fresh garment workers to build them into a skilled workforce and to counsel them on working environment in factories.     The ministry will train 1,440 workers, mainly from the entry level once a year, a senior official of the ministry said yesterday.                                                                    Currently, the garment sector, the main foreign currency earner, runs 25 percent short of skilled workers, which sets back productivity.

At present, four million workers are employed in the sector that needs one million more for the smooth running of the current production cycle. read more.

* Jute prospects brighten as people go eco-savvy:

A UN-sponsored panel says jute goods have huge market potential

The prospects of jute brighten due to the use of environment friendly fibre to make various products, UN-sponsored International Jute Study Group (IJSG) said yesterday.

Headquartered in Dhaka, the organisation said jute-made shopping and food grade bags, composite, geo-textiles, pulp and paper have a huge market potential in the face of rising environmental consciousness and demand for green products.

The demand for jute shopping bags is increasing rapidly as different governments and city authorities across the world are taking steps to reduce the use of plastic bags, said IJSG at a press meet at its office.  read more.

18:31:31 local time map of india INDIA

* Slowing exports to affect readymade garment industry:

Might also cause loss of jobs in some sectors

India’s slowing exports are signalling towards a crisis in labour intensive industries and the country’s gems and jewellery, readymade garments and electronic goods industries may also suffer a huge blow, if demand remains sluggish in major exporting destinations, the latest trade data suggests.

Drying demand for labour-intensive goods is also giving rise to renewed fear of joblessness in the sector, which is the main source of livelihood for a substantial chunk of India’s population. read more.

* Beedi workers seek implementation of minimum wages:

The South Kanara Beedi Workers’ Federation has urged beedi manufacturers to implement minimum wages to beedi workers.                                                         Addressing presspersons here on Monday, Mr V. Seetharam Berinja, Secretary of the federation, said that the March 8 meeting of the sub-committee of the Karnataka Labour Department had fixed minimum wages as Rs 116.20 for every 1000 beedis rolled. The representatives from workers’ union, manufacturers, and the Government were part of the sub-committee. read more.

* Fibre policy recommendations incorporated in 12th Plan- Government:

The government today said the recommendations of the National Fibre Policy (NFP) have been incorporated in the 12th Five-Year Plan.

“The recommendations of the National Fibre Policy have been incorporated into the 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-17),” Minister of State for Textiles Panabaaka Lakshmi said in a written reply in the Lok Sabharead more.

 * AEPC to organize Buyer Seller Meet in Israel:

At the outset, Apparel Promotion Council (AEPC) is targeting the Middle East Apparel Market through organizing a Buyer Seller Meet in Tel Aviv, Israel from 5 – 6 September 2012.

This is for the first time the Council is organizing such a huge event in the Middle East region.  read more.

18:01:31 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Pak textile exporters seek cut in cargo clearance time:

Pakistan textile exporters are seeking a reduction in time for their consignments to reach the seaports from the prevailing 72 hours to 24 hours before the scheduled departure of the cargo ship, as they say adversities like power load-shedding are impeding timely production and are making it impossible for them to send their goods to harbour that early.

At a meeting of textile exporters and officials of Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF), textile sector representatives suggested various steps to reduce the time taken by ANF in cargo inspection at seaports.

The textile sector representatives claimed that the long time taken by cargo inspectors causes the exporters to miss their consignments, as ship does not wait till conclusion of the examination process. They suggested that the terminal operators should complete their inspections within six hours time to make consignments ready for loading on the ships. read more.

 

map of Asia

CHINA
* Xingquan secures RM400m sales at Fujian sales fair
* C.banner to get fund

PHILIPPINES
* Foreign businessmen say wage hike will turn off investors
* Legislated minimum wage scares investors

VIET NAM
* Major firms cut costs to stay afloat
* Firms urged to ready for EU pact
* Poverty gives children nowhere to turn
* Italian entrepreneurs explore VietNam prospects
* Vietnam reviews measures to boost cotton output

THAILAND
* Ageing workforce hits industrial-sector productivity

CAMBODIA
* Factory allegedly hires thugs to hurt strikers
* Women in upper union positions vital
* Demonstrations Renew in Capital as Campaigning Continues

MYANMAR
* Factories set deadline for workers
* Myanmar workers get rights to strike
* Myanmar workers embrace new strike right
* Low wages spark labor strikes in Myanmar
* Myanmar workers embrace new power to strike
* Burma nears former record in garment export earnings

BANGLA DESH
* 24-week maternity leave for RMG workers will increase birth rate
* BGMEA rationale betrays its gender insensitivity
* Textile industry owners demand uninterrupted power, gas supply
* Govt to fund training for garment workers
* Jute prospects brighten as people go eco-savvy

INDIA
* Slowing exports to affect readymade garment industry
* Beedi workers seek implementation of minimum wages
* Fibre policy recommendations incorporated in 12th Plan- Government
* AEPC to organize Buyer Seller Meet in Israel

PAKISTAN
* Pak textile exporters seek cut in cargo clearance time

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