in the news on-line, today, 8 june 2012

Hong Kong company Li & Fung refuses to pay workers Li & Fung

We urge you to support 420 struggling workers in Turkey who have been staging a picket line in front of Li & Fung for three months.

These workers were employed by a company called Hey Tekstil. From November 2011 to February 2012, the company did not pay them for their last three months of work, fired them without notice, and subsequently failed to pay them their legally-mandated severance and notification payments.

Li & Fung refuses to pay over 2000 Hey Tekstil workers 4.7 million euros

Li & Fung, one of the largest apparel sourcing companies in the world based in Hong Kong, was Hey Tekstil’s primary business partner at the time of the factory’s closure. After the Istanbul factory was closed, Hey Tekstil’s significant financial and legal problems came to the fore when its remaining factories across Turkey were closed and an additional estimated 1.600 workers were not paid their legally-mandated severance and notification payments.  At this time, one of the founders of Hey Tekstil was imprisoned in a criminal investigation into fictitious exports.

read more & please sign.

20:12:43 local time map of mongolia MONGOLIA

* Herders Caught Between Cashmere and Climate Change:

Batogoo Dorj is a nomad in southern Mongolia’s Bayankhongor Region who makes his living raising cashmere goats. Each spring, Dorj can shear about 300 grams of the valuable, downy wool from each of his 350 goats. Those voracious and sharp-hoofed animals are contributing to the desertification and climate change that is reducing Mongolia’s available grazing land. Yet for Dorj and thousands like him in Mongolia, short-term necessity is eclipsing long-term sustainability.

Cashmere wool is one of Mongolia’s most prized animal-product exports. The second-largest cashmere producer (after China), Mongolia accounts for 28 percent of the world’s total supply, according to the Mongol Cashmere Association. The wool brings around $180 million annually into the country. For the 36 percent of Mongols who still adhere to a nomadic lifestyle, cashmere is often an integral part of their livelihood. read more.

20:12:43 local time map of china CHINA

* Gap opens 8th store in Shanghai:

Gap has opened yet another store in Shanghai, further boosting its expansion strategy China’s financial and economic hub. Located in Dahua Sunny Days City’s Xuhui area, the store boasts of a total area of over 1000 square meters and it offers full line of products from Gap including Gap 1969 jeans, GapBody, babyGap, GapKids and other adult series. read more.


19:12:43 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* About 470 workers strike at Taiwan’s King First:

About 470 garment workers went on strike Thursday at Taiwan’s King First Co Industrial Co Ltd, a source said.

The source said the strike, in Toul Sangke in Russey Keo district, was led by Workers Rights Promotion Union President Hun Chamroeun and Asian Legal Union President Kim Lan.

Fearing the company’s name will be changed, workers want King First to display its logo at the factory, the source said. They also want better bonuses and new contracts. to read.

* Nutrition Survey for Workers Released:

According to a study on the perceptions of garment factory owners on the issue of worker nutrition, 52 percent of respondents agree that nutrition affects workers’ productivity.

The survey was conducted in 27 factories that employ 34,939 workers, which is about 10 percent of total Cambodian garment factory workforce.
Only 33 percent of the respondents agreed that workers eat healthy meals, while the rest stated that they were not sure. read more & download the survey.

* Chinese factory ordeal over for Khmer quartet:

Four Cambodian women working at a garment factory in Dongguan, China returned home yesterday after a nine-month ordeal during which they found themselves sick, overworked and trapped without passports in a foreign country. read more.

* Workers’ protest in Phnom Penh pays off:

Garment workers who claim their employer was docking their pay for wearing shoes on the job will return to work today after their two-day strike ended with some demands being met.

More than 300 workers from Horus Industrial Corp sports­wear factory in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district walked out Wednesday, after hundreds had resigned in the weeks before in search of better work, representative Heng Sok Kahna said.

“[The company is] very cruel to us . . . they cut our salary $1 to $2 per month if they see us eating food, talking on the phone, taking leave and wearing shoes into the working room,” she said yesterday.

“We cannot work until the company director accepts our demands and changes their rules to respect the labour law.” read more.


Workers protest outside the Horus Industrial Corp factory in Phnom Penh yesterday. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post

20:12:43 local time map of malaysia MALAYSIA

* Set Up General Union To Protect Rights Of General Workers – MTUC:

Malaysian Trades Union Congress (Sarawak Division) is pleased with strong support lately, including from Ministers and some employers, to set up General Unions to protect the rights of workers.

MTUC Sarawak Division Secretary Andrew Low said unfortunately, the restrictive Trade Unions Act does not allow general unions for workers and membership of any trade union is confined to only those who are employees in a particular industry, establishment, trade and occupation.

He said a trade union enhances the economic status of its members; improves working conditions; boosts their productivity and job value and provides protection against discrimination and unfair treatment. read more.

18:42:43 local time map of myanmar MYANMAR

* Workers on strike request government intervention:

Workers on strike from factories in Myanmar want the government to intervene between the employers and the employees.

Sparked by low wages, workers from 23 factories in industrial zones in Yangon Region such as Hlinethaya, Shwe Pyi Tha and Hmawbi (Myaungtaga) went on strike in May. Among them, only about ten factories fulfilled the demands of their workers, forcing the rest to continue to go on strike.

Although the workers have submitted their demands for pay rise and other benefits to their employers since April, the factory managements are still failing to reply to their demands until the end of May.

As a result, over 9,000 workers went on strike in Hi Mo Wig Factory, UMNO Yes Garment Factory, Sabai Pwint Garment Factory, Pale Garment Factory, Global Footwear Factory, Nay Min Aunt Garment Factory, VJ Garment Factory, Mo Z Garment Factory, Toe Myat Aung Knitting Factory, Lucky Shoe Factory, Moon Crab Garment Factory, Miss Style Shoe Factory, Ngwe Kankaw Garment Factory, Asia Rose Shoe Factory, Hall Marle Shoe Factory, Tawwin Myanmar Knitting Factory, Sandi Garment Factory, Grand Royal Distillery, World Fashion Garment Factory, Gabar Garment Factory, Eastern Fashion Garment Factory, White Owl Garment Factory and Myaungtaga Foundry. read more.

18:12:43 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

* Hasina swipes at Khaleda for ‘creating political instability’:

Accusing the leader of the opposition of creating political instability in the country, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday urged her not to fish in the troubled water.
“If you (Khaleda) believe in democracy, have confidence in people, you should speak for them (people) standing beside them. But, don’t burn people to death,” she said adding that there would be nothing good if she tries to fish in the troubled water.
The Prime Minister was addressing a discussion meeting marking the historic 7th June (Six-Point Day) at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the evening. The ruling Awami League organised the discussion meeting. (…)

Listing various development programmes and activities taken by her government, Sheikh Hasina said her government has been maintaining GDP growth over 6 percent despite recession, increased per capita income, distributed free textbooks up to secondary level, increased the wages of the garment workers and continued subsidy in agriculture. read more.

* Bangladesh’s changing perception among US RMG buyers worrying: Mozena

US Ambassador Dan Mozena on Wednesday voiced deep concern over the recent incidents in the country’s highest export earning sector and said these changes potentially threaten the economic wellbeing of Bangladesh.
He said the emerging developments in the United States, Bangladesh’s single-largest export destination for RMG, could coalesce into a perfect storm that could threaten Bangladesh and the Bangladesh Brand in America and could drive away key American buyers of Bangladeshi RMG.
“I believe, the changing perception of Bangladesh among American RMG buyers potentially threaten the economic wellbeing of this country, one about which I care most,” he told a meeting with BGMEA leaders at its conference room.(…)
He said the negative perceptions about Bangladesh that may be taking root in America are also growing in Europe.

“The Clean Clothes Campaign that is spreading in Europe largely targets clothes made in Bangladesh.”   read more.


* New German dyeing range for Bangladeshi textile production:

Bangladeshi Viyellatex Ltd.(founded 1996 as a knit and textile manufacturing company, now fully integrated from raw material to knitting, dyeing, washing, cutting, sewing and finishing and producing exclusively for export) has installed seven German Thies iMaster H2O dyeing ranges in order to save water, gas, electricity as well as dye stuffs and chemicals.
This evidences what we have reported that Bangladesh’s textile mills are modernising their plants in order to remain competitive and to up-grade their product ranges for the future. For further reference see e-paper issue of January 2012 of TextileFuture (www.textile-future.com).
Viyellatex has a customer base such as Marks and Spencer, Hugo Boss, Calvin Klein, Puma, Timberland, Esprit, Tommy Hilfiger and Hawes and Curtis and is planning future growth in dyeing and garments. The dye house has been operating for several years in a combination of Thies and Chinese-built equipment and at a capacity of 30 t daily and is now opting for the sustainable solution of Thies iMaster only. An extension of the factory was erected and is now hosting the new Thies dye house since early 2012 and is working 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
read more.

* Budget for FY’13 today:

Finance Minister AMA Muhith will place the proposed budget for the fiscal year (FY), 2012-2013, in the Jatiya Sangsad (JS) today (Thursday).
The total outlay of the proposed budget is likely to be at the level of Tk 1917.38 billion, up by 17.20 per cent or Tk 281.49 billion, over that of the original budget of the outgoing fiscal.
The development expenditure for the forthcoming fiscal has been fixed at Tk 601.37 billion including an outlay of Tk 550 billion earmarked under Annual Development Programme (ADP). read more.

17:42:43 local time map of india INDIA

* No justice for abused child labourers:

She was hit on the head each time till she bled, for years. Her neck, even today, bears marks of being brutally scratched with nails. Employed as a domestic help in Saidabad at the tender age of six, 14-year-old Anita’s only childhood memories have been those of work and assault.

“Every time amma was angry at anybody or anything she would hit me,” says a frightened Anita, softly. But she quickly adds, “Then she feels bad and takes me to the doctor too.” For the 14-year-old, this is normal.

Anita is just one of the innumerable children suffering physical and even sexual abuse after being employed as child labour. Yet, the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act – which envisages stringent punishment to the employer and maximum compensation to the abused child – is barely being put to use in the State.

Poor implementation

Those who employ children are being left almost scot-free due to poor implementation of the act; failure of the entire system and lack of awareness being the prime reasons, child welfare officials say.  read more.

* ‘Dire need for good crèches at garment units’:

“A textile company making a profit of Rs. 46 crore is not willing to spend even Rs. 2 lakh on childcare facilities,” Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights chairperson Nina Nayak has said.

Addressing a seminar to discuss the importance of having crèches in garment factories here earlier in the week, she said a sample survey by the commission revealed that the facilities existed only for namesake, were rarely used or were in poor condition.

Some five-and-a-half lakh women work in garment factories in Bangalore. The Factories Act, 1948, states that those that employ over 30 women are expected to provide a suitable room for children aged below six years. The death of a baby in 2011 at a crèche in a multinational company’s unit underscored the need to have a functional crèche at these factories. read more.


* EU report raps India for imposing trade restrictive measures:

Measures in India’s Finance Bill 2012, the temporary ban imposed on cotton exports earlier this year, and elements of the National Manufacturing Policy 2011 have all come under fire in a European Commission report on global protectionism published on Wednesday.

India is among the countries most cited in the report examining moves made by the EU’s 31 main trading partners, covering the period from September last year to the start of May, during which it notes a total of 123 potentially trade restrictive measures. read more.

* Ayurganic material:

A few years ago, some of the more ecologically conscious people of various industries began to champion organic ways of living, which included production of organic textile, vegetables and fruits.
Free from pesticides and toxic substances in any way, the movement was all the rage. Now, the luxury of organic fabrics has been taken a step further with Ayurganic textile.
So far used by very few designers and sold in even fewer stores, Ayurganic material has the benefits of both organic material and the ancient tradition of Ayurveda.
How is this achieved? By a process that infuses the material with special herbs and oils which according to Ayurvedic beliefs, have intrinsic beneficial properties.
Upon wearing clothes made out of this fabric, you are believed to be adding value both to yourself and to the environment you live in. read more.

* Chennai apparel units put thru the wringer:

The apparel export industry in Chennai is fast dwindling. The city, home to over 400 textile and apparel export units three years ago, today has just around 100 units operating, says the Apparel and Handloom Exporters Association.
Over 33 leading players have shut shop in the last couple of years and the ones remaining have reduced production substantially, leading to job loss of over 40,000 people, says Mr Ranjit Shah, President of the association.
The industry in Chennai is facing severe competition from Bangladesh, the association fears. The sector is already feeling the heat of the duty-free pact signed recently with Bangladesh, the association adds. read more.

* Cotton output rises by over 9 per cent due to Bt seeds- Study:

Cotton production has increased by over 9 per cent with the use hybrid Bt cotton seeds, helping the country become net exporter of the cash-rich crop, a field study has found.
The study on ‘socio-economic impact assessment of Bt cotton in India’ has highlighted that area under cotton has grown by 4.91 per cent in the last 10 years.
The survey was done in nine-cotton growing states of Maharashtra, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat. read more.

* Wage imbroglio silences Sellur handlooms:

The strike by handloom workers in Sellur will prolong further as the talks with owners have not yielded any favourable results and the next round is likely to be held on Monday. Thousands of workers involved in this business have gone on a strike from May 25 demanding a wage hike as the present wages are bare minimum. With the first round of talks failing, their wait has only become longer and the families are struggling hard even for basic needs for more than 10 days now. read more.

* Now, textile unit runs on solar power:

Heavy usage of diesel-run generators owing to prolonged load shedding and inconsistent power supply have been eating out the profits of textile units in Tirupur knitwear cluster forcing them to struggle for existence over the last many months.

But here is some cheerful news for the apparel making units in the cluster as Jayamurugan Knitting at Kullaigoundenputhur, belonging to Velumurugan Dyeing group of companies, has successfully started running the entire unit with the power produced from the 40 photovoltaic cell panels and the small power production-cum-conversion unit it set up recently. read more.

* New measures in FTP to benefit Indian weaving sector:

The predominantly cotton based textile industry in the country has been facing challenges in the post-WTO era due to stiff competition in the market. The weaving sector with its old technology has been struggling to accelerate and keep pace with the growth of other sectors. read more.

17:12:43 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Pak value-added textile sector forewarns of cotton crisis:

Apprehending a yarn crisis in the country, the value-added textile sector of Pakistan has called on the government to build a buffer stock of over four million bales of cotton.
Exporters, producers and exporters of value-added textiles were quite disappointed with Budget 2012-13, as the government fell short of allocating adequate funds for the textile industry.
Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association, (PRGMEA), Chief Co-ordinator, Ijaz Khokhar said apparel exports from the country have been badly hit by gas and power crisis.
He noted that while cotton is being sold at 68 cents per pound in international market, in Pakistan it is priced at about US$ 1 per pound, which is quite higher and rather unviable price for producers of value-added textile producers. read more.


ILO chief on world economy Too much focus on finance, too  little on society:

ILO Director-General outlines what a new era for the world economy should look like, with changing priorities that break with the dogmas of the past and respond to people’s needs.
“It is possible to turn the inefficient growth patterns of today’s world economy around but this requires a redefinition of priorities and the political conviction to overcome the dogmas of the past,” said ILO chief Juan Somavia, in his address to the plenary session of the International Labour Conference.

“There has been too much ideology in defining policies and too little human sensitivity to the individuals, families, communities,” said Somavia. “Too much financial, too little social.” read more.

 Adidas told ‘Exploitation. It’s not OK anywhere’

New campaign targets Olympics sponsor’s worker exploitation:

Today, the official London 2012 sportswear sponsor Adidas comes under pressure to tackle the sweatshop conditions in its supplier factories as the charity War on Want launches a new campaign over the exploitation of workers making Adidas goods.

With the Olympics just 50 days away, War on Want is seeking to mobilise public support for its campaign, launching a hard hitting video and actions set to target Adidas products in high street stores (see notes below).

The campaign video, released today, mimics the style of campaign adverts for charities targeting poverty and abuse in the UK, with a London woman recounting the story of Anisha, one of the thousands of Asian women producing clothes for Adidas.
read more.

          

map of Asia

* Hong Kong company Li & Fung refuses to pay workers Li & Fung

MONGOLIA
* Herders Caught Between Cashmere and Climate Change

CHINA
* Gap opens 8th store in Shanghai

CAMBODIA
* About 470 workers strike at Taiwan’s King First
* Nutrition Survey for Workers Released
* Chinese factory ordeal over for Khmer quartet
* Workers’ protest in Phnom Penh pays off

MALAYSIA
* Set Up General Union To Protect Rights Of General Workers

MYANMAR
* Workers on strike request government intervention

BANGLA DESH
* Hasina swipes at Khaleda for ‘creating political instability’
* Bangladesh’s changing perception among US RMG buyers worrying
* New German dyeing range for Bangladeshi textile production
* Budget for FY’13 today

INDIA
* No justice for abused child labourers
* ‘Dire need for good crèches at garment units’
* EU report raps India for imposing trade restrictive measures
* Ayurganic material
* Chennai apparel units put thru the wringer
* Cotton output rises by over 9 per cent due to Bt seeds
* Wage imbroglio silences Sellur handlooms
* Now, textile unit runs on solar power
* New measures in FTP to benefit Indian weaving sector

PAKISTAN
* Pak value-added textile sector forewarns of cotton crisis

* ILO chief on world economy Too much focus on finance, too little on society

* Adidas told ‘Exploitation. It’s not OK anywhere’

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