23:40:21 local time MONGOLIA
* The Informal Economy Provides a Twist to Mongolia’s Growth:
The informal economy has a significant place within Mongolia. Definitions vary, but at its most broad, the sector includes street sellers, home-based businesses and family workers who might not be paid a wage, domestic workers, trash pickers and garment workers, construction workers and small farmers according to Women In Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO), an organization researching the sector.
The Solidarity Center based in Washington, D.C. includes taxi drivers and entertainment workers—essentially those without formal measures to ensure worker rights and safety. Mongolia does not export domestic workers nor does it have a large manufacturing sector, but if we look at the above listed groups, it is easy to see that Mongolia has a rather thriving informal sector. read more.
23:40:21 local time CHINA
* Fashion companies go sustainable:
Every month, Li Lianfeng’s textile mill in Guangzhou produces more than 7,000 meters of denim, which goes to jean companies as far away as Denmark, Australia and the United States. But only 5 percent of his mill’s output uses natural indigo dye rather than synthetics.
“Still not many people know about it, so there also aren’t many jean manufacturers that order it,” says Li, 50, owner of Zhaofeng Textile and Apparel. read more.
* Africa can be both rewarding and risky:
Workers discover that Africa can be both rewarding and risky, reports Hu Yongqi in Dingzhou, Hebei province.
For large parts of the day, Lujiazhuang, in Dingzhou city, looks like a ghost town. Few of the 3,000 registered residents walk along the streets, bordered by two-story houses. The only faces visible belong to the young or the elderly. People of working age seem few and far between.
The only time the village shows signs of life are during the noon break or at dusk, when the kids come out of kindergarten and elementary school, playing the old game of throwing schoolbags at each other to see who can be knocked off their bike, amid much giggling and shouting. However, at nightfall a hush descends on the streets and everything is quiet once again.
In common with many villages in China, much of the workforce has moved away in search of well-paid jobs. Visitors may be surprised to see a shop selling air tickets, right in the center of the village, but Lujiazhuang has more than 500 men who regularly work overseas.
Every year, about 300 locals buy tickets at the shop. The owner, Sun Fengtao, 40, said that about 70 percent of the village’s labor force works abroad. About 10 years ago, 90 percent of those workers headed for Africa. (…)
About 20,000 Chinese immigrants work in Nigeria and the northern city of Kano is home to the largest textile trade market in West Africa. More than 300 Chinese shops have operated there for 20 years. Now, increased competition in China and plummeting demand from Europe and the US have seen more Chinese merchants turning to Africa. read more.
* China to better protect workers’ rights: action plan:
China will better protect the workers’ rights and their right to work, said the National Human Rights Action Plan of China (2012-2015) released Monday by the Information Office of China’s State Council.
Efforts will be made to implement a more active employment policy, improve the wage system, fully carry out the labor contract system, improve working conditions, strengthen labor safety and protect the people’s right to work, the plan said. (…)
By 2013, Grade III safety standards or above will be applied for non-coal mines and factories producing dangerous chemicals and fireworks as well as enterprises above a certain scale in the eight industrial and commercial trades of metallurgy, non-ferrous metals, building materials, machine-building, light industry, textiles, tobacco and commerce, the plan said. read more.
23:40:21 local time PHILIPPINES
* Approved excise tax bill ‘sinful’—solons:
Sectoral representatives deplored as regressive, anti-poor, and anti-Filipino the excise tax measure on alcohol and tobacco products that was approved by the House of Representatives last week.
Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano said House Bill 5727 clearly violates Subsection 1, Section 28, Article 6 of the Constitution, which mandates Congress to legislate a progressive system of taxation.
The contents of HB 5727 are contrary to the intention and provision in Subsection 1, Section 28, Article 6 of the Constitution, which clearly stipulates that “the rule of taxation shall be uniform and equitable.”
“Congress shall evolve a progressive system of taxation. It is clear that House Bill 5727 is a regressive system of taxation,” Mariano said during the nominal voting on the measure.
“The revenues to be raised from the bill will not benefit our people, especially the poor farmers and workers because of the government’s distorted and improper prioritization of public funds,” Mariano said. read more.
22:40:21 local time VIET NAM
* Garment producers faces difficulty in expanding markets:
Vietnam’s clothing manufacturers are facing difficulties in finding markets for their products.
Orders from traditional markets, including EU and the US, are declining. Many businesses now face a shortage of orders for production in the third and the fourth quarter this year. Meanwhile, seeking new markets is also proving difficult, due to low investment in national trade promotion programmes.
Dang Phuong Dung, Vicechairwoman and General Secretary of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (Vitas) said the biggest difficulty facing the export sector is the export market. Only one trade promotion programme has been established in 2012.
Dung proposed that the Government should have other programmes to help businesses expand into other markets.
Many economic experts, however, have said that businesses should be active in expanding markets and reduce their dependence on manufacturing orders.
* Exporters face tough months ahead:
In the first five months of the year, Viet Nam’s export revenues reached US$42.9 billion, a year-on-year increase of 24.1 per cent. However, things may not go smoothly in the coming months even in sectors considered to be the country’s biggest export earners, experts say.
The textiles and apparel industry, for instance, exported goods worth over US$1.1 billion in May. It was the third consecutive month that the industry saw a decrease in export revenues. read more in BUSINESS IN BRIEF 12/6.
22:40:21 local time THAILAND
* Worker bills overlooked in House drama:
Labour leaders have slammed the government for focusing too much on the constitutional amendment and reconciliation bills at the expense of worker-backed social security legislation and other bills focusing on bread-and-butter issues.
Arunee Srito, a former Thai Kriang Textile Co labour union leader, said the current parliament session had originally been scheduled to end on April 18, but the Pheu Thai-led government had extended it to push ahead with the charter amendment and unity bills.
Many measures focused on improving the quality of life for Thais, including the workers’ version of the social security measure, to which more than 14,000 workers had signed on as sponsors, had been given the short shrift, she said. read more.
22:40:21 local time CAMBODIA
* ILO says Cambodia has reasons to be cheerful over child labor:
The International Labor Organization says Cambodia has reasons to be cheerful as the international community marks World Day Against Child Labor on Tuesday. At the same time, however, a lot more needs to be done.
In a statement, the ILO estimated that 215 million children worldwide were involved in child labor, with more than half associated with its worst forms.
As for Cambodia, around 1.5 million children are involved in child labor and about 310,000 in the worst forms.
“Children concerned should be at school, acquiring skills that prepare them for decent work as adults. By entering the labor market prematurely, they are deprived of this critical education and training that can help to lift them, their families and communities out of a cycle of poverty. read more.
* Union coalition wins Norwegian prize for trade unions:
Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Unions president Ath Thon left for Norway Monday to receive the Arthur Svensson International Prize for Trade Union Rights.
A statement said the $80,000 prize would be offered on Thursday.”The award shows the strength and struggle of unions in Cambodia moving to further the respect of human rights,” Ath Thon said.
Speaking from Bangkok, he said the prize was an example of “not being corrupt or exploiting workers.” He added that it would be used to build a workers center, develop human rights and other programs, increase wages, provide health benefits and award other strong unions. to read.
* Cambodian apparel union accepts award:
The Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union has been awarded an international prize for promoting garment workers’ rights in Cambodia, according to a press release.
C.CAWDU president Ath Thorn and vice-president Kong Athit flew to Norway yesterday for the prize ceremony on June 14.
The release states that the reward recognises the union’s work since 2000 to help “push workers to get better work rights to be recognised and increases in salary”.
Ath Thorn previously said the prize money of about US$80,000 would go towards the construction of offices that members and non-members could use to hold meetings.
* March calls for end to child labour:
More than 1,000 people marched in Sihanoukville yesterday to raise awareness of the exploitation of child labour, said rights workers.
Kong Socheat, child rights advocacy co-ordinator for Licadho, said the province had been chosen for its high rate of child labour, especially in the fishing sector. The march, which involved the local authorities, families and NGOs, was timed to Tuesday’s World Day Against Child Labour.
“We all, the government and the organisations, have to work together to … protect the child from working, and especially their parents have to pay attention to sending their children to school over asking them to work,” said Kong Socheat.
The labour law is lacking in child protections, he added. read more.
* Put an end to child labour:
Chhou Kan, a mother of six, has worked in the salt fields in Kampot province for 20 years. Famous for its black and red pepper, Kampot is also the only province in Cambodia that produces salt.
To make ends meet after her husband died, Chhou Kan brought her five eldest children to the salt fields to join her.
“When my husband was alive, my children did not work. But when he died, I had to use the children to help me,” Chhou Kan says.
“It is very important for me to get an income. My financial situation is difficult, and I have no rice fields.”
As we mark the 10th anniversary of the World Day Against Child Labour, the situation of Chhou Kan and her family illustrates some of the difficulties people and governments face when it comes to child labour. read more.
23:40:21 local time SINGAPORE
* Clariant joins the Sustainable Apparel Coalition:
Swiss-based specialty chemicals company, Clariant, announced that it has recently joined the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC). The move is algned with Clariant’s long-term commitment to uphold sustainable practices in textiles, and supports the SAC’s overall vision of addressing social and environmental challenges in the apparel and footwear industry.
As a leading supplier of chemical solutions for the textile industry, Clariant has always been committed to developing products and application processes that are safer and gentler to the environment. The membership into the SAC will give the company a greater reach in advocating its sustainability messages and provide it with a platform to actively contribute to the development of sustainable best practices in the textile industry. read more.
23:40:21 local time INDONESIA
* Indonesia trims budget for textile machinery upgrade:
22:10:21 local time BURMA-MYANMAR
* Strikes end at five factories in Yangon:
A MONTH-LONG strike at Hi-Mo wig factory in Yangon ended on June 5 after the South Korean owner agreed to comply with the demands of the workers, with the same round of negotiations also resulting in the end of strikes at four other factories.
The negotiations where the breakthrough occurred took place at Kanaung Hall in Hlaing Tharyar Industrial Zone.
The meetings were attended by the owners and workers from Hi-Mo factory, as well as representatives from four other factories where workers were on strike: Costec, Great Forever, CNN Myanmar Trading and San Kaung.
Also in attendance were Deputy Minister of Labour U Myint Thein; U Win Shein from the Factories and General Labour Laws Inspection Department; U Myint Soe, chairman of Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association; freelance legal consultant U Htay; and U Ko Ko Gyi, an activist with the 88 Generation Students.
21:40:21 local time BANGLA DESH
* World Day against Child Labour today:
Govt yet to approve the list of hazardous works for children
The government is yet to publicise the list of hazardous work for children although in its National Child Labour Elimination Policy 2010 it said it would eliminate the worst forms of child labour from Bangladesh by 2015.
Labour ministry sources said the ministry approved the list of hazardous works for children in May.
Delay in determining the hazardous works will definitely hinder the process of elimination of child labour, especially the worst forms of child labour, said child rights activists.
About 1.3 million children aged between 5 to 17 years are engaged in hazardous work. Among them 1.18 million are boys and 0.12 million are girls, according to the Bangladesh Institutes of Labour Studies.
The labour ministry’s list includes 36 works as ‘hazardous’, which include manufacturing of aluminium products, working at automobile and engineering workshops, manufacturing of bidi and cigarette, manufacturing of plastic and rubber products, etc. read more.
* Bangladesh Internet down after submarine cable cut:
Millions of Bangladeshis have been unable to use the Internet or suffered slow connections after a submarine cable was cut off the coast of Singapore, an official said Thursday. (…)
“Work at the garment factories and outsourcing firms have also been disrupted due to the slow connection,” he added. read more.
* Bangladesh’s exports slide for third straight month:
Exports from Bangladesh fell for the third straight month in May, according to data released by state-owned Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) yesterday.
Businesses blamed the slowdown in exports on a dip in demand for apparel items in the Eurozone, which is now grappling with a debt crisis.
Readymade garment is the prime foreign currency earning sector of Bangladesh and the EU is the biggest market for its apparels.
Exports in May declined 4.13 per cent to stand at $2.2 billion from the same month last year. However, exports rebounded by 16.31 per cent in May compared to the previous month. read more.
* Exports fall short by nearly $ 2 billion:
Exports from Bangladesh declined substantially during the first 11 months (July-May) of the outgoing fiscal as demand for major export items, dropped in the Eurozone due to ongoing economic recession there. According to statistics released by EPB, export earnings during the first 11 months (July-May) of the current fiscal stood at $ 21.97 billion as against the target of US$ 23.76 billion.
The export earnings fell short of the target by 7.52 percent.
The growth rate is 7 per cent as compared to the amount earned during the same period in last fiscal when the export growth was 40 per cent year-on-year.
The Eurozone debt crisis has also dampened the demand for Bangladesh’s main export item readymade garments to that market.
Bangladesh’s knitwear exports rose marginally by 1.5 per cent to $ 8.57 billion and woven garments by 15.73 per cent to $ 8.96 billion in July-May.
Such rises are lower compared to the growth in July-April when knitwear exports increased by 2.99 per cent and woven by 16.90 per cent.
‘The economic crisis in the European Union, the major export destination for Bangladesh, and sluggish growth in US market are taking toll on the country’s exports,” said an apparel exporter,” expressing his apprehension of achieving overall export target this year. read more.
* 50 garment factories closed in Ashulia fearing unrest:
Over 50 garment factories were closed for a day in Ashulia area on Monday apprehending unrest amid apparel workers’ demonstration for pay hike.
The agitated workers put barricade on Abdullahpur-Bypile road around 9 am, disrupting traffic for over two hours.
Police and witnesses said hundreds of workers of Artistic Design, a packaging factory of Ha-Meem Group located at Narasinghapur, went on a work abstention in the morning and started agitation in front of the factory, demanding that their salaries be raised. read more.
* RMG workers block road for arrear in N’ganj:
Workers of an export-oriented garment factory on Sunday blocked Narayanganj-Adamji-Demra road at Siddhirganj of Narayanganj Sadar upazila for an hour demanding arrears and transport facilities.
Quoting witnesses, Officer-in-Charge of Siddhirganj Police Station Quamrul Alam Molla said workers of Reck Work Ltd located at Godnail Chowdhurybari Bhuiyapara went on work abstention in the morning demanding arrears and transport facilities.
Around 11:00am, the agitated workers took to the streets and blocked the road setting tyres on fire that halted transport movement, reports our Narayanganj correspondent.
They cleared the road after an hour when police and local ward councillor of Narayanganj City Corporation Ruhul amin Molla came up with the assurance to negotiate the matter with the factory authorities. to read.
* Mozena warns of a storm brewing in RMG:
US Ambassador Dan W Mozena yesterday warned the country’s readymade garment industry of a possible storm stemming from recent unrest in the sector.
Many US buyers have already expressed concern for the reputation of their brands, as Bangladesh is a massive supplier of apparel items to the US, he said.
“I have been contacted by a huge number of US buyers who expressed concerns over the reputation of the garment products of Bangladesh,” Mozena told the reporters after a meeting with Finance Minister AMA Muhith at the latter’s secretariat office.
“A possible perfect storm might threaten the country’s RMG sector for reasons such as labour rights, labour organisations and particularly the killing of labour leader Aminul Islam in early April,” Mozena said. read more.
* Businesses continue protest against export tax hike:
Business leaders yesterday urged the government to review its plan to increase tax at source on exports, saying the move will badly impact their business.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith in his budget speech proposed raising tax at source on exports of all kinds of products to 1.2 percent from the current 0.60 percent.
“It is a 100 percent rise compared to the existing rate, which is unrealistic for the export-oriented industries,” said Rafez Alam Chowdhury, president of Bangladesh Garment Accessories and Packaging Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
He said the apparel exporters are facing a setback due to the economic crisis in the US and European Union. read more.
* Garment accessories makers want review of budget proposal:
The Bangladesh Garment Accessories and Packaging Manufacturers and Exporters Association on Monday asked the government to reduce tax at source on exports of garment accessories and packaging products to a logical level from the proposed 1.20 per cent in the next fiscal year.
‘The proposal to double tax at source on exports from the existing 0.60 per cent will hamper the export of garment accessories and packaging products, which will push the gross domestic product growth target of 7.2 per cent into an area of uncertainty,’ BGAPMEA president Rafez Alam Chowdhury told reporters at a post-budget press briefing at the National Press Club. read more.
* 100 RMG factories suspend production:
Production at around 100 readymade garment factories on the city’s outskirt Ashulia was suspended yesterday after hundreds of workers staged violent demonstrations demanding hikes in their wages.
The workers vandalised around 25 vehicles and fought pitched battles with police leaving at least 30 people injured.
Traffic on Dhaka-Tangail highway remained suspended for around four hours from 9:00am, keeping several hundred vehicles stranded on the road. This ultimately led to travel misery for the passengers.
Police said several hundred workers of packaging factory Artistic Design Ltd of Ha-Meem Group started the demonstration blocking the road at Narasinghapur bus stand on Dhaka-Tangail highway.
“At one stage, employees from adjacent factories came out of their workplaces and joined the agitation,” said Fayezul Kabir, deputy director of Industrial Police.
21:10:21 local time INDIA
* Latest ‘sops’ will help exporters not exports hit by global recession:
The Commerce Ministry has just released the annual supplement to the Foreign Trade Policy 2009-14 amidst a pervasive gloom over almost the entire global economy.
The world economy has not been as low as now and that sentiment is also reflected in trade; world trade has been slowing after 2010, according to data from the World Trade Organisation. After a strong rebound from the Wall Street debacle in 2010 with 13.8 per cent expansion, world trade decelerated to 5 per cent in 2011 and in its forecast last year for 2012, the WTO rued a further fall to 3.7 per cent this year. (…)
Populism runs through the scheme. Thus as has been the case routinely, labour-intensive sectors, such as toys, sports-goods, processed agricultural products and ready-made garments will also now be covered under the interest rate subvention scheme. read more. & read more.
* Labour-intensive sectors bearing the impact slowdown- AEPC:
Labour-intensive sectors like handicrafts and textiles are bearing the brunt of economic slowdown and have witnessed lakhs of job losses due to closure of several units in past few years, apparel exporters body AEPC has said.
The Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) claimed as many as 45 lakh people in the textiles sector have lost jobs in the last two years mainly due to global economic slowdown and problems at the domestic front.
“Up to 10 per cent people have already lost their jobs in the textiles sector including handloom, weaving, spinning apparel and handicrafts segments in the last two years and still it is continuing,” AEPC Chairman A Sakthivel said. read more.
* Reebok officials likely to be questioned by SFIO:
Corporate fraud probe body SFIO has started scrutinising documents relating to the alleged Rs 870-crore fraud involving Reebok India and may soon take a call on questioning senior officials of the sportswear maker.
“We are still studying various documents relating to the fraud after which, we will begin interrogating senior Reebok officials and also the two accused,” a source said.
* SFIO to decide on probing KPMG’s role in Reebok case- Moily:
The government today said it will be up to corporate fraud probe body SFIO to investigate role played by global audit firm KPMG in the alleged Rs 870 crore fraud in Reebok India by its two former top executives.
“We have given Reebok (India) as a company to the SFIO, now it’s up to them to look into all the aspects,” Corporate Affairs Minister Veerappa Moily told reporters here.
The Minister was responding to a query on whether the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) would look into the role of audit firm KPMG, which did a forensic audit of Reebok India on behalf of its German parent Adidas in 2010.
read more. & read more.
* Eurozone crisis to take its toll on leather industry:
Even orders for next winter will be low, warns industry representative
The Eurozone crisis has hit the Indian leather industry badly and the sector will find it difficult to sustain its growth momentum this fiscal, industry representatives said on Monday.
While the industry was able to clock an average growth of nearly 23 per cent during 2011-12, it was unlikely to maintain the trend during fiscal 2012-13, due to the ongoing Eurozone crisis. read more.
* New FTP to help boost textile & apparel exports:
Taking stock of India’s performance and recognizing challenges faced in the year gone by, Indian Commerce, Industry & Textile Minister Anand Sharma unveiled Annual Supplement 2012-14 to the 5-year Foreign Trade Policy 2009-14 in an effort to make mid-course correction where necessary to ensure that India is able to achieve the target of US$ 500 bn exports by 2013-14.
It is indeed a difficult task to present a policy which aims for rapid growth in exports in the face of weak global demand and the unabated persistence of the global economic crisis which erupted 4 years ago. read more.
21:10:21 local time SRI LANKA
* Hazardous forms of child labour invisible:
*Sri Lanka conducts child activity survey
A small number of children in marginalized groups are engaged in hazardous work with little or no schooling. The number is so small that it is almost invisible, which prompted authorities to look deeper.
A recent survey on child labour in the country carried out by the Department of Census and Statistics, with assistance from the International Labour Organisation, shows that 1.5 percent of the child population is engaged in hazardous labour while 1 percent was engaged in work earning under Rs. 4,000 a month. read more.
20:40:21 local time PAKISTAN
* APTMA launches Forum to promote prudent use of gas:
* APTMA seeks rollback of gas infrastructure cess:
* ILO:Tackling child labour: From commitment to action: